Blair sagt,die Beweise reichen aus- Bericht der

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Blair sagt,die Beweise reichen aus- Bericht der

 
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Sunday Times:

The proof they did not reveal

At 6ft 4in he is a big man, with a long black beard and furtive eyes. The price on his head in the FBI wanted poster is also imposing: $5m (£3.36m) is the bounty offered for Muhammad Atef.
The FBI is offering the fortune because Atef is one of the closest allies of Osama Bin Laden. He is also, it emerged this weekend, one of the key links between the terrorist chief and the suicide attacks in America on September 11.
The vast electronic eavesdropping operation of western intelligence has revealed, albeit belatedly, that Atef was the likely "mastermind" behind the meticulous planning of the operation, and conveyed the order for its execution. This is believed to form a key part of the evidence that has convinced leaders, both within Britain and overseas, that Bin Laden was responsible for the atrocities, but which has been withheld from public release for security reasons.
For more than a decade Atef has been a loyal follower of Bin Laden, rising to sit on the military committee of Al-Qaeda, the terrorist network. He takes "primary responsibility", according to the CIA, for the training of new members at camps in Afghanistan.
The ties extend beyond a shared ideology: in January, in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, Bin Laden's eldest son married Atef's daughter. This was more than the union of two families. It was a fusion between two of the world's most wanted men.

The FBI believes Atef, who also goes by the names Sheikh Taseer Abdullah and Abu Hafs al-Masri, is Bin Laden's military planner. Like his master, Atef is contemptuous of American leaders and military power. "They are only human beings whose power has been exaggerated because of their huge media and the control they exert over the world's media," he told an Arab journalist in 1999.
It was he who guided the bombers who blew up the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, killing 224 people and injuring thousands more. Evidence presented during the trial of the bombers showed Atef had held meetings with the conspirators in Peshawar, northern Pakistan, and kept in touch with them by satellite phone.
The ghostly trails of other electronic communications are coming back to haunt him. Last week sources at both MI6 and the CIA independently revealed to The Sunday Times that "technical intelligence" - believed to be intercepted telephone conversations and electronic bank transfers - implicated Atef in the suicide jet attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The information comes after a 21-page dossier released by the British government last week was coy about its key points, accusing Bin Laden of being responsible for the attacks. "Since September 11," it stated, "we have learnt that one of Bin Laden's closest and most senior associates was responsible for the detailed planning of the attacks." That man, intelligence sources say, is Atef. If so, it is one of the vital "missing links" that ties Bin Laden and his network to the attacks.
Osama Bin Laden, with his closest aide Ayman al-Zawahiri, right, who masterminded the US attacks

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The British government's dossier was oblique about another plank of the case against Bin Laden. "There is evidence of a very specific nature relating to the guilt of Bin Laden and his associates that is too sensitive to release," it stated.
Nobody except those who have seen the security reports can be sure what this evidence is. But one possibility emerged last week: an informed Whitehall source revealed that, among the proof collected, were intercepted exchanges between Bin Laden and his lieutenants, made shortly before September 11.
Two are of overriding significance. In one exchange, Bin Laden is said to have contacted an associate thought to be in Pakistan. The conversation referred to an incident that would take place in America on, or around, September 11 and discussed possible repercussions.
In a separate instance Bin Laden contacted another associate, thought to have been in Afghanistan. They discussed the scale and effect of a forthcoming operation; Bin Laden praised his colleague for his part in the planning.
Neither communication specifically mentioned the World Trade Center or the Pentagon - Bin Laden would never be so careless. Rather, it is the timing, context and nature of the exchanges, according to the intelligence source, that make it clear Bin Laden was discussing the suicide attacks.
The problem for Tony Blair, as he sought to press the case against Bin Laden last week, was that the information is sensitive in more ways than one. First, releasing full details could compromise the source or method of the intercepts.
Second, elements of the evidence were obtained not by British or US intelligence, but by a Middle Eastern country whose identity is not revealed for security reasons.
Whatever the source, the evidence is mounting. In a further development yesterday the German magazine Der Spiegel claimed that the FBI had obtained a video of talks between two of the hijackers and a man said to be Bin Laden's chief bodyguard. The trail that leads from the wreckage of ground zero in Manhattan to Bin Laden and his bases in Afghanistan is becoming clearer by the day.
At the US National Security Agency, the most secretive and powerful such service in the world, supercomputers hum around the clock, hoping to intercept or identify other communications between the hijackers or their commanders. Suspects' names, key words, phone numbers, e-mail addresses - all are noted and coded into "watch lists", then fed into the system.
The massively powerful data-crunchers are part of the Echelon surveillance system that links with similar computers at Britain's GCHQ in Cheltenham. It sifts billions of bits of information, quietly siphoned off from the satellites that transmit electronic communications. When a match occurs, it is automatically logged.
There are language difficulties and some material must be scrutinised by old-fashioned methods; it relies, too, on the watch lists being accurate. But at its best, officers need only to tap in a code to find out what has been intercepted relating to a specific subject or person.
Up on the 11th floor of the FBI headquarters in Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, other experts are also intent on their screens. This is the hub of the FBI's computer forensics team. As the world's biggest manhunt drives on, more than 50 specialists have been drafted in from other government agencies to help sift through the electronic trail that investigators believe may hold the firmest clues as to the planning and command structure of the terrorist attacks.
From public libraries, internet companies, banks and credit-card firms, FBI agents are gathering records and e-mails. Some messages, in a mixture of English, Arabic and Urdu, have yielded "operational details" of the attack, according to one report.
Other items are tantalising but obscure: a notice retrieved from a Yahoo! financial discussion board was posted at 6.59pm on the day before the attacks. It read: "to the deapest part called the center of the earth by this wekend north east region will be destroyed new providance soon to fall apart [sic]".
More importantly, internet service providers can be used to track activity on individual accounts, even if they have registered anonymously.
This, however, also has its flaws. Although some suspects are known to have used the net to buy airline tickets, or to study the use of crop-dusting planes for chemical attack, the most sensitive communications may have been in code, encrypted in pornography and other material, making the hunt for such information even harder.
Last week, though, investigators had a breakthrough: in France, detectives unearthed in the apartment of another terror suspect, Kamel Daoudi, an Arabic notebook that some believe may be an Al-Qaeda codebook. Daoudi, a computer student, is suspected of plotting bomb attacks on Nato headquarters and the American embassy in Paris.
The "codebook", still under examination, may have been used to hide messages in the welter of internet traffic, using a technique known as steganography. Electronic photographs and music files consist of thousands of "bits" of data in which secret information can be concealed. To the casual observer or listener, nothing is noticeable. Only if you know where to look is it easy to find the message.
Nevertheless, through the blizzard of information and false leads, investigators are piecing together a picture of the last days of the hijackers. Somewhere in their seemingly mundane routine of takeaway meals and cheap motels may lie the link that will not only bolster the case against Bin Laden but also help prevent other atrocities that many security advisers believe are imminent.
WHILE a clearer picture of all four hijacking teams is emerging, it is the background, travel plans and lifestyle of Mohammed Atta - the oldest hijacker, and believed to be the ringleader - that are still yielding the best evidence.
As well as discovering instructions for the last days before the attack, a will, maps, and aircraft training manuals in Atta's luggage (which failed to make his connecting flight out of Boston airport), investigators are now believed to have found records of travel and financial transactions that show Atta was in Afghanistan in 1999, establishing another link to Bin Laden.
According to reports in America yesterday, the CIA has acquired evidence that Atta met senior Al-Qaeda figures, including Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and one of Bin Laden's closest allies. After his visit to Afghanistan, Atta reported his passport stolen, perhaps to cover his tracks. So, too, did another of the hijackers, Marwan al-Shehhi.
In another intriguing twist, it has been discovered that in early 2000 Atta travelled to Prague, where he met an Iraqi intelligence officer. Czech government sources yesterday named him as Ahmed al-Ani, a former consul at the Iraqi embassy.
Soon afterwards Atta and al-Shehhi entered America and, in July, started pilot training in Florida. In February 2001 they rented a small plane and Atta made inquiries about crop dusters. Over the summer he and other suspects made several trips to Las Vegas, staying in cheap hotels and meeting in internet cafes and pizza restaurants.
The gambling mecca was ideal cover for a group of Islamic terrorists to meet inconspicuously. They played their parts, even frequenting a strip club called the Olympic Bar, according to FBI reports.
Atta and al-Shehhi, and two other suspected hijackers, then checked into the same hotel in Deerfeld Beach, Florida. They all bought tickets for American Airlines. The time was drawing near. By September 8 Atta was in Laurel, Maryland, where he went into a grocery store and wired $2,000 (£1,350) to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Then he did the same from an outlet called Mail Box Etc. Separately, three other suspected hijackers were also wiring money - $5,000 each - to the UAE.
On September 10 Atta and one of the others, Abdulaziz al-Omari, drove a rented Nissan to Portland, Maine. It was the last evening of their lives.
The next day Atta, al-Omari and their two accomplices were all on AA flight 11, the first plane to crash into the World Trade Center. At almost the same time, according to Federal investigators, the man who had collected the money wired to the UAE left on a flight for Karachi, Pakistan. Who was he? Why did he leave? His name is thought be Mustafa Ahmad.
Intelligence agencies have files on him with links to Bin Laden that go back a decade or more. He is believed to be the paymaster who ran the finances of the suicide attacks. Together with Atef, he is emerging as a key middleman between the doctrine of Bin Laden and the frontline activities of the hijackers.
Close aide: Muhammad Atef plotted with Bin Laden
AT THE Capitol buildings in Washington last week officials from the FBI, CIA and Defence Intelligence Agency were briefing members of Congress. They had "new information" that indicated further attacks were highly likely, especially if America strikes at Afghanistan.To this end, the US has been contacting security services across the world in an effort to identify and locate any accomplices or associates of the hijackers.
At the heart of this global manhunt is a new list, drawn up by the FBI, of 370 suspects and vital witnesses. Obtained by The Sunday Times, after inadvertently appearing on a Finnish government website, the list details nationalities, aliases, phone numbers and e-mail accounts, and paints a far broader picture of the extent and progress of the manhunt than has been publicly revealed.
Some entries offer tantalising leads: one Saudi Arabian from Jeddah who appears on the list used the e-mail address lastday11@hotmail.com. It is not clear whether the account was registered before or after September 11.
Those identified originate from 30 countries, with 53 coming from Saudi Arabia, five from Egypt, four from Syria, four from Lebanon, four from Morocco, four from Kuwait, three from France, and two from Germany. Some have British connections. Djamel Beghal was arrested earlier this year in Dubai and is said to have confessed to taking orders from Bin Laden to bomb the American embassy in France.
The new list details how he once lived in a three-bedroom house in Rose Street, Leicester. Neighbours said Beghal and his family had quit in a hurry a year ago, leaving washing on the line.
Another notable name on the list is that of Lotfi Raissi, an Algerian pilot, who was first tracked down and interviewed by The Sunday Times in Colnbrook, Berkshire, a fortnight ago. After being arrested by armed police, he has been accused of being a leading trainer of the hijackers and is fighting extradition.
Zacarias Moussaoui, the suspected 20th hijacker and another entry on the FBI's list, currently under arrest in America, also had strong links to Britain. It now seems clear he regularly attended an Islamic prayer group in London that, until last year, met at the Four Feathers youth club near Baker Street. The group was led by an extremist cleric called Omar Mahmood Abu Omar, better known under his alias of Abu Qatada.
A political refugee in Britain since 1993, Qatada, 40, has twice been convicted for his role in terrorist acts in Jordan. He was arrested in February, with nine other men, during Operation Odin, a Scotland Yard investigation into a suspected Islamic terrorist cell in London. Qatada, now free, still lives in London, to the consternation of the French security services, which are alarmed at the ease with which extremist cells have been able to develop in the capital.
As America and Britain marshal their forces around Afghanistan, the hunt goes on for cells still lying low, not helped by an embarrassing admission from police in Hamburg, who said yesterday that one of their key suspects, known only as Mohammed B, was prematurely released and is now missing. Will there be more attacks? Where will they occur?
Nobody can be sure but, as a senior German intelligence officer said last week: "If one looks at how Al-Qaeda has responded to other attacks, it has carefully observed the weak points of each country. The wrong people do not make certain phone calls. Britain is a better place to operate than Germany, and to lose one's identity. It's much easier to travel.
"All the clues lead to London. All the roads lead to London. You find every faction of the Islamic fundamentalists in London."

www.sunday-times.co.uk/


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