"The largest criminal inquiry in English history"
Three years of 7/7 investigation - 7 arrests, 3 charges
Part 2: May 2007 Arrests
On Wednesday May 9th 2007, the police made four further arrests. Hasina Patel, widow of Mohammad Sidique Khan, her brother Arshad Patel, their cousin Imran Motala and Khalid Khaliq, a former worker at the Hamara Youth Access Point in Beeston, were all arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation, or instigation of acts of terrorism under the Terrorism Act 2000.
The Guardian reported that “It is not known whether the arrests are a result of Mr Clarke's plea for those with information to come forward.”
As we know, Mr. Clarke did not make so much of a plea, as a statement that he knew “for a fact” that others had knowledge of the July 7th attacks. Mr. Clarke's remarks are actually quite confusing when considering that in July 2006, he was not particularly confident of possessing such knowledge at all:
A group of half a dozen men are considered suspects, although police admitted yesterday that no-one had come forward with hard evidence proving a firm link to anyone outside the four. Mr Clarke said: 'What we are doing is reconstructing - it is an immensely complicated piece of work - the days, weeks and months leading up to the attacks to see if we can get to the point to show to the level required for a criminal prosecution that people must have known what was going to happen.'
Source: Daily Mail
What is it that occurred later on to convince the police that Hasina, her brother, cousin and a former colleague of Mohammad Sidique Khan had possessed knowledge that clearly hadn't been evident in 2005?
In the same report, The Guardian also stated that “It is understood that detectives are working on evidence and intelligence that up to 30 people may have been involved in the plot to blow up the London transport system on July 2005 or had knowledge of it.”
The Guardian then went on to speculate that “It is understood the latest four arrests involve suspects who were allegedly aware of the plot but failed to inform the authorities.”
Could it really have taken 22 months for the authorities to suspect that the close families of the four suspected July 7th perpetrators might have been aware of an alleged plot? Why were Khan's family and associates not questioned in 2005, along with other relatives of other suspects? This would seem a logical move to have made – instead, only one arrest was carried out in the days following the attacks, that of Naveed Fiaz (although other reports state that he handed himself over voluntarily to be questioned) who was released without charge on July 23rd 2005. Naveed's brother, Ejaz/Eliaz Fiaz was originally reported to have been the Piccadilly Line bomber - although an explanation for why he, or his brother were presumed to have been involved in the attacks is to date, still awaited.
Five houses in the Leeds area were searched in the May 2007 operation; two in Dewsbury (Pentland Road, which can be seen in the video footage here and here, and Dale Street), two in Beeston (both in Tempest Road) and one in Batley (Hayburn Gardens). In addition, two properties in Birmingham were raided; a house in Leonard Road in the Handsworth area and a flat in Selly Oak. Motala had been arrested at his girlfriend's student flat in Selly Oak, and his family home was the Leonard Road property which was raided. The two Tempest Road properties in Beeston were the homes of Khalid Khaliq and his family's home. The Dale Street house was the home of Hasina Patel and her daughter and the Hayburn Gardens property was occupied by her brother Arshad and his family.
It was reported that Hasina was arrested at around 7am, at her mother, Farida Patel's house in Millbrook Gardens. This property does not appear to have been searched also, although The Telegraph reported that it was. Other reports suggest that Hasina was arrested at her own home. However, Hasina's recollection of her arrest in an interview she gave in July 2007 to SKY News gives no clarity here. (Note: Video reports can be found here, here and here.) Hasina's description suggests the police came to her own house to arrest her, but also mentions that her mother, Farida, was there in the house at the point at which she was arrested. Hasina also described how she was rudely ordered not to speak in Gujerati to her mother as she tried to reassure her whilst being led away in handcuffs.
The most interesting of all these raided properties is the one at Pentland Road – in which reside Ahmed and Hasina B G Patel, as revealed by a basic electoral roll search. Why were the police searching the property of another, apparently unrelated Hasina Patel? The answer is that Ahmed Patel is the brother of Hasina and Arshad Patel, married to a woman with the same name as his own sister. This raises questions regarding whether some of the early press reports about Hasina Patel, widow of Mohammad Sidique Khan - including when her house was raided by police in July 2005 - were in fact attributable to this other Hasina Patel and her family home. Interestingly, the connection of Ahmed and Hasina Patel to either the arrested suspects or the official investigation was never revealed either by the Police authorities or by the media and when pictures of their house in Pentland Road were published after being searched by police, the door number was deliberately obscured.
In the raids of July 2005, yet another Hasina Patel's house was searched, where she lived with her husband Rashid Facha in the same road as Hasina Patel and her husband, Mohammad Sidique Khan. A J7 researcher highlighted these different Hasina Patels here.
Whilst the British media were, either deliberately or accidentally, mis-spelling the name as 'Facha', foreign language news outlets were using the correct spelling, 'Sacha'. Rashid Sacha married a Hasina Suliman Patel in Dewsbury in 2000, the year before Khan reportedly married his wife Hasina Patel. In the days following the attacks in July 2005, this couple were – wrongly as it quickly turned out – thought to be involved.
Farida Patel, an Asian woman, is believed to live at the bungalow with her daughter, Hasina, and son, Arshad. Later yesterday police took away a Honda and a silver Ford Escort from the house. The Independent says Mrs Patel's daughter Hasina, 23, had been living in Lees Holme since January with her husband Rashid Facha - in his late 20s and of Pakistani extraction - and their eight-month-old daughter. A neighbour said Mr Facha had been missing since last Thursday.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald
How this apparent mix-up occurred is hard to imagine, and was never explained by the media sources who published the erroneous names. However, a point worthy of note is that the marriage certificate of Rachid Ahmed Yusuf Sacha and Hasina Suliman Patel reveals that Sacha's father is the Muslim cleric Yusuf Sacha, who had "issued a fatwa" to teacher Aishah Azmi, telling her it was obligatory for her to wear a full face veil (niqab) when at work. It was reported that this ruling is what led to Azmi refusing to remove the veil in class upon apparent request, which led to her suspension. This story became news in October 2006, coincidentally shortly after the notorious national 'veil debate' was kicked off by the then Leader of the House of Commons, Jack Straw.
On May 15th, after the police obtained an extension to the detention of all four suspects, Hasina Patel, her brother Arshad and their cousin Imran Motola were released without charge. The police then applied for a warrant to continue to detain Khalid Khaliq until May 21st and on the day that the warrant expired, he was charged with a non July 7th 2005 related offence - despite the claims of certain media outlets that he was “charged in connection with the attacks”.
Further down Tempest Road a single police officer stood outside another property. A neighbour, who did not wish to be named, confirmed it was the same home which was raided and boarded up by police in the immediate aftermath of the 7/7 bombings.
Two years ago the red-brick terrace house was clad in scaffolding and plastic sheets as police carried out a detailed forensic search of the property. Today the operation was more low key with only a single officer standing in the front yard.
A neighbour said: "An Asian couple lived there with their three kids. They are fairly young and I don't know too much about them."
Source: The Independent
Intriguingly, Khaliq's wife, Deborah Cummings, gave an interview to a tabloid newspaper on May 11th stating that she had left him four years previously when he moved in his 'second wife', a woman he had apparently met and married in Pakistan. Other reports stated that the couple separated in 2004. Ms Cummings doesn't make it clear whether or not she took their three children with her, although The Times described Khaliq as a “single parent” indicating that perhaps he was the custodial parent.
The Times article also quoted Khaliq as saying in 2005 that he had “absolutely no connection” to what the paper described as a 'suicide plot'.
Khaliq's connection to the four suspected bombers is through the Hamara Youth Access Point, where he was a Sports Development Worker until October 2004 and through the Iqra Bookshop, both located in Beeston. It's actually not clear whether or not Khaliq worked at the bookshop, as this report claims, or if he was simply a frequent visitor due to his acquaintance with the employees there, such as Naveed Fiaz, whom Khaliq would have known through their youth work at Hamara. Both Fiaz and Khaliq appeared in a photo along with Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer on a white-water rafting trip on 4th June 2005.
Khaliq's father and sister both denied in 2005 that Khaliq was employed at the Iqra, either voluntarily or gainfully:
Volunteer worker at the shop Khalid Khaliq, 32, was last night being questioned by police. His father Mohammed last night denied his son worked there.
He said: "He used the shop as a library for books, nothing else." Khalid's sister, who refused to give her name, added "He is a lovely guy, and he has nothing to do with it."
Source: The Mirror
The Iqra bookshop itself has been the subject of some interesting reports. It is a provider of Islamic literature and media services, youth activities, orphan sponsorship and seminars and presentations. It is part of The Iqra Trust, a charity with outlets worldwide. Yet in the days following the July 7th attacks, it was portrayed as a hotbed of violent extremism. In his article “The Rise of the Democratic Police State”, John Pilger wrote:
On July 15, Blair's Britain of the future was glimpsed when the police raided the Iqra Learning Center and bookstore near Leeds. The Iqra Trust is a well-known charity that promotes Islam worldwide as "a peaceful religion which covers every walk of life." The police smashed down the door, wrecked the shop and took away antiwar literature which they described as "anti-Western."
Among this was, reportedly, a DVD of the Respect Party MP George Galloway addressing the U.S. Senate and a New Statesman article of mine illustrated by a much-published photograph of a Palestinian man in Gaza attempting to shield his son from Israeli bullets before the boy was shot to death. The photograph was said to be "working people up," meaning Muslim people. Clearly, David Gibbons, this journal's esteemed art director, who chose this illustration, will be called before the Blair Incitement Tribunal. One of my books, The New Rulers of the World, was also apparently confiscated. It is not known whether the police have yet read the chapter that documents how the Americans, with help from MI6 and the SAS, created, armed, and bankrolled the terrorists of the Islamic mujahedin, not least Osama bin Laden. The raid was deliberately theatrical, with the media tipped off.
In June 2006, IT worker Martin Gilbertson claimed that through his work with the Iqra designing Macromedia Flash presentations, he met Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer, two of the July 7th suspected bombers, and was sufficiently worried about the content of the presentations he was asked to create, that he says he attempted to inform the police of his concerns in 2003. Gilbertson mentions others that he came into contact with through the Iqra, but Khaliq's name is not one of these.
Most interestingly, former Hell's Angel Gilbertson claims that the most vocal of all those he worked with was a white Muslim convert; ex-Special Forces soldier and anti-terrorist operative Martin 'Abdullah' McDaid:
Martin 'Abdullah' McDaid did most of the talking, most of the ranting and raving; and as an ex-Marine, he knew about matters military.
Source: The Guardian
Of course, Martin 'Abdullah' McDaid would know all "about matters military", being, as he is, an 'ex' 'anti-terror' special forces operative with the Royal Marines who served in the elite and exclusive Special Boat Service. McDaid's apparent volte-face conversion from one of the highest levels of Defence of the Realm to 'radical Islamism' which, according to Ayman al- Zawahiri, second-in-command to Osama Bin Laden, targets the head of the realm, the Queen, as ultimately responsible for Britain’s “crusader laws” and one of Islam’s “severest enemies”, is still something of an unexplained and largely uninvestigated mystery.
In addition to McDaid, another white Muslim convert, James McLintock, also had links to the Iqra. McLintock is also known by the Islamic name Mohammed/Mohammad Yacoub/Yaqub. Given that McLintock also has reported connections to terrorist organisations, it is worth asking why neither of these men appear to have been investigated or questioned by police in connection with the events of July 7th 2005. Especially when considering that Gilbertson's claims clearly contradict an interview Martin McDaid gave in July 2005, where he stated that he had not even worked with the two suspected bombers, asserting, “They left the bookshop before I even joined.”
According to this article, the bookshop had been 'opened' by Tafazal Mohammad, who is also listed as a trustee of Leeds Community School. His name was also mentioned by Martin Gilbertson, who described him as “the quiet one”, and also does not appear to have aroused the interest of the authorities, despite his role at the bookshop and connection to the accused men.
Tafazil was not at his home or answering his cell phone on Saturday. In London, the Metropolitan Police said he was not the one unidentified person from the Leeds area who was being questioned in the British capital about the terrorist attacks. But police declined to say whether Tafazil was being held in Britain for any other reason.
Source: Free Republic
Khaliq's name has also never been mentioned in connection with The Mullah Crew, which Gilbertson also mentioned as being significant. He claimed that Shehzad Tanweer had been questioned over the alleged involvement of the Mullah Crew in the murder of Tyrone Clarke a mixed-race teenager. However, The Independent stated, “Tanweer had no involvement in the murder but did receive a caution for a public order offence arising out of the gang battles.” (Interestingly, The Independent claimed in an article written two months later that, “The feud resulted in the death of a white boy. Tanweer had no involvement in the murder but did receive a caution for a public order offence arising out of the gang battles.”)
A few days after Gilbertson made this claim, Tanweer's father responded:
"That story is false. Everybody pretends they know what happened but most of the reports are just not true.
"It is as if people can say whatever they like because nobody will tell them otherwise, but there is no truth whatsoever in that. There seems to be nothing we can do to stop it."
Source: Yorkshire Post
Given the fact that Khaliq did not warrant a mention by Martin Gilbertson when he made his claims to the media, and another person whom The Mirror referred to as “an insider” who worked in close proximity to the many significant figures who appeared to play a far more active role than Khaliq in the running of the bookstore, it is quite surprising that Khaliq alone should have been arrested. The Guardian claim to have attempted to contact the names that Gilbertson revealed to them, but was unsuccessful:
The Guardian could not contact Mr McDaid who told the Daily Mirror last year that he condemned the attacks, and terrorism. He denied preaching hatred: "I am totally against violence of this sort and I completely condemn these acts." Tafazal Mohammed is a part-time student, but has yet to speak publicly and could not be traced out of term for comment. Naveed Fiaz was arrested after the July 7 bombings - having appeared with two of the bombers on a picture of a rafting trip, and was released without charge. Visits to various addresses associated with him and his family produced no response. Over the past year, local people have defended the bookshop and its workers, saying they had nothing to do with terrorism. "It was just a place where people go to meet, have a chat and read books."
Source: The Guardian
What suspicions were there regarding Khaliq's involvement, which warranted his house being raided in July 2005, that do not appear to have been assuaged almost two years later? If there had been any firm evidence of his involvement, it is not unreasonable to conclude that he would have been arrested and charged in connection with the attacks in 2005. A view which is certainly shared by people in Beeston:
Neighbours on Tempest Road spoke with disbelief that Khalid Khaliq could have had any knowledge of the 2005 bombings. But they said it was not the first time the jobless father, who is estranged from his wife, has had his home raided by anti-terror officers – it was searched in 2005 in the weeks following the attacks on the London transport system.
Mr Khaliq is said to have frequented the Iqra Islamic bookshop on nearby Bude Road, which became the centre of police investigations.
One neighbour, who did not want to be identified, said yesterday: "The police were here after 7/7, when the whole of Beeston seemed to be taped off. They didn't find a thing back then, so I don't know what they're going to find now."
The woman went on: "Khalid's a lovely lad – I'm convinced he wouldn't hurt anyone."
Source: Yorkshire Post
Surprisingly, on the same day that the four arrests were made, BBC's Newsnight programme chose to recycle Martin Gilbertson's revelations from the previous June and interviewed him for the programme. Even more surprisingly, Gilbertson revealed that he believed the police had in fact acted on his concerns in 2003, as he had been asked to repair PCs which he believes had been taken by police during a raid on the bookshop. This had not previously been stated, but of course raises the obvious question of why no further action was taken. Gilbertson also revealed on the newsnight programme that he had given the police a list of names of associates of the men he was working with.
As mentioned previously, Khaliq is now facing trial after being charged under the Terrorism Act 2000. On May 21st it was reported that:
A 34-year-old man who was being questioned by anti-terror officers investigating the July 7 bombings has been charged with possessing an al-Qaida training manual.
Khalid Khaliq, from Beeston, Leeds, is accused of possessing "a document or record, namely the al-Qaida training manual, containing information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism" on July 17 2005, according to Scotland Yard.
Source: The Guardian
The reference to July 17th 2005 is incredibly strange; it is not at all clear at this stage how the police knew in May 2007 that Khaliq had possessed the 'manual' for one single day in July 2005.
Khaliq appeared in court on the same day that he was charged with this non July 7th 2005 related offence, where he denied the charge and was released on bail. The case was adjourned until July 2nd 2007, but on August 15th 2007, it was reported that two more charges had been added:
Khalid Khaliq, 34, of Beeston, is already accused of possessing an al-Qaeda training manual on a CD at his home in Leeds.
When he appeared before magistrates in London today two more charges were added to the indictment. One is that he possessed a book called Zaad-e-Mujahid (Essential Provision of the Mujahid). The second is that he possessed a book called The Absent Obligation – and Expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula.
All three allegations are under the Terrorism Act 2000.
Source: Yorkshire Evening Post
On Friday August 24th, Khaliq appeared in court again, at the Old Bailey, where he was released on bail and the case was adjourned until 16th November 2007.
Imran Motala was arrested at the flat in the Victoria Hall of residence in Grange Road, Selly Oak, where his girlfriend resided as a student at Birmingham University, at around 7.30am on the same day as the Leeds raids. The flat was searched and a silver Peugeot 307 was towed away by police, which reportedly belonged to Motala's girlfriend. The University issued a statement, clarifying that Motala was not a student at the University, although he is reportedly an arts graduate from the University of Central England.
Motala's family home in Lozells was also raided, in an operation involving six plain clothes officers. His parents and brother were, according to neighbours, taken away for questioning, and a silver Astra was removed for examination. Another neighbour spoke to reporters about the family:
Police also searched a property on Leonard Road in the Handsworth area of Birmingham. A silver Astra was towed away from outside the property. One neighbour said a family of five lived there, including two men in their 20s and a girl.
He said: "They are a really nice family. The mother is a fantastic woman and the father very quiet. I do not know the boys that well but I believe one of them works for the Post Office."
He said the family had lived there for more than 20 years.
Source: Yorkshire Post
Motala, whose father Salem is a cousin of Hasina and Arshad Patel's mother Farida, only learned of his cousins' detention after he himself had been detained for 24 hours, when all three were taken to a room together whilst the police applied via a videolink to the court for an extension to their detention.
According to 'a friend', Motala had attended the Shahjalal mosque on Wilton Road more frequently in recent months – an observational notion that is often trotted out during media coverage of terror suspects, as if there is a correlation between regular or frequent Mosque attendance and murderous intent. However, a cousin disputed this, telling a local Birmingham newspaper:
"Farida came to visit the family last week and that could be why Imran has been arrested."The whole family was questioned but only Imran was taken away. They are all extremely upset and frightened.
"They feel humiliated by this. There's no way Imran could have been involved. He's not religious at all and goes out clubbing a lot."His parents aren't even that religious - they don't go to prayers.
"They think the police must have been watching Farida for months and they are wondering if they were watched as well."
Source: Birmingham Sunday Mercury
In an interview published on May 19th 2007, four days after he was released with no charges against him, Motala told how he had found that the apparent fears of the family were not unfounded. The police had told him that he and his family had been under close surveillance for quite some period of time:
While in custody he learned that he had been under surveillance for a year: he and members of his family had been followed, all of his previous employers had been interviewed, and he strongly suspects that his family home in the Lozells area of Birmingham was bugged when West Midlands police raided the property last year, ostensibly looking for firearms. Despite the lengthy surveillance operation, no evidence was found that would justify charges against him.
Source: The Guardian
Motala accused the police of twisting his words in response to their questions and even when he pointed out that he had been staying over at his girlfriend's flat, which had been obvious at the time of his arrest and that he did not consider himself to be religious at all; living a completely Western lifestyle, he was accused of using this as a cover for possible terrorist activities telling him “It's all there in the training manual for jihad."
He also related how the police harangued him to admit that he was the “fifth bomber”; an entity which had been dismissed by the Official Report in May 2006:
There was at the time of the attacks, reports of a “5th bomber”. It was thought, because of witness statements and CCTV, that there was a “5th man” with the group travelling down from Luton. Inquiries showed the individual was a regular commuter and he was eliminated from the inquiry. Also in the period immediately following the attacks, one man was arrested in connection with the investigation but he was released without charge. In subsequent weeks, a further man who had claimed to be the “5th bomber” was also arrested and later charged with wasting police time. There is no intelligence to indicate that there was a fifth or further bombers.
Yet Motala says:
"They didn't just think I had with-held information about the bombings, they thought I was involved, that I was to have been the fifth bomber," he said. "They asked me: 'Are you the fifth bomber? Were you meant to be the fifth bomber? Did you bottle out in the end?'"
Mr Motala says police also suspect he was the unidentified male who bought the rucksacks which contained the bombs from a Millets store in Leeds six days before the bombings.
Source: The Guardian
The point that the police make to Motala regarding the rucksacks having been bought from Millets is a strange one, given that the Independent reported that the rucksacks had been bought from Blacks camping shop in Leeds city centre and on top of that, the owner of the Alamo sports shop in Wakefield was “100% certain” that the rucksacks had actually been purchased from his own retail outlet:
Shopkeeper Eddie McTiernan of the Alamo sports shop in Wakefield, West Yorks, claimed last night that Hasib Hussain bought the rucksack which contained the explosives that blew up the bus in his shop just 24 hours earlier.
"I'm absolutely 100 per cent sure this man was in my shop," he said. "The only comment I remember him making was: 'That'll do nicely'."
Source: Sunday Mirror
In addition, it is also curious that the police would refer to the purchaser of the rucksacks as an “unidentified male”. If the man was not identified either by witnesses or CCTV in the shop, then it is rather mystifying how the police can apparently be so sure that he was the person who bought those particular rucksacks that were worn on that particular day.
In response to the accusations of being the “fifth bomber”, Motala was, quite justifiably, bewildered:
He accepts that police were right to question him after telephone records showed that he had a series of conversations with Sidique Khan in the weeks before the attacks, but is puzzled that this was not done earlier. "If I had been the 'fifth bomber', I could have set off an explosion in August 2005," he says.
Source: The Guardian
Motala freely admitted that he had been acquainted with not only Mohammad Sidique Khan, but also Shehzad Tanweer and Hasib Hussain, saying:
“At one time I had dinner with them at Hasina's mother's house but they never talked about the bombings, or anything to do with Iraq or Palestine in front of me.....I only met the other suicide bombers because they were Mohammed Sidique Khan's friends.
"I mostly stayed at Hasina's mother's house when I went up to Yorkshire to see family because she was lovely to me. She thought I was cute. "I also met two of the bombers at Arshad's wedding - but there were hundreds of people there."
Source: Birmingham Sunday Mercury
Curiously, however, upon his release, Motala's lawyer made a rather enigmatic statement regarding the accusations of contact between Motala and Tanweer:
His lawyer Tayab Ali said police had also put it to Mr Motala that July 7 bomber Shehzad Tanweer visited his home.
But Mr Ali, of London-based law firm McCormacks, said: "There is nothing in that but I don't want to go into what the police said because other information was mentioned that doesn't relate to this case."
Source: Birmingham Sunday Mercury
Motala only discovered that his family home had been raided after his release, and spoke of the distress his family at their house being pulled to pieces. It was also revealed that his family were questioned at a hotel as opposed to a police station:
Mr Motala's parents, Salem and Rumana, his brother Idreas and sister Anisa, were questioned at a hotel in Solihull about his connections and movements. He said his mum was amazed when officers at one point started discussing the route she took to go shopping.
Police took away every electrical appliance from the family home, including the vacuum cleaner, carried out a fingertip search of the whole building and seized every phone.
They also lifted up a laminated floor and questioned the family about items found in the basement - including a funnel and a large hotplate - which Mr Motala thinks they believed was bomb-making equipment.
But the funnel was used to empty cooking oil drums, and the hotplate was used at his sister's wedding.
Source: Birmingham Sunday Mercury
Since Motala and his family had been under such close surveillance for a year, which clearly yielded nothing in the way of evidence showing that Motala was any way involved with the London bombings, this heavy-handed kind of operation is extremely strange and unimpressive – especially given that the police warned the family that the press had been informed when they came to search the house. This intimates that the police required the operation to garner high-profile press coverage. With such a distinct lack of evidence, and, from the police's point of view, an unproductive outcome, one wonders why this might be so. As Motala himself asked, “Why wait so long to talk to me?"
There was very little coverage of Arshad Patel during the period of the arrests and raids in May 2007. At the time of the London attacks, he and his wife, Khadija Vachhiat were living with Arshad and Hasina's mother, Farida in Thornhill Park Avenue, Dewsbury, and according to this report, “Patel's son, Arshad, 28, his wife Khadija, and their baby of eight months, were also held by police after the London bomb attacks.”
It isn't apparent what is meant by “held by police” in this instance, since there are certainly no reports that Arshad was arrested in 2005, which is what this terminology would more usually refer to.
The Telegraph claimed that Arshad Patel had spoken to them previously about his brother-in-law:
He told The Daily Telegraph last year that he had watched DVDs with Sidique Khan and talked about politics. He said he did not believe his brother-in-law could be responsible for the July 7 attacks and said they had been blamed on Muslims as part of a larger conspiracy.
Source: The Telegraph
However, searches for this alleged interview, either in the Telegraph or elsewhere have proved in vain.
Arshad was arrested at approximately 7am on 9th May 2007, around the same time as his sister, at his home in Hayburn Gardens, Batley, where according to neighbours, he had resided for less than a year.
He is understood to live there with his family. Residents said he was always polite on the rare occasions people saw him out and about but very few knew him or saw him around a lot.
One neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said Arshad Patel had a beard and wore traditional Muslim dress.
Another resident said: "He seemed a normal, pleasant fella."
Source: Yorkshire Post
On May 11th, The Mirror reported that among the items removed from the various raided properties was Arshad Patel's laptop. This clearly contained nothing of interest, nor any evidence that Patel would have known what his brother-in-law is accused of doing.
The previous homes of Hasina Patel and her mother, both in Dewsbury, were thoroughly searched in mid July 2005; the police even removed Farida's silver Ford Escort for examination. Sir Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, observed in 2005 that the Khan/Patel family were upset that items were removed from their properties in July 2005, but were not informed what had been taken:
Mrs Khan was upset to find wedding videos taken by the police appearing on television. He says the police failed to "give a basic inventory of what items have been removed".
"The raids had to be carried out, but what is disturbing is some of the confidential information that were in the homes have been in the national media. That is a clear intrusion into the personal lives of individuals."
Source: The Independent
Both Hasina and her mother moved home after July 2005, with Farida's Thornhill Park Avenue house being offered for sale in November 2005 Hasina re-housed, reportedly, by the housing association. A local news source reported at the time:
"Dewsbury South Tory Coun Khizar Iqbal, who counted Mrs Patel among his personal friends and had known her for many years, said: "I do not know where she is now. I think she has moved right out of the area."
Source: Yorkshire Evening Post
It was already known in 2005 that Hasina Patel came from an extremely well connected family, and in 1998, had accompanied her parents to Buckingham Palace where her mother, Farida, was honoured for her charity work. This was the first time that an Asian woman had attended a garden party at the palace, according to The Scotsman. It was reported that, at the time, Farida said, "It was a once in a lifetime experience to be treated like a VIP and it felt like I was in another world".
In 1999, Farida attended a ceremony at Downing Street hosted by Tony Blair, where she was honoured for her work with the Inner Cities Religious Council. This was a project Farida became involved in as a co-opted member in 1996. At the time, it was reported:
Awaaz notes the role of a Birkdale woman, Farida Patel, as a recently co-opted member of the ICRC. Mrs Patel, a school community liaison officer, is following in her father’s footsteps as a community activist. She is the daughter of Ismail Patel, a campaigner against apartheid, whose opposition to the South African regime led to ten years of house arrest and ultimately his death in 1973. Mrs Patel said: "I think I am just continuing the legacy of my father. He was very outspoken and influential. I thought - if he can do it, why can’t I?" In 1993, Awaaz presented Mrs Patel with an award in recognition of 22 years of service to the community. [BMMS December 1996 Vol. IV, No. 12, p. 14]
Source: British Muslims Monthly Survey
At the Downing Street ceremony, Farida once again met the Queen, along with the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Condon. In July 2004, Farida was invited to Buckingham Palace again, this time for her work as a teacher specialising in bilingual studies. Her husband, Abdul-Salaam Patel had died three months earlier, in April 2004, so reports that she was accompanied once more by her husband and daughter are obviously erroneous. It is clear that the family were respected in the community, by local MPs among others:
Mrs Patel, who taught at Dewsbury's Birkdale High School until two years ago and served on the local police forum, added: "I am very well known in the Asian parts of Dewsbury and police often come to my house for advice."
Today [Conservative MP] Khizar Iqbal, a family friend, said Mrs Patel phoned him to ask for help when officers arrived at her house in Dewsbury. "She was distressed and wanted my help. This has been the most tragic thing I have experienced. It was shocking and dreadful," he said.
Source: Evening Standard
In the days following the July 7th 2005 attacks, the Patel family received the support of Sir Iqbal Sacranie, as previously mentioned, who had met Farida at Buckingham Palace, although it isn't clear whether this was in 1998 or 2004. Dewsbury MP Shahid Malik also expressed his support for the family that Khan had left behind and even the Bishop of Pontefract, who knew Farida through her interfaith work, described the family as “delightful”. Another MP who claims an acquaintance with the family is Tory peer Baroness Warsi, who announced in October 2007, “I knew the family; I knew the community and yet could never have predicted what happened.”
Interestingly, Khan himself also had links with Parliament, having worked closely with the wife of Labour MP Jon Trickett, and was given a personal tour of Parliament, also in 2004, by Mr. Trickett himself when visiting as part of a primary school delegation. Khan was also introduced to MP Hilary Benn who had coincidentally formally opened the new Hamara Healthy Living Centre in Beeston the previous year along with his father Tony Benn, which Khan was linked to through his youth work. Later on, Mr. Trickett was to say that he was "profoundly disturbed" that a man" who seemed to care so deeply for the children should callously take the lives of others only a year later". Given the many plots that Khan was allegedly linked to around this time, including Crevice, for which he was under surveillance – as mentioned in Part 1 of this article - it seems highly questionable that he and his family were allowed to have such proximity to the royal family and to Parliament in 2004. It is also extremely unlikely that individuals invited to royal garden parties are not heavily vetted by the security services.
At the time of Hasina's arrest, Suresh Grover, a solicitor who heads the UK National Civil Rights Movement and who has reportedly represented Hasina Patel since 2005, said:
"She and her family have co-operated with the police, intelligence services, with the coroner, they have been in regular contact with everyone. There is. . . absolutely no reason for these dramatic arrests to take place in this fashion."
Source: The Telegraph
Two days after Hasina and her brother Arshad were released, Suresh Grover read a statement to the press on their behalf. He also described their arrests as "stage managed":
Speaking on behalf of Ms Patel and the Patel family in Dale Street, Dewsbury, solicitor Suresh Grover said Ms Patel was using this opportunity to support calls for an independent public inquiry.
Mr Grover said: "Police still need to explain the reason and timing of our arrest. Why were we arrested after two years? Why did they take such a drastic step when we have always co-operated with them? Our family has a good and strong reputation in this area. Our mother Farida Patel has worked hard in the community and her work has been recognised through many community awards. Yet our lives have been made unbearable by police action. We are victims too.
Despite the ordeal, we have always expressed our sympathy for the victims of the London bombings and today we take this opportunity to support their demand for an independent public inquiry into those dreadful events."
Source: Huddersfield Daily Examiner
Strangely, in other reports Suresh Grover was variously reported to be an advisor to Hasina, a community worker who knows the family, a representative of the National Civil Rights Movement - and is featured in a case study on the Common Purpose website.
As is often the case when suspects arrested on terrorism offences are released without charge, the outcome of the arrests of Hasina Patel, Arshad Patel and Imran Motala did not garner as much media coverage as their actual arrests. Hasina Patel's solicitor, Imran Khan said on the day she was released:
I'm relieved that she's out after her ordeal and shocked that the police only revealed at the last minute information which they had in their possession before Hasina was arrested which shows she had no idea, not an inkling of what Mohammed Sidique Khan was going to do."
While Mr Khan said he was not at liberty to reveal what that information was, he said it showed "clearly and unequivocally" that she knew nothing of what Sidique Khan was planning.
"What is shocking and outrageous in my view is, knowing that, that Hasina Patel was arrested in the full glare of publicity and kept in pretty awful conditions at Paddington Green station.
Source: The Independent
Some light was shed on Mr Khan's allusion to the information that the police had in their possession which showed “clearly and unequivocally” that Hasina would not have been involved or aware of the attacks that her husband is accused of planning and executing by Hasina Patel herself in an interview she gave to SKY's Julie Etchingham, broadcast on July 27th 2007:
JULIE ETCHINGHAM: At the end of this process Hasina it became clear that the police had a document about Sidique, tell us about this document and what was in it.
HASINA PATEL: They showed me a will that they had found which was from Sidique and there were messages on there to me and my daughter and family and general to the public and funeral arrangements, it all looked very official and there were appendices and things. In my section of the will it said I am really sorry for all the lies and deceit, I hope you can forgive me and I hope you can try to understand why I did what I did. You have tried to be a good wife but I have deceived you, that kind of message. There was a section for [my daughter] as well?
JULIE ETCHINGHAM: Just say my daughter.
HASINA PATEL: There was a section for my daughter as well and my daughter's section just said I really love you, as a father I really love you and I want the best for you and make sure you are a good person, be a good Muslim and look after your mummy, that kind of thing.
JULIE ETCHINGHAM: He left some money too.
HASINA PATEL: Yes, there was a hand written note and some money found with it and it said on the note that I'm leaving you this money, I know it's not a lot, it was about £400 and it said I am leaving you this money to buy some toys for the children and it was really sad that he put children because he obviously thought that the pregnancy had gone ahead and didn't know it would just be me and [my daughter] left alone. Just me and my daughter left alone.
On the day following this interview, The Guardian reported that Hasina's lawyers had made an official complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission due to the fact that police had recovered the note and will in July 2005 (although it has not been made at all clear exactly where and when it was found) yet had not only withheld it from Hasina, but would have known from the contents that she could not have been aware of his alleged plans. This of course begs the question of why she was arrested at all – especially as Hasina described during the sky interview of the procedure she went through in July 2005; how she had given a statement and had her fingerprints taken for the first time. As her lawyer, Imran Khan said:
It was clear from the material disclosed by the police during her detention, that they had in their possession information which effectively exonerated her of any suspicion that she knew about the impending attack. That's what is so reprehensible about the police attack.
Source: The Guardian
The Guardian also reported that, in true independent style, the complaint submitted by Hasina's lawyers will be investigated by the Metropolitan Police.
It is perhaps worth noting that Khan mentioned that the relatively small amount of money Khan had left was to “buy some toys for the children”. In Paragraph 70 of the Home Office Report, it is stated:
Lindsay spent money liberally in different ways, some which now appear to be linked to the bombings for example, purchases of perfumes which he then traded on the internet for material useful for the bomb-making process, and some which look like providing for his family when he was gone – nappies, children’s toys.
Just one of many questions regarding the inexplicable strangeness of the alleged 'wills' of the suspects, is why toys should be given priority in their provisions for their children, rather than perhaps more practical and essential items for their widows who would be left facing a future bringing up children alone. Other questions include how legal or 'official' the will actually was, since Hasina appears to be quite vague in her description; who witnessed the document, who the executor was, and so on.
Hasina also refers in the SKY interview to the fact that she miscarried Khan's child on the actual day of the attacks. It is at this point that it becomes unclear whether or not the couple were actually separated. Hasina explained that Khan had been spending a lot of time out of the house and that they had been arguing; she had not seen him since Tuesday 5th July, when he had accompanied her to hospital due to a threatened miscarriage. However, she also spoke of her hope that the baby she had been carrying would bring them closer, and pointed out how anxious Khan had been over the baby. Hasina explained that when she actually began to lose the baby on the morning of July 7th, she was unable to contact Khan and had desperately tried to contact him every day until the point which the police came to her house to tell her they believed that Khan had been involved – although surprisingly she was not told face to face that her husband was definitely a suspect, as she says “the police confirmed it on the phone after a couple of days.”
Hasina expressed how difficult she had found it to come to terms with the man she knew as her husband and what she had been told he had done. When asked what she had thought of the video on which Khan appeared, which was broadcast on al-Jazeera in September 2005, Hasina said, “To me that's not my husband, what I saw on TV is just a completely different person.”
A most questionable aspect of the SKY interview is Hasina's appearance. She was presented in a full niqab, which showed only her eyes. SKY stated:
Hasina Patel doesn't normally wear a full veil but, to protect her identity, Sky News agreed she should wear the full veil for the interview.
Source: SKY News
As it had previously been reported that Hasina was “said to have held anti-Taleban, pro-women views”, that on a day-to-day basis, as SKY itself notes, she did not wear a veil covering her face and had been brought up by a mother who reportedly refused to accept that females should be subservient in British Asian society, it is somewhat surprising that Hasina would have agreed to be presented this way. SKY have worded their statement on the issue in a manner which suggests that it was a request they had acquiesced to, but if the safety or protection of Hasina's identity was the main issue, there are a number of techniques commonly used in such circumstances. Silhouetting the interviewee, pixellation of the face, filming in a darkened room, disguising with digital effects or using the voice of an actress, to name a few.
The wearing of the veil, mentioned earlier in this article, served as a cultural separator between Hasina and her audience, which hardly seems conducive to a broad understanding of her feelings and situation which she was attempting to convey – especially in the light of the 'veil debate' sparked by Jack Straw, which resulted in an increase in attacks on female Muslims. Considering also the anti-Muslim climate which has prevailed increasingly since July 2005 and what now seems to be a media trend to highlight the apparent increase in female suicide bombers, this was a move that seemed rather paradoxical, particularly in view of the 'isolation' Hasina said that she felt.
The Guardian claimed in its coverage of the arrests that the “ongoing inquiry” was “seeking to sweep up anyone who allegedly knew of the bomb plot or gave shelter or support to the four suicide bombers: Khan, 30, Shehzad Tanweer, 22, Hasib Hussain, 18, and Jermaine Lindsay, 19.”
This begs the question, why then, were all the May 2007 arrests related only to Mohammad Sidique Khan? The fact that all except two of the address raided in May 2007 belonged to the Patel family raises intriguing questions as to the practices and motivations of the police who are investigating the events of July 7th 2005.
After all, the Patels would be the most profiled of all the families connected to the suspects since having been invited several times to Buckingham Palace and once to 10 Downing Street. They had already been searched and investigated in July 2005 and featured in the police's investigation into Khan's involvement with the Crevice suspects. So, what new information determining their immediate arrest could have apparently come to light that was never before found after being investigated several times over? Could the short interval of ten days since the negative revelations over prior warning signs in the Crevice investigation and a need to balance the resulting criticism be the answer?
Finally, we might also ask when can the other suspects' families expect to have their houses raided, be strip-searched, have their DNA repeatedly taken, held in isolated cells with no exposure to daylight and their names paraded through the media with no apparent constructive outcome for the “largest criminal inquiry in English history”?
Despite reports that Khalid Khaliq denied the three charges which had been laid against him in May 2007, and had not entered a formal plea at his court appearance in August 2007, on the 10th of March 2008, Khalid Khaliq pleaded guilty to one count of possessing a document or record containing information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism. This was the possession of a CD containing an ‘al-Qa’ida training manual’, which was reportedly found in his "family home" in July 2005. The further charge of possession of information likely to be useful for terrorism - a book entitled "Zaad-e-Mujahid" ("Essential Provision of the Mujahid"), which had reportedly been found in the raid on Khaliq’s property in May 2007 was ordered to be laid on file and the judge ordered that Khaliq be found not guilty of the third charge; possessing a book entitled "The Absent Obligation -- and Expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula".
On Tuesday March 11th 2008 Khaliq, 34, was sentenced to sixteen months in prison.
Prosecutor David Farrell QC told the court the al-Qaeda training manual included a declaration of Jihad, an interview with Osama bin Laden and information about weapons and how to deal with being interviewed by police.
Source: BBC News
A report in the Yorkshire Evening Post also described the contents of the manual, which differ slightly from the above:
Khalid Khaliq, 34, admitted owning a CD containing techniques on assassination, espionage, torture and interrogation after it was found at his home in Tempest Road, Beeston, Leeds.
The court heard how the CD had originally been in Iqra learning centre and bookshop on Bude Terrace, of which Khaliq was a trustee, but was moved from there to his home nearby after the attack. The court also heard how material on the disc had been downloaded from an American website set up by the US Ministry of Justice following a trial in 2002.
Judge James Stewart criticised the decision to put the material on the internet. He said: "It is like putting pornography on a website when a man is accused of possessing or creating it."
Although Khaliq was in possession of the disc he had never actually downloaded the information onto his home computer. Khaliq claimed he didn't know its content.
Source: Yorkshire Evening Post
Who moved the CD from the Iqra to Khaliq’s house? According to a Daily Mail report, Khaliq had stated that the disc "had been brought to his home by "others", whom he refused to identify."
With regard to the unidentified "others" to whom Khaliq refers, it is common knowledge that CD and DVD production, along with other IT issues at the Iqra bookshop, were undertaken not by a Muslim but instead by a former Hells Angel and " IT man", Martin Gilbertson (pictured left). In interviews given to the media Gilbertson speaks of "the amount of time I spent editing" what newspapers described as "horror DVDs" between 2001 and 2004. Gilbertson happened to be working alongside a former elite Special Boat Service "anti-terrorist" operative, one Martin 'Abdullah' McDaid who, for some reason, "asked for high-security encryption for their computer systems so it would be hard even for government agencies to access e-mails." Quite why an ex-SBS operative might want to hide data from government agencies has never been revealed.
The Mail also reported how the judge, James Stewart, had said it was "extraordinary" that the American Department of Justice had seen fit to publish the terrorist booklet on the internet:
Officials took the precaution of removing a section on "bomb-making" but they allowed chapters on espionage, assassinations, torture and interrogation to remain, Leeds Crown Court was told.
The manual had been published on the U.S. site as part of the transcript of a 2001 terror trial under a freedom of information policy.
Source: Daily Mail
The irony of material on the CD being uploaded to the internet by the US government under the terms of 'freedom of information' and then deemed illegal to possess in this country is self-evident. It is also worth noting that in a 2005 article by Duncan Campbell; ‘The Ricin Ring That Never Was’ describes how an attempt was made to introduce an ‘al-Qa’ida training manual’ into the case:
The most ironic twist was an attempt to introduce an "al-Qaida manual" into the case. The manual - called the Manual of the Afghan Jihad - had been found on a raid in Manchester in 2000. It was given to the FBI to produce in the 2001 New York trial for the first attack on the World Trade Centre. But it wasn't an al-Qaida manual. The name was invented by the US department of justice in 2001, and the contents were rushed on to the net to aid a presentation to the Senate by the then attorney general, John Ashcroft, supporting the US Patriot Act.
Source: The Guardian
Additionally, oddly enough, the CIA produced 'Freedom Fighter’s Manual', which includes instruction on economic sabotage, propaganda, extortion, bribery, blackmail, interrogation, torture, murder and political assassination and the CIA produced 'Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual' which teaches how to torture people are both perfectly legal to download, possess and distribute. Are we to conclude that manuals teaching torture, assassination and interrogation are only acceptable when produced by the US, and only 'useful to terrorists' when in the possession of Muslims? Worth factoring into the consideration are the words of the Assistant Professor of Political Economy at the University of Washington, Guido Giacomo Preparata, who, on page 21 of his book Conjuring Hitler - How Britain and America made the Third Reich writes of "the recent lurking 'threat' of Bin Laden's Al-Qaeda - a true 'Godsend' for America's imperial establishment", further noting, "As known, the evanescent Bin Laden and his lieutenants are from the start an invention of the CIA."
Moreover, less than a month prior to this trial, on February 13th 2008, five young men were freed on appeal having been convicted of very similar charges, including charges of possessing information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism. When quashing the convictions, the Lord Chief Justice said there was no proof of terrorist intent:
Lord Phillips said that while the men had downloaded such material, he doubted if there was evidence this was in relation to planning terrorist acts.
He said the prosecution had attempted to use the law for a purpose for which it was not intended.
Source: BBC News
Khalid Khaliq had come forward voluntarily to assist with the 7/7 investigation in Beeston in July 2005. This act of social responsibility is presumably how his property came to be searched in the first place. Despite his statement to the police that he did not support al-Qaida and was "shocked by the actions of the 7/7 bombers", despite character witnesses confirming that Khaliq was a "devoted, caring and loving" parent, who had given up work to be the sole carer of his children and did not advocate terrorism, the judge decided that Khaliq was a threat to society and merited a custodial sentence. Yet where is the evidence that Khaliq had the intent or means to commit an act of terrorism. Astonishingly, the judge even used the fact that Khaliq possessed a copy of the Terrorism Act as some kind of additional indictment against him - since when does the possession of government legislation equate to terrorist intent?
On February 13th 2008, Imran Khan; a lawyer for one of the freed Muslim students at the Court of Appeal said that the ruling would have a "significant impact":
He told BBC News: "Young Muslim men before this judgement could have been prosecuted simply for simply looking at any material on the basis that it might be connected in some way to terrorist purposes."
He said section 57 of the 2000 Terrorism Act had been written in such wide terms that "effectively, anybody could have been caught in it" but prosecutors would now have to prove such material was intended for terrorist purposes.
Source: BBC News
Evidently, the case has not had anything like the kind of impact that it should have; the conviction of Khalid Khaliq for possessing what seems, in actuality, to be mainly US and UK government information, is testament to that.
Part 1 of the J7 article, The 7/7 Arrests is here.