Missiles on terrorists’ shoulders

By Jack Cashill

The Associated Press reported on Thursday that two leaders of an Albany, N.Y., mosque were arrested for plotting to help a presumed terrorist purchase a shoulder-fired missile.

The AP mentions that the men are linked to an al-Qaida related group called Ansar al-Islam. This attempted purchase is a cause for some concern, the AP tells us, because last November a shoulder-fired missile struck and nearly destroyed a DHL cargo plane at Baghdad International Airport, and in November 2002 two likely Al-Qaida missiles almost hit an Israeli passenger jet as it took off from Mombasa, Kenya.

The Associated Press ends the aviation-related terror trail in Mombasa. This does not surprise. My past conversations with AP reporters on the subject of air terror have revealed a shocking lack of curiosity.

On April 14 of last year, I spoke at some length to an AP “terrorist-expert,” whose name I will spare. After sharing some new and salient details about TWA Flight 800, she told me that she “did not find the evidence compelling enough” to warrant further investigation.

When I cited the eyewitness testimony, she told me that the eyewitnesses persisted in their protests because “they hated Bill Clinton.” When I said there are 270 such witnesses, she replied, “Eyewitnesses are notoriously unreliable.” When I continued to cite other relevant evidence that was clearly new to her, she just blew me off with the dismissive, “I’m a reporter,” as though I were something decidedly less and was merely wasting her time.

Forgive me for not trusting the Associated Press. In its reports on the missile plot, there is one critical fact that its report omits: Ansar al-Islam, the group with which the plotters are linked, is based in Iraq and has been since its formation from a variety of constituent groups in September 2001.

The AP, however, is not unique in its oversights. The major media had been ignoring the obvious terrorist links to Iraq even before they began to suppress them to embarrass the president. To the best of my knowledge, no one in the major media has ever mentioned that TWA Flight 800 was destroyed on Saddam’s national liberation day, July 17, the day that his party took power in 1968 and the day that he seized the presidency in 1979. This, of course, does not prove anything, but it surely deserves inquiry. Were Tehran to be attacked on the 4th of July, the media might justifiably suspect an agent provocateur, but they would not write the timing off to mere coincidence.

The major media have likewise expressed no interest in the fact that the 1993 World Trade Center bombing occurred on Feb. 26, the day on which, two years prior, America and its allies liberated Kuwait and Iraq retaliated by lobbing a Scud into an American barracks in Saudi Arabia, killing 27. Again, this does not prove anything, but among a date-conscious people, the timing raises questions.

If the date of the first World Trade Center blast were not provocative enough, one other variable should have heightened media interest in the Iraqi connection to international terror – namely, the man who admitted to having mixed the chemicals, Abdul Rahman Yasin. An Iraqi national, Yasin fled to Baghdad after the blast and stayed there under state protection until Saddam’s fall.

The objective observer looking dispassionately at the available evidence will conclude that mechanical failure no more destroyed TWA Flight 800 than it did the Twin Towers If a mechanical failure were not responsible, then something else was.

A Pulitzer awaits the major media reporter who simply repeats what’s known about what that “something else” might be.


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First Strike: TWA Flight 800 and the Attack on America” by Jack Cashill and James Sanders explains how a determined corps of ordinary citizens worked to reveal the compromise and corruption that tainted the federal investigation.

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