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October 10, 2001: FBI Issues List of 22 Most Wanted Terrorists[]

The FBI releases a list of its 22 most wanted terrorists. The men are:

Al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden, who was indicted by a grand jury in 1998 (see June 8, 1998), Ayman al-Zawahiri, linked to a 1995 bombing in Pakistan (see November 19, 1995), and Mohammed Atef, who provided training to Somali fighters before the Black Hawk Down incident (see Late 1992-October 1993); 

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM), for his role in the 1995 Bojinka plot (see January 6, 1995). KSM is actually the mastermind of 9/11, although the US intelligence community has allegedly not yet pieced this information together (see (November 7, 2001)); Several other operatives suspected of involvement in the 1998 US embassy bombings in Africa (see 10:35-10:39 a.m., August 7, 1998): Fazul Abdullah Mohammed (see August 2, 2008), Mustafa Fadhil, Fahid Muhammad Ally Msalam (see August 6-7, 1998), Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani (see July 25-29, 2004), Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan (see July 11, 2002), Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah (see September 10, 2002), Anas al-Liby (see January 20, 2002- March 20, 2002), Saif al-Adel (see Spring 2002), Ahmed Mohammed Hamed Ali, and Mushin Musa Matwalli Atwah (see April 12, 2006); Abdul Rahman Yasin, a US-Iraqi involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing (see March 4-5,1993); Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Mughassil, Ali Saed Bin Ali El-Houri, Ibrahim Salih Mohammed Al-Yacoub, and Abdelkarim Hussein Mohamed Al-Nasser, for their alleged part in the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia (see June 25, 1996); Imad Mugniyah, Hassan Izz-Al-Din, and Ali Atwa for the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 in June 1985. [CNN, 10/10/2001]


October 10, 2001: Report: Bin Laden’s Financial Network Is Successor to the BCCI Bank A 70-page French intelligence report claims: “The financial network of [Osama] bin Laden, as well as his network of investments, is similar to the network put in place in the 1980s by BCCI for its fraudulent operations, often with the same people (former directors and cadres of the bank and its affiliates, arms merchants, oil merchants, Saudi investors). The dominant trait of bin Laden’s operations is that of a terrorist network backed up by a vast financial structure.” The BCCI was the largest Islamic bank in the world before it collapsed in July 1991 (see July 5, 1991). A senior US investigator will later say US agencies are looking into the ties outlined by the French because “they just make so much sense, and so few people from BCCI ever went to jail. BCCI was the mother and father of terrorist financing operations.” The report identifies dozens of companies and individuals who were involved with BCCI and were found to be dealing with bin Laden after the bank collapsed. Many went on to work in banks and charities identified by the US and others as supporting al-Qaeda. About six ex-BCCI figures are repeatedly named, including Saudi multi-millionaire Ghaith Pharaon (see October 10, 2001). The role of Saudi billionaire Khalid bin Mahfouz in supporting bin Laden is emphasized in the report. In 1995, bin Mahfouz paid a $225 million fine in a settlement with US prosecutors for his role in the BCCI scandal. [WASHINGTON POST, 2/17/2002] Bin Laden lost money when BCCI was shut down, but may have benefited in the long term as other militants began relying on his financial network instead of BCCI’s (see July 1991 and After July 1991). Representatives of bin Mahfouz will later argue that this report is false and was in fact prepared by Jean-Charles Brisard and not the French intelligence service. Bin Mahfouz has begun libel proceedings against Mr. Brisard, claiming that he has made unfounded and defamatory allegations, and denies that he has ever supported terrorism. [KENDALL FREEMAN, 5/13/2004 ] Entity Tags: Jean-Charles Brisard, Ghaith Pharaon, Khalid bin Mahfouz, Al-Qaeda, Bank of Credit and Commerce International, Osama bin Laden Category Tags: Pakistan and the ISI, BCCI

October 10, 2001: Baggage Handling Company Cleared of Wrongdoing[]

It is reported that Globe Aviation Services Corp., in charge of the baggage handlers for Flight 11 and all other American Airlines Flights at Boston’s Logan Airport, have been cleared of any wrongdoing. Globe Aviation supervisors claim that none of the employees working that day was in the US illegally. Supposedly, no weapons were detected, but a baggage handler for Globe Aviation and American Airlines has told the FBI that one of the hijackers—believed to be either Wail or Waleed Alshehri—was carrying one wooden crutch under his arm when he boarded Flight 11. Crutches are apparently routinely scanned through X-ray machines. [BOSTON GLOBE, 10/10/2001] Entity Tags: Logan Airport, American Airlines, Globe Aviation Services Corp., Federal Bureau of Investigation, Wail Alshehri, Waleed M. Alshehri Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: FBI 9/11 Investigation

October 10, 2001: Famous Arab Commentator Says Al-Qaeda Could Not Have Conducted 9/11 Attacks

Mohammed Heikal. [Source: Publicity photo] Mohammed Heikal, longtime Egyptian journalist, former government spokesman, and the “Arab world’s foremost political commentator,” expresses disbelief that bin Laden and al-Qaeda could have conducted the 9/11 attack without the US knowing. “Bin Laden has been under surveillance for years: every telephone call was monitored and al-Qaeda has been penetrated by American intelligence, Pakistani intelligence, Saudi intelligence, Egyptian intelligence. They could not have kept secret an operation that required such a degree of organization and sophistication.” [GUARDIAN, 10/10/2001] Entity Tags: Mohammed Heikal, Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: US Government and 9/11 Criticism

October 10, 2001: US Television Networks ‘Doing Too Much of the Government’s Bidding’ The Bush administration asks the major US television networks to refrain from showing unedited video messages taped by Osama bin Laden. They agree. A Newsweek article is critical of the decision, pointing out that “all but one [of these networks] are controlled by major conglomerates that have important pending business with the government.” The article openly questions if the media is “doing too much of the government’s bidding” in reporting on 9/11. Says one expert, “I’m not saying that everything is a horrible paranoid fantasy, but my sense is there’s an implicit quid pro quo here. The industry seems to be saying to the administration, ‘We’re patriotic, We’re supporting the war, we lost all of this advertising, now free us from [business] constraints.’” [NEWSWEEK, 10/13/2001] Entity Tags: Bush administration, Osama bin Laden Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion, 9/11 Timeline, Domestic Propaganda Category Tags: Media

October 10, 2001: Prominent BCCI Front Man Linked to Bin Laden

Ghaith Pharaon shaking hands with Alexander Haig. [Source: Bob Morris / Sygma] Shortly after 9/11, the Guardian will report that Ghaith Pharon is “directly linked to bin Laden through banks, holding companies, and charities.” This information is said to come from a French intelligence report (see October 10, 2001). [GUARDIAN, 10/10/2001] Pharon was a pivotal figure in the criminal BCCI bank. A Saudi, he built up a Saudi construction firm called REDEC that had over $1 billion in revenues by the mid-1970s. He lives an extremely opulent lifestyle and moves easily in high-powered circles in Western countries. But in the 1980s his businesses began failing and he became a BCCI front man. BCCI used his charm and his connections in Saudi Arabia and the US to buy banks in the US, such as the First American Bank. He threw lavish parties and became friends with many influential Americans, such as former President Jimmy Carter. Meanwhile, he stole at least $500 million of the money invested in BCCI. When the BCCI scandal broke in 1991, many of the key figures cut deals with prosecutors, but Pharon did not. An international warrant was issued for his arrest, and in 1997 it was determined that he owes $2 billion for his role in the BCCI scandal. [BEATY AND GWYNNE, 1993, PP. 168-182; FINANCIAL TIMES, 9/6/1997] But Pharaon continues to run his business empire and live a lavish lifestyle. In 1997, it was reported that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are both refusing to acknowledge the warrant for his arrest. He spends time in both countries, but mostly lives on his large yacht. [FINANCIAL TIMES, 9/6/1997] Entity Tags: Osama bin Laden, Ghaith Pharaon Category Tags: Terrorism Financing, BCCI

October 10, 2001: Two Israelis Are Detained in Mexican Legislature Building after Behaving Suspiciously and Found To Be Carrying Arms Two Israelis, Salvador Gersson Smike, 34, and Sar Ben Zui, 27, are arrested in the Mexican Congress Building in Mexico City. Smike is carrying a plastic 9 mm sophisticated Glock 9 mm pistol tucked into his underwear in his lower back. Glock pistols are made with a special plastic material and are very easy to smuggle. [CORREO, 10/11/2001; EL HERALDO DE MEXICO (MEXICO CITY), 10/11/2001; CRONICA DE HOY (MEXICO CITY), 10/12/2001] He also has with him a briefcase reported to contain 58 bullets, bomb-making materials, three detonators, and nine grenades. [EL HERALDO DE MEXICO (MEXICO CITY), 10/11/2001] The two were apprehended after ex-sugarcane workers, who were waiting for a congressional hearing, saw the two Israelis behaving strangely at around 4:00 p.m. They were reportedly photographing the workers below the belt. When the workers demanded that the two men identify themselves, the Israelis said they were press photographers. The workers dismissed their claims, overcame them, and then discovered they were armed with pistols and other high caliber arms. The two men had apparently also been seen the day before taking pictures. [CRONICA DE HOY (MEXICO CITY), 10/12/2001] Security guards soon arrived, disarmed the men, and took them to the security office. At around 6:00 p.m., it is learned that the two men are Israelis and that one of them, Salvador Gersson, is a former colonel of the Israeli Special Forces. [CORREO, 10/11/2001; DIARIO DE MEXICO (MEXICO CITY), 10/11/2001 ] Soon after, a man claiming to be a supervisor from the company, Desarrollo de Sistemas de Seguridad Privada (Private Security Systems Development), says the two men are employees at the firm and that they were taking pictures because they are “vacationing.” The journalists who are present scoff at the claim. [CORREO, 10/11/2001; EL HERALDO DE MEXICO (MEXICO CITY), 10/11/2001] After October 13, no additional information is reported about the incident. Entity Tags: Salvador Gersson Smike, Sar Ben Zui, Private Security Systems Development Timeline Tags: Alleged Use of False Flag Attacks Category Tags: Israel

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