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Profile: Britain

 
  

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Britain actively participated in the following events:

 
  

1996: British Intelligence and al-Qaeda Allegedly Cooperate in Plot to Assassinate Libyan Leader      Complete 911 Timeline

       Al-Muqatila, a cover for a Libyan al-Qaeda cell, tries to kill Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. Al-Qadhafi survives, but several militants and innocent bystanders are killed. [Dawn, 10/30/02] According to David Shayler, a member of the British intelligence agency MI5, and Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquié, authors of the controversial book The Forbidden Truth, the British intelligence agency MI6 pays al-Qaeda the equivalent of $160,000 to help fund this assassination attempt. Shayler later goes to prison for revealing this information and the British press is banned from discussing the case (see November 5, 2002). [Observer, 11/10/02; New York Times, 8/5/98 Sources: David Shayler, Jean-Charles Brisard, Guillaume Dasquie] Anas al-Liby, a member of the group, is given political asylum in Britain and lives there until May 2000 despite suspicions that he is an important al-Qaeda figure (see Late 1996-May 2000). [FBI, 2002; Observer, 11/10/02]
People and organizations involved: Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, Al-Muqatila, UK Security Service, UK Secret Intelligence Service, Britain, al-Qaeda
          

Late 1996-May 2000: British Intelligence and al-Qaeda Allegedly Cooperate in Plot to Assassinate Libyan Leader      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Anas al-Liby.
Anas al-Liby, member of a Libyan al-Qaeda cell called Al-Muqatila, lives in Britain during this time. He had stayed with bin Laden in Sudan until bin Laden moved to Afghanistan in 1996 (see May 18, 1996). Then, as the Observer puts it, “Astonishingly, despite suspicions that he was a high-level al-Qaeda operative, al-Liby was given political asylum in Britain and lived in Manchester until May of 2000 when he eluded a police raid on his house and fled abroad. The raid discovered a 180-page al-Qaeda ‘manual for jihad’ containing instructions for terrorist attacks.” He was apparently involved in a plot with the British intelligence agency to assassinate Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi in 1996 (see 1996) and presumably his ability to live in Britain was connected to that plot. [Observer, 11/10/02] After the failed assassination attempt, the British allegedly continued to support Al-Muqatila—for instance, the group openly published a newsletter from a London office. [Brisard, Dasquie and Madsen, 2002, pp 97-98] Whistleblower David Shayler had given British authorities details of this Libya plot in 1998 and again in 1999, and later serves a short prison sentence for revealing this information to the public (see November 5, 2002). [Observer, 8/27/00] Well after the failed attempt, the British allegedly continue to support Al-Muqatila—for instance, the group openly publishes a newsletter from a London office. [Brisard, Dasquie and Madsen, 2002, pp 97-98] Al-Liby remains on the US government's most wanted list with a reward of $25 million for his capture. He is wanted for his involvement in the 1998 African embassy bombings. [Observer, 11/10/02; FBI, 2002]
People and organizations involved: Al-Muqatila, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, Osama bin Laden, Britain, David Shayler, al-Qaeda, Federal Bureau of Investigation
          

April 15, 1998: Libya Issues First Arrest Warrant for bin Laden      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi.
The first Interpol (international police) arrest warrant for bin Laden is issued—by Libya. [Observer, 11/10/02] According to the authors of the controversial book The Forbidden Truth, British and US intelligence agencies play down the arrest warrant, and have the public version of the warrant stripped of important information, such as the summary of charges and the fact that Libya requested the warrant. At this point, no Western country has yet issued a warrant for bin Laden, even though he publicly called for attacks on Western targets beginning in 1996. The arrest warrant is issued for the 1994 murder of two German antiterrorism agents. Allegedly, Britain and the US aren't interested in catching bin Laden at this time due to his involvement with Britain in attempts to assassinate Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi in 1996 (see 1996). [Brisard, Dasquie and Madsen, 2002, pp 97-98]
People and organizations involved: Britain, Osama bin Laden, Central Intelligence Agency, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, United States, UK Secret Intelligence Service
          

1999: 9/11 Funder Returns to Britain Without Being Arrested      Complete 911 Timeline

       The London Times later claims that British intelligence secretly offers 9/11 paymaster Saeed Sheikh (imprisoned in India from 1994 to December 1999 for kidnapping Britons and Americans) amnesty and the ability to “live in London a free man” if he will reveal his links to al-Qaeda. He apparently refuses. [Daily Mail, 7/16/02; Times of London, 7/16/02] Yet after he is rescued in a hostage swap deal in December, the press reports that he, in fact, is freely able to return to Britain. [Press Trust of India, 1/3/00] He visits his parents there in 2000 and again in early 2001. [Daily Telegraph, 7/16/02; BBC, 7/16/02 (B); Vanity Fair, 8/02] He is not charged with kidnapping until well after 9/11. Saeed's kidnap victims call the government's decision not to try him a “disgrace” and “scandalous.” [Press Trust of India, 1/3/00] The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review later suggests that not only is Saeed closely tied to both the ISI and al-Qaeda, but may also have been working for the CIA: “There are many in Musharraf's government who believe that Saeed Sheikh's power comes not from the ISI, but from his connections with our own CIA. The theory is that ... Saeed Sheikh was bought and paid for.” [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 3/3/02]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, Britain, Saeed Sheikh
          

August-October 2001: Britain Seeks Indian Assistance in Catching Saeed Sheikh      Complete 911 Timeline

       British intelligence asks India for legal assistance in catching Saeed Sheikh sometime during August 2001. Saeed has been openly living in Pakistan since 1999 and has even traveled to Britain at least twice during that time, despite having kidnapped Britons and Americans in 1993 and 1994. [Vanity Fair, 8/02; Times of London, 4/21/02] According to the Indian media, informants in Germany tell the internal security service there that Saeed helped fund hijacker Mohamed Atta. [Frontline, 10/6/01] On September 23, it is revealed, without explanation, that the British have asked India for help in finding Saeed. [Times of London, 9/23/01] Saeed Sheikh's role in training the hijackers and financing the 9/11 attacks soon becomes public knowledge, though some elements are disputed. [CNN, 10/6/01; CNN, 10/8/01; Daily Telegraph, 9/30/01] The Gulf News claims that the US freezes the assets of Pakistani militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed on October 12, 2001, because it has established links between Saeed Sheikh and 9/11. [Gulf News, 10/11/01] However, in October, an Indian magazine notes, “Curiously, there seems to have been little international pressure on Pakistan to hand [Saeed] over” [Frontline, 10/6/01] , and the US does not formally ask Pakistan for help to find Saeed until January 2002.
People and organizations involved: Britain, Jaish-e-Mohammed, United States, Pakistan, Mohamed Atta, India, Saeed Sheikh
          

Before September 11, 2001: Echelon Intelligence Network Used on Al-Qaeda      Complete 911 Timeline

      
An Echelon station in Menwith Hill, Britain.
By the 1980s, a high-tech global electronic surveillance network shared between the US, Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand is gathering intelligence all over the world. The BBC describes Echelon's power as “astounding,” and elaborates: “Every international telephone call, fax, e-mail, or radio transmission can be listened to by powerful computers capable of voice recognition. They home in on a long list of key words, or patterns of messages. They are looking for evidence of international crime, like terrorism.” [BBC, 11/3/99] One major focus for Echelon before 9/11 is al-Qaeda. A staff member of the National Security Council who regularly attends briefings on bin Laden states, “We are probably tapped into every hotel room in Pakistan. We can listen in to just about every phone call in Afghanistan.” However, he and other critics will claim one reason why US intelligence failed to stop terrorism before 9/11 was because there was too much of a focus on electronic intelligence gathering and not enough focus on human interpretation of that vast data collection. [Toronto Star, 2/2/02]
People and organizations involved: National Security Council, al-Qaeda, New Zealand, Canada, Echelon, Osama bin Laden, Britain, Australia, United States
          

September 21-28, 2001: Suspected Hijacker Associate Is Arrested in Britain, Released      Complete 911 Timeline

       Omar al-Bayoumi, suspected al-Qaeda advance man and possible Saudi agent, is arrested, and held for one week in Britain. He moved from San Diego to Britain in July 2001 and is a studying at Aston University Business School in Birmingham when he is taken into custody by British authorities working with the FBI. [MSNBC, 11/27/02; Washington Post, 12/29/01; San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/27/01] During a search of al-Bayoumi's Birmingham apartment (which includes ripping up the floorboards), the FBI finds the names and phone numbers of two employees of the Saudi embassy's Islamic Affairs Department. [Newsweek, 11/24/02] “There was a link there,” a Justice Department official says, adding that the FBI interviewed the employees and “that was the end of that, in October or November of 2001.” The official adds, “I don't know why he had those names.” Nail al-Jubeir, chief spokesperson for the Saudi embassy in Washington, says al-Bayoumi “called [the numbers] constantly.” [Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02] They also discover jihadist literature, and conclude he “has connections to terrorist elements,” including al-Qaeda. [Washington Post, 7/25/03] However, he is released after a week. [Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02; Newsweek, 11/24/02] British intelligence officials are frustrated that the FBI failed to give them information that would have enabled them to keep al-Bayoumi in custody longer than the seven days allowed under British anti-terrorism laws. [San Diego Channel 10, 10/25/01; Times of London, 10/19/01] Even FBI officials in San Diego appear to have not been told of al-Bayoumi's arrest by FBI officials in Britain until after he is released. [Sunday Mercury, 10/21/01] Newsweek claims that classified sections of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry indicate the Saudi Embassy pushed for al-Bayoumi's release— “another possible indicator of his high-level [Saudi] connections.” [Newsweek, 7/28/03] A San Diego FBI agent later secretly testifies that supervisors fail to act on evidence connecting to a Saudi money trail. The FBI is said to conduct a massive investigation of al-Bayoumi within days of 9/11, which shows he has connections to individuals who have been designated by the US as foreign terrorists. [Newsweek, 7/28/03; Sunday Mercury, 10/21/01; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] But two years later witnesses connecting him to Saudi money apparently are not interviewed by the FBI. Al-Bayoumi continues with his studies in Britain and is still there into 2002, and yet is still not rearrested. [Washington Post, 12/29/01; Newsweek, 10/29/02] He disappears into Saudi Arabia by the time he reenters the news in November 2002. [San Diego Magazine, 9/03]
People and organizations involved: Omar al-Bayoumi, Britain, Federal Bureau of Investigation, al-Qaeda, Nail al-Jubeir
          

June 2002-March 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The frequency of US and British aerial attacks against targets in Iraq's “no-fly” zones increases dramatically as part of Operation Southern Focus. [London Times, 5/29/2005; New York Times, 7/20/2003; Washington Post, 1/15/2003; Time, 11/27/2002; Independent, 11/24/2002] According to the London Times, US and British planes drop twice as many bombs on Iraq during the second half of 2002 as they did during the entire year of 2001. [London Times, 5/29/2005] Between June 2002 and March 19, 2003, US and British planes fly 21,736 sorties over southern Iraq, dropping 606 bombs on 391 carefully selected targets. [Washington Post, 1/15/2003; London Times, 6/27/2005; New York Times, 7/20/2003] As Timur Eads, a former US special operations officer, notes in January 2003: “We're bombing practically every day as we patrol the no-fly zones, taking out air defense batteries, and there are all kinds of CIA and Special Forces operations going on. I would call it the beginning of a war.” [Boston Globe, 1/6/2003] The airstrikes, which occur primarily in the southern no-fly zone, are also becoming more strategic, targeting Iraq's surface-to-air missiles, air defense radars, command centers, communications facilities, and fiber-optic cable repeater stations. [Washington Post, 1/15/2003; Time, 11/27/2002; Independent, 11/24/2002] The repeater stations are bombed in order to disrupt the network of fiber-optic cables that transmit military communications between Baghdad and Basra and Baghdad and Nasiriya. “They wanted to neutralize the ability of the Iraqi government to command its forces; to establish control of the airspace over Iraq; to provide air support for Special Operations forces, as well as for the Army and Marine forces that would advance toward Baghdad; and to neutralize Iraq's force of surface-to-surface missiles and suspected caches of biological and chemical weapons,” the New York Times reports in July 2003. [New York Times, 7/20/2003] “We're responding differently,” one Pentagon official explains to Time magazine in November 2002. “[We're] hitting multiple targets when we're fired upon—and they're tending to be more important targets.” [Time, 11/27/2002] Some time after the invasion, a US general reportedly says (see July 17, 2003) at a conference at Nevada's Nellis Air Force Base “that he began taking out assets that could help in resisting an invasion at least six months before war was declared.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 6/19/2005 Sources: Charlie Clements]
People and organizations involved: United States, Britain
          

August 11, 2002: Afghans Directly Producing and Exporting Heroin in Broad Daylight      Complete 911 Timeline

      
An Afghan refines opium into heroin.
In the past, Afghanistan had mostly exported raw opium, but now many new refineries are converting the opium into heroin. The British government has spent £20 million to eradicate opium, but the program is marred by corruption and largely seen as a failure. The new heroin factories are said to be “working in broad daylight.” There has been a rash of bombings and assassinations in Afghanistan as various factions fight over drug profits. Reporters for a British newspaper are able to determine the precise location of some of these factories, but the US-led forces in Afghanistan are doing nothing to stop them. [Observer, 8/11/02]
People and organizations involved: Britain
          

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