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The Threat of Islamic Terrorism

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The Threat of Islamic Terrorism




With the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990's and

the cold war over, the international community seemed to be on the threshold

of an era of unprecedented peace and prosperity. Instead, a new series of

problems was created, like ethnic conflicts, weapons proliferation,

environmental problems, population growth, drug trafficking, and terrorism.

Terrorism, as defined by Title 22 of the United States code, section

2656f(d), is the "pre-meditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated

against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents,

usually intended to influence and audience." Islamic terrorism is a serious

problem for the United States because of the threat to national security,

the safety of innocent civilians, and the foundations of democratic

societies throughout the world.




Most of the Islamic world view the West, especially the United

States, as the foremost corrupting influence on the Islamic world today.

The Hizballah have taken this further by labeling the Unites States as "the

Great Satan."(22) This growing animosity the Islamic nations feel toward

the Western world has been continually demonstrated by the increase in

international terrorism. However, Muslims do not view their actions as acts

of terrorism, but self defense and their religious duty. The Islamic

radical movements main success or failure has been their ability to gain

legitimacy from the general public or from the greater part of it in each

Muslim country.(14) During the past two decades, they have had enormous

success with their ability to present themselves to the Arab and Muslim

world as the true bearers of Islam. They appeal to the lower class due to

the shared resentment of wealthy westerners while the middle class and

intellectuals are drawn toward these radical groups in order to expel

imported ideologies and forms of government(*). Radical Islamic

organizations have declared a holly war , Jihad, in order to bring the Arab

world together and take their place as a world power. In order to

accomplish these goals, these Islamic radicals have mainly used terrorism as

their main instrument of persuasion.




The biggest and most active terrorist organizations are those

which are state funded. These organizations act as both an overt and covert

way of spreading the sponsor countries ideologies. The U.S. Secretary of

State has designated seven governments as state sponsors of terrorism: Cuba,

Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.(13) These governments

support international terrorism either by engaging in terrorist activity

themselves or by providing arms, training, safe haven, diplomatic

facilities, financial backing, logistic and/or support to terrorists.(13)




Iran is one of the most active state sponsors of terrorism,

involving themselves in the planning and execution of terrorist acts by its

own agents and by surrogates such as the Hizballah. Tehran conducted 13

assassinations in 1997, the majority of which were carried out in northern

Iraq against the regime's main opposition groups. An example occurred in

January 1997, when Iranian agents tried to attack the Baghdad headquarters

of Mujahedin-e Khalq using a supermortar. Despite sanctions and foreign

political pressure, Iran continues to provide support in the form of

training, money, and weapons to a variety of terrorist groups, such as

Hizballah, HAMAS, and the PIJ.(13)


Sudan is another large supporter of terrorist organizations.

The Sudanese Government supports terrorists by providing paramilitary

training, indoctrinization, money, travel documents, safe passage, and

refuge. They also condone many of the objectionable activities of Iran,

such as funneling assistance to terrorist and radical Islamic groups

operating in and transiting through Sudan.(13) Since Sudan was placed on the

United States' list of state sponsors of terrorism in 1993, the Sudanese

Government still harbors members of the most violent international

terrorists and radical Islamic groups.(13)




The countries of the middle east have found terrorism beneficial

for many reasons. First, terrorism is an inexpensive alternative to

fighting a war, while still spreading their ideology and advancing their

political agenda. However, defending against terrorism is very expensive;

the United States spends approximately five billion dollars annually to

guard against terrorism.(11) Random terrorist acts cause a great amount of

psychological damage to the target area. Even though terrorism kills

relatively few people, the random nature by which innocent civilian are

killed evokes a deep fear and insecurity upon the population. This form of

terrorism was successfully used to target tourism and the economy of Egypt

in 1997. Publicity is another benefit of terrorism. By involving acts

which are designed to attract maximum publicity, terrorism can bring the

smallest group to the forefront of attention.(22) All this is done while

exposing the terrorist to minimal risk when compared to war.




By secretly funding terrorist organization, the patron state

avoids the possibility of defeat and does not appear to be the aggressor.

Modern technology has now made terrorism an efficient, convenient, and

general discrete weapon for attacking state interests in the international

realm. Furthermore, terrorism causes fear, unrest and hysteria among

civilians of target countries which is the ideal setting to launch

propaganda. Through propaganda patron states are able to organize revolts,

coups, and even civil war.




Throughout history terrorism has only been successful in

prolonging conflicts, as in Ireland. However, technology is constantly

changing the nature of life-threatening hostilities by delivering more

sophisticated devices that cause greater damage. No longer are terrorists

restrained to simple car bombs and explosives; now nuclear, biological, and

chemical weapons are becoming more readily available. The terrorist attack

in Tokyo that injured 5,000 people is an example of this kind of terrorism.

The latest threat is the cyber terrorist, who can corrupt a governments

computer system, steal money, and/or classified information while never

leaving his house. Changing methods and techniques that

terrorists employ today make threat of attack worse than ever. First,

terrorists operate at an international level, no longer concentrating on a

particular region or a country. The dawn of the modern age of terrorism

dates back to September 5, 1972, when the Palestinian terrorists attacked

the Israeli Olympic team in Munich(*). Following this, there has been a

period of hijacking of commercial airlines, which culminated in the

destruction of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.




Another new aspect of terrorism is the growing possibility of

terrorists making use of weapons of mass destruction-nuclear, biological and

chemical. Also, the governments have to think seriously about the threat of

chemical weapons and biological toxins. Both these types of weapons are easy

to manufacture but have horrifying after-effects on the civilian population.

The Sarin gas attack in the Tokyo subway in 1995 by Aum Shinrikyo, the

apocalyptic Japanese sect, showed that the threat of chemical terrorism is

now a reality(*).




For many years, it had been thought that weapons of mass

destruction did not serve the purpose of terrorists, and it was not mass

murder they wanted. But in the modern age of terrorism, one sees a wider

use of powerful explosives that attack mostly the civilian population, and

availability is the only thing that prevents the use of larger weapons. This

trend towards larger attacks is represented by a 25-year low in

international terrorism in 1996, with reported incidents down from a peak of

665 in 1987 to 296 in 1996, there was a drastic rise in the number of

casualties (311 people killed and 2,652 wounded)(16).




The third aspect of terrorism that is new is cyber terror. It

has become very easy to penetrate the telecommunications and computer

systems of nations and also private organizations, and enter new computer

codes that cause the system to shutdown or which make it accessible only to

the intruder. Terrorists use computers, cellular phones, and encryption

software to evade detection and they also have sophisticated means of

forging passports and valuable documents. Similarly, they could even

introduce "morphed" images and messages into a country's radio and

television network, and spread lies that could incite violence. Technology

advancement has made it possible to carry powerful explosive devices in a

purse and explode these at the right place, at the right time.




Another recent trend in terrorism is suicide bombing. Suicide

bombings have emerged as a tactic used particularly by radical Islamic

terrorists. Even though Islam prohibits suicide, these suicide bombers

believe that death in a holy struggle assures them a faithful place in

heaven; thus, by committing this act of war, they feel they are guaranteed

to go to heaven. This method of terrorism is almost impossible to defend

against, that is why the terrorists must be prevented, not deterred.




Many radical Islamic terrorist organizations have developed in

recent years, but the biggest organizations are the Islamic Jihad, Hamas,

Al-Gama'a ai-Islamiyyah, and the Hizballah. These organizations all seek the

elimination of western and Jewish influence, and will not hesitate to do

anything to prevent this.




The Islamic Jihad Group , in Egypt, has been active since the

late 70's, and currently includes two factions. The goal of these factions

is to overthrow the Egyptian government and replace it with an Islamic

state. To accomplish this, the Jihad operates in small underground cells

and attacks high level government officials. Their most notorious acts of

terrorism have been the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat, the

1993 attempted assassination of Prime Minister Atef Sedky and the 1993 car

bombing of the World Trade Center(19).


Al-Gama'a ai-Islamiyyah (The Islamic Group, IG) evolved from a

phenomenon of Islamic prisoners in Egypt. After being released from prison

in 1971, they began forming militant groups that operated separately but

were loosely organized. These groups target police officers, liberal

intellectuals, Coptic Christians, and tourism in order to hurt the economy

and rid Egypt of Western influence. The IG's most recent attack was

November 17, 1997, when 58 tourists were killed; this severely impacted

Egyptian tourism for several months.(4)




Hamas is the Arab acronym for, "The Islamic Resistance

Movement," and means courage and bravery(3). This organization has evolved

from the Muslim Brotherhood and was active in the early stages of Intifada,

operating in the Gaza strip and the West bank. The main objective of the

Hamas is a "Holly War" for the liberation of Palestine and the establishment

of an Islamic Palestine. A variety of non-governmental charitable

organizations in the Gulf States, four central charity funds throughout the

world, and Iran have enabled Hamas to become the second most powerful

terrorist organization(3). During Intifada, Hamas claimed responsibility

for 43 attacks that killed 46 Palestinians, and is believed to be

responsible for another 40 deaths.(3)




Hizballah (Party of God) is an extremist political-religious

movement based in Lebanon. The movement was created and sponsored by Iran

in July 1982, initially as a form of resistance to the Israeli presence in

Southern Lebanon. Hizballah followers are radical Shi'ite which adhere to

Khomeinistic ideology.(5) The principle goals established by Khomeinism are

the equality of all Lebanon's citizens, complete American and French

withdrawal from Lebanon, the complete destruction of Israel, and the

establishment of Islamic rule over Jerusalem(5). The Hizballah has tried to

accomplish these goals through the use of terrorism, of which 704 attacks

were committed from 1991 - 1995.(5) The scope and nature of Hizballah's

terrorist campaign reflect its close dependency on Iranian support for both

the ideological and financial levers. Iran donates fast amounts of money to

Hizballah, which among other things funds the movement's health and

education services(22). The funds received from Iran in the 1980's totaled

$60-$80 million a year.




Because of the recent terrorist attacks at the World Trade

Center and foreign embassies in Africa, the United States is aware of the

danger that terrorism presents. Being a politically correct country, no

United States official has specifically named the radical Islamic groups as

our primary enemy. However, the Islamic groups are the only terrorists that

specifically target Americans. The United States now has an official three

part counter terrorism policy that has so far proven to be effective.




First, the US will make no concession to terrorists and strike

no deals. If the US were to give in to terrorists' demands, it would

inspire every other terrorist to commit violent crimes. An example of this

plan is the hostage situation in Peru, where 72 hostages were taken and four

months later a successful rescue took place. The second US policy is that

all terrorist will be held accountable for their crimes in a court of law.

In recent years many international terrorists have been convicted and sent

to prison. The third, and most important policy is to isolate and apply

pressure on states that sponsor and support terrorism and force them to

change their behavior. UN sanctions and the use of military force are now

actively used to force host countries to change their views on terrorism.




Radical Islamic terrorist organizations have the ability and

desire to threaten the United states. Sanctions and diplomatic bargaining

will not solve the problem of Islamic terrorism, yet military force will

only make the problem worse. There will be no resolution to this problem in

the near future, meanwhile the gap between the Western world and the Arab

nations will continue to grow. Without constant monitoring a careful

planning, this could soon turn into WW III.








1. al-Thawriyyah, Fatah al-Qiyadah. Fatah - Revolutionary Council.

Available: http://www.ict.org.il/inter_ter/orgdet.ctm?orgid=2. March 22,





2. Coordinator for Counterterrorism of the State department. Fact Sheet:

Usama bin Ladin. Http://www.state.gov/www/regions/africa. March 22, 1999




3. Al-Islamiyya, Harakat. HAMAS(Islamic Resistance Movement).

Http://www.ict.org.il/inter_ter/orgdet.ctm?ogid=13 March 22, 1999




4. Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya( The Islamic Group, IG). International

Counterterrorism website. Available:

Http://www.ict.org.il/inter_ter/orgdet.ctm?ogid=12 March 22, 1999




5. Information division. Israel foreign Ministry - Jerusalem. Hizballah .



Http://www.ict.org.il/inter_ter/orgdet.ctm?ogid=15 March 22, 1999




6. US State Department. "Armed Islamic Group." Patterns of Global Terrorism.

Available: Http://www.ict.org.il/inter_ter/orgdet.ctm?ogid=7 March 22, 1999




7. Erlich, Dr. Reuven. The Beginning of an Internal Dispute in Iran and

Lebanon over the fate of Hizballah in the wake of the implementation of

Resolution 425. ICT Research Fellow. Available:

http://www.ict.org.il/articles/articledet.ctm?articleid=20 March 22, 1999




8. State Department. Anti-US Attacks, 1997. Available:

http://www.state.gov/www/global/terrorism/1997Report/ March 22, 1999




9. State Department. Casualties of Anti-US Attacks 1992-1997. Available:

http://www.state.gov/www/global/terrorism/1997Report/ March 22, 1999




10. Albright, Madeleine K. "Interview on ABC-TV 'This Week'with Cokie

Roberts and George Will." State Department. August 23, 1998. Available:

http://secretary.state.gov/www/statements/1998/980823.htm March 22, 1999




11. Wilcox Jr., Philip C. "International Terrorism" September 12, 1996.

Available: http://www.state.gov/www/global/terrorism




12. "State-Sponsored Terrorism." Available:

Http://www.ict.org.il/inter_ter/st_terror/State_t.htm. March 22, 1999




13. State Department. "Over of State-Sponsored Terrorism" Available:

http://www.state.gov/www/global/terrorism/1997Report/ . March 22, 1999.




14. Paz, Reuven. "Is There an 'Islamic Terrorism.'" September 7, 1998.

Available: Http://www.ict.org.il/articles/isl_terr.htm. March 22, 1999.




15. Schweitzer, Yoram. "Resonding to Terrorism-the American Dilemma."

September 2, 1998. Available:

Http://www.ict.org.il/articles/articledet.ctm?articleid=44. March 22, 1999.




16. "1997 Global Terrorism." Available:

http://www.state.gov/www/global/terroeism/1997report/. March 22, 1999.




17. "Electronic Sources: MLA Style of Citation." Available:

http://www.uvm.edu/~xli/reterence/mla.html. March 22, 1999.




18. "1997 Global Terrorism-definitions." Available:

http://www.state.gov/www/global/terroeism/1997report/. March 22, 1999.




19. "Jihad Group." Available:



March 22, 1999




20. Sinha, P.B. "Pakistan-The Chief Patron-Promoter of Islamic Militancy and

Terrorism." Available: http://www.idsa-india.org/an-oct-5.html. March 22,





21. Sinha, P.B. "Threat of Islamic Terrorism Egypt." Available:

http://www.idsa-india.org/an-nov8-6.html. March 22, 1999.




22. Rajeswari, P.R. "U.S. Policy on Terrorism." Available:

http://www.idsa-india.org/an-nov8-7.html. March 22, 1999


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Washington Post

December 31, 2002

Pg. 1


15 Freighters Believed To Be Linked To Al Qaeda


U.S. Fears Terrorists at Sea; Tracking Ships Is Difficult


By John Mintz, Washington Post Staff Writer


U.S. intelligence officials have identified approximately 15 cargo freighters around the world that they believe are controlled by al Qaeda or could be used by the terrorist network to ferry operatives, bombs, money or commodities over the high seas, government officials said.


American spy agencies track some of the suspicious ships by satellites or surveillance planes and with the help of allied navies or informants in overseas ports. But they have occasionally lost track of the vessels, which are continuously given new fictitious names, repainted or re-registered using invented corporate owners, all while plying the oceans.


As they scramble to keep tabs on the largely unregulated and secretive global maritime industry, U.S. officials have no end of worries about how nautical terrorists could attack U.S. or allied ports or vessels, officials said. They cite such scenarios as al Qaeda dispatching an explosives-packed speedboat to blow a hole in the hull of a luxury cruise ship sailing the Caribbean Sea or having terrorists posing as crewmen commandeer a freighter carrying dangerous chemicals and slam it into a harbor.


Concerned about the vulnerabilities of American shipping since Sept. 11, 2001, U.S. officials have started paying more attention than ever to what cargo is loaded onto ships entering U.S. waters, and to who serves on crews, as well as to stowaways and individuals who appear to be surveying U.S. ports.


In addition, U.S. intelligence agencies have set up large databases to track cargo, ships and seamen in a search for "anomalies" that could indicate terrorists on approaching ships, said Frances Fragos-Townsend, chief of Coast Guard intelligence.


"If all you do is wait for ships to come to you, you're not doing your job," she said. "The idea is to push the borders out."


Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda's leader, and his aides have owned ships for years, some of which transported such commodities as cement and sesame seeds. But one vessel delivered the explosives that al Qaeda operatives used to bomb two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998, U.S. officials said.


Since September 2001, the U.S.-maintained list of al Qaeda mystery ships has varied from a low of a dozen to a high of 50. Some are ships up to 400 feet long that do not need to refuel on extended journeys, and therefore are less likely to draw scrutiny. U.S. officials do not know precisely how each of these "ships of concern" is being used, except that some are generating profits for al Qaeda. Any of them could be used in an attack anywhere in the world, officials fear.


As Western societies have "hardened" their facilities on land against terrorist attack, al Qaeda has escalated its attempts to launch assaults at sea because it believes waterborne targets are easier, terrorism experts said. Starting with the suicide bombing of the USS Cole off Yemen in 2000 by al Qaeda men in an inflatable dinghy, a strike that killed 17 sailors, U.S. officials have discerned a steady increase in nautical attacks, some of which were aborted by the planners or uncovered by authorities at the last moment. The latest attack came in October, when the hull of the French oil tanker Limburg was blasted by a speedboat off Yemen, causing a widespread oil spill.


Cruise ships are another worry. The concern is not so much that al Qaeda would hijack hundreds or thousands of passengers while making political demands, as Palestinian terrorists did with airliners in the 1970s, and the Italian Achille Lauro cruise ship off Egypt in 1985. The most feared scenario is that terrorists in speedboats or a cargo vessel would pull up alongside a cruise ship and blow a hole in it.


But cruise industry executives point out that their vessels can outpace most ships in the water, and that they are designed to be so secure and ride so high above the waves that a sea-level blast is unlikely to sink any cruise ship -- and in any case would explode far from passengers. Security at cruise ship terminals is as tight as it is at any airport, industry sources said.


For decades, U.S. intelligence focused on foreign shipping only sporadically. Soviet vessels were the main target for years, and later U.S. officials traced ships concealing cocaine and Chinese missiles. But after Sept. 11, U.S. officials realized the danger of terrorists attacking from the sea, and rushed to gain expertise about the world's commercial shipping industry.


Now Navy and Coast Guard intelligence have the unenviable job of sorting through the corporate papers of the world's 120,000 merchant ships, many of which hide their ownership under layers of corporate subterfuge -- a centuries-old practice in a trade that thrives on lax regulation and independence from governments. U.S. intelligence officers also must collate the names and mariner's license numbers of tens of thousands of seamen from around the world, a sizable percentage of whom carry fake documents and use pseudonyms because of criminal pasts.


"This industry is a shadowy underworld," said a senior U.S. government official knowledgeable about the effort. "After 9/11, we suddenly learned how little we understood about commercial shipping. You can't swing a dead cat in the shipping business without hitting somebody with phony papers."


But U.S. government officials said they have made up for lost time in the past 15 months. Working out of its headquarters in Suitland, Navy intelligence has struck data-sharing agreements with dozens of allied navies, and enlisted tipsters among port managers across the globe, as well as shipping agents, crew manning supervisors and seafarers unions.


Within weeks after Sept. 11, the Coast Guard established new rules for medium- and large-size ships. Ninety-six hours before reaching a U.S. port, they now must provide data about their cargo, the names and passport numbers of the crew, the ship's corporate details and recent port calls. This information is fed into computers at a new intelligence facility in West Virginia, and merged with other data, such as satellite photos of ships or ports.


Oddities in the data stoke officials' suspicions -- a fishing vessel reporting it caught fish not found in waters it has visited, for example, or a port visit that is unlikely given its cargo. Ships that cause concern may be boarded at sea, or police may be asked to tail a crewman when he disembarks.


Sometimes the evidence is misleading. In September, Coast Guard officers spent a day searching a 700-container ship in New Jersey because it had taken on cargo at two ports deemed a concern -- in Pakistan and Iran -- and because officers' radiation-detectors buzzed when they boarded. But the radiation came from ceramic tiles, not a nuclear weapon.


At times the Coast Guard has underreacted. In October, a 50-foot wooden freighter, undetected by the Coast Guard, ran aground near downtown Miami and its 220 undocumented Haitian passengers clambered ashore. Some U.S officials expressed concern that al Qaeda fighters could infiltrate the country via the same route.


"If the Coast Guard can't stop 200 people on a freighter from coming into the port of Miami, how can they stop a terrorist with a dirty bomb?" asked Bruce Stubbs, a former Coast Guard captain and now a security consultant.


Dozens of Navy and allied ships are scouring the Arabian Sea in search of al Qaeda ships and fighters, in one of the largest naval seahunts since World War II. Members have boarded and searched hundreds of ships, and issued hundreds more "challenges" by radio asking for information.


In that part of the world, U.S. naval officers suspect they are as likely to find terrorists aboard a 300-foot freighter as they are aboard a dhow, the small sailing vessel common along the coasts of the Indian Ocean. U.S. officials believe traders sailing small craft have been bribed for months to help al Qaeda fighters escape from Pakistan to Yemen and other countries.


U.S. efforts to track al Qaeda's activities at sea received a boost last month with the capture of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, an alleged mastermind of al Qaeda's nautical strategy who officials say is now cooperating with U.S. interrogators.


U.S. officials say they are on alert for signs that al Qaeda would use exotic craft to launch underwater attacks -- small submarines and "human torpedoes," underwater motor-propelled sleds that divers use. Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger terrorist movement has been developing such equipment for years, said Tanner Campbell, vice president of private Marine Intelligence Group, which consults for shipping interests.


Captured al Qaeda operative Omar al-Faruq has told interrogators that he planned scuba attacks on U.S. warships in Indonesia, Campbell said. Apparently as a result of his confessions, U.S. officials recently visited hundreds of scuba shops nationwide asking about suspicious visitors.


The alarming scenario of al Qaeda operatives infiltrating freighter crews and seizing the cargo ships -- which range in size from 100 feet in length to more than 1,000 -- has led Navy and Coast Guard intelligence analysts to pore over the student lists of hundreds of seaman's academies worldwide. Diplomas from these schools are needed for work on most ships, and trade in fake certificates is brisk in many port cities.


Another new preoccupation for U.S. intelligence is the thousands of merchant ships worldwide that are registered in "flag of convenience" nations, some of which ask for almost no information from shipping firms that "flag" their vessels with them. Belize allows companies to register vessels online, for example, and countries such as Comoros, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines -- and even landlocked Bolivia -- barely keep track of their ships, U.S. officials said.


Flag-of-convenience vessels are notorious for catching fire and running aground, and their operators frequently abandon crews in foreign ports without pay. Scores of these ships have been found illegally running guns and drugs.


Navy officials say al Qaeda has used one shipping fleet flagged in the Pacific island of Tonga to transport operatives around the Mediterranean Sea. The firm -- which is called Nova and is incorporated in Delaware and Romania -- has for years engaged in smuggling illegal immigrants, U.S. and Greek officials said. Its ships also frequently change names and countries of registry, officials said.


Last February, eight Pakistani men jumped ship off one of its freighters, the Twillinger, at the Italian port of Trieste after a trip from Cairo. U.S. officials say they determined that the men -- who lied about being crewmen and carried false documents and large sums of money -- had been sent by al Qaeda. With the help of Romanian intelligence, U.S. officials began an investigation of the firm and a search for its vessels, according to accounts by the Romanian newspaper Ziua that European officials confirmed.


In August, the captain of another of Nova's freighters, the recently renamed Sara, radioed to maritime authorities in Italy that 15 Pakistani men whom the ship's owner had forced him to take aboard in Casablanca, Morocco, were menacing his crew. Although the 15 claimed they were crewmen when questioned by U.S. and Italian naval officers, the captain said they knew nothing about seafaring.


U.S. officials say they found tens of thousands of dollars, false documents, maps of Italian cities and evidence tying them to al Qaeda members in Europe, and concluded that they, too, were possibly on a terrorist mission. The 15 were charged in Italy with conspiracy to engage in terrorist acts.


In October, European navies set up a dragnet for another Nova freighter, the oft-renamed Cristi, which Navy sailors eventually located and boarded in Greek waters. Nothing amiss was found on board, U.S. officials said.


Greek merchant marine minister George Anomeritis told reporters then that besides the Cristi, NATO also has been looking for 24 other ships suspected of terrorist ties.


"These companies and strange ships change flags," he said. "With all those peculiar names, they create much confusion."


Staff writer Douglas Farah contributed to this report.


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Washington Times

January 1, 2003

Pg. 8


News Analysis


Bin Laden's Mandate Is The Legacy Of Jihad


Strict Code of Islam Devolved From Ancient Religious Decrees


By Arnaud de Borchgrave, The Washington Times


In a truly free election in Saudi Arabia, with the royal family on the sidelines bereft of the divine right of kings, and Osama Bin Laden as a candidate for prime minister, the world's most wanted terrorist would win hands down. So spoke, albeit privately, one of the most important non-royals, who manages a big chunk of the royal family's financial portfolio.


Bin Laden, a member of a powerful and rich-as-Croesus non-royal family, is seen by countless millions of fundamentalist Muslims as the successor of several famous Islamic theologians going back all the way to Taqi al-Din ibn Taymiyya.


Born in A.D. 1269, Taymiyya wrote extensively on jihad (holy war) against transgressors of the word of Allah as conveyed by the Prophet. This contemporary of Dante elevated jihad to the same level as the "five pillars" of Islam — prayer, pilgrimage, alms, faith ("No God but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet"), and Ramadan.


Indeed, a survey of the various strains of radical Islam active in large swaths of the Muslim world presents much that is worrisome to a Western policy-maker.


"The Age of Sacred Terror" is a remarkable new book by two of the Clinton White House's counterterrorist directors that delves into the roots of militant Islam and its jihad duties. Anyone who opposes jihad is an enemy of God.


"By asserting that jihad against apostates within the realm of Islam is justified — by turning jihad inward and reforging it into a weapon for use against Muslims as well as infidels — [Taymiyya] planted a seed of revolutionary violence in the heart of Islamic thought," wrote co-authors Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon.


The two argue that it was precisely the weapon of jihad that heavily armed Muslim extremists turned to when they invaded and occupied the Grand Mosque in Mecca in November 1979. The House of Saud was momentarily paralyzed; they couldn't send security forces into the most sacred site in all of Islam with orders to shoot it out with the jihadists in the tunnels around the mosque. The royals turned to the French for help. The tunnels were flooded and high-voltage cables dropped into the water. Most of the jihadists drowned or were electrocuted.


Any leader of a Muslim country who does not rule according to a strict interpretation of the Islamic legal code known as Shariah is fair game for jihadists, as Taymiyya ordained. It was Taymiyya's fatwa (religious decree) in 1303 against Mongol invaders that turned the tide against Mongols who had converted to Islam.


If Taymiyya was Bin Laden's first role model, the second was Mohammed ibn Abd al-Wahhab, born in 1703 in Arabia, then a remote, neglected part of the Ottoman Empire. The works of Taymiyya became religious pillars of back-to-basics Wahhabism, as al-Wahhab's ideas came to be known. Its creed was that "innovation" was a grave sin against Islam. "Takfir" was proclaimed, which meant innovators were to be put to death.


Al-Wahhab, allied with a local sheik, Mohammed ibn Saud, fought to restore a strict interpretation of the faith. By the time he died in 1792, Wahhabism had conquered most of central Arabia.


The descendants of al-Wahhbab and Ibn Saud continued this close alliance of religious zeal and territorial conquest — and forced the rest of the Arabian peninsula to comply.


Key modern-day literary firebrands on the side of Muslim revolutionary fervor included Abu al-Ala Maududi and Rashid Rida. They linked Islam with the rhetoric of communism and fascism, a linkage that helped fuel the success of Islamist extremists in the Oct. 10 elections in Pakistan.


A similar fusion occurred in Iran in the late 1970s when the ayatollahs and the underground Tudeh (Communist) party merged their efforts to undermine and overthrow the U.S.-backed shah of Iran.


On Jan. 26, 1952, the violent Muslim Brotherhood suddenly exploded on the Cairo scene by burning down some 300 buildings. King Farouk survived six more months until a military coup of "Free Officers," led by Gamal Abdel Nasser, abolished the monarchy and allowed the king to sail on his yacht into comfortable exile in Monte Carlo.


The chief theoretician of the Muslim Brotherhood was Sayyid Qutb, who wrote nonstop during his desert imprisonment by Nasser. Hanged in 1965, his books are still best-sellers throughout the Middle East. His manifesto, "Signposts," merged all the essential elements of revolutionary Islamism.


Qutb's views of America — derived from his stay in Greeley, Colo., while working on a master's in education — are widely shared today throughout radical Islam. Repelled by America's admiration for Israel, as well as the licentiousness and racism that he believed pervaded the country, he decried American culture as foul and empty.


From Yasser Arafat's attempt to overthrow Jordanian King Abdullah I in September 1970 to the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981, Sayyid Qutb's outpourings were cited by militants as the rationale to kill America's puppets.


The other branch of militant Islam sprang from anti-colonial sentiment in British-ruled India in the mid-19th century.


Known as Dar ul-Ulum (Realm of Learning), it took root at Deoband, in Uttar Pradesh. Deobandism, dedicated to a particular concept of Islam known as "salafi," and Wahhabism constitute the two main wings of Islamist fundamentalism that continue to vie for influence in present-day Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia.


Ninety-nine percent of the world's 1.2 billion Muslims are moderate and see jihad as a self-cleansing process to get back on the path of spiritual excellence. Leaders such as Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Pakistan's Gen. Pervez Musharraf, King Abdullah II of Jordan, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, King Mohammed VI of Morocco all have told this reporter in the past two years that Islamist extremists are no more than 1 percent of their population.


When Gen. Musharraf was reminded that 1 percent of Pakistan's population of 140 million is 1.4 million, he said, "You're right, but I'd never thought of it that way."


One percent of 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide is 12 million fanatics who believe America is the Great Satan, fount of all evil, to be attacked and demolished.


Islamist terrorist groups have plenty of places to hide — the tri-border area of Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, where camps have been reported; war-torn Colombia; Somalia in Africa; Sumatra in Indonesia; Mindanao in the Philippines; even remote areas of the United States.


Muslims are a majority in 63 countries. Of the 30 conflicts now under way in the world, 28 concern Muslim governments, communities, or both. Amir Taheri, an Iranian author and journalist, estimates that two-thirds of the world's political prisoners are held in Muslim countries, which also carry out 80 percent of all executions each year.


Many of the imams in America's 2,000-plus principal mosques (for a population of about 2 million Muslims) are recently naturalized U.S. citizens who were sent over as missionaries from both Iran and Saudi Arabia.


"We are spreading the good word of our faith in America," said the imam at the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights, Mich., who came over from Iran 10 years ago, "just as you send Christian missionaries to sub-Sahara Africa." He also chided his interlocutor for dismissing his contention that September 11 was a combined operation by the CIA and Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service.


Vatican sources concede Roman Catholic efforts have been steadily losing ground in Africa to "the Muslim penetration" for the past 30 years.


In Pakistan, fundamentalist Muslim clerics have resisted any reform of the madrassas, the Koranic schools that have been used to inculcate anti-U.S. and anti-Israeli views.


Among the teachings current in such schools: A great apocalyptic war is in the offing that will end in the Muslim conquest of Europe, and, in time, America as well. Some 750,000 young Pakistanis are presently in 11,000 madrassas where they are taught that jihad is the noblest of human endeavors.


Gen. Hamid Gul, a former Pakistani intelligence chief with pronounced anti-American views, boasts that a greater Islamic caliphate is fast approaching, one that will combine the oil riches of Saudi Arabia with the nuclear weapons of Pakistan, "which could then deal with America on an equal footing."


In Singapore, former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, said that the "greatest threat facing civilization over the next 10 years was an Islamist bomb and, mark my words, it will travel."


It is hard to escape the conclusion that a U.S. invasion of Iraq to topple Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein and replace him with a pro-American government will be seen throughout radical Islam, and large segments of moderate Islam as well, as yet another defeat that must be avenged. As the extremists read history, the defeat of the Ottomans at the gates of Vienna in 1683 triggered a reversal of Islam's fortunes that has continued ever since.


The radical Islamic strains put to a severe test President Bush's oft-repeated contention that Islam is "a faith based upon peace and love and compassion" committed to "morality and learning and tolerance."


Radical Islam is committed to jihad against the United States and Israel, or a war of civilizations between the Judeo-Christian West and the impoverished Muslim world. The Wahhabis and Deobandis hate all things American, and condemn all religions outside their own view of Islam.


Moderate Islam is yet to find a voice that will roll back the extremists, a sort of Islamic Martin Luther, or at least a Martin Luther King.


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Washington Post

January 1, 2003

Pg. 16


Indonesia Seizes Explosive Material



PALU, Indonesia -- Indonesian police found a half-ton of ammonium nitrate, the same material used to make the explosives that tore apart two Bali nightclubs in October. It was the second such discovery in a week.


The chemical, which is also used as fertilizer, was seized from a house in Palu, Sulawesi island, said police Lt. Col. Haka Astana. The owner of the house is being questioned, he added.


On Christmas Day, police seized 550 pounds of the same fertilizer in a car in Palu. Authorities have arrested five people over the find but are still hunting for the alleged owner of the stash.


Ammonium nitrate can be mixed with fuel oil to make a powerful explosive. It was the substance used in the blasts in Bali that killed 192 people, mostly Western tourists.


Jemaah Islamiah, the al Qaeda-linked group blamed for the Bali blasts, is said to have stockpiled about four tons of the substance.


Associated Press


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Washington Post

January 1, 2003

Pg. 1


U.S. Keeps Close Tabs On Muslim Cleric


Officials Suspect Activist Has Close Ties With Iranian Regime


By John Mintz, Washington Post Staff Writer


Seven weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Islamic cleric Mohammad Asi made a speech at the National Press Club, calling them "a grand strike against New York and Washington" launched by "Israeli Zionist Jews" who had warned the 5,000 Jews at the World Trade Center to skip work. He warned America that if it continued to offend Islam, "the day of reckoning is approaching."


A small man with a neatly trimmed salt-and-pepper beard who lives in Silver Spring, Asi, 51, may sound to some like an al Qaeda spokesman. He is actually a U.S. citizen, an Air Force veteran and a fixture in the local Islamic community.


He also belongs to a little-known group of Muslim activists that many U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials believe is closely aligned with the government of Iran. For 14 years, until 1997, Asi ran the Islamic Education Center on Montrose Road in Potomac that serves 1,500 families. The center is funded by the New York-based Alavi Foundation, which law enforcement officials say is closely tied to the mullahs who dominate Iran.


U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials believe Alavi and its related institutions are a vehicle through which the Iranian regime keeps tabs on Iranians here, obtains data about U.S. technology, promotes Tehran's views on world affairs, provides gathering places for pro-Iran activists and channels money to U.S. academics to gain a friendly reading on Iran.


Officials with the Potomac center and the foundation say they are philanthropic groups providing religious education and services. John Winter, a New York attorney for the foundation, said Alavi and the Potomac center "are not connected to terrorism or exporting high tech or spying on dissidents. The center has a school, a worship center and weekend programs. It's a community."


Asi declines to respond in any way to questions about himself, except to say, "I am an American -- that should be enough."


For the past two decades, current and former U.S. law enforcement authorities say, federal agencies have kept close tabs on Asi and this collection of groups through court-approved wiretaps, searches of offices, surveillance of Asi and others and the tracking of visiting Iranian officials.


No charges have been filed against any current Alavi or Potomac center official, and much of the activity that concerns U.S. officials is not illegal. The officials emphasize that the great majority of people affiliated with the center in Potomac are law-abiding citizens.


The scrutiny, however, is part of what the FBI considers an "intelligence" investigation, aimed largely at collecting information on groups and individuals it believes are hostile to the United States. Since the 1980s, the U.S. government has considered Iran to be a leading state-sponsor of terrorism and has closely monitored its links to the United States. Such investigations have acquired greater significance since the Sept. 11 attacks.


No current FBI official would comment on the classified matter. But Oliver "Buck" Revell, a former top FBI official, said the bureau has long believed that Alavi is "a front organization for the Iranian regime that is engaged in covert intelligence activity on the part of a hostile foreign government."


David Cohen, the New York City Police Department's intelligence chief, said in a recent court document that the Alavi Foundation is "totally controlled by the government of Iran" and "funds a variety of anti-American causes," including the Potomac center and other mosques. These organizations, said Cohen, a 35-year veteran of the CIA, have affiliates that support Hezbollah and the Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, two groups the U.S. government has deemed terrorist.


The Potomac center occupies a verdant six-acre campus in an affluent suburban neighborhood, but it was born during the tumultuous Iranian revolution in 1979. In the United States, activists supporting Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini voiced anti-American rage, staging violent protests in Washington and elsewhere.


A small group of believers including Asi instigated several showdowns at the Islamic Center mosque along Massachusetts Avenue, denouncing the Arab regimes that financed the place as apostates. Sermons were disrupted continually, and there were fistfights.


Meanwhile, as the mullahs consolidated power in Iran, Khomeini's followers began seizing the shah's assets around the world.


In Iran, a group called the Mostazafan Foundation took over the massive holdings of his Pahlavi Foundation, including ports and factories. In the United States, the newly formed Mostazafan Foundation of New York seized Pahlavi's sole asset here -- a 36-story office building on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue.


Evidence soon surfaced of the New York foundation's ties to Iran. A 1981 newsletter of Iran's Mostazafan said that "committed brothers and the Islamic Republic government" had reclaimed the Manhattan building through the Mostazafan Foundation of New York, which changed its name to Alavi in 1992.


Mehdi Haeri, who was a ranking official of the new Iranian regime and is now a lawyer in Germany critical of Tehran, said the New York foundation was always controlled by Iran's Mostazafan. "There is no way they are independent of Iran," he said.


In the early 1980s, according to tax records, the New York foundation started funding Islamic centers around the nation, a number of which espoused support for Khomeini or virulent opposition to U.S. policies. One was the Potomac center -- whose early history was intimately linked with the showdowns at the downtown mosque.


Asi and an associate named Bahram Nahidian, known for his close personal ties to Khomeini, helped lead the activists' fight to control the Massachusetts Avenue mosque in 1980 and 1981.


One of the co-leaders in that effort was Daoud Salahuddin, an American convert to Islam who was a close follower and bodyguard of Nahidian's. Salahuddin has admitted that he fatally shot a pro-Shah activist named Ali Tabatabai at his Bethesda home on July 22, 1980, and then fled the country. From his apartment in Iran, he has said he was acting on orders from the Iranian Embassy in Washington.


In December 1981, the Tehran supporters packed a meeting to elect the Massachusetts Avenue mosque's prayer leader, and Asi won. He filled his sermons with vitriolic attacks on the Saudis, Israel and the United States, which he, like Khomeini, called "the great Satan." By March 1983, the mosque's Saudi-dominated board of directors hired security guards, ousted Asi and his flock, and changed the locks.


The next month, the Potomac center formally opened. Among its leaders was Nahidian, a leader of the local partnership that, according to tax records, received $ 6 million for the venture from the Mostazafan Foundation of New York.


Within a few months after his ouster from the downtown mosque, Asi took over at the Potomac center as imam and president, joining Nahidian in the leadership of the embattled congregation.


Asi has told people that he was born in Michigan of a Syrian father and a Lebanese mother. As a U.S. Air Force pharmacy clerk in the 1970s, he tried to use his language skills to get into intelligence and was rejected, apparently because of his parents' foreign roots, said his friend Victor Marchetti.


"He was angry about that," said Marchetti, a former CIA official who became a bitter agency critic. That rejection and the Iranian revolution in January 1979 -- while Asi was still in the Air Force Reserves -- helped radicalize him, say people who know him.


Asi was a provocative figure inside the Potomac center, and FBI officials took note when he urged Muslims to take up arms against the forces of "kufr" or unbelief. "We should be creating another war front for the Americans in the Muslim world," Asi told a militantly anti-Israeli conference in 1990, just before the Persian Gulf War, as recorded on a tape unearthed by terrorism researcher Steven Emerson. "Strike against American interests," he said.


A radical pro-Iran Web site, alwelayah.net, reprinted a 1994 public letter Asi wrote to Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Khomeini's successor, saying, "I . . . swear allegiance to you as leader of the Muslims."


He blamed Jews for framing Jesus and controlling the world's economy. "Muslims will deal the deathblow to Yahud [Jews]," he wrote in an undated essay on a pro-Iran Web site called Muslimedia. In a 1996 magazine article, he wrote on the evil of his enemy: "A Jew is a Jew is a Jew."


Federal officials said they kept tabs as Asi met many times with Iran's top hard-line officials in Tehran and elsewhere to plan opposition to Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.


About his activities, Asi will talk only about his ouster from the downtown mosque. He still seethes about it. "They violated my rights," he said in a recent interview.


Salahuddeen Kareem, principal of the Islamic school that shares space with the Potomac center, said that although Asi is a blunt speaker, he is no threat to the United States. "He's an authentic and rare and unique patriot," Kareem said.


In 1997, Asi stepped aside as imam at the Potomac center. The reasons are unclear, though some U.S. officials believe the Iranians wanted the center to present a less strident image.


After two decades of classified investigation, U.S. officials say that, besides having close ties to the hard-line mullahs in Tehran, Alavi also has had close associations for years with the Mostazafan Foundation in Iran.


One of the country's largest businesses, the quasi-public Mostazafan for much of its life has been run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, an Iranian intelligence agency. The Revolutionary Guards is a sponsor of Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed political group that the U.S. government blames for hundreds of American deaths in car bombings and kidnappings in Lebanon during the early 1980s.


Former FBI official Revell said the U.S. government has concluded that Alavi officials have also worked closely with the Revolutionary Guards, which was itself involved in some of the kidnappings.


Revell said U.S. officials have concluded that Alavi-funded centers such as the one in Potomac have helped Tehran keep tabs on Iranian dissidents and track U.S. research into sensitive high-tech subjects accessible through patent filings and engineering libraries.


"It's obvious Alavi is controlled by the Iranian government," said Vincent Cannistraro, a former CIA counterterrorism official. "That was the intelligence community's conclusion."


Kenneth Timmerman, a terrorism expert who has advised law enforcement officials about Alavi and the Potomac center, said the Iranian government uses them to spread pro-Tehran propaganda to U.S. Muslims, especially African Americans.


Alavi denies wrongdoing, or having ties to the Iranian regime. Foundation officials cite a federal judge's 1999 decision in a lawsuit filed by the parents of a Brandeis University junior killed in 1995 in a bus bombing by an Iranian-funded group in Israel.


The family won $ 247.5 million in damages against Iran but was unable to collect from Alavi because a federal judge ruled that preliminary evidence suggested Iran did not exert "day-to-day control" over Alavi.


"The IRS looks at us carefully," said Alavi attorney Winter. If officials think Tehran controls the foundation, he said, "why haven't they shut it down?"


The Potomac center says it has an accepting and peaceful outlook. It has recently held interfaith dialogues and hosted neighbors, police and local politicians to discuss Islam and condemn the Sept. 11 attacks.


There are signs that radical fervor lives on at the center. For years, Khomeini's picture has adorned the center's walls. Hormoz Hekmat, an anti-mullah activist, recalls attending an event there last year and seeing a large banner with a quote from Khomeini to the effect that "those who struggle against the U.S. will be rewarded by God."


Asi himself is still a regular presence at the center, helping to commemorate the anniversaries of the Iranian revolution and of Khomeini's death. He has appeared many times with Ahmed Huber, a Swiss convert to Islam and Holocaust revisionist who rails against "Jewish bankers." The Potomac center for years has sold tapes of Huber's speeches.


In 2001, U.S. officials froze Huber's assets and those of Bank al Taqwa, on whose board Huber served, declaring both the bank and Huber terrorism financiers. U.S. officials allege the bank has handled funds for Osama bin Laden. Huber has denied involvement in terrorism but told reporters that he has met al Qaeda operatives in Beirut.


Asi seems to avoid talking about bin Laden. But he speaks about other topics to anyone who will listen.


Almost every Friday for the past 19 years, through ice storms and scorching sun, he has led his followers in prayer on the Massachusetts Avenue sidewalk near the mosque. Rising from his woven prayer rug, he stands in his socks hollering his sermon into a bullhorn, denouncing "Jewish Zionist usurpers" and the Saudis.


On one recent Friday, he shouted that a suicide bomber in Israel always "goes to Allah."


Staff writers Scott Higham and Alan Lengel and researchers Margot Williams and Madonna Lebling contributed to this report.


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Weekly Standard

January 13, 2003

Pg. 21


The Spy Who Came In From The Mosque


Reda Hassaine fled Islamist Algeria. In London, he infiltrated bin Laden's network.


By Jake Tapper


LONDON -- "I'm very happy," Reda Hassaine says, a few minutes before almost breaking down in tears. His joy comes from his role in gathering evidence against Abu Qatada, an extremist Muslim cleric said to be a key al Qaeda figure, who was arrested in London in late October, just days before Hassaine and I talked. Hassaine, 41, is an Algerian Muslim who has spied on militant Islamist groups for the Algerian Secret Service, the French, Scotland Yard's Special Branch, and MI5, the British intelligence agency. He won't be completely happy, though, until another London-based Islamist--Abu Hamza--is also behind bars.


Qatada and Hamza, he says, "raise money, encourage people to kill, claim assassinations." Hassaine knows this firsthand, he says, having seen their handiwork in Algeria and spied on them for various European intelligence agencies. Hassaine has a sad face and a stammer that improves with each bottle of Chianti, though it is fast replaced by melancholy. He chain smokes, enjoying the meal I've bought him, while he talks me through his journey from up-and-coming Algerian reporter to down-on-his-luck London ex-spy.


Hassaine's story is a reminder that Muslims themselves have been the biggest victims of the rise of Islamist extremists. It's not difficult to discern the moral in his tale: that worldwide indifference to the horrors of Algeria in the 1990s helped pave Osama bin Laden's path to the World Trade Center. Moreover, Hassaine suggests that the West has been--and probably still is--unprepared to fend off the Islamist threat, though he is not without hope.


"On the 11th of September, I was happy in one way," he admits at one point. Not that he wasn't horrified by the attacks. It's just that "for years and years I've been trying to warn people about what the Islamists are doing," he says. "Now I know George Bush is with me. Now I know Tony Blair is with me. But I have been working on this for years and years."


IN THE EARLY 1990s, during Algeria's brief flirtation with democracy, Hassaine was part of the growing opposition to the government. "They were corrupt and only working for themselves," Hassaine says. In 1990, he was elected a party official in the populist hodgepodge of opposition known as the Islamic Salvation Front, or FIS. But a few days later he resigned, after realizing that FIS leader Abassi Madani was a megalomaniac who "saw himself as the new caliph"--meaning a successor to the Prophet Muhammad and political, military, and administrative leader of the Muslim world.


"I met plenty of FIS people, and we talked about how the party should work, and then I found out what kind of people they are," he says. "They were using the election to get all the power and destroy the state." Hassaine says that after meeting Madani and the other FIS leaders he understood that they were planning on "going to war."


War? I ask. Against whom?


"Against the population," Hassaine replies.


When it became clear in late 1991 that Algeria's first multiparty election would bring the FIS to power, the military "canceled the election," Hassaine says. Soon the hotheaded pronouncements at FIS meetings were no longer just talk. The party's militant wing, the Groupe Islamique Armé, or GIA, swung into violent action. "Then started the killing. The policemen first. Then the journalists. They had lists of people to be killed."


Hassaine's colleagues started getting assassinated. The first, in May 1993, was Tahar Djaout, editor in chief of a cultural weekly and an award-winning novelist. Other journalists--good men, Muslim men--were slaughtered. One of Hassaine's good friends--Mohamed Abderrahmani, editor in chief of the government's French-language daily--"left his home to take one of his kids to school," Hassaine recalls. His eyes fill with tears as he shapes his hand into a gun. "Pow! Pow! Pow! Pow!"


Hassaine was working the night shift at a newspaper when he heard that Abderrahmani had been killed. He took a call from one of the terrorists responsible.


"We killed him," the caller said. "He should be now in hell!"


Then Mohamed Mekati, chief foreign editor of El-Moudjahidan, an established daily paper. "I never saw in my life a Muslim like him," Hassaine says. "I mean, I am a Muslim. But I drink." Mekati was something else--devout, pious, focused. "Like a ninja," Hassaine says. Islamists killed him, too.


Explosions, rapes, slaughters. Algeria was destroyed from the inside out. More than 120 foreign citizens were killed in the early days. Monks, church dignitaries, a bishop--murdered. Factories, schools, bridges--destroyed. A car bomb was driven into the national police headquarters in 1995, killing 42 and wounding 265. Entire villages were massacred. "They started to kill everyone," says Hassaine. "Kill, kill, as much as you can."


The State Department's 1998 human rights report is typical of a decade of horror: "Armed Islamists continued their widespread campaign of insurgency, targeting government officials and families of security members, as well as persons whose lifestyles they consider to be in conflict with Islamic values. Armed groups continued to kill numerous civilians, including infants, by massacres and small bombs. Armed Islamists particularly targeted women; there were numerous instances of kidnapping and rape. Bombs left in cars, cafes, and markets killed and maimed persons indiscriminately."


"How can I explain this to Westerners?" Hassaine asks. "These kind of people, they had been brainwashed in Afghanistan. When I left Algeria, people wanted to kill me. My closest friend, 35 of my colleagues, had been killed by Islamists in the GIA. They were taking babies and putting them in the ovens." Human rights organizations estimate that up to 100,000 Algerians have been killed in the civil war that began in 1992.


"Most of the world closed their embassies," Hassaine says. "For them it was a question of internal [Algerian politics]. The world, they didn't see the threat coming to them. 'Let them kill themselves, let them fight themselves, as long as they don't touch us.'"


But this attitude ignored the fact that Algeria was just one battlefield in a larger war, and that the GIA was one of the main organizations feeding Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network. "That's why I was happy on the 11th of September, with all respect to the families who lost their loved ones," he says.


"My best friend--" he starts to say, then stops. He grows quiet and looks off in the distance. Tears well in his eyes. "These people want to destroy, not to build. They have nothing to offer. They offer 'paradise.' The Wahhabis--they killed Islam."


IN 1994, HASSAINE and his family fled to London. "I was not going to let my baby get put in an oven," he says. He was able to leave only by making a deal with Algerian security services to help them spy on the GIA. Then in 1998, as France began preparing to host the World Cup, its law enforcement agencies anticipated a terrorist attack. A man from the French Embassy in London whom Hassaine knew only as "Jerome" recruited him to obtain information about any possible attacks.


"They were giving me the chance to get revenge," Hassaine says. A bin Ladenist paper was set up, with Hassaine as editor. "People knew me as a journalist in Algeria. So it was a nice cover." He began providing the French with as much information as he could glean from days and nights spent praying, eating, talking with various extremists. When the French didn't come through with an offer of citizenship, Hassaine volunteered to help the British.


In 1999, the Special Branch asked Hassaine to infiltrate London's now-notorious Finsbury Park mosque, whose imam Abu Hamza preached jihad to the likes of shoebomber Richard Reid. Hassaine was already familiar with Hamza and his ally Abu Qatada--both of them among the top GIA supporters in London. He held them responsible, in no small way, for what had happened in Algeria.


"Hamza was the first spiritual leader of GIA," he says. "Abu Qatada and Abu Hamza, they are responsible for the killing of tens of thousands of people." According to the BBC, Qatada has circulated a pamphlet reveling in the murders of Algerian policemen, while Hamza once issued a fatwa in favor of assassinating various Middle Eastern public figures as well as a 2-year-old Algerian child.


In December 1998, twelve Britons, two Australians, two Americans, and four local drivers were taken hostage by Yemeni terrorists, who telephoned Hamza within an hour of the kidnapping. The Yemeni government attempted a rescue, in which four of the hostages were killed. The Yemeni government, which also accused Hamza of sending ten jihadists (including his own son) there to attack Western targets in Aden, sought Hamza's extradition, "to be tried on charges of carrying out terrorist activities in Yemen and in several other Arab states."


The request was denied; the British government has no extradition agreement with Yemen, a fact that has rankled numerous governments ranging from Jordan to the United States in their attempts to fight terrorism. As this international struggle went on, British authorities asked Hassaine for reports on Hamza and his associates, as well as a detailed map of the Finsbury Park mosque and all its escape routes.


The information presumably proved useful when Scotland Yard arrested Hamza and two other men in a morning raid in March 1999. But four days later they were released. The authorities didn't feel the case was strong enough. "I was shocked," Hassaine says. "There is a big problem in the law here in London." Islamists "can claim assassinations, they can do propaganda. And all these things are 'freedom of expression'--even if you call for killing of people. The law is very, very weak. If these people had been in France, they would be in jail a long time ago."


HAVING SPLIT FROM HIS WIFE, at least partly out of concern for her and their two children, and still seeking non-Algerian citizenship, Hassaine was assured that his asylum application would soon be taken care of. In the meantime the Special Branch passed his name on to MI5, which soon had him hanging out with Algerian extremists in London plotting various attacks.


He saw a lot--from the inside. Abu Qatada recruited shoe-bomber Richard Reid and "20th hijacker" Zacarias Moussaoui, Hassaine says. "I saw them. Abu Qatada is the best brainwasher there is."


In April 2000, Hassaine, working with his MI5 handlers, "went to check on information about somebody who went to Afghanistan to meet with Osama bin Laden." At the Finsbury Park mosque, he stumbled onto an odd gathering of the most hard-core congregants and some "strange" talk of martyrdom and holy warriors. Hassaine was chased down and beaten. "They tried to kill me," he says.


Had his cover been blown? I ask. Who told them he was working for the government? What was his mistake?


"I didn't have time to ask them why they were doing it," says an exasperated Hassaine. "I lost two teeth. See this?" he points to a scar on his nose. "I was very scared," he says. MI5 wasn't interested in pursuing his attackers. "They told me, what do you want? Do you want the guy who beat you or Abu Qatada?" MI5 told him that he had been compromised, that he should be quiet for awhile.


Seeing Hamza walk the London streets infuriates Hassaine, as does reading his comments quoted in the newspaper. Just recently, Hassaine says, one of the leaders of the Finsbury Park mosque "was calling for people to do jihad against Americans and even the British if they attack Iraq. So they are still free in Finsbury Park and saying what they want. And doing what they want. And as long as Abu Hamza is free the threat is here. Because his aim is to be killed one day by doing jihad."


Although Hamza's assets have been frozen because of his alleged membership in the Islamic Army of Aden--which has been linked to the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole--he remains a free man, and an outspoken one. After the al Qaeda bombing of Israeli tourists in Kenya, Hamza told reporters that "by forcing al Qaeda to scatter around the world, Mr. Bush has made a mistake. He has given the inspiration for a global jihad." Qatada, meanwhile, is in prison in London, one of 10 individuals being held by British authorities under the 2001 anti-terrorism act.


Unfortunately for Hassaine, as his usefulness as a spy evaporated, so too did the British government's pledge to honor his request for asylum, which was rejected, convincing him to go to the British press with the story of his exploits two years ago. He is permitted to stay in the U.K., but unlike Hamza--a British citizen since 1985--Hassaine is subject to deportation at any time.


"My life is f--ed," he says. "I don't know what I'm going to do with my life now."


Hassaine reserves his animosity for Islamists. I tell him that I think it odd and not a little disappointing that someone like him isn't being utilized by the British and French governments, not to mention ours, but all he'll say in response is that Algerians like him do have a lot experience with Islamic extremists.


"The British and the Americans--of course they are doing their job, they are trying to solve the problem," he says. "But it will not be easy. They need the help of Arab people. If they think that the technology or the power or the arms or something like that, yes, it does help. But it will not be enough."


But in the end they didn't treat you that well, I say. And it doesn't sound like they had that firm a grasp on what they were doing. Didn't he think that they should have treated him better?


"Me? I don't know," he says. "I did what I had to do. By myself. Nobody told me to do it." He says he doesn't fear for his safety anymore.


"If I will be killed," he says, "PFFFT! It will be as a martyr."


Jake Tapper is a reporter and commentator living in New York City.


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Somebody moves into your neighborhood, knocks down your house, blocks u from harvesting your crops, shoots your kids...

see how quickly u'd become /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/mad.gif 1st class so-called 'terrorists' too!

YamarAj is keeping a special place for Aerial Sharon, his supporters & his suppliers.

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Olive branch symbolizes what? Peace, no?

So is it any wonder that as we type, Zionist Bulldozers paid for by US $Tax Dollars to the tune of $100KK/day, r uprooting 100 yr old olive trees while simultaneously not allowing Palestinian farmers onto their own cultivated land?

Some say one tree is worth one hundred men.

In Amerika we chop down trees to print pornography & falsehood trash every chance we get.

If u don't know who is terrorizing whom by now... well, there's always tomorrow.

Eyes Wide Shut. Resting Your Lids? For how long?

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (Feb. 10) - Iraq reversed its opposition to U-2 surveillance flights over its territory on Monday, meeting a key demand by U.N. inspectors searching for banned weapons.


The Bush administration, however, brushed aside the Iraqi concession as too little, too late. White House spokesman Scott McClellan said, ''The bottom line is the president is interested in disarmament. This does nothing to change that.''


President Bush accused Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein of regarding the Iraqi people as ''human shields, entirely expendable when their suffering serves his purpose.''


Iraq's acceptance of the U-2 flights, as well as its submission of new documents to the United Nations over the weekend, came as international opposition to U.S. military action intensified. France, Germany and Russia called for more inspectors to disarm Iraq without resorting to war.


''Nothing today justifies a war,'' French President Jacques Chirac said at a news conference in Paris with Russian President Vladimir Putin. ''This region really does not need another war.''


With the threat of war looming large, Baghdad appeared eager to display new cooperation with the inspectors in hopes of encouraging opposition to an imminent military strike.


''The inspectors are now free to use the American U-2s as well as French and Russian planes,'' Mohamed al-Douri, Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations, told The Associated Press in New York.


On Sunday, chief U.N. weapons inspectors Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei said they sensed a positive Iraqi attitude during weekend talks in Baghdad though they acknowledged they had achieved no ''breakthrough.''


Blix and ElBaradei had said they expected agreement on the surveillance flight issue by the end of the week. It was unclear whether U-2s have been flying over Iraq as part of secret U.S. intelligence-gathering.


Now that Iraq has given its consent, the high-flying planes can operate over the country with Baghdad's permission and provide its findings to U.N. inspectors.


Iraq had objected to such flights as long as U.S. and British jets continued patrols in the ''no-fly'' zones.


On Monday, U.S. and British bombed a surface-to-air missile site Monday in the southern no-fly zone, the U.S. military said. The Iraqi News Agency reported two civilians were killed and nine others were wounded.


Iraqi forces regularly shoot at allied aircraft patrolling the northern and southern no-fly zones that Washington and London say are designed to protect Shiite Muslims and Kurds.


In Washington, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher described the Iraqi moves as tactical retreats. He said Iraq still had not indicated whether it would comply quickly and fully with U.N. disarmament demands.


Britain's U.N. ambassador, Jeremy Greenstock, said Iraq's latest moves indicated ''some progress on procedure'' but ''that doesn't add up to the real change in Iraq's attitude that we're looking for.''


Blix and ElBaradei report on Friday to the U.N. Security Council about their weekend talks in Baghdad. The report will help the U.N. Security Council decide whether to support a new resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq.


Many on the council are waiting to hear the reports before deciding whether to allow the inspectors more time or move toward a military solution.


Britain, America's staunchest ally, is preparing a new resolution that would authorize force against Iraq, diplomats have said, and Bush has said ''the game is up'' for Iraq.


However, the use of military force faces strong opposition among key U.S. allies such as France and Germany, where opinion polls show overwhelming majorities of the populations support a peaceful solution. Those divisions widened Monday when France, Germany and Belgium blocked any planning by the NATO alliance for protecting Turkey in the event of war.


The three opponents argued that supporting NATO's efforts would force the Iraq crisis into a ''logic of war.''


Turkey, the only Muslim member of NATO, fears retaliation from neighboring Iraq because it has authorized the United States to renovate bases on its soil that could be used in an attack on Iraq.


American NATO ambassador Nicholas Burns accused the French, Germans and Belgians of plunging the alliance into crisis. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said the United States and willing allies would plan to help Turkey ''outside of NATO if necessary.''


France, Russia and Germany issued a joint declaration Monday calling for strengthened U.N. weapons inspections in Iraq. Chirac, reading the declaration in the presence of the Russian president, said waging war to neutralize Saddam's weapon's capability should be considered only as a last resort.


As tens of thousands of U.S. military personnel train in the Gulf region for possible war, Bush said Monday that Saddam is positioning his military troops in civilian areas in a plan to ''blame coalition forces'' for casualties in the event of war.


''Saddam Hussein regards the Iraqi people as human shields, entirely expendable, when their suffering serves his purposes,'' Bush told an audience of religious broadcasters in Nashville, Tenn. ''America views the Iraqi people as human beings who have suffered long enough.''


The remarks were the latest step by Bush to prepare America and its allies for potential war with Iraq. Though Bush says he has not decided whether military action is necessary, senior advisers assert there is little hope of finding another way to disarm Iraq - regardless of international opposition.


In New York, international missile experts began two days of meetings Monday to determine whether two Iraqi missile programs violate U.N. resolutions.


The experts will examine Iraq's production of Al Samoud 2 and Al Fatah missiles, which in some tests exceeded the maximum 93-mile range allowed under Security Council resolutions.

AP-NY-02-10-03 1656EST

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Anthrax was mailed to disconcert democratic senators by raptorial republicans.

9/11 Pilots were shielded & trained by ____?

All threats & violence can easily be traced back to... u know whom.

Support Hose, not War

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Guest guest

The anthrax that was mailed was militarised anthrax from Iraq. In two weeks from now the truth will come out. But Tyrone will still bark at bushes....

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Guest guest

You mean "shoot first and ask questions later" ?

What a tight little prescription for the kind of police state that we would all feel so much more secure living in.

Why not adopt the same policiy for the streets of our ciries.

Who needs such quaint notions as "due process" or "the presumption of innocence" or "habeus corpus". ?

Things will be so much more efficient without them.

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