Is the "Mastermind" of the London Bombings an MI6 Agent?
The Observer, on Sunday July 31, 2005, reported that Haroon Rashid Aswat--a man originally named as the mastermind of the 7/7 London bombings--had been arrested in Zambia about ten days previously. The 30-year-old, who is of Indian origin, grew up in Dewsbury, Yorkshire--the hometown of alleged Edgware Road bomber Mohammed Sidique Khan.
According to the Times (July 21, 2005), Haroon Rashid Aswat "arrived in Britain a fortnight before the attacks to orchestrate final planning for the atrocity. He spoke to the suicide team on his mobile phone a few hours before the four men blew themselves up and killed fifty-two other people." Aswat "is thought to have stayed in the madrassa [Pakistani religious school] with two of the British suicide bombers." Furthermore, according to intelligence sources, "during his stay [in Britain, prior to 7/7] Aswat visited the home towns of all four bombers as well as selecting targets in London." The Times said that intelligence sources claim there were "up to twenty calls between Aswat and two of the bombers" in the days leading up to the bombings, with one of the alleged 7/7 bombers--Mohammad Sidique Khan--allegedly having telephoned Aswat on the morning of the attacks. According to other reports, Aswat left the UK on a flight from Heathrow just hours before the 7/7 bombings.
As well as his possible involvement with the London bombings, according to the Los Angeles Times, Aswat was close to Abu Hamza al Masri--the Egypt-born imam of the Finsbury Park mosque in northeast London, which is a well-known focal point for extremists. What is more, Zambian security officials have said that Aswat has revealed during questioning that he was once a personal guard for Osama bin Laden. (Daily Mail, July 29, 2005)
Yet, according to terrorism expert and former Justice Department prosecutor John Loftus, Haroon Rashid Aswat is not the man he appears to be. When interviewed by Mike Jerrick on Fox News on July 29, 2005, Loftus made some startling claims about Aswat:
LOFTUS: This is the guy, and what's really embarrassing is that the entire British police are out chasing him, and one wing of the British government, MI6 or the British Secret Service, has been hiding him. And this has been a real source of contention between the CIA, the Justice Department, and Britain.
JERRICK: MI6 has been hiding him. Are you saying that he has been working for them?
LOFTUS: Oh I'm not saying it. This is what the Muslim sheik said in an interview in a British newspaper back in 2001.
JERRICK: So he's a double agent, or was?
LOFTUS: He's a double agent.
Loftus elaborated on this claim later on in the interview:
LOFTUS: Now we knew about this guy Aswat. Back in 1999 he came to America. The Justice Department wanted to indict him in Seattle because him and his buddy were trying to set up a terrorist training school in Oregon.
JERRICK: So they indicted his buddy, right? But why didn't they indict him?
LOFTUS: Well it comes out, we've just learned that the headquarters of the U.S. Justice Department ordered the Seattle prosecutors not to touch Aswat.
JERRICK: Hello? Now hold on, why?
LOFTUS: Well, apparently Aswat was working for British intelligence. Now Aswat's boss, the one-armed Captain Hook, he gets indicted two years later. So the guy above him and below him get indicted, but not Aswat. Now there's a split of opinion within U.S. intelligence. Some people say that the British intelligence fibbed to us. They told us that Aswat was dead, and that's why the New York group dropped the case. That's not what most of the Justice Department thinks. They think that it was just again covering up for this very publicly affiliated guy with Al-Muhajiroun. He was a British intelligence plant. So all of a sudden he disappears. He's in South Africa. We think he's dead; we don't know he's down there. Last month the South African Secret Service come across the guy. He's alive.
JERRICK: Yeah, now the CIA says, oh he's alive. Our CIA says OK let's arrest him. But the Brits say no again?
LOFTUS: The Brits say no. Now at this point, two weeks ago, the Brits know that the CIA wants to get a hold of Haroon. So what happens? He takes off again, goes right to London. He isn't arrested when he lands, he isn't arrested when he leaves.
JERRICK: Even though he's on a watch list.
LOFTUS: He's on the watch list. The only reason he could get away with that was if he was working for British intelligence. He was a wanted man.
You can watch the video clip of this interview here.
If Loftus is correct then the man who was thought to be the mastermind of the London bombings was a British agent!
As Loftus mentioned, British authorities were unwilling for Aswat to be apprehended by U.S. authorities just weeks before the London bombings. CNN described (July 28, 2005) that about a month before 7/7:
U.S. authorities wanted to capture Aswat, who was then in South Africa, and question him about a 1999 plot to establish a "jihad training camp" in Bly, Oregon.
According to the sources, U.S. officials had located Aswat in South Africa weeks before the July 7 attacks that killed 52 bus and subway travelers and the four bombers.
U.S. authorities had asked South Africa if they could take Aswat into custody. South Africa relayed the request to Britain, but authorities there balked because he was a British citizen, the sources said. While the debate was ongoing, Aswat slipped away.
Could this again be because he is an MI6 agent?
This appears scandalous. British authorities, however, are now trying to play down the significance of Aswat in relation to the London bombings. As The Guardian reported (August 1, 2005), "Counter-terrorism officials said Mr Aswat was 'of interest' to them, but there was no evidence linking him either to the July 7 or July 21 attacks. They are irritated by repeated suggestions in the US that he was connected to the bombings. They described Mr Aswat as 'a separate individual of interest in his own right'."
I guess the reports of him being the possible "mastermind" of the London bombings, and speaking by phone to two of the alleged bombers as many as twenty times in the days leading up to July 7, must simply be mistaken. Right?