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Mystery Surrounds Convenient Arrest Of The Al-Qa'ida Mastermind 'Behind 11 September'
Independent (UK) ^ | 3-3-2003 | Phil Reeves

Posted on 03/02/2003 5:57:27 PM PST by blam

Mystery surrounds convenient arrest of the al-Qa'ida mastermind 'behind 11 September'

By Phil Reeves, Asia Correspondent
03 March 2003

The United States badly needed a big victory in its war on al-Qa'ida to counter those critics who said that the violent and fanatically anti-Western network represents a far greater and more immediate threat to Americans than Iraq.

And now, just as its generals and Pentagon strategists apply the finishing touches to their plans to invade Baghdad and topple Saddam Hussein, America says this is precisely what it has secured.

Pakistani agents, who have been working with the CIA and FBI, have, with immaculate timing, captured a man who is, by their account, almost as important as Osama bin Laden himself, an alleged mastermind of the 11 September atrocities that set off the current global crisis, a man of such criminal genius that – according to The Washington Post – he is known within the counter-intelligence world merely as "The Brain". Almost every big attack against the Americans and their allies by Islamist extremists over the past decade has been linked with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was arrested in Pakistan at the weekend and – amid some confusion last night over whether he was in US or Pakistani custody – spirited off to a secret location.

He has been described by the White House as the central planner of the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington and a "key al-Qa'ida planner". He has been referred to by others as al-Qa'ida's chief military operations officer, a conduit for money, people and plans throughout the Middle East, south Asia and Europe.

There have been suggestions that he was involved in the bombing of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, in which 224 people were killed.

Intelligence agents in the Philippines believe he was part of a cell that plotted to kill the Pope in 1995. His name has been linked with the attack on the US warship the USS Cole, in Yemen, in which 17 American sailors were killed in 2000.

His was the hand that allegedly drew the knife across the throat of a terrified Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter kidnapped and killed in Karachi as he was investigating Islamist extremist groups. He has, it is said, 27 aliases, speaks five languages, and is – say the Americans – as smooth and unruffled in a sleazy nightclub or in a restaurant in North Carolina, where he studied engineering in Chowan College, as he is in a staunchly conservative Islamic home in Pakistan.

If all these allegations are true – and it remains a significant "if" – he is about as breathtakingly ruthless and sinister as they come, a man with the blood of thousands of people on his hands and a $25m American reward on his head.

His "career" makes intriguing reading, although it is important to note that much of the details have been made public by the tireless but unnamed "US sources" who have an interest in presenting their opponent – and now captive – as a very big fish indeed. He was born in Kuwait some 37 years ago, fourth son of Sheikh Mohammed Ali, a prominent preacher at the al-Ahmadi mosque. But the family comes from the Pakistani province of Baluchistan, the wild lands bordering Afghanistan which are a hotbed of hardline Islamist anti-Westernism.

While still in his teens in Kuwait, he is said to have joined the Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928 and the largest international Islamist organisation.

In 1983, he went to Chowan to study, where he is remembered for being highly intelligent and rigidly conservative, and for keeping his distance from non-Muslims and non-Arabs. Before long he was raising money for the CIA-funded Afghan "jihad" against the occupying Soviets by selling second-hand clothes.

Six months after graduating in mechanical engineering, he is believed to have moved to Peshawar in north-western Pakistan, where he later linked up with Bin Laden.According to the Financial Times, which has investigated his career in detail, he devoted himself to the cause of the Afghan mujahedin for some five years.

He is related to Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, who is serving life in the world's most secure jail, the "supermax " in Florida, for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre – another attack that some have chalked up to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. So, too, has a lorry bomb in April last year that detonated outside a Tunisian synagogue, killing 21 people, many of them Germans.

According to The New York Times, his importance within al-Qa'ida did not become clear to American investigators for some months after 11 September, when his name began to emerge during interrogations with al-Qa'ida operatives as a crucial player, and possibly the link between the 19 hijackers and the network's leadership. American officials say it is possible he visited the hijackers in Hamburg, Germany. Last year, the joint congressional inquiry into the terror attacks was critical of the CIA for not recognising his importance within al-Qa'ida before the attacks.

He had first come to the attention of the CIA and FBI six years earlier, as a member of a small group of militants, including Ramzi Yousef, in the Philippines. They were behind a plan simultaneously to bomb 11 US airliners – a scheme in which their operatives would buy tickets for up to a dozen American commercial flights to destinations around the Pacific, plant bombs on board and then get off at intermediate stops before the explosions.

This was thwarted by a fire in the apartment in Manila where they drew up the plan, after which Filipino authorities discovered a computer containing details of the proposed attacks. His role was enough to secure an indictment by a grand jury in the United States.

He has, it appears, come close to arrest on several occasions. In 1996, US intelligence received a tip-off that he was living in Qatar, but when an FBI team arrived in Doha to arrest him, he had disappeared. He is also thought to have spent time in South America, Germany, and Afghanistan. He was to execute another apparently close escape in Karachi last year.

By the late 1990s he was in Afghanistan and, it appears, planning the biggest atrocity of them all. In May 2002 he told the Arab satellite television channel al-Jazeera: "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." It was a complex operation. According to the FT's investigation, he played a part in the intricate financial arrangements for the 19 hijackers, allowing them to pay their way while in the US. A central figure in that planning was Mustafa Ahmed Aden al-Hawsawi – the man to whom three of the hijackers wired a total of $25,000 of unneeded funds just before they went to their deaths.

Bank records showed that Hawsawi had an extra Visa cash card, in another name. When investigators saw the photo ID taken for the application form for the card the face was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

The reliability of such reports cannot be established until he is brought to trial. But if even half the claims the authorities are making for this arrest are true, it is good news for the war against terror.

The Hunt for Al-Qa'ida continues

By James Palmer

The arrest of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is a major coup for the US, which has been under fire for seeking war with Iraq and letting the hunt for al-Qa'ida operatives take a back seat. The failure to capture Osama bin Laden has embarrassed the US. It is not known whether he is alive or dead, but recent reports indicate he may be hiding on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Taliban leader and Bin Laden's former protector in Afghanistan, has proved equally elusive, along with Ayman al-Zawahri, al-Qa'ida's second-in-command and believed to be Bin Laden's doctor and religious mentor. A third key figure, Mohammed Atef, the military leader of al-Qa'ida, is believed to have been killed by US raids in Afghanistan. Atef was accused of encouraging the attacks on US forces in Somalia in 1993 in which 18 died, and of directing the US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. Last month, Mounir al-Motassadeq became the first man convicted over the 11 September attacks. He was accused of financing the hijackers and was found guilty of being an accessory to mass murder. He was jailed for 15 years. The first person indicted for 11 September was Zacarias Moussaoui, a French Moroccan detained on immigration charges in August 2001. He is awaiting trial in the US. Western intelligence officials believe the missing link in the conspiracy is Ramzi Binalshibh, a Yemeni national. He is also accused of involvement in the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000, in which 17 sailors died. He was arrested in Pakistan last September. But the most senior member of al-Qa'ida to be captured up to now was Abu Zubaydah, a "member of Osama bin Laden's inner circle".

Mohammed Haydar Zammar is being held in Syria and is believed to have been a recruiter of the hijackers. In Britain, Abu Qatada, a Muslim cleric, is being held on suspicion of being an al-Qa'ida fixer.


TOPICS: News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: alqaida; arrest; mastermind; mystery; warlist
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Strategery.
1 posted on 03/02/2003 5:57:27 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
And prayer.
2 posted on 03/02/2003 5:59:46 PM PST by Bradís Gramma
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To: FreepReap
Welcome to FR.

5.56mm

3 posted on 03/02/2003 6:02:01 PM PST by M Kehoe
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To: blam
bump for later.
4 posted on 03/02/2003 6:03:10 PM PST by hillsborofox (Enough. Enough.)
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Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: FreepReap
Many arabs have similar first and last names. Titles and status included. I tried to confirm the difference on that raid in Pakistan, but couldn't at the moment.

5.56mm

6 posted on 03/02/2003 6:09:07 PM PST by M Kehoe
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To: FreepReap
What was convenient????
7 posted on 03/02/2003 6:11:30 PM PST by Bradís Gramma
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Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: blam
Well, this is a pretty malicious article. The Independent is virulently anti-American and pro-Arab. But some Freepers have already speculated that we wouldn't announce such a capture until we had a little time to grill the suspect and seize any sleepers he named.

Sure it's a convenient time for the announcement. Tough.

The reliability of such reports cannot be established until he is brought to trial.

That will be never.

9 posted on 03/02/2003 6:14:49 PM PST by Cicero
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To: FreepReap
Awfully Convenient wouldn't you say?

No. Actually, if this is the same person/terrorist, then I would hope we would keep him on ice. You probably know why.

5.56mm

10 posted on 03/02/2003 6:15:26 PM PST by M Kehoe
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To: M Kehoe; Cicero
Thank you both.
11 posted on 03/02/2003 6:16:25 PM PST by Bradís Gramma
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Comment #12 Removed by Moderator

To: FreepReap
You mean there are two of these Mohammed fellas who both masterminded the 9/11 terrorists acts???

You have a point. After all, Mohammed is an EXTREMELY rare name in the Muslim world.

13 posted on 03/02/2003 6:16:35 PM PST by TomB
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To: Brad's Gramma
What was convenient????

Supposedly, the FBI agent who arrested Mohammed was a Mason.

It's that Bilderberger thang, doncha know?

14 posted on 03/02/2003 6:16:50 PM PST by sinkspur
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To: blam
The morons have to even try to spin what we do right...
15 posted on 03/02/2003 6:17:27 PM PST by mhking (Fasten your seatbelts; Shields up...)
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Comment #16 Removed by Moderator

To: sinkspur
AAAAAhhhhhhhhh, she says, dripping with sarcasm.

Freepmail comin'.....
17 posted on 03/02/2003 6:17:45 PM PST by Bradís Gramma
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To: blam
So they're saying we're a bunch of liars, because it's so conveniently timed.
18 posted on 03/02/2003 6:20:24 PM PST by wimpycat (Mr. President, we must not allow a mine-shaft gap!)
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To: blam
Another one of our former "allies". It seems the strategy of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" keeps biting us.
19 posted on 03/02/2003 6:21:32 PM PST by halfdome
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To: FreepReap
Then all the Mohammed's jointly planned the 9/11 attacks?

Which Mohammeds are you talking about?

20 posted on 03/02/2003 6:22:01 PM PST by TomB
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To: Cicero
Again, you live up to your name! Wise comments, as always.
21 posted on 03/02/2003 6:22:37 PM PST by mombonn
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To: FreepReap
So you're going to call U.S. intelligence a passel of liars? What evidence do you have that they're lying? Ask yourself that. Before you make veiled accusations, Mr. I-just-signed-up-today, then YOU had better have some evidence to back it up.
22 posted on 03/02/2003 6:22:38 PM PST by wimpycat (Mr. President, we must not allow a mine-shaft gap!)
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To: FreepReap
You signed up tomorrow, do you realize that? How's the weather in the UK, Mr. I-just-signed-up-today(tomorrow in England)?
23 posted on 03/02/2003 6:23:37 PM PST by wimpycat (Mr. President, we must not allow a mine-shaft gap!)
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To: FreepReap
Why?

To gain intelligence, with an added advantage of time. The enemy didn't really know if we had him or not.

Have you read Sun Tzu?

5.56mm

24 posted on 03/02/2003 6:23:48 PM PST by M Kehoe
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To: FreepReap
Then all the Mohammed's jointly planned the 9/11 attacks?

Since when do two=all? That has got to be the saddest attempt at reasoning I've ever seen on this forum. C'mon, is your opinion that threadbare of actual facts to back it up?

25 posted on 03/02/2003 6:24:05 PM PST by stands2reason (Underachieving Disruptors Unite!)
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Comment #26 Removed by Moderator

To: FreepReap
Will you please give the link to that article? If it (your thread) was pulled, maybe you could ask the higher-ups first if that would be ok.
27 posted on 03/02/2003 6:27:22 PM PST by Bradís Gramma
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To: FreepReap
The story was from a reliale news source

Which source do you consider "reliable"?

28 posted on 03/02/2003 6:28:41 PM PST by stands2reason (Underachieving Disruptors Unite!)
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Comment #29 Removed by Moderator

To: FreepReap
The story was from a reliale news source and pointed at the capture and swift removal of another Al Queda headpin out to see aboard an American vessel of some sort.......my post was deleted and here is the retinue.

Your "reliable" news source said Mohammed was killed in a shootout.

How do you reconcile that with the fact that he is alive?

BTW, Here is the "reliable" story he tried to post earlier, but got nuked:

A chilling inheritance of terror

30 posted on 03/02/2003 6:30:00 PM PST by TomB
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To: Brad's Gramma
This guy comes on, admitting he's a repeat disruptor like it doesn't have an effect on his credibility...please...
31 posted on 03/02/2003 6:30:34 PM PST by stands2reason (Underachieving Disruptors Unite!)
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To: FreepReap
This article states that the two children present at the Sept 11, 2002 raid were Khalid's and that Khalid was narrowly missed.

It also states that the raid was a result of a tip-off from an Al Jazeera reporter.

32 posted on 03/02/2003 6:32:03 PM PST by Ben Ficklin
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Comment #33 Removed by Moderator

To: FreepReap
We captured the guy, put him on ice, and will now use him as the conduit to place Saddam and Usama together.,.....

Was he dead or alive when he was put on ice?

34 posted on 03/02/2003 6:32:17 PM PST by stands2reason (Underachieving Disruptors Unite!)
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Comment #35 Removed by Moderator

To: blam
He has, it is said, 27 aliases, speaks five languages, and is – say the Americans – as smooth and unruffled in a sleazy nightclub or in a restaurant in North Carolina, where he studied engineering in Chowan College, as he is in a staunchly conservative Islamic home in Pakistan.

Here's the info on Chowan College.

Two observations:

1. I couldn't find where Chowan College's website said anything about having an engineering school or any engineering department. So the article is a little off on the fact checking.

2. Not dissing Chowan College, but how is it that "random" Arabs from the other side of the world have fingered this little church college as a place to go?

Chowan must have some useful attribute for this guy to have holed up there. Maybe it's somehow a good place to hide (college as "safe house"), or maybe it's close to Fort Bragg or some other military installation in NC.

36 posted on 03/02/2003 6:35:01 PM PST by pttttt
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To: blam; *war_list; W.O.T.; 11th_VA; Libertarianize the GOP; Free the USA; MadIvan; PhiKapMom; ...
OFFICIAL BUMP(TOPIC)LIST
37 posted on 03/02/2003 6:36:26 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Nuke Saddam and his Baby Milk Factories!!)
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To: stands2reason
A person should never ever ever leave his/her computer when logged on to FR.

You NEVER KNOW when your face will meet your keyboard cuz you're laughing so hard.

I'm hungry and am going to TRY TO walk away from this.

Carry on boys and girls. You're doing well. IF you meet my standards when I return, I'll make sure to include you in the "Weekly Report" that I do for (you-know-who). And you'll be given the privilege of posting yet another week.
38 posted on 03/02/2003 6:36:42 PM PST by Bradís Gramma
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To: Cicero
Maybe now we can find out who made all that money in the stock market selling before 9/11.
39 posted on 03/02/2003 6:37:19 PM PST by Just mythoughts
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Comment #40 Removed by Moderator

To: FreepReap
Are you really that confused..

I'm confused how you can call a news source reliable that reported the death of a man who just showed up alive. You are willing to overlook that tiny little inconsistency in the story, and believe the rest of it, in order to support your conspiracy.

BTW, thanks for posting the link I had already posted.

Don't be an ass, we posted the link practically simultaneously.

41 posted on 03/02/2003 6:38:24 PM PST by TomB
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To: FreepReap
Silly goose. I was typing and couldn't see what was going on. Please note that I'm hungry and need to leave for a bit.

Be back later!
42 posted on 03/02/2003 6:40:19 PM PST by Bradís Gramma
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To: All
Hey! Where'd he go? I did NOT report him!!!!
43 posted on 03/02/2003 6:41:49 PM PST by Bradís Gramma
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To: FreepReap
I don't look at the Asia Times as a reliable news source. There was obviously doubt as to whether he was killed in the October raid. Now we know he obviously wasn't killed. What's so sinister about that?
44 posted on 03/02/2003 6:41:50 PM PST by wimpycat (Mr. President, we must not allow a mine-shaft gap!)
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To: TomB
Whoops, looks like FreepReap got nuked.

What a pity.

45 posted on 03/02/2003 6:42:08 PM PST by TomB
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To: wimpycat
I don't look at the Asia Times as a reliable news source.

LOL. I'm bummed he was banned. I wanted him to explain to me how a news source that reported the DEATH of a man in October who turned up ALIVE yesterday can be considered "reliable".

46 posted on 03/02/2003 6:44:29 PM PST by TomB
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To: TomB
I think he was trying to say that the earlier story was obviously true (after all, it was printed in the Asia Times) and these latest stories are false.
47 posted on 03/02/2003 6:46:00 PM PST by wimpycat (Mr. President, we must not allow a mine-shaft gap!)
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To: blam
Taliban, Clinton, Saudi Involvement - All laid out in a book published in 2000 (from USMC.MIL site)

The Democrats' Case Against Saddam Hussein (Dems nailed, yet again)

Headline Rundown and links on Iraq - Things the democrats have conviently forgot...

Saddam Abused His Last Chance, Clinton -clear and present danger to safety of people everywhere 1998

Gore repeats that Saddam MUST GO - June 2000

What the democrats want you to forget

Iraq is a Regional Threat, capable of as much as 200 tons of VX nerve agent (1999 Clinton report)

Czech military reports say iraq has smallpox virus in weapons stockpile (and camelpox)

2/7/1998 : Arab media: Clinton will strike due to sex scandal (&links to tons of arab news on clinton)

Iraqi chemical weapons buildup reported (Sept 2001 Report)

Clinton, Gore rally domestic support for strike at Iraq, "unholy axis" (1998 Must read)

statement President Clinton from 1998 on the air strikes

Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 - Full Text, Sense of Congress - Remove Saddam

48 posted on 03/02/2003 6:46:41 PM PST by chance33_98 (Freep On)
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To: All
ZOT!!!!!!!
49 posted on 03/02/2003 6:50:51 PM PST by tricky_k_1972
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To: FreepReap
Still want to know why? Why the lies. Why hold him until now.... If he's not become a propaganda tool, what's the point of announcing his capture now like it's a recent thing?

Are you suggesting that the Bush Administration is engaged in a conspiracy to perpetrate fraud on the American people? If not that, then what is it do you mean to suggest? Just spit it all out and enlighten us all! Thank you so much.

50 posted on 03/02/2003 6:53:28 PM PST by betty boop
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