The UK government is so absurd that it is hard to believe it isn’t a parody. Perhaps eventually Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, and David Cameron, as well as Jack Straw, Jacqui Smith and Theresa May, will reveal themselves to be a new Monty Python-style comedy troupe, having a laugh at the world by pretending to be competent politicians acting in Britain’s best interests. Or perhaps future generations will remember them as those who, through their folly and willful ignorance, brought about the death of Britain as a free state and a free society.
£1,000,000 is $1,682,000. Nice compensation for jihad.
“Ministers paid £1m to suspect ‘seen at al-Qaeda terror camp,’” by Robert Mendick, Telegraph, May 18, 2014:
The Government paid a suspected terrorist up to £1 million compensation even though Whitehall officials had been told that he had been at an al-Qaeda training camp planning attacks on Jewish and American targets.
Feroz Abbasi, who was captured by American forces in Afghanistan in 2001, was one of 16 detainees held at Guantánamo Bay who were paid £20 million in 2010 by the Government to settle claims of UK complicity in their rendition and detention.
Legal documents show that an al-Qaeda “supergrass” had informed security agencies in 2004 that Abbasi had been sent to Afghanistan by the extremist cleric Abu Hamza “to receive jihad training in support of al-Qaeda”.
Abbasi, 34, a former computer student from Croydon, south London, was captured in Afghanistan in 2001 and released from Guantánamo in 2005.
The documents raise concerns about why the UK was prepared to pay compensation to Abbasi when they had hard evidence that he had been at the heart of a terrorist organisation which was planning attacks on the West.
In the secret deal in 2010 between the detainees and the UK Government, both sides signed confidentiality agreements meaning the public may never know why so much money was paid out to the detainees.
Authorities in Guantanamo Bay believed Abbasi was a ‘confirmed member’ of al-Qaeda (AFP)
The Cabinet Office says it is still bound by the terms of the settlement and refuses to say exactly how much was paid and who received it.
But Robin Simcox, an expert in al-Qaeda matters who is a research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, a respected London-based think tank, described the Abbasi pay-off as “troubling”.
Mr Simcox said: “The Government agreed a settlement with the Guantánamo detainees because it believed it was better than a lengthy litigation process in which secret intelligence would be exposed and national security could be seriously damaged.
“However, there was never an admittance of liability that the security services had done anything wrong. In Feroz Abbasi’s case, the facts have always pointed towards his involvement with dangerous, extremist causes, which makes his payout all the more troubling.”
Lord Carlile, the former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, also criticised the payments to Islamists who had been to terror training camps.
He said: “We must ensure in the future that such payments are not made where the person is shown to have been acting contrary to the national interest.”
The new documents were prepared by US prosecutors and are based on the testimony of Saajid Badat, an al-Qaeda supergrass who turned informer in return for a shorter prison sentence.
Badat, who was sentenced to 13 years for an airline bomb plot in 2005, was freed just five years later after a secret court hearing authorised his agreement to become a cooperating witness.
A year before the Guantánamo Bay deal British authorities and the FBI interviewed Badat over the course of several weeks.
In written testimony prepared by the US prosecutors against Abu Hamza and other terror suspects, Badat said he had met Abbasi in 2001 in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
He was told by an al-Qaeda leader to look after Abbasi, taking him to a guesthouse “run by al-Qaeda.”
During a meeting in Afghanistan, Badat says he saw Abbasi at al-Qaeda’s al-Farouq training camp, which admitted only those “trusted by al-Qaeda.” Badat says that Abbasi’s training at al-Farouq included “weapons, such as AK-47s, explosives and navigation”.
Badat told the US he acted as a translator during a meeting between Abbasi and “two of al-Qaeda’s most senior leaders,” Abu Hafs al-Masri and Saif al-Adel. Abu Hafs was al-Qaeda’s military chief until he died in an American air strike in late 2001. Saif al-Adel remains a senior al-Qaeda leader to this day.
The pair of al-Qaeda leaders asked Abbasi whether he “would be willing to engage in attacks against American and Jewish targets outside of Afghanistan”.
According to the US Justice Department “Badat will testify that Abbasi responded affirmatively” to the request.
The department says that Badat “first provided information about Abbasi’s role in a conspiracy with [Abu Hamza] in 2004”. And Badat has provided consistent testimony several times since then.
Another unnamed witness known only as CW-1 has corroborated Badat’s account.
At Hamza’s US trial, Badat told the court that he saw Abbasi at al-Qaeda’s al-Farouq terror training camp in 2001. Under cross-examination, however, Badat acknowledged that the only time he saw Abbasi, he was using a spade to dig the ground. But he testified that those attending the camp were given military training for violent jihad operations.
The US Guantánamo authorities considered Abbasi to be a “confirmed member” of al-Qaeda, who had “pledged to martyr himself in jihad against the West and the United States in particular”.
Abbasi was also deemed “a high threat to the US, its interests and its allies.” JTF-GTMO even considered Abbasi “a candidate for prosecution as a terrorist” in a military court. It was recommended that he be “retained under” the Department of Defence’s control.
Instead, less than two years after his capture, Abbasi was transferred to Britain, where he was freed without charge. Less than a year after his release the Home Office withdrew his passport on “strong grounds for believing that, on leaving the UK, you would take part in activities against the UK or allied targets”.
Following his return to Britain, Abbasi enrolled at a London university and married, later becoming a father. The Telegraph was unable to contact him for comment last week and his lawyers did not return calls.
Abbasi was born in Uganda but came to the UK with his mother when he was eight. He began worshipping at Finsbury Park mosque as a teenager, where Hamza, who is currently on trial in New York and whose fate will be decided this week, was the preacher.