There is no single path to 9/11, a specific origin with date and surnames. The largest terrorist attack in history took its first steps in the 1980s, thousands of miles from the World Trade Center and only a few hundred at the same time, at the home of the victim.
Archive image of the attack on the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.
Let’s find the first story by writing a name, or maybe an alias, since it had dozens: Ramzi Ahmed Yousef . Wikipedia tells us about a guy born in 1968, Kuwaiti and Pakistani descent, graduated in Wales and lover of Armani suits. He is the first story to tell. There is no reason to explain his return to Pakistan from British lands, nor the purpose that his life took then: to kill Americans . And that’s it.
This is what he confessed to his friend Abdul Murad in 1992 and for that reason he applied himself in the course to assemble bombs that he carried out a year before in Pakistani lands. In that conversation with friends, Murad gave him the key: “Thousands of Americans and Jews work at the World Trade Center . ” Yousef, a narcissistic psychopath from the textbook, was responsible for elevating jihadist terrorism on a global scale: he dreamed of disaster in a big way.
Ramzi-Yousef, the author of the first attack on the Twin TowersRamzi-Yousef, the author of the first attack on the Twin TowersFile
Rewinding more than a decade of that talk, we arrive at another point, a historical context. In 1980, the hottest spot on the planet is Afghanistan , where the USSR lives its own Vietnam in the Afghan mountains, chasing bearded ghosts: they are the Mujahideen, with doctorates in the art of guerrilla warfare and calling for jihad against the Russian invader. Millions of US dollars come to his call in the form of missiles and thousands of Muslim radicals, including a 24-year-old stalk, the son of an Arab tycoon and who goes by the name of Osama Bin Laden .
The service bureau, the base … Al Qaeda
Osama’s money helps a lot in his progressive escalation and in 1984 he created a network for the development of the holy war : the service office will be called. It is a school for terrorists that in 1986 already had branches all over the world. Its ‘headquarters’ is in New York: the Al Farooq Mosque, as Steven Emerson recounts in his work ‘American Jihad’ .
The enemy has entered the living room. When the Soviet withdrawal began in 1988, the office changed its name and became known as ‘The Base’, entering directly on the radar of the intelligence services around the world, which pointed to its Muslim name: Al Qaeda . In 1989, Bin Laden is already its supreme leader thanks to a US bombing that destroys his predecessor. Another madman of so many,
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Let’s go back to North America, to 1989, to North Carolina and its brilliant engineering faculty , where the educated Khalid Sheik Mohamed studies . His origin is another wealthy Kuwaiti family and his metamorphosis is also uncertain, since he relates to his companions, to whom he endures heavy jokes every time he prays barefoot.
On more than one occasion, Mohamed must go to the university lake to get his shoes. KSM, as history will know him thereafter , graduates cum laude and returns to Pakistan, where he joins an NGO that helps Afghan rebels. It won’t take long for him to pick up a weapon and unite his destiny to that of his new friend, Osama.
Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait triggers everything: Osama offers his help to the Saudis, who choose the US
With all the pieces in position, the spark that lights the fuse arrives in the early 1990s, with the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein’s troops. It is then that Bin Laden puts his organization at the disposal of the Saudi government to expel the invader. The sheikhs are grateful for his services to throw themselves, immediately afterwards, in American arms. The stars and stripes flag is now placed in Bin Laden’s peephole. America becomes the great Satan .
And although sporadic, Al Qaeda leaves bloody breadcrumbs on North American soil: small bombs, assaults or that murder in September 1990: the victim is the Jewish Rabbi Mehir Kabane , a guy who preaches violence against “Arab dogs”; his murderer, El Sayed Noseir, an air conditioning technician who finds the strength for such a crime in the imam of the Al Farooq mosque.
Al Farooq Mosque, the nerve center of jihadism in New York.Al Farooq Mosque, the nerve center of jihadism in New York.File
On September 1, 1992, the dots begin to come together, like a children’s hobby. Ramzi Yousef lands in the JFK arrivals hall, flawless as usual, flying first class and with a single idea in his head. He has no problems passing customs control – where his companion / bait is caught with a manual to make bombs in his suitcase – and go to the last taxi in line, where he asks the driver, a compatriot, to take him to Al Farooq. There, he obtains the second blessing to his plan , after receiving the first in Sudan, where Osama Bin Laden lives in exile.
Almost six months later, at 12:17 p.m. on February 26, 1993 , Yousef leaves the second basement of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, where he parks a truck loaded with fertilizer, gasoline and nitroglycerin. He can’t help but get just far enough to witness his work, and it doesn’t take him five seconds to realize his ‘failure’: the explosion blows up seven plants , kills six people and injures a thousand. But the tower still stands. Yousef leaves the country immediately, leaving a brief message that moves between legend and reality: “Next time we will be more accurate.”
Plan change: from ground bombs to airborne missiles
- Time passes, little. Yousef has reunited in Lahore (Pakistan) with his friend Murad, also back from the United States, where he has just finished a pilot course. Another lively chat between the two concludes with a sinister new plan: use airplanes as missiles to bring down buildings . The excitement leads the couple to share their ideas with Yousef’s uncle, as exultant as the nephew and who offers to seek financial financing by consulting the boss. Yousef’s uncle is KSM, KSM’s boss is Osama Bin Laden .
In 1995, Murad and Yousef are arrested in the Philippines and Pakistan. KSM sleeps in the room next to Ramzi, who manages to escape with a fluke. His nephew’s idea becomes his life project , as the FBI and CIA take notice of the looming threat: the scan of Yousef’s computer and the torture of Murad – electric shocks, drowning simulation and whatnot. if necessary – they have borne fruit with details, figures and objectives to tear down. In 2002, the White House will acknowledge for the first time that they were aware of the jihadist plans.
Bin Laden interview on ABC News.Bin Laden interview on ABC News.ABC
The FBI will always deny having such information, but Osama Bin Laden could not be more eloquent , appearing before the cameras of ABC News with a definitive message: “I see a very black day for the United States.” It’s 1998, there are three years left and Operation Airplanes is already underway. The sleeper cells of Al Qaeda begin to awaken. Three years left.