CASE CLOSED … what really happened in the 2001 anthrax attacks?

* Kuala Lumpur AQ plotter Yazid Sufaat’s plan was to have a suicide operative crash an airliner into a US warship.

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 15, 2014

Screen shot 2014-03-15 at 12.10.55 PM

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25 Responses to “* Kuala Lumpur AQ plotter Yazid Sufaat’s plan was to have a suicide operative crash an airliner into a US warship.”

  1. DXer said

    Let’s turn to a mid-March 2014 blog post about MH 370 and Adnan El-Shukrijumah by former TSA Administrator Hawley.

    “KIP HAWLEY
    KIP HAWLEY served as Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, part of United States government’s Department of Homeland Security from July 27, 2005 to January 20, 2009. TSA is charged with the security of the U.S. transportation sector and has worldwide operations, about 60,000 employees, and a budget of more than $7 billion.”

    http://kiphawley.com/about

    He is the author of

    Permanent Emergency: Inside the TSA and the Fight for the Future of American Security (2012)

    Since 2001 the TSA has accepted responsibility for protecting over two million people a day at U.S. airports and managing transportation operations around the world. But how effective is this beleaguered agency, and is it really keeping us safe from terrorism? In this riveting expose, former TSA administrator Kip Hawley reveals the secrets behind the agency’s ongoing battle to outthink and outmaneuver terrorists,

    http://kiphawley.com/blog/2014/03/intelligence–operations-mh370

    Intelligence & Operations: MH370
    05 May 2014
    With so few hard facts about the fate of MH370, we are at the ‘connecting the dots’ phase of the incident. This is a rare public example of what happens daily in the world of counterterrorism, where intelligence dots are abundant, often fragmentary and open to different analysis. Below are some of the issues that are in play now.

    — The scenario that I raised in my previous post ( http://kiphawley.com/blog/2014/03/operational-considerations-on-mh370 ) is an example of taking very few available dots and combining them into indicators of a potentially catastrophic attack. I was reverse-engineering a plot with which I was familiar and noticing that the dots available right now could point to such an attack. And if so, that attack is in progress.

    — You can see in news coverage how the “failure of imagination” works. Analysts give a radius within which MH370 must be located, but what if this was planned in advance and the plotters figured out how to maximize their distance and minimize the landing runway requirements. They don’t have to obey FAA rules for landing a 777, they just have to be able to do it. What if they strip the plane to minimize runway length at take-off, not to FAA standards, but after practice on a simulator, just enough to work? MH370, the rogue version, could be in places that our experts do not imagine. This happened in 2006 on the UK liquids plot in aviation. AQ developed and used a liquid formula that was declared impossible by experts, so TSA’s training on how to stop liquid explosives, based on that expert opinion, was ineffective against the impending attack. (Thus the baggie.)

    — In my previous post, I was using information contained in news coverage, but also context information that I learned in the course of my job at TSA. Some of that context is shared in the points below.

    –“Jaffar the Pilot”, who is identified as al Qaeda’s current head of operations, (http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/08/06/terror.qaeda.leader/ http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/wanted_terrorists ) is well-known in counterterrorism circles. His name is Adnan Shukrijumah and he was indicted in connection with the Zazi plot to bomb the NY subway in 2010. He was close to UBL and is very bright, imaginative and technically gifted. He was nicknamed “the Pilot” for a reason and he is known to understand how aviation attacks can deliver catastrophic results. If MH370 is a real plot, Shukrijumah is well-qualified to be its architect. (Bill Gaches, a former head of TSA’s Office of Intelligence and a long-time NSA executive reminded me of Shukrijumah in one of our exchanges about MH370.)

    — The intelligence community has been intensely searching for Shukrijumah since 2002 and there is evidence that he has been circling the US, looking for attack opportunities. (http://nctc.gov/site/profiles/el_shukrijumah.html ) Brian Jenkins, a counterterrorism analyst at Rand, gave some interesting background about Shukrijumah and his alleged involvement in nuclear plots in his book “Will Terrorists Go Nuclear?” ( http://www.tinyurl.com/qx6z6zz )

    –We don’t know a) if Shukrijumah is involved; b) if radioactive material is involved; or c) even if this is an AQ plot. But nobody wants to be looking backward a month from now wondering why we didn’t connect the dots, which in retrospect could look very bright.

    — The reason TSA was created after 9/11 was to prevent terror attacks on or using transportation. TSA is an operational agency. That is very different from an agency with an investigative core such as the FBI or an intelligence/analysis mission like the CIA. TSA is paid to consider every intelligence dot in the context of a transportation attack and to take actions as TSA feels prudent. Obviously, not all dots fit that kind of plot in reality — but TSA is responsible to make sure that it stays ahead of even the most imaginative plots in time to stop them. (See my previous post with the quotes from the 9/11 Commission: http://kiphawley.com/blog/2014/03/operational-considerations-on-mh37

    — Agencies of the US government are loathe to take action (spend $$, upset somebody) unless the intelligence dots line up to a “credible,” “imminent,” “specific,” plot. Of course, when you have all that information, somebody goes out and makes an arrest. Threat over. Two things result from that dynamic: 1) preventive action is continually deferred until there is no risk of spending $$ or upsetting someone; or, 2) action is taken to prevent an attack which is subject to the criticism that the decision-maker ordering the action is too jumpy or lacks a specific credible imminent plot to justify making waves. The risk of not being jumpy is that an attack occurs and decisionmakers excuse themselves from blame by saying that the intelligence was not clear.

    — Action in this case, can be as simple as just being ready. TSA will be working with the FAA and agencies in other countries to at least make contingency plans. There are escalating steps beyond just talking (some of which I highlighted in the post referenced above). Close coordination with intelligence agencies and the FBI will help TSA assess just how far — and when — they need to go up that ladder. If we find out later today that the plane crashed in the ocean and the incident is over, TSA’s work serves as an excellent live-fire drill. None of it’s work will be publicly reported but it will help this generation of TSA leaders be ready to stop an imaginative attack when it does come.

  2. DXer said

    Report: MH370 investigators demand info on 11 Malaysian terror suspects
    MAY 4, 2014

    Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi says the suspected militants may be linked to Yazid Sufaat, previously detained under counter terrorism laws for trying to incite terror outside the country. — Picture by Siow Feng Saw

    KUALA LUMPUR, May 4 — Foreign investigators involved in the probe on MH370 have requested for a full report on the 11 Malaysians arrested earlier this week on suspicion of terrorism, the International Business Times(IBTimes) reported.

    The New York-based digital publication quoted an unnamed officer from the counter-terrorism division of Malaysia’s Special Branch as having revealed that the 11 were interrogated yesterday over MH370’s mysterious disappearance nearly two months ago.

    “The possibility that the plane was diverted by militants is still high on the list and international investigators have asked for a comprehensive report on this new terror group,” the officer was quoted as saying.

    The IBTimes news report also said it is believed the 11 who were arrested at several locations within the city here and in Kedah over the past week may be members of a new terror group that has been planning bomb attacks in Muslim countries.

    The 11 are aged between 22 and 55 and includes Saiden Ismail from student activist group Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM).

    The group was hauled up by Malaysian police under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) for their alleged involvement in a plan to fight in Syria’s civil war.

    The Malaysian authorities also believe the 11 may be linked to Yazid Sufaat, who was previously detained under counter-terrorism laws for trying to incite terror outside the country.

    “There is some link,” Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said on Friday.

    Yazid was arrested last year for openly calling on volunteers to join Sunni rebels in the armed fight against the forces of Syria’s Shiah president Bashir al-Asad.

    The Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 took off from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at 12.41am on March 8 and disappeared barely an hour later when it lost contact with the Subang Air Traffic Control (ATC).

    At the time, the plane’s last known location was 120 nautical miles off the coast of Kota Baru in Kelantan.

    But a week after the aircraft’s mysterious disappearance, Malaysia announced that the Boeing 777 jetliner had diverted from its path to Beijing through deliberate action and that it was focusing investigations on the 12 crew and 227 passengers on board.

    The announcement suggested the possibility of pilot suicide or a terrorist attempt by a person or persons aboard the wide-body jet. But no leads have been found yet to prove this.

    Investigators, which include a massive team of experts from around the world, have so far concluded that the aircraft carrying 239 people had “ended” in the Indian Ocean, based on satellite and radar data.

    But this is thousands of kilometres away from MH370’s original flight path to Beijing.

    – See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/report-mh370-investigators-demand-info-on-11-malaysian-terror-suspects#sthash.XoCAxnBX.dpuf

  3. DXer said

    Suspected Militants May Be Linked To Former Counter Terrorism Detainee, Says Zahid

    Details Published on Friday, 02 May 2014 15:26
    http://www.malaysiandigest.com/news/499412-suspected-militants-may-be-linked-to-former-counter-terrorism-detainee-says-zahid.html

    KUALA LUMPUR: The 11 suspected militants arrested for alleged attempts to fight in the civil war in Syria may be linked to Yazid Sufaat, previously detained under counter terrorism laws for trying to incite terror outside the country, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today.

    “There is some link,” Zahid told reporters when asked if the suspects were linked to Yazid, who was arrested last year for openly calling on volunteers to join sunni-rebels in the armed fight against the forces of Syria’s shia president Bashir al-Asad.

    ***
    The remaining 10 were arrested in the city capital and Kedah between April 29 and April 30.

    Police said the group was believed to have links to terrorists abroad and “responsible for planning terror acts in and outside the country” while The Star daily quoted an unnamed source as saying the radical Islamic group intended to carry out bomb attacks against government targets in what it saw as a “holy war”.

    ***

    Meanwhile online news portal The Malaysian Insider quoted an unnamed source saying the group were arrested for wanting to wage war in Syria and that Malaysian interest in the civil war there was sparked by Yazid.

    Though Malaysia practises moderate Islam and has not seen any notable terror attacks in recent memory, concern has risen in the multi-faith nation over perceived Islamisation.

    The Southeast Asian country also has been home to several suspected key figures in militant Islamic groups, such as the al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah blamed for the deadly 2002 Bali bombings and other attacks.

    • DXer said

      11th Militant Suspect Arrested While Trying To Flee Country

      Details Published on Friday, 02 May 2014 17:43

      KUALA LUMPUR: An 11th suspect, believed to have links with militant groups, was arrested in Segambut on Thursday night.

      Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said this brought the total of those arrested so far to 11.

      ***
      That was followed by the arrest of a widow on Tuesday morning, who was believed to be linked to al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah and had received military-style training.

      ***
      The 11 were also suspected of planning a bomb attack in Malaysia and other Muslim countries.

  4. DXer said

    Israel Reportedly Reinforces Airspace Security in Response to Terrorism Concerns Over Missing Malaysian Jet
    Mar. 16, 2014 10:12pm Dave Urbanski
    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/03/16/israel-reportedly-reinforces-airspace-security-in-response-to-terrorism-concerns-over-missing-malaysian-jet/

    Security officials and aviation authorities reportedly held a security assessment recently and chose a series of measures; for example, airliners are now required to identify themselves much earlier when approaching Israel’s airspace. Other actions were not immediately disclosed.

  5. DXer said

    In contrast to Mr. Cruickshank and Robertson in this CNN report below, Scott Shane last weekend at the NYT recognized that it is not the Badat-described Malaysian cell of hijackers in the Karachi apartment that was interesting. It was Sufaat’s idea, which was separate.

    It was the fellow that the Malaysians released in 2008 — who was free to recruit young men to jihad in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

    The fellow who went to Pakistan (reportedly) shortly after being released. (So much for close surveillance).

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/where-is-yazid-sufaat/

    The fellow who told me “the plan was on the way.”

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/al-qaeda-anthrax-lab-technician-tells-dxer-by-chat-that-he-realizes-that-by-addressing-these-issues-he-may-jack-myself-up-but-says-that-the-plan-is-on-the-way-what-does-he-mean-when-he-s/

    The fellow who in 2001 wanted to recruit a suicidal operative to crash a plane into a warship.

    Yazid Sufaat’s idea was separate and apart from the hijackers and “pilot” holed up in the Karachi apartment in late 2001.

    US officials: Missing jet, aborted hijack plot not linked
    CNN first reported on 2001 Malaysian hijacking plot in 2012

    Author: By Paul Cruickshank and Nic Robertson CNN
    Published On: Mar 18 2014 06:39:22 PM EDT Updated On: Mar 18 2014 10:37:26 PM EDT
    http://www.clickorlando.com/news/us-officials-missing-jet-aborted-hijack-plot-not-linked/25042042

  6. DXer said

    Could a 13-year old terror plot be the reason the Malaysian jet went missing?

    Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/mar/17/missing-malaysian-jetliner-sparks-new-life-into-ol/#ixzz2wPDvi7Je

    After the 9/11 attacks, leaders in al Qaeda and the Malaysian militant group Jemaah Islamiyah strategized ways to use pilots and planes to crash into U.S. assets, according to “The Second Front,” a book by Kenneth J. Conboy examining militant groups in Southeast Asia.

    Yazid Sufaat, a then-Malaysian student, proposed crashing a commercial airliner into a passing American warship, the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk, according to a Malaysian intelligence report cited in the book.
    With foul play suspected in the vanishing of the Malaysian jumbo jet, U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies are focusing on criminal plots. And Malaysian officials are investigating Flight MH370 pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah and co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, noting that the plane was flown deliberately from its Kuala Lumpur-to-Beijing course.

    The Malaysia-Indonesia region has long been a hotbed of terrorist activity. In 2002, more than 200 people were killed when Jemaah Islamiyah set off three bombs in and around nightclubs in Bali, Indonesia.

    According to the British tabloid The Telegraph, an al Qaeda informant last week told a court that four or five Malaysian men had been planning to take control of a plane, using a bomb hidden in a shoe to blow open the cockpit door.

    The chaotic search-and-rescue effort for the plane and contradictory statements by Malaysian authorities have fueled speculation.

    “It was an intentional, deliberate act to bring down this airplane,” Rep. Michael T. McCaul, Texas Republican, said on “Fox News Sunday.”

    Mr. McCaul, like U.S. intelligence officials, said no evidence suggests terrorism so far, but that possibility shouldn’t be ruled out.

    The FBI attache office in Malaysia is working with authorities investigating the pilots and passengers to see if any terror or militant connections can be drawn. U.S. law enforcement officials are only playing a supportive role in the investigation, with Malaysian authorities taking the lead.

    Terrorists have long focused on planes in their operations. From 9/11 to “shoe bomber” Richard Reid to “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, terrorists have learned from their plots, even those that were thwarted, counterterrorism analysts say.

    In 2006, British and Pakistani intelligence authorities thewarted a network of about 50 self-identified terrorists who were in the “final stages” of an operation to blow up as many as 10 jets leaving London for the U.S. The plotters planned to mix a British sports drink with a gel-like substance to make an explosive that could be detonated with an MP3 player or cell phone, according to reports at the time.

  7. DXer said

    As U.S. Looks for Terror Links in Plane Case, Malaysia Rejects Extensive Help
    By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT and SCOTT SHANEMARCH 16, 2014

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/17/world/asia/as-us-looks-for-terror-links-in-plane-case-malaysia-rejects-extensive-help.html

    “As investigators focus on the pilots and study possible motives for a hijacking, certain tactics that Al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah considered years ago may be newly relevant. In 2001, leaders of the two groups discussed recruiting a Malaysian or Indonesian commercial pilot for a terrorist mission, according to a 2006 book by Kenneth J. Conboy, an American author who specializes in militant groups in Southeast Asia.

    Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the chief planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, considered using such pilots for a second wave of attacks on buildings or landmarks in the United States. Yazid Sufaat, a Malaysian who studied biochemistry at California State University and experimented with biological weapons for Al Qaeda before Sept. 11, proposed crashing a commercial airliner into a passing American warship, the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, according to a local intelligence report cited in Mr. Conboy’s book on Jemaah Islamiyah, “The Second Front.”

    Mr. Yazid was free from 2008 until last year, when he was detained in Malaysia and charged with helping to recruit fighters to send to Syria. He remains in custody.”

    Al Qaeda anthrax lab technician tells DXer that he realizes that by addressing these issues he may “jack myself up” but says that the “plan is on the way” — what does he mean when he says the “plan is on the way”?
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 1, 2012
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/al-qaeda-anthrax-lab-technician-tells-dxer-by-chat-that-he-realizes-that-by-addressing-these-issues-he-may-jack-myself-up-but-says-that-the-plan-is-on-the-way-what-does-he-mean-when-he-s/

    Mystery Movie theater 70,s theme music by Henry Mancini

  8. DXer said

    Here is a link to page 151 in Kenneth J. Conboy’s book:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=-JlKtzgo81QC&pg=PA151&lpg=PA151&dq=%22Yazid+Sufaat%22++pilot&source=bl&ots=Z54Sn4ABg1&sig=cr7e93nEBPrDkgAMqA-VldSpPw0&hl=en&sa=X&ei=NnkkU4n9K8nV0QGym4DwBA&ved=0CDAQ6AEwATgK#v=onepage&q=%22Yazid%20Sufaat%22%20%20pilot&f=false

    Al Qaeda anthrax lab technician tells DXer that he realizes that by addressing these issues he may “jack myself up” but says that the “plan is on the way” — what does he mean when he says the “plan is on the way”?

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 1, 2012
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/al-qaeda-anthrax-lab-technician-tells-dxer-by-chat-that-he-realizes-that-by-addressing-these-issues-he-may-jack-myself-up-but-says-that-the-plan-is-on-the-way-what-does-he-mean-when-he-s/comment-page-1/#comment-28851

    http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

    • DXer said

      The “Second Front” book at the link explains that after 911, the Malaysian suicide cell involving the hijack plot was holed up in a Karachi apartment. They were joined for a time with shoe bomber Richard Reid.

      Sufaat showed up in Karachi. “Thinking aloud with Hambali, he suggested the possibility of shifting the anthrax program to Indonesia. He also mentioned a media report that the aircarft carrier Kitty Hawk — which was the centerpiece of the U.S. naval battle group launching strikes against Afghanistan from the Arabian Sea — would be passing by Singapore in the coming months en route to its home port in Japan; resurrecting KSM’s earlier plan to recruit Indonesian commercial pilots, Sufaat talked up using a suicide operative to crash an arliner into the U.S. warship.”

      “Hambali promised to give further thought to these ideas when himself returned to Southeast Asia. Before parting, he warned Sufaat not to go directly back to Malaysia because immigration officials were no doubt alerted to his name.” [He was captured entering Malaysia from Thailand].

      I’ve suggested that Yazid Sufaat’s travels in 2000 in Indonesia should be traced — so as to consider whether he knew of an isolated air strip that might be used. Ambon Island — which I believe had been a focus of his bombings in 2000 — is part of the Maluku Islands of Indonesia. The Maluku Islands or the Moluccas are an archipelago within Indonesia. Geographically they are located east of Sulawesi, west of New Guinea, and north and east of Timor. I would need to turn to his 2000 internet posting linked in the other thread — that I learned about in February 2002 — that may provide detail as to where he travelled. I am hampered by not knowing the language or the geography. I spent 3 wonderful months in the region travelling once but limited my time in Indonesia to Bali and Lombok.

      One would need a long runway on a remote island where the plane’s arrival would not be noticed.

      “Favourite bugs

      But Yazid said that he was in fact “successful” in developing some “bugs”, but the laboratory was destroyed when the NATO forces bombed Kandahar.

      “I can still find (anthrax) if I want to, but what for? It has no commercial value. Anthrax is only good for sabotaging, it cannot kill.

      “It’s not my favourite bug, anyway. I’d rather use bacteria or virus that (really) hit you and give you one or two hours before you die.

      “Whose handiwork do you think the bird flu was? Scientists, who later couldn’t control it,” he disclosed.

      On the charge of supplying ammonium nitrate to build bombs for an attack in Ambon, Indonesia, Yazid said that it was purely a business transaction between his company, Green Laboratory Medicine, and a Yemeni company.

      “The Yemeni company ordered 40 tonnes of it, but I only managed to send four tonnes. The profit was RM1,600 per tonne, so imagine how much I would make with 40 tonnes! It was not my business (to know) what they wanted to do with it.

      “I checked with the government if there was restriction to exporting this item, but there was none. Now they’re more clever and have placed restrictions on it (ammonium nitrate),” he said.

      On the final two charges – funding sectarian violence in Ambon and armed struggles in the southern Philippines – Yazid maintains that he had only provided funds for humanitarian aid.

      He said that during his interrogation, he was asked if the funds he sent for “medicine, food and clothes” could be used to buy arms and admitted that there was a possibility.

      “Maybe, how am I to know?” said Yazid, who admits that he still “preaches”.

      The official statement would later read that Yazid confessed to funding arms purchases in southern Philippines, and that the arms were to be brought back to Malaysia to topple the government.

      ***

      No more fears now

      Before his release, Yazid said two prayers – one for God to “destroy” his interrogators if they did not repent. The other was for himself.

      “I prayed: ‘Ya Allah, give me a sign to show if what I did was right or wrong. Show me when I am released’. So I was pretty nervous.

      “The first solat I performed after I was released was the asar solat. I was terrified. Who knows, maybe I really did something wrong? People could spit at me or throw their shoes at me,” he said.

      Instead, he received a warm welcome from a neighbourhood mosque and when he returned the next day, he was asked to lead the maghrib prayers. They later made him their imam.

      “I am now nearing 50, I wasted seven years of my life… but no, I wouldn’t say they were wasted.

      “I became an adult in the most ignorant place, the United States, but I matured in prison… Allah got rid of my fears in prison,” Yazid said.”

    • DXer said

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/malaysia/10700652/Malaysia-Airline-MH370-911-style-terror-allegations-resurface-in-case-of-lost-plane.html

      Malaysia Airline MH370: 9/11-style terror allegations resurface in case of lost plane
      Evidence of a plot by Malaysian Islamists to hijack a passenger jet in a 9/11-style attack is being investigated in connection with the disappearance of Flight MH370

      An al-Qaeda supergrass told a court last week that four to five Malaysian men had been planning to take control of a plane, using a bomb hidden in a shoe to blow open the cockpit door.
      Security experts said the evidence from a convicted British terrorist was “credible”. The supergrass said that he had met the Malaysian jihadists – one of whom was a pilot – in Afghanistan and given them a shoe bomb to use to take control of an aircraft.
      A British security source said: “These spectaculars take a long time in the planning.”
      The possibility of such a plot, hatched by the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York, was bolstered by an admission by Najib Razak, Malaysia’s prime minister, that the Boeing 777’s communications systems had been deliberately switched off “by someone on the plane”.

      – Flight MH370 had changed direction and altitude after communications devices had been deliberately disabled;
      – The plane flew for up to seven hours after civilian radar lost touch with it;
      – An unnamed official briefed that the plane had been hijacked although Mr Najib refused to confirm that was the case;
      – The plane flew towards either Indonesia or to Kazakhstan after the transponder and messaging systems were disabled;
      – Police searched the homes of both pilots for two hours over concerns one may have switched off the communications systems in a suicide bid;
      – Chinese officials accused Malaysia of withholding information in a ratcheting up of diplomatic tensions between the two countries.
      In evidence in a court case last Tuesday, Saajid Badat, a British-born Muslim from Gloucester, said that he had been instructed at a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan to give a shoe bomb to the Malaysians.
      Giving evidence at the trial in New York of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law, Badat said: “I gave one of my shoes to the Malaysians. I think it was to access the cockpit.”
      Badat, who spoke via video link and is in hiding in the UK, said the Malaysian plot was being masterminded by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the principal architect of 9/11.
      According to Badat, Mohammed kept a list of the world’s tallest buildings and crossed out New York’s Twin Towers after the September 11, 2001 attacks with hijacked airliners as “a joke to make us laugh”.
      Badat told the court last week that he believed the Malaysians, including the pilot, were “ready to perform an act.”
      During the meeting, the possibility was raised that the cockpit door might be locked. Badat told the court: “So I said, ‘How about I give you one of my bombs to open a cockpit door?’ ”
      The disclosure that Malaysians were plotting a 9/11-style attack raises the prospect that both pilots were overpowered and the plane intended for use as a fuel-filled bomb. One possible target, if the scenario is correct, will have been the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, a symbol of Malaysia’s modernity and the world’s tallest buildings from 1998 until 2004.
      Flight MH370 had been heading away from Kuala Lumpur over the South China Sea when it disappeared off civilian radar screens.
      Satellites have tracked it returning towards land.
      Badat, who was jailed for 13 years in 2005 for his part in a conspiracy with the “shoe bomber” Richard Reid to blow up a transatlantic jet, had given similar evidence in 2012.
      In other words, his claims were first made long before the disappearance of Flight MH370.
      In the earlier case, during the trial of Adis Medunjanin, an American who was later convicted of conspiring to blow up New York subways, Badat told prosecutors of the Malaysian shoe bomb plot.
      Asked what he knew of the Malaysian group, he replied: “I learnt that they had a group, uh, ready to perform a similar hijacking to 9/11.”
      Asked if he helped them, he said: “I provided them with one of my shoes because both had been, uh, both had explosives inserted into them.”
      Prof Anthony Glees, director of the University of Buckingham’s Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies, said the prospect of an Islamist plot offered one explanation for why the Malaysian authorities “have not been telling us the whole truth”.
      Prof Glees said: “I believed this was a hijacking as soon as we were told that the plane had altered its flight path.
      “Evidence that it turned back to Malaysia means that this could easily have been a Malaysian Islamist plot to turn the plane into a 9/11-style bomb to fly it into a building in Kuala Lumpur.
      “Now we know there is evidence of a Malaysian terror cell with ambitions to carry out such an attack and so this makes it even more credible.”
      Prof Glees added: “Islamist terrorists in Malaysia present the country with a really serious political problem. The global repercussions of another 9/11 attack, including grounded aircraft and stock markets crashes, is something no government would want to face.”
      James Healy-Pratt, head of aviation at Stuarts Law solicitors, said the lack of information from Malaysian authorities was in stark contrast to the reaction of French officials when an Air France plane – whose black box was not recovered for two years – crashed in the Atlantic in 2009. The lack of information suggested Malaysian authorities may have something to hide.
      Mr Healy-Pratt, who represented 50 families in the Air France crash, said: “Compared to Air France there has been very little information given out. Serious questions need to be asked about how this has taken a week to get so little information. If it is terrorism that will have an effect on the Malaysian stock market and local economy.”
      Last May, two Malaysian men were arrested for links to al-Qaeda and charged with joining the Tanzim al-Qaeda Malaysia group. In a separate incident two other men from Malaysia were held in Lebanon as they allegedly tried to cross into Syria to join Islamist extremists fighting the Assad regime.
      In 2001 Yazid Sufaat, a biochemist and former army captain, was imprisoned for seven years under internal security laws on suspicion of being part of the Jemaah Islamiah network, the terrorist organisation behind a series of bombings in south east Asia including the Bali nightclub massacre in which 202 people were killed in 2002.
      Yazid, who was released in 2008, was also suspected of providing lodging for two of the 9/11 hijackers. Malaysian sources, however, insisted Islamic terrorism carried out by Malaysian jihadists is unlikely since the country has only a tiny number of Muslim fundamentalists.
      But after a week of wildly fluctuating theories, the admission by Malaysia’s prime minister yesterday that the plane had been deliberately re-routed and flown for hours with communication systems switched off to disguise its flight path provided the most significant clues yet as to what might have happened. Mr Najib stopped short of confirming Flight MH370 had been hijacked.
      Mr Najib said in a press conference: “Based on new satellite information, we can say with a high degree of certainty that the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System was disabled just before the aircraft reached the east coast of Peninsular Malaysiapeninsular Malaysia. Shortly afterwards, near the border between Malaysian and Vietnamese air traffic control, the aircraft’s transponder was switched off. From this point onwards, the Royal Malaysian Air Force primary radar showed that an aircraft which was believed – but not confirmed – to be MH370 did indeed turn back. It then flew in a westerly direction back over Peninsular Malaysia before turning northwest.”
      The new information appears to rule out previous theories that the plane suffered a sudden mid-air explosion, catastrophic equipment or structural failure, or a crash into the South China Sea.
      As a result, the search in the South China Sea was called off and operations concentrated instead on two huge corridors –- one to the north of Malaysia and stretching as far as Kazakhstan and the other to the west across the Indian ocean to Indonesia.
      Prior to the press conference, a senior Malaysian military official told one news agency that investigators now believed the plane was commandeered by a “skilled, competent and current pilot” who knew how to avoid radar.
      Terrorism was originally suspected as a possible motive when it emerged that two Iranian men, travelling on stolen European passports, had managed to board the aircraft. They were ruled out as refugees trying to reach Europe via China.
      All passengers will now be scrutinised again while the focus was also thrown on the plane’s two pilots – Capt Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, and his First Officer, Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27. Mr Fariq broke post 9/11 security rules by allowing two female passengers into the cockpit on a previous flight.
      Witnesses said the two men’s houses were visited by police for two hours yesterday in the hunt for clues. Foreign intelligence agencies are now expected to assist in sifting through the passenger lists to identify suspects.
      The pilot and co-pilot because are regarded as the most likely to have the specialist aviation expertise to locate and switch off radar, satellite and other transponders to remove the aircraft from the ‘grid’ before changing its direction.
      But investigators said there was no evidence against members of the crew and it was possible that some of its passengers also had the knowledge required.
      On Saturday, James Wood, the brother of one of the three Americans aboard MH370, said that the Malaysian prime minister’s announcement “gives us a little hope, as ironic as that might sound”.
      “If they’re wanting to hurt people they would do it right then and there. But if they’re wanting to do something later then at least it gives us hope that there’s still life and that we’re going to have an opportunity to see our family again,” he said.

    • DXer said

      Here Are the 634 Runways Where the Malaysia Airlines Plane Could Have Landed
      By Daniel Politi

      http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2014/03/15/mh370_the_634_runways_where_malaysian_airlines_flight_could_have_landed.html

      Data from X-Plane provides coordinates for runways around the world. A Boeing 777 pilot is quoted in Slate as estimating a runway length requirement of 5,000 feet. A recentWall Street Journal article quoted sources stating the flight could have continued for 2,200 nautical miles from its last known position.
      The WNYC Data News team found 634 runways that meet these criteria, spread across 26 different countries …

      As speculation grows that there may be a slim chance Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 landed somewhere after it suddenly disappeared from radars, WNYC published a map to illustrate all the possible runways that could have been used. The WNYC Data News team used information from X-Plane that provides runway coordinates from around the world to determine all the possible spots that could be available for the plane to land within 2,200 nautical miles, considering a Boeing 777 would need a runway of at least 5,000 feet. There are a total of 634 runways that fit the criteria, spread out across 26 countries. But of course the number of places the plane could have landed is much larger as it assumes the plane used a formal runway in the first place. Slate’s Jeff Wise spoke to a pilot who flies 777-200s who said the plane could be landed on a highway. “A runway wouldn’t even necessarily have to be paved,” wrote Wise, “hard-packed dirt would likely be good enough.”

      Comment: How would one be able to prevent a passenger from using a cell phone upon landing? In NON-STOP, the Captain could turn off wireless, thus preventing phones from working. But that was at 35,000 feet.

    • DXer said

      Why divert or hijack a plane and then fly it for hours over sea? If the pilot thought he was headig for a ship and missed it, that would be a good answer.

      http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/15/world/asia/malaysia-airlines-questions/

      Malaysia Flight 370: Amid a sea of questions, 30 of the most compelling
      By Tom Watkins and Michael Pearson, CNN
      updated 5:55 PM EDT, Sat March 15, 2014

      20. Could the plane have landed somewhere?
      One theory U.S. officials are considering, according to that Wall Street Journal report, is that someone might have taken the plane to be used for some other purpose later. So it’s theoretically possible that the plane could have landed at a remote airstrip where it’s being hidden.
      But there are some big holes in that theory. The 777 is a big plane. It requires, at minimum, nearly a mile to land. And, says Quest, there’s the matter of getting it someplace without setting off alarm bells. “You can’t just fly a Triple 7 and not have a radar trace,” he said. One senior U.S. official, citing information Malaysia has shared with the United States, told CNN that “there is probably a significant likelihood” that the aircraft is on the floor of the Indian Ocean.

    • DXer said

      Although I had been focused on co-pilot Fariq, here are stories with interesting additional new information about Captain Shah.

      Did pilot hijack missing plane HIMSELF in political protest? Fears over Captain Shah’s links to Malaysian opposition
      • Mar 15, 2014 22:44

      http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/missing-malaysian-airlines-fears-over-3247649#ixzz2w7VaZ8Ka

    • DXer said

      Interesting details about Captain ; but this story also has expert suggesting rapid ascent and descent could have served to knock out passengers.

      Doomed airliner pilot was political fanatic: Hours before taking control of flight MH370 he attended trial of jailed opposition leader as FBI reveal passengers could be at a secret location
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2581817/Doomed-airliner-pilot-political-fanatic-Hours-taking-control-flight-MH370-attended-trial-jailed-opposition-leader-sodomite.html

    • DXer said

      Defense of the Captain:

      http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/03/16/malaysia-flight-missing-pilots/6484249/

      The South China Morning Post reported Sunday that Zaharie has close ties with Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who was recently sentenced to prison on a charge of sodomy, which the opposition has appealed. Speaking to USA TODAY, a close friend of Zaharie’s, Peter Chong, said Zaharie does support the opposition but that the reports that he may have had a role in diverting the plane were “not true”.

      “He is a political activist, yes. And yes, he was in court for Anwar’s trial and he is our strong supporter, but that does not make him a terrorist,” said Chong.

      Nirmala Nadarajah, a former Malaysian Airlines flight attendant, agreed and lashed out at the media for speculating about Zaharie, whom she described as a “good, kind man”.

      “He loved flying. That is his biggest passion. And he was always caring. He was always concerned about being alert and fit because he considered the safety of his passengers seriously. This investigation is utter rubbish. He would never ever have hijacked the plane,” she said.

      Comment:

      I don’t think she means the investigation is rubbish. I think she means that the conclusion the Captain was involved is mistaken. I think authorities would have been justified in accessing the flight simulation in his home merely based on the fact that the plane was whereabouts unknown.

      It’s quite the mystery. Good luck to the authorities in making advances.

      I am still trying to confirm that co-pilot Fariq’s religious teacher was not Halimah, the female attorney who was indicted along with Yazid Sufaat for recruiting young men to jihad at the house in Ampang, a suburb of Kuala Lumpur.

    • DXer said

      http://www.news.com.au/world/malaysia-airlines-flight-mh370-expands-after-plane-diverted-by-deliberate-action-amid-hijack-fears/story-fndir2ev-1226855986042

      “According to Malaysian Airlines, the pilot and co-pilot did not ask to fly together on MH370,” he said.

      ****

      Meanwhile, claims that a 35-year-old Uighur man from China’s troubled autonomous Muslim province was on Flight MH370 may be looked at in a new light. The group claimed responsibility earlier this week but were dismissed as opportunitistic and not credible, but Malaysian reports now say the passenger had taken flight-simulator training in 2005.

    • DXer said

      Missing Malaysia Airlines jet: Investigation paying ‘special attention’ to Chinese Uighur passenger
      Date
      March 13, 2014

      Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/missing-malaysia-airlines-jet-investigation-paying-special-attention-to-chinese-uighur-passenger-20140313-hvifh.html#ixzz2w87yqQZO

      Police investigating the backgrounds of all 239 people aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight are paying “special attention” to a 35 year-old Chinese Uighur man who undertook flight simulation training, according to a report in a leading Malay language newspaper in Kuala Lumpur.
      The Uighurs Muslim ethnic minority group from the north-western Chinese province of Xinjiang have been battling for independence since they were brought under Chinese control in 1949, claiming they are oppressed by China’s authoritarian government and face religious restrictions and widespread discrimination.
      Earlier this month the Uighurs, who make up 45 percent of the population of Xinjiang, were blamed for a violent attack at a Chinese train station.

      ***

      named source as saying the man is not a suspect over the plane’s disappearance but that investigators were delving into his background.
      According to the source the man has a PHD from a university in Britain was recently worked as a lecturer at a university in Turkey.
      The source said he undertook flight simulation training in Sweden in around 2006.
      Malaysian officials have not confirmed the information.

      Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/missing-malaysia-airlines-jet-investigation-paying-special-attention-to-chinese-uighur-passenger-20140313-hvifh.html#ixzz2w88I6eun

      The man has a PHD from a university in Britain and is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering

      http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2014/03/interpol-looking-at-35-year-old-uighur-passenger-on-mh370/

    • DXer said

      http://www.jassimtaqui.com/2012/06/zawahiri-uses-uighur-against-pakistan.html

      Zawahiri uses Uighur against Pakistan

      The war of the roses and Uighur
      Dr. Jassim Taqui

      In a dramatic development, the leader of Al-Qaeda Ayman Al-Zawahiri has started a very serious move to malign the strategic ties between Pakistan and China. This time, Al-Qaeda is supporting the militants of the banned ethnic Uighur Islamic militants in the unruly FATA region along the borders with Afghanistan.

      Al-Bab learnt that, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi raised the issue with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari during his recent visit to Islamabad. Uighur militants are members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM).

      They have run sanctuaries and training facilities in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region since the mid-1990s. They are financed by CIA-RAW to destabilize China through attempting to separate China’s Muslim majority Xinjiang province.

      This group, with links to al Qaeda, is responsible for unrest in Xinjiang, prompting China to raise this issue many times with Pakistan. …

    • DXer said

      A 777 has a max range of 9000 miles plus reserve, if it is fully fueled.

    • DXer said

      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/03/16/king-frustrated-with-malaysia-probe-into-missing-plane-wants-more-fbi/

      Much of the frustration is being directed toward Malaysian officials, who waited nine days after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared March 8 over the Indian Ocean to search the pilot and co-pilots’ home — especially as it became clear the plane’s disappearance wasn’t the result of mechanical problems. King said the pilots should have been the focus from the start.

      King told ABC’s “This Week” that more intelligence agencies need to be hands-on in the probe. He wants the NTSB, the FBI, the Federal Aviation Administration and the international police agency Interpol to be more involved in the investigation …

      King also said that more investigation must be done regarding a possible terrorist connection to the flight’s disappearance. He said that just because there is no record of chatter, it does not mean authorities should dismiss the possibility.

      Comment:

      Given the nature of the responsibility of having 200+ lives in your hands, pilots should be consenting to the search of their belongings if their plane goes missing as a routine condition of employment. There doesn’t need to be suspicion of criminal wrongdoing where there is potentially a direct nexus to safety. If a pilot doesn’t want to give such consent, then he needn’t be entrusted with the responsibility. The pilot’s state of mind on the day of flight is immediately and urgently a legitimate subject that needs exploring with the best possible evidence.

      I would hope that their families would consent to a search — they more than anyone are interested in the safe return of the plane.

      Was consent even sought?

    • DXer said

      Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 search grows as pilots face increased scrutiny
      By Steve Almasy, Chelsea J. Carter and Jim Clancy, CNN
      updated 2:22 PM EDT, Sun March 16, 2014
      http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/16/world/asia/malaysia-airlines-plane/

      U.S. intelligence officials are leaning toward the theory that “those in the cockpit” — the captain and co-pilot — were responsible for the mysterious disappearance, a U.S. official with direct knowledge of the latest thinking told CNN.
      What we know about the cockpit crew

      The official emphasized no final conclusions have been drawn and all the internal intelligence discussions are based on preliminary assessments of what is known to date.

      Other scenarios could still emerge. The notion of a hijacking has not been ruled out, the official said Saturday.

      Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters on Saturday that the plane veered off course due to apparent deliberate action taken by somebody on board.

      Hussein, the transportation minister, told reporters the pilots didn’t request to work together.

      [The captain’s friend] was bothered by speculation about the captain’s credibility and questions about possible ties to terrorism.

      “I think it is a little bit insensitive and unfair to the family,” he said, adding he thought there was no evidence to suggest any ulterior motives on Shah’s part.

      Undoubtedly, authorities will scour through the flight manifest and look further to see whether any of the passengers on board had flight training or connections to terror groups.

      According to The New York Times, one of the passengers was an aviation engineer on his way to Beijing to work for a private-jet company.

      A senior U.S. law enforcement official told CNN that investigators are carefully reviewing the information so far collected on the pilots to determine whether there is something to indicate a plan or a motive.

      That would seem supported by preliminary U.S. intelligence reports, which the U.S. official said show the jetliner was in some form of controlled flight at a relatively stable altitude and path when it changed

    • DXer said

      http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/03/17/No-way-Zaharie-will-sabotage-flight-say-colleagues/

      No way Zaharie will sabotage flight, say colleagues

      The pilots who had worked with the veteran colleague over the years said they did not believe that he was capable of sabotaging his own flight.

      “He is such a kind-hearted person and would not have been able to think of anything like this,” said a close friend of Zaharie.

      “Zaharie is always smiling and ready with a joke,” said another pilot who has flown alongside Zaharie previously. “He won’t do something like this.”

      On reports in several blogs and Facebook pages that Zaharie had been introduced by a fellow pilot to a religious teacher named Syeikhul Hadith Maulana Abd Hamid at Madrasah Miftahul Ulum, a former colleague said this was not true.

      According to one of the blogs, the pilot had taken part in tabligh (Islamic missionary) activities and had expressed his wish to contribute to the development of Islamic schools.

      Zaharie’s Facebook page, which he last updated on Jan 3, gave no indication of him harbouring any extremist views. Many of his postings reflected his political beliefs, which are in support of Pakatan Rakyat and critical of Barisan Nasional, while others highlighted his hobbies, including flying and upgrading his flight simulator, cooking, and home improvement projects.

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