The Killing of a Pope & 4,000+ Passengers
Bojinka - Part 1
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Why We Should Expect Another 9/11
Article #7 – Bojinka - Part 1
The Killing of a Pope & 4,000+ Passengers
The ambitions of “Operation Bojinka” were, indeed, truly ambitious. They included the killing of Pope John Paul II in Manila (Phase I) and the destruction of 11 American airliners returning to the United States from Asia, killing 4,000+ passengers and halting international travel indefinitely (Phase II).
Phase III called for the commandeering of American airliners within the United States and flying them into tall buildings. Sound familiar?
Osama bin Laden
Operation “Bojinka” was massive in its scope, depth and detail. It is the only plotted terrorist act or series of acts ever that involved more than one ‘mastermind.’ It included five: Osama bin Laden – primary funder, RAY - the First World Trade Center Bombing, Terry Nichols – Oklahoma City Bombing, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad – The Second World Trade Center Bombing – 9/11 and Hambali – Bali Bombings.
Having kinda sorta blown up the World Trade Center on 26 February 1993, the second anniversary of the ‘liberation’ of Kuwait City by American and Allied Forces, Ramzi Ahmed Youssef a.k.a. (RAY) was back in the Philippines. He was funded by Mohammad Khalifa, brother-in-law to Osama bin Laden, who had set up the Islamic International Relief Organization on 20 September 1991. His Afghan war buddy, Abu Bakr Janjalani, and his Abu Sayyaf Group helped to supply housing, protection and other amenities. Abu Sayyaf members also obligingly cased both the Cebu and Manila international airports for future possible terrorist acts.
Operational ‘Bojinka’ was birthed, beginning in July, 1992, plotted and planned in 1993 - 1994 and was set to kickoff in January, 1995.
It is extremely important to remember that 9/11 was not a one off, stand-alone, isolated event. 9/11 was merely Phase III of a plan that began in 1992 and culminated in 2001. Sadly, we are forced to conclude that our opponents are both persistent and patient. Setbacks don’t phase them; they just try harder the next time. And, for them, there is always a next time.
By early, 1994, Mohammad had moved to the Philippines from Pakistan. That spring, RAY was training 20 Abu Sayyaf recruits in Basilan, Philippines. In May, he returned to Manila and on May 22nd set off two bombs during the Miss Universe Pageant. Roughly ten days later, on June 2nd, Murad and Hambali established Konsojaya Company in Malaysia to funnel funds to Manila. After the Miss Universe pageant, RAY left town for a while, returning to Manila in September, 1994.
He was just in time. Shortly after his arrival, he was visited by emissaries of the Government of the Sudan. President Clinton was scheduled to visit the Philippines in November. The Sudanese requested that RAY assassinate him while he was there. Whether he declined or was not able to pull it off has not been determined. Clinton arrived on November 12th. The following day, RAY tested a new improved bomb on a Wendy’s restaurant in Manila. It still needed further improvements.
Ten days later, on November 23rd, Terry Nichols arrived in Cebu City from the United States to visit his current wife, who was attending Southwestern University. His ex-wife had driven him to the airport in Las Vegas so he could catch his connecting flights. He left behind a paper bag including a to-do list, a life insurance policy, a letter addressed to her, a letter addressed to Timothy McVeigh in care of his sister and a group of keys. He also left behind his son, who kept telling his mother on the return trip home that: “He would never see his dad again.” The letter to his ex-wife began:
“This letter would be for the purpose of my death.”
Obviously, Nichols had more on his mind than just visiting his current wife.
The Pope’s visit was rapidly approaching and RAY ramped up his activities. December was a busy month. On the 1st, Murad, on RAY’s instruction, bombed a theatre in Manila, testing how his explosive worked when placed under a seat. On December 8th, RAY moved into the Dona Josefa apartments, which bordered the route of the Pope’s cavalcade and was only a few hundred yards from the Vatican’s embassy.
Testing out Phase II of operation Bojinka, RAY boarded PAL (Philippine Air Lines) Flight 434 in Manila, bound for Cebu City. En route he retired to the lavatory, assembled his bomb and then returned to his seat, placing the bomb beneath it. He deplaned in Cebu City and the flight continued on to Japan. Over Okinawa the bomb detonated. One passenger was killed and several wounded. The plane managed to make an emergency landing.
After deplaning RAY moved into a boarding house near Southwestern University. It is indicated, though not confirmed, that he met again with Nichols at that time. A few days later, he returned to Manila and settled into the Dona Josefa apartment.
On the day after Christmas, Murad arrived in Manila and moved into the apartment. He and RAY began to put the finishing touches on ‘Bojinka’ and brew their bombs.
The new year, 1995, saw RAY and Murad busily at work. RAY’s uncle, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, knowing his nephew’s explosive history with creative chemistry, had moved to different digs.
RAY’s track record with combustible chemicals had not been good. It had necessitated repeated runs to numerous hospitals and eye surgery in Iran. In September, 1993 while attempting to blow up Benazir Bhutto, the periodic Prime Minister of Pakistan, he managed to detonate the bomb he was assembling only a few miles from the Bhutto compound. He remodeled his house and himself in the process, requiring two hospitals to make the repairs. He convalesced in a ‘martyr’s house,’ jointly owned by Munit Ahmed and Osama bin Laden.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammad had moved out just in time. Smoke and/or fire began filling the room on January 6th. Youssef and Murad fled to a nearby karaoke bar, passing arriving firemen in the lobby. Believing that the coast was clear, RAY sent Murad back to the apartment to retrieve his laptop computer. Fortunately, the police were there to greet Murad and then arrest him.
On the following day, January 7th, Youssef and Mohammad fled to Pakistan via Bangkok. Operation ‘Bojinka’ had been accidentally aborted. The Pope and 4,000+ passengers had received a reprieve.
The apartment proved a positive treasure trove for the police. Bomb-making chemicals, electrical wires, pipe bombs and 12 different passports were uncovered in the chaos, along with ‘Catholic’ clothes sporting genuine Vatican buttons. The pipe bombs for the Pope were to be appropriately placed along the processional path by proper, Papally-attired, ‘Catholic’ conspirators.
The greatest find was the laptop computer. It outlined in detail the complete scope and plans for Operation ‘Bojinka.”
Next time, we will review the aftermath; what we did and didn’t do.