Teen may have visited mom here in 2000
by Amanda Garrett and John Caniglia
Cleveland Plain Dealer
July 16, 2005
Jermaine Maurice Lindsay was only about 14 the last time he visited his mother in Cleveland.
Who knows whether he ever splashed in Lake Erie or sang along with James Brown at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. But one thing is certain -- five years later, Lindsay hated the West.
British officials say he was one of four suicide bombers who blew themselves up last week in London's subway cars and on a bus -- the latest salvo fired by radical Islam.
They also believe Lindsay was part of a foiled bomb plot last year in the United Kingdom and, according to the Wall Street Journal, a suspect in a U.S. investigation into terrorist support and money laundering.
What led the 19-year-old into terrorism is as much a mystery as what brought him and his mother to Cleveland.
Lindsay was born in Jamaica in 1985, according to a U.K. birth certificate obtained by the London Daily Mail.
His mother later moved to Cleveland without him. Sources close to the investigation said he visited his mother at least once, in 2000, just before or after he converted to Islam.
But the subsidized housing where Lindsay's mother lived, possibly Valley View Estates in Tremont, has been shut down for demolition. Where she moved and what happened to her is unclear.
London papers have reported her name as Mary McCloud and Miriam McGowan, wife of Kevin McGowan. The Daily Mail also reported that she left Cleveland last year and that U.S. officials Friday were unable to locate her.
Sources, public records and published reports show that she's possibly in Florida or New England.
Lindsay, meanwhile, settled into the United Kingdom after visiting his mother. In recent years, the one-time carpet installer moved to Luton, one of several British enclaves where radical mullahs -- many from Pakistan, where U.S. officials believe al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden has taken refuge -- recruit jihadists.
It was there, according to the Daily Mail, that Lindsay met another Muslim convert, Samantha Lewthwaite. The two married, moved to Aylesbury -- 31 miles north of London -- and in 2004 had a son, Abdullah.
About the same time, Scotland Yard launched Operation Crevice, one of the largest British counterterrorism raids in decades.
Seven hundred police officers fanned out across the country arresting several men -- including British-born men of Pakistani descent -- and seized 1,300 pounds of ammonium nitrate, the kind of fertilizer used by American terrorists to destroy the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City 10 years ago.
Lindsay was connected to the terrorist bomb plot in Britain, according to The Wall Street Journal. The newspaper also reported that Lindsay's name had surfaced in a U.S. money-laundering and terror investigation.
A source familiar with Operation Crevice said Friday that Lindsay's name was added to the U.S. terror watch list last year.
If the investigations bothered Lindsay, he didn't show it. In recent months, he snuggled close to his wife and son, smiling broadly for a snapshot showing Abdullah holding on to a toy bulldozer.
And his wife was eight months pregnant last week when Lindsay headed off to London.
Investigators said Lindsay was one of at least four men to board the Piccadilly Line train at King's Cross. Lindsay's bomb exploded near Russell Square and killed 21 people, the deadliest of the four explosions. In the days since, many have marveled over who the suicide bombers were -- for example, Lindsay, a father expecting a second child; a special-education teacher; and a man who sometimes worked at his parents' fish and chips shop, as much a symbol of everyday England as the queen.
But Steven Emerson -- an independent terrorism analyst who provided information to the White House in the months before and after 9/11 -- said no one should be surprised.
"Suicide bombers don't come with beards and from impoverished backgrounds," he said. "The No. 2 of al-Qaida is a doctor, the head of Hamas is a doctor."
Moreover, many of the 9/11 hijackers were from wealthy, educated Saudi Arabian families.
Emerson said that many have been educated in the United States. His organization -- the Investigative Project -- is assembling a database of terrorists who have studied at American colleges and universities. So far, he said, it has counted 150.
"People say how could anyone be a fanatic in the West. You can have anything you want here. You're free," he said.
The answer is the militant mullahs and their sermons of conspiracy. Almost all they preach, Emerson said, is that the West is out to get Islam.
"There's only a short distance between being a fanatic and being a jihadist," said Emerson, who had long warned of suicide attacks in the West.
"Frankly, I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner," he said.