1998 US Embassy Bombings & the Smoking Gun

by Anthony C Heaford - 09 December 2018

It is difficult to forget the images of the truck bomb attack outside the US Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya on August 07 1998. Over 200-people were killed, mostly students of a secretarial college next door to the embassy building – another 4000-people were injured. The video interview with the 1998 US Ambassador to Kenya conveys just a little of the horrific nature of this attack.


By the end of this report I hope to have demonstrated where, when and how the explosives used in the Nairobi attack were acquired and manufactured with the help of the US Embassy in Sanaa, Yemen.

The Smoking Gun

coke cans

The Nairobi truck bomb contained 400-to-500 cylinders of TNT explosive, each cylinder about the size of a drinks can. Please think of 20-trays of twenty-four drinks cans each to give yourself an idea of the size of the TNT component of the bomb. Please keep this image of twenty trays of drinks cans in mind, specifically how easy it would be to hide such an amount in other shipments for transport.

I believe this TNT was manufactured in the HQ compound of the multi-billion dollar company the HSA Group, at PO Box 5302, Taiz, Yemen, with chemicals imported from the USA via the US Embassy

Export opportunities

The principle component of TNT is toluene, a liquid solvent with an odour like paint thinners:

On August 06 1996 the US embassy sourced one year’s supply of an 80% proof Toluene solvent on behalf of Mohamed A. Salem, general manager of the HSA Group at PO Box 5302 Taiz. This was supposedly for the manufacture of plastics and foam for packaging applications. 

To make TNT the toluene is first nitrated with a mixture of sulfuric and nitric acid:

On August 13 1996 the US embassy sourced one year’s supply of nitric acid on behalf of Mohamed A. Salem, general manager of the HSA Group at PO Box 5302 Taiz. This was supposedly for the manufacture of tiolet soap.

A final stage in TNT manufacture is rinsing with sodium sulphates to stabilize the chemical compound: 

One years supply of sodium sulphate for Mohamed A. Salem, general manager of the HSA Group at PO Box 5302 was included in the US Embassy’s August 1996 “export opportunities” shopping list. 

Chemicals sourced for the HSA Group by the US embassy in August 1996 included: 

Toluene,
nitric acid, 
sodium sulfates,
sulfur,  
sodium sulfonate, 
caustic soda flakes, 
linear alkaline benzene, 
dodecol benzene, 
sodium caboxy methyl cellulose, 
sodium hypochloride, 
sodium silicate alkaline, 
hydrochloric acid, 
hydrogen peroxide, 
sodium benzoate,
 titanium dioxide, 
polyl hydroxyl, 
paraformaldehyde, 
silicone, 
polyvinyl chloride, 
high density polyethylene, 
polystyrene, 
polypropylene, 
polyvinyl chloride resin.

My Accusation

po-box-5302-hsa

The privately owned HSA Group accounts for 1/3 of Yemen’s economy and has huge global investments, specifically in Africa and South East Asian countries. To suggest the HSA Group manufactured the TNT used to attack the US embassies in Africa in 1998, based only on the chemical purchase attempts noted above would be insane. But the list of chemicals above is not the basis for my accusation, it is the final confirmatory evidence of a long held suspicion I’ve held about the HSA Group at PO Box 5302, and its general manager Mohamed A. Salem.

9:11 lineup copy


The basis for my accusation against the HSA Group are my observations and meetings whilst visiting the compound at PO Box 5302, Taiz in 1997. Mohamed A. Salem, the site’s general manager, was my principle contact during my six day visit - he directed my work there as well as arranging my local transportation and accommodation in Taiz city. 

This photo from my 1997 visit shows me in a line-up with Mohamed A. Salem and his boss (the Chief) on one side and two members of al Qaeda on the other. The al Qaeda members photographed are their bomb building ‘Engineer’ and ‘Mechanic’, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ahmed al Darbi, Pakistani and Saudi nationals respectively.

It was Mohamed A. Salem who took me to al Qaidah town for a clanestine meeting after this photo was taken. To illustrate the significance of the al Qaidah town I visited, I have recently been informed that Osama bin Laden’s 5th wife, a Yemeni national, comes from al Qaidah town.


Summary

1987
Osama bin Laden requests visa’s for an intended visit to Yemen with another al Qaeda member, as detailed in this letter.

1988
The Yemeni HSA Group establishes a new business venture, a shipping company called Pacific Inter-Link  for "promoting trade with Malaysia and Far-East, to the global Markets- Kuala Lumpur- Malaysia". I think it is no conincidence that the al Qaeda summit held in 2000 was in Kuala-Lumpur, Malaysia too.

1996, May
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM)
was based in Qatar for much of the 1990s, employed as a project engineer at the country's Ministry of Electricity and Water even after he was linked to the 1993 WTC bombing by US intelligence agencies. KSM flees Qatar after being warned of attempts by US intelligence agencies to arrest him.

1996, August
The HSA Group at PO Box 5302 purchased a range of industrial chemicals that includes the chemical components of TNT (as detailed above)

1996
The HSA Group’s Al-Saeed Foundation for Science & Culture in Taiz , Yemen launched Hayeel Saeed Anam’s Annual Award for Science & Art.

1997, September
Whilst visiting the HSA Group in Taiz
I spoke of how easily a hijacked airliner flying from Logan airport Boston could be used to attack the World Trade Centre in New York. I was subsequently introduced to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed before being taken to a meeting at al Qaidah town - these meetings and conversations I had in Yemen in 1997 are the basis for my current accusations.

1997, November
Barbara Bodine is appointed US Ambassador to Yemen and will later say:

"When I got there in 1997, there was already an Al Qaeda presence. We knew about it. The Yemenis knew about it. Everyone knew about it."


1998, 07 August
Two al Qaeda operatives drive the TNT truck bomb to the US Embassy in Nairobi
- one attacker ran away a few moments before the explosion. The surviving attacker was arrested after being treated for his injuries from the blast - he is identified as British born Mohamed Al-Owhali, an al Qaeda member of Saudi descent.

Al-Owhali cooperated with the FBI and almost immediately gives them the contact telephone number for al Qaeda - it is a telephone number in Sanaa, Yemen.

1999
Osama bin Laden marries a Yemeni woman. His new wife is from Ibb governorate, which is next to Taiz governorate where the HSA Group is based. It is rumoured (asserted but not confirmed) that his new wife was from the same town I was taken to in 1997 - the town is called al Qaidah

My Conclusion

After KSM’s exit from Qatar in May 1996 the HSA Group provided sanctuary and an operational base for him and other al Qaeda members in Taiz, Yemen . The HSA Group’s ‘hospitality' extended to purchasing explosive chemicals for the group in August 1996 and furnishing a front company with over $3-million of printing equipment as a cover.

The ‘drinks can’ sized cylinders of explosives used in the US Embassy bombing were produced at the HSA Group HQ compound in Taiz in 1996/97 for an indeterminate end use. When it was later decided to attack the Nairobi embassy these explosives were shipped from Taiz to Kenya where the truck bomb was assembled in the weeks before the August 7th attack.

The presence of al Qaeda in Yemen was tolerated by US diplomats due to the group’s historical ties with the CIA - these ties are best summarized by former CIA contractor Billy Waugh in his autobiography:

“I worked right there with these al-Qaeda operatives and heard these arguments [about the badness of US policy] firsthand many times, especially during an assignment in Yemen.”

Throughout the 1990s al Qaeda’s presence in Yemen was tolerated by the Yemeni government and military due to historical ties and allegences in the region, specifically with Saudi, Qatar and the UAE. They were supported by a Yemeni army General (a cousin of the late former President Saleh) and al Qaeda units fought in the 1994 Yemni civil War in support of President Saleh and US aims in the region.

Today in Yemen al Qaeda alligned units are still in control of Taiz city. The BBC reported in 2016 that al Qaeda and the Saudi coaltion were allied to each other in Taiz. In November 2018 it was determined that both US and British weapons sold to Gulf states are being redirected to al Qaeda in Yemen.

Finally, reference my smoking gun analogy - can you smell the cordite yet?

© Anthony C Heaford 2016