Intelligence report: Bin Laden sought Indonesian base (Aceh) Counterterrorism experts say he also checked out Yemen
From Maria Ressa
MANILA, Philippines (CNN) --Intelligence officials tell CNN that Osama bin Laden wanted to move the base of operations for his al Qaeda terrorist network from Afghanistan to Southeast Asia in 2000.
The plan, according to these officials' intelligence report, was to move the base to Aceh in Indonesia, where members of the Free Aceh movement (or GAM) were working with al Qaeda.
Aceh is a remote Muslim province in which rebels have fought for a separate Islamic state for decades. Bin Laden's No. 2, Egyptian Ayman Al-Zawahiri visited Aceh with al Qaeda's former military chief, Mohammed Atef, in June 2000.
"Both of them were impressed by the lack of security, the support and extent of Muslim population," reads the intelligence report made available to CNN. "This visit was part of a wider strategy of shifting the base of Osama bin Laden's terrorist operations from the subcontinent to Southeast Asia."
On 3 January 2002 the Jakarta Post reported, "The Aceh or Nanggroe Aceh Darusallam administration has officially put the special autonomy law and syariah (Islamic law) into effect." The article went on to quote Teungku Sofyan Hamzah, an imam at the grand Baiturrahman Mosque. "Asked about feelings of anxiety by some non-Muslims in Aceh following the implementation of the Islamic law, he (Hamzah) said that the minority should not worry. 'The administration will use national law for them.'"
Well - an article appeared in the Jakarta Post on 28 September 2002, detailing how under shari'a law, caning or imprisonment would be the punishment for those who "propagated beliefs other than Islam to Muslims in the province."
A reliable, as yet unconfirmed report has emerged that in October 2001, Christians in Aceh were forced to sign a 'Mutual Agreement' to destroy a number of their own churches. They were also not to engage in religious activity in the homes of residents nor missionary activity. The purpose of this agreement, signed by representatives of the Islamic and Christian communities, was to 'create an atmosphere of living in harmony between the religious communities'. Failure to co-operate would result in 'unwanted consequences which could instigate the destruction of unity and oneness between the religious communities'. There were no restrictions placed on the Islamic community.
Islamic Sharia Law was introduced into the Aceh Province at the beginning of 2002. Governor Abdullah Puteh said this was part of a special autonomy package extended to the province last year which would usher in a 'new era' for Aceh. From 15 March, police will start enforcing Islamic dress code. The sanctions on violators are as yet unspecified except that they will be 'firm'. Government and private offices must have business signs installed in Arabic-style script. This apparently growing push for hardline Islam in Aceh will cause suffering for its small Christian minority.
posted on 01/01/2005 5:05:08 AM PST
by American in Israel
(A wise man's heart directs him to the right, but the foolish mans heart directs him toward the left.)
Thanks for some political background. . .
posted on 01/03/2005 5:13:53 PM PST
(Just say - NO U.N.)
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