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#704735 - 04/18/02 01:31 PM Al Qaeda and PLO goals not the same!
Penny Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2943
Loc: San Juan Capistrano, CA
In one of his videotapes aired after 9-11, Bin Ladin tried to allign his efforts with those of Palestinians. But if Bin Ladin's problem is Jews/Israel or American foreign policy, why did Al Qaeda target the Cathedral of Notre Dame???? Why did they plan to tell people (just before they were to blow them up): You shall to hell, God willing?

Let's get this straight: Al Qaeda hates all things un-Muslim. It hates Jews. It hates Christians. It hates America. It hates Europe. And on and on and on! No one is safe.

Terrorism Trial May Provide Details of al Qaeda Network --- Frankfurt Cell Members Accused in Plot to Bomb Cathedral in Strasbourg --- Credit-Card Fraud and Drug Dealing
By Ian Johnson


04/16/2002
The Wall Street Journal Europe


A3
(Copyright (c) 2002, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)



BERLIN -- A trial starts today that could shed light on how al Qaeda ran a pan-European network of terrorism.
Appearing before court in Frankfurt are five men accused of planning to blow up one of Europe's best known churches: the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Strasbourg. The plot was foiled in December 2000, when units of Germany's GSG-9 police raided the men's apartment in Sigmund-Freud-Strasse. Police allege they found a bomb-making laboratory, a detonation device, fully automatic Scorpion assault rifles, 772 rounds of ammunition, $14,000 cash and fake passports. Also found was a homemade video of the cathedral and surrounding marketplace, with an Arabic voice-over saying "you shall go to hell, God willing."


The arrests came nine months before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, whose main participants lived and, investigators believe, largely planned their activities in Germany. Until now, however, few of the details of the Sept. 11 attack have been unearthed. Investigators, for example, still are uncertain how the men, who later piloted three of the four airplanes, made contact with al Qaeda, financed themselves or how extensive their contacts were with other al Qaeda members in Europe.
In some ways, the Frankfurt group is different from the Sept. 11 cell, according to investigators. Many of those arrested in Frankfurt and in subsequent raids across Europe had criminal records and the group allegedly supported itself through credit-card fraud and drug dealing. Police said they found 672 grams of "black Afghan" hashish while searching one apartment in Frankfurt.

By contrast, the Sept. 11 attackers, had almost spotless records and most were students, supporting themselves with student jobs, stipends or money from relatives.

Still, investigators have intriguing details that show how the Frankfurt group interacted with al Qaeda and with each other, giving an idea of how al Qaeda directed terrorist activities in Europe. The five defendants were based in three countries: Germany, France and Britain, but had close contacts, too, with an Italian cell that was later broken up by authorities, according to German investigators.

The German connection was centered on Aeurobui Beandali, a 26-year-old Algerian who had learned bomb-making in Afghanistan in 1998, according to investigators' evidence contained in a 160-page indictment. Mr. Beandali came to Germany as a teenager in 1992 and applied for political asylum. His request was denied and he went underground, allegedly dealing drugs and stealing for a living.

In early December 2000, three other Algerians, whom police believe are part of an al Qaeda organization called the "Salafist Group for Call and Combat", flew into Frankfurt to join Mr. Beandali. Salim Boukhari, 30, and Lamine Maroni, 31, flew in from London and had booked a return ticket for Jan. 4, indicating the planned attack would be carried out before then. Mr. Boukhari is believed to have illegally entered England in 1992 and was expelled but returned in 1998 with stolen identity papers.

The key to the arrests was Fouhad Sabour. The 37-year-old Algerian had been arrested in 1996 on charges of plotting an attack in the French city of Lille. He was released pending trial and disappeared, going to Pakistan and Serbia as a "holy warrior." He reappeared on French authorities' radar after he joined a French-Algerian propaganda newsletter and authorities began to track his movements. French authorities alerted German intelligence that Mr. Sabour was on his way to a meeting in Frankfurt and the Germans began surveillance when he arrived in early December.

Soon after linking up, the men rented an Opel Astra and bought themselves expensive suits from retailer Peek & Cloppenburg -- all paid for with allegedly stolen credit cards. Now properly outfitted, they traveled to cities such as Stuttgart, Cologne, Hamburg and Berlin to buy chemicals. Their shopping list included aluminum powder, acetone, sodium carbonate and 29 kilograms of potassium permanganate. They told one seller that they needed chemicals for a doctor in Africa, investigators say.

Later that month, two of them traveled to Strasbourg to make the video, which included the entire highway route from the nearby German resort town of Baden-Baden. The men had rented two apartments in Baden-Baden and investigators believe they were going to make the town their forward headquarters.

When the group reassembled Dec. 25 in Frankfurt, the German state attorney's office decided that it had gathered as much information as possible. The men were allegedly in the final preparation for their attack, although it remains unclear how they planned to deliver their bomb to the cathedral -- a car bomb is the most prevalent theory. Investigators called in the police to arrest the four men.

The fifth man on trial, Samir Karimou, a 33-year-old Algerian, was arrested several weeks later when police rounded up several asylum-seekers.

During their three weeks under German surveillance, the four men made several calls to an Afghan training camp, where, according to investigators, they talked to a representative of al Qaeda boss Osama bin Laden. They also called Italy, Spain and Belgium to report on their progress. Although they scrupulously used different mobile phones for different groups of callers and changed phone numbers often, police were still able to intercept numerous calls. After the arrests, two callers in Belgium said "half the group has been arrested in Germany."

The rest of the group soon was picked up, including six in Britain, where police found plans to produce Sarin nerve gas. The alleged leader, Mohammed Bensakhria, was later arrested in Spain. Mr. Bensakhria, whose nickname "Meliani" is the name investigators have given to the group, also had two apartments in Berlin. Searches there turned up equipment for making fake passports and credit cards.

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#704736 - 04/19/02 01:30 AM Re: Al Qaeda and PLO goals not the same!
David Burton Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1757
Loc: Coxsackie, New York
Thanks for this story Penny. I've been trying to follow events as closely as I can. I missed this one. But you didn't really say how the Al Qaeda differed from the PLO.
_________________________
David Burton's Blog
http://dpbmss041010.blogspot.com/

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#704737 - 04/19/02 08:09 AM Re: Al Qaeda and PLO goals not the same!
JBryan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/02
Posts: 9798
Loc: Oklahoma City
If you listen to the rhetoric coming from their clerics (memri.org is a good source for english translations) you will find that Al Quaeda and the PLO want the same thing. The destruction of all that is non-islamic. The PLO is just starting at a different point (Israel) than Al Quaeda (America).
_________________________
Better to light one small candle than to curse the %&#$@#! darkness.

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#704738 - 04/19/02 10:35 AM Re: Al Qaeda and PLO goals not the same!
Penny Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2943
Loc: San Juan Capistrano, CA
JBryan,
I did consider that. My original thinking is that the PLO is so focused on Israel that they really don't have time or energy for hating anyone else. Then, I considered that the PLO may turn Al Qaeda-like if given the chance. But there's the kicker. IF. I don't think the Jews will be destroyed. So we are faced with two mindsets.

penny

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#704739 - 04/19/02 10:52 AM Re: Al Qaeda and PLO goals not the same!
JBryan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/02
Posts: 9798
Loc: Oklahoma City
Your point is well taken.
_________________________
Better to light one small candle than to curse the %&#$@#! darkness.

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#704740 - 04/19/02 12:04 PM Re: Al Qaeda and PLO goals not the same!
Renauda Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/02
Posts: 5066
You may want to have a look at some the on-line material from Richard Bulleitt, a professor of History at Columbia. He is an Islamic specialist and has some very interesting, albeit revisionist, theories about what is going on. I recently attended a lecture of his at the university on this very subject and found his ideas exceptionally interesting.

One of the three basic tenets of his hypothesis is that in Islam there has historically been a very different means of limiting secular power tha in the West. We limit the secular power by controlling the purse strings- that goes back to the Roman times and continues throughout European history. In Islam on the other hand, secular power is kept in check by Islamic Law and the authority of clerics. In other words a tyrant cannot arise when the Sharia is in force. If I correctly understand the basis of the theory, its the old battle between idealism and materialism and is intertwined with the Western notion of the separation of curch and state. Tyranny in the Islamic world prior to the arrival of Napoleon into Egypt, resulted only when there was a breakdown in clerical authority. The arrival the colonial powers into the Islamic world undermined this traditional relationship and created secular powers that sought to control local clerical authority over the people. Tyranny was the result.

What we have today is that individuals such as Bin Laden and to some extent Arafat (although I personally believe that at heart he is a Marxist -Leninist and only drapes himself in Islamic piety)are attempting to proclaim themselves representative of Islamic Law as did clerics at one time, in order rid Islam of its tyrannical demons. The West, and the US in particular, is regarded as the material foundation upon which these tyrannies maintain power.
_________________________
"The older the fiddle, the sweeter the music"~ Augustus McCrae

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#704741 - 04/19/02 12:47 PM Re: Al Qaeda and PLO goals not the same!
JBryan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/02
Posts: 9798
Loc: Oklahoma City
There is a lot to what you are saying here and I have heard it said that the beginnings of this region's decent into despotism can be traced back to the dismantling of the Caliphate at the end of the Ottoman Empire.
_________________________
Better to light one small candle than to curse the %&#$@#! darkness.

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