A court in south London heard full details of the plot masterminded by Dhiren Barot, a convert to Islam. On October 12, Barot had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to murder, involving a plot to attack targets in Britain and the United States, and reporting restrictions on his trial were relaxed.
34-year old Barot had been born in India to a Hindu family, and had been brought to Britain while a baby. He was schooled in north London, and became a convert to Islam in his twenties. He had been living in Kingsbury, north-west London, when he was arrested in August, 2004.
The court had already heard that the full extent of the plot had only come to light after his computer hard drive was examined after his arrest. Barot's intended targets included the International Monetary Fund (IMF) building and the World Bank in Washington DC, the New York Stock Exchange and Citigroup building in New York, and the Prudential buildings in Newark, New Jersey.
In Britain, he intended to use stretch limousines, packed with gas cylinders and explosives and having them parked in underground car parks, where they would be detonated. This plot was called the "Gas Limos" project. He also placed details on his computer of a "Rough Presentation for radiation or Dirty Bomb Project". His plans had been to operate the "Gas Limos" and "Dirty Bomb" operations in synchronized attacks. The plan for the latter projects had only been schemes, and he had no access to the necessary materials for a radiological dispersion device.
Barot had been charged with 12 additional offences. These were one count of conspiracy to commit public nuisance, seven counts of making a record of information for terrorist purposes, and four counts of possessing a record of information for terrorist purposes. Justice Butterfield, the judge in the case, ordered these to remain on file following the guilty plea on conspiracy to murder on October 12.
Seven other individuals, who had been arrested in the same operation which netted Barot, will be tried early next year.
This morning, further details emerged at Woolwich Crown Court. Barot, behind a glass wall and flanked by two court guards, took notes as the trial entered the phase of pre-sentence hearing. Outside the court, armed guards lined the streets.
The crown prosecutor, Edmund Lawson QC, stated today: "There were plans for the detonation of a radiation dispersal device, more commonly known as a dirty bomb, the use of a petrol tanker to cause an explosion, and an attack on London's rail or Underground network, including the Heathrow Express, of an explosion on a Tube train while in a tunnel under the River Thames."
Lawson quoted from notes on Barot's computer, which read: "Imagine the chaos that would be caused if a powerful explosion were to rip through here and actually rupture the river itself. That would cause pandemonium, what with the explosions, flooding, drowning etc that would occur."
The prosecutor said that Barot had admired the Madrid train bombings of March 11, 2004, which had killed 191 people and injured 1,755. Lawson said that Barot called the Madrid train station attack as "the definitive accident" which deserves to be emulated more than any other".
Edmund Lawson had opened his case against Barot by saying: "Barot, who was a member or close associate of the al Qaida terrorist organisation, led a conspiracy in this country to cause lethal explosions both here and in the USA. A conspiracy frustrated by the actions of police in arresting him in August 2004. The plan was to carry out massive explosions here and in the USA. The principal object being to kill hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent people without warning."
The prosecutor said that it was only an "an outstanding counter-terrorism operation" which had prevented Barot from putting his ideas into action. Thisoperation had involved intelligence from Pakistan and the United St