LAX attack was “no isolated incident”

July 07, 2002

“WHY THE RELUCTANCE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THIS WAS CLEARLY A TERRORIST ATTACK ON AMERICAN SOIL?”

[Note by Tom Gross]

American law enforcement authorities, as well as virtually the entire world media, are continuing to refuse to countenance that the Los Angeles airport shootings may have been a terror attack.

Today the London daily "Al Hayat" revealed that Hesham Muhammad Ali Hadayet, the Egyptian perpetrator of the attack, met twice with a deputy to Osama Bin Laden in 1995 and 1998 in Egypt. It has also been separately reported that in Irvine, California, Hadayet had Koranic verses of Jihad tacked to his apartment door.

Furthermore Hadayet had also recently said that "Israelis tried to destroy the Egyptian nation by sending prostitutes with AIDS to Egypt."

Because the international media all but ignores the hate and incitement against Jews and Israelis that permeates much of the Arab world, and does not recognize this incitement to be one of the prime causes of terror against Israelis, perhaps we should not be surprised.

One wonders, though, whether the FBI might have not have used the word "terrorism" if an Arab gunman had approached a line of 80 passengers waiting not an El Al check-in desk but at an American Airlines desk at an international airport on July 4, and shot dead two American civilians, wounded seven others, and attempted to kill dozens more.

I attach 3 items below. Here is a summary for those who don't have time to read them in full:

1. An editorial from The Jerusalem Post. "Why the reluctance on the part of some in the US to acknowledge that this was clearly a terrorist attack on American soil?" asks the Jerusalem Post.

The editorial draws attention to the statement issued by the family of one of the victims, Victoria Hen, aged 25, declaring: "We the family believe that this was a murder, an act carried out by a terrorist against Israelis and American Israelis on American soil. We wish that the American government will once and for all take a clear and present stand on the issue of terror and will act on it."

2. A bulletin from the Israel Resource News Agency. The writer, David Bedein, points out that news of the shooting at the El Al Counter in LA Airport broke in Israel just as Israel's Channel One TV was telecasting previously unseen footage of the IDF rescue operation at Entebbe, Uganda exactly 26 years ago to the day, when Arab terrorists had been holding 109 Israeli Jewish passengers from an Air France flight that had taken off from Tel Aviv a few days before. In 1976, no media outlet had any problem describing an armed Arab attack on Jewish passengers as an act of terror, says Bedein.

3. "Hadayat Belonged to Egyptian Jihad, al Qaeda's Operational Arm." A report in DebkaFile, alleging that Hadayet maintained undercover links to the same Jihad cell in Brooklyn, New York, as the "blind sheikh" Abdul Rahim Rahman and Ramzi Yousef. Both are doing time for perpetrating the first attack on the New York World Trade Center in 1993.

[A lot of people have asked me whether DebkaFile's reports are reliable. I cannot vouch for each individual story. However, I have dealt in the past with one of their two most senior editors. She previously worked for the (UK) magazine, the Economist, and struck me as reliable. DebkaFile, which has excellent links to sources in various intelligence agencies, has on occasion broken stories which the mainstream media were initially reluctant to cover, but were later proven correct.]

[Please also let me re-iterate to those of you who have questioned me about this, that when I choose articles to send out, I am doing so as a matter of interest and do not necessarily endorse every sentiment contained in them.]

-- Tom Gross



FULL ARTICLES

“THIS WAS NO ‘ISOLATED INCIDENT’”

No 'isolated incident'
The Jerusalem Post
July 6, 2002

CNN's coverage of Thursday night's attack on the El Al counter at Los Angeles Airport must have puzzled local viewers.

The obvious first assumption, given the timing and location of the incident, would surely be that it was a terror strike as was indeed stated immediately by Israeli officials. Yet CNN's broadcaster seemed at pains to stress that no such evidence was yet available (as if it could be) to draw such a conclusion. Instead, several other theories were floated. Perhaps it was a "work dispute," since early eyewitness accounts supposedly had the attacker shouting out "They cost me my job!" Others apparently described it as an "altercation that got out of hand," and CNN's newscaster even helpfully reminded viewers that "California is a place where a lot of people walk about carrying around guns."

This wasn't just a media line. US law enforcement officials also seemed to reluctant to label the incident a terrorist attack, instead saying that at first glance it appeared to be an "isolated incident." One American security expert appeared on the air confidently declaring that it was unlikely to be the forewarned al-Qaida strike on July 4, because that group prefers committing "large-scale terror attacks" as if al-Qaida operated only according to some kind of strictly followed playbook.

Even after the assailant was identified as Hesham Muhammad Ali Hadayet, an Egyptian national who has spent the past 12 years in the US, local law enforcement officials continued to resist drawing the obvious conclusion. Because Hadayet had no prior known links with terrorist groups, Richard Garcia, the FBI agent in charge of the investigation, told The New York Times it just as well could have been a "hate crime," or perhaps Hadayet "might simply have been despondent for some as yet unknown reason, perhaps a financial problem or a family dispute, and that despair drove him to violence."

It may well be that Hadayet had personal problems. It is also clear that he was capable of hate. "He had hate for Israel, for sure," the Times quoted one former employee in Hadayet's limousine service, who added "He [Hadayet] told me that the Israelis tried to destroy the Egyptian nation and the Egyptian population by sending prostitutes with AIDS to Egypt."

The Israel/AIDS conspiracy is a fantastic anti-Semitic canard widely circulated in Arab circles during the past decade. Perhaps Hadayet read about it in Egyptian newspapers sent from home, or saw it on anti-Israeli Internet sites, or heard it discussed in the local mosques near his home in the Los Angeles suburb of Irvine, described by an Israeli official in one report as "a problematic center of anti-Israel rhetoric recently."

The notion that an individual like Hadayet necessarily needed a direct personal order from the likes of Osama bin Laden to carry out his nefarious deed for it to be characterized as a "terror attack" rather than "isolated incident," "hate crime," or "despondent act" is a dangerously misguided one. It is misguided about the nature of terrorism in general, and about the nature of the enemy America is facing in specific. Haven't bin Laden and other Islamic terrorist leaders publicly called on individual Muslims like Hadayet to commit such acts? And when they do, isn't that terrorism, pure and simple?

Why the reluctance on the part of some in the US to acknowledge that this was clearly a terrorist attack on American soil? Because to do so would grant a victory to al-Qaida? Or because it would mean admitting that letting such a heavily armed man inside an airport terminal on a day when the nation was at the highest state of alert was a clear lapse of security? (Had Hadayet attacked any counter other then El Al, one wonders if he would have been stopped so quickly and prevented from killing many others).

Or is this a sign that even after 9/11, many Americans are still grappling with the mind shift needed to wage an extended war on terrorism both at home and abroad?

Even the early characterizations of the victims as Israelis Victoria Hen and Ya'acov Aminov were Israeli-Americans seemed intended to somehow shift the definition of the crime away from an act of terrorism against the US, to some kind of transplanted offshoot of the Israeli-Arab conflict.

No wonder that Hen's family felt compelled to issue a statement flatly declaring: "We the family believe that this was a murder, an act carried out by a terrorist against Israelis and American Israelis on American soil. We wish that the American government will once and for all take a clear and present stand on the issue of terror and will act on it."

The intention here is not to criticize the US war on terrorism from an Israeli perspective. Israel has its own problems, both in psychological and practical terms, in dealing with terrorism. The US, with its rich tradition of civil liberties and proudly multi-ethnic society must find its own, very different path, to fighting and defeating this scourge.

But echoing the Hen family, one thing needs to be stated loud and clear about last week's attack at LA airport. This was no "isolated incident." The enemies of America vowed to commit a terror strike on American soil on July 4 and they succeeded. America needs to clearly acknowledge this fact, draw the necessary conclusions, and then act on them as swiftly as possible.

 

“IN 1976, NO MEDIA OUTLET HAD ANY PROBLEM DESCRIBING AN ARMED ARAB ATTACK ON JEWISH PASSANGERS AS AN ACT OF TERROR”

By David Bedein
Israel Resource News Agency
July 5, 2002

The news of an Arab terrorist shooting two people to death at the El Al Counter in the Los Angeles International Airport broke in Israel just as the Israel Broadcasting Authority's TV Channel One was telecasting previously unseen footage of the IDF rescue operation at the Entebbe, Uganda airport exactly 26 years ago to the day, where Arab terrorists had been holding 109 Israeli Jewish passengers from an Air France flight that had taken off from Tel Aviv a few days before.

As we flipped through internet radio news channels to hear more about what happened in LA, news announcers around the world praised the efficient and professional response of the Israel's two El Al security guards, one of whom wrestled the Arab terrorist and while the other one him into Moslem never-never land with appropriate shots to appropriate parts of the anatomy. No other airline retains trained armed security personnel

As we followed breaking news in LA, we watched the footage of how the IDF executed the PLO hijackers and rescued more than one hundred Jewish hostages from the hands of the PLO, at a price of the commander of that operation, Yonatan Netanyahu and the lives of three of the hostages.

Headlines around the world that coincided with America's two hundredth birthday were filled with adulation and pride for the unprecedented swift and professional IDF response to the hijacking of Jewish passengers to a remote part of the world where they were separated by the PLO from the other passengers in way that Joseph Mengele would have been proud of.

In 1976, no media outlet had any problem describing an armed Arab attack on Jewish passengers as an act of terror.

Yet the FBI official on the spot was quick to tell CNN that this would only fall into the "Israeli definition of a terror attack, because "a man of Islamic descent killed Jews". The FBI official would not comment on the Koranic verses of Jihad that the Arab killer had tacked to his apartment door.

The FBI, in its pretense to be fair and balanced, questions the "terrorism part" of the attack.

To lift the FBI's intellectual standing and understanding of what terrorism is, the time has come for the US government to appreciate the definition of "terror" and "terrorism",

According to the authoritative source, "The Oxford Dictionary." "terror" is defined as... "extreme fear: the use of such fear to intimidate people, especially for political reasons: a person or thing that causes extreme fear."

"Terrorism" is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as "the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims."

FBI officials might want to interview relatives and friends of the victims, to ascertain as to whether their sentiment could be called terror-stricken after the violent death of their loved ones, as well as to debrief the passengers who witnessed the attack

For 1900 years, there had been no Jewish army where Jews could bear arms to defend themselves.

And what is the Israelis connection to the spirit of July 4th? Look to the Second Amendment of the American Bill of Rights; "The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms Shall Not be Infringed".

The concept of "turning the other cheek" to a killer may have been coined in Israel.

When the Jewish state was established, "turning the other cheek" was immediately annulled. From the IDF rescue at the Entebbe airport on July 4, 1976 to the rapid response of the EL AL security personnel on July 4, 2002, the message is clear: Israel will not take the risk of not defending itself.

 

HADAYAT BELONGED TO AL QAEDA OPERATIONAL ARM

Hadayat Belonged to Egyptian Jihad, al Qaeda's Operational Arm
DebkaFile
July 5, 2002

Hashem Mohamed Hadayat, 41, who gunned down Yakov Aminov, 46, and Vicky Hen, 25 - both from Los Angeles - on the 4th of July at the El Al terminal of Los Angeles, and wounded 7 others, is revealed by DEBKAfile's intelligence and counter-terror sources as a Muslim extremist. During his ten years in the United States, he was a secret operative of the Egyptian Jihad who maintained undercover links to the same Jihad cell in Brooklyn, New York, as the "blind sheikh" Abdul Rahim Rahman and Ramzi Yousef. Both are doing time for perpetrating the first attack on the New York World Trade Center in 1993.

Hadayat is also believed to have abetted a previous, contrived airline disaster: On October 31, 1999, an Egyptair Boeing 767 Flight 990, which also took off from Los Angeles airport, never reached its destination of Kennedy, New York. The plane plunged into the Atlantic off the Nantucket Island, Mass. coast, killing all 217 passengers and crew. In a special probe, the US National Transportation Safety Board found that the copilot Gameel el-Batouty was at the controls when the plane went into its dive. His voice was recorded shouting, "I put my faith in Allah!"

The report held back from referring more directly to the Egyptian copilot's responsibility for the crash.

Our sources affirm that Hadayat, who lived in Irvine, California, 70 km south of Los Angeles, knew Batouty well. There are also indications that, in the years 1998 and 1999, Hadayat was in touch with a group of high Egyptian air force officers and helicopter pilots posted at the time at Edwards Base north of Los Angeles. They were there to learn how to install command and control centers in Egypt's air defense systems, operate anti-air missile batteries and fly Apache gunships. Most of those officers were on the doomed Egyptian airliner after completing their courses.

Although the long-delayed US Transportation Board report never referred to the presence of this high-ranking Egyptian air force delegation on the flight, DEBKAfile's Washington sources reported at the time that most of the investigators were satisfied that Batouty could not have seized control of the Boeing 767 without the aid certainly the compliance of those officers.

Two years ago, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak exerted all his influence on President Clinton to keep the federal board's findings out of its published report and, above all, the fact that a group of Egyptian air force officers was on the plane. He warned that citing the Egyptian copilot as deliberately causing the crash would have a negative effect on Egyptian-US relations.

The report therefore fell short of clear conclusions.

Hadayat's murderous attack on El Al flight 106 passengers points back to the Egyptair 990 disaster of 1999, reviving the many questions left open by that earlier, half stifled inquiry, which carefully stepped round any suggestion of terrorism. It also raises the question of how many sleeper cells the Egyptian Jihad, al Qaeda's primary operational arm, maintains in American cities.

Hadayat struck the El Al ticket line on his 42nd birthday. The initial FBI inquiry found through records of his fingerprints at the Department of Motor Vehicles, which issued him with a limousine license, that he was married with at least one child, and had lived in Irvine for the last two years, working on a green card.

Since the attack, the possibility that he arrived in America as a sleeper terrorist must be seriously addressed. US investigators realize he was not a lone operative and are seeking his accomplices in such matters as setting up the hit, providing the guns he carried and intelligence on the security situation at the Tom Brady terminal.

DEBKAfile's Middle East intelligence sources report that early Friday, Egyptian intelligence officers picked up Hadayat's relatives and associates in Cairo, to try and trace the identities of his fellows in the American Jihad cell.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.