Monday, July 10, 2006

Al-Qa'ida and the Hariri bombing – many interesting questions remain (by t_desco)

Let me begin by stating the obvious: a group that plots to blow up a truck in the Holland Tunnel in New York is also capable of blowing up a truck on Beirut's seafront.
I don't want to suggest that Assem Hammoud had anything to do with the Hariri killing, but I am not so sure the same can be said of his associates:

"The security officials told Newsday that Hammoud had contact with at least two of 13 men who were arrested by Lebanese authorities in December for belonging to al-Qaida and planning attacks from Lebanon. The officials said Hammoud was in touch with Hassan Nabaat, a Lebanese, and Hany Shanti, who has both Lebanese and Jordanian nationalities."

Other targets in mind, Mohamad Bazzi, Newsday, July 9, 2006

Hassan Mohammad Nabaa has been described as the "Emir" of the terrorist cell (Arrestation de membres proches d’el-Qaëda venus de Syrie ?, L'Orient-Le Jour, 11 Février 2006). He had already been involved in the (al-Qa'ida related) Dinniyeh uprising in early 2000.

L'Orient-Le Jour describes Hani Hachem al-Chanti as "palestinien naturalisé, ingénieur informatique". According to Addiyar, Hani al-Shatti is Jordanian and was born in 1980 (Addiyar, February 11, 2006, 18th Year, Issue No. 6182, translated by Nibras Kazimi).

The same article reveals that the men "formed the nucleus of an Al-Qaeda Organization in the north" and that "Malik Muhammad Nab’a, brother of Hassan, would bring suspicious bags to Hani Al-Shatti and to Khalid Taha, who is in hiding after having fled to ‘Ain Al-Hilwa Camp". (Assem Hammoud also confessed that he "had already undergone training in light weapons in Ein El-Hilweh", AP, July 8, 2006 ; see also this report by the Daily Star).

Khaled Midhat Taha is a "religious associate" of Ahmed Abu Adas (first Mehlis report, §174) and he is suspected of involvement in the Hariri killing.

There had been numerous reports that Khaled Taha was also associated with the terrorist cell, but there is still no official confirmation, as far as I know.

First, as-Safir had reported that Taha himself was among the detained:

Entre los detenidos figura Jaled Taha, supuestamente implicado en el asesinato en febrero pasado del ex primer ministro libanés Rafic Hariri.

(translated by EFE, "Detenidos trece presuntos miembros de Al Qaeda en el Líbano", 13-01-2006).

An-Nahar reported that Taha narrowly escaped arrest:

Khaled Taha, one of the ring members who remains at large, is believed to have recruited Ahmed Abu Adas, the militant who made a dubious taped confession about his involvement in the Hariri murder.

An Nahar quoted a source as saying police was close to arresting Taha but his capture was impeded by Friday's report in as Safir about the arrest of the remaining members of his cell.

Lebanon Cracks Qaida Cell Coming from Syria, Naharnet, January 15, 2006

The Daily Star quoted an article by Al-Hayat saying that Khaled Taha was the original targed of the raid:

Al-Hayat sources said the suspects were arrested during a search for Palestinian national Khaled Midhat Taha, whose name was mentioned in the report of the international commission investigating the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. ...

The sources said the Lebanese security authorities collected information revealing that Taha returned to Lebanon a few weeks ago.

The authorities located two of Taha's relatives, including Abdullah Hallaq, who was arrested with the ring in Sidon.

The sources said security forces raided the ring's hide-out based on Hallaq's confession.

Al-Qaeda suspects may not be linked with terror group: report
The Daily Star, January 21, 2006

AKI quoted yet another article by as-Safir saying that Taha was the "head of the Lebanese al-Qaeda cell":

The alleged head of the Lebanese al-Qaeda cell, a Syrian national (sic; t_d) named Khaled Taha, was not captured in the December raid and is still at large, the sources told as-Safir.


L'Orient-Le Jour quoted a report by LBC saying that Khaled was one of the two most dangerous members of the group:

Citant des sources informées, la LBC a révélé que les membres de ce groupe étaient en relation avec un Syrien connu sous le nom de Jamil ... .
Les mêmes sources ont en outre révélé que les deux personnes les plus dangereuses de ce groupe, Bilal Zaaroura et Khaled Taha, seraient toujours en fuite. Ces derniers sont entrés au Liban en décembre dernier.

Arrestation de membres proches d’el-Qaëda venus de Syrie ?
L'Orient-Le Jour, 11 Février 2006

I still think that Khaled Midhat Taha may be the key to solving the Hariri case. In any case, there are many interesting questions for investigative journalists:

They could demand an official statement on Khaled Taha and his relation to the other members of the terrorist cell.

They could look into Taha's family background and confirm if he is indeed related to Sheikh Abdullah Hallaq, the founder of the Islamic Struggle Movement which is currently headed by Sheikh Jamal Khattab, the imam of Al-Nour Mosque in Ain al-Hilweh who is also suspected of being close to al-Qa'ida.

Finally, they could start looking for "the individual named “Mohammed” whom Mr. Abu Adass had befriended at the mosque"(second Mehlis report, §62) and who is suspected of being involved in the disappearance of Abu Adas.

They met at the mosque, that means that many people must have seen him (Adas was a relatively prominent figure at his local mosque, I believe):

Enquiries carried out by the Mission established that approximately three years ago Ahmad Abu Adas changed from being a carefree teenager to becoming a religious fundamentalist. Approximately one month prior to going missing Ahmad Abu Adas informed his family that he had met a new friend at the Al-Huri mosque, where he sometimes led the prayers. (Fitzgerald report, §41)

There is another interesting passage in the Fitzgerald report:

Information from the investigation showed that Mr. Abu Adas had a computer at his home, which was seized as part of the investigation. The seized items included 11 videotapes, 55 CDs, 1 floppy disk and a computer hard drive. Other than subversive information/ data allegedly found on the hard drive, there was very little indication that Mr. Abu Adas had subversive or violent tendencies. (Fitzgerald report, §42)

Just like Assem Hammoud:

Mother, neighbor describe terror suspect as 'peaceful', The Daily Star, July 10, 2006; Attack plans tied to suspect's computer, AP, July 10, 2006.


At 7/10/2006 12:18:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Nationalist Party said...

What is missing in all this write-up is noting of the information and facts about the middleman at the mosque and his link to the Mossad ring captured in Lebanon last month. By separating the two and isolating the middleman, investigators may face dead end and be perplexed by both cases being investigated rather than solving it all. Again need to pay attention to the brother who was an Israeli Agent, and who is that “foreign” man was. What does foreign mean? Arab, Westerner? It makes a lot of difference, casting some hue on both cases and investigation that otherwise will end up dead ender.

At 7/10/2006 02:33:00 PM, Blogger Metaz K. M. Aldendeshe said...

Another disturbing fact, is that why would that U. S. Jewish Ambassador to Lebanon will make such a an allegation that it was Hizbullah Intelligence unit behind discovering those Israeli-Jewish enemy agents, not the Lebanese Security.
More disturbing is this Jew Ambassador demands to the Lebanese Government that it must free these enemy agents immediately. Yet, even beyond disturbing and rather very upsetting is this Jew Ambassador, serving the interest of that evil Jewish State interests than the United States or representative of the American People demands and threats for Lebanon Government should it fail to immediately release those enemy agents thugs.


I think that Belgian Waffle head should looks very closely into all these cases and not ignore any thread that he feels unconnected, if he is seriously wants to resolve the Hariri and other bombing cases and not just bore us every 6 months with an elaborately produced, expensive production cost United Nation comedy show.

At 7/10/2006 02:33:00 PM, Blogger Metaz K. M. Aldendeshe said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7/10/2006 02:52:00 PM, Blogger Lebanese Pride said...

based on every article that you have written about hariri's assisination it's obivous (to you) that everyone is a suspect EXCEPT the syrians. maybe the falafel guy in corniche killed him? maybe a cat was crossing the street and wanted to assasinate him, or the israelis, or americans, or lebanese, or, or, or...but definately not the syrians (in your mind) just because you work and probably give head to your master assad the monkey does not mean the syrians are innocent, you f'n retard! landis you are a pro syrian cock sucker and your boss the cocksucker assad will soon have his nuts in the fire when the report is done, hahah, can't wait. btw...ask your "daddy" assad the jackass why he is such a coward and won't fire a shot to get his golan heights back?! cuz the Israelis would wipe your beloved syria off the f'n map, and i would join them. fuck you, fuck, syria, fuck assad, fuck ALL pro syrians, and FUCK ALL SYRIANS!!!!


At 7/10/2006 04:22:00 PM, Blogger t_desco said...

"BEIRUT: Assem Hammoud, the Lebanese man accused of involvement in a planned terrorist attack on New York, is not the head of the alleged terrorist cell, judicial sources told The Daily Star on Monday.

Hammoud, 31, "had an important role in the exposed terrorist network, but it was a Palestinian with European nationality who was the head of the gang," said a source close to investigation.

"Apparently this Palestinian visited Lebanon earlier this year and met with Hammoud before passing him on to a Syrian vegetable vendor called Abu Jamil, who trained Hammoud on how to use light weapons," the source added."

Students thought terror suspect was 'a drug addict'
The Daily Star

The 13 members of the terrorist cell were in contact with a Syrian called Jamil, but L'Orient-Le Jour described him as "un ingénieur électronicien, expert en explosifs et en voitures piégées", not as a "vegetable vendor"...:

"les membres de ce groupe étaient en relation avec un Syrien connu sous le nom de Jamil, un ingénieur électronicien, expert en explosifs et en voitures piégées. Il était chargé de l’armement et du financement des combattants qui se dirigeaient vers l’Irak".
(Arrestation de membres proches d’el-Qaëda venus de Syrie ?, L'Orient-Le Jour, 11 Février 2006)

Lebanese Pride, it would be nice to have a discussion with you, but as long as you use such foul language it is simply impossible as you yourself will probably understand after some reflection.

I did not mention Hussein Khattab because it remains totally unclear if he as a PFLP-GC member had any influence on or contact to Salafi groups like Jund al-Sham. He and his brother belonged to organizations with a very different outlook, after all. Having said that, this is certainly something an investigator should look into.

At 7/10/2006 05:02:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Nationalist Party said...

Here again, we are not trying to influence the investigation.

But anyone knows that the vegetable vendor was in fact a Syrian Citizen!!! Even if he himself claimed so, it could be a cover. After all, Eli Cohen, easily passed as Lebanese Thabet family member. Also, seriously doubt Syrian Mukhabrat will place an Electronic Engineer with experience in explosive to work as a vegetable vendor. They may place an informant in that position but the other idea is way too far fetched.

Anyway Lebanese always assume that all Syrian Akkabieh vendors in Lebanon to be Syrians and working for the Mukhbrat. Even my cousin wife says so, that is already a folk and urban legend, not fact.

We seriousely doubt that all the bombings committed in Lebanon, without any trace could have been carried by the Syrian Mukhabrat. I mean they are not that sophisticated to do that. If Syrian Mukhabrat or army is that capable, we cold have liberated the Syrian Golan long time ago. This is the work of high tech, very skilled people, with a lot of resources. Far fetched, what is the worry of the American Ambassador about Lebanon arrest of Mossad unit, we pay very close attention to his panic mode, even the U.S. State Department demanded the release of the men?????? That is very odd. Would Lebanon demand that the United State immediately release Jonathan Pollard and Franklin..Absurd and fisssssshyyy.

At 7/10/2006 05:15:00 PM, Blogger Metaz K. M. Aldendeshe said...

These were terrorists who have admitted to carrying bombings in Lebanon and agency to Mossad. The were caught with truck-loads of sophisticated gears and high explosive that was shown in the media publicly. This is much worse case than demanding the release of Polard and Franklin. They just committed espionage not terror acts.

Imagine, the United State arrest a group of Lebanese who were caught with a truck load of high tech gears and explosives, have admitted to committing terrorist acts in America and naming them, and relation to Lebanon foreign Intelligence unit. Would Lebanon Ambassador in the States get on the media and make threats for the United States to immediately release the men!! What is going on here! Why everyone is silent about the facts, any deals being cooked.

At 7/10/2006 08:53:00 PM, Blogger Akbar Palace said...

Let me begin by stating the obvious: a group that plots to blow up a truck in the Holland Tunnel in New York is also capable of blowing up a truck on Beirut's seafront.

Professor Landis,

Your comment below makes about as much sense as this:

"Let me begin by stating the obvious: a group that plots to wipe out a country in the Middle East is also capable of wiping out a country in South America."

At 7/10/2006 08:56:00 PM, Blogger Akbar Palace said...

More disturbing is this Jew Ambassador demands to the Lebanese Government that it must free these enemy agents immediately. Yet, even beyond disturbing and rather very upsetting is this Jew Ambassador, serving the interest of that evil Jewish State interests than the United States or representative of the American People demands and threats for Lebanon Government should it fail to immediately release those enemy agents thugs.

Gee, and I thought Zionists were racist. LOL!

At 7/11/2006 03:17:00 AM, Blogger t_desco said...

Akbar Palace,

Professor Landis is not the author of this blog entry. He is just so kind to allow readers like me (t_desco) to create their own blog entries, so you have to blame me...

Perhaps you missed one imporant piece of information, perhaps I should have stressed it more:

I combined the information in one newspaper report which linked the suspect in the New York bombing plot Assem Hammoud to Hani al-Shanti with another newspaper report which linked Hani al-Shanti to Khaled Taha, the friend of Abu Adas who had some role (as perpetrator or victim) in the Hariri killing. According to the report, the brother of Hassan Nabaa (the other person Assem Hammoud allegedly met with, according to the first report) "would bring suspicious bags" to Hani al-Shanti and Khaled Taha.

As far as I know, nobody else has linked the two articles, so this was "world exclusive"... ;-)

Given this link between the plotter of the New York bombing and persons who were possibly involved in the attack on Rafik Hariri (notably Khaled Taha, mentioned in several Mehlis reports), you will probably understand why I thought that it was "obvious" to draw this comparison.

At 7/11/2006 05:49:00 AM, Blogger Ausamaa said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7/11/2006 05:53:00 AM, Blogger Akbar Palace said...

Dear t_desco,

Excuse me for not understanding the varied intricacies of Middle East terrorism.

Al-Queda, Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah, the PFLP-GC, Islamic Jihad...they all seem to have a few things in common.

Of course we have Professor Landis here doing such an excellent job explaining how terror supporting governments like Syria are above it all.

At 7/11/2006 06:29:00 AM, Blogger Ausamaa said...

Some thing fishy is going on..!!

In Europe and other civilized societies, the US Intelligence agencies "themselves" went on conducting thier war-on-terror risking breaking the rules and enraging the people and sometimes the goverments of those western, anti-terrorist, cooperative and security-capable countries. The US Intelligence agencies teams are said to have "arrested", "kidnapped" and "whisked-out in secret" terror suspects. This happens in ERUOPEAN countries!

Great! But in Lebanon, on the other hand, in the incident of this Assem Hammoud; US Agencies are more cordial to (and confident of) the Fatfat Security Services to the degree that they "entrust" the act of "landing" and then "arresting" not only a mere suspect of belonging to Al-Qaida, but an actual "planner" and "organizer" who they say is "actually" involved in planning, organizing or whatever, of a clear and identefiable act of preparing the "blowing up" of the Holland Tunnel. As live and important Fish as they come, in other words. And they leave all this to the capable Lebanese Internal Security Forces of Fatfat & Co.!!!!

And, the guy still is in safe, well-secured and well-protected Lebanon!!!He has not been flown out on a secret flight from a secret base on a secret mission by a secret US jet to wherever those jets take their passengers nowadays!

By the way, is it true that the United Nations General Assembly is planning to hold a Special Session to vote on a resolution "encouraging" FRANCE to cooperate more with the Hariri invistigation Committee starting by handin over what-is-his-name, Zuhair al Siddiq, to Lebanese Authoreties and the Brammertz Committee????

Wow....! And some of our "brothers" still believe that the truth about Hariri assasination will come out one day! Through a US, sorry, a Security Council committee!

Lots of fishy things...

At 7/12/2006 08:15:00 AM, Blogger t_desco said...

"Hammoud was recruited to al-Qaeda in 2003 by a Syrian who later took him twice to Lebanon's largest Palestinian refugee camp, Ain al-Hilweh, for weapons training, Rifi said. He said the Syrian, who has not been arrested, told Hammoud to use the Internet, where last year FBI agents monitoring Web sites and chat rooms uncovered the plot."

Tunnel Plot Suspects Linked to Al-Qaeda, Washington Post, July 11, 2006

At 7/19/2006 08:06:00 PM, Blogger Joshua Fucking Landis said...

I am the fucked up so called professor, joshua Landis.


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