Tripoli Docs: British Spies Feared MI6 Renditions ‘Helped al-Qaeda’

Capture of Belhaj, Saadi Turned Remaining Insurgents Toward al-Qaeda

The British government’s role in the “rendition” of top Libyan rebels to the Gadhafi regime is taking another embarrassing hit today, as new documents found in Tripoli show even British intelligence believed it was a major mistake.

The documents, stamped “secret” and found in the British Ambassador’s abandoned residence, revealed that British intelligence feared the renditions of Abdulhakim Belhaj and Sami Saadi had removed the most nationalist and moderate elements from Libya’s Islamist insurgency, and shifted the group toward al-Qaeda-style regional terror attacks.

One of the documents even revealed that the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group became involved in smuggling fighters into Iraq to fight the US and British run occupation. The LIFG eventually merged outright with al-Qaeda in 2007.

Of course the LIFG’s importance has grown markedly since the NATO-backed rebellion took over Libya, and Belhaj, the group’s former leader, became the military commander for the National Transitional Council (NTC).

And Belhaj hasn’t forgotten the British government’s military intelligence (MI6) role in his kidnapping, nor the CIA’s torture before he was turned over to Gadhafi’s regime. He has demanded an apology and threatened legal action. Saadi has also said he plans to file a lawsuit against Britain over the matter.

The British government declined comment on the new documents, saying they do not comment on leaks, but it is clear that the new revelations will paint the already ugly tactics in an even uglier light.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of