History > 2009 > UK > Terrorism (I)
Airline bomb plot leader
to serve minimum of 40 years in
September 14, 2009
From Times Online
Sean O’Neill, Crime and Security Editor
The leader of the terrorist plot to bomb seven transatlantic
airliners out of the sky will be aged 65 before he can apply for release from
jail in 2046, a judge ruled yesterday.
Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 28, stood with his head down reading from a prayer book as Mr
Justice Henriques passed a life sentence with a minimum 40-year tariff at the
end of an investigation and trial process lasting more than three years.
The judge told Ali that he had been convicted of “the most grave and wicked
conspiracy ever proven within this jurisdiction” and will never be released if
he remains a serious danger to the public.
The airline plot envisaged suicide bombers detonating liquid bombs disguised as
soft drinks on board flights to American and Canadian cities.
Woolwich Crown Court, which was packed for the sentencing, heard the judge tell
Ali: “The intention was to perpetrate a terrorist outrage to stand alongside the
events of September 11 2001 in world history... You sought the attention of the
world and you have it now.”
Two other members of Ali’s “inner circle”, who were convicted with him of the
airline plot last week, were also jailed for life.
Assad Sarwar, 29, must serve at least 36 years and Tanvir Hussain, 28, will be
in prison for a minimum of 32 years.
The judge said that the plot was at an advanced stage when it was foiled -
target flights had been selected, martyrdom videos recorded and viable explosive
devices were under construction.
He added: “Had this conspiracy not been interrupted, a massive loss of life
would almost certainly have resulted - and if the detonation was over land, the
number of victims would have been even greater still.”
Ali, from Walthamstow, east London, was the ringleader of the plot in Britain -
engaged for eight months in training, planning and recruiting others for what he
called “this blessed operation”.
He was the “producer, director, cameraman, part-author and actor” in the
martyrdom videos recorded which were to be released to the media after the bombs
had exploded and thousands of innocent people were dead.
The former mobile phone salesman was, the judge added, “highly intelligent and
extremely able” but he had become “a driven and determined extremist with
boundless energy to lead a terrorist outrage of massive proportion”.
However, the judge held back from imposing a whole-life sentence on Ali saying
he had to distinguish between people who conspired to carry out mass murder and
those who attempted or actually perpetrated it.
The sentence on Ali is identical to those imposed on the four men who tried to
detonate rucksack bombs on Tube trains and a bus in London on July 21 2005.
The judge also took into account the fact that “ultimate control” of the terror
plot lay not with Ali but with people in Pakistan.
E-mails produced in court after Crown lawyers bypassed the bar on intercept
evidence, had been “vital” in establishing the role of terrorist bosses in
One message , sent from Pakistan on July 25 2006, said: “We need to get a move
on because I have gone through all the hassle of getting the money. Can you
please explain why it is taking so long?”
On August 6 - three days before his arrest - Ali emailed Pakistan: “I have done
my prep. All I have to do now is sort out the opening timetable and bookings.”
Over the next two days he downloaded airline timetables and selected his seven
Sarwar, from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, had been trained in bombmaking in
Pakistan and was the cell’s chemist and quartermaster.
The judge said he was “a student of jihad and martyrdom” who had acquired enough
hyrdogen peroxide to manufacture 20 bottle bombs.
But he imposed a lower sentence because, he said, Sarwar was neither the leader
nor the recruiter and was less ruthless than Ali.
Hussain, from Leyton, east London, had become embroiled in the plot, the judge
said, because of his longstanding loyalty to his childhood friend Ali. He played
a key role although was not as central as Ali and Sarwar and was therefore
entitled to a lesser sentence.
All three were told, however, that if they remained committed extremists they
would not be eligible for parole.
Umar Islam, 31, a father of three children who was convicted of conspiracy to
murder, was given a life-term with a minimum tariff of 22 years after he was
convicted of conspiracy to murder. He was sentenced on the basis of the jury’s
finding that he did not know the detail of the airline plot.
The Crown is seeking a retrial of three other defendants in the case - Waheed
Zaman, Arafat Khan and Ibrahim Savant - after the jury failed to agree verdicts
on them last week.
Airline bomb plot
leader to serve minimum of 40 years in jail, Ts, 14.9.2009,
Mass murder at 30,000 feet: Islamic extremists guilty
of airline bomb plot
September 7, 2009
From Times Online
Three men were found guilty today of conspiracy to murder
thousands of passengers and crew in an unprecedented airline bomb plot that
could have proved as deadly as the 9/11 attacks.
After a retrial at Woolwich Crown Court, jurors found the ringleader, Abdulla
Ahmed, and two other men, Assad Sarwar and Tanvir Hussain, guilty of plotting to
blow up airliners en route from Heathrow to the United States.
Another defendant, Umar Islam, was found guilty of a more general charge of
conspiracy to murder because jurors could not decide whether he knew of the
specific targets in the plot three years ago.
Three other men, Arafat Khan, Ibrahim Savant and Waheed Zaman, were found not
guilty of conspiracy to blow up aircraft but could face a retrial on the more
general conspiracy to murder charge because jurors could not reach a verdict.
The eighth defendant, Muslim convert Donald Stewart-Whyte, was found not guilty
on all charges but had pleaded guilty to a firearms offence.
Ali, 28, was the leader of an East London terror cell inspired by al-Qaeda, the
court heard. He had planned to detonate home-made liquid bombs in suicide
attacks on transatlantic aircraft bound for major north American cities.
It was the most complex and daring British-based terrorist conspiracy in modern
times and could have caused thousands of deaths in the air and on the ground.
Counter-terrorist police, the security services and prosecutors spent more than
£35 million foiling the plot and bringing Ali to justice.
The arrest of the gang in August 2006 sparked tight restrictions on carrying
liquids on to aircraft that led to travel chaos and which remain largely in
place three years later, although detectives complained that their operation had
been compromised by the fact that news of the plot had leaked out from
The guilty verdict will come as an enormous relief for Government ministers who
endured heavy criticism for introducing the draconian luggage restrictions.
It will also be seen as a vindication of the decision to retry Ali after he was
found guilty of conspiracy to cause explosions last September. The previous jury
at the South London court failed to reach verdicts on the specific airline plot.
British-born Ali, of Walthamstow, was inspired by the July 7 bombers and Osama
bin Laden and considered taking his baby son on his suicide mission.
He planned to smuggle home-made bombs disguised as soft drinks on to passenger
jets run by United Airlines, American Airlines and Air Canada.
The hydrogen peroxide devices would have been assembled and detonated in mid-air
by a team of suicide bombers.
Ali singled out seven flights to San Francisco, Toronto, Montreal, Washington,
New York and Chicago that departed within two-and-a-half hours of each other.
Authorities on both sides of the Atlantic would have been left powerless to stop
the destruction once the first bomb exploded.
Police said the plot was drawn up in Pakistan with detailed instructions passed
to Ali during frequent trips to its lawless border with Afghanistan.
They believe a mystery al-Qaeda bombmaker was responsible for the ingenious
liquid bomb design, concealed within 500ml Oasis or Lucozade bottles.
Surveillance teams watched Ali on his return to Britain as he assembled his
terror cell, gathered materials and identified targets.
Undercover officers looked on as the unemployed former shop worker used cash to
purchase a £138,000 second-floor flat in Forest Road, Walthamstow.
They planted a secret bug that revealed it was converted into a bomb factory
where Ali met others to construct the bombs.
The flat was also used as a location for Ali and others to record suicide videos
threatening further attacks against the West.
In his video Ali warned the British public to expect "floods of martyr
operations" that would leave body parts scattered in the streets.
Ali was watched as he used public phone boxes, mobile phones and anonymous
e-mail accounts to keep in touch with mystery terrorist controllers in Pakistan.
On his arrest, he was found to be carrying an elaborate and damning blueprint
for the plot scrawled in a battered pocket diary. Airport security arrangements
and details of flights, including the seven highlighted services, were
discovered on a computer memory stick in another pocket.
All the defendants except Mr Stewart-Whyte, a Muslim convert, admitted
conspiracy to cause a public nuisance and will be sentenced next Monday.
The jury took a total of 54 hours and 11 minutes to reach their verdicts in the
Ali, wearing a dark blue sweater, showed no emotion as the verdicts were read
out, while Hussain nodded his head as the verdicts were read and shrugged his
shoulders as he left the secure dock at the back of the court.
Mr Stewart-Whyte looked to the ground as he was cleared before smiling.
Judge Mr Justice Henriques thanked the jury for their service over the last six
months of the trial and encouraged them to attend the sentencing hearing on
Charges in full
Abdulla Ahmed Ali, Assad Sarwar and Tanvir Hussain
Guilty of conspiracy to cause explosions on aircraft, conspiracy to murder,
conpsiracy to cause explosions and conspiracy to cause public nuisance.
Guilty of conspiracy to murder; conspiracy to cause a public nuisance. Jury
failed to reach a verdict on conspiracy to cause explosions on aircraft.
Ibrahim Savant, Arafat Khan, Waheed Zaman
Guilty of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance. Not Guilty of conspiracy to
cause explosions on aircraft. Jury failed to reach verdicts on conspiracy to
Not guilty of conspiracy to cause explosions on aircraft and conspiracy to
murder. Admitted firearms and cannabis possession charge.
Mass murder at 30,000
feet: Islamic extremists guilty of airline bomb plot, Ts, 7.9.2009,
Torture – new claim of secret UK complicity
Papers suggest intelligence service knew men were being
Sunday 26 July 2009
Guardian.co.uk, 18.38 BST
This article was first published on guardian.co.uk at 18.38 BST on Sunday 26
It appeared in the Guardian on Monday 27 July 2009 on p1 of the Top stories
It was last updated at 18.38 BST on Sunday 26 July 2009.
A businessman who was held and mistreated in the United Arab
Emirates following the London bombings believes he has evidence that British
consular officials asked permission from the UK's own security services to visit
him while he was detained.
Heavily redacted documents seen by the Guardian appear to indicate that the
request to visit Alam Ghafoor was made to an unidentified British intelligence
officer and not to officials in the UAE.
Ghafoor is one of several British men who allege there has been British
complicity in their detention and torture while abroad. The businessman, who is
38 and from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, was detained and tortured while on a
business trip to Dubai following the London bombings in July 2005.
Ghafoor and his business partner, Mohammed Rafiq Siddique, flew to the UAE on 4
July. They were dragged out of a restaurant as they dined on 21 July. The two
British Muslims say they were threatened with torture, deprived of sleep,
subjected to stress positions and told they would be killed and fed to dogs.
Ghafoor has obtained copies of correspondence from consular officials to the
Foreign Office in London while he was in custody that show those officials were
asking someone other than the UAE authorities for permission to see him. Who
that person is, and who they represented, is unclear, as their name was censored
before the copies were handed over. Some of the reports were so heavily redacted
by the time Ghafoor received them that the only words not blanked are his name.
In one email, dated 25 July, 2005, a consular official wrote: "Today I phoned
[name withheld] trying to get permission to see them. First [...] told me that
there was no need because they would be deported soon. I asked if we could see
them today or tomorrow. [...] told me that [...] would check with the UAE
authorities... and would let me know. I didn't hear from [...] since then.
Tomorrow I'll speak to [...] again."
Ghafoor, who was released without charge on 30 July, is convinced that the
individual to which consular officials were turning for permission to see him
was a British intelligence officer. At the time of his interrogation, Ghafoor
was told that British security services had requested his questioning.
MI5 and MI6 officers who question terrorism suspects they know are being
tortured, are acting in line with a secret government interrogation policy,
drawn up after the 9/11 attacks. The policy states: "we cannot be party to such
ill treatment nor can we be seen to condone it" and that "it is important that
you do not engage in any activity yourself that involves inhumane or degrading
treatment of prisoners." It also advises intelligence officers that if detainees
"are not within our custody or control, the law does not require you to
intervene" to prevent torture.
According to Philippe Sands, QC, one of the world's leading experts in
international human rights law, the policy almost certainly breaches
international human rights.
When Ghafoor asked why he had been picked up, he was shown a photograph and told
he resembled one of the 7/7 suicide bombers and must be related to him. His
business partner, Siddique, who was also detained and tortured, says he was told
he must have been involved in the bombings – not only did he share a name with
the bombers – but he lived in Dewsbury, the same Yorkshire town.
Ghafoor said his interrogators questioned his sexuality, as he is not married,
and insulted him because he was unable to wash, saying he smelled. He was also
punched in the groin.
One interrogator said to him: "In the morning you will be thrown into a pit and
the dogs will tear you to bits and I will watch it and enjoy it."
Eventually, he agreed to sign a false confession admitting he was a friend of
the bombers and had organised the London attacks. "I wrote a false confession
and put crazy things in it like 'I have constant contact with Saddam Hussein and
Osama bin Laden'," he said.
He was told he would be shot by a firing squad the following morning.
When Ghafoor returned home, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress
disorder. His relationship with his partner broke down and he suffered
nightmares, anxiety and paranoia.
Ghafoor is furious that there has been no explanation for his treatment, nor an
apology. "I would like to know why I was put through this hell and I would like
someone to be accountable."
Clive Stafford-Smith, the legal director of Reprieve, a not-for-profit human
rights organisation, said: "It is impossible for the victims of torture to move
on without truth and reconciliation, yet the British government seems intent on
covering up what it has done."
He added: "Until recently, the British security services were told to
effectively turn a blind eye to torture."
The Foreign Office said in a statement that Ghafoor and Siddique were not
detained at Britain's request. "British consular staff visited them on July 30,
2005 to ensure their welfare needs were being addressed. Their detention was a
matter for the Dubai authorities ... they were not detained at the request of
the UK government. We do not participate in, solicit, encourage or condone the
use of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment for any purpose.
"Wherever allegations of wrongdoing are made, they are taken seriously and
investigated as appropriate."
Torture – new claim
of secret UK complicity, G, 26.7.2009,
Former public schoolboy Isa Ibrahim convicted of planning
July 17, 2009
From Times Online
A former public schoolboy who converted to an extremist strand of Islam and
built a viable suicide bomb vest was convicted today of planning “carnage” at a
crowded shopping centre.
Andrew Ibrahim, 20, who changed his name to Isa in 2007 after his religious
conversion, was arrested after members of the Muslim community in Bristol became
concerned about his behaviour and contacted police.
Ibrahim, the son of a hospital consultant, was convicted of making an explosive
with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury to property in the UK in
He was also found guilty of a charge of preparing terrorist acts by purchasing
material to make an explosive, making that explosive, buying material to
detonate the explosive, carrying out “reconnaissance” before the act and “making
an improvised suicide vest in which to then detonate an explosive substance”.
Ibrahim was given an indeterminate sentence at Winchester Crown Court and told
that he should serve a minimum of 10 years.
Flanked by four prison officers, Ibrahim showed no emotion as the jury delivered
its majority verdict.
His mother fled the court in tears as the sentence was passed.
Ibrahim's conviction, after a month-long trial, has been hailed as the first
visible success for the Prevent element of the national counter-terrorism
strategy which tries to enlist the help of British Muslims in the fight against
The alert was raised when an imam contacted a Special Branch officer, who was on
a canal boat holiday at the time, and said that he was worried about the young
convert’s demeanour and language. He also mentioned seeing burn marks on his
Initially all police had was the first name “Isa” and the fact that he was a
Detectives found Ibrahim — who was homeless for a period after becoming a heroin
addict and estranged from his family — within 36 hours at the GP’s surgery where
he collected his methadone prescription.
Officers were making inquiries of the staff when Ibrahim walked in and was
After he was held, police discovered his flat on Comb Paddock, a cul-de-sac in
the suburb of Westbury on Trym where he had been manufacturing explosives,
wiring detonators and stitching a suicide vest.
A search of the flat in April 2008 revealed a quantity of the high explosive
Hexamethylene Triperoxide Diamine (HMTD) in a biscuit tin in the fridge, a crude
detonator circuit under the kitchen sink and the vest, with pockets to carry the
explosives, hanging on the bedroom door.
Further inquiries revealed that Ibrahim had filmed a test-firing of his
explosive mixture and stored the footage on his computer. CCTV footage from the
Broadmead shopping centre showed him making a reconnaissance trip during which
he made notes in his mobile phone. One piece of text read: “Food Court dense
Detective Chief Inspector Kevin Hazell of Avon and Somerset police told The
Times that without help from Bristol’s Muslim communities Ibrahim might not have
“Without that information I’m not sure we would have ever found him because he
was operating alone,” said Mr Hazell.
“If he had done what he was planning we would have had carnage in the centre of
“The community convinced me. If the community is uncomfortable, if they have a
gut feeling, then I’ve got to go with that.”
The city has a diverse Muslim population — with communities originating in
Pakistan, Bangladesh, Somalia, Iraq, Algeria and Afghanistan — and 11 mosques or
meeting houses. Representatives of a number of communities expressed concern
Mr Hazell said: “They didn’t like his view of Islam, particularly his praise for
suicide bombers and were especially alarmed when he had a heated row with a
“The calls to us came in when he showed some people the injuries on his hands,
including marks from shards of glass, which he said were caused when a bottle
blew up when he was mixing chemicals”.
Mr Justice Butterfield told Ibrahim that, even though he had not made a
detonation device or completed the suicide vest, “your preparation to inflict an
atrocity on the innocent civilians of Bristol were advanced”.
“You are a dangerous young man, well capable of acting on the views you held in
the spring of 2008.”
He added that he considered Ibrahim to be a “continuing danger” to the public
but gave a substantial discount on the minimum term imposed due to the fact that
he had acted alone and because of his age.
“You were, in my judgment, a lonely and angry young person at the time of these
events, with a craving for attention,” said the judge.
Ibrahim was born Andrew Michael Philip, the younger of two sons of an Egyptian
father and an English mother who, although separated, both attended sections of
Nassif Ibrahim, a Coptic Christian, is a consultant pathologist at Frenchay
Hospital who, the court heard, collects antique pottery, stamps, coins and Nazi
memorabilia. Ibrahim’s mother, Valerie, works as an administrator at Bristol
University Medical School.
The would-be bomber was educated for a period as a boarder at Downside School,
near Bath, where Auberon Waugh was a pupil. His elder brother Peter is an Oxford
University graduate who is now studying to become a barrister.
But Ibrahim drifted into casual drug use at the age of 12 and by his late teens
was a heavy user of heroin and crack cocaine. He told the jury that his mother
had asked him to leave the family home after discovering his drug use. At the
time of his arrest he was selling the Big Issue to help pay for a £60-per-day
In court, Ibrahim denied making a bomb with intent to endanger life. He said
that he was making explosives to occupy his time while he struggled to come off
David Spens, QC, for the defence, asked the jury if his client was “an Islamic
extremist intent on carnage and mass murder in the heart of Bristol?” or “a
weak, lonely figure living much of his life in a fantasy world” and “a prat”?
The jury’s verdict was that Ibrahim was a would-be terrorist.
Mr Hazell added: “This is the first time that Prevent has led to the thwarting
of a suspected terrorist incident and shows the importance of building trust
Former public schoolboy
Isa Ibrahim convicted of planning 'carnage', Ts, 17.7.2009,
Al Qaeda Says It Executed Briton
June 4, 2009
The New York Times
By ALAN COWELL and SOUAD MEKHENNET
LONDON — An Al Qaeda affiliate in North Africa said on Wednesday that it had
killed a Briton it abducted in Mali last January.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown said there was “strong reason to believe” that the
captive had been executed. He called the killing “barbaric.”
The Briton, identified as Edwin Dyer, was taken hostage on January 22 along with
a Swiss citizen and two other tourists in Niger, close to the border with Mali,
but was held in Mali.
The group, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, had demanded the release of Abu
Qatada, a Jordanian-born Palestinian cleric held in Britain whom a Spanish judge
has called the leading Al Qaeda lieutenant in Europe. Britain has said he is a
“significant international terrorist” but he has denied belonging to Al Qaeda.
On Wednesday, the group announced on an Islamist Web site that it killed the
Briton on May 31, one day after the expiration of its second deadline for its
demand to be met.
The password-protected Web site, called Al Falojah, carried a two-page message
in Arabic saying the British authorities had been given time to negotiate Mr.
Dyer’s release but had shown indifference to his fate.
“The British captive was killed so that he, and with him the British state, may
taste a tiny portion of what innocent Muslims taste every day at the hands of
the Crusader and Jewish coalition to the east and to the west of the world,” the
statement said. It did not say how or where Mr. Dyer was killed.
In a statement, Prime Minister Brown said: “This tragedy reinforces our
commitment to confront terrorism. It strengthens our determination never to
concede to the demands of terrorists, nor to pay ransoms.”
“I want those who would use terror against British citizens to know beyond doubt
that we and our allies will pursue them relentlessly, and that they will meet
the justice they deserve.”
The BBC said Britain had refused to pay a ransom.
Britain is seeking to deport Abu Qatada to Jordan, but a British judge has ruled
that he would not face a fair trial there. Abu Qatada, whose real name is Omar
Mahmoud Othman, has been convicted in Jordan of terrorism offenses in his
absence and faces a life sentence.
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of
two Canadian diplomats and four European tourists in the past five months. The
two diplomats and two of the tourists were freed in Mali in April, Reuters
Last month, Algerian media reported the group was demanding $14 million to
release Mr. Dyer and the Swiss national.
Mr. Dyer had been working in Austria and spoke fluent German, according to
British news reports. He was in West Africa on a tour organized by a German
travel operator and was abducted after attending a cultural festival at
Anderamboukane in Mali.
At first it was believed that the abductors were Tuareg rebels, who have
regularly clashed with Mali’s army, but in February the Al Qaeda affiliate
In mid-April, Mr. Dyer’s captors issued an initial demand for the release of Abu
Qatada within 20 days. The deadline was then extended by 15 days to May 30,
British news reports said.
Alan Cowell reported from London, and Souad Mekhennet from Frankfurt,
Al Qaeda Says It
Executed Briton, NYT, 4.6.2009,
UK: Most Terrorism Suspects Freed
May 13, 2009
Filed at 9:41 a.m. ET
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
The New York Times
LONDON (AP) -- More than half the people arrested in Britain on suspicion of
terrorism since 2001 have been freed without being charged, the country's law
and order ministry said Wednesday.
Britain's Home Office said 1,471 people were arrested as suspected terrorists
between September 2001 and March 2008, the first time it has compiled data on
the often controversial arrests.
Of those, fewer than 200 have been convicted as a terrorists -- highlighting
questions about police tactics, particularly following high-profile raids on
Muslims communities that have failed to bring convictions.
The statistics show British Asians are at least twice as likely to be arrested
by terror police than members of other ethnic groups, a trend that has fueled
resentment in the Muslim community. Of those arrested by anti-terror police over
the last four years, 303 -- or 42 percent -- were classified as Asian, more than
double the number classified as white.
Last month, British police released all 12 suspects rounded up in a series of
dramatic anti-terror raids in northern England, failing to charge any of the men
with an offense. Most were Pakistani Muslims living in Britain.
Their release was an embarrassment for British authorities. Prime Minister
Gordon Brown said at the time of the arrests that police had disrupted ''a very
big terrorist plot.''
Figures released Wednesday showed that 819 people arrested under terror laws
have been freed by police. The data shows that only 7 percent -- or 102 people
-- were convicted of an offense under Britain's terrorism laws and 94 others
convicted of terrorist related offenses under other criminal laws, like
conspiracy to murder.
About 450 others also arrested were mostly charged with offenses not considered
to be related to terrorism, like overstaying immigration visa, theft or fraud.
The Home Office report gave no information on how many of those were ultimately
Security officials and police say that since 2001, more than a dozen terrorist
plots have been attempted in Britain -- most of which have been thwarted by law
Attacks on London's transit system on July 7, 2005 killed 52 people and four
''The government is committed to investing in our counter-terrorist threat and
wherever possible seeks to prosecute those involved with terrorism,'' said
Vernon Coaker, a British policing and security minister. ''Where we can't
prosecute we seek to deport and where we can't deport we seek to disrupt.''
Britain's Home Office could not immediately provide details of the number of
people deported following terrorism investigations.
UK: Most Terrorism
Suspects Freed, NYT, 13.5.2009,
Muslim men cleared of 7/7 plot but jailed for attending terror
There can be no à la carte citizenship, pair told
Thursday 30 April 2009
Two British Muslims cleared of helping the 7 July bombers were
yesterday accused by a judge of betraying the country that had given them a
home, as he jailed them for seven years each for planning to attend a terrorist
training camp in Pakistan.
Mr Justice Gross told Waheed Ali and Mohammed Shakil their "firm intention" of
going to a camp in Baluchistan, which trained people to fight with the Taliban
against UK forces in Afghanistan, was no "one-off naive frolic by a pair of
Sentencing the pair, from Beeston, Leeds, at Kingston crown court, he said those
in a democratic society who disagreed with the government's foreign policy had
three options: to put up with it, engage in legitimate political debate or
leave. "There can be no à la carte citizenship," the judge said.
"It's not open to you to take the benefits of living in Beeston, of our decent
and tolerant society, when you choose, and then to consort with those who choose
to kill innocent armed forces. By choosing to attend such a camp you betrayed
the country that has given you and your families a home."
He accepted that Ali, 25, and Shakil, 32, did not plan to go on to Afghanistan
after the camp, but said they had shown an "admitted, averred and long-term
commitment" to jihad overseas. Ali had been to training camps twice before, once
with the 7 July mastermind, Mohammed Siddique Khan. In 2001, they went to
Pakistan and then close to the Taliban frontline in Afghanistan. Shakil went to
a camp in 1999 and in 2003 travelled with Khan to train in Malakand, Pakistan,
alongside Omar Khyam, the ringleader of a plot to explode massive fertiliser
bombs in the UK.
Ali, who was born in Bangladesh, and Shakil, originally from Pakistan, were
found not guilty on Tuesday of conspiring with the four 7 July bombers to cause
explosions. They had been accused of carrying out a reconnaissance mission to
choose targets in London with two of the attackers, Hasib Hussain and Jermaine
Lindsay, seven months before the blasts that killed 52 and injured hundreds.
After eight days of deliberations the jury cleared them unanimously, along with
their friend Sadeer Saleem, 28. But they found Ali and Shakil guilty of
conspiracy to attend a terrorist training camp.
The pair were arrested as they were about to board a flight to Pakistan in March
2007, carrying a suitcase containing heavy duty torches, Swiss army knives and
water purification tablets.
The judge said the they were convicted on "overwhelming evidence".
Ali and Shakil could have been sentenced to up to 10 years. Because they have
already spent more than two years in jail on remand, they will be released in
less than 18 months.
The trial had heard that about 1,000 young Muslims from Britain visited training
camps in Pakistan between 1998 and 2003, a figure Gross said was "disturbingly
Hazel Webb, whose daughter Laura, 29, was killed in the 7 July bombings, said
she was extremely disappointed that Ali and Shakil had not been given the
maximum possible sentence.
The three men were the only people to be tried over the bombings, and senior
security officials have conceded that no one is now likely to be brought to
Muslim men cleared of 7/7 plot but jailed for
attending terror camps, G, 30.4.2009,
Police officer shot dead in Ulster attack
March 10, 2009
From The Times
David Sharrock, Ireland Correspondent
A police officer was shot dead in a republican stronghold in Northern Ireland
last night. He was the third member of the security forces to be killed in 48
The dangerous and sudden escalation in violence threatened to draw a
counter-reaction from loyalist paramilitaries and destabilise the peace process.
“We are tonight staring into the abyss,” said Dolores Kelly, a member of the
nationalist party the SDLP who sits on Northern Ireland’s policing board. “I
would appeal to people to pull back.”
Two police officers were responding to a call about “suspicious activity” near a
school in the Lismore Avenue area of Craigavon, Co Armagh, at about 9.45pm when
their patrol cars were attacked. The gunmen were reported to have fired from
wasteground. One officer was killed, the second injured.
The estate is reputed to harbour supporters of a splinter group of the
Provisionals styling themselves the Continuity IRA. More shots were reported
later. Police carrying machineguns were guarding the scene, with helicopters
Last week MI5 raised the threat level in the Province from “substantial” to
“severe”. On Friday night Hugh Orde, the Chief Constable of Northern Ireland,
announced that the Armed Forces Special Reconnaissance Regiment was being
drafted in to watch suspected dissident republican terrorists.
On Saturday two unarmed soldiers were shot dead as they took delivery of pizzas
at Massereene Barracks in Co Antrim. Two other soldiers and two pizza
deliverymen were injured. The Real IRA, a splinter group of the Provisional IRA
opposed to power-sharing, said it had carried out the murders. It made no
apology for shooting and wounding the civilians because, it said, they were
“collaborators of British rule in Ireland”.
The officer is the first member of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI)
to be killed by terrorists since the force took over from the Royal Ulster
Constabulary in 2001.The last police officers to be murdered by the Provisional
IRA were Roland Graham and David Johnston. The community constables had been on
foot patrol in Lurgan in 1997 when gunmen ran up and shot them in the backs of
Sinn Féin was swift to condemn last night’s shooting, having waited 14 hours to
respond to Saturday’s incident. John O’Dowd, the local Sinn Féin Assembly
member, said that it was an attack on the peace process and would do nothing to
advance Irish republican goals. He said that the officers were responding to a
call from a member of the public. “It is not clear whether it was a hoax or
not,” he added.
Loyalist paramilitaries have so far resisted reaction, despite numerous attacks
against police officers over the past 18 months. But while the deaths of
soldiers is regarded as an attack on the British state, the murder of a local
police officer may be interpreted as an attack on the local unionist community.
Fresh graffiti in the area in a loyalist area of nearby Lurgan yesterday said:
“An eye 4 an eye — back 2 war”.
Earlier in the day while on a visit to Northern Ireland, Gordon Brown insisted
that the peace process was unshakable. On a hastily arranged trip, he visited
the scene of Saturday’s shooting and met local political leaders. He said:
“These are callous murderers, these are terrorists who showed no sympathy
towards people who were dying . . . these people have got to be hunted down. The
political process will not and can never be shaken. In fact, the political
process is now unshakeable.”
Since the start of last year, dissident groups have mounted 18 gun and bomb
Mr O’Dowd said of last night’s killing: “This is an attack on the peace process.
It is wrong and it is counter-productive and I would extend my condolences to
the dead man’s family. As with what happened in Antrim over the weekend, we
condemn it. Whoever carried out this shooting was not doing so to advance Irish
republican or democratic goals. They have no strategy to deliver a United
“This is a time for strong political leadership and cool heads. It is a time for
all political parties and the two governments to recommit to the principles
which have underpinned the peace process and delivered the stability of recent
David Simpson, Democratic Unionist Party MP for the Upper Bann constituency,
where the shooting took place, said: “What we have seen is a deliberate and
sustained effort by terrorist murderers to try and drag Northern Ireland back to
the worst days of Ulster’s past. I utterly and completely condemn the criminals
responsible for this latest outrage and I hope that the vermin responsible for
it are brought to justice immediately.
“Events such as the murders at Massereene and this latest terrorist atrocity
show us all the need for a swift, co-ordinated and ruthless security and
A spokesman for the PSNI said that officers were called out to Lismore Manor at
about 9.45pm by a member of the public. “Two police vehicles arrived in the
area. Both officers alighted from the vehicles. It appears gunshots were fired
at them. One officer was struck by gunfire and subsequently he has died from his
Police officer shot dead
in Ulster attack, NYT, 10.3.2009,
Brown holds security talks in Northern Ireland
PM arrives at Massereene barracks
to meet province's most senior army officer for security talks about terror
Monday 9 March 2009 09.18 GMT
This article was first published on guardian.co.uk at 09.18 GMT on Monday 9
It was last updated at 12.09 GMT on Monday 9 March 2009.
The prime minister, Gordon Brown, arrived at Massereene
barracks in Northern Ireland early this morning to hold talks about military
security with the province's most senior army officer.
Brown flew in to Aldegrove airport outside Belfast and was driven to the 38
Engineers Regiment base, the scene of the attack at the weekend claimed by the
Flanked by motorcycle outriders, a convoy of armoured black Range Rovers
carrying the prime minister arrived just before 8.20am.
They drove through the entrance where the two young soldiers were gunned down on
Saturday evening as they came out to collect pizzas.
The convoy passed the accumulating pile of flowers left by wellwishers just
outside the entrance to the barracks.
Brown was joined by the Northern Ireland secretary, Shaun Woodward, and the
province's security minister, Paul Goggins, for the meeting with Brigadier
George Norton, the Northern Ireland garrison commander.
They are discussing measures to improve security at the remaining army bases as
the threat of attack from dissident republican groups deepens.
The attack follows an incident in which a 300lb (136kg) bomb was abandoned last
month in Castlewellan, County Down. The device had been prepared for use against
another army barracks.
After the meeting at the Massereene base in Antrim, the prime minister will be
driven to Stormont to hold talks with the leaders of the power-sharing devolved
He will meet Peter Robinson, the first minister and leader of the Democratic
Unionist party, and Martin McGuinness, the Sinn Féin politician who is deputy
A Downing Street spokeswoman said that there were no plans for the prime
minister to visit the injured in hospital.
Brown holds security
talks in Northern Ireland, G, 9.3.2009,
British Muslims 'went on reconnaissance' for July 7
January 19, 2009
Two British Muslims who went on a “reconnaissance” mission for the July 7
bombings on London were later caught planning to attend a terrorist training
camp in Pakistan, a court heard today.
The retrial of three men accused of conspiring with the gang which killed 52
people in 2005 was told they visited tourist attractions including the Natural
History Museum and London Eye during a trip to the capital.
Mr Justice Gross told the jury at Kingston Crown Court that there had been a
previous trial on these matters but they should ignore any publicity from the
Waheed Ali, 25, Sadeer Saleem, 28, and Mohammed Shakil, 32 deny conspiring to
cause explosions. Mr Ali and Mr Shakil also deny a change of conspiring to
attend a terrorist training camp in March 2007. All three men come from Beeston,
The court heard that the three defendants visited London in December 2004 with
two of the 7/7 bombers, Hasib Hussain and Jermaine Lindsay. Hussain later killed
13 passengers on a bus in Tavistock Place in Lindsay killed 26 people on a
Piccadilly Line train at Russell Square.
Neil Flewitt, QC, for the prosecution, said: “The defendants associated with and
shared the beliefs and objectives of the London bombers and so were willing to
assist them in one particular and important aspect of their preparation for the
“The London visit was an important step in what was, by then, a settled plan to
cause explosion in the UK.”
Mr Flewitt said there was a “clear correlation” between the locations visited by
the defendants in December 2004, the sites visited by three of the bombers
during another “hostile reconnaissance” in June 2005 and the locations at which
the bombs were actually detonated less than two weeks later.
Lindsay had been joined on the June 2005 reconnaissance by Mohammed Sidique
Khan, who killed six people on a Circle Line train at Edgware Road, and Shezhad
Tanweer, who killed seven people on a Tube train at Aldgate.”
Mr Flewitt said: “Although the defendants accept that they knew the London
bombers, it is their case that their friendship was entirely innocent and that
they know nothing of and took no part in their planning to cause explosions in
The court was told that the defendants say they went to London so Mr Ali could
visit his sister. Mr Saleem and Mr Shakil admit visiting the natural History
Museum London Eye and London Aquarium but insist they did so for purely social
The court heard that Mr Ali and Mr Shakill do not deny planning to visit
Pakistan but the defence will say they did not commit the offence claimed under
the Terrorism Act 2006.
The jury was shown CCTV clips of the four bombers on their journey to London on
July 7 and the moments Tanweer and Hussain detonated their explosives.
British Muslims 'went on
reconnaissance' for July 7 attacks, Ts, 19.1.2009,