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Stolen Boeing 727 Feared In Hands of al-Qaeda
Bush Country ^ | 091103 | Gordon Thomas

Posted on 09/11/2003 7:59:59 PM PDT by ranair34


An international hunt is on to find a flying bomb – a stolen Boeing 727 – which led to British Airways canceling all flights to Saudi Arabia last week. The plane is a fuel tanker that MI6 and other spy agencies fear is in the hands of al-Qaeda. The search is being coordinated by Richard Dearlove, director of MI6, and George Tenet, the CIA chief.
Both President Bush and Tony Blair, on holiday in Barbados, are being kept updated on the search – one of the most difficult in aviation history.

Hidden somewhere in the vast Sahara desert of East Africa – an area the size of Europe – the spy chiefs believe the Boeing was poised to launch its attack on a British airliner as it began its descent over Saudi Arabia into Riyadh airport. Suspected al-Qaeda terrorists spotted outside the airport last week are now believed to have been using sophisticated electronic equipment to track British airways flights. They escaped before Saudi police could arrest them.

The international agencies involved in the hunt for the Boeing are MI6, Mossad, the CIA and NSA, America’s spy in the sky. All have confirmed the feasibility of the flying bomb destroying a British Airways commercial plane. The attack would require no more than two pilots. “Al-Qaeda have a number of such pilots who were trained in Iran. We have been hunting them for some time in Africa”, said a Mossad source.

The area where the Boeing is believed hidden has little or no radar cover – making it almost impossible to track as it took off on its deadly mission. “We are certain that the flying bomb will have been re-sprayed in the colors of one of the small airlines operating in central Africa”, an intelligence officer involved in the hunt said. “That makes it even harder to spot as there are a lot of old 727s flying in Africa, bought cheap from major airlines”.

The Boeing’s own navigation system would enable it to intercept a British Airways flight as it descended into Riyadh airport. “The crew would be relaxing after their long flight being almost over. They would not be looking out for an attack coming across the Red Sea from Africa. At a closing speed of almost 900 miles, they would have no chance to avoid the flying bomb”, said international security expert Ted Gunderson in Washington.

The Boeing fuel tanker can carry twice the amount of jet fuel which caused the fireballs that toppled the World Trade Centre in New York.
America’s Homeland Security Agency – which coordinates all intelligence for President Bush – sent out an urgent warning that al-Qaeda “has a continuing fixation to use a large plane to launch a spectacular to mark the second anniversary of 9/11”.

Christopher Yates, a security analyst with Jane’s Aviation Service in London said: “it doesn’t take a genius to figure out if you filled up the Boeing tanker to capacity you would have a huge bomb”. It was that threat which led to MI6 sending a “red alert” to British Airways.

America’s National Security Agency (NSA) has moved one of its satellites in the Middle East to begin to quarter the Sahara. Intelligence officers have been authorised to pay substantial sums to nomadic Arabs who roam the Sahara for any clues as to where the Boeing is hidden. The last sighting was made two months ago by a Canadian pilot, Robert Strothers. Taking off from Comakry, the seaport capital of Gunea, he claimed he saw the Boeing parked inside a hanger. “It had been re-sprayed. But the old registration was still visible”, Strothers has told MI6.

By the time an MI6 officer from adjoining Sierra Leone had arrived in Guinea, the 727 had gone. It was next reported to have landed at Ndjamrna, an airport in Chad. The country adjoins Sudan. The Sudanese deny the aircraft entered their air space – and hinted it had flown north to the Middle East. Last week, the State Department in Washington – which has asked all its diplomats in the region to “mobilise their resources” – said that “finding the plane is now a top priority”.

Another urgent concern is to discover the fate of Ben Padilla, the 51 year old American “bush pilot” who was at the controls of the 727 when it suddenly took off from Luanda airport in Angola on May 25.
That afternoon, a still unidentified man had paid for 14,000 gallons of jet fuel with US dollars. Shortly before 5pm, Padilla climbed on board with the man. He was later described as “Middle Eastern”."

Padilla had been at the airport for some weeks. He claimed he represented a Miami company called Aerospace and Leasing, ASL. The company later denied he was working for them. The Luanda airport manager, Helder Preza, said the Boeing had ran up £30,000 of charges while being parked at the airport after being sold on by American Airlines to ASL.

Padilla guaranteed payment on ASL notepaper. He was then allowed to carry out essential aircraft maintenance to fly the plane back to Miami. On that May afternoon, he announced to Luanda Air Traffic Control he was going to do engine tests. He fired-up all three engines and rolled the 727 out to the runway.

Suddenly, remembers Helder, “the plane took off. Padilla and the mystery man were on board. The radio was turned off. The transponder, which would have allowed radar to track the plane, was turned off. In minutes it was gone”. Padilla’s brother, Joe, who lives in Pensacola, Florida, believes his brother was “forced to fly some place and is now dead”.

Gordon Thomas


TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 2ndanniversary; 727; alqaeda; angola; boeing; feared; hands; murderingmuslims; padilla; stolen
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1 posted on 09/11/2003 7:59:59 PM PDT by ranair34
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To: ranair34
Something like this is what I had figured, but I'd like to see it from a better source.
2 posted on 09/11/2003 8:02:27 PM PDT by July 4th
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To: ranair34
Is this true?
3 posted on 09/11/2003 8:03:02 PM PDT by xzins
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To: July 4th
I remember when this story first broke, and the media whores were all over it. As the days went by, interest died down more and more, ah so goes the flavor of the week.
4 posted on 09/11/2003 8:04:46 PM PDT by mrmeyer ("A bad peace is even worse than war." -TACITUS)
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To: ranair34
Suspected al-Qaeda terrorists spotted outside the airport last week...escaped before Saudi police could arrest them.

Wink, wink. Nod, nod.

5 posted on 09/11/2003 8:05:12 PM PDT by SpyGuy
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To: ranair34
Cripes, and this goes public in the hours leading up to 9/12?
6 posted on 09/11/2003 8:05:32 PM PDT by meg70
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To: July 4th
I agree.
7 posted on 09/11/2003 8:07:10 PM PDT by GOP_Proud
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To: ranair34
It sounds like Padilla is at minimum a liar and passes fraudulant checks. Not much of a stretch to believe he's in on it. I think his brother is either gravely mistaken or blowing smoke. This story is worrisome....

Prairie
8 posted on 09/11/2003 8:07:15 PM PDT by prairiebreeze (God rest the souls of the 9-11 victims. We Will Never Forget.)
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To: ranair34
Last I knew this is a legit story and the plane, rumored spotted a couple of times, has not been found.
9 posted on 09/11/2003 8:07:37 PM PDT by Brian S (Vote Freedom First!)
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To: prairiebreeze
Don't we have another Padilla in custody for something?
10 posted on 09/11/2003 8:08:09 PM PDT by GOP_Proud
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To: ranair34
I just dont see terrorists using a "jewel" like their own 727 fuel tanker on a measly British jetliner, they will crash it into a building, like the White House if they can fly it low over the Ocean an not be detected.
11 posted on 09/11/2003 8:08:12 PM PDT by Husker24
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To: prairiebreeze
What is more worrysome is that a 727 flying fuel tanker was seen heading to the Middle East...
12 posted on 09/11/2003 8:08:14 PM PDT by meg70
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To: xzins
Google News doesn't appear to have any related story.
13 posted on 09/11/2003 8:08:25 PM PDT by newgeezer (...until the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury.)
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To: ranair34
Is this the same plane that went missing in Africa that they were talking about a month or so ago?, I dont remember that one being a tanker.
14 posted on 09/11/2003 8:09:21 PM PDT by Husker24
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To: ranair34
is this the missing plane from awhile back??
15 posted on 09/11/2003 8:09:56 PM PDT by Mo1 (http://www.favewavs.com/wavs/cartoons/spdemocrats.wav)
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To: xzins
Plug "727" into your FR search engine to learn what we know...

Into thin air (Where on earth is Angola's missing 727? Is it now a bomb?)
      Posted by dead
On 08/15/2003 9:55 AM EDT with 41 comments


The Telegraph, London via SMH ^ | August 15, 2003 | William Langley
     
 
`A perfect flying bomb' disappears; Aged Boeing 727 last seen in June (missing again?)
      Posted by Brian S
On 07/11/2003 10:56 AM EDT with 27 comments


Toronto Star ^ | 07-11-03
     
 
Missing 727 Located?
      Posted by adam_az
On 07/09/2003 7:33 PM EDT with 13 comments


Professional Pilots Rumor Network ^ | 7/9/2003 | PPRuN
     
 
Africa: Mystery Boeing 727 briefly resurfaces in Guinea then disappearance again.
      Posted by yankeedame
On 07/07/2003 7:10 PM EDT with 33 comments


The Sydney Morning Herald ^ | July 8 2003 | staff writer
     
 
Plane in terrorism scare turns up sporting a respray (Missing 727 UPDATE)
      Posted by LdSentinal
On 07/07/2003 2:25 AM EDT with 30 comments


The Guardian ^ | 7/7/03 | James Astill
     
 
Missing 727 Inspires Fear
      Posted by freeperfromnj
On 06/27/2003 12:44 PM EDT with 45 comments


ABC News ^ | June 27, 2003 | By the ABCNEWS Legal-Investigative Unit
     
 
Family of Possible 727 Pilot: He Is Not A Terrorist
      Posted by ewing
On 06/19/2003 12:05 PM EDT with 92 comments


ABC News Exclusive ^ | June 19, 2003 | Invesigative Team staff report
     
 
Hide in Plane Sight (Authorities fear Boeing 727 stolen in Angola may be used in terrorism)
      Posted by HAL9000
On 06/18/2003 10:45 PM EDT with 69 comments


ABC News ^ | June 18, 2003 | Pierre Thomas
     
 
Report: Fears vanished Boeing 727 to be used for terror
      Posted by yonif
On 06/13/2003 6:10 AM EDT with 10 comments


Jerusalem Post ^ | Jun. 13, 2003 | THE JERUSALEM POST INTERNET STAFF
     
 
Intensive Search Under Way for Airliner Missing for Nearly a Month (Boeing 727 over Angola!)
      Posted by Int
On 06/12/2003 10:06 AM EDT with 29 comments


ABC News ^ | Pierre Thomas | Pierre Thomas
     
 
Govt. Demands Quick Conclusion of Air Inquiry-Stolen Angolan 727 Aircraft Has US Plates (ID-N844AA)
      Posted by ewing
On 05/31/2003 12:19 PM EDT with 38 comments


Angola Press ^ | May 31, 2003 5:02 PM | Andre Luis Brandao
     
 
Missing Boeing 727 Aircraft - Angola Africa
      Posted by Calpernia
On 05/31/2003 12:54 AM EDT with 16 comments


WASHINGTON (CNN) | May 31, 2003 | unknown senior U.S. official
     

16 posted on 09/11/2003 8:10:03 PM PDT by Brian S (Vote Freedom First!)
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To: ranair34
Sadly, I agree. He's dead.

For the plan to go forward, some suicide-inclined pilot must have been lined up.

Or not, perhaps. This time they won't get away with a pilot who only has to steer, but will need a pilot that can take off.

17 posted on 09/11/2003 8:10:25 PM PDT by happygrl
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To: Mo1
Same plane. Same pilot story.
18 posted on 09/11/2003 8:10:29 PM PDT by GOP_Proud
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To: meg70
This is just plain silly. As stated on previous threads, the idea that you could "hide" a 727 in the dessert is impossible. Airliners need runways. Long, flat, hard-surfaced and clear.

You could no more take a 727 off from dessert sand then you could from water. The Western Sahara may be the size of Europe, but the number of runways that could handle a 727 are few.

I think this writer is just trying to take advantage of the 9-11 anniversary to sell some fearmongering copy.
19 posted on 09/11/2003 8:10:34 PM PDT by Ronin (Qui tacet consentit!)
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To: newgeezer
Nothing showing on DEBKA radar either..I would suspect that they would have gotten a sniff of this through Mossad by now
20 posted on 09/11/2003 8:10:36 PM PDT by meg70
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To: July 4th
why steal one? there relatively low in price.
21 posted on 09/11/2003 8:10:49 PM PDT by willy WOXOF
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To: Brian S
Wow! Thanks. I had no idea.
22 posted on 09/11/2003 8:10:52 PM PDT by xzins
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To: GOP_Proud
Jose Padilla is the one they think would have built a dirty bomb

Prairie
23 posted on 09/11/2003 8:11:11 PM PDT by prairiebreeze (God rest the souls of the 9-11 victims. We Will Never Forget.)
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To: newgeezer
Lots of dots connected without reputable sources quoted. Color me very skeptical.
24 posted on 09/11/2003 8:11:23 PM PDT by CanisRex (my .02)
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To: ranair34
[S]py chiefs believe the Boeing was poised to launch its attack on a British airliner as it began its descent over Saudi Arabia into Riyadh airport.

Why would terrorists, as well-organized and well-trained as al-Queda, waste a Boeing 727 on simply bringing down another passenger jet? I don't buy it. They will use this aircraft for a 9/11 type attack somewhere.

Suspected al-Qaeda terrorists spotted outside [Riyadh airport last week are now believed to have been using sophisticated electronic equipment to track British airways flights.

It's much more likely that they were attempting to shoot down the British aircraft with a shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile.

25 posted on 09/11/2003 8:11:24 PM PDT by SpyGuy
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To: ranair34
This article makes it sound much more sinister than previous reports. Other reports downplayed the potential threat by saying the plane has probably crashed in the ocean off the south east coast of Africa.

As for using the plane as a bomb--another airliner would seem a relatively small target. Consider the potential. The 727 had the passenger seating removed and replaced with additional fuel tanks. With that kind of potential, a target would be something much greater--size and/or population--than another airliner.

If Al-Qaeda has control of the plane, and if they were going to use it as a bomb, they would probably head it for another large building, not another airliner.
26 posted on 09/11/2003 8:13:05 PM PDT by TomGuy
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To: xzins
Padillia's brother signed on to FR. I read the post.
27 posted on 09/11/2003 8:13:40 PM PDT by cmsgop (If you Sprinkle When You Tinkle,...Be a Sweetie and Wipe the Seatie......Priceless!!!!!!!!)
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To: Dog; Miss Marple
bttt
28 posted on 09/11/2003 8:14:02 PM PDT by kayak (I support Billybob - www.ArmorforCongress.com)
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To: July 4th
This story will probably turn out like the Iraqi ghost ships.
29 posted on 09/11/2003 8:14:13 PM PDT by oyez
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To: Ronin
No radar in that part of Africa, I share your difficulty in believing that you could hide a plane transferring it to 2-3 locations..but maybe it was planned ahead of time..
30 posted on 09/11/2003 8:14:25 PM PDT by meg70
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To: cmsgop
I saw him interviewed on FNC one night.
31 posted on 09/11/2003 8:14:38 PM PDT by GOP_Proud
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To: ranair34
Guessing here.......advanced feul source for 'homemade' (foreign bougnt) saudi (WaHabi) cruise missles for future use against our ships and Israeli targets?

:-(

32 posted on 09/11/2003 8:15:19 PM PDT by maestro
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To: willy WOXOF
why steal one? there relatively low in price.

I'm with you on that...buy a plane, fly it on a few legit cargo flights to gain a reputation then do the dirty deed.

33 posted on 09/11/2003 8:15:29 PM PDT by Brian S (Vote Freedom First!)
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To: oyez
Interesting that NSA has moved the senstitve listening/locatiing equipment over the Sahara, awfully specific for a fish story..
34 posted on 09/11/2003 8:15:47 PM PDT by meg70
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To: ranair34
This seems far fetched. first, where are they going to get the jet fuel to fill this? Second, why a 727 to attack a jet liner? Hitting it with a Cessna would be about as effective. If a plane crashes, no one on board is surviving. And hitting a BA flight with a Cessna or something else would definitely bring it down.
35 posted on 09/11/2003 8:16:43 PM PDT by Koblenz (There's usually a free market solution)
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To: ranair34
This is insane! It's not like it's a needle in a haystack!
36 posted on 09/11/2003 8:18:25 PM PDT by JustPiper ( FREEREPUBLIC.COM is the ONLY Fair and Balanced News!!!)
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To: ranair34
Hidden somewhere in the vast Sahara desert of East Africa – an area the size of Europe – the spy chiefs believe the Boeing was poised to launch its attack on a British airliner as it began its descent over Saudi Arabia into Riyadh airport. Suspected al-Qaeda terrorists spotted outside the airport last week are now believed to have been using sophisticated electronic equipment to track British airways flights. They escaped before Saudi police could arrest them.

This rumor has been out for quite awhile. No sale. How is a 727 loaded with fuel going to take off from anywhere except a long, concrete runway? Might be a good place to look for it. And, why would they waste it colliding with another aircraft, when they could hit a population center and take out thousands of people?

I'm going to wager the author of this is a bit odoriferous.

37 posted on 09/11/2003 8:18:58 PM PDT by FlyVet
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To: ranair34
Thank goodness we taught Americans to be politically correct about their immigration rules. Without our liberal PC laws, these fine folks would never have been able to pull off any of their highjackings, and we'd never be this close to destroying America from within. These heros bring us one step closer to our glorious goal of a socialist revolution. In the name of Mrax, Amen.

Signed, Bill and Hillary Clinton

38 posted on 09/11/2003 8:19:56 PM PDT by concerned about politics (Lucifers lefties are still stuck at the bottom of Maslow's Hierarchy)
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To: SpyGuy
I remember reading something about computers being stolen from the Sydney Australia airport recently. I think they were worried about access to security codes.
39 posted on 09/11/2003 8:20:18 PM PDT by MontanaBeth (Born Conservative)
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To: All
Check out Post 65

http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/931538/posts?q=1&&page=51
40 posted on 09/11/2003 8:20:37 PM PDT by cmsgop (If you Sprinkle When You Tinkle,...Be a Sweetie and Wipe the Seatie......Priceless!!!!!!!!)
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To: ranair34

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Missing jet likely stripped for parts
Oakland Tribune, CA - Aug 31, 2003
... the family as extremely close, and said, "if he was alive and knew all this mess
was going on, he would contact us." Another brother had e-mailed Ben Padilla ...

What has happened to a Boeing 727 that mysteriously disappeared ...
American Free Press, D.C. - Aug 24, 2003
... Another urgent concern is to discover the fate of Ben Padilla, the 51-year-old American
“bush pilot” who was at the controls of the 727 when it suddenly ...

Case of Missing Jetliner Unsolved
Washington Post, DC - Aug 22, 2003
... He said: "[I]f he was alive and knew all this mess was going on, he would contact
us." Another brother had e-mailed Ben Padilla in Africa days before the ...

41 posted on 09/11/2003 8:21:09 PM PDT by Fitzcarraldo
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To: TomGuy
An unscheduled flight of a fairly large airplane, however, strikes me as a somewhat easier thing to spot approaching the country.

Of course, there are circumstances where such a plane might get into U.S. airspace under some ruse... but it is also highly likely that such a flight would be much more interceptable than some other regularly scheduled flight.

I hope.
42 posted on 09/11/2003 8:21:33 PM PDT by Ramius
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To: cmsgop
Thanks.
43 posted on 09/11/2003 8:21:33 PM PDT by xzins
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To: Brian S
So what is the geography on where it has been spotted? And is this why we got new warning today? We were warned that without a doubt we are going to have a chem/bio attack, like the bad in-laws coming to visit. So you know our government knows alot!
44 posted on 09/11/2003 8:21:56 PM PDT by JustPiper ( FREEREPUBLIC.COM is the ONLY Fair and Balanced News!!!)
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To: GOP_Proud
Post 65

http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/931538/posts?q=1&&page=51
45 posted on 09/11/2003 8:22:04 PM PDT by cmsgop (If you Sprinkle When You Tinkle,...Be a Sweetie and Wipe the Seatie......Priceless!!!!!!!!)
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To: FlyVet
< I'm going to wager the author of this is a bit odoriferous. >

Don't know about "odoriferous" but it does smell.
46 posted on 09/11/2003 8:22:08 PM PDT by GOP_Proud
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To: Husker24
There's virtualy zero chance of this pane making it high or low into DC.
47 posted on 09/11/2003 8:22:47 PM PDT by AmericaUnited
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To: GOP_Proud
Wasn't there a Padilla they naile dher in Chicago?
48 posted on 09/11/2003 8:23:07 PM PDT by JustPiper ( FREEREPUBLIC.COM is the ONLY Fair and Balanced News!!!)
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To: cmsgop
What I seriously agree with is that his brother is dead.
49 posted on 09/11/2003 8:25:00 PM PDT by GOP_Proud
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To: xzins
Love to help,Thank You!
50 posted on 09/11/2003 8:25:03 PM PDT by cmsgop (If you Sprinkle When You Tinkle,...Be a Sweetie and Wipe the Seatie......Priceless!!!!!!!!)
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