Ammar Al-Baluchi - Life

Life

The maternal nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and cousin of Ramzi Yousef, Baluchi is a Yemeni-Balochi computer technician from Pakistan. He is fluent in English and worked at Mohammed's honey-processing company in Karachi for a while before being hired in 1998 as a computer technician for Modern Electronics Corporation in Dubai. He described himself as "very open-minded and western-oriented".

On October 10, 1998, Baluchi used his passport to open a bank account with the Emirates Bank International, using the name "Ali" based on his kunya name Ibn Abdulaziz Ali and listing his employer's address with PO box 16958, Jebel Ali, Dubai.

He was then introduced to Marwan al-Shehhi by his uncle, and Shehhi allegedly asked him to help transfer money from Shehhi's company in Dubai to his company in the United States, ostensibly to help avoid banking fees if he transferred the money himself.

In January 2000, an order using Shehhi's credit card had a Boeing 747-400 flight simulator program, a Boeing 767 flight deck video, and some flight attendant literature and flight manuals shipped to Baluchi's work address. Baluchi then shipped them to his uncle to pass onto Shehhi.

On April 18, Baluchi sent a wire transfer of $5000 to Adel Rafeea, the administrator of the Islamic Center of San Diego, from the Wall Street Exchange Centre in Dubai, using his PO Box, passport and listing his phone number as 0506745651. Rafeaa later claimed that Nawaf al-Hazmi had asked him to accept the money on his behalf.

Tracing the calls made to Baluchi's phone number, authorities discovered that he had received 16 calls from June 28–30 from a pre-paid Voicestream cellphone purchased in Manhattan on June 4. The phone was deactivated on July 11, and authorities allege it belonged to Atta, while Baluchi insisted that he only ever spoke with Shehhi, who had hired him. Around this time, Baluchi complained to Mohammed that he couldn't do all this additional work himself, and his uncle told him that Mustafa al-Hawsawi would co-ordinate with him to act as an assistant.

On June 29, a man named "Isam Mansur" wired $5000 to the Western Union at 1440 Broadway in New York, where Shehhi picked it up. This is alleged to have been Baluchi, since two later direct payments into Shehhi's Sun Trust account from the Exchange Centre, a $10,000 payment to Shehhi on July 18 from "Isam Mansur" and a $9500 August 5 payment from "Isam Mansour", gave Baluchi's PO Box number.

On August 8, Baluchi opened a bank account at Dubai Islamic Bank, using his name, passport and phone number. A $20,000 payment from Baluchi's bank account to Shehhi's Sun Trust account on August 29 gave a phone number one digit different than the one given by Isam Mansour on August 5.

A $70,000 payment was made to Shehhi's account by "Hani (Fawaz Trading)" on September 17 from the same exchange centre. Hani gave a telephone number one digit removed from the one Baluchi used on the transfer from his bank account on August 29.

In September, Hani Hanjour went to Dubai, where Baluchi gave him $3000 to open a new bank account, and later deposited $5000 in the account which Hanjour later accessed from ATMs in the United States. When Ahmed al-Ghamdi went to Dubai, Baluchi helped him purchase a cell phone. It is believed nine of the hijackers met with him in Dubai and received various levels of aid.

The 9/11 Commission Report stated that he "relied on the unremarkable nature of his transactions, which were essentially invisible amid the billions of dollars flowing daily across the globe."

On August 27, 2001, Baluchi applied for a visa to travel to the United States for a week after his employer announced the closing of their Dubai branch, and the government had sent notices informing the employees their work permits had been rescinded and they had to leave the country. He was declined since he appeared to be an economic immigrant, and instead moved back home to Pakistan a few days before the attacks.

Aafia Siddiqui, who has been accused of being an al-Qaeda member and in February 2010 was convicted of assaulting with a deadly weapon and attempting to kill U.S. soldiers and FBI agents who were seeking to interrogate her while she was in custody, claimed to be married to Baluchi. Siddiqui's marriage to Baluchi has been denied by her family, but confirmed by Pakistani intelligence, FBI, and—according to court records—by Siddiqui herself. A defense psychologist also confirmed the marriage, and BBC confirmed it from security sources and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's family.

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