St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri on January 20, 2003 · Page 6
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri · Page 6

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Monday, January 20, 2003
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A6 www.STLtoday.com ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH NATION MONDAY, JANUARY 20, 2003 NATIONAL FOCUS Ziyad Sadaqa, who once lived In Columbia, Mo., Ferguson and Manchester, reportedly died last year In Saudi Arabia. f Kuwaiti native also bought satellite phone that ended up in bin Laden's hands J- !:;:T LJ; ' I . 7? SAM LEONEPOST-DISPATCH Ziyad Sadaqa, now reported to be dead but still the subject of inquiries by federal authorities, bought this house in the 800 block of Marvin Drive in Ferguson for $33,000 cash in 1997. The house, still in Sadaqa's name, is to be sold at auction to pay back taxes. By Karen Branch-Brioso Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau WASHINGTON In life, Ziyad Sadaqa attracted the interest of federal investigators who wanted to find out whether he was a knowing accomplice to terrorists or their unwitting tool. In death if he is dead he is still provoking questions. While living in Columbia, Mo., in 1996, Sadaqa bought the satellite telephone that authorities say Osama bin Laden used to orchestrate the bombings of two U.S. embassies. Sadaqa testified before a federal grand jury but was never charged. Friends and acquaintances say Sadaqa died last year in Saudi Arabia. But he is again drawing scrutiny, this time by a federal grand jury in St. Louis that is looking into his fund-raising activities for groups the government has said have terrorist ties. A Kuwaiti native whose parents were Palestinians, Sadaqa came to the United States from Jordan in the early 1980s, when he was 18, to attend school in Michigan. He arrived in Missouri with his wife around 1994, when he lived in public housing and attended Columbia College. Sadaqa and his wife lost their 8-month-old daughter, Huda, in 1994 to a congenital enzyme deficiency that leads to liver failure. Two years later, their 6-month-old son, Tariq, who had the same deficiency, also died. In 1996, he bought the satellite phone eventually used by bin Laden. Osama Sadaqa, a cousin of Sa-daqa's who lives in Orlando, Fla., said his cousin bought the phone as a money-making deal, not for terrorism. "He's a businessman. He loves money better than anything else," said Osama Sadaqa. "He sold a satellite phone to an opposition group in London. And at the time, the group was legal the Committee for the Defence of Legitimate Rights." That group, known as the CDLR, was created in the early Less than six months later, on Aug. 7, 1998, theJLI.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed, killing 244. Authorities traced the satellite phone to Sadaqa, who had moved to Florida that year to take a job with Oracle, a computer software company. "The FBI called him, asking questions about it," his cousin said. "It was hard on him. He was a very loyal citizen. He's American." Ashraf Nubani, a Washington-area lawyer and longtime friend of Sadaqa's, said Sadaqa testified twice before a grand jury in New York that eventually indicted bin Laden and others for the embassy bombings. Sadaqa was never charged. Nubani said Sadaqa's purchase of the satellite phone "was totally business, pure and simple." The man who was renting Sadaqa's Ferguson home at the time said that after word leaked out about his involvement and cooperation with the terrorist bombings case, he was fired from Oracle. "He told me he was fired because this magazine Newsweek wrote an article about him and he was planning to sue the (magazine) company," said Driss Ziadi, Sadaqa's former tenant 1990s by Muslim clerics at odds with the Saudi royal leaders, who had banned the group from the kingdom. In Columbia, Sadaqa listed a telephone in his public housing unit under the name CDLR Court records show he was reimbursed for the purchase of the satellite phone, a battery and thousands of pre-paid phone minutes by another Saudi dissident in London, Khalid al-Faw-waz, who is now battling extradition to the United States to face charges of conspiring with bin Laden in the embassy bombings. When Sadaqa moved to Missouri, he went by the name of Ziyad Khaleel and began using the surname Sadaqa as early as 1996; housing records were changed to Sadaqa in 1997. That same year, he paid $33,000 cash to buy a foreclosed rental home in Ferguson that is still in his name. It is to be sold at auction this year to collect years of unpaid property taxes. Embassy bombings On Feb. 22, 1998, bin Laden and other leaders used the satellite phone they had obtained through Sadaqa to issue their infamous fatwah to kill all Americans, civilians included that was published the next day in an Arabic newspaper. from Sadaqa in February of last year. Soon after, word began to spread among Sadaqa's friends that he, his wife, their daughter and his mother had been killed in an auto crash. Fayez Saadeh, the human resources director for the Arthur Andersen office in Riyadh, said Saudi authorities contacted the firm for a family contact after the crash. "The rumors about him passing away I can confirm' Saadeh said, referring to what he had been told. "He and his wife and kid and mother, they all died in that accident" Sadaqa's family, friends, spiritual leaders and acquaintances all say he is dead, but those who know surviving family members in Jordan declined to provide their contact numbers. Officials at the Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington said it would be dif- , ficult to trace a death record without the name of the hospital that treated the victim. One grand jury witness told federal prosecutors in St Louis that he had heard in a conversation at a mosque that Sadaqa was still alive but he said that, too, was only rumor. Peter Shinkle of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report - Reporter Karen Branch-Brioso E-mail: kbranchpost-dispatch.com -Phone: 202-298-6880 Sadaqa returned to Missouri in 2000 and rented an apartment in Manchester that fall. He spent what were to be his final months in St. Louis raising money for Palestinian groups, which the government has said were terrorist-related. In December 2000, he completed his computer degree at the St. Louis campus of Columbia College and left for Saudi Arabia. Another child, Salam Sadaqa, had been born to the couple, and friends said, she, too, had the fatal disease that had already killed two of his children. Some said Sadaqa moved to Saudi Arabia to a.oid an autopsy, which Muslims fin J offensive. "He was preparing to go because when she was diagnosed, he said, 'Since I have come to this country, I have had tragedy after tragedy. I don't want them to cut her up,'" said Muhammad Musri, the president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida who counseled Sadaqa before he left the country. In Saudi Arabia, Sadaqa worked for the Arthur Andersen accounting firm for several months, then took a job with a telecommunications company. Moumen Kuziez, a Ball win real estate broker who said Sadaqa granted him power of attorney before he left, last heard U.S. DIGEST LEXINGTON, Ky. Region has led nation in prescription painkillers Drugstores, hospitals and other legal drug outlets in eastern Kentucky received more prescription painkillers per capita than anywhere else in the nation from 1998 to 2001, a reports says. Nearly half a ton of narcotics reached six small mountain counties during that span the equivalent of three-quarters of a pound for every adult who lives there, according a story Sunday in the Lexington Herald-Leader, which used an analysis of Drug Enforcement Agency data. One pain specialist suggested the coal mining fegion's high rates of lung cancer pay have led to the ranking. In 2001, the St Louis area passed Kentucky, driven by large Increases in the amount of Oxy-Contin and of morphine, which is Widely used to treat pain after Jurgery. A Missouri official said a concentration of oncologists in he area may have helped account for the numbers, i NEW YORK Six workers are injured jn mishap at airport An airplane struck a passenger jetway at LaGuardia Airport, injuring six airport workers Sunday, authorities said, i The Northwest Airlines Airbus A319 was being moved from a parking area to a gate when it hit the jetway, causing the plane's landing gear to collapse, according to airline spokesman Kurt Ebenhoch. There were no passengers on the plane or the jetway, the accordion-like tunnel used to connect planes to terminal gates. A customer service agent on the jetway, three ground employees guiding the aircraft and two mechanics suffered minor injuries, Ebenhoch said. A second Northwest airplane, a Boeing 757, also was damaged in the collision, and both planes were being removed from service, Ebenhoch said. He could not immediately provide details on the damage to the second plane. SAN FRANCISCO Sidewalk ban of Segway goes into effect today With its love of geek chic and congested streets, San Francisco might have been expected to embrace Segway, the environmentally friendly, self-balancing personal vehicle. Instead, the city today becomes the first large municipality to outlaw the Segway Human Transporter on its sidewalks more than a month before the chariotlike vehicles are made available to the public. Thirty-three states, including California, approved Segway-en-abling legislation. California's law allows cities to opt out The upright device controlled by body movements with the help of tiny computers and balance-controlling gyroscopes has been tested across , the country by postal workers, police officers and meter readers. They're on sale to the public at Ama-zon.com for $4,950 each and will begin shipping in March. CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. Shuttle astronauts collect soot for scientific study Space shuttle Columbia's astronauts set small fires inside their orbiting laboratory Sunday in a scientific study of soot The flames were contained in a chamber inside an even bigger chamber, and there was no danger of fire breaking out Astronauts Kalpana Chawla and Dan Ramon used a hot wire igniter and jet burner to produce flames up to 2 inches long. They collected some of the soot for analysis back on Earth. Scientists want to better understand the production of soot, a pollutant that can lead to lung disease. They turned to space in order to eliminate the rising of hot air the so-called buoyancy effect and to slow the reactions inside flames for easier study. WASHINGTON Conference will study improving life in Africa A sixth conference to bring together American and African leaders to discuss ways of improving life on the continent is being planned for Abuja, Nigeria, in July. The five-day summit, July 14-18, will focus on continuing development efforts in sub-Sahar-an Africa, including business, trade and investment education and IITV-AIDS. It is sponsored by the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation, which promotes self-help and was founded to honor the late civil rights pioneer. From News Services Investigation U.S. looks for local ties to terror, sources say Continued from Al released from prison Nov. 12 and now lives in St. Louis. - Prosecutors asked many ques-; tions about Menepta, th& mosque and a number of AfrK can-American Muslims during, the December testimony, according to the grand jury witC ness who spoke to the Post-; Dispatch. ; "Their questions were repeat-! edly, 'Did any of these people; ever discuss training for jihad in-the United States?'" said the: witness, who said he told prose-; cutors he had seen weapons in the mosque several years ago that were meant for protection; not for terrorism "because they; were having feuds with drug dealers and criminals in the neighborhood." "My answers to them were simply that I knew nothing bad about them whatsoever. I said to Fagan, 'To my knowledge they were just trying to clear up their little corner of St Louis of drug dealing and crime.' They wanted to make people to feel safe to walk.'" . Menepta, who returned to St Louis after his release in November, said he had not been contacted by federal investigators. "But I heard there was an ongoing investigation since I've come home," said Menepta "My lawyer told me that they're still looking at me and she said it may just be a matter of time before they pull me back in. The whole thing is incredibly unbelievable, although I sort of don't blame them, you know, if you feel you're being attacked. "But they should still have their facts straight. I'm not planning on jihad. ... Geraldine is just a quiet setting for a few families to pray, and to take it and blow it completely out of context is absurd. I guess they'll come to the realization sooner or later." Reporter Karen Branch-Brioso E-mail: kbranchpost-dispatch.com " Phone: 202-298-6880 Reporter Peter Shinkle: E-mail: pshlnklepost-dispatch.com as imam at the Sarasota mosque in Arafat's absence. Just as his immigration hearing came up in Florida, he was transported to St. Louis to testify before the grand jury Dec. 18, sources said. He is now being held at the Jennings City Jail, awaiting return to immigration authorities' custody in Florida. In an interview with the Post-Dispatch in October, Arafat said he had met Sadaqa at a mosque in Columbia where Arafat was giving a speech. Later, in 2000, the two men rented rooms at a home in Manchester in west St Louis County. There, they began working on an effort to raise money to send to Palestinians in the Middle East, said Arafat, who said he is no relation to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat Minutes of fund-raising meetings prepared by Sadaqa state that Sadaqa, Arafat and others met repeatedly to plan a fundraiser at a Denny's restaurant on North Hanley Road. The Post-Dispatch obtained copies of the minutes, which show that the money was intended for the Islamic Association for Palestine, a Chicago-based group. The association has been accused by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service of having links to Hamas, the militant Islamic group that runs social service programs in the West Bank and Gaza and which also has claimed responsibility for many terrorist attacks. Rafeeq Jaber, president of the association, said it did receive some money as a result of the St Louis fund-raiser, though he couldn't remember how much. He denied his group represents or acts on behalf of Hamas. Arafat said the $20,000 raised at the event went not to the association but to a different organization, the Holy Land Relief Foundation for Relief and Development in Texas. "It went directly to the orphans and the needy in Palestine and Gaza for their education and medicine," he said. The foundation's use of money has come under scrutiny. In December. 2001, the U.S. Treasury Department froze its assets, claiming that the foundation's leaders were members of Hamas. The department charged that the foundation was Hamas' main funding arm in the United States and that it funneled money to terrorists. The foundation has disputed the claims and has sued the Treasury Department in federal court in Washington to regain use of its money. Last month, a federal grand jury in Dallas indicted the foundation's head, Ghassan Elashi, and his four brothers on charges that they illegally sold computer equipment through their Dallas-based company to Syria and Libya and laundered money. Also indicted was a Hamas leader, Mousa Abu Marzook, who allegedly made a $250,000 investment in the company. Arafat said he opposed terrorism and had no reason to believe that the money Sadaqa sent to the Holy Land Relief Foundation went for anything other than orphans and medical care. He said the vast majority of Palestinians in the United States did not want their money to go to suicide bombers. "They want their families to prosper, not to suffer," he said. "We feel like we have to clean up behind our brothers and sisters over there." Mosques draw scrutiny Sadaqa largely dropped off authorities' radar screens after he moved to Saudi Arabia in late 2000, although they did inquire about him after the Sept 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. But two to three months ago, FBI agents and then a U.S. Marshals Service agent returned to ask Driss Ziadi, Sadaqa's former tenant, more about him how they had met where he might be, the people he associated with in St Louis. Ziadi said he was not asked to appear before the grand jury. The week before Christmas, prosecutors asked more questions about Sadaqa at the grand jury of at least two witnesses, including Arafat. They asked questions about other associates of Sadaqa, according to sources familiar with the proceedings, and they showed witnesses photographs of people leaving a St Louis prayer room as well. The prayer room, run by a group that calls itself Unity Refugees Welfare, is in an apartment building at 925 Allen Avenue and is called al Qubaa mosque. Ah Syed, who manages the mosque, said that he was unaware of the federal inquiry and that the FBI had not contacted him. Syed said he knew Arafat from his speeches several years ago at another mosque near St. Louis University, but he did not know Sadaqa. Syed said the 2-year-old mosque had not engaged in fund raising, at least partly because it did not yet have nonprofit status. He said he attended a meeting about a year ago at the Islamic Center in west St Louis County, at which FBI representatives spoke with Muslims. "It was nice. It was in a friendly environment," he said of the meeting, which he described as intended to "bridge the gap" between the agency and the community. "It helped me to learn about them." Another mosque that came up in the grand jury investigation is the Islamic Institute of Learning at 5388 Geraldine Avenue in St Louis. Its co-founder, Mujahid Abdulqaadir Menepta, was taken into custody as a material witness in Oklahoma City soon after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks after federal agents saw him on television, defending Za-carias Moussaoui, a man who federal agents believe was training to act with the Sept. 11 hijackers. Moussaoui was arrested in August 2001 after he raised suspicions at a mght-training school. Menepta, a St Louis native who had moved to Oklahoma City, befriended Moussaoui at an Oklahoma City mosque. Prosecutors eventually released him as a material witness in the Sept 11 investigation but prosecuted him on an unrelated federal weapons charge. .Menepta was Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Fagan, who heads the St Louis anti-terrorism task force formed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, would not discuss or even confirm the existence of the investigation. The inquiry appears to be a broad one. "They're asking questions about so many people in St Louis that it leads me to believe they're casting a wide net in the Muslim community," said a grand jury witness who spoke on condition of anonymity. "I dont know how much of anything is based on actual information or whether they're just in general looking at the Muslim community. ... I don't want to dismiss (the investigation) out of hand, but just because someone is being investigated here doesn't mean they're a terrorist" The source familiar with the prosecutors' questioning said, "Their questions were, repeatedly, did any of these people ever discuss training for jihad (holy war) in the United States?" The source said the witness with whom he is familiar responded that he knew of no such activity. Ziyad Sadaqa Prosecutors have asked at least two grand jury witnesses about their involvement with Sadaqa in St. Louis, sources said. One of the witnesses was Mu-neer Arafat, who formerly lived in Manchester with Sadaqa and moved in 2000 to Sarasota, Fla., where he became the imam of a mosque. A Kuwaiti of Palestinian descent Arafat was arrested in November in Sarasota for overstaying his visa. A federal official from St Louis was present for his arrest, according to Hisni Albargauthi, who is acting Phone: 14-621-5804 -

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