Monday, October 15, 2007

Yousef, the Supermax, and the conversion

Well, the 60 Minutes expose on the Supermax has come and gone and we really don't know much more than Drudge told us a few days ago. At least not from the televised story.

A few things were confirmed, like the fact that shoe bomber Richard Reid is a wide-eyed tag-along and could probably be contained in the nearby county jail; that the place features a bi-partisan quartet of bombers--the Unabomber (far left), Terry Nichols (far right or perhaps anarchist), Eric Rudolph (Christian fundamentalist) and Yousef (Muslim).

According to the former warden Yousef was the "most interesting inmate" he'd ever seen in his career, a guy with that real "Charles Manson look". Did Charlie Yousef convert to Christianity? Here's the 60 Minutes producer with more insight, information not included in the broadcast:
No one we have talked to who knows Yousef believes his change of religion is for real, despite the extraordinary steps of cutting his hair, eating pork and professing to be a Christian.

What we do know is that Yousef gets his news late and in pieces. He is not allowed to watch any of the news channels and he gets copies of USA Today a month after they are published. News items that relate to terrorism or are otherwise deemed a security risk are cut out of the paper before he gets it.
But that's not all. Here's what he said about Rudolph:
He's also become fairly fluent in Arabic, getting shouted lessons from some of the other D-Unit residents.
We don't know what contact he might have with Yousef, but seems they might be having an ideological battle of sorts. Uncle Pavian has more on the possible conversion, which sounds reasonable. I'm inclined to go with "stunt" right now. Leopards very seldom change their spots.

The show did manage to partially answer one question I've had for years and that is, did Yousef see 9/11 on TV as it happened, and if so, how did he react? The female guard Scott Pelley interviewed said "a lot of them" jumped for joy and were excited, happy, etc, but she didn't specifically name Yousef as one of them. We must presume he was. Recall that:
As Yousef is flying over New York City on his way to a prison cell, an FBI agent asks him, “You see the Trade Centers down there, they’re still standing, aren’t they?” Yousef responds, “They wouldn’t be if I had enough money and enough explosives.”
For some reason 60 Minutes left that out, a factoid that was covered in ABC's "Path to 9/11", the docudrama Swiftboated by the Clintonistas.

All this talk about Yousef brings up a couple of questions, 1) where is Zahid Shaikh Mohammed, KSM's brother, and 2) where is Abdul Rahman Yasin, Yousef's co-conspirator in the 1993 bombing and last seen in Baghdad?

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