09:18 GMT, November 3, 2010 KABUL | As RIA Novosti reports, Russia has started deliveries of small arms and ammunition to Afghanistan under a military assistance program.
The first of 16 Il-76 cargo planes landed on Tuesday in Kabul carrying weaponry for the Afghan police forces to assist the legitimate government in the fight against crime, drug-trafficking and Taliban militants.
“The delivery of small arms donations to Afghanistan will help to strengthen national police to strengthen security and the rule of law in this country,” said Andrei Avetisyan, the Russian ambassador to Afghanistan.
Soviet-era Kalashnikov assault rifles and machine guns are already widely used by the Afghan police force.
Other Russian contributions to the fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan include the supply of Mi-17 helicopters and crews to train Afghan pilots, possible Russian assistance in training Afghan national security forces, increased co-operation on counter-narcotics and border security, and improved transit and supply routes for NATO forces. (RIA Novosti)
“No to War – No to Nato” presents with the support of Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Stiftung Friedensbewegung and DIE LINKE, Germany
At the next NATO summit meeting in Lisbon from November 19th to 21st 2010, the new NATO strategy will be adopted. The new strategy should “lead NATO through the uneasy and dangerous times at the beginning of the 21st century”, as formulated in the contract for the development of the new strategy at the summit of heads of states and governments in Strasbourg in April 2009. The expert group set up for designing the strategy, placed under the direction of former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, made its recommendations in May for the new NATO strategy, entitled “NATO 2020”. “The alliance must be versatile and flexible in this time period of uncertainty in the 21st century”, said Madeleine Albright at the presentation of the report. If a (first) conclusion of this document is to be drawn, than it can only be: pure militarism, continuing of the wars, especially in Afghanistan and, above all, further nuclear armament. The words are more cautious and vague, but the reality is brutal and war-like. Approaches for greater political cooperation, e.g. with Russia, are foiled by aggressive armament policy (including the missile defence system). The critique of the peace movement, which we have formulated in connection with the 60th birthday of NATO, is still necessary and correct: NATO is a dinosaur that should be abolished.
NO to the new NATO-Strategy! Getting Active for Global Peace, Disarmament and the End of NATO
Location: Liceu Luís de Camões, Lisboa
11/19/2010 – Friday
Natália Nogal (for PAGAN), Reiner Braun (for ICC)
Moderation / Chair: Arielle Denis, Mvt. Paix / Andreas Speck, WRI
- War and Peace (Sandra Monteiro, Le Monde Diplomatique, Portugal)
- The new NATO Strategy and Global Crisis (Vitor Lima, PAGAN, Portugal)
- Nuclear weapons in the new NATO-Strategy (Joseph Gerson, AFSC, USA)
- Relations between Russia and NATO (Vitaly Merkushew, Eurasian Network of Political Research, Russia)
- NATO and Missile Defense (Jan Majicek, No BASES Network, CR)
- NATO’s War in Afghanistan (RAWA, Afghanistan) (TBC)
14.00-22.30 Workshop Blocks
14.00-16.30 Workshop Block I – Discussion of the NATO Strategy
- NATO and Nuclear Weapons (convenor: Dave Webb, CND)
- NATO, War and Global Crises (convenor: Jacques Fath, PCF)
- NATO and Afghanistan (convenor: Reiner Braun, INES / Joseph Gerson, AFSC)
- NATO and EU (convenor: Michael Youlton, IAWM / PANA)
- History of NATO (convenor: Erhard Crome, RLS)
short coffee / snack break
17.00-19.00 Workshop Block II War, Militarization and Peace
- Feminism and Militarization (convenor: Kristine Karch, INES)
- Portugal and Militarization (convenor: Nuno Moniz, PAGAN)
- The Military Industrial Complex and the Privatization of War (convenor: Rae Street, CND)
- NATO and Bases (convenor: Elsa Rassbach, DFG-VK – GIs and U.S. Bases / Jan Majicek, NO BASES Network)
- Youth and Militarization (convenor: Nuno Moniz, PAGAN)
- From neutrality to NATO – Scandinavia in Partnership for Peace (convenor: Agneta Norberg, Swedish Peace Council)
one hour dinner break
20.00-22.30 Workshop Block III Peaceful, Just and Social Alternatives
- Alternative Security Systems (convenor: Erhard Crome, RLS)
- Actions for Peace (convenor: Monty Schädel, DFG-VK / Lucas Wirl, INES)
- Human security and other concepts (convenor: António Dores,PAGAN / Tobias Pflüger, IMI)
- Nuclear Weapons Convention (convenor: Reiner Braun, IALANA Europe)
- Disarmament for development (convenor: Ben Cramer, IPB)
- Non violent resistance (convenor: Andreas Speck, WRI)
22.30 Peace Party
11/20/2010 – Saturday
10.00-12.00 Public Event in the City of Lisboa — NO to War – NO to NATO
Moderation / Chair: Joseph Gerson (AFSC) / Irina Castro (PAGAN)
Discussion in the centre of the city, open for the general public and interested people. With Politicians and Activists:
- Willy Meyer, Member European Parliament GUE/ NGL, European Left, Spain
- Jeremy Corbyn, Member of Parliament, Labour Party, GB
- Colonel Mario Tomé, PAGAN, Portugal
- Arielle Denis, Mouvement de la Paix, France
- Christine Hoffmann, pax christi Germany, Germany
15.00 International Anti-NATO demonstration
Location: Av. Da Liberdade
11/21/2010 – Sunday
10.00-10.45 Introduction Lectures: Lessons Learnt
Portugal and NATO (Ricardo Robles, PAGAN)
NATO and Latin America (Eduardo Melero, UAM, Spain)
Peace Assembly – Anti-War Assembly:
How to continue acting for a world without war and NATO
Moderation: Arielle Denis, Dave Webb, Tobias Pflüger
10.45 – 11.15 Reports from the Working Groups
Reports of anti-NATO-activities in Lisboa
short coffee / snack break
11.45 – 14.00 Open Microphone: 3 min. reports and discussion on activities and future plans against NATO
Agreements on common activities
14.00 Presentation of the Declaration of the ICC and Conclusions
Remarks by Reiner Braun
a) Program: The convenors are responsible for organizing the workshops. The ICC takes care for the Plenary Speakers. The full program with the speakers of the workshops will be published after November 1st.
b) Registration: For further information about and to register for the conference, please send an email to: Kongress@IALANA.de Registration starts on October 18th and is necessary for a successful preparation and arrangement of the conference.
c) Conference donation: The conference is organized by activists for activists, we ask you to support our conference. Voluntary conference fee: 10 € which may be paid at the conference
d) Accommodation: For private accommodation, please contact:firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheap hotels and hostels close to the counter summit:
The NATO heads of state, including President Obama, will meet in Lisbon to promulgate a new NATO doctrine for the nuclear and increasingly global alliance. Leading European and other peace advocates will gather for a counter-summit conference that will be live streamed on the web: www.no-to-nato.org.
Join us. Proceedings of the counter-Summit will be broadcast from Friday the 19th from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Portugal time (6 hour time difference from New York.) They’ll be broadcast from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the 21st. The agenda can be found atwww.no-t.o-nato.org.
[This was a very effective tactic for war resistance back in the Nam era. If my draft lottery number hadn't been so high(343 out of 366) I planned to go to Canada or Australia myself. If only we had the draft now, it would surely motivate millions of Americans to pour into the streets once again. Until every teenager and his family begins to see the personal stake they have in ending this war, there will be no civil action on the scale that we are hearing about in Europe. Social action is the key to stopping austerity cuts and war escalations.]
Former US soldiers describes deployment in Afghanistan
“No one will force me to draw my weapon on little kids. I’m not going to do that anymore.”
That was one of many experiences which changed the life of Jules Tindungan, a former soldier of the United States military who described his deployment to Afghanistan in 2007 as “15 months of hell.” It was the fighting, trauma and constant violence in the War on Terror which caused Tindungan, a Los Angeles native, to second guess whether enlisting in the army was a good idea.
“I joined (the army) when I was 17. I struggled in high school. I wasn’t that great of a kid,” Tindungan told a group of about 50 people at St. Paul’s Anglican Church Oct. 16 as part of the Refusing Orders, Crossing Boarders event. “The U.S. military was one of the largest employers in Southern California. McDonalds was the second largest. All things changed when I was deployed. I was very young. It was a lot of responsibility given to me.”
As a soldier, Tindungan was part of an infantry unit, and was trained to know “the ins and outs of weaponry,” knowing military procedures such as when to invade homes and pull people out during a fight.
While stationed in Afghanistan Tindungan noticed that life that much different in the country when compared to California.
“I saw how people trying to carve out a lifestyle in the terrain. I saw resemblances of Southern California and these dirt places in Afghanistan.”
Tindungan was injured while fighting overseas, hit in the lower left leg by a mortar shell. While injured Tindungan worked the radio while his “brothers” in the army were fighting on the field.
“Instead of being with my brothers I was hearing them scream (on the radio),” Tindungan said. “So a lot of me changed. My outlook changed on what I was doing.”
In 2008, Tindungan was sent home. He was scheduled to redeploy for another round overseas but instead of packing his bags, Tindungan returned to California, chucked his cell phone into the ocean and fled.
Tindungan found new life in Vancouver, B.C., where he met his wife and got a new job.
“I’m doing pretty good for myself,” Tindungan said.
Tindungan was one of 11 war resisters on a panel sharing their stories and answering questions as part of Refusing Orders, Crossing Boarders, an event organized by the War Resisters Support Campaign in Canada and the Buffalo Chapter of Veterans For Peace.
The day-long event was meant for American War Resisters who sought refuge on Canadian soil to share their stories on why they made their choices to resist the military life and the struggles behind it.
Bruce Byers, one of the organizers of the event, said the purpose of Refusing Orders, Crossing Borders was to show support for former soldiers who refuse to participate in the military.
“All are veterans of the United States army. Some have seen combat,” Byers said. “But all refuse to participate. I hope (participants) leave with the courage and understanding of they (soldiers) made their decisions.”
During a question period, the panel was asked how they feel about being called a war resister, a coward or a traitor.
War resister Dale Landry said he doesn’t consider himself a deserter, nor is he a coward or a traitor.
“They say when you leave you commit treason. It’s such a narrow definition,” Landry said. “To commit treason means to assist foreign countries during a war. I wasn’t against the United States.”
Panelist Phil McDowell said he doesn’t consider himself a coward. McDowell said the decision to leave was his choice.
“I don’t care what people call me,” McDowell said to applause from the crowd.
For more information about the War Resisters Support Campaign, visit http://www.resisters.ca.
Islamabad, Nov 4(ANI): Pakistani parliamentarians have expressed serious concern about the violation of the country’s airspace near the Afghan border by NATO allied forces based in Afghanistan.
“The government has failed to defend the sovereignty of the country despite repeated airspace violations by NATO forces,” the Daily Times quoted Zafar-ul-Haq, as saying.
Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader Abdul Ghafoor Haidri also expressed dismay over the government and its strategic military policies towards NATO and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
“If any agreement exists between NATO and Pakistan, then why does the government not produce it before the nation,” Haidri said.
Meanwhile, the leader of the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms (PCCR), Raza Rabbani, demanded from the House to summon NATO officials to appear in the Foreign Office.
Rabbani was also of the opinion that if NATO does not support the issue, then Pakistan should use other options, including military retaliation.
Earlier, it was reported that despite assuring Pakistan of stopping further intrusions into its territory, NATO aircraft had once again breached the country’s border limits in Kurram Agency on Tuesday.
The helicopters allegedly entered about 600 meters inside Pakistani airspace, and after flying in the area for 10 minutes they returned back to Spin Boldak area in Afghanistan to their airbase.
It came weeks after three Pakistani army men were killed in an air strike by NATO helicopters at a military post, 200 metres inside the Pakistani border in Kurram Agency.
It was NATO’s fourth aerial violation of Pakistani territory in less than a week, but the first in which soldiers were killed.
Reacting to the incident, Pakistan had suspended supply convoys along the Khyber Pass route, which links Peshawar in Pakistan with Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan, and lodged a protest with the NATO command in Brussels, demanding an apology.
The cross-border air strikes, seen by Pakistan as a violation of its territorial sovereignty, had sparked nationwide rumblings over the US-led incursions. (ANI)
The Obama administration Monday said it opposes shifting the venue of Israel-Palestinian peacemaking to the United Nations. U.S. officials say only direct dialogue and agreement between the parties can produce a two-state settlement of the conflict.
The Obama administration is giving a chilly reception to suggestions that recognition of Palestinian statehood by U.N. or other international bodies might advance prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian accord.
In the face of the current stalemate in U.S.-led Middle East diplomacy, Palestinian and other Arab officials have suggested in recent days that the Palestinians might try to jolt the process by appealing for statehood support from global bodies such as the U.N. or International Court of Justice.
In the latest such comments, Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa told the Fox News radio network in Cairo that Arabs are growing impatient with Obama administration diplomacy, and that the “most important alternative is to get back to the United Nations.”
At a news briefing, State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley was asked to respond to a question by the Arab League chief on Sunday as to “what is wrong with having the U.N. sanction (authorize) or support the peace process?”
“It doesn’t solve the conflict. The only way to end the conflict is to resolve the final-status issues. And the only way to resolve the final status issues is through a direct negotiation,” he said. “Unilateral declarations or unilateral actions on one side or the other does not end the conflict, and that is our goal.”
Israel has strongly opposed having the U.N. Security Council or General Assembly pronounce on the statehood issue, saying it would violate the 1993 Olso accords that underlie the peace process, and pre-empt negotiations on borders and other key issues.
Spokesman Crowley said a U.N. statehood declaration would be a unilateral move in that it would have the support of only one party in the process. He said a comprehensive settlement, involving all the tracks of the peace process, can be reached only with the consent of all the parties.
U.S.-led direct negotiations stalled in September after the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to extend a nine-month freeze on most Israeli settlement activity.
Mr. Netanyahu flies to the southern U.S. city of New Orleans later this week for a meeting of U.S. Jewish organizations, and is to meet with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.
Officials here say there have been contacts with Mr. Netanyahu’s office about whether he may be able to meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington or elsewhere, after her return from Asia early next week.
They said U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell will meet the Israeli Prime Minister while he is in the United States, perhaps in tandem with Clinton.
Spokesman Crowley meanwhile dismissed published suggestions that Mitchell, a former Senate majority leader and Northern Ireland peace negotiator, might soon leave the Middle East post.
He said there are “monthly rumors” about Mitchell’s future but that he is not aware of any plan by him to depart.
[India should worry more about its own apartheid system than the one in Israel.]
PERHAPS BECAUSE of too many competing events — America’s bitterly-fought mid-term election amidst parlous economy; US President Barack Obama’s coming visit to India, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Hanoi and the Group of Twenty summit in Seoul, to say nothing of the terrorist threat following the despatch of explosive parcels to the US from Yemen — a depressing development of great consequence has gone practically unnoticed. The direct talks between Israel and Palestine, given a jump-start by Mr Obama have been suspended for more than a month. This is longer than they had lasted.
More importantly, “suspension” is a euphemism. The reality is that the talks are all but dead, not deadlocked. The reason is that the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, resolutely refuses to extend the freeze on the construction of Israeli settlements on the Palestinian territory in the West Bank that ended on September 26. And the President of the Palestine Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, understandably refuses to negotiate if the settlement construction goes on. No fewer than 30 new projects have been started and one of the new settlements is being built in eastern Jerusalem that would be the capital of the state of Palestine if and when it comes into existence under the generally-accepted two-states formula.
If the two sides have not yet officially declared that the talks have collapsed, there are two reasons for it. First, such a declaration before November 2 would have added to Mr Obama’s woes in the mid-term elections he and his Democratic Party are contesting practically with their backs to the wall. Secondly, the Arab League, meeting in Syria on October 9, had ruled out any negotiations with Israel for as long as settlements were being built but had given the “American brokers” a month to persuade Mr Netanyahu to “do the right thing”. Mr Obama, fully aware of the critical importance of the settlements issue, made extraordinary efforts to cajole Mr Netanyahu to extend the freeze for no more than 60 days. In return he offered Israel additional security guarantees, more fighter planes, missile defence, and a commitment to veto any UN Security Council resolution critical of Israel. Still Mr Netanyahu refused. His plea to the Americans is that his Right-wing colleagues in the coalition simply would not permit any restrictions on settlement construction.
This is true only to the extent that some of his ministerial colleagues, such as foreign minister Avigor Liebermann — who is a Russian immigrant, lives in a settlement and is trying to establish himself as leader of the Israeli Right — are giving him trouble.
But objective observers point out that what Mr Netanyahu is saying is an “excuse”, not an explanation. He can jettison extremists in his Cabinet and make common cause with those in the Opposition that support the peace process.
Even so, there is no dearth of Israel’s friends in the US who are advising Mr Abbas not to be “distracted” by the settlements issue but resume his negotiations with Mr Netanyahu to settle “broader questions” such as the borders of the two states(with Israel “compensating” Palestine by swapping its land for the areas occupied by Israeli settlements) and Jerusalem etc. The response of the Palestinians to this is: For how long can we go on talking while Israel goes on building more settlements? Soon enough there would not be sufficient land for a viable state of Palestine. They add, pertinently, that settlements are illegal under international law. Under the circumstances, is it any surprise that the Palestinian side has come to the conclusion that direct talks with Israel, with occasional mediation by the US, have outlived not only their utility but also their futility?
There are some friends of Palestine as well as Palestinian thinkers who feel that the futile search of two states should be abandoned and they should agree to just one state of which the entire Palestinian and Israeli populations would be equal citizens. Whatever its future, the idea has much merit.
For in such a situation, demography would do what the most intense and prolonged diplomacy hasn’t. In a democratic Israel the principle of one-person-one-vote would secure for the Arab majority its legitimate rights. At present the Arabs living in Israel are being treated as second-class citizens as recent riots in Jerusalem and some other places showed. The only other alternative Israel — already insistent on establishing the identity of his country as a Jewish state in which all citizens and immigrants must take an “oath of loyalty” to such a state — would be to turn itself into an apartheid state. Would the United States and the world community accept that?
The Federal Reserve has announced that it will pump $600bn (£373bn) into the US economy by the end of June next year to try to boost the fragile recovery.
This stimulus, which equates to $75bn a month, is slightly more than many economists had expected.
The US economy grew by an annual rate of 2% between July and September, which is not enough to reduce high unemployment.
Some analysts see QE as the last chance to get the US economy back on track.
Interest rates are already close to zero, which means the Fed cannot reduce rates any further in order to boost demand – the more traditional policy used by central banks to stimulate growth.
Instead, it has announced a fresh round of QE, in which it will create money to buy long-dated government bonds. The move was widely expected.
The programme has been dubbed QE2, after the Fed pumped $1.75tn into the economy during the downturn in its first round of QE.
The Fed said in a statement that the “pace of recovery in output and employment remains slow. Household spending is increasing gradually, but remains constrained buy high unemployment, modest income growth, lower housing wealth and tight credit”.
It added that it would “regularly review the pace of its securities purchases and the overall size of the asset-purchase programme in light of incoming information”.
One member of the Fed’s Open Market Committee, which decides interest rates and QE, voted against the additional stimulus measures.
Thomas Hoenig argued that further stimulus could, over time, create inflationary pressure and “destabilise the economy”.
Opinions are divided about how effective QE2 will be, partly because of questions about how much impact the first, much larger, round of QE had.
Some credit the programme with pulling the US out of recession, while others argue that it had little impact on consumer demand and the tight credit conditions that make it hard for individuals and businesses to access bank finance.
As a result, some economists believe the Fed will have to pump far more than $500bn into the economy to make a meaningful difference.
What most do agree on, however, is that the Fed must do something
The US economy grew at an annualised rate of 2% between July and September.
The annualised rate is the rate at which the economy would grow over a year if the three-month growth rate were replicated over all four quarters.
While this was an improvement on the 1.7% annualised growth seen between April and June, it was less than the 3.7% annualised growth recorded in the first three months of the year.
Together, these growth rates are below the historical rates posted by the US economy during recoveries from recession.
Also a cause for concern is the fact that growth in business inventories made up more than two-thirds of the annualised 2% third-quarter growth – in other words, businesses simply re-stocking following the downturn.
Such modest rates of growth are having little impact on the high level of unemployment in the US, which currently stands at 9.6%.
Official figures show that the economy lost a 95,000 jobs in September, as public-sector cuts outpaced hiring by the private sector.
This was almost double the figure for August, when 54,000 jobs were lost.
It is this high level of unemployment that is acting as a key drag on economic growth.
Ali Mohamed has an almost unbelievable resume: Major in the Egyptian Army Special Forces, then Sergeant in the U.S. Army Special Forces at Fort Bragg, long-time al-Qaida operative and trainer of terrorists who bombed the New York World Trade Center, chief of security for Osama bin Laden, CIA agent, FBI informant, and applicant for a Department of Defense security clearance. In addition to being a fascinating tale of intrigue and deception, the Ali Mohamed story has important lessons about vulnerabilities in the personnel security system.
Ali Abdelseoud Mohamed was born in Egypt in 1952. He received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Alexandria. In testimony after his arrest in 1998, he claimed to have two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree – one of them perhaps from his two years of training at the Egyptian military academy. He joined the Egyptian Army in 1970 or 1971 and rose to the rank of Major in the Special Forces.1
In 1981, the Egyptian Army sent Mohamed to Fort Bragg for 4 months’ training with the U.S. Special Forces. Working alongside Green Berets, he learned unconventional warfare, counterinsurgency operations, and how to command elite soldiers on difficult missions.2,3 After that, he returned to Egypt and served in the Egyptian Army until 1984, when he left to work as a counterterrorism expert for EgyptAir.
Also in 1981, the Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat, was assassinated, largely because he had concluded peace negotiations with Israel. He was assassinated by members of Mohamed’s Special Forces unit who were associated with the fundamentalist group Egyptian Islamic Jihad, of which Mohamed was also a member.1 Since Mohamed was in Fort Bragg at the time, he was not directly involved with the assassination and avoided arrest by Egyptian authorities.3 It is noteworthy, however, that the leader of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad at this time was Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was Mohamed’s spiritual mentor. Later, Egyptian Islamic Jihad gradually merged with al-Qaida, and al-Zawahiri introduced Mohamed to Osama bin Laden. Today, al-Zawahiri is Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in hiding.4
After leaving the Egyptian Army in 1984, Mohamed volunteered his services to the CIA. This was a time when CIA was stepping up its operations against Muslim militants. Terrorists had bombed the American Embassy and Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983. In March 1984, terrorists linked to Iran-backed Hezbollah kidnapped William F. Buckley, the CIA station chief in Beirut. It is not known whether Mohamed contacted CIA on his own initiative or on instructions from Egyptian Islamic Jihad to penetrate CIA operations, but the latter explanation appears more likely.
CIA tasked Mohamed to go to Germany and establish contact with the Hezbollah, but within weeks discovered he had told the Hezbollah operatives he was a CIA agent. Thus, CIA considered him untrustworthy. Thinking he might try to reenter the United States, they put Mohamed on the State Department Watch List, which should have prevented him from obtaining a visa. CIA also warned other government agencies about him.1, 5, 6
Immigration to the United States
In the early to mid-1980s, Mohamed’s mentor and head of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, al-Zawahiri, decided to send “sleeper agents” to the United States.5 A sleeper agent is an agent who is planted in a target country or organization but remains inactive until needed for a mission. In 1985, Mohamed did immigrate to the United States as CIA had suspected he would, and it is reasonable to assume that he was at that time an agent for al-Zawahiri. The American Embassy in Cairo issued him a visa even though he was on their Watch List, perhaps because of confusion in the spelling of his name. There are many different ways to transliterate the Arabic name Mohamed into English. 7, 8
Mohamed arrived in the United States in September 1985. On the flight to New York he met a divorcee returning from a vacation in Greece to her home in Santa Clara, CA. Within a few days after his arrival in New York, Mohamed phoned her and then came to Santa Clara. After a six-week courtship, they were married in Reno. With an American wife, he could get a green card and then become a naturalized citizen, an obvious goal for a sleeper agent. Although they lived apart for long periods, she remained loyal, corresponding with Mohamed and visiting him in prison after his arrest in 1998.13
In early 1986, Khalid Abu-al-Dahab, whom Mohamed had recruited into Egyptian Islamic Jihad in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1984, arrived in America. Dahab was from a wealthy family and had been a medical student in Alexandria. He came to the United States on a student visa ostensibly to study medicine, and Mohamed helped him get settled in Santa Clara. Within weeks, he too married an American woman he met through Mohamed’s wife, thus obtaining a green card for permanent residence in the United States.12
New Career in U.S. Army
Mohamed described himself to his wife’s friends as a former Egyptian Army officer who hoped to do intelligence work for the United States.13 After having difficulty finding a job, this 34-year-old former Major, who was well educated and spoke Arabic, Hebrew, French and English, enlisted as a regular soldier in the U.S. Army in 1986. He was assigned to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, home of the Green Berets and Delta Force (counterterrorism squad). This is the same place where, five years earlier as an Egyptian Army officer, Mohamed had trained for 4 months. Though officially a supply sergeant, he spent much of his time teaching soldiers about the Middle East in the JFK Special Operations Warfare School. As a naturalized citizen married to an American, Mohamed was eligible for and received a security clearance at the Secret level.9
Mohamed was extremely outspoken about being a fundamentalist Muslim. His commanding officer, Lt. Col. Robert Anderson, recalls Mohamed supporting the assassination of Egyptian President Sadat. He said Sadat was “a traitor and he had to die.”1 In 1988, Mohamed informed Anderson that he was using his leave to fight in the war in Afghanistan against the Soviet occupation. The Afghan war began in 1979 and ended 10 years later; during this time the United States was providing covert funding and military assistance to the mujihadeen, the Muslim guerilla force fighting the Russians.
Assisting the mujihadeen was consistent with U.S. policy at that time, but it was so irregular for an American soldier to fight in a foreign war without authorization that Anderson submitted a report to his supervisors two weeks before Mohamed departed. Anderson told Mohamed not to go, but Mohamed replied that he was going and planned to circumvent the Army’s restrictions by flying to Paris on his American passport and then use other documents to travel to Afghanistan. 6
When Mohamed returned a month later, he boasted of killing two Russian special forces soldiers and brought back their belts as souvenirs, giving one of them to Anderson. Anderson viewed Mohamed as a dangerous fanatic and thought Mohamed should be court-martialed and deported. He submitted a second report, but, like after the first report, got no response. To Anderson, the lack of reaction to his two reports was so incredible that he decided Mohamed must be sponsored by a U.S. intelligence service, probably CIA. 7
However, not everyone agreed with Anderson. The director of Middle East studies at the Army’s Special Warfare School at Fort Bragg, believed in Mohamed’s loyalty. The director described Mohamed as “in many, many ways as loyal a soldier as you’d find coming off the farm in the Carolinas or out of New York City.” 6
In retrospect, we now know that Lt. Col. Anderson was correct. During the period 1988-89, Mohamed did betray his new country. While serving in the Army at Fort Bragg, he traveled on weekends to Jersey City, NJ, and to Connecticut to train other Islamic fundamentalists in surveillance, weapons and explosives. His trainees were so impressed with Mohamed’s assimilation of American culture that they dubbed him “Abu Mohamed ali Amriki” — Mohamed the American.1 Telephone records show that while at Fort Bragg and later, Mohamed maintained a very close and active relationship with the Office of Services of the Mujihadeen, in Brooklyn, which at that time was recruiting volunteers and soliciting funds for the jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan.2 This was the main recruitment center for the network that, after the Soviets left Afghanistan, became known as al-Qaida.
Mohamed was honorably discharged in November 1989, ironically with a commendation for patriotism, valor, fidelity, and professional excellence. The terrorists Mohamed trained went on to conduct terrorist actions in New York.
Contacts with the FBI, 1989 – 1994
This section discusses what is known about Mohamed’s connections with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies during the period 1989 to 1994. The following section describes what Mohamed was doing for al-Qaida during the same time period.
The FBI observed and photographed Mohamed giving weapons training to a group of New York area residents during four successive weekends in July 1989. They drove from the Farouq Mosque in Brooklyn to a shooting range in Calverton, Long Island, and they fired AK-47 assault rifles, semiautomatic handguns and revolvers during what appeared to be training sessions. For reasons that are unknown, the FBI then ceased its surveillance of the group. Peter Lance, author of 1000 Years for Revenge, a book about international terrorism and the beginnings of al-Qaida, contends that the FBI failed to recognize that it was seeing the beginnings of a terrorist network whose members were later involved in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, plots to bomb bridges and tunnels, and the attacks of September 11. 9
Investigative journalists who have written about this case believe Mohamed became an FBI informant in the early 1990s, but how early is not known. The most likely date seems to be some time in 1993. 2,6 According to Larry C. Johnson, a former deputy director in the State Department Office of Counterterrorism and a former CIA employee, Mohamed was “clearly a double agent…. It’s possible that the FBI thought they had control of him and were trying to use him, but what’s clear is that they did not have control…. The FBI assumed he was their source, but his loyalties lay elsewhere.” 7
One of the terrorists that Mohamed trained was el Sayyid Nosair, who in 1990 shot and killed Meir Kahane, an ulta-Zionist rabbi who headed the militant Jewish Defense League, after he spoke at a public meeting in New York. Nosair had immigrated to the America from Egypt in 1981.10 This was the first al-Qaida-related terrorist attack in the United States.
In a search of Nosair’s home, the police found U.S. Army training manuals, videotaped talks that Mohamed delivered at the JFK Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, operational plans for joint coalition exercises conducted in Egypt, and other materials marked Classified or Top Secret.1 These documents belonged to Mohamed, who often stayed in New Jersey with Nosair. The documents did not surface during Nosair’s 1991 trial for the Kahane murder. It is not known if the FBI investigated Mohamed in connection with these documents. However, it is logical to assume that some action would be taken after classified documents associated with Mohamed were found in Nosair’s apartment. This could have been the first time that Mohamed provided information to the FBI in order to buy protection for his own activities.
In 1992, Mohamed was detained by authorities at the airport in Rome, Italy. His luggage aroused suspicion as it had false compartments. Mohamed assured his interrogators that he was on their side in the war on terrorism, and claimed he was involved in security for the Summer Olympics in Spain.6 Mohamed had a classified Defense Intelligence Agency document in his possession, and Italian authorities reported this to U.S. authorities. 16
In early 1993, Mohamed was detained by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) at the Vancouver, Canada, airport. He had come to the airport to meet an Egyptian who had arrived from Damascus but was found to be carrying two forged Saudi passports. When Mohamed was about to be arrested as well, he told the RCMP he was collaborating with the FBI and gave them a name and phone number to call to confirm this. The RCMP made the call and Mohamed was released immediately at the request of the FBI.11 When the FBI subsequently questioned Mohamed about this incident, he offered information about a ring in California that was selling counterfeit documents to smugglers of illegal aliens.6 This is the earliest hard evidence that is publicly available of Mohamed being an FBI informant.
September 11, 2001, was not the first time the New York World Trade Center was attacked by al-Qaida. In February 1993, the terrorist cell that Mohamed had trained exploded a truck bomb under the World Trade Center that killed six and injured about 1,000 persons. The perpetrators of this bombing included people Mohamed had trained, and Mohamed had been in close contact with the cell during the period leading up to the bombing. Mohamed’s name appeared on a list of 118 potential un-indicted co-conspirators that was prepared by federal prosecutors.
Some time after the World Trade Center bombing, Mohamed went to the Sudan to work with bin Laden. In late 1994, while he was in Africa, Mohamed received a phone call from an FBI agent who said he wanted to speak with Mohamed about the upcoming trial of the World Trade Center bombers. Mohamed flew back to the United States and spoke with the FBI. After talking with the FBI, Mohamed was subpoenaed to testify at the upcoming trial, but was not called despite intense interest in his testimony by defense lawyers. He was also not arrested.5 Some years later, after he was arrested, Mohamed testified that in speaking with the FBI he “did not disclose everything I knew” at that time about the World Trade Center bombing. 14
According to government officials interviewed by one journalist, the relationship with the FBI gave Mohamed a de facto shield effectively insulating him from FBI scrutiny for his ties to bin Laden. The relationship also helped protect Mohamed from being scrutinized by other federal agencies. 2
Working for al-Qaida, 1989 – 1994
By 1989, Ayman al-Zawahiri’s militant wing of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad was cooperating closely with Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida. This section discusses Mohamed’s work for al-Qaida during the period 1989 through 1994. As noted above, he was an FBI informant during at least the latter part of this period. Mohamed’s U.S. passport and residence gave him a safe base from which to travel around the world on behalf of bin Laden. He continued his terrorist activities, shuttling between California, Afghanistan, Kenya, Somalia and at least a dozen other countries. Much of the information about this period comes from Mohamed’s own testimony after his arrest in 1999.
After his discharge from the Army in 1989, Mohamed moved back to Santa Clara, CA, his wife’s home town. At that time, Mohamed established a base of operations together with his friend and fellow Egyptian Islamic Jihad member Khalid Abu-al-Dahab.
Beginning in 1990, El-Dahab’s apartment was an important communications hub for al-Qaida and Islamic Jihad cells all over the world. For much of the 1990’s, the Egyptian government cut direct phone links from Egypt to countries like Sudan, Yemen, Afghanistan or Pakistan in an effort to disrupt communications between radical militants. One could phone from Egypt to America, however, so Dahab acted as a telephone operator for the Islamic Jihad network, using a three-way calling feature to connect operatives in far-flung countries. 12
In 1991, after the Soviets had withdrawn from Afghanistan, Mohammed went to Afghanistan, met Osama bin Laden, and helped move bin Laden’s operation from Afghanistan to Sudan. In 1992, he conducted military and basic explosives training for al-Qaida in Afghanistan.14 He also taught terrorists how to create cell structures that preserve secrecy and how to move undercover in Western countries. 1
Mohamed set up a cell in Nairobi to support al-Qaida’s activities in Somalia, a country in which the government had collapsed and opposing clans were fighting each other. The United States sent troops to Somalia to bring food to the starving population and try to pacify the country. Mohamed trained Somali clansmen in the months prior to the October 1993 gun battle that has been immortalized in the book and movie Black Hawk Down. 1,14 Two U.S helicopters were shot down and 18 U.S. soldiers lost their lives in that battle.
Bin Laden sent Mohamed to Nairobi in late 1993 to surveil American, British, French, and Israeli targets there. The goal was to select targets to retaliate against the United States for its involvement in Somalia. He went to Djibouti on the same type of mission in 1994.14 Also in 1994, bin Laden reportedly sent Mohamed to Algeria to bribe Algerian officials to free an accused terrorist from jail.15
After an attempted assassination of bin Laden in 1994, Mohamed went to Sudan to train bin Laden’s bodyguards. He trained those responsible for security of the interior of the compound, while Sudanese intelligence personnel were responsible for external security. He also did surveillance training for al-Quida.14
Application for Security Clearance
In 1995, Westinghouse Electric Corp. in Sunnyvale, CA, submitted Mohamed for a Secret clearance. He was, at that time, working as a security guard at the front gate and needed a Secret clearance to conduct other duties. The application revealed certain financial and credit issues, so an interim clearance was denied and a Santa Clara DSS investigator was assigned to conduct investigative interviews.16
The investigator discovered, on examining Mohamed’s military discharge papers, that Mohamed had exaggerated his role in the Army. Also, Mohamed’s supervisor at Westinghouse told the investigator that Mohamed had told her that he had some type of affiliation with the FBI. This was interesting, because the previous National Agency Check (NAC) of FBI files had come back with no negative information.
The DSS investigator brought the reported FBI connection to his supervisor. The Santa Clara DSS office maintained a cooperative relationship with the local FBI office, so the investigator’s supervisor called the FBI CI office in Palo Alto, which then called the counterterrorism office in San Francisco. It was at this point that the investigator learned the FBI had information about Mohamed that they were unwilling to disclose. The FBI did advise, however, that they had no active investigation of Mohamed at that time, but that the Egyptian government suspected Mohamed of being involved in the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat. The FBI asked the investigator to continue his investigation and provide the FBI with the results.
The investigator then conducted a subject interview with Mohamed that focused on foreign connections. During two subsequent interviews, Mohamed made no admission of terrorist activity, but the investigator was suspicious of his account and asked if he would be willing to take a polygraph test. Surprisingly, Mohamed agreed immediately. During this December 1995 test, Mohamed admitted to terrorist activity against Israel but not against the United States. When he failed the polygraph, DSS denied the clearance. 16
While the clearance was in process, there were times when Mohamed would call in to work and say he was sick, and no one knew where he was.16 Apparently he continued to travel on missions for al-Qaida during this period.
From 1996 to Arrest and Trial
In May 1996, various circumstances including U.S. diplomatic pressure prompted the Sudanese government to required bin Laden and his entourage of about 150 men, women, and children to leave Sudan. Mohamed was called in to manage security for the move back to Afghanistan.
At some point after bin Laden moved back to Afghanistan, Mohamed and his friend Dahab traveled to Afghanistan to report to bin Laden on their success in recruiting 10 Americans. Bin Laden praised their efforts and emphasized the necessity of recruiting as many Muslims with American citizenship as possible. He wanted to be able to use their American passports to facilitate international travel by al-Qaida personnel. In 1995, Mohamed and Dahab had provided a fake passport and identity documents to al-Zawahiri when he came to the United States for a covert fund-raising tour. He reportedly raised about $500,000, part of which financed the subsequent bombing of the Egyptian Embassy in Pakistan in November of that year. This information comes from Dahab’s confession after he was arrested in Egypt in 1998. 12
After DSS denied his clearance, Mohamed went back to Africa and played a central role in planning the bombing of U.S. Embassies in East Africa.1 In August 1998, Mohamed’s al-Qaida associates succeeded in blowing up our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224 and injuring 4,500.
Two weeks after the Africa bombings, FBI agents entered Mohamed’s apartment in Sacramento, CA, where he then lived, and found evidence of terrorist activities. After the bombings, Mohamed arranged to go back to Egypt and then Afghanistan to meet with bin Laden. Before he could leave, however, Mohamed was subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury on September 10, 1998, and was arrested the same day as he planned to leave the country and fly to Egypt. Mohamed later admitted that he lied during the grand jury appearance.14
Mohamed’s arrest was kept secret for eight months. No one knows exactly why, but the conventional wisdom is that prosecutors were trying to cut a deal. That apparently failed as the government indicted him in May 1999 along with four other suspects in the embassy bombings. He was handled differently from the other prisoners, remaining in solitary confinement after the others were allowed to rotate as cellmates. 5, 8
In preparation for Mohamed’s trial, the FBI investigator contacted the DSS investigator to arrange for the DSS polygraph operator who tested Mohamed to appear as a witness at the trial. Two days before the trial, the FBI called to advise that this testimony was no longer needed as Mohamed had agreed to plead guilty and was going to receive a life sentence without parole.16 Mohamed and the government struck a deal on October 13, 2000, in which Mohamed pled guilty to five counts of conspiracy.14 He admitted to all the information described above concerning his al-Qaida activities from 1990 to 1994 and his role in planning the bombing of the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi and Tanzania.
The trial of others involved in the embassy bombings began in January 2001. Mohamed had been expected to be a key government witness against his four co-conspirators, but—for reasons unknown—he never took the stand.8 Larry Johnson, the former State Department counterterrorism official, reportedly believes the government kept Mohamed off the stand because his testimony would have unearthed material extremely embarrassing to the government.1 Mohamed’s plea agreement with the government remains secret. As far as we can determine, there has been no public announcement of his sentence. There is speculation that he disappeared into a witness protection program.3 According to the DSS investigator, however, Mohamed is presently serving a life sentence without possibility of parole.16
Reflections on Ali Mohamed as a Person
One journalist who specializes in reporting on terrorist activities says that those who knew Ali Mohamed regarded him “with fear and awe for his incredible self-confidence, his inability to be intimidated, absolute ruthless determination to destroy the enemies of Islam, and his zealous belief in the tenets of militant Islamic fundamentalism.”2 Another source close to Mohamed described him as “quiet, easy-going,” but “very charismatic.” To another source familiar with Mohamed’s life in Egypt, his enlistment in the U.S. Army and subsequent overtures to FBI and CIA were not a surprise. “He just liked that kind of stuff—the danger, the intrigue. That’s what he did in Egypt for 20 years.” 3
An example of Mohamed’s self-confidence was his immediate willingness to take a polygraph test on the occasion of his 1995 application for a security clearance. The DSS investigators believe he accepted with enthusiasm what he perceived as the challenge of participating in such a test. In the end, this self-confidence was mistaken, for he failed the test and did not receive a clearance.
A fellow soldier who was in training with Mohamed for three months described him as quiet, but with a ferocious temper and very religious. During training, Mohamed constantly compared the U.S. military with the Egyptian military, and always found the American military wanting. It seemed weird for Mohamed to be in the enlisted ranks when he had so much training, and it also seemed odd for him to be in the U.S. military and have so much hate toward the United States. He never referred to America as his country.1
From a personnel security perspective, the Mohamed case offers several lessons. The first is how easy it is for a personnel security investigation to miss a huge amount of very relevant adverse information about terrorist activity. If Mohamed had not had minor credit problems, he would have been granted a Secret clearance with no questions asked.
Thanks to the credit issue, investigative interviews were required, and one interview determined that Mohamed had once mentioned to his supervisor that he had some affiliation with the FBI. A less conscientious investigator, or an investigator under pressure to work faster to reduce a backlog of investigations, might have limited the investigation to the identified credit issue, or might have assumed that an “affiliation” with the FBI was favorable and not even reported it. It was only because the DSS investigators in the case took the initiative to discuss the case with their office supervisor, and the office had cultivated good relations with the local FBI office, that the story of Ali Mohamed began to unravel. 16
Today, with concern focused on the terrorist threat, local FBI offices and other law enforcement agencies are increasingly developing and indexing intelligence and investigative records on elements of the local Muslim community whose sympathies are questionable. These intelligence and investigative files may show, for example, if the subject of investigation is suspected of terrorist associations or sympathies, associates with persons who are under suspicion, or if the individual has attended “religious” education classes conducted by a radical fundamentalist. There are, however, still pitfalls that might cause such information to not be reported in response to a NAC. Confusion in the spelling of Arabic names is one problem. Another is the burden of additional work required when the FBI record does not have a positive identifier such as date of birth or Social Security number. On some occasions, withholding of information may be required for protection of the FBI source.
The Mohamed case also shows how easily even a top-level terrorist can operate in the United States. Presumably that is more difficult now than when Mohamed was active. However, the story of Mohamed’s dual roles as bin Laden terrorist and FBI informant illustrates the problems still facing U.S. intelligence services as they attempt to penetrate terrorist groups in the United States and abroad.
2. Emerson, S. (1998, Fall). Osama Bin Laden’s special operations man. Journal of Counterterrorism & Security International, 16-29.
3. Webby, S., & Foo, R. (2001, November 12). Insider possesses terrorists’ secrets. San Jose Mercury News, p. A1.
4. Former GI pleads guilty in embassy bombings. (October 21, 2000). San Francisco Chronicle, p. A1.
6. Weiser, B., & Risen, J. (1998, December 1). The masking of a militant: A special report: A soldier’s shadowy trail in the U.S. and in the Mideast. The New York Times. Retrieved September 21, 2005, from http://cryptome.quintessenz.at/mirror/nyt-mohamed.htm
7. Williams L., & McCormick, E. (2001, November 4). Al Qaeda terrorist worked with FBI: Ex-Silicon Valley resident plotted embassy attacks. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved April 2010, from http://www.prisonplanet.com/terrorist_worked_with_fbi.html
8. Aita, J. (2001, May 15). Ali Mohamed: The defendant who did not go to trial: Pled guilty to conspiracy in African embassy bombing case. Retrieved April 20, 2010, fromhttp://www.insteadof.com/TerrorAttack/p35.htm
9. Lance, P. (2003). 1000 years for revenge: International terrorism and the FBI, the untold story. New York: Regan Books.
10. Pittsburg Tribune-Review (2002, August 4). Rabbi’s killer turned radical during years in Pittsburgh. Retrieved March 24, 2006 from http://pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/specialreports/jihad/s_84624.html.
11. Oziewicz, S. & Tu Thanh Ha. (2001, November 22) Canada freed top al-Qaeda operative. The Globe and Mail.
12. Williams, L. (2001, November 21). Bin Laden’s Bay Area recruiter Khalid Abu-al-Dahab signed up American Muslims to be terrorists. Retrieved April 3, 2006, fromhttp://www.sfgate.com/cgibin/article.cgi?file=/
13. Williams L., & McCormick, E. (2001, September 21). Bin Laden’s man in Silicon Valley ‘Mohamed the American’ orchestrated terrorist acts while living a quiet suburban life in Santa Clara. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved April 3, 2006, from http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2001/09/21/
14. Court Reports Office of the Southern District of New York. (2000, October 20). USA v. Ali Mohamed, Guilty Plea in U.S. Embasssy Bombings. Retrieved September 21, 2005, fromhttp://cryptome.sabotage.org/usa-v-mohamed.htm
16. Former DSS investigators Michael Adler and James Husing, personal communication to PERSEREC, October 27, 2005.