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Operation Bojinka's bombshell
Toronto Star | January 2, 2002 | Matthew Brzezinski

Posted on 01/02/2002 7:19:53 AM PST by Wallaby

Not for commercial use. Solely to be used for the educational purposes of research and open discussion.

Operation Bojinka's bombshell
Matthew Brzezinski, SPECIAL TO THE STAR
Toronto Star
January 2, 2002 Wednesday Ontario Edition


Six years before Sept. 11, Philippine policewoman helped crack a terrorist cell linked to Osama bin Laden


It was already evening, here on the other side of the international date line, when the first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Aida Fariscal had gone to bed early on Sept. 11, only to be awakened by a frantic colleague. "Quick," he instructed, "turn on your television."


"We told the Americans about the plans to turn planes into flying bombs as far back as 1995," he complained to reporters. "Why didn't they pay attention?"
The footage of the hijacked airliner bursting into flame made Fariscal bolt upright. "Oh my God," she gasped. "Bojinka."

For the retired Philippine police officer, that word and the nightmare scenario it evoked had receded into distant memory these past six years. Sometimes weeks went by without her even thinking about the terrorist plot she had foiled so long ago. But there it was, after all this time, unfolding live on her television. "I thought, at first," she tells me, "that I was having a bad dream, or that I was watching a movie." But as the burning towers came crashing down under their own weight, disbelief turned to anger. "I still don't understand," she says, "how it could have been allowed to happen." We are having lunch in a busy Manila shopping centre, not far from the Dona Josefa Apartments, where it all started, where she - and the CIA and the FBI - first heard the words "Operation Bojinka." Fariscal has insisted on a corner table, so she can keep an eye on the other patrons and the shoppers beyond the restaurant's greasy glass partition. Old habits, she explains, die hard, and, after a life of fighting crime, she always takes precautions, especially now that she is off the force, a widowed grandmother living on a pension in a small one-bedroom apartment.

She seems bitter, and surprisingly fragile in her hoop earrings and pink lipstick. She is bitter that the generals in the Philippine high command hogged all the credit for Bojinka (which means loud bang in Serbo-Croatian), while all she received was $700 (U.S.) and a trip to Taiwan. She is bitter that the Americans apparently didn't take the foiled plot seriously enough. But most of all, she is angry that, in the end, her hunch didn't save thousands of lives. "I can't get those images," she says of the World Trade Center wreckage, "out of my mind."

The call came in shortly after 11 on a Friday night back in January, 1995: a routine fire alarm, some smoke spotted on the top floor of a six-storey building just down the street from Manila Police Station No. 9. Fariscal, the watch commander, peered out of the precinct house window, but couldn't see any sign of a blaze on Quirino Ave. Still, she dispatched Patrolman Ariel Fernandez to check it out. "Nothing to worry about," he reported when he returned a few minutes later. "Just some Pakistanis playing with firecrackers."

Fariscal wasn't so sure. She hadn't earned her senior inspector stripes by sitting down on the job, and had risen in the male-dominated ranks of the Manila police force by trusting her "female intuition." And her instinct that night told her something was wrong.

"The Pope was coming to the Philippines, we were worried about security, and on top of that we had just had a big typhoon," she recalls. The senior inspector decided to walk the 500 metres to the Dona Josefa Apartments to see for herself. She barely had time to change out of her civilian clothes, a flower-patterned dress and sandals, and she didn't think she needed her gun. But just in case, she ordered Patrolman Fernandez and another officer to tag along as backup while she picked her way past the uprooted palm trees.

The Dona Josefa apartment building was a well-kept but not luxurious residence, with an open lobby and an airy feel. It was often used for short-term rentals by Middle Eastern tourists, who came to Manila's neon-lit Malate nightclub district to get away from the strict mores back home. It was also a block away from the papal nunciature, where John Paul II would be staying.

"What's happening here, boss?" Fariscal asked the Dona Josefa doorman in Tagalog, a native tongue of the Philippines. Two men, he said, had fled their sixth-floor apartment, pulling on their pants as they ran in the smoky corridor. "They told me everything was under control; just some fireworks that accidentally went off."

Fariscal faced a quandary. She couldn't legally enter the apartment without a search warrant, now that there was no longer an imminent danger of fire. But she couldn't simply walk away, either. She was stubborn that way. It was one reason why in 1977, after 17 years as a homemaker raising four children, she had decided to enrol in the police academy. "Open it up," she instructed.

Suite 603 was a cluttered one-bedroom bachelor pad. The first thing Fariscal noticed was four hot plates, still in their packing crates. Bundles of cotton lay scattered around the room, soaked in some sort of pungent beige solution, next to clear plastic containers of various sizes and shapes bearing the stamp of German and Pakistani chemical manufacturers. And loops of electrical wiring: green, yellow, blue and red.

Just then, the phone rang, causing Fariscal to jump with fright. "I'd just seen a movie with Sylvester Stallone where the telephone was booby-trapped," she recalls now. "Everybody out," she ordered. They scrambled back downstairs, where the doorman appeared to be in a high state of agitation. "That's one of them," he whispered. "He's coming back."

Patrolman Fernandez grabbed the suspect. He was young, in his twenties, Fariscal guessed, and handsome in a rakish sort of way. He said his name was Ahmed Saeed, that he was a commercial pilot, and that he was just on his way to the precinct house to explain any misunderstanding over the firecracker smoke.

"There's the other one," interrupted the doorman, pointing to a thin, bearded individual standing outside. Fariscal set off in his direction. He was calmly talking on his cell phone, smoking a pipe and watching her. For a brief instant their eyes met. Fariscal had no idea she was looking at Ramzi Yousef, the man who had tried to bring down the World Trade Center in 1993.

The sound of gunfire froze Fariscal in her tracks. She had been wounded a few years back when a bullet ripped through her left arm and torso to lodge four centimetres from her spine, and the memory left her skittish. But she whirled around just in time to see Patrolman Fernandez aiming his service revolver at Saeed's fleeing back. As the cops gave chase, the fugitive suddenly lurched forward, sprawling on the pavement; he had tripped over the exposed roots of a tree toppled by the typhoon. Saeed was back in custody. But his accomplice had taken advantage of the confusion to melt into the gathering crowd of street peddlers and gawkers.

Neither Fariscal nor the two officers with her had any handcuffs, so they improvised with rope from a clothesline and hauled Saeed to his feet. "I'll give you $2,000 to let me go," he pleaded. Most Manila police officers don't make that in a year. But Fariscal refused. Concerned that the suspect would try to bolt again, she radioed the precinct for a squad car. As usual, none was available. One of the cops tried to hail down a passing "jeepney," the converted World War II-vintage U.S. Army Jeeps pressed into service as cheap - if not always reliable - public transportation in Manila. Finally, Fariscal commandeered a minivan taxi and conscripted two burly pedestrians to help watch Saeed during the short ride to the precinct station.

By now, Fariscal had an inkling she had stumbled onto something big. She couldn't know, however, just how big her discovery would turn out to be; that amid the clutter of the chemicals and cotton at the Dona Josefa apartment, investigators would unearth a plan that, with the benefit of hindsight, career CIA officers today admit looks alarmingly like an early blueprint for the Sept. 11 attack on America.

All Fariscal knew for the moment was that she had just nabbed some sort of a terrorist - and, in the Philippines, that could mean anything.

At the precinct, Saeed signed a statement, in which he proclaimed his innocence and claimed to be a simple tourist visiting a friend in the chemicals import-export business. But, perhaps sensing the game was up, he complained to Fariscal that there are "two Satans that must be destroyed: the Pope and America."

The senior inspector had already surmised that the Pope was a target of assassination, a suspicion borne out when she returned with the bomb squad to Suite 603 at 2: 30 a.m. and found a photograph of the pontiff tucked into the corner of a bedside mirror, near a new crucifix, rosary and Bible. There were street maps of Manila, plotting the papal motorcade's route; two remote-control pipe bombs; and a phone message from a tailor saying the cassock Saeed had ordered was ready for a final fitting.

By 4 a.m. the situation was deemed serious enough that the first generals had started showing up on the scene, and a judge was soon rousted out of bed to sign a belated search warrant.

"It was obvious they had planned to dress someone up as a priest, and smuggle the bomb past the Holy Father's security detail," Fariscal recalls. But the sheer magnitude of the chemical arsenal Fariscal found in Suite 603 also made it clear the conspirators had other targets. The four new hot plates needed to cook the concoctions indicated the extremists were gearing up for mass production.

It took days for the bomb squad to draw up a complete inventory of the apartment's contents, which included a cornucopia of explosive ingredients - sulphuric, picric and nitric acid, pure glycerin, acetone, sodium trichlorate, nitrobenzoyl, ammonia, silver nitrates, methanamine and ANFO binary explosive, among others. Funnels, thermometers, graduated cylinders and beakers, mortars and pestles, various electronic fusing systems, timers, circuit breakers, batteries and a box of Rough Rider lubricated condoms rounded out the home laboratory, which included chemistry reference manuals and a recipe written in Arabic on how to build powerful liquid bombs.

"The guys in the bomb squad had never seen an explosive like this before," says Fariscal. Neither had many U.S. investigators. "The particularly evil genius of this device was that it was virtually undetectable by airport security measures," says Vincent Cannistraro, the former head of the CIA's counter-terrorism centre.

But what were the targets? And who were the conspirators? A clue to the identity of the suspects emerged when Fariscal found dozens of passports in different names hidden in a wall divider. Saeed, apparently, had many aliases, including Abdul Hakim, student, age 26, Pakistani passport No. C665334, issued in Kuwait. His real name, investigators would eventually discover, was Abdul Hakim Murad. According to transcripts from his interrogation, he was the Pakistani-born son of a crane operator for a Kuwait petroleum company. He had graduated from high school in Al-Jery, Kuwait, before attending the Emirates Flying School in Dubai and moving on to flight schools in Texas, Upstate New York and North Carolina, where after completing the required 275 hours of flight time, he received a commercial pilot's licence from Coastal Aviation Inc. on June 8, 1992.

Philippine investigators called in their U.S. counterparts for help. According to U.S. and Philippine officials, both the CIA Manila station chief and the resident FBI legal attache were notified. A team of intelligence agents flew in from Washington.

Murad, as Fariscal now thought of Saeed, was a suspect in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. So, it turned out, was his accomplice at the Dona Josefa Apartments, the thin, bearded man who had given Fariscal the slip. He had registered under the name Najy Awaita Haddad, purporting to be a Moroccan national. But the United States already had a thick file on him, and that was just one of his 21 known aliases. Sometimes he passed himself off as Paul Vijay, or Adam Sali or even Dr. Richard Smith. He was in fact Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, a fugitive with a $2 million bounty placed on his head by the U.S. government.

Fingerprints lifted at the apartment helped give Yousef away; a life spent assembling bombs had left his fingers burnt and distinctively deformed from mishaps mixing tricky chemical concoctions. He had learned his deadly skills, Philippine officials said, in Afghanistan, at a training camp for Osama bin Laden's followers, and in turn had taught Murad the art of bomb making in Lahore, Pakistan.

But Murad had not learned his lessons well, for it was his mistake that set off the fire in the kitchen sink that alerted Manila police. In his haste to flee Suite 603, Yousef left behind many clues. Some, like contact lens solution and a receipt from a pharmacy, seemed innocuous. But others would give the FBI and the CIA a chilling preview of what the terrorists had in store for the United States.

The most damning information was gleaned from Yousef's computer, and four accompanying diskettes. The data were encrypted and in Arabic, but Philippine technicians eventually deciphered the code and translated the texts. One of Yousef's translated documents - stamped SECRET by Philippine intelligence - spells out the terrorist cell's broad objectives. "All people who support the U.S. government are our targets in our future plans and that is because all those people are responsible for their government's actions and they support the U.S. foreign policy and are satisfied with it," it declared.

"We will hit all U.S. nuclear targets," the manifesto continued. "If the U.S. government keeps supporting Israel, then we will continue to carry out operations inside and outside the United States to include ..." Here the text terminates ominously.

Already, intelligence officials had gleaned a treasure-trove of information on the inner workings of bin Laden's terrorist network. Cell members did not appear to even know one another's real names. Duties were divided and none of the conspirators stayed in the same place for any length of time. But there were still more frightening revelations to come.

Another file found on Yousef's computer consisted of a printout of U.S. airline schedules, which initially baffled investigators. The file, named Bojinka, listed the travel itineraries of 11 long-haul flights between Asia and the United States, mostly on United and American airlines. All the flights had several legs, and were grouped under five headings bearing code names of accomplices such as Zyed, Majbos or Obaid. Each accomplice would leave the bombs on the first leg of the flight, and then eventually return to locations like Lahore, Pakistan. Obaid, for instance, would fly from Singapore to Hong Kong on United Flight 80, which continued as United Flight 806 to San Francisco. Under the flight plan, Yousef had written: "SETTING: 9: 30 PM to 10: 30 PM. TIMER: 23HR. BOJINKA: 20: 30-21: 30 NRT Date 5."

Zyed, on the other hand, would take Northwest Airlines Flight 30 from Manila to Seoul, with continued service to Los Angeles. "SETTING: 8: 30-9: 00. TIMER: 10HR. BOJINKA: 19: 30-20: 00 NRT Date 4," the accompanying instruction read.

The repeated use of the word "TIMER" concerned investigators, who by then had made the connection between the dozens of Casio wristwatches found in Suite 603 and one discovered a few weeks earlier on a Philippine Airlines flight from the Philippine town of Cebu to Tokyo's Narita International Airport. The watch had served to detonate a blast that ripped through the Boeing 747, killing a Japanese passenger and forcing the plane to make an emergency landing.

Philippine intelligence put the screws to Murad. In Camp Crame, a military installation on the outskirts of Manila, he was subjected for 67 days to what Philippine intelligence reports delicately refer to as TI, or tactical interrogation. By the time he was handed over to the Americans, interrogators had extracted everything they thought they needed to know.

Yousef, Murad confessed, had indeed been responsible for the blast aboard the Philippine airliner, which was actually a dry run to test the terrorists' new generation of nitroglycerin explosive, known as a "Mark II" bomb. Yousef had deposited his device - lethal liquid concealed in a contact lens solution bottle with cotton-ball stabilizing agents and a harmless-looking wristwatch wrapped around it - under seat 27F on the Manila-to-Cebu leg of the flight to Tokyo. He had gotten off in Cebu after setting the watch's timer for four hours later. The same plan was to be repeated on the 11 U.S. commercial jetliners. U.S. federal prosecutors later estimated that 4,000 passengers would have died had the plot been successful.

The enormity of Bojinka also frightened U.S. officials. "We had never seen anything that complicated or ambitious before. It was unparalleled," recalls Cannistraro, the former CIA counter-terrorism head.

But, Philippine and U.S intelligence officials said, the Bojinka operation called for a second, perhaps even more ambitious phase, as interrogators discovered when they pressed Murad about his pilot's licence. All those years in flight school, he confessed, had been in preparation for a suicide mission. He was to buy, rent, or steal a small plane, fill it with explosives and crash it into CIA headquarters.

There were secondary targets the terrorists wanted hit: U.S. Congress, the White House, the Pentagon and possibly some skyscrapers. The only problem, Murad complained, was that they needed more trained pilots to carry out the plot.

"It's so chilling," says Fariscal. "Those kamikaze pilots trained in America, just like Murad.

"The FBI knew all about Yousef's plans," she says. "They'd seen the files, been inside 603. The CIA had access to everything, too. Look," she adds, fishing in a plastic shopping bag for one of her most prized possessions, a laminated certificate of merit bearing the seal of the CIA. "Awarded to Senior Inspector Aida D. Fariscal," it reads. "In recognition of your personal outstanding efforts and co-operation." "This should have never, ever been allowed to happen," she repeats angrily. "All those poor people dead."

In her outrage at the biggest U.S. intelligence failure since Pearl Harbor, Fariscal is not alone in the Manila law enforcement community. Gen. Avelino "Sonny" Razon, one of the lead investigators in the Bojinka case, was so shocked at what he saw on Sept. 11 that he jumped on a plane in Cebu, where he was now police chief, and flew to Manila to convene a hasty press conference. "We told the Americans about the plans to turn planes into flying bombs as far back as 1995," he complained to reporters. "Why didn't they pay attention?"

U.S. officials counter that they did pay attention. FBI spokesperson John E. Collingwood denies that the bureau had advance knowledge of a plot to turn airliners into flying bombs. "The FBI had no warnings about any hijack plots. There was a widely publicized 1995 conspiracy in Manila to remotely blow up 11 U.S. airliners over the Pacific," Collingwood said in a letter to the Washington Post in October, "but that was disrupted. And, as is the practice, what was learned in that investigation was widely disseminated, even internationally, and thoroughly analyzed by multiple agencies. It does not connect to the current case."

Not everyone in the U.S. intelligence community, however, is of the same mind. "There certainly were enough precursors that should have led analysts to suspect that the U.S could come under domestic attack," says Cannistraro, a 27-year intelligence veteran who ran the CIA's counter-terrorism division until 1990. "There's no question about it. We knew about the pilots and suicide plots. Just didn't put two and two together."

That failure to connect the dots lies at the heart of the intelligence breakdown, says Cannistraro.

"It's the imagination that failed us," says a former senior CIA agent, "not the system." He dismissed the connection to Bojinka as a "hindsight is cheap" theory.

Yet it is precisely the responsibility of the agency's thousands of planners and analysts to dream up what may appear as crazy scenarios in order to find ways to thwart them. And it is unclear what became of the information gleaned from Operation Bojinka.

"We didn't file it and forget about it," a CIA spokeswoman insists. Indeed, shortly after Yousef's liquid bombs were discovered, the Federal Aviation Administration did begin installing "sniffer" devices, which can detect explosive chemicals, at major airports throughout the United States. But beyond that, there is no evidence of any other clear response by the intelligence community to the information gleaned from the foiled plot in the Philippines.

The terrorists, on the other hand, appear to have drawn a number of invaluable conclusions from their 1995 setback. "Under interrogation Murad told us several things that should have been of interest to analysts on the deterrence side," recalls retired Gen. Renato De Villa, who served as Philippines defence minister at the time of the raid on Suite 603. First, the extremists saw the 1993 World Trade Center bombing as a failure and still considered the twin towers a viable target. And more importantly, the cell seemed to be growing frustrated with explosives. They were too expensive, unstable and could give them away.

Though nothing in Murad's confession gave investigators any warning of hijackings, somewhere along the line, his brothers at arms in bin Laden's Al Qaeda network did make the leap from explosives to jet fuel and box cutters.

One reason U.S counter-terrorism officials may not have been able to outwit the terrorists, critics charged, is because the entire intelligence community has become too reliant on technology rather than human resources. "Where the system breaks down," says a former staff member of the National Security Council who regularly attended briefings on bin Laden, "is not at the hunting and gathering stage" - the ability to electronically intercept information. "We are probably tapped into every hotel room in Pakistan. We can listen in to just about every phone call in Afghanistan," explains the former NSC staffer. "Where the rubber hits the pavement is with the analysts. They are a bunch of 24-year-old recent grads from Middlebury or Dartmouth who have never been to Pakistan or Afghanistan, don't speak any of the relevant languages, and seem more knowledgeable about the bar scene in Georgetown. They just don't compare to the Soviet specialists we used to have. I'm not surprised they missed it."

With the benefit of hindsight, Murad's confession today sounds almost prophetic, and as U.S investigators backtrack, piecing together bits of the puzzle left behind by the hijackers, the spectre of Bojinka looms large. As in the case of the Sept. 11 attacks, authorities in Manila following Suite 603's money trail found the deeper they dug, the closer they came to bin Laden. The critical clue was in Ramzi Yousef's computer. A list of cell phone numbers on its hard drive led authorities to stake out another apartment in Manila, this one on Singalong St. There they apprehended a third conspirator in Yousef's terrorist cell, a stocky Afghan by the name of Wali Khan Amin Shah.

Like Yousef, Shah carried many passports under various aliases - Norwegian, Saudi, Afghan and four Pakistani, all filled with travel visas and entry stamps from Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Shah also had mangled hands, and was missing two fingers. Both his legs were heavily scarred with shrapnel, and he had a large surgical scar on his stomach.

Shah turned out to be Bojinka's unlikely finance officer. To launder incoming funds, Shah used bank accounts belonging to his live-in Filipino girlfriend and a number of other Manila women, one of whom was an employee at a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet, and others who were described as bar hostesses. Most of the transfers were surprisingly small - $500 or $1,000 handed over at a Wendy's or a karaoke bar late at night. Under "tactical interrogation" at Camp Crame, Shah admitted that most of the funds were channelled to Adam Sali, an alias used by Ramzi Yousef, through a Philippine bank account belonging to Omar Abu Omar, a Syrian-born man working at a local Islamic organization known as the International Relations and Information Centre - run by one Mohammed Jalal Khalifa, bin Laden's brother-in-law.

Shah's and Murad's confessions led to Yousef's arrest in Pakistan, and the three suspects were extradited to New York to stand trial. All three were sentenced to life in prison at a maximum-security facility in Colorado, and Bojinka was filed in the "win" column, even as Mohamed Atta and fellow Sept. 11 hijackers were hatching plans to enrol in flight schools around the United States. That no one seemed to notice the connection, says Cannistraro, is the great failure.

In 1998, on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the first World Trade Center bombing, Dale Watson, the FBI's top expert on international terror, reported to a Senate Judiciary subcommittee that "although we should not allow ourselves to be lulled into a false sense of security ... I believe it is important to note that in the five years since the Trade Center bombing, no significant act of foreign-directed terrorism has occurred on American soil."

Three years later, Sept. 11, 2001, the suicide attacks coincided almost to the day, with another fifth anniversary: the 1996 conviction, in a Manhattan court, of Bojinka's original plotters.

'There certainly were enough precursors that should have led analysts to suspect the U.S could come under domestic attack. We knew about the pilots and suicide plots. Just didn't put two and two together.'

Vincent Cannistraro, former CIA official



TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: bojinka; islamicviolence
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1 posted on 01/02/2002 7:19:53 AM PST by Wallaby
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To: Wallaby;Islamic_violence
To Islamic_violence bump list.
2 posted on 01/02/2002 7:33:52 AM PST by harpseal
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To: Sabertooth,squantos,harpseal,dennisw,lent,maica,freee-dame
Bojinka Bump.

We will not even profile middle eastern men at the airports, (PC over the survival of air travelers), so there is zero chance that we will subject any of our known terrorists in custody to "tactical interrogation", (possibly learning of and stopping the next 9-11).

America is still not serious about battling terrorism within its borders.

3 posted on 01/02/2002 7:35:15 AM PST by Travis McGee
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To: squantos,harpseal
the apartment's contents, which included a cornucopia of explosive ingredients - sulphuric, picric and nitric acid, pure glycerin, acetone, sodium trichlorate, nitrobenzoyl, ammonia, silver nitrates, methanamine and ANFO binary explosive, among others. Funnels, thermometers, graduated cylinders and beakers, mortars and pestles, various electronic fusing systems, timers, circuit breakers, batteries and a box of Rough Rider lubricated condoms rounded out the home laboratory, which included chemistry reference manuals and a recipe written in Arabic on how to build powerful liquid bombs.

The Devil's Workshop.

And dozens of passports too.

4 posted on 01/02/2002 7:38:39 AM PST by Travis McGee
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To: Wallaby
Great find, as always, Wallaby!
5 posted on 01/02/2002 7:43:57 AM PST by MizSterious
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To: jmurphy4413,gonzo,wardaddy,pocat,kitj,patent,rebdov,b4ranch,jimkress,MHGinTN,boris,bernard marx,T
Philippine intelligence put the screws to Murad. In Camp Crame, a military installation on the outskirts of Manila, he was subjected for 67 days to what Philippine intelligence reports delicately refer to as TI, or tactical interrogation. By the time he was handed over to the Americans, interrogators had extracted everything they thought they needed to know.

Murad today is healthy and serving his time in the PI, no permanent harm was done. In fact, it is said that he cracked only after being told that Israeli interrogators were being brought in: he was "psyched out" into full confession mode.

OTOH, we in the USA would prefer to see more 9-11s then dirty our hands with the "TI" of known terrorists in our custody, (such as the Minnesota 747 pilot trainee wannabee who gave us all the finger in court today).

6 posted on 01/02/2002 7:53:21 AM PST by Travis McGee
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To: harpseal
Our friends in the Philippines did their part well. Maraming ang salamat pare cos. Utang la ob.
7 posted on 01/02/2002 7:55:43 AM PST by Broker
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To: Travis McGee ;
Bojinka's is "BOHICA" in what language ?

:o) Stay Safe ~!

8 posted on 01/02/2002 8:00:15 AM PST by Squantos
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To: Travis McGee
Bump.
9 posted on 01/02/2002 8:01:51 AM PST by patent
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To: Squantos
Any thoughts on the chemicals found?
10 posted on 01/02/2002 8:03:43 AM PST by Travis McGee
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To: Poohbah,billthedrill,optimist
bttt
11 posted on 01/02/2002 8:06:59 AM PST by Travis McGee
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To: Travis McGee
Amen, Travis.

9/11 should have been, if not prevented, much attenuated. And we should be taking this shoe-bomber, the Hamas connections, and AA587 much more seriously. It isn't over.

12 posted on 01/02/2002 8:07:50 AM PST by eno_
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To: eno_
How many 9-11 level events (or worse) will it take us?
13 posted on 01/02/2002 8:08:50 AM PST by Travis McGee
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To: Wallaby; Plummz; AtticusX; aristeides; OKCSubmariner; BlueDogDemo; Nita Nupress; Sal; Boyd
There were street maps of Manila, plotting the papal motorcade's route; two remote-control pipe bombs; and a phone message from a tailor saying the cassock Saeed had ordered was ready for a final fitting.

Outstanding post Wallaby! Lots and lots of info in this one.

14 posted on 01/02/2002 8:10:17 AM PST by Fred Mertz
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To: Travis McGee
Yeah but my New years resolution is to not run a FR IED class in open forum. Guilty of it in the past myself and was irresponsible of me. If I make one comment that will aid a wannabe or copycat I violate every ethic of my trade.

While you were out I pissed off a lot of folks who were doing just that. Disinformational spin from some of these "expert's" is kewl but some of the stuff was criminal IMHO. Need to know sort of thang per se .

Stay Safe !

15 posted on 01/02/2002 8:10:29 AM PST by Squantos
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To: Wallaby
bump
16 posted on 01/02/2002 8:13:00 AM PST by VOA
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To: Squantos
Agreed. I won't even say why they had condoms. But no goats were found.
17 posted on 01/02/2002 8:14:11 AM PST by Travis McGee
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To: EODGUY
bttt
18 posted on 01/02/2002 8:14:43 AM PST by Travis McGee
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To: Travis McGee
LMAO !!
19 posted on 01/02/2002 8:17:44 AM PST by Squantos
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To: Wallaby
We should bring Aida over here and put her in charge of national security.
20 posted on 01/02/2002 8:24:05 AM PST by fightu4it
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To: Wallaby
FBI spokesperson John E. Collingwood denies that the bureau had advance knowledge of a plot to turn airliners into flying bombs. "The FBI had no warnings about any hijack plots. There was a widely publicized 1995 conspiracy in Manila to remotely blow up 11 U.S. airliners over the Pacific," Collingwood said in a letter to the Washington Post in October, "but that was disrupted. And, as is the practice, what was learned in that investigation was widely disseminated, even internationally, and thoroughly analyzed by multiple agencies. It does not connect to the current case."

If this clown Collingwood "sees no connection" between the 1995 events and what happened 911, he needs to be removed real quickly from any job requiring critical thinking, indeed any thinking at all...

21 posted on 01/02/2002 8:33:30 AM PST by Publius6961
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To: Travis McGee
Regarding thoughts on the chemicals found there were things there that IMHO I would not wish to mess arround with. As to the Condoms If I remember correctly in the Phillipine Islands there are numerous pigs and goats on the farms. Maybe they liked weekends in the country.

Stay well - Stay safe - Stay armed - Yorktown

22 posted on 01/02/2002 8:36:19 AM PST by harpseal
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Comment #23 Removed by Moderator

To: Wallaby
"There certainly were enough precursors that should have led analysts to suspect that the U.S could come under domestic attack,"

D'OH!

What gave it away finally?
That only US airlines were mentioned in the material found in the explosives lab computer and the airlines schedule?

Is this a Clinton thing or are our intelligence agencies now the New Keystone Kops?

24 posted on 01/02/2002 8:43:38 AM PST by Publius6961
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To: Wallaby
The warning was given that the viper was in the sandbox, and still the children were allow to play there and one was bitten. Well the viper is still there and so are the children, may be the viper won't strike again.
25 posted on 01/02/2002 8:45:50 AM PST by hsszionist
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To: seamole
Are you saying he's moonlighting?

No I am saying he's an idiot.
Or an affirmative action hire...

But I repeat myself.

26 posted on 01/02/2002 8:52:41 AM PST by Publius6961
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To: LSJohn; struwwelpeter
I vaguely associate you with Bojinka threads; I am not sure why. Bump, boink, boink.
27 posted on 01/02/2002 9:03:33 AM PST by annalex
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To: Wallaby,madrussian, Askel5, Zviadist, Free the USA, struwwelpeter,NewAmsterdam, Black Jade,Carry_
More
28 posted on 01/02/2002 9:24:01 AM PST by CommiesOut
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To: Wallaby
Among the best articles on Bojinka were in the LA Times and Washington Post, so I couldn;t post them, or even link to them because their archives aren't available on line.

Suffice to say that the plan to hijack an airplane and fly it in to the CIA headquarters was made known by the terrorists as a consequence of the investigations.

This Bojinka, where they planned to blow up 5 to 10 jets plying east Asian routes (Manilla, Taipi, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore) concommitantly with assassinating the Pope in the Philippines and the stuff they learned from the first WTC bombing and the African embassy bombings should have led investigators to put two and two together better than they did.

But it was the time of Clinton.

29 posted on 01/02/2002 9:36:44 AM PST by tallhappy
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To: Fred Mertz,Wallaby,golitely,roughrider,rightwing2,rubbertramp,aristeides,Pericles,thinden,t-shirt
Thanks for flaging me Fred.

Wallaby, thanks for the great find and for keeping this issue before Freepers.

There are too possibilites, either the Feds investigators got the word to the USG decision makers on this one or they did not.

If the decision makers did not get the word, then COngress and the decision makers should be concerned and fix the problem with the flow of info to them. If the decision makers got the word then the Fed investigators should be concerned that correct or timely decisions were not made with their intelligence.

In either event, it seems that if this problem is not fixed more Americans can get killed and more Americans will come to distrust even more the abilities and motives of USG decision makers to protect them.

30 posted on 01/02/2002 9:42:04 AM PST by OKCSubmariner
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To: Wallaby
Great article find.

Here is the link to the original article in the Toronto Star.

It is clearly consistent that the only people paying attention are the people lowest on the rungs of command. Here it is the work of officer Aida Fariscal. On last months flight it was the work of the flight attendent to discover the shoe bomber, Reid. On Flight 93, Beemer, Glick, and the others. Here on FreeRepublic, the same emerges. Connect those dots!

31 posted on 01/02/2002 9:48:21 AM PST by flamefront
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To: Travis McGee
These Islamic terrorists have to be crushed, just like you'd do a cockroach. Taking nail clippers from passengers just ain't cutting it.

Yousef, Murad confessed, had indeed been responsible for the blast aboard the Philippine airliner, which was actually a dry run to test the terrorists' new generation of nitroglycerin explosive, known as a "Mark II" bomb.

Yousef had deposited his device - lethal liquid concealed in a contact lens solution bottle with cotton-ball stabilizing agents and a harmless-looking wristwatch wrapped around it - under seat 27F on the Manila-to-Cebu leg of the flight to Tokyo.

He had gotten off in Cebu after setting the watch's timer for four hours later. The same plan was to be repeated on the 11 U.S. commercial jetliners. U.S. federal prosecutors later estimated that 4,000 passengers would have died had the plot been successful.

Another file found on Yousef's computer consisted of a printout of U.S. airline schedules, which initially baffled investigators.

The file, named Bojinka, listed the travel itineraries of 11 long-haul flights between Asia and the United States, mostly on United and American airlines.

All the flights had several legs, and were grouped under five headings bearing code names of accomplices such as Zyed, Majbos or Obaid. Each accomplice would leave the bombs on the first leg of the flight, and then eventually return to locations like Lahore, Pakistan.

Huh, I think the CIA/FBI needs less "experts" and more folks like this cop in the PI. Having the National Guard (God luv'em), running 'round airports isn't going to do squat. Do airlines do a thorough search of planes between legs of journeys? I think not. The "bad guys" are in it to "win" it. So far we're going to federalize the screeners and smell every third passengers foot until the next "bojinka" comes along. Sheesh. /rant

32 posted on 01/02/2002 9:51:44 AM PST by csvset
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To: Publius6961
>Collingwood

After charges of cronyism erupted in the travel office controversy, George  Stephanopoulos, the president's communications director, and other Clinton  aides summoned a senior FBI official, John E. Collingwood, to a political  strategy meeting in Stephanopoulos' office. At the meeting, according to the  Washington Post, Collingwood was given "guidance" in drafting a statement  the White House would use to back up its contention that the seven members of  the travel office were fired because of evidence of "gross mismanagement"  and possible criminal wrongdoing.

The FBI statement was revised to say that there was "sufficient  information for the FBI to determine that additional criminal investigation is  warranted." Collingwood faxed a copy to the White House as a courtesy. He now  says it was never intended for public release and that he was surprised to  learn the White House gave the statement to reporters.

"Abuse of Power," Editorial, St. Petersburg Times, May 26, 1993, Pg. 16A .
33 posted on 01/02/2002 9:58:59 AM PST by Wallaby
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To: tallhappy; Travis McGee, Wallaby
Re the WP story, I found a copy of it here.

Borderless Network of Terror:Bin Laden Followers Reach Across Globe

It's a good read, some of these SOB's were American Citizens, born and raised here in the USA.

34 posted on 01/02/2002 10:00:10 AM PST by csvset
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To: csvset
BTTT
35 posted on 01/02/2002 10:11:54 AM PST by Travis McGee
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To: Travis McGee
Any thoughts on the chemicals found?

Yeah, they are not for a knitting class !

36 posted on 01/02/2002 10:12:13 AM PST by UCANSEE2
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To: madrussian, Askel5, Zviadist, Free the USA, struwwelpeter,NewAmsterdam, Black Jade,Carry_Okie,jmp
Did this man predict Sept. 11?
37 posted on 01/02/2002 10:12:13 AM PST by CommiesOut
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To: Wallaby
Bump
38 posted on 01/02/2002 10:16:54 AM PST by novakeo
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To: Wallaby
In addition to the material captured by Fariscal, which outlined an attack using airliners as flying bombs, the CIA had forewarning of the 9-11 attack by at least four allied intelligence agencies (France, Israel, Germany, Russia). The Mossad sent a delegation to the CIA in Langley (as per Janes Intelligence Weekly) and told them that an attack using airliners would be mounted within several weeks by Al Qaida, involving about 200 operatives, and run by Amad Mugniyeh (Marine barracks bonber) and Ayman Al-Zawahiri (assasination of Sadat), who are bin Laden lieutenants.

Was the lack of response terminal incompetence or complicity?

39 posted on 01/02/2002 10:20:43 AM PST by Magician
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To: tallhappy
Suffice to say that the plan to hijack an airplane and fly it in to the CIA headquarters was made known by the terrorists as a consequence of the investigations.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the fourth September 11 plane that crashed in Pennsylvania was heading for Langley, per the original conception -- all this talk of it heading to the White House or the Capitol being propaganda to cover the grotesque nature of the intelligence/enforcement failure.

40 posted on 01/02/2002 10:21:09 AM PST by Ironword
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To: madrussian, Askel5, Zviadist, Free the USA, struwwelpeter,NewAmsterdam, Black Jade,Carry_Okie,jmp
"Do you realize how serious this is?" the instructor asked an FBI agent.
Willie Brown got low-key early warning about air travel
41 posted on 01/02/2002 10:36:14 AM PST by CommiesOut
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To: OKCSubmariner
either the Feds investigators got the word to the USG decision makers on this one or they did not.

Interested researchers may want to check madcowprod.com for possible links between elements of US intelligence and the version of Bojinka that did unfold. I've posted the article here, but one (or more, I guess) of the moderators is not pleased with it, and it disappears.

42 posted on 01/02/2002 10:41:44 AM PST by Plummz
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To: Fred Mertz
a phone message from a tailor saying the cassock Saeed had ordered was ready for a final fitting.

Sounds like they must have seen The Godfather, Part III.

43 posted on 01/02/2002 10:43:37 AM PST by aristeides
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To: Plummz
"Interested researchers may want to check madcowprod.com for possible links between elements of US intelligence and the version of Bojinka that did unfold. I've posted the article here, but one (or more, I guess) of the moderators is not pleased with it, and it disappears."

Yeah, all of a sudden Ruppert is also "garbage" --- Garbage

44 posted on 01/02/2002 10:54:08 AM PST by rdavis84
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To: Squantos; travis mcgee; harpseal; fred mertz; wallaby; plummz; okcsubmariner
What language is "Bojinka"? The article says it is Serbocroatian (for "big explosion.") The only speakers of Serbocroatian that I think would be working with this bunch would be either Bosnians or Kosovars. Odd these articles about Islamist explosion plots never mention individuals from those ethnic groups.

Remember that notebook that was found in Afghanistan with a page titled "Explosiva za Oklahomu" with formulas for explosives including dynamite and nitroglycerin. "Explosiva za Oklahomu" is Serbocroatian again (for "explosive used in Oklahoma.")

Scary thought. Bosnians and Kosovars are European in appearance, and could get past profiling easily.

45 posted on 01/02/2002 10:57:41 AM PST by aristeides
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To: UCANSEE2
Not for cosmetology school either.
46 posted on 01/02/2002 10:58:35 AM PST by Travis McGee
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To: aristeides
Not for commercial use. Solely to be used for the educational purposes of research and open discussion.

Terror by degree
James Bone and Alan Road
The Times
October 18, 1997, Saturday


In Swansea he's remembered as an unassuming engineering student, but to the FBI he's the international terrorist responsible for the World Trade Center bombing. James Bone and Alan Road trace the double life of Ramzi Yousef


Police believe he was testing his plans for what he had codenamed - in Serbo-Croat - "Project Bojinka".
THE MAN NOW known as Ramzi Yousef is remembered at the Swansea Institute of Higher Education as a diligent student whose major project was to apply computer design to geometric Islamic patterns. The young Pakistani, born and raised in Kuwait, took a Higher National Diploma in computer-aided electrical engineering at the college between 1987 and 1989. He seemed perfectly law-abiding. Like the other foreign students, he registered with the local police station at the start of each academic year. Until the Special Branch and MI5 and the CIA turned up on their doorstep, none of the staff at the school had any clue that their unassuming pupil had graduated to become the most wanted terrorist in the world.

"He was hard-working, conscientious and kept himself to himself," said his computer graphics instructor, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal. "That about sums him up over the two years he was here. There were other older Arabic students at the time, but to the best of my knowledge he didn't socialise with them. He was hard-working and very capable." When police in the Philippines chanced on Yousef's bomb factory after a fire in Manila on January 6, 1995, they reportedly found a copy of a chemistry textbook from the library of the Swansea Institute. Yousef himself was only apprehended a month later in Pakistan when a fellow Muslim tipped off the authorities in the hope of winning the $ 2 million reward posted by the US government. He is now in a holding cell in New York, deprived of his wristwatch, toothpaste, shaving cream, even - until he won a court order - his Koran, and barred from meeting anyone but his attorney lest he try to orchestrate revenge attacks.

He has already been convicted of a Hollywood-style plot to blow up 11 American jumbo jets almost simultaneously, and is now standing trial as the alleged mastermind of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York.

By any accounting, Yousef, at just 29, is one of the most audacious terrorists of all time, a master-criminal on a par with Carlos the Jackal or Abu Nidal. Not only did he allegedly tell FBI agents after his arrest that he had planned to kill 250,000 people by toppling one of the World Trade Center's 110-storey twin towers on to the other one, he also boasted that he had considered gassing the huge complex with lethal hydrogen cyanide.

If executed, his plot against American airliners would have killed some 4,000 passengers within the space of two days. In addition, he has been linked to the bombing of a Filipino airliner, which left one Japanese traveller dead; an attack on a Shia shrine in Mashhad, Iran, which claimed 70 lives; an explosion at a theatre in Manila; another blast near the Israeli embassy in Bangkok; a plot against the then-prime minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto; and an attempt on the life of Pope John Paul II.

When seized, according to the FBI, he bragged about plans for a kamikaze attack on CIA headquarters with a light aircraft packed with explosives, and said he was preparing to assassinate President Bill Clinton by releasing phosgene gas during a presidential visit to the Philippines.

SITTING JUST YARDS from Yousef in an oak-panelled courtroom in downtown Manhattan, it is difficult to comprehend that this lean, raven-haired young man with flapping ears and a bulbous nose is an international enigma. Although often described as a Muslim fundamentalist, Yousef arrives in court clean-shaven and, on most days, wears a tan business suit. He could almost be the yuppie engineer his teachers at the Swansea Institute no doubt hoped he would become. When he defended himself in his first trial, he was courteous to the jury and insisted on referring to himself in the third person. ("I have seen better lawyers," the judge declared, "but I have also seen worse.") In the current trial, he chats contentedly with the defence lawyers, banters with the prosecutor and even laughs at the judge's jokes. But there are some tell-tale signs of his murky past: the tip of the middle finger on his right hand is badly deformed after it was almost severed in an explosion, and he has an injured left eye that drifts lazily around the room.

Over the years, Yousef has used at least a dozen aliases. On the formal indictment, he is named as Ramzi Yousef, aka Azan Muhammad, aka Khurram Khan, aka Rashed, aka Kamal Ibrahim, aka Abdul Basit, aka Adam Ali Qasam, aka Naji Haddad, aka Dr Paul Vijay, aka Dr Adel Sabah, aka Amaldo Forlani, aka Muhammed Ali Baloch. At the Swansea Institute, Yousef registered as Abdul Basit Mahmoud Karim. According to an investigation by The New Yorker magazine, his full name is Abdul Basit Mahmud Abdul Karim. In his only interview from jail, Yousef told the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat that his real name was Abdul Basit Balochi. But he added that he had become "accustomed" to Ramzi Yousef.

At first, investigators suspected that Yousef was an Iraqi secret agent. They speculated that he had appropriated the identity of the Swansea Institute student during Iraq's occupation of Kuwait, even substituting Yousef's fingerprints in government records. Unfortunately, the Swansea Institute did not take any photographs of its students in the 1980s. The school did keep a file on Abdul Basit Mahmoud Karim, but it disappeared from a locked office the day after it was located and photocopied by the Special Branch (there was no investigation of the burglary). The local police station does have a photograph of the Swansea student, but refuses to release the picture, citing the Data Protection Act.

A number of tantalising clues do point towards an Iraqi connection. Yousef once visited Baghdad and he first arrived in America on an Iraqi passport. The only one of his alleged co-conspirators still at large is an Iraqi who fled back to Baghdad, where he now lives openly. What is more, Kuwait has identified Yousef as a man who collaborated with occupying Iraqi forces, and it should not be forgotten that the World Trade Center bombing itself took place on the second anniversary of the liberation of Kuwait.

Years of investigation have convinced British and American intelligence services, however, that Yousef and the Swansea student are one and the same man and that he is linked to a shadowy Islamic underground spanning the globe from Egypt to Afghanistan to the Philippines. "He is a new breed of terrorist," says Vincent Cannistraro, a former head of counter-terrorism at the CIA. "You do not have tightly knit groups supported by intelligence agencies. What you have is a loose group based on some kind of activism."

Yousef's true identity holds the key to unravelling the terrorist network that sustained him. In his interview with Al-Hayat, Yousef disclosed that he was born in Kuwait to a Pakistani father and a Palestinian mother, and had relatives in Pakistan, Kuwait and Palestine. He also revealed that he was married to an Arab woman and had two young daughters, one of whom was born while he was a fugitive. Although he speaks almost unaccented English, Yousef has a Gulf accent in Arabic. He calls himself "Pakistani by nationality" but "Palestinian by choice". Indeed, Yousef openly declares himself to be a supporter of the previously unknown Liberation Army, which aims to punish the United States for its support of Israel. "Since the US government every year sends military and financial aid worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Israel, all Muslims have the right to regard themselves in a state of war with the US government," he announced in a statement released through his lawyer. One threatening letter allegedly found in Yousef's computer bore the signature: "The Fifth Battalion of the Liberation Army under the leadership of Abu Baker Almaki." It was the same group that claimed responsibility for the World Trade Center bombing.

Raghida Dergam, the Al-Hayat correspondent who interviewed Yousef in jail, notes that, unlike other supposed fundamentalists, he raised no objections to being interviewed by a woman, and he did not even fast in jail during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. When he arrived for the interview, he brought a stack of papers to prove his point about the illegality of the Israeli occupation of Arab lands. Tellingly, he denounced Yasser Arafat as an "Israeli agent".

"To me, he is not very religious," Dergam says. "In fact, he did not come across as a fundamentalist as such. He would fit more as a freedom fighter for the liberation of Palestine than the description of an Islamic fundamentalist driven by religion. He is very convinced there is something unjust in the actions of Israel and there has to be a way to bring attention to it. By that he justifies 'terror for terror'. My impression is that he is not a gun-for-hire."

YOUSEF'S FATHER is believed to be a Baluchi tribesman from Pakistan named Muhammad Abdul Karim, who moved to Kuwait to work as an engineer. Yousef was born in April 1968 in Fuhayhil, a working-class suburb of Kuwait City with a sizable Palestinian population. (Abdul Hakim Murad, Yousef's co-defendant in the plot against US airliners, is apparently a teenage friend from Fuhayhil.) In the town, Yousef was immersed in the radical ideologies of Palestinian nationalism and strict Sunni Islam. In the early 1980s, his father got involved with the puritanical Wahhabi sect of Sunni Islam - the dominant tendency in Saudi Arabia - and an associated fundamentalist group known as the Salafis.

When the family moved back to Turbat in Pakistan in 1986, they found the town had become a staging post for the Mujahidin waging war against the Soviets across the frontier in Afghanistan. On his return from his studies in Swansea, Yousef joined his father, an uncle and two of his brothers, and enlisted for the jihad. His nom de guerre was Ramzi. A year later, Yousef had returned to Kuwait, apparently taking a low-ranking job at the Planning Ministry. He was in the emirate when Iraq invaded in August 1990. Despite what Kuwait says about him collaborating with Iraqi forces, one of his seized passports suggests that he simply joined the mass exodus of foreign workers out of Kuwait to return home to Pakistan.

In early 1991, he surfaced in the Philippines, seeking to establish contact with the Abu Sayyaf separatist group fighting for independence for the Muslim population on the southern island of Mindanao. Edwin Angeles, a high-ranking defector, told the Washington Post that Yousef, travelling under his real name and accompanied by his childhood friend Murad, presented himself as a member of the executive committee of the International Islamic Brigade, an organisation that had recruited volunteers for the Afghan war. Yousef also told the Abu Sayyaf leader that he wanted to use the Philippines as a "launching pad" for international terrorism. Prosecutors allege that the conspiracy to bomb the World Trade Center began when Yousef left the Philippines on an Iraqi passport in 1992. By the end of May, he had turned up in the Pakistani frontier town of Peshawar. There he met Mohammad Ajaj, a Palestinian who had been expelled from Israel and sought exile in Texas. The one-time Domino's Pizza deliveryman had come to Peshawar for training in an Afghan camp. On September 1, 1992, the two boarded a Pakistani Airlines flight for New York.

Their arrival at John F.Kennedy Airport had elements of farce, but may actually have been a carefully planned diversion. Ajaj presented a fake Swedish passport, which failed to fool the immigration officer, who simply peeled off the photograph to find another underneath. When Ajaj was searched, police found three more passports - one British, one Saudi and one Jordanian - and a suitcase full of bomb-making manuals. He was arrested and remained in jail until after the World Trade Center bombing. Yousef, meanwhile, calmly showed an Iraqi passport with no US visa and said he had bribed his way aboard the flight by buying a boarding pass for $ 2,700. He asked for political asylum, and was freed pending an asylum hearing.

YOUSEF QUICKLY sought out the radical Muslims who congregated at the shabby shopfront mosques in Brooklyn and New Jersey. There he encountered the followers of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind Muslim cleric and fundamentalist leader later convicted in New York of sanctioning the World Trade Center bombing. The two could have met during one of the Sheikh's trips to Afghanistan, where both his sons fought in the jihad. According to court papers, the Sheikh's chauffeur introduced Yousef to his boss as "a friend from Afghanistan, a guy who will do anything".

In the current trial, Yousef is accused of organising a somewhat feckless group of local Muslim fundamentalists to bomb the World Trade Center. Prosecutors say he acquired the chemicals, mixed the explosives and then helped drive the truck bomb into the underground car-park beneath the twin towers. The blast on February 26, 1993, killed six people and injured 1,000 more, and marked the arrival of international terrorism on American shores. Four fundamentalists were quickly rounded up when one of them returned to collect the deposit on the Ryder rental van that had carried the bomb, saying it had been stolen. But Yousef had already escaped aboard a flight to Pakistan. The United States launched a worldwide manhunt. The FBI put him at the top of its "Most Wanted List" and offered a $ 2 million reward. Yousef's photograph was printed on thousands of green matchboxes distributed throughout the Middle East. He is believed to have gone underground in the riot-torn Pakistani port of Karachi. Within months, according to police in Pakistan, Yousef was plotting to assassinate Benazir Bhutto. Another teenage friend from Kuwait, Adbul Shakoor, told them that he, Yousef and Murad had scouted for locations to kill Bhutto. The plot collapsed when a bomb Yousef was making in a Karachi apartment exploded in his face - injuring his fingers and his eye. Shakoor also implicated Yousef in the explosion that killed 25 people at Mashhad in Iran on June 20, 1994 - an attack on a Shia shrine. Thai police also linked Yousef to a failed truck bombing of the Israeli embassy in Bangkok that March. Later that year, Yousef returned to the Philippines by boat from Malaysia and resumed training Abu Sayyaf guerrillas in the south of the country. On December 11, he bought a ticket in the name of an Italian politician, Amaldo Forlani, on a Philippines Airlines plane from Manila to Tokyo. Smuggling a liquid explosive aboard in a bottle of contact-lens solution, he assembled a bomb in the lavatory and left it under his seat before getting off at a stop-over in Cebu City. One Japanese businessman was killed when the bomb went off, but the plane managed to stay in the air. Police believe he was testing his plans for what he had codenamed - in Serbo-Croat - "Project Bojinka".

A fire led police to Flat 603 in the Dona Josefa Apartments in Manila at 10.30pm on January 6, 1995. It was a serendipitous event that probably saved thousands of lives. The authorities had been on alert for the imminent arrival of Pope John Paul II, and the flat was located just 200 yards from the Papal Nunciature. Inside the flat they found a mixture of crystalline chemicals in the sink, a pipe bomb and timer, a hand-written bomb manual in Arabic, ecclesiastical robes intended as disguises, a road map of the Pope's route and, most importantly of all, a Toshiba laptop computer. Yousef had rented the one-bedroomed flat in December and was sharing it with his old schoolfriend, Murad. When the fire broke out, the two calmly left the building - Yousef chatting on a mobile phone - and hid in a nearby karaoke bar. Murad was arrested when he returned to clean out the flat, but Yousef again eluded the law.

An analysis of deleted files in Yousef's laptop revealed the scope of "Project Bojinka". Five terrorists - codenamed Mirqas, Markoa, Obaid, Majbos and Zyed - were to plant bombs aboard a total of 11 US airliners before escaping to Pakistan. The computer hard-drive also yielded the draft of a letter claiming responsibility for the attacks. Yousef's globetrotting terrorist career came abruptly to an end when, to investigators' surprise, an acquaintance tipped off authorities in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. Ishtiaq Parker, a South African Muslim who lived across the street from Yousef, was apparently tempted by the $ 2 million reward. Pakistan soldiers and US agents descended on the Su Casa guesthouse and found Yousef with two remote-controlled toy cars packed with plastic explosives, and a collection of newspaper stories about his exploits.

PROSECUTORS DO NOT have to prove who funded his terrorist exploits or to establish his real identity in order to secure a conviction. All they have to do is show beyond a reasonable doubt that the man in the dock committed the crimes with which he is charged. Investigators favour the theory that Yousef has been supported by rich Saudi extremists with whom he became involved during the Afghan war. In his Al-Hayat interview, Yousef revealed that the mysterious Liberation Army had "military divisions and groups, each of which is concerned about the affairs of the Islamic movement in different countries" and said it was "still existing and sometimes carries out military actions and does not claim responsibility for them". Asked who commanded the group, he answered: "Unknown, it is a secret."

The prime suspect is Osama bin Laden, the now notorious Saudi multi-millionaire who lives in exile in the hills of Afghanistan. The scion of a family which made its fortune in construction, Bin Laden is believed to have financed terrorist training camps to wage a personal jihad against the United States and moderate governments in Egypt, Algeria, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. "The weight of evidence points to a bin Laden connection rather than a state sponsor connection," says Cannistraro, the former CIA counter-terrorism chief.

When Yousef was apprehended, he was staying in a guesthouse set up for Afghan war veterans by Bin Laden and had Bin Laden's address in his wallet. A Bin Laden connection might also explain Yousef's trips to the Philippines, where the Abu Sayyaf group is thought to receive much of its money from Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, Bin Laden's brother-in-law.

But in a recent interview in Afghanistan with CNN, Bin Laden denied that he knew Yousef and insisted that he had no connection to the World Trade Center bombing. He dismissed the allegations against him as smears by American and Pakistani officials.

The staff at the Swansea Institute are understandably embarrassed that Yousef should have become their most famous alumnus. Members of the faculty have pored endlessly over police mugshots in an effort to jog their memories. They do recall that specialist magazines continued to arrive in the college post-room long after he departed, and that he never picked up a package he had left with a colleague. They are insistent, however, that Yousef did not learn his terrorist techniques on British soil. "His project was quite innocuous," his tutor insists. "Nothing that might be useful for a bomb-maker."


47 posted on 01/02/2002 11:16:50 AM PST by Wallaby
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To: Wallaby
That article makes it sound as if Yousef's time in training camps in Afghanistan would have been between '86 and '91. Ajaj, his fellow planner of the '93 WTC bombing, was at Camp Khaldan in Afghanistan in '92. It's not clear to me what relationship, if any, bin Laden would have had to such training camps at such early dates.

Given the M.O. of these groups, I don't think Ajaj and Yousef just dreamed up the WTC bombing plan -- I think they would have needed advice and approval from higher-up people. The opinion in the WTC bombing case says nothing about who suggested and approved the idea, just speaks of Ajaj and Yousef. Jim Woolsey complains in the Foreword to the new paperback edition of Laurie Mylroie's book that this is too often the result of approaching terrorist crimes as matters of criminal prosecution -- the prosecution is pretty much only concerned with convicting those actually standing trial. But it looks to me, from reading the court opinion, that something very like al Qaeda was already in existence before it came to be dominated by bin Laden.

48 posted on 01/02/2002 11:33:35 AM PST by aristeides
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To: Travis McGee;Squantos; harpseal; Fred Mertz; Plummz; OKCSubmariner;Nita Nupress;Alamo-Girl...
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Did He act alone?
Neil Mackay
The Sunday Herald; pg. 11
December 30, 2001


It is becoming obvious that shoe bomber Richard Reid had expert help. By Home Affairs Editor Neil Mackay


IT was the perfect moment to detonate a bomb. At 3.45pm on Saturday afternoon, as American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris to Miami reached the so-called point -of-no-return - the halfway marker between continental Europe and America - Richard Reid tried to set light to a fuse concealed in the heel of one of his black trainers leading to ten pounds of plastic explosives also packed into the shoe.


Yousef had subsequently tried to bring down 10 airliners in 1994 by smuggling explosives on board in his shoes in the so-called Bojinka Plot. One device exploded, killing one passenger, although it failed to bring down the plane.
A stewardess, smelling sulphur and thinking the dishevelled-looking passenger was smoking, asked Reid not to smoke. He agreed. Then she smelt the sharp tang of sulphur again and turned back. This time Reid was attempting to burn his shoes, and this time it was Reid who gave the orders. "Step back," he told her. "I'm wired." Her eyes dropped to the trainer in his hand. Wires were poking out of it. The stewardess screamed "I need help. I need help", and passengers leapt to their feet to assist her. Eric Debry from Paris was sitting behind Reid, along with his wife and two young children. He reached over the headrest of the seat and pulled Reid's arms back, trying to restrain him. "I jumped on his shoulders. Then two other guys came and took his legs."

Another French passenger, Thierry Dugeon, who was sitting ten rows away from Reid, raced down the aisles to help. "I was there in five seconds and there were already two or three guys on him," Dugeon said. "He was struggling, he was a real powerful guy, but we were five or six people. It was like everybody knew what they needed to do." Reid fought so ferociously that one passenger, Kwame James, a professional basketball player, described him as "unbelievably strong, almost possessed". Eventually beaten into submission and bound to his seat with belts, Reid was sedated by a doctor on the flight from the cabin crew's emergency first aid kit. As the in-flight movie, Legally Blonde, played mutely on aeroplane screens, Reid was given two more injections - to make sure he was out for the count. It was then that real terror set in for the passengers and crew. They had at least two more hours in the air with an unexploded bomb.

The pilots radioed ahead to North American Aerospace Defence Command. Two F-15 fighter jets from Otis Air Force base on Cape Cod cut out into the Atlantic to escort the plane to Logan Airport in Boston. As a battered Reid was led into custody, an FBI agent asked him what he was trying to achieve. "You'll find out," he said, "you'll find out."

The FBI are now sure - from piecing together the facts of Reid's life - that he did not act alone. This was a 28-year-old petty criminal from London, not a crack terrorist with the know-how or brains to plan such a daring attack. According to forensic experts, the construction of the bomb was "alarmingly sophisticated". In a Boston court on Friday - where Reid is facing initial charges of assaulting flight crew - FBI Special Agent Margaret Cronin said the bomb in Reid's shoes would have punched a hole in the side of flight 63 and Reid must have had conspirators.

The last man to try a similar attack was Ramzi Yousef, now serving life in a maximum security federal jail in the USA for his role in masterminding the first car-bomb attack on the World Trade Centre in 1993. Yousef had subsequently tried to bring down 10 airliners in 1994 by smuggling explosives on board in his shoes in the so-called Bojinka Plot. One device exploded, killing one passenger, although it failed to bring down the plane.

Yousef is looked on by the world's law enforcement community as a master terrorist with a huge network of followers and backers, including the al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. It is unimaginable that Reid could have funded and executed the operation alone. From the moment he was brought off Flight 63, the search was under way for his accomplices.

Reid was born to an English mother and a Jamaican father in Bromley, London in 1973. He wound up in Feltham Young Offenders' Centre in his late teens. There he converted to Islam, taking the Arabic name Abdel Rahim.

Last month, Feltham's imam was suspended over allegations of unprofessional conduct relating to September 11. It is alleged that Abdul Rahman Qureshi delivered inflammatory sermons in which he referred to "the big devil America", and was distributing literature to prisoners describing America as "the great evil which must be wiped out". Prison sources say Qureshi's father was the Feltham imam when Reid was there in the mid-1990s. Ahmed Bilal, imam of Aylesbury Young Offenders' Institution, was also dismissed for a similar infraction in October, and an imam at Belmarsh Prison was investigated but cleared over alleged "inappropriate links".

Tayab Ali, a member of the Central London Mosque and a visiting imam at Wormwood Scrubs prison, said the current regime in British jails made it easy for extremists to enter prisons and preach firebrand politics. "It is left to the mosques to choose any Tom, Dick or Harry to go in and talk to vulnerable prisoners and it concerns me," he said. "There are not enough checks on these people in place. The local mosque chooses who they want and the police just check whether they have any criminal convictions. The mosques are doing the job the state should be doing."

Zaki Badawi, principal of the Muslim College, says many mosques are recruiting imams from abroad who are bringing fundamentalist views to the UK. On his release from prison, Reid joined Arabic classes at Brixton mosque in 1996. Run primarily by British converts, the mosque is renowned for its orthodox but moderate view of Islam which has made it and its leaders hated among UK extremists.

Abdul Haqq Baker, the cleric who runs the Brixton mosque, says extremists have been targeting his congregation for years and trying to recruit young converts, like Richard Reid, to their own particular radical form of Islam. "Recruiting has got out of control," said Baker, who converted to Islam in his 20s. He said he knew of "hundreds of Richard Reids" who had been recruited in the UK. Baker warned police about extremists recruiting young men but was ignored even though he gave the names of people allegedly operating on behalf of radical British -based clerics like Abu Hamza, Abu Qatada and Abdullah el-Faisal. The Metropolitan Police Authority admits that warnings about Muslim extremists, such as Reid and those who indoctrinated him, might not have been taken seriously when Baker passed on information. Deputy chairman Peter Herbert said: "With the benefit of hindsight, many things that may have been looked at with more scrutiny after September 11 were not looked at in such a way beforehand."

It was while Reid was at Brixton mosque that he met fellow worshipper Zacarias Moussaoui, a Frenchman of Moroccan origin who also lived in Brixton. Moussaoui is now in prison in America on charges of conspiracy relating to the September 11 attacks. He is suspected of being the "20th hijacker".

Moussaoui was only prevented from taking part in the suicide attacks when he was detained after behaving suspiciously at a US flight school. He was eventually expelled from the Brixton mosque for his inflammatory beliefs. Baker believes that Moussaoui could have been the man who recruited Reid.

Another worshipper at the mosque was Shahid Butt, from Birmingham, who was jailed for five years in Yemen for joining a group of British Muslims who plotted to attack the British consulate and a Christian church. Other suspected al-Qaeda members recruited in south London include a French national called Jerome Courtellier, now in custody in Holland, and Djamel Beghal, who was detained in Dubai and once lived in Brixton.

After meeting Moussaoui, Reid began to change. "He became infuriatingly arrogant," said Baker. "He would try and speak to other unsuspecting youths about his views. We would try and stop him. He kept asking us: 'Do you know where there is jihad which I can fight?' He would wear military gear."

Baker, who knew Reid well, said the "shoe-bomber" was incapable of carrying out the attack single-handedly. "No way could he do this on his own," said Baker. "He doesn't have the capacity to think: 'I'm going to get these explosives. I know where to get these explosives from. I'll put them in my shoe'."

The mosque found Reid work making incense sticks, but towards the end of 1998 he stopped attending and is thought to have moved to Pakistan. For an ex -prisoner with little or no visible or legitimate means of support the trip to Pakistan was to be just the first in a series of expensive and regular journeys overseas. He visited seven countries in the months before his arrest. These included a ten-day trip to Israel and visits to Gaza, Egypt, Turkey, Brussels, Paris, Amsterdam and Afghanistan - where it is believed he received some form of terrorist training.

Reid's travels began in June when he made a three-week trip to the Middle East. He flew to Cairo, then on to Istanbul before finally arriving in Israel. French intelligence believes he was testing security on El Al flights during this journey. In Tel Aviv, security personnel grew suspicious of this bearded and distinctly odd visitor and pulled him in for questioning and security searches. Nothing untoward was discovered and he was sent on his way.

From Israel, he moved back to Cairo after a short stop-over in the Palestinian -controlled city of Gaza, where it is thought that he contacted Hamas, the terrorist group behind recent suicide bombings which has developed close ties with al-Qaeda. French intelligence also believes he was establishing contacts with Islamic extremists in Egypt. His next trip was to Pakistan in August. It is believed that this was the journey that brought him into contact directly with al-Qaeda. US intelligence sources say al-Qaeda captives were shown Reid's photograph by Pakistani guards and remembered him being in an Afghan training camp sometime this year. European intelligence chiefs believe Moussaoui and Reid might have spent time together in one of these camps.

It was around this time that Reid's mother, Lesley Hughes, contacted Brixton mosque. She says she was worried about her son and had no idea where he was. Last week she appeared as lost as ever over how her son had apparently turned into one of the world's most dangerous men.

"He is my son,'' she said. "I am deeply shocked, as any mother would be. I am concerned about the allegations being made against my son. Other than what I have read in the media, I have no knowledge of this matter." Madeline Reid, Richard Reid's aunt, is not so confused over what might have turned her nephew into a terrorist. She says Reid was a "lost soul" who was so lonely and rejected by his family that "he found solace with his Muslim brothers". Reid's father, Robin, believes his son was brainwashed.

Intelligence sources believe that from Pakistan and Afghanistan, Reid returned to a safe house in Amsterdam. Then, on December 7, he left the Dutch capital for Brussels, where he stayed for a week and obtained a new British passport from the UK consulate. This, and the fact that his previous passport had pages torn out of it, was an obvious attempt, British police believe, to disguise his previous movements. Reid returned to Amsterdam on December 14, where he picked up the customised shoes loaded with explosives. He claims he bought the explosives for around (pounds) 1000 after finding a seller online. Vincent van Steen, of the Dutch secret service, believes Reid was given the bomb in Holland by his co -conspirators. Two days later he travelled to Paris' Gard du Nord railway station on board a high-speed train.

Despite his seemingly reduced circumstances, Reid was still able to spend almost (pounds) 3000 on a round-trip ticket from Paris via Miami and Antigua. The evening before he boarded Flight 63, he was barred from taking an earlier flight to the USA and ended up spending the night in the four-star Copthorne Hotel - paid for by American Airlines.

Staff with the security firm ICTS "red-flagged" Reid when he tried to board the first flight to the States. He had no luggage, was nervous and scruffy and had paid in cash for his ticket - all warning signs. After a search, his small rucksack was found to contain only a Walkman with Arab music cassettes and verses of the Koran. During his night at the hotel, staff heard him praying loudly in his room. The next day he was cleared for boarding Flight 63.

Reid has told his FBI interrogators that he acted alone. Nobody believes his claim. Despite his criminal background, his blatant flirtation with violent Islamic fundamentalism and his journeys to countries including Afghanistan, Reid still wasn't pinpointed as a potential security threat by MI5 or Special Branch. Perhaps all that had to be done was for the police and British intelligence and security chiefs to listen to the one man they chose to ignore - Abdul Haqq Baker, a voice from within the Muslim community and a man growing increasingly fearful about what was happening within Islam in the UK.

He secretly recorded meetings, of the type Reid had attended with Moussaoui, where the only matter up for discussion was jihad. "Do you know what the police did when we offered them this information?" he asked.

"They told me they'd 'monitor' the situation. These people were talking about holy war - and all we did was monitor them."

CAPTION: Few believe Richard Reid, opposite page, acted alone in taking the foot bomb on board Flight 63; top, Abdul Haqq Baker, chairman of Brixton mosque, voiced his concerns to police over Reid; his mother, Lesley Hughes, is still mystified over her son's behaviour Main photograph: Peter Jordan/PA


49 posted on 01/02/2002 11:34:56 AM PST by Wallaby
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To: madrussian, Askel5, Zviadist, Free the USA, struwwelpeter,NewAmsterdam, Black Jade,Carry_Okie,jmp
What went wrong?
50 posted on 01/02/2002 11:36:46 AM PST by CommiesOut
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