- 2009, 26 / 27 Jan - Security vetting ?

In january 2009 on the eve of my swearing allegiance to the British crown I contacted MI-5 by telephone to report my vague suspicions of having unwittingly met al Qaeda in Yemen in 1997

I spoke uninterrupted for a few minutes until I said the name of the Yemeni company I had  visited. The moment I said “YemPak” the line clicked and a different voice simply said Carry on”. I did not report any specific concerns about YemPak at that time as my only suspicion had been the clandestine meeting I was taken to on the 26th September 1997. 

I said that the men I had met at this meeting clandestine meeting (but had not spoken to) were dressed in ‘practical clothing’. They looked like the photos of 1980’s Mujahideen I had seen. The Metropolitan police anti-terrorism call handler made no comment nor asked any questions. 

I went on to speculate that this was an al Qaeda group I had been taken to meet and that one of the men there might even have been Osama bin Laden, or one of his commanders. My reasoning for this was the conversations I had with the Pakistani machine operators in the YemPak factory - they had asked me about ravel in the USA and I had warned them of the risk of hijacked planes being used to attack the World Trade Centre.

I have never been contacted by British security services regarding my claims of having met senior al Qaeda members in Yemen. My military service from 2009 to 2013 included being a Colonel’s driver and serving with the British army in Afghanistan in 2012. My tour overlapped with Captain Wales (Prince Harry) serving as an attack helicopter pilot and I was within a few metres of him on numberous occasions, most often in the dining hall and always armed with my SA80 assault rifle.

Update:

In 2009 I described to SO15 the location of that meeting as being a five-minute drive through fields after turning right off the main road fifteen minutes north of Taiz. I told SO15 that it was in a secluded gully with a few buildings and an orchard.

On the 01 November 2017 I found that meeting location on google earth; it is exactly where I had described it as being in 2009 and just one-mile from a town called “al Qaeda” in Ibb governorate, Yemen. I immediately pass this information to SO15. 

A link to a google map of al Qa’idah town (pronounced al Qaeda) is below, and below that a labelled screen-shot from google earth shows al Qaeda town at the top of the image:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Al+Qa'idah,+Yemen/@13.7538891,44.0966478,8899m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x161c692afdf672bb:0x800766c2f9603088!2sTaizz,+Yemen!3b1!8m2!3d13.5775886!4d44.0177989!3m4!1s0x161cf574d7b2f985:0x73b0ac52b40d2111!8m2!3d13.7572266!4d44.1387749

al qa'idah airport HSA Yempak map copy

al Qaeda town Ibb, Yemen 
It is on the border of two provinces Ibb and Taiz


© Anthony C Heaford 2016