May 20, 2005
Strange Coincidences in Madrid
Some very strange coincidences about the 3/11 bombings in Madrid have come to light. El Mundo, the Spanish-language daily, has been investigating the entire incident.
In an effort to completely blow out my bandwidth for the month, and to clearly depict the strange coincidences and relationships in the investigation, I've created the chart below. See an explanation of each number under the chart.
1. The 13th backpack in the bombing, alleged to not have detonated, was purportedly shown to ABC News for an exclusive they ran after the bombings. We now know that ABC was shown a fake backpack because the Spanish could not locate the actual backpack.
2. The contents of the actual backpack were x-rayed, but the Spanish police hid from judges one significant fact: the wires in the backpack meant to connect the explosives to the detonator were not connected. There was no way it could have detonated.
3. Carmen Toro is alleged to have sold explosives to the bombers. A notebook found in his possessions contained the cellphone number of the Chief of Tedax, the Spanish bomb squad.
4. The cellphone in backpack 13 was a Mitsubishi Trium, requiring a SIM card to activate the alarm, and thereby detonate. SIM cards are notoriously easy to trace. Why would technically sophisticated terrorists make such a choice?
5. The cellphones used in the bombing came from a cellphone shop owned by Mausilli Kalaji, a Spanish police officer,
6. Of Syrian descent, and a former member of Al Fatah, with strong ties to Palestine,
7. Trained in Russia as an intelligence agent,
8. Who's sister is a police translator and was responsible for translating wiretaps on the terrorists before the attack,
9. And Kalaji's ex-wife is also a police officer, and was one of the first on the scene of the bombing, and found the 13th backpack -- which had the disconnected wires and the easily traceable phone.
There's more, but those are the highlights best expressed visually.
Any of these things could be meaningless. But it is worth keeping an eye on the news out of Spain. The 3/11 bombings were instrumental in bringing down a government, and significantly altering Spain's foreign and domestic policies.
UPDATE: I forgot the NRO link. It's up there now.
UPDATE2: An Alert Commenter points out that SIM cards are not in fact "easily traceable" since they can be bought in bulk at gas stations. Thanks for the fact-checking! The exact text of the NRO article says this:
Since, as Alemán notes, “it was the analysis of the SIM card which, less than 48 hours after the blasts, allowed the police to arrest the alleged perpetrators,” the question occurs: Why would terrorists who owned a cellphone shop and are deemed to be very technically proficient deliberately choose to use a device that would lead the police to their door?So the presumption is that there is something about the SIM card that makes it easy to analyze -- at least by the police. I remember reading this, How Tiny Swiss Cellphone Chips Helped Track Global Terror Web from last year, and found these paragraphs:
Mr. Mohammed's cellphone number, and many others, were given to the Swiss authorities for further investigation. By checking Swisscom's records, Swiss officials discovered that many other Qaeda suspects used the Swisscom chips, known as Subscriber Identity Module cards, which allow phones to connect to cellular networks.We aren't likely to learn much else about how they did it, but that offers some clues in the case of Spain.
For months the Swiss, working closely with counterparts in the United States and Pakistan, used this information in an effort to track Mr. Mohammed's movements inside Pakistan. By monitoring the cellphone traffic, they were able to get a fix on Mr. Mohammed, but the investigators did not know his specific location, officials said.
Once Swiss agents had established that Mr. Mohammed was in Karachi, the American and Pakistani security services took over the hunt with the aid of technology at the United States National Security Agency, said two senior European intelligence officials. But it took months for them to actually find Mr. Mohammed "because he wasn't always using that phone," an official said. "He had many, many other phones."
It absolutely MUST be noted that the date of this NYTimes article is March 4th, 2004 -- exactly one week before the Madrid bombings. (!)
Posted by Chester at May 20, 2005 2:05 AM
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