The following is a report by Paul Donovan on last week's 7/7 report launch event printed in this Monday's Morning Star
Morning Star - 8/10/2007
The author of a new report has accused the government of cynical manipulation of the July 7 bombings to bring about more restrictive anti-terror legislation. Report author Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed of the Institute for Policy Research and Development calls for a full public inquiry into the London bombings after providing evidence that MI5 had a number of the bombers under surveillance beforehand and were warned by the Saudi and French governments of thedangers of an attack.
The Sussex University academic's comprehensive report 'Inside the Crevice: Islamist terror networks and the 7/7 intelligence failure' catalogues how the government first of all said the bombers were 'clean skins' meaning that they had not been involved in any previous terrorist activity, only to later reveal that two of the bombers Mohammed Sidique Khan and Shahzad Tanweer were on the periphery of the surveillance operation under Operation Crevice.
Operation Crevice led to the arrest in March 2004 of 10 individuals, including nine Britons and a tenth Canadian suspect. Five were convicted on 30 April 2007 of planning terrorist attacks. It later emerged that the Crevice plotters and London bombers were all part of the same network.
Mr Ahmed also talks of damaging intelligence tactics that formed the background leading up to the London bombings. The first of these was the 'covenant of security' between the British Government and extremist Islamism whereby the extremists were allowed to use the UK as "a base of operations for recruitment, financing and planning of terrorist attacks abroad, as long as they did not target British interests at home."
The second element amounted to following the US policy of using "Islamism to promote US interests in the Balkans, Central Asia and Eastern Europe by countering Russian and Chinese influence in these regions." Mr Ahmed argues that the evidence he has found about the inefficient way the intelligence services have operated, often at the behest of political masters, makes a full inquiry into the events of July 7, 2005 essential.
"The solution therefore is not merely to haphazardly escalate the arsenal of anti-terror laws available to the state in reactionery fashion, as the Brown government is now doing, but to carefully and impartially evaluate thespecific police and intelligence policy failures that disallowed the security services from preventing the 7/7 attacks, in order to develop the more focused, effective and consistent deployment of law-enforcement powers," said Ahmed. "An independent public inquiry offers the only mechanism by which the relevant police and intelligence policies can be subjected to impartial scrutiny without government interference and obfuscation. Until policy is properly scrutinized in an independent public policy inquiry, the British national security system will not only remain open to another attack, but will end up increasing the likelihood of such an attack."
Mr Ahmed's analysis has been supported by the former deputy head of the Hampshire Constabulary CID Des Thomas who claimed that much of the removal of civil liberties at the behest of security following the London bomb attacks may be exactly what the bombers wanted from the outset.
"The principal and political purpose of the 7/7 attacks may have been to facilitate the introduction of repressive legislation and oppressive policing resulting in the frightening and alienation of the Muslim community, which in turn would be conducive to allowing insurgents to establish an area from which they would be free to move, recruit and mount further attacks," Mr Thomas said. "Laws of this kind are often impossible to implement and the trying may itself act as a recruiting sergeant for extremist organisations," he added.
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