London, May 3 : Shortly after 9/11, Al Qaeda had warned to set off a “nuclear hellstorm” if Osama bin Laden is ever captured or killed, according to U.S. government documents that were leaked just last month by Wikileaks.
Wikileaks' files show that al Qaeda's senior leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was detained and interrogated, had spilled the beans that the terrorist group had, indeed, hidden a nuclear bomb in Europe and that it would be detonated if Osama bin Laden is captured or killed.
The secret files show the interrogation details of more than 750 Guantanamo Bay detainees. Another revelation from the files was that Al Qaeda planned chemical and biological attacks in London and also had a sketch on how to put cyanide in air-conditioning units of some public offices in the US.
But interestingly, the FBI officially confirmed that there is no hard evidence connecting Osama bin Laden to the 9/11 attacks.
The FBI never put the head of al-Qaeda on the wanted list for the attacks, nor are there any other formal charges - which exist for several other of the involved terrorists.
The connection between Bin Laden and the 9/11 attacks was made by the Bush administration, at the morning of the attacks, before the first tower even collapsed. Nearly ten years later, after intensive investigation, a government commission, two wars and the interrogation under torture of some 750 people detained in Guantanamo Bay without charges, no hard evidence could be found that would confirm the initial allegation.
None the less, the same unfounded 11 am allegation of the Bush administration is repeated by countless people, in media and government, even today and possibly ad infinitum
According to the Wikileaks files, a Libyan detainee, Abu Al-Libi, “has knowledge of al-Qaeda possibly possessing a nuclear bomb”.
Al-Libi, the operational chief of al-Qaeda and a close associate of Osama bin Laden before his detention, allegedly knew the location of a nuclear bomb in Europe that would be detonated if bin Laden were killed or captured.
Sharif al-Masri, an Egyptian captured in 2004, allegedly claimed that Al-Libi had said the nuclear bomb's operatives “would be Europeans of Arab or Asian descent”.
The notes show that US interrogators spent large amounts of time trying to establish whether al-Qaeda had access to nuclear material.
Salman Yehah Kasa Hassan, a Yemeni operative, allegedly said that “an associate of his brother was apprehended attempting to sell uranium for $500,000”.
However, after the Yemeni authorities confiscated the uranium, “it was rumoured to have disappeared in a transaction with [Osama bin Laden]”.
Mohommad Zahir, a “weapons dealer” from Afghanistan, was arrested in 2003 allegedly carrying a memo referring to “two or three cans of uranium”, “intended for the production of an 'atom bomb'”.
Another detainee “discussed the issue of buried uranium in Kandahar”.
Other detainees talked about “a ship purchased by al-Qaeda” which was intended to be used “to transport weapons, explosives, and possibly uranium purchased from countries along the Red Sea and Mediterranean Sea”.
Of particular concern to the US was a network of nuclear scientists and military officers called “Ummah Tameer Nau”, which was set up “to assist in spreading the modern achievements of science and technology among Muslims”.
Al-Qaeda apparently also regularly explored the use of chemicals in attacks, believing that getting these into the US would be easier than nuclear material. The use of biological agents, including anthrax, was also considered. One detainee allegedly claimed that Ammar al-Baluchi, the nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, discussed “how to smuggle explosives and chemicals into England”.
According to the US documents, another key al-Qaeda operative discussed a “dirty bomb” with other plotters, which “would combine a regular explosive with uranium or other radiological material”.
The nuclear material “would be disbursed throughout a limited region due to the blast, exposing all within the area to the radiated material”. The terrorists' aim was to cause “latent illness for most, as well as widespread panic far exceeding the affected area”.