Executive Intelligence Review
This article appears in the July 17, 2009 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
FROM EIR's ARCHIVES

Put Britain on the
List of Terrorist Sponsors

The following memorandum, dated Jan. 11, 2000, was prepared for delivery to then-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. What appears below is less than half of the original memorandum, which originally was published in the Jan. 21, 2000 EIR. [PDF version of this article].

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....

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:

  1. Does the state provide terrorists sanctuary from extradition or prosecution?

  2. Does the state provide terrorists with weapons and other means of conducting violence?

  3. Does the state provide logistical support to terrorists?

  4. Does the state permit terrorists to maintain safehouses and headquarters on its territory?

  5. Does the state provide training and other material assistance to terrorists?

  6. Does the state provide financial backing to terrorist organizations?

  7. 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....

The Case of Great Britain

  • 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....

  • 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...."

    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....

  • 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....

    On Feb. 14, 1997, Labour MP George Galloway succeeded in blocking Waterson's bill from getting out of committee....

  • 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.... 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...."

    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....

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)....

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....

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....

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....

In addition to the six FTOs that 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....

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....

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...."

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....

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...."

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...."

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....

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....

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....

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.

Subscribe to EIW