U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones sentenced Al Qaeda terrorist Mohammed Mansour Jabarah to life in prison for plotting to bomb U.S. Embassies in Singapore and the Philippines. Israeli Embassies in both countries were targeted as well. Tons of explosives had been purchased and a suicide bomber selected.
Jabarah, a Canadian citizen, was turned over to the FBI by Canada’s intelligence service in 2002. At that time he managed a plea bargain in exchange for serving as an informant:
For a few months, he was a valuable resource in the hunt for al-Qaida leaders. He gave investigators information about Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, described his personal meetings with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, and detailed his interactions with several other high ranking al-Qaida lieutenants.
He also described his own involvement in a terrorist plot. After graduating from high school in St. Catharines, Ontario, where he had lived since a move from Kuwait at age 12, Jabarah slipped into Afghanistan and trained at al-Qaida camps in 2001. Prosecutors said he was preparing his first major operation — bomb attacks on American and Israeli embassies in Singapore and the Philippines — when the scheme was foiled by a round of arrests.
The FBI kept Jabarah under constant surveillance in Fort Dix, NJ but allowed him to make phone calls to family, watch television and movies, make his own meals, and go for walks. Court documents note this led to “a considerable amount of valuable intelligence.” However, officials noticed a change in Jabarah’s mood after the death of his childhood friend Anas al-Kandari. Al-Kandari was killed in an attempted terrorist attack on a Marine barracks in Kuwait.
The Washington Post reports:
According to court documents, Jabarah cut out a newspaper article about Kandari’s killing and wrote, “By Allah I will revenge your death.” He also cut out a newspaper article with a photograph of Mohamed Atta, a hijacker in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and asked that God bless his soul.
In addition to writing a “will” and mentioning martyrdom numerous times, Jabarah jotted down a list of initials corresponding to the FBI agents and prosecutors assigned to his case, as well as detectives assigned to secure him. Prosecutors said this was akin to a hit list. He also collected a Fort Dix installation map and directions for making explosives, and he wrote about his future, according to a translation of his notes: “If they release me then I will kill them until I am killed.”
U.S. officials began to grow suspicious of Jabarah in the weeks after Kandari’s death. While he was out for a walk on Nov. 8, 2002, agents searched his room and found a knife and rope hidden in a suitcase, and discovered his writings. Four days later, while in a federal jail cell, Jabarah wrote to the FBI apologizing for lying to agents about the knives, and saying that it was all a “misunderstanding” and that he would like to sit down and talk about his writings “like gentlemen.”
“If you or any of your bosses thought that I was trying to hurt somebody that is totally crazy!” Jabarah wrote in English on Nov. 12, 2002, explaining that he believed he had a strong relationship with his captors. “I still consider you guys friends.”
Another terror related story, former Republican Congressman and United Nations Representative Mark Siljander of Michigan was indicted for assisting an Islamic charity with links to al Qaeda and the Taliban. Siljander was charged with 42 counts including money laundering, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice. The Islamic American Relief Agency (IARA) is accused of paying Siljander $50,000 for lobbying on the organization’s behalf. The money was originally given to the IARA by the United States Agency for International Development, ostensibly for the construction of schools in Africa. IARA was indicted for sending close to $130,000 to assist Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, whom the U.S. has deemed a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist.”
Bill Roggio (The Long War Journal) provides some information on Hekmatyar:
Hekmatyar fought against the Soviets, was prime minister of Afghanistan in the mid 1990s, and became an anti-Taliban fighter until the collapse of Afghanistan’s Taliban government in December of 2001. After the U.S. operation, Hekmatyar threw in his lot with the Taliban and al Qaeda, and brought Hezb-i-Islami into battle against the government of Hamid Karzai. Hezb-i-Islami split in two, with a section loyal to Hekmatyar (know as Hezb-i-Islami Gulbuddin or HIG). HIG has influence particularly with Afghan refugees in western Pakistan. Hekmatyar had deep ties to Iran and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, and is said to have facilitated the movement of high level al Qaeda leaders, including Saif al-Adel and Saad bin Laden, into Iran with the assistance of the IRGC.