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Bombing Related Articles and Links

M.Ted 14 Sep 01 - 03:28 PM
M.Ted 14 Sep 01 - 05:45 PM
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Subject: Bombing Related Articles and Links
From: M.Ted
Date: 14 Sep 01 - 03:28 PM

TV is a rotten place to get news information--they gloss things over, repeat erroneous info, misquote, distort, and that's on a good day--Whatever the failings of print journalists(they are often portrayed as condescending middle aged white american men who drink to much, and are generally tendency toward overweight). the do like to check their facts, research their subjects, and, on occasion, even investigate--I thought it might be useful to post articles, or at least links to articles here, to help people who are trying to understand what is going on---To start, here is an excellent article from this morning's Boston Globe--you have heard most of it, albeit in bits and pieces on TV from reporters who read it last nite:

Confronting the terror

Plot may have been in making for 5 years

By Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy, Globe Staff, 9/14/2001

Investigators have evidence that the planning of the suicide hijackings of American commercial airliners by Islamic extremists began at least five years ago, and that the men who commandeered two Boston flights began casing Logan Airport at least six months ago, law enforcement sources say.

The FBI also has evidence suggesting that at least five of the 10 men who hijacked the planes that departed from Boston and plowed them into the World Trade Center exploited the good reputation of the United States' staunchest Arab ally, Saudi Arabia, to gain entry to the country and access to aeronautics training in Florida - training they used to kill thousands of Americans in the worst act of terrorism in US history.

At least one of the Boston hijackers, Mohamed Atta, was able to enter the United States despite having been implicated in a 1986 bus bombing in Israel, according to federal sources. In interviews with the Globe yesterday, flight instructors in Florida said that it was common for students with Saudi affiliations to enter the United States with only cursory background checks, and sometimes none.

Some of the hijackers who became kamikaze pilots after commandeering two Boston-to-Los Angeles flights on Tuesday had pilot licenses that indicated they were sponsored or employed by Saudi Arabian Airlines, which is owned by the Saudi government, investigators said. Others were listed on public records as being employed by Saudi Arabian Airlines.

At least one of the hijackers of the Boston flights, Atta, carried a Saudi passport, while two others, Waleed Alshehri and Marwan Alshehri, had been living in Saudi Arabia before they arrived in Florida to attend flight school, law enforcement and other sources said.

Two alleged associates of the hijackers, Adnan Bukhari and Amer Kamfar, attended flight schools in Florida and listed the Saudi Arabian Airlines post office box in the Saudi city of Jeddah as their home address on their commercial pilots' licenses. Bukhari, 41, who lived in Vero Beach, Fla., was taken into custody by FBI agents on Tuesday and questioned, law enforcement sources said. He was released after the FBI concluded he was not involved in the hijackings, according to federal law enforcement sources. Police in Florida identified Bukhari as a flight engineer for the Saudi airline.

Last night, police in Florida were searching for Kamfar, who was reported to be at large and armed with an AK-47 assault rifle. Kamfar, 41, lived at the same Vero Beach address as Abdulrahman Alomari, who is listed in FAA records as having worked in flight operations for the Saudi airline and who was sitting next to Atta in the business section of American Airlines Flight 11, according to the passenger manifest.

FBI director Robert Mueller yesterday said that there were five hijackers on Flight 11. Sources identified them as Atta, Alomari, Waleed Alshehri, Wail Alshehri, and Satam Al Suqami. Mueller said there were also five hijackers on United Airlines Flight 175. Sources identified them as Fayez Ahmed, Ahmed Alghamdi, Hamza Alghamdi, Marwan Alshehri, and Mohaid Alshehri.

Investigators say that at least half of the 10 Boston hijackers had received extensive training at flight schools in Florida and were capable of taking over the controls and guiding the two jets into the World Trade Center towers.

The Globe reported yesterday that Waleed Alshehri graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautics University in Daytona Beach, Fla., in 1997, and law enforcement sources yesterday said investigators believe his arrival at the school the previous year shows that the planning to train suicide pilots began in 1996, if not earlier.

Over the next five years, various numbers of the suicide pilots arrived in Florida to train at the many flight schools there.

Law enforcement sources said that the Boston hijackers, apparently led by Atta, began casing Logan Airport at least six months and perhaps even a year ago.

In interviews yesterday, flight instructors said Saudis and other Arabs with the imprimatur of the Saudi national airline who seek permission to enter the United States to take flying lessons do not face the same degree of scrutiny from the State Department when seeking a visa as do Arabs from countries less friendly to Washington.

In fact, some flight schools, including some of those attended by the hijackers, have exemptions that allow the schools to unilaterally issue paperwork that students can present at US embassies and consulates so they can obtain visas with only perfunctory background checks, flight instructors said.

Chuck Clapper, who owns Lantana Air, an air charter company in Lantana, Fla., said that several Florida flight schools have contracts with Saudi Arabian Airlines, and that some have exemptions that allow them to send students paperwork that are then virtually rubber-stamped by officials who issue visas.

Asked if Arabs who seek to enter the United States to obtain flying instruction need to satisfy the State Department of their suitability, Clapper said, ''Saudis don't. Iranians do. Libyans do. But the Saudis are allies, so they don't.''

A State Department spokesman declined to discuss the visas the hijackers obtained to attend flight schools in Florida, saying that it was confidential information and subject to a criminal investigation.

The spokesman did dispute claims that visas are rubberstamped, saying that all foreign students are subjected to a background check.

That, however, does not explain how Atta, 33, and his cousin, Marwan Alsheheri, 23, got visas. Yesterday, German police said the two hijackers had been linked to Islamic extremists when they studied at the Technical University in Hamburg and should have been denied visas as a result. Atta was also suspected of involvement in the 1986 terrorist attack in Israel.

Tom Quinn, the head of American sales and marketing for Saudi Arabian Airlines, said that ''there are indications that some of these people may have been employees of the airline and were here for training.''

Quinn said information that would confirm their identities and employment status could only be obtained from the airline's head office in Jeddah. The airline's offices were closed yesterday and no one answered the telephone.

Quinn said that the airline had ''quite a few'' employees attend Embry-Riddle, one of the most prestigious flight schools in the United States.

While authorities here, in Florida, and in Germany said nothing concrete points to the hijackers being linked to the Saudi-born, anti-American terrorist Osama bin Laden, there was growing sentiment in Washington that bin Laden orchestrated the attack.

''Everything so far continues to point to bin Laden,'' said one US official, speaking on condition of anonymity. ''Iraq doesn't seem to be panning out, and the same thing with Iran.''

The official said that information gleaned from the early stages of the investigation indicated that at least some of the four known terrorist cells carefully set down roots in communities, which resembles past terror attacks connected to bin Laden and his group.

One of the hallmarks of past bin Laden plots, according to US officials and court documents, is to place people in a community with orders to establish a local network and lay the groundwork for an attack that is never completely spelled out to them.

Prior to the 1998 bombing against the US Embassy in Kenya, for example, bin Laden operatives married local women, collected information on potential targets, rented houses, and purchased equipment. Later, a commander sent from Afghanistan arrived in Kenya to oversee the last-minute procedures.

While the US official declined to offer specifics on what is known about the preparations for Tuesday's attacks, the official said, ''This appears to be a similar operation. There's the training beforehand, and what is called the `sleeper' issue: a person waiting to be activated by someone else arriving with orders.''

Meanwhile, an FBI-led task force of investigators continued to fan across the Boston area, searching for clues and people believed to have assisted the hijackers in this area. Hundreds of tips, and the hijackers' indifference to incriminating evidence left behind, has left investigators busy.

''The attacks were probably well planned, but they didn't do a good job covering their tracks,'' said one federal agent.

Law enforcement sources said investigators believe that as many as eight hijackers stayed in hotels in the Boston area the night before the attack, but so far have identified only one of the hotels - the Park Inn in Chestnut Hill, where at least two of the hijackers are believed to have stayed. Atta and Alomari are believed to have flown down from Portland, Maine, early Tuesday before connecting onto Flight 11.

Before flying from Portland to Boston to carry out terror attacks on New York City, Mohamed Atta and Abdul Alomari rented a car at the Logan Airport Alamo and drove to Maine, police said.

Two other conspirators who parked a white Mitsubishi at Logan before boarding had also rented their vehicle from the same Alamo franchise, said Maine police officials and an Alamo spokeswoman. Neither would say when the cars had been rented, or who rented them.

Investigators this week requested passenger manifests from two ferries operating between Falmouth, Nova Scotia and Maine. Attention also focused on a border crossing in tiny Jackman, Maine, a particularly isolated route linking Quebec City to western Maine.

The owner of a gas station in Jackman said he had sold gasoline to four Arab men at 1:55 p.m. on Aug. 17, and that yesterday, he gave credit card receipts from the transaction to federal investigators.

Having once worked in the Middle East, Raymond Stevens, 46, was able to converse briefly in Arabic with four men who said they were from Saudi Arabia.

State police in Maine continued to analyze the inside of the rental car found in Portland, McCausland said. The rental car was part of a string of evidence found on Tuesday, which traced a bag found at Logan airport back to security cameras at Portland Jetport, which caught Atta and Alomari boarding a 6 a.m. flight.

The car contained maps of northern New England, and there was tobacco sprinkled on the console between the two front seats, Portland Police Chief Michael Chitwood said yesterday.

John Donnelly, Ellen Barry, Matthew Brelis and Douglas Belkin of the Globe Staff and correspondents A. J. Higgins and Donna Gold contributed to this report.

This story ran on page A1 of the Boston Globe on 9/14/2001. © Copyright 2001 Globe Newspaper Company.

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Subject: RE: Bombing Related Articles and Links
From: M.Ted
Date: 14 Sep 01 - 05:45 PM

CIA's Covert War on Bin Laden Agency Has Had Green Light Since 1998, but Terrorist Proves Elusive

By Bob Woodward and Vernon Loeb Washington Post Staff Writers Friday, September 14, 2001; Page A01

The CIA has been authorized since 1998 to use covert means to disrupt and preempt terrorist operations planned abroad by Saudi extremist Osama bin Laden under a directive signed by President Bill Clinton and reaffirmed by President Bush this year, according to government sources.

U.S. intelligence has observed the elusive multimillionaire, thought to be hiding in the mountains of Afghanistan, several times this year, one source said, adding that this holds out the prospect that military strikes could be directed against him.

But reliable intelligence on the whereabouts of bin Laden, who was fingered yesterday by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell as a prime suspect in Tuesday's suicide attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, has been rare, despite what one source called a "rich and active" surveillance program.

"We have a hell of a targeting problem," the source said, noting that Pentagon analysts are attempting to match current intelligence with military capabilities contained in contingency plans for striking terrorist groups. Those analysts, the source said, are trying to determine whether to attempt to strike bin Laden directly, or to target military action against his aides, training camps, or the broader global network known as al Qaeda, which has connections to other Middle East terrorist groups.

One well-placed source said last night that intelligence gathered since Tuesday's attacks indicates that bin Laden's camps in Afghanistan, and his other training centers throughout the Middle East, are now virtually empty. In addition, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has moved military equipment this week, as he frequently does when he anticipates U.S. military action, the source said.

The new information on bin Laden comes as the Pentagon reviews plans for what Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz described yesterday as a "broad and sustained" campaign against those responsible for Tuesday's attacks and any government found to have provided them sanctuary.

"I think one has to say it's not just simply a matter of capturing people and holding them accountable, but removing the sanctuaries, removing the support systems, ending states who sponsor terrorism," Wolfowitz said. "And that's why it has to be a broad and sustained campaign. I think one thing is clear -- you don't do it with just a single military strike, no matter how dramatic. You don't do it with just military forces alone, you do it with the full resources of the U.S. government."

The 1998 intelligence directives, known formally as presidential findings, were issued after terrorists linked by U.S. officials to bin Laden bombed U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. They were designed to give CIA agents maximum capability to stop attacks planned by bin Laden's al Qaeda network against additional American targets, which agency officers succeeded in doing several times, the sources said.

The highly classified directives adhered to a legal ban on the assassination of foreign leaders but authorized lethal force for self-defense, which was used by the CIA in several cases when armed terrorists were stopped moments before they initiated attacks, sources said. Since 1998, CIA counterterrorist officers, working with "liaison" partners from foreign intelligence organizations, have succeeded in preempting al Qaeda attacks in Jordan, Egypt, Kenya and the Balkans, sources said.

CIA spokesman Bill Harlow declined comment yesterday on any aspect of the agency's counterterrorist operations.

Briefing reporters at the Pentagon, Wolfowitz said that military forces would receive a "significant" portion of a $40 billion supplemental appropriation now before Congress to pay for "some huge requirements to build up our military for the next year, maybe longer." Much of the supplemental funds, he said, are necessary "to prepare our armed forces for whatever the president may ask them to do. The costs mount rapidly, and they will mount more rapidly as this campaign develops."

Some of that funding could be used to call up more than 40,000 reservists to active duty, a proposal under consideration, according to a senior military official. Several thousand reservists with "specialized skills" could be called up in the next few days, the official said.

Many of the extra personnel are necessary to support combat air patrols over major metropolitan areas instituted this week by filling out the ranks of pilots, aviation maintenance crews and military air traffic controllers, the official said.

State authorities have enlisted about 10,000 National Guard troops to assist in civil recovery efforts in Washington and New York. But the Pentagon move represents the first significant federal call-up. Major U.S. military actions almost invariably require reservists to supplement regular troops.

Pentagon planners are focusing on starting any military campaign with sustained bombing raids, first against bin Laden sites in Afghanistan, a senior U.S. official said yesterday. If that proves ineffective, the plan would call for the bombing of targets associated with Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia, which has harbored bin Laden for the past five years, the official said.

"That was what the president meant when he said the U.S. was prepared to retaliate against both those responsible for terrorism and those who harbor them," the official said.

U.S. attempts to negotiate with the Taliban earlier this year to have it expel bin Laden failed, another official said, adding: "We have moved past there. Now we are trying to affect their intentions."

Several military officers said the Pentagon is also considering an array of special forces operations aimed at suspected terrorist redoubts in Afghanistan, Yemen, Sudan, Pakistan and Algeria. The Pentagon also is considering flying unmanned drones capable of lingering over terrorist camps for extended periods to provide almost continuous surveillance, one officer said.

"Things are different this time," another senior officer added. "I don't think the American people expect a light response."

One factor restraining previous military action was an emphasis on zero casualties, which has tended to constrain the Pentagon from employing ground troops and has led to a reliance on sea- or air-launched cruise missiles. Following the embassy bombings in 1998, the United States launched cruise missiles against sites in Afghanistan and Sudan thought to have ties to bin Laden. The attacks were criticized as largely ineffectual.

Bush and his advisers appear ready to consider the use of ground troops, particularly special forces, military officers said. "If you regard what happened as an act of war, as the president has said, your standard of application for what you do about it is different," said a four-star officer.

At the same time, military officials knowledgeable about the extent of Pentagon preparations characterized the planning as still in the early stage. They said no specific targets had been selected and no forces yet earmarked for action.

"It's really embryonic at this point," the four-star officer said.

Former CIA director R. James Woolsey said that Iraq would have multiple targets for military planners if it is conclusively demonstrated that Iraq "had a substantial hand" in Tuesday's attacks.

Should such evidence materialize, Woolsey said, "all instruments of power to the Iraqi state should be destroyed: the Republican Guard, everything associated with Saddam Hussein, everything associated with their weapons of mass destruction program."

Woolsey said he believes there is evidence suggesting that Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, the convicted mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was an Iraqi intelligence agent. "If Iraq is behind the '93 attack, it's never really paid any price for that -- and we can start right there," he said. "But if it's behind the '93 attack, there's a good chance it's behind this one."

© 2001 The Washington Post Company

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Subject: RE: Bombing Related Articles and Links
Date: 14 Sep 01 - 09:57 PM

Can anyone suggest why?

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Subject: RE: Bombing Related Articles and Links
From: Troll
Date: 14 Sep 01 - 10:25 PM

Be more specific, GUEST. Those two articles cover a hell of a lot of territory.


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Subject: RE: Bombing Related Articles and Links
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 15 Sep 01 - 10:52 AM

Here's an interesting article about the death of Ahmad Shah Massood, opposition leader in Afghanistan. It's good for us to know that there is opposition to the Taliban, and to Osama bin Ladin, in Afghanistan -- and to know what happens to them.

May I suggest that it's better to post links to useful articles, along with a brief title or comment, rather than to copy whole articles into this thread? For one thing, sites like ABC News have professional web designers who know how to format articles so they're easier to read. Also, it will be easier for Mudcat readers to skim through a list of articles and decide what they want to read.

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Subject: RE: Bombing Related Articles and Links
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 16 Sep 01 - 07:16 AM

Here are some useful web sites:

The Terrorism Research Center

The Forno Archive - lots of images, both still shots and videos, well organized.

BBC News



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Subject: RE: Bombing Related Articles and Links
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 16 Sep 01 - 12:05 PM

Sorry, one of the above links doesn't get you to the right place. Try this: The Forno Archive

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Subject: RE: Bombing Related Articles and Links
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 18 Sep 01 - 05:14 PM

Here's Dave Barry's column from Sept. 17, 2001: The Power of Goodness Will Prevail.

Don't let the photo mislead you. He is not funny this time.

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