November 9, 2007
UK: Muslim Terrorism And The British Government
This article by Adrian Morgan (Giraldus Cambrensis of Western Resistance) appeared earlier today in Family Security Matters and is reproduced with their permission.
New Leader, Same Government?
The Labour Party, headed by Gordon Brown since June 27 this year, has been in power for more than a decade. When Labour was elected in May 1997, Gordon Brown held the post of chancellor and was regarded as second-in-command of the government. Islamic extremism was on the rise in British campuses and mosques when Labour came to power, but little was done to extinguish it.
One of the government’s first laws to be introduced was the Human Rights Act of 1998. This enshrined the terms of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights into British law, trumping all existing legislation. The 1998 Act has been one of the biggest obstacles in countering terrorism. Many foreign terrorists have been allowed to seek asylum in Britain, even though they have been convicted in their home states for acts of terror that have included fatalities. They have been allowed to spread their extremism in Britain, and even plot terror acts abroad, with impunity.
The Human Rights Act has allowed Afghan terrorists and their families to be allowed permanent residence in Britain, and has prevented the deportation of known and suspected terrorists to their home countries, lest they be subjected to torture – a breach of Article 3 of the ECHR. Individuals like Abu Qatada, once described as “Al Qaeda’s ambassador in Europe” remains in detention in Britain. Yasser al-Siri, convicted of terrorism and causing death in his native Egypt, walks free in Maida Vale, West London.
In November 2005, the Terrorism Act of 2006 was still undergoing review in the House of Lords (parliament’s upper house). Four clauses of the Terrorism Act were opposed by the Association of Chief Police Officers. The controversial clauses were:
- Amending human rights legislation to enable easier deportations
- Making the glorification of terrorism (including acts of terror outside the UK) an offense
- Automatically refusing asylum to anyone linked to terrorism anywhere
- Banning Hizb ut-Tahrir and successors to the group Al-Muhajiroun
The only one of these clauses to remain when the terrorism law was finally passed was the offense of glorification of terrorism – Schedule 1, section 1 (3) of the Act. The 2006 Terrorism Act introduced penalties for the first time for engaging in terrorism training, either at home or abroad.
Even though the Human Rights Act 1998 protects the rights of terrorists and other criminals who are not even British citizens, a recent legal ruling declared that old people living in private care homes are not protected by the Human Rights Act.
In this week’s Queen’s Speech, outlining bills to be introduced during parliamentary session, a new Terrorism Act was mentioned. In all the proposed legislation produced by Gordon Brown’s government, there are no reported plans to decrease the terms of the Human Rights Act to make deportations of terrorists or criminals easier, nor are there measures to extend the Act to protect vulnerable elderly people in private nursing homes. The Queen’s Speech was widely expected to show Gordon Brown’s promised “vision” for Britain. Various commentators have condemned the “lack of vision” in Brown’s planned legislation.
When a major terrorism trial came to its conclusion on April 30, 2007, five individuals were given life sentences for plotting bombings on the UK mainland employing ammonium nitrate fertilizer. The most damaging evidence, which eventually secured convictions, was that produced by secret surveillance by MI5. Bugs had been placed in an apartment belonging to the cell’s ringleader, Omar Khyam, and also in his car.
Even though secret electronic and video surveillance evidence is legally acceptable in a British court of law, evidence gained by phone-tapping is not allowed. For decades, successive U.K. governments have legally authorized phone-tapping of individuals. The majority of phone-tapping is enacted through the Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ), based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
In December 1998, GCHQ monitored conversations made by hook-handed preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri. These took place on Hamza’s newly purchased satellite telephone. Hamza was in communication with Abu Hassan, a terrorist in Yemen, leader of the Islamic Army of Aden-Abyan. Hamza’s words to Hassan indicated the preacher from Finsbury Park Mosque was aware of, and complicit in, the kidnapping of 16 Westerners in Yemen. During a botched rescue attempt on December 29 by Yemeni authorities, three Britons and one Australian died.
Though there was recorded evidence of Hamza’s apparent involvement in the kidnapping of the Western tourists, it could not be used in court. The FBI has stated that the phone evidence will be used against Hamza in a U.S. court, if and when they succeed in having him extradited from Britain. Hamza remained free to continue preaching hatred of the West and encouraging international terrorism until his arrest in August 26, 2004.
If phone-tapping can be legally authorized by the British government, it is surprising that it cannot be used in a court of law in serious cases, particularly those involving acts of terrorism. If phone-tap evidence could have been submitted before a court, Abu Hamza may conceivably have been convicted long before he was finally given a seven-year jail sentence for “soliciting murder” on February 7, 2006. Stopping Hamza from preaching may have saved lives that were lost on 7/7.
There are apparently no plans in the Queen’s Speech to allow phone-tap evidence in terrorism trials. Brown is known to support the notion, even though the security services, unwilling to prepare lengthy transcripts, have previously objected. Even Liberty, the UK civil rights group, supports the use of phone tap evidence in court.
Despite this, in July new Home Secretary Jacqui Smith quietly introduced a law, based on the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, allowing anyone’s personal phone details to be recorded. This law came into force on October 1, 2007. The details of any British citizen’s calls (though not necessarily the content) are not only available to the government. The data can be shared by 795 public bodies, including local councils and unelected organizations such as the National Health Service. This law was introduced as a decree, with no discussion in the Upper House.
Hamza’s preachings were inspirational to a generation of budding Muslim radicals. Three individuals who went to hear Hamza preach at Finsbury Park Mosque were Mohammed Sidique Khan, Shehzad Tanweer and Jermaine Lindsay. These three gained notoriety when they were part of the four-man cell that carried out the suicide attacks upon three London Underground trains and a Number 30 bus on July 7, 2005, killing a total of 52 travelers.
Exactly two weeks after the deadly 7/7 bombings, four individuals tried to identically repeat the attacks. On Thursday, July 21, 2005, on three Tube trains and a Number 26 bus, four young men attempted to detonate rucksacks containing an explosive mixture, using TATP as the detonator. This substance – triacetone triperoxide – was the same explosive used in the 7/7 attacks. Fortunately, the “chemist” for the group, Yassin Omar, had not prepared the chemicals properly. Even though members of the cell had purchased more than 208 US liquid pints of hydrogen peroxide to create the explosive, Omar’s incompetence led to diluted H2O2 being used in his explosives, which also contained chapati flour.
As a result of the weakened recipe, when the rucksacks were detonated there was little damage. On one underground train, the mixture in Ramzi Mohemmed’s rucksack spilled out and bubbled on the floor. He claimed to startled passengers: “what’s the matter? It is bread, it wasn’t me,” before he fled. On the Number 26 bus in Hackney Road, East London, the rucksack belonging to Muktar Said Ibrahim (pictured above), the cell’s leader, caused a window to shatter.
Even though Yassin Omar had failed to create full-strength explosive, during the trial, video evidence was presented to the court. Quantities of the explosive, weighing the same amount as those in the bomber’s rucksacks, were placed in a quarry while scientists and legal observes watched from concrete bunkers. The movie footage of the blasts showed the extent of their devastation. Slowed down, a visible shock wave emanated from the center. Clifford Todd, principal forensic investigator from the Forensic Explosives Laboratory, said that such tests had never been carried out before, and on each occasion the devices exploded when triggered by detonators. He testified that if the 21/7 bombers’ devices had detonated properly, their effects would have been as destructive as those on 7/7.
The four men who failed to carry out the bombings made their escapes, with Yassin Omar (who is six foot two inches tall) fleeing to Birmingham dressed in a burka and carrying a woman’s purse. Hussain Osman fled to Italy and was deported back to Britain on September 23, 2005. On July 10, 2007 at Woolwich Crown Court after a six-month trial, the four failed suicide bombers – Muktar Said Ibrahim, 29, Yassin Omar, 26, Ramzi Mohammed, 25, and Hussain Osman, 28, were found guilty of conspiracy to murder. They were given life sentences. The jury could not reach a verdict on two other individuals, Manfo Kwaku Asiedu and Adel Yahya.
Two of the convicted men had been regular visitors to Finsbury Park Mosque while it was under the control of Abu Hamza. Adel Yahya (pictured) was also a frequent visitor to the Finsbury Park Mosque. He too had fled Britain after the bomb attacks failed. He was arrested in Ethiopia in November 2005. On Monday, November 5this week, 24-year old Adel Yahya was jailed for six years and nine months. He pleaded guilty to a charge of collecting information likely to be useful to a person preparing an act of terrorism.
Adel Yahya had pleaded guilty to this charge as it is less serious than charges he would have faced in a trial which is due to start next week at Woolwich Crown Court. He and 34-year old Manfo Kwaku Asiedu were to stand trial on charges of conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause explosions. Yahya was told by the judge on Monday that as he had served 546 days in prison and as he will serve only half of his official sentence, he will be free in 22 and a half months.
Ghanaian-born Manfo Kwaku Asiedu will be facing a retrial next week on conspiracy charges. Two of those accused in the 21/7 trial – Muktar Ibrahim and Yassin Omar – had as their lawyer Mudassar Arani, who also acts as a lawyer for Abu Hamza and convicted terrorist Dhiren Barot. Ms Arani has been accused by trial judge Mr Justice Fulford QC of making “relentless and blistering” and “wholly unjustified” complaints against staff at Belmarsh prison, where the defendants were in custody, during the 21/7 trial.
During the court case, it was alleged that Ms Arani had sent payments totaling $1,200 to Manfo Kwaku Asiedu, who was not one of her clients. It was alleged that she did this to “persuade him to change his case to suit (Muktar) Ibrahim’s.” Manfo Kwaku Asiedu’s lawyers claimed that while the defendants were in prison during the trial, Muktar Ibrahim had been threatening Asiedu to make his testimony match his own. Apparently in Belmarsh jail, Ibrahim would say to Asiedu: “I’m the emir (leader), shut up.”
All of the 21/7 suspects were born in Africa. Muktar Ibrahim was born in Eritrea and as a child had arrived in Britain with his refugee family. He was granted British residency in 1992. He hated Britain, and acted as a thug. He committed street robbery to satisfy his marijuana habit, as part of a gang. One of the gang members claimed that: “Muktar never had a girlfriend. He liked white girls but he was into mistreating them and calling them bitches.”
In May 2004, Muktar Ibrahim had been photographed while attending a terror training camp in the Lake District in northern England. On two weekends in May of that year, police had noticed a group of individuals who appeared to be engaging in “military-style” exercises. MI5 was contacted and the security agency would later engage in video surveillance of this “camp”. Scotland Yard’s Anti-Terrorism squad photographed Muktar Ibrahim, Ramzi Mohammed, Yassin Omar, Hussain Osman, Adel Yahya and others praying at the farm site on May 3, 2004, shortly before they prepared to leave.
Osama Bin London and Abu Abdallah
The apparent jihadist training sessions which Muktar Ibrahim and the other 21/7 bombers attended are also the subject of another terrorism trial which began on Wesnesday, October 10, 2007. These training sessions were led by a man named Mohammed Hamid (now aged 50) who is on trial at Woolwich Crown Court with four other persons. Hamid admits that he organized trips to Great Langdale in Cumbria, but denies that they were for the purposes of terror training.
Mohammed Hamid, from Clapton, East London, had run a stall at Marble Arch outside Debenhams department store at the end of Oxford Street, central London. He sold Islamic pamphlets and books, and it was apparently here that he recruited young men to join him on “camping trips” and to attend Friday evening meetings at his home in the borough of Hackney. Hamid ran this stall with Muktar Ibrahim.
Another man was also placed on trial at a separate court, who is said to have been the ringleader behind these training sessions. This man is former soccer coach Attila Ahmet. After Abu Hamza had been arrested, he took over the running of Finsbury Park Mosque until evicted in February 2005, when mosque locks were changed. He is also known by the title Abu Abdallah.
Attila Ahmet had been arrested in London with 13 other individuals on September 1, 2006. His trial is taking place at the Central Criminal Court (the Old Bailey). He is charged on eight counts, including soliciting to murder (advocating murder of non-Muslims) and publishing a statement urging people to commit acts of terrorism. On Monday October 10, 2007, the same day as Mohammed Hamid’s trial began, 43-year old Attila Ahmed entered a plea of “guilty” on three counts of soliciting to murder.
What is important about both these ongoing trials – apart from their connections with Abu Hamza and the 21/7 bombers – is that they are the first to be brought under the terms of the 2006 Terrorism Act. In Woolwich Crown Court, Mohammed Hamid and his co-defendants are facing charges connected to terrorism training. Hamid is accused of providing weapons and terrorist training, soliciting murder, and possessing terrorist documents.
41-year old Mousa Brown from Walthamstow, East London, is charged with providing weapons training. 24-year old Kibley da Costa is charged with both giving and receiving instruction in terrorist training camps. 42-year old Mohammed Al-Figari and 20-year old Kader Ahmed, both of London, are accused of attending terror training camps.
The camp in Cumbria where the 21/7 bombers were photographed had been discovered by accident by an off-duty policeman while he was jogging.
In October 2004, Mohammed Hamid and Muktar Ibrahim were involved in a disturbance at their Islamic bookstall. The pair were said to have racially abused police who arrived at the scene. They had fled, but a member of the public had tripped up Ibrahim. They insulted two police officers, one a Hindu and the other of West Indian origin, about their backgrounds. When arrested, Mohammed said that he was “Osama bin London.”
Prosecuting lawyer David Farrell told the Woolwich Crown Court that on his way to the police station, “Osama bin London” said to one police officer: “I’ve got a bomb and I’m going to blow you all up.” Farrell said that the meetings at the Clapton home of “Osama bin London” were also attended by Attila Ahmet aka Abu Abdullah. “At meetings held at Hamid’s home address and elsewhere, the methods of Hamid and Ahmet involved the encouragement of the use of unlawful violence in the name of Islam,” Mr Farrell said.
From September 2005 onwards, Hamid’s Clapton home was bugged by police. The surveillance allowed officers to hear the discussions and lectures that took place at the house. Hamid also called himself “Al-Quran”. He would provide food for his visitors. The jury heard surveillance tapes from one of these meetings.
In this meeting, Hamid was discussing the attacks of 7/7 and asked: “How many people did they take out?” When told that fifty two people had been killed, he replied: “That’s not even breakfast for me. That’s not even breakfast for me in this country.”
Woolwich Crown Court was told that Mohammed Hamid had been organizing training camps for 12 years before he was arrested. On his return from one of his training exercises, Hamid was passing high-security Paddington Green police station, where terror suspects are questioned. He shouted to the officers as he drove past: “Here is your terrorist, I’m here, come and get me.”
The court was told that his colleague, Attila Ahmet, used to sing a song to a Calypso tune, whose lyrics stated: “Come mister Taleban, come implement Sharia… Come bomb England, before the daylight come.”
Video evidence taken from the cellular phone of defendant Kibla da Costa was shown to the court. It showed footage taken during a training exercise in the New Forest between April 28 and May 1, 2006. More footage taken secretly by police camera of the same “session” was shown to the court.
On October 18, 2007, an MI5 agent code-named 1259 gave evidence to Woolwich Crown Court. He described training sessions which had taken place in the Lake District. Shielded from view, Agent 1259 said: “There were about 10 males leopard crawling – moving low and flat along the ground. They were doing press-ups and sit-ups – hard physical activity – and there was an anti-ambush drill, reacting to effective enemy fire.”
When Attila Ahmet and other individuals had been arrested in September 2006, a search was made of a large school in Mark’s Cross, near Crowborough in Sussex. This building, with more than 100 rooms, had become the Jameah Islameah boys’ school in September 2003, though by 2005 an inspection showed that only nine pupils were registered. Abu Hamza had tried to purchase this building in the late 1990s. He had visited the building five times. He was also said to have set up camps in the 58 acres of the school grounds. Additionally, Hamza had considered buying sites for terror training in Wales and Lancashire before he decided to establish a terror training center in Bly, Oregon.
Four of the people arrested at the same time as Attila Ahmet had also been reported by Spanish authorities traveling to North Africa in April 2006, where they were though to have attended training camps. The same individuals had been in Spain in 2005. They were assumed be intending to set up a terror recruiting center in Granada province. Whether these four individuals are among the individuals currently on trial in London remains to be seen.
Errors of Policy
While Tony Blair was prime minister, the Labour government had as its adviser on Muslim policy issues the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). This body claims to represent 400 mosques and Islamic institutions across Britain, even though some of its senior figures support Islamist groups and the terror group Hamas. In late 2006, it appeared that the government had distanced itself from the MCB.
When Gordon Brown became unelected prime minister this year, he told his cabinet ministers not to mention the war on terrorism, in case it caused offense to Muslims in Britain. On July 25 he made a speech in parliament about security. He spoke of integrating terror watch lists with those of Interpol, and sharing information with European partners. He said that “more important even than consensus here in this house is the consensus we will seek in all the communities across this country.” The MCB welcomed this move. It appears that under Gordon Brown, the MCB are again becoming closer to government.
While Brown was chancellor, the MCB had strongly influenced government policy. It urged the establishment of a bill which came into force on October 1, 2007. This was originally intended to outlaw any criticism of religion, imposing a 7 year jail penalty for such an offence. The upper house neutered this bill, only outlawing extreme cases of inciting religious hatred. The MCB argued against clauses in the Terrorism Act 2006, and refused to support Tony Blair’s intention to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir. It even caused the government to abandon plans to outlaw forced marriage.
The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and also the Metropolitan police get much of their advice from a group called the Muslim Safety Forum (MSF), which was established in the wake of 9/11. A recent report has highlighted that four of the Muslim Safety Forum’s affiliated organizations have been found to contain extremist literature. These are the the Regents Park Mosque, Al-Manaar (The Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre), Al-Muntada Al-Islami Trust and the UK Islamic Mission (the Euston Mosque).
It is not surprising that ACPO urged the government to withdraw key parts of the 2006 Terrorism Act, including a clause which would have meant that if a mosque allowed imams to “glorify terrorism” the mosque could be temporarily closed down. It is not surprising that the Metropolitan Police, again influenced by the Muslim Safety Forum, suggested in September 2006 that before terrorism raids could take place, they would first need to be approved by a panel of four Muslim leaders. This proposal was eventually scrapped this year.
The Metropolitan police and the Charities Commission (which contains many Muslim charities that support extremist causes) ensured that after Abu Abdallah (Attila Ahmet) was evicted from Finsbury Park Mosque, the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) took over the running of the mosque. One of the five trustees is Mohammed Kassem Sawalha who was a former Hamas fundraiser. Sawalha is a leading figure in MAB, a group founded in 1997 by senior Muslim Brotherhood member Kemal al-Helbawy. Sawalha was known on the West Bank by his code-name Abu Abada. Another senior figure in MAB is Azzam al-Tamimi, who claims to be against terrorism in Britain, but said in November 2004 that he would become a suicide bomber against Israel “if I had the opportunity.” MAB is widely regarded as a Muslim Brotherhood group.
The Labour government has supported engaging the Muslim Brotherhood through the Engaging With The Islamic World Group (EIWG), a division of the Foreign Office. Run by Mockbul Ali, a former student Islamist, this group has sponsored Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the MB’s spiritual leader and supported him visiting Britain. EIWG continues to be funded by the government.
An essential part of national security is to maintain secure border controls. Labour has failed to secure Britain’s borders. By its own estimates there are 570,000 illegal immigrants in the U.K., though the true figure is probably 800,000. Labour has not even been able to accurately give a figure for legal migration. Immigration under the Labour government has taken place with few restrictions and a recent poll shows that 72 percent think that the current administration is doing a “poor job” of managing this. Under Labour, 10,000 British passports were given to fraudulent applicants, with some going to known terrorists.
In Brown’s current cabinet, the culture secretary is Hazel Blears. In August 2005, after Tony Blair had sent her on a fact-finding tour of Muslim communities, Blears announced that: “What we have discussed today is the need to teach the true nature of Islam, which is about peace and love.” Ms Blears announced on October 31 last week that the government would be donating $140 million to Muslim groups. This is being done to stop the spread of extremism, with $50 million to be spent on training imams who can speak English (only six percent of imams speak English as a first language) and encouraging citizenship programs in British madrassas.
Already, many of the Muslim groups in Britain that are trusted by the government, police and the Charities Commission are known to have extremist literature on their premises, and have leaders who support extremism. The recently-announced funding makes no mention of which groups will receive the money, nor if such funding is conditional upon all existing extremist elements being purged from these organizations.
Labour under Tony Blair has wasted public resources on multicultural ventures. In December last year, it was found that the Foreign Office had been sending groups of British Muslims to visit 18 other nations, to “meet other Muslims”. A spokesman said: “The idea is to promote British Muslims overseas, to try to get rid of the myth that British Muslims are oppressed, and to give Muslims in the UK the experience of how Muslims in other parts of the world live.”
Poor choices of advisers and poor choices in funding have been the hallmark of government policy for the past decade.
Gordon Brown announced in November 2006 that he would donate $910 million to Pakistan. Most of that money was to be spent on madrassas, even though these establishments have encouraged violent extremism. It appears that now he is in power, Gordon Brown is prepared to not only repeat the mistakes of the Labour administration’s past, but to compound them further.
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