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WAR ON TERRORISM -
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The Foiled UK Terror Plot and the "Pakistani Connection"

Posted in the database on Tuesday, August 15th, 2006 @ 13:44:59 MST (1815 views)
by Michel Chossudovsky    The Centre for Research on Globalisation  

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The announcement by the British Home Office of a foiled terror plot to simultaneously blow up as many as ten airplanes on transatlantic flights, conveys the impression that it is the Western World rather than the Middle East which is under attack.

Had the terrorist plot gone ahead as planned, it would have resulted in "the loss of life on an unprecedented scale", said Home Secretary John Reid. (BBC, 10 August 2006).

"We are confident we have disrupted a plan by terrorists to cause untold death and destruction.... Put simply, this was intended to be mass murder on an unimaginable scale", said Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan police, Paul Stephenson. (Complete statement, 10 August 2006)

The London terror warning has served to divert World public attention from the war in Lebanon and the atrocities committed by coalition forces in the Middle East.

Realities have been twisted and turned upside down. A fear and intimidation campaign has been launched. The "civilized" Western World is threatened by "extremists" and "homegrown Islamic terrorists":

"The global loathing for the United States and its ally, the United Kingdom, has helped corrupt the minds of a generation of disaffected young Muslims..."

Meanwhile, the real "mass murder on an unimaginable scale" (to use Scotland Yard's expression) committed in Lebanon at the height of a major escalation of the Israeli led invasion, was barely acknowledged by the Western media.

President Bush stated (August 10) that the planned terror plot was

"..a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation".

Media Disinformation

The global media is inundated with "authoritative" stories on the foiled UK terror plot "to smuggle liquid bomb components in hand luggage" onto transatlantic flights. The alleged plot involves some 50 British born Muslims, with insidious links to Al Qaeda and terror groups in Pakistan.

CNN's top journalists were rushed from the war theater in Lebanon to cover unfolding events in London, England. While Israel continues to target civilians, the Western media has its eyes riveted on what is now being described as a foiled "Second 9/11", which was allegedly slated to occur on the 11th of September, on the day of commemoration of 9/11:

"It could have been a second 9/11 -sized slaughter..."

"[W]e could have woken up this morning and the news could have been that Act II, the second 9/11 could have occurred. And thank God it did not, because we know the goal of those enemies that want to kill innocent people here. (Fox News, Hannity Colmes, 10 August 2006)

In the days following the British Home Secretary's announcement, the media disinformation campaign went into full gear. CNN's buzz words are: "Target USA", "Could it happen right here in the United States?..."

The objective of the media campaign is to instill fear and intimidation: "The British Home secretary, ... warned that another terrorist attack on Britain is very likely..."; "MI5 and the police are investigating 'dozens and dozens' of possible Al Qaeda inspired plots to cause mass murder in Britain" (Independent, 14 August 2006)

"Counter-terrorism" and war propaganda are intertwined: The message in several British and US media points to "preemptive warfare" as a justifiable act of "self defense" against what Condoleeza Rice calls "the State sponsors of terrorism", who are preparing a "Second 911".

The hidden agenda is to build public acceptance for the next stage of the Middle East war which is directed against Syria and Iran, while also weakening the antiwar movement.

The Pakistani Connection

While it may be premature to comment on the police investigation at this early stage, due to the lack of information, there are, nonetheless, a number of obvious flaws and contradictions in the statements emanating from Scotland Yard and Britain's Home Office.

The initial reports of the Home Office point to the active collaboration of Pakistani Military Intelligence in uncovering the alleged terror plot. From the outset, most of the intelligence which led to the arrests in the UK was apparently gathered by Pakistan's military intelligence, who is said to "have tipped off MI5":

"The plot to blow up passenger planes bound for the US from Britain by making bombs onboard was revealed for the first time by Pakistan's prime intelligence agency, which then brought it into the notice of its counterpart agencies in the US and the UK, ... The agencies of all the three countries then launched a successful operation in unison to foil the plot. Well-placed sources revealed to The News on conditions of anonymity that the operation was coordinated at the highest level by all the three agencies. The heads of governments of all three countries were also kept abreast with the efforts in this regards.

Pakistan's top intelligence agency's chief, Lt-Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani, personally supervised the coordination of the three agencies. Gen Kiyani, who is director-general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), returned from London only last week. The ISI chief and senior aides travelled regularly to the West and even across the Atlantic in this endeavour and not only unearthed the plot but also rendered tangible assistance with precision in nabbing the suspects." (The News website, Islamabad, 12 August 2006)

Unfolding Contradictions

Of significance in assessing "the reliability" of the intelligence transmitted by the ISI to its British and US counterparts, are the detailed documented links of Pakistan's Military Intelligence (ISI) to the "Islamic terror network".

While actively collaborating with the British police investigation, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) is known to have supported and financed a number of "Islamic terror groups" including Al Qaeda. In fact the terrorist training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan were set up in the early 1980s with the support of the ISI and the CIA. And the leaders of these various Islamic organizations were also indoctrinated in the ISI sponsored madrassas.

The ISI was instrumental in the creation of the militant Jammu and Kashmir Hizbul Mujahideen (JKHM) in the late 1980s. Confirmed by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), it has also supported and provided financial assistance (during the entire post-Cold War era), to the two main Pakistan-based Kashmir rebel groups, Lashkar-e-Taiba, (Army of the Pure) and Jaish-e-Muhammad (Army of Mohammed), which claimed responsibility for the terror attack on the Indian parliament in October 2001.

According to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR):

[T]hrough its Interservices Intelligence agency (ISI), Pakistan has provided funding, arms, training facilities, and aid in crossing borders to Lashkar and Jaish. This assistance-an attempt to replicate in Kashmir the international Islamist brigade's "holy war" against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan-helped introduce radical Islam into the long-standing conflict over the fate of Kashmir…

See Council on Foreign Relations, "Terrorism: Questions and Answers, Harakat ul-Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad" , Washington 2002, )

More recently, an Associated Press report suggested that Jaish-e-Mohammed was allegedly behind the Mumbai July 2006 train bombing that killed 190 people:

" [A] US official who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity pointed to another group, Jaish-e-Mohammed, or Army of Mohammed, which is also affiliated with al-Qaeda, according to the Bush administration. Targeting trains at rush hour traffic is a tactic Jaish-e-Mohammed favors, the official said" (Associated Press Report quoted by Larry Chin, July 2006).

The ISI has also provided support to the Bangladeshi based Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, the South East Asian Jemaah Islamiah (JI), the two main Chechen rebel factions, and other terrorist organizations. The 2002 Bali attack in the Kuta seaside resort was allegedly perpetrated by Jemaah Islamiah, which had previously been supported by Pakistani Military Intelligence.

And the ISI, which is actively assisting Scotland Yard is also alleged to have played a behind the scenes role in the 9/11 attacks.

The Role of Pakistan's Military Intelligence in 9/11

On the 9th of September 2001, two days before 9/11, the charismatic leader of Afghanistan's Northern Alliance Commander Ahmad Shah Masood was assassinated in a suicide attack. The Northern Alliance had informed the Bush Administration that Pakistani intelligence (ISI) was allegedly implicated in the assassination. (The Northern Alliance's statement was released on 14 September 2001, quoted in a Reuters report on 15 September 2001)

Moreover, according to several reports, Pakistan's ISI allegedly also played a role in supporting the presumed 9/11 terrorists. Of particular significance is an FBI report leaked to ABC News in late September 2001:

"As to September 11th, federal authorities have told ABC News they have now tracked more than $100,000 from banks in Pakistan, to two banks in Florida, to accounts held by suspected hijack ring leader, Mohammed Atta. ... It's all part of what has been a successful FBI effort so far to close in on the hijacker's high commander, the money men, the planners and the mastermind." (Statement of Brian Ross reporting on information conveyed to him by the FBI, ABC News, This Week, September 30, 2001,. emphasis added)

The FBI report was corroborated by an official Indian intelligence document (apparently been dispatched to Washington), which was reported by Agence France Presse (AFP) and The Times of India. These reports suggested that financial assistance to the 911 ringleader had been transferred on the orders of the Head of Pakistan's ISI:

"[The money was] wired to WTC hijacker Mohammed Atta from Pakistan, by Ahmad Umar Sheikh, at the instance of [the Head of Pakistan's Military Intelligence (ISI)] General Mahmoud [Ahmad]." See Times of India, Delhi, 9 October 2001, AFP, 10 October 2001, Further details, see Michel Chossudovsky, America's "War on Terrorism", Global Research, 2005) .

"ISI Fingerprints"

Some of the contradictions underlying the recent role of the ISI, were addressed in a 2005 debate at the Nixon Center (7 July 2005), which was broadcast on C-Span:

Nikolas Guosdev: "You can see another one of these mainstream parties, Jammat-e- Ulama-e-Isam, which is ... linked to the main Kashmiri radical groups -- Lashkar-e- Jhangvi, Harakat-ul-Mujahedin -- which serves as a logistical -- which helps al Qaeda and the Taliban in the the tribal areas in Pakistan. Jaish-e-Muhammad, you can see all of that fits in.

The fingerprints of the ISI, by the way, are all over this. And the question, of course, is whether it is an institutional policy or if it is through personal connections and personal relationships.

Alexis Debat: "I agree with you that fingerprints can mean many things, and there is certainly several ways that the ISI has been in contact with -- officially or unofficially -- with these groups. What I was referring to is that these groups have been, and still are, at least for the majority of them, instrumentalized by the ISI in Baluchistan and in Kashmir, in Afghanistan, and there's considerable evidence that a lot of the trainers in Afghanistan in the 1990s were Pakistani -- retired Pakistani military officers, retired ISI." (Nixon Center Discussion on Pakistan and Terrorism with Alexis Debat, Historian and Terrorism analyst Nikolas Guosdev, Editor of the National Interest Journal, emphasis added)

The Pakistan ISI - Scotland Yard Connection

Pakistan's ISI has a shady record of supporting terrorist organizations on the one hand while helping British police and intelligence officials on the on the other hand.

Was the ISI providing institutional support to the terror network or was this support carried out through complex personal links by so-called "rogue elements" within the ISI?

Has the ISI, under President Pervez Musharraf been duly reformed (as conveyed by the mainstream media), to undertake its new role of combating rather than supporting " Islamic terrorism"?

The evidence suggests that the ISI remains the core institutional architect (in liaison with the CIA) of the "Islamic terror network", from the Soviet-Afghan war to the present.

Recent Indian press reports (August 2, 2006) suggest that the ISI is still running the terrorist training camps:

"[A]s many as 52 [ISI] terrorist training camps are still functioning in Pakistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir. (Statesman News Service, Delhi, 2 August 2006)

Britain's Sunday Times (August 13, 2006) corroborates these damning reports, without, however, pointing fingers at the Home Office and Scotland Yard:

It was the ISI that turned the Taliban from a bunch of religious students into a movement that took over Afghanistan. According to Hamid Karzai, president of Afghanistan, ISI continues to provide a safe haven, training them to fight British soldiers in Helmand....

Pakistan's problem is that extremist organizations and training camps, such as those linked to the London bombers, were either created by, or supported and used by, ISI." (emphasis added)

The Sunday Times underscores yet another apparent "inconsistency" by revealing that the ISI is providing support to groups which are actually fighting British troops in Afghanistan.

What are the implications? What does this imply in relation to London Met's police investigation?

The London Police Anti-Terrorist Branch (SO13) headed by Peter Clarke together with MI6, The Secret Intelligence Service, and MI5, The Security Service (which operates under the authority of Home Secretary John Reid), are working hand in glove with a Pakistani based intelligence agency which has supported known terrorist organizations, while also collaborating with its Western counterparts "in going after the terrorists".

The facts speak for themselves. The least we might ask at the outset of the British police investigation is:

How reliable is the information transmitted from Pakistan's ISI to its British police and intelligence counterparts? The sweeping Home Office statements that the plot would have resulted in "an unimaginable loss of human life", were in large part based on information out of Rawalpindi, Pakistan, courtesy of Scotland Yard's Pakistani partner: The Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).

Is the credibility of Scotland Yard impaired by its working relationship with an organization which, for the last 25 years, has promoted international terrorism?

What would be the perceptions of the British and American public were they to learn that the London Metropolitan police was conducting its investigation with the assistance of an organization known to have close links to Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda?

Can an independent police investigation be conducted with the active participation of British and US intelligence, knowing that both MI6 and the CIA have links (either directly or via the ISI) to "Islamic terrorist organizations".

"The War on Terrorism"

According to Pakistani press reports (Dawn, August 12, 2006) two Pakistani Islamic militant groups Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Sunni group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi were involved in the UK terror plot. Two other UK-based outfits Al Mahajroon and Hizbul Tehrir, are allegedly also involved.

Matiur Rehman "a senior figure" in Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is considered to be "the possible mastermind behind the plot". Rehman, who is still "at large" is identified according to The Independent as "Al-Qaeda's planning director".

One of the main suspects Rachid Rauf has been arrested by the ISI. The Pakistani authorities have put Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, the founder of Laskhar-e-Taiba under house arrest. Ironically, Lashkar e Taiba, which now operates clandestinely, is one of the main Kashmir rebel groups which had been supported and financed by the ISI, yet, at the same time, it is the ISI which has been entrusted in investigating Lashkar's role in the UK terror plot.

Moreover, according to former CIA intelligence analyst Jim Loftus in relation to last year's 7/7 London bomb attack, Al Mahjajoon, identified as a British based organization in the foiled August terror attack, has been supported by MI6. (See Michel Chossudovsky, London 7/7 Terror Suspect Linked to British Intelligence? 1 August 2005)

While channeling covert support to Mahjajoon [Muhajiroun], MI6 (The Secret Intelligence Service) also collaborates with Scotland Yard's Anti-Terrorism Branch, in liaison with US Homeland Security headed by Michael Chertoff and the CIA.

This contradictory relationship between intelligence agencies and terror groups should come as no surprise. Amply documented, Western intelligence agencies including the CIA and MI6, in liaison with the ISI, are known to have supported the "Islamic terror network" including Al Qaeda. (For further details see Michel Chossudovsky, America's "War on Terrorism", Global Research, 2005)

The "War on Terrorism" is a fabrication. Al Qaeda, the "outside enemy" of the West is a creation of the US intelligence apparatus. In intelligence parlance, Al Qaeda is an "intelligence asset", an "instrument" of the intelligence agencies.

The intelligence agencies oversee their "intelligence assets", which have a certain degree of independence and autonomy in relation to their sponsors.

While they promote the terror network through covert operations, intelligence agencies also engage in the legitimate practice of "counter-terrorism". The latter is invariably a smokescreen, which essentially consists in "going after" the organizations created and/or indirectly supported by the intelligence apparatus.

The system of "color coded" terror alerts, the fear campaign, the terror warnings, the anti-terrorist drills and exercises, in the name of "national security" have become part of a heavily ritualized process which supports a global military agenda. All of these various initiatives, including the campaign against Islam, are undertaken to confuse public opinion --through media disinformation-- into believing that the "outside enemy" is real and that the "war on terrorism" waged in the Middle East, which has resulted in countless civilian deaths, constitutes a justified "national security" objective.

Moreover, to sustain the "war on terrorism", US and British intelligence must continue to support (through covert operations) the "Islamic terror network". Without an "outside enemy" there is no "war on terrorism", no "just cause" for waging a profit driven Middle East war of conquest, which responds to carefully defined strategic and economic objectives.

Without the " war on terrorism", the war criminals in high office and their powerful corporate sponsors do not have a leg to stand on. Their legitimacy collapses like a deck of card.

Michel Chossudovsky is the author of the international best seller "The Globalization of Poverty " published in eleven languages. He is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Center for Research on Globalization, at www.globalresearch.ca . He is also a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His most recent book is entitled: America’s "War on Terrorism", Global Research, 2005.

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