Skip to comments.Spain Links American to Madrid Bombings (Oregon Lawyer )
Posted on 05/07/2004 10:41:12 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
MADRID, Spain (AP) -
The fingerprints of the American lawyer arrested in Oregon in the Madrid terror bombing probe were found on a bag containing detonators like those used in the March 11 attack, the Spanish government said Friday.
The plastic shopping bag was found inside a stolen van left near the train station from which three of the four bombed trains departed, an Interior Ministry official said on condition of anonymity.
Brandon Mayfield, a 37-year-old lawyer and former U.S. Army officer who converted to Islam, was taken into custody Thursday by FBI agents, who also searched his home in the Portland suburb of Aloha.
It was the first known arrest of a U.S. citizen in connection with the March 11 attack in Madrid that killed 191 people and injured 2,000 others.
The detonators in the bag were of the same kind used in the attacks, the government has said previously.
The van was found in Alcala de Henares, about 20 miles northeast of Madrid. Inside, police also found an Arabic-language cassette tape with verses from the Quran, investigators have said.
The government's announcement of the van's discovery, after insisting that Basque separatists were the prime suspects, was its first public admission of a possible Islamic link in Spain's worst terrorist attack.
The bombings have been blamed on an alleged Moroccan-based Islamic extremist cell with possible links to al-Qaida.
Mayfield, was arrested Thursday on a material witness warrant and has not been charged with any crime, according to a senior law enforcement official in Washington, D.C., speaking on condition of anonymity. A material witness warrant allows the government to hold people suspected of having direct knowledge about a crime or to allow time for further investigation into the witness.
As a former Army officer, Mayfield's fingerprints would be on file with the government. A law enforcement official said Mayfield's fingerprints were not on file because of any crime or as part of the government's terrorism databases.
Beth Anne Steele, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Portland, said two search warrants had been served Thursday in Washington County, which includes Aloha. She would not release further details.
Mayfield passed the Oregon bar in 2000 and largely kept a low profile in the Portland legal community until 2002, when he volunteered to represent Muslim terrorism suspect Jeffrey Battle in a child custody case.
Battle was among six Portland area residents who were sentenced last year on charges of conspiring to wage war against the United States by helping al-Qaida and the former Taliban rulers of Afghanistan.
Mayfield was not involved with Battle's defense in that case. Law enforcement officials in Washington did not know of any contacts between Mayfield and the other Portland terrorism defendants.
Mayfield converted to Islam in the late 1980s and regularly attended Friday prayers at a Beaverton mosque, said mosque administrator Shahriar Ahmed.
Friends and family said they were shocked by the arrest.
Outside their home near Portland late Thursday, Mona Mayfield described her husband as "a good man, a good father, a good husband." The couple have two sons, ages 10 and 15, and a 12-year-old daughter.
Portland attorney Tom Nelson, who described himself as a mentor, said he received a call Thursday afternoon from Mayfield asking for help.
"His wife was in tears because of the way the search was conducted. The FBI apparently hurt things in the house, left things in disarray," Nelson told reporters outside Mayfield's home. "He is a regular, run-of-the-mill guy."
Nelson also said Mayfield had never traveled to Spain.
"Obviously, the government holds all the cards in these kinds of situations," Nelson told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Friday. "It can release any kind of information it thinks it wants to release and the other side is prohibited to speaking on the merits so I can't speak to the merits."
"He's in no position, to, say, do forensic tests of his own" on the alleged fingerprints, Nelson added. He said he was speaking as a friend and was not acting as Mayfield's legal counsel.
Mayfield's father, Bill Mayfield, of Halstead, Kan., said his son spent most of his youth in Kansas and attended Washburn University in Topeka, Kan. Bill Mayfield said he was not able to talk to his son after the arrest.
"It's ludicrous. There's no way he did this," Bill Mayfield said.
Spanish authorities blame the attack on Islamic extremists, possibly linked to al-Qaida. Eighteen people have been charged, six with mass murder and the others with collaboration or with belonging to a terrorist organization.
Associated Press writers Rukmini Callimachi and Andrew Kramer in Portland and Curt Anderson in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.
Where is Chief Moose now that we really need him??
Disbarrment should be the least of his worries......
Two hundred innocent Spanish civilians were murdered in the most horrible way possible. Many more were maimed for life.
The media are obsessed with photos of naked prisoner pyramids, while they never showed us photos of Spaniards burned alive in their seats while on their way to work or school.
Specifically, in Spain where the newly elected leftists who are running from Irag, they are putting stories out to the population that not only was the US pressure to be in Iraq the cause of the Madrid Bombing, but the bombing also involved an American.
I wouldn't be surprised to see anti-American demonstrations in Spain pretty soon. In fact I wouldn't be a bit surprised to hear some groups claim this is all a CIA plot where the CIA recruited a former army officer to organize a bombing raid in Spain from a distance. Absolute B.S., but still it wouldn't surprise me.
I the real questions, I would like to see answered are (1) what did this guy do in the US Army (2) was he helping to bring in and train a terrorist cell in Oregon, (3) has he or is he being set up as a scapegoat for either Spain/EU to promote anti-American feelings or by the Terrorists to drive a wedge between the US and the EU?
This is going to be very interesting to see how it plays out. I am suspecting that there may be a bigger terrorist presence in the Pacific Northwest than we had previous thought.
as well he should....afteall, every child should be raised by a terrorist.....
yes....and chief Moose was in the Oregon Guard as well as the famous Mohammed who murdered all those people in Alabama and Washington DC....
Islamist have no problem to enter Canada. Remember Millenium plot?
" The December 14, 1999, arrest of Algerian national Ahmet Ressemi at a U.S.-Canada border crossing in British Columbia he was in a car full of nitroglycerin and bomb-making materials -was headline news in North America. Many theorized that Ressemi planned to blow up a major structure in the U.S. to start the new millennium. The theorists could have saved themselves some time by taking a closer look at Ressemis past ties, especially those with terrorists trained in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where Ressemi fought as a Mujahadeen. It has been confirmed that Ahmet Ressemi had ties with Said Atmani, another terrorist who fought in the "El Mujahadeen" unit in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Canadian authorities believe Atmani and Ressam were roommates in Montreal and that Ressam sold stolen laptop computers and cellular phones to raise money for terrorist attacks. "The group in Montreal was in contact with individuals involved in terrorist support activity in France, and with several Mujahadeen groups who are active in Bosnia," Ralf Mutschke, a criminal intelligence chief with Interpol was quoted."
That makes Oregon a natural choice for point of entry into U.S.
OTOH, U.S. Military under Clinton assisted OBL network in Bosnia and Kosovo, just ask U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria who was overseeing it.
It is possible that some of the U.S. personnel converted to Islam to be able to infiltrate the OBL network but flipped afterwards. Sort of stray human missiles.
This is serious stuff.