Category Archives: Terrorism – 11 September 2001

The crime committed on 11 September 2001 shook world public opinion and became a trigger for initiating the war on Afghanistan and the war on Iraq as well the enactment of the USA PATRIOT Act which has suspended various constitutional norms and human rights. The events of 9/11 became also a policy tool for rallying an international coalition, under U.S. leadership, for an indefinite “war on terrorism”. Yet, the U.S. authorities have not produced any reliable evidence regarding the identities of the instigators, planners and perpetrators and have, in fact, not shown any diligence in investigating this mass murder, in arresting Osama bin Laden – the alleged master-mind of these events – or even in charging Al Qaeda leaders and members under their custody for complicity in this crime. As these lines are written in August 2005, no single person has been convicted by a court of law for any offense related to this mass murder. Hundreds of questions regarding the events of 9/11 remain unanswered by the U.S. authorities. Anomalies and contradictions in the official account on 9/11 are legion. Mass media have neglected their duty to publicize such legitimate questions, let alone support the quest of victims’ familities to have such questions answered. The internet has thus become the prime tool for investigation.
The documents and articles on this website represent but a small portion of what is publicly available, but have been selected for their apparent relevance in the quest for truth. Other documents will be added, as needed, to the collection. It is posted here as a service to all those who are genuinely interested in uncovering the truth on these dreadful events. Contributions are welcome and should be sent directly to the webmaster.

Real Americans Question 9/11

Real Americans Question 9/11

These days it’s difficult to remember what values the American people share. That’s because the U.S. government does so many things that seem to contradict basic human values. Wars of aggression, torture, kidnapping and indefinite detention, warrantless wiretapping, and so many other oppressions have become standard operational procedure for the U.S. government. Those who recognize and seek to correct this system of abuse soon realize that the key to doing so is to reveal the truth behind the primary driver for all of them—the crimes of 9/11.

It’s important to know what makes someone an American and what does not. Here are some examples of what does not make someone an American.

  • Loyalty to the flag
  • Respect for the national anthem
  • Serving in the military or honoring military veterans
  • Paying taxes

A person can do these things to any extent possible and it will not make them any more American than they were before they began. Popular culture and corporate media make every effort to present American patriotism as a sum of these kinds of activities but it is easy to see through that false front.

Only one thing makes someone an American and that is support and defense of the U.S. Constitution. The founding fathers of the United States defined Americans as those who are committed to the ideals of the Constitution. To this day, anyone claiming to represent the nation must swear an oath to uphold those ideals.

Each president, when taking office, affirms that he will “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” All congress members must swear or affirm that they will “support and defend the Constitution.”

All new citizens of the United States and every member of the U.S. military must swear to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic;” and that they “will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”

The U.S. Constitution is comprised of articles that spell out the government’s powers and the process of making amendments. It also includes the 27 amendments that exist today. The first ten amendments, ratified four years after the original text, are known as the Bill of Rights. These include the freedoms of speech, religion, and the press. Also, there are the rights to bear arms, to privacy, and to a speedy and public trial. The rejection of cruel and unusual punishment is another basic tenet of the U.S. Constitution.

Unfortunately, virtually every Article and Amendment of the Constitution has been under attack since September 11, 2001. Yet very few people have risen to support or defend it. In fact, many so-called Americans have encouraged assaults on the core American values.

That abuse began with the violation of Article 1 of the Constitution that rejects starting wars of aggression without having been “actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.” Instead of working to determine what actually happened on 9/11 and thereby defend the nation, the Bush Administration immediately invaded Afghanistan, a country that it had planned to invade long before the 9/11 attacks. Sixteen months later, the government invaded Iraq based on what everyone now knows was a pack of lies.

Americans who questioned that anti-American approach were silenced with claims that they were not “supporting the troops” if they did not consent to the growing greed-fueled militarism. The Afghanistan invasion was coupled with the passing of the Patriot Act—an attack on basic Constitutional rights and a failure to preserve those rights as described in Article 2.

In 2006, national polls showed that over one third of Americans believed that federal officials assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them so that the United States could go to war in the Middle East. At the same time, Americans witnessed a growing list of abuses of their Constitutional rights. These abuses violated the Bill of Rights in nearly every way and were driven by unproven claims about what happened on September 11, 2001.

On the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the Center for Constitutional Rights described how the Constitution had been shredded based on assumptions about the 9/11 attacks. By then, it had also become clear that the government was actually giving aid and comfort to the enemy (violating Article 3) through arming and training terrorists. One might think it obvious that stopping such actions would be the goal of all Americans but to do so one Congress member has had to spell it out in legislation.

Failing to protect Americans against domestic violence (a violation of Article 4), the FBI was found to actually be manufacturing terrorism. It was further learned that some FBI leaders had been facilitating or sponsoring terrorism since long before 9/11. This practice continues today and the manufactured plots have become so obvious that officials are finding it difficult to explain why Americans should take them seriously.

Attorney and author John W. Whitehead has detailed the continuing attacks on the Bill of Rights by writing that,

“What began with the passage of the USA Patriot Act in October 2001 has snowballed into the eradication of every vital safeguard against government overreach, corruption and abuse. Since then, we have been terrorized, traumatized, and tricked into a semi-permanent state of compliance. The bogeyman’s names and faces change over time—Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and now ISIS—but the end result remains the same: our unquestioning acquiescence to anything the government wants to do in exchange for the phantom promise of safety and security.”

The attacks on American values have been so extensive that people often no longer notice how bad it has become. For example, the government has named those captured and tortured in the name of 9/11 as “forever prisoners”—a term that exemplifies the hatred of freedom represented by the new phony Americanism. The fact that one of these men was a central character in building the official account of 9/11 and has since been exonerated for any involvement in those crimes makes no difference.

How can real Americans respond to this ongoing assault against the Constitution by flag-waving, militaristic, greed-driven fools? How can we “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” by “bearing true faith and allegiance to the same?”

To end the wave of anti-Americanism that began with the crimes of 9/11, Americans have two options. The first is to stand up publicly and fight the attacks on our Constitution by helping everyone understand that the crimes of 9/11 have not been solved. In fact, there are still so many unanswered questions about those crimes that everything done in “response” is almost certainly a crime in itself.

The second option is to end the tyranny through revolution. This was how America began, of course, and that great beginning is enshrined in the precursor to the Constitution—the Declaration of Independence. At the time, the founders stated that, “When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

As Americans it is our duty to throw off the tyrannical abuses of power that are threatening to end America. That duty starts with questioning 9/11—the driver behind all of it.

Book review: Wayne Madsen’s crank science

Wayne Madsen’s crank science

Book review: The Star and the Sword (self-publication, 2014)

By Elias Davidsson, 24.2.2017

Wayne Madsen introduces himself as a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist. According to the blurb on the back cover of his book he writes: “This book, for the first time, suggests that both Israel and Saudi Arabia were intimately involved in planning and carrying the 9/11 attack on the United States.” They did so, writes Madsen “in order to plunge America into endless conflicts to bolster the positions of Israel and Saudi Arabia.”

First impression: For a provocative book of almost 250 pages, the author provides 136 footnotes, thereof 21 references to the author’s own articles, 13 to “confidential sources.”  The book contains an index. It surprisingly does not contain a number of names that one would have expected in such a book, such as that of Larry Silverstein, Dov Zakheim, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz.

Far from rejecting the official account on 9/11, Madsen imputes the attacks to Arab hijackers. On p. 5 he refers to the presence of Israelis “in the same neighborhoods where a number of the 9/11 Saudi hijackers lived and trained at flight schools.” On p. 9 he again refers to the presence of “9/11 hijackers” in southern Florida. On p. 10 he refers to “Al Qaeda terrorists and their supporters”. On p. 11 he cites anonymous agents who believe that “the real mission of the Israelis was not to sell art at federal facilities but to spy on the Al Qaeda members.” On p. 32 he claims that on the evening of September 10, 2001, “the four men who would, the following day, hijack United Flight 93” had a good time in a New Jersey strip club called ‘Lace.’ On p. 33 he mentions unreleased video tapes from a video store “showing Saudi hijackers.” On p. 34 he maintains that the passenger list from a Sept. 5 cruise on a boat owned by Jack Abramoff “matched those of some of the hijackers.”  On p. 36 he claims that the wife of Prince Bandar, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States “used money […] to pay for lodging one of the 9/11 hijackers.”  On p. 47 he refers to a box cutter, “the same brand used by the 9/11 hijackers”.  On p. 69 he claims that Mohand Al-Shehri was “one of the terrorist hijackers of United Flight 175”.  On p. 100 he names several persons, including Mohammed Atta, as participants in the attacks of 9/11.  On p. 105 he again designates Mohammed Atta as an 9/11 hijacker. In his summary chapter, on p. 238, he again claims that “Arab cells” carried out the 9/11 attacks.

The author appears unaware of the contradiction in attributing the 9/11 attacks to Al Qaeda operatives (who allegedly went gladly to their death after spending the evening whoring in a strip joint) while concentrating on the alleged responsibility of Israel and Saudi Arabia in the attacks. On p. 207 the author appears to entertain some afterthoughts, writing: “It was learned from a Pentagon source that leading Americans tied to the media effort to pin 9/11 on Arab hijackers, Osama bin Laden, and the Taliban were present in the Israeli embassy on September 10, 2001, to coordinate their media blitz for the subsequent days and weeks following the attacks.” Note, however, the conjectural formulation by the author (“It was learned”, “a Pentagon source”, “leading Americans” “tied to the media effort”, “were present”): No names, no specific facts, no sources. This kind of style pervades the entire book. Please be forewarned.

In attempting to lambast the State of Israel, the author includes in his book various episodes, which bear no relation to the attacks of 9/11. Thus he devotes 12 pages to Mossad’s alleged surveillance of domestic U.S. telecommunications, 58 pages to an alleged “coordinated global Mossad operations and bogus passports” scam run between 2003 and 2005, 32 pages to a variety of alleged Mossad operations in Houston, California and elsewhere in the United States between 2004 and 2010.  Whether and if so, to what extent the information the author presents on Israeli machinations is accurate and representative, is besides the point. For the present purpose, it suffices to note that these incidents, whatever their nature, do not present even circumstantial evidence of Israel’s (let alone Saudi Arabia’s) complicity in 9/11. Had the author presented his book as an indictment of Israeli crimes, he would equally fall the test of scientific quality because of the dubious quality of the evidence he presents and the relative irrelevance of the incidents he imputes to Israel (in comparison to far more grievous violations of international law and human rights by that State).

With many words, the author attempts to prove that the “revelations” about the Israeli “art students” and the “dancing Israelis” had been the result of upright whistleblowers who were “frustrated” by their superiors of the DEA and the FBI who leaked information to the media. This explanation does not hold water. Mainstream media, even if presented with explosive information, do not normally touch it with a mile-long pole, unless publicizing it conforms to editorial policy. The large publicity given by media to the stories of the Israeli “art students” and that of the “dancing Israelis” suggests that doing conformed, for some undeclared reason, with a pro-Israeli policy.. The fact that Fox News, a staunchly right-wing pro-Israel media house, published a four-part series on the Israeli “art students” is indicative of this reasoning.

For experts on 9/11 who read Wayne Madsen’s book, the question is not whether it possesses any evidentiary value. It definitely has little or none. The question is rather whether the author is simply incompetent or whether his book represents deliberate disinformation aimed at maintaining in the mind of a certain public the “red herring” of Israel and/or Saudi responsibility for 9/11.  The shabby quality of the book suggests rather the former answer. But I may be wrong.

Book review of Bruce Riedel’s “What We Won: America’s Secret War in Afghanistan, 1979-89

Book review of Bruce Riedel’s “What We Won: America’s Secret War in Afghanistan, 1979-89

By Elias Davidsson,   August 24, 2014

Unreliable author

The author, a former CIA official, purports to write scholarly books. I have analysed a paper by the author, Bruce Riedel, published on November 30, 2008 by the Brookings Institution entitled “Terrorism in India and the Global Jihad.” The paper was written in the wake of the Mumbai attacks. Approximately half of all factual statements made in this short essay are either baseless, wrong or unsubstantiated. Here are the results of my analysis

  1. “India has been a target for al Qaeda and the global jihadist movement for over a decade.” (No evidence)
  2. “India has often been listed by bin Laden and his accomplice Ayman Zawahiri as a part of the `Crusader-Zionist-Hindu’ conspiracy against the Islamic world.” (No evidence)
  3. “The targets of the killers in Mumbai –Americans, Brits, Israelis and Indians–fit exactly into the profile al Qaeda and its partners vilify and plot against.” (wrong, no Americans and Brits were targeted)
  4. “Both bin Laden and Zawahiri have spoken about the “U.S-Jewish-Indian alliance against Muslims.” (No evidence)
  5. “Usama bin Laden was an early supporter of the group [LeT] and provided some of the initial funding for its start.” (No evidence)
  6. “LeT’s self professed goal is to create an Islamic state in all of south and central Asia, not just Kashmir.” (No evidence)
  7. “LeT’s operatives have worked closely with al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and there are reports of LeT volunteers fighting in Iraq.” (No evidence)
  8. “Like al Qaeda, LeT has raised funds in the Gulf states.” (No evidence)
  9. “Since 9/11 several key al Qaeda operatives arrested in Pakistan have been found in safe houses run by LeT.” (No evidence)
  10. “The first major al Qaeda lieutenant caught after 9/11, Abu Zubayda, was apprehended in an LeT safe house in Faisalabad.” (No evidence)
  11. “Bin Laden was also a key figure in the creation of another Kashmiri group that works closely with global jihadists, the Jaish-e Muhammad (Army of Muhammad).” (No evidence)
  12. “In December 2001 JeM, possibly with help from LeT, was behind an attack on the Indian parliament.” (No evidence)
  13. “By focusing Pakistan’s army on its eastern border with India the attack [on the Indian Parliament] also left the western border with Afghanistan open to the retreating al Qaeda and Taliban leadership including bin Laden, Zawahiri and Mullah Omar who were fleeing the American Operation Enduring Freedom forces in Afghanistan.” (No evidence)
  14. “Trained and armed killers [were] intent on operating in small teams or alone targeting Americans, Brits, Israelis as well as Indians” in Mumbai.” (wrong, Americans and Brits were not targeted; the words “as well as Indians” is a gross misrepresentation. Most victims were Indians)
  15. “Hotels have long been a favorite target of al Qaeda and its allies from the multiple hotel bombings in Amman by Al Qaeda’s Iraq franchise in November 2005 to the attack on the Serena Hotel in Kabul this January and the bombing of the Marriott hotel in Islamabad in September.” (No evidence that these attacks had any relation with Al Qaeda or an alleged Al Qaeda “franchise”)
  16. “Many accounts of the incident say the terrorists arrived by sea from the Pakistani megacity port of Karachi.” (Only a single witness, Bharat Tamore, testified in the Mumbai court to have seen “terrorists” arrive by sea, and his credibility was nil)
  17. “Khalid Shaykh Mohammad, the tactical mastermind of 9/11, trained most of the Saudi hijackers in Karachi in a safe house.” (No evidence for the allegation. The claim that KSM was tactical mastermind of 9/11 is baseless and absurd)

Book review of Jason Burke’s Al Qaeda – The True Story of Radical Islam

Jason Burke: Al Qaeda – The True Story of Radical Islam (Penguin Books, 2004)

Book Review by Elias Davidsson, October 19, 2014

Pretentious and disingenious

Burke’s book appears at first sight as a serious, scholarly, contribution to the study of Al Qaeda. It is heavily annotated, contains a glossary and a useful index, a map of Afghanistan and is well structured. Yet, as I will attempt to show, the book is essentially a slick fraud. The purpose of my review is to warn potential readers, nothing more and nothing less.

A substantial part of the book is devoted to the history of the so-called jihadist movement. Due to the nature of the subject matter, we may surmise that most sources used to compile such a history cannot be verified by readers, because of the inaccessibility of witnesses and the difficulty to authenticate documents allegedly issued by Islamic militants. There are, however, other means to gauge the credibility and integrity of the author, particularly in cases where sources are not only accessible to the wide public, but should have been cited by the author, had he been faithful to the truth.

Let us first consider how the author covered the role of one Ali A. Mohamed, a mysterious but crucial figure  to whom author Peter Lance devoted an entire book (“Triple Cross”). Author Burke mentions Mohamed at two locations in his book (p. 104 and 147). He presents Mohamed casually as a “former American special forces supply sergeant” who trained Islamic militants in Peshawar and cased the US embassy in Nairobi (Kenya) for bin Laden. In an extended endnote on p. 311, the author provides  slightly more information for those particularly interested. Yet, the author completely obfuscates Mohamed’s intimate cooperation with the FBI and the CIA and the fact that he also trained Islamists in the New York and New Jersey area with the knowledge of the FBI. In short, the author obfuscates the fact that Mohamed worked for the U.S. government while helping Al Qaeda. Given that the book was published in 2004, the author also obfuscated the fact that Mohamed, arrested and charged in the U.S. in connection with the bombings of the US embassies in East Africa, was spared a sentence and placed into the witness protection system, as is typical with US agents.  The author could hardly have been oblivious to the above facts. If he was, it would represent gross incompetence on his part.

On p. 102 the author claims that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (widely known as KSM), reportedly incarcerated in Guantánamo, “was one of the key planners of the 11 September attacks.”  The author does not bother to substantiate this claim.  It is true that this claim was published in the mainstream press but its basis is merely an unauthenticated transcript issued by the Department of Defense that purports to represent a confession by said person.  That piece of paper contains also the claim by the alleged confessor to have planned the murder of the Pope and the destruction of a bank in Washington State that did not exist at the time of that person’s arrest. If this is the type of evidence on which the author relies, how can readers trust those sources that they cannot even access?

On. p. 59 the author debunks the straw-man claim that bin Laden was funded by the CIA. Actually no serious person has made that claim. But he conceals from his readers evidence of a relationship between the CIA and Bin Laden, sustained until 9/11. This relationship was revealed by the  French daily Le Figaro and Radio-France International in October 2001. According to these fairly reliable sources, CIA agent Larry Mitchell visited bin Laden at the American Hospital in Dubai on July 12, 2001, during bin Laden’s treatment there.  Although both the CIA and bin Laden denied to have met each other at this opportunity, author Richard Labévière cites in his book “Les coulisses de la terreur” further sources confirming this meeting.  Even if one would consider such sources as controversial, concealing these reports from readers does not inspire confidence in the author’s integrity.

Chapter 15 is devoted to the 11 September attacks, namely to the event that, as it were, crowned the terrorist accomplishments of the global Islamic terrorist movement, that is the subject of the book.  In this case the author did not need to rely on evidence gleaned from dark corners in Afghanistan or on dubious statements made by dubious characters in interrogations. The evidence regarding 9/11 is readily accessible and could be gleaned from U.S. mainstream media, Congressional hearings and other open sources.

The author apparently acknowledges this fact, albeit in a slightly different formulation, writing on p. 235: “The mechanics of the [9/11] plot have been examined in infinitesimal detail.” While many details have been revealed, it is not accurate that the plot had been examined in “infinitesimal detail”, and certainly not by the U.S. authorities. Already on the morning of September 12, 2001, Attorney General John Ashcroft warned that the task of the FBI was not to “solve a crime” but to prevent new attacks.  This warning was repeated four weeks later by the Director of the FBI, Robert Mueller, as revealed by the New York Times.  The White House, for its part, fiercely opposed a public inquiry into the events and only grudgingly accepted to establish a Commission of Inquiry 411 days after the events. The terms of reference of this Commission, its budget and its composition were all meant to render its findings stale. Even the chairman and vice-chairmen of the Commission admitted later that the Commission had failed.  Nothing of that is found in Burke’s Chapter 15.

The author blithely claims that Islamic terrorists “armed with simple box cutters,” took control of airliners.  The team that hijacked flight UA175 was allegedly led by Marwan Alshehhi, while that of flight AA11 by Mohamed Atta. (p. 234).  Yet the names of these individuals do no appear on any authenticated passenger list (or flight manifest), no one saw them at the respective airport and their bodies were not identified at the crash site. Actually the names of none of the 19 alleged hijackers appear on any authenticated passenger list, none were seen by airport personnel and the body of none was identified at the crash sites. Incidentally, the official story only mentions “box-cutters” in relation to flight AA77, not because box-cutters were found at the crash site, but because “box-cutters” were mentioned in one phone call allegedly made from that aircraft.

A third “suicide pilot” named by Burke is Hani Hanjour, a diminutive bungler, who allegedly steered a Boeing 757 at more than 400 mph horizontally (20 feet above the ground) into the second floor of the Pentagon, a feat that even professional pilots would hardly be able to accomplish with a passenger airliner. Hani’s flight instructors designated his flight skills “so shoddy…that they questioned whether his pilot’s license was genuine.”  One former employee of the flight school quoted by the New York Times on May 4, 2002, said about Hani “I’m still to this day amazed that he could have flown into the Pentagon. He could not fly at all.” One flight school repeatedly complained to the FAA about Hanjour but apparently the FAA ignored these complaints. Hani clearly enjoyed protection from “higher ups”. These facts, again, are obfuscated by the author, as they would undermine the legend he blithely presents as truth.  The fact that the U.S. authorities never produced evidence in support of their official legend on 9/11 – neither regarding the identities of the alleged hijackers, nor about the identities of the crashed aircraft – is not mentioned by the author.

It is difficult to believe that the author was entirely oblivious to the above facts. The question arises why a perceptive intellectual such as Noam Chomsky was led to write in a blurb to the author: “Based on careful on-the-ground investigation and penetrating inquiry, this fine study, the most illuminating I know, gives remarkable insight into Islamic militancy.”

I call on Burke to explain to his readers his omissions and his unsubstantiated claims, as presented above.

American Airlines braces for most turbulent journey

American Airlines braces for most turbulent journey

            by Sherri Deatherage Green and Claire Murphy, PR Week USA , Nov. 11, 2001 

Arguably the carrier most affected by the September 11 attacks, American Airlines has implemented major communications plans on every level. Sherri Deatherage Green and Claire Murphy look at the airline’s disaster response.

            American Airlines ramped up a newly revised crisis communications plan in late summer. Those charged with imagining worst-case scenarios laid out contingencies for plane crashes and 1978-style hijackings. They never dreamed of terrorists turning two aircrafts into weapons of mass destruction, of coordinating disaster communication with another airline in the same predicament, or of working in the shadows of the FBI.

            “This was not going to be a crisis-as-usual situation for us,” says Timothy Doke, VP corporate communications for Texas-based American Airlines. Driving down a freeway September 11, Doke learned American Flight 11 had crashed into the World Trade Center. By the time he reached AMR’s crisis command center in Fort Worth , he found out the second tower had met the same fate. Word of Flight 77’s dive into the Pentagon soon followed.

  A whole new strategy

            “In a very odd way, that to me changed the whole dynamic of what we were dealing with,” says Doke. “Strictly from a PR standpoint, it had a bit of a calming effect. It was apparent to me that this was something that could not possibly be the fault of American Airlines.”

            American abandoned its freshly minted crisis communications plan almost immediately, not because putting the CEO out front isn’t the best plan of action in a crisis, but because the FBI rushed to American’s command center and made it clear who was in charge. American issued its first press release within a few hours of the attacks, referring all questions to the FBI. In any other crisis, it would have responded much sooner.

            Even without the risk of compromising a criminal investigation, Doke doesn’t think turning CEO Don Carty into a spokesman for the tragedy would have been appropriate. “It became increasingly obvious to us that the CEO for this crisis wasn’t Don Carty or Jim Goodwin (former CEO) of United,” Doke says. “The CEO in this instance was George W. Bush.”

             Mike Boyd, president of the Boyd Group, an aviation consulting firm in Colorado , thinks American did the right thing. “We didn’t know what the situation was,” he observes. “In an act of war, American’s corporate objective takes a back seat to America ’s objective.”

            American couldn’t say much, but its communications office remained staffed 24 hours a day for more than two weeks. “The toughest thing is the first day when everybody comes in and wants to jump immediately into the crisis,” Doke says. “You have to tell a third of them to go home and get some sleep.”  

Agencies spring into action

            Doke immediately called Ken Luce, president of Weber Shandwick Worldwide’s Southwest US office. The agency sent more than 20 people to American’s headquarters and to airports around the U.S. Unable to get around by public transport that day, two of WSW’s New York employees hitchhiked to La Guardia, Luce says.

            “It seemed like every media call raised a new issue,” Doke recalls. While American couldn’t answer many questions, spokespeople subtly steered reporters away from false rumors and leaked information. Employees from WSW and American’s other agency, Burson-Marsteller, served as the firm’s eyes and ears in the airports its staff couldn’t reach while planes were grounded.

            American’s attention turned inward to employee communication. Staff bulletins became an important means of communicating to the outside world as well.  The airline took the unusual step of putting such messages on its public website, Doke says. These included transcripts of “hotline” voice-mail messages from Carty. The CEO made several special recordings in the days after September 11 to reassure staff. Management received an average of seven e-mails a day in the first few days to keep them updated.

            By Sept. 28, the PR staff, like every other department in the cash-strapped airline, had to do more with less. Five of the 20,000 employees laid off by the airline worked in PR, reducing headcount to about 40, including 10 people who work in the company museum. Doke reorganized remaining staff and assigned each employee responsibilities on both a subject-matter and geographic basis.

            Tighter budgets also mean less outside help. “We’ve had to cut our professional fee budget substantially,” Doke says. That has cut into the fees paid to both WSW and Burson.  

Necessary cuts start at the top

            Once American was able to talk more freely, messages focused on finance and security. Airlines depended heavily on the Air Transport Association to communicate with Congress about the need for emergency financial aid.  Burson, which does public affairs work for American, supported lobbyists on Capitol Hill. Carty chairs the association board but deferred to other CEOs, like Delta Airline’s Leo Mullin, to speak on the industry’s behalf.

             Again, Carty’s strongest messages were directed to employees while also addressing the broader public. A Sept. 28 letter explained the decision to cut staff. Titled “An Airline in Crisis,” the no-nonsense document made it clear that belt-tightening is crucial to the airline’s survival. “The losses we face are truly staggering,” Carty wrote, going on to explain how the airline loses money each time a half-full plane takes off. “Right now it is survival, not profitability that is our core challenge.” Carty took an equally frank approach in an Oct. 24 letter announcing the company’s worst financial quarter ever, describing steps taken to keep planes in the sky and appealing to employees for help.

            The airline’s CEO appeared as the industry’s elder statesman, says Dr. Adam Pilarski, SVP of aviation consulting firm AVITAS. Perhaps Carty’s most well-received gesture was fore-going pay for the rest of the year.

            “I don’t know if the public paid much attention at all, but I know the press did,” recalls Washington Post reporter Frank Swoboda. Other American officers and the CEOs of competing airlines, such as Continental, followed suit. The company also set up a website through which staff could donate pay to their employer, a successful program that will save millions, says Doke.

            On the safety front, American issued press releases about its plans to fit iron bars to the insides of cockpit doors. But such issues lie largely within the purview of the Federal Aviation Administration, and many safety measures can’t be discussed for security reasons.

            One pressing need now is to “get people back into the air,” says Marty Heires, American’s field media relations director. In addition to offering low fares and double frequent-flyer miles, the airline is again using internal communication to boost bookings. It e-mailed employees encouraging them to offer 5-percent discounts to friends and family. American also recently launched a campaign called “Proud to be American” to boost the morale of workers stressed by increased security requirements, long hours and the loss of coworkers to layoffs and tragedy.

            As for that new crisis communications plan, Doke says he doesn’t know if it needs wholesale changes or just an addition on terrorist attacks.

            “This event is such an anomaly as it relates to crisis communications planning,” Doke says. “I think the bed-rock principles will be the same — be available, be open and honest, and be as forthcoming as we can possibly be.”

Lebanese in Shock Over Arrest of an Accused Spy

Lebanese in Shock Over Arrest of an Accused Spy

By ROBERT F. WORTH
The New York Times, February 18, 2009
http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/lebanon/index.html?inline=nyt-geo
Al al jarrah

MARAJ, Lebanon — For 25 years, Ali al-Jarrah managed to live on both sides of the bitterest divide running through this region. To friends and neighbors, he was an earnest supporter of the Palestinian cause, an affable, white-haired family man who worked as an administrator at a nearby school.

To Israel, he appears to have been a valued spy, sending reports and taking clandestine photographs of Palestinian groups and Hezbollah since 1983.

Now he sits in a Lebanese prison cell, accused by the authorities of betraying his country to an enemy state. Months after his arrest, his friends and former colleagues are still in shock over the extent of his deceptions: the carefully disguised trips abroad, the unexplained cash, the secret second wife.

Lebanese investigators say he has confessed to a career of espionage spectacular in its scope and longevity, a real-life John le Carré novel. Many intelligence agents are said to operate in the civil chaos of Lebanon, but Mr. Jarrah’s arrest has shed a rare light onto a world of spying and subversion that usually persists in secret.

Mr. Jarrah’s first wife maintains that he was tortured, and is innocent; requests to interview him were denied.

From his home in this Bekaa Valley village, Mr. Jarrah, 50, traveled often to Syria and to south Lebanon, where he photographed roads and convoys that might have been used to transport weapons to Hezbollah, the Shiite militant group, investigators say. He spoke with his handlers by satellite phone, receiving “dead drops” of money, cameras and listening devices. Occasionally, on the pretext of a business trip, he traveled to Belgium and Italy, received an Israeli passport, and flew to Israel, where he was debriefed at length, investigators say.

At the start of the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, Israeli officials called Mr. Jarrah to reassure him that his village would be spared and that he should stay at home, investigators said.

He was finally arrested last July by Hezbollah, which now has perhaps the most powerful intelligence apparatus in this country. It handed him to the Lebanese military — along with his brother Yusuf, who is accused of helping him spy — and he awaits trial by a military court.

Several current and former military officials agreed to provide details about his case on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to discuss it before the trial began. Their accounts tallied with details provided by Mr. Jarrah’s relatives and former colleagues.

It is not the family’s first brush with notoriety. One of Mr. Jarrah’s cousins, Ziad al-Jarrah, was [allegedly – webmaster, see note below] among the 19 hijackers who carried out the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, though the men were 20 years apart in age and do not appear to have known each other well.

Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israel’s prime minister, Ehud Olmert, declined to discuss Mr. Jarrah’s situation, saying, “It is not our practice to publicly talk about any such allegations in this case or in any case.”

Villagers here seemed incredulous that a man they knew all their lives could have taken money to spy for a country that they regard with unmixed hatred and disgust.

Many maintained his innocence. But Raja Mosleh, the Palestinian doctor who was his partner for years in a school and health clinic near here, did not.

“I never suspected him before,” Dr. Mosleh said. “But now, after linking all the incidents together, I feel he’s 100 percent guilty.”

“He used to talk about the Palestinian cause all the time, how he supported the cause, he supported the people, he liked everybody — this son of a dog,” Dr. Mosleh added, his voice thick with contempt.

Mr. Jarrah would often borrow money to buy cigarettes, apparently posing as a man of limited means. Investigators say he received more than $300,000 for his work from Israel.

Only recently did he begin to spend in ways that raised questions. About six years ago, neighbors said, he built a three-story villa with a terra-cotta roof that is by far the grandest house in this modest village of low concrete dwellings. Outside is a small roofed archway and a heavy iron gate, and on a recent day a German shepherd stood guard.
Dr. Mosleh asked him where he got the money, and Mr. Jarrah said he got help from a daughter living in Brazil. It is a natural excuse in Lebanon, where a large portion of the population receives remittances from relatives abroad.

Mr. Jarrah also had a secret second wife, according to investigators and his former colleagues. Unlike his first wife, Maryam Shmouri al-Jarrah, who lived in relative grandeur with their five children in Maraj, the second wife lived in a cheap apartment in the town of Masnaa, near the Syrian border. This apparently allowed Mr. Jarrah to travel near the border in the unremarkable guise of a local working-class man.

Mr. Jarrah has said he was recruited in 1983 — a year after Israel began a major invasion of Lebanon — by Israeli officers who had imprisoned him, according to investigators. He was offered regular payments in exchange for information about Palestinian militants and Syrian troop movements, they said.

After Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000, thousands of Lebanese from the occupied zone in the south were tried and sentenced — mostly to light prison terms — for collaborating with Israel.

Far from the border, a different class of collaborators, rooted in their communities, persisted. A few have been caught and sentenced.

Mr. Jarrah’s motives remain a mystery. He said he tried to stop, but the Israelis would not let him, investigators said.
It all came to an end last summer. He went on a trip to Syria in July, and when he returned he said he had been briefly detained by the Syrian police, his first wife said. He seemed very uneasy, not his usual self, she said.

He left the house that night, saying he was going to Beirut, and never returned, Mrs. Jarrah said. Only three months later did she get a call from the Lebanese Army saying it had taken custody of him.

A few weeks ago, Mrs. Jarrah said, she was allowed to see him. He looked terrible, exhausted, she said.

Lebanese security forces released a photograph of Mr. Jarrah, taken before his arrest. In it, he appears against a blue and white backdrop, dressed in a formal dark shirt, wearing an enigmatic smile.

Hwaida Saad contributed reporting from Beirut, Lebanon, and Ethan Bronner from Jerusalem.

Note by webmaster:  There is no evidence that Ziad Jarrah participated in the attacks of September 11, 2001.  The US authorities have never produced any authenticated document that placed Ziad Jarrah in an aircraft designated as Flight UA93, nor has anyone seen him board that flight.  For details see Chapter 2 of Elias Davidsson’s “Hijacking America’s Mind on 9/11 (Algora Publishers, New York, 2013).

Hijack suspect lived a life, or a lie

Hijack suspect lived a life, or a lie

By Elizabeth Neuffer, Globe Staff, 9/25/2001

Boston Globe

NEW YORK – By now, even those who love Ziad Jarrah are confused about the truth of his 26-year-old life.

The Lebanese student, says the FBI, helped hijack United Airlines Flight 93 from Newark to San Francisco and aim it toward Washington, part of the deadly terrorist plot that unfolded Sept. 11.

But for that to be true, the young engineer would have had to live a double life worthy of a first-rate spy – concealing from his family, girlfriend, and friends that he was a Muslim extremist, not the religiously moderate, pro-American, fun-loving person they knew him to be.

”It makes no sense,” his uncle, Jamal Jarrah, said in a telephone interview from the village of Al-Marj, Lebanon, recalling that two days before the hijacking, his nephew called and told the family he’d be coming home for a cousin’s wedding in mid-September. ”He said he had even bought a new suit for the occasion.”

Of all the dozens of mysteries still swirling around this month’s devastating terrorist attacks, the life of alleged hijacker Jarrah has emerged as one of the more perplexing.

From Lebanon to Germany to the United States, there are few clues as to why he would have joined a terrorist organization, much less commandeered an airplane in a suicidal mission that claimed dozens of innocent lives as well as his own. Flight 93 crashed in rural southwest Pennsylvania, after passengers apparently tackled the hijackers.

Jarrah emerged as a suspect in that hijacking when FBI agents, reviewing flight manifests, found a Ziad Jarrahi – the ”i” in the last name a possible misspelling – on United Airlines Flight 93. Along with Jarrah, the other names on the FBI’s suspect list included Ahmed Alhaznawi, Ahmed Alnami, and Saeed Alghamdi – although at week’s end authorities acknowledged the list could contain errors.

So far, the best evidence of Jarrah’s involvement is in the striking parallels between his life and that of other alleged hijackers – and the fact that on Sept. 11 he went missing.

Jarrah lived in Hamburg, Germany, as did Mohamed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi, who allegedly flew the planes that struck the World Trade Center. Like them, he attended a technical university (although not the same one they did) and then moved to Florida to take flight lessons. His roommate for two months this summer was Alhaznawi, another of the suspected hijackers.

And on Sept. 11, he vanished. It was his girlfriend, Aisle Senguen, who first alerted the police, calling to report him missing. German federal police say they found a suitcase of ”airplane-related documents” in her home.

But Senguen, who is now in a witness protection program, denied in a recent telephone conversation with the family that Jarrah was acquainted with any of the other alleged hijackers.

Echoed Jarrah’s uncle: ”He knew none of them – he was at a different university.” Convinced of his nephew’s innocence, he added, ”Maybe someone stole his ID. Maybe he was simply on the flight en route to visit some friends.”

Or maybe Ziad Jarrah did lead a double life – not atypical for members of Al Qaeda, the worldwide terrorist organization headed by Osama bin Laden.

Evidence presented in this year’s trial of four men accused of the 1998 bombing of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania revealed that Al Qaeda members were told to mingle with Westerners, and conceal their extremist beliefs.

And terrorism specialists say that the practice of presenting one persona to the world, and keeping another secret, is a brand of spycraft not unknown in certain parts of the Islamic world.

”Taqiyya is what it is called,” explained German terrorism expert Bassam Tibi. ”You are two-faced. You hate me, but you smile at me.” Taqiyya, says Tibi, was practiced by many Shi’ite Muslims during historic periods of persecution by Sunni Muslims. And while Jarrah’s family was Sunni, he grew up in a Shi’ite stronghold, Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, where the art of polite deception might well have been practiced.

Little else in Jarrah’s background, however, fits the profile of most Islamic extremists-turned-terrorists, typically born into a life of desperate poverty. Instead, Ziad Samir Jarrah was born May 11, 1975, the only son in a prosperous, educated family. His father, Samir, 62, is a local government official; his mother, Nasisa, 57, is a schoolteacher.

Growing up in the Bekaa Valley – a rich swath of green fields between two mountain ranges – Ziad Jarrah wanted for little. The area produces much of Lebanon’s fruit and vegetables and is also home to many of its well-to-do.

He loved sports, particularly swimming and basketball. He adored – and was doted on by – his two sisters, Dania, now 29, and Nisren, 24

And his upbringing was anything but radical. While the Jarrahs are Muslim, they are not particularly devout. In fact, believing education more important than religion, they sent their son to a series of exclusive, Christian schools.

As Ziad matured, he appeared neither political nor religious. He drank alcohol and had girlfriends. ”No one in the family has this kind of radical belief,” said Jamal Jarrah.

But by adulthood, Ziad Jarrah did have a dream: to be an airplane engineer. And so, when he graduated from high school in Beirut in 1995, the family agreed to let him follow in the footsteps of other family members who studied abroad. Jarrah chose Germany.

Although a Brooklyn apartment lease from 1995-1996 bears Ziad Jarrah’s name – and landlords there have identified his photograph – his family insists he was in Beirut at the time.

Not until 1996, they say, did Jarrah leave Lebanon for Gleisfeld, Germany, where he studied German and met Senguen. After a year, he moved to Hamburg, where he registered at the University of Applied Sciences. Senguen moved to Bochum, Germany, where she pursued her studies to become a doctor, but the two continued dating.

In Hamburg, Jarrah is remembered as a polite, quiet young man. ”He was a very, very nice boy,” recalled Rosemary Canel, who rented him a room in her stately home in a leafy suburb of Hamburg from 1997 to 1999. He rarely had friends over; he studied or watched TV while he was home.

At Hamburg’s University of Applied Sciences, Jarrah’s academic career appears to have been undistinguished. One of his professors, Ludwig Schwarz, recalled him in a telephone call as a quiet student who only got average grades.

”He didn’t stand out,” he said.

Classmate Michael Gotzmann, 25, who was in a study group with Jarrah, also has a hard time reconciling the Jarrah he knew – or thought he knew – with reports that he was one of the hijackers. ”He never said anything bad about America,” he told Der Spiegel magazine. ”To the contrary, he loved America, and said he always planned to go and study there.”

Yet Hamburg – a bustling port city where newly arrived immigrants rub shoulders with the German elite – is one hub for terrorist organizations in Germany. Studying there, Jarrah could have fallen under the sway of Islamic extremists linked to terrorist groups, says German terrorism expert Tibi.

”There is a lot of peer pressure,” even among German-born Muslims, Tibi noted, to embrace conservative Islam if not more radical groups. ”Once he was in, he might not have been able to get out,” he added.

An estimated 2,450 extremists live in Hamburg, a city of 1.7 million with a Muslim population of about 80,000, according to the German Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which monitors extremist groups. Al Qaeda has members in the city, as does the Palestinian group Hamas.

But if Jarrah found religion and the terrorist cause, he revealed nothing. Although records of the Federal Aviation Administration reportedly show him as having a pilot’s license in Hamburg, Jarrah told his parents he wanted to move to the United States to learn to fly a single-engine aircraft.

With their blessing, he moved to Florida at the end of 1999, living first in Hollywood, and then in June moving to Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. In Hollywood, Jarrah lived in a seedy, palm-fringed complex of mostly single-story adobe-brown apartments, typically rented mostly by winter residents.

Several other suspects, including Atta, also lived for periods of time in Hollywood. While there, Jarrah drove a flashy, red Mitsubishi Eclipse, his neighbors at Bernard apartments said. ”His car stood out,” one said. ”He seemed like a bit of a showoff.”

But he was also a model tenant, recalls Carol, the manager, who would not give her last name. ”He was a very quiet guy,” she said. ”He went to work every day. He told us he was a pilot, but he didn’t say where.”

In June, Jarrah moved to Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, where he roomed with Alhaznawi in an apartment attached to their landlord’s house.

”They said they were taking flying lessons around here,” said landlord Charles Lisa. ”They were polite and friendly … At times they had quite a few visitors over, but I never suspected anything.”

During his time there, Jarrah studied street fighting techniques at a local gym. He paid for the lessons in cash, said Bert Rodriguez, owner of US 1 Gym in Dania Beach. ”He was … strong, athletic, and well-coordinated. He was learning to be in control,” said Rodriguez.

When the pair were vacating their Lauderdale-by-the-Sea apartment, Lisa said, he asked them for a forwarding address. ”I’ll send you a postcard,” said Alhaznawi.

Jarrah’s family says they sent him $2,000 each month to pay for flight lessons. But last month, Jarrah did something unusual – he asked his parents for an extra $700, ”for fun.” When he called home Sept. 9, he confirmed he had received $2,700. His family believes he wanted to use the extra cash to go to California, possibly to visit friends.

But his destination, it now seems, was Newark. On Sept. 5, according to an employee of Passage Tours in Fort Lauderdale, Jarrah and his roommate each bought a one-way ticket on the Sept. 7 flight. Each paid cash.

As FBI agents scour Florida for clues to Jarrah’s life, his family has come to believe that Jarrah may well have been on Flight 93, but as an innocent passenger, not a perpetrator of the biggest terrorist attack in US history.

For his family to believe otherwise would be to admit they didn’t know him at all. ”It is unbelievable someone – anyone – would do this,” sobbed Jamal Jarrah over the telephone. ”Unbelievable.”

Globe special correspondents Amie Parnes contributed from Miami, Sylke Schumann from Berlin, and Isabel Stolte from Hamburg.

AA and WS as accomplices in covering up the crime of 9/11

 

Participants in the Cover-Up of 9/11:

The Case of American and United Airlines

Elias Davidsson
8 November 2004 (corrected on 4 May 2005, edited 8. Oct. 2005)

According to the official account, 19 Arabs hijacked four passenger planes on September 11, 2001 and crashed these planes with passengers and crew onto the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Two of the aircraft belonged to American Airlines and two to United Airlines.

In view of the huge losses incurred by these airlines in terms of human lives and materiél, one would have expected them to help shed light on the criminal events. As will be shown below, the airlines have, on the contrary, refused to disclose crucial evidence to the families of the victims and to the public in general and continue to do so. One of the immediate worries of American Airlines on September 11, 2001, was how to mould information flow to the general public and prevent “rumors” and wrong “theories” to leak out. A prestigious public-relations agency was put on the scene by AA “minutes after the first crash” to help carry out that communications task.  Concurrent to such public-relations efforts, both airlines refused and continue to refuse to disclose the most fundamental data in their possession regarding the murderous events, such as passenger lists and access to eye-witnesses.  This evidence suggests airlines’ complicity in covering up the truth on 9/11.

THE OFFICIAL ACCOUNT

While the US administration has not issued any authoritative “official account” (or “white book”) of the events of 911, as promised shortly after the events by Secretary of State Colin Powell (1), the report issued by the bi-partisan Congressional Commission of Inquiry in June 2004 (2) may be regarded as the nearest thing to an “official account”.

According to this report, 19 Arab hijackers, whose names and photographs have been posted shortly after the attacks on the FBI website (3)(4), perpetrated the atrocities on September 11 through a collective suicide operation.  Two AA and two UA passenger jets were, according to this account, flown as living missiles into the named targets. The first AA aircraft (flight AA11, tail no. N334AA) is said to have left Logan airport in Boston at 7:59 with 92 people on board (crew, passengers and hijackers) and crashed at 8:46 on the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. The second AA aircraft (flight AA77, tail no. N644AA) is said to have left Dulles airport in Washington, D.C. at 8:20 with  64  people on board and crashed into the Pentagon at 9:37.  The above departure times, incidentally, are still disputed and in the case of AA11 (5). As of November 13, 2003, the statistical database of the Department of Transportation (BTS) did not even mention AA11 as a flight scheduled for September 11, 2001 (6). At a later date the Department added a record for this flight with the departure time set as zero.  Checking again the BTS database for this article on November 18, 2004, I discovered that the DoT again amended its database by setting the scheduled departure of AA11 to the “official time” of 7:45 (6). It appears that the DoT had received orders to align its database with the “official account” on the crime of 9/11.   Should this have happened, there would be grounds to charge the DoT for falsification of official records and participation in a criminal cover-up.

Hundreds of questions regarding the events of 9/11 remain unaddressed by the Congressional Commission of Inquiry.  The present article examines only one particular question: Whether American Airlines (and United Airlines) are participants in the vast cover-up of the crimes committed on September 11, 2001. 

WAS THERE PRIOR KNOWLEDGE ?

On the morning of September 11, 2001, the Dallas office of Weber Shandwick, one of world’s largest public relations agencies, mobilized a nationwide network of public relations professionals to assist the American Airlines corporate communications department.  The details are reported on Weber Shandwick’s website:

“Within minutes of the first terrorist attack involving American Airlines, Weber Shandwick put in motion a national strategic support network, comrpising more than 75 Weber Shandwick professionals, to assist American Airlines during this unprecedented crisis situation. Over the following week, the W.S. team worked around the clock on site at the AA corporate headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, as well as in New York, Washington, D.C., Boston and Los Angeles, providing strategic counsel and tactical support for both internal and external communications.  Additionally, the Dallas office of W.S. was staffed 24 hours a day, monitoring breaking national broadcast and online news. Communications specialists in crisis management, consumer relations, internal communications, and government affairs provided support….Externally, AA faced the difficult challenge of controlling what was being said about the airline by unauthorized spokespeople. Flight attendants, pilots – and their unions – along with contracted security firms, airport authorities, government agencies including the FBI, FAA and National Transportation Safety Board, and local government agencies all issued statements regarding the events. Eyewitnesses, stranded passengers and post-September 11 travelers were also of concern. All of these external groups has an impact on American Airlines’ commnications strategy, requiring that the W.S. team ensure consistent communications with all audiences.”(7)

Timothy Doke was AA Vice President of Corporate Communications at the time of the 9/11 events. He is now Vice President – Corporate Communication at Freescale Semiconductor, Inc.

As a response to the present author’s inquiry, Tim Doke responded by email on October 6, 2004:

“Dear Elias. There seems to be some confusion around the way AA handled the crisis at the time of 9/11. We did not ‘outsource’ all our crisis communications to Weber Shandwick. We managed it from beginning to end in-house. Because of our staffing resources were limited and the air transportation system was shut down, precluding us from getting our staff to key locations around the country, we relied heavily on W.S. professionals to supplement our PR resources at our headquarters in DFW and to provide on-site personnel to support our people in Boston, LA and New York…Nothing in [our crisis] plan contemplated having the FBI move into our offices, declare an incident a criminal investigation and shut-off any of the traditional external media communications we would do in the case of a crash.”

Tim Doke added, laconically: “Most of the people who were involved in the crisis on 9/11 have left AA.”

According to Sherri Green and Claire Murphy of PR Week USA of November 11, 2001(8),  who interviewed Tim Doke, he “immediately called Ken Luce, president of Weber Shandwick Worldwide’s Southwest US office. The agency sent more than 20 people to American’s headquarters and to airports around the U.S. [according to the agency, the figure was 75 professionals, see above – E.D.]..It seemed like every media call raised a new issue”. Doke also reportedly said that “spokespeople subtly steered reporters away from false rumors and leaked information. Employees from WSW and American’s other agency, Burson-Marsteller, served as the firm’s eyes and ears in the airports its staff couldn’t reach while planes were grounded”.

The above account raises various questions with far-reaching consequences:

(a)  Weber Shandwick states on its website that it deployed 75 P/R professionals around the country in support of AA “within minutes” of the crashes.  The accuracy of this statement was confirmed to a colleague of the present author by Weber Shandwick’s Ken Luce on October 5th 2004.  How could Tim Doke, let alone Ken Luce of Weber Shandwick, know within minutes that AA aircraft were involved in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, when it is publicly claimed that neither the US President, the US military and other security agencies, knew at the time what was going on, let alone could know the identity of the crashed aircraft?  Is it plausible that a service agreement, detailing the nature, scope and costs of Weber Shandwick’s P/R services for American Airlines, could have been drafted, finalized and negotiated within minutes of the attacks?  Or were AA and Weber Shandwick executives forewarned on the attacks, ready to act on the spur of the moment? If so, by whom were they forewarned?

In an email of November 7, 2004 to the present author, Tim Doke dismisses that AA or Weber Shandwick “had any premonition of the events of 9/11. It was the furthest thing from our minds.” Regarding the promptness of Weber Shandwick’s reaction he merely explained that “Weber Shandwick had people ready to respond quickly to this event.”

(b)  What were the specific interests that prompted AA to engage in a massive P/R efforts on the very day of the attacks? A hint is given in the statement by Weber Shandwick that it was necessary for AA to “ensure consistent communications with all audiences”. In his email of November 7, 2004, Tim Doke shed some light on the term “consistent communications” by saying: “Lots of people claimed to have knowledge or theories about what happened that they shared with any reporter who would listen. It was important for us to go ‘off the record’ with certain media who were straying from the facts as we, at AA, uniquely knew them.  We did this to prevent inacurate reporting.” However, in his email he maintained that “employees who were in contact with the terrorists on the ground were fully interviewed by the FBI, but had no desire to speak to the media.  Of course, they could not talk to reporters anyway under the FBI’s restrictions.”

One may surmise that AA employees were strictly forbidden to talk to media and the public about what they knew so that only “authorized” individuals could describe the events in line with what the corporation wanted the world to know. This required to “subtly steer[…] reporters away from rumors and leaked information”. AA was apparently concerned, and seriously so, that some facts regarding the events of 9/11 and AA’s relation to these events, would reach the public.

PARTICIPATING IN A CRIMINAL COVER-UP ?

As mentioned already in the previous section, part of the public relations efforts carried out by Weber Shandwick, at the request of American Airlines, was to “subtly steer[.,.] reporters away from rumors and leaked information”. What type of “leaked information” was AA concerned with?

It is argued here that the information AA did not want to “leak” to the public was the same information that AA refuses to reveal to the families of the victims and to the public in general since 9/11.  Such information includes:

(a) Names of ground personnel who saw off the passengers and crew at the departure gate on 9/11 and could testify on what they saw;

(b) Authentified copies of the flight manifests, which would show the names of the alleged hijackers and of the passengers;

(c) Copies of boarding cards, which would show the names of the alleged hijackers and of the passengers and confirm their seat numbers;

(d) Computer listing of the boarding times of individual passengers and hijackers;

(e) Positive evidence that the aircraft which left the airport was indeed the aircraft which later crashed into the known target (aircraft serial number, tail number, engine serial numbers, black boxes, etc.);

(f) Names and contacts of AA personnel who reportedly communicated by cellphones with crew or passengers on the hijacked aircraft and could publicly testify on these conversations.

The present author asked both American and United Airlines to provide some of the above information.  Both airlines declined to provide the information and referred the author to the FBI for all such data.  The last attempt to obtain information from American Airlines (a letter to AA spokesman Marty Heires of October 6, 2004) did not elicit any response at all.  Neither airline, however, justified in its answer its refusal on a legal restraining order or on the need to protect the privacy of the families of the victims or of its personnel.  The author has not come across any Justice Department order, or any legal ruling, that prohibits airlines from releasing the above information and airline personnel to communicate freely with the media on matters relating to 9/11.  However, Tim Doke, in his email to the present author claimed that the FBI “limited what we could say publicly through the media” and that “employees who were in contact with the terrorists on the ground… could not talk to reporters… under the FBI’s restrictions.”

A spokesperson of the FBI, asked why the agency has not publicized the original flight manifests in support of its allegation against 19 named hijackers, did not maintain that the FBI or the airlines were legally prohibited from disclosing the original flight manifest. She simply referred the present author to the airlines for such information. 

The airlines’ apparently uncoerced refusal to produce the above information suggests that this refusal is prompted by their interest to prevent their employees, the families of victims and the public from knowing the full truth on the events of 9/11, 

DID AA OFFICIALS POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE CRASHED PLANES ?

In order to obtain insurance benefits, owners of a crashed plane must positively identify the plane as theirs. Yet, in the case of the reported crashes of the four planes on September 11, 2001, no evidence could be found in the public domain that airline experts positively identified the crashed planes from the planes’ wreckage.  If such expertise did take place beyond public gaze, why would American or United Airlines not announce such positive identification on their website or in a press release?  The Report by the Congressional Inquiry Commission does not either, for its part, refer to any positive forensic identification of the aircraft by the airlines or by public agencies.

According to the “official account”, the aircrafts were the weapons with which the passengers were killed.  In a proper criminal investigation, one of investigators’ first tasks is to identify the owner of the murder weapon and find out how that weapon reached the scene of the crime.  Yet, no reference to such an investigation could be found in the allegedly “comprehensive” report by the Congressional Commission of Inquiry. 

The lack of positive identification of the aircraft means that the families of the dead or missing passengers cannot  know with certainty where and how their beloved ones actually died nor who caused their deaths.

WHAT COULD THE AIRLINES BE COVERING UP ?

It might be argued that the airlines’ secrecy is prompted by their fear of being sued for negligent security measures rather than by charges of criminal complicity.  If this were the case, what would explain the refusal of the airlines to release the original flight manifests or allow eyewitnesses to be questioned publicly?  It appears, therefore, that the airlines cooperate with US public agencies in covering up the crime of 9/11.

Unless American and United Airlines show readiness to produce the above evidence, duly authenticated, and cooperate fully with the families of the victims and the general public to shed light on the events of 9/11, they must be regarded as suspects in the vast criminal conspiracy to commit a mass murder in America on September 11, 2001.

Notes

(1) “We are hard at work bringing all the information together–intelligence information, law enforcement information—and I think in the near future we’ll be able to put out a paper, a document, that will describe quite clearly the evidence that we have linking him to this attack,” said Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2001/09/mil-010924-usia13.htm (mirrored at:

(2) (1) http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/index.htm

(3) http://www.fbi.gov/pressrel/pressrel01/091401hj.htm

(4) http://www.fbi.gov/pressrel/penttbom/penttbomb.htm

 (5)(6) According to Gerard Holmgren’s report dated Nov. 13, 2003 (http://members.surfeu.fi/11syyskuu/holmgren.htm), and a display of BTS database records of all American Airlines flights scheduled on September 11, 2001 from Logan Airport, Boston (at http://www.the7thfire.com/Politics%20and%20History/american_airlines_flight_11_did_not_takeoff.htm ), no AA11 flight was scheduled from Logan on that day. 

(7) Weber Shandwick removed sometimes between Nov. 8, 2004 and May 4, 2005 from its website the page on which this text appears. The author has, however, kept a hard-copy example of the page and possesses, in addition, a confirmation by  Ken Luce of Weber Shandwick , dated October 5th 2004, that the cited text is accurate.

(8) Sherri Greeen and Claire Murphy,   “American Airlines braces for most turbulent journey“, PR Week USA, November 11, 2001, cached at American Airlines braces for most turbulent journey

Donald Rumsfeld remarks at the Pentagon, Sept. 10, 2001

United States Department of Defense

DOD Acquisition and Logistics Excellence Week Kickoff
Bureaucracy to Battlefield
http://www.defense.gov/speeches/speech.aspx?speechid=430

Remarks as Delivered by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, The Pentagon , Monday, September 10, 2001.

[Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics)] Pete Aldridge, Service Secretaries, distinguished officials of the Department of Defense. [Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] General [Richard] Myers, thank you very much for those kind words.

The topic today is an adversary that poses a threat, a serious threat, to the security of the United States of America. This adversary is one of the world’s last bastions of central planning. It governs by dictating five-year plans. From a single capital, it attempts to impose its demands across time zones, continents, oceans and beyond. With brutal consistency, it stifles free thought and crushes new ideas. It disrupts the defense of the United States and places the lives of men and women in uniform at risk.
Perhaps this adversary sounds like the former Soviet Union, but that enemy is gone: our foes are more subtle and implacable today. You may think I’m describing one of the last decrepit dictators of the world. But their day, too, is almost past, and they cannot match the strength and size of this adversary.
The adversary’s closer to home. It’s the Pentagon bureaucracy. Not the people, but the processes. Not the civilians, but the systems. Not the men and women in uniform, but the uniformity of thought and action that we too often impose on them.
In this building, despite this era of scarce resources taxed by mounting threats, money disappears into duplicative duties and bloated bureaucracy?not because of greed, but gridlock. Innovation is stifled – not by ill intent but by institutional inertia.
Just as we must transform America’s military capability to meet changing threats, we must transform the way the Department works and what it works on. We must build a Department where each of the dedicated people here can apply their immense talents to defend America, where they have the resources, information and freedom to perform.
Our challenge is to transform not just the way we deter and defend, but the way we conduct our daily business. Let’s make no mistake: The modernization of the Department of Defense is a matter of some urgency. In fact, it could be said that it’s a matter of life and death, ultimately, every American’s.
A new idea ignored may be the next threat overlooked. A person employed in a redundant task is one who could be countering terrorism or nuclear proliferation. Every dollar squandered on waste is one denied to the warfighter. That’s why we’re here today challenging us all to wage an all-out campaign to shift Pentagon’s resources from bureaucracy to the battlefield, from tail to the tooth.
We know the adversary. We know the threat. And with the same firmness of purpose that any effort against a determined adversary demands, we must get at it and stay at it.
Some might ask, how in the world could the Secretary of Defense attack the Pentagon in front of its people? To them I reply, I have no desire to attack the Pentagon; I want to liberate it. We need to save it from itself.
The men and women of this department, civilian and military, are our allies, not our enemies. They too are fed up with bureaucracy, they too live with frustrations. I hear it every day. And I’ll bet a dollar to a dime that they too want to fix it. In fact, I bet they even know how to fix it, and if asked, will get about the task of fixing it. And I’m asking.
They know the taxpayers deserve better. Every dollar we spend was entrusted to us by a taxpayer who earned it by creating something of value with sweat and skill — a cashier in Chicago, a waitress in San Francisco. An average American family works an entire year to generate $6,000 in income taxes. Here we spill many times that amount every hour by duplication and by inattention.
That’s wrong. It’s wrong because national defense depends on public trust, and trust, in turn, hinges on respect for the hardworking people of America and the tax dollars they earn. We need to protect them and their efforts.
Waste drains resources from training and tanks, from infrastructure and intelligence, from helicopters and housing. Outdated systems crush ideas that could save a life. Redundant processes prevent us from adapting to evolving threats with the speed and agility that today’s world demands.
Above all, the shift from bureaucracy to the battlefield is a matter of national security. In this period of limited funds, we need every nickel, every good idea, every innovation, every effort to help modernize and transform the U.S. military.
We must change for a simple reason — the world has — and we have not yet changed sufficiently. The clearest and most important transformation is from a bipolar Cold War world where threats were visible and predictable, to one in which they arise from multiple sources, most of which are difficult to anticipate, and many of which are impossible even to know today.
Let there be no question: the 2.7 million people who wear our country’s uniform — active, Guard and Reserve — and the close to 700,000 more who support them in civilian attire, comprise the finest military in the history of the world. They stand ready to face down any threat, anytime, anywhere. But we must do more.

We must develop and build weapons to deter those new threats. We must rebuild our infrastructure, which is in a very serious state of disrepair. And we must assure that the noble cause of military service remains the high calling that will attract the very best.
All this costs money. It costs more than we have. It demands agility — more than today’s bureaucracy allows. And that means we must recognize another transformation: the revolution in management, technology and business practices. Successful modern businesses are leaner and less hierarchical than ever before. They reward innovation and they share information. They have to be nimble in the face of rapid change or they die. Business enterprises die if they fail to adapt, and the fact that they can fail and die is what provides the incentive to survive. But governments can’t die, so we need to find other incentives for bureaucracy to adapt and improve.
The technology revolution has transformed organizations across the private sector, but not ours, not fully, not yet. We are, as they say, tangled in our anchor chain. Our financial systems are decades old. According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions. We cannot share information from floor to floor in this building because it’s stored on dozens of technological systems that are inaccessible or incompatible.
We maintain 20 to 25 percent more base infrastructure than we need to support our forces, at an annual waste to taxpayers of some $3 billion to $4 billion. Fully half of our resources go to infrastructure and overhead, and in addition to draining resources from warfighting, these costly and outdated systems, procedures and programs stifle innovation as well. A new idea must often survive the gauntlet of some 17 levels of bureaucracy to make it from a line officer’s to my desk. I have too much respect for a line officer to believe that we need 17 layers between us.
Our business processes and regulations seems to be engineered to prevent any mistake, and by so doing, they discourage any risk. But ours is a nation born of ideas and raised on improbability, and risk aversion is not America’s ethic, and more important, it must not be ours.
Those who fear danger do not volunteer to storm beaches and take hills, sail the seas, and conquer the skies. Now we must free you to take some of the same thoughtful, reasoned risks in the bureaucracy that the men and women in uniform do in battle.
To that end, we’re announcing today a series of steps the Department of Defense will take to shift our focus and our resources from bureaucracy to battlefield, from tail to tooth.
Today’s announcements are only the first of many. We will launch others ourselves, and we will ask Congress for legislative help as well. We have, for example, asked Congress for permission to begin the process of closing excess bases and consolidating the B-1 bomber force.
But we have the ability – and, therefore, the responsibility – to reduce waste and improve operational efficiency on our own. Already we have made some progress. We’ve eliminated some 31 of the 72 acquisition-related advisory boards. We now budget based on realistic estimates. We’re improving the acquisition process. We’re investing $400 million in public-private partnerships for military housing. Many utility services to military installations will be privatized.
We’re tightening the requirements for other government agencies to reimburse us for detailees, and we’re reviewing to see whether we should suspend assignments where detailees are not fully reimbursed.
We have committed $100 million for financial modernization, and we’re establishing a Defense Business Board to tap outside expertise as we move to improve the department’s business practices.
We can be proud of this progress but certainly not satisfied.
To succeed, this effort demands personal and sustained attention at the highest levels of the Department. Therefore, it will be guided by the Senior Executive Council including Under Secretary Pete Aldridge, Army Secretary Thomas White, Navy Secretary Gordon England, and Air Force Secretary Jim Roche. These leaders are experienced, talented, and determined. I am delighted they are on our team. I would not want to try to stop them from what they came into this Department to do. I expect them to be enormously successful, as they have in their other endeavors throughout their lives.
Because the Department must respond quickly to changing threats, we’re overhauling the 40-year-old Planning, Programming, and Budgeting System, or PPBS, the annual process of forecasting threats for the next several years, matching threats to programs and programs to budgets.
It’s really a relic of the Cold War, a holdover from the days when it was possible to forecast threats for the next several years because we knew who would be threatening us for the next several decades. It’s also a relic of the Cold War in another regard. PPBS is, I suppose, one of the last vestiges of central planning on Earth. We’ve combined the programming and budgeting phases to reduce duplicative work and speed decision-making. The streamlined process that should result will be quicker and cheaper and more flexible.
In order to make decisions more quickly, we must slash duplication and encourage cooperation. Currently the Departments of the Army, the Air Force and the Navy operate separate but parallel staffs for their civilian and uniformed chiefs. These staffs largely work the same issues and perform the same functions. Secretaries White and Roach will soon announce plans for realigning the Departments to support information sharing, speed decision-making, integrate Reserve and Guard headquarters into Department headquarters. Secretary England is engaging a broad agenda of change in the Department of Navy as well.
It’s time to start asking tough questions about redundant staffs. Let me give you an example. There are dozens of offices of general counsel scattered throughout the Department. Each service has one. Every agency does, too. So do the Joint Chiefs. We have so many general counsel offices that we actually have another general counsel’s office whose only job is to coordinate all those general counsels. [Laughter.] You think I’m kidding. [Laughs.] [Laughter.]
The same could be said of a variety of other functions, from public affairs to legislative affairs. Now, maybe we need many of them, but I have a strong suspicion that we need fewer than we have, and we’re going to take a good, hard look and find out.
Department headquarters are hardly the only scenes of redundant bureaucracy. Health care is another. Each service branch has its own surgeon general and medical operation. At the department level, four different agencies claim some degree of control over the delivery of military health care.
Consider this snapshot. One out of every five officers in the United States Navy is a physician. That’s not to single out the Navy or to suggest that too many doctors wear uniforms. The Navy and Marine Corps’ forward deployments generate unique medical needs. Rather, it’s to say that some of those needs, especially where they may involve general practice or specialties unrelated to combat, might be more efficiently delivered by the private sector. And all of them would likely be more efficiently delivered with fewer overlapping bureaucracies.
We’ve begun to consolidate health care delivery under our TriCare management activity. Over the next two years we will reform the procurement of care from the private sector. I’ve asked the military departments and Personnel and Readiness organization to complete a revamping of the military health system by fiscal year 2003.
DOD also has three exchange systems and a separate commissary system, all providing similar goods and services. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that consolidating them could save some $300 million. I’ve asked that we promptly explore the use of tools, like consolidation and contracting, to ensure our uniformed personnel and their families get the very best.
Congress has mandated that we reduce headquarter staffs by 15 percent by fiscal year 2003. I have ordered at least an overall 15 percent reduction from fiscal year 1999 levels in the numerous headquarter staffs overall throughout the department, from the Pentagon to the CINCs to every base headquarters building in the world. It’s not just the law, it’s a good idea, and we’re going to get it done. It’s the right thing to do.
To transform the Department, we must look outside this building as well. Consequently, the Senior Executive Council will scour the Department for functions that could be performed better and more cheaply through commercial outsourcing. Here, too, we must ask tough questions. Here are a few:
Why is DOD one of the last organizations around that still cuts its own checks? When an entire industry exists to run warehouses efficiently, why do we own and operate so many of our own? At bases around the world, why do we pick up our own garbage and mop our own floors, rather than contracting services out, as many businesses do? And surely we can outsource more computer systems support.
Maybe we need agencies for some of those functions. Indeed, I know we do. Perhaps a public-private partnership would make sense for others, and I don’t doubt at least a few could be outsized — outsourced altogether.
Like the private sector’s best-in-class companies, DOD should aim for excellence in functions that are either directly related to warfighting or must be performed by the Department. But in all other cases, we should seek suppliers who can provide these non-core activities efficiently and effectively. The Senior Executive Council will begin a review of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the Defense Logistics Agency and Defense Information Service Agency.
Harnessing the expertise of the private sector is about something more, however. The Department of Defense was once an engine of technological innovation. Today the private sector is leading the way in many respects, yet DOD makes it harder and harder for us to keep up and for those who do keep up to do business with the Department. Consider that it takes today twice as long as it did in 1975 to produce a new weapon system, at a time when new generations of technology are churned out every 18 to 24 months.
That virtually guarantees that weapon systems are at least a generation old technologically the day they’re deployed. Meanwhile, our process and regulations have become so burdensome that many businesses have simply chosen not to do business with the Department of Defense.
To transform the Department, we must take advantage of the private sector’s expertise. I’ve asked the members of the Senior Executive Council to streamline the acquisition process and spur innovation in our traditional supplier base.
Finally, and perhaps most important, we must forge a new compact with war-fighters and those who support them, one that honors their service and understands their needs and encourages them to make national defense a life-long career.
Many of the skills we most require are also in high demand in the private sector, as all of you know. To compete, we need to bring the Department of Defense the human resources practices that have already transformed the private sector. Our compact with war fighters will address quality of life issues – like improvements in health care and housing – where we will make more use of public-private partnerships, and by working to reduce the amount of time they must spend away from their families on deployment.
No business I have known could survive under the policies we apply to our uniformed personnel. We encourage, and often force, servicemen and -women and retire after 20 years in service, after we’ve spent millions of dollars to train them and when, still in their 40s, they were at the peak of their talents and skills. Because our objective is to produce generalists, officers are most often rotated out of assignments every 12 to 24 months, giving them a flavor of all things but too often making them experts at none. Both policies exact a toll in institutional memory, in skill and in combat readiness. To that end, we intend to submit revised personnel legislation to the Congress at the beginning of fiscal year 2003.
If a shortcoming on the uniformed side is moving personnel too much, on the civilian end we map hardly any career path at all. There, too, we must employ the tools of modern business — more flexible compensation packages, modern recruiting techniques and better training.
Let me conclude with this note. Some may ask, defensively so, will this war on bureaucracy succeed where others have failed? To that I offer three replies. First is the acknowledgement, indeed this caution: Change is hard. It’s hard for some to bear, and it’s hard for all of us to achieve.
There’s a myth, sort of a legend, that money enters this building and disappears, like a bright light into a black hole, never to be seen again. In truth, there is a real person at the other end of every dollar, a real person who’s in charge of every domain, and that means that there will be real consequences from, and real resistance to, fundamental change. We will not complete this work in one year, or five years, or even eight years. An institution built with trillions of dollars over decades of time does not turn on a dime. Some say it’s like turning a battleship. I suspect it’s more difficult.
That’s the disadvantage of size. But here’s the upside. In an institution this large, a little bit of change goes a very long way. If we can save just 5 percent of one year’s budget, and I have never seen an organization that couldn’t save 5 percent of its budget, we would free up some $15 billion to $18 billion, to be transferred from bureaucracy to the battlefield, from tail to tooth. Even if Congress provides us every nickel of our fiscal year ’02 budget, we will still need these extra savings to put towards transformation in this Department.
Second, this effort is structurally different from any that preceded it, I suspect. It begins with the personal endorsement, in fact the mandate, of the President of the United States. President Bush recently released a management agenda that says that performance, not promises, will count. He is personally engaged and aware of the effort that all of you are engaged in. The battle against a stifling bureaucracy is also a personal priority for me and for the Service Secretaries, one that will, through the Senior Executive Council, receive the sustained attention at the highest levels of this Department. We have brought people on board who have driven similar change in the private sector. We intend to do so here. We will report publicly on our progress. The old adage that you get what you inspect, not what you expect, or put differently, that what you measure improves, is true. It is powerful, and we will be measuring.
Our strongest allies are the people of this department, and to them I say we need your creativity, we need your energy. If you have ideas or observations for shifting the department’s resources from tail to tooth, we welcome them. In fact, we’ve set up a dedicated e- mail address: www.tailtotooth@osd.pentagon.mil where anyone can send in any thoughts they have.
Finally, this effort will succeed because it must. We really have no choice. It is not, in the end, about business practices, nor is the goal to improve figures on the bottom line. It’s really about the security of the United States of America. And let there be no mistake, it is a matter of life and death. Our job is defending America, and if we cannot change the way we do business, then we cannot do our job well, and we must. So today we declare war on bureaucracy, not people, but processes, a campaign to shift Pentagon resources from the tail to the tooth. All hands will be required, and it will take the best of all of us.
Now, like you, I’ve read that there are those who will oppose our every effort to save taxpayers’ money and to strengthen the tooth-to- tail ratio. Well, fine, if there’s to be a struggle, so be it. But keep in mind the story about the donkey, the burro, and the ass. The man and the boy were walking down the street with the donkey and people looked and laughed at them and said, “Isn’t that foolish? they have a donkey and no one rides it.” So the man said to the boy, “Get on the donkey; we don’t want those people to think we’re foolish.” So they went down the road and people looked at the boy on the donkey and the man walking alongside — “Isn’t that terrible, that young boy is riding the donkey and the man’s walking.” So they changed places, went down the road, people looked and said, “Isn’t that terrible, that strong man is up there on the donkey and making the little boy walk.” So they both got up on the donkey, the donkey became exhausted, came to a bridge, fell in the river and drowned. And of course the moral of the story is, if you try to please everybody, you’re going to lose your donkey. [Laughter.]
So as we all remember that if you do something, somebody’s not going to like it, so be it. Our assignment is not to try to please everybody. This is not just about money. It’s not about waste. It’s about our responsibility to the men and women in uniform who put their lives at risk. We owe them the best training and the best equipment, and we need the resources to provide that. It’s about respect for taxpayers’ dollars. A cab driver in New York City ought to be able to feel confident that we care about those dollars.
It’s about professionalism, and it’s also about our respect for ourselves, about how we feel about seeing GAO reports describing waste and mismanagement and money down a rat hole.
We need your help. I ask for your help. I thank all of you who are already helping. I have confidence that we can do it. It’s going to be hard. There will be rough times. But it’s also the best part of life to be engaged in doing something worthwhile.
Every person within earshot wants to be a part of a proud organization, an organization that cares about excellence in everything it does. I know it. You know it. Let’s get about it.
Thank you very much. [Applaus]

Lack of scientific ethics by editorial board of scientific journal

Lack of scientific ethics by editorial board of scientific journal

by James Gourley, 21 October 2008

http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20081021140852820

The Journal of Engineering Mechanics has recently published a paper I authored. It can be found here, beginning on page 915: (PDF 224kb)

Normally, such a publication would be announced here at 911Blogger to let everyone know we are still making progress publishing criticisms of the official fairy tale in mainstream technical journals, in the hopes of reaching more members of the scientific and engineering community.

While I am excited this paper will be reaching new audiences, and I would like to share that fact with you, I am writing today for a different purpose.

Not much is ever written about what we go through to get these papers published. The publication of this paper is a case study in the struggles we face. I’d like to relate to you exactly what I had to go through to get this paper published, and what influences the substance of it have already had. I hesitate to reveal some of the information below, but as will become clear, the Journal of Engineering Mechanics personnel have demonstrated a complete lack of scientific ethics, and I feel like I have no choice but to publish exactly what occurred in the lead up to my paper’s publication.

Before I begin, let me make it perfectly clear that I do not want anyone to call, email or otherwise harass the editors or staff at the Journal of Engineering Mechanics or the authors of the papers I talk about below. Such behavior is extremely counterproductive, and I do not support or endorse such actions.

The Bazant/Greening Paper

In June 2007, I was sent a link to a paper by Dr. Zdenek Bazant, Dr. Frank Greening, and others, that had been submitted to the Journal of Engineering Mechanics (JEM) for peer review and publication. This paper (the Bazant/Greening Paper) can be found here: (PDF 729kb)

After reading through the Bazant/Greening Paper, I came up with essentially the same criticism that I was eventually able to get published this month at JEM. The Bazant/Greening paper repeated and expanded upon Dr. Bazant’s theory of crush down/crush up collapse progression. This crush down/crush up theory was first developed by Bazant in 2001, and expanded on by Bazant & Zhou in 2002, and Bazant & Verdure in 2007. I find the crush down/crush up theory completely unbelievable for the reasons I stated in my paper.

Back in June 2007, I sent an email to the editor of JEM that basically laid out my criticisms of the Bazant/Greening paper. About three weeks later, one of the Associate Editors of JEM sent me an email that read as follows:

Dear Mr. Gourley:

We recently received your critique on the paper entitled “Collapse of World Trade Center Towers: What Did and Did Not Cause It?” I have attached a standard reviewer form that is filled out by each person as they review an article. If you could please complete this form so that we will have a better understanding of where your comments fall on our standard scale, we would appreciate it very much. When completed, you can e-mail the reviewer form to [redacted] or [redacted]. Thank you for the time and effort that you have already put into the review of this paper, and we look forward to receiving your further comments.

Sincerely,

[redacted]

I completed the reviewer forms that evening, and sent it back to JEM the following day. The reviewer forms allowed me to recommend for or against publication of the paper. I, of course, recommended against publication until my concerns were addressed.

I never heard anything back from JEM, so, in late December and early January, I exchanged a few emails with the Associate Editor who had sent me the reviewer forms. I was curious about where the Bazant Paper was in the review process, as it still hadn’t been published 6 months after I reviewed it. The Associate Editor responded to my email inquiry as follows:

Dear James,
I am back at my office and I checked on the paper that you reviewed. The paper was declined and returned to the authors.
Best Regards
[redacted]

You can imagine my surprise when, in late April 2008, I learned that the Bazant/Greening Paper had been accepted for publication at JEM. The published version can be found here: (PDF 1mb)

However, if you look at the version of the Bazant/Greening Paper I previously provided, you will see that it was revised on June 22, 2007, December 15, 2007 and March 31, 2008. It was ultimately published in the October 2008 issue of JEM, along with my paper.

As you can see, my letter to the editor (with comments and peer review) delayed publication of the Bazant/Greening paper for more than a year. I don’t know what happened between the time the Associate Editor of JEM told me the paper had been rejected and sent back to the authors, and the time it was ultimately accepted for publication. What I would come to realize later is that Dr. Bazant has published hundreds of papers at JEM, and seems to have the standing of something like a “favored author” over there. As will become apparent below, the rules at JEM that govern other authors do not apply to Dr. Bazant.

The Bazant/Verdure Paper

Back in June 2007, I also learned that Dr. Bazant had recently published a paper in JEM which also relied on the crush down/crush up theory. The Bazant/Verdure Paper can be found here: (PDF 768kb)

I noticed that a window of time was still open where Discussion papers could still be submitted to JEM for the Bazant/Verdure Paper. So, I put the criticisms from my review of the Bazant/Greening Paper into the proper scientific paper form, in accordance with the ASCE Author Guidelines for submission of Discussion Papers. One of those requirements is that Discussion papers contain less than 2000 words. This word limit was extremely limiting for me, as you can probably tell in reading this essay. I’m an attorney, and spend most of my days reading and writing. Most of the documents I draft have either no page limit, or at worst a 15 or 30 page limit. I like to be very thorough when I am writing about a topic, and I don’t like to even mention things that I can’t spend adequate time discussing.

I did not want to exceed the 2000 word limit, because I already knew it would be difficult to get a paper critical of the official story published in a mainstream scientific journal. In other words, I didn’t want to give JEM any reason to reject it. I had a number of other points I could have raised that were critical of the Bazant/Verdure paper, including its assumption that all movements are vertical. However, when I was writing the Discussion paper, I realized very quickly I would not be able to spend adequate time on all of my points, so I focused on the points you see in the published version of my paper.

The paper I submitted was under the 2000 word limit, and was accepted for publication if I would remove language that the editors thought was too argumentative. My legal writing is typically argumentative, so I suspect some of that leaked into my paper. I went back through the paper, humbled my language, and resubmitted it. It was accepted for publication on November 21, 2007.

Dr. Bazant was then given an opportunity to prepare a response to my Discussion paper, called a Closure paper. Under ASCE guidelines, the Discussion and Closure are published together. This is in fact what you see at the first link I provided above. ASCE Guidelines also limit Closure papers to 2000 words. Seems only fair, right?

In May 2008, I learned that Dr. Bazant had finished his Closure paper and had published it at his NWU faculty website. So, I downloaded it and read it. I was startled by what I saw.

Dr. Bazant was allowed to go on and on for at least 4 to 5 thousand words in response to my Discussion paper. The original version of his Closure repeatedly derided me as a “lay person” and criticized my response as “wordy.” (If I’m a lay person, then a lay person was allowed by JEM to peer review his paper with Dr. Greening, which ultimately held up its publication for more than a year. Not bad for a lay person.) His Closure was also full of misrepresentations about my Discussion paper.

So, I sent a rather heated email to the JEM staff, asking them why Dr. Bazant was allowed to completely ignore the 2000 word limit in criticizing me and my Discussion paper, when I complied with it in good faith. I told them there were three ways to fairly resolve the situation.

First, JEM could pull my Discussion paper and his Closure paper from publication. JEM refused to do this. In hindsight, I’m actually glad they didn’t choose this option. The results of Dr. Bazant’s Closure paper are ludicrous, and demonstrate the utter bankruptcy of his theory. Even though I was treated unfairly, on balance I’m glad both papers were ultimately published.

Second, JEM could allow me to revise my paper free from the 2000 word limit I had originally complied with in good faith. If I was allowed to revise my paper without worrying about the word limit, I could have included all of my criticisms of his paper, and included mathematical equations to support my arguments. JEM refused to do this. This would have been the preferred option, but for some reason, I was not allowed to resubmit a revised paper exceeding the 2000 word limit.

Third, JEM could force Dr. Bazant to revise his paper to comply with the 2000 word limit. This was not preferable, but at least would have leveled the playing field. I would rather everyone have the same opportunity to fully develop their arguments and let the public decide who to believe. Unfortunately, this is not what ended up happening. After several rounds of email correspondence, JEM decided that they would ask Dr. Bazant to revise his paper to comply with the 2000 word limit, and remove the offensive language I had identified.

You can imagine my surprise again when I learned last week that both of our papers had been published in the October issue of JEM. I was never given another opportunity to review Dr. Bazant’s Closure paper before it was published. If you read through it, you can see why. Dr. Bazant was not required to comply with the 2000 word limit, as the JEM staff promised me he would. My rough estimate is that in his Closure’s response to my Discussion is between 4000 and 6000 words in length.

His Closure paper still derides me for not including equations in support of my position, without mentioning that there is no way I could have done that and still complied with the 2000 word limit, and that I was not allowed to revise my paper by JEM staff. Any fair peer review would not have allowed him to say this. JEM knew full well I was required to comply with the 2000 word limit, while Dr. Bazant was not.

In fact, he spends 2000 words responding to the steel temperature portion of my Discussion paper alone. JEM allowed him to use that much text to respond to my one paragraph on his misrepresentations of the steel temperatures reported by NIST. Dr. Bazant is clearly held to a different standard at JEM. How can JEM possibly be seen as a fair and balanced in this situation?

Dr. Bazant’s steel temperature response also raises a serious issue which should have been caught in a fair peer review process. He basically argues that even if he did misrepresent the steel temperatures NIST reported, that doesn’t matter because much lower steel temperatures would still have caused the collapse. However, that is a red herring. Even assuming Dr. Bazant is correct that lower steel temperatures could have caused the collapse, did that give him the right to misrepresent it in the first place? This was apparently never asked, and Dr. Bazant was allowed to mislead JEM readers with voluminous, irrelevant argument.

There are many other problems with Dr. Bazant’s Closure paper that should have been caught during peer review. I plan to write separately on all of them, but do need to mention one more. If you look at the first full sentence on page 919 at the first link above, you see the results of Dr. Bazant’s mathematical equations. He basically claims that when the upper block of floors impacts the lower, intact steel structure, that the upper block suffers a dent of between about 1 inch and 1.5 inches, before completely destroying the lower section of floors. Does that make any sense at all? An inch and a half dent? When the upper section of floors slams into the stationary steel structure below? The absolute absurdity of Dr. Bazant’s results is the main reason I’m happy his Closure was allowed to be published. Dr. Bazant appears to be going to extreme lengths to prop up the gravity-only driven collapse scenario. For clues as to why, I recommend page 4 of Kevin Ryan’s paper on the connections between NIST and nanothermite here: (PDF 82kb)

Conclusion

I hope this story gets across the struggles we face in publishing articles in mainstream technical journals. It is one of many I could have told. I have been a co-author on other published papers with Dr. Steven Jones and Kevin Ryan. After every single one of those is published, someone like Ryan Mackey writes to the editor of the journal criticizing their publication standards. He never addresses the substance of our papers, but instead tries to make the editors regret publishing our papers, basically because he says their journal will be seen as not credible in the scientific community. We are then forced to correspond further with the journal editors, with sometimes humorous exchanges that I won’t share without my co-authors’ consent. It usually ends with the editors recommending that Mackey submit his own response paper for publication (as I did for the Bazant/Verdure Paper) but he never does. It’s a constant battle we face.

I also hope other scientists and engineers out there join the fight, follow our lead, and try to publish papers in mainstream technical journals on this subject. Take my story to heart and don’t let it happen to you. Insist that you be treated fairly from the outset.

James Gourley

John O. Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, justifies drone attacks

The White House  Office of the Press Secretary
June 29, 2011

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/06/29/remarks-john-o-brennan-assistant-president-homeland-security-and-counter

Remarks of John O. Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, on Ensuring al-Qa’ida’s Demise –

As Prepared for Delivery
Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Washington, D.C.

Good afternoon.  Thank you, Dean Einhorn, for your very warm welcome and for your decades of service—in government, global institutions and here at SAIS.  And it’s a special pleasure to be introduced by John McLaughlin, a friend and colleague of many years and one of our nation’s great intelligence professionals.

It’s a pleasure to be here at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, an institution that has instilled in generations of public servants the pragmatic approach to problem-solving that is essential for the effective conduct of foreign policy.  I especially want to thank the Merrill Center for Strategic Studies for its emphasis on national security and for joining with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to introduce students to our Intelligence Community and inspiring the next generation of intelligence professionals.     

It’s wonderful to see so many friends and colleagues who I’ve had the privilege to work with over many years.  You have devoted your lives to protecting our nation from many threats, including the one that brings me here today, and one that has claimed the lives of some of our friends and colleagues—that is the continued terrorist threat from al-Qa’ida.  

Today, we are releasing President Obama’s National Strategy for Counterterrorism, which formalizes the approach that we’ve been pursuing and adapting for the past two and half years to prevent terrorist attacks and to ensure al-Qa’ida’s demise.  I’m pleased that we are joined today by dedicated professionals from across the federal government who helped to shape our strategy and who work tirelessly every day to keep our country safe.  Thank you for being here.

An unclassified summary of our strategy is being posted today to the White House website, WhiteHouse.gov.   In the time I have with you, I’d like to put our strategy in context, outline its key goals and principals, and describe how we’re putting these principles into practice to protect the American people.    

I want to begin with the larger strategic environment that shapes our counterterrorism efforts.  This starts with the recognition that this counterterrorism strategy is only one part of President Obama’s larger National Security Strategy.  This is very important.  Our counterterrorism policies do not define our entire foreign policy; rather, they are a vital part of—and are designed to reinforce—our broader national security interests.

Since taking office, President Obama has worked to restore a positive vision of American leadership in the world—leadership defined, not by the threats and dangers that we will oppose, but by the security, opportunity and dignity that America advances in partnership with people around the world.  This has enhanced our national security in many areas against many threats.  

At the same time, many of the President’s broader foreign policy and national security initiatives also help to achieve our more focused counterterrorism goals.  They do so by addressing the political, economic and social conditions that can sometimes fuel violent extremism and push certain individuals into the arms of al-Qa’ida.

For instance, when our diplomats promote the peaceful resolution of political disputes and grievances, when our trade and economic policies generate growth that lifts people out of poverty, when our development experts support good governance that addresses people’s basic needs, when we stand up for universal human rights—all of this can also help undermine violent extremists and terrorists like al-Qa’ida.  Peaceful political, economic, and social progress undermines the claim that the only way to achieve change is through violence.  It can be a powerful antidote to the disillusionment and sense of powerlessness that can make some individuals more susceptible to violent ideologies.

Our strategy recognizes that our counterterrorism efforts clearly benefit from—and at times depend on—broader foreign policy efforts, even as our CT strategy focuses more narrowly on preventing terrorist attacks against our interests, at home and abroad.

This, obviously, is also the first counterterrorism strategy to reflect the extraordinary political changes that are sweeping the Middle East and North Africa.  It’s true that these changes may bring new challenges and uncertainty in the short-term, as we are seeing in Yemen.  It also is true that terrorist organizations, and nations that support them, will seek to capitalize on the instability that change can sometimes bring.  That is why we are working closely with allies and partners to make sure that these malevolent actors do not succeed in hijacking this moment of hope for their own violent ends.  

But as President Obama has said, these dramatic changes also mark an historic moment of opportunity.  So too for our counterterrorism efforts.  For decades, terrorist organizations like al-Qa’ida have preached that the only way to affect change is through violence.  Now, that claim has been thoroughly repudiated, and it has been repudiated by ordinary citizens, in Tunisia and Egypt and beyond, who are changing and challenging their governments through peaceful protest, even as they are sometimes met with horrific brutality, as in Libya and Syria.  Moreover, these citizens have rejected the medieval ideology of al-Qa’ida that divides people by faith and gender, opting instead to work together—Muslims and Christians, men and women, secular and religious.

It is the most profound change in the modern history of the Arab world, and al-Qa’ida and its ilk have been left on the sidelines, watching history pass them by.  Meanwhile, President Obama has placed the United States on the right side of history, pledging our support for the political and economic reforms and universal human rights that people in the region are demanding.  This, too, has profound implications for our counterterrorism efforts.

Against this backdrop, our strategy is very precise about the threat we face and the goals we seek.  Paul Nitze once observed that “one of the most dangerous forms of human error is forgetting what one is trying to achieve.”  President Obama is adamant that we never forget who we’re fighting or what we’re trying to achieve.

Let me start by saying that our strategy is not designed to combat directly every single terrorist organization in every corner of the world, many of which have neither the intent nor the capability to ever attack the United States or our citizens.

Our strategy of course recognizes that there are numerous nations and groups that support terrorism in order to oppose U.S. interests.  Iran and Syria remain leading state sponsors of terrorism.  Hezbollah and HAMAS are terrorist organizations that threaten Israel and our interests in the Middle East.  We will therefore continue to use the full range of our foreign policy tools to prevent these regimes and terrorist organizations from endangering our national security.

For example, President Obama has made it clear that the United States is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.  And we will continue working closely with allies and partners, including sharing and acting upon intelligence, to prevent the flow of weapons and funds to Hezbollah and HAMAS and to prevent attacks against our allies, citizens or interests.

But the principal focus of this counterterrorism strategy—and the focus of our CT efforts since President Obama took office—is the network that poses the most direct and significant threat to the United States, and that is al-Qa’ida, its affiliates and its adherents.  We use these terms deliberately.

It is al-Qa’ida, the core group founded by Usama bin Laden, that has murdered our citizens, from the bombings of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania to the attack on the U.S.S. Cole to the attacks of September 11th, which also killed citizens of more than 90 other countries.

It is al-Qa’ida’s affiliates—groups that are part of its network or share its goals—that have also attempted to attack our homeland.  It was al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), based in Yemen, that attempted to bring down that airliner over Detroit and which put explosives on cargo planes bound for the United States.  It was the Pakistani Taliban that sent Faisal Shahzad on his failed attempt to blow up an SUV in Times Square.

And it is al-Qa’ida’s adherents—individuals, sometimes with little or no direct physical contact with al-Qa’ida, who have succumbed to its hateful ideology and who have engaged in, or facilitated, terrorist activities here in the United States.  These misguided individuals are spurred on by the likes of al-Qaida’s Adam Gadahn and Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, who speak English and preach violence in slick videos over the Internet.  And we have seen the tragic results, with the murder of a military recruiter in Arkansas two years ago and the attack on our servicemen and women at Fort Hood.

This is the first counterterrorism strategy that focuses on the ability of al-Qa’ida and its network to inspire people in the United States to attack us from within.  Indeed, this is the first counterterrorism strategy that designates the homeland as a primary area of emphasis in our counterterrorism efforts.       

Our strategy is also shaped by a deeper understanding of al-Qa’ida’s goals, strategy, and tactics. I’m not talking about al-Qa’ida’s grandiose vision of global domination through a violent Islamic caliphate.  That vision is absurd, and we are not going to organize our counterterrorism policies against a feckless delusion that is never going to happen.  We are not going to elevate these thugs and their murderous aspirations into something larger than they are.

Rather, President Obama is determined that our foreign and national security policies not play into al-Qa’ida’s strategy or its warped ideology.  Al-Qa’ida seeks to terrorize us into retreating from the world stage.  But President Obama has made it a priority to renew American leadership in the world, strengthening our alliances and deepening partnerships.  Al-Qa’ida seeks to portray America as an enemy of the world’s Muslims.  But President Obama has made it clear that the United States is not, and never will be, at war with Islam.   

Al-Qa’ida seeks to bleed us financially by drawing us into long, costly wars that also inflame anti-American sentiment.  Under President Obama, we are working to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan responsibly, even as we keep unrelenting pressure on al-Qa’ida.  Going forward, we will be mindful that if our nation is threatened, our best offense won’t always be deploying large armies abroad but delivering targeted, surgical pressure to the groups that threaten us.

Al-Qa’ida seeks to portray itself as a religious movement defending the rights of Muslims, but the United States will continue to expose al-Qa’ida as nothing more than murderers.  They purport to be Islamic, but they are neither religious leaders nor scholars; indeed, there is nothing Islamic or holy about slaughtering innocent men, women, and children.  They claim to protect Muslims, but the vast majority of al-Qa’ida’s victims are, in fact, innocent Muslim men, women, and children.  It is no wonder that the overwhelmingly majority of the world’s Muslims have rejected al-Qa’ida and why its ranks of supporters continue to decline.

Just as our strategy is precise about who our enemy is, it is clear about our posture and our goal.  This is a war—a broad, sustained, integrated and relentless campaign that harnesses every element of American power.  And we seek nothing less than the utter destruction of this evil that calls itself al-Qa’ida.

To achieve this goal, we need to dismantle the core of al-Qa’ida—its leadership in the tribal regions of Pakistan—and prevent its ability to reestablish a safe haven in the Pakistan–Afghanistan region.  In other words, we aim to render the heart of al-Qa’ida incapable of launching attacks against our homeland, our citizens, or our allies, as well as preventing the group from inspiring its affiliates and adherents to do so.

At the same time, ultimately defeating al-Qa’ida also means addressing the serious threat posed by its affiliates and adherents operating outside South Asia.  This does not require a “global” war, but it does require a focus on specific regions, including what we might call the periphery—places like Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, and the Maghreb.  This is another important distinction that characterizes this strategy.  As the al-Qa’ida core has weakened under our unyielding pressure, it has looked increasingly to these other groups and individuals to take up its cause, including its goal of striking the United States.

To destroy al-Qa’ida, we are pursuing specific and focused counterterrorism objectives.  
For example:

    We are protecting our homeland by constantly reducing our vulnerabilities and adapting and updating our defenses.
     
    We are taking the fight to wherever the cancer of al-Qa’ida manifests itself, degrading its capabilities and disrupting its operations.
     
    We are degrading the ability of al-Qa’ida’s senior leadership to inspire, communicate with, and direct the operations of its adherents around the world.
     
    We are denying al-Qa’ida any safe haven—the physical sanctuary that it needs to train, plot and launch attacks against us.
     
    We are aggressively confronting al-Qa’ida’s ideology, which attempts to exploit local—and often legitimate—grievances in an attempt to justify violence.
     
    We are depriving al-Qa’ida of its enabling means, including the illicit financing, logistical support, and online communications that sustain its network.
     
    And we are working to prevent al-Qa’ida from acquiring or developing weapons of mass destruction, which is why President Obama is leading the global effort to secure the world’s vulnerable materials in four years.

In many respects, these specific counterterrorism goals are not new.  In fact, they track closely with the goals of the previous administration.  Yet this illustrates another important characteristic of our strategy.  It neither represents a wholesale overhaul—nor a wholesale retention—of previous policies.

President Obama’s approach to counterterrorism is pragmatic, not ideological.  It’s based on what works.  It builds upon policies and practices that have been instituted and refined over the past decade, in partnership with Congress—a partnership we will continue.  And it reflects an evolution in our understanding of the threat, in the capabilities of our government, the capacity of our partners, and the tools and technologies at our disposal.        

What is new—and what I believe distinguishes this strategy—is the principles that are guiding our efforts to destroy al-Qa’ida.

First, we are using every lawful tool and authority available.  No single agency or department has sole responsibility for this fight because no single department or agency possesses all the capabilities needed for this fight.  This is—and must be—a whole-of-government effort, and it’s why the Obama Administration has strengthened the tools we need.

We’ve strengthened intelligence, expanding human intelligence and linguistic skills, and we’re constantly working to improve our capabilities and learn from our experiences.  For example, following the attack at Fort Hood and the failed attack over Detroit, we’ve improved the analytic process, created new groups to track threat information, and enhanced cooperation among our intelligence agencies, including better information sharing so that all threats are acted upon quickly.  

We’ve strengthened our military capabilities. We increased the size of our Special Forces, sped up the deployment of unique assets so that al-Qa’ida enjoys no safe haven, and ensured that our military and intelligence professionals are working more closely than ever before.

We’ve strengthened homeland security with a multi-layered defense, bolstering security at our borders, ports and airports; improving partnerships with state and local governments and allies and partners, including sharing more information; increasing the capacity of our first responders; and preparing for bioterrorism.  In taking these steps, we are finally fulfilling key recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

Learning the lessons of recent plots and attempted attacks, we’ve increased aviation security by strengthening watchlist procedures and sharing information in real-time; enhancing screening of cargo; and—for the first time—ensuring 100 percent screening of all passengers traveling in, to, and from the United States, which was another recommendation of the 9/11 Commission.  And we are constantly assessing and improving our defenses, as we did in replacing the old color-coded threat system with a more targeted approach that provides detailed information about specific, credible threats and suggested protective measures.

In addition, we are using the full range of law enforcement tools as part of our effort to build an effective and durable legal framework for the war against al-Qa’ida.  This includes our single most effective tool for prosecuting, convicting, and sentencing suspected terrorists—and a proven tool for gathering intelligence and preventing attacks—our Article III courts.  It includes reformed military commissions, which at times offer unique advantages.  And this framework includes the recently renewed PATRIOT Act.  In short, we must have a legal framework that provides our extraordinary intelligence, counterterrorism, and law enforcement professionals with all the lawful tools they need to do their job and keep our country safe.  We must not tie their hands.

For all these tools to work properly, departments and agencies across the federal government must work cooperatively.  Today, our personnel are working more closely together than ever before, as we saw in the operation that killed Usama bin Laden.  That success was not due to any one single person or single piece of information.  It was the result of many people in many organizations working together over many years.  And that is what we will continue to do.

Even as we use every tool in our government, we are guided by a second principle—the need for partnership with institutions and countries around the world, as we recognize that no one nation alone can bring about al-Qa’ida’s demise.  Over the past decade, we have made enormous progress in building and strengthening an international architecture to confront the threat from al-Qa’ida.  This includes greater cooperation with multilateral institutions such as the United Nations, our NATO allies, and regional organizations such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the African Union.

Over the past two and a half years, we have also increased our efforts to build the capacity of partners so they can take the fight to al-Qa’ida in their own countries.  That is why a key element of the President’s strategy in Afghanistan is growing Afghan security forces.  It’s why we’ll soon begin a transition so that Afghans can take responsibility for their own security.  And it’s why we must continue our cooperation with Pakistan.

In recent weeks we’ve been reminded that our relationship with Pakistan is not without tension or frustration.  We are now working with our Pakistani partners to overcome differences and continue our efforts against our common enemies.  It is essential that we do so.  As frustrating as this relationship can sometimes be, Pakistan has been critical to many of our most significant successes against al-Qa’ida.  Tens of thousands of Pakistanis—military and civilian—have given their lives in the fight against militancy.  And despite recent tensions, I am confident that Pakistan will remain one of our most important counterterrorism partners.

These kinds of security partnerships are absolutely vital.  The critical intelligence that allowed us to discover the explosives that AQAP was shipping to the United States in those cargo planes was provided by our Saudi Arabian partners.   Al-Qa’ida in Iraq has suffered major losses at the hands of Iraqi security forces, trained by the United States.  Despite the ongoing instability, our counterterrorism cooperation with Yemen continues, and I would argue that the recent territorial gains made by militants linked to AQAP only makes our CT partnership with Yemen more important.

Around the world, we will deepen our security cooperation with partners wherever al-Qa’ida attempts to take root, be it Somalia, the Sahel or Southeast Asia.  For while al-Qa’ida seeks to depict this fight as one between the world’s Muslims and the United States, it is actually the opposite—the international community, including Muslim-majority nations and Muslim communities, united against al-Qa’ida.

This leads to the third principle of our strategy—rather than pursuing a one-size fits-all approach, we recognize that different threats in different places demand different tools.  So even as we use all the resources at our disposal against al-Qa’ida, we will apply the right tools in the right way and in the right place, with laser focus.

In some places, such as the tribal regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan, we will deliver precise and overwhelming force against al-Qa’ida.  Whenever possible, our efforts around the world will be in close coordination with our partners.  And, when necessary, as the President has said repeatedly, if we have information about the whereabouts of al-Qa’ida, we will do what is required to protect the United States—as we did with bin Laden.

In some places, as I’ve described, our efforts will focus on training foreign security services.  In others, as with our Saudi Arabian and Gulf state partners, our focus will include shutting down al-Qa’ida’s financial pipelines.  With longtime allies and partners, as in Europe, we’ll thwart attacks through close intelligence cooperation.  Here in the United States—where the rule of law is paramount—it’s our federal, state, and local law enforcement and homeland security professionals who rightly take the lead.  Around the world, including here at home, we will continue to show that the United States offers a vision of progress and justice, while al-Qa’ida offers nothing but death and destruction.

Related to our counterterrorism strategy, I would also note that keeping our nation secure also depends on strong partnerships between government and communities here at home, including Muslim and Arab Americans, some of whom join us today.  These Americans have worked to protect their communities from al-Qa’ida’s violent ideology and they have helped to prevent terrorist attacks in our country.  Later this summer, the Obama Administration will unveil its approach for partnering with communities to prevent violent extremism in the United States.  And a key tenet of this approach is that when it comes to protecting our country, Muslim Americans are not part of the problem, they’re part of the solution.    

This relates to our fourth principle—building a culture of resilience here at home.  We are doing everything in our power to prevent another terrorist attack on our soil.  At the same time, a responsible, effective counterterrorism strategy recognizes that no nation, no matter how powerful—including a free and open society of 300 million Americans—can prevent every single threat from every single individual who wishes to do us harm.  It’s not enough to simply be prepared for attacks, we have to be resilient and recover quickly should an attack occur.

So, as a resilient nation, we are constantly improving our ability to withstand any attack—especially our critical infrastructure, including cyber—thereby denying al-Qa’ida the economic damage and disruption it seeks.  As a resilient government, we’re strengthening the partnerships that help states and localities recover quickly.  And as a resilient people, we must remember that every one of us can help deprive al-Qa’ida of the success it seeks.  Al-Qa’ida wants to terrorize us, so we must not give in to fear.  They want to change us, so we must stay true to who we are.

Which brings me to our final principle, in fact, the one that guides all the others—in all our actions, we will uphold the core values that define us as Americans.  I have spent more than thirty years working on behalf of our nation’s security.  I understand the truly breathtaking capabilities of our intelligence and counterterrorism communities.  But I also know that the most powerful weapons of all—which we must never forsake—are the values and ideals that America represents to the world.

When we fail to abide by our values, we play right into the hands of al-Qa’ida, which falsely tries to portray us as a people of hypocrisy and decadence.  Conversely, when we uphold these values it sends a message to the people around the world that it is America—not al-Qa’ida—that represents opportunity, dignity, and justice.  In other words, living our values helps keep us safe.

So, as Americans, we stand for human rights.  That is why, in his first days in office, President Obama made it clear that the United States of America does not torture, and it’s why he banned the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, which did not work.  As Americans, we will uphold the rule of law at home, including the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties of all Americans.  And it’s because of our commitment to the rule of law and to our national security that we will never waver in our conviction that the United States will be more secure the day that the prison at Guantanamo Bay is ultimately closed.

Living our values—and communicating to the world what America represents—also directly undermines al-Qa’ida’s twisted ideology.  When we remember that diversity of faith and background is not a weakness in America but a strength, and when we show that Muslim Americans are part of our American family, we expose al-Qa’ida’s lie that cultures must clash.  When we remember that Islam is part of America, we show that America could never possibly be at war with Islam.

These are our principles, and this is the strategy that has enabled us to put al-Qa’ida under more pressure than at any time since 9/11.  With allies and partners, we have thwarted attacks around the world.  We have disrupted plots here at home, including the plan of Najibullah Zazi, trained by al-Qa’ida to bomb the New York subway.

We have affected al-Qa’ida’s ability to attract new recruits.  We’ve made it harder for them to hide and transfer money, and pushed al-Qa’ida’s finances to its weakest point in years.  Along with our partners, in Pakistan and Yemen, we’ve shown al-Qa’ida that it will enjoy no safe haven, and we have made it harder than ever for them to move, to communicate, to train, and to plot.

Al-Qa’ida’s leadership ranks have been decimated, with more key leaders eliminated in rapid succession than at any time since 9/11.  For example, al-Qa’ida’s third-ranking leader, Sheik Saeed al-Masri—killed.  Ilyas Kashmiri, one of al-Qa’ida’s most dangerous commanders—reportedly killed.  Operatives of AQAP in Yemen, including Ammar al-Wa’ili, Abu Ali al-Harithi, and Ali Saleh Farhan—all killed.  Baitullah Mahsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban—killed.  Harun Fazul, the leader of al-Qa’ida in East Africa and the mastermind of the bombings of our embassies in Africa—killed by Somali security forces.

All told, over the past two and half years, virtually every major al-Qa’ida affiliate has lost its key leader or operational commander, and more than half of al-Qa’ida’s top leadership has been eliminated.  Yes, al-Qa’ida is adaptive and resilient and has sought to replace these leaders, but it has been forced to do so with less experienced individuals.  That’s another reason why we and our partners have stepped up our efforts.  Because if we hit al-Qa’ida hard enough and often enough, there will come a time when they simply can no longer replenish their ranks with the skilled leaders they need to sustain their operations.  And that is the direction in which we’re headed today.

Now, with the death of Usama bin Laden, we have struck our biggest blow against al-Qa’ida yet.  We have taken out al-Qa’ida’s founder, an operational commander who continued to direct his followers to attack the United States and, perhaps most significantly, al-Qa’ida’s symbolic figure who has inspired so many others to violence.  In his place, the organization is left with Ayman al-Zawahiri, an aging doctor who lacks bin Laden’s charisma and perhaps the loyalty and respect of many in al-Qa’ida.  Indeed, the fact that it took so many weeks for al-Qa’ida to settle on Zawahiri as its new leader suggests possible divisions and disarray at the highest levels.

Taken together, the progress I’ve described allows us—for the first time—to envision the demise of al-Qa’ida’s core leadership in the coming years.  It will take time, but make no mistake, al-Qa’ida is in its decline.  This is by no means meant to suggest that the serious threat from al-Qa’ida has passed; not at all.  Zawahiri may attempt to demonstrate his leadership, and al-Qa’ida may try to show its relevance, through new attacks.  Lone individuals may seek to avenge bin Laden’s death.  More innocent people may tragically lose their lives.

Nor would the destruction of its leadership mean the destruction of the al-Qa’ida network.  AQAP remains the most operationally active affiliate in the network and poses a direct threat to the United States.  From the territory it controls in Somalia, Al-Shabaab continues to call for strikes against the United States.  As a result, we cannot and we will not let down our guard.  We will continue to pummel al-Qa’ida and its ilk, and we will remain vigilant at home.

Still, as we approach the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, as Americans seek to understand where we stand a decade later, we need look no further than that compound where bin Laden spent his final days.  There he was, holed-up for years, behind high prison-like walls, isolated from the world.  But even he understood the sorry state of his organization and its ideology.

Information seized from that compound reveals bin Laden’s concerns about al-Qa’ida’s long-term viability.  He called for more large-scale attacks against America, but encountered resistance from his followers and he went for years without seeing any spectacular attacks.  He saw his senior leaders being taken down, one by one, and worried about the ability to replace them effectively.

Perhaps most importantly, bin Laden clearly sensed that al-Qa’ida is losing the larger battle for hearts and minds.  He knew that al-Qa’ida’s murder of so many innocent civilians, most of them Muslims, had deeply and perhaps permanently tarnished al-Qa’ida’s image in the world.  He knew that he had failed to portray America as being at war with Islam.  In fact, he worried that our recent focus on al-Qa’ida as our enemy had prevented more Muslims from rallying to his cause, so much so that he even considered changing al-Qa’ida’s name.  We are left with that final image seen around the world—an old terrorist, alone, hunched over in a blanket, flipping through old videos of a man and a movement that history is leaving behind.

This fight is not over.  But guided by the strategy we’re releasing today, we will never waver in our efforts to protect the American people.  We will continue to be clear and precise about our enemy.  We will continue to use every tool at our disposal, and apply them wisely.  We will continue to forge strong partnerships around the world and build a culture of resilience here at home.  And as Americans, we will continue to uphold the ideals and core values that inspire the world, define us as people and help keep us safe.  

President Obama said it best last week—we have put al-Qa’ida on a path to defeat, and we will not relent until the job is done.  Thank you all very much.

Eliott Spitzer’s mouthpiece has his own secrets to hide

Spitzer’s mouthpiece has his own secrets to hide

Peter Lance
Published: Tuesday March 18, 2008

http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Spitzers_Mouthpiece_Has_His_Own_Secrets_0318.html

As the sex scandal hurricane engulfed Eliott Spitzer last week, one of his closest advisors at the eye of the storm was Dietrich “Dieter” Snell. An ex U.S. Attorney from the same office conducting the prostitution probe, Snell is now defending Spitzer in the “Troopergate” scandal and reportedly raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees for the international law firm he joined last year.

A former Southern District prosecutor who later became Senior Counsel to the 9/11 Commission, Snell is also one of the ex Feds who rewrote history in the Commission’s “Final Report” by relying entirely on the tortured “confession” of 9/11’s purported “mastermind” to pinpoint the origin of the “planes as missiles” plot.

He’s the same investigator who dismissed as not “sufficiently credible” the testimony of a decorated Navy Captain who was part of a secret data mining operation that uncovered evidence of 9/11 hijackers in the U.S. more than a year before the attacks.

A former Deputy Attorney General under “the Sheriff of Wall Street,” Snell is now attempting to quash the subpoenas of investigators probing whether Spitzer misused state troopers to investigate his chief political rival, protecting his ex boss and mentor with a “separation of powers” defense worthy of Dick Cheney.

Despite Spitzer’s sudden flameout, there are currently three separate probes pending of Troopergate, the scandal that erupted when Spitzer’s aides reportedly used State Police to investigate the travel expenses of Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno.

The New York Daily News estimated that while the initial use of state resources to benefit Bruno was $72,000.00, the cost to the taxpayers of defending Spitzer, who refused to cooperate with the New York A.G.’s office, could amount to $1.54 million. And $400,000 of that figure will probably go to Snell’s law firm.

But from this reporter’s perspective it is Dieter Snell himself who ought to be in the hot seat answering questions, not about a petty state corruption probe but questions that go to the heart of the greatest mass murder in U.S. history: 9/11.

It was just four years ago Saturday, March 15th, 2004, when Snell led me into a windowless conference room at 26 Federal Plaza, the building that houses the FBI’s New York Office (NYO). It was then the temporary New York quarters of the 9/11 Commission’s staff.

Months earlier, Commission Chairman Gov. Tom Kean had read my first investigative book for HarperCollins, 1000 Years for Revenge, which presented probative evidence that Ramzi Yousef, mastermind of the first WTC bombing in 1993, had designed “the planes” operation as early as the fall of 1994 in Manila and that his uncle Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM) had merely carried out the plot after Yousef was captured in February of 1995.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), one of the top FBI oversight lawmakers on the Hill, had read the book and pronounced it a “must read for the FBI, Congress, the 9/11 Commission and anyone whose job it is to protect national security,” so Gov. Kean directed Commission Executive Director Philip Zelikow to arrange for my testimony.

Cherry Picking the Evidence

But I was cautious. A source I had on the Commission staff told me that Zelikow and staffers on both side of the aisle were “cherry picking” the evidence, in an effort to remove Yousef, from the 9/11 scenario.

Why? Because as I’d reported in 1000 Years, the FBI’s NYO could have stopped Yousef in the fall of 1992 while he was building the 1,500 pound urea nitrate-formaldehyde device that he detonated on the B-2 level below the Twin Towers on February 26th, 1993, killing six and injuring 1000.

It was a plot directly funded by al Qaeda and tied to the cell around blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman. If the Bureau’s elite Joint Terrorism Task Force had simply done its job and stopped Yousef then, he would never have executed the first attack on the Towers or escaped New York the night of the bombing to commence the 9/11 plot from Manila, half a year later.

1000 Years For Revenge contained probative evidence suggesting that prosecutors in the SDNY – including Dietrich Snell – had received evidence from the Philippines National Police (PNP) in early 1995 that, if acted upon, would have tipped the Feds to the 9/11 plot six years earlier.

Snell had prosecuted Yousef in 1996 for Bojinka, a non suicide plot to blow up airliners over the Pacific that was separate from the “planes as missiles” scenario, and as I saw it, he should have been called before the 9/11 Commission as a witness, testifying under oath about what he and other SDNY officials knew of this second suicide plot involving airliners.

The Fox and the Chicken Coop

Instead, Snell was given a senior Commission leadership role and put in charge of determining the single most important conclusion in the Commission’s investigation: the origin of the plot. Without knowing precisely when the plot began, no U.S. officials could be held accountable for failing to stop it.

So four years ago, when I learned that Snell would take my “testimony,” I was properly skeptical.

Also, my source had warned me that despite the televised public Commission hearings, and the appearance of transparency, more than 90 percent of the witness intake to the Commission had been anecdotal and unrecorded.

So I prepared my “testimony” ahead of time.

In the presence of an FBI agent assigned to the Commission staff, Snell sat across from me at a conference table. There was no stenographer or recording equipment present. The sandy-haired former AUSA took out a small spiral notebook and began to take notes as I read my statement.

Because I was writing a second book on the failures of the Feds on the road to 9/11, and because Snell had played such a key role in the prosecution of Yousef, I ended up asking him as many questions as he asked me.

I wanted to know why he had flown over eleven PNP officials to testify at the Bojinka trial but not Col. Rodolfo B. Mendoza, the top PNP investigator who had interrogated Yousef’s partner Abdul Hakim Murad, a pilot trained in four U.S. flights schools. It was Murad who was to have been the original lead pilot of the plot – the role later assumed by hijacker Mohammed Atta.

I wanted Snell to answer why he and other SDNY Feds had kept the hunt for KSM secret for more than two and a half years, only quietly passing his name to the press in January of 1998 when the plot was well underway, when they had arrested Yousef, his nephew, via a very public $2 million rewards program that had caused one of Ramzi’s cohorts to “rat him out.” Why not use the same method to capture his uncle KSM who was executing the “planes operation?”

“That’s Classified”

But each time I asked a question, Snell would smile and say, “That’s classified” or “I can’t discuss that.” At the end of my testimony I told him I would send along the transcript of my March 19, 2002 interview with Col. Mendoza, which documented Yousef’s creation of the planes-as-missiles plot in 1994.

I had evidence from the PNP that Yousef’s Toshiba laptop, passed on to the CIA in January of 1995, contained the full blown “9/11” plot, including seven targets: the WTC, the Pentagon, the White House, CIA headquarters, the Transamerica and Sears Towers, and an unnamed nuclear facility.

But as it turned out, that was evidence that Snell, as an alumnus of the SDNY, did not want to hear. Why? Because it corroborated the findings of the PNP that Ramzi Yousef was the architect of the 9/11 attacks and that, in turn, put blood on the hands of the FBI’s NYO for failing to stop him back in 1992.

Given Snell’s apparent bias, I sent the additional evidence directly to Commission co-chairman Tom Kean. In a cover letter, I asked him to make sure that it was a part of the permanent Commission record.

But when the Commission’s final report was published, that evidence was flushed – reduced to a single footnote that didn’t even mention Col. Mendoza by name, even though he was the investigator who had first uncovered Yousef’s suicide-hijack plot.
Rewriting History

In the Commission’s final Staff Statement #16, largely authored by Snell, the Commission removed Yousef from the “planes as missiles” plot and supported the fiction that the plot didn’t even begin to germinate until 1996, well after Yousef’s capture. The new finding, per Snell, was that KSM merely “pitched” the idea to Bin Laden in ’96 but it didn’t get a green light from the Saudi billionaire until 1998.

Worse, Snell and the staffers based their evidence for the origin of the plot entirely on the word of KSM, who we now know was subjected to waterboarding and torture in his interrogation.

Taking the sole word of KSM on the origin of the plot was a bit like taking the word of David Berkowitz for when he committed his first “Son of Sam” murder. But as the primary author of Staff Statement #16, the Commission’s last word on the plot origin, that’s what Dietrich Snell decided to do.

To this day, KSM’s questionable testimony has served to define the official record on the origin of the 9/11 plot, even though Snell himself admitted under oath, at the March 2005 German trial of an al Qaeda suspect, that he himself had never met Khalid Shaikh, that he’d merely submitted questions to KSM’s interrogators, and that he (Snell) had no control over how or even whether questions were asked.

Back on the Ides of March, 2004, as I left 26 Federal Plaza, I had no idea that a group of Army investigators in the year 2000 had been on a parallel investigative track to mine. But Snell would soon reject their evidence as well.
Discrediting the Able Danger Findings

In the early winter of 2000, a multi-million dollar data mining operation funded by the U.S. Army uncovered evidence that Mohammed Atta and three other 9./11 hijackers were present in the country months before the 9/11 Commission would conclude they’d arrived, thus making a number of U.S. agencies, including the FBI, culpable for their failure to stop them.

In the fall of 2003, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, a key player in what had been termed Operation Able Danger, told 9/11 Commission Executive Director Philip Zelikow of the Operation’s stunning findings during Zelikow’s visit to Afghanistan, where Shafer had been hunting bin Laden with Task Force 180.

By July 12th, 2004 as the Commission was wrapping up its investigation on the origin of the 9/11 plot, one of Shafer’s Able Danger colleagues, Capt. Scott Phillpott, met with a top Commission leader to corroborate Shafer’s findings.

The senior counsel he met with was Dietrich Dieter Snell.

Like Tony Shaffer’s account, Capt. Phillpott’s input about the al Qaeda connections to the New York cell of Sheikh Rahman would have defied the spin that Snell and the Commission staff had decided to sell.

Phillpott was a Navy veteran who had previously commanded three ships, a decorated veteran with immense integrity and reliability as a witness. But after the meeting, Snell spurned Phillpott’s evidence on the hijacker’s U.S. presence, and not a word of it showed up in the final Commission Report.

Nothing more might have come of it until August of 2005, when the New York Times broke the story of how tens of thousands of pages of Able Danger evidence had been ordered destroyed in March of 2000. The scandal grew, and by mid February 2006 the House Army Services Committee called Snell to testify.
Spitzer KO’s Snell Appearance

But on the day of the hearing, February 15th, 2006, it was learned that Eliott Spitzer himself had intervened with the Committee’s counsel to keep Snell from having to account under oath for his dismissal of the Able Danger evidence. Citing Snell’s “heavy workload” in New York, Spitzer got him a pass from having to testify.

During his tenure on the 9/11 Commission, pushing the “origin of the plot” forward to 1996 and ignoring the Able Danger evidence weren’t Snell’s only lapses.

As Larisa Alexandrovna pointed out in a RAW STORY piece on February 28th, citing Phil Shenon’s recent book, The Commission, Snell also seemed to defy his own staffers who wanted to explore the Saudi government’s ties to Omar al-Bayoumi.

Al-Bayoumi was the San Diego based Saudi defense contractor whose company had multiple contracts with Prince Sultan, the father of Saudi Arabia’s then U.S. ambassador Prince Bandar. The flamboyant Bandar was so tight with the Bush family that over the years he’d earned the nickname “Bandar Bush.”

As reported in Triple Cross, Bayoumi played host to two of the 9/11 muscle hijackers, al-Midar and al-Hazmi, who flew AA # 77 into the Pentagon on 9.11:

    “…using their own names, al-Midhar and al-Hazmi jetted from Bangkok to Los Angeles on January 15th. There they were met by Omar al-Bayoumi a Saudi, suspected of being an intelligence officer, who had visited the Saudi consulate in L.A. the same day. After three weeks the two would-be hijackers moved to San Diego, where they lived openly for the next five months. During that period al-Bayoumi helped them get settled, finding them an apartment across from where he lived. It was later reported by Newsweek and the Washington Times that al-Bayoumi may have been the recipient of funds sent to his wife indirectly from Princess Haifa bin Faisal, wife of the then-Saudi ambassador to the U.S., Prince Bandar.

In fact, new information from declassified FBI files as reflected in Ms. Alexandrovna’s account for RAW STORY shows that al-Midhar and al-Hazmi were living in a residence rented by al-Bayoumi from the day they arrived in California; not weeks later as reported in the 9/11 Commission Report. With respect to Snell’s possible knowledge of the Saudi connection, Ms. Alexandrova writes:

    Bayoumi moved to London in 2001 and lived there until his arrest immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks. Following his release, Bayoumi returned to Saudi Arabia, where he was interviewed in October 2003 by the Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikow, and Senior Counsel Dieter Snell.

    Snell did not respond to requests for comment; Zeilkow could not be reached.

    According to Shenon, several staff members working under Snell, “felt strongly that they had demonstrated a close Saudi government connection,” based on “explosive material” on al-Bayoumi and Fahad al-Thumairy, a “shadowy Saudi diplomat in Los Angeles.”

    Shenon recounts how Snell, in preparing his team’s account of the plot, purged almost all of the most serious allegations against the Saudi government and moved the “explosive” supporting evidence to the small print of the report’s footnotes. (The Commission, pp. 398-399)

    Two commission investigators who were working on documenting the 9/11 plot, Michael Jacobsen and Raj De, argued that it was “crazy” to insist on 100 percent proof when it came to al-Qaeda or the Saudi regime. In the end, however, and with a publishing deadline looming, Snell’s caution and Zelikow’s direction buried apparently promising leads.

Entering Private Practice

On April 30th, Snell left his job as Deputy Attorney General to join the law firm of Proskauer Rose, which has offices in seven U.S. cities as well as Paris, London and Sao Paulo. Within months, the firm had been retained by Spitzer’s office to defend him in the Troopergate scandal.

Last July, New York Attorney General Cuomo’s office issued a report finding that Spitzer’s staff had acted improperly but not illegally. But the Senate Committee’s probe is ongoing along with an investigation by the state’s Public Integrity Commission. Also, after closing his inquiry into Troopergate last year, Albany District Attorney David Soares has reopened it. On Thursday Snell charged Soares with continuing on a “fishing expedition” and acting as “grand jury and grand inquisitor.”

It was an ironic use of the term.

Elliott Spitzer prosecuted Wall Street white collar crime with the same venom he used on call girl services and high-end pimps. Using the Attorney General’s office as a state-based strike force against local, state, even national corruption, he redefined the modern day inquisition.

As Governor, he apparently saw himself in the same role. Last year he reportedly told Assembly Minority leader James Tedisco that he was “a fucking steamroller” who would “roll over” Tedisco “and anybody else.”

Steamroller or Sheriff, we now know that Spitzer also redefined the term hypocrisy.

On Tuesday after the New York Times broke the call girl story, Dietrich Snell, with a few key advisors, was reportedly holed up in Spitzer’s Fifth Avenue co-op working on the damage control. In defense of Spitzer, and reportedly billing the public for his hours, he continued the spin in court on Thursday.

Disgraced and out of office, it’s time that Spitzer made a full accounting of his public sins along with his private ones. In the process, his loyal retainer and counsel Dietrich Snell needs to come clean as well.

Secret Hearings Conceal 9/11 Terrorist Links to Congress & White House

Something strange has been occurring on the fourth floor under the dome of the U.S. Capitol. The security is so strict that even the representatives and senators from the joint-intelligence committee investigating the September 11 attacks must check their cell phones and pagers at the door of the sound-proof room — a meeting place regularly swept for listening devices.

Secret Hearings Conceal 9/11 Terrorist Links to Congress & White House

by Tom Flocco

 
Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG),  globalresearch.ca ,  11  August 2002

Global Outlook , Issue No 2  9-11: Foreknowledge or Deception? Stop the Nuclear Threat. Now available (for details click here) .

Order by phone from publisher. Call (toll free) 1-888-713-8500. 


Something strange has been occurring on the fourth floor under the dome of the U.S. Capitol. The security is so strict that even the representatives and senators from the joint-intelligence committee investigating the September 11 attacks must check their cell phones and pagers at the door of the sound-proof room — a meeting place regularly swept for listening devices.

These and other indications reveal that no chances are being taken which might result in having words spoken in confidence leak out of that room. And there are no reports regarding whether legislators are more worried about U.S. citizens getting wind of the contents of their discussions than the terrorists.

Senator Bob Graham (D-FL), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said it was the first time in the history of the Congress that two standing committees have held joint hearings. Moreover, some might question such extreme measures and whether crucial truth is being held in the hands of too few — given unspoken congressional and administration links to terrorism.

Wide reports last week revealed that an enraged White House had called joint-committee chairmen Graham and Representative Porter Goss (R-FL) about classified leaks from the members, which resulted in their requesting the FBI to ask members and staff to undergo polygraph tests which clearly intrude upon the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches. This, as the surreptitious hearings have been postponed till late September.

Genesis of a Cover Up

One reason for the furtive activity may have a lot to do with why both the White House and CNN altered the transcript of a 4 pm, May 16, 2002 press conference by National Security Advisor Dr. Condoleezza Rice in the James Brady Briefing Room.

The machinations had their genesis later in the day that Thursday, after the New York Post hit the streets with its huge “Bush Knew? banner, adding “Prez Was Warned of Possible Hijacking Before Terror Attacks? as a subheading. Shortly thereafter, other papers began to reveal the contents of a Presidential FBI briefing from August 6 — just 36 days prior to the September 11 attacks.

The top-secret briefing said that Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda were going to “bring the fight to America,” according to the Toronto Star, for past attacks upon its training camps in Afghanistan. So the wheels of presidential damage control started turning, even as the New York Times was putting finishing touches on an explosive May 19 story for the next day, reporting that President Bush had also been briefed before September 11 regarding:

“A 1999 report for the National Intelligence Council, which oversees government intelligence analysis, saying “Suicide bomber (s) belonging to Al Qaed martyrdom Battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the [CIA] or the White House.” ?

Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle (D-SD), said he was “gravely concerned about the information provided us just yesterday that the president received a warning in August about the threat of hijackers…,” adding “Why did it take eight months for us to receive this information,” — but failing at the same time to use his senatorial power to subpoena the documents.

Then House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-MO) stepped up to the plate and called for a congressional investigation into “what the president and what the White House knew about the events leading up to 9/11.” But Gephardt has also been convinced not to make waves — grieving victim families who are depending on him to fight for truth notwithstanding.

Sleeping With the Enemy?

While researching various sections of a related story surrounding growing evidence that the FBI and other government entities are more closely linked to pre-9/11 insider trading than previously was thought, it was found that the Secretary of State and two other State Department officials, the Central Intelligence Administration (CIA) Director, three senators, and a congressman actually met with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Security Agency (ISI) chief, who had wired $100,000 to fund the operations of terrorist hijacker leader Mohammed Atta just prior to the attacks.

But worse, actual evidence is available that the White House and CNN doctored the transcript of National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice’s damage control press conference, held at 4 pm that afternoon on May 18, 2001.

In an updated, scholarly, and thorough report entitled  “Political Deception: The Missing Link Behind 9-11,” Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG), 6-20-2002 , by Michel Chossudovsky, University of Ottawa Professor of Economics, these and a number of other critical revelations are brought to the fore while other media have ignored them — not connecting the dots.

Noticing that a couple words were deleted from the CNN transcript of Dr. Rice’s May 16 remarks — when compared to the transcript from the Federal News Service which had the words “ISI Chief” included in its transcript, we placed a call to the public information office at CNN in Atlanta yesterday. The story was too compelling; it had to find more daylight.

After talking with a woman named Devon, we were told, “After checking the transcript for Dr. Rice’s May 16 press conference, you are correct that the words “ISI Chief ? are missing from our transcript.” Devon emailed us a CNN office printout copy, and the word “inaudible? was indeed found in parentheses. Then we printed out the actual White House website transcript of the event; and at that same place in the transcript, we found that “ISI Chief” was also missing:

Q: Dr. Rice? Dr. Rice? Ms. RICE: Yes? Q: Are you aware of the reports at the time that —– was in Washington on September 11th; and on September 10th, $100,000 was wired from Pakistan to these groups in this area? And why was he here? Was he meeting with you or anybody in the administration? Ms. RICE: I have not seen that report, and he was certainly not meeting with me. The Washington Post (5-16-2002) reported that “Officials familiar with the White House’s strategy [during damage control], said senior aides were anxious to dispel the notion of a cover up and said they wanted to avoid appearing defensive, either in front of cameras or behind the scenes.”

Terrorist Hijacker’s Financial Benefactor

According to the Times of India (10-9-2001), Mohammed Att financial bagman, Lt. General Mahmoud Ahmad had been fired as head of Pakistan’s ISI, as “U.S. authorities [FBI] sought his removal after confirming that $100,000 had been wired to WTC hijacker Mohammed Atta from Pakistan through Ahmad Sheikh at the instance (sic) of General Mahmoud.”

Times of India then reported that “Senior [U.S.] government sources have confirmed that India contributed significantly to establishing the link between the money transfer and the role played by the dismissed ISI chief.” But ABC investigative reporter Brian Ross had beaten them on the story, reporting to Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts on September 30, 2001:

“As to September 11, federal authorities have told ABC News they?ve now tracked more than $100,000 from banks in Pakistan to two banks in Florida to accounts held by suspected hijack ringleader Mohammed Atta. As well this morning [Sundax’s “This Week? Show], “Time? magazine is reporting that some of that money came in the days just before the attack and can be traced directly to people connected to Osama bin Laden.”

But Roberts and Donaldson kept adding fuel to the fire, when about one month later, on October 28 during “This Week,” Ms. Roberts asked Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: “You?ve heard Brian Ross’s report, the confirmation that Mohammed Ata met with an Iraqi intelligence official….Do you think it was — the meeting with Mohammed Atta was significant, in terms of September 11?

Rumsfeld responded cryptically, “We will know that only after the proper law enforcement people investigate that. Clearly, the meeting is not nothing. It is something notable.”

Att Money-man Meets With 9/11 Investigation Chairmen on Morning of Attacks

Three days after the attacks on September 14, the New York Times reported that important members of the Bush Administration met with the terrorist financier and ISI Chief, General Ahmad: CIA Director George Tenet, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Under-Secretary of State Marc Grossman, and Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE) — Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

However, the Times also revealed that on September 11 — while the attacks were in progress — the two current Co-Chairmen of the Joint-Intelligence Committee investigating the 9/11 attacks, Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) and Representative Porter Goss (R-FL), met for breakfast with the ISI Chief who had ordered $100,000 wired from Pakistan to terrorist leader Mohammed Atta in the days immediately preceeding the attacks.

All this, while General Ahmad was in the United States meeting with multiple Bush Administration officials and members of Congress:

“When the news came, the two Florida lawmakers who lead the House and Senate intelligence committees were having breakfast with the head of the Pakistani intelligence service. Rep. Porter Goss, Sen. Bob Graham, and other members of the House Intelligence Committee were talking about terrorism issues with the Pakistani official when a member of Goss? staff handed a note to Goss, who handed it to Graham. “We were talking about terrorism, specifically terrorism generated from Afghanistan,” Graham said.” [presciently]

In a skilled analysis of the neglected yet important story, Professor Chossudovsky literally dug deep to verify the participation of Bush Administration officials in the meetings with the hijacker financier behind the September 11 attacks.

News Pakistan (9-10-2001) reported that ISI Chief Lt. General Mahmoud Ahmad arrived in the U.S. on September 4, adding that

“Mahmoud’s week-long presence in Washington has triggered speculation about the agenda of his mysterious meeting at the Pentagon and National Security Council….Official sources confirm that he met with [George] Tenet this week. He also held long parleys with unspecified officials at the White House and the Pentagon. But the most important meeting was with Marc Grossman, U.S. Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs. One can safely guess that the discussions must have centered around Afghanistan….and Osama bin Laden.”

But this news report was written on September 10 — the day before the attacks.

According to the Miami Herald (9-16-2001), “Graham said the Pakistani intelligence official with whom he met….was forced to stay all week in Washington because of the shutdown of air traffic. “He was marooned here, and I think that gave Secretary of State Powell and others in the administration a chance to really talk with him.” ?

Perhaps Chossudovskx’s most telling analysis comes in just one short sentence from congressional intelligence investigation Co-Chairman Porter Goss: “None of this is news, but it’s all part of the finger-pointing,” Goss declared yesterday in a rare display of pique. “It’s foolishness.” (Washington Post, 9-18-2002)

Then the Ottawa professor added: “This statement comes from the man who was having breakfast with the alleged “money-man? behind 9/11 — on the morning of September 11.”

The Post topped off the story, adding that ?[General] Ahmad ran a spy agency notoriously close to Osama bin Laden and the Taliban.” But Chossudovsky unearthed another telling Goss statement from a White House bulletin: “Chairman Porter Goss said an existing congressional inquiry has so far found “no smoking gun” that would warrant another inquiry.” (5-17-2002)

Moreover, Chossudovsky reminds that CIA Director George Tenet also met with ISI Chief Ahmad just prior to the 9/11 attacks, and that Tenet had regularly met with President Bush nearly every morning at 8 am sharp for about a half hour.

But most curiously, a document known as the President’s Daily Briefing, OPDB, “is prepared at Langley by the CIA?s analytical directorate, and a draft goes home with Tenet each night. Tenet edits it personally and delivers it orally during his early morning meeting with Bush.” (Washington Post, 5-17-2002) But there are no reports as to why the President prefers not to keep written records of important CIA briefings.

The Ottawa professor added that “this practice of “oral intelligence briefings? is unprecedented. Bush’s predecessors at the White House, received a written briefing:?

“With Bush, who liked oral briefings and the CIA director in attendance, a strong relationship had developed. Tenet could be direct, even irreverent and earthy.” (Washington Post, 1-29-2002) Investigating the Investigators?

A critical component of the Joint-Intelligence Committee’s investigation is the first part of what Co-Chairman Bob Graham calls “a three-act play.” The first act, according to CNN.com “will focus on establishing a factual timeline as it relates to what was known before September 11.”

Questions remain whether Graham’s timeline document will ultimately become required reading for every member of Congress, along with the early July FBI briefing and the August 6 presidential briefing — given the above evidence, multiple indications of a cover up, links to Congress and the White House, and additional unanswered questions of 9/11.

Another key Intelligence Committee member, Richard Shelby (R-AL), was widely quoted in reference to Co-Chairman Goss. Chiding his fellow Republican, “You know, [House committee chairman Goss] is a former CIA employee, and I know he’s close to a lot of people over there,” Shelby told Roll Call (October, 2001). “I don’t think we should be too close to anybody we have oversight of because you can’t do your job. You become subverted by the process.”

As to other investigative options, James Ridgeway added that ?[An Independent Commission] could cause a dreadful scene, with senior lawmakers and their staffs in the spotlight along with the intelligence chiefs. After all, what did the members of Congress know before September 11? Might they have forewarned us”? (Orange County Weekly, June 7-13, 2002)

Courageous members of Congress may also have interest in Graham’s “notebooks filled with jotted records of every meeting and phone call.” (Associated Press, 5-30-2002) And Knight Ridder (6-4-2002) added that the relatively tight time frame [Goss wants the 9/11 investigation report finished by January, 2003] may encourage some [Administration agencies] to “run out the clock” and hold back potentially embarrassing information.

The evidence of White House and media cover up of that important visit just prior to the attacks by the individual supplying the money to finance the terrorists is only made more crucial when one considers that so many high government officials met with this person — some while the attacks were in progress. However, Americans are being denied an explanation and a carefully thorough public investigation of this evidence.

Further completing the circle, a Times of India report (3-7-2001) reveals that “The CIA worked in tandem with Pakistan to create the “monster” that is today Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban,” a leading U.S. expert on South Asia had said months prior to the attacks.

Selig Harrison from the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars added, “The CIA made a historic mistake in encouraging Islamic groups from all over the world to come to Afghanistan.” But more importantly, Harrison reveals that “the old associations between the intelligence agencies continue….The CIA still has close links with the ISI.”

Americans may now wonder what terrorist money man and ISI Chief Ahmad was discussing with George Tenet, Colin Powell, and members of Congress during those long meetings prior to the worst attacks on American soil in our history.

And after all this, some U.S. citizens may even question whether there is anyone left to depose Bush Administration officials and Members of Congress under oath who would never subpoena themselves to offer explanations for demonstrated conflicts of interest — or worse.


Tom Flocco is an independent American investigative journalist who has written for Scoop.co.nz, AmericanFreePress.net. WorldNetDaily.com, FromTheWilderness.com, NewsMax.com, NarcoNews.com, and JudicialWatch.org. He is also a frequent CRG contributor.  To Contact Tom Flocco:: TomFlocco@cs.com . Copyright

The case of Muhammad Haidar Zammar



 

The case of Muhammad Haidar Zammar1

By Elias Davidsson (January 2014)

How German leaders conspired with the U.S. and Syria in covering-up a secret operation

1. Who is Zammar?

Muhammad Haidar Zammar (also written Mohammad or Mohammed Haydar) was born in Aleppo, Syria in 1961. He moved to Germany with his family when he was ten years old and became a German citizen in 1982. According to intelligence services, he participated in the war against the occupation of Afghanistan by Soviet forces and in the civil war in ex-Yugoslavia, on the Bosnian side. According to these sources, Zammar decided in 1991 to dedicate himself fully to “jihad”, whatever that means.

2. Why is Zammar’s case relevant for understanding the conduct of Mohammed El Amir Atta?

The reason for examining thoroughly the case of Zammar, is that he reportedly claimed to have recruited Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi and Ziad Jarrah, three of the alleged suicide-pilots of 9/11,into the Al Qaeda network and induced them go to Afghanistan for military training.1While Zammar’s claims have not been confirmed independently, U.S. and German authorities have not denied these claims. According to unnamed U.S. investigators, Zammar is indeed believed to have recruited Mohamed Atta and his Hamburg group to become “suicide attackers”.2

Should that have been the case, the question would arise whether he acted on his own or as an operative for “higher-ups”. In the latter case, discovering the identity of these “higher-ups” would help explain the role played by Mohamed El Amir Atta and his friends, in relation to 9/11.

The present study demonstrates that Zammar was no marginal figure in relation to the group around Mohamed Atta; that the German government was aware of his key role long before 9/11; that it facilitated his departure from Germany after 9/11; and that it remains determined to hide the true function of Zammar.

3. Zammar was monitored by German intelligence long before 9/11

According to the German weekly Der Spiegel, unnamed officials said that Zammar, who obtained a German passport in 1982, had been already known to Germany’s Federal Office of the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, or BfV) since the end of the 1980s as a militant Muslim and recruiter for “jihad”.3 According to diverse mainstream sources, German and U.S. intelligence services had Zammar under extensive observation at least since 19984, probably earlier.5They reportedly interceptedhis phone calls6, monitored his meetings7 and surveilled his movements.8 Information about the surveillance of Zammar “from the files of various German police and intelligence agencies”, was provided to the New York Times “by someone with official access to the files of the continuing investigation into the events leading to the Sept. 11 attacks.”9 German officials did not dispute the authenticity of these documents.

According to the German weekly Der Spiegel,10 the newspaper Stuttgarter Nachrichten11 and a later Spiegel article12, Turkish authorities informed their German colleagues already in 1996 that Zammar had flown more than 40 times through Istanbul and Ankara on the way to, or back from war zones. This fact was withheld from the Commission of Inquiry of the Bundestag (COI) and was not mentioned in the commission’s final report.Yet, such extensive travel by an unemployed person who depended on welfare payments, should have raised immediate alarms.

A German investigator, EKHK Kröschel, was asked by the Commission of Inquiry what was known to German intelligence about Zammar before 9/11. As part of his answer, he read from a dossier on Zammar from the Hamburg Office for the Protection of the Constitution (LfV), that predates 9/11:

“On the base of numerous information, Zammar is known to the Hamburg Office of the Protection of the Constitution as a follower of Osama bin Laden and is considered as belonging to the network of ‘Arab Afghans’. According to his own wish, Zammar underwent already in 1991 military training as a Mujahedeen in the use of infantry weapons and explosives in Pakistan and participated thereafter in combat in Afghanistan. He had presumably personal contact to Osama bin Laden, whom he admires.”

According to an unnamed investigator quoted by Der Spiegel, Zammar acted as a kind of “travel agency to Afghanistan.”Long before 9/11, it was suspected by German intelligence that Zammar organized military training for wanabee German “jihadists” in Bin Laden’s camps. According to Azam Irschid, deputy director of the Al-Muhadjirin mosque in Hamburg, Zammar was known within the Islamic community in Hamburg as a full-fledged apostle of “jihad”.13

According to Der Spiegel, the BfV tried to recruit Zammar in 1996 as an informant, an offer he supposedly declined: He was said not to serve Westerners, “only Allah and the jihad.”14He reportedly claimed to have been militarily trained in a “mujahedeen” camp already in 1991 and had got to know Bin Laden personally. Zammar, however, supposedly said that Al Qaeda considered him of little value.15 His statements cannot be independently verified. No open-source evidence exists regarding the period of surveillance, its extent, purpose and nature. There is, however, no plausible reason why mainstream media would fabricate evidence of Zammar’s surveillance by intelligence agencies, nor why such agencies would wish to promote Zammar’s bluster. In fact, when reports appeared about pre-9/11 surveillance of the Hamburg group in general and that of Zammar in particular, Germany’s intelligence agencies tried to downplay the significance of its surveillance. Yet, according to the German weekly STERN, German investigators informed the CIA about their surveillance of Zammar, suggesting thereby that they considered his activities sufficiently significant to report them to their U.S. colleagues.16

The name of Haydar Zammar did never appear in German media prior to 9/11. Public evidence of his existence appeared in German media only after he left Germany with the knowledge of the German authorities in the end of October 2001.

4.  What was the purpose of monitoring Zammar?

There is no public evidence that Zammar was questioned by German criminal investigators prior to 9/11. Had he been considered as a security threat – as later claimed by German authorities – they would have possessed at least five good reasons to invite him for questioning prior to 9/11: (1)Three Yemeni men, suspected of being members of Islamic Jihad, were arrested in Torino, Italy, on October 2, 1998, alleged to have prepared attacks on U.S. facilities in Europe. On their address list, Italian authorities found contacts of Mohamed Haydar Zammar;17 (2) The arrest of Al Qaeda suspect Mamduh Mahmud Salim in Munich in the fall of 1998, equally led to Zammar;18 (3) Zammar’s modest financial means (he was on welfare) were not commensurate with his extensive international travel of which intelligence agencies were aware; (4) After he was detained in Jordan in July 2001 and expelled from there to Germany, there existed ample grounds to debrief him;19 (5) other known “suspected extremists” or “Al Qaeda sympathizers” among Hamburg’s Muslims, monitored from as early as 1996,20 included the group around Mohamed Atta and were in permanent contact with Zammar.21If such questioning or debriefing did not take place, German intelligence and investigative authorities owe the public an explanation. Was it the result of gross negligence, or were they ordered to leave him alone? If such questioning or debriefing had taken place before 9/11, the question would arise why this fact is being suppressed and what did these interrogations reveal.

After mainstream media revealed the extensive surveillance of Zammar by German intelligence agencies prior to 9/11, German officials did not issue a denial but rather tried to downplay the significance and the extent of the surveillance. They claimed that Zammar was then not considered as an “extremist”; that “what we did not see, were concrete signs for such a violent act as occurred in New York”;22 that the surveillance had been a “routine operation,”23that intercepted phone calls did not allow to determine the identities of the later “9/11 terrorists” because callers used only first names;24 that at the time, German officials were not overly concerned of a threat emanating from Osama bin Laden25; and that nothing Zammar did was illegal at the time. As a “final proof” of Zammar’s benign intentions, Spiegel’s journalists presented the fact that he did not attempt to flee from Germany after 9/11.26

The above explanations revealed themselves later as contrived: According to Der Spiegel 45/2002, Zammar admitted in interrogations conducted in Syria, that he planned in 1998, together with several other “Islamists”, to carry out a bombing attack in Hamburg, Germany. He and his colleaguesreportedly surveilled the target to be bombed but ultimately found the attacks too risky to carry out because of security considerations. If he actually made this admission, it is surprising that nothing of these plans had transpired in the massive surveillance to which he was subjected. If his statement was the result of torture, the question arises why it was presented by Der Spiegel as a genuine admission.

5. Why was Zammar detained in Jordan in July 2001?

The German authorities reportedly knew that Zammar had been detained in July 2001 in Jordan for several days and expelled to Germany.27 He most probably was debriefed by German officials upon his return to Germany. It is, therefore, surprising that the German authorities did never mention such debriefing (or explained the lack thereof).The reasons for his detention in Jordan have never been clarified. Surprisingly, the 1460-page report by the Commission of Inquiry of the Bundestag (COI), does neither mention Zammar’s detention in Jordan nor his alleged admission to have planned a terrorist attack in Hamburg.

6. Zammar was interrogated after 9/11 in Germany and released immediately

The German authorities interrogated Zammar already six days after 9/1128. He reportedly admitted to a German judge that he had previously distributed Osama bin Laden’s “Declaration of War against the Americans” to Muslims in Germany.29 It was not clear why he was presented to a judge. According to Der Spiegel journalist Holger Stark, this was no mere interrogation but actually a “trial”, which was “not open to the public”.30 At the time he made the aforementioned admission, Osama bin Laden was already widely considered as the instigator of the 9/11 attacks. German officials knew after 9/11 that Zammar had in the past entertained “intensive contacts” with the alleged perpetrators of 9/11, i.e. to Atta, Alshehhi and Jarrah, as well as to the fugitive Ramzi Binalshibh.31 The authorities also knew that Zammar travelled extensively but had not the financial means to pay for his travel himself. The fact that Zammar was interrogated shortly after 9/11 was not reported at the time in German media. Yet, Der Spiegel was apparently informed of Zammar’s interrogation, for it interviewed Zammar four days later.32 But Der Spiegel mentioned its interview only in 2002. In its extensive report regarding the Hamburg group published on October 15, 2001, Der Spiegel did not mention Zammar at all.33 The contents of Der Spiegel’s interview with Zammar were never published.

It took four weeks after Zammar’s interrogation for Germany’s Attorney General’s Office to initiate a criminal investigation of Zammar as a suspected supporter of a terrorist organisation. The evidence prompting this criminal investigation included – in addition to what the authorities knew before 9/11 –incomplete and untrue statements made by Zammar to the judge on September 17, particularly about his contacts withthe alleged perpetrators of 9/11.34 It was revealed in 2007 that the investigation of Zammar, initiated in 2001, had not yet been closed.35

It was revealed in the report of the Commission of Inquiry of the Bundestag, that merely hours after the 9/11 attacks, the decision was adopted by the German Federal Criminal Police (BKA) to establish a special unit, entitled “Besondere Aufbauorganisation USA” (BAO USA) – a peculiar name given to that unit – whose role was to “take the appropriate measures regarding the investigations by the Office of the Attorney General in relation to the attacks of 9/11 and to ensure national and international obligations of informational cooperation.”36The unit employed at times more than 600 people37, and hosted at one time fifteen FBI agents.38 The then director of the Office of the Chancellor, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, told to the Commission of Inquiry: “It was and remains for me entirely self-evident that we cooperate – within our law – with the USA.The USA together with our European partners are and remain allies, also and particularly in the struggle against international terrorism.”39

Manfred Klink, who headed in 2001 the BAO-USA task force, informed the Commission of Inquiry, that Zammar was considered at the time “a very dangerous islamist fundamentalist, who could be expected at any time to participate in plotting new terrorist attacks.”40 Due to the alleged dangerousness of Zammar, the Office of the Attorney General also instituted after 9/11 a covert and systematic observation of Zammar. On the base of this observation, German officials learned that Zammar had booked a flight to Morocco.The Attorney General kept Germany’s Chancellor’s Office informed about both the investigation and the surveillance.41 Germany’s leaders manifestly considered Zammar as a key player in a murky operation.

Yet, officials explained later that the evidence on Zammar they possessed was not sufficient for detaining him as a suspect.Transcripts of his interrogations by German officials have not been released to the public, though The New York Times somehow obtained a copy of one such transcript from which it selectively quoted certain phrases.42

7. Officials allowed Zammar to leave Germany while he was under investigation

Germany’s Office of the Attorney General (OAG) was aware early on, that Zammar, while being investigated in relation to 9/11,planned to travel abroad, allegedly for personal reasons.On the base of surveillance, the OAG knew that Zammar inquired on October 17, 2001 about travel plans at the Hamburg airport.The OAG was also aware that on October 18, Zammar – claiming that he had lost his passport43 – attempted to obtain a temporary replacement passport, booked on October 24 a return flight from Hamburg to Casablanca and applied and obtained on that same day a temporary passport. The chief of the Customer Service Center at Hamburg North, Ms. Wolter, whose competence includes the issuance of passports, testified before the Commission of Inquiry that immediately after Zammar left the Center, a police officer came and told her that Zammar was under police observation. The officer wanted to know what Zammar was doing there.44

The authorities admit that they did not attempt to impede or at least delay Zammar’s travel, although he was under criminal investigation in relation to the mass-murder of 9/11. The German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) was actually advised by the OAG that in the case of Zammar’s departure from Germany, he should not be arrested,45 suggesting thereby the need to override an existing injunction to ban Zammar’s departure from Germany.

According to Kay Nehm, who served in 2001 as Germany’s Attorney General, he claimed before the Commission of Inquiry, that the authorities possessed in 2001 no legal means to prevent Zammar’s departure from the country.46 His claim was endorsed by the former head of the German “FBI” (BKA), Dr. Ulrich Kersten.47 This claim was, however, rejected as ludicrous by members of the opposition.48 Mounir el-Motassadeq, for example, who in the fall of 2001 was also designated by German authorities as a suspect by virtue of his friendship with Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi, was actually arrested and detained in order to prevent him from leaving Germany. Yet, in his case, no evidence existed at the time – or at any time later – of any connections between him and Osama bin Laden or Al Qaeda. The differential treatment of Mounir el Motassadeq and Zammar suggests that German authorities were not truthful about their alleged inability to prevent or delay Zammar’s departure from Germany.

The President of the BfV (Germany’s domestic intelligence service), Heinz Fromm, asked by members of the Commission of Inquiry why the authorities let Zammar, a “dangerous suspect”, leave Germany, gave the curious answer that “when he is not here, he cannot do much damage.”49 It was not reported whether the Commission’s members sniggered.

According to the German newspaper Welt Online, Zammar left Germany for Morocco on October 27, 2001. His car was reportedly found abandoned in a [Hamburg] street.50

Dr. Hansjörg Geiger, who at the time served as the Chief of the Ministry of Justice, told the Commission of Inquiry that Kay Nehm informed him on October 25, 2001 of the impending departure of Zammar from Germany scheduled two days later.51 In parallel, the coordinator of the German BND (Federal intelligence service),, Ernst Uhrlau, informed the Office of the Chancellor on October 22 or 23 about Zammar’s plans to leave Germany.52 A discussion about Zammar’s impending departure from Germany took place on October 26, 2001 at the Office of the Chancellor.53 Such high level interest in the movements of Zammar and the reluctance to arrest him, suggests that he was as a key government asset.

Another person connected to the group surrounding Mohamed Atta, who was also under surveillance by German intelligence, was Sa’eed Bahaji. He also left Germany while under observation. An unidenfied official of the BfV, using the pseudonym Jürgen Lindweiler, testified in Mounir el Motassadeq’s trial in 2003, that border control officials had to notify the BfV, should Bahaji leave Germany. He was not to be arrested but his departure date had to be immediately notified to the BfV. Yet, when Bahaji left Germany, the system surprisingly failed because the BfV was not notified about his departure.54 Was Bahaji’s departure from Germany also facilitated by the authorities?

8. German officials informed Dutch, Moroccan and U.S. intelligence services in advance about Zammar’s travels

The German authorities informed on October 26, 2001, Dutch55, Moroccan56 and U.S. authorities57 about Zammar’s travel plans, flight numbers, etc., and requested that they check whether he actually carried out his flights.58 The Moroccan authorities were reportedly informed by their German counterparts that Zammar was under criminal investigation in Germany for allegedly supporting a terrorist organisation and that he was known to have had contact with the fugitives Bahaji, Binalshibh and Essebar, accused to have been indirectly involved in the mass-murder of 9/11.59 Mr. Kröschel, who testified before the Commission of Inquiry, claimed that the main reason for informing the Moroccan authorities of Zammar’s travel was to warn the Moroccans: “Beware, here comes someone who is suspected here to have had strong contacts with the perpetrators of 9/11! He is suspected and accused here to be a supporter. Beware!”60 On November 26, 2001, German officials transmitted to the FBI information about Zammar’s family circumstances, in addition to travel details.61 It is not known what was the purpose of providing such information to the FBI.

German officials claim that they could not have envisaged at the time that, should Zammar leave Germany, he might be abducted by U.S. officials and “rendered” to a third country.62 Yet, according to a report by the Special Expert of the European Council on U.S. renditions, Dick Marty, U.S. allies were informed at a secret meeting held at the fringe of the NATO Council, as early as on October 2, 2001, about the U.S.rendition practice.63 The European chief of the CIA, Tyler Drumheller, corroborated in an interview with the German weekly STERN of March 11, 2008, that European governments and intelligence services were aware of the renditions’ practice already in the fall of 2001.64 He emphasized that he knows both Ernst Uhrlau, the then President of the BND and Dr. Steinmeier, personally, whom he said he met in the Chancellor’s Office in the fall of 2001. According to him the Germans expressed their displeasure at the time about unilateral U.S. “renditions” of terrorists from European soil, carried out without the permission of the respective governments. The CIA had then, according to Drumheller, “promised to involve our allies in the operations.” German officials, including Uhrlau and Steinmeier, emphatically rejected Drumheller’s allegations. Uhrlau said he “does not remember” having met Drumheller in the fall of 2001 but remembers having met him in Russia during a conference in 2002.65 However, he denied to have discussed renditions with him. Dr. Steinmeier, for his part, denied to have ever known, let alone met, Mr. Drumheller.66 Due to the status of Tyler Drumheller,as the chief of CIA in Europe,it is difficult to take these denials at face value.

9. Zammar disappears

Zammar was supposed to return from Morocco to Germany on December 8th, 2001. However, he did not show up to his flight. He later, when he was in Syrian detention, told a German consular official that he had been arrested in Morocco on December 8th, 2001, held there for 23 days and moved to Syria in the beginning of 2002.67

On December 13, 2001, an official of the BKA, Mr. Calame, learned that Zammar had been arrested by the Moroccan authorities.68 Yet, upon requests for information, the Moroccan authorities lied repeatedly to their German counterparts about Zammar’s fate: First, they denied that Zammar entered Morocco on October 27, 2001.69 Then they told the Germans that Zammar had left Morocco on August 15, 2001, i.e.long before his current entry into Morocco (there was no evidence that Zammar had at all traveled to Morocco in August 2001).70 Zammar was then said to have left Morocco through Agadir airport.71 Another time, that he left for Spain.72 A third time that he was expelled to Spain.73 A fourth time that he left for an “unknown destination.”74 Although aware of Morocco’s lies regarding Zammar, German officials refrained from asking their Moroccan counterparts about the circumstances of Zammar’s arrest.75 German leaders – previously anxious to be informed about the movements of that particular individual – allegedly refrained to inquire about Zammar’s fate.76 On June 5, 2002 – five months after his “rendition” – the Moroccan authorities informed the BKA that Zammar was expelled to Spain on December 27, 2001 and was now in Syria.77

According to a Spiegel report of January 8, 2007, based on a memorandum from the German embassy in Washington, D.C., representatives of the State Department told German embassy officials that Germany “should not undertake steps against Morocco regarding Zammar because Morocco had acted expressly at the request of the United States.“78 Asked whether to his opinion Germany had been lied to by ”friendly partners”, Mr. Uhrlau admitted that this had been the case.79 He added that one cannot always expect from partners truthful answers to questions.80 Indeed, “friendly partners” are not necessarily true friends.

At this point, it might be useful to recall that Zammar was a German citizen who was at the time under investigation in Germany as a extremist Muslim with an Al Qaeda background, and a friend of the alleged perpetrators of 9/11.The officially displayed disinterest in seeking information about the fate of Zammar was therefore most likely contrived.

At no time then or thereafter, did German officials criticize Morocco for the arrest and the kidnapping of Zammar.Not in the least offended by Moroccan lies, a delegation of the BKA that comprised the vice-president of the agency, Bernard Falk, visited Morocco between April 8 and 12, 2002 in order to strengthen the cooperation between the BKA and the respective Moroccan agency.81 Between May 14 and 17, 2002, a delegation of the Moroccan DGST (the Moroccan secret services), visited the headquarters of the BKA in Meckenheim (Germany), to further develop intelligence cooperation.82 These meetings did not – according to testimonies before the Commission of Inquiry – yield information about the fate of Zammar.83 Officials of the DGST claimed they had no idea of hisfate.

10. Zammar was “rendered” by the CIA to Syria

In June 2002, it was reported for the first time that Zammar had been “rendered” by the CIA from Morocco to Syria after being detained by the Moroccan authorities. The exact circumstances of his transfer to Syria were not revealed. The Commission of Inquiry of the Bundestag concluded in their final report that, in spite of questioning hundreds of witnesses, including high officials, it could not determine when and where Zammar was arrested and when and how he was transferred to Syria.84 Were German officials unable to obtain this information from Morocco and the U.S. or did they suppress their knowledge while testifying before a parliamentary commission?

Yet, three months earlier, in March 2002, a delegation of the BND visited Syria and was given a five-page “study” on Zammar. The “study” was not released to the Commission of Inquiry because its release would – so the German government – endanger Germany’s the state’s welfare (Staatswohl).85 One may be justified in asking what prompted the BND to travel to Syria in March 2002, and what prompted the Syrian government to hand such a “study” to the BND. According to a BKA memorandum of June 20, 2002, cited in the Commission’s report, the Zammar “study” contains “detailed information to his personal surroundings, in relation to his presence in Hamburg and his contacts there. The study also designates Zammar as a recruiter of the 9/11 perpetrators and their supporters who lived in Hamburg.”86 No further details of the “study” are included in the Commission’s report. German officials, interviewed by the Commission, purported not to know who compiled the Zammar” study” and on which basis it was compiled.

Another delegation, headed by the President of the BND, visited Syria on May 16/17, 2002 to further develop intelligence cooperation.87 This was followed by a week-long visit in Germany between July 6 to July 13, 2002, by a Syrian delegation headed by General Asef Shaukat, vice-chairman of Syria’s military intelligence service, who is apparently also the brother-in-law of Syria’s president.88 At this meeting, the German side did not request to obtain access to Zammar. Those who participated in the meeting said that the case of Zammar was not discussed.89

Shortly thereafter, a delegation headed by Dr. Kersten, president of the BKA, visited Damascus between July 29 to 31, 2002. The declared purpose of the visit was to ameliorate the cooperation between the countries in the fight against illegal migration and the struggle against “islamist terrorism”.90 The case Zammar was only mentioned as an aside.Cooperation between Germany and Syria in police and security matters began decades ago and continued at least until the year 2012:Syrian refugees in Germany, including teenagers, were routinely deported to Syria, in the knowledge that they might be arrested and tortured in their home country.91 According to a CIA official, cited by Dick Marty, “when one wishes to have prisoner seriously interrogated, one sends him to Jordan. When one wants him to be tortured, one sends him to Syria.When one wishes him to disappear from this earth, one sends him to Egypt.”92 The German BND, incidentally, cooperates also with the Egyptian secret services.

Another delegation from Germany, composed of representatives from the BND, the BfV and the BKA, visited Syria weeks later, in order to continue its discussions on intelligence cooperation between the countries.93Not much is known about the real purpose of that particular visit.Asked whether the German delegation requested from the Syrian side that Zammar be allowed to be questioned in Germany, Fromm told the Commission of Inquiry that he does not remember whether this was mentioned. He said: “I guess that this issue was not pursued, perhaps the idea did not even occur [to us], because it appeared unrealistic at this juncture to make this demand.”94

According to media reports that appeared in 2002, possibly based on the Zammar “study”, Zammar claimed to have recruited Mohamed Atta and other members of the “Hamburg group” as volunteers for training in Osama bin Laden’s camps in Afghanistan.95 On that ground alone, Germany’s judicial authorities should have possessed a vital interest in having him testify before a German court. Their aversion to such a deposition indicates that, on the contrary, their vital interest(and that of the German leadership) resided in keeping Zammar beyond the reach of German courts and media.

Indeed, after learning that Zammar was detained in Syria, German authorities undertook no efforts to have this German citizen returned to Germany, even in the knowledge that he might be tortured and could be sentenced to death.

At the time, Germany held in custody two Syrian nationals, who were arrested in December 200196 and accused of spying on Syrian nationals living in Germany.97 Under pressure from Syria, the German government waived criminal charges against these two Syrian intelligence agents and accepted to upgrade its intelligence cooperation with Syria. German officials emphatically denied that their decision to free these agents had anything to do with Syria’s cooperation regarding Zammar (whatever the nature of this cooperation!)98, Germany Ministry of Justice advised on July 22, 2002, that lifting the charges against the Syrians agents was related to the “geopolitical situation concerning the war on terrorism”, whatever that meant.99 The former Director of the Ministry of Justice, Dr. Geiger, testified before the Commission of Inquiry that the decision not to press the charges against the Syrian agents was based on an “overriding public interest”, whatever that meant.100 He said that the Zammar case did not play any role in lifting the charges. The sole reason for doing so were “the security considerations of the German Federal Republic”, whatever that meant.101

11. Germany acquiesces to Zammar’s incarceration and torture in Syria

German authorities knew that political detainees in Syria are routinely tortured but did not ask the Syrian authorities to spare Zammar from torture. They accepted to interview Zammar in the knowledge that he may have been tortured. Before they met to interview Zammar in November 2002, they Syrian authorities had for three days “prepared Zammar for questioning to make him sufficiently cooperative.”102 as formulated in the report of the Commission of Inquiry. German officials were allowed to meet him on November 21, 22 and 23, 2002 for a total of 13 hours and 20 minutes in the presence of a Syrian official.103 The report by the Commission does not explain what was the nature of Zammar’s three-day “preparation” and apparently no Commission member was curious to know. German officials interviewed by the Commission conceded that torture is practiced routinely in Syria, but argued that Germany must also cooperate, including on intelligence and police matters, with countries that practice torture.104 According to Dr. Hanning, the only possibility to interrogate Zammar was that provided by the Syrians on Syrian soil:“Zammar was deemed one of the main threats in the Hamburg environment and we possessed therefore an overriding interest, from a security perspective, to access Zammar and question him.” German officials did not provide details about the content of their questioning of Zammar; in their testimony to the Commission of Inquiry the mainly described Zammar’s outward appearance, demeanor and willingness to talk, and the logistics surrounding the interrogations.105

According to Amnesty International, Zammar was described in October 2004 in a “skeletal” physical condition as a result of “three years’ incommunicado detention in Far’ Falastin without charge, in prolonged, solitary confinement in cruel, inhuman and degrading conditions.”106 In 2006, the Syrian Higher State Security Court sentenced Zammar to life imprisonment, commuted to 12 years, accused of being a member of the banned Muslim Brotherhood.107 Apparently the Syrian prosecutors used information provided by German services, including evidence of Zammar’s stints in training camps in Afghanistan and Bosnia, to convict Zammar.108 According to German officials, they did not attend Zammar’s trial. According to a report by Amnesty International from 2005, Zammar has not been seen by any outsider, including family members and representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, after German officials saw him last in November 2002.109

12.German court is denied protocols of Zammar’s interrogations

The BND sent to the Syrian secret service on July 20, 2002, a catalogue of questions to submit to Zammar and repeatedly received results from interrogations carried out by Syrian officials.110

On January 29, 2003, counsel for Mounir el Motassadeq, who was standing trial in Hamburg, requested that (1) Zammar be allowed to testify as witness for the defense and that (2) the protocols of the interrogations of Zammar as well as the answers to the catalogue of questions submitted to the Syrian interrogators, be entered as exhibits to the trial.111 Counsel argued that Zammar’s testimonies might exculpate their client.

On February 3, 2003, the Office of the German Chancellor sent to the Attorney General, the Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Justice and the BND, a declaration in which it justifies its endorsement of BND’s refusal to release to the court evidence and documents relative to Zammar.112 The main justification for the refusal was that it would cause “disadvantage to the welfare of the Federal Republic of Germany”, whatever that means. According to the Chancellor’s Office, the BND is entitled to withhold from the court information about the whereabouts of Zammar, as well as the contents and the source of documents about him. On the same day, the Ministry of Interior issued a similar paper.113

One day later, on February 4, 2003, the Hamburg court– having presumably been informed of the above documents –issued two Decisions. In its first Decision,114 it rejected the request by defense counsel for the protocols of Zammar’s interrogations that took place in Morocco.The court claimed that such protocols do not exist.

In its second Decision,115 the court rejected the request by defense counsel to produce Zammar as a witness and to produce the protocols of Zammar’s interrogations in Germany and Syria. The court claimed that Zammar’s testimony is not necessary for establishing the truth in the case before trial. The court also argued that it is unlikely that Syria would permit Zammar to testify, even if this were done through a simultaneous video transmission. The court based its conclusion on the decisions by Germany’s Office of the Chancellor and by the Ministry of Interior of January 30, 2003 and February 3, 2003 to refuse access to documents concerning the interrogations of Zammar in Syria.The court added that, on the base of Zammar’s interrogation of September 17, 2001 in Germany, it appears unlikely that Zammar, even if he were allowed to testify, would provide new information relevant to the present trial, for in theinterrogation of September 17, 2001, Zammar refused to answer questions regarding Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi and Ziad Jarrah, three of the alleged suicide-pilots of 9/11. In that interrogation – according to the court’s Decision – Zammar claimed that he did not know Binalshibh and Essabar.Should he have lied about these facts in October 2001 – so the court – he would certainly refuse to contradict his former statements and thus incriminate himself in perjury.It was therefore unlikely, so the court, that Zammar would make any statements that might exculpate the accused. The court thus reasoned, that his appearance before the court would be superfluous!

On appeal by defense counsel to the Federal Administrative Court (FAC), the FAC upheld on February 10, 2003116 the lower court’s refusal to ask for the appearance of Zammar and for the release of the protocols of his interrogations, arguing that the German authorities had pledged to the Syrian services strict confidentiality. The FAC uncritically espoused the government’s position that releasing such information to the court would “significantly harm the “welfare of the Federal Republic of Germany”, whatever that means.117 The FAC argued that if the confidentiality promise were breached, Germany would be excluded from further information exchange between intelligence services in the so-called war on terrorism and particularly from cooperation with Syria.118 The FAC did not explain in its ruling how the release of protocols of Zammar’s interrogation, in so far as they relate to the particular court case, could harm the welfare of the nation.The decision by the FAC did not, incidentally, spell out the limits beyond which it would be unlawful or even treasonous for German government officials to promise foreign governments total confidentiality and thereby undermine their democratic accountability to their own citizens.

13. Zammar and Germany’s alleged national interest

A central argument proffered by the German government in support of its suppression of information obtained from Zammar, was that it pledged to the Syrian government not to reveal this information. To violate this pledge would endanger intelligence cooperation with Syria and more generally the credibility of German intelligence agencies. Syria, said Dr. Steinmeier, “belonged at the time to the allies of the West in the war on terror” and was no longer a “rogue state” because it condemned the 9/11 attacks and announced its readiness to participate in the “war against terrorism”. “We needed Syria’s active cooperation,“ said Steinmeier, “because the perpetrators of 9/11 maintained contacts to members of the Syrian Muslim brothers” and “we needed Syria as a constructive partner to prevent an explosion of the Middle East conflict after 9/11.”119The former president of the BND, Dr. Hanning, also emphasized to the Commission of Inquiry the importance of intelligence cooperation with Syria in the war on terror. Syria played a very important role in this matter, he said.120 He did not specify the nature of that “very important role.”

More generally, the German administration, through its various departments, argued that intelligence cooperation with other countries would suffer grave damage, if information transmitted confidentially by foreign services to German intelligence agencies, would be provided to “third parties”, including judicial authorities.

The Commission of Inquiry repeatedly requested, through the Syrian Embassy in Germany, to be allowed to interview Zammar. The Embassy reportedly did not answer a single request. Was this refusal solely based on Syrian domestic considerations or did the governments of the United States and Germany ask Syria to ignore these requests”The fact that the United States kidnapped Zammar and forcefully transferred him to Syria and that German authorities did not press for his return to Germany, suggests, however, a collusion between the three governments.

14. Why do German authorities want Zammar outside the reach of German courts?

As shown above, every move by the German authorities in relation to Zammar demonstrates the existence of a policy, adopted at the highest echelons of German politics, to remove Zammar from the reach of German courts and media. The interest shown by the highest echelons of German politics to the case of Zammar indicates that he was certainly not a “marginal figure” from their perspective.

If Zammar was no “marginal figure”, what was his role? He either was an Al Qaeda operative believed by the German authorities to be highly dangerous, or an asset of German and/or American intelligence services, whose role was to induce Muslims to become “jihadists” and spend some time in an alleged Al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan or Pakistan. After their return home, they would become ideal targets for a media-savvy “war on terrorism.”

Had Zammar been regarded by the German authorities as a highly dangerous Al Qaeda operative, the question would arise why they did not interrogate or detain him before 9/11 and why they let him leave Germany after 9/11, although they had known virtually everything about him for years, including his alleged radical views, his contacts with suspected terrorists, his trips to Afghanistan and his lack of means to finance his frequent trips. Apologists for the German government, such as journalists of Der Spiegel, argue that before 9/11 “no one was concerned about Al Qaeda” and that those who listened to Zammar’s phone calls before 9/11 did not “connect the dots”. This explanation is tenuous and does not explain why he was not arrested after 9/11, when it transpired that he may have facilitated the travel of the alleged perpetrators of 9/11 to Afghanistan.After the bombings of the U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998 – the largest terrorist attacks committed anywhere in that year – the U.S. designated Osama bin Laden as the main suspect for these attacks. As a U.S. ally, the German authorities would have certainly been asked to cooperate in the investigation by monitoring and interrogating individuals residing in Germany suspected of connections to Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. Zammar was known at the time as one of the most prominent contacts to Al Qaeda living in Germany. His contacts to other “jihadists”, as mentioned above, provided further reasons for the German authorities to consider him, even before 9/11, a dangerous person, had he been a genuine “jihadist.”

The failure of the German authorities to act on Zammar’s alleged menace, both before and after 9/11, strongly suggests that Zammar played a radically different role from that attributed to him by government officials.

Is it possible, for instance, that Zammar actually accepted the reported proposal of the German BfV in 1996 to act as an informant (see above)”In that case, he would have been an asset in a covert strategy managed by U.S. and German intelligence and abetted by Moroccan and Syrian services. His role would have been to pose as a true “jihadist” and induce young Muslims to go for training to Pakistan or Afghanistan in camps led by Osama bin Laden. In order to understand the rationale for such a policy, we must briefly digress from our subject and point out what strategical benefits the West would gain by such a policy.

Around 1990, the Soviet bloc imploded. For over 40 years, the Warsaw Pact, led by Moscow, served as the main threat to the West, contributed to NATO’s political cohesion and justified a high level of military expenditures by the United States and its allies. The disappearance of that external perceived threat threatened to make NATO redundant and severely affect the revenues of the extremely profitable military-industrial complex. While the majority of ordinary people could then hope to enjoy the “peace dividend”, those dependent upon an external threat for their profit, searched for a new epochal threat that would maintain their revenues. In addition, the United States – now the sole remaining super-power – faced a unique historical opportunity to secure its long-term global hegemony. To do so, however, required the support of the American public and such support depended upon public perception of an external existential threat. It was thus both imperative and urgent for U.S. strategists to find a credible “threat” that would profitably supplant the Red Threat. No single state or group of states could at that time be credibly regarded as fulfilling this role. An alternative was therefore sought. It was found in the guise of an “Islamic global terrorist network” that would be manufactured and nurtured.121 This invention was a genial – and Machiavellian – strike of the mind:As most oil resources in the world lie under the feet of Muslims, the quest to control these resources by military means could be usefully be concealed behind policing efforts to battle “Islamic terrorists” hosted in such countries. Another advantage of this mythical construction was that authorities in Western nations could justify increased “security” measures, such as mass surveillance of telephone and internet communications, by the need to discover potential “Islamic terrorists” among the Muslims living in the particular country.

To successfully implement this strategy, Western intelligence agencies need to maintain an large pool of wannabe terrorists, agents provocateurs, hate preachers and big-mouthed jihadists, whose mainly verbal feats are useful media feed and help to promote the myth of Islamic terrorism. The initial “raw material” for that mythical network – trade-marked Al Qaeda – were the so-called Arab Afghans, who after the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, found themselves unemployed and looking for new sponsors. Their new sponsors were Western intelligence agencies, acting behind the façade of Saudi and Pakistani handlers, in order to conceal their own hands.122 In order to maintain the supply of such “jihadists”, recruiters ensure a continuous flow of wannabe fighters to training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan, who could later be arrested as terrorist suspects and ensure regular media coverage of the “terrorist threat.”It is beyond the scope of this study to elaborate upon this development. This network – financed and managed by Saudi and Pakistani intelligence services, but ultimately serving a Western strategical concept – is now operating globally in furtherance of imperial design (the most recent example being Syria).

The conduct of German officials strongly suggests that Mohammad Haydar Zammar played a role within this covert strategy.He reportedly said he ensured that Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi and Ziad Jarrah would go to Afghanistan for training. These three persons were famously accused by the United States authorities to have flown three of the four aircraft that allegedly crashed on 9/11. There is, however, no evidence whatsoever, that they boarded these aircraft.123

For two of them – Atta and Alshehhi – there is no reliable evidence, that they ever went to the United States.124 By inducing them to make a stint in a training camp in Afghanistan, they could later be linked to Al Qaeda. Their presence in Afghanistan was indeed relied upon by the Hamburg Higher Regional Court (Oberlandsgericht) in the case of Mounir el Motassadeq in order to “prove”, as it were, their terrorist inclination.125 Had this been one of Zammar’s roles, it would explain why he had to be removed from German jurisdiction, maintained outside the reach of German courts and media and why the intercepts of his phone calls, surveillance logs and protocols of his interrogations are kept secret.

The present case provides a glimpse into the systematic deception of the tax-paying public carried by German intelligence agencies, the absence of effective parliamentary control of these agencies, the lack of independence of German judicial authorities, and the deplorable deference of German leaders to Washington’s imperial strategy.

NOTES

1. Acronyms used in this chapter:

BAO USA: Besondere Aufbauorganisation USA

BfV: Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz

BKA: Bundeskriminalamt (German Federal Criminal Police Office)

BND:Bundesnachrichtendienst

COI: Commission of Inquiry of the German Parliament (Bundestag) set up to investigate the cooperation of German government bodies with CIA “renditions” of alleged terror suspects

FAC:Bundesverwaltungsgericht (Federal Administrative Court)

OAG:Bundesstaatsanwalt (Germany’s Office of the Attorney General)

1. Klaus Brinkbäumer et al, “Attas Armee”, Der Spiegel, 2 September 2002, p. 9

2. DW, “Plante er den 11. September?”Welt Online, 13 June 2002

3. Andreas Ulrich, “Operation Zartheit”, Spiegel Online, 15. July 2002

4. Desmond Butler, “Germans were tracking Sept. 11 conspirators as early as 1998, documents disclose”, The New York Times, January 18, 2003

5. According to Ulrich – supra n. 3 –, German officials started already in 1997a monitoring operation of Zammar and his contacts, entitled Operation Tenderness (Operation Zartheit). According to Dominik Cziesche, Georg Mascolo and Holger Stark, “Das Puzzle lag auf dem Tisch”, Der Spiegel, 3 February 2003, the German BfV intercepted telephone communications of the group surrounding Mohamed Atta since 1996.According to Peter Finn (“Hamburg’s Cauldron of Terror”, Washington Post, 11 September 2002), Brinkbäumer (supra n. 1) and Ulrich (supra n. 3), German intelligence placed Zammar under surveillance after being tipped by Turkish authorities that he had passed Istanbul and Ankara on his way to various war zones over 40 times. According to Vanity Fair (“The Price of Failure”, November 2004), the BfV was tipped off by Turkish intelligence in 1996 that Zammar had been traveling the globe to trouble spots: more than 40 journeys in all, to such places as Bosnia and Chechnya.

6. Butler, supra n. 4

7. Ibid.

8. Ibid.

9. Ibid.

10. Ulrich, supra n. 3

11. Franz Feyder, “11. September Geheimdienst – Operation Zartheit”, Stuttgarter Nachrichten, 8 September 2011

12. Klaus Brinkbäumer et al, “Atta’s Army”, Der Spiegel Online, 23 November 2006

13. Peter Finn, Hamburg’s Cauldron of Terror, Washington Post, 11 September 2002

14. Dominik Cziesche, Georg Mascolo and Holger Stark, “Das Puzzle lag auf dem Tisch”, Der Spiegel, 3 February 2003; and Feyder, supra n. 11

15. Cziesche et al, supra n. 14

16. Finn, supra n. 13

17. Feyder, supra n. 11

18. “Früher Verdacht”, Der Spiegel, 29 October 2001

19. DW, supra n. 2

20. Cziesche et al, supra n. 14

21. Butler, supra n. 4

22. Comment by Peter Frisch, former head of the German Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV); and Finn, supra n. 13

23. Cziesche et al, supra n. 14

24. Ibid.

25. Ibid.

26. Brinkbäumer, supra n. 1

27. “Atta von Deutsch-Syrer angeworben”, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 13 June 2002; also DW, supra n. 2

28. According to Butler (supra n. 4), “10 days after the attacks” of 9/11.According to DW (supra n. 2) “in the middle of October [2001]”.Ultimately, it was revealed in an address to the German parliamentary commission that Zammar was made to appear before a judge on September 17, 2001, that is six days after 9/11.See infra n. 29, p. 217.

29. Final Report of the Commission of Inquiry of the Bundestag (“Beschlussempfehlung und Bericht des 1. Untersuchungsausschusses nach Artikel 44 des Grundgesetzes”)Berlin, 18 June2009, Document 16/13400, p. 217

30. Private communication to the author of June 8, 2012

31. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 217

32. Dominik Cziesche, Georg Mascolo and Gerhard Spörl, “Die zweite Welle”, Der Spiegel, 24 June 2002

33. Klaus Brinkbäumer et al, Anschläge ohne Auftrag, Der Spiegel, 15 October 2001

34. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 218

35. N/A

36. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 58

37. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 58.In October 2001 that number had already reached 615 (source: Brinkbäumer, supra n. 33)

38. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 222

39. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 59

40. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 218

41. Final Report (…),supra n. 29,p. 218

42. Butler, supra n. 4

43. “Geheimdienste: Ausser Kontrolle”, Stern, 8 Mai 2006

44. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 220

45. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 218

46. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 218-219

47. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 219

48. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 442-3

49. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 866

50. DW, supra n. 2

51. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 219

52. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 866

53. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 221

54. Oliver Schröm and Dirk Laabs, “Unser Mann in der Moschee”, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, 2 February 2003

55. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 443

56. “Geheimdienste: Ausser Kontrolle”, supra n. 43; and, Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 443

57. The BKA informed a FBI investigator about Zammar’s return date, two weeks in advance (“Geheimdienste: Ausser Kontrolle”, supra n. 43)

58. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 221-222. The U.S. authorities were informed about Zammar’s travel plans on the day on which he booked his flight (p. 925)

59. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p.444

60. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 222

61. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 926

62. Renditions is the term used for the practice by the CIA to abduct alleged terror suspects and transfer them to various secret prisons around the world, or deliver them to certain states in order to be tortured or “eliminated.”This unlawful and criminal practice has called forth widespread outrage.

63. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 445

64. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 445; also Uli Rauss and Oliver Schröm, “Ex-CIA Mann belastet deutsche Kollegen”, Stern, 11 März, 2008

65. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 62

66. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 457

67. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 925

68. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 867

69. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 225

70. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 228

71. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 867

72. Final Report (…),supra n. 29,p. 228; and DW, supra n. 2

73. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 228.In a latter communication from the Moroccan Ministry of Interior, January 22, 2002, Zammar was said to have been “deported” from Morocco, but the destination was not anymore given as Spain.It was unspecified; see also Georg Mascolo and Holger Stark, “Mysteriöse Auskunft”, Der Spiegel, 15 April 2002

74. Mascolo et al, supra n. 731

75. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 868

76. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 867

77. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 232

78. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 932

79. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 229

80. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 232

81. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 231

82. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 231

83. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 231-2

84. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 226

85. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 230

86. Final Report (…),supra n. 295, p. 230

87. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 238

88. “Geheimdienste: Ausser Kontrolle”, supra n. 43

89. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 239

90. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 242

91. Hans Georg, “Deutsch-syrische Kooperation begann schon in den frühen 50er Jahren”, Neue Rheinische Zeitung, 6 April 2011

92. Ibid,footnote 16

93. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 243

94. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 245

95. “Atta von Deutsch-Syrer angeworben”, supra n. 27; also DW, supra n. 2

96. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 239

97. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 446

98. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 238

99. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 240

100. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 240

101. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 241

102. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 931

103. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 250

104. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 245

105. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 250-256

106. Amnesty International: Muhammad Haydar Zammar

107. “Terror suspect Zammar gets twelve years”, Der Spiegel, 12 February 2007

108. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 934

109. Amnesty International: Muhammad Haydar Zammar

110. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 927

111. Antrag des Strafverteidiger von el Motassadeq vom 29. Januar 2003

112. Bundeskanzleramt, Sperrerklärung, 3 Februar 2003

113. Bundesministerium des Inneren, Sperrerklärung, 3 Februar 2003

114. Beschluss des OLG Hamburg, Anlage 96, 4. Februar 2003

115. Beschluss des OLG Hamburg, Anlage 95, 4. Februar 2003

116. Antrage auf Übergabe von Akten des BND and das OLG Hamburg im Motassadeq-Prozess abgelehnt, Pressemitteilung des Bundesverwaltungsgerichts, 10. Februar 2003

117. Ibid.

118. Ibid.

119. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 235

120. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 236

121. No empirical evidence has ever been produced by NATO, the United Nations and Western governments, that international terrorism is a serious threat to any Western nation, let alone to “world peace”. More people did in the Western world from lightning strikes than in terrorist attacks.More people are killed yearly in the U.S. alone than worldwide in terror attacks.In Germany, home to approximately four million Muslims, no German national has ever been killed in Islamic terrorism. Yet, the myth of the terrorist threat is regularly promoted by the authorities and by complying media.

122. See, for example, Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, “The War on Truth: 9/11, Disinformation and the Anatomy of Terrorism”, Interlink Pub Group (2005)

123. See, in particular, Elias Davidsson, “Hijacking America’s Mind on 9/11”, Algora Publishers (New York, 2013), pp. 29-58

124. Ziad Jarrah, however, credibly pursued flight training in the United States prior to 9/11.

125. Court documents in the case of Mounir El Motassadeq (in German)

 

Where are the 9/11 Whistleblowers?

FAQ #12: Where are the 9/11 Whistleblowers?
Written by Dennis McMahon, J.D. L.L.M.,
Tuesday, 30 April 2013 19:03

with contributing editor Eli Rika


Many of those who cannot accept the scientific evidence that refutes the official story of the collapse of the three WTC towers on 9/11/2001 argue, “If 9/11 was an inside operation, surely at least one whistleblower would have come forward by now. You couldn’t keep something like that secret.” While at first blush this argument might seem to be logical, closer examination shows that it makes no sense.

Independent 9/11 researcher Gregg Roberts has responded to many false assertions from the defenders of the official 9/11 story

Since scientific evidence has clearly shown that the official explanation for the destruction of the WTC skyscrapers cannot be true, the theory that the official story must be true because there have been “no 9/11 whistleblowers” is entirely specious.

In his groundbreaking 2006 research paper entitled “Where Are The 9/11 Whistleblowers?”,
9/11 researcher Gregg Roberts addresses the subject in painstaking detail. At one key point, Roberts notes that “physics trumps armchair psychology.” That is, the evidence is what determines whether 9/11 involved more than what officials are telling us, not an assumed theory about the power of the whistleblower.However, for the sake of those who adhere to the baseless 9/11 whistleblower theory, let’s examine the alleged power of the 9/11 whistleblower by first defining “whistleblower,” and then adapting that definition to the 9/11 context.

Merriam-Webster online defines “whistleblower” as “one who reveals something covert or who informs against another.” An example would be the 40 whistle-blowing technical experts who present evidence of controlled demolition at the World Trade Center in AE911Truth’s powerful documentary, 9/11: Explosive Evidence – Experts Speak Out. In addition, we could include the eyewitnesses, government officials, and litigants listed in James Corbett’s report, “
A Guide to the 9/11 Whistleblowers,” and the Infowars report, “The 9/11 Whistleblowers.”

Another definition of “whistleblower,” provided by FindLaw, is “an employee who brings wrongdoing by an employer or other employees to the attention of a government or law enforcement agency and who is commonly vested by statute with rights and remedies for retaliation.”

The broad definition of the term “whistleblower” would include technical professionals like Dr. Jeffrey Farrer, who was part of the team of scientists who identified thermitic material throughout the WTC dust.

A prime example of a person meeting this definition would be Kevin Ryan, the chemistry laboratory manager for the environmental testing division of Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL), who began to investigate 9/11 and publicly ask questions about UL’s testing of the structural assemblies used to construct the World Trade Center towers as well as UL’s involvement in the WTC investigation being conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). UL fired Ryan in 2004. Former JP Morgan IT consultant Indira Singh also suffered persecution when she investigated the money trail behind 9/11 and brought her concerns to her superiors.

Neither of the above definitions fits the context of the claim that since there have been no 9/11 whistleblowers to date, the official story of 9/11 must be true. However, here is an online definition of “whistleblower” from TheFreeDictionary that is readily adaptable: “One who reveals wrongdoing within an organization to the public or to those in positions of authority.” [Emphasis added.] Regarding the destruction of the WTC skyscrapers, we can narrow this definition to “a potential 9/11 whistleblower would be someone who was (wittingly or unwittingly) part of the organized effort to destroy the Twin Towers and Building 7 via controlled demolition, and who is willing to reveal what he or she knows about that event to the public or the authorities” — in short, a classic “insider.” This is the type of whistleblower to whom proponents of the theory are referring.

Note that this definition implies that a potential 9/11 whistleblower has the power to actually inform the public, for example through the mainstream mass media. But who would have the stature to command the mainstream media (which had already censored AE911Truth and others who attempted to publicize the WTC evidence) and somehow prompt them to accurately publish the inside story on what actually happened? Most likely, it would be only senior members of the 9/11 operation’s chain of command – the very people who would have been actively engaged in planning, execution, and/or cover-up at the highest level.

Former UL chemistry lab manager Kevin Ryan was fired after challenging his employer’s role in NIST’s WTC investigation

How likely would it be for any one of them to have a change of heart and openly confess to participating in the mass murder of 3,000 people and creating a treasonous pretense to draw America and other nations into two major wars?

For someone below the upper echelon to come forward, the problem would be, “To whom do I turn?” Since, as mentioned, the mainstream media were nothing short of complicit in propagating the official myth about what happened on 9/11, an underling blowing the whistle on his or her fellow 9/11 co-conspirators via the media would hardly be likely.

For a moment, put yourself in the position of a potential 9/11 insider. Let’s say you have your own Facebook or Blogspot page, or an account at YouTube, and you want to tell the world how and when the explosives were rigged in Building 7. Who would protect you and your family from retaliation if you went public? Let’s not lose sight of the fact that, if there was——as the evidence clearly shows——a concerted effort to rig the New York City towers for controlled demolition, what we are talking about here is pre-meditated mass murder. Would the murderers who committed that atrocity leave you in peace after you came forward to blow the whistle on them? Highly unlikely. What would inspire you to come forward, at a minimum, would be assurance that you and your family would not be harmed.
Would the murderers who committed that atrocity leave you in peace after you came forward to blow the whistle on them? Highly unlikely.
Nevertheless, let us say that you are that potential 9/11 whistleblower who feels that you must step up. Why? Perhaps you helped install electronics needed to detonate the explosives at Building 7, while being told that all you were doing was installing a high-tech alarm system or some other harmless device. Having learned what you were really part of has made you determined to bring your 9/11 insider knowledge to light. You know that the media would be of no assistance and wonder, “Where else might I turn?” At this point (or maybe at the outset), you would consider contacting someone in a position of authority, someone who could protect you from retaliation. But who? How about former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds is one of several government employees who was severely persecuted after blowing the whistle on 9/11:

•    the office of the President of the United States, and/or Attorney General Eric Holder? Obviously, as the chief sponsor of the war on terror based on the official 9/11 myth, President Obama (assuming you could reach him) might target you for assassination under the pretext that you aided and abetted terrorists. Holder, of course, supports his President’s policies and position on 9/11.
•    Congress? The same Congress that annually approves the financing of “wars against terror” that are rooted in the 9/11 myth? You might come forward if one of the few seemingly honest former members of Congress, like Dennis Kucinich or Cynthia McKinney, had actually succeeded in forming a committee to investigate what really happened on 9/11. But not before. Not with your life and the safety of your family at stake. You would be further discouraged from turning to a Congressman or Senator because, as a 9/11 insider, you would have done your homework and known that Senator Tom Daschle, who proposed investigating what really happened on 9/11, and Senator Pat Leahy, who disagreed with the Bush Administration and advocated fair trials for those accused of participating in 9/11, were both targeted victims of the anthrax attacks, and that the anthrax used has been linked to U.S. military labs.
•    the Manhattan District Attorney? Surely Cy Vance could get you into some sort or witness protection program, right? Probably. But Vance has not even bothered to reply to the requests by the Remember Building 7 campaign, which produced overwhelming evidence indicating that WTC Building 7 was brought down via controlled demolition. Why, then, would he listen to you?
•    the New York City Council? While somewhat receptive to the pleas from the Remember Buidling7 campaign, they ultimately preferred not to get involved.
•    the NYPD? Not without the support of the Manhattan District Attorney (for which, see above).
•    the FBI? Hardly. Consider the case of whistleblower Sibel Edmonds.
•    the CIA? No. Consider the case of whistleblower Susan Lindauer.
•    the 9/11 special prosecutor? There is none. The attacks on 9/11 were declared an “Act of War” instead of a crime.
•    the World Court? Not a likely venue. “After the court ruled that the US’s covert war against Nicaragua was in violation of international law. . . the United States withdrew from compulsory jurisdiction in 1986.” Additionally, most 9/11 researchers have concluded that the World Court does not have jurisdiction in this matter.

If Bradley Manning is facing decades in prison for exposing alleged war crimes, what would a 9/11 insider face for exposing the crime of the century?


So, in summary, there is nobody in a position of authority to whom you, as a 9/11 insider, could turn and simultaneously insure the safety of your family and yourself.

How about Wikileaks, the not-for-profit media organization, whose alleged goal is to bring important news and information to the public? Whatever you believe regarding Wikileaks’ real motivations, you could not find a more unreceptive audience than founder Julian Assange, who is “constantly annoyed that people are distracted by false conspiracies such as 9/11.”

Dealing with Assange could be dangerous as well. Let’s assume you could get Wikileaks to accept that your insider testimony conclusively proves how the Twin Towers and Building 7 were brought down via controlled demolition and who was involved. What kind of treatment might you expect? A hero’s welcome, perhaps? Well, let’s consider the case of Private First Class (PFC) Bradley Manning, a 24-year-old Army intelligence analyst, who has acknowledged releasing classified military data, including the so-called “Collateral Murder” video that shows the killing of unarmed civilians and two Reuters journalists by a US Apache helicopter crew in Iraq. He is also accused of sharing the Afghan War Diary, the Iraq War Logs, and a series of embarrassing US diplomatic cables. These documents were published by WikiLeaks. Prosecutors seek to lock Manning away for life for “aiding the enemy,” even though chat logs attributed to Manning by the FBI clearly show his intent was only to inform the public and promote “discussion, debates, and reforms.”

As a 9/11 whistleblower, would you be encouraged to bring your story to Wikileaks, given Assange’s position on 9/11 and the experiences of Bradley Manning?

So, why have no 9/11 insiders blown the whistle? In short, no effective way to reach the public, no one in a position of authority to turn to, and no assurance of adequate protection from retaliation.

The Right to the Truth and the Mass Killings of 11 September 2001

The Right to the Truth and the Mass Killings of 11 September 2001

Elias Davidsson*

Abstract

A gross violation of human rights gives rise to a set of state obligations, including that of providing remedies to the victims. Among such remedies is the duty to establish the true circumstances surrounding the violation and ensuring the identification and punishment of those responsible for it. The mass killings of 9/11 were, apart of being a huge crime, also a gross violation of the right to life of approximately 3,000 people. Yet legal literature has not dealt with this event from that perspective. Thus, the right of the victims to have the truth established and the perpetrators identified and punished has not been subject to scrutiny. This study is meant to remedy this failure by applying existing human rights norms to the investigation of 9/11 by the U.S. authorities and assessing, more generally,the adequacy of these norms.

Introduction

Since 11 September 2001 the human rights community has faced a new challenge, namely the assault on individual freedoms in Western democracies in the name of the “war on terror”. Every day governments introduce new challenges to individual freedoms, including police powers to monitor private communications, mass surveillance methods and broadened search and detention powers.1 These attacks on human rights have been been extensively analysed and denounced by the legal community. Yet, the event invoked by governments as a justification for all these attacks on human rights, commonly designated as a terrorist act or as an act of war – the mass killings of 9/11 – was equally a gross violation of human rights, giving rise to specific state obligations. It was thus the duty of the government where this event took place to investigate this violation, establish the truth on this violation and bring those responsible to justice. Impunity arises when a state fails to meet these obligations.2 To date, nobody has been brought to trial for participation or complicity in the mass killings of 9/11.3 This fact alone warrants an appraisal of the investigation of this gross violation and the norms applicable to such an investigation.

According to the official account, all 19 alleged perpetrators of the mass killings of 9/11 died in the crashes of aircraft they allegedly had hijacked. Consequently, they were not prosecuted and their guilt was not determined in accordance with the rule of law.Designated by the political class and by world media as the embodiment of evil, no one dared to stand to their defence. Muslims around the world either condemned their action as contrary to Islam or rejected the allegations but did not undertake any legal action to vindicate the suspects’ rights to a fair hearing. A part of this article can be regarded as a belated attempt to provide a defence to the 9/11 suspects, a right to which they are entitled. Readers of this article may consider themselves as members of the jury.

Before embarking upon an appraisal of the investigations of 9/11, a review of the applicable norms is in order.

1.The right to truth as a collective right

In 2005, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) adopted an Updated Set of Principles to Combat Impunity. The first subset of principles is entitled the Right to Know and includes the following principles4:

Principle 2: The inalienable right to the truth

Every people has the inalienable right to know the truth about past events concerning the perpetration of heinous crimes and about the circumstances and reasons that led, through massive or systematic violations, to the perpetration of those crimes. Full and effective exercise of the right to the truth provides a vital safeguard against the recurrence of violations.

Principle 5: Guarantees to give effect to the right to know

States must take appropriate action, including measures necessary to ensure the independent and effective operation of the judiciary, to give effect to the right to know. Appropriate measures to ensure this right may include non-judicial processes that complement the role of the judiciary. Societies that have experienced heinous crimes perpetrated on a massive or systematic basis may benefit in particular from the creation of a truth commission or other commission of inquiry to establish the facts surrounding those violations so that the truth may be ascertained and to prevent the disappearance of evidence. Regardless of whether a State establishes such a body, it must ensure the preservation of, and access to, archives concerning violations of human rights and humanitarian law.

The above principles reflect states’ recognition that societies, as collectivities, possess the right to know the truth about past gross violations to human rights.

2.The right to the truth as a form of individual remedy

The first detailed study on the right to the truth was issued by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in 2006.The study concludes

“that the right to the truth about gross human rights violations and serious violations of human rights law is an inalienable and autonomous right, linked to the duty and obligation of the State to protect and guarantee human rights, to conduct effective investigations and to guarantee effective remedy and reparations. This right is closely linked with other rights and has both an individual and a societal dimension and should be considered as a non-derogable right and not subject to limitations.”

The study provides a useful historical overview of the right to the truth, which developed from specialised provisions of international humanitarian law to the current recognition of this right as an inalienable and autonomous human right.

Although international human rights treaties do not explicitly refer to the right to the truth, this right has been referred to by human rights courts and in documents adopted by various bodies of the United Nations.5 This right is also regarded as implicit in existing provisions of human rights treaties,6 such as Article 8, 11, 14 and 25 of the American Convention of Human Rights.7

In 1989, the United Nations adopted the U.N. Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions8 (hereafter: UN Principles) and in 1991 a manual on the implementation of these principles.9 According to paragraph 9 of the UN Principles, “the broad purpose of an inquiry is to discover the truth about the events leading to the suspicious death of a victim.”

In 2005, the U.N. General Assembly affirmed the duty of states to provide victims of human rights violations with “full and effective reparation…which include[s]…where applicable…[v]erification of the facts and full and public disclosure of the truth” and “[i]nclusion of an accurate account of the violations that occurred in international human rights law and international humanitarian law training and in educational material at all levels.”10

The Inter-American Court for the Protection of Human Rights (IACtHR) has through its jurisprudence given substance to the concept of the right to truth: “[T]he right to the truth is subsumed in the right of the victim or his next of kin to obtain clarification of the events that violated human rights and the corresponding responsibilities from the competent organs of the State, through the investigation and prosecution that are established in Articles 8 and 25 of the Convention.”11 In 1998, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has for first time recognised that the right to truth belongs to members of society at large as well as to the families of victims of human rights violations.12

In its 2007 report on the right to the truth, the Human Rights Council linked this right with the need to combat impunity, to achieve justice and to provide remedy to victims.13

3.The duty to investigate: A derivative of the right to truth

States are, under international human rights law, under the duty to investigate within their respective jurisdictions “all cases of killing and other suspicious death, whether the perpetrators were private persons or State agents or are unknown.”14 The Basic Principles (2005) set out the specific obligation to investigate violations in the context of the overall obligation to ensure respect for human rights: “The obligation to respect, ensure respect for and implement international human rights law and international humanitarian law …includes, inter alia, the duty to …[i]nvestigate violations effectively, promptly, thoroughly and impartially and, where appropriate, take action against those allegedly responsible in accordance with domestic and international law.”15

Before the adoption of the Basic Principles (2005), the U.N. Human Rights Committee (UNHRC), in its General Comment no. 31, pointed out that states are under the duty to protect individuals subject to their jurisdiction,

“not just against violations of the [ICCPR] by [their] agents, but also against acts committed by private persons or entities that would impair the enjoyment of Covenant rights…There may be circumstances in which a failure to ensure Covenant rights..would give rise to violations by States Parties of those rights, as a result of States Parties’ permitting or failing to take appropriate measures or to exercise due diligence to prevent, punish, investigate or redress the harm caused by such acts by private persons or entities.”16

Part III of the United Nations Manual on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, based on a Model Protocol for a Legal Investigation drafted by the Minnesota Lawyers International Human Rights Committee (hence, “The Minnesota Protocol”),17 lists desirable procedures of an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding a suspicious death.These include, inter alia, specific tasks to be accomplished at the crime scene, the processing of evidence, avenues of investigation and identification and interviews of witnesses. The ‘Minnesota Protocol’ also provides a guideline for the establishment of independent commissions of inquiry and the performance of autopsies.States can, therefore, avail themselves of such guidelines, if they desire to fulfill in good faith their international obligations.

4.Standards of investigation

While states are under the obligation to investigate violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, they sometimes attempt to avoid investigations which might embarrass or implicate high officials. In order to cover up official complicity, states sometimes stage an investigation designed to fail.The IACtHR explicitly warned against this eventuality: “[T]he State has the duty to commence ex officio and without delay, a serious, fair, and effective investigation which is not undertaken as a mere formality condemned in advance to be fruitless.”18

The notion, that failure to effectively investigate arbitrary killings could itself be a violation of human rights, has been confirmed in numerous judgements by the ECtHR. In its judgements the court addressed five to six criteria which allow a relatively objective evaluation of the effectiveness of an investigation, namely: promptness, thoroughness, impartiality (or objectivity), independence and transparency.

4.1Effectiveness of investigations

The requirement of effectiveness of investigations has been addressed by the ECtHR in numerous court judgements. A review of these judgements reveals that the Court uses the terms “effective” and “adequate”interchangeably. While the term “effective” is sometimes used to imply an obligation of result,19 the Court also refers to it as an obligation of means.20The Court thus considered that “the nature and degree of scrutiny which satisfies the minimum threshold of [an] investigation’s effectiveness depends on the circumstances of the particular case. It must be assessed on the basis of all relevant facts and with regard to the practical realities of investigation work. It is not possible to reduce the variety of situations which might occur to a bare check-list of acts of investigation or other simplified criteria.”21 In determining whether effective investigations of alleged violations of human rights had taken place, the Court examines whether these investigations had been prompt, thorough, impartial (or objective), independent and sufficiently transparent.

While human rights courts generally avoid implying that ineffective investigations of human rights violations represent deliberate obstruction or a cover-up by the state, the ECtHR expressed its view in Musayevand Others v Russia that “the astonishing ineffectiveness of the prosecuting authorities…can only be qualified as acquiescence in the events.”22

The ECtHR has also considered that a violation by a government of the right to life can be inferred from the failure by the government to provide “a plausible explanation…as to the reasons why indispensable acts of investigation have not been performed.”23

4.2Promptness of investigations

The necessity of promptly investigating an alleged violation of the right to life “may generally be regarded as essential in maintaining public confidence in their adherence to the rule of law and in preventing any appearance of collusion in or tolerance of unlawful acts.”24 The passage of time “inevitably erode[s] the amount and quality of the evidence available and the appearance of a lack of diligence will cast doubt on the good faith of the investigative efforts, as well as drag out the ordeal for the members of the family.”25 A substantial delay in the investigation may, therefore, constitute “a breach of the obligation to exercise exemplary diligence and promptness.”26

4.3Thoroughness of investigations

A crucial feature for an adequate investigation of human rights violations is its thoroughness.According to paragraph 9 of the UN Principles:

“There shall be thorough, prompt and impartial investigation of all suspected cases of extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions, including cases in which complaints by relatives or other reliable reports suggest unnatural death in the above circumstances…. The Purpose of the investigation shall be to determine the cause, manner and time of death, the person responsible, and any pattern or practice, which may have brought about that death.”27

The ECtHR inferred the lack of thoroughness from a garden-variety of omissions by the investigating authorities, such as failure to take reasonable steps to secure evidence;28 ignorance of obvious evidence (failure to “connect the dots”);29 failure to collect all the evidence that could have clarified the sequence of events;30 failure to report troubling facts;31 failure to interrogate certain people or to ask certain questions in interrogations;32 failure to ascertain possible eye-witnesses and failing to search for corroborating evidence;33 failure to ascertain whether certain reported documents in fact existed;34 failure to clarify important inconsistencies;35 failure to consider alternative hypotheses for unnatural death;36 lack of explanations for irregularities;37 failure to preserve evidence at the scene (of the crime) and taking all relevant measurements;38 and failure to inquire about motives.39

4.4Independence of investigations

The U.N. Human Rights Committee emphasises the need that investigations be carried out “through independent and impartial bodies.”40

The U.N. Principles specify that

[g]overnments shall pursue investigations through an independent commission of inquiry or similar procedure. Members of such a commission shall be chosen for their recognised impartiality, competence and independence as individuals. In particular, they shall be independent of any institution, agency or person that may be the subject of the inquiry. The commission shall have the authority to obtain all information necessary to the inquiry and shall conduct the inquiry as provided in these principles.41

The ECtHR also mentioned the necessity “for the persons responsible for and carrying out the investigation to be independent from those implicated in the events”.42 The Court added: “This means not only a lack of hierarchical or institutional connection but also a practical independence.”43

4.5Impartiality of investigations

Impartiality, according to the ECtHR, requires that investigators, with an open mind, examine all relevant evidence, including evidence that contradicts their “firm conviction”44 and include in the scope of their investigation the possibility of official involvement in the crime, particularly when they are put on notice about suspicious activities by official entities.45The obligation of impartiality can also be violated by judiciously restricting an investigative mandate to predefined outcomes.

In order to ensure the impartiality of an investigation, witnesses “shall be protected from…any…form of intimidation”46, particularly by state officials.

4.6Transparency of investigations

According to paragraph 16 of the UN Principles “[f]amilies of the deceased and their legal representatives shall be informed of, and have access to, any hearing as well as to all information relevant to the investigation, and shall be entitled to present other evidence.”47

The reporting requirements of an investigation are also spelled out in the UN Principles:

“A written report shall be made within a reasonable period of time on the methods and findings of such investigations. The report shall be made public immediately and shall include the scope of the inquiry, procedures and methods used to evaluate evidence as well as conclusions and recommendations based on findings of fact and on applicable law. The report shall also describe in detail specific events that were found to have occurred and the evidence upon which such findings were based, and list the names of witnesses who testified, with the exception of those whose identities have been withheld for their own protection. The Government shall, within a reasonable period of time, either reply to the report of the investigation, or indicate the steps to be taken in response to it.”48

The ECtHR explicitly related the need for transparency of investigations to the democratic right of official accountability:

“Remedies must be effective in practice, not just in theory, with a sufficient element of public scrutiny to ensure true accountability. In particular, alleged violations of the right to life deserve the most careful scrutiny. Where events lie wholly or largely within exclusive knowledge of the authorities…strong presumptions of fact will arise in respect of injuries and death, which occur. Indeed, the burden of proof may be regarded as resting on the authorities to provide a satisfactory and convincing explanation.”49

5.The mass killings of 11 September 2001: A gross violation of the right to life

The mass killings of 11 September 2001 (“9/11”) were a gross violation of the right to life of approximately 3,000 human beings. It follows that the United States, as state party to the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, is under the obligation to provide an “effective remedy” to the victims of 9/11,50 including their right to an effective investigation of these violations.

To the extent that these mass killings were also a crime against humanity, the United States government has, by U.N. resolution 3074 (XXVIII) of 1973, pledged to investigate such crimes.And by voting for U.N. Security Council Resolution 1368 (2001), the United States also pledged “to work together [with other states] urgently to bring to justice the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors” of the crime of 9/11.

Violations by the United States of international treaties to which it is party, such as the failure to investigate violations of human rights committed within its jurisdiction, are not at this point enforceable against the United States in any international court. The lack of international enforcement does not, however, void the international responsibility of the United States for its violations of obligations under international law51 nor relieve the U.S. authorities of their moral responsibility to establish the truth on 9/11.

6.The official account of 9/11

On September 11, 2001, the entire world witnessed on television the impact of an aircraft crashing on the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York, the ensuing fires and the subsequent and sudden disintegration of both towers. Television and other media provided non-stop coverage about rescue efforts and presented live testimonies of survivors, eyewitnesses, rescue workers, fire fighters and law enforcement personnel. In addition to what was shown live on television, numerous people witnessed and experienced the events in person. After seeing a second aircraft impacting the World Trade Center, it was evident that this was no accident, but a deliberate attack aimed to destroy and kill.

Approximately 20 minutes after being informed that a second aircraft had crashed into the World Trade Center, President George W. Bush, exiting a school class, announced to the world that the United States was under attack.52 In his TV address he said: “Two airplanes have crashed into the World Trade Center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country.”53 Such wording was not self-evident: Neither at that moment nor later, did President Bush or his aides possessed any evidence that the aircraft seen crashing on the WTC had come from abroad.

On 12 September2001, the U.S. Congress adopted by acclaim a resolution that contained the following factual assertions:

•The events of the previous day had been “attacks against” the United States;

•Terrorists had “hijacked and destroyed” four civilian aircraft;

•The attacks “destroyed both towers of the World Trade Center”; and

•The attacks were intended “to intimidate our Nation and weaken its resolve.”54

There was nothing extraordinary for the Congress to condemn the mass-murder of the previous day, express its sympathy to the victims and their families and commend the valiant efforts of rescue teams and first responders. Numerous governments and international bodies did so immediately without suggesting how, by whom and why the mass-murder was executed.55 What distinguished the congressional resolution from numerous similar resolutions was the specificity of the factual allegations it included. Despite ample time for debates, Congress members displayed a surprising lack of curiosity about the actual events of the previous day. No member of Congress demanded concrete evidence in support of the allegations he or she was asked to endorse. Some members of Congress actually warned against treating the events as a crime because, as Senator Jeff Sessions, explained, “As a Federal prosecutor, I know about the difficulties that have to be overcome to prosecute a person and convict them beyond a reasonable doubt. You don’t have that burden when you are in war.56

Already from the first hour, mass media published horrid details about the events – partly based on leaks from unidentified public and airline officials – and had talking heads speculating about the identities of the perpetrators and their masterminds. On 14 September the main features of the official account on 9/11 were finalised prior to any investigation and remained since that day engraved in stone. These can be summarised in a few sentences:

Nineteen Arab Muslim fanatics boarded four aircraft in the morning of 11 September 2001. Five of them boarded flight AA11 that departed from Boston; five boarded UA175 that also departed from Boston; five boarded flight AA77 that departed from Dulles Airport, Washington, D.C.; and four boarded flight UA93 that departed from Newark International Airport. These four terrorist teams, each led by a trained pilot, hijacked the aircraft in mid-air with knives, removed the pilots of the aircraft from their seats and flew the aircraft into buildings, killing themselves, the passengers and the crew.They flew the aircraft designated as flight AA11 into the North Tower, flight UA175 into the South Tower, flight AA77 into the Pentagon and attempted to crash flight UA93 into the White House but did not succeed to carry out their plan due to the uprising of the passengers. That aircraft then crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The hijackers were swiftly identified as having links to al-Qa’ida. Osama bin Laden later admitted to have personally selected them for these specific attacks.

Due to the traumatic nature of the events, few noticed at the time the absence of hard evidence in support of these allegations. Even as the U.S. went to war against Afghanistan, the U.S. government failed to provide hard evidence to the United Nations which would link that country to the events of 9/11. In its letter to the Security Council, John D. Negroponte, the representative of the United States wrote: “[M]y Government has obtained clear and compelling information that the Al-Qaeda organization, which is supported by the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, had a central role in the attacks. There is still much we do not know. Our inquiry is in its early stages. We may find that our self-defense requires further actions with respect to other organizations and other States.”57 In a now declassified wire sent by the State Department on October 1, 2001 to all U.S. embassies around the world, ambassadors were advised that “the United States is not obliged in any way to make any kind of showing as a prerequisite or precondition to the exercise of its right of self-defense under Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, whether now or in the future”.58 As these lines are being written in late 2012, the United States has failed to produce evidence linking Afghanistan to the events of 9/11.

7.No urgency to investigate 9/11

On 12 September 2001 U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft announced in a press conference that the Department of Justice “has undertaken perhaps the most massive and intensive investigation ever conducted in this country.”59 Yet, while making this announcement, he paradoxically added that the priority of the FBI was to prevent new attacks, not to solve the crime of 9/11.60

Four weeks after the events – the New York Times revealed that John Ashcroft and Robert Mueller had “ordered [FBI] agents to drop their investigation of the attacks or any other assignment any time they learn of a threat or lead that might suggest a future attack.” A law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said to the paper: ”The investigative staff has to be made to understand that we’re not trying to solve a crime now.”61 Indeed, a new threat came soon to replace 9/11 in the minds of many Americans: On 18 September 2001, letters laced with deadly anthrax began appearing in the U.S. mail. Five Americans were killed and 17 were sickened in what became the worst biological attacks in U.S. history.62 This campaign led the FBI to start a new investigation, dubbed Amerithrax,designated by the FBI as “one of the largest and most complex in the history of law enforcement.”63 After initially toying with the temptation to attribute the mailings to Iraq, U.S. authorities finally admitted that the anthrax originated from a unique pool of spore preparations maintained at U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Maryland.64 Interest in the 9/11 investigation disappeared. Americans focussed on the war. While Osama bin Laden was on everyone’s lips on 9/11, he soon disappeared from presidential speeches. In March 2002, President Bush, asked by a journalist why he rarely mentions Osama bin Laden, answered: “Who knows if he’s hiding in some cave or not; we haven’t heard from him in a long time…You know, I just don’t spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you.”65 In 2006 the FBI admitted that the agency has no hard evidence connecting Osama bin Laden to 9/11.66

8.Omitted investigations

8.1No aircraft crash investigation

Mary Schiavo, former Assistant Secretary of Labor and former Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation, highlighted in her testimony before the 9/11 Commission the failure of conducting an investigation of the aircraft crashes that occurred on 9/11:

“In every other aviation disaster, including those precipitated by terrorism or aviation crimes or piracy, the National Transportation Safety Board [NTSB] examined the tragedy and issued technical, operational and policy recommendations to our government, the airlines, airports, and others. The NTSB does this to enable us to correct the lapses that permitted the tragedy to occur. (…) No such NTSB investigation occurred nor is forthcoming to examine the 9/11 crashes.”67

8.2No investigation of air defence failures

According to the official account, four large passenger aircraft, allegedly hijacked on the morning of 9/11, deviated from their planned flight paths,68 switched off their transponders (thus concealing their identities and altitudes from air traffic control)69 and flew unobserved for varying durations without being intercepted by air defences.70 Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld confirmed to the Senate Committee on Armed Services in 2004 that the Department of Defense did not conduct an “after-action review” regarding the apparent failure to intercept the allegedly hijacked aircraft.71The explanation provided by the authorities for this failure was that that the multiple hijackings had confused air defences. Yet interceptions of deviating aircraft had been a routine procedure. In the year 2000 this routine was carried out 129 times without hitch.72

Part of the confusion derived undoubtedly from the fact that air traffic controllers had to contend with far more than four suspected hijackings. According to the 9/11 Commission, there were “multiple erroneous reports of hijacked aircraft in the system” over the course of the morning of 9/11.73

NORAD Major General Larry Arnold declared that, on the morning of 9/11, a total of 21 planes had been identified as possible hijackings.74 He reiterated this statement later in an interview with the 9/11 Commission, which did not mention it in its Final Report.75 Colonel Robert Marr, the NEADS battle commander, said he was informed that “across the nation there were some 29 different reports of hijackings.”76

There was a good reason for the above confusion, although this was not reported at the time: On the morning of 9/11, the U.S. Military scheduled multiple war games (or exercises) in the very air space where the actual crashes took place. At least one of these exercises included a live-fly hijacking exercise.77 The Final Report of the 9/11 Commission mentions such an exercise, but only in passing.78

As part of these exercises, electronic blips representing simulated hijacked aircraft appeared on the radars of air traffic controllers, leading them to wonder whether the blips they saw moving on their screens belonged to phantom aircraft, real aircraft participating in the exercises or ordinary commercial aircraft.Similar exercises had been conducted just days prior to 9/11, all working with the scenario of terrorists hijacking a London to New York flight with plans to detonate explosives over New York.79

No investigation was carried out to determine the relationship between these “real-world” hijacking exercises and the deadly events.The identities of those who participated in these exercises and the scenario they followed remain secret.

8.3No investigation of WTC pulverisation

Of approximately 2,700 people who died at the World Trade Center,“not even a fragment of bone”has been found for more than 1,100 victims.80 The mother of Michael Ragusa, a victim at Ground Zero, could not fathom that there is “no trace of so many people. It can’t happen that way…People don’t just disappear.”81

Virtually all non-metallic parts of the towers and their contents were converted to microscopic dust particles or small unrecognisable fragments. According to the Scientific American, “[t]he collapse of the Twin Towers pulverized and then scattered into the air millions of tons of cement, steel, drywall, window glass and other building materials. It also crushed and incinerated82 thousands of computers as well as mile after mile of items such as electrical cable and heating and cooling ducts. Finally, the dust contained the remains of the 2,753 people killed in the attack,83 along with the hair and skin cells shed by those who worked in the World Trade Center over the decades.”84

While the dust particles may contain the key for determining the proximate cause of death of more than 1,100 human beings, no investigation was carried out to find out what energy source could have caused this massive, total and instantaneous pulverisation of the Twin Towers85 and their contents.86

9. Inadequate investigations

Some investigations or inquiries regarding 9/11 were conducted and funded by the U.S. authorities. Only those which purported to examine the actual events of 9/11 will be considered here.87 The9/11 Commission’s investigative records are meanwhile stored at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. (NARA), but the majority of these records are still sealed.88 Those released are not easily accessible online but have been posted in an accessible form on a private website. They will be mentioned in this study by their folder (Team and Box number).89

9.1FBI’scriminalinvestigation (PENTTBOM)

When federal crimes occur, such as on 9/11, the main investigative entity in the United States is the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Notwithstanding the low priority assigned to the investigation, as mentioned earlier, the FBI took upon itself to investigate the events of 9/11 as a crime and dubbed its investigation PENTTBOM. The precise mandate given to FBI supervisors and agents for their investigation is not known.

9.1.1The FBI lack of independence

Organisationally, the FBI reports to both the Attorney General and the director of national intelligence. FBI’s Director since 9/11 has been Robert S. Mueller, III, who was appointed by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate. The FBI is, therefore, constitutionally, part of the executive branch. To the extent that elements of the U.S. executive branch were suspected to be involved in the crime of 9/11, the FBI could not act as an independent investigator. Reasons to consider the U.S. government as one of the suspects arose early on for numerous reasons, such as the unusual speed of “identifying the perpetrators”, drafting and adopting speedily the PATRIOT Act, initiating a global “war on terrorism”, attacking Afghanistan within four weeks, and opposing an investigation of the crime. Such suspicions grew with time. According to a July 2006 poll conducted by Scripps News Service, no less than one-third of Americans suspected that the Bush administration either facilitated the 9/11 attacks or allowed them to happen in order to provide a pretext for wars in the Middle East.90 In the light of such extensive suspicions of the Bush administration, an independent investigation of 9/11 could not have been adequately conducted by an agency of the U.S. government.

9.1.2 The lack of transparency

The FBI appears to pursue a policy of denying systematically Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests for 9/11-related documents, even those which have been released previously. For example, on 16 April 2012, the FBI denied to the author FOIA requests for copies of documents 302-1880 and 302-3005, which are already publicly available from the National Archives (NARA),91 claiming that their release “could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.” FBI’s denial was affirmed on appeal.92

Whereas the FBI failed to issue a public a report describing its allegedly huge PENTTBOM investigation,93 mass media demonstrated a surprising lack of interest in it. I could find only a single report by a major media on PENTTBOM.94 The following paragraph is all what the FBI has released to the American people and the world about the investigation it had designated as the largest in the agency’s history:

“Our…investigation of the attacks of 9/11 – code-named “PENTTBOM” – was our largest investigation ever. At the peak of the case, more than half our agents worked to identify the hijackers and their sponsors and, with other agencies, to head off any possible future attacks. We followed more than half-a-million investigative leads, including several hundred thousand tips from the public. The attack and crash sites also represented the largest crime scenes in FBI history.”95

9.1.3No prosecutions

One of the goals of an effective investigation is to identify those responsible for a gross violation of human rights and bring them to trial.According to the CIA, its “officers worked with foreign intelligence services to detain more than 2,900 al-Qa’ida operatives and associates in over 90 countries” in the aftermath of 9/11.96 Yet as of this writing, not a single “al-Qa’ida operative”, or anyone else for that matter, has been prosecuted, anywhere, for organising, directing or participating in the mass killings of 9/11.97

The only person convicted in the United States in relation to the events of 9/11 is a mentally disturbed French national by the name of Zacarias Moussaoui. Although he was not charged to have been directly involved in 9/11, he was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.98

9.2 The first investigations of the demise of the Twin Towers

On 12 September 2001, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its contractor, Greenhorne and O’Mara, Inc., established a Building Performance Assessment Team (BPAT) to conduct a formal analysis of what they predetermined as the “progressive collapses” of the buildings.99 The involvement of FEMA in this investigation was not self-evident. The traditional mission of the agency was to help “State and local governments…alleviate the suffering and damage which result from…disasters.”100 In February 2001, President Bush nominated Joe M. Allbaugh, formerly director of his election campaign and one of his inner circle of advisors, as Director of FEMA.101 After nominating his friend to head FEMA, President Bush announced that FEMA would expand its responsibility to include government response to terrorist attacks.102 In the wake of the 9/11 events, Allbaugh appointed Dr. W. Gene Corley of Construction Technologies Laboratories to head the BPAT team.103 Dr. Corley had previously served as the principal investigator of the bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City,104 another criminal event still marred by unanswered questions and suspicions of an official cover-up.105

The deployment of the FEMA-BPAT team was delayed for three weeks, during which a “significant amount of steel debris – including most of the steel from the upper floors – was removed from the rubble pile, cut into small sections, and either melted at the recycling plant or shipped out of the U.S.”106 According to some members of the team, they had been “prevented…from interviewing witnesses, examining the disaster site and requesting crucial information such as recorded distress calls to the police and fire departments.”107 Members of the team were also threatened with dismissal if they spoke to the press.108

The final report of the FEMA-BPAT investigation was released in May 2002.109 Bill Manning, chief editor of Fire Engineering, called the FEMA-BPAT investigation “a half-baked farce that may already have been commandeered by political forces whose primary interests, to put it mildly, lie far afield of full disclosure.”110

The FEMA-BPAT investigation left many questions regarding the demise of the buildings unanswered, and ignored most signs of the use of explosives. It started with a predetermined conclusion, namely that the buildings underwent a “progressive collapse” and fit its findings to that conclusion.

9.3 The second investigation of the demise of the Twin Towers

A thorough investigation of the demise of the World Trade Center buildings was called for because of two distinct reasons:

(a) In view of the criminal nature of the events, it was necessary to establish what led to the deaths of approximately 2,700 people, and most particularly the complete disappearance of approximately 1,100 people.

(b) Due to the unprecedented demise of high-rise steel-reinforced buildings, it was extremely important for the structural engineering community to determine what caused the structural failure on a single day of three such buildings, including one that was not hit by an aircraft (WTC no. 7).

On August 21, 2002, NIST (The National Institute of Standards and Technology) announced the initiation of its building and fire safety investigation of the World Trade Center (WTC) disaster. This investigation was then conducted under the authority of the National Construction Safety Team (NCST) Act, which was signed into law on October 1, 2002.111

A draft summary report of the NIST investigation into the demise of the Twin Towers was released on June 23, 2005. Dr. Hratch Semerjian, Acting Director of NIST, presenting this report, characterised NIST’s investigation as “thorough, open, independent.”112

According to the official account, as presented in the Final Reports of the Federal Building and Fire Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster conducted by NIST,113 the Twin Towers collapsed due to structural failure caused by the fires and the damage from the aircraft’s impact. The $16 million study by NIST, released in September 2005, represents the official position of the U.S. government regarding the demise of the Twin Towers.

Not an independent investigation

NIST (The National Institute of Standards and Technology) was founded in 1901, as a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce.114 NIST directors are presidential nominees. NIST is no academic institution but part and parcel of the Executive Branch of the U.S. government, involved even in national security issues.115While the investigation by NIST was funded by the Government and was promoted as a scientific effort, no part of any report resulting from NIST’s investigation was to be admitted as evidence or used in any suit or action for damages. Additionally, NIST employees involved with these investigations were not permitted to serve as expert witnesses.116

Not a thorough investigation

The scope of NIST’s investigation was limited to the circumstances leading to the buildings’ demise. What occurred during the demise remained outside the scope of NIST’s investigation. This was by no means an oversight. The Draft Report published in June 2005 explicitly says that the report “covers the characterization of the conditions of the WTC towers before the attacks, their weakening due to the aircraft impacts, the response of the structural systems to the subsequent growth and spread of fires, and the progression of local failures that led ultimately to the total collapse of both towers.” 117 NIST’s report does not, therefore, contain an examination of the actual demise, let alone the puzzling observations that accompanied that demise, as summarized here:

1.Witnesses reported that ground shaking precededthe demise of the towers;118

2.Observers, including television news anchors, reported that the demise visually resembled to controlled demolitions;119

3.The demise of the towers started suddenly rather than after gradual sagging120

4.More than 120 firefighters and first responders testified to have heard, seen or experienced multiple explosions that preceded and accompanied the demise of the Twin Towers121

5.Large parts of the Twin Towers and their human contents turnedinstantaneously into dust in mid-air (what has been referred to as ‘pulverisation’);122

6.Heavy steel beams were ejected forcefully and horizontally from the Twin Towers;123

7.The Twin Towers and WTC no. 7 disintegrated symmetrically;124

8.WTC no. 7 fell at virtually free-fall speed;125

9.Pools of molten steel were discovered below Ground Zero and remained very hot for weeks;126

10.Unreacted thermitic material incorporating nanotechnology was discovered in the WTC dust.127

NIST investigators (and before them FEMA-BMAT) did not deny the above facts. They simply ignored them.

NIST’s ignorance of the above 10 characteristics of a controlled demolition proves that its investigation was not thorough.128

The lack of thoroughness of NIST’s investigation prompted the establishment of an association – Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth,129 whose mission is “to research, compile, and disseminate scientific evidence relative to the destruction of the three World Trade Center skyscrapers, calling for a truly open and independent investigation and supporting others in the pursuit of justice.”130 No aspect of the 9/11 official account challenges professional expertise and physical law as much as the official explanation for the demise of the Twin Towers and WTC no. 7.This association has meanwhile got more than 1,700 professional members.

9.4The investigation by the 9/11 Commission

9.4.1Government opposition to a public investigation

While public inquiries into past national calamities, such as the attack on Pearl Harbor, the sinking of the Titanic, the assassination of President Kennedy and the explosion of the Shuttle Challenger, were established within less than 10 days,131 the U.S. government opposed for more than a year a public inquiry of 9/11, or in today’s terminology, a Truth Commission. According to Philip Shenon, whose book The Commission was reviewed in the New York Times in 2008, Dick Cheney called Tom Daschle, then the Senate majority leader, in January 2002 to warn him that a proper investigation of 9/11 would be a “very dangerous and time-consuming diversion for those of us who are on the front lines of our response today.”132

On the first anniversary of 9/11, Jim Dwyer of the New York Times highlighted the difference between the reactions of the respective governments to 9/11 and to the sinking of the Titanic: “One year later, the public knows less about the circumstances of 2,801 deaths at the foot of Manhattan in broad daylight than people in 1912 knew within weeks about the Titanic, which sank in the middle of an ocean in the dead of night.”133

9.4.2The establishment of a investigation “set to fail”

Due to pressure by victims’ families, supported by media and some members of Congress, President Bush relented and grudgingly permitted the establishment of a National Commission of Inquiry. On 15 November 2002 the U.S. Congress established the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, whose mandate was to “examine and report on the facts and causes relating to the September 11th terrorist attacks” and “make a full and complete accounting of the circumstances surrounding the attacks.”134 By its very title – “Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States” – the Commission’s focus was predetermined to assume a foreign attack.

In order to limit the Commission’s resources, it was initially accorded $3 million,135 a derisory sum in comparison with the $40 million price tag of the Kenneth Starr investigation into President Clinton’s relation with Monica Lewinsky136 or the $112 million spent by NASA to investigate the Columbia space shuttle tragedy in which seven people died.137 When asked for an additional $8 million for the 9/11 Commission’s work, President Bush initially refused the request.138

9.4.3The 9/11 Commission’s lack of independence

Most members of the 9/11 Commission had a conflict of interest.139 The Commission’s Executive Director, Philip D. Zelikow, appointed by President Bush, had huge conflicts of interest that prompted the Family Steering Committee (a group of victims’ families) to repeatedly demand his removal.140 He managed the Commission’s staff, decided whom to interview and served as a gate-keeper between his staff and the Commissioners.141

Commissioner Tim Roemer discovered by chance that Zelikow had made a secret agreement with the Department of Justice to cut Commissioners’ access to documents from the Joint Congressional Inquiry142 until the White House was able to review them. Roemer was reportedly furious and asked: “Why is our executive director making secret deals with the Justice Department and the White House? He is supposed to work for us.”143According to another secret agreement between the Zelikow and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Commission was required to advise DOJ in case it intends to interview individuals who appear on a list provided by the Government.144

9.4.4The 9/11 Commission’s partiality

The very title of the Commission manifested its inherent partiality, namely the assumption that 9/11 constituted an attack from outside the United States.By March 2003,before the Commission began its actual work, Executive Director Zelikow and his former professor Ernest May had already prepared a detailed outline of the final report, complete with chapter headings, subheadings, and sub-subheadings.145 May said that he and Zelikow agreed that the outline should “treated as if it were the most classified document the commission possessed.”146The work of the Commission remained to fit the facts into the predetermined outline.

9.4.5The 9/11 Commission’s lack of thoroughness

Several categories of persons were not invited to testify before the Commission. These include witnesses to a second, mysterious, aircraft above the crash site in Pennsylvania; witnesses who had reported explosions and other indications of a controlled demolition prior or during the demise of the Twin Towers; air traffic controllers confused by the military exercises on the morning of 9/11; individuals who met the alleged terrorist Mohamed Atta at various locations in the United States; airline employees who witnessed the boardings of the four aircraft; FBI officials responsible for the crash sites; personnel responsible for security at the World Trade Center; and many other eyewitnesses who possessed knowledge that would have undermined the official account.

The Commission should also have impartially determined the relevance, veracity, reliability and probity of allegations and findings presented by the various government agencies. The 9/11 Commission, instead, relied heavily, as can be gauged from its Final Report, on irrelevant, unreliable and unverifiable information provided by the CIA, the FBI, the FAA and the Department of Defense.

In a book specifically analysing the Final Report of the 9/11 Commission, Prof. David Ray Griffin lists over 100 relevant facts omitted from that report, because their inclusion would have prompted doubts about the official account on 9/11.147As for the thoroughness of the 9/11 Commission’s work, he wrote with subtle irony: “The report’s lack of thoroughness is, in fact, one of its outstanding characteristics.”148

9.5Ineffective investigation: The perpetrators were not identified

The U.S. government has officially accused nineteen individuals, whose names and photographs appear on the FBI website, as being the perpetrators of the mass killings of 9/11. Yet on the website of the FBI, we read that “attempts to confirm the true identities of these individuals are still under way.”149 Leaving aside whether the four alleged suicide-pilots possessed a motive to kill themselves, commit mass-murder and the skills to steer large passenger aircraft at 500 mph into buildings150, there exists no evidence that they and their alleged 15 companions boarded these aircraft in the first place.151No authenticated passenger lists with their names have ever been released. No one has testified to have seen these young men board the aircraft. No authenticated CCTV exist that would show them boarding the aircraft or even present at the respective airports. And their bodily remains have not been formally identified.The most basic forensic evidence to prove the presence of the accused at the site of the crime (aboard the aircraft) has never been produced by the US authorities.

10.Proactive measures to suppress the truth

In its jurisprudence regarding states’ obligations towards victims of human rights violations, the ECtHR invoked numerous times failures by State parties to conduct adequate or effective investigations. Failures to establish the truth on gross violations of human rights are not, however, limited to acts of omission. They may also include acts of commission, such as concealing, destroying and planting of evidence, as well as inducing witnesses and victims to keep silent by bribes or intimidation.

10.1Concealing evidence

Despite popular suspicions of wrongdoing, the U.S. authorities have chosen to conceal evidence from the public, including documents which would confirm what is already known to the public. Among suppressed records are the original passenger lists of the four flights, video recordings depicting the impact of an aircraft on the Pentagon, documentation of the retrieval of the aircraft wreckage from the Shanksville crash site, audio recordings of the cockpit voice recorder from flight UA93, audio recordings of phone calls for which transcripts had been released, and many other documents, the release of which would neither endanger national security or interfere with law-enforcement efforts or privacy.

10.2Destroying evidence

When a crime occurs, it is a legal obligation to safeguard the crime site. Destruction of criminal evidence raises a presumption of guilt against the person who participated in such destruction. Among destroyed criminal evidence figures prominently that of the steel from the Twin Towers and from WTC no. 7. The complete demise of the skyscrapers remains a unique event in the history of high-rise, steel-reinforced buildings. Such demise never occurred before or after 9/11, even after wider, longer and fiercer fires. In order for structural engineers to understand what caused such demise, it was crucial to preserve the steel beams from the buildings. In addition to this professional interest, the site of the Twin Towers was evidently a crime scene that had to be preserved.

Yet, most of the steel from the crime scene was not only swiftly removed from the site, but sold to scrap metal dealers, who shipped it for recycling to China,152 India,153 South Korea,154 Malaysia,155 and reportedly to other destinations. The steel was also removed from the site of WTC no. 7, which was evacuated seven hours before its sudden collapse.156 The steel from that building was removed, unmarked, and shipped overseas, leaving not a single beam for a forensic examination of the demise of that building.WTC no. 7, let us recall – a building of 47 floors that would be the highest structure in many countries– was not hit by an aircraft, was not subject to widespread and fierce fires, and yet collapsed at free-fall speed at 5:20 p.m. on 9/11.

10.3Planting evidence

The U.S. authorities claim that documents belonging to the suspected hijackers of flight UA93 were found at that flight’s alleged crash site in Somerset County, Pa. Among these documents were the passport of Al-Ghamdi,157 Alnami’s Florida driver’s license158, his Saudi Arabian Youth Hostel Association ID card159, a visa page from Ziad Jarrah’s passport160, and a business card of Jarrah’s uncle.161Local inhabitants who went to the alleged crash site within minutes of hearing an explosion and seeing smoke, told media that they did not see human bodies, blood, or even a hint of an aircraft crash at the site.162The site was swiftly taken over by the FBI, which kept activities within the site secret. Merely twelve days after 9/11, the FBI announced to have recuperated 95 per cent of the aircraft wreckage, and handed it to United Airlines. No journalist was, however, allowed to document the recovery of the aircraft and photograph the recovered wreckage. It was not explained how the above paper documents would survive the aircraft crash while their owners could not be identified.

According to the 9/11 Commission, Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari, two of the persons alleged to have hijacked flight AA11 from Boston, had driven on 10 September from Boston to Portland, Maine, from where they reportedly returned on the very morning of 9/11 to Boston with an early connecting flight, before allegedly boarding flight AA11. The 9/11 Commission wrote it could not explain this detour,163 by which they risked – had their connecting flight been delayed – to bungle their “attack upon the United States” that they had allegedly planned for years.164This detour necessitated, however, that their luggage be manually transferred between the flights. Atta’s bags somehow failed to be transferred to flight AA11 in Boston and were swiftly discovered by the authorities.165

Amongst the items reportedly found in Atta’s bags were a hand-held electronic flight computer, a simulator procedures manual for Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft, a slide-rule flight calculator, a copy of the Qur’an and a handwritten testament written in Arabic.166 According to later testimonies by former FBI agents, the luggage also contained the identities of all 19 suspects involved in the four hijackings, information on their plans, backgrounds, motives, al-Qa’ida connections, a folding knife, and pepper spray.167 According to FBI Special Agent Fitzgerald, Abdul Aziz Alomari’s passport was also found in one of the bags.168 According to an FBI document, the bags also contained three English grammar books, a perfume bottle, anti-dandruff hair dressing, a check book, photographs, and a handkerchief.169 When Dieter Snell, Senior Counsel of the 9/11 Commission, addressed the Commission at its 12th Public Hearing, he said that Atta and Omari’s luggage had also contained, amongst other items, “correspondence from the university Atta attended in Egypt and Omari’s (sic) international driver’s license.170

The Guardian commented at the time with wry irony: “The finds are certainly very fortunate, though some might think them a little too fortunate.”171

As mentioned above, no one apparently saw the owner of the bags at Boston airport, let alone boarding flight AA11.

It was revealed in 2009 that the luggage discovered in Boston “had a covert tag from US Airways to warn that Atta and his luggage were a security issue”.172 The 9/11 Commission and its staff did not show any interest to find out who put this covert tag on Atta’s bags, and on what grounds was he considered a “security issue” before the events?

10.4Buying the silence of witnesses and victims’ relatives

Shortly after 9/11, the Congress established the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund for victims’ families, as a part of the Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act (ATSA).173 The fund was administered by Kenneth Feinberg, appointed as “Special Master” by Attorney General John Ashcroft.174 In order to apply for compensation, families had to waive their “right to file a civil action…in any Federal or State court for damages sustained as a result of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001.”175 Feinberg confirmed that this provision was intended to deter victims’ families from suing the airlines176, although ATSA demands that they waive their right to sue anyone, including security firms, the New York Port Authority, the U.S. Government, or any other domestic entity.177

Ninety-six families opted not to apply to the government compensation fund. Their motives varied. Some were seeking larger settlements than the compensation fund was likely to offer them. Others hoped to use the litigation process to compel disclosure of a fuller picture of what the airlines did – and left undone – on 9/11 and before: “For some, it’s blood money, a repugnant payoff they feel they have no choice but to accept.”178Monica Gabrielle was amongst those who rejected the government compensation offer. She told Tim Harper of the Toronto Star: “This is about mass murder. I want to know who was responsible. No one has been fired. No one has been demoted. The same people who are guarding us today on an elevated security alert are the same people who were working that day.”179

Those who chose not to apply for this compensation brought a cause of action against the airlines and security firms. But they did not count with the hurdles the government had placed in front of them. ATSA limited their forum choice to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York,180 where they had to contend with Judge Alvin Hellerstein. Hellerstein, as evidenced throughout these cases, was determined to protect defendants from disclosure. He also decided to reverse the traditional judicial procedure where liability is determined before damages are discussed, in the hope that more cases might settle out of court “once families get a sense of how much money they are likely to get from a jury”, as he explained to the media.181 And indeed, 95 of the families who initially refused to apply to the Compensation Fund and wanted to know “who was responsible” for 9/11, gave in to Hellerstein’s pressure, by settling out of court. They received far more than what they would have received from the Fund.182 Collectively they received $500 million, making the average pay-out slightly greater than $5 million. The court prohibited the families to reveal how much money they received.183 These secret settlements were made at the expense of the public’s right to know the truth.

By their conduct, “Special Master” Feinberg and Judge Hellerstein, representing respectively the executive and the judicial branches of the U.S. government, intentionally and successfully thwarted the quest by families of 9/11 victims to establish the truth on the mass killings of 9/11.

Conclusions

The primary purpose of this study was to apply criteria developed by the case-law of the ECtHR to the investigations into a crime against humanity that affected in some way most inhabitants of the world.

Paraphrasing the ECtHR,184 I can sum up the above findings by stating that even if the failings of some U.S. authorities would not alone warrant a finding of the inadequacy of the investigation, their cumulative effect are more than sufficient for such a finding. Indeed, I am struck by how the different agencies and branches of the U.S. administration acted in concert in preventing the establishment of the truth regarding this epochal crime.

The ECtHR has in the past identified numerous methods by which states undermine investigations into violations of the right to life.Due to the case at hand, this study was able to identify more types of state conduct leading to impunity: (a) Predetermination of facts, prior to investigation; (b) Overt opposition to a public inquiry; (c) Destruction of forensic evidence; (d) Planting of evidence; (e) Bribing victims to ensure their silence.In examining State investigations of gross violations of human rights, international and regional bodies are urged to stay alert to these additional forms of suppressing the truth.

States must, under international law, fulfill in good faith their treaty obligations. The Human Rights Committee, which monitors the implementation of the ICCPR by State parties, might wish to avail itself of the findings presented herein in its examination of the United States’ periodical report in order to call the State party to task for its gross violation of the aforementioned obligation.

Concerned citizens in various countries, including members of several parliaments, have called for the establishment of an independent, international commission of inquiry on the events of 9/11, possibly modeled on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), set up to try the alleged murderers in 2005 of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.185

Within the United States, a large truth-seeking movement has emerged, composed of eminent personalities from all walks of life, including former administration and military officials. Some of these personalities have established functional groups, such as Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth186, Firefighters for 9/11 Truth187, Lawyers for 9/11 Truth188, Medical Professionals for 9/11 Truth189, Military Officers for 9/11 Truth190, Pilots for 9/11 Truth191, Political Leaders for 9/11 Truth192, Religious Leaders for 9/11 Truth193, Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice194 and Scientists for 9/11 Truth.195 Local and regional chapters have also emerged in the United States196, Canada, Australia and European countries.197

Those who have given thought to the implications arising from the findings presented in this paper may have realised the depth of the abyss revealed hereby. Those mustering the courage to face this abyss with open eyes may be rewarded by overcoming fear and speaking the truth to power.

END

1 Collection of writings and documents under the heading ‘The Police State as the emerging form of governance’. Available at <www.juscogens.org/nj001>.

2 Updated Set of principles for the protection and promotion of human rights through action to combat impunity, Commission on Human Rights, 8 February 2005, UN Doc. No. E/CN.4/2005/102/Add.1, Principle I: General Obligations.

3 One person, Zacarias Moussaoui, has been tried by a U.S. court in relation to 9/11. He was not, however, charged as accomplice to the crime. He was accused to have known about the plans for 9/11 and not reporting his alleged knowledge to the authorities after he was arrested a few weeks before 9/11.There is no evidence, however, that he possessed such foreknowledge.A collection of articles on Moussaoui’s trial can be found at <www.juscogens.org/nj002>.

4 Updated Set of principles to combat impunity, supra note 6.

5For an overview of references to the right to truth, see Yasmin Naqvi, ‘The right to the truth in international law: fact or fiction?’ (2006) 88 International Review of the Red Cross 862.

6 Bámaca-Velásquez v Guatemala, IACtHR, Judgment of 25 November 2000, Series C 70, Separate Concurring Opinion of Judge Hernán Salgado Pesantes.

7 American Convention of Human Rights, O.A.S.Treaty Series No. 36, 1144 U.N.T.S. 123, entered into force July 18, 1978.

8ECOSOC Res. 1989/65, UN Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, 24 May 1989 (hereafter “UN Principles”).

9 Manual on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, U.N. Doc. E/ST/CSDHA/.12 (1991).

10GA Res. 60/147, Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law, 16 December 2005, Articles 18 and 22.

11 Chumbipuma Aguirre et al. v Peru (Barrios Altos Case), IACtHR, Judgment of 14 March 2001, para. 48.

12 The Right to the Truth. Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, IACHR, cached at <www.juscogens.org/nj250>.

13 Human Rights Council, Right to the truth: Report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 7 June 2007, UN doc. A/HRC/5/7, paras. 9–10.

14 Enukidze and Girgvliani v. Georgia, European Court of Human Rights, Judgment of 26 April 2011, Application no. 2509/07, para. 241.

15UNCHR Res. 2005/35, Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/2005/ L.10/Add.11 (19 April 2005), Article 3; also GA Res. 60/147, supra note 10.

16 UNHRC, General Comment No. 31. Nature of the General Legal Obligation Imposed on States Parties to the Covenant. UN Doc. CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.13 (26 May 2004) para. 8.

17 United Nations Manual on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, Part III (“The Minnesota Protocol”),U.N. Doc. E/ST/CSDHA/. 12 (1991).

18 Ximenes-Lopes v Brazil, IACtHR, Judgment of 4 July 2006, para. 148.

19 In Enukidze, supra note 14,for example, the Court held that the “investigation must be effective in the sense that it is capable of leading to the establishment of the relevant facts and the identification and punishment of those responsible.” (para. 242).

20 See, for example, Kelly and Others v. the United Kingdom, no. ECtHR, Application no. 30054/96,Judgment of 4 May 2001, para. 96-97; and Anik and Others v. Turkey, ECtHR, Application no. 63758/00, Judgment of5 June 2007, para. 72.

21 Toteva v Bulgaria, ECtHR, Application no. 42027/98, Judgment of 19 May 2004, para. 80.

22 Musayev and Others v Russia, ECtHR, Applications nos. 57941/00, 58699/00 and 60403/00, Judgment of 26 July 2007, para. 164.

23 Toteva, supra note 21, para. 82.

24 Adali v Turkey, ECtHR, Application no. 38187/97, Judgment of 31 March 2005, para. 224.

25 Trubnikov v Russia, Application no. 49790/99, Judgment of 5 July 2005, para. 92.

26 Ibid.

27 UN Principles, supra note 8, para. 9.

28 Ahmet Özkan and Others v Turkey, ECtHR, Application no. 21689/93, Judgment of 6 April 2004, para. 312.

29 Ülkü Ekinci v Turkey, ECtHR, Application no. 27602/95, Judgment of 16 July 2002.

30 Nachova v Bulgaria, ECtHR, Applications nos. 43577/98 and 43579/98, Judgment of 26 February 2004, para. 138.

31 Ibid.

32 Toteva, supra note 21, para. 79.

33 Aydin v Turkey, ECtHR, Applicaton no. 57/1996/676/866, Judgment of 25 September 1997, para. 106.

34 Buldan v Turkey, ECtHR, Application no. 28298/95, Judgment of 20 April 2004, para. 86.

35 Sergey Shevchenko v Ukraine, ECtHR, Application no. 32478/02, Judgment of 4 April 2006, para. 67; Nachova, supra note 30, para. 140.

36 Ognyanova and Choban v Bulgaria, ECtHR, Application no. 46317/99, Judgment of 23 February 2006, paras. 109-112.

37 Anguelova v Bulgaria, ECtHR, Application no. 38361/97, Judgment of 13 June 2002, paras. 142-145.

38 Nachova, supra note 30, para. 132.

39 Adali v Turkey, supra note 24, para. 231.

40 Human Rights Committee, General Comment no. 31, supra note 16,para. 15(d).

41 UN Principles, supra note 8, para. 11 (emphasis added).

42 Adali, supra note 24, para. 222.

43 Ibid.

44 Kaya v Turkey, ECtHR, Application no. 158/1996/777/978), Judgment of 19 February 1998, para. 90; Semsi Önen v Turkey, ECtHR, Application no. 22876/93, Judgment of 14 May 2002, para. 88.

45 Tepe v Turkey, ECtHR, Application no. 27244/95, Judgment of 9 May 2003, paras. 179-180; Buldan supra note 34, para. 86; Finucane v United Kingdom, ECtHR, Applicationno. 29178/95, Judgment of 1 July 2003; Kaya, supra note 44, para. 88, Semsi Önen, supra note 44.

46 UN Principles, supra note 8, para. 15.

47 UN Principles, supra note 8, para. 16.

48 UN Principles, supra note 8, para. 17.

49 Hugh Jordan v The United Kingdom, ECtHR, Application No. 24746/94, Judgment, 4 May 2001, para. 109.

50 Article 2(3) of the ICCPR.

51Article 2 of the Draft articles on Responsibility of States for internationally wrongful acts, adopted by the International Law Commission at its fifty-third session (2001).

52 Remarks by President Bush at Emma Booker Elementary School, Federal News Service, 11 September 2001, cached at <www.juscogens.org/nj004>.

53 Transcript of George W. Bush’s address to the nation, CNN, 11 September 2001, cached at <www.juscogens.org/nj005>.

54 Joint Resolution (by the Senate and House of Representatives), 12 September 2001

55 On 12 September 2001, the G-7 Ministers of Finance and Central Bank Governors condemned the “appalling terrorist attacks carried out in the United States”; the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council condemned these “brutal and senseless atrocities”;the U.N. General Assembly condemned the “terrorist attacks in the United States of America”, and so forth (emphasis added).

56 Congressional Records, 106th Congress (2001-2002), 12 September2001, at <http://www.aldeilis.net/english/fake/1060>.

57 Negroponte Letter to U.N. Security Council President, 7 October 2001, at <www.bits.de/public/documents/US_Terrorist_Attacks/negroponte.htm>, cached at <www.juscogens.org/nj007>.

58 ‘Declassified wire from the U.S. Department of State to U.S. embassies around the world’, 1 October 2001, No. 170698, Subject: ‘September 11: Working together to fight the plague of global terrorism and the case against al-Qa’ida’, cached at <www.juscogens.org/nj008>.

59 John Ashcroft, Media Briefing, 12 September 2001. Available at <www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/sept_11/ashcroft_briefing01.htm>.

60B. Woodward and D. Balz, We Will Rally the World’ [A review of the events of 12 September 2001], Washington Post, 28 January 2002.

61P. Shenon and D. Johnston, ‘F.B.I. Shifts Focus to Try to Avert Any More Attacks’, New York Times, 9 October 2001, at <www.juscogens.org/nj010>

62Amerithrax or Anthrax Investigation, FBI, at <www.fbi.gov/about-us/history/famous-cases/anthrax-amerithrax>.

63Ibid.

64 Science Briefing on the Anthrax Investigation, Opening Statement by Dr. Vahid, Majidi, 18 August 2008, FBI website at <www.fbi.gov/about-us/history/famous-cases/anthrax-amerithrax/science-briefing>.

65 Press Conference of President George W. Bush, The White House, 13 March 2002.

66 E. Haas, ‘FBI says, it has “No hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11”’, Information Clearing House, 18 June 2006, at <www.informationclearinghouse.info/article13664.htm>.

67Mary Schiavo, Statement to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, 23 May 2003,at <www.9-11commission.gov/hearings/hearing2/witness_schiavo.pdf>.

68 Flight AA11 deviated from its flight path at 8:28 (official crash time 8:46); flight UA175 deviated from its flight path at 8:58 (official crash time 9:03);flight AA77 deviated from its flight path at 8:54 (official crash time 9:37); flight UA93 deviated from its flight path at 9:41 (official crash time 10:03) (Source: Final Report of the 9/11 Commission).

69 Flight AA11 turned off its transponder at 8:21 (official crash time 8:47); flight UA175 changed twice its transponder code at 8:47 (official crash time 9:03); flight AA77 turned off its transponder at 8:56 (official crash time 9:37);flight UA93 turned off its transponder at 9:41 (official crash time 10:03)(Source: Final Report of the 9/11 Commission).

70 Flights AA77 and UA93 were in the air for more than 30 minutes after it was known that the Twin Towers had been struck, and after these two aircraft had been designated as hijacked.

71 Hearings before the Committee on Armed Services, United States Senate, 16-17 August 2004, para. 39.

72 L. Slobodian, ‘Norad on Heightened Alert: Role of air-defense agency rapidly transformed in wake of Sept. 11 terrorist attacks’, The Calgary Herald, 13 October 2001.

73 9/11 Commission, Staff Report Nr. 17, 17. June 2004.

74E. Hehs, ‘Conversation with Major General Larry Arnold’, One Magazine, January 2002.

75Interview with Maj. Gen. Arnold and Leslie Filson, 9/11 Commission, 11 September 2002. Team 8, Box 22, p. NCT0068077.

76R. A. Baker, ‘Commander of 9/11 Air Defenses Retires’, Newhouse News Service, 31 March 2005.

77″Live-fly” exercises mean exercises using real aircraft, not table-top simulations.

789/11 Commission Final Report, p. 20.

79Ibid.

80 A. Hartocollis, ‘Connecting with lost loved ones, if only by the tips of fingers’, The New York Times, 11 September 2011.

81 R. Hampson and M. T. Moore, ‘Closure from 9/11 elusive for many’, USA Today, 3 September 2003, att<www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2003-09-03-sept-11-son_x.htm>.

82 There is no evidence that the computers and other items were “crashed and incinerated”. Visual evidence suggests rather that they were transformed into dust as the building was disintegrating downwards.

83 This is obviously wrong. The number of bodies apparently “pulverised” is approximately 1,100, namely those persons for whom no trace was found.

84 D. Biello, ‘What Was in the World Trade Center Plume?’, Scientific American, 7 September 2011, at <www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=what-was-in-the-world-trade-center-plume>.

85 Such pulverisation did not occur at building WTC no. 7.

86 Random office fire and aircraft fuel cannot produce a constant high temperature sufficient for body cremation.

87 Among the main investigations not considered here, are the Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activities Before the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 and an investigation about suspected inside trading, the results of which have not been published.

88 9/11 Commission Records, National Archives. <www.archives.gov/research/9-11/>, last visited 2 October 2012.

89 9-11 Commission Records are posted in accessible form at <www.911myths.com/index.php/9-11_Commission_Records>.

90 T. Hargrove, ‘Third of Americans suspect 9-11 government conspiracy’, Scripps Howard News Service 1 August 2006, cached at <www.juscogens.org/nj012>.

91 Private correspondence of the author with the FBI.

92 Ibid.

93FBI 9/11 Investigation (PENTTBOM); Press Release of 27 September 2001,at <www.fbi.gov/pressrel/penttbom/penttbomb.htm>.

94 D. Eggen, ‘FBI’s 9/11 Team Still Hard at Work’, The Washington Post, 14 June 2004, at <www. washingtonpost. com/wp-dyn/articles/A39160-2004Jun13. html>, cached at <www.juscogens.org/nj014>.

95. 9/11 Investigation (PENTTBOM) at <www.fbi.gov/pressrel/penttbom/penttbomb.htm>.

96 George J. Tenet (Director of CIA), ‘Testimony Before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’, 6 February 2002: Support to the War on Terrorism and Homeland Security <www.cia.gov/cia/reports/Ann_Rpt_2002/swtandhs.html>.

97 Helen Duffy, The ‘War on Terror’ and the Framework of International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2005), pp. 119, 122

98 A list of court documents regarding Moussaoui’s case was posted on the website of FindLaw, at <news.findlaw.com/legalnews/us/terrorism/cases/index.html> but has meanwhile disappeared.  Trial transcripts can meanwhile be found on <http://cryptome.org/usa-v-zm-dt2.htm> (as of February 19, 2014)

99Committee on Science, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing Charter: Learning from 9/11: Understanding the Collapse of the World Trade Center, 6 March 2002, cached at <911research.wtc7.net/post911/docs/cos_charter.htm>. The formulation “progressive collapses” predetermined the conclusions of the investigation.

100Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, as amended, and Related Authorities, 30 October2000.

101 Nomination of Joe M. Allbaugh, Hearing before the Committee on Governmental Affairs, United States Senate, 13 February 2001.

102 J. Gerstenzang, ‘Bush puts FEMA in charge of domestic terrorism response’, Los Angeles Times, 9 May 2001, last visited 19 February 2014.

103 FEMA WTC Building Performance Study (May 2002)

104 Ibid.

105 J. Ridgeway, ‘Did the FBI Bury Oklahoma City Bombing Evidence?”, Mother Jones, 21 July 2011, at <www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/07/trentadue-fbi-oklahoma-city-bombing-evidence>, last visited on 29 September 2012.

106 ‘Learning from 9/11 – Understanding the Collapse of the World Trade Center’, Hearing Before the Committee on Science, House of Representatives, 6 March 2002, p. 14

107 J. Glanz and E. Lipton, ‘Experts Urging Broader Inquiry in Towers’ Fall’, The New York Times, 25 December 2001, last visited 19 February 2014.

108 Ibid.

109 FEMA WTC Building Performance Study, supra note 139

110 B. Manning, ‘$elling out the investigation’, Fire Engineering, 1 January 2002, at <www.fireengineering.com/articles/print/volume-155/issue-1/departments/editors-opinion/elling-out-the-investigation.html >.

111<www.nist.gov/el/disasterstudies/wtc/wtc_about.cfm>.

112H. Semerjian, ‘NIST World Trade Center Inveestigation Report Press Briefing’, NIST, 23 June2005.

113 Final Reports from the NIST Investigation of the WTC Disaster, September 2005, at <www.nist.gov/el/disasterstudies/wtc/wtc_finalreports.cfm>.

114<www.nist.gov/public_affairs/general_information.cfm>.

115 ‘Computer professionals call for public debate on new government encryption initiative’, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR), 16 April 1993

116NIST, ‘Questions and Answers about the Overall NIST WTC Investigation’, 19 September 2011, no. 14, at <www.nist.gov/el/disasterstudies/wtc/faqs_overall.cfm>.

117J. L. Gross and T.P. McAllister, NIST NCSTAR 1-6 (Draft), September 2005. (emphasis added)

118 The Sept. 11 Records (“Oral Reports”), New York Times: File 9110369, Interview of Fire Patrolman Paul Curran, December 18, 2001, p.11; File 9110369, Interview of EMS Lieutnant Bradley Mann, November 7, 2001, p.11; File. 9110200, Interview with EMT Joseph Fortis, November 9, 2001, p. 7; File. 9110203, Interview with EMT Lonnie Penn, November 9, 2001, p. 3; File 9110194, Interview with EMT Lieutnant Bradley Mann, November 7, 2001, p. 3; File9110431, Interview with Battalion Chief Brian O’Flaherty, January 9, 2002, p. 3; G. MacQueen, ‘Did the earth shake before the South Tower hit the ground’, 9 July 2009, Journal of 911 Studies, Vol. 29,July 2009. At <www.journalof911studies.com/>.

119 Among witnesses are Reporter John Bussey (Wall Street Journal), Dan Rather (CBS), Deputy Fire Commissioner Thomas Fitzpatrick, Assistant Fire Commissioner Stephen Gregory andFirefighter Richard Banaciski.

120 FEMA-BPAT, ‘World Trade Center Building Performance Study’, Section 1.3, pp. 1-8. It can also be observed with the naked eye on videos of the “collapses”.

121 G. MacQueen, ‘118 Witnesses: Firefighters’ Testimony to Explosions in the Twin Towers’, Journal of 9/11 Studies, August 2006;On 12 September 2001 Senator Mary Landrieu (Louisana) referred to “explosions which brought down skyscrapers” (Congressional Debates, September 12, 2001, p. S9306) and Senator Olympia Snowe (Maine) referred to the “sounds of blasts [which] echoed across Manhattan and our Nation’s Capital.” (Ibid.).

122 ‘Damage to Buildings Near WTC Caused by Falling Debris and Air Pressure Wave, Not by Ground Shaking’, The Earth Institute, Columbia University, 16 November 2001 (“The fall of the towers was similar to that of a pyroclastic flow down a volcano”); See an excellent but ominous video documentary(9/11 Debris: Investigation of Ground Zero, Pt. 1, at <www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnnXTrw88P4>, which provides testimonies of eyewitnesses who corroborate the puzzling absence of office equipment, furniture and other human artifacts from the rubble of Ground Zero.

123 ‘World Trade Center Disaster’, RMS Special Report, 18 September 2001, p. 5, 7; ‘The Environmental Impacts of the World Trade Center Attacks’, NRDC, February 2002,p. 18.

124 Visual observations from video recordings.

125 D.Chandler, ‘Freefall and Building 7 on 9/11’, Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, 22 December 2010, at<www.ae911truth.org/news/57-news-releases-by-others/426-freefall-and-building-7-on-911.html>.

126 J. Lin, ‘Recovery worker reflects on months spent at Ground Zero’, Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, 29 May 2002; F. Lyman, ‘Messages in the Dust’, National Environmental Health Association, September 2003, p. 40; M. H. Gaffney, The 9/11 Mystery Plane (Trine Day LLC, Walterville, OR, 2008), p. 129, 132-136; G. Lounsbury, ‘Serving on sacred ground’, National Guard, December 2001, author’s document #471; ‘Mobilizing Public Health – Turning Terror’s Side with Science’, Johns Hopkins Public Health, Late Fall 2001.

127 N. H. Harrit, et al, ‘Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe’, The Open Chemical Physics Journal (2009, 2), pp. 7-31.

128 D.R. Griffin points out that while in its Draft Report, NIST qualified its calculations of the fall of the 18 top floors of WTC 7 as “consistent with physical principles”, this reference to “physical principles” was not included in its Final Report.

129 Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth. See <www.ae911truth.org>.

130 Ibid. See <www.ae911truth.org/en/about-us.html>.

131 ‘Citizens critique of flawed 9/11 Commission process’, 23 July 2004. At <www.911citizenswatch.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=353>.

132 J. Heilbrunn, ‘A lack of intelligence’, New York Times, April 13, 2008, at <www.nytimes.com/2008/04/13/books/review/Heilbrunn-t.html>.

133 J. Dwyer, ‘Investigating 9/11: An Unimaginable Calamity, Still Largely Unexamined’, New York Times, 11 September 2002.

134 Public Law 107-306, 107th Congress, Title VI.

135 S. J. Paltrow, ‘White House Hurdles Delay 9/11 Commission Investigation’, Wall Street Journal, July 8, 2003, at <cryptome.org/wh-911-balk.htm>.

136 T.Frieden, ‘Price tag for Starr investigation: $40 million plus’, CNN, 1 February 1999

137 P. Recer, ‘NASA: Columbia Cleanup Cost Nears $400M’, NewsDay.com, 11 September 2003, at <www.newsday.com/news/science/wire/sns-ap-shuttle-investigation,0,7895931.story>.

138 Cf.D.R. Griffin, The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions (Olive Branch Press, Northampton, 2005), p. 284, n. 12.

139 “The Kean Commission: The Official Commission Avoids the Core Issues”, 9-11 Research, at<911research.wtc7.net/post911/commission/index.html>; also “Conflicts Of Interest On Sept. 11 Panel? 6 Of 10 Panel Members Allegedly Have Ties To Airline Industry”, CBS News, 5 March 2003. At <www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/03/05/eveningnews/main542868.shtml>.

140 Griffin, supra note 182, at 8.

141 See, particularly, Philip Shenon, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation (Twelve publisher, 2008).

142 Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001, U.S. Government Printing Office, H. Rept. 107-792, December 31, 2001

143 Ibid,p. 90.

144 The agreement, in the form of a letter of 11 July 2003, is posted on </www.scribd.com/doc/14579358/SK-B9-Tier-aB-Interviews-1-of-2-Fdr-Letters-Re-Minders-Interviews-Recording-Etc170>.

145 P. Shenon, The Commission, supra note 185, pp. 388-9,.

146 Ibid., p. 389

147 D.R. Griffin, ‘The 9/11 Commission Report: A 571-Page Lie’, 22 May 2005, 911Truth.Org, at <www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20050523112738404>.

148 Griffin, supra note 182, p. 12.

149 FBI, Press Release, supra note 129.

150 One of these alleged suicide-pilots by the name of Hani Hanjour is officially alleged to have flown a Boeing 757 (flight AA77)horizontally into the first floor of the Pentagon at over 450 mph. According to his flight instructors, he could hardly control a single-engine Cessna. Professional pilots say they themselves would have difficulty in maintaining a Boeing 757 horizontally attwenty feet above the ground while flying at450 mph.

151 For a comprehensive examination of these issues, see E. Davidsson, ‘There is no evidence that Muslims committed the crime of 9/11’, 10 January 2008. At <www.juscogens.org/noevidence> Visited on 27 September 2012.

152 “Baosteel Will Recycle World Trade Center Debris”, China.Org, 24 January 2002, at <www.china.org.cn/english/2002/Jan/25776.htm> (“Baosteel Group, [China’s] largest steel firm, has purchased 50,000 tons of the scrap steel from ‘Ground Zero’”); also “Mangled WTC Steel Bought by China“, Chicago Tribune, 27 January 2002

153 “On WTC debris, these Indian buildings stand”, REDIFF.COM, 14 September 2006 (“The Indian Steel Alliance […] estimates that scrap processing companies across India […] imported nearly 50,000 tonnes of the WTC steel wreckage.”).

154 D. Watson, ‘60,000 Tons of WTC Steel Recycled’, WASTE360.COM, 31 January 2002 (“Approximately 60,000 tons of steel from the WTC have been shipped to recyclers around the world, mostly to South Korea and certain U.S. cities.”).

155 “WTC scrap melted near al-Qaida site”, Associated Press (the Enquirer), 10 September 2002, at <www.enquirer.com/editions/2002/09/10/fin_wtc_scrap_melted.html> (“Company executives and government officials confirmed that Megasteel [Malaysia] took delivery last month of a 35,000-ton shipment of scrap metal that included some World Trade Center steel.”).

156 Final Report on the Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7, NIST NCSTAR 1A, p. 16 and 56, At <www.nist.gov/customcf/get_pdf.cfm?pub_id=861610>.

157 Moussaoui trial exhibit PA00108, at <www.vaed.uscourts.gov/notablecases/moussaoui/exhibits/prosecution/PA00108.html>.

158 Moussaoui trial exhibit PA00110, at <www.vaed.uscourts.gov/notablecases/moussaoui/exhibits/prosecution/PA00110.html>.

159 Moussaoui trial exhibit PA00102, at <www.vaed.uscourts.gov/notablecases/moussaoui/exhibits/prosecution/PA00102.html>.

160 Moussaoui trial exhibit PA00105.08, at <www.vaed.uscourts.gov/notablecases/moussaoui/exhibits/prosecution/PA00105-08.html>.

161 Moussaoui trial exhibit GX-PA00109, at <www.rcfp.org/moussaoui/>.

162 R. Frederick, ‘The day that changed Amereica’, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 11 September 2002. Cached at <www.aldeilis.net/english/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2263&Itemid=107>.

163 Final Report of the 9/11 Commission; note 1 to chapter 1, p. 451.

164 Had flight AA11 not hit the North Tower of the WTC, no TV camera would be recording the aircraft impact on the South Tower.Osama bin Laden and his bosses would not have been able to present the worldwith a real-time, visual evidence, of a plane crash on the World Trade Center.

165 United States of America v Zacarias Moussaoui, U.S. District Court, Alexandria Division. Cross-examination of FBI Special Agent James M. Fitzgerald. March 7, 2006, 10:00 A.M. Transcript p. 222. Available at <cryptome.org/usa-v-zm-030706-01.htm>.

166 FBI Affidavit, at <www.abc.net.au/4corners/atta/resources/documents/fbiaffidavit1.htm>.

167 M. Dorman, ‘Unravelling 9-11 was in the bags’, Newsday, 17 April 2006, at <www.newsday.com/news/unraveling-9-11-was-in-the-bags-1.591192>.

168 United States of America v Zacarias Moussaoui, supra note 134.

169 FBI document 302-1306.

170 Dieter Snell, Senior Counsel of the 9/11 Commission, addressing the 9/11 Commission at its 12th Public Hearing, June 16, 2004.

171 B. Whitaker, ‘Chilling document hints at ‘Armageddon’‘,The Guardian, 1 October 2001.

172 Ibid.

173 Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act (ATSA), 107th Congress (2001-2002), H.R.2926. At <thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c107:H.R.2926:>.

174 R. L. Rabin, ‘September 11 through the prism of victim compensation’ (Abstract), Columbia Law Review, March 2006, Vol. 106, No. 2, p. 464.

175 ATSA, supra note 261. Title IV, Section 405 (c) (3)

176 ‘Who gets what: Putting A Price On Human Tragedy’, Interview with Kenneth Feinberg, NPR Talk of the Nation, 27 June 2012, at <www.npr.org/2012/06/27/155850506/who-gets-what-putting-a-price-on-human-tragedy>.

177 J. Taglieri, ‘9-11 Lawsuits: Saudis, Airlines, Bush Face Litigation’, From the Wilderness, 27 August 2002. Available at <www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/082702_lawsuits.html>; also W. Gilberti, ‘Bush administration moves to stifle discovery in 9/11 lawsuits’, World Socialist Web Site, 2 August 2002. Available at <www.wsws.org/articles/2002/aug2002/bush-a02.shtml>.

178 T. Harper, “Families Sue U.S., Reject 9/11 ‘Bribe’”, Toronto Star, 23 December 2003, at <www.commondreams.org/headlines03/1223-02.htm>.

179 Ibid.

180 ATSA, supra note 261,Section 408, para. (3) (Jurisdiction).

181 ‘Jury Can Hear Part of Flight 93 Tape’, CBS News, February 11, 2009. At <www.cbsnews.com/8301-500249_162-3254501.html>.

182 B. Weiser, ‘Family and United Settle Last 9/11 Wrongful-Death Lawsuit’, New York Times, 19 September 2011, at <www.nytimes.com/2011/09/20/nyregion/last-911-wrongful-death-suit-is-settled.html?_r=0>.

183 A. Harocollis, ‘More 9/11 Lawsuits Are Settled’, The New York Times, 18 September 2007. At <www.nytimes.com/2007/09/18/nyregion/18cnd-settle.html?hp&_r=0>, last visited 30 September 2012.

184 Enukidze, supra note 14, para. 276.

185 See Security Council resolution 1757 (2007) authorizing the establishment of a special tribunal to try suspects in [the] assassination of Rafiq Hariri, 30 May 2007.

186 Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth

187 Firefighters for 9/11 Truth

188 Lawyers for 9/11 Truth

189 Medial Professionals for 9/11 Truth

190 Military Officers for 9/11 Truth

191 Pilots for 9/11 Truth

192 Political Leaders for 9/11 Truth

193 Religious Leaders for 9/11 Truth

194 Scholars for 9/11 Truth

195 Scientists for 9/11 Truth

196 9/11 Questions Meetup Groups

197 9/11 Truth Europe (the list represents the status in 2007).

Demolition of World Trade Center Building 7 was admitted by its developer on national television

Garlic & Grass
http://www.garlicandgrass.org/issue8/Don_Paul.cfm

Issue No. 8 – The Matrix (Spring 2005)

The Best Evidence Available on the 9-11 Conspiracy

By Don Paul

The most revealing statement about the conspiracy that orchestrated mass murder on September 11, 2001 was broadcast across the United States more than two years ago.

On September 14, 2002, the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) aired a documentary on reconstrucion of the former World Trader Center site in lower Manhattan. The show’s title was “America Rebuilds.” During this PBS documentary, the developer of World Trade Center (WTC) Building 7, Larry Silverstein of Silverstein Properties, said that he and “the commander” of the New York City Fire Department had decided to “pull” WTC Building 7 late in the afternoon of September 11, 2001.

The developer, then 70 years old, whose Silverstein Properties had become the principal lease-holder of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers just seven weeks before 9/11/01, told PBS:

“I remember getting a call from the, er, fire department commander, telling that they were not sure they were going to be able to contain the fire, and I said, “We’ve had such a terrible loss of life, maybe the smartest thing is to pull it”. And they made that decision to pull and we watched the building collapse.”1

To “pull” a building, in the lexicon of realtors and Fire Departments, is to demolish it. Thus, in its context, Larry Silverstein’s repeated use of the phrase “to pull” means “to demolish.” At another point, earlier in this “America Rebuilds” documentary, there is a sequence of quotes about WTC Building 6, a building also brought to ground on the morning of 9-11, which makes clear that “to pull” means to demolish:

First, the PBS documentary plays an official’s voice on that horrendous morning: “Hello? We’re getting ready to pull Building 6.”

Then the documentary presents commentary by Luis Mendes of New York City’s Department of Design and Construction: “We had to be very careful how we demolished Building 6. We were worried about Building 6 coming down and then damaging the story walls, so we wanted that particular building to fall within a certain area.”

The conclusion? Larry Silverstein’s nationally aired statement means, simply, that he and others must have prepared WTC Building 7 for demolition. Could this preparation for demolition have taken place on a single afternoon? As we will see below, because it was a 47-story skyscraper containing 2 million square feet of office space, this preparation must have taken at least several weeks. Several weeks, that is, before Sept. 11, 2001.
For a Controlled Demolition, Call Controlled Demolition, Inc.

Controlled Demoliton, Inc. (CDI), of Baltimore, Maryland is one of the world’s leaders in demolishing large buildings. Owned for three generations by the Loizeaux family, CDI details on its website the ‘World Records’ that the company holds in demolishing huge structures — monuments such as the former Kingdome in Seattle. The CDI website also relates the timespans that have been required for the company’s accomplishments.

How much time would be required for the planning and emplacement of charges for the symmetric implosion of WTC Building 7 that we saw on 9-11? WTC Building 7 was a 47-story tower that sat less than 100 feet from other skyscrapers. We read on the CDI site about a 17-story building of reinforced concrete in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia — the Sheikh A. Alaki Apartment Building — which collapsed while under construction by the Bechtel Corporation in 1998.

The CDI site relates: ‘At the request of Bechtel, Controlled Demolition, Inc.’s team mobilized to the site in less than 24 hours, prepared the central-core, flat slab, reinforced concrete structure in another 27 hours, and put the balance of the building on the ground with absolute safety just 96 hours after the start of demolition preparations.’

96 hours. Four days. This was the time needed for emergency demolition of a 17-story building of reinforced concrete by a CDI team.

A building in Detroit, Mich. of comparable size to WTC Building 7 — the J L Hudson store, standing 35 stories tall and containing 2.2 million square feet — took CDI almost five months to prepare and bring down in 1998.

The CDI site reports that after four months of study by associate contractors:

CDI’s 12-person loading crew took 24 days to place 4,118 separate charges in 1,100 locations on columns on nine levels of the complex. Over 36,000 ft of detonating cord and 4,512 non-electric delay elements were installed in CDI’s implosion initiation system, some to create the 36 primary implosion sequences and another 216 micro-delays to keep down the detonation overpressure from the 2,728 lbs of explosives which would be detonated during the demolition.

So. Four months, plus an additional 24 days, were needed to place the charges necessary to demolish, within its 420-foot-by-220-foot footprint, a building 12 stories smaller than WTC Building 7.

How, then, could the preparation and emplacement of charges to “pull” WTC Building 7 be accomplished in a single afternoon? In particular, during the tumultuous afternoon of Sept. 11, 2001, right there at ‘Ground Zero’?

What It All Means

Larry Silverstein’s statement on national television means that the preparation for demolition of WTC Building 7 must have preceded 9-11 by weeks, if not months.

Upon a moment of reflection, the developer’s statement also means that al Queda could not be at all involved in this most revealing part of the horrific 9-11 crimes.

It means, upon further reflection, that only those with secret access to WTC Building 7’s 25 central columns and 58 perimeter columns of structural steel could have been responsible for placing the charges that accomplished its symmetric, precipitous, inward collapse which took no more than a gravity-like 6.5 seconds as all of the skyscraper’s 570-foot-high mass crashed to the ground. It means that the building’s developer and lease-holder, Larry Silverstein, himself, was probably integrally involved in the 9-11 conspiracy. It means also that WTC Building 7’s mortgage-holders on 9-11, the Blackstone Group, Banc of America Securities, and the General Motors Acceptance Corporation, were probably also privy to the protracted planning and placing of explosive charges within their property. It means that these three pillars of the United States’ financial establishment were probably integrally involved in the conspiracy both to commit the terrible crimes of 9-11 and to reap enormous profits from the consequent “War on Terrorism.”

When we look at the different, but nearly equally obvious, demolitions of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers, and consider the amount of time needed for the planning and placement of charges to collapse these gigantic structures as they actually fell (straight down into their footprints), we see that the entity which controlled the Twin Towers for decades and which awarded the lease of the Twin Towers to the consortium of realtors headed by Silverstein Properties in April 2001 — the New York Port Authority — must also come under suspicion in the emplacement of the charges that were necessary for the demolitions and the killing of more than two thousand people.

Connecting the Dots

Banc of America Securities. The General Motors Acceptance Corporation. The New York Port Authority. We’re led still deeper into the heart of the United States’ financial establishment, for the New York Port Authority is a body long controlled by the family most powerful and manipulative in Manhattan real estate: the Rockefeller family.

Of the Rockefellers, the banker David, head of both the Chase Manhattan Bank and the Council on Foreign Relations from the late 1960s into the 1980s, was the main mover behind construction of the World Trade Center from the early 1960s forward. During this period of consrtuction, David’s brother, Nelson, was Governor of New York, and thus, as Governor, the ultimate, nominal boss of the New York Port Authority, the entity that was for many years the largest tenant (with 20,000 employees resident) in either Tower.

In October 2000, David Rockefeller’s close associate Peter G. Peterson, who was Chairman of both the Council of Foreign Relations and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on 9-11, led the multifold-investment company of which he was also Chairman, the Blackstone Group, into purchase of the portion of the mortgage on WTC Buildling 7 that was held by the Traveler’s Group.

In February of 2002, the Blackstone Group, Banc of America Securities, the General Motors Acceptance Corporation, and Silverstein Properties shared in a award from Industrial Risk Insurers of $861 million for loss of the obviously demolished WTC Building 7. The total investment of the lease-holder and mortgage-holders for WTC 7 was $386 million. Thus they shared in a profit of $475 million for the demolished Building 7.

At the time of the Towers’ transfer from the New York Port Authority to Silverstein Properties they faced much more than $1 billion in costs for renovation and asbestos-removal. Eric Darton’s excellent study of the World Trade Center, Divided We Stand, published in 2000, summarizes the property’s problems as real estate:

‘To maintain the trade center as class-A office space commanding top rents, the [Port Authority] would have had to spend $800 million rebuilding the electrical, electronic communication, and cooling systems.’

These problems were, of course, removed from the Port Authority when it leased away the Twin Towers and World Trade Center Buildings 4, 5, 6 and 400,000 feet of retail space to the consortium led by Silverstein Properties seven weeks prior to 9-11. The $3.2 billion long-term price for the 99-year lease was widely thought to be low for properties estimated to be worth $8 billion over that time-span. JP Morgan Chase, the flagship of Rockefeller-controlled Banks, advised the Port Authority in the award of this lease. The new lease-holders immediately took out insurance policies worth more than the total, long-term price of their new WTC holdings. Silverstein Properties itself invested only $15 million of the less than $600 million actually transferred to the Port Authority. The British Financial Times reported on September 14, 2001:

The lease has an all-important escape clause: If the buildings are struck by “an act of terrorism,” the new owners’ obligations under the lease are void. As a result, the new owners are not required to make any payments under their lease, but they will be able to collect on the loss of the buildings that collapses or were otherwise destroyed and damaged in the attacks.

Taking It to the Bank

In April 2004, Silverstein Properties and its partners won an award of $4.8 billion from their claim for $7.1 billion in losses to their 2001 World Trade Center acquisitions as a result of the 9-11 attacks.

Other insurance-related profits followed from the mass destruction and death in lower Manhattan on 9-11. There were huge increases in the premiums subsequently paid to the largest surviving insurer corporations. In this regard, an interview CDI Executive Mark Loizeaux gave to New Scientist in July 2004 is instructive. The CDI executive was asked: ‘But 9/11 has also sent your insurance up, hasn’t it?’ Mark Loizeaux replied: ‘It’s gone up about 2000 percent since 9-11. Not only because of 9-11 but because insurance companies lost a great deal of money in the stock market collapse just preceding 9-11 with the collapse of dot.coms.’

The amounts of revenue and profit for two of the largest US insurer Corporations — Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway and Maurice Greenberg’s American International Group — between 2002 and 2003 were exorbitant.2

Large as these amounts to insurer corporations are, they’re dwarfed by the post-9/11 financial gains from the “War on Terrorism” accruing to: oil-and-gas corporations such as Chevron, Exxon, British Peteroleum and Royal Dutch Shell; weapons-making corporations such as Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grunman, and General Dynamics; and money-laundering banks and stock markets through which the post-2001 $180-billion-per-year in profits from Afghan-grown opium are flowing. These profits are charted or noted in Waking Up from Our Nightmare: The 9-11 Crimes in New York City, a book Jim Hoffman and I have written.

All of these corporations are connected in multiple ways through their interlocking boards of directors and major stock-holders. As of 1993, the Rockefeller family was among the top five vote-holders in 93 of the United States’ 122 largest corporations. As of 1997, the Chase Bank and Citigroup controlled more than half the stock of the privately owned Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

All of these corporations have vital connections to the heart of the US financial establishment, which is thoroughly represented among the financiers who constructed or controlled the World Trade Center before the demolition of the Twin Towers and WTC Building 7.

Thus, developer and lease-holder Larry Silverstein’s nationally televised statement concerning the decision to “pull” WTC Building 7 is itself the most clear-cut key we now have on the public record for unlocking the whole of the conspiracy which orchestrated the demolitions and the resulting murder of thousands in lower Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001, as the pretext for more war outside the US and more repression inside.

Don Paul, author and activist, recommends www.wtc7.net for more information on what really happened on 9-11. Books and albums of his are up at www.wireonfire.com/donpaul.

In Memoriam

alshehhiatta-largemounir

Marwan Alshehhi                          Ziad Jarrah                               Mohamed El Amir Atta       Mounir el Motassadeq

Probably murdered                 Probably murdered                           Probably murdered            15 years imprisonment 

IN MEMORIAM

There is no evidence that these young men had anything to do with the mass-murder of September 11, 2001. Hence they must be considered as innocent. To accuse them of the mass-murder is a grievous and unconscionable form of character assassination and is an attack upon the honour of their families. Mounir el Motassadeq, who is totally innocent of any crime, was convicted to 15 years imprisonment as a gift by Germany to the United States. The other three were probably murdered by the real perpetrators of the crime of 11. September.   The world is entitled to know about their true fate.

Project Achilles (Parts I, II and III)

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legal notes FAQ. site guide
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Project Achilles Report Parts One, Two and Three

by A.K. Dewdney, January 23rd 2003

Preliminary low-altitude cellphone experiment

January 23 2003; 4:35 – 5:40 pm
Civic Airport, London, Ontario, Canada

Equipment:

aircraft: Diamond DA20/C1 Katana two-seater
engine: 125 hp
body & airframe: fiberglass/carbon fiber composite
weight fully loaded: 1630 lbs

cellphones: one Motorola model “120 CDMA” cellphone (A)
two Motorola “i1000 plus” cellphones (B)
(both fully charged at flight time)

The flight plan consisted of four “laps,” elongated circuits (shaped like a paperclip) over London, Ontario airspace. Each lap was about seven to eight miles long and two to three miles wide. Three calls were made on each of two straight legs in each lap. Calls alternated between cellphone A and cellphone B. A second i1000, intended for use at higher altitudes, slipped to the cockpit floor and could not be retrieved in those cramped quarters. A check of battery levels of the first i1000, however, showed that there had been no significant power drain on the unit.

* * * A * * * * * B * * * * A * * * * end
*
* W —– E
*
*
* * * B * * * * * A * * * * B * * * * begin

Note: “altitude” means aboveground altitude, not height above sea level, as recorded by the altimeter.

Results:

Lap 1 @ 1,100 feet altitude:

1st leg: A to business number no connection?
B to business number 1 min. complete
A to business number 1 min. complete
2nd leg B to home number no connection?
A to home number (broken) complete
B to home number complete

Lap 2 @ 2,100 feet altitude:

1st leg: A to home number no connection?
B to home number no voice, just a “beep”
A to home number no connection?
2nd leg B to home number 1 min. complete
A to home number no voice
B to home number no voice

Lap 3 @ 3,100 feet altitude:

1st leg: A to home number missed making the call
B to home number “system busy”
A to home number incomplete
2nd leg B to home number “please wait: CLEARNET”
A to home number incomplete
B to home number call made late, incomplete

Lap 3 @ 3,500 feet altitude:

A to home number incomplete
B to home number complete, but breaking up

Calls to the business number were recorded by the message system. Two calls made it through. Of the 17 calls to the home number, only about ten calls got through. In three of these, we had a conversation (of sorts) and the rest were just white noise. (no record of which)

After the third call, I decided that the cockpit was too noisy to hear the message system, so I changed my plan and called home (my wife), instead. Calls to the business number were recorded by the message system. Two calls made it through. Of the 17 calls to the home number, only about ten calls got through. In three of these, we had a conversation (of sorts) and the rest were just white noise. (no record of which)

Summary: In the preliminary test, only five of the 16 (attempted) calls resulted in any meaningful voice contact. In at least two of those calls, no connection whatever could be established with cellsites below. The composition of the Diamond Katana (manufactured right here in London, Ontario) makes it almost transparent to EM radiation at radio wavelengths and the results of this experiment are therefore optimal. Aircraft with metal skins will undoubtedly fare rather worse in the percentage of calls making it through.

low altitude (1100-2100′): 4/12 or 33 percent
mid altitude (3100 – 3500′): 1/7 or 14 percent

Conclusion: the purpose of this experiment was to probe the effect of altitude on cellphone service and to iron out wrinkles in experimental procedure. In the first instance, it looks as though there might well be a decline in service with increasing altitude. The phenomenon must now be mapped more carefully.

As far as operating procedures is concerned, it is probably best to make calls to a number you know well, to be familiar with the various status messages on each cellphone display screen, and to have someone at the other end who can log the time of the call, as well as to summarize the content. (The cockpit in most light aircraft is so noisy that one cannot always hear a voice at the other end, although I did hear my wife talking somewhat clearly on two occasions.) Also, it is important to be very organized, having a special carrier case for cellphones, writing/recording materials, etc. The airspeed of the Katana was just a little fast for me to comfortably make the calls and stay organized at the same time. Two of the calls were made rather late in the current lap, even as we began to climb out to the next one. It would be better to have a separate person operating the cellphones. We also need a meaningful call classification system to fill the gaps between complete failure and an audible conversation.

All calls were handled by the Bell Mobility Network, which has some 25 cellsites operating in the London area. I have now located all the cellsites in London, Ontario, thanks to a very helpful set of maps provided by a local cell phone aficionado:

<www.arcx.com/sites/>

Plans are now under way for part two (Below). This will involve a Cessna four-seater (with an aluminum skin), five or six cellphones of various types, an expert to operate them on my queue, and a flight plan that will explore the effect up to 10,000 feet beyond which, according to one airline pilot, there is absolutely no hope of getting through.

A. K. Dewdney
(with thanks to Corey Barrington, pilot with empire Aviation)

 

‘Project Achilles’ – Report, Part Two

by A.K. Dewdney – February 25th 2003

Equipment:

  • Diamond Katana four-seater (Empire Aviation)
  • cellphones: C1, C2, C3, C4 (See appendix for descriptions.)

Personnel:

  • Corey Barrington (pilot)
  • Darren Spicknell (operator – technician for Wireless Concepts, Inc)
  • Kee Dewdney (director)
  • Pat Dewdney (ground recorder)

Weather: unlimited ceiling, light scattered cloud at 3,000 and 25,000 feet, visibility 15 miles, wind 5 knots from NW, air temperature -12 C.

For this experiment, we flew a circular route, instead of the elongated oval. The circle centred on the downtown core and took us over most of the city suburbs. All locations below are referred to the city centre and are always about three miles distant from it.

Protocol:

At times specified by the director, the operator made a call to a specified number, stating the code number of the cellphone (1 to 4) and the altitude. The receiver recorded whatever was heard and the time the call was received. At the first three altitudes of 2000, 4000, and 6000 feet abga each cellphone was used once. At 8000 feet abga, only C2 and C3 were tried, C1 and C4 now being hors de combat.

Results with timeline:

time (pm) call no. C# loc. operator recorder
5:05 started taxi to runway
5:12 takeoff
5:14 at 2000 feet (above-ground altitude)
5:15 Call #1 C1 N success not very clear
5:17 Call #2 C2 W success not very clear
5:19 Call #3 C3 SW failure
5:21 Call #4 C4 S success not clear/ breaking up
5:24 climbed to 4000 feet abga
5:25 Call #5 C1 NE failure
5:26 Call #6 C2 N success clear
5:27 Call #7 C3 NW failure
5:29 Call #8 C4 W failure
5:33 climbed to 6000 feet abga
5:34 Call #9 C1 SE failure
5:36 Call #10 C2 E failure
5:37 Call #11 C3 NE failure
5:38 Call #12 C4 N failure
5:39 Call #13 C1 NW failure
5:40 Call #14 C2 SW success clear
5:42 Call #15 C3 S failure
5:43 Call #16 C4 SE failure
5:44 Call #17 C1 E failure
5:45 Call #18 C2 NE failure
5:45 Call #19 C3 NE success breaking up
5:46 Call #20 C4 N failure
5:49 begin climb to 8000 feet abga (cellphones 2 and 3 only)
5:50 Call #21 C2 W failure
5:50 Call #22 C3 SW failure
5:51 Call #23 C2 S success buzzy
5:53 completed climb to 8000 feet abga
5:58 Call #24 C3 SE failure
5:58 Call #25 C2 E failure
5:58 Call #26 C3 E failure
5:59 Call #27 C2 NE failure
6:00 Call #28 C3 N failure
6:01 Call #29 C1 N failure
6:01 Call #30 C2 NW failure
6:02 Call #31 C3 NW failure
6:02 Call #32 C4 NW
6:15 landed at airport

Conclusions:

To the extent that the cellphones used in this experiment represent types in general use, it may be concluded that from this particular type of aircraft, cellphones become useless very quickly with increasing altitude. In particular, two of the cellphone types, the Mike and the Nokia, became useless above 2000 feet. Of the remaining two, the Audiovox worked intermittently up to 6000 feet but failed thereafter, while the BM analog cellphone worked once just over 7000 feet but failed consistently thereafter. We therefore conclude that ordinary cellphones, digital or analog, will fail to get through at or above 8000 feet abga.

It should be noted that several of the calls rated here as “successes” were difficult for the Recorder to hear, witness description such as “breaking up” or “buzzy.”

Summary table

altitude (in feet) calls tried calls successful percent success
2000 4 3 75%
4000 4 1 25%
6000 12 2 17%
8000 12* 1 1 8%

* includes three calls made while climbing; last successful call was made from just over 7000 feet.

The four cellphones operated via four different cellular networks (cellsites). Because calls were made from a variety of positions for each network, it cannot be said that failures were the fault of cellsite placement. the London, Ontario, region is richly supplied with cellsites belonging to five separate networks.

It may be noted in passing that this experiment was also conducted in a radio-transparent aircraft with carbon-fibre composite construction. Failure to make a call from such an aircraft with any particular brand of cellphone spells automatic failure for the same cellphone from a metal-clad aircraft flying at the same altitude. A metal skin attenuates all cellphone signals to a significant degree. It may safely be concluded that the operational ceiling for cellphones in aluminum skin aircraft (most passenger liners, for example) would be significantly lower than the ones reported here.

It may therefore safely be concluded that cellphone calls from passenger aircraft are physically impossible above 8000 feet abga and statistically unlikely below it.

A. K. Dewdney
February 25/03

Appendix – Cellphone types, networks (courtesy of Darren Spicknell)

C1 Motorola i95cl – Telus Mike Network – 800 Mhz IDEN
C2 Motorola StarTac – Bell Mobility – 800 Mhz Analog
C3 Audiovox 8300 – Telus PCS Network – 1.9 Ghz CDMA / 800 MHz
C4 Nokia 6310i – Rogers AT&T – 1.9 Ghz GHz GSM. (Tri-Band – Has an
1.8 GHz and 900 Mhz GSM these are European frequencies)

IDEN – Integrated Digital Enhanced Network
CDMA – Code Division Multiple Access
GSM – Global Systems for Mobile Communications

Power Levels

The Project Achilles team

Power output of these handsets. The Nokia 6310i and Audiovox 8300 when in digital mode will output 0.2 Watts.

When the Analog Motorola StarTac is operating it is at 0.6 Watts optimal.

When and IF the Audiovox 8300 is in analog mode it will operate at 0.6 Watts (However, this is not normally the case – you will see wattage levels around 0.52 – 0.45 approximately)

Frequency

Both the Telus Mike (C1) and Motorola StarTac (C2) operate in the 800 MHz range. This will allow the signal to travel at a great distance. However, the IDEN (Mike) network has fewer site locations and is a newer Digital network. Most digital technologies operate on a “all or none” basis. When it has signal it will work well. As the signal fades, one hears no static, but some digital distortion just before the call drops.

Networks

Mike Network: Newer, all-digital network with modern antenna design, and fewer cellsites

Bell Mobility Analog: Older, analog network with less focused antenna design but many cellsites

Telus PCS: Newer, digital network with multiple frequencies, modern antenna design, and many cellsites

Rogers GSM: Our newest digital network with modern antenna design and many cellsites

A. K. Dewdney,
February 25th 2003

 

‘Project Achilles’ – Final (Third) Report and Summary of Findings

A. K. Dewdney, 19th April 2003

During the early months of the year 2003, the author conducted three experiments to determine whether and how well cellphones could be operated from aircraft. The first flight (Part One) was essentially a probe of the experimental situation, to acquire some primary data and to work out a simple, readily implemented protocol. The results of Part Two (Diamond Katana 4-seater) have already appeared in these pages. The results of Part Three (Cessna 172-R) appear immediately below.

Since this completes the suite of experiments, it is appropriate to summarize the findings and to draw some conclusions. The conclusions are based partly on the experiments and partly on two other sources. (See Appendix B at the end of the report.) Expert opinion and eyewitness testimony are acceptable not only in court, but in certain scientific inquiries where events are of short duration or experiments are too expensive or impossible to carry out. Of course, eyewitness accounts do not carry the same weight as expert opinions or actual experiments, but the eyewitness accounts quoted below seem to be both consistent and compelling.

Disclaimer: The companies hired to assist in this experiment, namely Empire Aviation and Cellular Solutions, both of London, Ontario, Canada, acted as disinterested commercial parties, with no stake in the outcome or even knowledge of the purpose of the tests.

Part Three – April 19th 2003

The previous experiment, called Part Two, established a distinct trend of decreasing cellphone functionality with altitude. It was conducted in a four-seater Diamond Katana over the city of London (pop. 300,000), Ontario in Canada, an area richly supplied with some 35 cellsites distributed over an area of about 25 square miles. The flight path was an upward spiral, punctuated every 2000 feet (abga) with a level circuit around the outskirts of the city. On each circuit a fixed number of cellphone calls were attempted by an expert operator employing a battery of well-charged phones broadly representative of those on the market both currently and in the year 2001.

(It should be remarked that not only is the cellphone technological base in Canada identical to its US counterpart, but Canadian communication technology is second to none, Canada being a world-leader in research and development.)

The purpose of Part Three was to test the effects of what might be called “Faraday attenuation” on the strength and success of calls. The presence of a metallic shell around some electronic devices can alter their behavior by its ability to attract and store electrons, especially electromagnetic waves. For this reason, the experimental craft was switched from the Katana, which is supposed to be relatively transparent to em radiation, to an aircraft with an aluminum skin, as below.

Equipment:

  • Cessna 172-R (2002) four-seater (Empire Aviation)
  • cellphones: C1, C2, C3, C4, C5 (See Appendix A for descriptions.)

Personnel:

  • Corey Barrington (pilot – Empire Aviation)
  • Darren Spicknell (operator – technician for Wireless Concepts, Inc)
  • Kee Dewdney (director)
  • Pat Dewdney (ground recorder)

Weather: unlimited ceiling, light scattered cloud at 5,000, solid/broken 24,000 feet, visibility 12 miles, wind 11 knots from SSW, air temperature +19 C.

For this experiment, we flew the same circular route as we did in Part Two, The circle centered on the downtown core and took us over most of the city suburbs. All locations below are referred to the city centre and are always about two miles distant from it.

Protocol:

At times specified by the director, the operator made a call to a specified number, stating the code number of the cellphone (1 to 5) and the altitude. The ground recorder noted whatever was heard and the time the call was received. At the first two altitudes of 2000, 4000 above ground altitude (abga) each cellphone was used once. At 6000 and 8000 feet abga, each cellphone was used twice only C2, C3, and C5 were tried, C1 and C4 being hors de combat.

Results with timeline:

time (pm) call no. C# loc. operator recorder

7:05 – started taxi to runway

7:12 – takeoff

7:15 – at 2000 feet (aboveground altitude)

7:17 Call #1 C1 N success clear, slight breakup
7:18 Call #2 C2 W success clear
7:20 Call #3 C3 SW success clear
7:22 Call #4 C4 S success (2 tries) clear
7:23 Call #5 C5 SE success clear
7:27 – climbed to 4000 feet abga
7:28 Call #6 C1 NE success clear
7:30 Call #7 C2 N success clear
7:31 Call #8 C3 NW “success” (frag) no complete word
7:32 Call #9 C4 W failure no ring
7:34 Call #10 C5 SW success clear
7:35 – climbed to 6000 feet abga
7:39 Call #11 C1 SE success clear
7:41 Call #12 C2 E success clear
7:42 Call #13 C3 E success clear, slight breakup
7:44 Call #14 C4 NE failure no ring
7:44 Call #15 C5 NE failure no ring
7:45 Call #16 C1 N failure no ring
7:46 Call #17 C2 N success clear
7:47 Call #18 C3 NW failure no ring
7:48 Call #19 C4 NW failure no ring
7:49 Call # 20 C5 W success clear
7:50 Call #21 C1 W failure no ring
7:51 Call #22 C2 SW failure no ring
7:52 Call #23 C3 SW failure no ring
7:53 Call #24 C4 S failure no ring
7:54 Call #25 C5 S success clear
7:55 – begin climb to 8000 feet abga (cellphones C2, C3 and C5)
7:55 Call #26 C2 SE failure no ring
7:57 Call #27 C3 E failure no ring
7:59 Call #28 C5 E success clear, slight breakup
8:00 – completed climb to 8000 feet abga
8:01 Call #29 C2 NE failure no ring
8:02 Call #30 C3 NE failure no ring
8:03 Call #31 C5 N failure no ring
8:04 Call #32 C2 NW success clear
8:05 Call #33 C3 NW failure no ring
8:07 Call #34 C5 W failure no ring
8:20 – landed at airport

The following table summarizes the results:

altitude (feet) calls tried calls successful percent success
2000 5 5 100%
4000 5 3 60%
6000 15 6 40%
8000 15 2 13%

Note: calls “tried” includes retired cellphones C1 and C4 above the altitude of 4000 feet where, in the opinion of the cellphone expert, they would have failed to get through, in any case. Failure to include them in the count would make the results at different altitudes non-comparable.

The results of this experiment may be compared to the results from Part Two where, instead of the Cessna, we used the Diamond Katana:

altitude (feet) calls tried calls successful percent success
2000 4 3 75%
4000 4 1 25%
6000 12 2 17%
8000 20 1 5%

To make the results comparable, however, cellphone C5 was omitted from the calculations, since it was not used in the first experiment.

altitude (feet) calls tried calls successful percent success
2000 4 3 75%
4000 4 1 25%
6000 12 2 17%
8000 12 1 8%

Analysis

Since the (1.5 mm) skin of the Cessna appears to have made little difference to the outcome of the experiment, the data of Parts Two and Three may be combined, as follows, to produce more reliable figures for the battery of test phones that were used in the experiment:

altitude (feet) calls tried calls successful percent success
2000 9 8 89%
4000 9 4 44%
6000 27 8 30%
8000 35 3 9%

The data from the first three altitudes appear to fit an inverse-linear model of attenuation. In other words, the probability of a call getting through varies inversely as the altitude, according to the formula:

Probability of success = k/altitude, where k is a constant

It will be noted that the values of k implied by these data, at least up to 6000 feet abga are remarkably consistent. However, at 8000 feet the k-value falls precipitously, implying that a different regime may be in play.

altitude (feet) k-value
2000 1780
4000 1760
6000 1800
8000 720

The expected model of attenuation with distance is of course inverse squared, a natural consequence of the three dimensions that any uniform radiation must travel through. Inverse squared attenuation follows a slightly different pattern or formula:

Probability of success = k/altitude²

To estimate k, it seems reasonable to use the data from 4000 feet and 8000 feet as benchmarks for the calculation of the constant k (not the same constant as was used in the foregoing analysis, of course.)

At 4000 feet abga the implied k-value if 7,040,000, while at 8000 feet, the implied k-value is 5,760,000. although here again the k-value appears to drop (indicating that the actual attenuation may be worse than inverse squared), we use an average of the two estimates, following our consistent practice of always giving the benefit of the doubt to the cellphones, so to speak.

Taking an average value of k = 6,400,000, we obtain the formula,

Probability of success = 6,400,000/altitude²

Using this formula, we can get a best-case estimate for the probability of cellphone success from a slow-moving light aircraft, as summarized in the following table.

altitude (feet) probability of cellphone call getting through
4,000 0.400
8,000 0.100
12,000 0.040
16,000 0.025
20,000 0.016
24,000 0.011
28,000 0.008
32,000 0.006

Private pilots flying light aircraft are nowadays familiar with the fact that they may use their cellphones to make calls to the ground, at least if they are not higher than one or two thousand feet. Above that altitude, calls get rather iffy, sometimes working, sometimes not. The higher a pilot ascends, the less likely the call is to get through. At 8000 feet the pilot will not get through at all unless he or she happens to be using a cellphone with the same capabilities as C5 (See appendix A.) But even that cellphone begins to fail at 6000 feet.

Calls from 20,000 feet have barely a one-in-a-hundred chance of succeeding.

The results just arrived at apply only to light aircraft and are definitely optimal in the sense that cellphone calls from large, heavy-skinned, fast-moving jetliners are apt to be considerably worse.

Conclusions

It cannot be said that the Faraday attenuation experiment (Part Three) was complete, in the sense that the operator normally held the phone to his ear, seated in a normal position. This meant that the signals from the test phones were only partially attenuated because the operator was surrounded by windows that are themselves radio-transparent.

Although we cannot say yet to what degree the heavier aluminum skin on a Boeing 700-series aircraft would affect cellphone calls made from within the aircraft, they would not be without some effect as windows take up a much smaller solid angle at the cellphone antenna. Signals have a much smaller window area to escape through, in general.

As was shown above, the chance of a typical cellphone call from cruising altitude making it to ground and engaging a cellsite there is less than one in a hundred. To calculate the probability that two such calls will succeed involves elementary probability theory. The resultant probability is the product of the two probabilities, taken separately. In other words, the probability that two callers will succeed is less than one in ten thousand. In the case of a hundred such calls, even if a large majority fail, the chance of, say 13 calls getting through can only be described as infinitesimal. In operational terms, this means “impossible.”

At lower altitudes the probability of connection changes from impossible to varying degrees of “unlikely.” But here, a different phenomenon asserts itself, a phenomenon that cannot be tested in a propellor-driven light aircraft. At 500 miles per hour, a low-flying aircraft passes over each cell in a very short time. For example if a cell (area serviced by a given cellsite) were a mile in diameter, the aircraft would be in it for one to eight seconds. Before a cellphone call can go through, the device must complete an electronic “handshake” with the cellsite servicing the call. This handshake can hardly be completed in eight seconds. When the aircraft comes into the next cell, the call must be “handed off” to the new cellsite. This process also absorbs seconds of time. Together, the two requirements for a successful and continuous call would appear to absorb too much time for a speaking connection to be established. Sooner or later, the call is “dropped.”

This assessment is borne out by both earwitness testimony and by expert opinion, as found in Appendix B, below. Taking the consistency of theoretical prediction and expert opinion at face value, it seems fair to conclude that cellphone calls (at any altitude) from fast-flying aircraft are no more likely to get through than cellphone calls from high-flying slow aircraft.

A. K. Dewdney,
April 19th 2003

The author has not placed his university affiliations below his name, as the research described here was not conducted with any university facilities or supported by university-administered grants. He currently holds the titles of Professor Emeritus of Computer Science and Adjunct Professor of Biology at the University of Western Ontario, as well as Professor of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo.



APPENDIX A: Cellphone types

  • C1 – Motorola i95cl – Telus Mike Network – 800 Mhz IDEN
  • C2 – Motorola StarTac – Bell Mobility – 800 Mhz Analog
  • C3 – Audiovox 8300 – Telus PCS Network – 1.9 Ghz CDMA / 800 MHz
  • C4 – Nokia 6310i – Rogers AT&T – 1.9 Ghz GHz GSM. (Tri-Band – Has an 1.8 GHz and 900 Mhz GSM these are European frequencies)
  • C5 – Motorola Timeport 8767 – Bell Mobility – 800 MHz Analog (CDMA Tri-Mode 1.9 GHz CDMA / 800 Mhz CDMA)

APPENDIX B: Letters

Professional opinions

==========================================================

Dear Sir

I have yet to read the entire [Ghost Riders] article but I do have a background in telecommunications. Using a cell phone on an air craft is next to impossible. The reasons are very detailed, but basically the air craft would run major interference, as well as the towers that carry the signal would have a difficult time sending and receiving due to the speed of the air craft. As well, calling an operator? Well that is basically impossible.

Having worked for both a major Canadian and American provider I had to instruct my staff that operator assistance is not an option. Have you ever tried to use a cell phone in some public buildings? Impossible. There are too many spots that service is voided. Just a tidbit of information to share.

Megan Conley <megan_conley@hotmail.com>

———————————————————————————–

Hi,

I am an RF design engineer, having built out Sprint, Verizon and another network in New Orleans. You are absolutely correct. We have trouble making these things work for cars going 55 mph on the ground. If you need another engineer’s testimony for any reason, let me know I will corroborate.

my engineering site: http://www.geocities.com/rf_man_cdma/

Brad Mayeux <cdmaman@engineer.com>

———————————————————————————-

Anecdotal evidence

==========================================================

Sir,

Yours is the first article I’ve read which focuses on those dubious ‘cell phone calls’. Last month my Wife and I flew to Melbourne, about 1000 miles south of here.

Cell phones are Verboten in Airliners here, but on the return journey I had a new NOKIA phone, purchased in Melbourne, and so small I almost forgot it was in my pocket. I furtively turned it on. No reception anywhere, not even over Towns or approaching Brisbane. Maybe it’s different in the US, but I doubt it.

There has to be an investigation into this crime. Justice for the thousands of dead and their families demands it.

Best

Bernie Busch <bbusch@iprimus.com.au>

———————————————————————————–

Hi Prof

I have repeatedly tried to get my cell phone to work in an airplane above 2-3000 feet and it doesn’t work. My experiments were done discreetely on [more than] 20 Southwest Airlines flights between Ontario, California and Phoenix, Arizona. My experiments match yours. Using sprint phones 3500 and 6000 models, no calls above 2500 ft [succeeded], a “no service” indicator at 5000 ft (guestimate).

There seem to be two reasons. 1. the cell sites don’t have enough power to reach much more than a mile, 2. The cell phone system is not able to handoff calls when the plane is going at more than 400 mph.

This is simply experimental data. If any of your contacts can verify it by finding the height of the Pennsylvania plane and it’s speed one can prove that the whole phone call story is forged.

Rafe <rafeh@rdlabs.com> (airline pilot)

—————————————————————————————–

Greetings,

I write in praise of your report, as I have felt from day one that the cell phone ‘evidence’ was perhaps the flimsiest part of the story, and am amazed that nobody has touched it until now.

I’d also like to bring up the point of airspeed, which is what made the cell calls a red-flag for me in the first place. I’m not sure what your top speed achieved in the small plane was, but, in a large airliner travelling at (one would think) no less than 450mph, most cell phones wouldn’t be able to transit cells fast enough to maintain a connection (at least, from what i understand of the technology) .. and we’re talking 2001 cell technology besides, which in that period, was known to drop calls made from cars travelling above 70mph on the freeway (again, due to cell coverage transits)

Anyway, thanks for shining the light, keep up the good work

Ben Adam

——————————————————————————————-

Dear Professor,

Responding to your article, I’m glad somebody with authority has taken the trouble to scientifically prove the nonsense of 9/11.

I was travelling between two major European cities, every weekend, when the events in the US occurred. I was specifically puzzled by the reports that numerous passengers on board the hijacked planes had long conversations with ground phone lines, using their mobile phones (and not on board satelite phones). Since I travelled every weekend, I ignored the on board safety regulations to switch off the mobile phone and out of pure curiosity left it on to see if I could make a call happen.

First of all, at take off, the connection disappears quite quickly (ascending speed, lateral reception of ground stations etc.), I would estimate from 500 meters [1500 feet approx.] and above, the connection breaks.

Secondly, when making the approach for landing, the descent is more gradual and the plane is travelling longer in the reach of cellphone stations, but also only below 500 meters. What I noticed was that, since the plane is travelling with high speed, the connection jumps from one cellphone station to another, never actually giving you a chance to make a phone call. (I have never experienced this behaviour over land, e.g. by car). Then, if a connection is established, it takes at least 10-30 seconds before the provider authorises a phone call in the first place. Within this time, the next cellstation is reached (travel speed still > 300KM/h) and the phone , always searching for the best connection, disconnects the current connection and tries to connect to a new station.

I have done this experiment for over 18 months, ruling out weather conditions, location or coincidence. In all this time the behaviour was the same: making a phone call in a plane is unrealistic and virtually impossible.

Based on this, I can support you in your findings that the official (perhaps fabricated) stories can be categorised as nonsense.

With kind regards.

Peter Kes <kpkes@yahoo.com>


It must be clearly understood that Prof. Dewdney’s tests were conducted in
slow-moving (<150kts) light aircraft at relatively low altitudes (<9000ft
AGL). The aircraft from which the alleged calls were made on 9/11 were
flying at over 30,000 ft at speeds of over 500 MPH.

During a recent round-trip flight from Orange County, CA to Miami, FL (via
Phoenix, AZ), I, personally conducted an unofficial “test” using a brand new
Nokia 6101 cellular phone [NB: 2005 technology]. En route, I attempted
(discretely, of course) a total of 37 calls from varying altitudes/speeds. I
flew aboard three types of aircraft: Boeing 757, 737, and Airbus 320. Our
cruising altitudes ranged from 31-33,000ft, and our cruising speeds, from
509-521 MPH (verified post-flight by the captains). My tests began
immediately following take-off. Since there was obviously no point in taking
along the wrist altimeter I use for ultralight flying for reference in a
pressurized cabin, I could only estimate (from experience) the various
altitudes at which I made my attempts.

Of the 37 calls attempted, I managed to make only 4 connections – and every
one of these was made on final approach, less than 2 minutes before flare,
I.e., at less than 2,000ft AGL.

Approach speeds varied from 130-160 kts (Vref, outer marker), with flap and
gear extension at around 2,000ft (again, all speeds verified by flightdeck
crews). Further, I personally spoke briefly with the captains of all four
flights: I discovered that in their entire flying careers, NOT ONE of these
men had EVER been successful in making a cell phone call from cruising
altitude/speed in a variety of aircraft types. [NB: Rest assured the
ubiquitous warnings to “turn off all electronics during flight” are
completely unfounded. All modern aircraft systems are fully shielded from
all forms of RF/EMF interference (save EMP, of course). This requirement was
mandated by the FAA many years ago purely as a precautionary measure while
emerging advanced avionics systems were being flight tested. There is not a
single recorded incident of interference adversely affecting the performance
of airborne avionics systems.]

Obviously, my casual, seat-of-the-pants attempt at verifying a commonly
known fact can hardly be passed off as a “scientific” test. Ergo, I shall
offer Prof. Dewdney¹s conclusion, excerpted from his meticulously detailed
and documented paper re slow-flying light aircraft at low altitudes.

Nila Sagadevan


Prof. Dewdney:

I do not pretend to be any sort of expert of cellular communications, but I am an electronics engineer and hold both amateur and commercial FCC licenses, so I do have some understanding of the relevant principles of radio communication systems.

I read with interest your analysis of terrestrial contact probabilities via cellphones from aircraft. I believe your conclusions are sound, but would like to comment on an element which you pondered regarding the sort of apparent discontinuity in what seems otherwise to be an inverse-square relation beyond a certain altitude.

Cellphones operate by Frequency Modulation, and as such the (apparent) signal strength is not discernible to the listener because the intelligence is contained only in the frequency and phase information of the signal before demodulation. Hence, the system works pretty well until it is so weak that it is abruptly lost. That is, the system can no longer “capture” the signal. It does not get louder and softer with signal strength -until the signal is below the detection level of the receiver, at which point it is essentially disappears. The cellphone also adjusts the transmit power according to the signal level received at the tower end of the link. Once it is at maximum output, if the signal diminishes beyond some minimum threshold depending on the receiver design, it is lost altogether and not simply degraded in quality. Analogous behavior is experienced with FM broadcast stations; as you travel away from the transmitter the station is received with good fidelity until at some distance it rather suddenly cannot even be received any longer at all.

Additionally, cellphone towers are certainly not optimally designed for skyward radiation patterns. Since almost all subscribers are terrestrial that is where the energy is directed, at low angles.

In summary, if your observed discontinuous behavior is real, and I believe there is technical reasoning for such, the probability of making calls beyond some threshold altitude is not simply predictably less, but truly impossible with conventional cellphones under any condition of aircraft etc. because of the theoretical limits of noise floor in the receiving systems. I think the plausibility of completing the calls from 30,000+ ft. is even much lower than might be expected from extrapolations of behavior at lower altitudes which you investigated.

Thank you for your thoughtful work in this area.

Sincerely,

Kevin L. Barton


Dear Dr Dewdney

I too can verify that on a private charter airline, Champion Air, which was a 737-300, I believe that is correct or it might have been a 727-300. But regardless of that, we took off from Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport at 0735 in July of 2003. As we were taxiing to the run way the pilot told us to please turn off all electronic equipment, i.e. Cell Phones, Laptops, etc. I did so, but shortly after take off and before the pilot said we could use our “electronic equipment” I thought I would call my mom and let her know we were in the air. We had not been off the ground for more than 2 minutes. I would guess between 2000 and 5000 ft. I was using at the time one of Motorola’s top of the line phones, a V60t. My cell phone carrier is Cingular which is quite a widespread carrier as you probably know, I had absolutely no signal at all. Since we were flying to Cozumel, Mexico I kept trying and watching for a signal until we got out past the coast line of Texas, when then I knew for sure I wouldn’t get a signal again until we landed in Cozumel. Again in June 2004 we flew out of DFW, same airline, same type of plane, and the same thing occurred. This time I left my phone on from take off and up until it lost the signal. Again we couldn’t have been more than 2000 to 3000 ft. off the ground. I lost the signal and never again got a signal until the plane landed in Cozumel. I find it highly unlikely that anyone could have used a cell phone on 9/11/01 at above 2000 feet.

Sincerely,
Brad Taylor


I’ve been using Nokia phones with automatic nationwide roaming, and Cingular before it was Cingular and long before 9/11. I confess to having turned my cell phone on while flying commercial airlines several times prior to 9/11, just to see if signals were available. At 2,000 feet the phone went totally flat. No calls out or in were ever possible. Of course all these stories are anecdotal, but according to cell phone engineers who have cared to comment have stated that commercial aircraft fly far too fast and far too high to expect that folks on flight 93 ever managed to get a call out on their own phones. They’ve said that the towers can’t transition or hand over private cell phones fast enough. I hope we can hear from other ATPs on this subject.

George Nelson (Col. USAF ret.)

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