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

Weekend Edition
May 26, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Swamp Politics, Trump Style: “Russiagate” Diverts From the Real White House Scandals
Paul Street
It’s Not Gonna Be Okay: the Nauseating Nothingness of Neoliberal Capitalist and Professional Class Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
The ICEmen Cometh
Ron Jacobs
The Deep State is the State
Pete Dolack
Why Pence Might be Even Worse Than Trump
Patrick Cockburn
We Know What Inspired the Manchester Attack, We Just Won’t Admit It
Thomas Powell
The Dirty Secret of the Korean War
Mark Ashwill
The Fat Lady Finally Sings: Bob Kerrey Quietly Resigns from Fulbright University Vietnam Leadership Position
John Davis
Beyond Hope
Uri Avnery
The Visitation: Trump in Israel
Ralph Nader
The Left/Right Challenge to the Failed “War on Drugs”
Traci Yoder
Free Speech on Campus: a Critical Analysis
Dave Lindorff
Beware the Supporter Scorned: Upstate New York Trump Voters Hit Hard in President’s Proposed 2018 Budget
Daniel Read
“Sickening Cowardice”: Now More Than Ever, Britain’s Theresa May Must be Held to Account on the Plight of Yemen’s Children
Ana Portnoy
Before the Gates: Puerto Rico’s First Bankruptcy Trial
M. Reza Behnam
Rethinking Iran’s Terrorism Designation
Brian Cloughley
Ukraine and the NATO Military Alliance
Josh Hoxie
Pain as a Policy Choice
David Macaray
Stephen Hawking Needs to Keep His Mouth Shut
Ramzy Baroud
Fear as an Obstacle to Peace: Why Are Israelis So Afraid?
Kathleen Wallace
The Bilious Incongruity of Trump’s Toilet
Seth Sandronsky
Temping Now
Alan Barber – Dean Baker
Blue Collar Blues: Manufacturing Falls in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania in April
Jill Richardson
Saving America’s Great Places
Richard Lawless
Are Credit Rating Agencies America’s Secret Fifth Column?
Louis Proyect
Venezuela Reconsidered
Murray Dobbin
The NDP’s Singh and Ashton: Flash Versus Vision
Ron Leighton
Endarkenment: Postmodernism, Identity Politics, and the Attack on Free Speech
Anthony Papa
Drug War Victim: Oklahoma’s Larry Yarbrough to be Freed after 23 Years in Prison
Rev. John Dear
A Call to Mobilize the Nation Over the Next 18 Months
Yves Engler
Why Anti-Zionism and Anti-Jewish Prejudice Have to Do With Each Other
Ish Mishra
Political Underworld and Adventure Journalism
Binoy Kampmark
Roger Moore in Bondage
Rob Seimetz
Measuring Manhoods
Edward Curtin
Sorry, You’re Not Invited
Vern Loomis
Winning the Lottery is a State of Mind
Charles R. Larson
Review: Mary V. Dearborn’s “Ernest Hemingway”
David Yearsley
The Ethos of Mayfest
May 25, 2017
Jennifer Matsui
The Rise of the Alt-Center
Michael Hudson
Another Housing Bubble?
Robert Fisk
Trump Meets the New Leader of the Secular World, Pope Francis
John Laforge
Draft Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Unveiled
Benjamin Dangl
Trump’s Budget Expands War on the Backs of America’s Poor
Alice Donovan
US-Led Air Strikes Killed Record Number of Civilians in Syria
Andrew Moss
The Meaning of Trump’s Wall
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail