Britain Will Act to Bar Terrorist Sympathizers
Police are hunting for a chief aide of the jailed cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri as the potential mastermind of the London attacks (Full Coverage). Like some jailed American gang or mafia leaders who are still able to exert control over outside operations through the help of followers, it is possible that Abu Hamza somehow communicated with Haroon Rashid Aswad to lead him to mastermind an attack on the capital of the country that had imprisoned him. Al-Masri, who has connections to terrorist plots all over Europe and also in the US (WAR Report) and whose mosque in London was once al-Qaeda’s top European recruiting center, has been wanted by Yemen for his role in the USS Cole attacks of 2000 . The United Kingdom refused to send him back to Yemen to stand trial and allowed him to continue preaching. When he was finally arrested in 2004 at the US’ behest, the UK refused American requests that he be extradited to the United States, giving Abu Hamza watered down domestic charges in order to keep him in the UK (according to British law, domestic charges take precedence over extradition). Abu Qatada , another dangerous terrorist preacher who was a member of and recruiter for al-Qaeda (Intel Report), was wanted by Jordan for his role in planning the thwarted millennium attacks on western and Israeli tourists at the Radisson SAS and other sites . The UK refused to extradite him to Jordan. They finally put him under house arrest in London and eventually arrested him. Like Abu Hamza, Abu Qatada has a number of inspired and devoted followers. Abu Doha is another London-based suspected terrorist, believed by the US to have recruited and provided Ahmed Ressam with money so that he could carry out a thwarted attack on the airport in Los Angeles . The UK also refused to extradite him to the US. Yasser Sirri is yet another Islamist with al-Qaeda ties that the US requested Britain extradite. The UK refused, again. Now, when the Taliban refused to give up Osama Bin Laden, the US invaded the country. For a nation that is supposed to be a strong ally to the US, such refusals by the United Kingdom looked awfully bad. One cannot help but ask why. If the US and the UK are great allies, why do the political masterminds in London refuse to handover suspects who may have information that could save American lives in the future? A source quoted in a Time magazine article discussing Britain?s puzzling refusal to arrest Abu Qatada in 2002 said, ?The British win because the last thing they want is a hot potato they can’t extradite for fear of al-Qaeda reprisals but whose presence contradicts London’s support of the war on terror.? Current circumstances support that the UK refused to extradite terrorists because they feared reprisal from their followers. Now that they too have been hit, these new considerations on extradition reflect the revelation that bowing to terrorists? pressure will do no good. This reconsideration is step in the right direction. The day that Britain stops negotiating with terrorists in its midst will be a small, but important, victory in the Global War on Terror.