Downing Street looks to increase the Tiny Minority of Extremists in Britain by five. “Guantanamo Five could be ‘a terrorist threat to Britain’,” from the Evening Standard:
Five Guantanamo Bay inmates that ministers want to bring to Britain are “extremely dangerous” with close ties to Al Qaeda, the Pentagon has warned.
US officials disclosed details days after Gordon Brown’s surprise decision to call for their release.
None of the men is a British national but were all legally resident in the UK before they were detained and taken to the notorious US detention camp.
America is still considering the request but Sandra Hodgkinson, who is in charge of US detention policy, warned that the five might try to carry out terror attacks if they were freed.
Reading from newly declassified files, she alleged that Shaker Aamer, 38, a Saudi national granted leave to remain in Britain, had been living in Afghanistan funded by Osama Bin Laden and working as his translator.
She said that Jamil el-Banna, 44, a Jordanian, had a “long-term association” with Iraqi terror chief al-Zarqawi, who was responsible for the murder of Briton Ken Bigley.
El-Banna came to Britain in 1994 and was granted asylum in 2000.
In 2003 he left London and was captured in the Gambia trying to board an aircraft with equipment which resembled a homemade electronic device.
A third suspect, Omar Deghayes, 37, a Libyan, was described as a “jihadi veteran” of the Bosnian war.
Lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, who represents the men, dismissed the allegations
as “a blatant attempt to smear my clients”.
The other two men are Binyam Mohamed, who lived in Kensington, west London, and had applied for asylum from Ethiopia, and Abdennour Sameur, a refugee from Algeria who
lived in Bournemouth.
A Foreign Office source indicated that the Government was prepared for “long
and complex negotiations with the US”, adding: “Clearly the US would not release them and
the UK would not be requesting their return if they were a risk to international or national security.”
But the Conservatives challenged Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to explain how she would ensure the men caused no harm.
A Home Office spokesman said national security was Miss Smith’s “foremost
concern” but that the request still stood.