Skip to comments.EX-SWANSEA STUDENT'S STORY COULD PROVIDE LINK BETWEEN AL-QAEDA AND IRAQ
Posted on 02/14/2003 10:08:17 PM PST by Wallaby
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EX-SWANSEA STUDENT'S STORY COULD PROVIDE LINK BETWEEN AL-QAEDA AND IRAQ
JENNY REES Western Mail; NEWS; Pg. 9 February 1, 2003, Saturday
THE story of how an ex-Swansea student's identity was stolen could help provide evidence of a link between Iraq and Al-Qaeda, it was claimed last night. After years of painstaking re-search, former Bill Clinton defence adviser Laurie Mylroie claims Ramzi Yousef, who bombed the New York World Trade Centre in 1993, was an Iraqi agent. Mylroie, who advised Bill Clinton on Iraq during his 1992 presidential campaign, is convinced that Yousef stole the identity papers of Abdul Basit, who studied computer-aided engineering at Swansea Institute of Higher Education in the 1980s. Yousef was sentenced to 240 years for terrorism plots and the 1993 attack which severely damaged the World Trade Centre's underground car park and killed six people.
Mylroie, whose book The War Against America details her belief that Iraq and Al-Qaeda are inextricably linked, is pleased that President Bush is now connecting Iraq with the September 11 attacks. She said, "Al-Qaeda acts as a front for Iraqi intelligence. Al-Qaeda provides the ideology, the foot soldiers and the cover, and Iraqi intelligence provides the direction, training and expertise."
"Al-Qaeda acts as a front for Iraqi intelligence. Al-Qaeda provides the ideology, the foot soldiers and the cover, and Iraqi intelligence provides the direction, training and expertise."
To confirm her suspicions that Yousef had stolen Abdul Basit's identity, she travelled to Swansea to speak to institute lecturers who had taught him. She said, "The crucial factor in deciding that Basit and Yousef were two separate people was their height. "His teachers put Basit at about 5ft 8ins tall while Yousef was a six footer. "The two lecturers with whom I met had a very clear memory of Abdul Basit. "They described him as quiet and not quite the person who would run up $ 18,000 in unpaid telephone bills as Yousef had.
"He was also not the sort of per-son to play a leading role in organising others in two major bombing plots (the first World Trade Centre attack and a plan to blow up 12 US airliners). "Abdul Basit's teachers also said they observed no strong political or religious views in the student. "He went to the Swansea Mosque on Fridays but was not considered an extremist."
Mylroie says her research has shown that Basit was one of a number of Kuwaiti students murdered when Iraq invaded their country in 1990. Their passports and belongings were stolen and later used to provide Iraqi agents with false identities, she claims. It is thought Yousef was even given text books Abdul Basit had loaned and not returned from Swansea Library to complete his cover. When finally arrested in Pakistan after fleeing the US, the library books were discovered in his hotel room along with maps and guns. Mylroie says the capture of Abdul Basit's identity and the subsequent attack on the World Trade Centre was a precursor to the September 11 terrorist attacks. Mylroie says at Salman Pak, a short distance from Bagdhad, US intelligence planes have taken photographs of a parked Boeing 707. She says Iraqi defectors and captured Al-Qaeda agents have said this plane has been used by terrorists for "familiarisation" with western airliners in preparation for attacks and hijacks.
Mylroie is not the only American defence expert to have concerns about the links between Ramzi Yousef and Iraq. Last year, Paul Wolfowitz, the hawkish US deputy defence sec-retary, sent James Woolsey, a former CIA director, to Swansea to search for information about Abdul Basit and Ramzi Yousef.
By Tom Martin
Sunday Express; NEWS; Pg. 17
January 26, 2003
And as a probable conflict in the Gulf looms, there is also the nightmare of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein using horrific weapons of mass destruction against Western troops.
But while UN inspectors are yet to uncover smoking-gun evidence of a deadly arsenal, there is no doubt his scientists can create carnage after being educated at the some of the UK's leading universities. Intelligence sources say that up to 30 people in Iraq's weapons programme were trained in Britain.
They include Edinburgh Universityeducated physicist Faleh Hassan Hamza, who has been linked to nuclear development. The 55-year-old last week denied 3,000 research documents found at his home by inspectors were evidence of a secret programme to obtain a nuclear bomb.
Another suspect scientist is Dr Rihab Rashida Taha, who was named in a Government dossier as the mastermind of Iraq's biological research. The mother, who studied for a PhD in plant toxins at the University of East Anglia, was dubbed Dr Germ after the Gulf War, when it emerged she had helped create 10billion doses of killer toxins.
UN inspectors are also keen to question Dr Hazem Ali, a former veterinary student at Newcastle University, and Mahmoud Bilal, who studied chemical engineering at Strathclyde University in Glasgow.
It is feared that, throughout the 1980s, the Iraqi regime was able to exploit lax security at British universities, with state-sponsored students trying to obtain a range of deadly materials including anthrax and bubonic plague.
Professor Graham Pearson, former director general of the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment at Porton Down, said recently: "They acquired cultures from America and we know there were attempts made to obtain them in Britain."
Although the Foreign Office has since introduced a voluntary vetting scheme to stop germs and chemicals falling into the wrong hands, it is feared campuses remain an ideal training ground for terrorists and agents from rogue states.
Overseas students spend more than GBP 200million a year in fees and off-campus extras, providing a vital boost to cashstrapped institutions.
One Scottish academic last night claimed corrupt regimes and terror groups could still take advantage of lax procedures.
The professor, who asked not to be named, said: "Given the current problems with university funding, one suspects reference checks may not be as thorough as before.
"There are presently no binding regulations preventing you from accepting a student from any particular country if there is no problem in them getting a visa."
Fears that terror groups could infiltrate science-related courses have heightened since September 11.
Following the attack, thousands of students in Britain were secretly checked by police. MI5 and Special Branch officers asked university heads for signs of "unusual or suspicious" projects and programmes. More than 40 universities with top-level scientific courses were put on alert, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Dundee.
The move came eight years after it emerged one of the masterminds behind the first attempt to destroy the World Trade Center had studied in Wales.
Kuwaiti Ramzi Youssef, now serving a life sentence in the USA, used the skills learned at the West Glamorgan Institute of Higher Education - now known as the Swansea Institute - to build timing and firing mechanisms for the bomb that killed six people and injured more than 1,000.
Last year, former University of Dundee student Shamsul Bahri Hussein was named as one of eight suspects wanted for the Bali bombing. He was said to be part of a militant Islamic group funded by Osama Bin Laden's al Qaeda network.
Terrorism expert Professor David Capitanchik, of Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, yesterday warned it was still possible for terror groups to infiltrate scientific courses.
He said: "We know anti-Western terrorists have taken degrees here in the past and it is quite conceivable that there are others here right now.
"Of course, since September 11 the security services have been monitoring the situation at home more closely, as the recent anti-terrorism arrests show.
Officials at the Home Office yesterday tried to play down the threat posed and insisted "several adequate arrangements were already in place".
A spokeswoman said: "The security services will continue to co-operate with their international counterparts to ensure terrorists cannot enter Britain by posing as asylum seekers, business people or students."
The Foreign Office said its vetting scheme was constantly under review.
Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden studied English in Oxford when he was just 14, while infamous assassin Carlos "the Jackal", went to the London School of Economics. <
One of these other Kuwaitis was Basit's US-educated uncle, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed ("KSM"). Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is the author of 9-11. He has also been connected with every major anti-US bombing conspiracy since the end of the Gulf War. He is the real uber terrorist of the past decade -- not Osama bin Laden, who was little more than a pitch man. KSM is Saddam's prime contractor for international terrorism, having replaced Abu Nidal, who formerly filled that slot. The administration has been very unwilling to divulge what they actually know about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. I'll give you all three guesses as to why that might be.
NEWS; Pg. 4
September 14, 2002, Saturday
His nephew, Ramzi Yousef, is now serving life in America's most secure prison for the first attack on the WTC almost a decade ago, which left six dead and hundreds wounded.
While Yousef was on the run in 1994 and 1995, he and his uncle were accused of plotting to send 12 airliners simultaneously into major US landmarks.
The two are also believed to have planned, in 1995, to bomb several trans -Pacific airliners heading for the US.
The first plot is known territory for intelligence agencies because it was aborted after going disastrously wrong.
Yousef had been working on bomb designs when chemicals in his Philippine hide -out caught fire. He fled, leaving behind a laptop with crucial information, and was later arrested in Pakistan.
Khalid, who even before September 11 had a $ 5m price on his head, managed to escape.
And now - in an interview with Yosri Fouda of Gulf-based pan-Arab Al-Jazeera Television, which has previously screened bin Laden videos - he has revealed how this plot developed into a devastating act of war.
"About two and a half years prior to the holy raids on Washington and New York, the military committee held a meeting during which we decided to start planning for a martyrdom operation inside America," Khalid says from a secret location.
"The attacks were designed to cause as many deaths as possible, and havoc, and to be a big slap for America on American soil.
"We were never short of potential martyrs. Indeed, we have a department called the Department of Martyrs," which, he added, was still active and "always will be, as long as we are in jihad against the infidels and the Zionists. We have scores of volunteers."
Yousef was one such volunteer. He is believed to be Kuwaiti-born, and completed an HND in electronics at the former West Glamorgan Institute of Higher Education in Swansea (now Swansea Institute) between 1987 and 1989.
Now the US security services say the man serving life for placing a bomb in the WTC's subterranean car park is not who he says he is.
In August last year, the FBI reopened the files for undisclosed reasons and it emerged the master bomber has successfully used nine aliases - among them that of innocent Swansea student Abdul Kareem.
Post date 09.13.01 | Issue date 09.24.01
In the immediate aftermath of Tuesday's attacks, attention has focused on terrorist chieftain Osama bin Laden. And he may well be responsible. But intelligence and law enforcement officials investigating the case would do well to at least consider another possibility: that the attacks--whether perpetrated by bin Laden and his associates or by others--were sponsored, supported, and perhaps even ordered by Saddam Hussein.
To this end, investigators should revisit the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. A few years ago, the facts in that case seemed straightforward: The mastermind behind the bombing, who went by the alias Ramzi Yousef, was in fact a 27-year-old Pakistani named Abdul Basit. But late last year, AEI Press published Study of Revenge: Saddam Hussein's Unfinished War Against America, a careful book about the bombing by AEI scholar Laurie Mylroie. The book's startling thesis is that the original theory of the attack, advanced by James Fox (the FBI's chief investigator into the 1993 bombing until his replacement in 1994) was correct: that Yousef was not Abdul Basit but rather an Iraqi agent who had assumed the latter's identity when police files in Kuwait (where the real Abdul Basit lived in 1990) were doctored by Iraqi intelligence during the occupation of Kuwait. If Mylroie and Fox (who died in 1997) are right, then it was Iraq that went after the World Trade Center last time. Which makes it much more plausible that Iraq has done so again.
According to the theory of the 1993 bombing embraced by federal prosecutors and the Clinton administration, Yousef/Abdul Basit was just another Middle Eastern student who became radicalized in his early twenties. But it is worth noting that the only two publicly reported items suggesting that Yousef and Abdul Basit are the same man could very easily have been products of Iraqi tampering with Kuwaiti police files: a few photocopied pages from earlier Abdul Basit passports that had clearly been tampered with, provided by Yousef in New York in 1992 to get a Pakistani passport in Abdul Basit's name, and fingerprints matching Yousef's found in Abdul Basit's police file in Kuwait. It is also worth noting that Abdul Basit and his family, who lived in Kuwait, disappeared during the Iraqi occupation, and the family has never reappeared. Was this a random tragedy of war or part of an effort to set up a false identity for Yousef?
DAVID HENCKE WESTMINSTER CORRESPONDENT
THE GUARDIAN HOME PAGE; Pg. 2
The Guardian (London)
June 17, 1993
Sir John's memo shows that ministers were poised to sell the centre to Porton International Ltd, a private company set up to market its products, but dropped the plan "in view of the part it played in the Gulf War." Mr Hart told the committee that this followed a meeting between ministers from the Treasury, Ministry of Defence and Department of Health.
Dr Jeremy Metters, deputy chief medical officer, told Mr Williams that Porton Down produced vaccines against anthrax and other anti-biological and chemical warfare agents.
He also disclosed that anthrax and toxic agents were produced at Porton Down, but only to test vaccines. Britain has signed an international agreement not to produce chemical and biological warfare materials but maintains that Porton Down is a chemical defence rather than a war research establishment.
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