- In the April 19 issue, American Free Press reported on
the little-noticed point that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the purported chief
of operations of the Al Qaeda terrorist network, had told U.S. interrogators
that the Sears Tower in Chicago was also an intended Al Qaeda target-a
significant fact in light of evidence that Israeli operatives taken into
custody on U.S. soil after the 9-11 terrorist attacks were carrying detailed
videotapes of the Sears Tower. This week AFP follows up and details the
little-known background of Mohammed.
- SECOND IN A SERIES
- There is one detail about Al Qaeda's alleged chief of
operations Khalid Shaikh Mohammed that, while reported in the media, never
receives the focus it deserves: Mohammed is the uncle of Ramzi Yousef,
the reported brains behind the first 1993 terror bombing of the World Trade
Center and who has often been "linked" by some sources to the
bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City in 1995.
- There has been widespread belief that Mohammed's nephew,
Yousef, may have been a secret asset of Israel's intelligence service,
the Mossad. In addition, it is a most uncomfortable fact that Yousef worked
closely with a reported Mossad asset, Ahmad Ajaj, in the first bombing
of the World Trade Center.
- So the question is whether Mohammed, like his nephew
and longtime collaborator, has actually been a deep-cover Mossad asset
operating inside an Arabic and Muslim network. Let's look at some facts.
- For years, there have been questions as to Yousef's ethnic
or cultural background, not to mention his identity. He has variously been
described as an "Iraqi" or as a Kuwaiti national or as a Baluchi
- At the time Yousef was claiming to be an Iraqi, during
his period operating in New York just prior to the first World Trade Center
attack, there were Arabs who doubted it. However, for those who were eager
to link Saddam Hussein and Iraq to both attacks on the World Trade Center
and, as some continue to do today, to the Oklahoma City bombing, Yousef's
claim of Iraqi heritage has been convenient.
- According to an investigative report by Emily Fancher,
of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism: "Yousef's
identity was never settled in court." So the truth is that not even
the United States government has actually-at least officially-determined
if Yousef really is an Arab or a Baluchi or a Muslim.
- What makes this little-reported anomaly so interesting
is that a formerly secret CIA assessment, dated March 1979, of Israel's
foreign intelligence and security services, reported, candidly, that it
is a long-standing policy for Israeli intelligence to disguise Jews as
Arabs. The CIA report stated:
- One of the established goals of the intelligence and
security services is that each officer be fluent in Arabic. A nine-month,
intensive Arabic language course is given annually . . . to students. .
- As further training, these Mossad officers work in the
[Israeli-controlled Arab lands] for two years to sharpen their language
skills. . . .
- Many Israelis have come from Arab countries where they
were born and educated and appear more Arab than Israeli . . .
- By forging passports and identity documents of Arab and
western countries and providing sound background legends and cover, Mossad
has successfully sent into Egypt and other Arab countries Israelis disguised
and documented as Arabs or citizens of European countries. . . .
- These persons are also useful for their ability to pass
completely for a citizen of the nation in question.
- The Israeli talent for counterfeiting or forging foreign
passports and documents ably supports the agent's authenticity.
- As if that were not enough to raise suspicions, on Sept.
29, 1998, Israeli journalist Yossi Melman, writing in Israel's Ha'aretz,
- Shin Bet agents, who worked undercover in the Israeli-Arab
sector in the 1950s, went as far as to marry Muslim women and have children
with them, in an attempt to continue their mission without raising suspicion.
- So the question remains: are the individuals known as
Mohammed and Yousef really who they say they are, and are they really Arabs
or Baluchis or Muslims at all?
- And if the uncle-and-nephew team really are Arabs and
Muslims, the fact that the nephew, Yousef, was working closely with a reported
Israeli intelligence asset in the first WTC attack is still noteworthy
indeed, particularly since the Israeli asset in question was himself an
- Here are the facts about Yousef's Mossad connection to
the first WTC tragedy first revealed by investigative reporter Robert I.
Friedman in the August 3, 1993, article in The Village Voice, an independent
left-wing New York weekly whose reports on this topic have been referenced
by American Free Press.
- Friedman reported that Yousef's traveling companion and
close collaborator, Ajaj, a 27-year-old West Bank Palestinian held in federal
custody for conspiring to bomb the World Trade Center, may have been a
- Ajaj was arrested at Kennedy Airport on Sept. 1, 1992,
after he arrived on a Pakistani International flight from Peshawar carrying
a forged Swedish passport and bombmaking manuals. He was taken into custody,
and subsequently pleaded guilty to entering the country illegally. Ajaj's
traveling companion was Yousef.
- Although the FBI identified Ajaj as a senior intifada
terrorist with links to Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization,
Kol Ha'ir, a respected Hebrew-language weekly published in Jerusalem, reported
that Ajaj was never involved in intifada activities or with Hamas or even
the Palestine Liberation Organization.
- Instead, according to Kol Ha'ir, Ajaj was a petty crook
arrested in 1988 for counterfeiting U.S. dollars out of East Jerusalem.
Ajaj was convicted of counterfeiting charges and then sentenced to two-and-a-half
years in prison.
- According to Friedman, writing in The Village Voice:
"It was during his prison stay that Mossad, Israel's CIA, apparently
recruited him, say Israeli intelligence sources. By the time he was released
after having served just one year, he had seemingly undergone a radical
- Friedman reported that Ajaj had suddenly become a devout
Muslim and an outspoken hard-line nationalist. Then, Ajaj was arrested
for smuggling weapons into the West Bank, supposedly for El Fatah, a subdivision
of the PLO.
- But Friedman says this was actually a sham. Friedman's
sources in Israeli intelligence say that the arrest and Ajaj's subsequent
deportation were "staged by Mossad to establish his credentials as
an intifada activist. Mossad allegedly 'tasked' Ajaj to infiltrate radical
Palestinian groups operating outside Israel and to report back to Tel Aviv.
Israeli intelligence sources say that it is not unusual for Mossad to recruit
from the ranks of common criminals."
- After Ajaj's "deportation" from Israel, he
showed up in Pakistan where he turned up in the company of the anti-Soviet
Mujahideen rebels in Afghanistan.
- This could point further toward Ajaj working for the
Mossad, for according to the September 1987 issue of Covert Action Information
Bulletin the funding and supply lines for the Mujahideen were not only
the "the second largest covert operation" in the CIA's history,
but it was also, according to former Mossad operative Victor Ostrovsky
(writing in The Other Side of Deception) under the direct supervision of
- According to Ostrovsky: "It was a complex pipeline,
since a large portion of the Mujahideen's weapons were American made and
were supplied to the Muslim Brotherhood directly from Israel, using as
carriers the Bedouin nomads who roamed the demilitarized zones in the Sinai."
- After Ajaj's ventures with the Mujahideen, he popped
up in New York and purported to befriend members of a small so-called "radical"
clique surrounding Sheikh Abdel-Rahman who was accused of being the mastermind
of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
- On Feb. 26, 1993, the day of the World Trade center bombing,
Ajaj was "safe" in federal prison serving a sixmonth sentence
for entering the country on a forged passport. Later, then, he was indicted
for conspiracy in the WTC bombing.
- "If Ajaj was recruited by Mossad [Freidman's emphasis],
it is not known whether he continued to work for the Israeli spy agency
after he was deported. One possibility, of course, is that upon leaving
Israel and meeting radical Muslims close to the blind Egyptian sheikh,
his loyalties shifted," writes Friedman.
- "Another scenario is that he had advance knowledge
of the World Trade Center bombing, which he shared with Mossad, and that
Mossad, for whatever reason, kept the secret to itself. If true, U.S. intelligence
sources speculate that Mossad might have decided to keep the information
closely guarded so as not to compromise its undercover agent," writes
- Columbia University's Emily Fancher reported that Robert
Precht, a defense lawyer for one of Ajaj's co-defendants in the WTC trial,
said: "We felt that there were unseen actors behind this. Neither
defense lawyers nor the government knew who it was."
- It's probably no coincidence, considering that when Yousef
was finally taken into custody, according to U.S. Secret Service agent
Brian Parr, "he was friendly, he seemed relaxed and he actually seemed
eager to talk to us." That's precisely what one might expect from
an Israeli agent, doing his job, spreading the Al Qaeda legend for the
benefit of his Israeli sponsors.
- The possibility of a high-level FBI cover-up of Israeli
involvement in the first World Trade Center attack must be considered inasmuch
as the former head of the FBI's Joint Terrorist Task Force, who was a key
player in the first WTC investigation, was Neil Herman.
- After leaving the FBI, Herman temporarily assumed the
post of the then-recently deceased Irwin Suall, longtime director of "fact
finding" for the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of B'nai B'rith. _
- "I am only one, but I am one.
- I cannot do everything, but I can do something.
- And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse
to do the something that I can do.
- What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by
the grace of God, I will do."
- ---Edward Everett Hale