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(回答先: Re: ９・11事変の「主犯」とされるモハメド・アッタは、90年代の大部分を通じて米独政府合同事業に雇われていたことが発覚 投稿者 読者 日時 2003 年 4 月 24 日 22:53:12)
| Re: ９・11事変の「主犯」とされるモハメド・アッタは、90年代の大部分を通じて米独政府合同事業に雇われていたことが発覚
| WA32 871 2003/4/24 22:53:12
| 投稿者: 読者
| ２００２年１１月２６日 田中 宇
| 参考投稿番号: http://www.asyura.com/0304/war32/msg/869.html
WA32 869 2003/4/24 20:18:11
――のなかで、シカゴ・トリビューン記事への言及が出てきたわけですが、気になって、その記事を探してみました。しかし３月７日に同紙が報じたという「9/11 haunts hijacker's sponsors ; German couple talks of living with pilot Atta」という記事は見つかりませんでした。
以下、それぞれの記事は ▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼ と ▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲ で囲み、その記事の題名と日付をまず紹介し、ウェブサイトで記事本文が入手できたものについては、それを転載して貼っておきます。
Charity founders tied to Hamburg terror suspects
[Chicagoland Final Edition] John Crewdson and Laurie Cohen, Tribune staff reporters Tribune senior correspondent John Crewdson reported from Hamburg, and Tribune staff reporter Laurie Cohen reported from Chicago Tribune staff reporters Stephen Franklin in Jiddah and; Chicago Tribune; Nov 3, 2002; pg. 1
CIA stalked Al Qaeda in Hamburg ; Seeking informant, agency tried in 1999 to recruit associate of 9/ 11 hijackers in Germany
[Chicagoland Final Edition] John Crewdson, Tribune senior correspondent; Chicago Tribune; Nov 17, 2002; pg. 1
CIA Stalked Al Qaeda in Hamburg
Seeking informant, agency tried in 1999 to recruit associate of 9/11 hijackers in Germany
by John Crewdson
The Chicago Tribune
November 17, 2002
HAMBURG, Germany -- Nearly two years before the Sept. 11 hijackings, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency began persistent efforts to recruit as an informer a Syrian-born Hamburg businessman with links to Al Qaeda and the key hijackers, the Tribune has learned.
The CIA's attempts to enlist Mamoun Darkazanli were initiated in late 1999, at a time when three of the four Hamburg students who would later pilot the hijacked planes were first learning of the hijacking plot at a training camp of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
Darkazanli, 44, has acknowledged knowing the three pilots, Mohamed Atta, Marwan Al-Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah, with whom he attended the same radical Hamburg mosque, Al Quds, and shared several friends in this city's sizable but insular Muslim community.
No evidence has ever emerged that American intelligence was aware before Sept. 11, 2001, of Al Qaeda's plot to hijack U.S. commercial jetliners and crash them into buildings, despite what congressional investigators have described as several potential missed opportunities.
But the disclosure that the CIA was seeking to turn Darkazanli into a spy during the time the initial hijacking plans were being laid represents the earliest and deepest set of U.S. intelligence footprints outside the hijackers' window.
In December 1999 the CIA representative in Hamburg, posing as an American diplomat attached to the U.S. Consulate, appeared at the headquarters of the Hamburg state domestic intelligence agency, the LFV, that is responsible for tracking terrorists and domestic extremists.
According to a source with firsthand knowledge of the events, the CIA representative told his local counterparts that his agency believed Darkazanli had knowledge of an unspecified terrorist plot and could be "turned" against his Al Qaeda comrades.
"He said, `Darkazanli knows a lot,'" the source recalled.
Darkazanli's name had first surfaced the year before in the U.S. investigation of Al Qaeda's 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people and injured thousands.
One of those later convicted of conspiracy in that case was Osama bin Laden's former personal secretary, a naturalized U.S. citizen named Wadih El-Hage, whom prosecutors accused of personally delivering bin Laden's order for the embassy bombings to Al Qaeda operatives in Kenya.
As part of his duties for bin Laden, El-Hage helped fashion a skein of fictitious Sudanese companies that Al Qaeda allegedly used as fronts for its terrorist activities. One such company was Anhar Trading, of which El-Hage was managing director, and whose business cards bore the address of the Hamburg flat Darkazanli shares with his German-born wife.
Around the same time, Darkazanli's name had popped up in connection with another alleged Al Qaeda figure, Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, a 44-year-old Sudanese who is in jail in New York awaiting trial in the embassy bombing case.
Salim, also accused by federal prosecutors of attempting to help bin Laden obtain enriched uranium for use in a nuclear weapon, was arrested in Munich in September 1998 at the request of the United States.
Investigators learned that Salim, a resident of the United Arab Emirates, held an account at a Hamburg bank. The co-signatory on the account was Mamoun Darkazanli, whose home number had been programmed into Salim's cell phone.
Germans resist request
The Americans began pressing the Germans to arrest Darkazanli, a naturalized German citizen who moved to Hamburg from Syria in 1982, and extradite him to the U.S. The Germans countered that they had no evidence to warrant an arrest.
"Nobody could prove terrorism," one German investigator said. "In general, the American colleagues feel more persons should be arrested. Hundreds! But the problem is you have to prove this is intentional planning of criminal activities."
At the insistence of the U.S., the Germans opened an investigation of Darkazanli that included occasional surveillance. One of those involved described how Darkazanli, certain he was being followed, walked down the street while looking backward over his shoulder.
But the investigation did not include more costly and time-consuming electronic surveillance, and a German investigator conceded that, before Sept. 11, his agency considered Al Qaeda a lower priority target than Hamburg's radical Turks and neo-Nazis.
By the end of 1999 the Darkazanli investigation had produced little of value. The Americans were saying that if the Germans couldn't put Darkazanli behind bars, they wanted to turn him into their informer.
The LFV representatives explained to the CIA man, who had been in his post less than six months, that German law forbids foreign intelligence services, including those deemed to be "friendly," from conducting operations or recruiting informers inside German borders.
Any attempt to recruit Darkazanli on behalf of the CIA would have to be made by operatives of the LFV. In early 2000, around the time the hijacking pilots were returning to Hamburg from Afghanistan, an LFV agent casually approached Darkazanli to ask whether he was interested in becoming a spy.
Darkazanli replied that he was just a businessman who knew nothing about Al Qaeda or terrorism. When the Germans informed the CIA representative that the approach had failed, the man refused to accept their verdict that Darkazanli was not recruitable.
"He was not happy," one source said. "He kept saying, `It must be possible.'"
When the LFV asked for information it could use to counter Darkazanli's claims that he knew nothing about terrorism or Al Qaeda, the CIA demurred. What the LFV got instead was a CIA textbook lecture on the recruiting of agents.
As it happened, at the end of January 2000, Darkazanli had met in Madrid with Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, the accused Al Qaeda leader in Spain, who is from Darkazanli's hometown of Aleppo, Syria.
The meeting, monitored by Spanish police who were watching Yarkas, included some suspected Al Qaeda figures. But if the CIA was aware of the Madrid meeting, it hadn't told the LFV, whose second attempt to recruit Darkazanli fared no better than the first.
By the late summer of 2000, Atta, Al-Shehhi and Jarrah had departed Hamburg for Florida, where they were learning to fly single-engine airplanes.
Left behind in Hamburg, allegedly to handle logistical and administrative chores for the hijacking operation, were Atta's roommates, Said Bahaji, Ramzi Binalshibh and Zakariya Essabar. All have since been charged with conspiracy in the events of Sept. 11.
Darkazanli knew Bahaji, whose wedding he had attended at Al Quds mosque. A videotape made at the wedding, confiscated by police in a post-Sept. 11 search of Bahaji's apartment, includes a harangue by Binalshibh on the holy war against the "enemies of Islam."
Intensifying its efforts to turn Darkazanli into an informer, a frustrated CIA abandoned the Hamburg LFV and took its case directly to federal German intelligence officials in Berlin.
"Another attempt by the Americans to get somebody to recruit Darkazanli," one source said.
Whether yet another approach was made to Darkazanli by the federal domestic intelligence service, the BFV, could not be determined. Darkazanli did not respond to a registered letter from the Tribune requesting an interview.
Immediately after Sept. 11, however, American intelligence operatives and FBI agents descended on Hamburg in force. According to a senior German intelligence official, the FBI undertook its own surveillance of Darkazanli.
Turning blind eye
That surveillance would have been illegal under German law. But with the horror of more than 3,000 deaths at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field dominating the world news, the Germans looked the other way.
"I don't judge it," the senior official said.
Darkazanli's name first surfaced publicly two weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, when the "Mamoun Darkazanli Import-Export Company" appeared on the Bush administration's initial list of individuals and organizations suspected of involvement in terrorism.
The company is evidently defunct. No incorporation records for the company are on file at the Hamburg courthouse, and sources said it had not done enough business over the years to support Darkazanli and his wife.
When the German federal prosecutor, Kay Nehm, announced an investigation into possible money laundering by Darkazanli and his company on behalf of Al Qaeda, the news that Darkazanli was in trouble spread quickly through Al Qaeda's network.
In Madrid, Spanish police listening in on Imad Yarkas' cell phone overheard a conversation in which Abu Nabil, the leader of a Syrian extremist organization known as the Fighting Vanguard, warned Yarkas that Darkazanli had caught the "flu" that was going around.
To the reporters who flocked to his apartment in a well-kept Hamburg neighborhood, Darkazanli admitted having known Atta, Al-Shehhi and Jarrah as fellow worshipers at the downtown Al Quds mosque. But Darkazanli declared that he knew nothing about terrorism or the Sept. 11 plot.
The bank account he shared with Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, Darkazanli told the Los Angeles Times, had been opened in March 1995 to facilitate Salim's attempted purchase of a commercial radio transmitter. Darkazanli said he hadn't seen Salim since the transmitter deal fell through a few months later.
Two days after the Sept. 11 attacks, Darkazanli had been brought in for questioning by the German federal police, and his apartment thoroughly searched. The police, Darkazanli said, had found nothing. His inclusion on the Bush administration's list of designated terrorist entities was just "a big misunderstanding."
A few days after Darkazanli's police interview, detectives questioned Mohamed Haydar Zammar, another Syrian-born Hamburg resident who has since acknowledged encouraging Atta, Al-Shehhi and Jarrah to make their fateful visit to Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
Asked whether he knew Darkazanli, Zammar replied: "Yes, I know him well. He is a friend who I have known for a long time."
Police later learned that it was one of Zammar's brothers, Abdulfattah, who had driven Darkazanli to the Madrid meeting with Spanish Al Qaeda leader Yarkas in January 2000.
The absence of documents in Darkazanli's flat was partly explained on Oct. 31, 2001, when a young Serbian immigrant with a record of convictions for burglary walked into the fortress-like headquarters of the Hamburg police.
The man presented astonished detectives with a bag full of documents that appeared to have been taken from Darkazanli's files. After accepting the purloined documents, the police arrested the man for burglary.
According to the burglar's story, he had discovered the documents stashed in a small summer house outside Hamburg that he had broken into.
He had first gone with the documents to the U.S. Consulate in Hamburg, where it had been suggested that he take them to the police.
But when police asked the burglar to show them the house where he had found the documents, he couldn't locate it.
"We all thought, `CIA,'" one German investigator said.
The CIA representative in Hamburg, who was recalled to Washington in July, declined to comment last week. Since the arrival of his successor, relations with the CIA are described by German intelligence agents as "more collegial."
Darkazanli's lawyer, Andreas Beurskens, said he had advised his client not to speak with the media until the police investigation is complete.
But as the Sept. 11 investigations on both sides of the Atlantic have progressed, more links have emerged between Darkazanli and Al Qaeda.
One is the disclosure that Darkazanli received at least $16,000 from Mohamed Kaleb Kalaje Zouaydi, a wealthy Spanish-Syrian arrested in Madrid in April and accused of funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars to Al Qaeda and other radical Islamic organizations.
Another is the discovery by German investigators that Darkazanli was previously employed by Abdul-Matin Tatari, an Aleppo-born textile exporter in Hamburg whose links to the Sept. 11 hijackers are under investigation by German police.
Police sources say they have expanded the Darkazanli investigation to include his business transactions over the years.
In view of what the expanded investigation was producing, one source said, "the situation for Darkazanli might become more complicated."
The offensive art of secrets and lies ; Bush's exercise in missing the point
[North Sports Final Edition] Steve Chapman Steve Chapman is a member of the Tribune's editorial board; Chicago Tribune; Dec 19, 2002; pg. 31
The offensive art of secrets and lies
Bush's exercise in missing the point
Published December 19, 2002
George W. Bush is the first president with a master's in business administration, and somewhere along the line he mastered the art of marketing. Judging from his handling of national security issues, he could sell MTV to the Amish.
For the last year, the administration has used Sept. 11 as an excuse for going to war against Iraq, which makes about as much sense as using a fire extinguisher to battle a flood. But sensible or not, his pitch has worked. An October poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that 66 percent of Americans think Saddam Hussein played a role in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
They believe this in spite of the fact that our intelligence agencies say there was no connection. Reports of a meeting in Prague between an Iraqi intelligence officer and lead hijacker Mohamed Atta turned out to be groundless. Kenneth Pollack, a former CIA analyst whose book, "The Threatening Storm," makes the case for invading Iraq, is honest enough to state plainly that Saddam Hussein "was not involved in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001."
But last week, after months of fruitless efforts to tie the terrorism can to Hussein's tail, someone in the administration managed to sell The Washington Post a story that Iraq recently shipped nerve gas to Al Qaeda. This is hard to believe on its face--since it assumes that Hussein would shun cooperation with Al Qaeda until the moment when the world's attention is fixed on him and he is most likely to be caught.
Even the Post's sources admitted that the information was "open to interpretation" and "not backed by definitive evidence." Once the Post story broke, an unidentified U.S. intelligence official interviewed by The Financial Times dismissed it: "I can't give you any morsel of information that supports this."
For this puff of vapor, we're going to war?
Well, no. We're going to war regardless. But the administration figures if it offers enough reasons to go after Saddam Hussein, people won't notice that none of them is convincing. A hundred times zero is zero in math, but in politics, nothing piled on nothing can eventually add up to something.
The president has shown a consistent knack for turning chicken feathers into chicken salad. This week, he announced the deployment of a ballistic missile defense that is supposed to protect the American people from attack. "Sept. 11, 2001, underscored that our nation faces unprecedented threats," he said by way of justifying this venture.
He's right, of course. And he'd be right if he pointed out that the tornadoes that killed 36 people from Louisiana to Pennsylvania last month illustrated our vulnerability to extreme weather. This system of interceptors is as relevant to tornadoes as it is to Al Qaeda. Sept. 11 illustrated terrible dangers--which missile defense does nothing to ad-dress.
The attacks proved how much damage terrorists (or enemy governments) can inflict without intercontinental ballistic missiles. If they want to detonate a bomb on American soil, they'd find it much easier to transport it by airplane, boat, truck or suitcase than to build an expensive and highly visible long-distance delivery system. They'd also find it safer, since a missile, unlike a suicide bomber, can easily be traced back to its source.
The real danger we face is that these violent fanatics, who have done so much damage with low-tech methods, may acquire far more destructive weapons--biological, chemical or nuclear. But missile defense, which does not promise to be cheap, will only drain resources from that fight.
A war with Iraq won't help either. In fact, it could be the best thing that ever happened to Al Qaeda.
In the first place, it will divert American troops and attention away from the main threat to a peripheral one. In the second place, it will create chaos on the ground in Iraq. As Saddam Hussein's regime loses control of the country, a lot of military officers who have custody of Iraq's chemical and biological weapons will have the chance to get rich selling them to the highest bidder--who just might be named Osama bin Laden.
Bush claims his approach to Iraq and missile defense will make us safer against the "unprecedented threats" we so painfully discovered 15 months ago. But suppose we had toppled Saddam Hussein in 1991 and built a foolproof missile defense years ago. How many lives would have been saved on Sept. 11? None. What good will these efforts do to avert the next attack? You can guess.
Hamburg terror cell tracked in 1998
[Chicagoland Edition] Items compiled from Tribune news services; Chicago Tribune; Jan 19, 2003; pg. 6
9/11 suspect cut unlikely figure in terror plot ; Even within cell, viewed as outsider
[Chicagoland Final Edition] Cam Simpson, Stevenson Swanson and John Crewdson, Tribune correspondents; Chicago Tribune; Feb 23, 2003; pg. 1
9/11 SUSPECT CUT UNLIKELY FIGURE IN TERROR PLOT; EVEN WITHIN CELL, VIEWED AS OUTSIDER
By Cam Simpson, Stevenson Swanson and John Crewdson, Tribune correspondents.
Chicago Tribune,2/23/2003 -
Said Bahaji brought his friends Mohamed Atta and Ramzi Binalshibh to view an apartment at Marienstrasse 54, right near the campus of the technical university, in October 1998. By Nov. 20, the three were living together in one of the building's first-floor, three-room flats.
Marienstrasse 54 quickly became a gathering place for the men of the Hamburg cell. They gathered there for discussions of radical politics and religion. Atta used the flat to try to recruit new believers by holding Koran classes. The apartment became so synonymous with Sept. 11 that it wouldn't attract a new
tenant until last week.
No 'function of his own'
Shahid Nickels, the German Muslim who gave police an inside look at the cell, said Bahaji seemed out of place in this heady atmosphere of Islamic extremism.
"Mainly he used buzzwords," Nickels said, noting also that Bahaji seemed frail and spoke with a lisp.
When Bahaji boasted to Nickels that he had become "a strong Muslim in a very short period of time," Nickels thought Bahaji's views seemed shallow and uninformed. He saw Bahaji as a follower, a man who "always took part but never had a function of his own."
Bahaji's relationships with some of the others who gathered around Marienstrasse 54, especially Binalshibh and Marwan Al-Shehhi, another hijacker from Hamburg, seemed to Nickels almost perfunctory.
"He really did not fit in well with both of these highly emotional men because he was too German, too pedantic, too Western," Nickels said. "He also was too fearful."
It was different with Atta, Nickels recalled.
In the endless debates that took place over the interminable Marienstrasse dinners, Bahaji always backed his mentor, Atta, "but hardly ever ventured an opinion of his own," Nickels recalled. "Atta defended him in discussions when he [Bahaji] amused others by expressing himself badly or exaggerating."
At one study session in 1999, Atta declared that the rewards awaiting martyrs in paradise were sweeter than honey--70 houses, each holding 70 virgins.
Nickels, by now backpedaling rapidly away from the growing extremism of Marienstrasse 54, recalled asking Atta what reward he might receive instead, because he didn't like the taste of honey. It was his last time in the class.
German citizenship useful
Despite Nickels' description of Bahaji as a man who did not fit into the world of Marienstrasse 54, to the outside world, Bahaji was Marienstrasse 54.
The Hamburg hijackers, themselves computer-literate, had no particular use for a shy computer whiz whose principle affections were video games and Formula One racing. But they did need a front man who could keep suspicious authorities at bay. Bahaji, the only German citizen in the group, seemed to serve the purpose nicely.
The Marienstrasse lease was put in Bahaji's name, as were the household utilities, records show. That arrangement may have proved its value in February 1999, when German intelligence officials missed an opportunity to break up the hijacking plot.
The Germans had received a tip from their French counterparts that Zammar, the veteran Al Qaeda operative who was a frequent visitor to Marienstrasse 54, appeared to be involved with radical elements in Afghanistan.
They started secretly listening to his phone conversations. One day in February 1999, a caller to his residence, inquiring into Zammar's whereabouts, was told to ring another Hamburg number.
German intelligence officials duly checked out the phone number, its registered owner and its corresponding address. All of the records for the phone and corresponding address came back in one name: Said Bahaji, an apparently ordinary German-born student in good standing at the local university. Case closed.
Within the German intelligence community, fingers still are being pointed over who muffed the best known opportunity to break up the hijacking plot while it still was being hatched.
As Sept. 11 approached, Bahaji began telling his family that he had arranged an internship for the fall in Pakistan. He had left Marienstrasse 54 for the apartment near the Alter Friedhof, where he and his wife, Neze, had started a family.
Hijackers Atta and Al-Shehhi had left for America in the summer of 2000 to prepare for the terrorist attacks.
Bahaji's father-in-law, who drove him to the airport Sept. 3, told German investigators that he noticed nothing unusual about Bahaji's behavior, although he gave the father-in-law legal control of his affairs "just in case."
A final call to his wife
The following day, Bahaji called his wife to say he had arrived safely. She told the police who searched her apartment on Sept. 12 that it was the last time she heard from her husband.
Authorities would learn later that in addition to Bahaji, many others in the Hamburg Muslim community had fled the city in the two weeks before the attack, including Binalshibh, Essabar and two new Al Qaeda recruits. The two recruits later would confirm to investigators that Bahaji and the others had made it into Afghanistan.
Bechim Ademi and Ibrahim Diab left Hamburg for Pakistan on Sept. 10, after Binalshibh and Zammar had talked them into heading to Afghanistan for training.
That their departure occurred the day before the hijackings may only be a coincidence.
One of the first mujahedeen they met warned them to use aliases. He also warned the new recruits to avoid any conversations about their personal lives that could betray their true identities to the other brothers. The less anyone knew, the better.
By Sept. 23, Ademi, a naturalized German, and Diab, a Lebanese national, had reached an Al Qaeda camp near Kabul, where they trained with Kalashnikov rifles and practiced military assaults, according to interviews the pair gave to German police after their October 2001 arrests in Pakistan.
Soon they discovered there were other German speakers in the camp.
One, later identified through photographs as Essabar, wore a special uniform, stayed with the camp's leaders and seemed to have some kind of important position.
Another German speaker at the camp was someone Ademi thought he recognized. He later would describe the man as a tall and thin Moroccan.
The two spoke of Hamburg and their personal lives, contrary to procedure, as well as Hamburg's radical Al Quds mosque, the Moroccan's wedding there and his university studies.
Said attacks 'made no sense'
The Moroccan also told Ademi about the Sept. 11 attacks.
"He didn't condemn the attacks," Ademi told German investigators. "But he believed that they made no sense."
Neither Diab nor Ademi was particularly impressed by the German-speaking Moroccan, whom Ademi later identified from police photographs as Bahaji.
Bahaji, who a couple of years before had been discharged from the German army after only four weeks as medically unfit, struck Ademi as too sensitive and complained that he had problems breathing.
One night, Ademi said, he even had to lend a blanket to "the married Moroccan" after he complained about the cold.
Diab said the man looked weak, noting that he spoke with a lisp. The Moroccan, he would tell authorities, seemed very withdrawn.
And what kind of terrorist complains about the cold?
Evidence emerges of a broader 9/11 conspiracy in Germany
[North Sports Final Edition] John Crewdson, Stevenson Swanson and Cam Simpson, Tribune correspondents; Chicago Tribune; Feb 26, 2003; pg. 1
Evidence emerges of a broader 9/11 conspiracy in Germany
Chicago Tribune, 2003-02-27 09:15
HAMBURG, Germany -- The hijacking conspiracy spawned in this northern port city likely was broader and deeper than previously reported, according to investigative files amassed by German authorities since Sept. 11, 2001.
At least five and possibly seven presumed Al Qaeda operatives appear to have fled Hamburg in the days before Sept. 11, tracing a hurried route through Turkey, Pakistan or the United Arab Emirates to what they believed was the sanctuary of an Al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan.
Up to a dozen others who enjoyed close relationships with the hijackers stayed behind, possibly hoping to resume their pre-Sept. 11 lives as students or small businessmen while avoiding the scrutiny of police.
Of the previously known members of the Hamburg Al Qaeda contingent, Mohamed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah died when the planes they piloted slammed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and a Pennsylvania field. As has also long been known, three of their co-conspirators, Said Bahaji, Ramzi Binalshibh and Zacariya Essabar, left Hamburg in haste in the two weeks before the hijackings were carried out.
Of the alleged stay-behinds linked to Al Qaeda, Mounir El Motassadeq, a former engineering student, this month became the first person convicted of providing the hijackers logistical aid.
But visa and travel records and airplane passenger manifests compiled by police indicate that as Bahaji boarded a Turkish Airlines flight from Hamburg to Istanbul on Sept. 3, 2001, he was not alone. Also on board were two men who identified themselves to the airline as Abdellah Hosayni and Ammar Moula--as it turned out, not their real names. Using a stolen French passport and a phony Belgian one, the pair, who had been living in a Hamburg shelter for asylum-seekers, bought their tickets with cash on Aug. 14, nearly a month before the hijackings and 10 days before the hijackers made their first flight reservations for Sept. 11.
German authorities believe the two mystery men were actually Algerians Ismail Ben Mrabete and Ahmed Taleb. At 47 and 48, both were considerably older than the members of the Hamburg cell. Police say little is known of their backgrounds. According to a police informant, however, Taleb and Ben Mrabete later turned up at the same Afghan Al Qaeda camp as Bahaji and Essabar.
Investigators later discovered that Taleb had been in e-mail contact with Abu Zubaydah, who is believed to be Al Qaeda's third-highest official until his capture in Pakistan last March. The passenger manifests for Bahaji's Sept. 3 flight from Hamburg to Istanbul also show that Bahaji was sitting next to a man identified by the airline as Patrick Joia. Elsewhere on the plane was a passenger recorded as Mohammed Juia. Because each of those two men listed a common address and a father with the same first name on their Pakistani visa applications, police believe the two are brothers and that their family name is Joya.
The Joyas, who also purchased their tickets in Hamburg, claimed on their visa applications, dated Aug. 13, that they were Afghan nationals headed for Quetta, Pakistan, a popular jumping-off point for Afghanistan. Bahaji and the first two mystery men, Taleb and Ben Mrabete, also journeyed on to Quetta--Bahaji by plane on Sept. 5, and the two others by bus later the same day, records show.
Before leaving Karachi, Bahaji, Taleb and Ben Mrabete spent the night in Room 318 at the Karachi Embassy Hotel. Also registered at that hotel was Mohammed Belfatmi, an Algerian extremist from the Tarragona region of Spain and the fifth Al Qaeda suspect besides Bahaji aboard the flight from Istanbul to Karachi.
3-day meeting in Spain
Spanish police reportedly believe Belfatmi played a role in arranging the three-day meeting that brought Mohamed Atta and Ramzi Binalshibh to Spain in July 2001, eight weeks before the hijackings.
Investigators say the meeting, which was probably a final strategy session for the plot, may have been attended by Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, the alleged Al Qaeda leader in Spain. Barakat, whose phone number was found by German police in Bahaji's personal directory, told a Spanish judge after Sept. 11 that he knew a man in Hamburg named Mohammed Joya. Barakat is in jail in Madrid, accused of complicity in the Sept. 11 hijackings, largely on the strength of a telephone call he received from an unknown person a few days before the attacks advising him that "they" had "entered the field of aviation."
Bahaji, Taleb, Ben Mrabete, the Joya brothers and Belfatmi remain unaccounted for. So does Karl Herweg, although he apparently did not flee Hamburg with the others. Indeed, police in Hamburg have concluded that "Karl Herweg" doesn't exist. That alone qualifies him as one of the most important figures in the continuing mystery that is Sept. 11.
Three weeks before Sept. 11, 2001, when the Minnesota FBI arrested Zacarias Moussaoui, later charged with conspiracy in the hijackings, agents found among his possessions the number of a German cell phone. In Germany, as elsewhere in Europe, purchasers of mobile phones must produce a passport or other official identification. It was a simple task for police to discover that the phone bearing the number in Moussaoui's address book was registered to one Karl Herweg of Duesseldorf.
When police checked the records of calls made from Herweg's number in the weeks before Sept. 11, they uncovered a trove of information. Among others, Herweg had called phones used by Mounir El Motassadeq, Zacariya Essabar and Mohammed Haydar Zammar, a veteran Al Qaeda operative in Hamburg. There were other suspicious calls: to a number belonging to "Mohammed R.," identified by prosecutors as key Sept. 11 suspect, and to a satellite phone of the type favored by Al Qaeda chieftains in Afghanistan before the fall of the Taliban.
Herweg, it appeared, was plugged in to what was going on in Hamburg. But when the federal police asked the Duesseldorf police to pick him up, they were told there was nobody by that name at the address where the phone was registered. In fact, there was nobody by that name in Duesseldorf. In the house next to Herweg's bogus address lived a couple with the same last name. But the couple informed police that they had no children and had never heard of Karl Herweg.
Hoping its owner would resurface after Sept. 11, police placed a tap on Herweg's phone, documents show. When no new calls were made or received by early November, the surveillance was discontinued. Bad timing. Police later learned from the cellular provider that at least one additional call had been placed after that date. Unlike Bahaji, Essabar and Binalshibh, who was captured in September in Pakistan, Herweg seems to have remained behind in Germany following Sept. 11.
E-mails to flight schools
Police admit they may never learn who Karl Herweg is, and he is not the only phantom who inhabits the Sept. 11 archive. In March 2000, not long after the Afghanistan visit where Atta, Binalshibh, al-Shehhi and Jarrah were enlisted as prospective pilots in Al Qaeda's hijacking plot, Atta began sending e-mails to flying schools in the U.S.
"We are a small group (2-3) of young men from different arab countries," the e-mails read. "Now we are living in Germany since a while for study purposes. We would like to start training for the career of airline professional pilots. In this field we haven't yet any knowledge, but we are ready to undergo an intensive training program."
All the e-mails were sent from the same Hotmail account, records show. In some of the e-mails, the owner of the account was identified as "M. Atta." In others, however, it was "Mahmoud Ben Hamad." Police say they have no clue to the identity of Mahmoud Ben Hamad. As investigators scrub the streets and alleys of Hamburg in search of Sept. 11 accomplices, several other suspects have come to their attention.
"Many persons had contact with [the hijackers] and helped them, whether they knew it or not," a senior intelligence official here said. "But it seems probable to me that there were some more people who knew they were planning something."
One focus of the investigation, documents show, was a 33-year-old Yemeni whose Hamburg telephone number, like Karl Herweg's, was in a notebook seized by the FBI from Zacarias Moussaoui. In addition, the Yemeni's address was found on a business card recovered from the wreckage of United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed short of its target in a Pennsylvania field. The other side of the card bore the address of a relative of Ziad Jarrah, who is believed to have piloted that plane. Ramzi Binalshibh used the Yemeni's address and phone number when he applied for a German bank account and for the U.S. visa that, had it been granted, would have allowed him to join Atta, Jarrah and al-Shehhi at flying schools in Florida.
Frequent phone contact
In the weeks before Said Bahaji fled Hamburg, he and the Yemeni were in frequent touch by telephone. But when the man was questioned by police after Sept. 11, he denied knowing Bahaji.
"He probably did not tell the truth," a prosecutor's report states, "because he wanted to play down the fact that he was closely in touch with suspected members of the terrorist organization. His attitude in the interrogation enhances the suspicion that in his own view there are good reasons for a denial of those links."
Also suspected of aiding the hijackers is a Moroccan man who moved to Hamburg to study engineering at the same university attended by hijackers Atta and al-Shehhi. According to the prosecutors, the Moroccan was in close contact with a half-dozen of the hijackers and their supporters, with whom he was employed in the paint shop at an auto manufacturing plant. As police dug deeper, they found circles within circles. Like Atta, the Moroccan had used a university computer to seek information about pilot training in the U.S. A search of the Yemeni's apartment yielded the Moroccan's university registration certificate--bearing Mohamed Atta's address--and an address book with Said Bahaji's telephone number. When Said Bahaji's apartment was searched, it revealed legal documents in the Moroccan's name.
From Mounir El Motassadeq, the Moroccan had received more than $1,600 in bank transfers that, police say, he is unable to explain. Letters were also found among his possessions containing references to dying "for Allah."
Yet another person suspected of supporting the hijackers, according to the German federal prosecutor, is a 25-year-old Jordanian, a close friend of Ziad Jarrah since both were students in Griefswald , in eastern Germany, during the mid-1990s. After moving to Hamburg, the Jordanian registered his address with police as Mohamed Atta's apartment. The hijackers also shared bank accounts and cell phones with the Jordanian, who according to police underwent the same radical transformation as Atta and his followers.
As Ramzi Binalshibh fled Germany six days before Sept. 11, he made three calls from the Duesseldorf airport. One was to Saeed Alghamdi, one of the 19 hijackers who already were in the U.S. The second call was to the Jordanian. When the Jordanian, on a visit to Munich, was summoned to Hamburg for questioning, the prosecutors say he "cried in the train like a child," explaining to a friend that "there is something I have not told you about."
"This conversation," the prosecutors conclude, "makes us assume that the accused knew more about the background of the plot and, thus, suffers from an internal conflict."
As is the case with Motassadeq, sentenced to 15 years in a German prison, the evidence against the Yemeni, the Moroccan, the Jordanian and several others like them is largely circumstantial. Mathias Krauss, one of the German prosecutors working on the Sept. 11 case, declined last week to say whether any of the suspects would be charged in light of the Motassadeq verdict.
"We are not finished with our investigation," he said.
On Saturday, chief prosecutor Kay Nehm announced that Abdelghani Mzoudi, a 29-year-old Moroccan student who shared an apartment with Atta, Essabar and Binalshibh, would soon be indicted for having aided the hijackers, the charge on which Motassadeq was convicted.
Before his arrest last October, Mzoudi told a German magazine he was "absolutely shocked when I heard that Atta was supposed to have done the attack. I can't imagine that a Muslim does something like that. A Muslim does not kill children, old people and women."
But Andreas Croll, the deputy commander of the state security unit for the Hamburg police, said, "We know today that there are groups in Germany which have contact with Al Qaeda. We also have some individuals for which we have proof of the fact that they have contact with Al Qaeda."
The difficulty police face is sorting out the terrorists from those who merely express extreme, though not illegal, religious and political views and who have non-criminal contacts with terrorist suspects. There are 130,000 Muslims in the cosmopolitan city of Hamburg, of whom police have identified some 1,500 as militant fundamentalists. Of those, about 100 are considered worth watching closely because of their contacts with Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.
"We know many more people than before who are part of a network," another senior police official said. "Those are the persons we try to care about."
No ID cards
From time to time officials have discussed closing the radical Al Quds Mosque in downtown Hamburg, where the hijackers met and prayed, but have decided that allowing the mosque to remain open provides police a wider window on the radical Islamic community. Many of those being watched hail not from the Middle East but from the Muslim countries of north Africa. Whether they are members of an Al Qaeda cell, the police official continued, was "not so important for me. You do not have an ID card that says `I'm a member of Al Qaeda.'
"The problem is, What is a cell? What does it mean to belong to Al Qaeda? More important is their ideology. Did they go to a training camp in Afghanistan? The largest problem is that all these people have contact to each other."
So far, the surveillance has been mostly unproductive.
"Many of them think they are under surveillance," another investigator said, "so the telephone conversations are about everyday life--what they eat, where they meet, when the family is coming for a visit."
Although sources say the CIA is keeping close tabs on the movement of Al Qaeda suspects in and out of Hamburg, preventing the inception of another terrorist plot is not simply a matter of guarding against the infiltration of trained terrorists awaiting a command to strike. Since Sept. 11, anti-terrorist investigators in Germany and elsewhere in Europe say, they have made a surprising discovery: Most of the Islamic radicals who pose a potential threat were once ordinary young men who emigrated to Hamburg to study or work, as the hijackers did.
"For several years," a senior intelligence official said, "we thought of terrorists as `sleepers.' Our first assumption was to think of espionage, which uses sleepers. But as we learned more, it became more evident that they changed their minds, changed their behavior, after arriving in Germany."
Mohammed Zammar, the mujahedeen veteran and Al Qaeda recruiter who reportedly has told Syrian authorities he arranged for the hijackers to visit one of Osama bin Laden's training camps in Afghanistan, had been living in Hamburg for 30 years. But Zammar, who made no secret of his radical Islamist views, was hardly a "sleeper," and there is no evidence the hijackers themselves were Al Qaeda converts before they arrived in Germany.
"Somebody like Mohamed Atta," says Andreas Croll, "he came to Germany as a student. To the extent that he came to study in Germany, he was Westernized to a certain extent. He was Muslim. He believed in God. He believed in his Muslim faith. His belief got stronger and stronger. He became a fundamentalist and then he started to plan the deed which led up to 11 September.
"If you keep that in mind, you'll see that terrorists develop. They move on step by step. You have a normal student who then becomes a fundamentalist, who in the course of the time will then say that he is ready to sacrifice himself for the cause of jihad. He will start to find people who will support him, who will work with him in his plans and will then actually start to execute plans."
Destined to be odd men out
Many of the Islamic radicals currently under suspicion are current or former university students who arrived filled with aspirations for professional careers and relatively affluent lives, only to find that no matter what their potential or their achievements they seemed destined to remain the odd men out.
"They knew they were intelligent," the intelligence official said. "Most of them are in a way intellectual. But they were Arabs and Muslims. The world is ruled by Western people. This is a common feeling for the terrorist. They are different, never fully accepted."
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