What`s the connection between the new PLO Head of Prisoners' Commission and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing?
The new Head of the PLO Commission of Prisoners, Qadri Abu Bakr, is in all likelihood the uncle of Mohammed Salameh, one of the terrorists convicted for the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing. Abu Bakr spent 18 years in an Israeli prison for an attempted terror attack before being released in 1986 and expelled to Iraq, where he was a senior PLO representative.
During the year prior to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Qadri Abu Bakr spoke on the phone with Mohammed Salameh over 40 times. The first to publicize the connection between Salameh and Abu Bakr was the Washington Post in a report published two years after the first WTC bombing documenting a possible Iraqi connection to the bombing:
"Another bit of intriguing evidence leading back to Baghdad are the more than 40 calls Salameh made to the Iraqi capital in June and July 1992 -- most of them to his uncle, Qadri Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr, who had spent 18 years in an Israeli prison, has been identified as a top official of a now largely inactive Iraqi-sponsored Palestinian group."
"Through Salameh's phone calls, Baghdad almost certainly learned of the New York extremists' plans [to bomb the WTC]. As a matter of routine, Iraqi intelligence would have had Abu Bakr's phone bugged, and Abu Bakr would have known that. The Iraqi regime would have expected Abu Bakr to tell it about something so important as a bombing conspiracy in New York. Indeed, had Abu Bakr not reported the news to the Iraqi authorities, he might have raised suspicions about himself. That, in turn, would have made him liable to arrest, interrogation and torture by Iraqi security forces. Thus even if Abu Bakr had not been spontaneously inclined to report the activities of his nephew in New York to Iraqi intelligence, a prudent man might well have felt obliged to do so. Perhaps, even, Abu Bakr approved of his nephew's plans."
Dr. Thomas E. Copeland, in his book Fool Me Twice: Intelligence Failure and Mass Casualty Terrorism, added that Abu Bakr was "a leading figure in the Palestine Liberation Organization responsible for coordinating funding from Iraq."
There are additional connections between Iraq and the first World Trade Center bombing.
- The bomb maker Ramzi Yousef, (formerly Abdul Basit Mahmoud Abdul Karim) entered the US on an Iraqi passport and had connections to a terrorist group supported by and operating out of Iraq;
- One of the other WTC bombing conspirators, Abdel Rahmn Yasin, fled to Baghdad after the bombing and worked for the Iraqi government;
- The bombing was carried out on February 26th, the second anniversary of the Iraqi defeat in the First Gulf War, led by the United States.
The appointment of Abu Bakr, is not the first connection between Iraq/Saddam Hussein and the payment of financial incentives as a reward for terrorism.
During the 2000 - 2004 PA terror campaign, Rakad Salam, Saddam Hussein's representative in the Palestinian territories distributed over $25 million dollars to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. Salam was convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison and given a heavy fine, but was later released early in a gesture of "good will" to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
While the full nature of the relationship between convicted WTC conspirator Salameh and Abu Bakr is unconfirmed, Professor Laurie Mylroie, Louis Fairmont and Dr. Thomas E. Copeland cited above all believe that Abu Bakr was connected in one way or another to the World Trade Center bombing in 1993.