WikiLeaks: Whitehall ignored warnings about ‘Londonistan’ danger
Foreign diplomats warned authorities that the 2005 London Tube and bus bombings were a “natural consequence” of Britain’s policy of sheltering terrorists, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.
By Christopher Hope, and Heidi Blake
10:24PM BST 26 Apr 2011
A leaked US diplomatic cable, sent five days after the July 7 bombings, said Britain ignored repeated warnings to stop granting asylum to Islamic extremists wanted in other countries for terrorism offences.
After bombers killed 52 people on London’s transport system in 2005, the cable said Britain “should have expected such blasts”.
The minister in charge of counter-terrorism under Labour admitted that the last Government had failed to get a grip on the problem.
Washington was told politicians had allowed “Londonistan” to develop.
In the cable, obtained by the WikiLeaks website and passed to The Daily Telegraph, a former military attaché to the Algerian Embassy in Washington told US diplomats that Britain had been warned years ago to stop granting asylum to members of two “very dangerous” terrorist groups.
An Algerian politician said Britain invited the attacks by “aligning itself with the devil”, according to the cable sent five days after the attacks on 12 July, 2005.
He asked: “Did the English consider the risks of allowing Londonistan to develop? The British thought that sheltering terrorists was a good solution, but they did not realise that one can never align oneself with the devil, and they did precisely that for years and years.”
The extremists used Hyde Park and other open spaces to raise money for terrorist causes, the cable said.
The Daily Telegraph disclosed yesterday how terrorist recruits from across Africa and the Middle East flocked to London to claim asylum.
Seven of the terrorists held at Guantánamo were given refuge in Britain before travelling to Afghanistan for terrorist training.
The files show at least 35 detainees were sent to fight against the West after being indoctrinated in Britain.
Lord West of Spithead, a former security minister in the Labour government, admitted that ministers had failed to get a grip on the problem.
He blamed some of the failings on the Home Office’s counter-terrorism strategy.
“The counter-terrorist strategy was not working as well as it should have been,” he said. “I hope that this Government is looking at it very closely, I am sure they are. We need to keep this pressure on.”
Lord West said Britain in the 1990s was “very slow in realising the danger of the radicalisation that was going on”.
He said: “Some of these ghastly people said loathsome things about our nation and our way of life and yet when you tried to get them to return to their own country they stuck here like bloody limpets.”
Keith Vaz MP, the Labour chairman of the home affairs select committee, said he remained concerned about the possibility of terrorism in north London.
It was essential that politicians worked with communities to reach a solution, he said. “This is not something you can do from the outside. It’s got to be done with the consent of the communities, with the imams and lay members of the committee that are involved.
“If we try to take this on from outside then there is a problem.”