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Lessons in Jihad as secret terror manual translated by MI5 is made public by America


The amazing series of events that led to an Al Qaeda terrorist manual becoming freely available on the internet can be revealed today.

Only last week a terror suspect was jailed in Britain for having a copy of it and told that its possession was a “serious criminal offence”.

But the deadly document, described as a Declaration of Jihad, is a public record in the US – after being translated from Arabic and typed up for MI5, passed to the American authorities and then declassified by the Department of Justice.

The manual includes advice on planning kidnappings, bombings, assassinations and torture.

It was originally handwritten in Arabic and available only to a very few Al Qaeda operatives and commanders directly linked to Osama Bin Laden.

The terror handbook was discovered in an abandoned flat in Manchester by MI5 and Special Branch officers after a raid in 2000. They were looking for one of the world's most wanted terrorists, Anas al-Liby, who has a £2.5million bounty on his head.

He is said to have been behind the bombings at the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 which left hundreds dead and thousands wounded.

In 2001 it was translated and handed to US prosecutors for use in a series of court cases held in the wake of the embassy bombings.

Its use in evidence led to its release to the public by the New York Southern District Court under the US Freedom of Information Act.

It remained on the record despite the 9/11 attacks just months later.

In 2005, the English version of the manual was used as an “operational blueprint” by the July 7 bombers.

It was also used by terrorist Kamel Bourgass, who was behind a plot to launch a deadly poison attack in London and was jailed for killing a Manchester police officer.

And last week it featured in another terrorist trial when Khalid Khaliq – a friend of the 7/7 London bombings mastermind Mohammed Siddique Khan – was jailed for 16 months after admitting having a copy of it on a CD found during a police raid at his home.

The judge in the case said possession of the material required an “immediate custodial sentence”.

An edited version of the manual is still available from the US Department of Justice's website.

An explanatory note reads: “The attached manual was located by the Manchester (England) Metropolitan Police during a search of an Al Qaeda member's home. The manual was found in a computer file described as 'the military series' related to the 'Declaration of Jihad'.

“The manual was translated into English and was introduced . . . at the embassy bombing trial in New York.”

All 180 pages of the manual are also available on a website which publishes court documents and other material available under the US Freedom of Information Act.

The document is marked Government Exhibit 1677-T – a US court reference – and every page is headed “UK/BM Translation” pointing to the fact that the English version is only available because it was translated from Arabic by British investigators either from MI5 or GCHQ.

Entitled “Declaration of Jihad against the country's Tyrants”, the inside cover depicts the globe with a sword thrust through the middle, while the first page contains the warning: “It is forbidden to remove this from the house”, suggesting it was once communal reading material at an Al Qaeda safe house.

The reader is then confronted with the “Presentation” which says: “Islamic governments have never been established through peaceful solutions . . . They are established as they [always] have been by pen and gun, by word and bullet, by tongue and teeth.”

The book's handwritten introduction spells out Al Qaeda's mission. It says its aim is “the overthrow of the godless regimes and their replacement with an Islamic regime”.

To do this they must “gather information about the enemy . . . kidnap enemy personnel, documents, secrets and arms . . . assassinate enemy personnel as well as foreign tourists”.

It also recommends “blasting and destroying the embassies and attacking vital economic centres, blasting and destroying bridges leading into and out of the cities”.

It spells out the “necessary qualifications” of membership including a willingness to “undergo martyrdom”.

Chapters are split into “lessons” and include headings such as Counterfeit Currency and Forged Documents, Weapons, Espionage, Secret Writing and Cipher and Codes.

The Sixteenth Lesson is “Assassinations Using Poisons and Cold Steel” and the Seventeenth is “Torture Methods”.

The US Department of Justice confirmed that the translation of the manual used in a US court and by the US Government was “the British translation provided by the UK government when the document was first handed over”.

A spokesman said: “The British Government did not object to its use in that trial. But when it was used the entire document became part of the public record and available to anyone who wanted to see it.”

Last week, a spokeswoman for the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed possession of the document was a serious crime under Section 58 of the Terrorism Act.

She said: “The Act bans anyone from holding information that is of a kind likely to be useful to those involved in acts of terrorism. The Al Qaeda training manual falls into that category.”

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