November 13, 2012
Following British authorities “reluctantly” releasing Abu Qatada from prison on bail after a British court ruled the radical Muslim cleric should not be extradited to Jordan, British prime minister David Cameron complained,
“I am completely fed up with the fact that this man is still at large in our country. We believe he is a threat to our country… We have moved heaven and earth to try and comply with every single dot and comma of every single convention to get him out of the country.”
Mr. Cameron would like the British people to believe he is disgusted with the misdeeds of Mr. Qatada. Cameron, however, is leaving out the part about Qatada’s service to British intelligence.
Former Home Secretary John Reid fails to mention Qatada’s sterling record in cooperating with British intelligence.
Abu Qatada, described as “the spiritual head of the mujaheddin in Europe,” worked with British intelligence and ratted out his fellow Islamic extremists. In 1997, he met with MI5 and French officials say his continued cooperation with the authorities allowed him to avoid arrest after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. The MI5 went so far as to set him up in a safe house and protect him.
Qatada’s friend, Bisher al-Rawi, served as an informant and a go-between MI5 and Qatada in numerous meetings between late 2001 and 2002. Al-Rawi also served as Qatada’s MI5 translator.
The cozy relationship ended in 2002 when Qatada was arrested, mostly because he was an embarrassment – he had attempted to morally justify the attacks in New York and Washington D.C.
For more on Qatada’s role as an informer and his relationship with the late CIA asset Osama bin Laden, see the entry on him at the History Commons website.
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