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August 5, 2008

Category Summary: Haroon Rashid Aswat

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline — kevinfenton @ 2:18 am
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London Bombing Mastermind Alleged to Be British Informer

The 9/11 Timeline has recently added a category about a radical Islamist named Haroon Rashid Aswat. Aswat was a prominent mover in Londonistan from the late 1990s, when he became a key aide to radical imam and British informer Abu Hamza. What interested us about Aswat is that he is often referred to as the mastermind of the 7/7 London bombings, but is also said to have worked for British intelligence, which sometimes displayed a striking lack of interest in him.

Kosovo and Oregon

Aswat first came to prominence during the late 1990s, when he recruited Muslims to fight in Kosovo; despite having him under surveillance already, the British authorities did nothing to impede him. Aswat then moved to the US, where he attempted to open a terrorist training camp in Oregon, and bragged of being Osama bin Laden’s “hit man.” His activities were uncovered by the FBI, but the Justice Department initially blocked a prosecution of him.

Under Surveillance

Aswat, who may have met the 7/7 bombers at Abu Hamza’s Finsbury Park mosque, was falsely considered to have been killed in early 2003, when his passport was found on the body of a Taliban fighter. His apparent demise no impediment, in February 2004, he met two participants in a fertiliser bomb plot that was later broken up. The US then found Aswat living in South Africa, but Britain thwarted an attempt to have him rendered, allowing him to return to Britain shortly before the attacks. Once there, he called the bombers repeatedly–the calls apparently being monitored–then fled the country shortly before the attacks.

Alleged to Be Informer

Ten days after the bombings, Aswat was reported to have been arrested in Pakistan. There is some dispute about whether this really happened, but, if it did, he must have been released shortly after, as he was arrested in Zambia around 21 July 2005. About a week later, counterterrorism expert John Loftus said, “[W]hat’s really embarrassing is that the entire British police are out chasing [Aswat], and one wing of the British government, MI6 or the British Secret Service, has been hiding him. And this has been a real source of contention between the CIA, the Justice Department, and Britain.… He’s a double agent.” As if to support Loftus’ statement, British authorities investigating the murder of over fifty people in London seemed ambivalent about the fate of the alleged mastermind, although an associate of the bombers was linked to him.

Not Mentioned in Government Report

Even when Aswat was extradited to Britain, the local authorities showed a marked lack of interest in him, and his extradition to the US to stand trial in the Oregon case was approved in late 2006. All this and more prompted The Independent to publish a critical article about the government’s response to the bombing pointing out, amongst other things, that a report into the bombings failed to mention Aswat at all, despite his allegedly being the mastermind.

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