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And it seems their first assumption was that he suffered some major indignity at the hands of Americans in Greensboro. Thus the strange wording of one major finding on page 147 of the 9/11 Commission Report:
"By his own account, KSM's animus toward the United States stemmed not from his experience there as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel."
Moreover, the footnote section reveals that KSM was not the only "mastermind" terrorist motivated by "U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel," although in the footnote the Commission dances around a specific reference to Israel, leaving it to the reader to infer that point from the context. Note the missing words in the footnote on page 488:
"On KSM's rationale for attacking the United States, see Intelligence report, interrogation of KSM, Sept. 5, 2003 (in this regard, KSM's statements echo those of Yousef, who delivered an extensive polemic against U.S. foreign policy at his January 1998 sentencing)," the footnote said.
Was Yousef, who happens to be Mohammed's nephew, perhaps upset about U.S. foreign policy favoring NATO expansion, or maybe toward Guam? Obviously, the unstated inference in the footnote was about Israel.
The First Attack
The family connection between Yousef and Mohammed was not incidental, either. "Yousef's instant notoriety as the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing inspired KSM to become involved in planning attacks against the United States," the 9/11 Commission Report noted on page 147.
The 1993 World Trade Center bombing occurred on Feb. 26, 1993, when a car bomb was detonated below Tower One. The 1,500-pound urea nitrate-hydrogen gas-enhanced device was intended to knock the North Tower (Tower One) into the South Tower, bringing both towers down and killing thousands of people.
It failed to accomplish that, but the bombing did kill six people and injured 1,042.
Motive? Ramzi Yousef spelled out his motive in a letter to The New York Times after the bombing:
"We declare our responsibility for the explosion on the mentioned building. This action was done in response for the American political, economical, and military support to Israel, the state of terrorism, and to the rest of the dictator countries in the region."
Yousef was captured in Pakistan in 1995, imprisoned in New York City, and held there until his trial. On Nov. 12, 1997, he was convicted of "seditious conspiracy" and was sentenced the following January to life without parole. He is held at the high-security Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.
Regarding the touchy Israel connection, the 9/11 Commission stepped up to the plate in the "Recommendations" section of its final report, which was issued on July 22, 2004, but then bunted:
"America's policy choices have consequences. Right or wrong, it is simply a fact that American policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and American actions in Iraq are dominant staples of popular commentary across the Arab and Muslim world. " Neither Israel nor the new Iraq will be safer if worldwide Islamist terrorism grows stronger." (pp 376-377)
A more convincing swing at this issue was taken in an unclassified study published by the Pentagon-appointed U.S. Defense Science Board on Sept. 23, 2004, just two months later. The board stated:
"Muslims do not 'hate our freedom,' but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf States.