Qaeda Operative in London Bomb Plot Escapes
‘ Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas said the administration’s “poor management” in Iraq “has created a rallying cry for international terrorists” and “diverted our focus, our military and more than $US300 billion . . . from the war on terrorism.” Pryor said US ports, borders and chemical plants remain unsecured, emergency personnel lack critical resources and the military, including the National Guard, was stretched. “It’s time for Washington to be tough and smart about the threats we face,” he said. “Americans deserve real security, not just leaders who talk tough but fail to deliver.” ‘[Quote from The Age but the URL seems to have changed so I referenced the original]
Not to mention poor management in Afghanistan. Is it really a good idea to allow $2.5 bn a year in opium and heroin production there? Why haven’t Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri be caught? What is this about a “resurgence” of the Taliban? Would that have been possible if Bush hadn’t run off to Iraq? And, why are the big threats to the US there people like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Usama Bin Laden, allies of the Reagan administration in fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s? The ways in which harebrained US schemes and use of rogue Muslim radical proxies back in the Cold War contributed to the current crisis are constantly forgotten. So too is Bush’s virtual abandonment of Afhganistan as soon as he conquered it, in favor of his pet project of regime change in Iraq. Bush managed to establish al-Qaeda in Iraq,as a popular political party when back in the 1990s Baathist secular Arab nationalism had checked it in that country.
Dawn reports although Pakistan provided a clue that was important to putting the group in the UK under surveillance a year ago, recent UK-Pakistan cooperation was key as well. Britain alerted Pakistani authorities to the importance of Rashid Rauf, who holds both British and Pakistani citizenship but has recently been resident in Pakistan and is the father of one of the 23 plotters arrested by the British.
Pakistani sources say that when, fairly recently, Pakistan took Rauf into custody, he confessed to the details of the plot, especially the plan to mix liquid explosives on board.
But the British official narrative that is emerging says that the Pakistani arrest of Rauf was carried out by mistake or on unrelated grounds, and that it forced Scotland Yard to go ahead and arrest 24 members of the cell in London lest Rashid’s arrest cause them to scatter.
Rauf was arrested briefly last summer in the UK under suspicion of being linked to the 7/7 subway bombings. When he moved back to Pakistan, MI5 alerted Pakistani authorities, who kept him under surveillance. Dawn adds:
‘ The links of the arrested suspect could not be confirmed, but the sources said intelligence agencies had put four Islamic organisations on the watch list, they included two UK-based outfits Al Mahajroon and Hizbul Tehrir, and two Pakistani organisations Lashkar-i-Taiba and Lashkar-i-Jhangvi. ‘
The News (Pakistan) says that Rauf himself traveled to Afghanistan and had links there. It also provides further details about arrests in Pakistan.
The LA Times reports that the head of al-Qaeda in Pakistan, Muti’ur Rahman (wanted for trying to assassinate the Pakistani president and prime minister) was linked to the cells that were planning to use liquid bombs to bring down 10 US passenger planes.
Muti’ur Rahman is one of 5 plotters who escaped the UK police dragnet, and is now a very wanted man.
The 40 persons arrested in Italy presumably had been in email or telephone contact with the plotters, or had affiliations to banned terror groups such at Lashkar-i Tayyibah.