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Thursday, 16 November, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 16 Nov 06, 05:38 PM

SilhouetteA Newsnight exclusive - Inside al-Qaeda: A Spy's Story.

BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera gained exclusive access to an al Qaeda operative who also worked for European security agencies during the 1990s.

Watch the special edition of Newsnight at 2230GMT tonight on BBC Two in the UK and on the Newsnight website.

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  • 1.
  • At 09:19 PM on 16 Nov 2006,
  • AKBER A. KASSAM. wrote:

Thanks BBC Newsnight, I never go to bed without watching your BBC Newsnight. It's always gives me more news what is going around the world, which CNN, FOX, NBC, and CBS are not providing all correct news. I only trust BBC.

Keep up the great/good job.

Thanks again. Kind regards to your news team.


  • 2.
  • At 11:16 PM on 16 Nov 2006,
  • Christian Gross wrote:

I was listening to the show. I want to make sure that I did not mishear something.

Did the informant imply the intelligence by the CIA was played up by their caught Al Qeda member so that the US would attack a Muslim country? In other words that this was part of an overall plan?

  • 3.
  • At 11:18 PM on 16 Nov 2006,
  • Jens (London) wrote:

Is this really newsnight I am watching?

it looks like a cross between ITV's Tonight with Trevor MacDonald, latter-day Panorama and a trailer for the new Bond movie...

What is all this 'action' footage and the underlying suspense soundtrack doing in the 'interview'?

It beggars belief how the editor of Newsnight could think this added anything to the item rather than wreck it.

Now how do I get Al-Jazeera English onto my TV?

  • 4.
  • At 11:50 PM on 16 Nov 2006,
  • W. A. wrote:

Well I wish I could congratulate News Night for this program, but I really can’t for the following reasons:

· This creepy piece adds nothing new to the propaganda war that the media is fighting in selling the myth that there is a “dark force” out there trying to kill every Westerner!
· The entire program, it seems, is based on a false assumption that the viewers would believe what is being presented.
· But what is astounding is that apart from the 2 so-called “terrorism experts”, it was completely devoid of any credible source – anyone can sit in a dark room and make “intelligence grade” stories.
· If anything, such programs seek to legitimise colonialism in the name of fighting terror.

Perhaps, the only thing that can be agreed upon is the last few words where the actor “Nasiri” said that these “terrorists” are doing their work because of the sufferings they are subjected to by Western states. Now that should awaken Blairites and the Neo-Cons.

Come on News Night… try harder next time and be more real & convincing!!!

  • 5.
  • At 11:54 PM on 16 Nov 2006,
  • Liam Coughlan wrote:

This witness is not credible. He "loved" the military training in Afghanistan, he "loved" the religious training which he endured for years, and he also "loved" wine, women and song when he got to London. He has a history of begging the security services for petty cash, a few hundred to a couple of thousand here and there. Its no wonder the British took no real notice of him. How come the same military and religious training turned the obviously more educated and intelligent Mohammed Ata et al into suicide bombers, and not our "spy"?

What emerges is not a large fearful Muslim enemy of which we must all be afraid. Rather, different resistance and terrorist groups from different countries whose only commonality is they happen to be Muslim. In the 1980s we witnessed many European terrorists, such as ETA, IRA and others who happened to be Christian. Has the West made a gigantic error by encouraging the disparate terror cells from the various Muslim countries to work together? The US "with us or against us" mentality has led to new perceptions of persecution by the West against Islam, which is a shame.

The only fact of real interest in the program was the revelation that the French allowed a car packed with explosives to be driven through Europe to Algeria, where it was used to kill 40 people.

  • 6.
  • At 12:31 AM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • harry benn wrote:

Very good documentary, but not newsnight. Why wasn't this panorama?

  • 7.
  • At 12:44 AM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • Bob Goodall wrote:

Dear Newsnight

I'm very sorry to say this but why would this person's handlers want him to or allow him to appear on your show? and it does make me question its content a bit. What is in it for them, things are not done without a reason, what was theirs?

He said at one point that another person told the cia 80% of the truth, and put in his 20%, things he wanted them to belieive.

Our greatest weapon is the truth but those in charge seem to find it expedient to manipulate it. This is combination of lazy and sloppy thinking. Even in the last war when we were in mortal danger it was realised how much could be gained if the credibility of the BBC was to some extent protected.

We hear stories of rounded up numbers of people being under survelliance -
I am concerned that the authorities are playing fast and loose with the truth and this will ultimately create greater fear among the public who will end up not knowing what or who to believe and perhaps end up being in a state of greater fear than might otherwise be the case or is appropriate to the danger posed.

and to this end Congress needs to check if Cheney lied to them when he said he had closed down his black op that was placing bogus stories in the media.

The threat from the Islamic extremists really has to be kept in proportion. It bears no relation to the danger we faced a few decades ago from the Russians, and before that the Nazis.

It does provide however an enormous distraction from other issues for second rate politicians.

re Tonights show: you may have being had, sorry. I may be wrong, hope I am.
But if the secret people approach you and suggest running a story like this perhaps you need to ask why they are doing this?

Perhaps the story behind tonights story which Newsnight should now look into is the protection of the integrity of the media in the face of ingenious misinformation and news manipulation. Why and How the integrity of the media must be maintained.

Best wishes

Bob Goodall

  • 8.
  • At 07:04 AM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • andrew wrote:

The producer has been watching too many Adam Curtis documentaries, specifically the three parter "The Power of Nightmares". Even the Eno type soundtrack was a bit of a rip off. Unfortunately his threads do not link together or produce as coherent a story as Mr Curtis'. I agree with comments already that the sources for this information seem unreliable and unsubstantiated to say the least. If there are 30 UK plots out there then the security services are hardly likely to let a credible witness blab on late night TV.

  • 9.
  • At 09:03 AM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • Ian M wrote:

Re: A Newsnight exclusive - Inside al-Qaeda: A Spy's Story.

Congratulations on yet another superb programme. The more we get to know, the more we realise just how badly we have been let down by successive Governments who have actually made the problem of Islamic extremism much worse by their actions, & more often than not, inaction.

A chilling story - one that every UK citizen currently in denial with regards to the Islamic terror threat we all face should be made to watch.

Documentary programming at its best.

  • 10.
  • At 09:37 AM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • Ryan wrote:

Agree with others ... sure a coup for Newsnight ...


BBC Program Sales should be able to resell this package internationally easily .. soon it'll be Newsnight packages that's rebroadcast around the world... not Panorama.

Why wasn't this covered on Panorama?

  • 11.
  • At 10:32 AM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • Steph Dodwell wrote:

Rarely have I seen a more compelling and revealing documentary - the stark contrast between the mentally, spiritually and physically driven and the gluttonous,lazy and totally blinded...the cobra circling its oblivious prey.

I found myself hanging on every word because it rang so true. I felt ashamed at the total ineptitude of our western governments and intelligence services, especially our own British spokesman, who could not even pronounce 'Al-Quaida' or 'Bin Laden' correctly. Which bottomless government pit did he come from?

Does it not show the rest of the world that, far from leading the world to enlightment and democracy, we are a fat, soft fruit ripe for the picking? If we want to be able to continue to live out our lives in relative peace, then we have got to engage in local community things, get to know our neighbour, listen and share peoples' real everyday problems, especially those of our youth. We can either wait till the cobra is ready to strike or we can learn to dance like the mongoose!!

Well Done Newsnight and very well done Gordon Carera! I think your whole team is fantastic, dont stop going where others fear to tread - lets confront our problems at grass roots and at least have competent, articulate and intelligent government, accountable to its people and no longer able to make decisions of such importance without a referendum.

We have been duped into becoming like the Romans and, like all empires, ours will fall. Even our religions are corrupt and totally disconnected from its people. They must fall too and maybe out of the ashes will rise a true phoenix of hope! Its wake up time people!!Maybe we can come back from the brink but it will take effort from each one of us. Oh and P.S. Could Jeremy Paxman not take over the world? Please?

I wish to congratulate Panorama too on the programme. It seems that for too long we have been in the politically correct mode of not frightening the horses.

If the witness is truly credible, and I agree that there are some question marks on that, a very important factor was his claim that the USA was tricked into moving against Iraq. Always possible, but of course likely to be dismissed out of hand by those with a different agenda or set of beliefs.

We shouldn't fall into the peculiarly liberal habit (if it's not too late) of believing the propaganda that the terrorists and their sympathisers are always the victims, and we in the west are always the arch-villains.

Personally I'd rather support my democratically elected government. Many in the Islamic world have no choice in who they support, no choice in rejecting their religion, no choice in answering to Sharia law, and no choice but to watch the fanatics in the name of their religion, terrorising the world, muslim and all.

It was also noticeable last night that the French know a thing or two we don't, or didn't. Time to make better use of European co-operation?

  • 13.
  • At 11:21 AM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • steph dodwell wrote:

Apologies Gordon for misspelling your surname!

  • 14.
  • At 12:05 PM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • Pippop wrote:

Thank you beeb for the programme. Perhaps the Archbishop of York was not correct in his assessment of your org.

The programme left me wondering how these spook agencies acquired the term "Intelligence". I think they should be renamed the "Naive Agencies".

MI5: Mental Intelligence level 5


MI6: Mental Intelligence level 6.

CIA: Complete Intellectual Abdication.

When will we finally accept that whether we like it or not the Islamic world has engage us through our naivety in their own agenda?

Their problems were originally internal, concerning the possible move out of the 8th century through a reformation into the 20th & 21st century. This was diverted by the likes of al Qaeda and the Mujahadine simply because the Secular West is a huge threat to their male hegemony.

Its not Christianity or Judaism that scares the kufi caps off their heads its the secular liberation of women that is the deep seated fear in the minds of these radical mullahs. Their gender based power is emasculated by Western secularism and it is precisely this that sends then into these nihilistic rages.

We have to face the fact IMO that we ARE at war and it's a new kind of war, it's a global guerilla war. We have to wake up and protect ourselves. In doing this we have to forgo many of our civil liberties. It's a hard choice but the only rational one.

  • 15.
  • At 03:01 PM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • Taurai wrote:

The purpose of hiding one's identity if they are a spy is that the people that one might be spying on may not identify who you i right or not... so that you can continue being a spy.
In this documentary the so called spy reveals information about himself that easily identifies him. First he stole money from the Algerian terror organisation and then pays them back. Surely now they know who he is. He drove the car that was later used in a car bomb. Surely they can put 2 and 2 together.

He later even tells of how when he was in Afghanistan in a training camp, when the explosives wouldnt explode, and the leader asked who was going to volunteer to be a matyr, he was the one who stood up. Surely its now clear to anyone that was there who the spy was. There is a lot of other examples on information that he gave that anyone who has worked with him can identify him.
So what kind of spy is he. And who is he hiding his identity from by calling himself Nasiri. From us??? We are the last people he should be worried about.
Unless ofcourse he is no spy at all. I must say I was lookin foward to watching this program, but was very disapointed after watching it. After the program finished i was that all. There is nothing that this "informer" said that i didnt know from just watching the news. They even ran the same images, showcased the same people, Abu Zubyda, Abu Qutada, Abu Hamza,same names that we are bombaded with everyday. The only new thing was that he says he knows these people and he was there in this place or the other. But most of the information that was given in this program is the same information we already know. Sorry newsnight, you can do better.much better..

  • 16.
  • At 04:22 PM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • Rick B wrote:

Pippop - you go ahead and give up your civil liberties if you want, I'm not joining you.

Your idea that the "islamic word" is some kind of monolithic threat is neocon propaganda used to scare the gullible. I'd be interested to know how many predominantly muslim countries you've visited or lived in.

  • 17.
  • At 10:16 PM on 17 Nov 2006,
  • Abdurahman wrote:

It is difficult to take newsnight seriously after that dreadful piece on HT the other day!

As other free thinkers have mentioned,I can not help but think this is just more red flag media propaganda but sadly from the once respected BBC. More fear for the masses!
A docudrama if you like.
The stuff of "the power of nightmares"!
Mi5/Mi6 and CIA have always had covert insiders in all synthetic terror events.
Research shows (we should all do our own google research)that Abu hamzas (the radical egyptian from finsbury)right hand man and supposed mastermind of the 7/7 bombings was under the protection of the British secret services as a double agent.
It is not the suposed terrorists attacking our very way of life but in reality the government.
The police have, from the onset of their investigations, chosen to withold from the public almost every bit of evidence they claim to have and have provably lied about several aspects of the London Bombings and De Menzes.
Again the mainstream news has wilfully spread false, unsubstantiated and unverifiable information, while choosing to completely ignore the numerous inconsistencies and discrepancies in the official storys.

The government has finally, after a year, presented us with their official ‘narrative’ concerning the 7/7 event. Within hours it was shown to contain numerous errors, a fact since admitted by the Home Secretary John Reid. They have continuously rejected calls for a full, independent public inquiry. Tony Blair himself described such an inquiry as a ‘ludicrous diversion’. The real question is What don’t they want us to find out?

Oh, that's nothing. You should see how the communists and Jews tricked the Nazis into invading the Soviet Union! :-)


Perhaps Mike Scheuer's most sincere comment in the programme was that Qaeda training programmes were based on those of US and UK special forces.

But his suggestion that al-Libi *lured* the US into invading Iraq is breathtaking in its Macciavellian twistedness. As Newsnight itself told on 26 October, al-Libi was imprisoned in a coffin-dimensioned box (apparently by the CIA), taken out periodically to be torture-interrogated, and later became clinically insane. (However, I think some of this information came from FBI special agent Jack Cloonan, who was also Scheuer's deputy in the CIA's Bin Laden unit, so we need to tread carefully ...)

For the Bin Laden unit, see

  • 20.
  • At 07:24 PM on 18 Nov 2006,
  • McLoughlin wrote:

Plays on fear, encourages hatred, looks at an ant very closely, not the machinations of the political leadership in the world that caused the ant to move.

Worse than a waste of time. It diverts our attention from seeking the truth. Answer, why? Focus on why. (The spy says it is because of all the bombings and all the killings in the world and the reasons for it.) Dig for why. Because why is not discussed, what you get are lies.

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