Britain's Dossier of Evidence Against bin Ladin and the Taliban

From: Joe Dees (
Date: Fri Oct 05 2001 - 05:15:31 MDT

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Britain releases dossier of evidence

Blair: ‘We have absolutely no doubt’ bin Laden was behind Sept. 11 attacks

Oct. 4 — Following up on a tough-worded speech warning Afghanistan of an
impending military attack, British Prime Minister Tony Blair revealed
details Thursday of the case against Osama bin Laden, saying three hijackers
have been “positively identified” as associates and that the terror suspect
told others he was preparing a major strike against the United States. The
evidence was later released in a dossier by the British government

Asked in Washington about the British dossier, State Department spokesman
Richard Boucher said, “I don’t have any reservations about the British
paper. But I’m not able to offer U.S. information or endorsement of specific

Bush administration officials presented what was said to be similar evidence
to NATO allies in Brussels on Tuesday and to Pakistan, which neighbors
Afghanistan and has relations with that country’s ruling Taliban militia.

After seeing the evidence, Pakistan’s government announced there was enough
proof to justify putting bin Laden on trial.

“We have seen the material that was provided to us by the American side
yesterday. This material certainly provides sufficient basis for indictment
in a court of law,” foreign ministry spokesman Riaz Mohammad Khan told a
news conference.

In Paris, French President Jacques Chirac said that “everything points to
Osama bin Laden and his networks as the authors of these attacks.”


Oct. 4: Text of British document

Summary of evidence against Osama bin Laden


LONDON, Oct. 4 — The following is the full text of the summary of evidence
against Osama bin Laden in U.S. terrorist attacks, released Thursday by the
British government:


       1. The clear conclusions reached by the government are: Osama bin
Laden and al-Qaida, the terrorist network which he heads, planned and
carried out the atrocities on 11 September 2001; Osama bin Laden and
al-Qaida retain the will and resources to carry out further atrocities; the
United Kingdom, and United Kingdom nationals are potential targets; and
Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida were able to commit these atrocities because of
their close alliance with the Taliban regime, which allowed them to operate
with impunity in pursuing their terrorist activity.
       2. The material in respect of 1998 and the USS Cole comes from
indictments and intelligence sources. The material in respect of 11
September comes from intelligence and the criminal investigation to date.
The details of some aspects cannot be given, but the facts are clear from
the intelligence.
       3. The document does not contain the totality of the material known
to Her Majesty’s Government, given the continuing and absolute need to
protect intelligence sources.

       4. The relevant facts show:
       Al-Qaida is a terrorist organization with ties to a global network,
which has been in existence for over 10 years. It was founded, and has been
led at all times, by Osama bin Laden.
       Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida have been engaged in a jihad against the
United States, and its allies. One of their stated aims is the murder of
U.S. citizens, and attacks on America’s allies.
       Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida have been based in Afghanistan since
1996, but have a network of operations throughout the world. The network
includes training camps, warehouses, communication facilities and commercial
operations able to raise significant sums of money to support its activity.
That activity includes substantial exploitation of the illegal drugs trade
from Afghanistan.
       Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida and the Taliban regime have a close and
mutually dependent alliance. Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida provide the
Taliban regime with material, financial and military support. They jointly
exploit the drugs trade. The Taliban regime allows bin Laden to operate his
terrorist training camps and activities from Afghanistan, protects him from
attacks from outside, and protects the drugs stockpiles. Osama bin Laden
could not operate his terrorist activities without the alliance and support
of the Taliban regime. The Taliban’s strength would be seriously weakened
without Osama bin Laden’s military and financial support.
       Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida have the capability to execute major
terrorist attacks.
       Osama bin Laden has claimed credit for the attack on U.S. soldiers in
Somalia in October 1993, which killed 18; for the attack on the U.S.
Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998 which killed 224 and injured
nearly 5,000; and were linked to the attack on the USS Cole on 12 October
2000, in which 17 crew members were killed and 40 others injured.
       They have sought to acquire nuclear and chemical materials for use as
terrorist weapons.

       5. After 11 September we learned that, not long before, bin Laden had
indicated he was about to launch a major attack on America. The detailed
planning for the terrorist attacks of 11 September was carried out by one of
Osama bin Laden’s close associates. Of the 19 hijackers involved in 11
September 2001, it has already been established that at least three had
links with al-Qaida. The attacks on 11 September 2001 were similar in both
their ambition and intended impact to previous attacks undertaken by Osama
bin Laden and al-Qaida, and also had features in common. In particular:
       Suicide attackers
       1. Coordinated attacks on the same day
       2. The aim to cause maximum American casualties
       3. Total disregard for other casualties, including Muslim

       1. Absence of warning.

       6. Al-Qaida retains the capability and the will to make further
attacks on the U.S. and its allies, including the United Kingdom.
       7. Al-Qaida gives no warning of terrorist attack.

       Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida
       8. In 1989 Osama bin Laden, and others, founded an international
terrorist group known as “al-Qaida” (the Base). At all times he has been the
leader of al-Qaida.
       9. From 1989 until 1991 Osama bin Laden was based in Afghanistan and
Peshawar, Pakistan. In 1991 he moved to Sudan, where he stayed until 1996.
In that year he returned to Afghanistan, where he remains.

       10. The Taliban emerged from the Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan in
the early 1990s. By 1996 they had captured Kabul. They are still engaged in
a bloody civil war to control the whole of Afghanistan. They are led by
Mullah Omar.
       11. In 1996 Osama Bin Laden moved back to Afghanistan. He established
a close relationship with Mullah Omar, and threw his support behind the
Taliban. Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban regime have a close alliance on
which both depend for their continued existence. They also share the same
religious values and vision.
       12. Osama bin Laden has provided the Taliban regime with troops, arms
and money to fight the Northern Alliance. He is closely involved with
Taliban military training, planning and operations. He has representatives
in the Taliban military command structure. He has also given infrastructure
assistance and humanitarian aid. Forces under the control of Osama bin Laden
have fought alongside the Taliban in the civil war in Afghanistan.
       13. Omar has provided bin Laden with a safe haven in which to
operate, and has allowed him to establish terrorist training camps in
Afghanistan. They jointly exploit the Afghan drugs trade. In return for
active al-Qaida support, the Taliban allow al-Qaida to operate freely,
including planning, training and preparing for terrorist activity. In
addition the Taliban provide security for the stockpiles of drugs.
       14. Since 1996, when the Taliban captured Kabul, the United States
government has consistently raised with them a whole range of issues,
including humanitarian aid and terrorism. Well before 11 September 2001 they
had provided evidence to the Taliban of the responsibility of al-Qaida for
the terrorist attacks in East Africa. This evidence had been provided to
senior leaders of the Taliban at their request.
       15. The United States government had made it clear to the Taliban
regime that al-Qaida had murdered US citizens, and planned to murder more.
The US offered to work with the Taliban to expel the terrorists from
Afghanistan. These talks, which have been continuing since 1996, have failed
to produce any results.
       16. In June 2001, in the face of mounting evidence of the al-Qaida
threat, the United States warned the Taliban that it had the right to defend
itself and that it would hold the regime responsible for attacks against
U.S. citizens by terrorists sheltered in Afghanistan.
       17. In this, the United States had the support of the United Nations.
The Security Council, in Resolution 1267, condemned Osama bin Laden for
sponsoring international terrorism and operating a network of terrorist
camps, and demanded that the Taliban surrender Osama bin Laden without
further delay so that he could be brought to justice.
       18. Despite the evidence provided by the U.S. of the responsibility
of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida for the 1998 East Africa bombings, despite
the accurately perceived threats of further atrocities, and despite the
demands of the United Nations, the Taliban regime responded by saying no
evidence existed against Osama bin Laden, and that neither he nor his
network would be expelled.
       19. A former Government official in Afghanistan has described the
Taliban and Osama bin Laden as “two sides of the same coin: Osama cannot
exist in Afghanistan without the Taliban and the Taliban cannot exist
without Osama.”

       20. Al-Qaida is dedicated to opposing ’un-Islamic’ governments in
Muslim countries with force and violence.
       21. Al-Qaida virulently opposes the United States. Osama bin Laden
has urged and incited his followers to kill American citizens, in the most
unequivocal terms.
       22. On 12 October 1996 he issued a declaration of jihad as follows:
       “The people of Islam have suffered from aggression, iniquity and
injustice imposed by the Zionist-Crusader alliance and their collaborators.
       It is the duty now on every tribe in the Arabian peninsula to fight
jihad and cleanse the land from these Crusader occupiers. Their wealth is
booty to those who kill them.
       My Muslim brothers: your brothers in Palestine and in the land of the
two Holy Places (i.e. Saudi Arabia) are calling upon your help and asking
you to take part in fighting against the enemy the Americans and the
Israelis. They are asking you to do whatever you can to expel the enemies
out of the sanctities of Islam.”
       Later in the same year he said that “terrorizing the American
occupiers (of Islamic Holy Places) is a religious and logical obligation.”
       In February 1998 he issued and signed a ’fatwa’ which included a
decree to all Muslims: ”... the killing of Americans and their civilian and
military allies is a religious duty for each and every Muslim to be carried
out in whichever country they are until Al Aqsa mosque has been liberated
from their grasp and until their armies have left Muslim lands.”
       In the same ’fatwa’ he called on Muslim scholars and their leaders
and their youths to “launch an attack on the American soldiers of Satan” and
concluded: “We with God’s help call on every Muslim who believes in God and
wishes to be rewarded to comply with God’s order to kill Americans and
plunder their money whenever and wherever they find it. We also call on
Muslims ... to launch the raid on Satan’s U.S. troops and the devil’s
supporters allying with them, and to displace those who are behind them.”
       When asked, in 1998, about obtaining chemical or nuclear weapons he
said “acquiring such weapons for the defense of Muslims (was) a religious
       In an interview aired on Al Jazira (Doha, Qatar) television he
stated: “Our enemy is every American male, whether he is directly fighting
us or paying taxes.”
       In two interviews broadcast on US television in 1997 and 1998 he
referred to the terrorists who carried out the earlier attack on the World
Trade Center in 1993 as “role models”. He went on to exhort his followers
“to take the fighting to America.”
       23. From the early 1990s Osama bin Laden has sought to obtain nuclear
and chemical materials for use as weapons of terror.
       24. Although U.S. targets are al-Qaida’s priority, it also explicitly
threatens the United States’ allies. References to “Zionist-Crusader
alliance and their collaborators,” and to “Satan’s U.S. troops and the
devil’s supporters allying with them” are references which unquestionably
include the United Kingdom.
       25. There is a continuing threat. Based on our experience of the way
the network has operated in the past, other cells, like those that carried
out the terrorist attacks on 11 September, must be assumed to exist.
       26. Al-Qaida functions both on its own and through a network of other
terrorist organizations. These include Egyptian Islamic Jihad and other
north African Islamic extremist terrorist groups, and a number of other
jihadi groups in other countries including the Sudan, Yemen, Somalia,
Pakistan and India. Al-Qaida also maintains cells and personnel in a number
of other countries to facilitate its activities.
       27. Osama bin Laden heads the al-Qaida network. Below him is a body
known as the Shura, which includes representatives of other terrorist
groups, such as Egyptian Islamic Jihad leader Ayman al-Zawahri and prominent
lieutenants of bin Laden such as Abu Hafas al-Masri. Egyptian Islamic Jihad
has, in effect, merged with al-Qaida.
       28. In addition to the Shura, al-Qaida has several groups dealing
with military, media, financial and Islamic issues.
       29. Mohamed Atef is a member of the group that deals with military
and terrorist operations. His duties include principal responsibility for
training al-Qaida members.
       30. Members of al-Qaida must make a pledge of allegiance to follow
the orders of Osama bin Laden.
       31. A great deal of evidence about Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida has
been made available in the US indictment for earlier crimes.
       32. Since 1989, Osama bin Laden has conducted substantial financial
and business transactions on behalf of al-Qaida and in pursuit of its goals.
These include purchasing land for training camps, purchasing warehouses for
the storage of items, including explosives, purchasing communications and
electronics equipment, and transporting currency and weapons to members of
al-Qaida and associated terrorist groups in countries throughout the world.
       33. Since 1989 Osama bin Laden has provided training camps and
guesthouses in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Sudan, Somalia and Kenya for the
use of al-Qaida and associated terrorist groups. We know from intelligence
that there are currently at least a dozen camps across Afghanistan, of which
at least four are used for training terrorists.
       34. Since 1989, Osama bin Laden has established a series of
businesses to provide income for al-Qaida, and to provide cover for the
procurement of explosives, weapons and chemicals, and for the travel of
al-Qaida operatives. The businesses have included a holding company known as
’Wadi Al Aqiq,’ a construction business known as ’Al Hijra,’ an agricultural
business known as ’Al Themar Al Mubaraka,’ and investment companies known as
’Ladin International’ and ’Taba Investments.’

       35. In 1992 and 1993 Mohamed Atef traveled to Somalia on several
occasions for the purpose of organizing violence against United States and
United Nations troops then stationed in Somalia. On each occasion he
reported back to Osama bin Laden, at his base in the Riyadh district of
       36. In the spring of 1993 Atef, Saif al Adel, another senior member
of al-Qaida, and other members began to provide military training to Somali
tribes for the purpose of fighting the United Nations forces.
       37. On 3 and 4 October 1993 operatives of al-Qaida participated in
the attack on US military personnel serving in Somalia as part of the
operation ’Restore Hope.’ Eighteen U.S. military personnel were killed in
the attack.
       38. From 1993 members of al-Qaida began to live in Nairobi and set up
businesses there, including Asma Ltd, and Tanzanite King. They were
regularly visited there by senior members of al-Qaida, in particular by Atef
and Abu Ubadiah al Banshiri.
       39. Beginning in the latter part of 1993, members of al-Qaida in
Kenya began to discuss the possibility of attacking the U.S. Embassy in
Nairobi in retaliation for U.S. participation in Operation Restore Hope in
Somalia. Ali Mohamed, a U.S. citizen and admitted member of al-Qaida,
surveyed the US Embassy as a possible target for a terrorist attack. He took
photographs and made sketches, which he presented to Osama bin Laden while
bin Laden was in Sudan. He also admitted that he had trained terrorists for
al-Qaida in Afghanistan in the early 1990s, and that those whom he trained
included many involved in the East African bombings in August 1998.
       40. In June or July 1998, two al-Qaida operatives, Fahid Mohammed,
Ali Msalam and Sheik Ahmed Salim Swedan, purchased a Toyota truck and made
various alterations to the back of the truck.
       41. In early August 1998, operatives of al-Qaida gathered in 43, New
Runda Estates, Nairobi to execute the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in
       42. On 7 August 1998, Assam, a Saudi national and al-Qaida operative,
drove the Toyota truck to the U.S. embassy. There was a large bomb in the
back of the truck.
       43. Also in the truck was Mohamed Rashed Daoud Al ’Owali, another
Saudi. He, by his own confession, was an al-Qaida operative, who from about
1996 had been trained in al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan in explosives,
hijacking, kidnapping, assassination and intelligence techniques. With Osama
bin Laden’s express permission, he fought alongside the Taliban in
Afghanistan. He had met Osama bin Laden personally in 1996 and asked for
another ’mission.’ Osama bin Laden sent him to East Africa after extensive
specialized training at camps in Afghanistan.
       44. As the truck approached the Embassy, Al ’Owali got out and threw
a stun grenade at a security guard. Assam drove the truck up to the rear of
the embassy. He got out and then detonated the bomb, which demolished a
multi-story secretarial college and severely damaged the U.S. embassy, and
the Co-operative bank building. The bomb killed 213 people and injured
4,500. Assam was killed in the explosion.
       45. Al ’Owali expected the mission to end in his death. He had been
willing to die for al-Qaida. But at the last minute he ran away from the
bomb truck and survived. He had no money, passport or plan to escape after
the mission, because he had expected to die.
       46. After a few days, he called a telephone number in Yemen to have
money transferred to him in Kenya. The number he rang in Yemen was contacted
by Osama bin Laden’s phone on the same day as Al ’Owali was arranging to get
the money.
       47. Another person arrested in connection with the Nairobi bombing
was Mohamed Sadeek Odeh. He admitted to his involvement. He identified the
principal participants in the bombing. He named three other persons, all of
whom were al-Qaida or Egyptian Islamic Jihad members.
       48. In Dar es Salaam the same day, at about the same time, operatives
of al-Qaida detonated a bomb at the U.S. embassy, killing 11 people. The
al-Qaida operatives involved included Mustafa Mohamed Fadhil and Khaflan
Khamis Mohamed. The bomb was carried in a Nissan Atlas truck, which Ahmed
Khfaklan Ghailani and Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan, two al-Qaida operatives,
had purchased in July 1998, in Dar es Salaam.
       49. Khaflan Khamis Mohamed was arrested for the bombing. He admitted
membership of al-Qaida, and implicated other members of al-Qaida in the
       50. On 7 and 8 August 1998, two other members of al-Qaida
disseminated claims of responsibility for the two bombings by sending faxes
to media organizations in Paris, Doha in Qatar, and Dubai in the United Arab
       51. Additional evidence of the involvement of al-Qaida in the East
African bombings came from a search conducted in London of several
residences and businesses belonging to al-Qaida and Egyptian Islamic Jihad
members. In those searches a number of documents were found including claims
of responsibility for the East African bombings in the name of a fictitious
group, ’the Islamic Army for the liberation of the Holy Places.’
       52. Al ’Owali, the would-be suicide bomber, admitted he was told to
make a videotape of himself using the name of the same fictitious group.
       53. The faxed claims of responsibility were traced to a telephone
number, which had been in contact with Osama bin Laden’s cell phone. The
claims disseminated to the press were clearly written by someone familiar
with the conspiracy. They stated that the bombings had been carried out by
two Saudis in Kenya, and one Egyptian in Dar es Salaam. They were probably
sent before the bombings had even taken place. They referred to two Saudis
dying in the Nairobi attack. In fact, because Al ’Owali fled at the last
minute, only one Saudi died.
       54. On 22 December 1998 Osama bin Laden was asked by Time magazine
whether he was responsible for the August 1998 attacks. He replied: “The
International Islamic Jihad Front for the jihad against the U.S. and Israel
has, by the grace of God, issued a crystal clear fatwa calling on the
Islamic nation to carry on Jihad aimed at liberating the holy sites. The
nation of Mohammed has responded to this appeal. If instigation for jihad
against the Jews and the Americans ... is considered to be a crime, then let
history be a witness that I am a criminal. Our job is to instigate and, by
the grace of God, we did that, and certain people responded to this
       He was asked if he knew the attackers: ”... those who risked their
lives to earn the pleasure of God are real men. They managed to rid the
Islamic nation of disgrace. We hold them in the highest esteem.”
       And what the U.S. could expect of him: ”... any thief or criminal who
enters another country to steal should expect to be exposed to murder at any
time. ... The U.S. knows that I have attacked it, by the grace of God, for
more than ten years now. ... God knows that we have been pleased by the
killing of American soldiers (in Somalia in 1993). This was achieved by the
grace of God and the efforts of the mujahedeen. ... Hostility toward America
is a religious duty and we hope to be rewarded for it by God. I am confident
that Muslims will be able to end the legend of the so-called superpower that
is America.”
       55. In December 1999 a terrorist cell linked to al-Qaida was
discovered trying to carry out attacks inside the United States. An
Algerian, Ahmed Ressam, was stopped at the U.S.-Canadian border and over 100
lbs of bomb making material was found in his car. Ressam admitted he was
planning to set off a large bomb at Los Angeles International airport on New
Year’s Day. He said that he had received terrorist training at al-Qaida
camps in Afghanistan and then been instructed to go abroad and kill US
civilians and military personnel.
       56. On 3 January 2000, a group of al-Qaida members, and other
terrorists who had trained in al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan, attempted to
attack a U.S. destroyer with a small boat loaded with explosives. Their boat
sank, aborting the attack.
       57. On 12 October 2000, however, the USS Cole was struck by an
explosive-laden boat while refueling in Aden harbor. Seventeen crew were
killed, and 40 injured.
       58. Several of the perpetrators of the Cole attack (mostly Yemenis
and Saudis) were trained at Osama bin Laden’s camps in Afghanistan. Al
’Owali has identified the two commanders of the attack on the USS Cole as
having participated in the planning and preparation for the East African
embassy bombings.
       59. In the months before the September 11 attacks, propaganda videos
were distributed throughout the Middle East and Muslim world by al-Qaida, in
which Osama bin Laden and others were shown encouraging Muslims to attack
American and Jewish targets.
       60. Similar videos, extolling violence against the United States and
other targets, were distributed before the East African embassy attacks in
August 1998.

       61. Nineteen men have been identified as the hijackers from the
passenger lists of the four planes hijacked on 11 September 2001. At least
three of them have already been positively identified as associates of
al-Qaida. One has been identified as playing key roles in both the East
African embassy attacks and the USS Cole attack. Investigations continue
into the backgrounds of all the hijackers.
       62. From intelligence sources, the following facts have been
established subsequent to 11 September; for intelligence reasons, the names
of associates, though known, are not given.
       In the run-up to 11 September, bin Laden was mounting a concerted
propaganda campaign amongst like-minded groups of people including videos
and documentation justifying attacks on Jewish and American targets; and
claiming that those who died in the course of them were carrying out God’s
       We have learned, subsequent to 11 September, that bin Laden himself
asserted shortly before 11 September that he was preparing a major attack on
       In August and early September close associates of bin Laden were
warned to return to Afghanistan from other parts of the world by 10
       Immediately prior to 11 September some known associates of bin Laden
were naming the date for action as on or around 11 September.
       Since 11 September we have learned that one of bin Laden’s closest
and most senior associates was responsible for the detailed planning of the
       There is evidence of a very specific nature relating to the guilt of
bin Laden and his associates that is too sensitive to release.
       63. Osama bin Laden remains in charge, and the mastermind, of
al-Qaida. In al-Qaida, an operation on the scale of the 11 September attacks
would have been approved by Osama bin Laden himself.
       64. The modus operandi of 11 September was entirely consistent with
previous attacks. Al-Qaida’s record of atrocities is characterized by
meticulous long term planning, a desire to inflict mass casualties, suicide
bombers, and multiple simultaneous attacks.
       65. The attacks of 11 September 2001 are entirely consistent with the
scale and sophistication of the planning which went into the attacks on the
East African Embassies and the USS Cole. No warnings were given for these
three attacks, just as there was none on 11 September.
       66. Al-Qaida operatives, in evidence given in the East African
Embassy bomb trials, have described how the group spends years preparing for
an attack. They conduct repeated surveillance, patiently gather materials,
and identify and vet operatives, who have the skills to participate in the
attack and the willingness to die for their cause.
       67. The operatives involved in the 11 September atrocities attended
flight schools, used flight simulators to study the controls of larger
aircraft and placed potential airports and routes under surveillance.
       68. Al-Qaida’s attacks are characterized by total disregard for
innocent lives, including Muslims. In an interview after the East African
bombings, Osama bin Laden insisted that the need to attack the United States
excused the killing of other innocent civilians, Muslim and non-Muslim
       69. No other organization has both the motivation and the capability
to carry out attacks like those of the 11 September only the al-Qaida
network under Osama bin Laden.

       70. The attacks of the 11 September 2001 were planned and carried out
by al-Qaida, an organization whose head is Osama bin Laden. That
organization has the will, and the resources, to execute further attacks of
similar scale. Both the United States and its close allies are targets for
such attacks. The attack could not have occurred without the alliance
between the Taliban and Osama bin Laden, which allowed bin Laden to operate
freely in Afghanistan, promoting, planning and executing terrorist

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