Monday, August 01, 2005

Haroon Rashid Aswat - 'the London bomb mastermind'

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The 'London Bomb Mastermind':

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002399039_aswat24m.html

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The US Justice Department blocked efforts by its prosecutors in Seattle in 2002 to bring criminal charges against Haroon Rashid 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...

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...

British intelligence officials 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.

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http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_1445311,00050001.htm

British authorities rejected a request by the US one month before the London bombings to arrest Haroon Rashid Aswat now suspected of helping those who carried out the deadly attack, CNN reported.

http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/07/29/news/britain.php

Several weeks before the bombings on July 7 in London, British officials were reluctant to approve a plan by the U.S. authorities to seize Haroon Rashid Aswat who is now wanted for questioning in the attacks, according to law enforcement officials...

In the weeks before the London bombings, the South African authorities informed the U.S. authorities in New York that Aswat was alive and living in their country, one of the officials said...

British investigators suspect that Aswat may have provided logistical support for the coordinated attacks in London's transit system on July 7...

Aswat is originally from Dewsbury, in north-central England, where one of the four suspects from the bombings on July 7 lived.

Aswat was once a senior aide to Abu Hamza al-Masri, the blind, one-armed militant cleric who preached fiery anti-Western sermons at the Finsbury Park Mosque in northern London...

Senior investigators have said that Aswat was believed to have met Osama bin Laden in the late 1990s and that he trained at camps run by Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,22989-1712011,00.html

A senior British al-Qaeda operative sought by authorities since the July 7 bombing attacks on London has been arrested in Zambia.The Los Angeles Times reported today that Haroon Rashid Aswat, a 30-year-old of Indian descent who grew up in West Yorkshire, was arrested last week and is being held in Lusaka, where both British and US anti-terrorism investigators have travelled.

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http://www.channel4.com/news/special-reports/special-reports-storypage.jsp?id=450

29 July 2005.

Channel Four News has learned that British police HAVE been looking for 31-year-old Haroon Rashid Aswat in the wake of the attacks on London on the seventh of July. Haroon Rashid Aswat was brought up in West Yorkshire and is known to have had contact with two of the London bombers right up to the days before the attacks.

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29 July 2005

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4726843.stm

Counter-terrorism officials appear to have dismissed reports that Haroon Rashid Aswat was wanted for questioning over the 7 July London bombings.

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1539369,00.html

30 July 2005.

"Haroon Rashid Aswat... is not suspected of involvement in the London attacks of July 7."

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Looks like the 'mastermind' was working for the British government?

Was he an agent provocateur?

Aswat was a highly public aide to Abu Hamza al Masri, the militant cleric from a North London mosque. Abu Hamza is suspected of being an asset of the security services. He worked for the CIA in Afghanistan.

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The Sunday Herald, a newspaper based in Scotland, is now American owned.

31 July 2005.

According to the Herald, the passport of Haroon Rashid Aswat was found on the body of a young Muslim killed fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The Herald claims that in the late 1990s, young Aswat was boasting that he was a “hit man” for Osama bin Laden.

In the US, FBI investigators wanted to question him about his trips to mosques in Seattle and to Bly, in Oregon, "where former al-Qaeda members told FBI agents Aswat had tried to set up a terrorist training camp in 1999".

The London bombings earlier this month "allegedly turned up his phone number during examination of the mobile telephone records of the four suicide bombers who killed 52 people on July 7."

"Sources said that days after the first explosions, around 20 phone calls were found to have been made from his mobile to some of the men who caused carnage on the London Underground and a bus in the capital. Officials were forced to admit Aswat had not died in Afghanistan but had been spirited out of the war zone and into Pakistan, where he began to plan an al-Qaeda attack against the West."

"A nightmare scenario for the British authorities, that Aswat was the so-called “fifth man” who orchestrated the attacks in London, was beginning to emerge."

On July 20, Pakistani intelligence sources revealed that Aswat had been arrested in Pakistan, in possession of a belt packed with explosives for a possible suicide attack.

The man arrested was in fact a ceramics salesman from London with a similar name.

Next, US intelligence officials revealed to the Los Angeles Times that Aswat had been arrested in Zambia.

He is to be questioned over claims that Mohammad Sidique Khan, alleged 7 July bomber, telephoned him on the morning of the July 7 attack and that he was in contact with the group in the days running up to the bombing.

There have been reports that Aswat entered Britain before the attacks and left just hours after the explosions went off.

According to the Herald, Aswat "first came to the attention of the US authorities around 2000 when he surfaced as a close associate of a Seattle man, James Ujaama, who was planning to build a terrorist training camp in Bly, near the Californian border.

"In 2003, Ujaama, who was arrested in the US and pleaded guilty to assisting the Taliban, told FBI investigators that he had become friends with Hamza after moving to London in the mid-1990s, where he designed and maintained the cleric’s website, Supporters Of Shariah.
As part of his plea agreement, Ujaama began to tell investigators about his involvement with Hamza and Aswat. According to court documents, in 1999, Hamza sent Ujaama back to the US to begin setting up the terrorist training camp.

"Court records say that Aswat travelled to New York on an Air India flight from London in November 1999, then went to Seattle to meet with Ujaama. H e then went to Bly and “met potential candidates for jihad training” and began working with Ujaama to set up passwords, security patrols and firearms training.

"He appeared in Seattle again in February 2000, and for several months lived at the now-defunct Dar-us-Salaam Mosque in the city. By then, the documents allege, he was openly referring to himself as bin Laden’s hit man .

"Although US investigators are convinced about the danger posed by Aswat, the plan to set up the camp ultimately failed. Among the reasons given include the fact that he and Ujaama had to share a dilapidated trailer, with no bathroom or running water. There was no food and they were forced to hunt quail and rabbits to eat...

"The FBI said that Aswat left Oregon in disgust and returned to Britain, dismissive of the Bly training camp proposal. It was believed that it was after this that Aswat travelled to Afghanistan, where he was killed.

“Until the past two weeks, the FBI thought that Haroon had been killed."

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