A little bit more media coverage of our 7/7 report launch event. This is a pretty decent piece printed in a popular local newspaper, the Camden New Journal.
Report on 7/7 raises questions over role of security services
By SARA NEWMAN
Camden New Journal (11 October 2007)
COLLABORATION with Islamic extremists led British intelligence officers to ignore explicit warnings of a terrorist attack at least six months before the 7/7 London bombings, a new parliamentary briefing has claimed. The report supports calls by Rachel North, a survivor of the King’s Cross bombing that killed 26 people on the Piccadilly line Tube train, for a public inquiry into the events leading up to the attacks.
Barrister at Garden Court Chambers Frances Webber, Fahad Ansari of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, and Les Levidow of the Campaign Against Criminalising Communities, attended the launch at Garden Court Chambers at Lincoln’s Inn Fields last Wednesday. The report questions how much was known by British security services about the suicide bombers prior to the bombings in King’s Cross, Tavistock Square, Edgware Road and Aldgate in 2005.
MI5 has said that it was impossible for the agency to conclude that the bombers posed a terrorist threat even though, as the briefing documents, they were being monitored by the agency as early as mid-August 2004. One suspect linked to the fertiliser bomb plot arrested in Operation Crevice, Abu Faraj al-Libbi – who continues to be held in US custody – had explicitly warned his US interrogators that London’s public transport system was a “likely target of imminent attack” two months before 7/7, according to the report.
The report also suggests that plans to intensify the investigation, in particular into Mohammed Sidique Khan’s activities, were thwarted by senior officials because of a politicisation of the security agenda. Groups such as notorious Islamist extremist organisation al-Muhajiroun, now known as Al-Sabiqoon Al-Awwaloon, whose members received explosives training in Jundallah camps in Pakistan, were protected by the “covenant of security” between British authorities and Muslim leaders.
It is claimed that the US armed small Sunni militias in Lebanon to carry out attacks inside Shiite Iran with Pakistan-manufactured weapons. MI6 informant Haroon Rashid Aswat, formerly Osama Bin Laden’s bodyguard and Abu Hamza al Masri’s right-hand man at the Finsbury Park mosque, is named as the mastermind “fifth man” who had fled Britain after speaking to Mr Khan hours before the attacks.
Another point made in the report is that an influx of new inexperienced officers has meant the “MI5 has not been able to keep up with its own growth”.The report’s author Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed said: “The problem is there’s a huge bureaucracy. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a lot of closed doors.” He added: “There’s no doubt that the government has lied about 7/7 and exaggerated the problem in Muslim communities. It has become a community problem because of excessive protection of specific extremist networks.”
The report states: “Police indifference toward Abu Hamza, who presided over verbal and physical abuse at Finsbury Park mosque, permitted him to radicalise mostly impressionable young Muslims despite demands from the majority Muslim community to arrest him. The British Muslim community is neither an enemy to be confronted, nor a passive or silent voice that must be awakened – it is a powerful, majority force opposed to terrorism, whose insight, resources and vision must be drawn on.”
Ms North, who lives in Finsbury Park said: “The report indicates that what we originally thought about the bombers is not the full picture. We now know there are many more questions to be answered that have so far gone unanswered.” The report, which was sent to over 100 MPs over a month ago, has so far only received three responses.
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