Saturday, June 19, 2004

Al-Muqrin Remained a Brutal Killer All His Life

Mohammed Rasooldeen, Arab News

RIYADH, 20 June 2004 — The man considered the leader of Al-Qaeda in the Kingdom had been a gun for hire around the world since his teens.

Abdul Aziz Al-Muqrin, 31, was believed to be the leader of the group calling itself variously “Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” or the “Fallujah Brigade” that claimed responsibility for beheading Paul M. Johnson.

Al-Muqrin’s fighters are blamed for a recent string of terror strikes in the Kingdom, among them the May 29 shooting and hostage-taking in Alkhobar that killed 22 people, most of them foreigners, and the Nov. 8, 2003, suicide bombing at Riyadh housing compounds that killed 17, mostly non-Saudi Muslims working in the Kingdom.

Al-Muqrin was born and bred in Suwaidi, a district in Riyadh known as a hotbed of extremism.

A BBC cameraman was shot and a correspondent wounded while reporting in Suwaidi earlier this month in front of the home of another terrorist gunned down by security forces there earlier.

Al-Muqrin dropped out of high school in the late 1980s and fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan after training with Osama Bin Laden.

He later fought in Bosnia and in Algeria, where he was involved in weapons smuggling from Spain via Morocco.

Subsequently, Muqrin went to Somalia where he organized tribal fights against Ethiopia. He also fought in Bosnia Herzegovina with a group of Saudi youth.

Security sources say he was arrested in 1999 for illegally crossing the border into Yemen and was sent home, where he spent two years in prison before being released for good behavior.

Al-Muqrin took over Al-Qaeda operations in the Kingdom after his predecessor Khaled Ali Al-Haj was killed by security agents earlier this year, but he had masterminded attacks before that.

Al-Haj, a Yemeni, had succeeded Yousef Al-Airi, who was killed in a clash with security forces in early 2003.

Al-Muqrin, known as a smart and brutal tactician, was the most-wanted terrorist in Saudi Arabia. His attacks in recent months showed a measure of tactical flexibility — car bombs as well as pinpointed strikes like the kidnapping of Johnson, a first in the Kingdom.

His cell also used the Internet for publicity, posting videos and photos as well as accounts boasting of the group’s atrocities.

An Internet statement last month purportedly from Al-Muqrin said Al-Qaeda relied on independent cells that function without “organizational cohesion.” The statement said Al-Qaeda cells follow the group’s example as well as books and periodicals on how to carry out attacks.

In another Internet statement attributed to Al-Muqrin, he indicated he was recruiting Saudis to fight the US-led occupation army in Iraq.

“By sending our fighters to Iraq, we are not only serving the Iraqi cause but the cause of Islam,” the statement said.

A video that surfaced on websites in April showed a masked man identified as Al-Muqrin vowing to expel Americans from the Arabian Peninsula.


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Several more Islamists wake up in Hell .... Al Muqrin gets his

Note: Four more Islamists woke up in hell during the last 24 hours .... Al-Muqrin was a vicious little bastard who deserves whatever horrors await ....

http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1§ion=0&article=47071&d=20&m=6&y=2004


Big Blow to Al-Qaeda
Mohammed Rasooldeen, Arab News


RIYADH, 20 June 2004 — The Interior Ministry confirmed yesterday that Al-Qaeda’s suspected leader in Saudi Arabia, Abdul Aziz Al-Muqrin, was one of four militants gunned down Friday night.

The security offensive came shortly after Muqrin’s “Al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula” carried out its threat to execute American Paul M. Johnson and posted gruesome photos of the beheaded victim on websites.

Contradicting earlier reports, Saudi officials said yesterday that the body of Johnson had not been found.

After weeks of apparent inability to stop anti-Western terror, authorities said Friday night’s gunbattle in Riyadh also left two gunmen directly involved in the attacks dead and netted 12 suspects.

Muqrin’s death had been reported by security men, but a communiqué claiming to speak for Al-Qaeda posted on a website later denied it.

Authorities responded by airing photos of the bloodied corpses of Al-Muqrin and the other dead militants along with the Interior Ministry statement. A trickle of blood ran from the mouth of one of the militants pictured, and the teeth of another appeared smashed.

“Abdul Aziz ibn Issa Al-Muqrin, who claimed to head the gang that condemns people as infidels” and claimed responsibility “for assassinations and kidnappings” was one of the four gunmen killed, the statement said. The four “were besieged in a gas station in the Al-Malaz district of Riyadh by security forces, and a heavy exchange of fire” ensued around 9 p.m., it said.

Al-Ekhbariya showed footage of the gas station, with blood on the street and covering some merchandise inside.

The ministry identified another of the dead gunmen as Faisal Al-Dakheel, who figured on the most-wanted list and appeared in footage showing the killing of an American resident — an apparent reference to a video of the killing of Robert Jacobs.

The third was named as Turki Al-Mutairi, one of three gunmen who escaped after the shooting and hostage-taking rampage in Alkhobar last month.

The fourth was Ibrahim Al-Draihem, suspected of helping plan the bombing of a residential compound in Riyadh last November.

Al-Muqrin and Al-Dakheel were at the top of the 26-strong list of most wanted militants issued last December.

The list is now down to 16.

“He went to his fate,” Al-Riyadh newspaper quoted Al-Muqrin’s father as saying Friday night.

The ministry said a security man was also killed in the clash and two were wounded.

Twelve suspected terrorists were arrested, but their names would not be divulged “in the interest of the investigation,” the ministry said.

But a security source said one of them was a senior terrorist suspected of involvement in the 2000 bombing of the US warship Cole in Yemen.

“This man is considered one of the aides to Al-Muqrin,” the source said.

The Interior Ministry statement said security forces also seized three cars, one of which was used in the June 6 shooting attack on a BBC crew in Riyadh that left cameraman Simon Cumbers dead and correspondent Frank Gardner critically wounded.

They also seized a range of weapons and explosives, in addition to SR132,800 and another $2,900.

In Washington, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said terrorists would earn a victory if American workers leave Saudi Arabia in response to the terrorist attacks.

Powell said he was hopeful that Americans will remain in the Kingdom as a result of increased personal safety measures they take on their own as well as heightened protection from their employers and from the Saudi government. “If they leave, then the terrorists have won,” Powell said, only hours after Johnson’s beheading.

“I don’t think either the Saudis, the Americans, or these brave folks who work in Saudi Arabia want the terrorists to win,” he said.

James Oberwetter, the US ambassador to Saudi Arabia, told reporters the cooperation between the US and the Kingdom in efforts to find Johnson was “excellent”. He also praised the efforts of Saudi security forces to hunt for terrorists.

“A great deal was accomplished last evening. We also believe that much remains to be done,” Oberwetter said. “The Saudis are doing an excellent job of working on their most wanted list — and working people off that list — but not everyone who is a threat has been removed from the list and maybe there are many more.”

He also warned that the situation for Westerners in the Kingdom remains dangerous. “The US State Department has issued warnings and repeated those warnings, including yesterday, concerning the nature of the threat here,” he said

“It will be some time before we achieve a comfortable level and the situation returns to normal,” he said. “We look forward to that day but it is some time away,” he added.

Adel Al-Jubeir, an adviser to Crown Prince Abdullah, said in Washington that the killing of Muqrin and his associates had “substantially weakened” Al-Qaeda.

Speaking at a news conference at the Saudi Embassy, Jubeir told America “our people are outraged” by the violent acts of Al-Qaeda.

Jubeir said reports on Friday that Johnson’s body had been found were incorrect. “The body has not yet been recovered. There was confusion yesterday about this issue. The determination that Mr. Johnson was murdered was made on the basis of technical analysis of the tape (of the beheading) by both US and Saudi experts. We do not yet know at what time Mr. Johnson was murdered,” he said. “We are searching for the body,” which is thought to be in the northern outskirts of Riyadh, he added.


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Friday, June 18, 2004

Robert Johnson Beheaded --Another Beheading from the Religion of Peace

Robert Johnson, the American defence worker captured by dissidents in Saudi Arabia last week has been killed after a 72-hour deadline for the Saudi government to release al-Qaida prisoners passed.

You can see their handiwork here http://rfsafe.com/tributes/paul.jpg
Warning--not for the sqeamish


Robert Johnson loved Saudi Arabia and even thought of becoming a Muslim. Now he has found out how the Islamists treat infidels by becoming another victim of a slaughter--a beheading.

This is standard practice--from the 9/11 hijackers slitting several passengers throats, to the torture and killing of Danny Pearl, to the beheading of tourists in Pakistan by Omar Sheik.

Maybe some of the mainstream media can take time away from Abu Ghraith and the 9/11 commission and do some reporting on the the people behind their self-declared war on the west.

Do the media, the nut-case left and out-to-lunch academics really hate President Bush that much--that they must turn their bacl on the atrocities committed by the Islamists?

Let's not forget the rape and torture of American women and other military people in both Iraq Wars.

Apparently none of this has been as newsworthy or as politically expedient as the naked Iraqis or teh politically-motivated 9/11 circus..

And of course, none of the media will point out that this "slaughter" is celebrated in the Koran and the Islamist barbarians use the Koran as justification. Political correctness has been drilled into the heads of these politicians and journalists for so long they have lost any capacity to ask unpleasant questions concerning the so-called "religion of peace."

Robert Johnson, may God rest his soul, got to experience the Islamists' love.

I predict you will see less than one-thousandth of the coverage and analysis of the beheading of Robert Johnsonand that the religious motivation and justification won't be the lead story on CBS news or above the fold of the New York Times.

As I have written many times, this is a religious war, stupid, and until our mainstream media and politicians accept that Islamists have declared war we will continue to see dead Americans.

We are fighting religiously-motivated savages and barbarians. People who behead, rape and practice real torture as a matter of course.

They all come from one religion.

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How Do You Say "Deus Ex Machina" in Russian?

After all this time, after all the questions, after the dissecting of the intelligence data (and the lack of it), after months and months and months, now that paragon of Truth and Virtue, former KGB spy and Russian strong man Vladimir Putin casually announces that "Oh by the way, our spies told your spies that Saddam was planning terrorist attacks in the USA between 9/11 and the start of the invasion."

Setting aside for the moment the credibility of the messenger, let's look at the credibility of the message itself. Russian spies told us all about Saddam's secret plans to conduct "terrorist" attacks inside the US but somehow or other no one over here bothered to mention this during all of the investigating and questioning. Oh it must be because it was so classified--except, wait, Putin just announced it to the world! I think Bush and his Bumblers Club must have been cutting some pretty interesting behind-the-scenes deals at the G8 summit. I wonder what they offered Putin?

Personally I think we should revive Vaudeville and book "Bush & Putin" (No! It's "Putin and Bush!") as the funniest pair of clumsy liars seen in many a long year on the world stage. They are the perfect Vaudevillians--the dour looking Putin and his pet Chimp!

The Russians had the "Saddam" smoking gun all along and they just now bother to mention it. Give me the proverbial F'ing break!
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Thursday, June 17, 2004

Summary of Attacks on 9/11 Flights

With all the idiocy coming from the left and the media here's summary of 9/11 attacks lest we forget

Here is a summary of the flights of the four planes that were hijacked on Sept. 11, 2001, as compiled by the commission investigating the attacks. (The summary starts with American Airlines Flight 11. Jump below for summaries of United Airlines flights 175 and 93, American Airlines Flight 77.)


American Airlines Flight 11

FAA Awareness:

At 8:00 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 11 began its takeoff roll at Logan Airport in Boston. A Boeing 767, Flight 11 was bound for Los Angeles with 81 passengers, 11 crew, and 24,000 gallons of jet fuel. By 8:09 a.m., it was being monitored by FAA's Boston Center (located in New Hampshire). At 8:13 a.m., the controller instructed the flight to ''turn twenty degrees right,'' which the flight acknowledged. This was the last transmission to which the flight responded.

Sixteen seconds later, the controller instructed the flight to climb to 35,000 feet. When there was no response, the controller repeated the command seconds later, and then tried repeatedly to raise the flight. He used the emergency frequency to try to reach the pilot. Though there was no response, he kept trying to contact the aircraft.

At 8:21 a.m., American 11 turned off its transponder, immediately degrading the available information about the aircraft. The controller told his supervisor that he thought something was seriously wrong with the plane. At this point, neither the controller nor his supervisor suspected a hijacking. The supervisor instructed the controller to follow standard operating procedures for handling a ''no radio'' aircraft.

The controller checked to see if American Airlines could establish communication with American 11. He became even more concerned as its route changed, moving into another sector's airspace. Controllers immediately began to move aircraft out of its path, and searched from aircraft to aircraft in an effort to have another pilot contact American 11. At 8:24:38, the following transmission came from American 11:

AMERICAN 11: We have some planes. Just stay quiet, and you'll be O.K. We are returning to the airport.

The controller only heard something unintelligible; he did not hear the specific words ''we have some planes.'' Then the next transmission came seconds later:

AMERICAN 11: Nobody move. Everything will be O.K. If you try to make any moves, youll endanger yourself and the airplane. Just stay quiet.

Hearing that, the controller told us he then knew it was a hijacking. The controller alerted his supervisor, who assigned another controller to assist him, and redoubled efforts to ascertain the flight's altitude. Because the controller didn't understand the initial transmission, the Manager of Boston Center instructed the center's Quality Assurance Specialist to ''pull the tape'' of the radio transmission, listen to it closely, and report back.

Between 8:25 a.m. and 8:32 a.m., in accordance with the FAA protocol, Boston Center managers started notifying their chain of command that American 11 had been hijacked. At 8:28 a.m., Boston Center called the Command Center in Herndon, Va. to advise management that it believed American 11 had been hijacked and was heading toward New York Center's airspace. By this point in time, American 11 had taken a dramatic turn to the south. At 8:32 a.m., the Command Center passed word of a possible hijacking to the Operations Center at FAA headquarters. The duty officer replied that security personnel at headquarters had just begun discussing the hijack situation on a conference call with the New England Regional office.

The Herndon Command Center immediately established a teleconference between Boston, New York, and Cleveland Centers so that Boston Center could help the others understand what was happening.

At 8:34 a.m., the Boston Center controller received a third transmission from American 11:

AMERICAN 11: Nobody move please. We are going back to the airport. Don't try to make any stupid moves.

In the succeeding minutes, controllers were attempting to ascertain the altitude of the southbound Flight 11.

Military Notification and Response:

Boston Center did not follow the routine protocol in seeking military assistance through the prescribed chain of command. In addition to making notifications within the FAA, Boston Center took the initiative, at 8:34 a.m., to contact the military through the FAA's Cape Cod facility. They also tried to obtain assistance from a former alert site in Atlantic City, unaware it had been phased out. At 8:37:52 a.m., Boston Center reached NEADS. This was the first notification received by the military at any level that American 11 had been hijacked:

FAA: Hi. Boston Center TMU, we have a problem here. We have a hijacked aircraft headed towards New York, and we need you guys to, we need someone to scramble some F-16s or something up there, help us out.

NEADS: Is this real-world or exercise?

FAA: No, this is not an exercise, not a test.

NEADS promptly ordered to battle stations the two F-15 alert aircraft at Otis Air Force Base, about 153 miles away from New York City. The air defense of America began with this call.

At NEADS, the reported hijacking was relayed immediately to Battle Commander Colonel Robert Marr. After ordering the Otis fighters to battle stations, Colonel Marr phoned Major General Larry Arnold, commanding General of the First Air Force and the Continental Region. Marr sought authorization to scramble the Otis fighters. General Arnold instructed Marr ''to go ahead and scramble the airplanes, and wed get permission later.'' General Arnold then called NORAD headquarters to report.

F-15 fighters were ordered scrambled at 8:46 a.m. from Otis Air Force Base. But NEADS did not know where to send the alert fighter aircraft: ''I don't know where I'm scrambling these guys to. I need a direction, a destination.'' Because the hijackers had turned off the planes transponder, NEADS personnel spent the next minutes searching their radar scopes for the elusive primary radar return. American 11 impacted the World Trade Centers North Tower at 8:46:40 a.m. Shortly after 8:50 a.m., while NEADS personnel were still trying to locate American 11, word reached them that a plane had hit the World Trade Center.

Radar data show the Otis fighters were airborne at 8:53 a.m.. Lacking a target, they were vectored toward military controlled airspace off the Long Island coast. To avoid New York area air traffic and uncertain about what to do, the fighters were brought down to military air space to ''hold as needed.'' From 9:08 a.m. to 9:13 a.m., the Otis fighters were in this holding pattern.

In summary, NEADS received notice of the hijacking nine minutes before it impacted the north tower. The nine minutes notice was the most the military would receive that morning of any of the four hijackings.


United Airlines Flight 175

FAA Awareness:

United Airlines Flight 175, a Boeing 767 carrying 65 passengers from Boston to Los Angeles, took off from Logan Airport at 8:14 a.m. At 8:37 a.m. Boston Center polled United 175, along with other aircraft, about whether they had seen an ''American 767'' (American 11), and United 175's pilots said they had seen it. The controller turned United 175 away from it as a safety precaution.

At 8:41 a.m., United 175 entered New York Center's airspace. The controller responsible for United 175 was unfortunately the same controller assigned the job of tracking the hijacked American 11. At 8:47 a.m., at almost the same time American 11 crashed into the North Tower, United 175's assigned transponder code changed, then changed again. These changes were not noticed for several minutes, because the controller was focused on finding American 11, which had disappeared. At 8:48 a.m., a New York Center manager provided the following report on a Command Center teleconference about American 11, including information that had been relayed by the airline:

MANAGER, NEW YORK CENTER: Okay. This is New York Center. We're watching the airplane. I also had conversation with American Airlines, and they've told us that they believe that one of their stewardesses was stabbed and that there are people in the cockpit that have control of the aircraft, and that's all the information they have right now.

The New York Center controller and manager were unaware that American 11 had already crashed.

At 8:51 a.m., the controller noticed the change in the transponder reading from United 175. The controller asked United 175 to go back to the proper code. There was no response. Beginning at 8:52 a.m., the controller made repeated attempts to reach the crew of United 175. Still no response. The controller checked that his radio equipment was working and kept trying to reach United 175. He contacted another controller at 8:53 a.m., and worried that ''we may have a hijack'' and that he could not find the aircraft.

Another commercial aircraft in the vicinity then radioed in with ''reports over the radio of a commuter plane hitting the World Trade Center.'' The controller spent the next several minutes handing off the other flights on his scope to other controllers and moving aircraft out of the way of the unidentified aircraft (believed to be United 175) as it moved southwest and then turned northeast toward New York City. At approximately 8:55 a.m., the controller-in-charge notified a New York Center manager that she believed United 175 had also been hijacked. The manager tried to notify the regional managers and was told that the managers were discussing a hijacked aircraft (presumably American 11) and refused to be disturbed. At 8:58 a.m., the New York Center controller searching for United 175 told another New York controller ''we might have a hijack over here, two of them.''

Between 9:01 a.m. and 9:02 a.m., a manager from New York Center told the Command Center in Herndon:

MANAGER, NEW YORK CENTER: We have several situations going on here. It's escalating big, big time. We need to get the military involved with us . . . . We're, we're involved with something else, we have other aircraft that may have a similar situation going on here. . . .

The ''other aircraft'' New York Center referred to was United 175. Evidence indicates that this conversation was the only notice received prior to the second crash by either FAA headquarters or the Herndon Command Center that there was a second hijack. While Command Center was told about this ''other aircraft'' at 9:01 a.m., New York Center contacted New York terminal approach control and asked for help in locating United 175.

TERMINAL: I got somebody who keeps coasting but it looks like he's going into one of the small airports down there.

CENTER: Hold on a second. I'm trying to bring him up here and get you ... there he is right there. Hold on.

TERMINAL: Got him just out of 9,5009,000 now.

CENTER: Do you know who he is?

TERMINAL: We're just, we just we don't know who he is. We're just picking him up now.

CENTER (at 9:02 am.): Alright. Heads up man, it looks like another one coming in.

The controllers observed the plane in a rapid descent; the radar data terminated over lower Manhattan. At 9:03:02 a.m., United 175 crashed into the South Tower. Meanwhile, a manager from Boston Center reported that they had deciphered what they had heard in one of the first hijacker transmissions from American 11:

BOSTON CENTER: Hey you still there?

NEW ENGLAND REGION: Yes, I am.

BOSTON CENTER: I'm gonna reconfirm with, with downstairs, but the, as far as the tape seemed to think the guy said that ''we have planes.'' Now, I don't know if it was because it was the accent, or if there's more than one, but I'm gonna, I'm gonna reconfirm that for you, and I'll get back to you real quick. Okay?

NEW ENGLAND REGION: Appreciate it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE VOICE: They have what?

BOSTON CENTER: Planes, as in plural.

BOSTON CENTER: It sounds like, we're talking to New York, that there's another one aimed at the World Trade Center.

NEW ENGLAND REGION: There's another aircraft?

BOSTON CENTER: A second one just hit the Trade Center.

NEW ENGLAND REGION: Okay. Yeah, we gotta get ... we gotta alert the military real quick on this.

Boston Center immediately advised the New England Region that it was going to stop all aircraft scheduled to depart from any airport within Boston Center. At 9:05 a.m., Boston Center confirmed for both FAA Command Center and New England Region that the hijackers aboard American 11 said ''we have planes.'' At the same time, New York Center declared ''ATC zero'' meaning that aircraft were not permitted to depart from, arrive at, or travel through New York Center's airspace until further notice. Within minutes of the second impact, Boston Center's Operations Manager instructed all air traffic controllers in his center to use the radio frequencies to inform all aircraft in Boston Center of the events unfolding in New York and to advise aircraft to heighten cockpit security. Boston Center asked Herndon Command Center to issue a similar cockpit security alert to all aircraft nationwide. We have found no evidence to suggest that Command Center managers instructed any Centers to issue a cockpit security alert.

Military Notification and Response:

The first indication that the NORAD air defenders had of the second hijacked aircraft, United 175, came in a phone call from New York Center to NEADS at 9:03 a.m. The notice came in at about the time the plane was hitting the South Tower. At 9:08 a.m., the Mission Crew Commander at NEADS learned of the second explosion at the World Trade Center and decided against holding the fighters in military air space away from Manhattan:

MISSION CREW COMMANDER, NEADS: This is what I foresee that we probably need to do. We need to talk to FAA. We need to tell 'em if this stuff is gonna keep on going, we need to take those fighters, put 'em over Manhattan. That's best thing, that's the best play right now. So coordinate with the FAA. Tell 'em if there's more out there, which we don't know, let's get 'em over Manhattan. At least we got some kind of play.

The FAA cleared the air space. The Otis fighters were sent to Manhattan. A Combat Air Patrol was established over the city at 9:25 a.m.

Because the Otis fighters had expended a great deal of fuel in flying first to military airspace and then to New York, the battle commanders were concerned about refueling. NEADS considered scrambling alert fighters from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia to New York, to provide back-up. The Langley fighters were placed on battle stations at 9:09 a.m. NORAD had no indication that any other plane had been hijacked. The following is a time lapsed depiction of the flight paths of American 11 and United 175. (Video image shown.)


American Airlines Flight 77

FAA Awareness:

American 77 began its takeoff roll from Dulles International Airport at 8:20 a.m. The flight was handed off routinely from Washington Center to Indianapolis Center at approximately 8:40 a.m.

American 77 was acknowledged by the Indianapolis controller, who had 14 other planes in his sector at the time. The controller instructed the aircraft to climb and, at 8:50 a.m., cleared it to its next navigational aid. American 77 acknowledged. This was the last transmission from American 77.

At 8:54 a.m., American 77 began deviating from its flight plan, first with a slight turn toward the south. Two minutes later it disappeared completely from Indianapolis radar. The controller tracking American 77 told us he first noticed the aircraft turning to the southwest, and then saw the data disappear. The controller looked for primary radar returns. He searched along its projected flight path and the airspace to the southwest where it had started to turn. No primary targets appeared. He tried the radios, first calling the aircraft directly, then the airline. Again there was nothing. At this point, the Indianapolis controller had no knowledge of the situation in New York. He did not know that other aircraft had been hijacked. He believed American 77 had experienced serious electrical and/or mechanical failure, and was gone.

Shortly after 9:00 a.m., Indianapolis Center started notifying other agencies that American 77 was missing and had possibly crashed. At 9:08 a.m., Indianapolis Center contacted Air Force Search and Rescue at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, and told them to look out for a downed aircraft. They also contacted the West Virginia State Police, and asked whether they had any reports of a downed aircraft. At 9:09 a.m., they reported the loss of contact to the FAA regional center, which passed this information to FAA headquarters at 9:24 a.m.. By 9:20 a.m., Indianapolis Center learned that there were other hijacked aircraft in the system, and began to doubt their initial assumption that American 77 had crashed. A discussion of this concern between the manager at Indianapolis and the Command Center in Herndon prompted the Command Center to notify some FAA field facilities that American 77 was lost. By 9:21 a.m., the Command Center, some FAA field facilities, and American Airlines had started to search for American 77. They feared it had been hijacked. At 9:25 a.m., the Command Center advised FAA headquarters that American 77 was lost in Indianapolis Center's airspace, that Indianapolis Center had no primary radar track, and was looking for the aircraft.

The failure to find a primary radar return for American 77 led us to investigate this issue further. Radar reconstructions performed after 9/11 reveal that FAA radar equipment tracked the flight from the moment its transponder was turned off at 8:56 a.m. But for eight minutes and 13 seconds, between 8:56 a.m. and 9:05 a.m., this primary radar information on American 77 was not displayed to controllers at Indianapolis Center. The reasons are technical, arising from the way the software processed radar information, as well as from poor primary radar coverage where American 77 was flying.

According to the radar reconstruction, American 77 re-emerged as a primary target on Indianapolis Center radar scopes at 9:05 a.m., east of its last known position. The target remained in Indianapolis Center's airspace for another six minutes, then crossed into the western portion of Washington Center's airspace at 9:10 a.m. As Indianapolis Center continued searching for the aircraft, two managers and the controller responsible for American 77 looked to the west and southwest along the flight's projected path, not east, where the aircraft was now heading. The managers did not instruct other controllers at Indianapolis Center to turn on their primary radar coverage to join in the search for American 77.

In sum, Indianapolis Center never saw Flight 77 turn around. By the time it reappeared in primary radar coverage, controllers had either stopped looking for the aircraft because they thought it had crashed or were looking toward the west. In addition, while the Command Center learned Flight 77 was missing, neither it nor FAA headquarters issued an ''all points bulletin'' to surrounding centers to search for primary radar targets. American 77 traveled undetected for 36 minutes on a course heading due east for Washington, D.C.

By 9:25 a.m., FAA's Herndon Command Center and FAA headquarters knew the following. They knew two aircraft had crashed into the World Trade Center. They knew American 77 was lost. They knew that a hijacker on board American 11 had said ''we have some planes,'' and concerns over the safety of other aircraft began to mount. A manager at the Herndon Command Center asked FAA headquarters if they wanted to order a ''nationwide ground stop.'' While executives at FAA headquarters discussed it, the Command Center went ahead and ordered one anyway at 9:25 a.m..

The Command Center kept looking for American 77. At 9:21 a.m., it advised the Dulles terminal control facility, which urged its controllers to look for primary targets. At 9:32 a.m., they found one. Several of the Dulles controllers ''observed a primary radar target tracking eastbound at a high rate of speed'' and notified Reagan Airport. FAA personnel at both Reagan and Dulles airports notified the Secret Service. The identity or aircraft type was unknown.

Reagan Airport controllers then vectored an unarmed National Guard C-130H cargo aircraft, which had just taken off en route to Minnesota, to identify and follow the suspicious aircraft. The C-130H pilot spotted it, identified it as a Boeing 757, attempted to follow its path, and at 9:38 a.m., seconds after impact, reported to Washington Tower: ''looks like that aircraft crashed into the Pentagon sir.''

Military Notification and Response:

NORAD did not know about the search for American 77. Instead, they heard once again about a plane that no longer existed, American 11. At 9:21 a.m., NEADS received a report from the FAA:

FAA: Military, Boston Center. I just had a report that American 11 is still in the air, and it's on its way towards, heading towards Washington.

NEADS: Okay. American 11 is still in the air?

FAA: Yes.

NEADS: On its way towards Washington?

FAA: That was another ... it was evidently another aircraft that hit the tower. That's the latest report we have.

NEADS: Okay.

FAA: I'm going to try to confirm an ID for you, but I would assume he's somewhere over, uh, either New Jersey or somewhere further south.

NEADS: Okay. So American 11 isn't the hijack at all then, right?

FAA: No, he is a hijack.

NEADS: He ... American 11 is a hijack?

FAA: Yes.

NEADS: And he's heading into Washington?

FAA: Yes. This could be a third aircraft.

The mention of a ''third aircraft'' was not a reference to American 77. There was confusion at that moment in the FAA. Two planes had struck the World Trade Center, and Boston Center had heard from FAA headquarters in Washington that American 11 was still airborne. We have been unable to identify the source of this mistaken FAA information.

The NEADS technician who took this call from the FAA immediately passed the word to the Mission Crew Commander. He reported to the NEADS Battle Commander:

MISSION CREW COMMANDER, NEADS: Okay, uh, American Airlines is still airborne. Eleven, the first guy, he's heading towards Washington. Okay? I think we need to scramble Langley right now. And I'm gonna take the fighters from Otis, try to chase this guy down if I can find him.

The Mission Crew Commander at NEADS issued an order at 9:23 a.m.: ''Okay scramble Langley. Head them towards the Washington area.'' That order was processed and transmitted to Langley Air Force Base at 9:24 a.m., and radar data show the Langley fighters were airborne at 9:30 a.m.

NEADS decided to keep the Otis fighters over New York. The heading of the Langley fighters was adjusted to send them to the Baltimore area. The Mission Crew Commander explained to us that the purpose was to position the Langley fighters between the reported southbound American 11 and the nation's capital.

At the suggestion of the Boston Center's military liaison, NEADS contacted the FAA's Washington Center to ask about American 11. In the course of the conversation, a Washington Center manager informed NEADS that ''We're looking ... we also lost American 77.'' The time was 9:34 a.m. This was the first notice to the military that American 77 was missing, and it had come by chance. If NEADS had not placed that call, the NEADS air defenders would have received no information whatsoever that American 77 was even missing, although the FAA had been searching for it. No one at FAA Command Center or headquarters ever asked for military assistance with American 77.

At 9:36 a.m., the FAA's Boston Center called NEADS and relayed the discovery about the aircraft closing in on Washington, an aircraft that still had not been linked with the missing American 77. The FAA told NEADS: ''Latest report. Aircraft VFR (Visual Flight Rules) six miles southeast of the White House. Six, southwest. Six, southwest of the White House, deviating away.''

This startling news prompted the Mission Crew Commander at NEADS to take immediate control of the airspace to clear a flight path for the Langley fighters: ''Okay, we're going to turn it, crank it up. Run them to the White House.'' He then discovered, to his surprise, that the Langley fighters were not headed north toward the Baltimore area as instructed, but east over the ocean. ''I don't care how many windows you break,'' he said. ''Damn it. Okay. Push them back.''

The Langley fighters were heading east, not north, for three reasons. First, unlike a normal scramble order, this order did not include a distance to the target, or the target's location. Second, a ''generic'' flight plan incorrectly led the Langley fighters to believe they were ordered to fly due east (090) for 60 miles. The purpose of the generic flight plan was to quickly get the aircraft airborne and out of local airspace. Third, the lead pilot and local FAA controller incorrectly assumed the flight plan instruction to go ''090 for 60'' was newer guidance that superseded the original scramble order.

After the 9:36 a.m. call to NEADS about the unidentified aircraft a few miles from the White House, the Langley fighters were ordered to Washington, D.C. Controllers at NEADS located an unknown primary radar track, but ''it kind of faded'' over Washington. The time was 9:38 a.m. The Pentagon had been struck by American 77 at 9:37:46 a.m. The Langley fighters were approximately 150 miles away.

Right after the Pentagon was hit, NEADS learned of another possible hijacked aircraft. It was an aircraft that in fact had not been hijacked at all. After the second World Trade Center crash, Boston Center managers recognized both aircraft were transcontinental, 767 jetliners that departed Logan Airport. Remembering the ''we have some planes'' remark, Boston Center had guessed that Delta 1989 might also be hijacked. Boston Center called NEADS at 9:41 a.m. and identified Delta 1989, a 767 jet that departed Logan Airport destined for Las Vegas, as a possible hijack. NEADS warned the FAA's Cleveland air traffic control center to watch Delta 1989. The FAA's Herndon Command Center and FAA headquarters were watching it too. During the course of the morning, there were multiple erroneous reports of hijacked aircraft in the system. The report of American 11 heading south was the first; Delta 1989 was the second.

NEADS never lost track of Delta 1989, and even launched fighter aircraft from Ohio and Michigan to intercept it. The flight never turned off its transponder. NEADS soon learned that the aircraft was not hijacked, and tracked Delta 1989 as it reversed course over Toledo, headed east, and landed in Cleveland. But another aircraft was heading toward Washington.

The following is a time lapsed depiction of the flight path of American 77. (Video image shown).


United Airlines Flight 93

FAA Awareness:

United 93 took off from Newark at 8:42 a.m. It was more than 40 minutes late. At 9:28 a.m., United 93 acknowledged a transmission from the controller. This was the last normal contact the FAA had with United 93.

Less than a minute later, the Cleveland controller and the pilots of aircraft in the vicinity heard ''a radio transmission of unintelligible sounds of possible screaming or a struggle from an unknown origin ''

The controller responded, seconds later: ''Somebody call Cleveland?'' This was followed by a second radio transmission, with sounds of screaming and someone yelling ''Get out of here, get out of here,'' again from an unknown source. The Cleveland Center controllers began to try to identify the possible source of the transmissions, and noticed that United 93 had descended some 700 feet. The controller attempted again to raise United 93 several times, with no response. At 9:30 a.m., the controller began to poll the other flights on his frequency to determine if they heard the screaming; several said they had. At 9:32 a.m., a third radio transmission came over the frequency: ''Keep remaining sitting. We have a bomb on board.'' The controller understood, but chose to respond: ''Calling Cleveland center, you're unreadable. Say again, slowly.'' He notified his supervisor, who passed the notice up the chain of command. By 9:34 a.m., word of the hijacking had reached FAA headquarters.

FAA headquarters had by this time established an open line of communication with the Command Center at Herndon and instructed it to poll all the Centers about suspect aircraft. The Command Center executed the request and, a minute later, Cleveland Center reported that ''United 93 may have a bomb on board.'' That was the information Command Center relayed to FAA headquarters at 9:34 a.m. Between 9:34 a.m. and 9:38 a.m., the controller observed United 93 climbing to 40,700 feet and immediately moved several aircraft out of its way. The controller continued to try to contact United 93, and asked whether the pilot could confirm that he had been hijacked. There was no response. Then, at 9:39, a fifth radio transmission came over the radio frequency from United 93:

ZIAD JARRAH: Uh, is the captain. Would like you all to remain seated. There is a bomb on board and are going back to the airport, and to have our demands (unintelligible). Please remain quiet.

The controller responded: ''United 93, understand you have a bomb on board. Go ahead.'' The flight did not respond. At 9:41 a.m., Cleveland Center lost United 93's transponder signal. The controller located it on primary radar, matched its position with visual sightings from other aircraft, and tracked the flight as it turned east, then south. At about 9:36 a.m., Cleveland Center asked Command Center specifically whether someone had requested the military to launch fighter aircraft to intercept United 93. Cleveland Center offered to contact a nearby military base. Command Center replied that FAA personnel well above them in the chain of command had to make that decision and were working the issue.

From 9:34 a.m. to 10:08 a.m., a Command Center manager updated executives at FAA headquarters on the progress of United 93. During this time, the plane reversed course over Ohio and headed toward Washington.

At 9:42 a.m., Command Center learned from television news reports that a plane had struck the Pentagon. The Command Center's National Operations Manager, Ben Sliney, ordered all FAA facilities to instruct all airborne aircraft to land at the nearest airport. This was a totally unprecedented order. The air traffic control system handled it with great skill, as about 4,500 commercial and general aviation aircraft soon landed without incident.

At 9:46 a.m. and again two minutes later, Command Center updated FAA headquarters that United 93 was now ''29 minutes out of Washington, DC.''

A minute after that, at 9:49 a.m., 13 minutes after getting the question from Cleveland Center about military help, Command Center suggested that someone at headquarters should decide whether to request military assistance:

FAA HEADQUARTERS: They're pulling Jeff away to go talk about United 93.

COMMAND CENTER: Uh, do we want to think about, uh, scrambling aircraft?

FAA HEADQUARTERS: Uh, God, I don't know.

COMMAND CENTER: Uh, that's a decision somebody's gonna have to make probably in the next ten minutes.

FAA HEADQUARTERS: Uh, ya know everybody just left the room.

At 9:53 a.m., FAA headquarters informed Command Center that the Deputy Director for Air Traffic Services was talking to Deputy Administrator Monte Belger about scrambling aircraft. Then Command Center informed headquarters they lost track of United 93 over the Pittsburgh area. Within seconds, Command Center received a visual report from another aircraft, and informed headquarters that the aircraft was 20 miles northwest of Johnstown. United 93 was spotted by another aircraft, and, at 10:01 a.m., Command Center advised FAA headquarters that one of the aircraft had seen United 93 ''waving his wings.'' The aircraft had witnessed the radical gyrations in what we believe was the hijackers' effort to defeat the passenger assault. United 93 crashed in Pennsylvania at 10:03:11 a.m., 125 miles from Washington, DC. The precise crash time has been the subject of some dispute. The 10:03:11 time is supported by evidence from the staff's radar analysis, the flight data recorder, NTSB analysis, and infrared satellite data. Five minutes later, Command Center forwarded this update to headquarters:

COMMAND CENTER: O.K. Uh, there is now on that United 93.

FAA HEADQUARTERS: Yes.

COMMAND CENTER: There is a report of black smoke in the last position I gave you, fifteen miles south of Johnstown.

FAA HEADQUARTERS: From the airplane or from the ground?

COMMAND CENTER: Uh, they're speculating it's from the aircraft.

FAA HEADQUARTERS: Okay.

COMMAND CENTER: Uh, who, it hit the ground. That's what they're speculating, that's speculation only.

The aircraft that spotted the ''black smoke'' was the same unarmed Air National Guard cargo plane that had seen American 77 crash into the Pentagon 26 minutes earlier. It had resumed its flight to Minnesota and saw the smoke from the crash of United 93, less than two minutes after the plane went down. At 10:17 a.m., Command Center advised headquarters of its conclusion that United 93 had indeed crashed.

Despite the discussions about military assistance, no one from FAA headquarters requested military assistance regarding United 93. Nor did any manager at FAA headquarters pass any of the information it had about United 93 to the military.

Military Notification and Response:

NEADS first received a call about United 93 from the military liaison at Cleveland Center, at 10:07 a.m. Unaware that the aircraft had already crashed, Cleveland passed to NEADS the aircraft's last known latitude and longitude. NEADS was never able to locate United 93 on radar because it was already in the ground.

At the same time, the NEADS Mission Crew Commander was dealing with the arrival of the Langley fighters over Washington, D.C. He was sorting out what their orders were with respect to potential targets. Shortly after 10:10 a.m., and having no knowledge either that United 93 had been heading toward Washington or that it had crashed, the Mission Crew Commander explicitly instructed that the Langley fighters did not have ''clearance to shoot'' aircraft over the nation's capital.

The news of a reported bomb on board United 93 spread quickly at NEADS. The air defenders searched for United 93's primary radar return and tried to locate assets to scramble toward the plane. NEADS called Washington Center to report:

NEADS: I also want to give you a heads-up, Washington.

FAA (DC): Go ahead.

NEADS: United nine three, have you got information on that yet?

FAA: Yeah, he's down.

NEADS: He's down?

FAA: Yes.

NEADS: When did he land? 'Cause we have got confirmation.

FAA: He did not land.

NEADS: Oh, he's down? Down?

FAA: Yes. Somewhere up northeast of Camp David.

NEADS: Northeast of Camp David.

FAA: That's the last report. They don't know exactly where.


United Airlines Flight 93

FAA Awareness:

United 93 took off from Newark at 8:42 a.m. It was more than 40 minutes late. At 9:28 a.m., United 93 acknowledged a transmission from the controller. This was the last normal contact the FAA had with United 93.

Less than a minute later, the Cleveland controller and the pilots of aircraft in the vicinity heard ''a radio transmission of unintelligible sounds of possible screaming or a struggle from an unknown origin ''

The controller responded, seconds later: ''Somebody call Cleveland?'' This was followed by a second radio transmission, with sounds of screaming and someone yelling ''Get out of here, get out of here,'' again from an unknown source. The Cleveland Center controllers began to try to identify the possible source of the transmissions, and noticed that United 93 had descended some 700 feet. The controller attempted again to raise United 93 several times, with no response. At 9:30 a.m., the controller began to poll the other flights on his frequency to determine if they heard the screaming; several said they had. At 9:32 a.m., a third radio transmission came over the frequency: ''Keep remaining sitting. We have a bomb on board.'' The controller understood, but chose to respond: ''Calling Cleveland center, you're unreadable. Say again, slowly.'' He notified his supervisor, who passed the notice up the chain of command. By 9:34 a.m., word of the hijacking had reached FAA headquarters.

FAA headquarters had by this time established an open line of communication with the Command Center at Herndon and instructed it to poll all the Centers about suspect aircraft. The Command Center executed the request and, a minute later, Cleveland Center reported that ''United 93 may have a bomb on board.'' That was the information Command Center relayed to FAA headquarters at 9:34 a.m. Between 9:34 a.m. and 9:38 a.m., the controller observed United 93 climbing to 40,700 feet and immediately moved several aircraft out of its way. The controller continued to try to contact United 93, and asked whether the pilot could confirm that he had been hijacked. There was no response. Then, at 9:39, a fifth radio transmission came over the radio frequency from United 93:

ZIAD JARRAH: Uh, is the captain. Would like you all to remain seated. There is a bomb on board and are going back to the airport, and to have our demands (unintelligible). Please remain quiet.

The controller responded: ''United 93, understand you have a bomb on board. Go ahead.'' The flight did not respond. At 9:41 a.m., Cleveland Center lost United 93's transponder signal. The controller located it on primary radar, matched its position with visual sightings from other aircraft, and tracked the flight as it turned east, then south. At about 9:36 a.m., Cleveland Center asked Command Center specifically whether someone had requested the military to launch fighter aircraft to intercept United 93. Cleveland Center offered to contact a nearby military base. Command Center replied that FAA personnel well above them in the chain of command had to make that decision and were working the issue.

From 9:34 a.m. to 10:08 a.m., a Command Center manager updated executives at FAA headquarters on the progress of United 93. During this time, the plane reversed course over Ohio and headed toward Washington.

At 9:42 a.m., Command Center learned from television news reports that a plane had struck the Pentagon. The Command Center's National Operations Manager, Ben Sliney, ordered all FAA facilities to instruct all airborne aircraft to land at the nearest airport. This was a totally unprecedented order. The air traffic control system handled it with great skill, as about 4,500 commercial and general aviation aircraft soon landed without incident.

At 9:46 a.m. and again two minutes later, Command Center updated FAA headquarters that United 93 was now ''29 minutes out of Washington, DC.''

A minute after that, at 9:49 a.m., 13 minutes after getting the question from Cleveland Center about military help, Command Center suggested that someone at headquarters should decide whether to request military assistance:

FAA HEADQUARTERS: They're pulling Jeff away to go talk about United 93.

COMMAND CENTER: Uh, do we want to think about, uh, scrambling aircraft?

FAA HEADQUARTERS: Uh, God, I don't know.

COMMAND CENTER: Uh, that's a decision somebody's gonna have to make probably in the next ten minutes.

FAA HEADQUARTERS: Uh, ya know everybody just left the room.

At 9:53 a.m., FAA headquarters informed Command Center that the Deputy Director for Air Traffic Services was talking to Deputy Administrator Monte Belger about scrambling aircraft. Then Command Center informed headquarters they lost track of United 93 over the Pittsburgh area. Within seconds, Command Center received a visual report from another aircraft, and informed headquarters that the aircraft was 20 miles northwest of Johnstown. United 93 was spotted by another aircraft, and, at 10:01 a.m., Command Center advised FAA headquarters that one of the aircraft had seen United 93 ''waving his wings.'' The aircraft had witnessed the radical gyrations in what we believe was the hijackers' effort to defeat the passenger assault. United 93 crashed in Pennsylvania at 10:03:11 a.m., 125 miles from Washington, DC. The precise crash time has been the subject of some dispute. The 10:03:11 time is supported by evidence from the staff's radar analysis, the flight data recorder, NTSB analysis, and infrared satellite data. Five minutes later, Command Center forwarded this update to headquarters:

COMMAND CENTER: O.K. Uh, there is now on that United 93.

FAA HEADQUARTERS: Yes.

COMMAND CENTER: There is a report of black smoke in the last position I gave you, fifteen miles south of Johnstown.

FAA HEADQUARTERS: From the airplane or from the ground?

COMMAND CENTER: Uh, they're speculating it's from the aircraft.

FAA HEADQUARTERS: Okay.

COMMAND CENTER: Uh, who, it hit the ground. That's what they're speculating, that's speculation only.

The aircraft that spotted the ''black smoke'' was the same unarmed Air National Guard cargo plane that had seen American 77 crash into the Pentagon 26 minutes earlier. It had resumed its flight to Minnesota and saw the smoke from the crash of United 93, less than two minutes after the plane went down. At 10:17 a.m., Command Center advised headquarters of its conclusion that United 93 had indeed crashed.

Despite the discussions about military assistance, no one from FAA headquarters requested military assistance regarding United 93. Nor did any manager at FAA headquarters pass any of the information it had about United 93 to the military.

Military Notification and Response:

NEADS first received a call about United 93 from the military liaison at Cleveland Center, at 10:07 a.m. Unaware that the aircraft had already crashed, Cleveland passed to NEADS the aircraft's last known latitude and longitude. NEADS was never able to locate United 93 on radar because it was already in the ground.

At the same time, the NEADS Mission Crew Commander was dealing with the arrival of the Langley fighters over Washington, D.C. He was sorting out what their orders were with respect to potential targets. Shortly after 10:10 a.m., and having no knowledge either that United 93 had been heading toward Washington or that it had crashed, the Mission Crew Commander explicitly instructed that the Langley fighters did not have ''clearance to shoot'' aircraft over the nation's capital.

The news of a reported bomb on board United 93 spread quickly at NEADS. The air defenders searched for United 93's primary radar return and tried to locate assets to scramble toward the plane. NEADS called Washington Center to report:

NEADS: I also want to give you a heads-up, Washington.

FAA (DC): Go ahead.

NEADS: United nine three, have you got information on that yet?

FAA: Yeah, he's down.

NEADS: He's down?

FAA: Yes.

NEADS: When did he land? 'Cause we have got confirmation.

FAA: He did not land.

NEADS: Oh, he's down? Down?

FAA: Yes. Somewhere up northeast of Camp David.

NEADS: Northeast of Camp David.

FAA: That's the last report. They don't know exactly where.


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Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Let's Get REALLY Politically Incorrect--Those in the Military are NOT the Best and Brightest

I've removed the poster's email address, but this is a cut-and-paste from a Yahoo message board tonight in response to another poster who agreed with 26 former senior military commanders and foreign service professionals (Bush Must Go):

---
(22/M/Fort Leonard Wood, MO) 06/16/04 10:14 pm
Msg: 1051 of 1100

Excuse me sir, you signed up to defend this country. and I am sorry, I wouldnt want to go to war either, but at the same time I wouldnt want Sadaam in power so stop being a f$cking puss!!!! You are gay. This August 1 commissionee into the Army supports this President and just face it, he will get re-elected
---

Let's get past the politically correct fiction that US soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen are the best and brightest we've got. In an all-volunteer military, you don't even get a fair mix of the average--you get those with few or no other options.

Then we send them to boot camp--Parris Island, Lackland AFB, various Army posts and Navy stations--for training. And that training has one primary goal: to get people to obey all orders instantly and without hesitation. Military basic training is one of the best methods ever conceived for indoctrinating a mind to do what it's told.

Now, let's look at what we've got. We take hundreds of thousands of young people who don't graduate from high school, or don't go to college, or are given the option to enlist rather than face prison time or probation and we spend weeks indoctrinating them. Then we turn to them for opinions on the government and the commander in chief? Puh-lease!

There are thousands of good people who join the military and do their absolute best in a tough job--but they are not all heroes and they are not the smartest or most resourceful people in America. And many of them--just like the poster quoted above--are redneck bigots and homophobes. Politically incorrect--yes and in a big way. But it's the truth and it's time a few people had the guts to say so.
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Qa`idat al-Jihad, Iraq, and Madrid: The First Tile in the Domino Effect?

By Reuven Paz*

*Reuven Paz is founder and director of the Project for Research of Islamist Movements (PRISM), GLORIA Center, The Interdisciplinary Center, Herzeliya. Prism was founded in 2002, in order to combine academic and field research of new developments of radical Islam and Islamist movements.
PRISIM web site is -- www.e-prism.org

(PRISM Series of Special Dispatches on Global Jihad, No. 2/1)
Introduction
The horrible series of explosions in train stations in Madrid in 11 March 2004, which killed so far about 200 people, and injured over 1400, has shocked the whole world. Beside the results and the repeated evidence of the evil and dark side of terrorism, there lies the question of the responsibility for such attacks. The pendulum moves so far between the Basque terrorist group of ETA, and Qa`idat al-Jihad or any other Islamist group affiliated with Global Jihad. Against the denial of spokesmen affiliated with ETA stands one message of a virtual group by the name of Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades, which claim to speak for Qa`idat al-Jihad, and which took the responsibility for the attacks in Madrid.

The dispute between experts of international terrorism and officials all over the world, about the responsibility for the attacks is unsolved for the time being. The first public analysis of the Islamist message by the Israeli-based institute of MEMRI, throws doubt on this message with some very logical arguments, based primarily on the style of the letter, which is not in accordance with the writings of Al-Qa’ida’s scholars.1 Despite the logic of this analysis, which dismisses the authenticity of the message, there are two elements worthy of comment here. One is the fact that many Islamist operatives have poor knowledge of Islamic doctrines, and their style in writing such messages is far from that of the scholars that write or speak in the name of Qa`idat al-Jihad or Global Jihad. The other is that even if the Abu Hafs Brigades’ message is false, it does not rule out the possibility that an Islamist terrorist group has carried out the attacks in Madrid.

Spain is mentioned from time to time in Islamist writings, as part of the lands that should return to Muslim sovereignty by Jihad. Yet, the Islamists have other priorities where there are present conflicts between Muslims and “infidels.” In July 2003, a great mosque was opened in Granada, 500 years after the Christian reconquest of Andalusia, and following many years in which the various Spanish governments denied allowing its opening. The celebrations received great publicity in the Arab and Muslim world.

Yet, the main claim against Spain by Islamists affiliated with Global Jihad was the Spanish involvement of about 2300 troops in the occupation of Iraq, and the full support for the United States both in Iraq and in the global war against terrorism. Furthermore, the Spanish authorities have been fighting fiercely to uncover Islamist cells on Spanish soil, and have made some impressive successes. The fight against Islamist terrorism raised antagonism among many of the Muslim Moroccan immigrants residing in Spain, against oppression and discrimination since the September 11 attacks. It also revealed the range and depth of Islamist cells, sympathizers, and involvement of Islamist groups among the Muslim community in the country.

1 Yigal Carmon, “The Alleged Al-Qa'ida Statement of Responsibility for the Madrid Bombings: Translation and Commentary,” MEMRI, Inquiry and Analysis Series - No. 166, 12 March 2004.
See on-line in:http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=IA16604


Spain and the Mujahidin in Iraq
In the past year, the anti-Spanish expressions in Islamist writings were focused on the Spanish strong support for the United States in Iraq, and the presence of a small force there. Spain was regarded, with Italy, the leading European countries in support for the American global policy, which is perceived by them above all as anti-Islamic. Two terrorist attacks were carried out so far against the Spanish forces in Iraq. In October 2003, a senior Spanish intelligence officer was shot and killed. In December 2003, seven Spanish intelligence officers were ambushed and brutally killed. Photos of Mujahidin treading the bodies of the killed Spanish officers were circulated in radical Islamist web sites.

The most detailed and explicit statement against Spain’s involvement in the Iraqi issue, by elements of Qa`idat al-Jihad, appeared in December 2003, in an analysis of the situation in Iraq and the role of the Mujahidin there. The analysis is found in 50 page book, titled “Iraqi Jihad, hopes and risks: Analysis of the reality and visions for the future, and actual steps in the path of the blessed Jihad.” 2 The book was published in Islamist web sites on the Internet by “The information institution in support for the Iraqi people – the center of services for the Mujahidin.” The title of “Center of Services” should remind us of the basis of the development of Al-Qa’ida in Afghanistan in the late 1980s, from a similar institution.

One of the main links of the book to Qa`idat al-Jihad appears in the introduction, where it is presented as a follow-up of a book written in the beginning of 2003, by Sheikh Yousef al-Ayiri, who was killed by the Saudi authorities in June 2003. Al-Ayiri was the leading Saudi scholar responsible for anonymously writing and directing most of Al-Qa’ida’s propaganda over the Internet.

About 8 pages of the book “Iraq al-Jihad” are dedicated to Spain. They include a detailed analysis of Spanish politics, personal ambitions of the Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, and the political balance between the right and left wings, towards the coming elections for Parliament, in 14 March 2004. The main motive in this analysis is how to create a change in the Spanish government that enforces the withdrawal of the Spanish forces from Iraq; significant decrease of the Spanish support for the United States by popular pressures; opposition in Italy and Poland to the presence of their troops in Iraq; and creating pressure in the United Kingdom against the alliance of their government with the Americans. A kind of domino effect, in which the starting point is Spain:

Therefore we say that in order to force the Spanish government to withdraw from Iraq the resistance should hit its forces by hurting attacks against its forces. This will be accompanied by a propaganda campaign, which would present the Iraqi reality. It is a must to exploit the coming general elections in Spain in March 2004.

We think that the Spanish government could not afford more than two or three attacks for the most, after which it will have to withdraw, as a result of the popular pressures. If its troops would remain in Iraq despite the attacks – the victory of the Socialist Party is almost secured, and the withdrawal of the Spanish forces will be on its elections’ agenda.

The withdrawal of the Spanish or Italian forces from Iraq would serve as a huge pressure on the British presence [in Iraq] a pressure that Toni Blair would not be able to overcome.

Hence, the domino tiles would fall quickly. Yet, the basic problem of how to drop the first tile is still there.

The task of pushing the Spanish public to change its government is not an easy one according to the author of this book. Prior to his above quoted conclusion, he explained the main difficulties of such a move. One is the reservation of the Spanish public in punishing its politicians, despite its twenty-five years of democracy, unlike the British public, for example. The other is the strict solidarity of the supporters of the right wing with their party, even though they do not necessarily support the Spanish involvement in Iraq, or the pro-American policy.
2 Iraq al-Jihad Aamal wa-Akhtar: Tahlil lil-Waqi` wa-istishraf lil-mustaqbal wa-khutuwat `amaliyyah `ala tariq al-Jihad al-mubarak, Published by Al-Hay’ah al-I`lamiyyah li-nasrat al-Sha`b al-Iraqi (Markaz khidamat al-Mujahidin).
See on-line in:http://www.e-prism.org/images/book_-_Iraq_al-Jihad.doc


Conclusion
The conclusion of this part of the book regarding Spain is that the Spanish forces should suffer terrorist attacks on Iraqi soil. Yet, the book was written, according to the introduction in July 2003, and published on the Internet in December 2003. Between October-December 2003, the Spanish forces in Iraq suffered two direct terrorist attacks, one of them was painful, and increased the opposition in Spain to the involvement in Iraq, but not in a manner that would lead the government to change its policy.

The book does not refer to terrorist attacks on Spanish soil. Yet, the issue of the elections is emphasized in the book, and the attacks in Madrid on 11 March, only three days before the elections, should ring a bell. This attack might have been carried out by Qa`idat al-Jihad itself, and not just by any affiliated Islamist group. The direct language in which the book targets Spain and the linkage to the elections, is followed by an attempt to present Spain as the weakest link of the European allies of the United States in support for the occupation of Iraq and the war against global terrorism. Therefore, targeting Spain is more suitable than Italy or Poland to launch a major attack in order to drop the first tile of the domino.

To the above mentioned we should add the possible wide infrastructure of Islamist cells arrested in Spain in the past two years. As we have more information about the September 11 attacks it seems that a significant part of the planning of these attacks has been made in Spain. The persistence of the Spanish authorities in uncovering and prosecuting Al-Qa’ida’s operatives in Spain, under the direction of the Spanish investigative judge Garzon Belthazar, is impressive. However, it seems so far sisyphic, and hints that Spain is a safe haven for many Islamists.

If the attacks in Madrid were indeed carried out by Qa`idat al-Jihad, it would mark a significant escalation of the group’s terrorist activity, and another sign that Iraq is turning into the “new Afghanistan.” It might mark also a turning point in the Modus Operandi of the group, by using multi-coordinated bombings in a small area, not by suicide attacks. This is an operational success by itself.

In any case, whether carried out by Qa`idat al-Jihad or another Islamist group, or by ETA, either mark a new phase in international terrorism, at least by their future impact.


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Monday, June 14, 2004

AP Story: Chemical Attack in US

ROME (AP) -- An Italian prosecutor said Wednesday he had provided U.S. authorities with transcripts of phone calls between terror suspects, including one that reportedly refers to a woman ready to carry out a chemical attack in the United States.

The two terror suspects were arrested Tuesday in Milan and include Rabie Osman Ahmed, an Egyptian believed to be behind the March 11 train bombings in Madrid, said Milan prosecutor Maurizio Romanelli.

In one of the intercepted phone conversations, Osman Ahmed refers to a woman ready to carry out a chemical attack in America, the ANSA news agency reported.

When asked about the content of the transcripts, Romanelli pointed to news reports that mention the alleged chemical plot. He did not dispute the reports, but he said he would not comment further on the content of the wiretaps.

The wiretaps refer to "small groups ready to carry out suicide attacks," he said. In most cases, the likely location of the attacks was Iraq, he said. The prosecutor gave no further details.

Police arrested Osman Ahmed in Milan on Monday along with the man he was lodging with, a Palestinian identified as Yahia Payumi.

Authorities say Osman Ahmed is a key suspect in the Madrid attacks. The bombings killed 191 people and have been blamed on Islamic extremists with possible links to al-Qaida.

Italian officials suspect Osman Ahmed was planning further attacks, and they tipped off Belgian counterparts who arrested 15 people Wednesday in coordinated raids.

At least one of the 15 ? mostly Palestinian, Jordanian, Moroccan and Egyptian ? had previously been in contact with Osman Ahmed, Romanelli said.

The AGI news agency reported Wednesday that the suspects may have been planning an attack on the Paris subway system. Osman Ahmed was recorded asking one of those arrested in Belgium about the Paris Metro and security there, AGI said, citing police sources. Authorities were not immediately available to confirm the report.

Asked about a report in Milan daily Corriere della Sera that the suspects were planning an attack against a NATO base in Belgium, Romanelli said investigators had no information on specific targets.

Isabelle van Heers, spokeswoman for the federal prosecutor‘s office in Brussels, said Wednesday that authorities there had "no information which would suggest a target in Belgium."

Viviana Bossi, defense lawyer for the two suspects, said Wednesday that her clients are unclear of the exact charges against them. "They deny they are terrorists," she said.

Osman Ahmed was arrested on a Spanish warrant; officials there have said they would request his extradition on multiple counts of murder and attempted murder. Payumi was arrested on the charge of association for international terrorism, which was introduced in Italy after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The two, who are detained in a Milan prison, will face a preliminary hearing from a judge Thursday.





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Fighting Radical Islam

Edward I. Koch
Saturday, June 5, 2004

Last week in Saudi Arabia, terrorists affiliated with al-Qaida took more than 50 foreigners captive at one of the major foreign worker compounds situated in Khobar on the Persian Gulf. Before Saudi commandos could counterattack, 22 of the hostages were killed, of which nine had their throats cut when they tried to escape. One captive was murdered and his body dragged for a mile behind a car.
An Iraqi-American was spared after being asked to prove he was Muslim. “Don’t be afraid, they told me. We won’t kill Muslims – even if you are American,” reported Abu Hashemed in the New York Post.
The favorite method of killing infidels – Christians, called “Crusaders” by the terrorists, and Jews – is apparently by ritual throat-slitting. That was done in Pakistan to Danny Pearl and in Afghanistan to Nicholas Berg, both of whom were videotaped having their throats slit by their killers for worldwide distribution.
Where is the worldwide condemnation of these latest killings by the political and religious leaders of Muslim countries? Where are the U.N. resolutions sponsored by France and Germany condemning what occurred?
Can you imagine the denunciations from world leaders if the U.S., Britain or Israel perpetrated acts even half as savage? Of course you can. The vilification of the U.S., in addition to the opprobrium directed at the individuals who actually perpetuated the tortures at the Abu Ghraib prison, continues week after week with pictures old and new in nearly constant rerun – not only in the Arab media but also on American television by American reporters and commentators.
We are appalled at what took place in our name at Abu Ghraib, and the U.S. military command is bent on identifying and punishing all who participated in the tortures, from top to bottom. Compare how the Muslim world reacts to outrages committed by their own.
Not only are terrorists often not punished by Moslem governmental authorities, they are, to the contrary, treated as freedom fighters by hundreds of millions of Muslims throughout the world.
There are more than a billion Muslims, and the hundreds of millions who regard Osama bin Laden and his followers as heroes may still be a minority. Nevertheless, it is shameful that Muslim governments permit the teaching of hate against foreigners in schools and mosques, which leads to the killing of innocent civilians simply because of their religion.

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The FBI has been called to task – unjustifiably, in my view – for arresting an American lawyer when that agency mistook his fingerprints for those found by the Spanish police in connection with the Madrid bombings. Those bombings resulted in 191 deaths and 1,800 injuries. When the FBI discovered its identification error – which was made not only by FBI experts but also by an outside consultant, who agreed with the FBI’s original conclusion – the individual arrested was released from custody.
The lawyer and his supporters now allege discrimination and racial profiling because he had converted to the Muslim religion, and he had represented as a lawyer persons who were alleged to have contacts with terrorists, a lawyer-client relationship that he had every right to engage in.
Nevertheless, shouldn’t the FBI in protecting this country from acts of terrorism use these factors along with the fingerprint match? I think if they had not, it would have been a dereliction of duty.
Writing in the New York Sun this week, Daniel Pipes listed seven reasons why the profile of Brandon Mayfield, the lawyer arrested and later freed, reasonably caused the FBI to wrongly arrest him. Two points were especially compelling:
“He prayed in the same Bilal Mosque as did several individuals – Maher Nawash, Ahmed Ibrahim Bilal and Muhammad Ibrahim Bilal – who pleaded guilty in 2003 to conspiring to help the Taliban. The mosque’s website contains links to militant Islamic organizations, including some ‘charities’ closed down by the American government for funding terrorism.”
Pipes is not alone in his reasoning. According to Pipes, Saudi specialist Stephen Schwartz claims that Bilal is “a fairly typical Wahhabi-controlled mosque.” Furthermore, “while studying law at Washburn University in Kansas, Mr. Mayfield helped organize a branch of the Muslim Student Association, a group described by analyst Jonathan Dowd-Gailey as ‘an overtly political organization’ espousing ‘Wahhabism, anti-Americanism, and anti-Semitism – and expressing solidarity with militant Islamic ideologies, sometimes with criminal results.’”
Mayfield – in understandably protesting his arrest, and he was innocent – said: “I am an American Muslim. I have been singled out and discriminated against, I feel, as a Muslim.”
The American Civil Liberties Union agrees with him. The New York Times, writes Pipes, “disapprovingly notes that the decision to detain Mr. Mayfield was clearly influenced by his Muslim ties.” Of course it was, and under these circumstances, the FBI was right to do so.

Edward I. Koch is the former mayor of New York City. His commentary for Bloomberg radio is republished here. You can hear his weekly radio show by clicking here.




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