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News :: International
HARBORING TERRORISTS: UK Cops Book Women As Anglo-American Secret Services Give Terror Suspect Aswat a "Pass"
28 Jul 2005
HARBORING TERRORISTS: UK Cops Book Women As Anglo-American Secret Services Give Terror Suspect Aswat a "Pass"

Original Publisher: CNN & Seattle Times
UK 'blocked bomb plotter' arrest

Thursday, July 28, 2005; Posted: 7:44 p.m. EDT (23:44 GMT)


(CNN) -- About a month before the July 7 bombings in London, British authorities balked at giving U.S. officials permission to apprehend a man now believed to have ties to the bombers, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

Haroon Rashid Aswat, 30, of Indian heritage, is currently in custody in Zambia, U.S. and Zambian officials told CNN.

U.S. authorities wanted to capture Aswat, who was then in South Africa, and question him about a 1999 plot to establish a "jihad training camp" in Bly, Oregon.

According to the sources, U.S. officials had located Aswat in South Africa weeks before the July 7 attacks that killed 52 bus and subway travelers and the four bombers.

U.S. authorities had asked South Africa if they could take Aswat into custody. South Africa relayed the request to Britain, but authorities there balked because he was a British citizen, the sources said. While the debate was ongoing, Aswat slipped away. (Full story)

British authorities now suspect Aswat lent support to the July 7 bombers.

According to U.S. officials, Aswat was an unindicted co-conspirator in the terrorist camp case, which resulted in a guilty plea in 2003 by the main defendant, James Ujaama, of Seattle, Washington. (Full story)

Meanwhile Thursday in Britain -- one week after failed attacks on London's transit system that appeared to imitate the July 7 bombings -- a nationwide manhunt focused on three of the suspected terrorists.

Authorities have taken 20 people in custody, including one of the suspected bombers, as part of the investigation into the July 21 attacks on three Underground trains and a double-decker bus.

Nine men were arrested in the Tooting area of south London early Thursday -- six at one address and three at another, according to Metropolitan Police. Searches at the addresses were ongoing.

But as those arrests were announced, the country's top police official said more attacks were possible if the three other suspects in the attempted bombings remained at large.

"It does remain possible that those at large will strike again," Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair said. "It does also remain possible that there are other cells who are capable and intent on striking again."

As part of its investigation into the attempted bombings, police have taken 1,800 witness statements, have received 5,000 calls to the terrorist tip line, and are examining 15,000 closed-circuit television tapes.

The British government also announced that the Brazilian man mistakenly shot and killed by police at an Underground station last week had a false stamp on his passport and had been in Britain for two years with an expired visa. (Full story)

Police arrested three women Wednesday night on suspicion of "harboring offenders" in connection with the July 21 plot.

They were taken from a south London apartment raided by armed police and remained in custody Thursday in central London...

and see

US DOJ Shielded Suspect in London Bombings in 2002 & 2004, Saving Him for More Important Things Later...

Effort here to charge London suspect was blocked

By Hal Bernton and David Heath

Seattle Times staff reporters

Haroon Aswat, a suspect in the London bombings, once lived at a Seattle mosque.

The Justice Department blocked efforts by its prosecutors in Seattle in 2002 to bring criminal charges against Haroon Aswat, according to federal law-enforcement officials who were involved in the case.

British authorities suspect Aswat of taking part in the July 7 London bombings, which killed 56 and prompted an intense worldwide manhunt for him.

But long before he surfaced as a suspect there, federal prosecutors in Seattle wanted to seek a grand-jury indictment for his involvement in a failed attempt to set up a terrorist-training camp in Bly, Ore., in late 1999. In early 2000, Aswat lived for a couple of months in central Seattle at the Dar-us-Salaam mosque.

A federal indictment of Aswat in 2002 would have resulted in an arrest warrant and his possible detention in Britain for extradition to the United States.

"It was really frustrating," said a former Justice Department official involved in the case. "Guys like that, you just want to sweep them up off the street."

British intelligence officials now think that in the days and hours before the July 7 bombings, Aswat was in cellphone contact with at least two of the four suicide bombers, according to The Times of London.

Aswat was a highly public aide to Abu Hamza al Masri, the militant cleric whose North London mosque was a hotbed of radical Islamist preaching. In 1999, Aswat came to the attention of the FBI and federal prosecutors here as part of the investigation into the Bly camp and its founder, former Seattle entrepreneur James Ujaama.

As law-enforcement officials in Seattle prepared to take that case to a federal grand jury here, they had hoped to indict Aswat, Ujaama, Abu Hamza and another associate, according to former and current law-enforcement officials with knowledge of the case.

But that plan was rejected by higher-level officials at Justice Department headquarters, who wanted most of the case to be handled by the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York City, according to sources involved with the case.

Ever since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Justice Department had funneled terrorism cases to its New York office, which had a lot of experience in that area. This frustrated law-enforcement officials in Seattle, who thought they also had a track record for handling terrorism prosecutions — such as that of Ahmed Ressam, trained by al-Qaida and arrested Dec. 14, 1999, in Port Angeles with the makings of a powerful bomb hidden in his rental car.

Justice Department supervisors in Washington, D.C., gave the Seattle office the go-ahead to seek an indictment against Ujaama only.

Ujaama was indicted by a Seattle grand jury in August 2002, charged with trying to set up the Bly camp and with aiding the Taliban. He pleaded guilty to aiding the Taliban and agreed to testify against Abu Hamza and others.

Aswat was not charged but was referred to in the indictment as "co-conspirator #2."

In May 2004, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft announced an 11-count indictment by a federal grand jury in New York against Abu Hamza, who allegedly sent Aswat to Oregon to scout out the proposed training camp. A department news release said "the indictment alleges that Abu Hamza was a terrorist facilitator with global reach — from aiding hostage takers in Yemen, to attempting to set up a jihad training camp in Oregon."

At the time, however, federal prosecutors chose not to indict Aswat for reasons that are not clear. Asked why Aswat wasn't indicted, a federal official in Seattle replied, "That's a great question."....
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05 Sep 2005
Good Service