October 09, 2005

A Third Bomber, Bush and Al-Qaeda

Hi folks,

Thursday's post Bush: U.S. Has Disrupted 10 Al Qaeda Plots has generated a fair amount of discussion and provided a lot of food for thought. I think that no matter what side of the fence you sit on it is important to assess and reassess your position about the war because it is too serious a matter not to.

As part of that program I wanted to re-present to you a post that I provided last May titled Oklahoma City- What if there Was A Third Bomber

The suggestion is that there may really have been a Middle Eastern Connection to the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing. I am curious about a number of things, one of which is if the connection is proven would this change your opinion about the war.
"When the full stories of these two incidents (1993 WTC Center bombing and 1995 Oklahoma City bombing) are finally told, those who permitted the investigations to stop short will owe big explanations to these two brave women (Middle East expert Laurie Mylroie and journalist Jayna Davis). And the nation will owe them a debt of gratitude."

Former CIA Director
James Woolsey
"The Iraq Connection"
Wall Street Journal
September 5, 2002
Here are a couple of selections for your review:
"Evidence supporting Ms. Davis's suspicions surfaced during discovery for the McVeigh trial. An FBI report, for example, records a call a few hours after the bombing from Vincent Cannistraro, a retired CIA official who had once been chief of operations for the agency's counter-terrorism center. He told Kevin Foust, a FBI counter-terror investigator, that he'd been called by a top counter-terror adviser to the Saudi royal family. Mr. Foust reported that the Saudi told Mr. Cannistraro about "information that there was a 'squad' of people currently in the United States, very possibly Iraqis, who have been tasked with carrying out terrorist attacks against the United States. The Saudi claimed that he had seen a list of 'targets,' and that the first on the list was the federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma."

Stephen Jones, McVeigh's lead lawyer, discusses the FBI report in his book, "Others Unknown: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing Conspiracy." Mr. Cannistraro later told Mr. Jones that he didn't know if the caller "was credible or not." But Mr. Foust's memo says Mr. Cannistraro described the Saudi official as "responsible for developing intelligence to help prevent the royal family from becoming victims of terrorist attacks," and someone he'd known "for the past 10 or 15 years."
And
"The Sept. 11 airline crashes were not the first attempt to topple the World Trade Center towers. In February 1993, a bomb blast in a public parking garage below the North Tower of the World Trade Center killed six people and left a crater six stories deep. It could have been much worse. In her book, "The War Against America: Saddam Hussein and the World Trade Center Attacks," Laurie Mylroie says that the bomb was designed to topple the North Tower into the South Tower and envelop the scene in a cloud of cyanide gas. Hearing the case, Judge Kevin Duffy agreed, saying that if the plan had worked, "we would have been dealing with tens of thousands of deaths." After the bombing, the FBI rounded up four Muslims who moved in extremist circles in the New York area. Three others escaped overseas: a Palestinian, an Iraqi named Abdul Yasin, and Ramzi Yousef.

Ms. Mylroie's book argues that Iraq was complicit in this attack. At the very least, she notes, Saddam Hussein is harboring a wanted terrorist: Abdul Yasin. He came to the U.S. six months before the Trade Center attack and is charged with helping mix chemicals for the bomb. Picked up in an early sweep after the bombing, he talked his way out of an FBI interrogation and turned up back in Baghdad.

Beyond this, Ms. Mylroie contends that the bombing was "an Iraqi intelligence operation with the Moslem extremists as dupes." She says that the original lead FBI official on the case, Jim Fox, concluded that "Iraq was behind the World Trade Center bombing." In late 1993, shortly before his retirement, Mr. Fox was suspended by FBI Director Louis Freeh for speaking to the media about the case; he died in 1997. Ms. Mylroie says that Mr. Fox indicated to her that he did not continue to pursue the Iraq connection because Justice Department officials "did not want state sponsorship addressed."

According to phone records analyzed by Ms. Mylroie, Abdul Yasin appeared in the orbit of one of U.S. conspirators, Muhammed Salameh, some weeks after Mr. Salameh made a series of phone calls to relatives in Iraq, including to his uncle, Kadri Abu Bakr. Mr. Bakr is a senior figure in the PLO's "Western Sector" terrorist unit; at the very least, his phone calls would be monitored by Iraqi intelligence.

Ramzi Yousef also showed up after the calls to Mr. Bakr, according to Ms. Mylroie's analysis. His arrival "transformed the conspiracy from a pipe bombing plot to an audacious attack on the World Trade Center." Yousef was "the individual most responsible for building the World Trade Center bomb" -- 1,200 pounds of urea nitrate with a nitroglycerine trigger, booster chemicals, sulfuric acid and sodium cyanide.

After the bombing, Yousef vanished; he had entered with an Iraqi passport, and exited with a Pakistani passport. Yousef's Pakistani passport was in the name of Abdul Basit. He obtained it from the Pakistani consulate in New York shortly before the bombing, saying he had lost his passport and presenting photocopied pages from Abdul Basit's 1984 and 1988 passports.

Ms. Mylroie says her evidence suggests that Abdul Basit and his family were among two dozen Pakistani nationals working in Kuwait who vanished at the time of the Iraqi invasion. Law enforcement authorities believe she overplays this possibility, that Yousef is indeed Basit, and that the original Iraqi passport is the only firm link to Iraq."
One more comment to make about this. You may recall that this past May the FBI discovered explosives in the home in which Terry Nichols lived.
"WASHINGTON (AP) — Pursuing information they missed evidence a decade ago, FBI agents searched the former home of convicted Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols and found blasting caps and other explosive materials apparently related to the 1995 attack, officials said Friday."
I am still amazed that they missed this and it gives me more reasons why I am open to the possibility that there is more here then meets the eye. In general I am not big on conspiracy theories, but this really makes me think.

8 comments:

Assorted Babble by Suzie said...

What makes me really think, is there are evil people out there that want to kill innocent individuals and they are not going to stop until they do.

Terrorist have no soul regards of who they are.

soccerdad said...

It doesn't make me rethink the invasion of Iraq. To me, the connection to Oklahoma City is too speculative ... and also too distant in time to justify invading Iraq when we did.

To combat terrorism, we need to do more than just invade countries and flex our muscles. What have we done since 9/11 to win the hearts and minds of the average muslim?

Jack's Shack said...

Suzie,

Evil walks and that is the sad truth.

Soccer Dad,

I am not sure that I believe in a statute of limitations for this type of matter. If we accept the premise and believe it to be true it provides ample reason to go after Saddam.

One of the biggest issues that Bush has created has been the many different things he said about why we went in.

As for combating terror, I agree that force is not enough. It is a two pronged assault involving force and a diplomatic side that strives to yield gains in the ideological battles.

LiquiDiamonds said...

soccer dad: I'll tell you what we are doing...as you know, my son is in Iraq (well, he's on leave touring Europe right now...good for him! :) )

we pass out sandals for the desperately poor people in Taji..and they come back 2 days later asking for more, because they've sold them. We treat them with dignity, get their water up and running, and their compatriots bomb it. We offer them free medical care. We build non-existant schools. We try to show them what a society of choice is like - something that they cannot easily grasp - all while getting shot at.

We try to provide them opportunity where they wasn't any, any they sell us translators at a steep fee. We capture their "insurgents" (I call them murderers) and turn them over to authorities who release them 48 hours later...

shall I go on????

soccerdad said...

LD -- hate to say this, but you really haven't answered the question. On a micro scale, there are soldiers in Iraq who are trying to make life better on a daily basis, but on a macro scale, what are we doing?

I applaud your son for his efforts.

Jack's Shack said...

SoccerDad,

I think that the real question here is as you referred to it, scale. How much of this is happening and to what extent.

It may be much wider spread then we are aware of and that is of significant interest and import.

LiquiDiamonds said...

Let me try again, Soccer Dad: on a macro scale, we are a catalyst for a series of events that would not have happened in our lifetime -if ever.

This isnt a question of "stability through containment", as was our foreign policy for decades demonstrated. This is a preventive, offensive effort to show what happens when absolutist regimes falls: the long hard struggle towards a better life; progress, albeit slow.

The Iraqis themselves are far more patient then we are, despite the loss of innocent civilians - their own countrymen - and our young men and women. Check out the blog called "Hammorabi.blogspot.com".

One could argue then: invade Saudi Arabia, invade Syria, invade Palestine. That WOULD be percieved as imperialist, and so we don't go there.

Would your perception on containing the enemy in an area where he can be confronted be better if the media presented us with more good news? The situation in Afghanistan is still tenuous, but moving in a progressive direction. We hear little about that though.

What would it take for you to see the long term good of putting our foot down in a region that will not take care of itself is part of a strategy that may acutally work?

Iraq has been conqured, and colonized - and NOT by the US. Where are the countries to whom the Iraqis should sue to damages? The UN who carved up Iraq, the French? The English - at least the English are there.

My point is that we cannot focus too acutely on the day to day reports of what happens in Iraq. It would make me insane, as a mother. Instead, I hope that the good we bring to that country, and hopefuly by default that region, will allow all of us to reap a harvest that is not measured in our increased ability to get chaep oil, but our ability to watch with a very close eye, the ever simmering kettle of hatred that it aimed at us.

And what of Israel? What would become of Israel if our intentions in the region were not aimed at causing a positive change in the long run? are we supposed to cut and run because we are not seeing a return on investment within what we as Americans deem an appropriate time frame? If that was the case, we would have never come this far as a country if we wanted instant gratification.

I ask for the patience to see this through, understanding that the greater good in terms of a more self-determined country, admist a mine filed of non-democratic governments, is the change and the "macro" scale of success that you are looking for.

I hope I'm getting closer to being able to answer your question. And thank you for the acknowledgement of my son's service. It means alot to me, but to him. "that's my job" as he says.

soccerdad said...

I guess, from my perspective, if the goal was to show what happens when you overthrow an oppressive regime in a fractious country and establish democracy, we could have and should have focused our energies on Afghanistan, where the real terrorist threat existed. Saddam was contained and posed no real threat to this country.

I think you hit at least part of the nail, though. As the mother of somebody who is in Iraq, you need to believe that there is some good that will come out of this. I understand totally why, but I don't feel the same. I don't believe that this Administration is capable of accomplishing what it has claimed it's objective is ... well, actually, I don't really know what it's objective is.

But, the reality is that if this Administration was truly interested in establishing a flourishing democracy in Iraq, it would have committed more troops to secure the place, and would be doing more on a macro level to win the hearts and minds of not only the Iraqis, but other muslims and Arabs as well.

It also would not be threatening to veto the entire defense appropriations bill because of an amendment that would prohibit the use of torture by the United States.

If we want to win the hearts and minds than our behavior has to be exemplary. Sure, there will be screw ups, but the people in charge have to set the standard. So far, they aren't.

One last word ... I come from what I call the "unchallenged" generation. Growing up between Vietnam and the wars in Iraq and wars against terrorism. My generation never had to fight a war. We never faced the challenge of fighting to defend the country, or its ideals. As misguided as Vietnam was, and as misguided as I believe many of our current foreign policies are, I believe there is great value in shared sacrifice.

Any soldier who is in Iraq, trying to do the right thing, I applaud them for their efforts and their sacrifice. I don't see any other option. They are doing something, and experiencing something, that I cannot even begin to imagine.