Put Britain on the List of States Sponsoring Terrorism
The following memorandum, dated Jan. 11, 2000, was prepared for delivery to U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. It is a request to launch an investigation, pursuant to placing Great Britain on the list of states sponsoring terrorism.
To: Hon. Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State
From: The Editors, Executive Intelligence Review
Hon. William Cohen,
Secretary of Defense
Hon. Janet Reno,
Hon. George Tenet,
Director of Central Intelligence
Hon. Louis Freeh,
Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Hon. Jesse Helms,
Chairman, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Hon. Joseph Biden,
Ranking Democrat, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Hon. Benjamin Gilman,
Chairman, House International Relations Committee
Hon. Sam Gejdenson,
Ranking Democrat, House International Relations Committee
This is a formal request for you to initiate a review of the role of the government of Great Britain in supporting international terrorism, to determine whether Britain should be added to the list of nations sanctioned by the United States government for lending support to international terrorist organizations.
This issue has been recently highlighted, as the result of the December 1999 Indian Airlines hijacking, and the response of the British government to the request of one of the freed Kashmiri terrorists, Ahmed Omar Sheikh, to be given safe passage to England. Mr. Sheikh, a British national, was tried and convicted in India, for his role in the kidnapping of four British nationals and an American in 1995. He was sentenced to five years in prison in November 1998. Initially, the British government announced that it would provide Mr. Sheikh with safe passage to Britain, and would not prosecute him or make any effort to extradite him back to India.
However, long before the Sheikh case, Executive Intelligence Review has documented a pattern of British involvement in harboring international terrorists, dating back to 1995. As of this writing, no fewer than a dozen governments—many of them leading allies of the United States—have filed formal diplomatic protests with the British Foreign Office, over specific instances of British official support for terrorist groups, targetting those nations.
Criteria for evaluating whether Britain should be sanctioned
U.S. Government policy on sanctions against states sponsoring terrorism has been set by a series of Congressional acts, including, but not limited to: the Export Administration Act of 1979 (EAAA), the Anti-Terrorism and Arms Export Amendments Act of 1989 (ATAEAA), the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2780), the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 1996, and the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) of 1996.
It is our understanding that, while the Congress has given the Secretary of State broad discretion in designating a country as a state sponsor of terrorism, the legislative history of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has specified seven criteria which should guide the Secretary’s action.
These criteria are:
Does the state provide terrorists sanctuary from extradition or prosecution?
Does the state provide terrorists with weapons and other means of conducting violence?
Does the state provide logistical support to terrorists?
Does the state permit terrorists to maintain safehouses and headquarters on its territory?
Does the state provide training and other material assistance to terrorists?
Does the state provide financial backing to terrorist organizations?
Does the state provide diplomatic services, including travel documents, that could aid in the commission of terrorist acts?
As of this writing, the State Department currently designates seven countries as state sponsors of terrorism: Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Cuba, and North Korea. In the case of Syria, which is presently engaged in peace negotiations with Israel, the primary reason the regime remains on the list is that several designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) are headquartered in Damascus.
In the State Department Authorization Act of October 1991, specific procedures were spelled out for the President to remove a country from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. Congress has a 45-day period to pass a joint resolution overriding such a Presidential decision to remove a state from the list, which carries with it a number of significant sanctions.
The case against Great Britain
The following documentary time line is intended to provide an outline of the evidence that we wish the appropriate officials at the U.S. State Department to review, to make a determination whether Great Britain should be added to the list of states sponsoring terrorism, according to the criteria outlined above.
In July 1998, a former British MI5 officer, David Shayler, revealed that, in February 1996, British security services financed and supported a London-based Islamic terrorist group, in an attempted assassination against Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. The action, Shayler charged, in an interview with the British Daily Mail, was sanctioned by then-Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind. The incident described by Shayler did, in fact, occur. Although Qaddafi escaped without injury, the bomb, planted along a road where the Libyan leader was travelling, killed several innocent bystanders. In an Aug. 5, 1998 interview with BBC, Shayler charged, “We paid £100,000 to carry out the murder of a foreign head of state. That is apart from the fact that the money was used to kill innocent people, because the bomb exploded at the wrong time. In fact, this is hideous funding of international terrorism.” According to Shayler’s BBC interview, MI6 provided the funds to an Arab agent inside Libya, with instructions to carry out the attack.In fact, in 1996, a previously unknown Libyan “Islamist” group appeared in London to claim responsibility for the attempted assassination of Qaddafi.
On June 25, 1996, a bomb blew up the U.S. military barracks in Dharan, Saudi Arabia, killing 19 American soldiers. The next day, Saudi expatriate Mohammed al-Massari, the head of the London-based Committee for the Defense of Legitimate Rights, was interviewed on BBC. He warned the United States to expect more terror attacks, which he described as “intellectually justified.” The U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia “is obviously not welcomed by a substantial fraction of the population there,” he warned, “and they are ready to go to the execution stand for it.” He concluded, “There are so many underground parties—so many splinter groups, many of them made up of people who fought in Afghanistan. . . . I expect more of the same.”Despite the fact that al-Massari has repeatedly called for the overthrow of the House of Saud and the creation of an Islamic revolutionary state, he has been given “exceptional leave” to remain in Britain. In April 1996, the British Home Office granted al-Massari a four-year refugee permit to remain on British soil.
Al-Massari is allied with the well-known Saudi expatriate Osama bin Laden, who, to this day, maintains a residence in the wealthy London suburb of Wembly. And London is the headquarters of bin Laden’s Advise and Reform Commission, run by the London-based Khalid al-Fawwaz.
Bin Laden has been given regular access to BBC and a variety of major British newspapers, to spread his calls for jihad against the United States. Thus, in July 1996, bin Laden told the London Independent, “What happened in Khobar [the U.S. Army barracks that was bombed on June 25] is a clear proof of the enormous rage of the Saudi population against them. Resistance against America will spread in many places through Muslim lands.”
On Jan. 25, 1997, Tory Member of Parliament Nigel Waterson introduced legislation to ban foreign terrorists from operating on British soil. His “Conspiracy and Incitement Bill,” according to his press release, would have for the first time banned British residents from plotting and conducting terrorist operations overseas. Waterson proposed the bill in the aftermath of a scandal over Britain providing safe haven for Saudi terrorist Mohammed al-Massari, who claimed credit for the bombing of U.S. military sites in Saudi Arabia in June 1996. On Feb. 14, 1997, Labour MP George Galloway succeeded in blocking Waterson’s bill from getting out of committee. Galloway, in a speech before the committee that was printed in the House of Commons official proceedings, stated, “The Bill will change political asylum in this country in a profound and dangerous way. It will change a state of affairs that has existed since Napoleon’s time. . . . We are all in favor of controlling terrorism in Britain. Surely not a single honorable Member has any truck with terrorism here, but we are talking about terrorism in other countries. . . . The legislation is rushed in response to a specific, and, for the government, highly embarrassing refugee case—that of Professor al-Massari, who was a thorn in the side of the government of Saudi Arabia. . . . By definition, a tyranny can be removed only by extraordinary measures. Inevitably, in conditions of extreme repression, the leadership of such movements will gravitate to countries such as ours where freedom and liberty prevail. The bill will criminalize such people, even though they have not broken any law in Britain or caused any harm to the Queen’s peace in her realm. They will fall open to prosecution in this country under the Bill because they are inciting, supporting, or organizing events in distant tyrannies, which are clearly offenses under the laws of such tyrants.”
On Nov. 17, 1997, the Gamaa al-Islamiya (Islamic Group) carried out a massacre of tourists in Luxor, Egypt, in which 62 people were killed. Since 1992, terrorist attacks by the Islamic Group have claimed at least 92 lives. Yet, the leaders of the organization have been provided with political asylum in Britain, and repeated efforts by the Egyptian government to have them extradited back to Egypt have met with stern rebuffs by Tory and Labour governments alike.On Dec. 14, 1997, British Ambassador to Egypt David Baltherwick was summoned by Egypt’s Foreign Minister Amr Moussa and handed an official note, demanding that Britain “stop providing a safe haven to terrorists, and cooperate with Egypt to counter terrorism.” In an interview with the London Times the same day, the Foreign Minister “called on Britain to stop the flow of money from Islamic radicals in London to terrorist groups in Egypt, and to ban preachers in British mosques calling for the assassination of foreign leaders.” The Times added that Moussa “was outraged by reports that £2.5 million had come from exiles in Britain to the outlawed Gamaa al-Islamiya,” and noted that the Egyptian government “has blamed the Luxor massacre on terrorists funded and encouraged from abroad, and identified Britain as the main center for radicals plotting assassinations.”
To substantiate the charges against Britain, the Egyptian State Information Service posted a “Call to Combat Terrorism” on its official web site. The document read, in part, “Hereunder, is a list of some of the wanted masterminds of terrorism, who are currently enjoying secure and convenient asylum in some world capitals.” The “wanted list” consisted of photographs and biographical data on 14 men, linked to the Luxor massacre and other earlier incidents of terrorism. The first seven individuals listed were all, at the time, residing in London. They are:
Yasser al Sirri: “Sentenced to death in the assassination attempt on the life of former Prime Minister Dr. Atef Sidqi; founded the Media Observatory in London as mouthpiece for the New Vanguards of Conquest.”
Adel Abdel Bari: “At present, heads Egyptian Human Rights Defense Office, affiliated to Media Observatory in London, the mouthpiece for the outlawed Jihad Organization.”
Mustafa Hamzah: “Commander of the military branch of the outlawed `Islamic Group.’ “
Tharwat Shehata: “Sentenced to death in the assassination attempt on Dr. Atef Sidqi, former Prime Minister; associated with, and in charge of financing extremist elements abroad; involved in reactivating the outlawed `Jihad Organization’ abroad.”
Osama Khalifa: “Accused no. 1 in the case involving domestic and foreign activities of the outlawed Islamic Group.”
Mohamed el Islambouli: “One of the principal leaders of the Islamic Group; sentenced to death in the case of the outlawed organization of `Returnees from Afghanistan.’ “
Groups banned by United States
are headquartered in London
Shortly before the Luxor massacre, on Oct. 8, 1997, the U.S. State Department, in compliance with the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1996, released a list of 30 Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs), banned from operating on U.S. soil.
Of the 30 groups named, six maintain headquarters in Britain. They are: the Islamic Group (Egypt), Al-Jihad (Egypt), Hamas (Israel, Palestinian Authority), Armed Islamic Group (Algeria, France), Kurdish Workers Party (Turkey), and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (Sri Lanka).
The Islamic Group, and its subsidiary arm, Islamic Jihad, are headquartered in London. In February 1997, the British government formally granted permission to Abel Abdel Majid and Adel Tawfiq al Sirri to establish Islamic Group fundraising and media offices in London, under the names International Bureau for the Defense of the Egyptian People and the Islamic Observatory. Abdel Majid was implicated in the October 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, and he subsequently masterminded the escape of two prisoners jailed for the assassination. In 1991, he fled to Britain and immediately was granted political asylum. He has coordinated the Islamic Group’s overseas operations ever since. In fact, he was sentenced to death in absentia for the bombing of the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan in November 1995, in which 15 diplomats were killed.
Abdel Tawfiq al Sirri, the co-director of the movement, has also been granted political asylum in Britain, despite the fact that he was also sentenced to death in absentia for his part in the 1993 attempted assassination of Egyptian Prime Minister Atif Sidqi.
In September 1997, Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who is in jail in the United States for his role in the Feb. 28, 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York, issued an order, as the spiritual leader of the Islamic Group, calling for an immediate cease-fire. The six members of the ruling council of Islamic Group residing in Egypt endorsed the Sheikh’s order, but the remaining six council member, living in London, rejected the order. Two months later, the massacre at Luxor took place.
Similarly, the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA), which was responsible for the assassination of Algerian President Mohamed Boudiaf on June 29, 1992, has its international headquarters in London. Sheikh Abu Qatabda and Abu Musab communicate military orders to GIA terrorists operating in Algeria and France via the London-based party organ, Al Ansar. Sheikh Abu Qatabda was granted political asylum in Britain in 1992, after spending years working in Peshawar, Pakistan with various Afghani mujahideen groups. A third London-based GIA leader, Abou Farres, oversees operations targetted against France. He was granted asylum in Britain in 1992, after he was condemned to death in Algeria for acknowledging responsibility for a bombing at Algiers airport, which killed nine people and wounded 125. Farres was believed responsible, from his base in London, for the July-September 1995 string of blind terrorist acts in France, including bombings of three Paris train and subway stations and an open-air market.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), known as the “Tamil Tigers,” have carried out a decade-long terror campaign against the government of Sri Lanka, in which they have killed an estimated 130,000 people. In addition, LTTE was responsible for the suicide-bomber murder of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on May 21, 1991, and the similar assassination of Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa on May 1, 1993.
Since 1984, the LTTE International Secretariat has been located in London. The official spokesman for the Secretariat is Anton Balsingham, an Oxford University graduate and former British Foreign Office employee. The group’s suicide-bomber division, the Black Tigers, which killed Rajiv Gandhi, is run by Pampan Ajith, out of LTTE London headquarters; another elite suicide-bomber cell, the Sky Tigers, which employs light aircraft, is coordinated by Dr. Maheswaran, also based in London.
Most of the marching orders for terrorist operations in the Indian subcontinent are delivered from London, via a string of LTTE publications, including Tamil Nation and Hot Spring, published in London, and Network and Kalathil, published in Surrey. The organization’s chief fundraiser and banker, Lawrence Tilagar, is also based in London.
Similarly, the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, maintains its publishing operations in London, including its monthly organ, Filisteen al-Muslima. In 1996, this publication issued a fatwa (religious ruling), calling for terrorist attacks against Israel. On Feb. 25 and March 3, shortly after the fatwa was published, Hamas suicide bombers blew up two Jerusalem buses and a Tel Aviv market, killing 55 people. Funding of these terrorists, who are part of the military wing, Izeddin al Kassam, comes from London, where Interpal is the chief money arm of the group.
In the case of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), the British government played an even more direct role in supporting the 17-year war against the Turkish government by the Kurdish separatists. An estimated 19,000 people have been killed in Southeast Turkey since the PKK launched its terror war in 1983. In May 1995, after the PKK was expelled from Germany, for seizing control of Turkish diplomatic buildings in 18 European cities, the British government licensed MED-TV in London, through which the PKK broadcasts four hours a day into its enclaves inside Turkey, and all over Europe. In a March 1996 broadcast, PKK leader Apo Ocalan called for the execution of German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and his Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel. And when the PKK held its founding “parliament in exile” in Belgium in 1995, three members of the British House of Lords either attended or sent personal telegrams of endorsement. The three were Lord Hylton, Lord Avebury, and Baroness Gould.
The same Lord Avebury has been an active backer of the Peru Support Group in London, which has served as a major international fundraising front for the Peruvian narco-terrorist group Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso). When Adolfo Héctor Olaechea was dispatched by Shining Path to London in July 1992, to establish the “foreign affairs bureau,” he received a letter of recognition from Buckingham Palace, which he circulated widely. The letter read in part, “The private secretary is commanded by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth to acknowledge receipt of the letter from Mr. Olaechea, and to say that it has been passed on to the Home Office.”
In addition to the six FTOs who have their headquarters in Britain, an additional 16 groups on the State Department’s 1997 list either receive funding from groups based in Britain, or receive military training and logistical support from groups operating freely from British soil. Those groups are: the Abu Nidal Organization (Palestinian Authority), Harkat ul-Ansar (India), Mujahideen e Khalq (Iran), Kach (Israel, Palestinian Authority), Kahane Chai (Israel, Palestinian Authority), Abu Sayyaf (Philippines), Hezbollah (Israel, Lebanon), Khmer Rouge (Cambodia), ELN (Colombia), FARC (Colombia), Shining Path (Peru), MRTA (Peru), Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (Israel, Palestinian Authority), Islamic Jihad-Shaqaqi (Israel, Palestinian Authority), Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (Israel, Palestinian Authority), PFLP-General Command (Israel, Palestinian Authority).
The `fatwa’ against American targets
On Feb. 10, 1998, a group of well-known London-based “Islamists” and Islamic organizations issued a fatwa, calling for terrorist attacks against American targets. It was signed by Saudi terrorist supporter Mohammed Al-Massari and Omar Bakri, head of the Al-Muhajiroon, and was endorsed by 60 organizations that are based in the United Kingdom. It instructed Muslims living in the United States: “You have first to renounce the residency or acquire citizenship, then start military activities if physically capable. You are then at liberty to fight them everywhere in the world or re-enter the realm clandestinely and wreak havoc, obviously facing charges as spy, terrorist, etc.”
On Feb. 23, 1998, a second fatwa was issued, entitled “World Islamic Front’s Statement Urging Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders.” It called for killing Americans because of their “occupation of the holy Arab Peninsula and Jerusalem” and their “oppressing the Muslim nations,” and concluded, “in compliance with God’s order, we issue the following fatwa to all Muslims: The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies—civilian and military—is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy Mosque [Mecca] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of the lands of Islam, defeated, and unable to threaten any Muslims. We—with God’s help—call on every Muslim who believes in God and wishes to be rewarded to comply with God’s order to kill the Americans.”
The fatwa, which was widely reported in the London-based Arabic daily Al Quds al Arabi, was signed by Sheikh Osama bin Laden, who, despite his current residence in Afghanistan, continues to maintain a lavish mansion in London; Ayman al Zawahiri, head of the Islamic Group behind the November 1997 massacre at Luxor, Egypt; Abu Yasser Rifai Ahmad Taha, another leader of the Islamic Group, residing in London; and Sheikh Mir Hamza, secretary of the Jamiat ul Ulema e, of Pakistan.
The two fatwas were the subject of testimony by an official of the Central Intelligence Agency on Feb. 23, 1998, before the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, chaired by Sen. John Kyl (R-Ariz.). At Senator Kyl’s request, the CIA Counterterrorism Center provided the subcommittee with a declassified memorandum, titled “Fatwas or Religious Rulings by Militant Islamic Groups Against the United States.” The memorandum stated that “a coalition of Islamic groups in London, and terrorist financier Osama bin Laden, have issued separate fatwas, or religious rulings, calling for attacks on U.S. persons and interests worldwide, and on those of U.S. allies. . . . Both fatwas call for attacks to continue until U.S. forces retreat from Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem. The fatwa from the groups in London also calls for attacks until sanctions on Iraq are lifted. These fatwas are the first from these groups that explicitly justify attacks on American civilians anywhere in the world. Both groups have hinted in the past that civilians are legitimate targets, but this is the first religious ruling sanctifying such attacks.”
Two days before the Aug. 7, 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya, the Islamic Jihad issued a declaration, targetting American interests all over the world. The communiqué accused the CIA of cooperating with Egyptian officials to capture three members of the group in Albania, and extradite them to Egypt where they faced prosecution on capital offenses.
Within hours of the two bombings, a number of London-based groups issued endorsements of the bombings. Supporters of Sharia, headed by Abu Hamza Al-Misri, an Egyptian who was convicted of a capital offense in Egypt, but who enjoys political asylum in London, issued one of the most virulent “endorsements.” Omar Bakri, the head of Al-Muhajiroon, as well as the Islamic Observation Center, the Islamic Jihad organization’s official propaganda and fundraising organization in London, also endorsed the bombings. The Islamic Observation Center was officially licensed by the British government in 1996 to carry out activities in Britain.
Attacks on Yemen
In the third week of December 1998, a London-based terrorist group was planning to launch operations to destabilize the Republic of Yemen. Members of the Ansar Al-Sharia, directed from London by Mustafa Kamel (a.k.a. Abu Hamza Al-Masri, a British citizen and former Afghansi “mujahid,” who trains groups of young people for terrorist activities at his Finsbury Mosque in north London, were arrested on Dec. 23, 1998 in Yemen, as they were planning armed terrorist operations. These terrorists were in contact with the Islamic Army of Abeen-Aden (affiliated with the London-based Egyptian Islamic Jihad), which had kidnapped 16 British and Australian tourists a few days earlier.
A rescue operation on Dec. 29 by the Yemeni security forces resulted in the kidnappers killing three British hostages and one Australian; 12 tourists were freed. British press and, later, government officials, accused the Yemeni security forces of “provoking the murders,” because they refused to negotiate with the terrorists.
In response, the Yemeni authorities did not mince words. In one day, Yemen kicked out the British Scotland Yard officers who had been invited to observe the investigations, withdrew its application to join the British Commonwealth, and announced that a group of British citizens had been arrested while attempting a massive terror-bombing campaign in Aden.
On Jan. 25, Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh demanded from British Prime Minister Tony Blair that Abu Hamza Al-Masri be handed over for trial in Yemen on charges of carrying out terrorist acts in Yemen and several other Arab states. This was expressed in an official message Saleh sent to Blair, conveyed by the British Ambassador to Yemen, Victor Henderson. The London-based daily Al-Hayat reported that, according to government sources in Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, the message from President Saleh stressed that the Yemeni government has the right to demand that the British government hand over Abu Hamza, and evidence and documents which prove its description of Abu Hamza as a “terrorist” and “extremist.”
However, British law does not consider it a crime for individuals and groups based in Britain to plan, incite, or conduct terrorist operations outside Her Majesty’s domains.
Abu Hamza’s case is even more complicated, because he is not only an asylum seeker, but has British citizenship. The Yemeni request came in the context of investigations conducted by the Yemeni security authorities into the group whose members were arrested on Dec. 23, including five British citizens (one of them the son of Abu Hamza) and one French citizen, who were in possession of weapons and explosives and were said to be involved in carrying out “terrorist and destructive plans which undermine Yemen’s security and stability.”
The Yemeni investigations found that Abu Hamza has relations with this group, in addition to his “firm links to the Islamic Army of Aden,” led by Abu Hassan al-Muhdar, who is in custody. Al-Muhdar’s group carried out the kidnapping of the tourists in December 1998. The Yemeni government sources added that the message of the Yemeni President to the British Prime Minister expressed Yemen’s great regret over the “terrorist activities carried out by Abu Hamza al-Masri” and others from the British territories, acts which it said undermine Yemen’s security and stability, as well as similar terrorist acts in several Arab states.
Eight days earlier, Abu Hamza called for killing Yemeni officials if the Yemeni authorities sentenced the kidnappers to death. Replying to a question from the Qatari al-Jazira satellite TV network on Jan. 14, he said: “If Zein al-Abidin al-Muhdar were to be executed, there will be revenge acts and massacres.”
Abu Hamza stated in a televised debate on Jan. 18 that he had been contacted by the leader of the group that carried out the kidnapping before the rescue operation, “and asked me for advice.” Abu Hamza accordingly issued a communiqué and threatened the Yemeni authorities.
The target of these operations has been the government of the Republic of Yemen itself. Abu Hamza made this clear in the televised debate, in which he said that the ultimate goal is to overthrow the secular regime in Sanaa, and that there are supporters in Yemen who are ready to fight for establishing an Islamic state. Al-Muhdar, during his trial in Yemen, confirmed that the objective of his group is to overthrow every secular government in the region.
Formal diplomatic protests to London
This British harboring of international terrorist groups has not gone unnoticed by the nations that have been the targets of this brutality. To date, the British Foreign Office has received formal diplomatic protests from at least ten victimized countries. These include:
Egypt: British asylum for the Islamic Group and Islamic Jihad has been a persistent reason for Egyptian complaints to the British government. In April 1996, Egyptian Interior Minister Hasan al-Alfi told the British Arabic weekly Al-Wasat, “All terrorists come from London. They exist in other European countries, but they start from London.” On Aug. 29, the government daily Al-Ahram reported that the British chargé d’affaires in Cairo was summoned by the Deputy Foreign Minister, and given a letter for Foreign Minister Malcolm Rifkind, protesting Britain’s “double standard policy” and “support for international terrorism.” An official of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry was quoted in the paper, saying, “The asylum law in Britain has provided a safe-haven for terrorists.”
Egypt has been particularly incensed that the British have allowed the Islamic Group/Islamic Jihad to use London as their home-base. Continual demands that Britain extradite Islamic Group leaders Adel Abdul Majid and Adel Tawfiq al Sirri back to Cairo, where they have been sentenced to death in absentia for terrorist crimes, have been rejected.
On Feb. 13, 1997, Egyptian officials told Al-Hayat, that the Egyptian government remains “troubled” and “astonished” by Britain’s decision to allow Abdul Majid to establish officially recognized centers in London, especially after the Egyptian Supreme Court released admissions from several members of the group, at the beginning of 1997, that they had received money and marching orders from Abdul Majid, to carry out bombings and assassinations throughout 1996.
These same officials told the paper that “this only further supports Egypt’s belief that London has become the most prominent center for anti-Egypt Islamic extremist groups,” and that there will continue to be talks on the highest levels “to know the reasons that made the British government allow the establishment of that [Islamic Group] office.”
Following the Luxor massacre, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak launched a personal international crusade to spotlight the role of the British government in harboring and sponsoring the terrorists who have targetted Egypt.
Israel: On March 3, 1996, after a Hamas bomb exploded in a Jerusalem market, killing a dozen people, and a second bomb exploded in Tel Aviv, Israel’s ambassador to London met with Foreign Minister Rifkind to demand that Britain stop protecting the group. In an account of that confrontation, the London Express reported the next day, “Israeli security sources say the fanatics behind the bombings are funded and controlled through secret cells operating here. Only days before the latest terror campaign began, military chiefs in Jerusalem detailed how Islamic groups raised £7 million in donations from British organizations. The ambassador, Moshe Raviv, yesterday shared Israel’s latest information about the Hamas operations. A source at the Israeli embassy said last night, `It is not the first time we have pointed out that Islamic terrorists are in Britain.’ “
The British Foreign Office officially responded to the Israeli ambassador: “We have seen no proof to support allegations that funds raised by the Hamas in the U.K. are used directly in support of terrorist acts elsewhere.”
In early September 1997, Shin Bet chief Ami Ayalon travelled to Britain, according to the Sunday Telegraph, after investigations determined that the two Hamas suicide bombers who killed 15 people in a Jerusalem market on July 30, arrived in Israel on British passports: “Israeli officials are said to have become increasingly frustrated by what they see as British foot-dragging in curbing the activities of Palestinian hard-liners. The Israeli government has made repeated calls for action to be taken against militants, said to be operating freely in the British capital.”
France: In late 1995, the GIA’s London headquarters ordered a terror war against France, leading France to loudly protest to the British government, according to the Nov. 6, 1995 London Daily Telegraph, in an article entitled “Britain Harbours Paris Bomber.” On Nov. 3, 1995, the French daily Le Figaro wrote, under the headline “The Providential Fog of London,” of the GIA’s bombing spree: “The trail of Boualem Bensaid, GIA leader in Paris, leads to Great Britain. The British capital has served as logistical and financial base for the terrorists.”
The next day, Le Parisien reported that the author of the GIA terror attack inside France was former Afghan mujahideen leader Abou Farres, who was given a residence visa in London, despite the fact that he was already wanted in connection with the bombing of the Algiers Airport. Farres’s London-based organization, according to Le Parisien, recruits Islamic youth from the poor suburbs of Paris, and sends them to Afghanistan, where they are trained as terrorists.
Algeria also filed strong protests to the British Foreign Office over the harboring of the GIA in London.
Peru: The Peruvian government has made repeated requests to the British government, since 1992, demanding the extradition of Adolfo Héctor Olaechea, the London-based head of overseas operations for Shining Path, as well as the shutdown of its fundraising and support operations there. Both requests have been refused to this day. Moreover, in 1992, during the worst of the Shining Path offensive in Peru, Channel 4, of the Independent Broadcasting Authority, a dependency of the British Home Office, coordinated with Olaechea to send two journalists to Peru, where they contacted Shining Path units, and filmed a highly favorable report. The film was broadcast throughout Britain by Channel 4 on July 10, 1992, despite an official protest from the Peruvian government.
Turkey: On Aug. 20, 1996, the Turkish government formally protested to the British government for allowing the Kurdish Workers Party to continue its London-based MED TV broadcasts into Turkey, despite documentation that the broadcasts were being used to convey marching orders to PKK terrorists there.
Germany: The Bonn government issued a diplomatic note to London, too, following a March 1996 MED TV broadcast in which PKK leader Apo Ocalan called for murdering German Chancellor Kohl and Foreign Minister Kinkel. According to the German press, the Interior Ministry stated concerning the London station: “We have requested our colleagues in neighboring countries in Europe to put measures into effect in order to not compromise internal security in our own country.”
Libya: On Feb. 7, 1997, the Libyan Foreign Ministry submitted an official protest to the British government, over Britain’s permitting of the Militant Islamic Group to operate on British soil. The letter cited the recent assassination attempt against Colonel Qaddafi by members of the London-headquartered group, and read, in part, “The decision by Britain, which is a permanent member state of the [UN] Security Council, to shelter elements of that terrorist group who are wanted to stand trial in Libya and to enable them to openly announce their destructive intentions against a UN member state, namely Libya, . . . contravenes international charges and treaties.”
Nigeria: On Feb. 28, 1997, the British government issued a denial that it had refused to extradite three Nigerians suspected of a series of bombings in the major city of Lagos in January 1997. The three men were leaders of the National Democratic Coalition (Nadeco).
Yemen: In January 1999, the government of Yemen filed formal diplomatic protests with Britain for the harboring of the terrorists who carried out bombings and kidnappings.
Russia: On Nov. 14, 1999, the Russian Foreign Ministry filed a formal protest to Andrew Wood, Britain’s Ambassador in Moscow, after two Russian television journalists were brutally beaten as they attempted to film a London conference, where bin Laden’s International Islamic Front, Ansar as-Shariah, Al-Muhajiroon, and other Islamist groups called for a jihad against Russia, in retaliation for the Russian military actions in Chechnya.
One of the victims of the beating, ORT cameraman Alexandr Panov, told Kommersant daily that he was “very surprised at the indifference of the British government. Some of the participants at the `charity’ event were people wanted by Interpol, but Scotland Yard, although evidently aware of their residence [in Britain], does not react.”
On Nov. 10, 1999, the Russian government had already filed a formal diplomatic démarche via the Russian Embassy in London, protesting the attacks on the Russian journalists, and also the admissions by Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed, the head of the “political wing” of the bin Laden organization, Al Muhajiroon, that the group was recruiting Muslims in England to go to Chechnya to fight the Russian Army. Bakri’s organization operates freely from offices in the London suburb of Lee Valley, where they occupy two rooms at a local computer center, and maintain their own Internet company. Bakri has admitted that “retired” British military officers are training new recruits in Lee Valley, before they are sent off to camps in Afghanistan or Pakistan, or are smuggled directly into Chechnya.
On Nov. 20, 1999, the Daily Telegraph admitted, following the release of the U.S. State Department’s updated list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, that “Britain is now an international center for Islamic militancy on a huge scale . . . and the capital is the home to a bewildering variety of radical Islamic fundamentalist movements, many of which make no secret of their commitment to violence and terrorism to achieve their goals.”
India: In December 1999, following the conclusion of the Indian Airlines hijacking, the Indian government protested the fact that British officials publicly stated that they would allow one of the freed Kashmiri terrorists, Ahmed Omar Sheikh, to return to London, because there “were no charges filed against him in Britain.” The British government, facing growing international pressure, apparently has backed down from this decision.