An astounding story: “Pilot with 9/11 links found in NZ,” from the New Zealand Herald, with thanks to David Farrar: Rayed Mohammed Abdullah Ali, who lived in Phoenix with Hani Hanjour, who piloted American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon, went to New Zealand and was…taking flight training. He has been expelled from the country and is back in Saudi Arabia, which of course, as everyone knows, is our Friend and Ally and will not allow him to get into any mischief.
Farrar emphasizes what it says below, that in Phoenix, “Ali has been reported in the 9/11 Commission report as giving extremist speeches at the mosque.”
A Saudi Arabian linked to one of the September 11 hijackers spent four months in New Zealand before being expelled as a national security risk.
The United States-qualified pilot, Rayed Mohammed Abdullah Ali, was admitted to New Zealand in February on a student visa, saying his dream was to become a commercial airline pilot and that he needed an English language qualification to assist.
Today the Weekend Herald can reveal that on May 29 police and immigration officials raided Ali’s Palmerston North home and deported him.
The 28-year-old had recently moved there from Auckland, partly to fly at the Manawatu Aero Club.
A Government statement to be released this morning will confirm that Ali was deported because he “posed a threat to national security”.
The Government claimed last night that Ali had lived and trained in Phoenix, Arizona, with fellow Saudi Hani Hanjour in the months before Hanjour is believed to have piloted American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon….
The case raises questions about New Zealand’s security intelligence and border control mechanisms.
Mr Cunliffe said Ali’s true identity became apparent only after he arrived in New Zealand – “he used a variation of his name in applying for entry”.
But the Weekend Herald has been told the only variation on his passport was the use of the initial A for Abdullah, and that was corrected in a note inside the passport.
The minister referred the Weekend Herald to excerpts from the US Government’s 9-11 Commission Report on the attacks regarding “Rayed Abdullah”. The report says Abdullah lived and trained in Phoenix with Hani Hanjour, the Saudi Arabian believed to have piloted Flight 77 into the Pentagon. Abdullah was a leader at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Phoenix where, the FBI says, he “reportedly gave extremist speeches at the mosque”.
A website sourced to the 9-11 report says Abdullah attended the same Phoenix flight school as Hanjour and the pair used a flight simulator together on June 23, 2001.
A 2004 report in the Arizona Daily Star names him as Rayed Mohammed Abdullah. But the Rayed Mohammed Abdullah Ali who wandered into the Manawatu Aero Club in March gave no suggestion of fundamentalism.
The short, clean-cut Muslim told the club’s chief flying officer, Captain Ravindra Singh, he had obtained his private pilot’s licence in the US and spent several years there before returning to Saudi Arabia to work in his father’s textile business.
He wanted to pass the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam so he could return home to train for his commercial pilot’s licence.
He wore a baseball cap, smart shirts and baggy trousers and favoured burgers over halal food.
This is in accord with instructions in the Al-Qaeda manual to appear to be a secular, assimilated Muslim with no interest in religion. Speaking of ID documents, it says: “The photograph of the brother in these documents should be without a beard. It is preferable that the brother’s public photograph [on these documents ]be also without a beard. If he already has one [document ]showing a photograph with a beard, he should replace it.” And in renting an apartment, “It is preferable to rent these apartments using false names, appropriate cover, and non-Moslem appearance.” And in general: “Have a general appearance that does not indicate Islamic orientation (beard, toothpick, book,[long] shirt, small Koran)….Be careful not to mention the brothers” common expressions or show their behaviors (special praying appearance, “may Allah reward you”, “peace be on you” while arriving and departing, etc.)…Avoid visiting famous Islamic places (mosques, libraries, Islamic fairs, etc.).”
Sounds as if Ali was following the playbook.