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Sunday, July 27, 2008
The Origin of 'Bojinka'?Detail-oriented students of terrorism have often contemplated a minor mystery concerning "Operation Bojinka," a 1994-1995 plot to bomb a dozen U.S.-bound airlines by Ramzi Yousef and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. The mystery: What does the name mean?
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed told U.S. interrogators that he had heard the word "Bojinka" while serving on or near the front lines in Bosnia and said it came from the Serbo-Croatian language (spoken by all three Bosnian peoples).
The problem is -- no one in Bosnia has ever heard of it.
However, I noticed a interesting possible explanation when I was in Bosnia this month doing interviews and research for "Sarajevo Richochet," a forthcoming documentary about the Bosnian mujahideen and their relationship to both al Qaeda and the U.S. intelligence community.
The Serbo-Croatian word for soldiers is vojnika (voy-nee-kah). Not particularly similar, of course. But if it's rendered in Cyrillic type (used by the Serbs), it looks like this:
KSM or some of his peers could easily have seen the word "soldiers" rendered in Cyrillic -- on a transport, document, barracks, etc. -- and simply read it off as it one might sound it out from its Latin-looking characters.
All this is highly speculative, of course. I haven't had it confirmed by a source ... yet. But it's the best explanation I've seen so far -- which isn't saying all that much, I grant you.
"Sarajevo Ricochet" is expected to be released in spring 2009.
Views expressed on INTELWIRE are those of the author alone.
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