Fat Steve's Blatherings

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A History of Plamegate So Far: Part II, the Karim Clan Question


        There's a fair amount of evidence that Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda were behind the 1993 WTC bombing, and the 1995 plot to blow up eleven U.S. jet liners.  There's also reason to believe that Saddam was involved in 9/11.  This post will set out some of that evidence, focusing on the "Karim clan," an extended family of Baluch tribesmen from Pakistan who allegedly have done most of al-Qaeda's attacks on the U.S.

At Length:

        This is part two of my Plamegate history. Part one can be found here.  The story to be told here is lengthy and complicated.  Too lengthy and complicated, so I'll put the much too long version up elsewhere, and radically condense here.

        On April 27th, 1968, a Pakistani named Mohammed Abdul Karim was living in Kuwait with his wife other family.  According to Kuwaiti records, Mrs. Karim gave birth that day to a son, Abdul Basit Mahmud Abdul Karim.  Abdul Karim is aka Abdul Basit; I'll call him Abdul Karim consistently, his parents and siblings the Karim family, and his family plus uncles, cousins and so on the Karim clan.

        Abdul Karim grew up in Kuwait, and later graduated from the West Glamorgan Institute of Higher Education, United Kingdom, with a degree in electronics.  He then returned to Kuwait, and got a job in a Kuwaiti ministry.

        On August 2nd, 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, which he termed the "nineteenth province of Iraq."  All foreign embassies were ordered out.  Now, Pakistani embassies keep records of Pakistanis resident abroad.  They should have had records of the Karim family.  But somehow, in the move, the records got lost or stolen — or at least, so says the Paki government.  It's possible they're lying.

        As for Kuwait's government's records of the Karim family, they record that they all decided to emigrate on August 26th, and head for Baluchistan province in Pakistan, from which they supposedly spring.  Considering that years after the war many Kuwaitis who had disappeared while Saddam was occupying the place still could not be found, that detailed record is suspicious.  Later, when the Karim family and Karim clan's whereabouts became of interest, no one could find them, with a few possible exceptions we'll get to.

        Around the beginning of 1991, a man showed up in the Philippines who was called 'the chemist.'  He later became notorious under the name "Ramzi Ahmed Yousef," the 'mastermind' of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.  It is the official contention of the U.S. government that "Ramzi Yusef" (I'll drop the quotes hereafter) is really Abdul Basit Kasim, and that Kasim's uncle, Khalid Shiekh Mohammed, aided Abdul/Ramzi in various terrorist plots, culminating in Khalid's overall direction of the Sept. 11th attacks.  Also involved, say the federales, were various other members of the Karim clan, nephews and cousins of Khalid, including two of Abdul Basit Karim's elder brothers.  In fact, the U.S. government contends that these guys were all members of al-Qaeda, and they planned most of the attacks al-Qaeda ever carried out against the U.S.

        But there exists a fair number of terrorism students who don't believe a word of this.  They think the alleged members of the Karim clan are imposters.  In this theory, when Saddam occupied Kuwait, he caused the Pakistani records of the Karim clan to vanish, and altered files the Kuwaitis had on the Karims.  The real Karims are dead, which is why you can't find any of them unless they're in al-Qaeda.

        The point is fundamental.  Yusef Ramzi definitely planned the WTC bombing, made the bomb for it, and recruited many of the conspirators.  He later considered assassinating President Clinton, and tried to blow up eleven U.S. airliners in one day over the Pacific.  The supposed Khalid did plan the 9/11 attacks.  If Saddam did set up "legends" (false identities) for the people who are presently claiming to be in the Karim clan, then the phony Karims are either Iraqi agents, or agents of an Iraqi ally.  It follows that Saddam was involved, directly or indirectly, in the vast majority of attempted and actual terrorist operations against the U.S. undertaken by al-Qaeda, and that Saddam helped kill the vast majority of all U.S. terrorism victims.

        So what's the evidence on identity?  On the side of 'Yusef Ramzi is so Abdul Karim,' we have the Kuwaiti records, which contain Yusef Ramzi's fingerprints.  There are also alleged to be fingerprint records of Abdul Basit Karim in Britain, taken during his schooling in '86-'89.  These are said to match Yusef Ramzi's too.

        On the other side is some interesting circumstantial evidence.  First, only five weeks after the WTC bombing, the FBI officially declared that there was no foreign involvement in the plot.  Kind of hard to believe that the question could be settled that quickly.  Rather easy to believe that what the Clinton Administration wanted to believe, they convinced themselves of.  By the way, many of the FBI agents actually working the case speculated or concluded that Iraq was involved.  Were they all wrong?

        In 1992, Ramzi Yusef definitely had photocopies of two Pakistani passports for Abdul Basit Karim, one dated 1984, the other 1988.  He went to Pakistan's New York consulate and asked for a new passport, saying the original had been lost.  They gave him a temporary, good for a one-way trip to Pakistan, where he was to straighten things out permanently.  The photocopies ended up as evidence in U.S. terrorism trials.  According to Laurie Mylroie, they show completely different signatures.  Also, the entries for the Karim family place of origin are different in both documents.  Something is wrong there.

        Mylroie has been questioning the Yusef=Karim story since at least 1995.  She says that photographs of Ramzi Yusef were shown to people who knew him in Britain, and they didn't think it was Karim, although there was a resemblance.  She also says a reporter found a document listing Karim's height as 5'8", while she was told by two of Karim's teachers that his height was around 5'6" to maybe 5'8".  Ramzi Yousef is over 5'11" tall.

        Well, though Mylroie raised the identity issue in 1995, the U.S. government has never brought any Britons who knew Karim to the U.S. to confront Ramzi, who is in prison here.  As for the fingerprints records, so far our only source is a Newsweek story, and Newsweek has been known to make a mistake or two (can you say 'Koran flushed down the toilet, kiddies?').  The story is also interesting in that the records were supposedly not looked for till October of 2001, when Paul Wolfowitz made such a fuss that the CIA sent former director James Woolsey to Britain on a secret mission to compare them.  Frankly, that story stinks on ice.  Why wait six to eight years to confirm Ramzi Yousef's identity (I've read an FBI file, and the Bureau was fanatically thorough about such identity questions, when there was much less reason).  Why keep an identity check secret at all?  Why send a former CIA director to do a routine job like this?  And if there was a delay of six to eight years, with Mylroie repeatedly suggesting Abdul Basit Karim's fingerprint record was altered (and there was), why should we put much credence in this latest record, assuming it exists at all?

        Something is wrong here.  Either Newsweek is full of it, or the U.S. government didn't want to face the possibility that Yousef was not Karim.  Or both.

        It's also worth noting that the people alleged to be members of the Karim clan are all pretty certainly members of the Baluchi tribe, which exists in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and across the Gulf in Oman.  The Baluchis are Sunni, and known for their hostility to Shia Muslims, or so says Mylroie.  She also claims that since the Iran/Iraq war, Saddam has had close connections with the Baluchis, and used them against Iran.  This makes the idea of Pakistani Baluchis becoming agents of Iraq more plausible.

        There are other interesting issues surrounding Ramzi Yusef and the WTC bombing.  Originally, the plan was not, allegedly to bomb the North Tower, but to kill a trial judge, a Brooklyn Assemblyman, and random Jews.  The plan originated with El Sayid Nosair, who assassinated Rabbi Mier Kahane in 1990 and ended in Attica.  Nosair was officially regarded as a lone Islamist nut, and the bomb manuals found in his apartment were disregarded, along with the photos of potential target buildings.  Eventually, Nosair was found to have connections with members of the Islamic Center of Tucson, which was in turn connected with the Pakistan-based "Office of Services," Makhtab al Khadimat in Arabic.  If you've never heard of the Makhtab al Khadimat, it's because it later changed it's name.  It's now known as al-Qaeda.  You'll find much more on those connections here, and it's worth reading in full.

        One of the participants in Nosair's original 'kill the Jews and the judge' bombing plan (assuming the original plan was as described; if Nosair was suggesting a spectacular target like the WTC, his admirers have every reason to lie about it) was Mohammad Salameh, a young Palestinian with terrorist relatives in Iraq.  After he agreed to help in the bombings, Salameh started calling his uncle in Baghdad, presumably asking for advice (Salameh made 46 calls in two months, till his service was discontinued for non-payment of the four thousand dollars in overseas charges).  Eleven days after his first call, an Iraqi-American raised in Baghdad applied for a U.S. passport in Jordan.  His name was Abdul Rahman Yasin.  Yasin's older brother Masab Yasin lived in Jersey City, in an apartment directly above Mohammad Salameh.  Mohammad and Masab were so tight that they had an intercom connecting the two apartments.

        On September 1st, 1992, Ramzi Yousef and a man named Ahmed Ajaj arrived in the United States from Karachi, Pakistan.  Ajaj was traveling on a phony Swedish passport, and his luggage contained fake passports, fake IDs, a guide to lying to immigration inspectors, notebooks filled with bomb recipes, bomb-making manuals, how-to videotapes concerning weaponry, and a surveillance training guide.  Ajaj attracted attention and got arrested for passport fraud, going to prison for six months.  Yousef had what appeared to be a valid Iraqi passport with stamps showing his trip started in Baghdad.  Because he lacked a visa for the U.S., he was fingerprinted and charged with illegal entry, but allowed to roam free pending an asylum hearing.

        Ramzi Yousef promptly moved to Masab Yasin's apartment.  How the allegedly Kuwaiti-born Paki made this connection with an Iraqi has never been explained that I can find.  Soon, Masab's brother Abdul Rahman Yasin showed up too.  And Yusef was working on Mohammad Salameh, or so Salameh and Abdul Yasin later claimed.  Their story is that Ramzi came up with the WTC bombing plot all on his own, and talked the Yasins, Salameh, and the other conspirators into it.  Those pictures of the Empire State Building and the Twin Towers in Nosair's apartment were just a coincidence.

        In November, after the election of Bill Clinton, Nosair and Co. started acquiring bomb making supplies.  They were guided by Ahmed Ajaj's bomb making manuals.  The feds had seized them, but a U.S. District judge ordered them returned.  Still in prison for passport fraud, Ajaj had them delivered to his friend Ramzi.  Also in November, Ramzi filed a police report.  He claimed he was Abdul Basit Karim, and produced the passport photocopies I've mentioned as evidence.

        On December 31st, 1992, Ramzi went to the Pakistani consulate with the 'I'm Abdul Basit Karim, and I've lost my passport' story.  The Pakis gave him travel document valid for travel to Pakistan only, expiring in six months.

        On January 25th, 2003, five days after Bill Clinton took office, a Pashtun Pakistani named Mir Amir Kasi committed a terrorist act.  Kasi, who was using the false name Kansi, shot up cars near CIA headquarters, killing two and permanently injuring three.  The next day, he flew to JFK International. At JFK he took a plane to Karachi.  Once back in Pakistan, he may have hid out for a while in the Lahore, Pakistan headquarters of headquarters of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), a Muslim terrorist group.  Then he appears to have traveled to Quetta, Baluchistan Province, Pakistan, from which he slipped across the border into Afghanistan, where he could hide among his fellow Pashtun tribesmen.  (Later captured, he was convicted of murder in 1997, and executed in 2002.  Rot in Hell, Kasi.)

        On February 26th, Yusef and his scum bombed the North Tower of the World Trade Center, intending to knock it down into the South Tower, and thus kill tens of thousands.  By God's grace, only six died, though a thousand were injured by smoke inhalation.  That night, Yusef was driven to JFK International by Salameh.  At JFK he took a plane to Karachi.  Once back in Pakistan, he may have hid out for a while in the Lahore, Pakistan headquarters of headquarters of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), a Muslim terrorist group.  Then he appears to have traveled to Quetta, Baluchistan Province, Pakistan, from which he slipped across the border into Iran, where he could hide among his fellow Baluchi tribesmen.  Yes, aside from going to Iran, his escape route appears identical to Kasi's.  Can you say "dry run?"

        Oh, in the days just before and after Kasi's crime, Masab Yasin's phone, which was an unlisted number in a phony name, was used to call a Islamabad, Pakistan business office twice, when it was closed.  Just after the WTC bombing, Masab Yasin's phone was used to call the same Islamabad business office twice, when it was closed.  If you're having trouble saying "dry run," practice!

        As for Ahmed Rahman Yansi, he departed the U.S. for Jordan a day or two after Yusef left for Pakistan.  He ended in Iraq, where he was granted a house, stipend, and asylum till at least 2002.  He remains at large.

        Ramzi Yusef later tried to assassinate Pakistan's female Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto with a truck bomb, but was foiled by police.  Yusef may have been involved in a terrorist attack in Iran that killed twenty-six and wounded two hundred.  He finally ended up in Manila, where he was working on a three phase plot.  In phase one, John Paul II would be assassinated.  In phase two, eleven U.S. jets would explode over the Pacific, killing thousands.  In phase three, at least one plane would be smashed into CIA headquarters, but if more pilots could be recruited, there would be multiple targets.  Planning for this involved the man who claimed to be Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the uncle of Abdul Basit Karim.  Filipino police foiled this plot, and captured a laptop with evidence of the plot and many plotters.  "Khalid" escaped, though, and decided that the logistics of bombing airplanes was just too complicated.  So he expanded the last phase of the plan into the total idea.  Thus was born 9/11.

        The current official position of the U.S. government is that this one group of eight or so Pakistani Baluchis was responsible for almost all the deaths al-Qaeda managed to inflict on the U.S., that it never had any connection with Saddam Hussein's regime, and that anyone who thinks differently is a paranoid fool.  But given the times the CIA and FBI have screwed up, their failure to stop these terrorist plots, and the mass of unexplained evidence, I remain unconvinced.  I'd say it's slightly better than even that Saddam was in these plots up to his neck.

          And I'm almost certain that these questions have not been adequately or HONESTLY investigated.  There will be more to come on that.



  • "By the way, many of the FBI agents actually working the case speculated or concluded that Iraq was involved. Were they all wrong?"

    They also believed the Serbs were involved, and they were all wrong.

    "He ended in Iraq, where he was granted a house, stipend, and asylum till at least 2002. He remains at large."

    This has not been verified, only Dick Cheney cited this intelligence, and given his track record i will wait for more evidence to be shown. It is quite probable that Yasin was put under wraps when he got back to Iraq so the reigme would not be blamed for his attacks. He is most likely dead now, a minor player nothing more.

    It's amazing that even though Iraqi intelligence did not have the capability to engage in long-term planning or ops, even though they could not assassinate former President Bush, couldn't recurit a simple suicide bomber to take out Radio Free Europe, their capacities so severely limited by the first Gulf War yet somehow could create a "legend" that could attack the US at will. This "legend" was so disciplined that he didn't need orders or directions from Iraq, nor any contact with them at all. Not only that but he remained so loyal to Saddam that even when his "sponsor" has been defeated, and he sits in jail for 240 years he still will not confess his "true intentions".

    We have KSM, al-Ani, Ramzi, Saddam all in custody and have even tortured some of them. If Saddam had links to the 1993 WTC attack certainly there would be more evidence in the IIS documents the US has unearthed, or the tortyred AQ terrorists would have confessed.

    Ramzai Yousef is Abdul Karim--the difference in height could have been from an older document (when Karim was younger).
    That he is a Pakistani Blauchi is concidental. If he was a Lebanese Shiite does that mean Iran used him?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:12 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home