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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 110

US captured al Qaeda operative: Brits used him, US once released him

By Daya Gamage - Asian Tribune Investigative report
Washington, D.C. 08 Oct. (

The U.S. Army's "Delta Force" operators, with the assistance of the FBI agents and the CIA officers in a daring broad day light drama in a street in Tripoli, Libya in the morning hours of Saturday, 05 October captured onetime al Qaeda operative and computer expert Nazih Abdul-Hamed Nabih al-Ruqai'i, known by the alias Abu Anas al-Libya.

Anas Al-Liby was indicted in the Southern District of New York, for his alleged involvement in the bombings of the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, on August 7, 1998.

He is now being interrogated by American intelligence officers on a US ship somewhere in the Mediterranean.
Al-Libi, 49, won political asylum in Britain in 1995, after being thrown out of al-Qaeda’s headquarters in Sudan by Osama bin Laden in response to a request from the Sudanese government.

Sudan was under intense pressure from Muammar Gaddafi, then Libya’s president, to stop harboring Libyan al-Qaeda operatives who wanted him overthrown and replaced with an Islamist regime.

In January 2002, the (London) Observer reports that he was captured in Afghanistan. In early March 2002, the London Times mentions al-Liby’s capture as an established fact. Then, in late March 2002, the London Times and the Washington Post reported that he was captured in Sudan. Anonymous CIA sources and anonymous “senior administration officials” claim that al-Liby has been captured, but the Sudanese and US governments officially denied the arrest. The London Times says the arrest “has been kept a closely guarded secret.” Some senior officials who told the Washington Post al-Liby had been arrested later change their account and said it was someone with a similar name.

Why he was given political asylum in Britain and the manner in which he was sent to Egypt and how he got out of the CIA custody to freely live in Tripoli, Libya is an interesting story.

In 1995, al-Liby was granted political asylum in the United Kingdom, after a failed Al Qaeda plot to assassinate Hosni Mubarak, then president of Egypt. An Egyptian request for extradition was declined on the grounds that al-Liby would not receive a fair trial.

In 1996, the British MI6 is alleged to have paid a Libyan Al Qaeda cell to kill Colonel Gaddafi, al-Liby being allowed to stay in return for aiding the alleged plot, which was unsuccessful. In 1999, al-Liby was arrested by Scotland Yard and interrogated. However, he was released because he had cleared his hard drive and no evidence could be found to hold him. In May 2000, his flat in Manchester, where he was a student, was searched by police, who discovered a 180-page handwritten manual for Al Qaeda followers, translated from Arabic to English, which became known as the Manchester Manual, but al-Liby had already fled abroad.

In January 2002, news reports stated that al-Liby had been captured by American forces in Afghanistan.

Following this, in March 2002 news reports stated that al-Liby had been arrested by the Sudanese government and was being held in a prison in Khartoum. However U.S. officials soon denied those reports and al-Liby was still sought.

Al-Liby had been on the US list of Most Wanted Terrorists since its inception on October 10, 2001. The United States Department of State, through the Rewards for Justice Program, offered up to US$5,000,000 (formerly $25,000,000) for information about the location of Abu Anas al-Liby.

Malcolm W Vance, a former US intelligence officer, says Liby is a very important al-Qaeda figure and could be one of the "top finds" the US intelligence has had since the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

"Operationally, he is more knowledgeable about the inner workings of al-Qaeda since he's been on board that organization since the mid-1990s," he told the BBC.

"He was a computer programmer at one point, but became an operational combat commander for al-Qaeda. He was believed to be in Afghanistan and Pakistan along with the regular al-Qaeda leadership.

"It was very significant that he came back to Libya to what... appears was a very large broad-scale interlinking of all the al-Qaeda organizations in north Africa he was going to organize," Mr Vance adds.

However, investigative journalists both in Britain and the U.S. found al-Liby had mysterious connections to Western intelligence operations.

In June 1995, al-Qaeda sponsors a failed assassination attempt on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak).

Sometime in 1995, Anas al-Liby moved to Britain and applies for political asylum. Not long after he arrives, Egypt asks the British government to extradite him for his alleged role in the assassination attempt. They send a detailed file on him, including information on how he had fought with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and then moved with him to Sudan. But the extradition request was refused. British officials question whether al-Liby could get a fair trial in Egypt and feared he could face the death penalty.

In 1996, he is involved in a plot with the British intelligence agency to assassinate Libyan leader Colonel Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi, and presumably his ability to live in Britain is connected to cooperation with that plot.

[OBSERVER, 11/10/2002; TIMES (LONDON), 1/16/2003] After the failed assassination attempt in 1996, the British allegedly continues to support anti-Qadhafi movement Al-Muqatila—for instance, the group openly publishes a newsletter from a London office. Whistleblower David Shayler, a British intelligence agent, gave British authorities details of this Libya plot in 1998 and again in 1999, and later had to serve a short prison sentence for revealing this information to the public. [OBSERVER, 8/27/2000]

He lived in Manchester, the epicenter of anti-Qadhafi movement, until May of 2000.

In 2002, it was reported it was reported in Observer, that he eluded a police raid on his house and fled abroad. However, in a 2011 book, FBI agent Ali Soufan claimed that al-Liby actually was arrested . Associated Press on 9/21/2001 reported that the raid may have been conducted as part of an investigation into al-Liby’s role in the 1998 embassy bombings. Al-Liby is arrested and then let go for lack of evidence.

The embarrassing fact that al-Liby is actually arrested and then released was revealed in September 2011, in Soufan’s book.

Remarkably, even though al-Liby worked al Qaeda on the embassy bomb plot in Kenya, he was not arrested and continued to live in Britain. His residence there was not raided until May 2000. It was alleged that al-Liby was protected because he worked with British intelligence on a plot to kill Libyan leader Colonel Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi.

After he was arrested in 2002 by the Americans, as stated earlier in this report, he was secretly deported to Egypt, where he is wanted for an attempted assassination of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as reported in Scotland On Sunday dated October 10, 2003.

In 2007, human rights groups listed al-Liby as a possible ghost prisoner still held by the US.

At the request of CIA Director George Tenet, the White House ordered the FBI to hand al-Libi over to the CIA. One day before the transfer, a CIA officer enters al-Libi’s cell, interrupting an interrogation being conducted by FBI agent Russel Fincher, and tells al-Libi: “You’re going to Cairo", as reported by Newsweek in its 6/21/2004 edition.

Since then he has been at large, arrived in Libya before Colonel Qadhafi's regime fell and since then living in Tripoli until the American seized him last Saturday.

However, al-Libi had strange relations with Western intelligence networks until he was apprehended.

- Asian Tribune -

Anas al-Liby captured by US in Libya
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