[R-G] Britain recruited terrorists, Meacher claims
info at cinox.demon.co.uk
Fri Oct 7 21:34:50 MDT 2005
Michael Meacher is a Member of the British Parliament and the former UK
Envionment Minister from May 1997 to June 2003.
30th September 2005
The Asian News
Britain recruited terrorists, Meacher claims
AN astonishing claim that M16 recruited Muslim extremists in Britain for
terror training abroad has been made by Oldham MP and former cabinet
minister Michael Meacher.
Mr Meacher also suggest that a British Muslim held under sentenced of death
in Pakistan for beheading a US journalist is being kept alive because he was
a British double agent.
The Oldham West and Royton MP makes these sensational claims in an article
for Asian News' sister paper, The Guardian.
The former Environment Secretary claims that Britain's 'overseas' security
organisation, M16, set about recruiting UK Muslims directing them to support
US efforts to overthrow communist governments in Afghanistan and Yugoslavia.
He highlights a Delhi-based research foundation that estimates anything up
to 200 UK Muslims could have undergone training in overseas terrorist camps
under the protection of the Pakistani secret service, the ISI, who were
backing the armed Islamic insurrection against the Afghan communist regime
and its Soviet backers.
He writes: "During an interview on Fox TV this summer, the former US federal
prosecutor John Loftus reported that the British intelligence had used the
al-Muhajiroun group..to recruit Islamist militants with British passports
for the war against the Serbs in Kosovo."
The now disbanded al-Muhajiroun group held meetings in Manchester after 9/11
praising the courage of the suicide bombers and claimed to be helping UK
Muslims to fight US troops in Afghanistan.
Mr Meacher also highlights the case of UK-born Muslim Omar Saeed Sheikh,
sentenced to death for the murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002.
Mr Meacher writes that Sheikh has been allowed 32 appeals against his
sentence, the last being adjourned "indefinitely". He says the same Delhi
foundation describes Sheikh as a British agent.
Mr Meacher adds: "This is all the more remarkable when this is the same Omar
Sheikh who, at the behest of General Mahmood Ahmed, head of the ISI, wired
$100,000 to Mohammed Atta, the leading 9/11 hijacker, before the New York
attacks, as confirmed by Dennis Lomel, director of FBI's financial crimes
Mr Meachers argument is that the UK and US security service do not want a
proper investigation into these links because it would expose how they
encouraged and helped to recruit Islamic 'warriors' when it suited their
purposes but that these same forces eventually turned on the west, inflamed
by what they saw as anti-Islamic occupations and pro-Israeli international
(Read the full Guardian article below)
OLDHAM MP Michael Meacher argues Britains security services helped to
create Islamic warriors who eventually bit back against the west
The videotape of the suicide bomber Mohammad Sidique Khan has switched the
focus of the London bombings away from the establishment view of
brainwashed, murderous individuals and highlighted a starker political
reality. While there can be no justification for horrific killings of this
kind, they need to be understood against the ferment of the last decade
radicalising Muslim youth of Pakistani origin living in Europe.
During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, the US funded
large numbers of jihadists through Pakistan's secret intelligence service,
the ISI. Later the US wanted to raise another jihadi corps, again using
proxies, to help Bosnian Muslims fight to weaken the Serb government's hold
on Yugoslavia. Those they turned to included Pakistanis in Britain.
According to a recent report by the Delhi-based Observer Research
Foundation, a contingent was also sent by the Pakistani government, then led
by Benazir Bhutto, at the request of the Clinton administration. This
contingent was formed from the Harkat-ul- Ansar (HUA) terrorist group and
trained by the ISI. The report estimates that about 200 Pakistani Muslims
living in the UK went to Pakistan, trained in HUA camps and joined the HUA's
contingent in Bosnia. Most significantly, this was "with the full knowledge
and complicity of the British and American intelligence agencies".
As the 2002 Dutch government report on Bosnia makes clear, the US provided a
green light to groups on the state department list of terrorist
organisations, including the Lebanese-based Hizbullah, to operate in
Bosnia - an episode that calls into question the credibility of the
subsequent "war on terror".
For nearly a decade the US helped Islamist insurgents linked to Chechnya,
Iran and Saudi Arabia destabilise the former Yugoslavia. The insurgents were
also allowed to move further east to Kosovo. By the end of the fighting in
Bosnia there were tens of thousands of Islamist insurgents in Bosnia,
Croatia and Kosovo; many then moved west to Austria, Germany and
Less well known is evidence of the British government's relationship with a
wider Islamist terrorist network. During an interview on Fox TV this summer,
the former US federal prosecutor John Loftus reported that British
intelligence had used the al-Muhajiroun group in London to recruit Islamist
militants with British passports for the war against the Serbs in Kosovo.
Since July Scotland Yard has been interested in an alleged member of
al-Muhajiroun, Haroon Rashid Aswat, who some sources have suggested could
have been behind the London bombings.
According to Loftus, Aswat was detained in Pakistan after leaving Britain,
but was released after 24 hours. He was subsequently returned to Britain
from Zambia, but has been detained solely for extradition to the US, not for
questioning about the London bombings. Loftus claimed that Aswat is a
British-backed double agent, pursued by the police but protected by MI6.
One British Muslim of Pakistani origin radicalised by the civil war in
Yugoslavia was LSE-educated Omar Saeed Sheikh. He is now in jail in Pakistan
under sentence of death for the killing of the US journalist Daniel Pearl in
2002 - although many (including Pearl's widow and the US authorities) doubt
that he committed the murder. However, reports from Pakistan suggest that
Sheikh continues to be active from jail, keeping in touch with friends and
followers in Britain.
Sheikh was recruited as a student by Jaish-e-Muhammad (Army of Muhammad),
which operates a network in Britain. It has actively recruited Britons from
universities and colleges since the early 1990s, and has boasted of its
numerous British Muslim volunteers. Investigations in Pakistan have
suggested that on his visits there Shehzad Tanweer, one of the London
suicide bombers, contacted members of two outlawed local groups and trained
at two camps in Karachi and near Lahore. Indeed the network of groups now
being uncovered in Pakistan may point to senior al-Qaida operatives having
played a part in selecting members of the bombers' cell. The Observer
Research Foundation has argued that there are even "grounds to suspect that
the [London] blasts were orchestrated by Omar Sheikh from his jail in
Why then is Omar Sheikh not being dealt with when he is already under
sentence of death? Astonishingly his appeal to a higher court against the
sentence was adjourned in July for the 32nd time and has since been
adjourned indefinitely. This is all the more remarkable when this is the
same Omar Sheikh who, at the behest of General Mahmood Ahmed, head of the
ISI, wired $100,000 to Mohammed Atta, the leading 9/11 hijacker, before the
New York attacks, as confirmed by Dennis Lormel, director of FBI's financial
Yet neither Ahmed nor Omar appears to have been sought for questioning by
the US about 9/11. Indeed, the official 9/11 Commission Report of July 2004
sought to downplay the role of Pakistan with the comment: "To date, the US
government has not been able to determine the origin of the money used for
the 9/11 attacks. Ultimately the question is of little practical
significance" - a statement of breathtaking disingenuousness.
All this highlights the resistance to getting at the truth about the 9/11
attacks and to an effective crackdown on the forces fomenting terrorist
bombings in the west, including Britain. The extraordinary US forbearance
towards Omar Sheikh, its restraint towards the father of Pakistan's atomic
bomb, Dr AQ Khan, selling nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea,
the huge US military assistance to Pakistan and the US decision last year to
designate Pakistan as a major non-Nato ally in south Asia all betoken a
deeper strategic set of goals as the real priority in its relationship with
Pakistan. These might be surmised as Pakistan providing sizeable military
contingents for Iraq to replace US troops, or Pakistani troops replacing
Nato forces in Afghanistan. Or it could involve the use of Pakistani
military bases for US intervention in Iran, or strengthening Pakistan as a
base in relation to India and China.
Whether the hunt for those behind the London bombers can prevail against
these powerful political forces remains to be seen. Indeed it may depend on
whether Scotland Yard, in its attempts to uncover the truth, can prevail
over MI6, which is trying to cover its tracks and in practice has every
opportunity to operate beyond the law under the cover of national security.
First published by the Asian News
Michael Meacher is a Member of the British Parliament and the former UK
Envionment Minister from May 1997 to June 2003.
Saturday September 6, 2003
This war on terrorism is bogus
The 9/11 attacks gave the US an ideal pretext to use force to secure its
Massive attention has now been given - and rightly so - to the reasons why
Britain went to war against Iraq. But far too little attention has focused
on why the US went to war, and that throws light on British motives too. The
conventional explanation is that after the Twin Towers were hit, retaliation
against al-Qaida bases in Afghanistan was a natural first step in launching
a global war against terrorism. Then, because Saddam Hussein was alleged by
the US and UK governments to retain weapons of mass destruction, the war
could be extended to Iraq as well. However this theory does not fit all the
facts. The truth may be a great deal murkier.
We now know that a blueprint for the creation of a global Pax Americana was
drawn up for Dick Cheney (now vice-president), Donald Rumsfeld (defence
secretary), Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld's deputy), Jeb Bush (George Bush's
younger brother) and Lewis Libby (Cheney's chief of staff). The document,
entitled Rebuilding America's Defences, was written in September 2000 by the
neoconservative think tank, Project for the New American Century (PNAC).
The plan shows Bush's cabinet intended to take military control of the Gulf
region whether or not Saddam Hussein was in power. It says "while the
unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need
for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue
of the regime of Saddam Hussein."
The PNAC blueprint supports an earlier document attributed to Wolfowitz and
Libby which said the US must "discourage advanced industrial nations from
challenging our leadership or even aspiring to a larger regional or global
role". It refers to key allies such as the UK as "the most effective and
efficient means of exercising American global leadership". It describes
peacekeeping missions as "demanding American political leadership rather
than that of the UN". It says "even should Saddam pass from the scene", US
bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will remain permanently... as "Iran may
well prove as large a threat to US interests as Iraq has". It spotlights
China for "regime change", saying "it is time to increase the presence of
American forces in SE Asia".
The document also calls for the creation of "US space forces" to dominate
space, and the total control of cyberspace to prevent "enemies" using the
internet against the US. It also hints that the US may consider developing
biological weapons "that can target specific genotypes [and] may transform
biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool".
Finally - written a year before 9/11 - it pinpoints North Korea, Syria and
Iran as dangerous regimes, and says their existence justifies the creation
of a "worldwide command and control system". This is a blueprint for US
world domination. But before it is dismissed as an agenda for rightwing
fantasists, it is clear it provides a much better explanation of what
actually happened before, during and after 9/11 than the global war on
terrorism thesis. This can be seen in several ways.
First, it is clear the US authorities did little or nothing to pre-empt the
events of 9/11. It is known that at least 11 countries provided advance
warning to the US of the 9/11 attacks. Two senior Mossad experts were sent
to Washington in August 2001 to alert the CIA and FBI to a cell of 200
terrorists said to be preparing a big operation (Daily Telegraph, September
16 2001). The list they provided included the names of four of the 9/11
hijackers, none of whom was arrested.
It had been known as early as 1996 that there were plans to hit Washington
targets with aeroplanes. Then in 1999 a US national intelligence council
report noted that "al-Qaida suicide bombers could crash-land an aircraft
packed with high explosives into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the CIA,
or the White House".
Fifteen of the 9/11 hijackers obtained their visas in Saudi Arabia. Michael
Springman, the former head of the American visa bureau in Jeddah, has stated
that since 1987 the CIA had been illicitly issuing visas to unqualified
applicants from the Middle East and bringing them to the US for training in
terrorism for the Afghan war in collaboration with Bin Laden (BBC, November
6 2001). It seems this operation continued after the Afghan war for other
purposes. It is also reported that five of the hijackers received training
at secure US military installations in the 1990s (Newsweek, September 15
Instructive leads prior to 9/11 were not followed up. French Moroccan flight
student Zacarias Moussaoui (now thought to be the 20th hijacker) was
arrested in August 2001 after an instructor reported he showed a suspicious
interest in learning how to steer large airliners. When US agents learned
from French intelligence he had radical Islamist ties, they sought a warrant
to search his computer, which contained clues to the September 11 mission
(Times, November 3 2001). But they were turned down by the FBI. One agent
wrote, a month before 9/11, that Moussaoui might be planning to crash into
the Twin Towers (Newsweek, May 20 2002).
All of this makes it all the more astonishing - on the war on terrorism
perspective - that there was such slow reaction on September 11 itself. The
first hijacking was suspected at not later than 8.20am, and the last
hijacked aircraft crashed in Pennsylvania at 10.06am. Not a single fighter
plane was scrambled to investigate from the US Andrews airforce base, just
10 miles from Washington DC, until after the third plane had hit the
Pentagon at 9.38 am. Why not? There were standard FAA intercept procedures
for hijacked aircraft before 9/11. Between September 2000 and June 2001 the
US military launched fighter aircraft on 67 occasions to chase suspicious
aircraft (AP, August 13 2002). It is a US legal requirement that once an
aircraft has moved significantly off its flight plan, fighter planes are
sent up to investigate.
Was this inaction simply the result of key people disregarding, or being
ignorant of, the evidence? Or could US air security operations have been
deliberately stood down on September 11? If so, why, and on whose authority?
The former US federal crimes prosecutor, John Loftus, has said: "The
information provided by European intelligence services prior to 9/11 was so
extensive that it is no longer possible for either the CIA or FBI to assert
a defence of incompetence."
Nor is the US response after 9/11 any better. No serious attempt has ever
been made to catch Bin Laden. In late September and early October 2001,
leaders of Pakistan's two Islamist parties negotiated Bin Laden's
extradition to Pakistan to stand trial for 9/11. However, a US official
said, significantly, that "casting our objectives too narrowly" risked "a
premature collapse of the international effort if by some lucky chance Mr
Bin Laden was captured". The US chairman of the joint chiefs of staff,
General Myers, went so far as to say that "the goal has never been to get
Bin Laden" (AP, April 5 2002). The whistleblowing FBI agent Robert Wright
told ABC News (December 19 2002) that FBI headquarters wanted no arrests.
And in November 2001 the US airforce complained it had had al-Qaida and
Taliban leaders in its sights as many as 10 times over the previous six
weeks, but had been unable to attack because they did not receive permission
quickly enough (Time Magazine, May 13 2002). None of this assembled
evidence, all of which comes from sources already in the public domain, is
compatible with the idea of a real, determined war on terrorism.
The catalogue of evidence does, however, fall into place when set against
the PNAC blueprint. From this it seems that the so-called "war on terrorism"
is being used largely as bogus cover for achieving wider US strategic
geopolitical objectives. Indeed Tony Blair himself hinted at this when he
said to the Commons liaison committee: "To be truthful about it, there was
no way we could have got the public consent to have suddenly launched a
campaign on Afghanistan but for what happened on September 11" (Times, July
17 2002). Similarly Rumsfeld was so determined to obtain a rationale for an
attack on Iraq that on 10 separate occasions he asked the CIA to find
evidence linking Iraq to 9/11; the CIA repeatedly came back empty-handed
(Time Magazine, May 13 2002).
In fact, 9/11 offered an extremely convenient pretext to put the PNAC plan
into action. The evidence again is quite clear that plans for military
action against Afghanistan and Iraq were in hand well before 9/11. A report
prepared for the US government from the Baker Institute of Public Policy
stated in April 2001 that "the US remains a prisoner of its energy dilemma.
Iraq remains a destabilising influence to... the flow of oil to
international markets from the Middle East". Submitted to Vice-President
Cheney's energy task group, the report recommended that because this was an
unacceptable risk to the US, "military intervention" was necessary (Sunday
Herald, October 6 2002).
Similar evidence exists in regard to Afghanistan. The BBC reported
(September 18 2001) that Niaz Niak, a former Pakistan foreign secretary, was
told by senior American officials at a meeting in Berlin in mid-July 2001
that "military action against Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of
October". Until July 2001 the US government saw the Taliban regime as a
source of stability in Central Asia that would enable the construction of
hydrocarbon pipelines from the oil and gas fields in Turkmenistan,
Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, through Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the Indian
Ocean. But, confronted with the Taliban's refusal to accept US conditions,
the US representatives told them "either you accept our offer of a carpet of
gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs" (Inter Press Service, November
Given this background, it is not surprising that some have seen the US
failure to avert the 9/11 attacks as creating an invaluable pretext for
attacking Afghanistan in a war that had clearly already been well planned in
advance. There is a possible precedent for this. The US national archives
reveal that President Roosevelt used exactly this approach in relation to
Pearl Harbor on December 7 1941. Some advance warning of the attacks was
received, but the information never reached the US fleet. The ensuing
national outrage persuaded a reluctant US public to join the second world
war. Similarly the PNAC blueprint of September 2000 states that the process
of transforming the US into "tomorrow's dominant force" is likely to be a
long one in the absence of "some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a
new Pearl Harbor". The 9/11 attacks allowed the US to press the "go" button
for a strategy in accordance with the PNAC agenda which it would otherwise
have been politically impossible to implement.
The overriding motivation for this political smokescreen is that the US and
the UK are beginning to run out of secure hydrocarbon energy supplies. By
2010 the Muslim world will control as much as 60% of the world's oil
production and, even more importantly, 95% of remaining global oil export
capacity. As demand is increasing, so supply is decreasing, continually
since the 1960s.
This is leading to increasing dependence on foreign oil supplies for both
the US and the UK. The US, which in 1990 produced domestically 57% of its
total energy demand, is predicted to produce only 39% of its needs by 2010.
A DTI minister has admitted that the UK could be facing "severe" gas
shortages by 2005. The UK government has confirmed that 70% of our
electricity will come from gas by 2020, and 90% of that will be imported. In
that context it should be noted that Iraq has 110 trillion cubic feet of gas
reserves in addition to its oil.
A report from the commission on America's national interests in July 2000
noted that the most promising new source of world supplies was the Caspian
region, and this would relieve US dependence on Saudi Arabia. To diversify
supply routes from the Caspian, one pipeline would run westward via
Azerbaijan and Georgia to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. Another would extend
eastwards through Afghanistan and Pakistan and terminate near the Indian
border. This would rescue Enron's beleaguered power plant at Dabhol on
India's west coast, in which Enron had sunk $3bn investment and whose
economic survival was dependent on access to cheap gas.
Nor has the UK been disinterested in this scramble for the remaining world
supplies of hydrocarbons, and this may partly explain British participation
in US military actions. Lord Browne, chief executive of BP, warned
Washington not to carve up Iraq for its own oil companies in the aftermath
of war (Guardian, October 30 2002). And when a British foreign minister met
Gadaffi in his desert tent in August 2002, it was said that "the UK does not
want to lose out to other European nations already jostling for advantage
when it comes to potentially lucrative oil contracts" with Libya (BBC
Online, August 10 2002).
The conclusion of all this analysis must surely be that the "global war on
terrorism" has the hallmarks of a political myth propagated to pave the way
for a wholly different agenda - the US goal of world hegemony, built around
securing by force command over the oil supplies required to drive the whole
project. Is collusion in this myth and junior participation in this project
really a proper aspiration for British foreign policy? If there was ever
need to justify a more objective British stance, driven by our own
independent goals, this whole depressing saga surely provides all the
evidence needed for a radical change of course.
· Michael Meacher MP was environment minister from May 1997 to June 2003
meacherm at parliament.uk
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