The War Diaries

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Archive for the ‘Kuala Lumpur’ tag

Between Guantánamo and Hellfire

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The campus of the Endolite prosthetic clinic in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia photographed on August 28, 2010. According to p.158 of the 9/11 Commission Report, Walid bin Attash ("Khallad")-who appeared with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed at the Guantánamo tribunal on May 5, 2012-traveled to Malaysia to obtain a replacement prosthesis here. ©2010 Derek Henry Flood

New York- I have the lead story in today’s edition of Asia Times Online about the hearing of KSM and Khallad at Guantánamo on Saturday, the killing of Fahd-al Quso in southern Yemen (or South Yemen if you prefer) by a drone strike on Sunday, and the apparent leak on Monday of the disruption of a suicide bomb plot believed to have the hand of AQAP’s Ibrahim al-Asiri. A very interesting succession of events to say the very least. The article contains some of my on-the-ground research on the background of the USS Cole attack and how that plan intersected with the 9/11 ‘planes operation.’ 

Written by derekhenryflood

May 9th, 2012 at 9:08 am

The Looming Towers

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Petronas twin towers, the head of Malaysia's state oil and gas concern, at dusk. ©2010 Derek Henry Flood

Kuala Lumpur- I’m finally done after two weeks here in KL, much more time than I intended on spending and well worth it. I’ve been researching about the January 2000 AQ summit in the suburbs and a few other things I’ve been snooping around about. I spent the last two days at the towers, which are called KLCC (Kuala Lumpur City Centre) in local parlance contemplating, or imagining, what 9/11 hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi might have thought of them when they arrived here to plan 9/11. I’m working on a story about it but it’s a bit on the abstract side. Hopefully it will work. Malaysia has its twin towers where office workers relax on their lunch breaks, children play, and tourists from all over the globe take happy photos for their facebook accounts. There was once a place in New York where all of those things used occur. New York however, does not have its. Only ghosts and unanswered questions loom over Manhattan. Malaysia was a critical logistical hub for al-Qaeda on Lawrence Wright’s road to 9/11. Ten years ago, in the shadow of one set of twin towers, a plan was forged to destroy another 12 time zones away.

The twin towers at dark loom above the KL skyline incongruously like express elevators to alien ships that have yet to dock. ©2010 Derek Henry Flood

A shop near the twin towers sells mini metal replicas to tourists passing by with their Islamically correct architecture. ©2010 Derek Henry Flood.

Written by derekhenryflood

September 2nd, 2010 at 9:38 am

Random Notes From the KL Underground

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On the KL Metro.

Kuala Lumpur- Some random Blackberry moments from my days here. KL is a kind of strange, funky place with a serious identity crisis which makes it intensely interesting in a way. It’s small compared to Bangkok, like comparing Los Angeles to San Diego. I’ve shuffled around from hotel to hotel until I found a decent one, the Hotel Sentral, near the KL Sentral train station in the Brickfields area which is mostly Indian and Lankan Tamil dotted with every imaginable religious institution and has the most incredible street food in the city. Unlike the heavily touristed Bukit Bintang area adjacent Chinatown where I first stayed, this area is mostly a local one and the tourists here seem to be all Tamils and Chinese from their respective old countries. I didn’t initially realize arriving from across town in midday while switching hotels that this was KL’s grotty old red light district that once the sun sets, employs literal red light bulbs with dim hallways full of women from all of the surrounding countries trying to make it. Interesting, strange place. At least the hotel is nice. KL has a public transit schizophrenia identical to the one one in Bangkok. The Monorail and the Metro were built by differing companies and to transfer from one to the other you have to buy different tickets and wait in ticket queues twice which exactly the same deal with Bangkok’s Skytrain and Metro system with overly awkward transfers.

This is the most craze haircut I have ever seen. Trafalgar Square punks in 1983 having nothing on this Tamil gentleman going all out for Hari Merdeka tomorrow (Independence Day). That's the Jalur Gemilang (Malay for "Stripes of Glory") flag on his dome piece. His friend in the background is laughing that I'm randomly taking his picture. ©2010 Derek Henry Flood

Then days later (ie today) I open up a copy of The Malaysia Star in the hotel lobby to see the guy's picture and find out he's 32 and his name is J. Tures and this is the 5th year in a row his has had this done. I didn't think it was the first time. It said it took him 8 hours.

Monorail! High Tech and Low Brow, the KL Monorail glides over Brickfields, KL's trampy red light district to the KL Sentral station, the end of the line. ©2010 Derek Henry Flood

KL has some of the best street food in the world I'd say. I've been having Nasi Goreng (fried, spicy rice) from this street cart twice a day. Just over a dollar. ©2010 Derek Henry Flood

Though it may be in the midst of ramadan here, you might not know it in the midst of Malaysia's shop-a-holic Chinese girls at the city's most swank mall, Pavillion. ©2010 Derek Henry Flood

This is a semi-secret essentially Tamil men only bar in the back of a liquor shop. It's men only in that proper Indian women would just simply never come in the place. In dive bars in India, as I recall, men drink to get away from women & family, not to meet women at the bar. I might reckon a woman, of any repute, has never set foot in the place. Totally different mind set. Drinking in this culture is strictly men's business. ©2010 Derek Henry Flood

Written by derekhenryflood

August 30th, 2010 at 10:31 am