In case anyone missed it, I like this odd story
, in which it was recently reported that a band of "20-30" gunmen stormed the home of bin Laden's brother-in-law in Madagascar, gunned him down stone cold dead, and took his laptop computer. Bill Roggio has "the rest of the story":
Khalifa had an extensive history in funding, plotting al-Qaeda terrorist activities; Task Force 145 likely scored the kill
"I don't think [his death] was politically motivated," said Malek Khalifa, Mohammed Jamal's brother. But Khalifa's deep ties to al-Qaeda, coupled with his history of funding global terrorist operations, his operations in mining precious stones in Africa (a source of untraceable income), and the size of the 'gang' that murdered him, suggests otherwise. We suspect Khalifa was assassinated. "They stole everything — his computer, all of his things," said Khalifa's brother. Task Force 145 has a mandate to hunt down senior al-Qaeda operatives world wide, and is known to have operated in Pakistan to destroy Osama bin Laden's Black Guard. Also, the U.S. recently deployed naval assets to the region, as well as Task Force 145, in the hunt for al-Qaeda and Islamic Courts leaders fleeing Somalia.
Jamal Khalifa's history with al-Qaeda and Islamic terrorism is extensive. His involvement with al-Qaeda stretches as far back as the late 1980s, at the founding of the terrorist organization.
Just how extensive?
He was instrumental in the establishment and financing of the Abu Sayyaf Group, a Filipino terrorist and criminal gang made up of fighters returning from the Afghan jihad against the Soviet Union.
Khalifa also funded the Islamic Army of Aden, which was responsible for the suicide boat attack on the USS Cole which killed 17 US sailors.
Khalifa was behind two major Islamic charities which support al-Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups.
He also was the head of the Philippines chapter of the International Islamic Relief Organization, which has extensive ties to al-Qaeda and international terrorism.
Khalifa also participating in the planning and financing of the Operation Bojinka airline plot, which was conceived in the Philippines. The plot included bombings in the Philippines, the assassination of Pope John Paul II, ramming airplanes into each other over the Indian Ocean, and slamming airplaines into the "CIA headquarters, the Pentagon, an unidentified nuclear power plant, the Transamerica Tower in San Francisco, the Sears Tower, and the World Trade Center." This plot was foiled in 1995.
And the even deeper lesson:
Mohammed Jamal Khalifa is perhaps the poster-child for failure in exclusively relying on the law-enforcement model for counterterrorism operations. Khalifa was detained numerous times, but each time was freed. Khalifa was released by the U.S. and deported to Jordan, where he was sentenced to death for a string of bombing in the country. The conviction was overturned after a witness recanted. "No government had enough evidence to put him behind bars," noted a CBS News report in 2003. "Khalifa was arrested in America, in Jordan, and after 9/11, in Saudi Arabia, and on each occasion was eventually released."
Khalifa cannot escape the grave.
There's more on the mention above on Task Force 145 and bin Laden's Black Guard
. I recall a while back hearing strange, conflicting reports about an Pakistani attack on an al-Qaeda compund in the tribal regions; some accounts said it was helicopters, others that it was armed Predator drones. Bill Roggio fascinatingly says otherwise:
al-Qaeda's praetorian guards and al-Qaeda high command the target of the March 2006 strike at Danda Saidgai
Task Force 145, the special operations group responsible for the hunt for al-Qaeda in Iraq leadership and the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has been active in Pakistan's tribal belts.
A special US unit now has the authority to go after Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan without having to seek permission first, according to two US officials.
The cover story for the strike was that Pakistani Army units, including helicopters equipped with night vision equipment, hit the camp. But the truth is Task Force 145 struck with air and ground forces, and inflicted dozens of casualties on al-Qaeda recruits and Imam Asad, a senior Chechen al-Qaeda commander and associate of recently slain Shamil Basayev. Asad was the camp commander and at the time the commander of al-Qaeda in Pakistan, a position of honor and power within al-Qaeda due to the importance of the country to the organization.
The Black Guard are specially selected al-Qaeda members who take a blood oath to defend bin Laden to the death. Their numbers are estimated to be at around 200-500 guards. They are highly trained in weapons, tactics and in the martial arts. The rank and file are branded. Senior al-Qaeda leaders serve a stint as squad leaders before receiving their assignments. Osama bin Laden selects the squad leaders himself and establishes personal ties with these future leaders.
For bin Laden to personally select the squad leaders, he would have to be in attendance at the camp, unless the individual members were brought to his hiding place. The fact that Task Force 145 struck in Danda Saidgai indicates intelligence believed there was a strong possibility bin Laden and perhaps Ayman al-Zawahiri were in the camp. Lt.Gen. McChrystal committed his valuable resources and the potential diplomatic backlash by striking inside Pakistani territory.
The assaults on Damadola and Danda Saidgai would cement al-Qaeda's desire to go from a behind the scenes actor in Waziristan to seize overt political and military power in the region. Covert strikes against bin Laden and Zawahiri were direct threats to al-Qaeda. The Pakistani government could not be trusted to keep the Americans from entering Pakistan, and were now of little use. Al-Qaeda went to war with Pakistan, with the goal of establishing the the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan, a goal which would become reality just over six months later.
Pakistan's continued existence as a country is untenable.