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Operation Bojinka's bombshell
Toronto Star | January 2, 2002 | Matthew Brzezinski

Posted on 01/02/2002 7:19:53 AM PST by Wallaby

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To: madrussian, Askel5, Zviadist, Free the USA, struwwelpeter,NewAmsterdam, Black Jade,Carry_Okie,jmp
"Do you realize how serious this is?" the instructor asked an FBI agent.
Willie Brown got low-key early warning about air travel
41 posted on 01/02/2002 10:36:14 AM PST by CommiesOut
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To: OKCSubmariner
either the Feds investigators got the word to the USG decision makers on this one or they did not.

Interested researchers may want to check for possible links between elements of US intelligence and the version of Bojinka that did unfold. I've posted the article here, but one (or more, I guess) of the moderators is not pleased with it, and it disappears.

42 posted on 01/02/2002 10:41:44 AM PST by Plummz
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To: Fred Mertz
a phone message from a tailor saying the cassock Saeed had ordered was ready for a final fitting.

Sounds like they must have seen The Godfather, Part III.

43 posted on 01/02/2002 10:43:37 AM PST by aristeides
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To: Plummz
"Interested researchers may want to check for possible links between elements of US intelligence and the version of Bojinka that did unfold. I've posted the article here, but one (or more, I guess) of the moderators is not pleased with it, and it disappears."

Yeah, all of a sudden Ruppert is also "garbage" --- Garbage

44 posted on 01/02/2002 10:54:08 AM PST by rdavis84
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To: Squantos; travis mcgee; harpseal; fred mertz; wallaby; plummz; okcsubmariner
What language is "Bojinka"? The article says it is Serbocroatian (for "big explosion.") The only speakers of Serbocroatian that I think would be working with this bunch would be either Bosnians or Kosovars. Odd these articles about Islamist explosion plots never mention individuals from those ethnic groups.

Remember that notebook that was found in Afghanistan with a page titled "Explosiva za Oklahomu" with formulas for explosives including dynamite and nitroglycerin. "Explosiva za Oklahomu" is Serbocroatian again (for "explosive used in Oklahoma.")

Scary thought. Bosnians and Kosovars are European in appearance, and could get past profiling easily.

45 posted on 01/02/2002 10:57:41 AM PST by aristeides
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Not for cosmetology school either.
46 posted on 01/02/2002 10:58:35 AM PST by Travis McGee
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To: aristeides
Not for commercial use. Solely to be used for the educational purposes of research and open discussion.

Terror by degree
James Bone and Alan Road
The Times
October 18, 1997, Saturday

In Swansea he's remembered as an unassuming engineering student, but to the FBI he's the international terrorist responsible for the World Trade Center bombing. James Bone and Alan Road trace the double life of Ramzi Yousef

Police believe he was testing his plans for what he had codenamed - in Serbo-Croat - "Project Bojinka".
THE MAN NOW known as Ramzi Yousef is remembered at the Swansea Institute of Higher Education as a diligent student whose major project was to apply computer design to geometric Islamic patterns. The young Pakistani, born and raised in Kuwait, took a Higher National Diploma in computer-aided electrical engineering at the college between 1987 and 1989. He seemed perfectly law-abiding. Like the other foreign students, he registered with the local police station at the start of each academic year. Until the Special Branch and MI5 and the CIA turned up on their doorstep, none of the staff at the school had any clue that their unassuming pupil had graduated to become the most wanted terrorist in the world.

"He was hard-working, conscientious and kept himself to himself," said his computer graphics instructor, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal. "That about sums him up over the two years he was here. There were other older Arabic students at the time, but to the best of my knowledge he didn't socialise with them. He was hard-working and very capable." When police in the Philippines chanced on Yousef's bomb factory after a fire in Manila on January 6, 1995, they reportedly found a copy of a chemistry textbook from the library of the Swansea Institute. Yousef himself was only apprehended a month later in Pakistan when a fellow Muslim tipped off the authorities in the hope of winning the $ 2 million reward posted by the US government. He is now in a holding cell in New York, deprived of his wristwatch, toothpaste, shaving cream, even - until he won a court order - his Koran, and barred from meeting anyone but his attorney lest he try to orchestrate revenge attacks.

He has already been convicted of a Hollywood-style plot to blow up 11 American jumbo jets almost simultaneously, and is now standing trial as the alleged mastermind of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York.

By any accounting, Yousef, at just 29, is one of the most audacious terrorists of all time, a master-criminal on a par with Carlos the Jackal or Abu Nidal. Not only did he allegedly tell FBI agents after his arrest that he had planned to kill 250,000 people by toppling one of the World Trade Center's 110-storey twin towers on to the other one, he also boasted that he had considered gassing the huge complex with lethal hydrogen cyanide.

If executed, his plot against American airliners would have killed some 4,000 passengers within the space of two days. In addition, he has been linked to the bombing of a Filipino airliner, which left one Japanese traveller dead; an attack on a Shia shrine in Mashhad, Iran, which claimed 70 lives; an explosion at a theatre in Manila; another blast near the Israeli embassy in Bangkok; a plot against the then-prime minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto; and an attempt on the life of Pope John Paul II.

When seized, according to the FBI, he bragged about plans for a kamikaze attack on CIA headquarters with a light aircraft packed with explosives, and said he was preparing to assassinate President Bill Clinton by releasing phosgene gas during a presidential visit to the Philippines.

SITTING JUST YARDS from Yousef in an oak-panelled courtroom in downtown Manhattan, it is difficult to comprehend that this lean, raven-haired young man with flapping ears and a bulbous nose is an international enigma. Although often described as a Muslim fundamentalist, Yousef arrives in court clean-shaven and, on most days, wears a tan business suit. He could almost be the yuppie engineer his teachers at the Swansea Institute no doubt hoped he would become. When he defended himself in his first trial, he was courteous to the jury and insisted on referring to himself in the third person. ("I have seen better lawyers," the judge declared, "but I have also seen worse.") In the current trial, he chats contentedly with the defence lawyers, banters with the prosecutor and even laughs at the judge's jokes. But there are some tell-tale signs of his murky past: the tip of the middle finger on his right hand is badly deformed after it was almost severed in an explosion, and he has an injured left eye that drifts lazily around the room.

Over the years, Yousef has used at least a dozen aliases. On the formal indictment, he is named as Ramzi Yousef, aka Azan Muhammad, aka Khurram Khan, aka Rashed, aka Kamal Ibrahim, aka Abdul Basit, aka Adam Ali Qasam, aka Naji Haddad, aka Dr Paul Vijay, aka Dr Adel Sabah, aka Amaldo Forlani, aka Muhammed Ali Baloch. At the Swansea Institute, Yousef registered as Abdul Basit Mahmoud Karim. According to an investigation by The New Yorker magazine, his full name is Abdul Basit Mahmud Abdul Karim. In his only interview from jail, Yousef told the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat that his real name was Abdul Basit Balochi. But he added that he had become "accustomed" to Ramzi Yousef.

At first, investigators suspected that Yousef was an Iraqi secret agent. They speculated that he had appropriated the identity of the Swansea Institute student during Iraq's occupation of Kuwait, even substituting Yousef's fingerprints in government records. Unfortunately, the Swansea Institute did not take any photographs of its students in the 1980s. The school did keep a file on Abdul Basit Mahmoud Karim, but it disappeared from a locked office the day after it was located and photocopied by the Special Branch (there was no investigation of the burglary). The local police station does have a photograph of the Swansea student, but refuses to release the picture, citing the Data Protection Act.

A number of tantalising clues do point towards an Iraqi connection. Yousef once visited Baghdad and he first arrived in America on an Iraqi passport. The only one of his alleged co-conspirators still at large is an Iraqi who fled back to Baghdad, where he now lives openly. What is more, Kuwait has identified Yousef as a man who collaborated with occupying Iraqi forces, and it should not be forgotten that the World Trade Center bombing itself took place on the second anniversary of the liberation of Kuwait.

Years of investigation have convinced British and American intelligence services, however, that Yousef and the Swansea student are one and the same man and that he is linked to a shadowy Islamic underground spanning the globe from Egypt to Afghanistan to the Philippines. "He is a new breed of terrorist," says Vincent Cannistraro, a former head of counter-terrorism at the CIA. "You do not have tightly knit groups supported by intelligence agencies. What you have is a loose group based on some kind of activism."

Yousef's true identity holds the key to unravelling the terrorist network that sustained him. In his interview with Al-Hayat, Yousef disclosed that he was born in Kuwait to a Pakistani father and a Palestinian mother, and had relatives in Pakistan, Kuwait and Palestine. He also revealed that he was married to an Arab woman and had two young daughters, one of whom was born while he was a fugitive. Although he speaks almost unaccented English, Yousef has a Gulf accent in Arabic. He calls himself "Pakistani by nationality" but "Palestinian by choice". Indeed, Yousef openly declares himself to be a supporter of the previously unknown Liberation Army, which aims to punish the United States for its support of Israel. "Since the US government every year sends military and financial aid worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Israel, all Muslims have the right to regard themselves in a state of war with the US government," he announced in a statement released through his lawyer. One threatening letter allegedly found in Yousef's computer bore the signature: "The Fifth Battalion of the Liberation Army under the leadership of Abu Baker Almaki." It was the same group that claimed responsibility for the World Trade Center bombing.

Raghida Dergam, the Al-Hayat correspondent who interviewed Yousef in jail, notes that, unlike other supposed fundamentalists, he raised no objections to being interviewed by a woman, and he did not even fast in jail during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. When he arrived for the interview, he brought a stack of papers to prove his point about the illegality of the Israeli occupation of Arab lands. Tellingly, he denounced Yasser Arafat as an "Israeli agent".

"To me, he is not very religious," Dergam says. "In fact, he did not come across as a fundamentalist as such. He would fit more as a freedom fighter for the liberation of Palestine than the description of an Islamic fundamentalist driven by religion. He is very convinced there is something unjust in the actions of Israel and there has to be a way to bring attention to it. By that he justifies 'terror for terror'. My impression is that he is not a gun-for-hire."

YOUSEF'S FATHER is believed to be a Baluchi tribesman from Pakistan named Muhammad Abdul Karim, who moved to Kuwait to work as an engineer. Yousef was born in April 1968 in Fuhayhil, a working-class suburb of Kuwait City with a sizable Palestinian population. (Abdul Hakim Murad, Yousef's co-defendant in the plot against US airliners, is apparently a teenage friend from Fuhayhil.) In the town, Yousef was immersed in the radical ideologies of Palestinian nationalism and strict Sunni Islam. In the early 1980s, his father got involved with the puritanical Wahhabi sect of Sunni Islam - the dominant tendency in Saudi Arabia - and an associated fundamentalist group known as the Salafis.

When the family moved back to Turbat in Pakistan in 1986, they found the town had become a staging post for the Mujahidin waging war against the Soviets across the frontier in Afghanistan. On his return from his studies in Swansea, Yousef joined his father, an uncle and two of his brothers, and enlisted for the jihad. His nom de guerre was Ramzi. A year later, Yousef had returned to Kuwait, apparently taking a low-ranking job at the Planning Ministry. He was in the emirate when Iraq invaded in August 1990. Despite what Kuwait says about him collaborating with Iraqi forces, one of his seized passports suggests that he simply joined the mass exodus of foreign workers out of Kuwait to return home to Pakistan.

In early 1991, he surfaced in the Philippines, seeking to establish contact with the Abu Sayyaf separatist group fighting for independence for the Muslim population on the southern island of Mindanao. Edwin Angeles, a high-ranking defector, told the Washington Post that Yousef, travelling under his real name and accompanied by his childhood friend Murad, presented himself as a member of the executive committee of the International Islamic Brigade, an organisation that had recruited volunteers for the Afghan war. Yousef also told the Abu Sayyaf leader that he wanted to use the Philippines as a "launching pad" for international terrorism. Prosecutors allege that the conspiracy to bomb the World Trade Center began when Yousef left the Philippines on an Iraqi passport in 1992. By the end of May, he had turned up in the Pakistani frontier town of Peshawar. There he met Mohammad Ajaj, a Palestinian who had been expelled from Israel and sought exile in Texas. The one-time Domino's Pizza deliveryman had come to Peshawar for training in an Afghan camp. On September 1, 1992, the two boarded a Pakistani Airlines flight for New York.

Their arrival at John F.Kennedy Airport had elements of farce, but may actually have been a carefully planned diversion. Ajaj presented a fake Swedish passport, which failed to fool the immigration officer, who simply peeled off the photograph to find another underneath. When Ajaj was searched, police found three more passports - one British, one Saudi and one Jordanian - and a suitcase full of bomb-making manuals. He was arrested and remained in jail until after the World Trade Center bombing. Yousef, meanwhile, calmly showed an Iraqi passport with no US visa and said he had bribed his way aboard the flight by buying a boarding pass for $ 2,700. He asked for political asylum, and was freed pending an asylum hearing.

YOUSEF QUICKLY sought out the radical Muslims who congregated at the shabby shopfront mosques in Brooklyn and New Jersey. There he encountered the followers of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind Muslim cleric and fundamentalist leader later convicted in New York of sanctioning the World Trade Center bombing. The two could have met during one of the Sheikh's trips to Afghanistan, where both his sons fought in the jihad. According to court papers, the Sheikh's chauffeur introduced Yousef to his boss as "a friend from Afghanistan, a guy who will do anything".

In the current trial, Yousef is accused of organising a somewhat feckless group of local Muslim fundamentalists to bomb the World Trade Center. Prosecutors say he acquired the chemicals, mixed the explosives and then helped drive the truck bomb into the underground car-park beneath the twin towers. The blast on February 26, 1993, killed six people and injured 1,000 more, and marked the arrival of international terrorism on American shores. Four fundamentalists were quickly rounded up when one of them returned to collect the deposit on the Ryder rental van that had carried the bomb, saying it had been stolen. But Yousef had already escaped aboard a flight to Pakistan. The United States launched a worldwide manhunt. The FBI put him at the top of its "Most Wanted List" and offered a $ 2 million reward. Yousef's photograph was printed on thousands of green matchboxes distributed throughout the Middle East. He is believed to have gone underground in the riot-torn Pakistani port of Karachi. Within months, according to police in Pakistan, Yousef was plotting to assassinate Benazir Bhutto. Another teenage friend from Kuwait, Adbul Shakoor, told them that he, Yousef and Murad had scouted for locations to kill Bhutto. The plot collapsed when a bomb Yousef was making in a Karachi apartment exploded in his face - injuring his fingers and his eye. Shakoor also implicated Yousef in the explosion that killed 25 people at Mashhad in Iran on June 20, 1994 - an attack on a Shia shrine. Thai police also linked Yousef to a failed truck bombing of the Israeli embassy in Bangkok that March. Later that year, Yousef returned to the Philippines by boat from Malaysia and resumed training Abu Sayyaf guerrillas in the south of the country. On December 11, he bought a ticket in the name of an Italian politician, Amaldo Forlani, on a Philippines Airlines plane from Manila to Tokyo. Smuggling a liquid explosive aboard in a bottle of contact-lens solution, he assembled a bomb in the lavatory and left it under his seat before getting off at a stop-over in Cebu City. One Japanese businessman was killed when the bomb went off, but the plane managed to stay in the air. Police believe he was testing his plans for what he had codenamed - in Serbo-Croat - "Project Bojinka".

A fire led police to Flat 603 in the Dona Josefa Apartments in Manila at 10.30pm on January 6, 1995. It was a serendipitous event that probably saved thousands of lives. The authorities had been on alert for the imminent arrival of Pope John Paul II, and the flat was located just 200 yards from the Papal Nunciature. Inside the flat they found a mixture of crystalline chemicals in the sink, a pipe bomb and timer, a hand-written bomb manual in Arabic, ecclesiastical robes intended as disguises, a road map of the Pope's route and, most importantly of all, a Toshiba laptop computer. Yousef had rented the one-bedroomed flat in December and was sharing it with his old schoolfriend, Murad. When the fire broke out, the two calmly left the building - Yousef chatting on a mobile phone - and hid in a nearby karaoke bar. Murad was arrested when he returned to clean out the flat, but Yousef again eluded the law.

An analysis of deleted files in Yousef's laptop revealed the scope of "Project Bojinka". Five terrorists - codenamed Mirqas, Markoa, Obaid, Majbos and Zyed - were to plant bombs aboard a total of 11 US airliners before escaping to Pakistan. The computer hard-drive also yielded the draft of a letter claiming responsibility for the attacks. Yousef's globetrotting terrorist career came abruptly to an end when, to investigators' surprise, an acquaintance tipped off authorities in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. Ishtiaq Parker, a South African Muslim who lived across the street from Yousef, was apparently tempted by the $ 2 million reward. Pakistan soldiers and US agents descended on the Su Casa guesthouse and found Yousef with two remote-controlled toy cars packed with plastic explosives, and a collection of newspaper stories about his exploits.

PROSECUTORS DO NOT have to prove who funded his terrorist exploits or to establish his real identity in order to secure a conviction. All they have to do is show beyond a reasonable doubt that the man in the dock committed the crimes with which he is charged. Investigators favour the theory that Yousef has been supported by rich Saudi extremists with whom he became involved during the Afghan war. In his Al-Hayat interview, Yousef revealed that the mysterious Liberation Army had "military divisions and groups, each of which is concerned about the affairs of the Islamic movement in different countries" and said it was "still existing and sometimes carries out military actions and does not claim responsibility for them". Asked who commanded the group, he answered: "Unknown, it is a secret."

The prime suspect is Osama bin Laden, the now notorious Saudi multi-millionaire who lives in exile in the hills of Afghanistan. The scion of a family which made its fortune in construction, Bin Laden is believed to have financed terrorist training camps to wage a personal jihad against the United States and moderate governments in Egypt, Algeria, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. "The weight of evidence points to a bin Laden connection rather than a state sponsor connection," says Cannistraro, the former CIA counter-terrorism chief.

When Yousef was apprehended, he was staying in a guesthouse set up for Afghan war veterans by Bin Laden and had Bin Laden's address in his wallet. A Bin Laden connection might also explain Yousef's trips to the Philippines, where the Abu Sayyaf group is thought to receive much of its money from Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, Bin Laden's brother-in-law.

But in a recent interview in Afghanistan with CNN, Bin Laden denied that he knew Yousef and insisted that he had no connection to the World Trade Center bombing. He dismissed the allegations against him as smears by American and Pakistani officials.

The staff at the Swansea Institute are understandably embarrassed that Yousef should have become their most famous alumnus. Members of the faculty have pored endlessly over police mugshots in an effort to jog their memories. They do recall that specialist magazines continued to arrive in the college post-room long after he departed, and that he never picked up a package he had left with a colleague. They are insistent, however, that Yousef did not learn his terrorist techniques on British soil. "His project was quite innocuous," his tutor insists. "Nothing that might be useful for a bomb-maker."

47 posted on 01/02/2002 11:16:50 AM PST by Wallaby
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To: Wallaby
That article makes it sound as if Yousef's time in training camps in Afghanistan would have been between '86 and '91. Ajaj, his fellow planner of the '93 WTC bombing, was at Camp Khaldan in Afghanistan in '92. It's not clear to me what relationship, if any, bin Laden would have had to such training camps at such early dates.

Given the M.O. of these groups, I don't think Ajaj and Yousef just dreamed up the WTC bombing plan -- I think they would have needed advice and approval from higher-up people. The opinion in the WTC bombing case says nothing about who suggested and approved the idea, just speaks of Ajaj and Yousef. Jim Woolsey complains in the Foreword to the new paperback edition of Laurie Mylroie's book that this is too often the result of approaching terrorist crimes as matters of criminal prosecution -- the prosecution is pretty much only concerned with convicting those actually standing trial. But it looks to me, from reading the court opinion, that something very like al Qaeda was already in existence before it came to be dominated by bin Laden.

48 posted on 01/02/2002 11:33:35 AM PST by aristeides
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To: Travis McGee;Squantos; harpseal; Fred Mertz; Plummz; OKCSubmariner;Nita Nupress;Alamo-Girl...
Not for commercial use. Solely to be used for the educational purposes of research and open discussion.

Did He act alone?
Neil Mackay
The Sunday Herald; pg. 11
December 30, 2001

It is becoming obvious that shoe bomber Richard Reid had expert help. By Home Affairs Editor Neil Mackay

IT was the perfect moment to detonate a bomb. At 3.45pm on Saturday afternoon, as American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris to Miami reached the so-called point -of-no-return - the halfway marker between continental Europe and America - Richard Reid tried to set light to a fuse concealed in the heel of one of his black trainers leading to ten pounds of plastic explosives also packed into the shoe.

Yousef had subsequently tried to bring down 10 airliners in 1994 by smuggling explosives on board in his shoes in the so-called Bojinka Plot. One device exploded, killing one passenger, although it failed to bring down the plane.
A stewardess, smelling sulphur and thinking the dishevelled-looking passenger was smoking, asked Reid not to smoke. He agreed. Then she smelt the sharp tang of sulphur again and turned back. This time Reid was attempting to burn his shoes, and this time it was Reid who gave the orders. "Step back," he told her. "I'm wired." Her eyes dropped to the trainer in his hand. Wires were poking out of it. The stewardess screamed "I need help. I need help", and passengers leapt to their feet to assist her. Eric Debry from Paris was sitting behind Reid, along with his wife and two young children. He reached over the headrest of the seat and pulled Reid's arms back, trying to restrain him. "I jumped on his shoulders. Then two other guys came and took his legs."

Another French passenger, Thierry Dugeon, who was sitting ten rows away from Reid, raced down the aisles to help. "I was there in five seconds and there were already two or three guys on him," Dugeon said. "He was struggling, he was a real powerful guy, but we were five or six people. It was like everybody knew what they needed to do." Reid fought so ferociously that one passenger, Kwame James, a professional basketball player, described him as "unbelievably strong, almost possessed". Eventually beaten into submission and bound to his seat with belts, Reid was sedated by a doctor on the flight from the cabin crew's emergency first aid kit. As the in-flight movie, Legally Blonde, played mutely on aeroplane screens, Reid was given two more injections - to make sure he was out for the count. It was then that real terror set in for the passengers and crew. They had at least two more hours in the air with an unexploded bomb.

The pilots radioed ahead to North American Aerospace Defence Command. Two F-15 fighter jets from Otis Air Force base on Cape Cod cut out into the Atlantic to escort the plane to Logan Airport in Boston. As a battered Reid was led into custody, an FBI agent asked him what he was trying to achieve. "You'll find out," he said, "you'll find out."

The FBI are now sure - from piecing together the facts of Reid's life - that he did not act alone. This was a 28-year-old petty criminal from London, not a crack terrorist with the know-how or brains to plan such a daring attack. According to forensic experts, the construction of the bomb was "alarmingly sophisticated". In a Boston court on Friday - where Reid is facing initial charges of assaulting flight crew - FBI Special Agent Margaret Cronin said the bomb in Reid's shoes would have punched a hole in the side of flight 63 and Reid must have had conspirators.

The last man to try a similar attack was Ramzi Yousef, now serving life in a maximum security federal jail in the USA for his role in masterminding the first car-bomb attack on the World Trade Centre in 1993. Yousef had subsequently tried to bring down 10 airliners in 1994 by smuggling explosives on board in his shoes in the so-called Bojinka Plot. One device exploded, killing one passenger, although it failed to bring down the plane.

Yousef is looked on by the world's law enforcement community as a master terrorist with a huge network of followers and backers, including the al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. It is unimaginable that Reid could have funded and executed the operation alone. From the moment he was brought off Flight 63, the search was under way for his accomplices.

Reid was born to an English mother and a Jamaican father in Bromley, London in 1973. He wound up in Feltham Young Offenders' Centre in his late teens. There he converted to Islam, taking the Arabic name Abdel Rahim.

Last month, Feltham's imam was suspended over allegations of unprofessional conduct relating to September 11. It is alleged that Abdul Rahman Qureshi delivered inflammatory sermons in which he referred to "the big devil America", and was distributing literature to prisoners describing America as "the great evil which must be wiped out". Prison sources say Qureshi's father was the Feltham imam when Reid was there in the mid-1990s. Ahmed Bilal, imam of Aylesbury Young Offenders' Institution, was also dismissed for a similar infraction in October, and an imam at Belmarsh Prison was investigated but cleared over alleged "inappropriate links".

Tayab Ali, a member of the Central London Mosque and a visiting imam at Wormwood Scrubs prison, said the current regime in British jails made it easy for extremists to enter prisons and preach firebrand politics. "It is left to the mosques to choose any Tom, Dick or Harry to go in and talk to vulnerable prisoners and it concerns me," he said. "There are not enough checks on these people in place. The local mosque chooses who they want and the police just check whether they have any criminal convictions. The mosques are doing the job the state should be doing."

Zaki Badawi, principal of the Muslim College, says many mosques are recruiting imams from abroad who are bringing fundamentalist views to the UK. On his release from prison, Reid joined Arabic classes at Brixton mosque in 1996. Run primarily by British converts, the mosque is renowned for its orthodox but moderate view of Islam which has made it and its leaders hated among UK extremists.

Abdul Haqq Baker, the cleric who runs the Brixton mosque, says extremists have been targeting his congregation for years and trying to recruit young converts, like Richard Reid, to their own particular radical form of Islam. "Recruiting has got out of control," said Baker, who converted to Islam in his 20s. He said he knew of "hundreds of Richard Reids" who had been recruited in the UK. Baker warned police about extremists recruiting young men but was ignored even though he gave the names of people allegedly operating on behalf of radical British -based clerics like Abu Hamza, Abu Qatada and Abdullah el-Faisal. The Metropolitan Police Authority admits that warnings about Muslim extremists, such as Reid and those who indoctrinated him, might not have been taken seriously when Baker passed on information. Deputy chairman Peter Herbert said: "With the benefit of hindsight, many things that may have been looked at with more scrutiny after September 11 were not looked at in such a way beforehand."

It was while Reid was at Brixton mosque that he met fellow worshipper Zacarias Moussaoui, a Frenchman of Moroccan origin who also lived in Brixton. Moussaoui is now in prison in America on charges of conspiracy relating to the September 11 attacks. He is suspected of being the "20th hijacker".

Moussaoui was only prevented from taking part in the suicide attacks when he was detained after behaving suspiciously at a US flight school. He was eventually expelled from the Brixton mosque for his inflammatory beliefs. Baker believes that Moussaoui could have been the man who recruited Reid.

Another worshipper at the mosque was Shahid Butt, from Birmingham, who was jailed for five years in Yemen for joining a group of British Muslims who plotted to attack the British consulate and a Christian church. Other suspected al-Qaeda members recruited in south London include a French national called Jerome Courtellier, now in custody in Holland, and Djamel Beghal, who was detained in Dubai and once lived in Brixton.

After meeting Moussaoui, Reid began to change. "He became infuriatingly arrogant," said Baker. "He would try and speak to other unsuspecting youths about his views. We would try and stop him. He kept asking us: 'Do you know where there is jihad which I can fight?' He would wear military gear."

Baker, who knew Reid well, said the "shoe-bomber" was incapable of carrying out the attack single-handedly. "No way could he do this on his own," said Baker. "He doesn't have the capacity to think: 'I'm going to get these explosives. I know where to get these explosives from. I'll put them in my shoe'."

The mosque found Reid work making incense sticks, but towards the end of 1998 he stopped attending and is thought to have moved to Pakistan. For an ex -prisoner with little or no visible or legitimate means of support the trip to Pakistan was to be just the first in a series of expensive and regular journeys overseas. He visited seven countries in the months before his arrest. These included a ten-day trip to Israel and visits to Gaza, Egypt, Turkey, Brussels, Paris, Amsterdam and Afghanistan - where it is believed he received some form of terrorist training.

Reid's travels began in June when he made a three-week trip to the Middle East. He flew to Cairo, then on to Istanbul before finally arriving in Israel. French intelligence believes he was testing security on El Al flights during this journey. In Tel Aviv, security personnel grew suspicious of this bearded and distinctly odd visitor and pulled him in for questioning and security searches. Nothing untoward was discovered and he was sent on his way.

From Israel, he moved back to Cairo after a short stop-over in the Palestinian -controlled city of Gaza, where it is thought that he contacted Hamas, the terrorist group behind recent suicide bombings which has developed close ties with al-Qaeda. French intelligence also believes he was establishing contacts with Islamic extremists in Egypt. His next trip was to Pakistan in August. It is believed that this was the journey that brought him into contact directly with al-Qaeda. US intelligence sources say al-Qaeda captives were shown Reid's photograph by Pakistani guards and remembered him being in an Afghan training camp sometime this year. European intelligence chiefs believe Moussaoui and Reid might have spent time together in one of these camps.

It was around this time that Reid's mother, Lesley Hughes, contacted Brixton mosque. She says she was worried about her son and had no idea where he was. Last week she appeared as lost as ever over how her son had apparently turned into one of the world's most dangerous men.

"He is my son,'' she said. "I am deeply shocked, as any mother would be. I am concerned about the allegations being made against my son. Other than what I have read in the media, I have no knowledge of this matter." Madeline Reid, Richard Reid's aunt, is not so confused over what might have turned her nephew into a terrorist. She says Reid was a "lost soul" who was so lonely and rejected by his family that "he found solace with his Muslim brothers". Reid's father, Robin, believes his son was brainwashed.

Intelligence sources believe that from Pakistan and Afghanistan, Reid returned to a safe house in Amsterdam. Then, on December 7, he left the Dutch capital for Brussels, where he stayed for a week and obtained a new British passport from the UK consulate. This, and the fact that his previous passport had pages torn out of it, was an obvious attempt, British police believe, to disguise his previous movements. Reid returned to Amsterdam on December 14, where he picked up the customised shoes loaded with explosives. He claims he bought the explosives for around (pounds) 1000 after finding a seller online. Vincent van Steen, of the Dutch secret service, believes Reid was given the bomb in Holland by his co -conspirators. Two days later he travelled to Paris' Gard du Nord railway station on board a high-speed train.

Despite his seemingly reduced circumstances, Reid was still able to spend almost (pounds) 3000 on a round-trip ticket from Paris via Miami and Antigua. The evening before he boarded Flight 63, he was barred from taking an earlier flight to the USA and ended up spending the night in the four-star Copthorne Hotel - paid for by American Airlines.

Staff with the security firm ICTS "red-flagged" Reid when he tried to board the first flight to the States. He had no luggage, was nervous and scruffy and had paid in cash for his ticket - all warning signs. After a search, his small rucksack was found to contain only a Walkman with Arab music cassettes and verses of the Koran. During his night at the hotel, staff heard him praying loudly in his room. The next day he was cleared for boarding Flight 63.

Reid has told his FBI interrogators that he acted alone. Nobody believes his claim. Despite his criminal background, his blatant flirtation with violent Islamic fundamentalism and his journeys to countries including Afghanistan, Reid still wasn't pinpointed as a potential security threat by MI5 or Special Branch. Perhaps all that had to be done was for the police and British intelligence and security chiefs to listen to the one man they chose to ignore - Abdul Haqq Baker, a voice from within the Muslim community and a man growing increasingly fearful about what was happening within Islam in the UK.

He secretly recorded meetings, of the type Reid had attended with Moussaoui, where the only matter up for discussion was jihad. "Do you know what the police did when we offered them this information?" he asked.

"They told me they'd 'monitor' the situation. These people were talking about holy war - and all we did was monitor them."

CAPTION: Few believe Richard Reid, opposite page, acted alone in taking the foot bomb on board Flight 63; top, Abdul Haqq Baker, chairman of Brixton mosque, voiced his concerns to police over Reid; his mother, Lesley Hughes, is still mystified over her son's behaviour Main photograph: Peter Jordan/PA

49 posted on 01/02/2002 11:34:56 AM PST by Wallaby
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To: madrussian, Askel5, Zviadist, Free the USA, struwwelpeter,NewAmsterdam, Black Jade,Carry_Okie,jmp
What went wrong?
50 posted on 01/02/2002 11:36:46 AM PST by CommiesOut
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To: aristeides
It will give us all great comfort to know that American troops were in harms way to protect Bosnians and Kosovars of Albanian ethnicity when members of these two groups engage in terrorism against Americans.

Stay well - stay safe - Stay armed - Yorktown

51 posted on 01/02/2002 11:40:31 AM PST by harpseal
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To: Squantos; Travis McGee
Actually Squantos and I spoke about divulging EOD or IED info on this site and we agreed completely to refrain from doing so. Suffice it to say, when I read the list of items found, I could hear the wheels in both my and Squantos' head spinning.
52 posted on 01/02/2002 11:42:11 AM PST by EODGUY
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To: Wallaby
As an interesting aside, a columnist--I believe it was Mark Steyn--recently questioned the veracity of the intelligence community's claims about the difficulty of penetrating Islamic terrorist organizations by human, rather than technological, means. How then does one explain the remarkable success of John Walker?
53 posted on 01/02/2002 11:48:02 AM PST by independentmind
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To: aristeides; a history buff; Alamo-Girl
>Something very like al Qaeda was already in existence before it came to be dominated by bin Laden.

Tablighi Jamaat? Harkat-ul-Mujahideen? Jamaat-ul-Fuqra?

Check this out. Can't vouch for the reliability of the source. Obviously, the author has some axes to grind.

Not for commercial use. Solely to be used for the educational purposes of research and open discussion.

Business Line -- Kasturi & Sons Ltd (KSL)
Global News Wire
November 7, 2000

THE NEW York Times reported on October 20, that Ali Mohammed, an ex-US Army Sergeant of Egyptian origin, pleaded guilty before an US District Judge to a charge of plotting with Osama bin Laden to kill Americans anywhere in the world.

The earliest of such organisations was the highly secretive Jamaat-ul-Fuqra, which started its clandestine activities in the Muslim communities of North America and the Caribbean in the 1980s.
He reportedly admitted that he had conspired with Osama and others to murder Americans anywhere they could be found, to attack the US military outposts in Somalia and Saudi Arabia, to kill Americans at unspecified embassies, and to conceal the conspiracy. He said that the object of the conspiracy, which he joined in the late 1980s, was to force the US out of West Asia.

According to The New York Times, Mohammed left the US Army in 1989 after three years of service. During his military service, he earned a Parachute Badge and an M-16 Expert Badge, teaching soldiers in the Special Forces about Muslim culture.

He also admitted he had helped secretly move Osama from Pakistan to Sudan in the early 1990s and trained members of his terrorist organisation, al Qaeda. Osama shifted from the Sudan to Afghanistan in 1996.

In his plea, Mohammed described Osama as central in a massive conspiracy by members of an Islamic holy war (jehad) movement to target US military installations and embassies worldwide. "The objective of all of this was to attack any Western target in West Asia," Mohammed said.

Mohammed's plea of guilt focusses attention on the efforts of Pakistan and Afghanistan-based jehadi extremists to recruit members from the Muslim communities in North America and the Caribbean to use them initially for operations against American interests in West Asia and then to promote jehad in the US territory itself.

While the role of Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, of Pakistani origin, and other US-based Muslim mercenaries of Osama in setting off the blast at the New York World Trade Centre in February 1993, is well known and well-documented, adequate attention has not been paid to the activities of certain Pakistan-based organisations.

The earliest of such organisations was the highly secretive Jamaat-ul-Fuqra, which started its clandestine activities in the Muslim communities of North America and the Caribbean in the 1980s. Founded in Pakistan during the US' proxy war against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan by Sheikh Mubarik Ali Gilani, it not only organised religious teachings for the members of the Muslim communities of these countries, but also converted a large number of Afro-Americans to Islam and brought some of them to Pakistan for training in the use of firearms and explosives.

It was strongly against the US, Israel and India and its members in the US and Canada were suspected in a number of instances of arson attacks on property owned by the Jewish people and the Hindus.

In a report carried by the News (February 13, 1995) of Pakistan, Mr Kamran Khan, the well-known investigative journalist, brought to light the nexus between the Tablighi Jamaat (TJ) of Pakistan, headed by Lt Gen (retd) Javed Nasir, former Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), declared by the US as an international terrorist organisation in October 1997, and their role in supporting Islamic extremist movements in different countries, and among the Muslim community in the US. Till 1997, HUM was known as the Harkat-ul-Ansar (HUA).

Mr Kamran Khan quoted unidentified office-bearers of the HUM as claiming that among foreign volunteers trained by them in their camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan were 16 African- American Muslims from various cities of the US.

The February 1998 issue of Newsline, a Pakistani monthly, quoted workers of the TJ as saying that the TJ had many offices in the US, Russia, the Central Asian Republics, South Africa, Australia and France.

Dr Jassim Taqui, an Islamic scholar, wrote in the Frontier Post of Peshawar of January 15, 1999, that the TJ claimed to have frustrated the efforts of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to penetrate it and succeeded in converting some CIA agents to Islam.

Amongst the organisations in the US with which the TJ is believed to be closely associated, are the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Muslim Youth of North America (MYNA). The ISNA president used to be one Sheikh Abdullah Idris Ali, an American immigrant of Sudanese origin, who was also the Pesh Imam and Khatib of a mosque in New York.

Among the alleged members of the TJ in the Muslim community in the US is Mr Louis Fara Khan, the Afro-American Muslim leader. The TJ operates in the US and the Caribbean directly through its own preachers deputed from Pakistan and also recruited from the Pakistani immigrant community in the US as well as through front organisations such as the Jamaat-ul- Fuqra.

In its preachings to the Pakistani immigrants in the US, the TJ has been stressing the importance of cultivating the Afro-American Muslims in order to counter the lobbying power of the Hindus and the Jewish people. The HUM, which works in tandem with the TJ, has been training Afro-American Muslims from the US in its training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Writing in the Dawn of January 12, 1996, Mr Ghani Eirabie said: "The Ummah must remember that winning over the black Muslims is not only a religious obligation, but also a selfish necessity. The votes of the black Muslims can give the immigrant Muslims the political clout they need at every stage to protect their vital interests. Likewise, outside Muslim states such as Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Pakistan, need to mobilise their effort, money and missionary skills to expand and consolidate the black Muslim community in the US, not only for religious reasons, but also as a far-sighted investment in the black Muslims' immense potential as a credible lobby for Muslim causes, such as Palestine, Bosnia or Kashmir - offsetting, at least partially, the venal influence of the powerful India-Israel lobby."

In July-August this year, Mr Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the Amir of Pakistan's Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI), had toured the US and appealed to the members of the Pakistani community and Afro-Asian Muslims to mobilise the Muslim voters in support of Mr George Bush Jr in the US Presidential elections and to ensure the defeat of Mr Al Gore. He described the Clinton Administration anti-Pakistan and criticised it for allegedly deviating from the traditional US policy of supporting Pakistan on the Kashmir issue.

In recent weeks, there have been reports that many organisations in the US of Pakistani origin have been canvassing support for Mr Bush Jr from amongst the Muslim voters. They have been pointing out the US's close relations with Pakistan during the Reagan and the Bush Administrations from 1981 to 1993. They also claim that though Mr Bush invoked the Pressler Amendment against Pakistan in October 1990, and acted energetically against the Chinese supply of missiles to Pakistan, he refrained from acting on a report from the Counter-Terrorism Division in 1992, recommending that Pakistan be declared a state-sponsor of international terrorism.

Politically active members of the Pakistani community in the US describe the so-called pro-India tilt of the Clinton Administration as a temporary aberration brought about by some officials in the State Department such as Mr Strobe Talbot, Mr Thomas Pickering and Mr Karl Inderfurth, and claim that senior officers of the Pentagon and the US armed forces have been unhappy over this tilt.

They also claim that there are many supporters of Pakistan in the Republican Party such as Mr Dick Cheney, Mr Bush Jr's Vice-Presidential running mate, who was the Defence Secretary in the Bush Administration, Gen (retd) Colin Powell and Mr Robert McFarlane, who was the National Security Adviser of Mr Ronald Reagan in 1983-85 and express their confidence that if Mr Bush Jr is elected, he would, on the advice of such elements, restore what they describe as the traditional Republican policy of friendship towards Pakistan. They project Mr Al Gore as pro- India and pro-Israel and, in this connection, refer to his selection of a Jewish leader as his running mate.

As part of their efforts to mobilise Muslim support for Mr Bush Jr, they have been disseminating copies of an article written by Mr McFarlane in the Washington Post of September 18, after a meeting with Pakistan's self-styled Chief Executive, Gen Pervez Musharraf, in New York.

In the article, Mr McFarlane strongly criticised the attempts of some analysts to demonise "a long-time friend and ally" of the US and to blame Pakistan for the turmoil in that region and to call for its designation as a 'terrorist state'. He described such attempts as perverse and unjustified under any rational analysis of the facts and called for a resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN resolutions.

He added: "To ask Kashmiris to accept the Indian constitution is to preempt the purpose of talks: To achieve a solution that meets the aspirations of the Kashmiri people in accordance with the UN resolution."

(The author is former Additional Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India.)

- B. Raman

54 posted on 01/02/2002 11:52:14 AM PST by Wallaby
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To: EODGUY,Squantos,harpseal
On Christmas Eve I was catching a flight from Min. St Paul to Baltimore. I was in the concourse near the final ticket counter, next to the jetway.

A big guy seated in my waiting area was carrying a case of beer in brown bottles, no doubt some "special local brew" he wanted to treat relatives and friends to at his destination. The case of bottled beer was in another brown cardboard box, open at the top but held down with duct tape.

I couldn't believe this, knowing that liquid explosives have been used before to bypass airport security. The Philippino case mentioned above is one example.

I went right to the uniformed airline people and pointed out this unusual "carryone luggage" and asked them if it was permitted. They said "well, if beer is not on the list of banned items, then it's okay to carry on board". Incredible.

Even if none of the brown bottles contained explosives, fuel or accelerants (acetone etc) they could be hurled or broken to be used as 24 weapons.

Somehow, this stupidity did not shock me.

55 posted on 01/02/2002 12:04:01 PM PST by Travis McGee
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To: Wallaby
Did somebody say Tabligh-i-Jamaat?
56 posted on 01/02/2002 12:04:53 PM PST by aristeides
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To: aristeides
Yes-- in the tenth paragraph of article I just posted. It's a small world.
57 posted on 01/02/2002 12:11:43 PM PST by Wallaby
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To: Magician
terminal incompetence: The Peter Princible in it's glory -- not only do people rise to their level of incompetence, but it is the nature of non-profits (and the biggest non-profit of all being the US Government) to prefer management by the incompetent. (Excepting at some point, for a short period, in war or disaster.) Only the incompetent can possibly meet the fundamental mission statement of non-profits -- that being NOT to make a profit.

Further, the arts of bribery and graft, as apexed by Team Clinton, are easily practised among the incompetent, and the desire to practise such arts adds considerably to the promotion of incompetence. One by direct promotion, and two by demoralizng and throwing off the competent.

58 posted on 01/02/2002 12:19:04 PM PST by bvw
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To: Travis McGee
Yousef had deposited his device - lethal liquid concealed in a contact lens solution bottle with cotton-ball stabilizing agents and a harmless-looking wristwatch wrapped around it...
I flew two days ago and can attest that contact lens solution bottles are easy to bring onboard.
59 posted on 01/02/2002 12:19:34 PM PST by Wallaby
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To: aristeides
Did you see the allegation regarding Farrakhan in that same piece?
60 posted on 01/02/2002 12:22:20 PM PST by Wallaby
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