This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/2980
June 16, 2007
Seven Men convicted in Britain for terror plot
The sentence was announced at Woolwich Crown Court in east London, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported.
The men were in a "sleeper cell" led by Dhiren Barot, who is serving a life sentence for plotting to kill "hundreds if not thousands" of people using explosive-packed limousines and a 'dirty' radiation bomb, the court heard.
Barot's plans also included using a petrol tanker to cause an explosion in a London Underground tunnel, said the report.
Six of the men admitted conspiracy to cause explosions and a seventh was found guilty of conspiracy to murder.
Abdul Aziz Jalil, 34, from Luton, north of London, was jailed for 26 years, and Junade Feroze, 31, from Blackburn, Lancashire, for 22 years. Mohammed Naveed Bhatti, 27, and Nadeem Tarmohamed, 29, from London, were each jailed for 20 years.
The seven men were sentenced between them to a total of 136 years for the terror plot.
"The outcome of this trial once again shows the extent of the very real and serious threat the UK faces from terrorism," said British Home Secretary John Reid. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2007-06/15/content_6248114.htm
June 15, 2007
Terror cell jailed for helping plan attacksAdam Fresco
Seven members of a terror cell who were vital to the plans of al-Qaeda "general" Dhiren Barot to conduct massive attacks against British and American buildings were jailed today.
The men helped Barot, a Muslim convert, to plan co-ordinated attacks on symbolic buildings in three different cities on the eastern seaboard of the US, including the New York Stock Exchange and the World Bank, Woolwich Crown court was told.
Blueprints for these attacks were then refined and developed into plans for a series of attacks on buildings in London and the capital's transport systems.
Possible targets were the Heathrow Express or an explosion on a Tube train whilst in a tunnel under the Thames, it was said.
In spring 2004, the UK plans were completed and Barot went to Pakistan.
The timing suggests the purpose of the trip was to present his proposals to the al-Qaeda leadership for support and funding, said Johnathan Laidlaw, for the prosecution.
But in the summer of that year, the four-year conspiracy came to an end with the men's arrests.
Barot's team gave him the help he needed to make it possible for him to operate in this country and produce the terrorist plans.
"They were amongst his trusted few. They were his support team," Mr Laidlaw said.
"We do not suggest it was just these seven men - there may have been others - but these men were the most prominent amongst that team."
While Barot "lived in the shadows", planning the attacks, he needed the help "of those who could provide him with accommodation, false identities, access to false bank accounts, who could provide a place of storage for his plans and research material and access to computers etc", the barrister said.
In April Mohammed Naveed Bhatti, Junade Feroze, Zia Ul Haq, Abdul Aziz Jalil, Omar Abdur Rehman and Nadeem Tarmohamed pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause explosions likely to endanger life.
Qaisar Shaffi was convicted of conspiracy to murder after a month-long trial which ended earlier this week.
Jalil, 34, from Luton, Bedfordshire, was jailed for 26 years, Feroze, 31, from Blackburn, Lancashire, for 22 years and Bhatti, 27, from Harrow, north London and Tarmohamed, 29, from Willesden, north west London, for 20 years each.
Ul Haq, 28, from Paddington, west London, was given 18 years and Rehman, 23, from Bushey, Hertfordshire, and Shaffi, 28, from Willesden, north-west London, 15 years each.
Barot was jailed for life last year for plotting to kill "hundreds if not thousands" of people using explosives-packed limousines and also a "dirty" radiation bomb.
Sentencing the men today Mr Justice Butterfield said: "Barot was the instigator of this terrorist planning, he was by some considerable distance the principal participant in the conspiracy.
"Each one of you was recruited by Barot and assisted him at his request.
"Anyone who chooses to participate in such a plan ... will receive little sympathy from the courts."
The judge told the defendants the suffering their families would experience "is but a tiny fraction of the suffering that would have been experienced had your plans been translated into reality".
Mr Laidlaw said Barot also needed minders and drivers - roles Jalil, Bhatti and Feroze fulfilled at various points - and people who could look after him as he carried out reconnaissance, as well as those who were prepared to run errands for him, the court was told.
The seven defendants did not produce the plans for the attacks and nor were they the instigators of them.
They were, it was said, "substantially subordinate" to Barot - who was at "General rank" - with Feroze, Jalil and Tarmohamed the next rank down as "Lieutenants", and the others holding more junior positions
|The men who made a plot possible|
If you want to send an e-mail, you do not travel hundreds of miles out of your way to do so.
But in the case of Abdul Aziz Jalil and Junade Feroze it involved a drive from London to Swansea, popping into an internet cafe - and then immediately leaving to travel home.
Such were the lengths taken by the seven men who formed a self-proclaimed "sleeper cell" of al-Qaeda sympathisers, determined to ensure the bomb plots of Dhiren Barot went ahead with devastating consequences.
Barot, 34, was jailed for life last year. At the time of his sentencing, the full scale of his plotting was revealed: video surveillance of targets in Manhattan, a London limousine to be packed with gas canisters - and research into blowing holes in tunnels under the Thames and releasing radioactivity over the capital.
But it was only with the support of the seven men jailed on Friday at Woolwich Crown Court that Barot, described as the most senior al-Qaeda operative in the UK, could push ahead with his plots.
Crucial to success
Over the four years leading up their arrest in August 2004, the men assisted Barot as he meticulously devised, researched and refined multiple plans to hit targets in the UK and US.
It was the job of the seven men to help Barot leave no stone unturned in the planning.
Barot's principal objective was to kill hundreds if not thousands of people without warning, prosecutors said. He wanted to bring down iconic buildings and cause panic.
The seven men were his technical team and he maximised their personal skills. Ul Haq, jailed for 18 years, was a trained chartered surveyor who understood the dynamics of buildings.
Omar Rehman, jailed for 15 years, found a job at a hotel and police believe he used his time there to research disabling security and fire systems.
Mohammed Naveed Bhatti, jailed for 20 years, was a driver. He organised false identities for Barot and assisted in critical areas of research. His home was used to store and catalogue the plans.
Feroze, jailed for 22 years, employed counter-surveillance techniques for the men, often keeping watch during meetings. He was also involved in researching gas canisters for the main limousine bomb plot.
Jalil, jailed for 26 years, ran a safe-house identified by MI5 officers where false identities and money was kept. He is also believed to have trained with mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan.
Qaisar Shaffi and Nadeem Tarmohamed, jailed for 15 and 20 years respectively, were key to the plots in the US. When Shaffi fell ill with tuberculosis on the second reconnaissance trip to New York, Tarmohamed was on a plane within 24 hours to replace him.
MI5 identified Barot as a serious risk in June 2004 and soon realised it was going to be a difficult operation.
Meetings were in wide-open spaces to minimise the chances of close surveillance or eavesdropping.
When walking and talking, one of the men would stop and look around, or sometimes drop back completely to monitor those around them.
The team would separate and later pass each other without acknowledgement, before meeting up again. Meetings indoors rarely happened without one acting as watch.
Surveillance officers saw them driving "illogical routes" around roundabouts more than once, doubling back, suddenly leaving motorways and parking a long distance from their homes.
On one occasion Barot and Jalil parked two streets away from a flat before walking around three sides of a square to reach it, completely at odds with conventional behaviour.
The men maintained a series of false identities for Barot so he could travel without suspicion. The plotters who did fly would report their passports lost so they could obtain fresh documents with no traceable history.
And finally emailing was only done in elaborate code from internet cafes - including the Swansea incident. The Yahoo email addresses had no meaningful connection to the men: "kewl_n_kinki", "bridget_jonesdiaries", and "nighwithkylie".
The team were so professional that ultimately surveillance officers from both MI5 and the police found it impossible to maintain observation on Barot and he disappeared on 28 July 2004.
The security services knew he was up to something - and decided it would be too risky to allow it to happen again. They decided to arrest the conspirators as soon as he reappeared, five days later.
Evidence at home
All of their reconnaissance and research left a trail - and computers, DVDs and notebooks were key to the case.
The US plans were recovered from an encrypted DVD. UK plans were also found on a computer in Pakistan - building the case that Barot was working with direct approval of al-Qaeda figures.
At Bhatti's home in Harrow, north London, police recovered handwritten notes, books CDs and DVDs all containing research for the attacks.
The material included maps, photographs and diagrams and technical literature for bomb recipes. One notebook included a list of ISBN numbers, referring to books on fire safety and control in buildings.
While forensic scientists linked all of the material to Barot - in time, they also linked it back to each of the seven men.
NEWSMAKER-Dhiren Barot - the jailed British al Qaeda leader
By Michael Holden LONDON, June 15 (Reuters) - A British judge jailed seven men on Friday for a total of 136 years for their part in a plot masterminded by British al Qaeda leader Dhiren Barot to blow up U.S. financial institutions and stage attacks in Britain. The men, Mohammed Naveed Bhatti, Junade Feroze, Zia Ul Haq, Abdul Aziz Jalil, Nadeem Tarmohamed, Omar Abdur Rehman pleaded guilty to conspiring with Barot to cause explosions between 2001 and 2004. The seventh, Qaisar Shaffi, was found guilty on Wednesday.
Barot, a senior British member of Osama bin Laden's network and the mastermind behind the attacks, is currently serving a life sentence after admitting to the charges last year. Barot's route to jail started five months before al Qaeda plane hijackers carried out the Sept. 11 2001 attacks when he was America preparing plans for another deadly mission. While the 9/11 plotters were finalising their plans to crash planes into targets in New York and Washington, Indian-born Barot was also in the two U.S. cities, scouting buildings used by some of the country's most important financial bodies. His plan was to bomb targets like the New York Stock Exchange and the International Monetary Fund. He also admitted planning to blow up limousines packed with explosives and gas cylinders at underground car parks in Britain, to set off radiologically contaminated "dirty bombs", and to detonate a bomb on an underground train as it travelled beneath the River Thames.
Prosecutors said the plots were designed to kill as many people as possible. Barot, who had a series of aliases including Esa al-Britani and Abu Eissa al-Hindi, had a long history of involvement with Islamist militant groups. By the time of the U.S. bomb plots, some U.S. officials believe he was either al Qaeda's cell leader in Europe or at least the head of bin Laden's organisation in Britain. He was born to a Hindu family in India but converted to Islam when he was 20. He rose to prominence at the end of the 1990s when he wrote a book entitled "The Army of Madinah in Kashmir" which relates his experiences in the disputed region between India and Pakistan. The book reveals he trained with the Mujahideen in Afghanistan and then fought against Indian forces. "The Mujahideen ... are waging an unrelenting Jihad and continue to endure on this path," he wrote. Although Barot admitted planning attacks in Britain, it is not one of the five countries -- India, Pakistan, the United States, Israel and Russia -- he labelled enemies in his book. He returned to Britain when his book was written, before going back to Afghanistan for a year, this time to work as a lead instructor in training camps. He emigrated to south Thailand in 1998 where he married and joined training camps run by the Philippines' largest Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
According to the official U.S. 9/11 Commission report, Barot was sent to the United States by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the bin Laden lieutenant who says he masterminded the Sept. 11 attacks. Mohammed, now in U.S. custody, described Barot's mission to CIA interrogators. "KSM claims, at Bin Laden's direction in early 2001, he sent Britani to the United States to case potential economic and 'Jewish' targets in New York City," the report says. U.S. officials say he entered America in 2000 and 2001 to begin conducting surveillance operations. In June 2000, he applied and won a place at the Mohawk Valley Community College in New York. Although he was admitted, he never enrolled or attended any classes there.
This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/2980