The 9/11 Story
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed first presented the idea for the September 11 plot to bin Laden in 1996 in Afghanistan.
According to the September 11 Commission, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed envisioned a hijacking of twelve planes on both the East and West coasts, and for eleven of them to be crashed into a plethora of US targets.
The commission stated that Mohammed also wanted to personally hijack a twelfth airliner, kill all of the adult males on board, land the plane in the U.S., make a political speech, and then free all of the women and children on the plane. However, Bin Laden rejected this part of the plan, stating that it would have been too difficult to pull off such an operation.
The September 11 Commission also stated Al Qaeda had planned to attack gasoline stations in many major U.S cities, as well as hijack even more airplanes and crash them into nuclear power plants and major bridges on both coasts. According to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Bin Laden rejected this plan because there was not enough time to prepare for such an operation. The plan to implement other hijackings on both coasts was also rejected for the same reason.
A series of meetings occurred in spring of 1999, involving Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Osama bin Laden, and his deputy Mohammed Atef. Bin Laden recommended four individuals for the plot, including Nawaf al-Hazmi, Khalid al-Mihdhar, Walid Muhammad Salih Bin 'Attash (Khallad), and Abu Bara al-Taizi. Al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar were both Saudi citizens, thus making it simple for them to obtain U.S. visas. Khallad and al-Taizi were both Yemeni citizens, thus not able to easily obtain visas to the United States. The two Yemenis were assigned for the Asia component of the plot. When Mohamed Atta and other members of the Hamburg cell arrived in Afghanistan, bin Laden was involved in selecting them for the plot, and assigning Atta to be the leader.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was the head of Al-Qaeda's 'military committee'. He provided operational support, such as selecting targets and helping arrange travel for the hijackers. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed explained to Fouda, "We had a large surplus of brothers willing to die as martyrs. As we studied various targets, nuclear facilities arose as a key option"... but the nuclear targets were dropped for concerns the plan would "get out of hand."
According to KSMs tortured testimony:
1. KSM was never a member of al-Qaeda's Shura council.
2. KSM was given his highest al-Qaeda rank - Chief of External Operations - four months before his March 2003 arrest. This was decreed in writing bu Bin Laden.
3. Bin Laden appointed KSM head of al-Qaeda media opeations in October 2000.
4. He was in charge of the 9/11 operation.
5. Normally Mohammed Atef and Sayf al-Adl headed operations.
6. Zacarias Moussaoui was to participate in a follow up to the 911 attack.
7. Mohammed was not aware of Moussaouis arrest until after 911.
8. Sheikh said Moussaoui did not know Atta and the two never had any contact.
9. The plot began with Bojinka. In 1996 Sheikh travelled to Afghanistan to visit Bin Laden and propose hijacking 10 aircraft to fly into targets. Bin Laden rejected this. However in March 1999 he summoned for Sheikh again after changing his mind.
In July 1993, KSM and Yousef are unsuccessful in an attempt to assassinate Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
Rehman Malik, who is head of Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) will say: “It seemed to us in FIA that the entire family were involved in this business of terrorism. They were both extremely dangerous men, and to us in the FIA, it always appeared that they had protection at a higher level. When we raided Ramzi’s house in Quetta, he had been warned. Likewise with Zahid in Peshawar.”
Dancing girls and romance on road to terrorist attacks
June 25 2002
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the al-Qaeda agent believed to have been a key organiser of the September 11 terrorist attacks, spent a year in the Philippines in the mid-1990s. From the way he behaved, it is little wonder no-one suspected him of being dangerous to anybody but his bank account.
Evidence collected by Philippine investigators describes a man far different from the typical abstemious al-Qaeda agent. In Manila, where police say he used the name Abdul Majid, he met associates in karaoke bars and giant go-go clubs filled with mirrors, flashing lights and bikini-clad dancers. He held meetings at four-star hotels. He took scuba-diving lessons at a coastal resort.
When he wasn't otherwise engaged with the go-go dancers, he courted a Filipina dentist. Once, to impress her, he rented a helicopter and flew it over her office, then called her on his mobile phone and told her to look up and wave. Other members of the terror cell Mohammed led had local girlfriends as well, and the whole group had a drinking party to celebrate the anniversary of the 1988 explosion of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
Until recently, little was known about Mohammed's time here - almost a full year beginning in early 1994. He was known to have played some role in a failed 1995 effort, plotted in Manila, to blow up a dozen US-bound airliners over the Pacific and to assassinate Pope John Paul II during a visit to the Philippines.
Now, in re-evaluating that conspiracy in light of new information about Mohammed's prominence within al-Qaeda, Philippine police have concluded that he was the principal planner of the plot.
A confidential report by the Philippine national police officers who led the original investigation concludes that the airliner plot, code-named Bojinka by its creators, was the first step in a sustained effort by Mohammed to refine the use of aircraft as weapons of terror. That effort culminated in the September 11 suicide hijackings, the report says.
"It was a strong network continuously hatching plots. After seven years, they were able to do what they started here. That's the story," said Colonel Rodolfo Mendoza, who led the original investigation.
As evidence that Bojinka was more than just a coincidental foreshadowing of September 11, Colonel Mendoza cited the testimony of Abdul Murad, a licensed commercial pilot and one of the men recruited by Mohammed for the plot. Murad, whose arrest exposed the conspiracy, told interrogators that the first two times he was brought to meet Mohammed in Pakistan in 1993, all he wanted to talk about were planes and pilot training.
The Bojinka plot was previously regarded as the creation of Ramzi Yousef, a Kuwaiti explosives expert. The Philippine investigators now think Yousef was working directly for Mohammed.
"It's now clear Khalid was calling the shots," Colonel Mendoza said.
Mohammed, 37, a Kuwaiti national of Pakistani ancestry, is under indictment in the United States for his alleged role in Bojinka, which means "big bang". The US Government has offered a reward of $US25 million ($43 million) for information leading to his capture.
CIA disseminated a report that explained that KSM was a relative of convicted World Trade center bomber Ramzi Yousef, appeared to be one of Bin Ladin’s most trusted lieutenants and was active in recruiting people to travel outside Afghanistan, including to the United States, to carry out unspecified activities on behalf of Bin Ladin. According to the report, he continued to travel frequently to the United States, including as recently as May 2001, and routinely told others that he could arrange their entry into the United States as well. Reportedly, these individuals were expected to establish contact with colleagues already there.
Had at least three brothers, Zahid, Aref and Abid.
Abid apparently dies.
Aref also apparently dies.
Zahid is still possibly around (2014) though his current location is unclear.
Little is publicly available on Zahid. Here is a summary of what is:
- Around 1987, Zahid introduces KSM to Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, an Afghan warlord and alleged favourite of western aid money.
- Around 1988, Zahid is working as the head of the Pakistani branch of the charity Mercy International.
- Spring 1993, US investigators raid Zahid’s house while searching for Ramzi Yousef. Documents and pictures are found suggesting a friendship between Zahid and Osama bin Laden. Photos and other evidence also show close links between Zahid, KSM, and government officials close to Nawaf Sharif, who is prime minister of Pakistan twice in the 1990s. The investigators also discover that Zahid was seen talking to Pakistani President Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari during a Mercy International ceremony in February 1993. Muhammad Zia ul-Haq may also have been in the pictures.
- February 7, 1995, Yousef is arrested in Pakistan and investigators learn that Yousef had made a phone call to the Mercy office, and there is an entry in Yousef’s seized telephone directory for a Zahid Shaikh Mohammed. Pakistani investigators raid the Mercy office again, but Zahid is not there. He subsequently vanishes.
- 1999, rumours that he is in Kuwait at this time.
- 2007, American intelligence analysts allege, during Adel Hassan Hamad's Combatant Status Review Tribunal and Administrative Review Board hearing, that Zahid was the director of the Jelazee Refugee Camp in Pakistan, and the director of Lajnat Al-Da'wa al Islamia (LDI) in Pakistan. Hamad confirmed that Zahid had been a director of LDI.
It was reported by the BBC in 2007 that the Pentagon announced KSM had confessed to 31 terror plots:
- 1. The 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City that killed six people and injured more than 1,000.
- 2. The 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington using four hijacked commercial airliners. Nearly 3,000 people were killed.
- 3. A failed "shoe bomber" operation to bring down two US commercial airliners.
- 4. The October 2002 attack in Kuwait that killed two US soldiers.
- 5. The nightclub bombing in Bali, Indonesia that killed 202 people.
- 6. A plan for a "second wave" of attacks on major US landmarks after 9/11 attacks. Alleged targets included the Library Tower in Los Angeles, the Sears Tower in Chicago, the Plaza Bank building in Seattle and the Empire State Building in New York.
- 7. Plots to attack oil tankers and US naval ships in the Straits of Hormuz, the Straits of Gibraltar and in Singapore.
- 8. A plan to blow up the Panama Canal.
- 9. Plans to assassinate former US presidents including Jimmy Carter.
- 10. A plot to blow up suspension bridges in New York.
- 11. A plan to destroy the Sears Tower in Chicago by burning fuel trucks beneath or around it.
- 12. Plans to "destroy" Heathrow Airport, Canary Wharf and Big Ben in London.
- 13. A planned attack on "many" nightclubs in Thailand targeting US and British citizens.
- 14. A plot targeting the New York Stock Exchange and other US financial targets after 9/11.
- 15. A plan to destroy buildings in Elat, Israel, by using planes flying from Saudi Arabia.
- 16. Plans to destroy US embassies in Indonesia, Australia and Japan.
- 17. Plots to destroy Israeli embassies in India, Azerbaijan, the Philippines and Australia.
- 18. Surveying and financing an attack on an Israeli El-Al flight from Bangkok.
- 19. Sending several "mujahideen" into Israel to survey "strategic targets" with the intention of attacking them.
- 20. The November 2002 suicide bombing of a hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, frequented by Israelis. At least 14 people were killed.
- 21. The failed attempt to shoot down an Israeli passenger jet leaving Mombasa airport with a surface-to-air missile on the same day as the hotel bombing.
- 22. Plans to attack US targets in South Korea, such as US military bases and nightclubs frequented by US soldiers.
- 23. Providing financial support for a plan to attack US, British and Jewish targets in Turkey.
- 24. Surveillance of US nuclear power plants in order to attack them.
- 25. A plot to attack Nato's headquarters in Europe.
- 26. Planning and surveillance in a 1995 plan (the "Bojinka Operation") to bomb 12 American passenger jets, most on trans-Pacific Ocean routes.
- 27. The planned assassination attempt against then-US President Bill Clinton during a mid-1990s trip to the Philippines.
- 28. "Shared responsibility" for a plot to kill Pope John Paul II while he visited the Philippines.
- 29. Plans to assassinate Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.
- 30. An attempt to attack a US oil company in Sumatra, Indonesia, "owned by the Jewish former [US] Secretary of State Henry Kissinger".
- 31. The beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped in Pakistan in January 2002 while researching Islamist militancy.
Khaled Shaik Mohammed asserted in his interviews with the ICRC:
“During the harshest period of my interrogation, I gave a lot of false information in order to satisfy what I believed the interrogators wished to hear in order to make the ill-treatment stop…. I’m sure that the false information I was forced to invent…wasted a lot of their time and led to several false red-alerts being placed in the US."