Thursday, July 14, 2005

Global War on Democrats

From ABC:

Officials tell ABC News the London bombers have been connected to an al Qaeda plot planned two years ago in the Pakistani city of Lahore.

The laptop computer of Naeem Noor Khan, a captured al Qaeda leader, contained plans for a coordinated series of attacks on the London subway system, as well as on financial buildings in both New York and Washington.

"There's absolutely no doubt he was part of an al Qaeda operation aimed at not only the United States but Great Britain," explained Alexis Debat, a former official in the French Defense Ministry who is now a senior terrorism consultant for ABC News.

At the time, authorities thought they had foiled the London subway plot by arresting more than a dozen young Britons of Pakistani descent last August in Luton, a city known for its ties to terrorism.

"For some time, the locus of terrorism in Britain has been around the Luton area and in some of the northern cities," said Michael Clark, professor of defense at King's College in London.

Security officials tell ABC News they have discovered links between the eldest of the London bombers, Mohammed Sadique Khan, 30, and the original group in Luton. Officials also believe it was not a coincidence the subway bombers all met at the Luton train station last week.

"It is very likely this group was activated last year after the other group was arrested," Debat said.


Here is what we now know. The Pakistani government arrested a 25-year-old computer expert in Lahore on July 13. The arrest was never given to the Pakistani press by the Pakistani government, and no notice appeared in any Pakistani or other newspaper. This absence can only be deliberate, since the Pakistanis could easily have held a press conference to trumpet their new captive. This decision to keep the arrest quiet appears to have been made because Khan had been "flipped," i.e., had become a double agent and continued to have email contact with al-Qaeda members in London, e.g., but now with the Pakistani military intelligence listening in.

There was no reason for any reporter anywhere to inquire about Khan, since nothing had come out in Pakistan about his case. Pakistani intelligence was passing on to British intelligence what it was finding out about the London cell. Khan was still communicating with it on Monday August 2.

In addition, Khan's computer had on it surveillance information about financial institutions in New York and Washington that dated back three years, before the September 11 attacks. The Pakistanis shared this information with both British and American intelligence.

In the week of July 26, the week of the Democratic National Convention, the Bush administration made a decision to announce a heightened security alert for those buildings in Washington, DC and New York City. Tom Ridge made the announcement on Sunday, Aug. 1, and there was then a background briefing for reporters.


The British, especially MI5 and Home Secretary David Blunkett, had not wanted his name made public, and were furious at all of the detailed information being given out to the public by the Bush administration or in consequence of its revelations. For some reason, the British seem to have feared that the naming of Abu Eisa al-Hindi would complicate the case against him. The Times of India reports that Abu Musa (or Abu Eisa) al-Hindi's real name is Dhiron Barot. He is one of the 8 charged in London on Tuesday. He is from a Hindu family, but converted to Islam at age 20 and got pulled into jihadi activities in Kashmir (about which he published a book). He was the one who cased the financial institutions in the US for al-Qaeda. The story of Barot, like that of Richard Reid, shows that al-Qaeda isn't mainly about Islam per se, it is a political-religious ideology that can attract non-Muslims.

Aravosis has much much more.