Skip to comments.'Scary' U of M student jailed, Possible terrorism ties under investigation
Posted on 09/16/2005 5:58:17 AM PDT by gg188
'Scary' U of M student jailed
Possible terrorism ties under investigation
By Chris Conley
September 16, 2005
When FBI agents walked into Mahmoud Maawad's spartan apartment at 3557 Mynders # 5 on Sept. 9, they found a desk, chair, computer and a Koran.
They also found an airline pilot's uniform, a chart of Memphis International Airport, and instructional DVDs, including one called "How an Airline Captain Should Look and Act."
A federal magistrate Thursday ordered Maawad, a 29-year-old University of Memphis student from Egypt, jailed until his trial on charges of wire fraud and fraudulent use of a Social Security number.
"The specific facts and circumstances are scary," Asst. U.S. Atty. Steve Parker said, arguing against Maawad's release.
Since Maawad can't get a Social Security number, "he can't get a pilot's license, and can't go to flight school," Parker said. "But he wants to get behind the wheel of an aircraft."
Parker said "we don't know either way" if Maawad is a terrorist or connected to any terror groups.
U.S. Magistrate Judge S. Thomas Anderson ruled that Maawad be held without bond.
Though it's not illegal to buy aviation material, Anderson noted, "it is hard for the court to understand why he has a large concentration of those items, and nothing else to indicate Mr. Maawad plans to stay in the community."
Maawad has been in the country illegally since 1999, and has used a false Social Security number to enroll in schools and open a bank account, Parker said.
He's been working off-the-books for cash at a North Memphis convenience store, and was arrested by Shelby County sheriff's deputies last spring for selling alcohol to a minor.
Agents are downloading information from Maawad's computer and analyzing materials from his apartment in search of a terrorism connection.
"My school is everything," said Maawad, a clean-shaven man built like a weightlifter. "I stay in this country for seven years; I stay for the school."
Maawad said he's studying science and economics at the U of M.
Since Maawad can't work legally, he told authorities a friend would support him.
When court employees tried to reach that friend, the telephone was disconnected.
Between April and August, the penniless student ordered $3,000 in aviation materials, DVDs titled "Ups and Downs of Takeoffs and Landings," "Airplane Talk," "Mental Math for Pilots" and "Mastering GPS Flying," FBI agent Thad Gulczynski testified.
He also ordered a pilot's coat and hat, and a chart of the Memphis airport terminal area from Spotty's USA in San Diego.
When the company didn't receive payment on $2,500 worth of merchandise it had delivered, officials called the FBI, which launched an investigation, Gulczynski said.
-- Chris Conley: 529-2595
Copyright 2005, commercialappeal.com - Memphis, TN. All Rights Reserved.
Perhaps, but the old adage 'they only have to get lucky once' still applies...
I agree that he was a nut and certainly needed to be deported, like yesterday. Somehow, I can't help suspecting that he might have been just a sad, poor, lonely guy who fantasized about a high paying glamorous job in aviation. Think of all the copies of Flight Simulator sold worldwide.
You don't need a course in GPS to hit a 30 story building.
Of course frustrated dreams can lead to spectacular antisocial behavior, so the sooner he's deported the better.
Oh, yes, this is such a common fantasy among Arabs who are here illegally. Sure. I can just envision him in his lonely room, saying to himself, "Gee, I love to try on my captain's uniform and pretend I'm a real live airline captain. I'll get all those great-looking kuffir airline stewardesses to pay attention me, and the plane will soar through the wild blue yonder. . ." And then he falls asleep, weaving dreams of aviation glory.
No, I don't think so.
the nut case student could be an operative or a lone nutcase trying to further his(their) cause.
I dunno, if he wanted to find a sponsor, all he had to do was find a racialized mosque (the Queens yellow pages are full of them) and troll for a gig. I think maybe he liked life in the U.S. and shared a fantasy common to many young men, worldwide.
But... we believe that the perfect model of humanity is a murderous lying illiterate pedophile. Death to everyone! Allah Fubar! (Pork Gravy Be On Him)
Anyone who uses the Queeran as anything other than toilet paper or bacon grease soakers, should be isolated, incarcerated, and interred till either deported or converted to inert material!
Kill A Commie For Mommie
Seven Dead Monkeys Page O Tunes
Actually, on the flight you're referring to, the pilot committed suicide after knifing his co-pilot to prevent him from interfering. It was later determined that the man's social life was a wreck and that he left a suicide note behind.
It was just inconvenient for the pilot that the plane had been full of passengers at the time.
The local TV stations in Memphis are completely mum on this this morning.
It was actually speculated that the terrorists deliberately arrived barely in time for their flight so that they could appear to be hurried and that they could blow off some of the security, which wasn't really in place at that time.
PS---the perp was... black. (shhhhh.)
If you shoot him, you'll never get any information out of him.
"After all, he could just be a typical Microsoft Flight Simulator geek who likes to dress up in a captain's uniform while making the JFK-LAX run on his computer. ;)"
You know, that came to mind too - I remember, back in the early 90's, at a rock club in Oakland called the Omni (now closed), I was there with a band I was doing some artwork for. I was at the bar, talking with a friend, when I saw what i thought was a Oakland cop standing agaist the wall next to the backstage door. I asked my friend why the cops were there, the band I was with were'nt known for problems or violent crowds, and he said, "Oh, THAT guy. He's been coming here forever - he's not a cop, he just dresses up like one". I took a closer look, and yeah, it was all fake - a VERY GOOD fake, but he was no cop. Fake gun, fake badge, fake patches - but probably a real uniform, bought from uniform supply, real gun belt, real baton.
All he did was stand there all night, not smiling, not glowering, just standing there. He'd been doing that for years, everyone said, nobody knew what the story was, he would'nt talk to anyone. They said he also drove an ex-cruiser he most likely got from auction, that still had the crash bars on front, and the spotlight.
So, this guy could just be another loony-tune, who's going to learn that his hobby has SEVERE consequences in our day and age. We knew a guy in college who was a total Marines wannabee (but did'nt have the guts to join), who wore fatigues day and night, fake dog tags, military haircut, read all the gun and mercenary magazines...what a complete tool! (The kind of guy you DON'T want in the military, anyway) My then roomate was in the reserves (great guy), and this chump was constantly following him around like a puppy, begging for stories and pestering him for information as to what it's like to be a soldier.
My gut feeeling is, he's a copy-cat terrorist, or is trying to get the attention of the real bad guys - 'Hey, guys, can I join? Look, I have a pilot's uniform, and I've read all these books!" If he was a cell member, he would have been given the funds. (Unless our boys cut the financial cord on him, in their ongoing efforts)
They need to take a deep, long, close look at this guy, his associates, and his computer. We can't take any chances. If he's just living out a pilot fantasy, better for us - but we need to know.
You may want to believe in your heart they are doing more ... but you would be wrong. It isn't legal.
Truly a bad state of affairs.
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