Abdel Hakim Belhadj, Philip Cottrell - Insurance investigator Phil Cottrell investigates M16 allegations Barcelona, Nationwide
Abdel Hakim Belhadj is one of the foremost rebel military leaders and commander of the Tripoli Military Council.In earlier days Belhadj had fought with other jihadists against the Soviet sponsored regime in Afghanistan. When the Soviets were defeated Belhadj returned to Libya. Belhadj fought with other Islamists in a rebellion based in eastern Libya but the group was crushed in 1998. He then went to Afghanistan where he joined the Taliban. After 9/11 Libyan authorities issued a warrant for his arrest.
Belhadj claims that informants in the UK informed M16 that he and his pregnant wife were traveling through Malaysia. Both were arrested in Malaysia and transferred to Bangkok where he was placed in custody of the CIA and retained at a secret prison. Belhaj says that his arrest and consequent transport back to Libya was the result of a joint M16 CIA operation designed to help Gadaffi round up his enemies.
Belhadj was held in prison in Libya for 7 years in terrible conditions as well as being tortured. However Saif al-Islam one of Gadaffi's sons had him released along with many other Islamists after a "de-radicalisation" project. Saif said that the men were no longer a danger to Libya. He was wrong about that as far as the Gadaffi regime was concerned! Belhadj ended up being one of the prime commanders in the successful overthrow of the Gadaffi government.
A team of rebels and Human Rights Watch found documents related to Belhadj in Tripoli originating from both the CIA and the UK M16. The former Libyan foreign minister noted that M16 had been operating in Tripoli right up until the revolution last February. The British government set up an inquiry into these and other events but it was so flawed that no one shed many tears when the government decided to simply close it down. The UK Metropolitan Police are carrying out investigations. When these are finished the UK government has promised a judge led investigation based on the findings. For more see this article. Of course no similar investigation is being carried out in the U.S. about the role of the CIA in these events.
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