Today's entry in the This day in Islamic Terrorism Series.
On this day, February 26, 1993,
Sixteen years ago today, Osama bin Laden struck his first blow against the United States. His henchmen drove a rental truck full of explosives into the underground parking garage of the World Trade Center. The resulting terrorist attack killed six and injured over a thousand people. Ramzi Yousef masterminded the plot in four months while spending about ten thousand dollars on the scheme. First thought to be an accident, investigators found the vehicle identification number on a three hundred pound piece of
metal remains of the rental truck. The FBI traced the number to the rental agency and arrested Mohammed Salameh when he returned to collect a four hundred dollar deposit on the truck. The four men directly involved were all arrested and sentenced to 240 years of prison.
"It should have been a wake-up call for America," said New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who held the same position at the time. "We simply didn't see it as an international conspiracy to destroy our society."
Largely because our government refused to acknowledge the importance of jihad in Islam.
The History Channel has this story listed in the crime section, and doesn't mention Islam or terrorism at all. Never mind recognizing the enemy, we couldn't even identify the motives, or connect the dots between this and previous attacks.
The significance of the attack "was not fully understood by the critical mass of the United States until Sept. 11, 2001," said James Kallstrom, a former FBI assistant director who is now Gov. George Pataki's senior adviser on terrorism.
I would say we still haven't.
The 1995 capture of Yousef in Pakistan signaled the emergence of a wealthy benefactor: Osama bin Laden. Yousef was found in a guest house for Afghan war veterans financed by bin Laden. He had sought refuge there after failing in a plot in the Philippines to kill 4,000 people by blowing up 12 U.S.-bound airliners.
A computer used by Yousef and interrogations of another terrorist who lived with him in Manila revealed that several Middle Eastern pilots were training at American flight schools. At least one had proposed hijacking a plane to crash into federal buildings.
Yet we still let Osama Bin Laden go free back in 1998 for fear some UAE Prince's might get killed in the process. Five years later we're trying to sell 21 of our ports to a UAE government-owned company. It's interesting what both of these incidents have in common. "We don't want to send the wrong message"
What message are they sending us?