13 October 2007

CNJ: "Report on 7/7 raises questions over role of security services"

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.

10 October 2007

Cynical Distortion around 7/7 and Operation Crevice

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.

3 October 2007

Report Supported by 7/7 Victims Calls for Major Security Reforms

We are launching our major 7/7 report today at Garden Court Chambers, London, 6:30pm. See press release below for further details...

PRESS RELEASE
For immediate release
2.10.07

Report Supported by 7/7 Victims Calls for Major Security Reforms
Backs case for independent public inquiry into London bombings and govt anti-terror strategies

A new report being launched this Wednesday, 3rd Oct., argues that Britain remains open to another attack, due to a defunct and dangerous intelligence paradigm that has paralysed this country’s national security system.

The report published by the Institute for Policy Research & Development (IPRD) with the support of law firm Garden Court Chambers criticises the government’s refusal to investigate the July 7th bombings in London two years ago, noting that unresolved loopholes in the way security services operate are increasing the likelihood of such an attack in the near future. The IPRD is an independent think-tank for interdisciplinary security studies based in London.

The IPRD report is supported by a former senior police official, Detective Superintendent Des Thomas, who last month told Sean O’Neill at The Times that an inquiry into 7/7 could be conducted quickly and efficiently. In his foreword to the report, Thomas, former Deputy Head of Hampshire CID, writes that it:

“… represents a splendid and very well researched attempt to turn back the tide of incompetent repression that may lead us to wage war against our own people, a war which may cost us dearly in life, treasure and liberty.”

The report, which underwent academic peer-review, is being used by Oury Clark Solicitors in their Application on behalf of the 7/7 Inquiry Group for Judicial Review of the government’s refusal to hold an inquiry. It analyses contradictory accounts from British, French and American officials about prior intelligence on the attacks and the four bombers, particularly information relating to Operation Crevice. It states that MI5’s official explanation of events leading up to 7/7 contradicts evidence from Western security sources in the public record.

Garden Court Chambers is hosting this Wednesday’s launch event, co-sponsored by Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, and the Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC).

“Moral and professional standards amongst our intelligence services have declined as a direct consequence of politicization. Urgent reforms are needed, not simply in terms of resources, but in terms of policy: collaboration with Islamist extremists in the UK for domestic and international intelligence purposes has been so extensive, it has obstructed security services from shutting down terror networks in this country even now”, said the report’s author, IPRD executive director Nafeez Ahmed.

“MI5, afraid of change, does not want the public to understand this, while the government fears it might mean the end of New Labour’s domination of parliament. We can keep extending the anti-terror laws as much as we like, but this won’t make us any safer until such policy is scrutinized and reformed,” he added.

Ahmed, who also teaches international relations, politics and history at Sussex and Brunel Universities, is the author of The London Bombings: An Independent Inquiry (Duckworth, 2006). His previous work on international terrorism was used by the 9/11 Commission.

In addition to Nafeez Ahmed and Des Thomas, supporting and addressing the report’s themes at the Wednesday launch event will be Rachel North (7/7 survivor, author Out of the Tunnel); Oury Clark (solicitors representing the 7/7 Inquiry Group); Frances Webber (barrister, Garden Court Chambers); Asad Rehman (Jean Charles De Menezes Family Campaign); Les Levidow (CAMPACC) and Fahad Ansari (Islamic Human Rights Commission).

In August 2007, the report was circulated to members of several UK parliamentary committees -- including the Intelligence and Security Committee, Home Affairs Committee, Defence Committee, Foreign Affairs Committee, Joint Committee on Human Rights, and Communities & Local Government Committee -- as well as ministers and officials with responsibility for security issues.

Notes for Editors

Inside the Crevice: Islamist terror networks and the 7/7 intelligence failure (London: Institute for Policy Research & Development, 2007) by Nafeez Ahmed. Foreword by Detective Superintendent (ret.) Des Thomas. Full electronic copies are available for free download, and hard copies can be ordered for £3 from the IPRD website www.globalcrisis.org.uk. Free hard copies are available for journalists, please send requests to IPRD on info@globalcrisis.org.uk.

The report will be launched on Wednesday 3rd October, 6:30pm-9:00pm at Garden Court Chambers, 57-60 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A 3LS (Holborn Station). Copies will be sold at the launch for £2.

Media are welcome and should make contact to register attendance. Free copies will be available for accredited journalists.

Contact: Toufic Machnouk, toufic@globalcrisis.org.uk +44(0)7799 313 264; Estella Schmidt, estella24@tiscali.co.uk +44(0)207 586 5892

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