Aftermath of an Almost Massacre
Bojinka - Part 2
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Why We Should Expect Another 9/11
Article #8 – Bojinka - Part 2
Operation ‘Bojinka’ had been accidentally averted. This had nothing to do with Uncle Sam’s due diligence or intelligence capabilities, or for that matter, anyone else’s expertise. It was strictly a case of dumb luck. Simply put, Ramzi Ahmed Youssef (RAY) could not control his combustible chemicals and he had a long history of extemporaneous explosions.
After killing Pope John Paul II (Phase I) soon after his arrival in Manila on January 12th, Ray and his four cohorts, beginning on January 21st and ending on the 22nd, planned on jumping on 11 two-legged flights by American carriers in Asia, assembling and planting the bombs on the first leg, deplaning and then having the airplanes blow up over the Pacific on their return to the United States (Phase II). Everyone, except RAY, was supposed to blow up two planes. RAY was going to do three. To the leader go the spoils, I suppose. It ran like this.
Code name ‘Mirqas’ would board United Airlines #808 in Manila and fly to Seoul. Flight #808 would continue on to San Francisco. Having activated the bomb, he would deplane and then catch his next flight, Delta Airlines #59 from Seoul to T’aipei and repeat the process. He would them deplane in T'aipei and Flight #59 would explode en route to San Francisco.
‘Markoa’ (probably Nichols) would do the same thing on Northwest #006 Manila to Tokyo then Tokyo to Chicago. Then boarding another Northwest Flight, fly from Tokyo to Hong Kong; deplane while the flight then continued on to New York
‘Obaid’ started in Singapore on United #806 to Hong Kong. He would deplane and the flight would continue on to Los Angeles. They he would fly another United flight back to Singapore and do the same thing.
‘Majbos’ and ‘Zyed’ (probably RAY) would do the same thing, although RAY has three planes to pop. At the end, everybody or most everybody was supposed to meet up in Pakistan.
But it didn’t happen and Murad was arrested on January 7th. John Paul II arrived safely on January 12th. He had been scheduled for assassination on January 15th. That same day, January 12th, the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) was officially implicated in the plot to kill the Pope. This was of special interest to the writer, since as of November, 1993, at the request of the FBI, due to his association with a Muslim Prince, he had been requested to work against the ASG.
On January 16th, Terry Nichols bought a new ticket and left Manila. His original schedule called for a January 21st departure. I’m sure that it was just a quirk of fate that his original departure date coincided with the first day of Operation ‘Bojinka.’
Abdul Hakim Murad had been left holding the bag and the Filipino authorities were neither slow nor nice in their intense interrogations. Finally, one interrogator, masquerading as an operative of Israel’s dreaded Mossad, broke Murad’s resistance. It all came out, including Phase III, the commandeering of American aircraft in America and flying them into tall buildings, what we now call 9/11.
On January 20th, The Philippine government formally notified its American counterparts of the following:
“What subject [Murad] has in his mind is that he will board any American commercial aircraft pretending to be an ordinary passenger. The he will hijack said plane, control its cockpit and dive it at the CIA Headquarters.”
America had officially been put on notice. Unfortunately, no one in Washington bothered to ‘notice’ the notice. Six years later, they would get a ‘spectacular’ reminder.
On February 7th, 1995, RAY was arrested by FBI agents with the assistance of the ISI (Pakistani Intelligence Agency) in a guesthouse in Islamabad, owned by bin Laden. He had been turned into the ISI by a Muslim South African whom he had tried to recruit. Apparently the Bureau did not check the guest register. Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, RAY’s uncle and mastermind of 9/11, was asleep in the room next door. Regrettably for America, his slumber was not sullied. Mohammad was therefore able to pick up his nephew’s torch and take it across the finish line on 9/11.
On April 12-13th, 1995, Murad was returned to the United States. Two FBI Agents escorted him to New York. They had approximately 22 hours of time together and took full advantage of this time to interrogate him - Bureau style. Since the cat was already out of the bag, Murad was quite cooperative. The report, issued on May 11th, confirmed and amplified the Philippine Government report of January 20th. There was, indeed, a plan to hijack American airliners and fly them into pre-targeted buildings. Fortunately, the buildings had already been selected and named:
Murad knew all the buildings. After all he was the same fellow who had initially recommended the World Trade Center to RAY in 1992.
America now had at least two very reliable reports on Operation ‘Bojinka’ – one from the Philippine Government and the other from one of the conspirators. The question remained: What would they do or not do with this information?
Next time, the writer will get down and dirty since he was personally involved.