Survivors and bereaved relatives of the 9/11 terror attacks in the United States have demanded that Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May finally publish a report dealing with the foreign funding of Islamist extremism in Britain.
The report is believed to highlight the role of Saudi Arabia in sponsoring Islamist extremism and terrorism.
Last week, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said the investigation had been concluded, but would not be published for reasons of “national security.” Both Rudd and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had earlier indicated that the contents of the report would never be made public.
The report will, however, be made available to privy councillors, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott, who will be sworn to secrecy about its contents.
The report was commissioned by David Cameron and approved by May, as part of a deal with the Liberal Democrats to secure the party’s support before a crucial vote to carry out airstrikes on Syria in December 2015.
The survivors’ letter adds to the growing number of voices accusing May of suppressing the report due to incriminating evidence relating to Saudi Arabia. There are powerful commercial, but also political, reasons why this is necessary.
Saudi Arabia is the biggest market for UK arms and there are reports that Tory politicians have received nearly £100,000 in gifts, trips and fees from Riyadh. The scandal over the report follows opposition to the government’s refusal to criticise Saudi Arabia for its human rights record and its approval of £3.5 billion of arms sales to the country, which has used these weapons in attacks on civilians in the war against neighbouring Yemen.
Then there is the vital role of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states in funding Islamist groups that provide essential proxy forces for the imperialist powers in Libya, Iraq and Syria. To acknowledge how blow-back from these filthy imperialist adventures leads to terror attacks in the UK and elsewhere would not only threaten lucrative trade deals, but also expose the war propaganda emanating from London, Washington and other Western capitals that they are backing democratic and “moderate” movements in their efforts to engineer regime change to secure control of the oil-rich Middle East.
Rudd was therefore forced to play down the suggestion that foreign funding was a factor in fomenting Islamist extremism in Britain. She issued a statement, based upon a 585-word summary of the report, saying that most of extremist funding in the UK came from “small, anonymous public donations, with the majority of these donations most likely coming from UK-based individuals.”
Some extremist organisations posed as charities in order to “increase their credibility and to take advantage of Islam’s emphasis on charity,” while being “purposefully vague about their activities and their charitable status.”
The statement acknowledged, “For a small number of organisations with which there are extremism concerns, overseas funding is a significant source of income.” But Rudd refused to say where the money was coming from and insisted that overseas funding was not a significant source for the vast majority of extremist groups in the UK.
Her statement flies in the face of widespread reports from the US and other official sources that Riyadh has spent $50 billion since the 1970s promoting its particular brand of Islamism—Wahhabism—around the globe, in what one think tank described as the “largest worldwide propaganda campaign ever mounted.”
Although these annual expenditures are now believed to be about $4 billion, it is unknown how much is sent to Britain. There are believed to be 110 mosques associated with Wahhabism.
To underscore the degree of Western collusion with such forces, no less than 15 of the 19 Al Qaeda terrorists involved in 9/11 were Saudi citizens who were allowed to fly in and out of the US without hindrance. The now deceased leader of Al Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden, is a member of a billionaire Saudi family with close ties to the Saudi royal family. Relatives of 9/11 victims have filed claims for billions of dollars in damages from Saudi Arabia, citing King Salman and other members of the ruling family as defendants.
Rudd’s statement is contradicted by an email written by former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, released by WikiLeaks, describing Saudi Arabia and Qatar as direct supporters of ISIS and other groups. This funding was part of Saudi Arabia’s broader strategy of promoting political Islam as a means of countering the growth of any progressive political tendencies within the working class.
Britain supported Saudi Arabia and Pakistan’s use of Islamist terrorist groups for covert operations in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Chechnya, all in Central Asia, the location of the huge energy resources, facilitating its energy corporations’ access to the region. It gave the nod to Islamabad’s and Riyadh’s funding and arming of the Taliban, which in turn gave succour to Al Qaeda, originally funded by Saudi Arabia and the CIA, and worked closely with them and similar forces as it suited their interests.
In the 1990s, London gave sanctuary to numerous Islamist groups, with several leading figures saying that Whitehall had given them a “green light” so long as they only carried out terrorist activities overseas. Among those involved were Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada, the Jordanian cleric sentenced in absentia for terrorist activities who reportedly worked as a double agent for MI5. The security forces used the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), based in London, in an unsuccessful MI6-sponsored attempt on the life of Libya’s then leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, and then again in the war for his removal and murder in 2011.
The most recent UK terror attacks two months ago in Manchester and London testify to the closest relations with these Islamist forces.
One of the attackers in the London Bridge killings, Yousseff Zaghba, was stopped at an Italian airport while attempting to travel to Syria, freely admitting that he “wanted to be a terrorist” and carrying ISIS literature. Another was featured in a British television documentary that chronicled his confrontation with and detention by police after he unfurled an ISIS flag in Regent’s Park in London.
The authorities were equally familiar with Manchester suicide bomber, Salman Abedi. In 2011, they allowed his parents, members of the LIFG, to return to Libya to assist the US-NATO regime-change operation against Gaddafi. Abedi himself met Islamic State operatives in Libya, veterans of the Syrian civil war, with whom he maintained close connections in Manchester.
Despite the 16-year-long “war on terror,” these elements move freely in and out of Britain, Europe, the Middle East and the US under what amounts to state protection. They are never stopped at passport control because they are vital intelligence “assets.”
Terrorist attacks by these “assets” also provide the pretext for further repression, surveillance, attacks on democratic rights and the deployment of troops and armed police on the streets.
British authorities are looking with increasing interest at their neighbour across the Channel, where France has declared a state of emergency and is seeking to embed it into law. These measures are of little value in preventing future attacks, but are indispensable for controlling the working class and suppressing social unrest.