Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Al-Qaeda Bomber Was a Spy for U.K., Canada

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An Algerian-born al-Qaeda assassin accused of bombing two churches in Pakistan was working as a spy for British and Canadian intelligence before being imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay, according to his secret inmate file released by WikiLeaks.

The leaked document, prepared in 2008 by the U.S. Department of Defense, describes Adil Hadi al Jazairi bin Hamlili as a Muslim so extreme that he even murdered another al-Qaeda member to enforce his interpretation of Sharia (Islamic) law. "Detainee is assessed to be an al-Qaida operative, a facilitator, courier, kidnapper, and assassin with numerous ties to al-Qaida senior leaders," the detainee’s file states.

But the alleged terrorist was also working for Western spy agencies, according to the document. “In December 2000 detainee was recruited as [a human intelligence asset] for the [Canadian Security Intelligence Service] and the [British Secret Intelligence Service aka MI6] because of his connections to members of various al-Qaida linked terrorist groups that operated in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” wrote a U.S. analyst in the assessment file, citing reports by other government agencies.

Bin Hamlili worked as a spy for those governments until his capture in 2003 by Pakistani authorities, according to the leaked document. That was during the time he allegedly participated in, and was “possibly the leader” of, a series of at least three bombings aimed at two churches and a luxury hotel in Pakistan. One of those attacks killed an American diplomat and his daughter.

In interrogations with U.S. officials, bin Hamlili also apparently admitted that he had been working for foreign intelligence agencies. “The detainee stated he was introduced to the Canadian Foundation in Kabul, Afghanistan,” recounts a now-public summary of one of his status-review hearings cited by The Globe and Mail. “They provided the detainee financial support in return for information on the whereabouts and activities of al-Qaeda members.”

But the leaked detainee file claimed that he “withheld important information during his service” as a British and Canadian intelligence asset. The assertion led to news reports about the new revelations speculating that bin Hamlili may have been working as a double or even triple agent.

But even though U.S. officials determined bin Hamlili represented a “high risk” and that he was "likely to pose a threat to the US, its interests, and allies," he was mysteriously released in 2010 without charges. Nobody seems to know where he went after being dropped off in Algeria.

Before the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, bin Hamlili worked as a diplomat and spy for the Afghan Taliban regime. And as a young militant, he fought against the Soviet occupation of the country with the U.S.-backed Mujahedeen — a predecessor of al-Qaeda and other Islamic terror groups. After that, according to the document, he traveled the globe working for various extremist organizations.

The Globe and Mail, a Canadian newspaper, pointed out that information about bin Hamlili’s actual involvement in the terror attacks was partially derived from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Mohammed’s statements are viewed as tainted because they were obtained through the use of torture by the Central Intelligence Agency.

But it certainly wouldn’t be the first time agents of Western governments have been involved in terror attacks. As The New American reported last year, a “former” U.S. government agent named David Coleman Headley was a key conspirator in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that killed more than 150 civilians.

In 2005, undercover British special agents in a car full of missiles, dressed up as Arabs — headdresses, wigs and all —  opened fire on Iraqi police. After being jailed, the U.K. government stormed the prison to free them, claiming the police had been “infiltrated” by “militia” members who did not support the occupation.

In addition to the information leaked about bin Hamlili, documents about another Guantanamo prisoner, whom the U.S. government considered a “medium-to-high risk” and a “probable member of al-Qaida,” were also leaked along with hundreds of others. That former inmate is now serving as an American ally in the United Nations-backed military campaign to oust Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

As The New American reported in late March, several high-profile leaders of the Libyan rebellion — currently receiving U.S. government arms and air support — are known to be affiliated with al-Qaeda. Critics say the confusion and ever-shifting alliances illustrate the absurdity and danger of America’s current foreign policy.

The Obama administration condemned the “illegal” leaks. It said the documents “may or may not” represent the current U.S. government position on each detainee.

Photo: AP Images

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