One Down – More to Go
Faile is chairman of the science department at
has an athletic department, but you probably have not heard of their team: the
Braves; nor their volleyball team, women’s and men’s soccer, softball or any
of their other teams. Chowan has produced no athletic pros, no Nobel Laureates,
no one known outside the Southern Baptist Conference.
one, that is, until Sunday morning, Mar 2, 2003, when Pakistani police using
American intelligence and accompanied by CIA agents, captured Chowan’s most
famous alumnus, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
to Garth Faile, “He was a good student – a bit better than a B-type
student.” At the time he was a pre-engineering student. Later, Mohammed
studied engineering at North Carolina Agricultural and
the 1980s, Mohammed
and his brothers found themselves in
1993, Mohammed’s nephew Ramzi
Ahmed Yousef (also a member of this group) masterminded the attempt to blow up
same year, Mohammed was indicted in the
turned up again in 1998 as the planner of the U.S. Embassy bombings in
The mastermind was later identified as Mohammed.
police believe Mohammed
wielded the knife that slit Wall Street
Journal reporter Daniel Pearl’s throat in January 2002, and
they identify him as one of the men they shot and injured the following
Ahmed Omar Sayeed Sheikh, who is also thought to have been a member of the
bin Laden can be thought of at the inspiration for and the spiritual leader of
al Qaeda, Mohammed must be thought of as the Chief Operating Officer, the person
who runs the worldwide show. After the launch of al Qaeda by the
is a big thinker. He introduced two central principles to al Qaeda.
he developed a “losing and learning” doctrine establishing that even if an
al Qaeda operation failed, or if members were arrested or killed, the operation
was still celebrated as successful so long as they learned, improved, and
ensured there would be no repetition.
examples: Al Qaeda did not destroy the
second principle is flexibility. Under
his mentor bin Laden, Mohammed was a man of the world, equally at home in
mosques as well as bars and brothels. He often disguised himself, tinting his
hair, wearing wigs, sporting beards and moustache, wearing glasses. He blended
in, wearing appropriate clothing. His English is excellent.
recent tale from electronic intelligence records is that a dentist girlfriend
received a phone call from him, telling her to look out the window and up. When
she complied, Mohammed waved to her from a rented helicopter, simultaneously
speaking with her by cell phone.
capture is a significant blow to al Qaeda – perhaps the worst since its
founding. Without him, there is no effective command and control for now. This
means that individual cells will have to fall back on contingency plans put into
place by Mohammed years ago. These plans call for initiation of specific actions
that will be triggered by code words contained in broadcast messages from bin
Laden or other leading members of the cabal.
for regular “speeches” on al Jazeera television, speeches given by leading
Mullahs. Look for terrorist happenings shortly thereafter, scattered the world
over, but especially within the
keep your eyes peeled for the next “big one.”
will happen – you can bank on it.