FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Case of the Missing Terrorist Solved? Not Yet

by JACOB LEVICH

Three weeks after Counterpunch first probed “The Case of the Missing Terrorist” (16 July – August, 2002), the Financial Times has followed up, adding new information to the strange tale of alleged 9/11 conspirator Atif Ahmed. But the FT story may raise more questions than it answers.

Ahmed, you’ll recall, was nabbed by Scotland Yard detectives in November, 2001, after the FBI said it found evidence suggesting he was a co-conspirator with accused “20th hijacker” Zacarias Moussaoui.

In subsequent months, Moussaoui has repeatedly and insistently identified Ahmed as a key player in the 9/11 conspiracy — and as a British mole within Al Qaeda. Yet the mainstream press declined to investigate, and the elusive Ahmed vanished from the public record in what felt eerily like a press blackout. During the nine months following his arrest, Counterpunch was the only publication to point out that a pivotal figure in an upcoming “Trial of the Century” had been, well, mislaid.

Comes now the Financial Times with a September 19 story reporting that Ahmed was quietly released, without charge, a few days after his arrest. No longer an alleged terror conspirator, Ahmed is now characterized by unnamed UK security sources (presumably MI5) as merely a “minor figure in the London Islamist underground.”

The story also subtly revises an earlier account of the nature of Ahmed’s arrest. Whereas ABC News reported in November that Ahmed was the target of a joint US-UK operation stemming from the discovery of possibly incriminating material on Mousaaoui’s telephone records and hard drive, we are now told that Ahmed was simply scooped up as part of UK anti-terror sweeps that took place in the wake of 9/11.

FT seems to have made no attempt to contact Ahmed and was satisfied with the sources’ assurance that Moussaoui’s charges have no evidentiary basis.

Case closed? Yes, if you assume that a) Moussaoui’s a half-mad fantasist, and b) FT’s spooky sources are on the level.

But we can’t help finding it a little odd that one of Moussaoui’s Islamist connections was back on the streets within a few days of his arrest (“Keep your nose clean, Atif, and don’t hang around with any terrorist kingpins in the future”) — especially at a time when hundreds of terror suspects in both the US and UK were being preventively detained for months, usually on the flimsiest of pretexts.

Moussaoui’s trial begins in January, and further questions about Atif’s role in the 9/11 plot may well be raised. But don’t expect answers. If Ahmed were a British agent, intelligence sources told FT, “MI5 would attempt to restrict whatever evidence he might be prepared to give in a court of law on the grounds of national security and possible compromising of sources.”

Translation: Don’t even go there.

JACOB LEVICH is a writer and editor living in Queens, N.Y. He can be reached at: jlevich@earthlink.net

 

Jacob Levich is a university administrator and independent researcher who tweets as @cordeliers.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

April 25, 2017
Russell Mokhiber
It’s Impossible to Support Single-Payer and Defend Obama-care
Nozomi Hayase
Prosecution of Assange is Persecution of Free Speech
Robert Fisk
The Madder Trump Gets, the More Seriously the World Takes Him
Giles Longley-Cook
Trump the Gardener
Bill Quigley
Major Challenges of New Orleans Charter Schools Exposed at NAACP Hearing
Jack Random
Little Fingers and Big Egos
Stanley L. Cohen
Dissent on the Lower East: the Post-Political Condition
Stephen Cooper
Conscientious Justice-Loving Alabamians, Speak Up!
Michael J. Sainato
Did the NRA Play a Role in the Forcing the Resignation of Surgeon General?
David Swanson
The F-35 and the Incinerating Ski Slope
Binoy Kampmark
Mike Pence in Oz
Peter Paul Catterall
Green Nationalism? How the Far Right Could Learn to Love the Environment
George Wuerthner
Range Riders: Making Tom Sawyer Proud
Clancy Sigal
It’s the Pits: the Miner’s Blues
Robert K. Tan
Abe is Taking Japan Back to the Bad Old Fascism
April 24, 2017
Mike Whitney
Is Mad Dog Planning to Invade East Syria?    
John Steppling
Puritan Jackals
Robert Hunziker
America’s Tale of Two Cities, Redux
David Jaffe
The Republican Party and the ‘Lunatic Right’
John Davis
No Tomorrow or Fashion-Forward
Patrick Cockburn
Treating Mental Health Patients as Criminals
Jack Dresser
An Accelerating Palestine Rights Movement Faces Uncertain Direction
George Wuerthner
Diet for a Warming Planet
Lawrence Wittner
Why Is There So Little Popular Protest Against Today’s Threats of Nuclear War?
Colin Todhunter
From Earth Day to the Monsanto Tribunal, Capitalism on Trial
Paul Bentley
Teacher’s Out in Front
Franklin Lamb
A Post-Christian Middle East With or Without ISIS?
Kevin Martin
We Just Paid our Taxes — are They Making the U.S. and the World Safer?
Erik Mears
Education Reformers Lowered Teachers’ Salaries, While Promising to Raise Them
Binoy Kampmark
Fleeing the Ratpac: James Packer, Gambling and Hollywood
Weekend Edition
April 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Diana Johnstone
The Main Issue in the French Presidential Election: National Sovereignty
Paul Street
Donald Trump: Ruling Class President
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Dude, Where’s My War?
Andrew Levine
If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em
Paul Atwood
Why Does North Korea Want Nukes?
Robert Hunziker
Trump and Global Warming Destroy Rivers
Vijay Prashad
Turkey, After the Referendum
Binoy Kampmark
Trump, the DOJ and Julian Assange
CJ Hopkins
The President Formerly Known as Hitler
Steve Reyna
Replacing Lady Liberty: Trump and the American Way
Lucy Steigerwald
Stop Suggesting Mandatory National Service as a Fix for America’s Problems
Robert Fisk
It is Not Just Assad Who is “Responsible” for the Rise of ISIS
John Laforge
“Strike Two” Against Canadian Radioactive Waste Dumpsite Proposal
Norman Solomon
The Democratic Party’s Anti-Bernie Elites Have a Huge Stake in Blaming Russia
Andrew Stewart
Can We Finally Get Over Bernie Sanders?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail