Monday, September 17, 2007

Warnings: Operation Bojinka

In keeping with my new determination to debunk the "real" 9-11 Truthers, not these strawmen inside-job kooks, I will be taking a closer look at some of the "warnings" the US government supposedly had prior to 9-11.

Operation Bojinka was a plot hatched by Ramzi Yousef (who had executed the WTC bombing in 1993) and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (who plotted the 9-11 attacks). The plan was for Yousef and others to board the first leg of two-leg flights to the United States, getting off at the first stop and leaving behind bombs that would destroy the planes over the Pacific.

Reportedly a second phase of the plot would involve renting a light aircraft, loading it with explosives, and crashing it deliberately into CIA headquarters in Langley, VA. Others have claimed this later plot included plane crashes into the WTC, Sears Tower, and the Library Tower in Los Angeles.

However, the man who reportedly extracted this second phase of the plot from a Yousef associate, Chief Superintendent Avelino Razon of the Philippines' police, indicates otherwise is this September 14, 2001 article:

"When we interrogated Murad, he mentioned that he was a skilled pilot, trained in the US, in Afghanistan and also here in the Philippines, who was recruited to undertake a suicide mission," Razon said.

"He was committed to ... fly a plane and ram it into some targets," Razon said, adding that information from a laptop computer seized from Murad indicated one target was CIA headquarters. "There was mention of about a dozen" trained pilots to be recruited for such attacks.

"I didn't imagine that they would ram a 757 aircraft into the World Trade Center. I thought the suicide mission [would involve] a Cessna light aircraft loaded with several kilos of explosives, like a Japanese Kamikaze World War II pilot diving into a target," he said.

The Bojinka plot was foiled when Yousef's apartment was searched by police in the Philippines responding to a fire.


Specificity: Operation Bojinka is hard to rate on specificity. The main part of the plan, which was ready to go operational, involved blowing up airliners, not hijacking them. On the other hand, supposedly a planned later phase involved crashing a plane into CIA headquarters, but not an airliner but a small plane loaded with explosives. However, it was a plot planned by many of the people involved with 9-11. I'm going to give it 20 of 40 possible points.

Timeliness: Another tough one to gauge. Some have argued that earlier warnings are actually more timely than warnings close to the actual event, on the basis that larger, institutional level changes could have been made. The problem with this is that it becomes more difficult to figure out who should have made the changes. Is this a warning that the Clinton Administration ignored? Should the Bush Administration have taken it up upon gaining office? I'm going to give it 10 points for timeliness.

Credibility: Not much doubt that this actual plot occurred; Yousef was sentenced to 240 years for his part. Clearly this plot receives the full 40 points for credibility.

Overall, this warning grades out at 70. Note that this number doesn't mean it's a "Low C"; the purpose of the numeric scale is to compare the relative significance of 9-11 warnings. Until we've analyzed a number of warnings, the numeric grades mean little.

Labels: ,