Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Ties between 9/11 and latest British plot..
From Captain Quarters blog: "German authorities are investigating a possible link between the captured terrorists of the recent airliner plot and a key figure in the Hamburg cell who worked with Mohammed Atta on the 9/11 attacks. Said Bahaji, a computer expert who helped plan 9/11, may have provided the same assistance to these suspected al-Qaeda terrorists: German authorities are investigating contacts between a Briton being questioned over the alleged plot to blow up transatlantic airlines and a key figure in the September 11, 2001, terrorist cell. Intelligence sources said that, at Britain’s request, they were examining possible links between the suspect and Said Bahaji, the computer expert in the Hamburg cell that planned the suicide hijackings in 2001. Bahaji shared an apartment in Hamburg with Mohamed Atta, the lead hijacker, and Ramzi Binalshibh, the planner of 9/11. He fled Germany for Pakistan a week before the attacks in New York and Washington and has never been caught. Bahaji's name came up in the 9/11 Commission report, at least briefly. Bahaji was an odd duck in the Hamburg cell. For one, he was the only German citizen in the group. Bahaji spent five months in the German Army before getting a medical discharge. He had only limited knowledge of Islam despite his Moroccan heritage, but eagerly volunteered for violence. His assistance to Atta and Ramzi Binalshibh went beyond enthusiasm, however. He gave them access to the Internet for their research, and investigators later found disks and documents showing the Internet surfing done by the terror leaders. While Atta traveled to Afghanistan for training, Bahaji maintained a false front in Germany, covering their absence in order to throw off suspicion. He has long since fled Germany. Bahaji flew to Pakistan days ahead of the 9/11 attacks, thanks to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's warning to the Hamburg cell that the date of the attack was quickly approaching. He bought his tickets to Karachi and left on September 3rd. American authorities would love to get their hands on Bahaji, and now it looks like the British would also want a crack at him. The financing of the scheme has also been coming under more scrutiny. According to the Times of London, the Crescent Relief charity may have laundered some of the money that fueled this terror cell. The charity's founding trustee, Abdul Rauf, is the father of Rashid Rauf, whom the Pakistanis now hold in connection to the plot. Another of Rauf's sons, Tayib, was among those arrested last week in Britain. Crescent Relief and Pakistan-based Jamaat-ud-Dawa raised large amounts of money, much of it in cash, following the earthquake in Kashmir. Now the British would like to know where it went. This plot looked like an al-Qaeda production from the beginning. If Said Bahaji can be tied to it, that diagnosis looks pretty accurate.