Adam Withnall writing in the Daily Telegraph, 25 November 2013: "French spies planned to assassinate the extremist preacher Abu Hamza on a London street after they grew frustrated with Britain’s failure to deal with him, it has been claimed. According to a major investigation by the organisation HOPE Not Hate, French intelligence services dubbed the UK capital “Londonistan” because of a growing reputation for harbouring Europe’s Muslim fundamentalists.

Seeking to take advantage of the fear surrounding the London nail bombings by the neo-Nazi militant Davud Copeland, security officials from Britain’s European neighbour hatched a plot to kill the cleric and blame it on the far-right extremist group Combat 18....Spies got as far as identifying the weapons they would use to mimic those favoured by the organisation, and would have sent Hamza faked death threats pretending to be from the group. It is not clear why the plans were not carried out. In a completely separate earlier plot, the French spying network Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE) contemplated kidnapping Hamza from his West London home, putting him in a ferry and moving him to France. Those plans came amid fears that Algerian terrorists were going to target the 1998 football World Cup in France.

ARCHIVE 13 Oct 2003

The ‘Spooks’ TV programme of a heroic Algerian infiltrating a mosque-based suicide bombing cell, broadcast on 9th June 2003, bears uncanny similarities with the adventures and fertile imagination of informer Reda Hassaine, who “went undercover to find out about terrorist activities in Britain”, including Finsbury Park Mosque in 1998 (Jason Burke in The Observer, 18 February 2001).

The BBC, in its rebuttal of complaints that this was negative stereotyping of Muslims, stated that “at its [the ‘Spooks’ programme] heart there is a Muslim hero (Ibn Khaldun) who is moderate and peace-loving and who works to stop the suicide bombing happening. This character is inspired by the true story of an Algerian agent, who greatly assisted the British Security Services undercover.”

Mr Hassaine walked into the offices of Scotland Yard and offered his services to Special Branch, in return for asylum. In the TV programme, the character Ruth Evershed identifies a crack Algerian agent who has turned up at Scotland Yard. Mr ‘Khaldun’ was screened enjoying a drink in the spooks’ staff bar - “Hassaine has a sad face and a stammer that improves with each bottle of Chianti” (interview with Jake Tapper, Times online, 16 January 2003).

More seriously however the real-life Hassaine also told his handlers about a dirty tricks campaign against Muslim activists in London being run by the French intelligence agency, the DGSE (Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure), the MI6 counterpart.

The continuing arrests of Algerians – the most recent being the arrest of ten men in London and Manchester on 23 September 2003 under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000, on suspicion of “commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism” – point to the close coordination between security organisations in Britain, France and Algeria. More often than not, the tip offs lead to inconclusive ‘fishing’ expeditions.

The much publicised ‘Ricin factory’ raid of 5th January this year was based on a lead from the French intelligence services. The eleven men, including two teenagers, charged with “conspiring to develop a chemical weapon” remain incarcerated, probably in Belmarsh, preferring this to deportation. Similarly in November 2002, three Algerians arrested in a blaze of headlines ‘Plot to attack tube’ were subsequently cleared of any threat of a poison gas attack on the London underground (see The Independent, 18 November 2002).

Intelligence forwarded to the UK by French sources will remain less than reliable because of the French Government’s alliances with the Algerian regime and the vested interests of key intellectuals. France’s MI5 equivalent, the DST (Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire) is implicated in supporting the Algerian military clique in its agenda of eradicating every kind of political opposition: Yves Bonnet, an ex-Director of the DST, is a lobbyist on behalf of the junta (p.708, ‘An Enquiry into the Algerian Massacres, Hoggar, Geneva, 1999). Algerian strongman Smaïn Lamari, in charge of a covert Algerian internal security body (the PCO – Operationnel de la Police) that acted above the law, served in a liaison role with the DST. Smain Lamari has also been incriminated by the former intelligence officer Habib Souaidia in the use of troops disguised as ‘mujahideen’ to commit atrocities (p. 186, ‘La Sale Guerre’, La Decouverte, Paris, 2001). An open letter from French and Algerian journalists, lawyers and civil rights workers published in Le Monde on 9 February 2000 noted that French involvement included the training of officers “in the techniques of electronic warfare”. A more recent letter, submitted to President Chirac by the ‘SOS Algeria’ Collective in March this year, noted that “…the DGSE is perfectly aware of the implication of Belkheir Lamari [the French-backed Algerian general responsible for Intelligence] death’s squads” (la DGSE savent parfaitement l'implication des escadrons de la mort aux services de Belkheir Lamari). An apologist and “traditional friend” of the Algerian regime – the description used by Al-Quds Al-Arabi (12 April 2001) - Bernard Henry-Lévy - himself born in Beni Saf in Algeria, is a celebrity on the French intellectual scene with deep-seated antipathy to Muslims: his recent book ‘Qui a Tué Daniel Pearl?’ (Who killed Daniel Pearl’) delves in the intelligence world with depictions of ‘evil’ Muslims with “Pakistan is the most roguish of the rogue states today”.

The BBC stated that “the [Spooks] programme was extensively researched and the BBC's usual rigorous editorial policy and legal requirements have been followed”. This ‘extensive research’ is a reference to Diligence, a security company with offices in Washington and Mayfair that acted as advisors to ‘Kudos’, the TV company responsible for the production of ‘Spooks’. Most likely involved was Diligence’s London CEO Nick Day, formerly of MI5 and with experience of ‘counter Middle Eastern terrorism’. Intriguingly, the Diligence web site’s administrative contact address is in France, rather than the UK or US.

BBC Spooks programme – Complaints & Responses

MI5 and police ordered illegal break-ins at mosques,6903,439636,00.html

How Britain betrayed me

The secrets of a mosque

Muslim spy who infiltrated Bin Laden's terror network in London,,5041-544935,00.html

For information on French and Algerian intelligence connections see

For information on Diligence LLC, including the ‘Spooks’ connection, see

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