Friday, August 27, 2010

USS Cole and the Unfinished Story of Shakir

A surviving family from the Cole bombing, commenting on a meeting with Obama on February 6, 2009:
“I did not vote for the man, but the way he talks to you, you can’t help but believe in him,” Mr. Clodfelter said on Friday evening. “He left me with a very positive feeling that he’s going to get this done right.”
The news, August 27, 2010:
Feds halt prosecution of USS Cole bomber at Gitmo
Looks like the families were snookered again by a politician--Bush didn't do much for their closure either. But is politics the only reason why the Obama people are standing down on al-Nashiri tribunal?

For instance, there are a few associations that can be made. Al-Nashiri was connected to Khalid bin Attash through the Cole plot but for some reason bin Attash was not scheduled for a tribunal, rather, he was going to be tried with KSM in New York. Bin Attash was reportedly an attendee at the Kuala Lumpur terrorist summit meeting in late 2000.

Another player in that meeting was an Iraqi named Ahmed Hikmat Shakur, who got a job with Malaysian Airlines at the airport via connections in the Iraqi embassy. The left made a big deal when it was suggested that he wasn't connected to Saddam's Fedeyeen corps, which they think nixed the neocon fantasy of a Saddam-9/11 tie, but Andy McCarthy explained why that didn't matter:
Bottom line: the Ahmad Hikmat Shakir Azzawi we’ve been discussing is still a native Iraqi
(a) who was called from a safehouse used by the 1993 World Trade Center bombers; (b) who got his job at the Malaysia airport in 1999 through Iraqi intelligence;
(c) whose schedule at the airport was controlled by Iraqi Intelligence rather than by the airport;
(d) who facilitated hijacker Khalid al-Midhar’s entrance into Malaysia;
(e) who went to the infamous Malaysia meeting with al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi; (e) who left his job at the airport –never to return to it – the day after the Malaysia meeting;
(f) who was in possession of contact information for key al Qaeda figures (including Khalid Sheik Mohammed’s brother) when he was detained in Qatar six days after 9/11;
(g) who immediately tried to return to Baghdad after being released by Qatar, but who was detained in Jordan when he tried to make a connecting flight;
(h) whom the CIA believed had counter-interrogation training when they were permitted to interview him in Jordan; and
(i) who returned to Iraq upon being released by Jordan after special pleading by Saddam’s regime.

That he was probably not, in addition, a Fedayeen officer changes none of that.
So here we have a guy who got his job in Kuala Lumpur through the Iraqi embassy just in time for the terrorist meeting then disappeared from the job forever, then was arrested in Jordan trying to return to Baghdad after 9/11 (after having contact numbers for AQ agents on his person) but was mysteriously returned to Iraq at the behest of Saddam three months later, never to be seen again. Hmmmm, as they say. But nevertheless, this story has been dead for years, that is, until this year.

In March someone leaked out more information on Shakir--that he was supposedly gay and the CIA was trying to run him as a source because of it during 2000 (Islam doesn't condone teh gay), presumably to infiltrate AQ. Whether they were ever successful or not is unknown--the CIA is not commenting--but it would seem to make Mr. Shakir a bit more important than just some ordinary airport greeter, wouldn't it? The Observer story triumphantly says he certainly wasn't an Iraqi agent but provides no evidence why he wasn't. He was certainly someone connected to AQ, explained by his alleged contacts with the safehouse used by the 1993 WTC bombers when he was living in Iraq.

And by the way, who released this information to the press in March 2010, right about the same time Obama Holder was hem-hawing on whether KSM would be tried in New York? When arrested in Qatar shortly after 9/11, Shakir apparently had the contact information for KSM's brother, the mysterious Zahid Sheikh Mohammad, on his person.

This would be the same Qatar that housed our military command center during Operation Iraqi Freedom and who once employed KSM back during the Clinton administration and even harbored him shortly after 9/11. It's been long rumored his brother Zahid reportedly had contacts with the Pakistani government, including a rumored relationship with former prime minister Nawaf Sharif. Weird, wild stuff.

The big question mark remains--why did Saddam pressure Jordan to return Shakir in 2001? Did they assassinate him for being in al Qaeda upon his return, or give him government housing as they did with Yasin, one of the 1993 WTC bombers? If he was AQ, wouldn't it make more sense for Saddam to turn him over to the FBI to gain brownie points, since we are told he didn't get along with bin Laden? Or was Iraq holding him as leverage over AQ? Or was Shakir simply an Iraqi agent monitoring the terrorists, but having nothing to do with them?

Oh well, somebody leaked this 2010 gay story for a reason, so why did they do it? Why does he matter anymore if there's no connections? Was it perhaps because a public KSM trial, or even the al-Nashiri tribunal, might have brought up the question again? Confusing.

Maybe Bush will cover all of this in his upcoming book. Or maybe Obama in his speech next week. Yeah...a double 'heh'.

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