The diary of a Holy Warrior (radical Islamic Muslim) scouting potential targets in America for the next 911 type of attack.
Into the mind of a Terrorist
(by Michael Lamendola - October 14, 2008 South Bergenite Newspaper)
Local author uses area in what if scene
Day 15: "Today I completed one of my primary tasks to determine the feasibility of employing private aircraft to intercept and destroy commercial flights preferably during take-off, over heavily populated areas of New York and New Jersey. Ignoring Newark International there are five such airports within my assigned area of which only two could provide a solid base for such action. Of the two, the most logical and easiest to employ is Teterboro as it caters to personal aircraft as well as several small to medium commercial freight carriers."
Seven years after 9/11, Lyndhurst resident Sam Corkin has gotten a sense that many people don’t think another attack could happen. He’s trying to prove them wrong in his book, "My Days in the Beast – The Diary of a Holy Warrior in America." Those were the words of Aamir Al-Mamoura, a radical Islamic, referring to the best place to acquire private aircraft to intercept and destroy commercial flights. The excerpt comes from a diary he had compiled during his three-week period of scouting potential targets in New Jersey to help coordinate a domestic terrorist attack. Al-Mamoura was arrested by the FBI before any attack could occur, but it brings insight into the fact that the attacks of Sept. 11 were only seven years ago and the threat still remains real.
That was the message Lyndhurst author and publisher Sam Corkin, pen name J.C. Clark, wanted to relay when he made up the character Al-Mamoura and fictionally wrote his diary. Although the diary and characters are fictional, Corkin said he was inspired to write the book because he had several ties to the events on 9/11. The events he said include his daughter having a canceled business breakfast that was scheduled to be at Windows on the World and his own viewing of the second tower crashing down while sitting in Turnpike traffic. He said a family member, an FBI agent, had alerted Homeland Security prior to the attacks of suspicious flight training. Since the attacks, however, Corkin said he has sensed that many people have let their guard down in thinking another attack could not occur.
"This is a fictional book, but what is in here is based on a lot of factual information," said Corkin, a retired information technology worker. "I think folks in general, especially around this area, even here in Lyndhurst, forget what they saw on 9/11. A lot of people are more concerned with what color lipstick Angelina Jolie is wearing than what happened."
The research for the book took two years to compile and was mostly Web driven visiting sites pertaining to the attacks on 9/11 as well as those dealing with Jihad and extremist Palestinian ideals. The premise is after arresting Al-Mamoura, an Egyptian born with close ties to Hamas, his laptop is recovered by the FBI with both his diary and photos of North Jersey locations, or targets, on the hard drive. The diary, covering his three-week occupation of North Jersey in search of potential targets, was written for the benefit of his family in the event of his death or capture. Corkin wrote the diary in English first and accompanying it is a full-text translation into Arabic.
The book got some attention even before Corkin published it. Last year, while in Cape Cod, he and his wife Patricia got a call from their daughter that the FBI had been by the house. Neighbors were questioned. A business card left at the house asked Corkin to call the agents immediately.
"One was an FBI agent, one was with Homeland Security. We had a very long discussion. They asked for my notes, asked who I had spoken to, my contacts...general questions like that. They wanted to know if Aamir was real," said Corkin. "I’m not sure why they came and they wouldn’t tell me. Maybe it was the Web sites I was on, maybe the amount of translating services I used on the Web. They said they couldn’t prevent publication and they didn’t."
Although fictional, many of the details outlined in the faux diary actually are reality-based and hit eerily close to home. On Day 8 for example, Al-Mamoura scopes local "soft" targets as he had some downtime to scope out the local area. Presumptively, he had been staying at a Meadowlands area hotel. "Lyndhurst has two railroad stations on a route called the Main Line that connects with other train service into New York City. Rutherford’s only station, linking to the same location, is on the Bergen County Line," reads the excerpt. "All three stations are quite busy during the morning and evening rush hours and could be considered as reasonable soft target."
The details and worries that come along with instances such as these still remain on the minds of many, according to Corkin, but he said it usually takes something to happen until action is actually taken to rectify it. On Day 15 for instance, when Al-Mamoura was investigating the feasibility of Teterboro, real life events did actually take place after 2001 that showed the borders of Teterboro aren’t ironclad. An 18-year-old girl, although an accident, careened of the road in 2006, broke through Teterboro’s fence and came to rest after clipping a fueled up jet on the tarmac.
"If an 18-year-old can accidentally breach the security fence and drive straight onto the tarmac into a fully-fueled aircraft, just imagine what a psychopath or terrorist could do," said Congressman Steve Rothman, following the young woman’s accident. Since the event, Teterboro has embarked on a $15 million overhaul of perimeter intrusion measures including upgrades to sensors, cameras and fencing.
Corkin said he hopes the book is used more as a tool to raise awareness of the imminence of another possible attack and not as a stereotypical depiction that associates terrorism with the Islamic religion.
"I wanted to write something that made people say, ‘Jesus, this really could happen’," said Corkin. "I learned a lot about Muslims and their religion. It is and can be a religion of good if not corrupted."