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.
Snippet: NETTAVISEN.no: "Krekar-saken NETT-TREFF: Krekar varsler hellig krig Av: Ole Berthelsen / Liv Ekeberg 11. feb 11:36, ny 12. feb 14:32 Hellig krig, jihad, vil komme dersom amerikanerne fortsetter den politikk som landet fører i dag, hevdet mulla Krekar under Nettavisens nett-treff. Nettavisens lesere gikk mann av huse for å stille spørsmål til mulla Krekar onsdag. Under nett-treffet ble Krekar spurt om han tror på hellig krig. Hellig krig, jihad, vil komme dersom amerikanerne (les: George Bush) fortsetter den politikk som landet fører i dag, svarte Krekar. Mulla Krekar svarte Nettavisens lesere onsdag. Foto: Liv Ekeberg/Nettavisen Bush en full sjåfør Han kom også med harde utfall mot president George W. Bush. George Bush er en full sjåfør som kjører en toetasjers buss over en falleferdig bro, mener han. Bin Laden Anders fra Oslo ville vite hva Krekar mener om Osama bin Laden og opptaket med al-Qaida-lederen. Jeg tror opptaket er ekte, og at han prøver å motivere irakere for å si at de ikke skal være redde for USA, svarte Krekar. Ansar al-Islam Han benekter at han leder den kurdiske gruppen Ansar al-Islam. Jeg har sagt til norske og utenlandske medier at jeg ikke lenger er leder for Ansar al-Islam. Det gjentar jeg også her nå, hevdet Krekar. Men jeg er bekymret fordi den er en kurdisk-islamsk gruppe som er truet av en mulig krig, la han til. Forlater Norge med glede På spørsmål om hva han vil gjøre dersom han blir utvist fra Norge, svarte mullaen at han vil gjøre det "med glede". Hvis norsk lov sier at jeg må forlate landet, så vil jeg gjøre det med glede og takknemlighet overfor det norske folk for hva jeg har fått gjennom 11 år i deres land. De fleste har vært høflige mot meg og min familie og har behandlet meg rettferdig." (NOTE: Click on the snippet/link to read the exact text of the interview. I have an English Language computer so this foreign language snippet may not be in its correct format on this page only.)
***INSIGHT On The News online: "AL-QAEDA OPERATIVES STILL ACTIVE IN IRAQ" by Kenneth R. Timmerman (ARTICLE SNIPPET: "An Islamic group with ties to al-Qaeda continues to operate in northern Iraq where it receives aid from Saddam Hussein's intelligence services, Iraqi opposition officials in Washington and London told Insight in recent interviews. The group, called Ansar al-Islam, is led by an Iraqi Kurd named Nejmeddin Faraj Ahmad (also known as Mullah Krekar) who trained with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan in the 1980s.") (020403)
THE NEW YORKER - FACT: A Reporter At Large: "THE UNKNOWN" by Jeffrey Goldberg (ARTICLE SNIPPET: "Intelligence officials told me that the agency also takes seriously reports that an Iraqi known as Abu Wa'el, whose real name is Saadoun Mahmoud Abdulatif al-Ani, is the liaison of Saddam's intelligence service to a radical Muslim group called Ansar al-Islam, which controls a small enclave in northern Iraq; the group is believed by American and Kurdish intelligence officials to be affiliated with Al Qaeda. I learned of another possible connection early last year, while I was interviewing Al Qaeda operatives in a Kurdish prison in Sulaimaniya. There, a man whom Kurdish intelligence officials identified as a captured Iraqi agent told me that in 1992 he served as a bodyguard to Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden's deputy, when Zawahiri secretly visited Baghdad.") (February 3, 2003)
***AFTENPOSTEN.no: "USA WANTS NORWAY TO WATCH KREKAR" (ARTICLE SNIPPET: "Mullah Krekar has been, and likely remains, the leader of Ansar al-Islam, a fringe Islamic group in Iranian Kurdistan accused of having connections to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist network. The New York Times reported the connection last week after interviews with Ansa al-Islam members, and after finding documents in Afghanistan mentioning direct links to al-Qaeda.") (January 17, 2003)
stepping back in time...ALBAWABA.com: "EXPERTS: AL ZAWAHIRI TAPE IN AL JAZEERA TRIGGERED RECENT WAVE OF ATTACKS" (ARTICLE SNIPPET: "A tape played on the Qatar-based Al Jazeera television last week from Ayman al Zawahiri and later authenticated by the Americans seemed to have triggered the recent wave of attacks. According to the British Daily Telegraph, that has suggested to Western experts that al-Qaeda has now devolved the timing and possibly the targeting of terrorist attacks to its cells in the field.") (101402)
stepping back in time...HOUSTON CHRONICLE.com (NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE): "BIN LADEN DEPUTY, AN EGYPTIAN SURGEON, HAS LONG BACKED EXTREMIST CAUSES" (September 24, 2001) (ARTICLE NOTE: The "Bin Laden deputy, Egyptian surgeon" is identified as Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, age 50. ARTICLE SNIPPET: "The man, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, 50, was the leader of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the terrorist group blamed for the 1981 assassination of President Anwar el-Sadat. He joined in an alliance with bin Laden's group in 1998. After the American cruise missile attacks on al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan that year, it was Zawahiri who telephoned a Pakistani reporter on bin Laden's behalf and warned: "The war has started. The Americans should wait for the answer."") (September 24, 2001)
WorldNetDaily.com: "NEW EVIDENCE LINKS SADDAM, BIN LADEN" (ARTICLE SNIPPET: "Unit 999 of Iraqi intelligence has helped train both Arafat's shock troops and bin Laden's Islamists for suicide operations utilizing weapons of mass destruction. According to Bodansky's book, some of these terrorists have already "succeeded in infiltrating several Arab countries. They are provided with instructions, secret codes and advanced weapons." According to Israeli sources, the Iraqis permitted the terrorist trainees to test chemical weapons in southern Kurdistan.") (120902)
***News.TELEGRAPH.co.uk: "CHEMICAL WAR THREAT BY IRAQ'S 'TALIBAN'" (ARTICLE SNIPPET: "Mullah Mohammad Hasan is the new leader of Ansar Al-Islam, a radical Taliban-style mini-state in Northern Iraq where ricin and other chemical agents have been been tested as potential weapons. He has vowed to use his arsenal to fight America and its allies if a war is launched against Saddam Hussein. Ansar has also given shelter to Abu Musaab al-Zarqawi - the al-Qaeda quartermaster responsible for planning the terrorist group's attacks - in its camps, according to Kurdish officials in the area. The group has told recent visitors to its enclave that it holds stocks of the deadly chemical agents ricin, cyanide gas and aflatoxin.") (January 12, 2003)
stepping back in time...CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: "TALIBAN-STYLE GROUP GROWS IN IRAQ" (ARTICLE SNIPPETS: "HALABJA, NORTHERN IRAQ - A radical Islamist group - with possible links to Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein - is growing and threatening the stability of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq."..."Since, Ansar al-Islam has nearly doubled in size to 700, including Iraqis, Jordanians, Moroccans, Palestinians, and Afghans - a composition similar to the multinational Al Qaeda network. Villagers here claim it has ransacked and razed beauty salons, burned schools for girls, and murdered women in the streets for refusing to wear the burqa. It has seized a Taliban-style enclave of 4,000 civilians and several villages near the Iran border.") (March 15, 2002)
Anna Pukas and Nick Rufford
June 11, 1995, Sunday
Special Branch detectives working with the FBI believe Yousef adopted the identidy of Abdul Basit Mahmoud Kareem, a Kuwaiti studying electronic engineering at the Swansea Institute of Higher Education. They have questioned staff there about the two men. Kareem, who attended the institute between 1987 and 1989, is thought to have been killed by Iraqi police during an incursion into Kuwait prior to the 1990 invasion. Yousef subsequently added Kareem's name to the aliases he used to evade capture.
Yousef, 27, was finally arrested in Pakistan last February two years after the World Trade Center bombing killed six people and extradited to the United States, where he faces trial in the autumn. A pre-trial hearing is set for Wednesday.
Dubbed ''the new Jackal'', he is also implicated in a plot to assassinate the Pope during his January visit to the Philippines and a scheme to blow up American airliners departing from Singapore, Hong Kong and Manila.
The Swansea connection appears to have been confirmed by Yousef. In a statement to the FBI, he allegedly said he was born in Kuwait of Pakistani parents and went to Swansea to study electronic engineering, graduating in 1989.
Although some former undergraduates and residents have claimed to remember seeing a man resembling him around the campus, university authorities found no trace of him in their records, either under the name Yousef or any permutation of four known aliases.
The institute confirmed that a student registered as Abdul Basit Mahmoud Kareem completed a two-year HND in electronic engineering in 1989, which included a course in micro-electronics. However, none of the staff was able to identify him positively as either Kareem or Yousef from photographs produced by Special Branch officers.
Hywel Rees, the vice-principal of the institute, said: ''The student we had could in many ways fit the profile of the person now in New York. But while he was with us he was a completely normal student, neither outstanding nor dull, who caused no concern at all.''
The real Kareem paid his own Pounds 4,000-a-year tuition fees and lived in a bedsit in the Uplands area of Swansea, a district with a large student population. The institute recalls he was registered as a Kuwaiti resident, although his birthplace was Iraq, and that he returned to Kuwait after his HND.
It is thought that after his death Iraqi police kept his passport, which subsequently fell into Yousef's hands. When Yousef boarded a plane from New York to Pakistan hours after the World Trade Center explosion, he was travelling under the name Abdul Basit, two of Kareem's first names.
Yousef is known to be a master of disguise, despite the fact that he has distinctive disfigurements: two deformed little fingers and one blind eye. Four photographs discovered in the Manila apartment show him looking completely different in each.
Mr. Salem talks of the plan to substitute harmless powder for explosives during another conversation with agent Floyd. In that conversation, he recalls a previous discussion with Mr. Anticev.The FBI and the Mad Bombers
"Do you deny," Mr. Salem says he told the other agent, "your supervisor is the main reason of bombing the World Trade Center?" Mr. Salem said Mr. Anticev did not deny it. "We was handling the case perfectly well until the supervisor came and messed it up, upside down."
Your wish is my command. Here is your visual:
Mussolini, his wife and some of his fellow facists seen hanging around at the end of the war.
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