by Gerald Boerner

 

Commentary

Due to injury, this commentary will be added later. Please check back. Thank you.  GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2010 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 2170 Words ]

   

Quotations Related to Terrorism

“I am committed to protecting our country against the threat of terrorism.”
— Jim Ryun

“On September 11 last year international terrorism entered a new dimension.”
— Otto Schily

“In a world of inhumanity, war and terrorism, American citizenship is a very precious possession.”
— Phyllis Schlafly

“Then the administration tied it in to the regional dispute between Israel and its enemies, as if that’s about international terrorism. No, it’s not.”
— Chris Matthews

“At times one feels that what is being said in the West is that the fact that you are a Muslim predisposes you to this blind, stupid terrorism.”
— Lakhdar Brahimi

“Our enemy of international terrorism respects no laws of warfare or morality, and its individual members take innocent lives, just to create chaos for news cameras.”
— Mark Kennedy

“The FBI. is a massive culture. It’s been a culture that served America well, and it’s been focused on prosecution. But what we need in terms of terrorism is prevention.”
— John Ashcroft

“The attacks in Jordan, just like those before it in Indonesia, Egypt, Spain and the United States, demonstrate that terrorism does not discriminate by race, ethnicity or region. Instead, terrorists indiscriminately target those seeking to live a peaceful, loving and free life.”
— Allyson Schwartz

 

Remembering 911: Al-Qaeda Leaders

September_11_2001_just_collapsed The September 11 attacks (often referred to as September 11th or 9/11) were a series of coordinated suicide attacks by al-Qaeda upon the United States on September 11, 2001. On that morning, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners. The hijackers intentionally crashed two of the airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing everyone on board and many others working in the buildings. Both buildings collapsed within two hours, destroying nearby buildings and damaging others. The hijackers crashed a third airliner into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. The fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville in rural Pennsylvania after some of its passengers and flight crew attempted to retake control of the plane, which the hijackers had redirected toward Washington, D.C. There were no survivors from any of the flights.

Nearly 3000 victims and the 19 hijackers died in the attacks. According to the New York State Health Department, 836 responders, including firefighters and police personnel, have died as of June 2009. Among the 2752 victims who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center were 343 firefighters and 60 police officers from New York City and the Port Authority. 184 people were killed in the attacks on the Pentagon. The overwhelming majority of casualties were civilians, including nationals of over 70 countries. In addition, there was at least one secondary death – one person was ruled by a medical examiner to have died from lung disease due to exposure to dust from the World Trade Center’s collapse.

Attackers and their Background

Within hours of the attacks, the FBI was able to determine the names and in many cases the personal details of the suspected pilots and hijackers. Mohamed Atta, from Egypt, was the ringleader of the 19 hijackers and one of the pilots. Atta died in the attack along with the other hijackers, but his luggage, which did not make the connection from his Portland flight onto Flight 11, contained papers that revealed the identities of all 19 hijackers and other important clues about their plans, motives, and backgrounds. By midday, the National Security Agency had intercepted communications that pointed to Osama bin Laden, as did German intelligence agencies.

On September 27, 2001, the FBI released photos of the 19 hijackers, along with information about the possible nationalities and aliases of many. Fifteen of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, two from the United Arab Emirates, one from Egypt (Atta), and one from Lebanon.

The FBI investigation into the attacks, code named operation PENTTBOM, was the largest and most complex investigation in the history of the FBI, involving over 7,000 special agents. The United States government determined that al-Qaeda, headed by Osama bin Laden, bore responsibility for the attacks, with the FBI stating "evidence linking al-Qaeda and bin Laden to the attacks of September 11 is clear and irrefutable". The Government of the United Kingdom reached the same conclusion regarding al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden’s culpability for the 11 September attacks.

Author Laurie Mylroie, writing in the conservative political magazine The American Spectator in 2006, argues that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his family are the primary architects of 9/11 and similar attacks, and that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s association with Osama bin Laden is secondary and that al-Qaeda’s claim of responsibility for the attack is after the fact and opportunistic. Angelo Codevilla, of the same magazine, agrees with Mylroie, comparing Osama bin Laden to Elvis Presley. In an opposing point of view, former CIA officer Robert Baer, writing in Time magazine in 2007, asserts that George W. Bush Administration’s publicizing of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s claims of responsibility for 9/11 and numerous other acts was a mendacious attempt to claim that all of the significant actors in 9/11 had been caught.

Osama bin Laden

Bin_Laden_Poster2 Osama bin Laden on an
al-Qaeda propaganda poster

Osama bin Laden’s declaration of a holy war against the United States, and a fatwā signed by bin Laden and others calling for the killing of American civilians in 1998, are seen by investigators as evidence of his motivation to commit such acts.

Bin Laden initially denied, but later admitted, involvement in the incidents. On September 16, 2001, bin Laden denied any involvement with the attacks by reading a statement which was broadcast by Qatar’s Al Jazeera satellite channel: "I stress that I have not carried out this act, which appears to have been carried out by individuals with their own motivation." This denial was broadcast on U.S. news networks and worldwide.

In November 2001, U.S. forces recovered a videotape from a destroyed house in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, in which Osama bin Laden is talking to Khaled al-Harbi. In the tape, bin Laden admits foreknowledge of the attacks. The tape was broadcast on various news networks from December 13, 2001. His distorted appearance on the tape has been attributed to tape transfer artifact. The detailed timeline of Bin Laden’s having prior knowledge were revealed in a September 2002 interview documentary-maker Yosri Fouda conducted with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh: the decision to launch a "martyrdom operation inside America" was made by Al Qaeda’s military committee in early 1999; Atta, after deciding on the date (9/11/01) for the attacks, informed Binalshibh of this date on August 29, 2001, and Bin Laden was given this information on September 6, 2001.

On December 27, 2001, a second bin Laden video was released. In the video, he states, "Terrorism against America deserves to be praised because it was a response to injustice, aimed at forcing America to stop its support for Israel, which kills our people", but he stopped short of admitting responsibility for the attacks.

Shortly before the U.S. presidential election in 2004, in a taped statement, bin Laden publicly acknowledged al-Qaeda’s involvement in the attacks on the U.S. and admitted his direct link to the attacks. He said that the attacks were carried out because "we are free…and want to regain freedom for our nation. As you undermine our security we undermine yours." Osama bin Laden says he had personally directed his followers to attack the World Trade Center. In the video, he says, "We had agreed with the Commander-General Muhammad Atta, Allah have mercy on him, that all the operations should be carried out within 20 minutes, before Bush and his administration notice." Another video obtained by Al Jazeera in September 2006 shows Osama bin Laden with Ramzi Binalshibh, as well as two hijackers, Hamza al-Ghamdi and Wail al-Shehri, as they make preparations for the attacks.

Beliefs and Ideology

Bin Laden believes that the restoration of Sharia law will set things right in the Muslim world, and that all other ideologies—"pan-Arabism, socialism, communism, democracy"—must be opposed. These beliefs, along with violent expansive jihad, have sometimes been called Qutbism. He believes Afghanistan under the rule of Mullah Omar’s Taliban was "the only Islamic country" in the Muslim world. Bin Laden has consistently dwelt on the need for violent jihad to right what he believes are injustices against Muslims perpetrated by the United States and sometimes by other non-Muslim states, the need to eliminate the state of Israel, and the necessity of forcing the US to withdraw from the Middle East. He has also called on Americans to "reject the immoral acts of fornication (and) homosexuality, intoxicants, gambling, and usury," in an October 2002 letter.

Probably the most infamous part of Bin Laden’s ideology is that civilians, including women and children, are legitimate targets of jihad. Bin Laden is antisemitic, and has delivered warnings against alleged Jewish conspiracies: "These Jews are masters of usury and leaders in treachery. They will leave you nothing, either in this world or the next." Shia Muslims have been listed along with "Heretics,… America and Israel," as the four principal "enemies of Islam" at ideology classes of bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda organization.

In keeping with Wahhabi beliefs, bin Laden opposes music on religious grounds, and his attitude towards technology is mixed. He is interested in "earth-moving machinery and genetic engineering of plants" on the one hand, but rejects "chilled water" on the other.

His viewpoints and methods of achieving them have led to him been designated as a "terrorist" by scholars, journalists from the New York Times, the British Broadcasting Corporation, and Qatari news station Al Jazeera, analysts such as Peter Bergen, Michael Scheuer, Marc Sageman, and Bruce Hoffman and he was indicted on terrorism charges by law enforcement agencies in Madrid, New York City, and Tripoli.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

Khalid_Shaikh_Mohammed_after_capture Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
after his capture in Pakistan

The journalist Yosri Fouda of the Arabic television channel Al Jazeera reported that in April 2002, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed admitted his involvement, along with Ramzi Binalshibh, in the "Holy Tuesday operation". The 9/11 Commission Report determined that the animosity towards the United States felt by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the "principal architect" of the 9/11 attacks, stemmed "not from his experiences there as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel".

Mohamed Atta shared this motivation. Ralph Bodenstein, a former classmate of Atta described him as "most imbued actually about… U.S. protection of these Israeli politics in the region". Abdulaziz al-Omari, a hijacker aboard Flight 11 with Mohamed Atta, said in his video will, "My work is a message those who heard me and to all those who saw me at the same time it is a message to the infidels that you should leave the Arabian peninsula defeated and stop giving a hand of help to the coward Jews in Palestine."

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was also an adviser and financier of a 1993 bombing, also on the World Trade Center. He is also the uncle of Ramzi Yousef, the lead bomber in that attack.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was arrested on March 1, 2003 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan by Pakistani security officials working with the CIA, and is currently being held at Guantanamo Bay. During U.S. hearings in March 2007 Sheikh Mohammed again confessed his responsibility for the attacks, saying "I was responsible for the 9/11 operation, from A to Z." Mohammed made the confession after being subject to waterboarding. In November 2009, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that Mohammed and four accused co-conspirators will be transferred from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to stand trial in civilian court near Ground Zero in New York. No trial date was given. Holder expressed confidence that the defendants would get a fair trial that was "open to the public and open to the world".

Other al-Qaeda members

In "Substitution for Testimony of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed" from the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, five people are identified as having been completely aware of the operation’s details. They are Osama bin Laden, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi Binalshibh, Abu Turab al-Urduni and Mohammed Atef. To date, only peripheral figures have been tried or convicted for the attacks. Bin Laden has not yet been formally indicted for the attacks.

On September 26, 2005, the Spanish high court directed by judge Baltasar Garzón sentenced Abu Dahdah to 27 years of imprisonment for conspiracy on the 9/11 attacks and being a member of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda. At the same time, another 17 al-Qaeda members were sentenced to penalties of between six and eleven years. On February 16, 2006, the Spanish Supreme Court reduced the Abu Dahdah penalty to 12 years because it considered that his participation in the conspiracy was not proven.

    

References

Background information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Wikipedia: September 11 Attacks…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_11_attacks

Wikipedia: Osama bin Laden…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osama_bin_Laden

Brainy Quote: Terrorism Quotes…
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/terrorism_5.html