TIMELINE ENTRIES ABOUT NABIL AL-MARABH
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Part 1: 1979 - 2000
Part 2: Jan. 2001 - 9/11
Part 3: Day of 9/11
Part 4: 9/11 - Dec. 2001
Part 5: Jan. 2002 - present
|Day of 9/11
Bush on 9/11
1989-May 2000: Nabil al-Marabh moves to Boston in 1989 and apparently lives there as a taxi driver and al-Qaeda sleeper agent for the next ten years. [New York Times, 9/18/01, Boston Herald, 9/19/01] In 1992 he learns to use weapons in an Afghan al-Qaeda training camp with a terrorist named Raed Hijazi. [Chicago Sun-Times, 9/5/02] He and Hijazi live together and drive taxis at the same company in Boston for several years. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01] A mutual friend at the same taxi company is later killed participating in a 1999 al-Qaeda terrorist attack. [Boston Herald, 9/19/01] Hijazi helps plan the USS Cole bombing (see October 12, 2000), and then participates in a failed attempt to bomb a hotel in Jordan (see November 30, 1999). In May 1999, the FBI approaches al-Marabh looking for Hijazi, but al-Marabh lies and says he doesn't know Hijazi. [Washington Post, 9/4/02] Hijazi is arrested in Syria in October 2000 and imprisoned in Jordan for his bomb attempt there. [Toronto Sun, 10/16/01] He begins to cooperate with investigators and identifies al-Marabh as a US al-Qaeda operative. [New York Times, 9/18/01] Terrorist Ahmed Ressam (see December 14, 1999) gives evidence helping to prove that al-Marabh sent money to Hijazi for the Jordan bombing. [Toronto Sun, 11/16/01, ABC 7, 1/31/02] By February 1999, al-Marabh is driving taxis in Tampa, Florida while maintaining a cover of living in Boston. [Toronto Star, 10/26/01, ABC 7, 1/31/02] [New York Times, 9/18/01] He apparently lives in Tampa at least part time until February 200; investigators later wonder if he is an advance man for the Florida-based hijackers. [New York Times, 9/18/01, ABC 7, 1/31/02] Al-Marabh is living in Detroit by May 2000, though he maintains a Boston address until September 2000 (see May 30, 2000-September 11, 2001). [Boston Herald, 9/19/01] These connections with Hijazi lead to a US Customs investigation into al-Marabh in early 2001 that connects him with two of the 9/11 hijackers (see Spring 2001 (B)). Yet, despite all of these al-Qaeda connections and more, the US later decides there is no evidence that al-Marabh is a terrorist (see September 19, 2001-September 3, 2002).
May 30, 2000-September 11, 2001: Nabil al-Marabh, an apparent al-Qaeda sleeper agent (see 1989-May 2000), stabs his Detroit roommate in the knee during an argument on May 30, 2000. He pleads guilty in December 2000 to assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. [Boston Herald, 9/20/01] He is given a six-month suspended sentence. But he fails to show up for probation and his deportation order is not carried out. An arrest warrant is issued for him in March 2001. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01, Ottawa Citizen, 10/29/01] He lives in Detroit with an al-Qaeda agent named Yousef Hmimssa (see September 17, 2001 (D)). [Boston Herald, 9/20/01, ABC 7, 1/31/02] He receives five driver's licenses in Michigan over a period of 13 months in addition to carrying driver's licenses for Massachusetts, Illinois, Florida and Ontario, Canada. [Toronto Star, 10/26/01] On September 11, 2000, he obtains a Michigan license permitting him to drive semi-trucks containing hazardous materials, including explosives and caustic materials. He is still unsuccessfully trying to find a tractor-trailer driving job one month before 9/11. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01, ABC 7, 1/31/02] In early 2001 he mostly lives in Toronto, Canada, with Hassan Almrei, a man running some al-Qaeda front businesses. [ABC 7, 1/31/02] Many witnesses see al-Marabh with two 9/11 hijackers at his uncle's Toronto photocopy store (see 2001 (C)). On June 27, 2001, al-Marabh is arrested while trying to enter the US from Canada in the back of a tractor-trailer, carrying a false Canadian passport and citizenship card. [St. Catherines Standard, 9/28/01, St. Catherines Standard, 10/2/01] He had been illegally crossing the US-Canadian border for years. [Ottawa Citizen, 10/29/01] Despite suspicions that he is connected to al-Qaeda, the US immediately deports him to Canada. [New York Times, 7/13/02] He spends two weeks in a Canadian prison, where he boasts to other prisoners that he is in contact with the FBI. He is ordered to live with his uncle in Toronto. These prisoners are puzzled that the FBI doesn't try to interview them about al-Marabh after 9/11. But al-Marabh fails to show up for a deportation hearing in August and a court date in September. [St. Catherines Standard, 10/2/01] "Had Canadian security agents investigated Mr. al-Marabh when they had the chance back in June, when he was jailed by immigration authorities, they may have discovered any number of his worldwide links to convicted and suspected terrorists, including two of the [9/11 hijackers]." [Ottawa Citizen, 10/29/01] Despite all of these al-Qaeda connections and more, the US later decides al-Marabh is not a terrorist (see September 19, 2001-September 3, 2002).
2001 (C): Numerous witnesses later recall seeing hijackers Mohamed Atta and/or Marwan Alshehhi in Nabil al-Marabh's Toronto apartment building and photocopy shop at various times during this year. [Toronto Sun, 9/28/01, ABC 7, 1/31/02] Al-Marabh has connections with other hijackers (see Spring 2001 (B)) and other al-Qaeda figures (see 1989-May 2000 and May 30, 2000-September 11, 2001). Some of the dozens of eyewitness accounts say Atta sporadically works in the photocopy shop. [Toronto Sun, 10/21/01] Partially completed fake IDs are found in the store, which is owned by al-Marabh's uncle, and at al-Marabh's apartment. [Toronto Sun, 9/28/01, Toronto Sun, 10/16/01] There is a large picture of bin Laden hanging in the store. [Toronto Sun, 10/21/01] "Forensic officers said there are similarities in the paper stock, laminates and ink seized from the downtown store and that which was used in identification left behind by the [9/11 hijackers]." [Toronto Sun, 10/16/01] US and Canadian police later determine that there is a flurry of phone calls and financial transactions between al-Marabh, Atta and Alshehhi days before the attacks. [Toronto Sun, 11/16/01] US intelligence also intercepts al-Marabh's associates making phone calls immediately praising the 9/11 attacks. [Ottawa Citizen, 10/29/01] Al-Marabh is said to head a Toronto al-Qaeda cell, and three members of his cell have been arrested. [Toronto Sun, 11/23/01] Despite all of these al-Qaeda connections and more, the US later decides al-Marabh is not a terrorist (see September 19, 2001-September 3, 2002).
Spring 2001 (B): A US Customs Service investigation finds evidence that Nabil al-Marabh (see 1989-May 2000, May 30, 2000-September 11, 2001 and 2001 (C)) has funneled money to hijackers Ahmed Alghamdi and Satam Al Suqami. [Cox News, 10/16/01, ABC 7, 1/31/02] By summer, Customs uncovers a series of financial transactions between al-Marabh and al-Qaeda agent Raed Hijazi. [New York Times, 9/21/01, AP, 11/17/01] It is later reported that "some of the 11 hijackers who passed through" Britain in spring 2001 on their way to the US (see April 23-June 29, 2001) "should have been instantly 'red-flagged' by British intelligence. One was Ahmed Alghamdi" because of his connection to Raed Hijazi (see January-June 2001). [Sunday Herald, 9/30/01] Presumably another would be Satam Al Suqami. If they should have been flagged by Britain in spring 2001 because of a US investigation, isn't it likely that they should have been flagged by the US as well? Despite all of these al-Qaeda connections and more, the US later decides al-Marabh is not a terrorist (see September 19, 2001-September 3, 2002). A Congressional 9/11 inquiry later concludes that US intelligence "possessed no intelligence or law enforcement information" before 9/11 on any of the hijackers except for Khalid Almihdhar and Salem and Nawaf Alhazmi. The inquiry suggests the other hijackers may have been selected "because they did not have previously established ties to terrorist organizations." [Senate Intelligence Committee, 9/20/02] This seems to completely ignore all evidence of the Customs investigation.
September 17, 2001 (D): Federal agents looking for Nabil al-Marabh at an old address fail to find him (see September 19, 2001-September 3, 2002), but they accidentally discover three other potential terrorists. They arrest Karim Koubriti, Ahmed Hannan, and Farouk Ali-Haimoud. They worked as dishwashers at the Detroit airport. Investigators believe they were casing the airport for possible security breaches. [Boston Globe, 11/15/02] In the apartment, the FBI discovers a day planner that includes notes about the "American base in Turkey," the "American Foreign Minister" and "Alia Airport" in Jordan. [Washington Post, 9/20/01] They believe the three were planning to assassinate ex-Defense Secretary William Cohen during a visit to Turkey. [AP, 11/17/01] A stash of false documents is also found, and all three have false passports, Social Security cards and immigration papers. [Boston Herald, 9/20/01, Boston Globe, 11/15/02] Fake documents linking al-Marabh and another terrorist named Yousef Hmimssa are also found [ABC 7, 1/31/02], as is videotaped surveillance of major tourist spots like Disneyland and the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. [Boston Globe, 11/15/02] Abel-Ilah Elmardoudi, the apparent ringleader of this group, is arrested in North Carolina in November 2002. All are to be tried on terrorist charges in 2003. [Boston Globe, 11/15/02]
September 19, 2001-September 3, 2002: Nabil al-Marabh is arrested on September 19, 2001 at an Illinois convenience store. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01] He has an extensive history of criminal behavior and al-Qaeda connections (see 1989-May 2000, May 30, 2000-September 11, 2001, 2001 (C) and September 17, 2001 (D)), and was even being investigated for connections with two 9/11 hijackers before 9/11 (see Spring 2001 (B)). In early 2002, Canadian authorities call him "a senior al-Qaeda planner and money man who may have played a direct role in the Sept. 11 attacks." [Toronto Sun, 1/13/02] FBI investigators claim al-Marabh helped the hijackers get false IDs, and helped launder money for al-Qaeda. [ABC 7, 1/31/02] But the Canadian investigation is closed down by the end of 2001, supposedly due to a lack of funding. [Toronto Sun, 1/13/02] The US also decides not to charge al-Marabh on any terrorism related charge. Instead, on September 3, 2002, Nabil al-Marabh pleads guilty to illegally entering the US, and is sentenced to 8 months in prison. [Chicago Sun-Times, 9/5/02] Federal prosecutors then drop a warrant against him, clearing him to be deported to Syria. [AP, 1/29/03] Canada also isn't attempting to extradite al-Marabh for jumping bail in July 2001. [Southam Newspapers, 8/16/02] Federal prosecutors claim that "at this time" there is no evidence "of any involvement by [al-Marabh] in any terrorist organization," even though he has admitted to getting weapons training in Afghanistan. [Washington Post, 9/4/02] The judge says he cannot say "in good conscience" that he approves of the plea bargain worked out between the prosecution and defense, but he seems unable to stop it. He says, "Something about this case makes me feel uncomfortable. I just don't have a lot of information." The judge has a number of unanswered questions, such as how al-Marabh had $22,000 in cash and $25,000 worth of amber jewels on his possession when he was arrested, despite holding only a sporadic series of low-paying jobs. "These are the things that kind of bother me. It's kind of unusual, isn't it?" says the judge. [National Post, 9/4/02] The media fails to bring up all the previously reported connections between al-Marabh and al-Qaeda. It is instead suggested he is a victim of civil rights discrimination. [Toronto Star, 9/9/02] Are the US and Canada letting an important terrorist go free? Could this have to do with his boasts before 9/11 of ties to the FBI (see May 30, 2000-September 11, 2001)?
October 20, 2001: The New York Times reports that, although 830 people have been arrested in the 9/11 terrorism investigation (a number that eventually exceeds 1,200 [New York Times, 7/11/02]), there is no evidence that anyone now in custody was a conspirator in the 9/11 attacks. Furthermore, "none of the nearly 100 people still being sought by the [FBI] is seen as a major suspect." Of all the people arrested, only four, Zacarias Moussaoui, Ayub Ali Khan, Mohammed Azmath, and Nabil al-Marabh, are likely connected to al-Qaeda. [New York Times, 10/21/01] After being kept in solitary confinement for more than eight months without seeing a judge or being assigned a lawyer, al-Marabh pleads guilty to the minor charge of entering the United States illegally (see September 19, 2001-September 3, 2002). [CBC, 8/27/02, Washington Post, 6/12/02] On September 12, 2002, after a year in solitary confinement and four months before he was able to contact a lawyer, Mohammed Azmath pleads guilty to one count of credit card fraud, and is released with time served. Ayub Ali Khan, whose real name is apparently Syed Gul Mohammad Shah, is given a longer sentence for credit card fraud, but is released and deported by the end of 2002 (see September 11, 2001 (K)). [Village Voice, 9/25/02, New York Times, 12/31/02] By mid-June 2002, only 74 people are reportedly still in custody, and the number continues to fall. Though many were held for months, "the vast majority were never charged with anything other than overstaying a visa." [New York Times, 7/11/02] On October 1, 2001, Newsweek reported that "the FBI has privately estimated that more than 1,000 individuals - most of them foreign nationals - with suspected terrorist ties are currently living in the United States." [Newsweek, 9/24/01] With the exception of Moussaoui, who was arrested before 9/11, it appears not one person of the 1,200 arrested has been connected to al-Qaeda. What happened to the 1,000 or more terrorists?