WASHINGTON – A once-secret, 181-page al-Qaida training manual obtained by Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin shows Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network has been focused on seaports as top-level targets for more than two years.
Once again, the manual is further confirmation of the growing maritime threat, especially since al-Qaida is known to have purchased at least 15 ships whose whereabouts are unknown.
In addition, in response to a warning from Washington that members of al-Qaida could be aboard a ship due in South Korea, Seoul reportedly is boosting security at one of its main ports.
Al-Qaida encourages the recruitment of agents who work as “employees at borders, airports and seaports,” the training manual obtained by G2 Bulletin states.
Targets listed for “blasting and destroying” include:
- “Places of amusement;”
- “Vital economic centers”;
- “Bridges leading into and out of the cities”;
- “Strategic buildings”;
- “Important establishments”;
- “Military bases”;
- “Important ministries such as those of defense and internal security”;
- “Land border points”;
- Radio and TV stations
Terror experts are beginning to examine worst-case scenarios should al-Qaida use its 15-ship armada to conduct terror attacks on western targets.
G2B sources say there are reports al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations have been practicing high-seas terror attacks by hijacking ships, kidnapping crews and studying diving – much as the Sept. 11 skyjackers learned to fly airliners.
Al-Qaida’s freighters are believed to be somewhere in the Indian or Pacific oceans. When the ships left their home ports in the Horn of Africa weeks ago, some were destined for ports in Asia.
G2B sources say other potential targets of the al-Qaida armada, besides civilian ports, include oil rigs. Another threat is the ramming of a cruise liner.
If a maritime terror attack comes, it won’t be the first. In October 2000, the USS Cole, a heavily armed ship protected with the latest radar defenses, was hit by an al-Qaida suicide crew. Seventeen American sailors died. Two years later, following the attacks on the Twin Towers, a similar attack was carried out against a French supertanker off the coast of Yemen.
A Rand Corp. study released last month in London warns terrorists might use container ships in terror attacks meant to cause massive casualties.
The report warns cargo ships or shipping containers could be used to deliver weapons of mass destruction for terror groups such as al-Qaida.
The report, produced in cooperation with the European Commission, said: “The potential threat of terrorists using containers poses a large risk to our economies and to our societies. Ultimately, this means that the marine sector – and specifically the container transport sector – remains wide open to the terrorist threat.”
Rand says the international community has not become sufficiently aware of al-Qaida’s threat at sea, with most counter-insurgency efforts being focused on stopping an attack from the air.
It is not known whether the ship expected to dock in South Korea today is one of the 15 ships purchased by al-Qaida.
Yesterday’s edition of Munhwa Ilbo quoted unidentified military sources as saying the U.S. military had tipped off South Korean officials about the cargo ship, which is scheduled to reach waters off South Korea’s west-coast port of Kunsan late today.
There was no immediate confirmation of the security alert. A spokesman at South Korea’s Defense Ministry told Reuters: “We are not aware of any al-Qaida threat.”
The U.S. military in South Korea referred reporters’ inquiries to Washington.
A police officer in Kunsan said by telephone: “We haven’t received any specific information but the cargo ship crew haven’t received permission from the authorities to leave the ship because some of the crew couldn’t be identified.”
The newspaper named the ship as the Athena, sailing from New Zealand. It did not say what flag the ship was flying, and gave no further details.
The United States has 37,000 troops based in South Korea to help deter North Korea.
Meanwhile, the al-Qaida terror manual makes clear bin Laden’s organization is in this fight for the long haul – and that there will never be any compromise.
“Islamic governments have never and will never be established through peaceful solutions and cooperative councils,” the terrorist manual says. “They are established as they always have been … by pen and gun … by word and bullet … by tongue and teeth.”
“Islam does not make a truce with unbelief,” it continues, “but rather confronts it.”
“It knows the dialogue of bullets.”
There is harsh criticism of what al-Qaida calls Arab nations under the rulership of “apostates.”
“After the fall of our orthodox caliphates on March 3, 1924, and after expelling the colonialists, our Islamic nation was afflicted with apostate rulers who took over in the Muslim nation,” the manual explains. “These rulers turned out to be more infidel and criminal than the colonialists themselves. Muslims have endured all kinds of harm, oppression and torture at their hands.”
In a description of various forms of torture prisoners can expect, the manual adds: “Let no one think that the aforementioned techniques are fabrications of our imagination, or that we copied them from spy stories. On the contrary, these are factual incidents in the prisons of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and all other Arab countries. Those who follow daily events and read the newspapers and journals would be amazed to learn that:
- Security personnel totally undressed veiled women in public. The security personnel arrested a brother’s mother, a brother’s sister and a brother’s wife and raped them.
- The wife of brother Saffout AbdulGhani – may Allah have him released – had a miscarriage when the government’s dogs (i.e. cronies) beat and tortured her in front of her husband.
- The security personnel captured brother Hassan Al-Gharbawi’s mother, who is older than 60 years, and hanged her by her feet (upside down). The security personnel shaved the head of the wife of a brother who participated in the murder of Rif’at Al-Mahjoub (Egypt’s former parliament speaker).”
The following warning appears on the manual: “It is forbidden to remove this from the house.”
The manual provides lessons in developing simple forms of biological and chemical weapons – such as ricin.
Members who are taken prisoner are instructed to complain about “torture” and “mistreatment,” and to go on a “hunger strike” as a last resort for public sympathy. They’re also told to “shout Islamic slogans” while being transported in public places, and spend their time in jail creating “Islamic programs for themselves” and “memorizing the Qur’an,” the Muslims’ sacred book.
Some of the detainees at Camp X-ray in Guantanamo, Cuba, have already followed this formula.
U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement officials say cells of al-Qaida sleeper agents are still active in the U.S. Evidence of their activity has been found in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Florida, Michigan and California, among other states. And they may be waiting for orders to launch new attacks.
The manual also instructs al-Qaida sleeper agents on how to blend in with Western societies by avoiding Muslim appearances.
“Have a general appearance that does not indicate Islamic orientation,” it says.
They are told to cut their beards, lose the long shirts and shelve their pocket-sized Korans used for recitation. This is how the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers fit in.
In addition, they are told to make excuses for fasting, such as saying they feel ill. And they are told they can combine their noon and afternoon prayers, as well as sunset and evening prayers, to avoid drawing the attention of “the polytheists,” as they refer to Christians.
Human-rights activists and media wringing their hands over the treatment of terrorist detainees might be interested to know that al-Qaida members are trained to torture their captives to pry away secrets.
“Information is collected by kidnapping the enemy individual, interrogating him and torturing him,” the al-Qaida guide says.
They say Islam sanctions it.
“Religious scholars have permitted beating,” the guide says. “The religious scholars have also permitted the killing of a hostage if he insists on withholding information from Muslims.”
The manual quotes liberally from the Koran to justify violent goals and methods.
The “main mission” of the “Islamic movement,” it says, is to “overthrow godless regimes” and replace them with “an Islamic regime.” Regarding “the oppressors,” members must pledge “to slaughter them like lambs, and let the Nile, al-Asi and Euphrates rivers flow with their blood.”
It says “Islam is not just performing rituals, but a complete system: Religion and government, worship and jihad, ethics and dealing with people, and the Koran and the sword.”
The manual says the hypocrites of the faith have strayed from “Allah’s course” and fallen in “love with the world.” It criticizes their “loathing of death and their abandonment of jihad,” or holy war against “infidels” or “unbelievers,” which it defines as “Christians, Jews.”
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