Skip to comments.U.S. Jew among 3 nabbed in plot to smuggle missile
Posted on 08/13/2003 1:08:33 PM PDT by Selmo
NEWARK, New Jersey - An American Jew was among three suspects nabbed for allegedly attempting to smuggle a missile to terror groups operating inside the United States in order to down commercial aircraft.
But the smuggling attempt was in fact a sting operation orchestrated over the past 18 months by U.S., Russian and British authorities.
Terrorism-related charges were leveled on Wednesday against a British arms dealer who praised Osama bin Laden and thought he was smuggling into the United States missiles, federal prosecutors announced.
Two other suspected accomplices to the plot, inlcuding Yehuda Abraham, who is Jewish, face conspiracy charges, the prosecutors said.
"This morning, the terrorists who threatened America lost an ally in their quest to kill our citizens," U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie told a news conference on the plaza of the federal courthouse in Newark, New Jersey.
Moments earlier, two of the three suspects appeared before a federal magistrate amid tight security at the courthouse, where authorities spelled out charges against them.
Hemant Lakhani, identified as a well-known British arms dealer, was accused of providing material support to terrorists and of illegal weapons dealing, Christie said.
A second man, Moinuddeen Ahmed Hameed, was charged with illegally transmitting money to help finance the plot, Christie said. A third, Abraham, was due to appear later on Wednesday in federal court in New York on similar charges.
Lakhani was arrested on Tuesday in Newark after trying to sell a Russian-made shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile to FBI informants posing as extremists who wanted to shoot down a large commercial airliner, officials said.
The missile was intended "specifically for the purpose of shooting an American airliner out of the sky," Christie said.
Meanwhile in London, police said they searched two sites at the request of U.S. authorities in the sting operation. No arrests were made, and officials declined to say where they were carried out.
Lakhani, wearing a rumpled striped shirt, bowed his head and said nothing during his court appearance. A lawyer representing Lakhani later declined to comment to reporters.
The charge of providing support to terrorists carries a possible 15-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine, while the weapons charges could mean 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
Lakhani and Hameed were each given a court date for later this month to determine if they might be released on bail.
According to a criminal complaint, the sting began in December 2001, when officials learned about Lakhani from an informant.
They used the unidentified informant to contact Lakhani, a British citizen born in India, and investigators said they audiotaped and videotaped 150 conversations between the two men. Lakhani made a number of anti-U.S. remarks during those talks, it said.
"He on many occasions referred to Americans as bastards (and) Osama bin laden as a hero who had done something right and set the Americans straight," Christie said. Bin Laden's al Qaeda group is blamed for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
"Mr. Lakhani knew full well what he was doing, why he was doing it, and ... he very clearly expressed his sentiments toward this country and its citizens," he said.
The informant pretended to Lakhani that he represented a Somali group that wanted to purchase an anti-aircraft missile, the complaint said. The Somali group told Lakhani they would pay $85,000 for a sample missile and promised to purchase 50 more later.
The complaint said Lakhani told the informant "ours is a much higher quality" surface-to-air missile that those were fired in November 2002 at an Israeli passenger plane taking off from Mombasa, Kenya, but did not hit the aircraft.
The third suspect, Abraham, took a $30,000 partial payment on behalf of Lakhani, it said.
Another payment of $500,000, which the U.S. Attorney said was 10 percent of the price, was in the works to purchase the additional missiles.
Hameed, who is from Malaysia, was only brought into the scheme in the last couple days to handle the larger payment, but money never changed hands, it said.
Russian authorities who worked in the sting provided an inert missile that was shipped to the United States. Lakhani was arrested when he tried to retrieve it at a Newark hotel, authorities said.
I see your point. If the writer had made the same point, explicitly mentioning Muslims, I'd be happier.
Actually, you're completely wrong.
Islam and Christianity share a great many features, most important of which is the fact that they see it as their duty to convert non-christians and non-muslims into christians and muslims, respectively. Traditionally, neither party has been all that fastidious how that was done.
Judaism, on the other hand, is forbidden to proselytize. More of a "live and let live" religion.
It should come as no suprise that at least some Jews are siding themselves with Islam against the United States.
And where did you pick up this slimy piece of witlessness? Stormfront? Why don't you slink back there, boob?
The BBC leaked which aspect of the story?
If the British government did not have enough to shut down the BBC before, they sure do now. What traitors!
Did you read the title of the article "US Jew among 3 nabbed in plot to smuggle missle"? Who were the other two? Why were they smuggling a missle into the US?
I understand you are angry. I would be too.
Quick question for you. Where were the moral and philosophical underpinings of the Infatada developed? Answer: Hebrew University by Post Zionist Jewish professors.
Do you consider me an anti Jewite for pointing this out?
There are Jewish Freepers who justify their hatred of Christianity based on their belief of what happened during the dark ages. There are Muslims who are angry at what happened during the 1st Crusade.
Both belief systems are based on an absense of foregiveness. That is why I wish the best of luck to our 12 million Jewish friends in their dispute with 1.5 billion muslims. It ain't gonna end anytime soon.
Sources, please. And some expansion. I'm afraid I'm going to be treated to something singularly psychotic, but I don't mind. I collect you critters ;).
In Jordan? During Black September? When Arafat and his thugs tried to overthrow the King, after which he threw many Palestinians out of Jordan? What do I win?
Do you consider me an anti Jewite for pointing this out?
If the "Post Zionist Jewish professor" is Israel Shahak, then yes. He's the neo-nazi poster boy.
Have you not heard of the post-Zionist movement in Israel?
Rather than trying to shut down Christians like Mel Gibson maybe the Jews would be better served by shutting down the infinitely greater dangers coming out of Hebrew University, Columbia University etc.
If the "Post Zionist Jewish professor" is Israel Shahak, then yes. He's the neo-nazi poster boy."
So by pointing these things out I become the evil one. By the way, has Shahak and his diciples been removed from the faculty? If they haven't then is Hebrew University the neo-nazi poster University?
Considering he died in 2001, I'd say yes. But what has all that to do with the Intifada?
Do you think the Arabs were smart enough to come up with anti Israeli philosophical arguments that Israel hating liberals and Europeans would swallow so completely?
I am reading a book about the struggle for the Jewish soul by an adviser of Netanyahu's. Even though you and others will no doubt brand me as an anti Jewite, I will post some passages from book in the next couple of days and ping you.
There was a movie a few years ago, about Baghdad, I think. And a US president stuck in some diner..
Actually you will be treated to something singularly psychotic, but it won't be written by me, it will be written by department heads at Hebrew University.
"I collect you critters ;)."
Cool. Hey can I come with you and watch when you go to throw stones at Mel Gibson. After all he who is without sin....