London bomber traveled to Israel; Britain begins to “wake up” to reality of suicide bombing

July 22, 2005

Much of this dispatch was prepared on Tuesday and Wednesday, prior to yesterday’s attempted terror attacks in London and today’s incidents in the British capital. However, I have today added several elements to the introductory note, below.

 

CONTENTS

1. “Suspected London Bomber Traveled to Israel” (Washington Post, July 19, 2005)
2. “Iran ayatollah says Blair government could have bombed London” (Iran Focus, July 15, 2005)
3. “Mossad: Netanyahu was warned of London bombs” (Al Jazeera, July 19, 2005)
4. “He wasn’t a terrorist” (The News of the World, July 17, 2005)

 



[Note by Tom Gross]

LIVING WITH TERROR IN LONDON AND ISRAEL

Today, the people of London got a glimpse of what the people of Israel live with daily. Palestinian terrorists have carried out over 25,000 attacks on Israelis since September 2000, resulting in thousands of deaths and injures. The Israeli army and the Shin Bet have thwarted thousands of attacks. Israelis have grown used to living with manhunts of the kind seen in London today, yet they are barely reported on abroad.

The head of the Shin Bet today confirmed that Israel presently receives some 60 intelligence warnings of potential Palestinian terror attacks every day.

Unlike the brown-skinned man who was shot dead this morning at Stockwell Tube (subway) station in south London, whom witnesses say was unarmed and literally executed – he was already lying on the ground motionless when British police pumped five bullets into his head at close range – Israel has taken enormous care in its “targeted killings” of “ticking bombs,” almost never killing anyone in a case of mistaken identity.

MAYOR LIVINGSTONE TO THE HAGUE?

And yet for taking the bare minimum steps necessary to save the lives of its citizens in recent years, Israel has been mercilessly berated by virtually the entire world.

Had Israeli police shot dead that man this morning in London, the UN would probably now be sitting in emergency session to denounce Israel unanimously.

Although over 12 hours have passed since the shooting of this man, the BBC has still not interviewed a grieving family, no one is calling for British universities be boycotted, Chelsea and Arsenal soccer clubs are not being forced to play their matches in Cyprus, The Guardian hasn’t yet called it “genocide,” and London Mayor Ken Livingstone (who is in overall control of transport in the city, including the train where the man was shot) is not facing war crimes charges (as Livingstone himself has demanded of Israeli political leaders.)

Instead we have the leading commentator for The Guardian, Polly Toynbee, writing today (in the space of her opening paragraph alone) that the terrorists are “deranged,” “savage” and “demented” “killers” who “murder in the name of God.” This is a far cry from the way The Guardian and other Europe media call the suicide killers of Israelis “fighters” and “activists.”

ONE OF THE 7/7 LONDON TERRORITS VISITED ISRAEL

One of the London terrorists, Mohammed Sidique Khan, traveled to Israel in February 2003. He stayed in Israel for just one day, and we can surmise that he wasn’t there to volunteer on a kibbutz or visit Yad Vashem. Two months later, on April 30, 2003, two other Britons of Pakistani origin were involved in the suicide terror attack on Mike’s Place, a popular bar in Tel Aviv, killing or injuring 58 people. Hamas later released a video of the two British citizens explaining their motivation for the attack, which included calling on God to punish Tony Blair and George W Bush.

AND YET THE UK PRESS BARELY SEEMS TO CARE

The visit of Mohammed Sidique Khan to Israel was the main international headline in the Washington Post on Tuesday. Yet most British newspapers have completely ignored the fact that Khan went to Israel. The Independent and The Daily Telegraph didn’t mention it at all. The Scotsman, the (London) Times and Sun newspapers only mentioned it very briefly. (It is no surprise that the New York Times’s report on the bombers also made no mention of Mohammed Sidique Khan’s visit to Israel.)

It is no coincidence that many in the British ruling elite have taken little interest in the murder of Israelis by British citizens. They are so contemptuous of Israel that they don’t want to face the possibility that people murdered going to work and school on buses in Israel are as much victims as those on London buses.

RICHARD REID ALSO VISITED ISRAEL

Another British citizen, Richard Reid, who became known as the “shoe-bomber,” also visited Israel and the Gaza strip for 10 days in July 2001. Reid was arrested in December 2001 after he tried to light a fuse extending from his shoe on a flight from Paris to Miami

If people in Britain and the US want to stop terrorists, they need to recognize the inspiration and quite possibly the training that Hamas, master of the suicide attack, have given to would be British and other terrorists, such as Reid. Instead, British officials continue to embrace Hamas, and hold talks with them

AL JAZEERA CONTINUE TO PUSH NETANYAHU STORY

The main story on Al Jazeera on Tuesday was another rehash of the myth that Binyamin Netanyahu received a warning six minutes before the London bombs. As I wrote in the dispatch on July 7, only two hours after the London bombs, the Associated Press has shown extreme irresponsibility in prominently releasing this fake story. Its continued use by Al Jazeera is further evidence of this.

THE GUARDIAN AND HIZB UT-TAHRIR

In the recent dispatch Guardian staff journalist exposed as member of extremist Hizb ut-Tahrir (July 18, 2005), I reported that Guardian journalist Dilpazier Aslam is a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an extremist Muslim organization. Two days later, the Financial Times reported that the British government will now outlaw Hizb ut-Tahrir. The party has already been banned in countries like Germany, under Germany’s laws outlawing parties that promote anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. The Guardian continues to stand by Dilpazier Aslam and it would appear they have no problem about having an Islamist supremacist on their staff.

KEN LIVINGSTONE AND SHEIK YOUSEF QARDAWI

In the same dispatch I also included an article on Ken Livingstone. It has since been reported that Sheik Qardawi will not visit Britain, perhaps due to the criticism in many newspapers of Qardawi’s anti-Semitism and his repeated calls for the murder of Israelis. However, Livingstone has continued to defend Qardawi and also justify suicide bombs against Israelis.

On Tuesday, Livingstone called Qardawi a “leading progressive Muslim” and Livingstone then compared the Israeli government with Hamas. “I don’t make any distinction,” the mayor of London said.

While being called a “great mayor” in recent days by the BBC, Livingstone is regarded by many decent Britons as a dangerous anti-Semite who has done much to encourage Islamic fundamentalism and anti-Semitism among London’s 800,000 Muslims.

CHERIE BLAIR AND KEN LIVINSTONE: TERROR SYMPATHIZERS?

The Washington Post today reported yesterday that “Britain Will Act to Bar Terrorist Sympathizers” some people in Britain are asking whether this will include the wife of the Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Mayor of London. In June 2002, Prime Minister Blair’s wife Cherie Booth-Blair said Palestinians felt they had “no hope” but to blow themselves up.

SIR BERNARD CRICK

Sir Bernard Crick, of Birkbeck College, University of London, and one of the most distinguished professors in Britain, has become one of the first Britons (other than Livingstone) to blame Israeli policies for the London terror attacks. Crick told BBC Radio Four, “It’s not easily refuted that these kinds of protests... have been going on since the failure of Israel to follow the UN resolutions after the 1967 war. ”

CAMBRIDGE FILM FESTIVAL REMOVES SUICIDE BOMBER FILM

In the dispatch, Humane portrayal of Palestinian suicide bombers at Berlin Film Festival (February 15, 2005), I discussed the film “Paradise Now,” which portrays Palestinian suicide bombers as complex and conflicted people. The 25th Cambridge Film Festival, taking place at the present time in the English university town, has announced they will not be showing this film as they had planned due to “recent tragic events”. This is another small example of the way people in Britain are not glamorizing Palestinian suicide bombers as much as they used to before the July 7 London suicide bombs.

PALESTINIAN NATIONAL COUNCIL MEMBER ON THE LONDON BOMBINGS

In an Al Jazeera television interview on July 12, Palestinian National Council member Mamoun Al-Tamimi blamed Britain and the US for the July 7 terror attacks. “They (the London bombers) love death like that man loves life. Who made them love death? Britain and the U.S. with their actions. And, and the American and British peoples will pay the price if they don’t put an end to these governments.”

HE WASN’T A TERRORIST

Attached (below) is an interview with the uncle of one of the July 7 suicide bombers, Shehzad Tanweer, who says that his nephew was not a terrorist. These comments contradict what he had previously said on television and in newspapers.

I attach four articles, with summaries.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

SUSPECTED LONDON BOMBER TRAVELED TO ISRAEL

“Suspected London Bomber Traveled to Israel” (By Craig Whitlock and Kamran Khan, Washington Post, July 19, 2005)

One of the suspected London transit bombers visited Israel for one day in the spring of 2003, Israeli authorities have reported as part of an international effort to re-create the travels of the four men investigators believe set off the July 7 explosions.

Mohammed Sidique Khan arrived in Tel Aviv and left the next day, senior Israeli intelligence officials have told Israeli reporters. Investigators say they have found no evidence that his trip was related to the subsequent April 30, 2003, suicide attack on a Tel Aviv nightclub by two British men of Pakistani origin...

The purpose of Khan’s trip to Israel is one of the many unknowns in the investigation.

Several weeks after his visit, a British-born man of Pakistani descent, Assif Muhammad Hanif, blew himself up at Mike’s Place, a Tel Aviv nightspot, killing three other people. Two weeks later, the body of another British citizen, Omar Khan Sharif, who investigators say fled the bar after a bomb he was carrying failed to detonate, was found in the sea off Tel Aviv.

Some Israelis wondered whether the timing meant that Khan’s visit was somehow related to those attacks... Terrorism experts have long worried that terrorists with European Union passports would find it easier to cross borders to carry out attacks...

 

IRAN AYATOLLAH: BRITISH GOVERNMENT COULD HAVE BOMBED LONDON

“Iran ayatollah says Blair government could have bombed London” (Iran Focus, July 15, 2005)

... Addressing worshippers at the site of Tehran University, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, who heads the powerful Guardian Council, the unelected constitutional watchdog, said, “At times they blame this [London bombings] as the work of Al’ Qaeda. Al’ Qaeda means [United States President George W.] Bush and [British Prime Minister Tony] Blair who were the mothers of Al’ Qaeda and brought to life this illegitimate child”.

“There exists the possibility that the British government carried out this work, like the possibility [of American involvement] in the September 11 affair, since they themselves stand to benefit the most”, Jannati said.

Jannati is a close confidant of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Iran’s newly-elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is widely seen as Jannati’s protege...

“The British government stood to gain the most from the London bombings, so that they could tell their people not to protest against their war on terrorism”, the senior ayatollah said...

 

AL JAZEERA CONTINUE TO PUSH FAKE NETANYAHU STORY

(* For space reasons, I include a summary of this article only – TG)

“Mossad: Netanyahu was warned of London bombs” (Al Jazeera, July 19, 2005)

www.aljazeera.com/me.asp?service_ID=9369

Controversy continues over the recent Associated Press story which detailed the remarks of a “senior Israeli official” who said that Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in London for an economic conference, was warned by Scotland Yard “minutes” in advance of the bombings...

It should be noted that the first story detailing Netanyahu’s “advance” warning was never retracted. [Tom Gross adds: This is true, and I have repeatedly criticized the AP for not retracting their phony story.]

Further confirmation of the Mossad having prior knowledge of the bombings was made by an Israeli news site which cites the spy agency’s chief Meir Dagan, in an interview with the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag:

“The Mossad office in London received advance notice about the attacks, but only six minutes before the first blast. As a result, it was impossible to take any action to prevent the blasts.” [Tom Gross adds: This quote is false.]

 

“HE WASN’T A TERRORIST”

(* For space reasons, I include a summary of this article only – TG)

“He wasn’t a terrorist” (By Mahzer Mahmood, The News of the World, July 17,2005)

www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/story_pages/news/news2.shtml

THE uncle of suicide bomber Shehzad Tanweer last night told the News of the World the 22-year-old’s murderous act did not make him a terrorist.

In a searingly frank and shocking exclusive interview, Bashir Ahmed claimed Tanweer was a “desperate” young man “driven” to commit the atrocity by the West’s treatment of Muslims.

And he BLAMED Tony Blair and George Bush for the July 7 bombings, warning: “There will be more.”

“These (suicide bombers) are desperate people,” said Ahmed. “They can see that their brothers are not getting their rights, so they take extreme action.”

The businessman was pictured on TV worldwide last week talking with dignity of his family’s shock at the news that Tanweer had detonated the Aldgate Tube bomb, killing himself and six others.

But face to face with our Investigations Editor Mazher Mahmood—a Muslim himself—he revealed the deepest feelings he hid from the cameras.

Ahmed—who was attacked and punched in the street by a skinhead on Friday—has lived for 44 years in Britain, a country he loves.

... Ahmed PRAISED Tanweer—who came to his unsuspecting uncle’s kebab shop in Leeds to say goodbye the night before the bombings—as a caring person “regardless of race or colour”. He said his nephew was “looking for justice for human beings”.

“I would not say that he (Tanweer) was a terrorist,” said Ahmed.

“He was driven to this. He was desperate. He was driven to that by desperation because he couldn’t find justice anywhere. This lad has made a name for himself in the world. Muslims call it a sacrifice, the Europeans call him a terrorist.”

Cigar-smoking dad-of-four Ahmed describes the 55 lives taken by his nephew and his murderous pals as “a few” ...

 



FULL ARTICLES

SUSPECTED LONDON BOMBER TRAVELED TO ISRAEL

Suspected London Bomber Traveled to Israel
By Craig Whitlock and Kamran Khan
The Washington Post
July 19, 2005

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/18/AR2005071801437.html?referrer=email&referrer=email

One of the suspected London transit bombers visited Israel for one day in the spring of 2003, Israeli authorities have reported as part of an international effort to re-create the travels of the four men investigators believe set off the July 7 explosions.

Mohammed Sidique Khan arrived in Tel Aviv and left the next day, senior Israeli intelligence officials have told Israeli reporters. Investigators say they have found no evidence that his trip was related to the subsequent April 30, 2003, suicide attack on a Tel Aviv nightclub by two British men of Pakistani origin.

New details emerged Monday about trips that three of the four London bombing suspects made to Pakistan. Khan and Shehzad Tanweer arrived in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, on Nov. 16 last year on the same Turkish Airlines flight, then flew home together Feb. 7, Pakistani investigators said after reviewing immigration records.

A third suspect, Hasib Hussain, flew into Karachi on July 15, 2004, on a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight from Riyadh, records show. Pakistani officials said they did not know how long Hussain stayed, but his family in Leeds has told British investigators he was gone for about four months.

With details like these, investigators are trying to retrace the precise movements of the three men, each a British native of Pakistani descent. From Karachi, the men traveled elsewhere in the country. “The main destination in Pakistan for all three suicide bombers was Lahore,” a major city near the Indian border, said a senior official with Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency in Karachi, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

A senior intelligence official in Lahore said Khan and Tanweer stayed at separate addresses near the city, despite arriving and leaving together.

Tanweer’s family has said he left Leeds to attend a religious school, or madrassa , so he could study Arabic and the Koran. They said he intended to stay for nine months but came back early. Pakistani intelligence officials said they have uncovered evidence that all three bombers met with Islamic militants, but have not given details.

Tanweer made a separate visit to Pakistan earlier in 2004 and met with Osama Nazir, who was later arrested and charged with participating in a 2002 grenade attack on a church in Islamabad, the Associated Press reported last week, citing unidentified Pakistani intelligence officials. Five people, including two Americans, died in the explosion. Pakistani officials did not say Monday whether they had found immigration records confirming the trip.

The investigation into the subway and bus bombings in London, which killed at least 55 people including the presumed bombers, has become increasingly focused on connections to Pakistan. Security officials in London have said they are searching for a Pakistani man who entered Britain at an English Channel port two weeks before the attacks and slipped out of the country the day before the bombings. That man, whom officials have not identified, was on Britain’s terrorism watch list but was allowed to enter the country.

Although the three bombers arrived in Karachi aboard flights that originated in Istanbul and Riyadh, Pakistani officials said that it appeared those were merely transit points on trips that began in London and that the men did not appear to have broken their journeys in those cities.

Investigators said they were trying to figure out who paid for the tickets and sponsored the trips. Hussain was an unemployed 17-year-old when he traveled to Pakistan. Tanweer worked part time in his father’s fish-and-chips restaurant in Leeds, and Khan was a teacher’s assistant at an elementary school.

The purpose of Khan’s trip to Israel is one of the many unknowns in the investigation.

Several weeks after his visit, a British-born man of Pakistani descent, Assif Muhammad Hanif, blew himself up at Mike’s Place, a Tel Aviv nightspot, killing three other people. Two weeks later, the body of another British citizen, Omar Khan Sharif, who investigators say fled the bar after a bomb he was carrying failed to detonate, was found in the sea off Tel Aviv.

Some Israelis wondered whether the timing meant that Khan’s visit was somehow related to those attacks. However, Israeli investigators have said they have turned up no such evidence.

Terrorism experts have long worried that terrorists with European Union passports would find it easier to cross borders to carry out attacks.

Pakistani officials said they were cooperating closely with British and U.S. investigators on the London bombing probe. They have tried to deflect suspicions that the plot originated in Pakistan.

“Yes, you can say that the London bombers had some connections in Pakistan,” Aftab Khan Sherpao, Pakistan’s interior minister, said Monday. “But the investigations so far here and in Britain have shown that citizens from various nations could have been involved in the attack.”

In a television interview, Pakistan’s U.N. ambassador, Munir Akram, gave a sharper assessment, saying Britain had only itself to blame for the bombings.

“It would be a grave mistake to point fingers at Pakistan or anybody outside your country,” Akram told the BBC. “It is important not to pin blame on somebody else when the problem lies internally. Your policies in the Middle East, your policies in the Islamic world -- that is the problem with your society and that is where the problem lies as far as this incident is concerned.”

Akram’s comments echoed the conclusions of a briefing paper released Monday by one of Britain’s most prominent foreign policy research groups. The report by the Royal Institute of International Affairs said Britain’s strong support for the U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the U.S. approach to fighting terrorism, has been “a high-risk policy” that has left Britain more vulnerable to attacks at home.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw dismissed such criticism, saying that “the time for excuses for terrorism is over.”

At a gathering of European foreign ministers in Brussels, Straw said, “The terrorists have struck across the world, in countries allied with the United States, backing the war in Iraq, and in countries which had nothing whatever to do with the war in Iraq.”

Britain’s three major political parties reached agreement to speed action on anti-terrorism legislation that Prime Minister Tony Blair is preparing, the BBC reported. It is to come before Parliament in October.

Khan reported from Karachi. Correspondent Scott Wilson in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

 

IRAN AYATOLLAH SAYS BRITISH GOVERNMENT COULD HAVE BOMBED LONDON

Iran ayatollah says Blair government could have bombed London
Iran Focus
July 15, 2005

www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=2853

One of Iran’s most powerful clerics hinted during the Friday prayers sermon in Tehran today that last week’s London bombings could have been the work of the United Kingdom government.

Addressing worshippers at the site of Tehran University, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, who heads the powerful Guardian Council, the unelected constitutional watchdog, said, “At times they blame this [London bombings] as the work of Al’Qaeda. Al’Qaeda means [United States President George W.] Bush and [British Prime Minister Tony] Blair who were the mothers of Al’Qaeda and brought to life this illegitimate child”.

“There exists the possibility that the British government carried out this work, like the possibility [of American involvement] in the September 11 affair, since they themselves stand to benefit the most”, Jannati said.

Jannati is a close confidant of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Iran’s newly-elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is widely seen as Jannati’s protege.

The July 7 multiple bombings in London’s underground railways and a city bus left at least 54 people dead and close to 1,000 people injured.

“The British government stood to gain the most from the London bombings, so that they could tell their people not to protest against their war on terrorism”, the senior ayatollah said.

Jannati’s comments echoed a similar speech at last week’s Friday prayers’ sermon by Ayatollah Mohammad Emami-Kashani, who blamed the bombings on the West.

The Organisation of al-Qaeda’s Jihad in Europe, an al-Qaeda offshoot, claimed responsibility for the attacks, but Emami-Kashani said that the West, in particular the United States and Israel, carried the responsibility. “You who speak of al-Qaeda’s Islamic and terrorist nature, have you forgotten who are the mother and father of al-Qaeda”, the senior cleric questioned, in an address to the United Kingdom and the British Prime Minister Tony Blair. “Al-Qaeda’s father is in the White House and its mother is despotic Israel”.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.