Requests to the Foreign Office

A forum for the publication of independent public research conducted by J7 Independent People's Inquiry Forum Members and J7 RELEASE THE EVIDENCE Activists and Campaigners in the joint quest to get to the truth behind what really happened on July 7th 2005. Post your Freedom of Information requests, the responses, and official communications with other bodies and representatives of state and corporate entities here.

Requests to the Foreign Office

Joined: 04 Dec 2005, 17:55

14 Nov 2007, 20:40 #1

I sent requests about Khan's visit to Pakistan in July 2003, about Haroon Rashid Aswat and about Khalid Mehmood Rashid. Bang on 20 days I received the replies below.

Khan:
Dear Mr XXXX,

Thank you for your e-mail of 17th October 2007 to the Foreign Office, regarding the visit to Pakistan of Mohammad Sidique Khan in July 2003. As part of your email you included the following Home Office narrative:

"46. Before this, Khan is believed to have had some relevant training in a remote part of Pakistan, close to the Afghan border during a two week visit in July 2003. It is unclear whether he met significant Al Qaida figures during this trip but we assume the visit would have had at least a motivational impact."

As the Desk Officer responsible for the UK's counter terrorism policy in Pakistan, your e-mail has been passed to me for reply.

The FCO neither confirms nor denies that it holds information falling within the terms of your request.  The duty in section 1(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 does not apply, by virtue of section 23(5) and 24(2) of the Act.  This should not be taken as an indication that the information you have requested is or is not held by the FCO.

In so far as section 24(2) applies, the FCO has determined that in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exclusion of the duty to confirm or deny outweighs the public interest in confirming whether or not the information is held. The reason this exemption applies is that in relation to any individual who has been the subject of allegations or suspicions involving terrorism the FCO may hold or make reference to information supplied by the security bodies covered by section 23 of the Act.  To confirm or deny whether this was in fact the case would harm national security.  If we were to confirm or deny that information existed in one case, inferences, whether correct or not, might be drawn in those instances where we were unable to do so, which would have similar harmful effects.  It is important that consistency is maintained.  For those reasons, we consider that in this case the public interest favours neither confirming nor denying whether further information is held.  This is in line with usual practice in not commenting on the existence of reporting from the security and intelligence agencies and should not be taken as evidence that any such information does or does not exist. ....
Aswat:
Dear Mr XXXXXXX,

Please see my attached letter.

Gordon Horne
Special Cases Team, CTPD
K 141
Tel: 020 7008 6974
FTN 8008 6974

email: Gordon.Horne@FCO.Gov.uk

Dear XXXX

Thank you for your request for information, which we received on 17 October 2007.

The FOI Act obliges us to respond to requests promptly and in any case no later than 20 working days after receiving your request. However, when a qualified exemption is engaged and the public interest test is being considered, the Act allows the time for response to be longer than 20 working days, and a full response must be provided within such time as is reasonable in all circumstances of the case. We do, of course, aim to make all decisions within 20 working days, including in cases where we need to consider where the public interest lies in respect of a request. In this case, however, we have not yet reached a decision on where the balance of the public interest test lies.

In your case we estimate that it will take an additional 20 working days to take a decision on where the balance of the public interest lies. Therefore, we plan to let you have a response by 12 December 2007. It if appears that it will take longer than this to reach a conclusion, we will keep you informed.

The specific exemption which is engaged in relation to your request is Section 27 (international relations)
Khalid Rashid:
Dear Mr XXXXX,

Please see the attached reply to your above request. 

<<Reply letter 0836-07.doc>> <<Final Digest 0836-071.doc>>

Warm regards,

Alexandra Ennis
Counter Terrorism Policy Department (CTPD)
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
K.154, King Charles St, London, SW1A 2AH
Tel: +44 (0)20 7008 4330

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST; REFERENCE 0836-07


Dear Mr XXXXX,

Thank you for your Freedom of Information (FOI) request of 17th October 2007 to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).&nbsp; Your request stated:

On Wednesday, 21 June 2006 the following parliamentary question was asked by George Galloway (Bethnal Green & Bow, Respect)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department further to the answer of 28 March 2006, Official Report, column 908W, on Khalid Rashid, whether an employee of the Government was (a) involved in or (B) present at the removal of Khalid Rashid from South Africa following his arrest on 31 October 2005 in Estcourt, Kwazulu Natal, on immigration grounds; and if he will make a statement.

I request all information held by the FCO about the aforementioned Khalid Rashid.

Please find attached a digest of information relevant to your request.

The FCO neither confirms nor denies whether the information disclosed represents all the information held that would meet the terms of your request.&nbsp; The duty in section 1(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 does not apply, by virtue of section 23(5) and 24(2) of the Act.&nbsp; This should not be taken as an indication that the information you have requested is or is not held by the FCO.

In so far as section 24(2) applies, the FCO has determined that in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exclusion of the duty to confirm or deny outweighs the public interest in confirming whether or not the information is held. The reason this exemption applies is that in relation to any individual who has been the subject of allegations or suspicions involving terrorism the FCO may hold or make reference to information supplied by the security bodies covered by section 23 of the Act.&nbsp; To confirm or deny whether this was in fact the case would harm national security.&nbsp; If we were to confirm or deny that that information existed in one case, inferences, whether correct or not, might be drawn in those instances where we were unable to do so, which would have similar harmful effects.&nbsp; It is important that consistency is maintained.&nbsp; For those reasons, we consider that in this case the public interest favours neither confirming nor denying whether further information is held.&nbsp; This is in line with usual practice in not commenting on the existence of reporting from the security and intelligence agencies and should not be taken as evidence that any such information does or does not exist.&nbsp; ....

Yours sincerely

Alexandra Ennis
Digest:
Digest of Information, FOI 0836-07


1) e-mail between FCO officials dated 24 Aug 2007

Khalid Rashid has spoken on the telephone from Pakistan to the weekly Mail and Guardian newspaper, which was published today. In the article Rashid claims that he was interrogated by 15 -20 officers, four or five of whom British, the rest being South Africans. One was an Indian officer who interviewed Rashid in his own language. During the interrogations he was asked to identify a host of photographs of people that he did not recognise. Although the article refers to the way that Rashid was spirited out of the country on a chartered aircraft from a military airbase, there was no repetition of the allegation that UK officers were involved with this. However, the allegation that British officers interviewed Rashid at a police station in Cullinan is a new twist. I would not be surprised to get fresh media enquiries on the back of this article.


2) Extract from BBC Monitoring dated 09 August 2007

Rashid was secretly deported from Waterkloof Air Force Base, near Pretoria, on the night of November 6 2005 and kept in an interrogation facility.


3) e-mail between FCO officials dated 19 April 2007

Thank you for your message. I have spoken to MPS Press Office, who have also been under media pressure on the 7/7 conjecture. They are equally mystified as to why the man's lawyer is propagating this myth. On-the-record their line is:
- The 7/7 terrorist attack is an on-going MPS inquiry.
- Not prepared to comment or enter into speculation about the 7/7 bombing or persons [allegedly] connected to the atrocity.
Off-the-record, the MPS is telling trusted journalists:
- Suggestions that Khalid Rashid is connected in any way to 7/7 have no foundation (rubbish).

The MPS is content for you to give this latter steer, on background, to your trusted media contacts.&nbsp; If this gives you any problems, please let me know.


4) e-mail between FCO officials dated 19 April 2007

You should be aware that the Independent media group here (Star and Pretoria News) and the Citizen have all run front page stories today which major on the 7/7 link and hark back to the UK's alleged involvement in Rashid's deportation. A journalist from the Mail and Guardian, a leading weekly, has also spoken to me this morning. Within the Star and Pretoria News pieces, the journalist reports that he had spoken to the Met Police in London, who denied that there was anything to link Rashid with 7/7. As XXX well knows, the Carte Blanche Panorama-style weekly TV programme badgered us incessantly for months about the alleged part that we had played in what they perceived as a rendition flight and subsequent mysterious disappearance of Rashid. Unfortunately, these type of headlines will only fuel the conspiracy fires.
I have said, off the record, that this is a matter for the Pakistani authorities, as Rashid is in their custody and have repeated the mantra about his original deportation from South Africa. I have also pointed journalists in the direction of the Met Police's comments, obviously not reinforcing their apparent statement because I have not seen anything officially from them. It might be worth someone at the London end having a word.


5) e-mail between FCO officials dated 18 April 2007

There is a report currently running on 702 Talk radio that Khalid Rashid's family visited him in Pakistan and they claim that he is being held in connection with the 7/7 London bombings.&nbsp; It appears to be a factual report.

No media calls as yet, but no doubt there will be interest about this claim.&nbsp; If you recall, after the initial disappearance there were claims of British officials being involved with the deportation.&nbsp; And the story ran for several weeks with conspiracy theories being thrown about.

Grateful if you could send a holding line on this as soon as possible.
Thanks


6) e-mail between FCO officials in reply to the below, dated 18 April 2007

Thanks XXX. I've just had a call from the Telegraph locally about this same guy, suggesting that he had been brought back to Pakistan on charges related to 7/7 and asking if we were aware of it. I said I wasn't, but that I'd ask around.


7) e-mail between FCO officials dated 18 April 2007

Thanks. This is just to record that I received an enquiry from xxx (Reuters), who said that a Johannesburg local radio station had reported that RASHID was linked to 7/7.


8) Media Monitor, dated 18 April 2007

08:09 18Apr2007 'Rendition' man in custody in Pakistan-rights group
By Paul Simao
JOHANNESBURG, April 18 (Reuters) - A Pakistani man whose family says was abducted as part of the U.S.-led war on terror is in custody in Pakistan after 18 months of secret detention, human rights group Amnesty International said.
Khalid Rashid, who vanished after being arrested in South Africa as an illegal alien in 2005, appeared before a federal review board in the Supreme Court building in Islamabad on April 12, Amnesty said in a press release late on Tuesday.
The group said Rashid was still in the custody of Pakistan's intelligence service as of Monday, although it said authorities reportedly had been ordered to transfer him to a prison and allow him access to his family and medical care.
"Mr. Rashid has already suffered 18 months of secret detention, and it is totally unacceptable for the Pakistan authorities to continue to deny him access to his lawyer, family and medical care," Erwin Van Der Borght, acting director of Amnesty International's Africa programme, said in a statement.
Van Der Borght said Rashid, a Pakistani citizen, should be given a fair trial or released without delay. His family had feared he had been killed.
Rashid's family and lawyers have accused South African authorities of arranging his removal to Pakistan under the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" programme.
South Africa has repeatedly denied the charge, saying Rashid was deported "under special circumstances" and flown to Pakistan, where he was formally handed over to officials. South Africa's government said Rashid did not appeal his deportation.
It has said the unusual nature of Rashid's deportation -- in a chartered plane that left from a South African military base -- arose from allegations he was connected to international terror cells. The government has not provided further details.
((Johannesburg bureau 27 11 775 3165))
Keywords: SAFRICA PAKISTAN/RASHID
Wednesday, 18 April 2007 08:09:13RTRS [nL18109615] {C}ENDS
Media Monitor
FCO Press Office


9) Extract from e-mail between FCO officials, 17 April 2007

We have not had any reference to a Khalid of dual nationality being detained.&nbsp; I will brief others to be alert to any such reference from now on.


10) e-mail between FCO officials 13 April 2007

I saw this in the Daily Times today.&nbsp; I'm not clear what the implications are (if any) but we will pursue with the MoI for an update.
Three UK-born Pakistanis sent to jail - Daily Times 13/04/07
ISLAMABAD: The Federal Review Board (FRB) on Thursday sent three UK-born Pakistanis - Rangzeb, Rashid Rauf and Khalid - to Adiala prison for two months each. They are charged with alleged involvement in a plot to blow up transatlantic airliners.

Rauf protested against the board decision, saying that he was sent to jail despite an anti-terrorism court having already acquitted him. The board directed the Interior Ministry to arrange a meeting of Rauf with his family within 15 days. The FRB also ordered his medical check up every fortnight. Online


11) e-mail reply to above email with article, between FCO officials, 13 April 2007

"Khalid" I am not aware of- is anyone else?


12) Press lines (at 7 July 06)

The matter of Mr Rashid's deportation from South Africa to Pakistan is one for the South African authorities.

(if pressed)

It is our understanding that Mr Rashid was removed on immigration grounds, and that the decision and means by which it was enacted are matters solely for the South African authorities.


Involvement of "British intelligence” ?

It is the Government's well-established practice not to comment on, or enter into speculation about alleged operational intelligence issues.


13) PQ from Mr Galloway MP to the FCO in June 2006

Hansard search:
21 Jun 2006 : Column 2016W
Khalid Rashid
Mr. Galloway: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department further to the answer of 28 March 2006, Official Report, column 908W, on Khalid Rashid, whether an employee of the Government was (a) involved in or (B) present at the removal of Khalid Rashid from South Africa following his arrest on 31 October 2005 in Estcourt, Kwazulu Natal, on immigration grounds; and if he will make a statement. [63882]
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 18 April 2006]: It is a matter for the South African authorities.


14) E-mail chain between FCO officials, dated 23 May 2006

PHC (XXX) came in this afternoon to ask about this case. XXX was unsighted and said he would get back to them tomorrow. He will do so on the basis of these press lines.


15) E-mail chain between FCO officials, dated 22 May 2006

Please see the lines attached on KHALID RASHID, the Pakistani national deported from South Africa. Some press speculation as to UK involvement.

Press lines from document attached to e-mail

KHALID RASHID

- The matter of Mr Rashid's deportation from South Africa to Pakistan is one for the South African authorities.

(if pressed)

- It is our understanding that Mr Rashid was removed on immigration grounds, and that the decision and the means by which it was enacted are matters soley for the South African authorities. [Comment:&nbsp; this was the wording used to respond to a PQ].

- It would not be appropriate, therefore, for HMG to comment further.

INVOLVEMENT OF "BRITISH INTELLIGENCE" ?

It is the Government's well-established practice not to comment on, or enter into speculation about media reports relating to ALLEGED operational intelligence issues.

As we have made clear, Mr Rashid's removal from South Africa was entirely a matter for the authorities there
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Joined: 04 Dec 2005, 17:55

11 Dec 2007, 20:07 #2

Further delay in the case of Aswat.
11 December 2007

Our ref: 0837-07


Dear Mr XXXXXX,

I wrote to you on 14 November in response to your request for information, which we received on 17 October.&nbsp; In my letter I explained that we would need an additional 20 working days to take a decision on where the balance of public interest lay in relation to your request.

I am writing again to explain that we are still considering the public interest test and that we will need an additional 20 working days to complete our considerations.&nbsp; Therefore, we now plan to let you have a response by 14 January 2008.&nbsp; If it appears that it will take longer than this to reach a conclusion, we will keep you informed.

As I explained in my earlier letter, the specific exemption which is engaged in relation to your request is Section 27 (international relations).

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint, you should write to me.&nbsp; You have 40 working days to do so.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints procedure provided by the FCO.&nbsp; The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely


Gordon Horne

Special Cases Team,
Counter Terrorism Department
K 141
King Charles Street
London
SW1A 2AH

Tel: 020 7008 6974
FTN 8008 6974
email: Gordon.Horne@FCO.Gov.uk
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Joined: 04 Dec 2005, 17:55

15 Jan 2008, 19:40 #3

Update: the date for reply on Aswat has now been revised to 11-FEB-08.
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Joined: 04 Dec 2005, 17:55

07 Feb 2008, 19:17 #4

numeral @ Jan 15 2008, 07:40 PM wrote: Update: the date for reply on Aswat has now been revised to 11-FEB-08.
07 February 2008

Our ref: 0837-08


Dear Mr XXXXXXX,


My colleague, Andrew Wells, wrote to you on 11 January 2008 in response to your request for information, which we received on 17 October.&nbsp; In his letter, Mr Wells explained that we would need an additional 20 working days to take a decision on where the balance of public interest lay in relation to your request.

I am writing to explain that we are still considering the public interest test and that we will need an additional 20 working days to complete our considerations. Therefore, we now plan to let you have a response by 10 March 2008.&nbsp; If it appears that it will take longer than this to reach a conclusion, we will keep you informed.

As Mr Wells explained in his earlier letter, the specific exemption which is engaged in relation to your request is Section 27 (international relations).

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint, you should write to me.&nbsp; You have 40 working days to do so.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints procedure provided by the FCO.&nbsp; The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely,



Jo Beadsworth
Desk Officer
Pursue Team
Counter Terrorism Department
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Joined: 26 Nov 2005, 01:46

07 Feb 2008, 19:23 #5

numeral @ Feb 7 2008, 07:17 PM wrote:
numeral @ Jan 15 2008, 07:40 PM wrote: Update: the date for reply on Aswat has now been revised to 11-FEB-08.
07 February 2008

Our ref: 0837-08


Dear Mr XXXXXXX,


My colleague, Andrew Wells, wrote to you on 11 January 2008 in response to your request for information, which we received on 17 October.&nbsp; In his letter, Mr Wells explained that we would need an additional 20 working days to take a decision on where the balance of public interest lay in relation to your request.

I am writing to explain that we are still considering the public interest test and that we will need an additional 20 working days to complete our considerations. Therefore, we now plan to let you have a response by 10 March 2008.&nbsp; If it appears that it will take longer than this to reach a conclusion, we will keep you informed.

As Mr Wells explained in his earlier letter, the specific exemption which is engaged in relation to your request is Section 27 (international relations).

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint, you should write to me.&nbsp; You have 40 working days to do so.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints procedure provided by the FCO.&nbsp; The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely,



Jo Beadsworth
Desk Officer
Pursue Team
Counter Terrorism Department
Numeral, what was the original FOI you submitted on Aswat?
�To those who are afraid of the truth, I wish to offer a few scary truths; and to those who are not afraid of the truth, I wish to offer proof that the terrorism of truth is the only one that can be of benefit to the proletariat.� -- On Terrorism and the State, Gianfranco Sanguinetti
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Joined: 04 Dec 2005, 17:55

07 Feb 2008, 20:00 #6

^
To:&nbsp; dp-foi.img@fco.gov.uk
Subject:&nbsp; Freedom of Information Act 2000 Request
Date:&nbsp; Wed, 17 Oct 2007 03:50:58 +0100


Dear Sir/Madam

I request all information held by the FCO about Haroon Rashid Aswat.


Yours faithfully
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Joined: 04 Dec 2005, 17:55

06 Mar 2008, 19:30 #7

Counter Terrorism
Department
King Charles Street
London
SW1A 2AH

Tel: 020 7008 3863

E-mail: Jo.Beadsworth@fco.gov.uk

Dear Mr XXXXXXX,

My colleague, Andrew Wells, wrote to you on 11 January 2008 in response to your request for information, which we received on 17 October.&nbsp; In his letter, Mr Wells explained that we would need an additional 20 working days to take a decision on where the balance of public interest lay in relation to your request.

I am writing to explain that we are still considering the public interest test and that we will need an additional 20 working days to complete our considerations. Therefore, we now plan to let you have a response by 9 April 2008.&nbsp; If it appears that it will take longer than this to reach a conclusion, we will keep you informed.

As Mr Wells explained in his earlier letter, the specific exemption which is engaged in relation to your request is Section 27 (international relations).

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint, you should write to me.&nbsp; You have 40 working days to do so.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints procedure provided by the FCO.&nbsp; The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely,



Jo Beadsworth
Desk Officer
Pursue Team
Counter Terrorism Department
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