London’s high security Belmarsh prison: Qatada’s new home
Some encouraging news from The Scotsman, with thanks to Earl. I hope the British authorities are duly wary of anything they tell him, however:
RADICAL Muslim cleric Abu Qatada is “a truly dangerous individual” and was a key figure in the United Kingdom in al-Qaeda related terrorist activities, a special tribunal found.
The Special Immigrations Appeals Commission announced in January that Qatada had lost his appeal to be freed from detention in Belmarsh prison, London, as a suspected terrorist.
In the full ruling on the appeal, obtained by Channel 4 News, commission chairman Mr Justice Collins made clear just how dangerous the tribunal considered him to be.
There was sufficient evidence to conclude that Qatada “has been concerned in the instigation of acts of international terrorism”, the chairman found. Mr Justice Collins stated: “We have indicated why we have formed the view that the case made against the appellant is established. Indeed, were the standard higher than reasonable suspicion, we would have had no doubt that it was established.
“The appellant was heavily involved, indeed was at the centre in the United Kingdom of terrorist activities associated with al-Qaeda. He is a truly dangerous individual and these appeals are dismissed.” eport anyone damaging the interests of this country”.
“The third meeting was to restate the officer’s belief that [Qatada] wielded considerable “˜spiritual, if not operational influence on an extensive number of Islamists of various nationalities and that, as a resident of the United Kingdom, [the officer] fully expected him to use that influence, wherever he could, to control the hotheads and ensure terrorism remained off the streets of London and throughout the United Kingdom”.
Surprisingly enough [Qatada] revealed little love of the methodology and policies pursued by Osama bin Laden
Intriguingly, the full ruling also details how, in the mid-1990s, Qatada had a series of conversations with an MI5 officer in which he indicated that he was willing to co-operate with the British authorities in keeping Islamic terrorism off the streets of London.
In one interview Qatada is said to have promised to “report anyone damaging the interests of this country”.
In a later interview, Qatada is said to have insisted that those over whom he had influence were no risk to Britain’s national security, and that he would not “bite the hand that fed him”.
The commission’s ruling reveals: “In his statement, [Qatada] not surprisingly relies heavily on three interviews he had with a member of the security services in June and December 1996, and February 1997. The first of these records his passionate exposition of jihad and the spread of Islam to take over the world.
“[Qatada] claimed to wield powerful, spiritual influence over the Algerian community in London. He maintained that a decision had been taken in Algeria not to mount operations against the UK.
“[In the] second interview [Qatada] said he did not want London to become a centre for settling Islamic scores and, in the view of the officer concerned, he “˜came the closest he had to offering to assist in any investigation of Islamic extremism”. He apparently said that he would “˜r
“[Qatada] said that those over which he had influence were no risk to the country”s security and he would not bite the hand that fed him.
“It is also recorded that “˜surprisingly enough [Qatada] revealed little love of the methodology and policies pursued by Osama bin Laden”.”
The commission’s ruling further reveals that the security services officer was left with the impression that Qatada had “nothing but contempt for bin Laden’s distant financing of the jihad”.