Showing posts with label Abu Zubaida. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Abu Zubaida. Show all posts

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Boston: The Truth Seaps Through into the Mainstream


But the problem with Mirandarisng Gitmo detainees of course, is that the Gitmo detainees - most of them - have committed aboslutely no crime...

This is poetry.

"Those who have studied history know that nothing invigorates and empowers an authoritarian regime more than a spectacular act of violence, some sudden and senseless loss of life that allows the autocrat to stand on the smoking rubble and identify himself as the hero. It is at moments like this that the public—still in shock from the horror of the tragedy that has just unfolded before them—can be led into the most ruthless despotism: despotism that now bears the mantle of "security."

Acts of terror and violence never benefit the average man or woman. They only ever benefit those in positions of power.

This is why Nero fiddled while Rome burned: it gave him a chance to throw the Christians to the lions and rebuild the capital of the Roman Empire in his own image.

This is why Hearst and the warmongers of the emerging American Empire were delighted by the destruction of the U.S.S. Maine in Havana Harbor: it gave them the excuse they needed in order to rouse the public into supporting the Spanish-American War.

This is why Israel attacked the U.S.S. Liberty in 1967 during the Six Day War, strafing and torpedoing it relentlessly for hours in a vain attempt to send it to the bottom: the Israelis believed that the loss of the Liberty could be blamed on Egypt and draw the Americans into war.

This is why there are hundreds of documented examples of governments staging attacks in order to blame them on their political enemies. In every civilization, in every culture, in every historical period, authoritarians have known that spectacular acts of violence help to further consolidate their own power and control. And sadly, throughout history there have been all too many willing to allow attacks to occur, to pretend that attacks have occurred or even to attack their own population in order to further their political agenda.

To think that such staged provocations and false flag attacks no longer occur would be as unrealistic as believing that human nature itself has changed, that powerful people no longer seek to increase their power, that influence is never used for deceit or manipulation, that lies are no longer told to satisfy greed or slake the thirst for control. It is to believe that our society is immuned from those things that we have seen in every other society in every other era. In short, it is a dangerous delusion.

The people are once again learning the power of this delusion. They are learning the extent to which they have been lied to. They are once again studying their history.

The Russians are learning how the FSB was caught planting bombs in Moscow in the 1990s during a terror scare that swept Putin into power and stirred the public into supporting the Second Chechen War. They are learning how their autocratic ex-President came to power campaigning on the graves of those his old FSB cronies had killed.

The Israelis are learning how Mossad has been caught time and again posing as the very Muslim terrorists they claim to be opposing. They are learning how Israel uses the specter of terror to further extend their blank cheque drawn on American funds to expand their police state at home and maintain their hardline stance, the world's sixth-largest nuclear superpower supposedly threatened by the possibility that one of their neighbours may one day obtain a single nuclear weapon.

The British are learning how their SAS officers were caught dressing up as Arabs in Iraq, driving around with trucks full of munitions, shooting at police to stir up ethnic tensions and insure that permanent bases could be built in the region. They are learning how Haroon Aswat, the supposed mastermind behind the 7/7 bombings, was working for British Intelligence.. They are learning how British military intelligence took part in IRA bombings.

The Indians are learning how the Mumbai attack was helped by an U.S. Agent who is cooperating with investigators so that he won't face questioning by foreign authorities.

The Canadians are learning how their own provincial police dressed up as protestors in 2007 and threatened violence against other police in order to force a crackdown on peaceful protests.

And the Americans are learning that there were multiple bombs found, dismantled and taken out of the Alfred P. Murrah building on April 19, 1995. They are learning that Timothy McVeigh had written a letter to his sister in which he claimed to be in the Special Forces for the U.S. Army. They are learning the bombing was being directed by FBI informants, just as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing was. They are learning about 9/11 and the Gulf of Tonkin and Operation Northwoods and their own Army Counterinsurgency Manuals that teach officers how to commit false flag attacks to blame on their enemies.

In short, the people are learning the truth.

And now we see the same build-up to a false flag event taking place that we saw in 1995. At that time the U.S. had a corporate media desperate to fling mud at anyone concerned by the actions of their government, and it had a government that was desperately unpopular in the face of growing dissatisfaction. Today we see the exact same factors at play.

If anything, the situation today is worse than it was in the run-up to the Oklahoma City Bombing, with media consolidation meaning that groups of concerned citizens like the Oath Keepers are being attacked by the controlled minions on both the left and the right. And now it is not just the militia that is being demonized by the establishment: it is veterans and gun owners, third party supporters and libertarians, anti-war protestors and human rights campaigners, people who are upset with the government giving trillions to the banks that have engineered our current financial crisis in the first place. In short, everyone is now a potential terrorist, according to the governmental and media agencies that deign to limit our range of acceptable opinion and control dissent.

Even the word 'terrorist' means something more than it did back in 1995, after the false flag anthrax attack allowed the passage of the Patriot Act, after the boogey of Al-CIAda gave the NSA the opportunity to announce that they were collecting everyone's emails and everyone's telephone calls, after the former Homeland Security Secretary came out and admitted that the Bush administration had made up terror threats in order to scare the people into supporting the government, now we know what the real definition of terrorism is. It is governments scaring their own populations into line.

But there is something else that's different now from what it was in 1995. The people are learning something else about terrorism: they are not terrorists for speaking out against their government. They are not terrorists for wanting the government to stop selling their children into servitude to pay bankers their bonuses. They are not terrorists for pointing out that the FBI and the CIA and Mossad and MI6 are behind every major terrorist event.

The people are not terrorists because they do not want to see more death. They do not want more destruction, the spilling of the blood of their fellow citizens is not in their interests. Death and destruction only ever serves the governmental and financial and industrial interests who always grow in power and wealth in the wake of every tragedy. Time and again, the people pay with their lives, and the governments and the banks and the war machine only grows and prospers.

The people do not want terrorism because it does not benefit them. It only benefits the existing power structure.

And this time, if there is another staged event to blame on the government's enemy of the day, the people will know who to blame."

James Corbett, 2010

Monday, 29 April 2013

Boston: al-Zawahiri and the Russians, "Al-Qaeda", the Chechens and Dagestan

"How America 'manages' Eurasia is critical. A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world's three most advanced and economically productive regions. 

A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa's subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral to the world's central continent. 

About 75 per cent of the world's people live in Eurasia, and most of the world's physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for about three-fourths of the world's known energy resources." 

Zbigniew Brzezinski, 
The Grand Chessboard:
American Primacy And It's Geostrategic Imperatives

December 1, 1996-June 1997: Russian Arrest of Zawahiri Brings Islamic Jihad and Al-Qaeda Closer Together

"Chechnya was fighting to break free from Russian rule and achieved a cease-fire and de facto independence earlier in the year (see August 1996).

Zawahiri hopes to establish new connections there. However, on December 1, 1996, he and his associates are arrested by Russian authorities as they try to cross into Chechnya. Zawahiri is carrying four passports, none showing his real identity.

The Russians confiscate Zawahiri’s laptop and send it to Moscow for analysis, but apparently they never translate the Arabic documents on it that could have revealed who he really is.

Though some Russian investigators suspect Zawahiri is a “big fish,” they can’t prove it.

He and his two associates are released after six months. 

"In fact, an Islamic revival - already abetted from the outside not only by Iran but also by Saudi Arabia - is likely to become the mobilizing impulse for the increasingly pervasive new nationalisms, determined to oppose any reintegration under Russian - and hence infidel - control." 
Zbigniew Brzezinski, 
The Grand Chessboard
American Primacy And It's Geostrategic Imperatives

"In a July 2005 interview with the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita, Litvinenko alleged that Ayman al-Zawahiri, a prominent leader of al-Qaeda, was trained for half a year by the FSB in Dagestan in 1997 and called him "an old agent of the FSB".

Litvinenko said that after this training, al-Zawahiri "was transferred to Afghanistan, where he had never been before and where, following the recommendation of his Lubyanka chiefs, he at once ... penetrated the milieu of Osama bin Laden and soon became his assistant in Al Qaeda."

Former KGB officer and writer Konstantin Preobrazhenskiy supported this claim and said that Litvinenko "was responsible for securing the secrecy of Al-Zawahiri's arrival in Russia; he was trained by FSB instructors in Dagestan, Northern Caucasus, in 1996–1997.".

He said: "At that time, Litvinenko was the Head of the Subdivision for Internationally Wanted Terrorists of the First Department of the Operative-Inquiry Directorate of the FSB Anti-Terrorist Department. He was ordered to undertake the delicate mission of securing Al-Zawahiri from unintentional disclosure by the Russian police.

Though Al-Zawahiri had been brought to Russia by the FSB using a false passport, it was still possible for the police to learn about his arrival and report to Moscow for verification. Such a process could disclose Al-Zawahiri as an FSB collaborator.

In order to prevent this, Litvinenko visited a group of highly placed police officers to notify them in advance." According to FSB spokesman Sergei Ignatchenko, al-Zawahiri was arrested by Russian authorities in Dagestan in December 1996 and released in May 1997."

al-Zawhari never was "a prominent leader of al-Qaeda", or the UBL group.

Al-Zawhari was an associate of Bin Laden's and sat next to him while he did his press conferences for the Western Media for his 1998 Fatwah against America - al-Zawhari was not a member of the UBL group and apparently set Bin Laden up to take the blame for the 1998 Embassy Bombings 8 weeks later (which do not fit the profile of the UBL Group, do not conform with the War Aims of Bin Laden's fatwah, do not further his strategic goals and do not fall within the Quranic rules of engagement covering action permissible under Jihad).

They appear to be the work of Saudi Intelligence, who wanted Bin Laden dead.

The Embassy Bombings are the only crime for which the US Criminal Justice system ever indicted Bin Laden, and convicted him in-absentia in January 2001, on the evidence of a walk-in FBI snitch.

Webster Tarpley has concluded (following years more research) that al-Zawhari was the creation of MI6 and is an asset dating back to the assassination of Sadat in 1981.

He's an Egyptian dentist who speaks perfect English, he's the perfect spokesman for global Jihad under a false flag.

His group, Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) was formally joined to the UBL group in June 2001 and a communique put out announcing the fact; it was never called Al-Qaeda.

By June of 2001, UBL was already desperately ill and probably dying from terminal kidney disease.

He spent a week in the US Army Hosptial in Dubai in August, receiving emergency dialysis and was visited by the CIA Station Chief there.

He was reported back in Afghanistan by September 11th and for the first couple of days was reported to have been under house arrest courtesy of the Taliban, who sought to sell him to the US.

When it became clear they were not going to be allowed to sell him or even give him to the FBI, they apparently cut him loose around the 23rd September 2001, which is when he formally disappeared and went on the run.
Sometime in October, he contacted British Journalist Robert Fisk (who had interviewed him three times before) through intermediaries trying to set up a fourth interview in Afghanistan, which was (in Fisk's words) cancelled due to a US cruise missile strike.

He released his final tape on December 26th 2001, in which he denied responsibility for 9/11, attributing it to a Shadow Government within the US National Security Establishment, pointing out that it is against the rules of permissible Jihad to kill innocent women and children or other Muslims.

Most intelligence reports converge on the view that he died on or about December 16th of Kidney Failure in a cave.

Al-Zawhari was not with him and apparently had absolutely not problems getting out of Afghanistan way ahead of time.

The UBL group (such as it was) had a very clear and district two-tier structure, with retrospect;

An outer layer of pure patsies, dupes and halfwits made up of Gulf Arabs (which it's increasingly clear seems to actually include Bin Laden himself), who were the only guys who ever got (get) arrested.

And then an inner circle of Egyptians tied in to the Muslim Brotherhood and therefore extension into the Isreali Mossad.

There was great resentment and no love lost between the Egyptians and the Gulf Arabs.

The Egyptians got huge salaries and allowances, big houses, cars and drivers;

The Gulf Arabs lived in caves and hovels in Africa and were always the ones who got sent to buy the unshielded container-full of Uranium.

Jamal al-Fadel was one of those Gulf Arabs.

The reason he was stealing money from Bin Laden was because the Egyptian middlemen between him and Bin Laden weren't giving him enough to live on (even in the Sudan)

"The world's energy consumption is bound to vastly increase over the next two or three decades. Estimates by the U.S. Department of energy anticipate that world demand will rise by more than 50 percent between 1993 and 2015, with the most significant increase in consumption occurring in the Far East. 

The momentum of Asia's economic development is already generating massive pressures for the exploration and exploitation of new sources of energy and the Central Asian region and the Caspian Sea basin are known to contain reserves of natural gas and oil that dwarf those of Kuwait, the Gulf of Mexico, or the North Sea."

Zbigniew Brzezinski, 
The Grand Chessboard:
American Primacy And It's Geostrategic Imperatives

“THE AUNT of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects says she has been receiving unspecified threats since Friday (April 19, 2013), when she told reporters outside her home in Toronto that the Chechen-born brothers had been framed”.

According to Maret Tsarnaeva, “(speaking) on Saturday (April 20, 2013) to The Toronto Sun“, “They are CALLING US NAMES, THREATENING (us), (and) saying (that) it’s time (for us) to GO HOME. YES, IT IS TIME. We did not find that promise — democracy — in this country. But if I go home, I will go home only with the bodies of my nephews”.

Maret Tsarnaeva went on: “They (the US government/US officials) made our boys ENEMIES the American nation. THEY MADE THEM victims of THE CONSPIRACY. They needed somebody to BLAME for something they committed themselves so they got them, so REJOICE people, REJOICE“.

She is convinced Dzhokhar won’t be given a chance to explain his innocence.

“They will make sure they will not let this boy live because they do not want this boy to have a chance, have a voice to say that ‘People of America, I did not do this,’” she said.

“The suspects’ father, Anzor Tsarnaev, also believes his sons are innocent”. “(Speaking to) the Associated Press in a phone interview from the southern Russian republic of Dagestan”, Anzor said: “They were SET UP, they were SET UP! I saw it on television“. 

“Anzor called Dzhokhar “a true ANGEL“

Friday, 26 April 2013

Gary Hart on False Flags and Provocations.

Unsolicited Advice to the Government of Iran

Presuming that you are not actually ignorant enough to desire war with the United States, you might be well advised to read the history of the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine in Havana harbor in 1898 and the history of the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964.

Having done so, you will surely recognize that Americans are reluctant to go to war unless attacked. Until Pearl Harbor, we were even reluctant to get involved in World War II. For historians of American wars the question is whether we provoke provocations.

Given the unilateral U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, you are obviously thinking the rules have changed. Provocation is no longer required to take America to war. But even in this instance, we were led to believe that the mass murderer of American civilians, Osama bin Laden, was lurking, literally or figuratively, in the vicinity of Baghdad.

Given all this, you would probably be well advised to keep your forces, including clandestine forces, as far away from the Iraqi border as you can. You might even consider bringing in some neighbors to verify that you are not shipping arms next door. Tone down the rhetoric on Zionism. You've established your credentials with those in your world who thrive on that.

If it makes you feel powerful to hurl accusations at the American eagle, have at it. Sticks and stones, etc. But, for the next sixteen months or so, you should not only not take provocative actions, you should not seem to be doing so.

For the vast majority of Americans who seek no wider war, in the Middle East or elsewhere, don't tempt fate. Don't give a certain vice president we know the justification he is seeking to attack your country. That is unless you happen to like having bombs fall on your head.

Gary Hart

Author, Wirth Chair professor at the University of Colorado
Posted: September 26, 2007

US B-52 in Nuclear Cargo Blunder

The US Air Force has launched an investigation after a B-52 bomber flew across the US last week mistakenly loaded with nuclear-armed missiles.

It follows reports in the Army Times that five missiles were unaccounted for during the three-hour flight from North Dakota to Louisiana.

The air force said the cruise missiles were safe at all times.

Army Times said the missiles were to be decommissioned but were mistakenly mounted on the bomber's wings.

The W80-1 warhead has a yield of five to 150 kilotons, the paper said.

The flight took place on 30 August, from the Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to the Barksdale Air Force Base, near Bossier City, in Louisiana.

Air force spokesman Lt Col Ed Thomas said although this was an "isolated incident", Air Combat Command had directed a "command-wide stand down to review process at all of our bases".

Col Thomas said a general had been appointed to investigate the incident and would report by 14 September.

"At no time was there a threat to public safety. It is important to note that munitions were safe, secure and under military control at all times," Col Thomas said.

"The air force takes its mission to safeguard weapons seriously. No effort will be spared to ensure that the matter is thoroughly and completely investigated."

Army Times quoted the colonel as saying the loading crew involved had been temporarily "decertified" pending retraining and the investigation.

A military official told AFP news agency that President George W Bush had been informed of the mix-up.

"There are procedures in place and they kicked in and worked," the official said.

The BBC's Adam Brookes in Washington says experts have made it clear that if the plane had crashed there would not have been a nuclear explosion but there could have been a threat from plutonium leakage."

The 2007 United States Air Force nuclear weapons incident occurred at Minot Air Force Base and Barksdale Air Force Base on August 29–30, 2007. Six AGM-129 ACM cruise missiles, each loaded with a W80-1 variable yield nuclear warhead, were mistakenly loaded on a United States Air Force (USAF) B-52H heavy bomber at Minot and transported to Barksdale. 

The nuclear warheads in the missiles were supposed to have been removed before taking the missiles from their storage bunker. The missiles with the nuclear warheads were not reported missing and remained mounted to the aircraft at both Minot and Barksdale for a period of 36 hours. During this period, the warheads were not protected by the various mandatory security precautions required for nuclear weapons.

The incident was reported to the top levels of the United States military and referred to by observers as a Bent Spear incident, which indicates a nuclear weapon incident that is of significant concern but does not involve the immediate threat of nuclear war. The USAF has yet to officially classify the incident.

In response to the incident, the United States Department of Defense (DoD) and USAF conducted an investigation, the results of which were released on October 19, 2007. The investigation concluded that nuclear weapons handling standards and procedures had not been followed by numerous USAF personnel involved in the incident. 

As a result, four USAF commanders were relieved of their commands, numerous other USAF personnel were disciplined and/or decertified to perform certain types of sensitive duties, and further cruise missile transport missions from and nuclear weapons operations at Minot Air Force Base were suspended. In addition, the USAF issued new nuclear weapons handling instructions and procedures.

Separate investigations by the United States Defense Science Board and a USAF "Blue Ribbon" panel reported that concerns existed on the procedures and processes for handling nuclear weapons within the Department of Defense but did not find any failures with the security of United States nuclear weapons. Based on this and other incidents, on June 5, 2008, Secretary of the Air Force Michael Wynne and Chief of Staff of the Air Force General T. Michael Moseley, were asked for their resignations, which were given. In October 2008, in response to recommendations by a review committee, the USAF announced the creation of Air Force Global Strike Command to control all USAF nuclear bombers, missiles, and personnel.

The AGM-129 was fielded in 1987 as a stealthy cruise missile platform to deliver the W80-1 variable yield nuclear warhead. Although originally designed to equip the B-1 bomber, it was later decided that the AGM-129 would only be carried by the B-52, mounted on external pylons on the wings or internally in the bomb bay. 

In March 2007, the USAF decided to retire its AGM-129 complement in order to help comply with international arms-control treaties and to replace them with AGM-86 missiles.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Abu Qatada

From History Commons:

1995-February 2001: Monitored Al-Qaeda Leader and British Al-Qaeda Informant Raise Money for Chechen Rebels

Said Chedadi. [Source: Agence France-Presse]

Beginning in 1995, Barakat Yarkas, head of an al-Qaeda cell in Madrid, Spain, begins traveling frequently to Britain. Yarkas is being constantly monitored by Spanish intelligence (see 1995 and After) and they learn that his cell is raising money for the Islamist militants in Chechnya who are fighting the Russian army there. Yarkas and fellow cell member Said Chedadi solicit funds from Arab business owners in Madrid and then take the cash to radical imam Abu Qatada in London. Abu Qatada is coordinating fundraising efforts, and from June 1996 onwards, he is also working as an informant for British intelligence, although just how long and how closely he works for them is unclear (see June 1996-February 1997). [IRUJO, 2005, PP. 64-65] According to a later Spanish government indictment, Yarkas makes over 20 trips from Spain to Britain roughly between 1995 and 2000. He mostly meets with Qatada and Abu Walid, who an indictment will later call Abu Qatada’s right-hand man. From 1998 onwards, Spanish militant Jamal Zougam also travels occasionally to London to meet with Qatada. Investigators later suspect he travels with Yarkas on at least one of these trips. [INDEPENDENT, 11/21/2001; EL MUNDO (MADRID), 7/8/2005] From 1996 to 1998, an informant named Omar Nasiri informs on Abu Qatada and Walid for British intelligence (see Summer 1996-August 1998). Nasiri sometimes passes phones messages between the both of them and al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida, and also reveals that Walid has been to al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan. [NASIRI, 2006, PP. 265-282] Waild, a Saudi, apparently will be killed in Chechnya in 2004. [GUARDIAN, 10/3/2006] In February 2001, British police will raid Abu Qatada’s house and find $250,000, including some marked “for the Mujaheddin in Chechnya” (see February 2001). However, he will not be arrested, and it is not clear if he and/or Yarkas continue raising money for Chechnya after the raid. Chedadi will later be sentenced to eight years and Zougam will get life in prison for roles in the 2004 Madrid train bombings (see October 31, 2007). [AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, 1/26/2006]

Entity Tags: Said Chedadi, Omar Nasiri, Jamal Zougam, Abu Walid, Barakat Yarkas, Abu Qatada
Category Tags: Abu Qatada, Al-Qaeda in Spain, Abu Zubaida, 2004 Madrid Train Bombings, Remote Surveillance, Terrorism Financing, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism, Islamist Militancy in Chechnya

January 5, 1996: British Newspaper Links Bin Laden to 1995 Wave of Militant Attacks in France

Rachid Ramda. [Source: Public domain]

The London Times publishes one of the first Western newspaper articles about Osama bin Laden. The article says, “A Saudi Arabian millionaire is suspected of channeling thousands of pounds to Islamic militants in London which may have bankrolled French terrorist bombings.” Bin Laden is referred to as “Oussama ibn-Laden.” It says that he sent money to Rachid Ramda, editor in chief of Al Ansar, the London-based newsletter for the radical Algerian militant group the GIA. However, government sources say that the money ostensibly for the newsletter was really used to fund a wave of militant attacks in France in 1995 (see July-October 1995). Ramda was arrested in London on November 4, 1995 at the request of the French government. [LONDON TIMES, 1/5/1996] Two other people working as editors on the Al Ansar newsletter in 1995, Abu Qatada and Mustafa Setmarian Nasar, will later be found to be important al-Qaeda leaders (see June 1996-1997 and October 31, 2005). It will take ten years for Britain to extradite Ramda to France. He will be tried in France in 2005 and sentenced to life in prison for his role in the 1995 French attacks. [BBC, 10/26/2007] Bin Laden may have met with Ramda while visiting Britain in 1994 (see 1994). It will later be revealed that the 1995 attacks in France were led by an Algerian government mole (see July-October 1995), and the GIA as a whole was run by a government mole (see October 27, 1994-July 16, 1996).

Entity Tags: Mustafa Setmarian Nasar, Osama bin Laden, Groupe Islamique Armé, Rachid Ramda, Abu Qatada

Category Tags: Osama Bin Laden, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism, Algerian Militant Collusion, Abu Qatada

Abu Hamza al-Masri

"Abu Hamza al-Masri, who will later become a leading Islamic radical in Britain, travels to Afghanistan and, as he is a qualified civil engineer, helps with reconstruction efforts there after the Soviet withdrawal. He later receives paramilitary training at Darunta camp and loses his hands and the sight in one eye while practicing making explosives there. He is taken to Pakistan for emergency treatment, but refuses to hand over a set of passports he has to that country’s ISI intelligence agency, and flees to Britain with his family due to fears of a reprisal."

[O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 21-29]

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar

In a Hollywood movie Hekmatyar would be the evil foil to the heroic Abdul Shah Masud. He would be an angry Islamic fundamentalist dressed in black, throwing acid in the faces of unveiled women and assassinating local tribal leaders that might rival his power. He would be the pawn of foreign secret service paymasters like the ISI, CIA, and Prince Turki of Saudi Arabia. He would unfeelingly sacrifice peasants for his cause, rocket the helpless civilians mixed in with his enemies, and his ruthless ambition would prevent the creation of a new peace. Unfortunately, in real life Hekmatyar was all these things.

Hekmatyar was one of the early Islamic rebels that came out of the University of Kabul. In the beginning Hekmatyar and Masud worked together. During the Soviet occupation Hekmatyar ran one of the two largest mujahideen organizations out of Peshawar in Pakistan. There he became the favorite of the Pakistani secret service, the ISI. Billions of dollars in US aid flowed through the ISI to Hekmatyar. Nervous CIA agents wondered whether Hekmatyar hated the United States as much as the Soviets, but the ISI assured them he was ok. United States money and weapons flowed to our enemy for over a decade.

When Masud finally defeated Najibullah in 1992, all the mujahideen factions converged on Kabul. Masud outwitted Hekmatyar and slipped into the city before him. A round robin of side-swapping, backstabbing, and massacre among Hekmatyar, Masud, Dostum, and Mazari followed. The citizens and buildings of Kabul were the big losers. The problem was that Masud could not be president as he was a Tajik, not a Pashtun. Afghan kings had been Pashtun for hundreds of years. Hekmatyar was the most powerful Pashtun, and had he not been such an evil sod, Masud might have accepted some kind of deal. In the end neither prevailed. The ISI switched support from the stalemated Hekmatyar and backed Mullah Omar, the new leader of the Taliban. Without ISI support, Hekmatyar’s men deserted wholesale to Mullah Omar, and he was a contender no longer.

Summer 1996-August 1998: British Mole Penetrates Militant Islamic Circles in London

Omar Nasiri, an agent of the British intelligence services MI5 and MI6, and the French service Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE), penetrates radical Islamic circles in London, getting close to leading imams Abu Qatada and Abu Hamza (see Mid 1996-October 1997), learning about the Algerian Groupe Isamique Armé (GIA) (see November 1996), and dealing with al-Qaeda manager Abu Zubaida in Pakistan (see (Mid-1996) and (Mid-1996 and After)). Nasiri’s main task is to attend the main locations where radicals gather, Abu Qatada’s Four Feathers center and Abu Hamza’s Finsbury Park mosque, get close to senior operatives there to obtain information, and identify militants, even though the mosques, as Nasiri will later put it, are already “crawling with spies.” The British services are mostly interested in whether the radicals intend to attack in Britain, but, although they come close to inciting such attacks, they never cross the line. Nasiri will later comment: “[Abu Hamza] was inciting his followers to attack just about everywhere else, but never within England. He came very close to this line many times. He incited his followers to attack anyone who tried to claim Muslim land. He said many times that British soldiers and colonizers were fair game.” Nasiri, who previously received explosives training at al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan (see Mid 1995-Spring 1996), also gets his associates in Afghanistan to send him his notebook from an explosives course and passes this on to his handlers, who are impressed at how sophisticated the formulae are. However, after a couple of years the radicals realize he is an informer. In addition, on the day of the African embassy bombings (see 10:35-10:39 a.m., August 7, 1998) he is so upset that he switches his mobile phone off for the first time since he received it, so MI5 stops trusting him. He will later write: “They must have worried that I was, in fact, a sleeper and that I had disappeared to pursue some mission. I couldn’t blame them of course. I was a trained killer. From the very beginning they hadn’t trusted me; I knew that.” He has to leave Britain and his career as an informer is practically over. [NASIRI, 2006, PP. 259-303]

Entity Tags: UK Security Service (MI5), UK Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), Abu Hamza al-Masri, Finsbury Park Mosque, Omar Nasiri, Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure, Abu Qatada

Category Tags: Abu Hamza Al-Masri, Abu Qatada, Other Possible Moles or Informants, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism, Algerian Militant Collusion

MI5 headquarters in London. [Source: Cryptome]

In June and December 1996, and again in February 1997, a British MI5 agent meets with radical Muslim imam Abu Qatada, hoping he will inform on his fellow extremists. Qatada is a Jordanian national who entered Britain in September 1993 using a forged United Arab Emirates passport, and was granted asylum in 1994.

Qatada Promises to Look after British Interests - In his meetings with the MI5 agent he claims to “wield powerful, spiritual influence over the Algerian community in London.” He says he does not want London to become a center for settling Islamic scores, and that he will report anyone damaging British interests. He says the individuals he has influence over pose no threat to British security, and promises that “he would not bite the hand that fed him.” He also promises to “report anyone damaging the interests of [Britain].” The MI5 agent records that “surprisingly enough—[Abu Qatada] revealed little love of the methodology and policies pursued by Osama bin Laden. He certainly left me with the impression that he had nothing but contempt for bin Laden’s distant financing of the jihad.”

Links to Al-Qaeda - Yet Qatada is later described as being a “key [British] figure” in al-Qaeda related terror activity. Around 1996, a highly reliable informer told US intelligence that Qatada is on al-Qaeda’s fatwa (religious) committee (see June 1996-1997). Videos of his sermons are later discovered in the Hamburg flat used by Mohamed Atta. Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, and Zacarias Moussaoui, who is later convicted in connection with the 9/11 attacks, are alleged to have sought religious advice from him.
[BBC, 8/11/2005; GUARDIAN, 8/11/2005]

Meetings Apparently Continue - Reportedly, after Qatada’s February 1997 meeting with the British agent, no further such meetings occur. [SPECIAL IMMIGRATION APPEALS COMMISSION, 1/2004 ] However, some French officials later allege that Qatada continues to be an MI5 agent, and this is what allows him to avoid arrest after 9/11 (see Early December 2001). [OBSERVER, 2/24/2002] It will later emerge that Bisher al-Rawi, a friend of Qatada, served as an informant and a go-between MI5 and Qatada in numerous meetings between late 2001 and 2002, when Qatada is finally arrested (see Late September 2001-Summer 2002). Furthermore, al-Rawi says he served as a translator between MI5 and Qatada before 9/11, suggesting that Qatada never stopped being an informant.
[OBSERVER, 7/29/2007]

(Mid-1996): French and British Intelligence Listen in on Al-Qaeda Communications, Asset Relays Messages for Al-Qaeda

Omar Nasiri, who informs on al-Qaeda for the British intelligence service MI6 and the French service Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DSGE), makes contact with al-Qaeda logistics manager Abu Zubaida using a telephone bugged by MI6. Nasiri met Abu Zubaida in Pakistan (see Mid 1995-Spring 1996). Usually, when Nasiri calls the number, he talks to one of Abu Zubaida’s associates, but sometimes he talks to Abu Zubaida himself. The phone is used to relay messages between Abu Zubaida in Pakistan and al-Qaeda representatives in London, in particular leading imam Abu Qatada. The French will apparently make great use of this information (see October 1998 and After).

[NASIRI, 2006, PP. 270-1, 273, 281]

Entity Tags: Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure, Abu Zubaida, UK Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), Abu Qatada, Omar Nasiri
Category Tags: Remote Surveillance, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism, Other Possible Moles or Informants, Abu Zubaida, Abu Qatada

Mid 1996-October 1997: London-Based Imams Denounce GIA over Massacres

Leading London-based imam Abu Qatada denounces the Algerian GIA (Groupe Islamique Armé) over massacres of civilians the group has apparently conducted in Algeria, and severs ties with it. Fellow imam Abu Hamza al-Masri follows suit the next year. Abu Qatada says that support should no longer be provided to the GIA because they are declaring other Muslims infidels and killing them, although they are not learned men and do not have the authority to do this. This is highly controversial in the radical Islamic community in London, as some believe it is the government, not the GIA, that is carrying out the massacres, and Abu Qatada’s popularity declines. Abu Hamza initially defends the GIA, but, as the massacres get worse, support for the GIA in London ebbs. Eventually, Abu Hamza calls a GIA commander and asks for an explanation for a massacre. The commander says that the villagers were killed because they supported the moderate Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) and Abu Hamza withdraws his support from the GIA a few weeks later. Omar Nasiri, who informs on Abu Hamza for French and British intelligence and listens in on the call to the commander, will later comment: “More than anything else, this episode proved to me that Abu Hamza was a sham. His objectives shifted with the wind. He needed the GIA to seduce followers away from Abu Qatada. Now, he saw that he might lose more than he gained by continuing to support it. For Abu Hamza, it was all about the zakat, the money he collected every week after the al-Jum’a prayers. The more people attended, the more cash there would be.”

[NASIRI, 2006, PP. 271-2, 275, 295-6] Bin Laden denounces the GIA around the same time (see Mid-1996).

March 1997: Hamburg Cell Member Zammar Is Monitored Getting Spanish Help to Meet Informant Abu Qatada in Britain

Mohammed Haydar Zammar, a member of the al-Qaeda Hamburg cell with three of the 9/11 hijackers, is monitored as he gets help in meeting al-Qaeda spiritual leader Abu Qatada in Britain. In March 1997, Zammar in Germany calls Barakat Yarkas in Spain. Yarkas is widely seen as the top leader of al-Qaeda in Spain, and Spanish intelligence is monitoring his calls. Telephone intercepts show that Zammar tells Yarkas, “I want to meet with brother Abu Qatada,” Zammar said, according to a transcript of the conversation. Yarkas replies, “Yes, I’ll talk to him and I’ll ask him.” Yarkas gives Qatada’s phone number to Zammar two days later. Zammar goes on to meet Qatada, but details of that meeting are unknown. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 1/30/2003] Yarkas has been traveling to Britain for years, meeting with Qatada and giving him money (see 1995-February 2001). In 1996 or 1997, US intelligence learns that Qatada is a key spiritual adviser for al-Qaeda (see June 1996-1997). Shortly before Zammar’s call to Yarkas, British intelligence recruited Qatada as an informant, although he may not be a fully honest one (see June 1996-February 1997). It is unknown if Zammar’s visit with Qatada becomes known to US or German intelligence. Zammar may introduce Hamburg cell member Said Bahaji to Qatada, because Qatada’s phone number will be found in Bahaji’s address book shortly after 9/11 (see Shortly After September 11, 2001).

March 1997: Radical Imam Abu Hamza Becomes Friday Preacher at Leading London Mosque; Soon Takes it Over

Abu Hamza al-Masri, a leading radical and informer for Britain’s security services (see Early 1997), is given the prestigious Friday sermon spot at the large Finsbury Park mosque in London. He is suggested thanks to his work at a mosque in nearby Luton (see 1996) and at his interviews he manages to charm the mosque’s management committee, which is also pleased by his low financial demands.

Abu Qatada Rejected - The committee had also interviewed radical imam Abu Qatada, a well known scholar and author, for the position—Abu Qatada has militant links, but the committee is apparently not aware of them at this time. However, Abu Qatada told the committee that they should be grateful he was willing to take the job, demanding to see the mosque’s accounts and to receive 50 percent of all monies collected there. It is not known what Abu Qatada, an informer for British intelligence (see June 1996-February 1997), wanted to do with the money, but he is apparently a member of al-Qaeda’s fatwa committee (see June 1996-1997) and is linked to terrorism finance (see 1995-February 2001). Due to the mosque’s financial position, the committee does not offer the job to Abu Qatada.

Mosque Already Infiltrated by GIA - A group of Algerian radicals, many of whom are veterans of the Algerian Civil War and are members of the Algerian militant group the Groupe Islamique Armé (GIA), had already infiltrated the mosque, and the Algerians assist Abu Hamza after his appointment. One leading Algerian radical seen at the mosque is Ali Touchent, a suspected mole for the Algerian intelligence service (see November 1996).

Takeover - However, Abu Hamza soon begins to take the mosque away from the moderate trustees and turn it into a hotbed of radicalism. Initially, he claims that money has gone missing from a set of flats the mosque rents to tenants, then says that one of the flats is being used as a brothel and that one of the mosque’s old management team is taking a cut. Thanks to Abu Hamza’s exciting sermons, many more people attend the mosque, and there is not enough room to accommodate all of them in the main prayer hall. Abu Hamza makes money by selling tapes of his sermons, as well as videos of radicals fighting in Chechnya, Algeria, and Bosnia, in a shop he opens at the mosque.
[O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 36-43]

Entity Tags: Abu Hamza al-Masri, Abu Qatada, Finsbury Park Mosque, Groupe Islamique Armé
Category Tags: Abu Hamza Al-Masri, Abu Qatada, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism, Algerian Militant Collusion

March 1997-April 2000: French and British Informer Helps Security Services Track Moussaoui and Shoe Bomber Reid

Reda Hassaine. [Source: CBC]

Reda Hassaine, an Algerian journalist who informs for a number of intelligence services, including an Algerian service, the French Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE), and the British Special Branch and MI5, helps intelligence agencies track Zacarias Moussaoui and shoe-bomber Richard Reid. One place Hassaine sees Moussaoui and Reid is the Four Feathers club, where leading Islamist cleric Abu Qatada preaches. [EVENING STANDARD, 1/28/2005; O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 133] Hassaine also sees Moussaoui, Reid, and Spanish al-Qaeda leader Barakat Yarkas at the Finsbury Park mosque in London. The mosque, a hotbed of Islamic extremism headed by Abu Hamza al-Masri, is the center of attention for many intelligence agencies. Hassaine does not realize how important these people will later become at this time, but recognizes their faces when they become famous after 9/11. [O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 133] British intelligence also monitor phone calls between Moussaoui and Reid in 2000 (see Mid-2000-December 9, 2000).

Entity Tags: Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure, Barakat Yarkas, Zacarias Moussaoui, UK Security Service (MI5), Special Branch (Britain), Abu Hamza al-Masri, Richard C. Reid, Reda Hassaine, Abu Qatada
Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline

Category Tags: Zacarias Moussaoui, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism, Al-Qaeda in Spain, Abu Qatada, Abu Hamza Al-Masri, Reda Hassaine, 2001 Attempted Shoe Bombing

August 1997-June 1998: London Imam Abu Qatada and Bin Laden Allegedly Help Wanted Militant Move to Britain

According to a November 2001 Spanish government indictment, in August 1997, a Syrian Islamist militant named Abu Bashir is arrested in Yemen and accused of plotting to assassinate the Yemeni deputy prime minister. He is soon deported to Malaysia. London imam Abu Qatada then contacts Osama bin Laden and asks him for his help to get settled with a job and house in Malaysia. Then, in June 1998, Spanish al-Qaeda leader Barakat Yarkas and Qatada arrange for Bashir to move to London. The Observer will report in March 2004 that Bashir apparently is still living in public housing in London. [OBSERVER, 3/21/2004] Presumably the Spanish government knows this because Spanish intelligence is heavily monitoring Yarkas at the time, and he is frequently meeting with Qatada in London (see 1995-February 2001). Qatada is working as a British government informant around this time (see June 1996-February 1997). The exact identity of Abu Bashir is not known as there are several al-Qaeda-linked figures with a similar name.

Entity Tags: Abu Qatada, Abu Bashir, Barakat Yarkas, Osama bin Laden

Category Tags: Abu Qatada, Al-Qaeda in Spain, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

Before October 1997: British Intelligence Informer Abu Hamza Runs Newsletter for Algerian Radicals

Leading radical imam Abu Hamza al-Masri edits the Al Ansar newsletter published for the Groupe Islamique Armé (GIA), a radical faction engaged in a bitter civil war with the Algerian government. It is unclear when Abu Hamza starts editing the publication, but it was previously edited by Abu Qatada, another leading radical London imam who broke with the GIA in the summer of 1996, so Abu Hamza may have started editing it then (see January 5, 1996 and Mid 1996-October 1997). It was also previously edited by Rachid Ramda, a suspect in bombings in France, and was reportedly financed by Osama bin Laden (see 1994). In the mid-1990s, the GIA commits a series of massacres of the civilian population in Algeria, apparently due to a change of the organization’s direction initiated by an Algerian government mole (see October 27, 1994-July 16, 1996). Abu Hamza, himself an informer for the British security services (see Early 1997), initially supports the GIA despite the massacres, although other senior Islamists such as bin Laden and Abu Qatada break with the group over the issue (see Mid-1996 and Mid 1996-October 1997). However, by the fall of 1997 worshippers at Finsbury park mosque in London, where Abu Hamza preaches, are so angry that he is forced to stop editing Al Ansar and sever his ties with the organization. What happens to Al Ansar after this is not known, but it presumably fades in importance as the GIA declines in importance as well. [O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 43]

Entity Tags: Groupe Islamique Armé, Abu Hamza al-Masri

Category Tags: Abu Hamza Al-Masri, Abu Qatada, Algerian Militant Collusion

Jordan requests the extradition from Britain of Abu Qatada, a cleric who sits on al-Qaeda’s fatwa committee (see June 1996-1997) and who is wanted in connection with a series of car bombings in Jordan. However, Britain, where Abu Qatada lives, declines the request and grants him asylum. Authors Sean O’Niell and Daniel McGrory will comment: “Britain had given shelter to one of the fiercest advocates of the global jihad. Abu Qatada lived and breathed the al-Qaeda ideology, issued religious decrees… allowing Algerian terrorists to commit mass murder in the name of God, and raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for Islamists to carry on the war against Russia in Chechnya.” [O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 29] Abu Qatada is working as an informant with Britain’s security services at this time (see June 1996-February 1997).

Entity Tags: Abu Qatada, Jordan

Category Tags: Abu Qatada, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

1998: French Intelligence Mole Launches Pro-Islamist Newsletter

Reda Hassaine, a mole for the French intelligence service Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE) who has penetrated militant Islamist circles in London (see Early 1997), launches an extremist newsletter to boost his standing. The project is expressly approved by his DGSE handler, who gives Hassaine £1,500 (about US$ 2,250) to fund the launch. The primary aim of the project is to bring Hassaine closer to Abu Qatada, a key militant leader in London. In addition to this, the newsletter enhances Hassaine’s position at the Finsbury Park mosque, a hotbed of Islamist radicalism, and he now has “free run” of it, enabling him to gather more information. He sees false documents being ordered and traded, stolen goods offered for sale, widespread benefit frauds organized, and credit card cloning taking place “on a cottage-industry scale.” Much of the money generated goes to various mujaheddin groups. He is also able to get access to militant communiqués before they are published, and he passes them to his French handler. The first edition of the newsletter, called Journal du Francophone, is entitled Djihad contre les Etats-unis (Jihad against the United States) and is accompanied by a photo of Osama bin Laden. The content is anti-American, anti-Israeli, and it is “full of florid praise for the mujaheddin.” [O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 134-135]

Entity Tags: Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure, Reda Hassaine, Finsbury Park Mosque

Category Tags: Abu Qatada, Reda Hassaine, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

August 22, 1998: Leading London-Based Radical Bakri Reveals Deal with British Authorities

When asked why militant Islamic groups based in London never attack in Britain, leading imam Omar Bakri Mohammed says that he has a deal with the British government: “I work here in accordance with the covenant of peace which I made with the British government when I got [political] asylum.… We respect the terms of this bond as Allah orders us to do.” [TERRORISM MONITOR, 7/7/2005] Bakri will confirm this in a later interview: “The British government knows who we are. MI5 has interrogated us many times. I think now we have something called public immunity.” [MEMRI, 10/24/2001] Authors Sean O’Neill and Daniel McGrory will point out that other London imams, such as Abu Hamza al-Masri (see Early 1997) and Abu Qatada (see June 1996-February 1997), had a similar arrangement: “The [imams] all claimed that Islamist radicals felt safe in London as they were protected by what they called the ‘covenant of security.’ This, they explained, was a deal whereby if extremist groups pledged not to stage attacks or cause disruption in [Britain], the police and intelligence agencies left them alone. British government ministers were appalled at the suggestion that they had entered into such a pact. But other countries were left to wonder aloud why [the British government] continued to ignore warnings that radical organizations were using London as a safe haven, and allowing these extremists to behave as if they were immune from prosecution.… To European eyes, these men seemed to do as they pleased.” [O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 108]

Entity Tags: Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed, UK Security Service (MI5), Daniel McGrory, Abu Qatada, Sean O’Neill, Abu Hamza al-Masri

Category Tags: Abu Hamza Al-Masri, Abu Qatada, Omar Bakri & Al-Muhajiroun, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

(April 1999): Radical London Imam Abu Qatada Convicted on Terror Charges in Jordan in Absentia

Radical London imam Abu Qatada is convicted in absentia on terrorism charges in Jordan. He is alleged to have masterminded a plot aimed at Western tourists. One bomb was discovered and defused outside the American School in Amman, the other, hidden in a car, exploded outside the Jerusalem Hotel, which is popular with US visitors. The prosecutor claimed that Abu Qatada, who was sentenced to life in prison, was the mastermind. [CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, 3/16/2004; O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 107-108; TIMES (LONDON), 4/15/2008] There were also to be bombs placed under the cars of a former intelligence chief and a former minister of the interior. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 4/15/2005]

Abu Qatada will also be convicted in connection with the Millennium Plot in Jordan later this year (see November 30, 1999). However, he will deny the charges, saying: “Jordan discovers every year or two nothing but organizations claiming that they wanted to cause explosions and destruction. It was proven later that the explosions inside the cinema were unfortunately the work of some intelligence officers to cause confusion.” [CNN, 11/29/2001]

Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law Mohamed Jamal Khalifa was deported from the US to Jordan in 1995 (see April 26-May 3, 1995), but Abu Qatada, who will be arrested in Britain in 2002 (see October 23, 2002), will still not have been deported to Jordan many years later, due to a drawn-out legal battle over his extradition.

Entity Tags: Abu Qatada

Category Tags: Abu Qatada, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

Between 2000 and April 2001: Abu Qatada Linked to Al-Qaeda Cell in Milan, Italy

In 2000 through early 2001, Italian intelligence monitoring an al-Qaeda cell in Milan, Italy (see Early 2000-2001 and 2000-April 2001), hears operative Sami Ben Khemais citing instructions from London imam Abu Qatada. His comments include the statement: “Abu Qatada can convert anyone because he knows all religions, sects and philosophies. Abu Qatada has ordered all Muslims to spend their money on the cause of Allah, no matter how much money they have, thousands, millions, it’s not important. He says that money for God’s cause should be given to the mujaheddin, and not to the mosques.” [CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, 3/16/2004]

Abu Qatada had been working as an informant for British intelligence but it is unknown when the relationship ends (see June 1996-February 1997). Abu Qatada’s apartment is raided in February 2001, but it is unknown if that is before or after these comments are recorded (see February 2001). Ben Khemais is arrested in Italy in April 2001 (see 2000-April 2001).

Entity Tags: Sami Ben Khemais

Category Tags: Abu Qatada, Al-Qaeda in Italy, Remote Surveillance, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

2000-Early March 2004: Key Madrid Bomber Linked to London Imam Abu Qatada and Other Militants, but Is Not Arrested

Jamal Zougam. [Source: El Mundo]

By 2000, a Moroccan living in Spain named Jamal Zougam begins to attract the attention of Spanish intelligence. Barakat Yarkas frequently travels to London to meet with al-Qaeda-linked imam Abu Qatada, and Zougam accompanies Yarkas on at least one of these trips (see 1995-February 2001). Spanish intelligence is monitoring Yarkas and his cell, and they are aware that Zougam is introduced to Qatada as “a gifted young recruit.” [AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, 3/17/2004; IRUJO, 2005, PP. 77-79]

In June 2001, a French investigator warns that Zougam is an important militant with international links and advise the Spanish to arrest him (see June 2001). Around the same time, Spanish investigators learn that Zougam met with Mohammed Fazazi, a Moroccan imam who preached at the Al-Quds mosque in Hamburg, Germany, that is attended by some of the 9/11 hijackers (see 1993-Late 2001). On August 14, 2001, Zougam is recorded telling Yarkas that he had offered Fazazi money for the jihad cause. Fazazi is also linked to Abu Qatada and had met him in London. After the May 2003 Casablanca bombings (see May 16, 2003), interest in Zougam increases as the Moroccan, Spanish, and French governments all suspect he was involved in those bombings. But he is still not arrested, and his surveillance in Spain is not increased, apparently due to lack of resources. [NEW YORK TIMES, 3/17/2004; OBSERVER, 3/21/2004]

In the days before the March 2004 Madrid train bombings (see 7:37-7:42 a.m., March 11, 2004), Zougam makes about a dozen phone calls to contacts in London. He is said to talk to four al-Qaeda suspects, as well as a “radical London-based preacher” - a possible reference to Abu Qatada. Zougam will later be sentenced to life in prison for playing a direct role in the Madrid bombings. [DAILY MAIL, 11/1/2007]

After the Madrid bombings, British authorities will say that there was a “definite link” to Britain in the bomb plot. Zougam is believed to have made trips to London in search of funding, planning, and logistical help, and supplying equipment and false identification papers for the bombers. [INDEPENDENT, 3/19/2004]

One figure believed central to the bomb plot, Moutaz Almallah, will be arrested in London in 2005 and extradited to Spain in 2007 (see May 16, 2005).

Entity Tags: Jamal Zougam, Mohammed Fazazi, Abu Qatada, Barakat Yarkas, Moutaz Almallah

Category Tags: Abu Qatada, Al-Qaeda in Spain, 2004 Madrid Train Bombings, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism, Counterterrorism Action After 9/11

April 2000 and After: Most Defendants Convicted at Millennium Plot Trial in Jordan
The initial trial of militants accused of being involved in the 1999 Millennium Plot (see November 30, 1999) ends with convictions for most of the defendants, as 22 of the 28 accused are found guilty, with six acquittals and six death sentences. [NEW YORK TIMES, 1/15/2001; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 12/16/2002]

At the start of the trial, only 15 of the accused are present, the rest being tried in absentia. One is Algerian and another is Iraqi, although most are Jordanians of Palestinian origin. [INDEPENDENT, 4/21/2000]

The defendants include:

Abu Qatada, a senior militant cleric based in London, is sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison. He has already been convicted in another case in Jordan (see (April 1999)), but years later will not have been extradited from Britain. He is an informer for the British security services (see June 1996-February 1997). 

Raed Hijazi, a radical with US connections and an FBI informer (see Early 1997-Late 1998), is one of those sentenced to death. [NEW YORK TIMES, 1/15/2001]

 However, after a number of appeals, his sentence will be reduced to 20 years in prison in 2004. [AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, 10/12/2004] 

In addition to Hijazi and Abu Qatada, the plot involved another two informers, Luai Sakra and Khalil Deek (see November 30, 1999), but these two are not put on trial. The involvement of four known informants could help explain why the plot was broken up.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is also tried for the plot, although he is not present at the trial (see 2001). [WASHINGTON POST, 10/3/2004]

Alleged militants Khader Abu Hoshar and Usama Husni are also tried and initially convicted.

Legal proceedings associated with some of the accused will grind on for years, with the case going back and forth with an appeal court, which twice finds that some of the convictions are covered by an amnesty. [JORDAN TIMES, 2/16/2005]

Entity Tags: Usama Husni, Raed Hijazi, Abu Qatada, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Abu Hoshar

Category Tags: Abu Qatada, Millennium Bomb Plots, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

Before April 21, 2000: British Intelligence Learns of Apparent Link between Top London-Based Militant and Bin Laden

Reda Hassaine, an informer for the British security service MI5, learns that a top London-based operative known as Abu Walid is to travel to Afghanistan. He also hears rumors that Abu Walid is to meet Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders and will not return to London after the meeting. The mission is so important that Abu Qatada, a leading imam who reportedly sits on al-Qaeda’s fatwa committee (see June 1996-1997) and also informs for MI5 (see June 1996-February 1997), is to hold a special prayer session to bless Abu Walid before he leaves. Hassaine attends the prayer session, but the militants realize he is an informant and attempt to murder him (see April 21, 2000). [O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 148]

French intelligence had previously considered assassinating Abu Walid in London, but he will be reported to be in Afghanistan after the US invasion and will die in Chechnya in 2004 (see 1997-1998).

Entity Tags: Abu Walid, Reda Hassaine, UK Security Service (MI5)
Category Tags: Abu Qatada, Reda Hassaine, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

April 21, 2000: Militants Unmask British Intelligence Informer at Special Prayer Session, He Escapes

At the instructions of the British intelligence service MI5, informer Reda Hassaine goes to a meeting at the Four Feathers community center. The meeting is being held so that Abu Qatada, an al-Qaeda spiritual leader and also MI5 informer (see June 1996-February 1997), can bless an emissary named Abu Walid that London-based Islamists are sending to Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. MI5 knows about the meeting thanks to information passed on by Hassaine (see Before April 21, 2000).

Hassaine arrives early, but finds Abu Qatada is already there, and the group is saying prayers for someone preparing to lay down their life for God, presumably Abu Walid. As the prayers end, Hassaine realizes some of the other men are looking at him strangely, and that they must have discovered he is a mole. The men attack him as he leaves, but he manages to get out of the building and they chase him down the street. He evades them and calls his MI5 handler, who tells him, “Go home and whatever you do don’t involve the police.” He then realizes that there were men at the meeting from numerous Islamist groupings throughout London, and that if he goes back to any place where extremists gather, he might not get away again. This ends his career as an informer. He occasionally runs into people who must know of the incident, and they make threatening gestures towards him. [O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 148-149]

Entity Tags: UK Security Service (MI5), Reda Hassaine, Abu Walid
Category Tags: Abu Qatada, Reda Hassaine, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

After April 21, 2000: Informer Thinks British Authorities Do Not ‘Give a Sh*t’ Islamist Killers Live in London

After deciding to end his career as an informant against radical Islamists in London (see April 21, 2000), Reda Hassaine reflects bitterly on his experience of the British security services, MI5 and the Metropolitan Police’s Special Branch:

“These guys I was risking my life for—they hadn’t arrested anybody, they didn’t do a proper job. All the work I had done, all the risks I took didn’t seem to amount to anything. All this killing was taking place abroad, but the British didn’t give a sh*t that the killers were here in London. As long as nothing happened in Britain, then everything was alright. Abu Hamza [al-Masri, another MI5 informer (see Early 1997)] was left to do whatever he liked, to brainwash, to recruit, and send people off to the training camps. I was telling the British this all the time. ‘This group is going to Afghanistan,’ I would say. ‘They’re leaving on Friday, they have tickets to fly to Pakistan.’ And the only reply I got was, ‘There’s nothing we can do about it.’”

'Harmless Clown'? - Hassaine will add:

“I wasn’t surprised. When I began to work with MI5 I already knew from the French that they would do nothing, that they weren’t interested in what was happening in London, the threat didn’t register. They told me that they thought Abu Hamza was a ‘harmless clown,’ but I felt obliged to carry on with the work. 

[Note: a group closely associate with Abu Hamza murdered some British citizens and others in Yemen in 1998 (see December 28-29, 1998).] 

I had started this thing, I wanted to pursue it. I later learned that Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada were both talking to MI5 and Special Branch too. The British must have thought they had these guys under control, that they were collaborating with them.”

'A Factory for Making Terrorists' - Hassaine will continue:

“Nothing could have been farther from the truth. Abu Hamza was busily recruiting hundreds of people, sending them off to Afghanistan, from where they were returning unnoticed and undetected to do whatever they like. Abu Hamza had this great big mosque where these people could hide, pick up a new identity, get money and support, and receive the blessing of the imam for their actions. Seven days a week that place was producing recruits for the jihad. It was a factory for making terrorists.” 

[O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 150-151]

Entity Tags: UK Security Service (MI5), Metropolitan Police Special Branch, Reda Hassaine, Abu Hamza al-Masri
Category Tags: Abu Hamza Al-Masri, Abu Qatada, Reda Hassaine, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

February 2001: London Home of Prominent Al-Qaeda Imam Is Raided, Police Find Cash for Chechen Fighters

British police raid the house of radical London imam Abu Qatada and find the equivalent of $250,000 in cash under his bed. Abu Qatada claims that the money is for the construction of a new mosque. However, $1,174 is in an envelope marked “for the Mujaheddin in Chechnya.” [BBC, 8/11/2005]

At the time, Qatada has no money-making job and is living with a wife and four children on government benefits worth $150 a week plus other housing aid. [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/26/2002]

Spanish intelligence has known for years that al-Qaeda leader Barakat Yarkas has been frequently traveling to London and giving Qatada money for Chechnya that was raised in Spain (see 1995-February 2001).

It is not known it the Spanish shared this intelligence with the British. Authors Sean O’Niell and Daniel McGrory will later write,

Jihad supporters have since confirmed that Abu Qatada was known throughout Britain as a conduit for funds destined for the Chechen fighters. Some of that money had been raised—directly and indirectly—in British mosques. There were straightforward appeals for the Chechen struggle, and rather more opaque pleas for charitable donations which were then siphoned off to the militants.”
[O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 67-8] 

Abu Qatada has a relationship with British counterintelligence (see June 1996-February 1997 and Early December 2001).

Entity Tags: Islamic International Peacekeeping Brigade, Abu Qatada, Barakat Yarkas

Category Tags: Abu Qatada, Islamist Militancy in Chechnya, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

Shortly After September 11, 2001: Investigators Find Links between Informant Abu Qatada, Madrid Cell, and 9/11 Hijacker Cell in Hamburg

In searches conducted shortly after the 9/11 attacks, investigators discover direct links between the 9/11 hijacker cell in Hamburg and the Madrid al-Qaeda cell led by Barakat Yarkas. German police find Yarkas’s phone number in papers belong to 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta. His number is also found in the diary of Hamburg cell member Said Bahaji.
[NEW YORK TIMES, 12/28/2001; IRUJO, 2005, PP. 150-153] 

Investigators also find many videos of sermons by Abu Qatada in the apartment where Atta and other members of the Hamburg cell used to live. Qatada is already closely linked to Yarkas and his Madrid cell (see 1995-February 2001).
[GUARDIAN, 8/11/2005]

Since Spanish intelligence had been monitoring Yarkas’s call since 1995 (see 1995 and After), it is unknown if they ever monitored a call between Yarkas and Atta or Bahaji. However, no such calls will be mentioned in subsequent trials in Spain. The Spanish did monitor numerous calls between Yarkas and Hamburg associates Mohammed Haydar Zammar and Mamoun Darkazanli (see August 1998-September 11, 2001). For years, the Spanish have merely been monitoring Yarkas’s cell. But after discovering these links, the decision is made to shut the cell down. Yarkas and others are arrested in November 2001 (see November 13, 2001).
[IRUJO, 2005, PP. 162-163] 

Qatada has been an informant for British intelligence since about 1997; it is unknown if he told his British handlers anything about the al-Qaeda cell in Hamburg (see June 1996-February 1997).

Entity Tags: Barakat Yarkas, Abu Qatada, Mohamed Atta, Said Bahaji
Category Tags: Mohamed Atta, Abu Qatada, Al-Qaeda in Germany, Al-Qaeda in Spain

Late September 2001: Friend of Imam Abu Qatada Agrees to Become British Informant

Several weeks after the 9/11 attacks, two agents of MI5, the British equivalent of the FBI, meet with Bisher al-Rawi at his London house and try to recruit him to work as an informant. By one account, the meeting takes place one day after 9/11. Al-Rawi is an ideal candidate because he is well-educated, fluent in English, and a long-time friend of London imam Abu Qatada. [INDEPENDENT, 3/16/2006; WASHINGTON POST, 4/2/2006] 

Qatada himself has been working as an informant for MI5 since 1996 (see June 1996-February 1997). Al-Rawi will later claim that MI5 asked him to serve as an interpreter between MI5 and Arabic speakers several times before 9/11. He did so, including interpreting for Qatada. He will later comment,

‘On two occasions I asked the officers in private, “Is it OK to have a relationship with Abu Qatada? Is this a problem?’ And they always said, ‘No, it’s fine, it’s OK.’” 

Al-Rawi agrees to become an informant and begins regularly meeting with the two agents in hotel rooms around London.
[INDEPENDENT, 3/16/2006] 

For the next year, he will mostly work as a go-between between MI5 and Qatada. Presumably, it would be dangerous for the well-known imam to be seen meeting directly with British agents (see Late September 2001-Summer 2002).

Entity Tags: Bisher al-Rawi, UK Security Service (MI5), Abu Qatada
Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives
Category Tags: Abu Qatada, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism, Other Possible Moles or Informants

Late September 2001-Summer 2002: British Intelligence Uses Other Informant to Stay in Contact with Informant Abu Qatada While He Pretends to Go into Hiding

Bisher al-Rawi. [Source: Public domain]

In late September 2001, Bisher al-Rawi, a long-time friend of London imam Abu Qatada, agrees to become an informant for the British intelligence agency MI5 (see Late September 2001). Al-Rawi mainly works as an intermediary between MI5 and the high-profile imam. He will later explain that he agreed to work as an informant as an attempt to help ease tensions between the government and the Muslim community. Abu Qatada had begun working as an informant for MI5 in 1996 (see June 1996-February 1997), and contrary to some reports, his relationship with that agency had not yet ended. 

In December 2001, Abu Qatada reportedly disappears just before a new law passes that would allow his indefinite detention (see Early December 2001). British officials claim to have no idea where Abu Qatada is, and at first apparently they really do not. But al-Rawi soon finds out where he is, tells MI5, and begins passing messages back and forth between MI5 and Abu Qatada. 
[OBSERVER, 7/29/2007]

The Independent will later report,

“Abu Qatada was completely aware of Mr al-Rawi’s relationship with MI5. Mr al-Rawi carried questions and answers between the parties, served as a translator, and participated in negotiations with Abu Qatada.” 

Al-Rawi himself will later say, 

“All I did in Britain was try to help with steps necessary to get a meeting between Abu Qatada and MI5. I was trying to bring them together. MI5 would give me messages to take to Abu Qatada, and Abu Qatada would give me messages to take back to them.” 

[INDEPENDENT, 3/16/2006]

According to his family members and his lawyer, soon the MI5 agents are coming to his house and calling him so frequently that his relatives complain. As a result, MI5 gives him a cell phone and agrees to meet with him elsewhere. The British government will later acknowledge that al-Rawi served as an unpaid informant in a court document. 

[WASHINGTON POST, 4/2/2006] 

In the summer of 2002, al-Rawi begins to have doubts about his role and is fired (see Summer 2002). Abu Qatada is arrested in late October 2002, just after coming out of hiding in an attempt to morally justify the 9/11 attacks (see October 23, 2002). In early November, al-Rawi will fly to Gambia and be detained there (see November 8, 2002-December 7, 2002). 

Entity Tags: Abu Qatada, UK Security Service (MI5), Bisher al-Rawi

Category Tags: Abu Qatada, Other Possible Moles or Informants, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

October 21, 2001: Radical Imam Abu Qatada Claims British Intelligence Offered to Help Him Escape after 9/11

Radical al-Qaeda-linked imam Abu Qatada claims to The Observer that shortly after 9/11, the British intelligence agency MI5 offered him a passport, an Iranian visa, and an opportunity to escape to Afghanistan. He claims he turned them down because he didn’t trust them. 

“If I get on a plane, I am afraid I will be shot or handed over to the Jordanians, the Egyptians, or the Saudis.” 

[OBSERVER, 10/21/2001] 

Abu Qatada’s claim will gain credibility when it is later revealed that he was an MI5 informant (see June 1996-February 1997) and that MI5 hid him in Britain from December 2001 until he made comments supporting the 9/11 attacks in late 2002 (see Early December 2001 and October 23, 2002).

His fear of being handed over will also gain credibility as the CIA’s rendition program is slowly made public in succeeding years.

Entity Tags: Abu Qatada, UK Security Service (MI5)

Category Tags: Abu Qatada, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

November 13, 2001 or Shortly Before: Spanish Judge Issues Indictment against Spain-Based Radicals, Names British Intelligence Informer Abu Qatada as Militant Spiritual Leader in Europe

Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon issues an indictment of militants based in Spain who are said to be tied to the 9/11 attacks. Some of them are arrested soon after (see November 13, 2001), although some are not and go on to be involved in the Madrid train bombings (see November 13, 2001). In the indictment, Garzon highlights the links between the Spain-based operatives and militants in Britain. Leading London imam Abu Qatada is described as “the spiritual head of the mujaheddin in Europe,” a view shared by many intelligence agencies in Europe, and accused of moving money to finance al-Qaeda operations. The indictment also says that Barakat Yarkas, head of an al-Qaeda cell in Spain, visited Britain 20 times (see 1995-February 2001) and repeatedly met with Abu Qatada and three other al-Qaeda leaders in Britain, Abu Walid, Abu al-Hareth, and Abu Bashir. Abu Qatada has been working with the British security services for some time and continues to do so (see June 1996-February 1997, Early December 2001, and October 23, 2002). [INDEPENDENT, 11/21/2001; THE INDEPENDENT, 11/21/2001; O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 107] Authors Sean O’Neill and Daniel McGrory will write, “Judge Garzon in Spain claims that if you take every major al-Qaeda attack, including 9/11 and the Bali bombings, then list all those who played a part in their planning, funding and execution, you will find a line that always draws you back to Britain.” [O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 112]

Entity Tags: Abu al-Hareth, Abu Qatada, Abu Bashir, Abu Walid, Baltasar Garzon

Category Tags: Abu Qatada, Al-Qaeda in Spain, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

Early December 2001: Al-Qaeda ‘Puppet Master’ Abu Qatada Disappears in Britain

Abu Qatada. [Source: Public domain]

Al-Qaeda religious leader Abu Qatada disappears, despite being under surveillance in Britain. He has been “described by some justice officials as the spiritual leader and possible puppet master of al-Qaeda’s European networks.” [TIME, 7/7/2002] He supposedly escapes from his house, which the police are monitoring, in a minivan with his heavily pregnant wife and four children. [LONDON TIMES, 10/25/2002; O'NEILL AND MCGRORY, 2006, PP. 108] Qatada had already been sentenced to death in abstentia in Jordan, and is wanted at the time by the US, Spain, France, and Algeria as well. [GUARDIAN, 2/14/2002] In October 2001, the media had strongly suggested that Qatada would soon be arrested for his known roles in al-Qaeda plots, but no such arrest occurred. [LONDON TIMES, 10/21/2001] In November, while Qatada was still living openly in Britain, a Spanish judge expressed disbelief that Qatada hadn’t been arrested already, as he has previously been connected to a Spanish al-Qaeda cell that may have met with Mohamed Atta in July 2001. [OBSERVER, 11/25/2001] Time magazine will later claim that just before new anti-terrorism laws go into effect in Britain, Abu Qatada and his family are secretly moved to a safe house by the British government, where he is lodged, fed, and clothed by the government. “The deal is that Abu Qatada is deprived of contact with extremists in London and Europe but can’t be arrested or expelled because no one officially knows where he is,” says a source, whose claims were corroborated by French authorities. The British reportedly do this to avoid a “hot potato” trial. [TIME, 7/7/2002] A British official rejects these assertions: “We wouldn’t give an awful lot of credence [to the story].” [GUARDIAN, 7/8/2002] Some French officials tell the press that Qatada was allowed to disappear because he is actually a British intelligence agent. [OBSERVER, 2/24/2002] It appears that Qatada held secret meetings with British intelligence in 1996 and 1997, and the British were under the impression that he was informing on al-Qaeda (though there is disagreement if he was misleading them or not) (see June 1996-February 1997). Qatada will be arrested in London on October 23, 2002 (see October 23, 2002).

Entity Tags: Algeria, Al-Qaeda, Abu Qatada, United Kingdom, Mohamed Atta, Central Intelligence Agency, Jordan, France, Spain

Category Tags: Abu Qatada, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism, Counterterrorism Action After 9/11

April 2002: Al-Zarqawi Said to Head Militant Group Competing with Al-Qaeda

Shadi Abdellah. [Source: Associated Press]

In April 2002, Shadi Abdellah, a militant connected to the al-Tawhid group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, is arrested by German police. Abdellah also briefly worked as one of bin Laden’s bodyguards (see Early 2001). He begins cooperating with German authorities. He reveals that al-Zarqawi is not a part of al-Qaeda but is actually the founder of al-Tawhid, which he says works “in opposition” to al-Qaeda (see 1989-Late 1999). The aim of the group is to kill Jews and install an Islamic regime in Jordan. The group is not really interested in the US, and this is the key ideological difference between it and al-Qaeda. Abdallah recounts one instance where al-Zarqawi vetoed a proposal to share charity funds collected in Germany with al-Qaeda. According to Abdallah, al-Zarqawi’s organization had also “competed” with al-Qaeda for new recruits. He also reveals that al-Zarqawi’s religious mentor is Abu Qatada, an imam openly living in Britain. [INDEPENDENT, 2/6/2003; NEWSWEEK, 6/25/2003; BERGEN, 2006, PP. 356-358] A German intelligence report compiled in April 2002 based on Abdellah’s confessions further states that “Al-Zarqawi mentioned to Abdellah that the possibility of a merger conflicted with the religious orientation of [Mahfouz Walad Al-Walid (a.k.a. Abu Hafs the Mauritanian)] who was responsible within al-Qaeda for religious or Islamic matters, which contradicted the teachings practices by al-Zarqawi.” [BERGEN, 2006, PP. 359-422] Newsweek will later report that “several US officials” claim “they were aware all along of the German information about al-Zarqawi.” [INDEPENDENT, 2/6/2003] Nonetheless, Bush will claim in a televised speech on October 7, 2002 (see October 7, 2002) that a “very senior al-Qaeda leader… received medical treatment in Baghdad this year,” a reference to al-Zarqawi. And Colin Powell will similarly state on February 5, 2003 (see February 5, 2003) that “Iraq is harboring the network of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, an associate and collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda lieutenants.” Both statements are made even though “US intelligence already had concluded that al-Zarqawi was not an al-Qaeda member…” [BBC, 2/5/2003; US DEPARTMENT OF STATE, 2/5/2003; WASHINGTON POST, 6/22/2003 SOURCES: UNNAMED US INTELLIGENCE SOURCES]

Jamil al-Banna is friends with Bisher al-Rawi, who is working as an informant for the British intelligence agency MI5. Al-Rawi is mostly helping MI5 communicate with imam Abu Qatada, who also is an MI5 informant but is pretending to be in hiding (see Late September 2001-Summer 2002 and Early December 2001). Al-Banna is aware of al-Rawi’s work and begins to help him. Sometimes al-Banna also serves as a go-between for MI5 and Abu Qatada. Al-Rawi stops working for MI5 in the summer of 2002 (see Summer 2002), but al-Banna does not. For instance, when Abu Qatada is arrested in late October 2002 (see October 23, 2002), al-Banna takes his wife and child home at the request of the British officials on the scene. [INDEPENDENT, 3/16/2006] But in early November 2002, al-Banna will go to Gambia with al-Rawi on business, and MI5 will turn the two of them over to the CIA to be interrogated (see November 8, 2002-December 7, 2002).

Entity Tags: UK Security Service (MI5), Abu Qatada, Bisher al-Rawi, Jamil al-Banna

Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives

Category Tags: Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism, Abu Qatada, Other Possible Moles or Informants

Summer 2002: Informant Helping British Intelligence Communicate with Abu Qatada Has Doubts and Is Fired

Bisher al-Rawi, an informant for the British intelligence agency MI5, begins to have doubts about his informant work. He is mostly helping MI5 communicate with imam Abu Qatada, another MI5 informant who is pretending to be hiding from the authorities (see Late September 2001-Summer 2002). Al-Rawi is concerned that he might incriminate himself by talking to people who have links to terrorism, and is also concerned that his role as an informant could be publicly exposed. He suggests holding a meeting between his MI5 handlers and a private attorney, and specifically suggests using human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce. However, his MI5 handlers refuse and instead have him meet with an MI5 lawyer known only by the alias “Simon.” Simon assures him that MI5 would come to his aid if he is compromised or has other problems. Al-Rawi will later recall: “[Simon] gave me very solid assurances about confidentiality. He promised they would even protect me and my family if they had to. He said that, if I was ever arrested, I should cooperate with the police. If a matter got to court, he would come as a witness and tell the truth.” Some agents are beginning to have doubts that he is carrying out all their orders, and he brings up the idea of ending the relationship. Then one day one of his MI5 handlers calls him and terminates his MI5 work. [INDEPENDENT, 3/16/2006; OBSERVER, 7/29/2007] Several months later, MI5 will betray him and turn him over to the CIA to be interrogated in Afghanistan and at Guantanamo (see December 8, 2002-March 2003 and March 2003-November 18, 2007).

Entity Tags: UK Security Service (MI5), Abu Qatada, Bisher al-Rawi, “Simon”

Timeline Tags: Torture of US Captives

Category Tags: Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism, Abu Qatada, Other Possible Moles or Informants

August 2002: Radical Imam Abu Qatada Has Alleged Madrid Bomber Live with Him in London
It will later be alleged that in August 2002, radical imam Abu Qatada calls Spanish militant Moutaz Almallah and asks him to live with him in London. Almallah does move to London one month later. For most of 2002, Qatada is supposedly hiding in London, but in fact British intelligence knows where he is (see Late September 2001-Summer 2002 and Summer-Early November 2002), and he has a history of being an British informant (see June 1996-February 1997). The account of Moutaz moving to London comes from the estranged wife of his brother Mouhannad Almallah. Shortly after the Madrid bombings, she will tell a Spanish judge about the call and much more. She will say both brothers had frequent contact with Abu Qatada before moving. Spanish authorities also are aware that the brothers are linked to Barakat Yarkas, who frequently traveled to London to meet with Abu Qatada for many years (see 1995-February 2001). Abu Qatada will be arrested in October 2002, not long after Moutaz moves there (see October 23, 2002), but Moutaz will continue to live in London while making occasional trips back to Spain. Moutaz will be arrested in Britain in 2005. He will be extradited to Spain for a role in the 2004 Madrid train bombings, but will not have been put on trial by July 2007. In 2007, Mouhannad will be sentenced to 12 years for his role in the bombings (see October 31, 2007). [EL MUNDO (MADRID), 7/28/2005]

Entity Tags: Mouhannad Almallah’s wife, Abu Qatada, Barakat Yarkas, Mouhannad Almallah, Moutaz Almallah

Category Tags: Abu Qatada, Al-Qaeda in Spain, 2004 Madrid Train Bombings, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism

October 23, 2002: London Imam Abu Qatada Arrested Shortly after Praising the 9/11 Attacks
London imam Abu Qatada is arrested at a house in South London by Scotland Yard and MI5 officials. Intelligence agencies in eight countries, including Italy, France, and Germany, have claimed that Qatada has extensive al-Qaeda links, and he is believed to be a member of al-Qaeda’s fatwa (religious) committee (see June 1996-1997). Using anti-terrorist laws passed in December 2001, he is held at the Belmarsh high security prison without charge. He “disappeared” hours before the new laws went into effect (see Early December 2001). Several days before his arrest, Qatada came out of hiding to release a new document justifying the 9/11 attacks. He posted a ten-page document on the Internet entitled “The Legal Vision for the September 11 Events.” In it, he outlined the “moral” case for the attacks and praised Osama bin Laden for challenging the US. [LONDON TIMES, 10/25/2002] Another radical London imam, Sheik Omar Bakri Mohamed, tells the press that Abu Qatada was arrested after family members visited his house and one of them used a cell phone that was apparently traced by the authorities. [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/26/2002] Qatada worked as an MI5 informant beginning in 1996 (see June 1996-February 1997).

Entity Tags: Abu Qatada, UK Security Service (MI5), Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed

Category Tags: Abu Qatada, Londonistan - UK Counterterrorism, Key Captures and Deaths

9:05 p.m., April 3, 2004: Seven Key Madrid Bombers Blow Themselves Up

The explosion in the Leganes apartment. [Source: Associated Press]

The March 2004 Madrid train bombings were not suicide bombings (see 7:37-7:42 a.m., March 11, 2004), and most of the key bombers remain in Spain, holed up in an apartment in the town of Leganes, near Madrid. The police surrounded them in the early afternoon and a several hour shootout began (see 2:00-9:00 p.m., April 3, 2004). GEO, an elite police unit, arrives around 8:00 p.m. The head of GEO will later testify that he decides to assault the apartment immediately because of reports they have explosives. The entire area has already been evacuated. There reportedly is some shouting back and forth, but no negotiations. One of the bombers reportedly shouts, “Enter, you suckers!” At 9:30, the GEO unit knocks down the door to the apartment with explosives and throws tear gas into the room. But the bombers are reportedly huddled together and blow themselves up. One GEO agent is also killed in the explosion. The bombers killed are: Allekema Lamari, Serhane Abdelmajid Fakhet, Abdennabi Kounjaa, Arish Rifaat, Jamal Ahmidan (alias “El Chino”), and the brothers Mohammed Oulad Akcha and Rachid Oulad Akcha. Others are believed to have escaped during the shootout. [NEW YORKER, 7/26/2004; IRUJO, 2005, PP. 360-361; EL MUNDO (MADRID), 3/22/2007] Lamari, Fakhet, and Ahmidan are thought to have been the top leaders of the plot. [BBC, 3/10/2005] It will later emerge that close associates of both Fakhet and Lamari were government informants (see Shortly Before March 11, 2004), and that Spanish intelligence specifically warned in November 2003 that the two of them were planning an attack in Spain on a significant target (see November 6, 2003). Furthermore, Fakhet himself may have been a government informant (see Shortly After October 2003).

Entity Tags: Serhane Abdelmajid Fakhet, Rachid Oulad Akcha, GEO, Mohammed Oulad Akcha, Arish Rifaat, Abdennabi Kounjaa, Abu Qatada, Allekema Lamari, Jamal Ahmidan

Category Tags: Abu Qatada, Al-Qaeda in Spain, 2004 Madrid Train Bombings, Counterterrorism Action After 9/11

March 11-August 11, 2005: London Imam Abu Qatada Released and Arrested Again
By 2005, al-Qaeda-linked imam Abu Qatada has been held in a high-security prison in Britain for three years without being charged. On March 11, 2005, he is released after a British court rules that the law under which he was being held allowing indefinite detention without trial is a struck down as a violation of human rights. A government official calls Abu Qatada a “truly dangerous individual,” but says there is no choice but to release him. Abu Qatada is given stringent bail conditions, including a daily curfew, electronic tagging, and a prohibition on preaching or leading prayers. On August 11, he is arrested again. British authorities announce they are planning to extradite him to Jordan, where he was sentenced to life in prison in absentia in 2000 for a role in the planned millennium bombings there. [LONDON TIMES, 3/11/2005; FOX NEWS, 8/11/2005]

As of 2008, Abu Qatada is still in a British prison, appealing the extradition order.