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Rag trade terror plot: Al Qaeda sought Garment Center tie
New York Daily News ^ | August 22, 2003 | GREG B. SMITH

Posted on 08/22/2003 1:24:06 AM PDT by sarcasm

A top Al Qaeda operative plotted to smuggle weapons into New York Harbor in the shipping containers of a Garment District firm, the Daily News has learned.

Days before he was captured in Pakistan in March, suspected 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed met in Karachi with the owner of a W. 35th St. clothing importing company and his son, law enforcement sources said.

Al Qaeda's No. 3 man offered to invest $200,000 in International Management Group in exchange, federal authorities now believe, for access to IMG's Port Newark-bound shipping containers, sources say.

Mohammed "is obsessed with attacking the United States, and New York has always been at the top of the list for Al Qaeda," said one law enforcement source.

After learning of the plot, federal authorities began monitoring IMG's containers, though sources said no weapons were found in them.

Mohammed's plans fizzled when he was nabbed by the CIA in Pakistan on March 1. At the time, authorities said he was planning new attacks on America, though they would not elaborate.

Details of the alleged smuggling plot came to light in the case of Uzair Parachas, 23, the son of IMG's co-owner.

Parachas has been detained by the FBI since being picked up in the IMG office March 31, shortly after he arrived from Pakistan. He was charged this month with acting as cover for one of Mohammed's Baltimore-based associates, an Al Qaeda operative whom sources identified as Majid Khan.

Met with terrorists

The complaint against Parachas says he met twice in early February with two Al Qaeda operatives. One was Mohammed, the law enforcement source confirmed. The other was Khan, a Pakistani who had been living in Baltimore but had returned to Pakistan, sources said.

At the meetings - first at the Karachi office and then at an ice cream parlor - Mohammed and Khan told Parachas they wanted to invest $200,000 in IMG, according to a source and the complaint. Mohammed and Khan said they were supporters of Osama Bin Laden and that they needed to keep the money liquid to retrieve at a moment's notice, sources said.

The men also asked Parachas to pose as Khan and travel to America to keep Khan's travel visa from expiring, sources said. While here, Parachas was to move money into Khan's bank account, use his credit cards, and inquire with U.S. immigration officials about Khan's status, sources said.

Parachas' lawyer, Anthony Ricco, says he believes the feds have linked Mohammed to at least one and probably two meetings with his client in Karachi last February.

"[Mohammed]'s name isn't mentioned in that complaint, [but] he's identified by number," Ricco said.

Since his capture, Mohammed has been interrogated repeatedly by U.S. intelligence agents. Although sources say much of what he has divulged is diversionary nonsense, some information has been corroborated and is considered highly valuable, a source said.

Ricco said he believes Mohammed gave interrogators the name of his client, who Ricco insists is not a terrorist and did not perform illegal tasks for Mohammed or any member of Al Qaeda.

"The scheme is very complicated, well beyond Uzair Paracha," Ricco said.

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: aafiasiddiqui; alqaeda; ambulancechasers; armssmuggling; attack; baltimore; baltimorecell; containers; gasstationplots; gasstations; img; jihadinamerica; khan; ksm; majidkhan; ozairparacha; padilla; padillacase; paracha; parachas; plot; port; ports; ricco; saifullahparacha; shippingcontainers; siddiqui; smuggle; smuggling; tankers; terror; tractortrailers; truckers; truckplots; trucks; uzairparacha

1 posted on 08/22/2003 1:24:06 AM PDT by sarcasm
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To: JustPiper; Pro-Bush; MizSterious
2 posted on 08/22/2003 1:44:21 AM PDT by FairOpinion
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To: sarcasm
"Al Qaeda's No. 3 man offered to invest $200,000 in International Management Group in exchange, federal authorities now believe, for access to IMG's Port Newark-bound shipping containers, sources say."


I shudder to think what they were going to try to smuggle in.

I am glad they have foiled this plot too.
3 posted on 08/22/2003 1:48:41 AM PDT by FairOpinion
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To: Cindy; Lion's Cub; Howlin; Travis McGee; Squantos
This is related to the Padilla case.
4 posted on 08/22/2003 2:08:25 AM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: sarcasm
Suspect in terror plot still at large
By Jon Ward

    A Pakistani woman suspected of aiding al Qaeda operatives in a plot to blow up Baltimore gas stations is still at large, FBI officials said yesterday.

    Federal agents said they are looking for Aafia Siddiqui, 31, because she might have helped an al Qaeda member do reconnaissance on the gas stations. Mrs. Siddiqui is the first woman to be targeted by the FBI for possible involvement with the terrorist group led by Osama bin Laden.

    Information about Mrs. Siddiqui's reported involvement with al Qaeda appeared this week in a Newsweek magazine cover story. Though the story stated Mrs. Siddiqui was apprehended in Pakistan, an FBI spokesman yesterday contradicted the account.

    "I'm not aware of her being detained at this time," Barry Maddox of the FBI's Baltimore field office told The Washington Times.

    Also yesterday, law enforcement sources told The Times that al Qaeda's plans in Baltimore never moved beyond preliminary stages.

    "It never got to a point where there was a plan in place," a source close to the case told The Times yesterday. "They knew enough about the underground tanks, the weak points and where to hit them ... but it was more informational than operational."

    The Newsweek article reported that Majid Khan, said to be an al Qaeda operative, stayed in Baltimore with family members who have lived in the city for years and own several gas stations.

    While he was there, Mrs. Siddiqui, a U.S. visa holder, reportedly rented a post office box to help Khan establish a new identity in the United States, according to Newsweek.

    The article also reports that Khan studied the gas stations' vulnerability to bombings, then reported the findings to al Qaeda's director of global operations, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who was captured in Pakistan on March 1.

    The source also told The Times the terrorist plot never developed enough to target a specific gas station or series of locations.

    The phone number to the only gas station listed under the name Khan has been disconnected.

    Mr. Maddox said he could not comment on investigations of the Khan family or about more terrorist plots in Baltimore. The Baltimore city Police Department referred calls to the FBI.

    Mrs. Siddiqui's estranged husband, Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan, 33, is also listed by the FBI as someone with key information and one who might have been part of the gas-station plot. Newsweek reported that Dr. Khan bought body armor, night-vision goggles and military manuals and was planning to send them to Pakistan, but returned the items after he was interviewed by the FBI.

    Dr. Khan, an anesthesiologist, is listed by the FBI as "located," but a federal law-enforcement source said he was not apprehended in Baltimore. Dr. Khan and Mrs. Siddiqui lived for several years in Boston.

    Mrs. Siddiqui is a 1994 graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and wrote a doctoral thesis for Brandeis University in 2001, according to the Associated Press. She has three children, reportedly 9 months, 3 years and 6 years old.

    She has been reported as helping al Qaeda suspect Adnan G. El Shukrijumah, a 27-year-old Saudi who authorities believe is trained in terrorism.

    NBC News reported Mrs. Siddiqui was arrested April 22 on suspicion of arranging money transfers for al Qaeda. The FBI would neither confirm nor deny the report.

    The Associated Press reported that Mrs. Siddiqui's mother, Ismat, 60, said her daughter disappeared in late March. Ismat Siddiqui said Dr. Khan was an Islamic extremist.

    Mrs. Siddiqui, if she were apprehended in Pakistan, would be one of more than 440 al Qaeda suspects arrested there in the past 19 months, 346 of whom have been handed over to the United States, according to the Associated Press.     

5 posted on 08/22/2003 2:15:19 AM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: RaceBannon
6 posted on 08/22/2003 2:17:34 AM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: piasa where could A.S. be? If she's not in the Middle East, could it be somewhere in the U.S. or Canada?
7 posted on 08/22/2003 2:32:07 AM PDT by Cindy
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8 posted on 08/22/2003 2:36:36 AM PDT by Cindy
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To: Cindy
Source :


Khan looked for more help from people who might escape the notice of investigators. KSM told interrogators that a woman named Aafia Siddiqui, a U.S. visa holder who has lived in the United States for a decade, rented a post-office box to help Khan establish his U.S. identity. Siddiqui was supposed to support “other AQ operatives as they entered the United States,” according to the Feds’ description of the plot. Siddiqui’s estranged husband, identified by informed sources as Mohammad Amjan Khan, had purchased body armor, night-vision goggles and a variety of military manuals to send to Pakistan. He apparently returned these items after being interviewed by the FBI. Both Siddiqui and Khan were described as “medical professionals.” Siddiqui fled to Pakistan, where she was reportedly arrested.


Wasn't there a person arrested on 911- or maybe it was one of the 911 hijackers - who had used a woman's bank account in the DC area? It's been a long time since I've read that article but it was, I think, associated with some arrests in DC on 911 or maybe the next day. I wonder if the woman was Siddiqui?

9 posted on 08/22/2003 2:44:27 AM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: piasa
re post no. 9. I don't know.

10 posted on 08/22/2003 2:48:32 AM PDT by Cindy
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To: Cindy; RaceBannon; Howlin
11 posted on 08/23/2003 8:19:30 PM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: FairOpinion
I shudder to think what they were going to try to smuggle in.


12 posted on 08/23/2003 8:45:40 PM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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Sea Containers Barred From Ships to US
13 posted on 08/23/2003 8:50:37 PM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: pokerbuddy0; muawiyah
fyi, on the post office box and the woman's Maryland connections.
14 posted on 09/15/2003 9:28:21 PM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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What kind of weapons?
15 posted on 09/15/2003 9:30:27 PM PDT by Diddle E. Squat
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To: Cindy
No, come to think of it I think she probably had a western name; seems the hijacker wrote checks in her name, too.
16 posted on 09/15/2003 9:31:52 PM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: pokerbuddy0; Badabing Badaboom; piasa; Cindy; FairOpinion
Regarding Aafia Siddiqui, here's a may 2003 article that adds some details I haven't seen anywhere else.

Mysterious Cover-up

Afia Siddiqui's mysterious disappearance leads to speculation about an official cover-up.

As I walked into a large Karachi residence in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, I was greeted by an old veiled woman, who welcomed me and both my colleagues. She was Ismat Siddiqui, mother of Dr Afia Siddiqui, who alongwith her three children, disappeared on April 1, and has not been heard of since.

"I don't want to talk with anyone or to give any statement," said Ismat Siddiqui. However, she went on to speak for about two hours during which time, she generally remained calm, apart from a few emotional outbursts.

"My daughter is a highly educated woman, held in high esteem by her professors in the United States. I don't know where she is and I am extremely concerned about her and her three children," she said.

Her daughter's name is on the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) list of people it would like to question in connection with Al-Qaeda.

According to Mrs. Siddiqui , Afia left her mother's house in Gulshan-e-Iqbal in a Metro-cab on March 30, to catch a flight for Rawalpindi, but never reached the airport. Inside sources claim that Afia had been "picked-up" by intelligence agencies while on her way to the airport and initial reports suggest she was handed over to the FBI. A few days later an American news channel, NBC, reported that Afia had been arrested in Pakistan on suspicion of facilitating money transfers for terror networks. "This is an absurd charge," Mrs Siddiqui said. "She is a neurological scientist from MIT and has been living with her husband, Amjad, in the US for several years."

Later, both the Pakistan government as well as US officials in Washington denied any knowledge of Afia's custody, making her disappearance even more mysterious. In yet another twist, her husband Amjad Khan, whom Afia divorced three months before her disappearance, is also apparently under suspicion. According to Ismat Siddiqui, Amjad had wanted his eldest son to go to a madrassa, while Afia wanted her children to get an "English education." Mrs. Siddiqui hinted that her former son-in-law was wanted by the FBI, but was not sure in what connection. Amjad Khan has no political background nor is he affiliated with any group, but his staunch Islamic beliefs may have motivated him to back or support Islamic extremist groups. According to Mrs. Siddiqui, he used to call his wife and mother-in-law "American agents."

Surprisingly there has been no official report registered with the police about Afia's disappearance which explains why Afia's mother wanted to avoid going public. The police, meanwhile, is doing nothing to trace Afia. "We have no knowledge about this case nor has anyone contacted me," said Sindh police chief, Syed Kamal Shah. Ismat Siddiqui, however, claims that she has spoken to high police officials, including Shah, about her daughter's disappearance.

A week after the incident, Mrs. Siddiqui alleges that an intelligence agency official came to her house and warned her not to make an issue out of her daughter's disappearance and threatened her with dire consequences.

The question is where is Afia and why are police and intelligence agencies silent? Is she in the custody of the FBI or the ISI? Another possibility is that Afia might have been kidnapped by her ex-husband, who may have links with Al-Qaeda. Whatever the case, there seems to be a deliberate attempt to hush up the mysterious circumstances behind Afia Siddiqui's disappearance.
17 posted on 09/26/2003 4:03:17 PM PDT by Shermy
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To: All
FROM THE FBI page listed below here is an exact quote (cut/paste) as of today:

Aafia Siddiqui
Aliases: Aafia Siddiqui

Date of Birth Used: March 2, 1972    
Place of Birth: Pakistan    
Sex: Female    
Remarks: Although Aafia Siddiqui's current whereabouts are unknown, the FBI believes she is currently in Pakistan.


Although the FBI has no information indicating this individual is connected to specific terrorist activities, the FBI would like to locate and question this individual.


TELEPHONE: (202) 324-3000 

[ Seeking Information ]
[ FBI Home Page ] [ FBI Field Offices ]
18 posted on 09/26/2003 5:24:25 PM PDT by Cindy
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