They’re also linked to the 7/7 attacks. “5 Convicted in London Bomb Plot,” by David Stringer for Associated Press, with thanks to all who sent this in:
LONDON (AP) – A judge sentenced five men to life in prison Monday for plotting to attack targets in London, including a popular nightclub, power plants and shopping mall, with bombs made from a half-ton stockpile of fertilizer.
The trial for the first time exposed connections between the defendants and the deadly 2005 al-Qaida-linked attack on the city’s transit system.
Details kept secret to ensure a fair trial showed that counterterrorism agents tracking the five men had also stumbled onto the transit plotters. And despite disturbing signs that the transit plot was in the works, the agents failed to piece them together in time to prevent the July 7, 2005 bombings that killed 52 people, testimony and official briefings during the trial showed.
The revelations are at odds with statements by Tony Blair’s government after the 2005 attack. Senior ministers, who a month earlier had lowered the country’s alert status, said the 2005 attack was unexpected and the perpetrators unknown.
Omar Khyam was found guilty of conspiracy to cause explosions made from a chemical fertilizer that could endanger life. Also found guilty were Anthony Garcia, Jawad Akbar, Waheed Mahmood and Alahuddin Amin….
The jury that convicted the five men deliberated for nearly a month after nearly a year of testimony in Britain’s longesrial. The men, all British citizens, were accused of plotting a series of attacks using more than 1,300 pounds of fertilizer they had placed in a storage unit….
Counterterrorism officials acknowledged that intelligence that could have raised alarms before the July 7 transit attacks was never thoroughly investigated, explaining they were overwhelmed by seemingly more urgent threats.
A government security official gave one-on-one briefings with reporters toward the end of the trial, detailing the path that security agents had followed.
As agents monitoring the fertilizer plot listened in on a bug, they heard one of the July 7 bombers, Mohammed Siddique Khan, warn that he planned to kill non-Muslims, the security official said during the briefing, demanding anonymity to discuss sensitive details of the cases.
A tracking device was placed in Khan’s car a year before the 2005 suicide bombings and details of his phone calls and meetings with radicals were reported to Britain’s domestic spy agency, MI5, on at least four occasions, he said.
Khan also took militia training in Pakistan with at least some of the fertilizer plotters, a witness in the case and officials said.
But, lacking resources, MI5 never pieced together the shreds of intelligence, the official acknowledged.
“There needs to be that killer fact and it just wasn’t there,” he said, noting that Khan had used several aliases.
Mohammed Junaid Babar, an American FBI al-Qaida informant, had reported that a Briton using an alias – later identified as Khan – attended a Pakistan militia camp with al-Qaida linked radicals from Britain and the United States in 2003.
With accomplice Shehzad Tanweer, Khan visited Pakistan again in 2004.
A surveillance team recorded Khan and Tanweer during a 2004 operation to monitor the fertilizer plot – bugging 100 phone lines, a vehicle and two houses. Agents also took pictures of Khan in the company of suspected terrorists.
As agents eavesdropped, Khan – who called himself Milly – warned he would join the “Arab mujahedeen to fight abroad.” But his threat was not uncommon or enough to prompt his arrest, the security official said.