London has a burgeoning community of radical Islamists. Most of them are followers of, or are sympathetic to, one-eyed cleric Abu Hamza Al-Masri. Al-Masri cut his teeth (and lost his hand) in Afghanistan in the 1980’s fighting alongside Osama and a entire generation of future jihadi leaders. His Finsbury Park mosque has been a favorite stop of shoe bomber Richard Reid and Zacharias Moussaoui. To be sure, the majority of the mosque’s attendees reject the radical, politicized version of Islam espoused by al-Qaida’s leadership. On Friday, Finsbury Park Mosque played host to one of the Muslim community’s fiercest denunciations of the attacks. Al-Masri has nonetheless been under scrutiny since 1999, when Scotland Yard questioned him about terror-related activities. Soon after, Yemen unsuccessfully requested his extradition for plotting bombings there.
Now Al-Masri is on trial for inciting violence. He faces a maximum sentence of life. And he could be extradicted to the US after his conviction. Al-Masri’s trial was set to begin on Tuesday — two days before the terror attacks in London. Could the bombings be related to his prosecution? Undoubtedly. Unfortunately, a “senior counterterrorism official” is trying to spin reporters with the claim that Zarqawi planned the attacks. (The claim is also discussed here.) This looks, smells and quacks like a Pentagon/State Department disinformation campaign designed to reinforce the notion of Iraq as a “central battlefield in the war on terror.” Zarqawi’s involvement in the London attacks would also bolster his profile among the American public, fulfilling a PR goal the White House established once they essentially gave up on capturing bin Laden.
Read the whole thing.
I don’t know anything about Pentagon disinformation campaigns, but I’ll agree that I’ve seen nothing to rule out the idea that these attacks were carried out by jihadists based in Britain as opposed to a group imported from the middle east or somewhere else.
But even if that’s true, does it necessarily change anything? Homegrown Islamic terrorists who were or are based in Britain are probably acting in solidarity with their comrades in the middle east anyway. These attacks were still, in my humble opinion, all about Iraq and the war on terror regardless of where the terrorists who executed them are from.
The terrorists want to deter western nations from continuing to prosecute the war on terror. They want to put Britain and its allies on the defensive instead of on the offensive. Like I’ve said before, we cannot do what the terrorists want us to do.
Rob Port is the owner and operator of Say Anything.