AL-QAEDA IN BRITAIN:
Does The “Secret State” Lend A Hand?
A few months ago I had an E-mail conversation with Sahib Mustaqim Bleher about the “Islamic” terrorist network that since September 11, 2001 we have been led to believe exists in the United States, Britain and throughout the West. Unlike those who for all manner of lurid reasons perpetuate the wild and woolly conspiracy theories that have been flying around since the Twin Towers atrocities, I have never given any credence whatsoever to the claims that the Mossad, the Bush Administration or the Order of the Illuminati was behind these attacks, but like many people I have been curious about some of the arrests and at times dubious convictions of alleged terrorist suspects. After 9/11 we in the West were led to believe – with good reason – that Al-Qaeda was an octopus-like entity whose tentacles extended into every major Western city, and that its well-funded and dedicated operatives – trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan – were awaiting the order from Osama Bin Laden, upon which they would wreak death and destruction on all Westerners and non-Moslems in the name of jihad.
Although there is a very real terrorist threat in Britain and other Western nations which may indeed be likened to a cancer in our midst, there are now good reasons for believing the nature of this threat – if not its magnitude – has been greatly exaggerated for political and other purposes. The attack on civil liberties and increased powers of state and private surveillance have been the most visible legacies of this disinformation campaign. If habeas corpus ever truly existed in Britain it is as good as dead, and in the United States it isn’t just dead but was buried with the opening of the Guantánamo Bay camp. In this article though I want to raise a slightly different issue, that of the use of agents provocateurs not just to exaggerate the terrorist threat but to incite the gullible and “hot headed” amongst the Islamic community to plan terrorist outrages. The reasons for this will be made clear in due course. I should state at this point that this is not an entirely theoretical exercise, and that in addition to researching this subject for many years in the world’s most prestigious archives, I know from personal and at times quite painful experience that this sort of thing actually does happen.
Up until about the age of 24 I’d had no real interest in politics. Although I was raised in a bog standard (traditional) Labour-voting working class home I was inclined somewhat towards Conservativism, but it wasn’t until I had been living in Leeds for a couple of years that I became politically active. And then I became a Nazi! It is de rigueur for those who have been attracted to such verboten political causes and realised the errors of their ways to wring their hands and offer the most grovelling apologies in later life for their past misdemeanours and youthful follies. Although now I look back on some of the beliefs I had then with a certain embarrassment I have never regretted the two years or so that I spent as a Hitlerite and fellow traveller. But there is one reason not intimately related to the far right that has made me forever grateful for my misspent youth.
When I joined the British Movement in 1980 I was viewed by the local activists with a certain suspicion, principally because I was not the usual “Paki-bashing” skinhead. The head of the local branch, an articulate if at times violent skinhead known as “Shop” told me on one occasion that he and other members had good reason to be suspicious of all new members, because they had already been targetted by a Special Branch agent provocateur, who had only been uncovered by accident.
Sometime before I signed up, a skinhead who had joined the same branch, had on more than one occasion expressed a desire to attack defenceless Asians, deface Asian property, and to generally stir up trouble. He had been exposed by Shop, who had met him working out at his local gym where he had rather stupidly signed up under his own name and used his warrant card as ID. When he realised what was going on, Shop threw the inept James Bond wannabe out of the branch, and that was the end of the matter. I didn’t regard this tale with suspicion as I was able to confirm it from another source. I had also fairly recently become aware of a similar case in which a police agent provocateur had incited a very serious crime not for any political purpose but solely to settle a score. This happened in my native London, and it always amazed me – although it doesn’t now – that it received so little media coverage, and that there was not a proper investigation by some muckraking journalist.
George Davis was a career criminal who moonlighted as a mini-cab driver. At that time, blagging (ie armed robberies by criminal gangs) was quite common, and in May 1975, Davis was sentenced to a total of twenty years imprisonment after almost certainly being wrongly convicted on identification evidence. There was a big campaign at the time, and “George Davis is innocent” protestors had even dug up the pitch at the Headingley Cricket Ground a few miles from where later I lived in Chestnut Avenue, Leeds.
The outcry over his perceived wrongful imprisonment led to a review by then Home Secretary Roy Jenkins, and he was pardoned in May 1976. However, in July 1978 he was back in court where this time he pleaded guilty to an armed robbery, on the Bank of Cyprus. He received a fifteen year sentence. Undoubtedly, the people who had campaigned for his release would have faced a clamour of “I told you so’s”, but when the case was reported in the Times, the guilty pleas of Davis and his co-defendants were augmented by a curious rider. Defence Counsel Richard Du Cann QC said the bank raid was “induced” by an agent provocateur, a “mysterious man” who supplied the guns, arranged the stolen transport, went on the raid. And disappeared. If this story sounds unbelievable, it is not because there was no such person, but because no one in his right mind plans a crime with the intent of being caught.
Of course, the man who planned this bank raid had no such intention, at least not for himself. It was obviously from start to finish a sting operation. Exactly who was this man remains a mystery, undoubtedly though he was a police officer, probably from another force who had been drafted in especially, not to take a violent criminal off the streets, but to put temptation in his way hoping he would take the bait and fall into the trap. Although he must have known he was a marked man, Davis was clearly either stupid enough to oblige, or arrogant enough to believe that he could get away with it.
If the reader thinks this claim is somewhat fanciful let him put forward an alternative hypothesis. In fact, sting, entrapment and incitement operations by the legal authorities are not only commonplace, they are often officially endorsed. A good example is the use of under-age boys and girls by trading standards officers and police to make test purchases of alcohol and tobacco. An unwitting shopkeeper who sells alcohol to a minor risks a heavy fine and perhaps the loss of his licence, but the trading standards officer who knowingly sets him up is considered to be a conscientious public servant who is “only doing his job” – where have we heard that before?
Of course, there are times when it is justified for the legal authorities to actively seek out wrongdoers, but putting temptation in the way of a normally law-abiding citizen or even worse someone who has a proven track record for criminality and who may be doing his level best to go straight, is a different matter entirely. I remember a very sad case I met in Brixton Prison, a young(ish) black man, an at times petty criminal who was incited to supply cannabis to an undercover police officer. He received a gaol sentence for “intent to supply” even though no drugs had actually been supplied. What there was of his life was left in ruins.
Although terrorist outrages can be spectacular, most murders and related crimes are not politically motivated; many are domestic, and even those that are not committed purely on impulse are seldom well planned. It is then curious is it not that so many disenchanted men and women who plot the deaths of their spouses and other family members solicit undercover police officers to do their dirty work? The following small selection – in chronological order - was gleaned from a troll through the on-line Newsbank database.
In November 2003, Mohammad Arshad was convicted of inciting an undercover police officer to murder his son-in-law – a contract killing. The following month he was gaoled for seven years.
In August 2004, Yogesh Rao was gaoled for eight years at Leicester Crown Court for soliciting the murder of a love rival. He tried to enlist a number of people to carry out the hit before stumbling over an undercover police officer.
In September 2005, forty-four year old Karen Quinton pleaded guilty at Norwich Crown Court to soliciting an undercover police officer to murder her husband the previous November. She was subsequently sentenced to five years’ imprisonment.
In October 2006, publican Malcolm Winter was gaoled for seven years at Plymouth Crown Court after allegedly attempting to recruit a friend and an undercover police officer to murder his wife.
In Ireland in November 2006, 38 year old Patrick Rafferty pleaded guilty to soliciting Detective Garda Patrick Crowley to murder his wife. He was subsequently gaoled for seven years.
In March 2007, wealthy businesswoman Carol Ann Hunter was gaoled for eight years at the Central Criminal Court after persuading her lover to hire a hit man to murder a former lover and his new wife. Her witless co-conspirator attempted to hire an undercover police officer.
Also in March 2007, security guard David Thorneycroft pleaded guilty at Northampton Crown Court to soliciting the murder of his wife. He had offered an undercover police officer a nine thousand pound contract fee. His motive appears to have been purely financial.
Such examples are not difficult to find; can it really be that people throw caution to the winds when plotting the ultimate crime, or are they actively sought out by police intelligence?
The use of agents provocateurs is not of course limited to Britain nor indeed to the legal authorities. In the United States, the FBI ran a counter-intelligence programme against both the far right and the far left, and against radical black organisations. Although the extent and effectiveness of COINTELPRO has been greatly exaggerated, the mere fact that it existed should give all American citizens cause for concern.
A high profile case of incitement which undoubtedly had a political dimension to it was that of John De Lorean (1925-2005), an American engineer, executive and founder of the De Lorean Motor Company. Although he was a multi-millionaire, De Lorean’s business had floundered, and by early 1982 in spite of massive inputs by private investors and over a hundred and fifty million dollars by the British Government, his Northern Ireland based company was in receivership. Desperate to save his dream, De Lorean turned to cocaine trafficking, of all things. His first meeting with James Hoffman, a drug smuggler turned FBI informant, was held on July 12 of that year. In October, De Lorean was arrested and charged with trafficking cocaine by the US Government. In August 1984 at his trial he was cleared without calling a single witness; his legal team used the procedural defence of entrapment. Earlier that year his attorney told Time magazine that his was a fictitious crime. Without the government, there would be no crime, he said.
Fictitious it was not, the law of the land – on both sides of The Pond - states clearly that trafficking in Class A drugs is a serious criminal offence attracting a substantial gaol sentence on conviction; the question should not be why was De Lorean charged but why weren’t his co-conspirators in the dock with him? As FBI agents had clearly incited the crime they were not only guilty but more guilty, because without this shabby little conspiracy an otherwise law-abiding if desperate citizen would not have been tempted to break the law in the first place. Such entrapment (read incitement) operations persist to this day in Britain, the United States and all over the world, yet regardless of the fates of the hapless victims no FBI, police or customs agent ever joins the defendants in the dock. Ever.
Like John De Lorean, the current writer was targeted by an undercover police officer who incited him to commit a serious crime – this one a murder. This happened in January 1999, and much as I would like to believe it was related to my political activities, in particular to my writings, the available evidence suggests that it was the work of renegade officers who acted out of malice and revenge after their sordid little plot to destroy me in 1996-7 failed when an independent-minded jury found me not guilty on two counts which would have undoubtedly brought me a ten year sentence.
The undercover officer who offered me a firearm was part agent provocateur and part honeytrap. Obviously I wasn’t stupid enough to take the bait, but in retrospect I could have handled the situation better, although I’m not sure if that would have done any good because my later attempts to expose this operation were typically stonewalled, and I was derided as a harmless if nasty crank whereas previously I had been described as “an unstable, dangerous individual”. I could write a lot more about this, but the point should be taken, this article is not speculative nonsense, it is not theory, it is about how the powers-that-be operate in the real world, unchecked, uncontrolled, and outside the rule of law.
In war time, the use of “black operations” expands considerably; during the Second World War, the British Psychological Warfare Executive ran all manner of at times bizarre operations against the enemy. German-born Sefton Delmer who ran the department published his two volume autobiography in 1961-2 in which he related with smug satisfaction how he and his gang planted fake stories in newspapers, spread rumours and even set up a fake radio station. In Black Boomerang, Delmer wrote “...the simplest and most effective of all ‘black’ operations is to spit in a man’s soup and cry ‘Heil Hitler!’” It goes without saying that many of the PWE’s operations were far more sophisticated and far more effective than that.
Political movements in Britain have always been monitored closely by both the police and the security services; this is generally recognised, although hard evidence from official sources seldom comes to light; one example from World War Two will suffice. An MI5 file held at the Public Record Office reporting on the activities of the Imperial Fascist League in 1940 says that its leader Arnold Leese spoke at an IFL meeting on April 19 “stating his disgust at the German action in Norway...” Leese was said to be angered by Hitler’s pact with Russia, and thought Hitler should retire in favour of Goering. His audience was unsympathetic.
This intelligence clearly came from a spy at the meeting who had joined the IFL. Arnold Leese was a fanatical anti-Semite, and naturally this coupled with his self-professed Fascism made him a bona fide target for state surveillance, but although he had been pro-Nazi and pro-Hitler for many years, the Nazi invasion of Scandinavia (the spiritual homeland of the Aryan race) revolted him. This information did not prevent his being interned under the notorious Regulation 18b, and he was arrested in November 1940.
Although the Second World War ended in 1945, British forces have been engaged in military operations to this day. In September 1953, a British serviceman who had joined the Rifle Brigade in January 1945 arrived in Kenya where he was promoted to Major. By his own account, Frank Kitson was sent there “to do a job connected with Intelligence”. The main threat at that time was the Mau Mau cult.
Kitson hit on a somewhat unorthodox method of dealing with Mau Mau; he created his own gangs! His book Gangs and counter-gangs contains photographs of him and his men blacked up in Black And White Minstrel fashion, although he also used loyal natives. His charades were so successful that he even managed to introduce a new Mau Mau oath. He was able to get away with this not because he was combating primitive and superstitious Africans but because there was no central Mau Mau authority. When “The Troubles” began in Northern Ireland, he was relocated, and there is reliable evidence that he used the same tactics, suitably refined, to combat the IRA.
The fight against the IRA was a different scenario altogether, not only were they better organised than the Mau Mau but there was a central authority of sorts, although when the Provisional IRA split from the Official IRA in December 1969 the situation grew more complex. The Provisional Army Council directed the majority of IRA activity, but “rogue” operations and “individual actions” were numerous.
The techniques used to gather intelligence on the IRA and other paramilitaries operating in Northern Ireland and on the Mainland were at times bizarre, and undoubtedly included illegal wire-tapping as well as setting up bona fide business fronts including a massage parlour and a laundry! In May 1977, an undercover SAS man was murdered by the IRA when his cover was blown. Captain Robert Nairac had gone to extraordinary lengths to infiltrate the terrorist network including working on a London building site to pick up an Irish accent and knowledge of the building trade. He was transferred to Northern Ireland in 1974, when the SAS was not operating there. Officially, at any rate.
This was an undercover operation that went tragically wrong, but what about the success stories? Obviously an undercover police officer or FBI agent who manages to infiltrate a terrorist cell will at some point have to prove his mettle. How does he do that? Just as obviously by committing or participating in some criminal or terrorist act. But where does he draw the line? Does he turn a blind eye to the murder of one person, or a dozen, a sacrifice of a few innocents for the greater good?
As stated, it is not only the legal authorities who use these type of tactics. In Britain, the activities of the Searchlight Organisation have crossed the line on more than one occasion. Although it claims to be an “anti-fascist” magazine which keeps tabs on the extreme right, this small but dedicated group of largely Jewish fanatics decided long ago that the best way to expose Nazi terrorists would be to encourage them to play up to their Hollywood stereotypes. In the mid-1970s, the Nazi Underground, a sinister organisation named Column 88, reared its ugly head. All or most of the reports of this shadowy group emanated directly from Searchlight and its then controller Maurice Ludmer, and some people who ought to have known better took its lunatic ravings as gospel. Writing in the second edition of his book The New Fascists in 1983, “terrorism expert” Paul Wilkinson claimed: “A recent authoritative study found evidence that Column 88 had infiltrated military units and established weapons training-camps and exercises. SS Wotan had been responsible for fire-bomb attacks on left-wing and immigrant targets.”
The reality is that the greatest outrage Column 88 ever committed was celebrating Hitler’s birthday. The infiltration of military units refers to one man who joined the Territorial Army. In July 1975, Richard David Roberts, Searchlight’s main source inside the far right, was convicted of conspiracy to assault and rob the staff of an Indian restaurant. Far from being a right wing fanatic, Roberts was a fanatical Communist – the son of Communist parents - and a “mole”.
After the death of Maurice Ludmer in 1981, Roberts was disowned by Searchlight, but by then he had already long been superseded by Ray Hill. Unlike the idealistic if misguided Roberts, Hill was not a fanatical anti-fascist but a Judas goat who sold his soul to Organised Jewry in South Africa whence he had fled while on bail on an assault charge. Hill had joined the British Movement in the late sixties for all the wrong reasons; in South Africa he became a founding member of the short-lived, diminutive but very nasty South African National Front before returning to Britain and rejoining the British Movement. In 1981, about the same time as the death of Maurice Ludmer, the Notting Hill Carnival bomb plot was exposed. The man who exposed it was, surprise, surprise, Ray Hill. Although Searchlight sung Hill’s praises when he “came out”as a mole, a careful investigation and analysis of this plot indicates that as far as it existed at all, Hill incited it.
The truth about the Notting Hill Carnival bomb plot is that it was no more than “barrack room” talk. Or more likely pub talk. Although there were calls for an investigation, the police gave the plot no credence whatsoever. From the 1960s to the 1990s, “Nazis” - ie anyone who wanted Britain to remain white and had the temerity to say so – were fair game. To this day racists are still subjected to arbitrary legal and other persecution, notwithstanding the media’s forever whining about the evils of racism, but after September 11, 2001, even the dumbest of the goyim realised that a far more deadly menace lurked in our midst, even if they did wrongly identify that menace as Islam. Now, “Islamic” extremists have become in effect the new Nazis, and while it was once dangerous to be identified as a racist, it is becoming increasingly dangerous to be identified as an Islamist. Likewise, loose talk has become dangerous. If two white labourers are sitting in their local watering hole sounding off about the government, and one of them remarks that he’d like to bomb Downing Street, it will be dismissed as pub banter. If two Asian men have the same conversation in a Mosque, it becomes a conspiracy.
Since September 11, 2001 we in Britain have seen a number of serious plots intended to maim and murder innocent civilians on a scale that puts the Provisional IRA to shame. Thankfully, the only such plot that could be called a success is that of the 7/7 gang which in addition to the four conspirators killed 52 people and maimed a staggering seven hundred, including many foreign-born and tourists. A fortnight later to the day, a copycat plot failed, mercifully, when the explosives failed to detonate.
Although all these plotters had links to extremists, the idea that they were sleeper agents implanted by the all-pervasive Islamic World Conspiracy is not tenable. True, the Al-Qaeda Network may be likened to a snake or octopus-like entity whose tentacles reach into the heart of all the West’s great cities, but one must never forget this is only an analogy, and that these links are light years away from the picture painted by then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in a TV interview (available on YouTube). The diagram below, which is supposed to be Al-Qaeda’s Afghan HQ, was endorsed by him enthusiastically. “It’s a very sophisticated operation”, said the interviewer; Rumsfeld agreed, adding “and there’s not one of those, there are many of those”.
Rather than being Bin Laden’s secret underground base, this diagram is a total fantasy. As Jason Burke, the author of the definitive study of Al-Qaeda said, when the Americans and British raided Bin Laden’s supposed strongholds they found nothing but a few startled shepherds. Burke went further and said that rather than a worldwide network of terrorists under the control of one man or a group of men, what exists is an idea that is prevelant amongst angry young Moslem males throughout the Islamic world, and it is this idea that is the real threat, the real menace.
So how do the legal authorities combat this idea? The obvious way is to use better ideas. In his suicide video, Mohammad Sidique Khan, the leader of the 7/7 cell, told his audience (us): “Your democratically elected governments continuously perpetuate atrocities against my people all over the world”, completely ignoring the fact that British troops were sent into Bosnia specifically to stop massacres against his brother Moslems. Completely ignoring the fact that democratic governments are always in the forefront of famine relief and aid to areas stricken by natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes. Khan also ignored the fact that the acts he and his fellow hatemongers were planning were atrocities of staggering proportions. “...I am a soldier...” Indeed.
Combatting bad ideas with good ones is always preferably to simply suppressing bad ideas either by censorship or other means, but of course the results from this sort of campaign are purely negative. Arresting a terrorist cell or catching the perpetrators of a bombing resonates better with the public than dissuading angry young men from conspiring to commit mass murder in the first place.
On the other hand, tracking down terrorists, who may be armed, is a dangerous, laborious and for the most part thankless task, but creating your own terrorists by inciting known hotheads to commit or better still to plot or simply to talk about murdering people, that is a strategy that gets result, wins applause from both the public and the government, and is also relatively inexpensive and safe. I am not saying that every single “Islamic” terrorist cell in Britain is the creation of Larry O’Hara’s ubiquitous and all-powerful Secret State, but exactly how dangerous are most of those who are brought to book?
In November 2006, Dhiren Barot was gaoled for life for conspiracy to murder; according to the BBC website, he was called “a determined terrorist” by New Scotland Yard, but revealingly – or rather, unrevealingly – the same website tells us that while he planned to use a radioactive dirty bomb, to hijack petrol tankers and to explode a bomb under the Thames drowning hundreds of people on the tube network, “The prosecution conceded the police had not found any evidence that materials had been acquired to carry out the plans”. In other words they found nothing at all except for “plans” which for all they knew could have been the synopsis of a novel. Barot’s co-conspirators were no more impressive. Obviously these were men who had bad intentions, but at the end of the day the only crimes they committed were purely theoretical, and would quite likely have never come to fruition.
Under the coming repression – which is here in all but name – we are likely to see many more such convictions, not just of people like Barot, but of anyone who has a grudge against the government or some arm of the state and is foolish or indiscreet enough to sound off about it. Everyone, especially Moslems, should be wary not just of wide–eyed fanatics but of anyone who advocates any form of violence as a means to an end.
There is though another issue here, that is the question of loyalty. Contrary to the facile assertions of both fanatics and Islamophobes there is no conflict between Islam and good citizenship. Any Moslem who resides in this country, whether or not he was born here has an obligation at the very least not to engage in any activity which can be detrimental to the welfare of its citizens. This doesn’t mean that Moslems cannot and should not protest against perceived injustice, whether here or abroad, but there is a right way and a wrong way to protest. If Mohammad Sidique Khan had really cared about the welfare of his brother Moslems there were plenty of things a man of his undoubted abilities could have done besides murder strangers indiscriminately. He could have joined a voluntary organisation, raised funds for humanitarian relief, or simply lobbied to increase awareness of the issues he professed concern for. This path is though considered too slow and too futile by the likes of Khan, but terrorism has been with us long enough for most people to realise that it is not a quick fix, and that in many ways terrorists play into the hands of the people they profess to be combatting. The current assault on civil liberties would never have taken place, would never have been possible, would never even have been considered, if it were not for the likes of Khan, Mohamad Atta, and the Emmanuel Goldstein-like figure of Osama Bin Laden who even now some Moslems are still foolish enough to worship.
I have not referenced this article in my usual academic fashion because I didn’t want to cramp my readers’ style. Most of the information contained herein is now freely available on the web, but a few points.
Entrapment and incitement also has its seedier side; homosexuals who cruised for anonymous sex were once regularly targeted by undercover police officers who would stand around smiling at strangers in public toilets. The most high profile victim in recent years was the British singer-songwriter George Michael, who was arrested by an undercover police officer in California in April 1998.
We are now supposed to allude to the Public Record Office as The National Archives, but its original name always sounds better to me. The M.I.5. reports relating to Arnold Leese alluded to here can be found in HO 45/24967. The PRO is open to members of the British public and tourists alike. Its website can be found at http://www.pro.gov.uk/
Arnold Leese served in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps rising to the rank of captain. In spite of his misguided anti-Semitism, his patriotism was never impugned. It should be remembered that at that time Fascism was regarded as a legitimate albeit authoritarian form of government, and it was possible to be both pro-Fascist and anti-Hitler. The Fascist movement had Jewish members in both Britain and Italy.
Regarding Captain Robert Nairac, in the index for the 1977 Army List, “493007 Nairac, R.L.” indicates his name appears under column 571, which would mean he was serving with the Queen’s Regiment, but his name is missing. One wonders if the 007 was intended as some sort of joke or if this was just an odd coincidence. When former spy David Shayler ended up in Belmarsh Prison he was given the number HP6 007, apparently by chance. There has been some speculation that Nairac was not working with the SAS but for some even more secretive unit. As far as can be ascertained, his role was simply to gather intelligence. Simple or not, he paid for his undoubted bravery with his life.
Jewish organisations have a track record of subversion going back decades. As long ago as October 1936, the much maligned Sir Oswald Mosley warned of their activities in his newspaper The Blackshirt: “Some do this in perfect good faith and honesty, and thus unconsciously help the enemies of their cause. Others, no doubt, as the struggle develops, will actually be employed, often unknowingly, by those very clever people, the big Jews, to make wild and foolish attacks upon Jews in general, in order to discredit anti-Semitism.”
The word links is a favourite of the Searchlight Organisation’s Gerry Gable. Ultimately it is a piece of innuendo that means nothing.
Larry O’Hara is an academic who did some excellent work on the Searchlight Organisation, although he misinterpreted its motives. Later though he began to see the hidden hand of MI5 everywhere, including behind the current writer, apparently.
[The above article was originally published on the Islamic website Mathaba.Net in September 2007 as Al Qaeda in Britain: helped by the state? It is published here with a few, very minor typographical alterations.]
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