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Tuesday, August 09, 2005 

French and Saudis knew of plans to attack UK.

Very slow news day apart from this story. It is the silly season and August after all:

Both France and Saudi Arabia had advance warning that Britain was about to be attacked by al-Qaida, according to a classified report and claims by the Saudi ambassador to London. The warnings came at a time when the British intelligence services had concluded that there was no imminent attack planned.

In a classified report on the Pakistani community in France, presented to the French interior ministry in late June, the Renseignements Généraux, or DCRG, France's equivalent of the Special Branch, said Britain "remains threatened by plans decided at the highest level of al Qaida ... They will be put into action by operatives drawing on pro-jihad sympathies within the large Pakistani community in the UK."

Saudi Arabian authorities also informed the UK of a potential attack, it was confirmed this week. The Saudi ambassador in London, Prince Turki al-Faisal, said in a statement: "There was certainly close liaison between the Saudi Arabian intelligence authorities and British intelligence some months ago, when information was passed to Britain about a heightened terrorist threat to London." However, the threats were not specific and, according to security sources, there was no detailed intelligence that could have disrupted the July 7 bombers.

The German foreign intelligence chief, August Henning, yesterday warned that further attacks should be expected elsewhere. "We fear developments in Iraq are radiating outwards," he told the Reuters news agency.

So who's telling the truth? To start with, I find it very difficult to believe that the 7th of July attacks can be blamed on al-Qaida. The break-up of the organisation and the establishment of autonomous groupings throughout the world, which have similar aims to those of Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri is much more likely to be to blame. These groups cannot be considered to be al-Qaida, and it's giving way too much credit to the aforementioned men to blame them.

Besides that, the British security services are keeping to their story that they had no intelligence that attacks were about to take place. Are security services sharing their intelligence with other countries, or are they once again keeping it to themselves? It's also worth noting how in the weeks before the attack the so-called threat level had been taken down from "severe-general" to "substantial". Will a paper trail of how the intelligence services warned of an impending attack, yet the government did nothing be uncovered similar to the one in the US after the September 11th attacks? Only time will tell.

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