Anwar al-Awalqi connected terrorist plot thwarted
After finding work with British Airways in April 2007, the suspect sent information to Anwar al-Awlaqi, an extremist cleric based in Yemen who is linked with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
An Information Technology worker employed by British Airways was found guilty yesterday of supplying information to al-Qaeda terrorists in Yemen in support of a plot to target the airline industry, according to a joint statement from MI5 and Scotland Yard in London.
31-year-old Rajib Karim also pleaded guilty to raising funds for al-Qaeda, Jamaat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh and other terrorist groups. Karim deliberately sought a job in the UK that he could exploit for terrorist purposes. After finding work with British Airways in April 2007, the suspect sent information to Anwar al-Awlaqi, an extremist cleric based in Yemen who is linked with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Awalaqi originally assumed the role of spiritual leader for the jihadists, but appears to be taking a more operational posture as a terrorist commander and strategist.
Karim proposed to attack British Airways' computer system and recruit other people to assist him. Al-Awlaqi encouraged him to find ways of targeting flights to the United States.
Karim was convicted on four counts of engaging in conduct in preparation of acts of terrorism and three further counts of engaging in conduct in preparation of acts of terrorism, terrorist fundraising and possessing a document likely to be of use to a terrorist. He is due to be sentenced on March 18, 2011.
Karim, who worked in the Newcastle office of BA, arrived in the Britain from Bangladesh in 2006 and deliberately set out to find a job that would be useful to him to plan terror attacks.
Having found work at British Airways (BA) in April 2007, Karim kept a low profile, but in the privacy of his own home, he was busy making violent propagandist videos for proscribed terrorist organization Jamaat -ul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).
Throughout this period, he also worked with his younger brother Tehzeeb Karim and other associates to raise funds for JMB, al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations who were then involved in the insurgent activity in Iraq, in the border areas of Pakistan, Afghanistan and also in the Yemen.
In December 2009, Tehzeeb and two others traveled from Bangladesh to Yemen where they successfully made contact with radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaqi, and the new division of al-Qaeda which had established itself there, known as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular (AQAP).
Tehzeeb put al-Awlaqi in touch with his brother Rajib prompting a frank exchange of messages between the radical cleric and the BA worker, as they contemplated how they could exploit Rajib's position within the airline company to launch a terrorist attack.
Rajib's response was honest, without exaggerating his importance. He volunteered information on how he could cause disruption to BA both operationally and financially, by attacking their computer servers, which he said would ground their entire fleet. He also offered to begin recruiting other people.
During the course of their correspondence, Karim told al-Awlaqi there may be an opportunity for him to train as cabin crew during an upcoming strike, which he was encouraged at once to take up. Although Karim filled out an online application form he was not eligible to join the cabin crew as he did not have five year's service.
Al-Awlaqi urged Karim to be patient, to stay in the UK while applying for his UK passport, and not to engage in any activity that would expose him to scrutiny as there was a longer term goal. He wrote: "Our highest priority is the US. Anything there even on a smaller scale compared to what we may do in the UK, would be our choice. So the question is, with the people you have, is it possible to get a package, or a person with a package on board a flight to the [US]...".
Rajib Karim was convicted on four counts of engaging in conduct in preparation of acts of terrorism, contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act, following a trial at Woolwich Crown Court.
He pleaded guilty to a further three counts of engaging in conduct in preparation of acts of terrorism, alongside terrorist fundraising and possessing a document likely to be if use to a terrorist at earlier hearings.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Osborne, Senior National Coordinator Counter Terrorism, said: "Rajib Karim set out to find employment with the clear intention of exploiting any position he may obtain to get information which might be useful to his terrorist plans."
"He was encouraged by Anwar al-Awlaqi, a major international terrorist, to pass on information about the airline industry which could have been used to plot a terrorist attack resulting in economic loss, or could even have been used to cause explosion on board an aircraft," said Commissioner Osborne.
"Although Rajib Karim went to great lengths to disguise his activities, experts from the Metropolitan Police Service Counter Terrorism Command spent nine months decrypting 300 coded messages found on his computer hard drive. It was the most sophisticated decryption task of its kind ever undertaken by the Met's Counter Terrorism Command," he said.
Karim will be sentenced on March 18, 2011.
Jim Kouri, CPP, formerly Fifth Vice-President, is currently a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a columnist for Examiner.com and New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.
He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc.
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Tags: Global War On Terrorism , British Airways
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