Category Archives: Alleged hijackers

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.

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.

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)

 

The Atta Mystery: Double agent or multiple Attas?

The Atta Mystery

Double agent or multiple Attas?

by Elias Davidsson

Mohamed Atta has been designated by the U.S. government and later by a German court as the pilot of flight AA11 that allegedly crashed on the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, a crash designated as a suicide terrorist operation.He is also claimed to be the leader of the group of 19 alleged hijackers who mounted the attacks of 9/11.The question examined in the present essay is whether the person who went by the name of Mohamed Atta in the United States was the same person who had formerly studied town planning in Germany and originated in Egypt, or whether he was an impersonator (doubleganger) of the former.

For those who do not wish to dwell upon the details, we provide our conclusions hereforth. In our examination of the role played by Mohamed Atta in what we designate as a the Legend of 9/11, we found the following:

1.It is highly likely that the person who went by the name Mohamed Atta in the United States was an impersonator (or doubleganger) of Mohamed el-Amir, the Egyptian urban planning student who resided in Hamburg, Germany.The impersonator was essentially playing a script written by U.S. intelligence, destined to leave a trail of evidence, such as pursuing flight training, and allegedly travelling over the entire the United States in the search of appropriate targets for attacks.It is highly improbable that this impersonator had the slighest inkling of the real purpose of his actions.

2.It is, in addition, possible that Mohamed el-Amir, the Egyptian urban planning student, served in Germany as a part-time informant or operative for an intelligence agency, a role that would not, however, interfere with his studies and religious beliefs.

Mohamed Mohamed el-Amir Awad el-Sayed Atta is the full name of a person who was born on September 1, 1968 in Egypt, studied urban planning in Hamburg, Germany, and allegedly travelled to the United States in June 2000 in order to prepare the attacks of 9/11.His friends in Hamburg knew him as Mohamed el-Amir, not as Mohamed Atta.

Observers initially believed that el-Amir and Mohamed Atta were one and the same person leading a double life.The Guardian, for example, wrote early on:

He repeatedly switched names, nationalities and personalities. If in Egypt, and later in the US, he was Mohamed Atta, then at the Technical University of Harburg1, he was Mohamed el-Amir. For the university authorities, he was an Egyptian, yet for his landlord, as for the US authorities, he was from the United Arab Emirates. And while it is not hard to see Atta, whose face gazes out from the passport photograph released by the FBI, as that of the mass murderer of Manhattan, el-Amir was a shy, considerate man who endeared himself to Western acquaintances. Such indeed was the gulf between the two that some people, notably his father, insisted last week that Mohamed Atta’s identity must have been stolen by the hijackers’ leader.2

Yet, numerous indices suggest that this might not have been the case. As will be shown below, it is possible that Mohamed el-Amir was impersonated in the United States by another person. Readers should keep in mind that claims by persons confronted with a photograph of someone they believe to have previously seen, are notoriously unreliable. Such unreliability can, however, be deliberately factored into the selection of impersonators that look physically similar to those they are supposed to impersonate.Testimonies of people who claim to have seen that person could, in such cases, be either adduced as concrete evidence or dismissed as unreliable. Morphing technology, in addition, permits to fabricate from photographs of two distinct individuals a single composite photograph that resembles to both persons.3

At the outset it is important to recall that the U.S. authorities have not produced any concrete evidence to prove that “Mohamed Atta” boarded any of the aircraft that crashed on 9/11. If no “Mohamed Atta” boarded Flight AA11, as officially claimed, the question arises what was the role of that person who left a long trail of travel, hotel registrations, credit card transactions in the United States and was reported to have been seen by numerous people. The present essay attempts, therefore, to examine the hypothesis that someone impersonated Mohamed el-Amir, an urban planning student in Germany, who was born in Egypt.

We will use the name Mohamed Atta for the person who went by that name in the United States and Mohamed el-Amir for the urban planning student who lived in the 1990s in Hamburg, Germany.

1.Pious Muslim or Hardcore Playboy?

All persons who knew Mohamed el-Amir in Hamburg described him as a strict Muslim who would never touch alcohol, prayed five times a day and did not shake hands with women.

Ralph Bodenstein, a German urban planner, said

The Mohamed I know was not a terrorist. But the photo they show in the press, that is the person, that is the same person I knew.He was a very complex person. On the one hand, he was a very religious person. He was growing a beard, he had just come back from a small hajj.4 He did pray five times a day. On the other hand, he was very full of idealism and he was a humanist. He was very much interested in social work.The person I knew then is not a person who could do what he is said to do now.5

Volker Hauth, who knew el-Amir well during the years he studied in Hamburg, and accompanied him on several trips to the Middle East, said Mohamed’s faith was central to his life:

The religious convictions of both of us – his Islamic and mine Protestant – were a kind of bonding for us. In Germany at that time, there were a lot of students from East Germany with no religion, and this was something difficult for Mohamed.6

Author McDermott provides compelling evidence that Mohamed el-Amir was not only a genuine Muslim believer but that his personality flourished only in within a Muslim environment:

“On a side trip to Damascus (…) Hauth went to a mosque with Amir. Hauth was a devout Protestant and the two of them talked about religion often, but Hauth had never seen Amir in religious circumstances. At the mosque, [Hauth] was surprised to see Amir leading prayers, Amir was self-assured, self-confident, and diplomatic. It was a revelation for Hauth, who knew the dour, introverted Amir from Hamburg. Here he was a different person – looseer, more talkative, animated, at times almost playful. It was as if he had been released, like “a fish in water” Hauth said.Amir even made tentative advances to a woman he met in Aleppo”7

From the onset of their friendship, el-Amir was apparently troubled by what he saw as social injustice and the inequitable distribution of wealth in the world, Hauth said:

We didn’t speak much about America but about intercultural conflicts in Egypt, where the Western and Islamic worlds come together. He didn’t believe in fighting injustice with injustice, at least when I knew him.8

According to McDermott, el-Amir told Hauth that he eventually wanted to return to Egypt to work as a planner but was afraid “of being criminalized for his religious belief.”9

After 9/11, U.S. media published numerous reports that Mohamed Atta, the alleged pilot of Flight AA11, had frequented bars, drank alcohol and consorted with prostitutes, both in the United States and the Philippines. The FBI reported that Atta flew several times to Las Vegas, self-designated as The Entertaintment Capital of the World and alternately called Sin City because of its tolerance of the sex industry, but did not provide any explanation for his trips.

According to a number of credible sources, Atta actually lived for a few weeks in 2001 with a former stripper and even consumed drugs. Some witnesses mentioned that he dressed like a dandy and even bore jewelry.Such conduct would be strictly contrary to Islam. Unless these reports are fabricated, they allow only two distinct conclusions: Either they describe a person with a split personality, who acted like a genuine Muslim in Germany and engaged in a depraved lifestyle in the United States; or they describe two separate persons who might resemble each other physically.

(a)Drinking alcohol

At Shuckum’s

A few days before 9/11, two men identified by eyewitnesses as Atta and Alshehhi were seen as heavily drinking alcohol at Shuckum’s Oyster Barb in Hollywood, Florida.

Tony Amos, Shuckums’ manager said to Associated Press on September 12, 2001 that the “two men”, one of whom he recognized as Atta, had each consumed several drinks on September 7, 2001 and had given the bartender a hard time. Amos added: “The guy Mohamed was drunk, his voice was slurred and he had a thick accent.”10 Bartender Patricia Idrissi said to St. Petersburg Times that the men were “wasted” when they entered the bar. She reportedly directed them to a nearby Chinese restaurant. They later returned and Atta ordered five rum and Cokes.11 According to Cox News Service, they entered the bar, already wasted, at 4:00 p.m. on Friday (September 7) or on the next day (Saturday, September 8).12

According to the Miami Herald of September 13, 2001, Atta, Alshehhi and a third unidentified person entered the bar at 3:00 p.m. Two FBI agents, who visited Shuckum’s already on the evening of September 11(!), showed bartender Patricia Idrissi photographs of two Middle Eastern men. She immediately recognized one as a customer who had given her a hard time. Idrissi said that after arguing about their bill the man pulled out a wad of $100 and $50 bills, paid the tab and left her a $3 tip. The bar employees said FBI agents told them at least one of the men was from Pakistan and that passenger manifests from the aircraft that crashed on 9/11 showed these men were on one of the hijacked planes that took off from Boston.13

According to The Guardian of September 16, 2001, Atta spent Friday afternoon (September 7) drinking with al-Shehri (sic) and a third man at Shuckum’s.14 According to The Guardian’s account, Patricia Idrissi remembered that one of them had gone off to play a video machine at one end of the restaurant while Atta and al-Shehri (sic) sat drinking and arguing. Al-Shehri (sic) drank rum and coke; Atta knocked back five Stolichnaya vodkas with orange juice. When it came to pay Atta complained about their $48 bill and argued with the manager. “You think I can’t pay my bill?” Atta shouted. “I am a pilot for American Airlines. I can pay my fucking bill.” Then he reportedly peeled out a note from a thick wad of $50 and $100 bills, leaving a $2 tip.

How did Tony Amos know that the two men were Atta and al Shehhi? According to the St. Petersburg Times and other newspapers, FBI agents arrived at Shuckum’s “soon after the attack”, a formulation which would place their visit within the day of the attack. It was never explained by anyone why the FBI choose to interview employees of this particular bar, and that merely hours after the attacks. The newspaper disclosed that the FBI agents arrived there with pictures of several Middle Eastern men and asked Amos if he recognized them. He couldn’t believe it, writes the St. Petersburg Times. They had been right here, not a foot from him, and he instinctively wondered: Was there something I should have done. Amos is then quoted, acknowledging indirectly that the people who were in his bar had indeed been those accused of having hijacked and piloted two of the aircraft of 9/11:

There was a certain amount of frustration. There was guilt…But I talked to some of the firefighters, and they made me feel better. They were like, ‘Man, there’s nothing you could do, how could you have known?’

According to the Associated Press article15, Amos said, “FBI agents showed photos of two men to restaurant employees Tuesday night (September 11, 2001). The photos had signatures on the bottom.”He said he identified the photo of a man whose first name was signed Mohamed who had told him he was a pilot with American Airlines.

In another account of this episode, Atta “played video games” and the other two, one of whom was designated as Shehhi, “had about five drinks each”.Amos, designated there as “the manager” is reported saying that it was Shehhi, and not Atta, who “pulled out a wad of cash and put it on the bar table and said, ‘There is no money issue. I am an airline pilot’.”16

According to the BBC of September 13, 2001, FBI agents “questioned employees at a bar in Hollywood, Florida, where Mr Atta sometimes went drinking.”17This is the only report that suggests Atta had previously visited that bar in order to have drinks. According to St. Petersburg Times of the same day,18 a bar manager in Hollywood told FBI agents he saw “the two men” (Atta and Al Shehi) drinking heavily last week. Tony Amos, the night manager at Shuckums told the Palm Beach Post that Atta argued with him about his tab. According to bartender Patricia Idrissi, Atta said: “I’m a pilot for American Airlines and I can pay my bill”. She added: “They were wasted.”

Among the documents sent by the FBI to the 9/11 Commission and released in 2009, we found three FD-302 reports relating to the Shuckum’s episode. The three reports are significantly at variance with interviews conducted by media reporters and at variance with each other.All three FBI reports cover interviews conducted at Shuckum’s on the very day of the attacks by unidentified FBI special agents. All three employees questioned by the FBI are reported to have been shown photographs of Atta and Marwan Alshehhi. The reports are neiter identified by unique serial numbers, as should have been the case, nor by the time of day of the interview, making it impossible to refer to them by a unique identifier.We will simply refer to these three reports as “first”, “second” and “third”.

In the “first” of these reports19, a female unidentified employee of Shuckum’s, after being shown the photographs of Atta and Marwan Alshehhi, said she “did not recognize Alshehhi, however she stated Atta was in Shuckum’s on Wednesday, September 5, 2001.” As these reports are not verbatim transcriptions, we do not know what questions were asked of the employee, nor what she actually said.It is, however, noteworthy that the report does not mention Atta or Alshehhi drinking alcohol or making a fuss about the bill.This omission suggests that either journalists had invented the testimony of named Shuckum’s employees or that the FBI, “sanitized” their report by deleting testimony that might have threatened the official account on 9/11.

According to the second report20, a female unidentified employee of Shuckum’s said she “did not recognize Atta (but] did recognize Alshehhi and stated Alshehhi was in the restaurant with another man on Thursday, September 6, 2001 (…) between 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.” She also allegedly stated that Alshehhi “sat at the end of the bar, did not speak English well and was very rude. Alshehhi complained about his bill, paid in cash and left. [The interviewee] heard Alshehhi state they were going to a Chinese restaurant.”Here, too, it is not mentioned for what they paid.In this account they are said to have paid in cash.

The third report21 covers an interview with a male unidentified employee of Shuckum’s, who “recognized Alshehhi as a patron of Shuckum’s on or about Thursday, September 6, 2001.” The interviewee stated that Alshehhi “was accompanied by another male of middle eastern descent.” He described Alshehhi “as being confrontational and was arguing with the bar tender.” The interviewee “did not recognize [the photograph of] Atta.”

In the Timeline of October 11, 2001 issued by FBI Miami(based on 302, Serial 1058), the episode at Shuckum’s is described thus:

Mohamed Atta was identified by (…), waitress, as being present [on September 5, 2001] at Shuckum’s Raw Bar, Hollywood, Florida,where he played a video game for three hours.22

 Here again, no mention is made of drinking.

The news that Atta had drank alcohol days before he allegedly perpetrated a martyrdom operation in the name of Islam, were clearly embarrassing for the official legend. With time, the story of the Shuckum’s binge changed. Later media stories had Atta only drinking “cranberry juice” or“fruit juice” at Shuckum’s On September 28, 2001, for example, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune told the following the story:

Atta went to a bar in Hollywood four days before the attack. He drank fruit juice while his two companions got loaded23.

Apart from the above attempt to sanitize the story, we note that both the FBI and mass media did not question the identity of the person who visited Shuckum’s. There was no attempt to suggest that this person was somebody else than Mohamed Atta.

At Longboat Key

A local paper at Longboat Key, Florida, entitled The Longboat Observer, reported on November 21, 2001 that bartender Darlene Sievers at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites at Longboat Key, Fla., had seen Atta four days before 9/11 drink rum and coke at the bar.24 She said she remembered his face because of the sizeable tip he left her. Atta gave her a $20 bill for a $4 drink and let her keep the change.She said she reported her encounter with Atta to the FBI on September 27, 2001, after she saw Atta’s picture in the media.A waiter in the same restaurant, Frank Boyal, also remembered Atta and his companion. Mark Bean, Holiday Inn’s assistant food and beverage director, remembered Atta’s companion, Alshehhi, after he saw the pictures of the alleged hijackers on television.Askedby reporters whether the FBI had interviewed Beam and Seavers, FBI Special Agent Sara Oates said she ”cannot confirm or deny that.” Darlene Sievers confirmed to author Daniel Hopsicker these stories. The episode of Atta and Alsehhi at Longboat Key was echoed in great detail by the St. Petersburg Times of July 4, 2004.25 She said to the journalist of the Petersburg Times: ”[the FBI] called me twice and did spend some time out at the Holiday Inn – I felt they were taking it seriously”, although she says she never heard anthing more.Sievers remained ”convinced” that one of the men was Atta: ”I can remember people’s drinks and I’ll never forget those piercing black eyes”, she said. While releasing similar interviews (albeit heavily redacted), such as those conducted at Shuckum’s and mentioned above, the FBI did not release the 302-reports on its interviews of Darlene Sievers and of other employees of Holiday Inn.

In the Philippines

According to the New York Times of October 5, 2001,Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi, spent time in the Philippines in various visits between 1998 and 2000.26 They stayed at a popular resort hotel, drank whiskey with Philippines bargirls, dined at a restaurant that specializes in Middle Eastern cuisine and visited at least one of the local flight schools.

Gina Marcelo, a former waitress at the Woodland Park Resort Hotel, said Alshehhi threw a party with six or seven Arab friends at the hotel:

They drank Johnnie Walker Black Label whiskey and mineral water. They barbecued shrimp and onions. They came in big vehicles, and they had a lot of money. They all had girlfriends…[but] they never tipped.If they did, I would not remember them so well.27

Another person who recognized Atta from photos was Ferdinand Abad, who was working there as a security guard in mid-1999.He remembered Atta asking at what time he should wait outside the hotel for a van to take him to the Angeles City Flying Club. Still another person who remembered Atta was Trudis Dago, manager of the Jerusalem Restaurant in Angeles City. He said Atta “would never smile and would never talk to anyone except his friend. I knew this face when I saw it in the paper”, she said.28

While focussing here on Atta’s alleged consumption of alcohol, the stories placing Atta and Alshehhi in the Philippines are actually far longer and better substantiated than what might appear from the above short paragraphs.We treat these stories in greater detail in a later sub-section of this Chapter.

Prof. Machule’s evaluation

According to the university tutor of Mohamed el-Amir, Prof. Dittmar Machule of Hamburg, Germany,

[h]e didn’t drink alcohol. Mohamed El-Amir didn’t drink alcohol and I would put my hand in the fire that this Mohamed El-Amir I know will never taste or touch alcohol. I do not know the name Mohamed Atta. I know (sic) it after the 11th of September when they destroyed the Trade Center but Mohamed El-Amir till now I would swear and put my hand in the fire that he will not touch alcohol. He refused a glass where somebody drank a beer because it smells something of beer.

(b)Consorting with prostitutes

Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi were seen at Sunrise 251, a bar in Palm Beach, Florida. They spent there $1,000 in 45 minutes on Krug and Perrier-Jouet champagne. Atta was with a tall busty brunette in her late twenties; Alshehhi was with a shortish blonde. Both women were known locally as regular companions of high-rollers.29 Atta reportedly spent $200 to $300 on lap dances in the Pink Pony strip club in Florida.

 

Victoria Brocoy, a chambermaid at the Woodland Park Resort Hotel in the Philippines also recalledAtta: “Many times I saw him let a girl go at the gate in the morning. It was always a different girl.”30

(c)Snorting cocaine

Some witnesses describe Atta as possibly doing drugs as well. The owner of a unit of apartments where Atta reportedly lived with some other Middle Eastern men in late 2000 says these men smoked a strange tobacco, which smelled like marijuana.31Atta’s presumed lover Amanda Keller told author Hopsicker that Atta snorted cocaine. Here is her account, as it appears in Hopsicker’s book:

So, on February 25, 2001 we went to Key West for 3 days…It was me, Mohamed, Peter, Stephan and Linda. Linda knew the owner (of the newly-rented house) and told me she was a stripper…We went to Key West, and [Mohamed] took this long, out-of-the-way route. He was really familiar with Florida. He knew a back way to Ft. Lauderdale on the way back. He drove to Daytona Beach and Naples and Fort Myers all the time. He always rented cars out of Tampa. A red Pontiac, a green Pontiac and a white one, all Grand Ams. I slept most of the way, he and Linda stayed awake…Linda instantly latched onto him, at Vonnie and Tony’s, when we went to move his stuff into Vonnie’s place. She had black hair, mid-twenties, said she was a stripper in Sarasota. Her and Mohamed acted like they knew each other. On the car ride down they acted like they were old friends…We rented three different rooms in Key West. In one room nobody slept. It was where they put their flight bags. Then they locked the room down. Peter and Stephan slept in one room. And me, Mohamed and Linda slept in the same room.But nothing happened, no threesomes, cause I’m not a Lesbian.32

And then Amanda said something about the vacant room:

They were drinking the whole time we were there. And they were doing drugs, but not in front of me. They would go into the locked down room where no one slept, saying they needed to look at their manuals, and when they came back you could tell their jaws were locked, and they started chewing gum like there was no tomorrow.They didn’t do drugs in front of me until after I had met everyone back at the apartment in Venice, at the Sentinel Apartments. Once I had met everyone there they felt comfortable with me and pulled out the coke.33

Amanda also explained that “they” always had enough supplies of cocaine. Atta, apparently, had dealings with Arne Kruithof and his school. Amanda Keller says that Florida Flight Training Center, Kruithof’s school, is where Atta would go to replenish his cocaine stash:

These guys had money flowing out their ass. They never seemed to run out of money. And they had massive supplies of cocaine,. Whenever they’d run out, they’d go over to the flight school. I followed them one day with Sabrina (Timothy’s sister from Hamburg) to see where they were going, and saw them go into Florida Flight Training.34

(d)Dressing like a dandy

That’s how Mohamed el-Amir dressed, as described in McDermott’s book:

He almost always wore the same clothes: cotton slacks and wool sweaters, in particular a brown sweater-vest his mother had made for him, and a brown leather jacket in winter.35

Several USDA employees in Florida identified Atta to the FBI, and recalled that he wore Tommy Hilfiger clothes and a lot of cologne, according to the FBI version of events provided to Robert Epling, president ofthe Community Bank of Florida.36

Flight instructor Bob Gaff, 50, who worked at Huffman Aviation, in Venice, Florida, and was clad in a T-shirt and jeans, said to a reporter: “You see how we’re all dressed? This guy [Atta] used to show up in leather shoes, shined shoes, dress slacks, silk shirts, all the time.”37

Tom and Renee Adorna, owners of the Pelican Alley Restaurant in Nokomis, just a block from where Atta and Alshehhi had apparently lived previously, also recalled thatAtta, Marwan Alshehhi and a third unidentified person had been in their restraurant about six weeks before 9/11. The reason they remembered those clients is that they were arguing loudly about big money and pounding on the table. The Adornas thought these were mafiosi. Renee told author Hopsicker that two newspapers came by and interviewed them, but not the FBI. She added:

“There were three of them, and they all looked of the Egyptian persuasion. Dark skin, dark hair. They were dressed in Florida-type shirts, you know, the silk with the pattern. And they were all wearing lots of jewelry… Lots of jewelry.”38

(e)Living with an ex-stripper

The Venice Gondolier, a local newspaper published in Venice (Florida) reported on September 14, 2001, thatAtta, 33, and Marwan Alshehhi, 23, and four other Middle Eastern flight school students had “lived at the Sandpiper Apartments, unit 26, in Venice until earlier this year.” The paper quotes Paula Grapentine, Atta’s next-door neighbor as “immediately recogniz[ing]” his face, which she apparently saw in the media.

On the same day, Charlotte Sun published an interview with the North Port residents Tony and Vonnie LaConca, who had on the previous day received a visit by the FBI to ask about a certain Mohamed to whom the couple had rented their Agress Avenue home.39They described that Mohamed to the newspaper as 25 years old, 5 feet 10, with a “dark, perfect” skin and “very polite”. According to the LaConca, this Mohamed “was associated with a local woman believed to be Amanda Keller”.While purporting not to know the full name of the person to whom they rented their home, it stretches credulity that someone would rent a home to person whose only known identity would be “Mohamed”.In any case the LaConcas certainly knew his name from the cheque he paid for his rent, a document that has not been yet produced in court.40They also informed the paper that this Mohamed was training at Huffman Aviation.

Roughly a week later, on September 22, 2001, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune published a detailed report in which Paula Grapentine’s husband Charles, manager of Sandpiper apartments, was quoted as saying that he remembers seeing Atta at the complex for about three weeks in April [2001], living in the apartment of Amanda Keller.41 In a telephone interview late Friday, September 21, Keller said she had met Atta through a friend and let him stay in her apartment with her and her then-boyfriend Garrett Metts, because she felt sorry for him.She also said authorities told her not to say anything at all about Atta. ”I can’t really discuss anything,” she said. ”I’m afraid I’ll get in trouble.” Her mother, contacted by the paper, also remembered Atta, whom she said she did not like.

The very next day, the same newspaper published a report42 retracting the earlier story. According to the new report ”investigators have [now] identified a fifth man of Middle Eastern descent who trained to fly in Venice but they don’t know if he was involved in the Sept. 11 attacks because they can’t find him.”That man, also designated as Mohamed, had – according to the new story – stayed at Amanda Keller’s apartment complex in April, but was not Mohamed Atta. Investigators said they were “unsure whether [the other Mohamed] was among the 19 men who hijacked jets” on 9/11.Neither Ms. Keller nor the FBI would reveal that man’s full name. In an interview at her mother’s house, Keller wouldn’t talk about the man who stayed on her couch.43

The retraction suggests that the former story was too embarrassing for the U.S. government and that huge pressure had been wrought on the newspaper and on Amanda Keller to change the story.The fact that Amanda Keller mentioned she was warned by the authorities not to say anything at all about Atta and expressed the fear to “get in trouble” if she did, indicates that the person with whom she had lived was indeed a certain Mohamed Atta. If that person had been someone entirely different, there would have been no need to ask her to keep silent and for her to fear for her own safety.

Author Daniel Hopsicker, who says he spent two years researching Atta’s tribulations in Florida, attempted to follow up the above claims and counter-claims and searched for Amanda Keller. Afterfinding her finally somewhere in the United States, he obtained her agreement for an interview, which he taped and posted on the internet. He also wrote a book covering his research in Florida, including statements made by Ms. Keller.44 Not contenting himself with Ms. Keller’s claims, Hopsicker provides in his book testimonies from other, independent, sources, including former neighbors of Ms. Keller and Atta, including the Grapentines, confirming that they had indeed lived together for a short while. Apparently Amanda knew Atta as Mohamed Arajaki.45One of these witnesses is Stephanie Frederickson, a resident at the Sandpiper Apartments, who remembered Keller and Atta:

Amanda moved in next door first, saying she had come from Orange Park. Then one day in the middle of March [2001] she brought home Atta….Amanda said to me, ‘I’d like you to meet my friend Mohamed Atta. He’s from France.’ I looked at her to see if she was joking, but I guess she wasn’t.

A few years later, in 2006, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune again published a report,46 intended again to demolish the ”myth” according to which Atta had lived with Amanda Keller. The report was mainly a repeat of the article published on September 23, 2001. In the new article, Amanda Keller, now described as a ”former Venice stripper”, claims she had lied to Daniel Hopsicker and that the person she had lived with was another flight student, not Atta.

More details given by Amanda Keller to author Hopsicker actually buttress the case that her temporary friend was not Mohamed el-Amir.For example, she told Hopsicker that Mohamed had a gold nacklace with a figure on it representing Palestine.Mohamed reportedly told her that his father was a pilot and that he went to private school in Lebanon.He told her about a girl he had dated in France with whom he had a son who was at the time of the interview nine years old.47She also said that her friend Mohamed could talk not only Arabic, English and German, but also Hebrew and French.She one day discovered that he possessed flight licenses from dozens of countries.That person was certainly not Mohamed el-Amir.He could, however, have been Mohamed Atta, the impersonator, posing in his stint with Amanda Keller as Mohamed Arajaki.

FBI and 9/11 Commission kept silent on the conflicting reports surrounding Amanda Keller. She was not, apparently, interviewed by the 9/11 Commission. One would presume that had her testimony to Daniel Hopsicker been a lie, she would have been publicly ridiculed.

One blogger (dilbert_g)had this to say (Aug. 7, 2006):

One of the more striking aspects of “The Amanda Keller Story” by Daniel Hopsicker is the complete lack of media attention, despite a very juicy story, and regardless what parts of the story are fact, rumor, or fantasy. Certainly everyone knows that bad taste and irresponsible rumor does not present any moral barrier to our media. There are many lurid TV shows in the US (and Britain), including everything from Montel and Springer and Oprah to the Nightly News. That none of these has shown the slightest interest in “The Terrorists Stripper-Prostitute Girlfriend” despite the huge entertainment and titillation value, speaks volumes about how much more important it is to keep certain facts from the wider public domain, than the profit potential of large viewership.

If Ms. Keller’s video interview was intended as part of a disinformation campaign, one would have to ask whose interest would have been served by demonstrating that Atta was not the fanatic Muslim he was supposed to be, but a real playboy. The almost total media silence regarding the Amanda Keller interview shows that what she revealed was considered far too damaging for the official myth on Mohamed Atta. The claim according to which Ms. Keller had given the interview to Daniel Hopsicker in order to attain fame or to enrich herself, has never been proved. This claim is, in addition, implausible because had Ms. Keller sought fame or money, she would not give herexclusive interview to an unknown, free-lance, investigator, such as Hopsicker. As mentioned by the blogger above, major media and tabloids did not show the slighest interest in covering the Atta-Keller story, in spite of its puzzling and titillating character. Far greater interests prompted corporate media to suppress this story.

2.Mohamed El-Amir v.Mohamed Atta (character traits)

Those who knew Mohamed el-Amir in Hamburg used the following attributes to describe him: Reserved,introvert, polite, intelligent, very nice.Almost all who mentioned anything about the character of Mohamed Atta in the United States described him as an unpleasant, arrogant and obnoxious man.Could it be the same person?

 

(a)El-Amir’s gentle and respectful character

Helga Rake, one of the partners at Plankontor, Hamburg, where el-Amir worked as a drafter, remembers him as “introverted and very reserved”, but also as “very conscientious”.48Professor Dittmar Machule, who supervised Mohamedfs urban planning thesis was interviewed many times about his acquaintance with Mohamed. In one of the first interviews, published on September 15, 2001, he said about Mohamed:

He was a very nice young man, polite, very religious, and with highly developed critical faculties, alert and observant.49

In a later interview on 18 October 2001,50he said:

He was a serious intellectual, interested. Polite. Helpful.

There was nothing like passion. No, no there was, let me say rational, not with the heart. It was more thinking, discussing what is good, what is right, what is the best for the future. What is sustainability for the future.

He was smart. Not bodyguard type. He was more a girl looking type…very small, very carefully calm behaviour. Not this exact acting man but let me say more smooth than hard. But his eyes are always interested. His eyes, his eyes and his mouth I remember the best became (sic) I’m looking in the eyes of the people…In the last period his eyes had been somehow darkened is what I remember. Not that I feel something else but the eyes expressed that he has problems. That he is under pressure…

Another person who knew el-Amir was one of his teachers, Alptekin Özdemir, a Turk who has lectured at the university for 15 years and helps advise the foreign students there. He said to the New York Times that he saw no signs that Mr. Atta was “a fanatical Muslim”.What struck Mr. Özdemir most were Mr. Atta’s good manners and respect,51

Ralph Bodenstein, who studied urban planning together with el-Amir at the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg, was interviewed at length by ABC, Australia. He said that Atta had a „very obvious strong sense of [social] justice“ and “he was a serious and calm person“52When he saw Mohammed’s photo in the newspaper he thought that it was a mistake. He said to the interviewer: “[H]ow come this person I knew and which I would never expected to do such a thing could now be linked to this attack.”Bodenstein clearly had difficulties to reconcile his memories ofel-Amir with the person who committed mass-murder on 9/11:

I think it’s difficult to really come to terms with it because the Mohamed I knew would not have done it so he must have changed a lot afterwards and I have no idea because I had no contact with him, what happened to him and when exactly.53

Another character trait mentioned by people who knew el-Amir early on, was his deference to authority. According to McDermott, el-Amir’s boss, Jörg Lewin, at Plankontor in Hamburg said that el-Amir

did what he was told and did it with extraordinary single-mindedness. Although already a trained architect and a prospective city planner, Amir – in four years at the company – never once offered an opinion of the plans he was asked to illustrate. He was assigned to make maps; he made maps.54  

 This description was corroborated by another partner in this company, Helga Rake, who called el-Amir kleinteilig,55 a German term meaning being excessively concerned with small details but overlooking the big picture, in short a person following orders without reflecting upon their ultimate meaning.

A German couple who originally brought el-Amir to Hamburg agreed to be interviewed under the condition that their name won’t be published. The interviewer wrote:

The couple’s anguish over their efforts to bring Atta to Hamburg has been so severe that the woman sought psychological counseling. Far from having an obsession with America or preaching violence, Atta advocated peaceful solutions for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. „He said weapons were not the way to solve problems“, the wife said forcefully. „He said you should use words, not weapons. That is still clear in my ear. That tells me that later he was changed.“ Even now, the couple can hardly believe that the serious young man they knew turned into a mass murderer.56

Abdullah Bozkurt, 59, a dealer who knew el-Amir from the open-air car market on Hamburg’s Feld Street, where both traded, said:

He made such a friendly impression. He easily got in contact with everybody, was always smiling and never in a bad mood.57

Bechir Bejaoui, a former friend of el-Amir, declared under oath in a deposition made at the German Federal Criminal Agency in Hamburg on October 5, 2001, that el-Amir was “like a soft girl (friendly, pleasant, mild) (…) so delicate and reasonable. He was very calm (…) He was never aggressive. He was, as I said, always delicate and relaxed and friendly.”58

Fellow student Martin Ebert said about el-Amir, “I don’t think it was possible to have a fight with him.” Another classmate, Harmut Kaiser, said it was hard to draw el-Amir into political discussions in class, even if politics is relevant to the subject under discussion: “He wasn’t a guy who acted like he wanted to change the world―unlike a lot of other students in the group.”59Ebert also said that for those teachers who knew well their subject, el-Amir showed a respect “bordering on awe.”60

(b) Mohamed Atta’s obnoxious and arrogant character

In an almost total contradiction to el Amir’s genteel character traits, Mohamed Atta was widely regarded as obnoxious and arrogant.

Rudy Dekkers, President of Huffman Aviation,Atta’s flight school in Venice, Florida, said about him: “He was very arrogant, his last name started with Atta and that is probably attitude — he had a bad attitude and we just didn’t like him.”61

Atta and Al Shehhi applied to enroll at Jones Aviation in Sarasota, Florida, about 20 miles north of Venice. According to the instructor at Jones, the two were aggressive, rude, and sometimes even fought with him to take over the controls during their training flights.62 Gary Jones, the vice president of the school, later states, “We told them we wouldn’t teach them anymore. We told them, one, they couldn’t speak English and, two, they had bad attitudes. They wouldn’t listen to what the instructors had to instruct.”63 The two then return to Huffman Aviation to continue their training.

Drucilla Voss, Atta’s first Florida landlady, said that one day Atta had “walked up to [her] and hissed in her ear, ‘It must be nice to sleep all day and do what you want to do.’ The [Voss] couple ordered the men out that night.”64 Ann Cook of the Publix deli in Venice, where Atta ”regularly bought sandwiches” said she remembered Atta as a silent man whose stare could lift the hairs on your neck: “Just looking at him, you knew he was nasty.”65

James Lester, 50, who operated crop-dusters from Belle Glade airport, 83 miles northwest of Miami, told to the Miami Herald that “33-year-old Atta visited the small airstrip here with several groups of men as recently as last month [August 2001]. The FBI showed me [Atta’s] photo,” said Lester, who remembered at least two encounters with Atta — once in March when he drove up in a green van with two other people, and again in August when he flew into the airport in a single-engine Cessna…”The reason why I recognized him was because he was always walking behind me, being real persistent in asking those questions.” He behaved in a clearly obnoxious manner. In an AP report of September 25, 2001 he said: “I recognized [Atta] because he stayed on my feet all the time. I just about had to push him away from me.”66

Danny Whitener, a salvage-car dealer, at Copperhill (Tenn.) said to the Washington Post that he remembers clearly having met Atta in March 2001. He said he told so to the FBI.67 He said his visitor, an out-of-town pilot who landed at the Copperhill airport, called himself “Mo” and showed particular interest in a chemical plant he had just flown over.Whitener said he told the pilot the tanks at that plant were empty. According to another interview with Whitener, Atta ”was just persistent about the chemical company”: “I told him the tanks were empty. He came back and said ‘Don’t tell me that. What about all the . . . (rail) tanker cars (surrounding the tanks)?’ This guy was just arrogant.”68 According to the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Whitener said Atta questioned him in an “aggressive manner” and “became angry and accused Mr. Whitener of lying”. Atta also asked about a nearby dam and two nearby nuclear power plants.69

Pharmacist Gregg Chatterton, owner of Huber Discount (or Healthmart) Drugs in Delray Beach, Florida, told journalists that he was approached by two men—later identified as Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi—after observing them spending a suspiciously long time in the skin care aisle of his drugstore. “My hands. They’re itching and they’re burning,” said Atta. Chatterton explained: “Both [of Atta’s] hands were red from the wrist down. If you filled your sink with bleach and stuck your hands in there for six hours, they would come out red, and that is what they looked like.”Chatterton asked Atta if he had done any gardening. Atta “was very rude and just pooh-poohed me. He said: ‘I don’t garden’.70 After recommending a particular lotion, Chatterton was about to turn away when Atta ”slapped an intimidating hand against the druggist’s chest.” It stopped him cold. ”My friend,” Atta barked, motioning to al-Shehhi, ”He’s got a cough.” Chatterton gave Alshehhi a bottle of Robitussin DM. Chatterton remembered the pair when the FBI came calling a few weeks later. He said, ”When somebody touches you like that, you remember that customer.”71 Chatterton described the two men as ”well dressed and well groomed” but very rude. ”It was like meeting Hitler,” he said of Atta.72

Paula Grapentine, of Venice, Florida, said aboutAtta: “He came to talk about something and said, ‘I don’t talk to women and you’ve supposed to look down when you talk to me.’”Whileel-Amir was known in Hamburg as a fundamentalist Muslim who refrained from shaking the hands with women,73 he was not known to have been rude to women. Was his alleged impersonator perhaps overplaying his role?

Cathy Meinhart, who was one the women who served at the Outlook, a bar in Venice, where Atta and Alshehhi are said to spent “almost every night” drinking beer, said that Atta was gruff and aloof, frequently expressing disapproval of the presence of women servers behind the bar.But al-Shehhi, she said, was friendly and jovial.74

In an interview with Australian ABC, Rudi Dekkers claims having much disliked Atta when he was at Huffman. He will say he thought Atta was “very arrogant,” and that “My personal feeling was Atta was an asshole first class… I just didn’t like the guy… Sometimes you have that impression from when you meet people in the field and that was my first impression.”75

 

3.Atta seen simultaneously at different locations

Numerous individuals claim to have seen Atta at various locations at the same time. Even FBI documents contradict each other about his presence at particular locations at a particular time.These contradictory reports have not been resolved by the FBI or by the 9/11 Commission.They do suggest, however, that there could have been more than one person tasked with impersonatingel-Amir.

A particulary glaring example of such contradictory reports concerns Friday, September 7, 2001.

Florida, 7 September 2001

According to a document presented at the Moussaoui trial,76 a ”wire transfer from Al Shehhi’s and Atta’s account [was made] on Sep. 7 [2001] at 15:58.”It is not indicated who made the transfer, only that it was made from their account. At that time they were, however, seen drinking heavily at Shuckum’s (see above)

According to another document presented at the Moussaoui trial,77 Al Shehhi ”made on Sep. 7 [2001] at 16:56 in Deerfield Beach an ATM withdrawal from Saeed Al Ghamdi’s account and was taken on video.”Deerfield Beach is located 20-25 miles away from the Shuckum’s bar where they were drinking at that time. No one appears to have seen that video recording.

According to FBI’s timeline of Atta, he departed from Hollywood-Fort Lauderdale airport on September 7, 2001 with Flight 2719 and flew to Baltimore, Md.78 According to the Department of Transportation’s BTS (now RITA) site, that particular flight was scheduled for departure at 3:15 PM. At that time, Atta and al-Shehhi were sighted at Shuckum’s bar engaged in heavy drinking. However, according to another FBI timeline, Atta departed Ft. Lauderdale by US Airways flight 2698, which left at 6:30 a.m. and arrived in Baltimore at 9:03 a.m.79According to the timeline, Atta had booked on September 5, a one-way seat for himself on US Air flight 2698 not to Baltimore, but to Boston80. According to another timeline of Atta, compiled by the Texas Service Center of the INS, Atta and Marwan Alshehhi checked out of the Panther Inn in Deerfield Beach, Florida, on September 9, 2001.If Atta had departed Florida on September 7, he could not have checked out from a Florida hotel on September 9, unless he had returned to Florida.

According to FBI document dated 21 September 2001,81 reporting an investigation in Hollywood, Florida, an unidentified person was interviewed at his residence by ”agents”. The interviewed person, is said to have played in a local band at a Hollywood, Fl. venue on the evening of September 7, 2001.The interviewee said he observed between 11:00 p.m. and 1:00. a.m a Middle Eastern man in the bar, whom he later identified through media reports as Atta. The interviewee said he remembered Atta because the man stood out, carrying a standard VHS style video camera and was pestering several bar patrons by constantly videotaping them without consent. On more than one occasion the interviewee said he asked the man to step away from the band. The interviewee mentioned to the FBI agents another person (or other persons) who had also positively identified the strangely behaving man as Atta. At that time, FBI timelines placed Atta either in Boston or in Baltimore (see previous paragraph).

According to another FBI document, compiled by an unidentified Special Agent on September 12, 200182, an unidentified person – later identified by reporters as Wynn Errico, owner of Wynn Motor Co. in North Lauderdale83 – was interviewed on September 12, 2001 at a location, later identified as his office. Errico stated that on September 7, 2001, Atta ”sold [him] a 1989 Red color Pontiac Grand Prix to his business.”Errico ”obtained a photo identification from Atta, which he believed was a Florida driver’s license.”Atta was paid $800 for the vehicle. He was paid with a company check.Errico said he then drove Atta to a nearby bank he uses so that Atta could cash the check. Atta took the Florida license plate off the car and took it with him.According to Errico, Atta stated that he was leaving the country.Errico said that Atta was expecting someone to pick him up.Atta later departed the vicinity of the lot and the Errico did not see who picked him up or how he left.Errico stated that on September 8, 2001, the vehicle was sold to an unnamed person.

According to another FBI document84, an unidentified person (probably Wynn Errico), was interviewed by an unidentified Special Agent on September 17, 2001 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who recalled that a ”customer named Mohamed Atta (…) had come into his business in the early afternoon of September 7, 2001, wearing grey pants, red shirt and glasses. Atta attempted to sell (…) a red 1989 Pontiac Grand Prix with approximately 80,000 miles” for $1,800. According to the interviewee, Atta told him that the vehicle had new tires and air conditioning and argued with him about 20 to 30 minutes.85The interviewee told Atta that he wouldn’t pay more than $800 for the vehicle.He sent Atta ”down the street” to another person (whose name was equally redacted) who ”was afraid to say anything for fear of losing his job.” The interviewee ”positively” identified Mohamed Atta from a photograph provided by agents. His mechanic, who was present when his boss talked with Mohamed Atta, was also interviewed by agents. He told them that he walked out of the office and observed a white Dodge Caravan, occupied by 3 males of middle eastern descent, in the parking lot. One of them told him that they were waiting for a friend. The mechanic ”positively identified” the front seat passenger of the Dodge Caravan as Wail M. Al Shehri from a photograph provided by agents. He also ”positively identified”Atta, as the person his boss was arguing with.

It is not clear whether the person interviewed on September 12, was the same as the one interviewed on September 17.The stories do not seem to confirm each other.

Apart from the glaring discrepancies between and incongruities within the above reports, it is puzzling that a person allegedly preparing to kill himself would bother to sell his car and haggle about the price four days before “entering paradise”, as the 9/11 legend tells us.

In an FBI document (JICI, April 19, 2002) a timeline for Atta is included. According to an entry of September 7, 2001, Atta, Hani Hanjour and possibly additional Middle Eastern males were observed at Kinkos, Laurel, MD, photocopying passports, cutting and pasting.86 The source for this information is given as FBI Baltimore (video surveillance was retrieved showing Atta and other individuals).

According to a September 7, 2001 entry of the FBI Miami Timeline, Atta is said to have departed Ft. Lauderdale at 6:30 AM and arrived to Baltimore at 9:03 AM.87 However, in another entry for September 7, 2001, Atta is said to have attempted to sell his red Grand Prix before leaving Florida.88 In documents cited above, his car sale occurred in the early afternoon of that day.In yet another entry,Atta was identified at the Octopus Garden Hollywood, Florida on September 7, 2001 using a VHS-tape style video camera, presumably the same episode reported above.89 Surprisingly, the Timeline indicates that Atta sold his car for $800 on the following day, September 8, 2001 (at Sun Auto Leasing and Sales).90 Obviously, these entries contradict each other:A person cannot be at two locations at the same time.

Atta inspected on Canadian-American border

According to a supervisor of the INS office in Buffalo, a man by the name of Mohammad Atta, born on March 21, 1968 may have applied for entry to the U.S. at the Massena point of entry on November 26, 2000 from Canada. He presented a Canadian passport and was accompanied by a Pakistani citizen.As he did not have a valid driver’s license, he was issued a citation and had to present himself at court to pay a fine.According to the report by the INS, the FBI did not conclusively determine whether this person had any links to the events of 9/11.91

While refraining from drawing any conclusions from this episode, we note that Mohamed el-Amir was also born in 1968, that a certain Mohamed Atta was sighted in Toronto, Canada, and that the FBI was unwilling to state whether this man had something to do with 9/11. Was here again a person, whose main task was to leave evidence of Atta’s presence at various locations, for the case that such evidence might be useful for the future 9/11 legend?

On September 22, 2001, the Miami Herald reported:

INS documents, matched against an FBI alert given to German police, show two men named Mohamed Atta [arrive] in Miami on January 10 [2001], each offering different destination addresses to INS agents, one in Nokomis, near Venice, the other at a Coral Springs condo. He (they?) is admitted, despite having overstayed his previous visa by a month. The double entry could be a paperwork error, or confusion over a visa extension. It could be Atta arrived in Miami, flew to another country like the Bahamas, and returned the same day. Or it could be that two men somehow cleared immigration with the same name using the same passport number.”92

Germany March 2001

According to the Wall Street Journal of October 16, 2001, citing German police,Atta and Marwan Alshehhi “returned to Germany in March [2001] and cleared out their old Hamburg apartment.” This bit of news was also reported earlier by the St. Petersburg Times who put the clearance of the Hamburg apartment at exactly March 11, 2001.93

In that story, no eyewitnesses are mentioned.The FBI did not mention in any of its timelines that Atta and Alshehhi had returned to Hamburg after leaving for the United States.On what base were these reported published?

Germany, April 2001

Atta was apparently sighted in Hamburg in April 2001. Karl-Heinz Horst, a German taxi driver who recognized Mr. Atta’s face from television reports after Sept. 11, says he had in April 2001 driven three passengers about 400 miles, from Furth, in southern Germany, to Hamburg in the north. During the long ride, one of the passengers said in English that he was a war veteran from Afghanistan. According to Mr. Horst,Atta met the taxi in Hamburg and paid the $500 bill in cash.94There is, however, no record that any Atta traveled from the United States to Germany in April 2001.

Germany, June or July 2001

Atta was again apparently sighted in Hamburg in June or July, 2001. At least two witnesses from Hamburg’s technical university (FH-H)told German federal police (BKA) that they saw Atta and Alshehhi in June or July 2001 in the ground-floor workshops of the architecture department.95 The head of the workshop, Mr. Thomas Kniephoff, witnessed them on at least two occasions with a scale model, measuring approximately 3ft square, of what he believes was the Pentagon. Kniephoff told the BKA that the two men were joined by a third, unnamed person, whom he believed to be a current student at the university. He suspected that the model had been built elsewhere on the site and had been brought to the workshop for Atta to inspect.96

Petra Louis, 32, an architecture student, also told the BKA she had seen them. “I saw both Atta and al-Shehhi here in the workshop with a white model of the Pentagon,” she said. “What caught my eye was the way they were both wandering around, obviously looking for someone.”97She said “she could distinctly remember Atta and al-Shehhi.”98 She did not explain how she could remember them, for they did not previously study at that university (FH) but at the technical university of Harburg (TU).Were Atta and Alshehhi trying to make themselves conspicuous at that location?

Investigations conducted by German police regarding this unexpected visit did not yield any results. This visit would, however, fit into a pattern followed by Atta the impersonator in the United States, namely that oflaying down a trail of evidence that would later flesh out the official legend of mass-murderer Mohamed Atta.

Florida’s West Coast, August-September 2001

The FBI has flatly denied that Atta had returned to Venice after departing from there in December 2000. This was also what Rudy Dekkers, the president of Huffman Aviation, had told reporters and the 9/11 Commission.Yet, there are witnesses who provided evidence to the contrary.

Brad Warwick of Warrick Rent-A-Car in Pompano Beach, Fla., said that Atta called him from Venice, Fla. in late August or in early September 2001, to say that the oil light had flickered on.When he returned the car Sept. 9, 2001 – two days before the attacks – Atta reminded him about the oil light. Warwick says he knew Atta was calling from Venice, because he saw the calling number on his phone. The Stipulation filed by the Government in the U.S.A. v. Zacarias Moussaoui trial, also states that “Mohammed (sic) Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi [had] rented a white Ford Escort from Warrick’s, in Pompano Beach, Florida,” on August 29, 2001 and that the “car was returned on September 9, 2001.”99

Hopsicker reports that Becky Cover, an employee in the deli of Publix supermarket a mile from the Venice airport, saw Atta just one week before 9/11:

I was on the phone with my mother-in-law when they started showing pictures of three different guys on TV. Atta was one of them. And immediately I recognized the faces and I told my husband then, ‘My God, those are the three guys. They were just in the store a week ago. The week before they were in the store. They got subs.100

We found no evidence that Becky Cover was interviewed by the FBI or by the 9/11 Commission in order to verify her story.

Los Angeles

Atta was also sighted by various people at the home of FBI informant Abdussattar Shaikh in Los Angeles, widely known for having hosted two of the alleged 9/11 hijackers. The Associated Press reported, “Neighbors of a man who rented rooms to two suspects in the 9/11 terror attacks say they saw Mohamed Atta… Marna Adair said… that the polite, clean-shaven Atta was frequently at the home of Abdussattar Shaikh between August and early December of 2000. Another neighbor, Deborah Fortner, remembered that Atta “was the one that was scary. He’s got these piercing eyes. That’s something you never forget about him.“ Atta wore Western clothes and drove a red car, neighbors said. He was often cheerful and had no complaints when one neighbor briefly blocked the driveway one day while pouring concrete.”101 Another article referred to Atta as a ”regular visitor.”102 But these early reports appear to have been forgotten by the media and the Congressional inquiry. Shaikh has denied Atta visited the house and said his neighbors are mistaken.

The murky role played by informant Abdussattar Shaikh, as a liaison between the Saudi government and the alleged hijackers has been widely reported, including in a book by Senator Bob Graham, who had unsuccessfully tried to interview this man.The FBI, incidentally, never denied that Shaikh was their informant, with whom two of the alleged 19 hijackers had lived, but refused categorically to allow the 9/11 Commission or any Congress members to interview him. The FBI did not mention, it is own timeline, that Atta had visited Shaikh’s home.

Portland, Maine

“Investigators have received hundreds of calls from Portland, Maine, residents who claim to have spotted Atta several times earlier in the year, the Portland Press Herald reported last month.”103 “There were other reported sightings, too, including a worker at Micucci’s Grocery on India Street who is convinced he saw Atta in late August ; former state Rep. Herb Adams, who believes he saw Atta at the Big Apple convenience store on Park Street this summer; and an employee at the Convention and Visitors Bureau on Commercial Street, who reported seeing two men she believed to be Atta and Alomari (…) There were other reported sightings in Portland, too, including a worker at Micucci’s Grocery on India Street who is convinced he saw Atta in late August “104 “There were sightings all over,” (Portland Police Chief Michael) Chitwood said. “At the library, the Chamber of Commerce. There was a report that they were seen in the old port drinking.105

New York City, September 10, 2001

According to CNN of May 22, 2002, the FBI had found credit card receipts that appear to placeMohamed Atta in Manhattan on September 10, 2001.106In order to explain this finding, ”[o]fficials speculate Atta may have been in New York on September 10 to make a final visit to the World Trade Center to program the towers” location into a global positioning system.” It was not revealed what Atta had purchased with his credit card.The unidentified source of CNN also said that Atta ”may have been accompanied to Manhattan on September 10 by Abdulaziz Alomari.”

Similar information was also published that same day by New York Daily News, suggesting a common source (the FBI) for this information.107 It’s not clear how long Atta was in Manhattan before the attack. The source would not discuss the credit card transactions here except to say they took place in Manhattan.108

According to these news, there was no question in the mind of investigators that Atta had been in New York on September 10, 2001. The only question was why he was there.Yet, this finding stands in contradiction to the official timeline placing Atta in Boston both on that day and on the previous day.

4. Atta sighted in the U.S. prior to his official arrival date

According to the official timeline established by the FBI and endorsed by the 9/11 Commission109,Atta arrived into the United States for the first time on June 3, 2000.

Yet in April or May 2000, a person who presented himself as Mohamed Atta visited loan officer Johnelle Bryant at the Florida Department of Agriculture in order to seek a loan of $650,000 with which he wanted to finance the purchase of a crop-dusting plane.After 9/11 she discovered who her visitor had been and contacted the FBI. In June 2002 she finally decided, against the desire of her agency, to „go public“ with her story and was interviewed by top journalist Brian Ross on national TV. Her extraordinary story is related and analysed elsewhere. For the present purpose we retain the following facts: Ms. Bryant’s guest (a) insisted that his name was Mohamed Atta; (b) met Johnelle Bryant before „Mohamed Atta“ officially entered into the United States; (c) said he came originally from Egypt and had moved to Afghanistan; (d) said he had studied in Germany; (e) said he admired Osama bin Laden and wanted to recruit U.S. members for Al Qaeda; and (f) attempted to leave a sinister impression on her.Unless Johnelle Bryant was inventing her story – and we have no reason to believe so -her account leaves hardly any alternative to the conclusion that her visitor attempted to impersonate Mohamed el-Amir and leave behind a legend.

A timeline established by FBI Miami on October 11, 2001 pertaining to South Florida,110 confirms that a person by the name of Mohamed Atta had indeed ”appeared at the United States Dept. of Agriculture” in April 2000 (approx. date) and ”approached Johnell (sic) Bryant, the Farm Loan Manager, to obtain a loan to buy a six-passenger, twin-engine airplane that he wanted to convert into a crop-dusting plane.”The timeline has been released with 9/11 Commission documents as Team 7, Box 20. The entry in the timeline mentioning Atta’s visit to Bryant refers to FBI document 302, Serial 9165. The FBI has denied a FOIA request to release this document, invoking privacy considerations.

Atta was also sighted in Portland in April 2000. According to the Portland Press Herald, Spruce Whited, head of security at the Portland public library, said he first saw a man he is convinced was Atta in April 2000. He said the man came to the library several times, using the computers. “I only recognized him because he’d been here a few times,” he said.111 Apparently he did not only see Atta, but also Alshehhi: ”I remember seeing (Atta) in the spring of 2000. I have a vague memory of a second one who turned out to be (Atta’s) cousin.”112”Whited said no investigators have asked to look at the library’s computers. He said the FBI had not interviewed him.”113 Kathy Barry, a reference librarian at the same library, also reported seeing Atta, whose photograph has been distributed widely through the media since the Sept. 11 attacks. ”It was either him or his twin brother”, Barry said.114

Further evidence regarding Atta’s presence in the United States prior to June 3, 2000, was presented in context of the Able Danger issue.


5.Cover-up by the FBI

(a)Suppressing evidence of Atta’s 2001 sojourn in Venice, Florida

According to the official account, Atta spent five to six months in Venice, Florida, training at Huffman Aviation. Yet on the official FBI website, Venice is not mentioned at all as one of the locations where Atta had resided.115The 9/11 Commission, equally, suppresses the fact that Atta lived in Venice at any time.The FBI timeline about Atta does not mention that he returned to Venice, Florida, after leaving the area in December 2000.116 The reason for suppressing this evidence can only be conjectured: It might be related either to his stint with Amanda Keller, which would further undermine the notion that he was a fundamentalist Muslim, and/or relate to the true roleAtta is suspected to have played at Huffman Aviation, a dubious outfit connected to drug smuggling and covert operations.117

Stephanie Frederickson of the Sandpiper Apartments in Venice, Florida, who saw Atta when he lived in Venice, told author Hopsicker, that she and other residents had been harassed and intimidated by the FBI, in an effort to keep them from mentioning this fact to reporters:

The question they (the FBI) asked was always the same. You aren’t saying anything to anybody, are you?At first, right after the attack, they told me I must have been mistaken in my identification. Or they would insinuate that I was lying. Finally they stopped trying to get me to change my story, and just stopped by once a week to make sure I hadn’t been talking to anyone.118

Another person complaining about FBI efforts to intimidate him was ex-marine Charles Grapentine of the Sandpiper Apartments in Venice, Florida. According to Hopsicker the FBI was “positively frosty, especially on the subject of talking to reporters.” Here is what Grapentine told Hopsicker:

They called me a liar, and told me to keep my mouth shut. Nobody likes to hear that; that they didn’t see something they know they saw.119

An unnamed employee of Vonnie LaConca’s cleaning company allegedly had a contact with Atta “less than a week before the attack” of 9/11.120 According to LaConca, her employee spent three days withAtta, Amanda Keller and other unnamed German friends in a “continuous party” at Key West. Vonnie LaConca said she “learned the former employee made telephone contact with Mohamed last week”, that is few days before 9/11. The identity of that employee was never revealed. The FBI has kept mum about her existence.

Knowing of no reason why the abovementioned persons or Daniel Hopsicker would invent these stories, the plausible explanation is that the FBI did not want these persons to talk about Atta’s presence in Venice, because his co-habitation with Amanda Keller would reveal his decidedly un-islamic character.

(b) Suppressing photographic and video evidence of Atta in the U.S.

While the following photo of Atta waspublicized on September 13, 2001 and has almost become an icon of a cold, sinister, mass murderer, it is not clear where and when this photograph was made and by whom.

More puzzling is the fact that the U.S. authorities have not released any photograph or video recording of Atta known to have been made while he dwelt in the United States.

(a) Atta and Alshehhi cashed a check for $8,000 on April 4, 2001 in Virginia, “as evidenced by (…) bank surveillance camera shot of Atta”.121 The footage was never shown.

(b) The FBI Chronology of Atta covering the period August 16, 2001 – September 11, 2001 and released at the Moussaoui Trial122 mentions that a video exists of Atta and Al-Omari checking in at US Air at Portland Airport on the morning of 9/11.This recording was never shown.

(c) Atta was also a member at L.A. Fitness on University Drive in Coral Springs and worked out at the upscale gym for about two months, an employee said. FBI agents visited the fitness center north of Royal Palm Boulevard twice this week and removed Atta’s picture from the club’s membership computer, said employee José Serraz.123 The picture was never released.

(d) According to the FBI Miami Timeline, videotapes showing Atta and possibly of Alshehhi on May 31, 2001 were provided by Budget Rent-a-Car.124 The videotapes were never shown.

(e) According to the JICI report of April 19, 2002, a bank surveillance recording exists of Alomari and Atta conducting transactions at Bank Atlantic, Deerfield, Florida, on September 5, 2001. The recording has never been shown.125

 

6.Ziad Jarrah was never seen with el-Amir in the United States

El-Amir was an acquaintance ofZiad Jarrah in Hamburg, Germany.Although they did not study in the same school, they spent much time together in a closed circle of Muslim friends.According to a video released in 2006, they are claimed to have participated in a common suicide video. It remains, therefore, a mystery why there is no evidence that they ever encountered each other in the tiny airport of the sleepy town Venice, Florida, where they allegedly spent over four months training at adjacent flight schools.

That they never met at Venice, Florida, is highly surprising because students from both flight schools would often meet together in the local bars in the evenings and socialize. It is highly unlikely that in such a small community of flight students no one would try to introduce to each other two students known to have come from Hamburg, Germany, or ask them whether they knew each other. The claim that they deliberately avoided each other in order not to raise suspicions can be dismissed in the view of the fact that both used their “real names”. Furthermore, Mohamed Atta’s conduct, as presented in these pages, does not indicate that he attempted to stay “below the radar” when he was in the United States. On the contrary.

There is hard evidence that Ziad Jarrah enrolled at Arne Kruithof’s Florida Flight Training Center in Venice, Florida, a few hundred yards from Huffman Aviation, where Mohamed Atta – whoever he was – had enrolled.Ziad Jarrah even invited his fiancée, Aysel Senguen, from Germany to visit him at Venice, presented her to his friends, and had photographs taken of them at that location.What is not at all certain, is whether el-Amir had at all travelled to the United States, let alone to Venice, Florida.

We have previously noted that the FBI has failed to explain what prompted Atta to chose especially Huffman Aviation in Venice, Florida for his flight training, rather any of several thousandaviation schools in the United States. There is no evidence that el-Amir knew about or contacted Huffman Aviation while he was in Germany.

The fact that their ways never crossed at the small Venice airport for over four months, and more generally during Ziad’s stay in the United States, can be only plausibly explained by the fact that el-Amir was not the flight student who enrolled in Venice, Florida, under the name Mohamed Atta.

Another story appears to corroborate this conclusion.

A former friend of el-Amir, interviewed by the FBI“initially discounted the post-9/11 reports of [his friend’s] involvement because he had known Atta by the name of Elamir and because the reports claimed Atta to have spent time in Florida. (He) believed that, had [his friend] actually been in Florida, he would have contacted him…[He] also recalled hearing from Atta’s sister that Atta was in Syria.12

 

7. Atta was already a pilot by July 2000

Rudy Dekkers, mentioned above, said Atta had already a flight log when he came to him. He stated that “he believed Atta and Alshehhi had previously attended another aviation school, so both had some piloting experience. He said they presented their logbooks when applying at Huffman to show proof of previous flight hours.”127 Amanda Keller, Atta’s girl-friend, told to author Hopsicker that Atta had pilot licenses from numerous countries, supporting thereby Dekkers’ testimony.

There is no evidence, however, that el-Amir, who was busy studying town planning in Hamburg, had at any time received flight training. According to his father, he was even afraid of flying.

 

8. Atta was trained in a U.S. military facility

A bizarre story appeared in the Washington Post, suggesting the Mohamed Atta had been trained in a U.S. military facility:

“Two of 19 suspects named by the FBI, Saeed Alghamdi and Ahmed Alghamdi, have the same names as men listed at a housing facility for foreign military trainees at Pensacola. Two others, Hamza Alghamdi and Ahmed Alnami, have names similar to individuals listed in public records as using the same address inside the base…In addition, a man named Saeed Alghamdi graduated from the Defense Language Institute at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, while men with the same names as two other hijackers, Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari, appear as graduates of the U.S. International Officers School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, and the Aerospace Medical School at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio, respectively.”

USA Today quoted Pentagon spokesman, Colonel Ken McClellan, as saying that a man named Mohamed Atta had once attended the International Officer’s School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama.”128

The first denial appeared in the Boston Globe: “Some of the FBI suspects had names similar to those used by foreign alumni of U.S. military courses,” said the Air Force in a statement. „Discrepancies in their biographical data…indicate we are probably not talking about the same people.”

Daniel Hopsicker’s attempt to find out

Author Hopsicker reports129 that he decided to call the Pentagon and get some reaction.He recounts having spoken to a Major in the Air Force‘s Public Affairs Office “who had been involved, she said, in crafting and disseminating the original Pentagon denial to the press.“

She explained: “Biographically, they’re not the same people…Some of the ages are twenty years off.”

Hopsicker’s account continues:

„Some of the ages“? Could she be, perhaps, just a little more precise?No answer.Let’s make this real simple, he said “We were only asking about one of the seven purported terrorists reported to have received military training in the U.S.Mohamed Atta.” Was she saying that the age of the ‘Mohamed Atta’ who had attended the Air Force’s International Officer’s School at Maxwell Air Force Base was different than that of ‘terrorist ringleader Mohamed Atta’?

Not exactly, she admitted. She could not confirm that -in this specific instance – they had different ages. What she could do was once again deny that the International Officer’s School attendee named Mohamed Atta had been the Mohamed Atta who piloted a passenger plane into the World Trade Center.

However, she could offer no specifics for her assertion, and repeatedly declined requests for biographical details about the Mohamed Atta who had trained at Maxwell Air Force Base. None of this kept her from shamelessly soldiering on. “Mohamed is a very common name,” she said.

It was indeed, we told her, making one final effort. We said we would be happy to help the Pentagon’s investigative effort, especially since they were busy with other concerns. We offered to take it upon ourselves to track down the Mohamed Atta who had attended the Air Force’s International Officer’s School to confirm, once and for all, that he was not the Mohamed Atta said to have flown a jetliner into the side of a skyscraper in Manhattan.

All she had to do was tell us where the Mohamed Atta who had attended International Officer’s School at Maxell AFB was from.We would take it from there. Solve the mystery at no cost.

“I don’t think you’re going to get that information,” the spokeswoman stated flatly.

Still, we pressed her again, and probably to the point of rudeness, to provide a few lonely specifics, and we were rewarded when she finally said, in exasperation: “I do not have to authority to tell you who attended which schools.”

Hopsicker:

It was hard to read this as anything other than a back-handed confirmation. When she said that she didn’t have the authority, the clear implication was that someone else does… Somewhere in the Defense Department. a list exists with the names of September 11 terrorists who received training at U.S. military facilities.She just didn’t have the authority to release it. End of story.

And as to corroborate Atta’s presence at the Maxwell Air Force Base, Hopsicker cites someone who worked on Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, the former wife of a CIA pilot:

I have a girlfriend who recognized Mohamed Atta. She met him at a party at the Officer’s Club. The reason she swears it was him here is because she didn’t just meet him and say hello. After she met him she went around and introduced him to the people that were with her. So she knows it was him.Saudis were a highly visible presence at Maxwell Air Force Base, she said. “There were a lot of them living in an upscale complex in Montgomery. They had to get all of them out of there.They were all gone the day after the attack.”

The 9/11 Commission showed no interest in finding out whether the alleged hijackers had studied in secure military facilities in the United States.

NOTES

1Harburg is a section of the city of Hamburg in North Germany

2John Hooper, The shy, caring, deadly fanatic, The Guardian, September 23, 2001, at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/sep/23/september11.education (last visited January 2, 2011)

3Spanish MP’s photo used for Osama Bin Laden poster, BBC, January 16, 2010, athttp://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8463657.stm (last visited 5.10.2011); see also http://www.faceresearch.org/demos/average (last visited 5.10.2011)

4Annual pilgrimage of Muslims to Mecca. It is religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so.

5New York Times, Sept. 27, 2001 (Authors document #104) supra

6Ibid.

7Terry McDermott, Perfect Soldiers: The 9/11 Hijackers, HarpersCollings Publishers, New York, 2005, p. 29

8Ibid.

9McDermott, supra n. p. 32

10Ken Thomas, Feds investigating possible terrorist-attack links in Florida, Associated Press, September 12, 2001, http://web.archive.org/web/20030402060235/www.nctimes.net/news/2001/20010912/10103.html (last visited 5.10.2011)

11Barry Klein, Wes Allison et al, FBI seizes records of students at flight schools, St. Peterburg Times, September 13, 2001, http://www.sptimes.com/News/091301/Worldandnation/FBI_seizes_records_of.shtml. It is to be noted that the story changed over time. In later reports, such as by The Washington Post of September 16, 2001, Atta was nolonger reported to have drunk alcool but cranberry juice!It appears someone had felt that the original story would undermine the neat official legend of Atta as a devout, and even fanatic, Muslim.

12Eliot Kleinberg and Colleen Mastony, FBI agents follow leads in Florida cities, Cox News Service, September 12, 2001

13Daniel de Vise, Curtis Morgan and Manny Garcia,On Terror’s Trail: Five Florida Men Were Among The Suspects They Were Listed Aboard Planes in N.Y. Crashes, The Miami Herald, September 13, 2001, Final Edition (perhaps they conflated Pakistan with Afghanistan- E.D.)

14Ed Vulliamy et al,When our world changed forever, The Guardian (U.K.) September 16, 2001, athttp://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/sep/16/news.september11 (last visited December 25, 2010)

15Associated Press, Sept. 12, 2001 supra

16Amy Goldstein and Peter Finn, Hijack suspects profile: polite and purposeful, Washington Post, September 14, 2001 (author’s document #68)

17Author’s Document #24

18Author’s Document #25

19FBI FD-302 document Nr. 265D-NY-280350-MM, of September 11, 2001. Author’s document #355.

20FBI FD-302 document Nr. 265D-NY-280350-MM, of September 11, 2001. Author’s document #356

21FBI FD-302 document Nr. 265D-NY-280350-MM, of September 11, 2001. Author’s document #357

22Timeline Pertaining to South Florida, FBI Miami, 265A-NY-280350-MM, October 11, 2001, Last Update December 3, 2001 (hereafter FBI Miami Timeline)

23Chris Davis, Hijacker with cold stare hated mission of blending in, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, September 28, 2001. Author’s document #423.The original article cannot be anymore located in the newspaper’sonline archives.

24 Shay Sullivan, Two Hijackers on Longboat? The Longboat Observer, November 21, 2001. Author’s document #177

25Author’s document #178

26Don Kirk, Filipinos Recall Hijack Suspects Leading a High Life, New York Times, October 5, 2001. Author’s document #176

27Ibid.

28Ibid.

29Daily Mail, 16 September 2001

30Ibid.

31Charlotte Sun, September 14, 2001

32Hopsicker, supra n. 38at pp. 92-94

33Hopsicker, supra n. 38 at p. 98

34Hopsicker,supra n. 38, p. 283

35McDermott, p. 27

36Ibid.Note that pious Muslims do not use perfume or bear jewels.

37The News-Press (Fort Myers, Fl.), September 13, 2001

38Daniel Hopsicker, Welcome to Terrorland: Mohamed Atta and the 9-11 Cover-Up in Florida, The MadCow Press, 2004, pp. 303-4

39Hunt for terrorists reaches North Port, Charlotte Sun (Florida), September 14, 2001 (in author’s Atta file)

40Thanks to Daniel Hopsicker for this observation, supra n. 38, p. 70

41Earle Kimel, Fourth terrorist suspect may have ties to Venice ties, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, September 22, 2001 (Author’s document #423). According toFTR #516 (Interview with Daniel Hopsicker about the Venice, FL Cover-Up, July 5, 2005)„newspaper articles about Atta’s activities in Venice are being removed from the Lexis-Nexis data­base used by journalists world-wide.” at http://spitfirelist.com/for-the-record/ftr-516-interview-with-daniel-hopsicker-about-the-venice-fl-cover-up/ (last visited December 26, 2010)

42Chris Grier, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, September 23, 2001.

43Ibid.

44Hopsicker, supra n. 38

45Hopsicker, supra n. 38, p. 56

46Heather Allen, ‚Lover’: Amanda Keller, Sarasota Herald-Tribune (Florida), September 10, 2006, at http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article”AID=/20060910/NEWS/609100466/1007/BUSINESS&tc=ar (last visited December 26, 2010)

47Hopsicker, supra n. 38, p. 279

48Ibid

49Peter Finn, Suspects Used German Rental As Headquarters, The Washington Post, September 15, 2001, at http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A34506-2001Sep14&notFound=true (last visited December 26, 2010)

50Author‘s document #184 Liz Jackson interviews

51Steven Erlanger, An Unobtrusive Man’s Odyssey: Polite Student to Suicide Hijacker, New York Times, September 15, 2001. Author’s document #342

52at http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/atta/interviews/bodenstein.htm (last visited December 27, 2010)

53Ibid.

54McDermott, supra n. p. 32-33

55Ibid. p. 32

56Swanson Stevenson, 9/11 haunts hijacker’s sponsors; German couple talks of living with pilot Atta, Chicago Tribune, March 7, 2003. Author’s document #185

57Peter Finn, Suspects Used German Rental As Headquarters, The Washington Post, September 15, 2001, at http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A34506-2001Sep14&notFound=true (last visited December 26, 2010)

58Bundeskriminalamt, Zeugenvernehmung von Bejaoui, Bechir, Hamburg, 5.10.2001 (Author’s document #415)

59Terry McDermott, Perfect Soldiers, Harpers Collings Publishers, New York, 2005, p. 24-25

60Ibid. p. 25

61Interview of Quentin McDermott with Rudy Dekkers, ABC Australia, October 21, 2001. Transcript. At http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/atta/interviews/dekkers.htm(last visited December 27, 2010)

62Final Report of the 9/11 Commission, p. 224

63Stephen J. Hedges and Jeff Zeleny, Hijacker eluded security net, Chicago Tribune, September 16, 2001, athttp://web.archive.org/web/20020208020010/http://chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-0109160297sep16.story((last visited 5.10.2011) Author’s document #434

64Chris Davis, Hijacker with cold stare hated mission of blending in, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, September 28, 2001. Author’s document #423.The article cannot anymore be found at the newspaper online archive.

65Ibid.

66Doc.038-AP.pdf

67James V. Grimaldi and Guy Gugliotta, Chemical Plants Feared as Targets, The Washington Post, December 16, 2001, at http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A49430-2001Dec15(last visited December 27, 2010)

68Joel Engelhardt,From terrorist to spy, Atta’s mission was extensive. The Palm Beach Post, October 29, 2001, at http://www.ctcintl.com/10292001.shtml (last visited December, 27, 2010)

69John J. Fialka, et al, Wasll Street Journal, supra n.

70Roger Simon, Anthrax Nation, U.S. News & World Report, October 28, 2001 athttp://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/articles/011105/archive_019478_print.htm (last visited 5.10.2011) Author’s document #435

71Thomas C. Tobin, Florida: Terror’s Launching Pad, St. Petersburg Times, September 1, 2002, athttp://www.sptimes.com/2002/09/01/911/Florida__terror_s_lau.shtml (last visited 5.10.2011) Author’s document #436. According to the Los Angeles Times of October 13, 2001, „the second man tapped himself on the chestg, not on the chest of the pharmacist. In the L.A. Times report it was not explained why Chatterton remembered this event.

72Rober Simon, supra n.

73Such conduct is incidentally common among very orthodox Jews. It does not reflect a condescending attitude to women.

74Patrick Whittle, Ginny LaRoe and Heather Allen, The city that wants to forget, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, September 10, 2006. Author’s document #423.

75Interview with Rudi Dekkers, president of Huffman Aviation by Quentin McDermott, A Mission to Die For, ABC Australia, October 21, 2001, athttp://www.abc.net.au/4corners/atta/interviews/dekkers.htm (last visited 5.10.2011)

76Exhibit OG00020.02

77Exhibit OG00020.01

78Chronology of events for hijackers, Mohamed Atta,Exhibit Nr. OG00020.2. p. 2 Moussaui Trial, at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov/notablecases/moussaoui/exhibits/prosecution/OG00020-02.pdf (last visited December 27, 2010)

79FBI Miami Timeline, p. 29, supra n. (based on 302, Serial 24063); equally Stipulation, supra n. at p. 77

80Ibid.

81FBI document 265A-NY-280350-MM (Author’s document #354)

82Author’s document #359

83The name of the person was disclosed by the Sun-Sentinel of October 27, 2001, as Wynn Errico, owner of Wynn Motor Co. in North Lauderdale.

84Author’s document #358

85According to Wynn Errico, interviewed by the Sun-Sentinel (supra) „three men in a white minivan accompanied [Atta] and waited for about 45 minutes“ while Atta and Errico were haggling about the price.

86JICI, Aprtil 19, 2002, page FBI03018

87FBI Miami Timeline, supra n.

88FBI Document FD- 302, Serial 13680

89FBI Document FD- 302, Serial 14918

90FBI Document FD- 302, Serial 955)

91Report of Atta sighting at Massena border crossing point,INS, Buffalo, New York, letter by Mary Ellen O’Shea, Supervisory Inspector, Massena, New York, November 1, 2001, at

92 Curtis Morgan, David Kidwell and Oscar Corall, State a natural for training, blending into the communities, The Miami Herald, September 22, 2001, athttp://web.archive.org/web/20010922164519/www.miami.com/herald/special/news/worldtrade/digdocs/000518.htm.

93Sydney P. Freedberg, The trail of the terrorists, St. Petersburg Times, September 27, 2001, athttp://www.sptimes.com/News/092701/news_pf/Worldandnation/The_trail_of_the_terr.shtml(last visited January 22, 2011)

94Wall Street Journal, 16 Oct. 2001.

95The Road to Ground Zero, Part Five: A Trail of Missed Opportunities, The Sunday Times, February 3, 2002, at http://s3.amazonaws.com/911timeline/2002/sundaytimes020302.html (last visited December 27, 2010) Author’s Document # 346)

96Ibid.

97Ibid.

98Herbert Gude, Pentagon aus Pappe, Focus Magazin, March 3, 2002, athttp://www.focus.de/politik/deutschland/terror-pentagon-aus-pappe_aid_203727.html (last visited 5.10.2011)

99Stipulation, supra, p. 73

100 Hopsicker, supra n. 38,p. 61

101 Associated Press, September 29, 2001

102 Las Vegas Review Journal, October 26, 2001

103 New York Post, October 5, 2001

104 Portland Press Herald, October 5, 2001

105 Newsday,November 18, 2001

106Susan Candiotti, Source: Records suggest Atta in NYC on Sept. 10, CNN, May 22, 2002, at http://archives.cnn.com/2002/US/05/22/hijack.paper.trail/ (last visited January 2, 2011)

107Greg B. Smith, Hijacker in City Sept. 10 Used Navigation Tool to Pinpoint WTC Site, New York Daily News, May 22, 2002, cached at http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/687502/posts?page=69

108Ibid.

109Final Report of the 9/11 Commission, Note 45 to Chapter VII

110FBI document 265A-NY-280350-MM

111Portland Press Herald, 10/5/01

112Boston Herald, 10/5/01

113Portland Press Herald, 10/5/01

114Ibid.

115The FBI Releases 19 Photographs of Individuals Believed to be the Hijackers of the Four Airliners that Crashed on September 11, 2001, September 27, 2001, at http://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/the-fbi-releases-19-photographs-of-individuals-believed-to-be-the-hijackers (last visited December 29, 2010)

116See FBI Miami Timeline, supra n.

117Hopsicker, supra n. 38.Hopsicker unearthed numerous facts about the murky nature of Huffman Aviation, a flight school apparently „protected from above“.Mentioning these facts here would unnecessarily encumber our study.

118Hopsicker, supra n. 38 p. 62-63

119Hopsicker, supra n. 38. p. 65

120Hunt for terrorists reaches North Port, Sun-Herald, September 14, 2001. Author’s document #369

1219/11 Commission Staff Statement Nr. 16, p. 8

122Moussaoui Trial ExhibitOG00020.2, Author’s document #370

123Jonathan King, Vicky Agnew and Nancy Othón, Suspects trained at S. Florida gyms before terror attacks, Sun-Sentinel, November 5, 2001, athttp://web.archive.org/web/20011105010455/http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/southflorida/sfl-culprits919.story (last visited December 27, 2010) Author’s document #347

124FBI document FD-302, Serial 9954.

125JICI report, p. FBI03026

1269/11 Commission papers, MFR Nr. 04017500 of December 4, 2002, p.2

127The Immigration and Naturalization Service’s Contacts with Two September 11 Terrorists, Office of the Inspector General, May 20, 2002, Chapter Four, athttp://www.justice.gov/oig/special/0205/chapter4.htm (last visited January 2, 2011)

128Hopsicker, supra n. 38, 136-7

129Hopsicker, supra n. 38, pp. 138-141

Atta and Alshehhi loved alcohol

Untitled Atta and Alshehhi loved alcohol

by Elias Davidsson

 At Shuckum’s

Shuckum’s is (or was) a restaurant and oyster bar in Hollywood, Florida. According to numerous news reports, Mohamed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi spent hours at that bar a few days before the attacks of September 11, 2001, heavily drinking alcohol.

When did this episode took place?

On September 5 and 6, 2001 (FBI 302-reports released in 2009)1; on September 6, 2001 (NBC News, September 12, 2001)2; on September 7 (Associated Press3 and New York Times4, September 12, 2001; Sun-Sentinel, September 13, 2001; Daily Mail (UK), September 16, 2001); on September 8 (Boston Globe, September 23, 2001; Time Magazine5, September 24,2001; St. Petersburg Times6, September 1, 2002); or on September 8 or 9 (Cox News, September 12, 2001)7

What exactly took place at Shuckum’s?

Tony Amos, Shuckums’ manager, declared to Ken Thomas of Associated Press on September 12, 2001 that “two men”, one of whom was Mohammed Atta, had each consumed several drinks and had given the bartender a hard time. Amos said: “The guy Mohamed was drunk, his voice was slurred and he had a thick accent.”8 Bartender Patricia Idrissi said to St. Petersburg Times that the men were ”wasted” when they entered the bar. She said she directed them to a nearby Chinese restaurant. They later returned and “each ordered five drinks”, she said.9 According to the New York Times of September 12, 2001, the ”man (…) drank Stolichnaya vodka for three hours”.10 Bartender Patricia Idrissi said that the men argued about their bill. Then one of the men pulled a wad of $100 and $50 bills, paid the tab and left her a $3 tip. The bar employees said FBI agents had told them that at least one of the men was from Pakistan and that passenger manifests showed they were on one of the hijacked planes that took off from Boston.11 Patricia Idrissi told journalists “Mohamed said he worked for American Airlines and he could pay his bill.”12

In another account of this episode, Atta “played video games” and the other two, one of whom was designated as Shehhi, “had about five drinks each”. In that account Tony Amos reportedly said that it was Shehhi, and not Atta, who “pulled out a wad of cash and put it on the bar table and said, ‘There is no money issue. I am an airline pilot’.”13

The reports agree on two main facts: (a) that the patrons drank heavily; and (b) that they made a fuss before paying their bill.

When did the FBI visit Shuckum’s?

According to the St. Petersburg Times of September 13, 2001, FBI agents arrived at Shuckum’s “soon after the attack”, meaning not later than in the afternoon of 9/11.14 This is corroborated by the New York Times.15 It was never explained how the FBI knew by the afternoon of 9/11 that Atta and al-Shehhi had at all frequented bars in the United States, let alone a particular bar among the approximately 48,000 bars that operate in the United States16 or the roughly 4,000 bars that exist in Florida alone.17

How was this episode linked to the crime of 9/11?

The drinkers were identified by Shuckum’s staff as Mohamed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi, who were later designated as two of the 9/11 suicide pilots. According to NBC of September 12, 2001, “FBI agents [were] showing Atta’s passport photo to the bar staff.”18 According to the New York Times of September 12, 2001, gfederal agents arrived at the seafood restaurant and bar and flashed pictures of the man and one other who they said were suspected of being involved in the terror attacks (c) that morningh19 Anthony (Tony) Amos, Shuckum’s manager told media: g[The FBI people] just said these guys were on the manifest on a flight out of Boston, and I knew what it meant. They said the guys were dead.h20

How did the FBI deal with the decidedly un-islamic conduct of Mohamed Atta?

Among the documents sent to the 9/11 Commission by the FBI and released in 2009, we found three strange FD-302 reports relating the Shuckum’s episode. All three reports are significantly at variance with what media had reported. The FBI documents contain accounts of interviews of Shuckum’s employees conducted on the very day of the attacks by unidentified FBI special agents. According to these documents, Shuckum’s employees were shown photographs of Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi. These documents, examined below, are not identified by unique document numbers and the names of the agents are redacted.

In one of these reports21, an unidentified female interviewee, after being shown the photographs of Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi, is reported saying she “did not recognize Alshehhi, however she stated Atta was in Shuckum’s on Wednesday, September 5, 2001.” This particular FBI report does not mention Atta or Alshehhi drinking alcohol or making a fuss about the bill.

In another report22, an unidentified female interviewee at Shuckum’s is reported saying she ”did not recognize Atta [but] did recognize Alshehhi and stated Alshehhi was in the restaurant with another man on Thursday, September 6, 2001 (…) between 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.” She is also reported as stating that Alshehhi ”sat at the end of the bar, did not speak English well and was very rude. Alshehhi complained about his bill, paid in cash and left. [The interviewee] heard Alshehhi state they were going to a Chinese restaurant.” In this report, too, no drinking is mentioned.

In the third report23, an unidentified, male employee, is reported saying that he ”recognized Alshehhi as a patron of Shuckum’s on or about Thursday, September 6, 2001.” The interviewee stated that Alshehhi ”was accompanied by another male of middle eastern descent.” He described Alshehhi ”as being confrontational and (…) arguing with the bar tender.” The interviewee ”did not recognize [the photograph of] Atta.” Here, again, no drinking is mentioned.

Apart from the discrepancies among these three reports and the glaring omission of the fact that the sighted men engaged in heavy drinking, it is extraordinary that the FBI was able within hours of the attacks to locate a bar in Florida that Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi were patronizing and could already flash photographs of these men.

How did mass media deal with the decidedly un-islamic conduct of Mohamed Atta?

The initial story of the Shuckum’s binge seriously undermined the official legend that the perpetrators of 9/11 were fanatic Muslims. So, the story had to be sanitized. On September 16, the Washington Post reported that at Shuckum’s “Atta played video Trivial Pursuit and blackjack with great determination”, while “Al-Shehhi and the other man had about five drinks each”.24 Six days later, alcohol disappeared from the story. According to the Washington Post of September 22, the manager on duty that night has said that he doesn’t recall seeing Atta drink alcohol.25 On September 27, another newspaper of record, the Los Angeles Times, reported Shuckumfs owner now saying that gAtta sat quietly by himself and drank cranberry juice and played a video game, while al-Shehhi and the other customer tossed back mixed drinks and argued.h26 The final nail in the coffin of the Atta drinking story was hammered on November 12, 2001, as ABC Australia broadcast a short interview with Tony Amos. He now said:

[T]he third gentleman, Mohamed Atta, was sitting at the other end of the bar and he was playing video games…Mohamed Atta, he was just drinking cranberry juice. He’d get up once in a while, come over to – who I found was this Marwan, was his cousin or claimed to be related in some way, and he would just maybe say something in his ear and then go back to the other end of the bar and just continue playing the video game. And he did that for four hours.27

Tony Amos may have been coerced to retract his original testimony or journalists put words in his mouth. Author Daniel Hopsickeer discovered weeks after 9/11 that Tony Amos and Patricia Idrissi, who were the source of the above reports, stopped working at Shuckum’s and had vanished. Almost ten years later, the Miami Herald discovered Tony Amos as owner of El Sloppy Taco in Brunswick, Md., who apparently confirmed the original account he gave on Atta and Alshehhi. He again emphasized to the Herald that at the time, FBI agents had shown him photos of Atta and Alshehhi and told him that “they were on the [flight] manifests”.28

(ii) The Longboat Key episode

A local paper, The Longboat Observer reported on November 21, 2001 that a bartender at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites at Longboat Key, Fla., Darlene Sievers, had seen Mohamed Atta at the bar four days before 9/11 drink rum and Coke.29 She said she remembered his face because of the sizeable tip he left her. Atta gave her a $20 bill for a $4 drink and let her keep the change. She said she reported her encounter with Atta to the FBI after she saw Attafs picture in the media September 27, 2001. A waiter at the same restaurant, Frank Boyal, also remembered Atta and his companion. Mark Bean, Holiday Innfs assistant food and beverage director, remembered Attafs companion, Alshehhi after he saw the pictures of the alleged hijackers on television. Asked whether Beam and Seavers wee interviewed by the FBI, Special Agent Sara Oates said she gcannot confirm or deny that.h Darlene Sievers confirmed to Daniel Hopsicker these stories. The episode of Atta and Alsehhi at Longboat Key was echoed in great detail by the St. Petersburg Times of July 4, 2004 (#178). She said to the journalist of the Times: g[the FBI] called me twice and did spend some time out at the Holiday Inn – I felt they were taking it seriouslyh, although she says she never heard anthing more. Sievers remained gconvincedh that one of the men was Mohamed Atta: gI can remember peoplefs drinks and Ifll never forget those piercing black eyesh, she said.

(iii) Drinking in the Philippines

Apparently the very pious Atta and Alshehhi indulged in alcohol and sex before coming to the United States. According to the New York Times of October 5, 2001, Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi, two of the alleged suicide-pilots of 9/11 spent time in the Philippines in various visits between 1998 and 2000.30 They reportedly stayed at a popular resort hotel, drank whiskey with Philippines bargirls, dined at a restaurant that specializes in Middle Eastern cuisine and visited at least one of the local flight schools.

Gina Marcelo, a former waitress at the Woodland Park Resort Hotel, said Alshehhi had thrown a party with six or seven Arab friends at the hotel:

They drank Johnnie Walker Black Label whiskey and mineral water. They barbecued shrimp and onions. They came in big vehicles, and they had a lot of money. They all had girlfriends…[but] they never tipped. If they did, I would not remember them so well.31

Victoria Brocoy, a chambermaid at the same hotel, recalled Mohamed Atta:

He was not friendly. If he asks for a towel, you do not enter his rom. He takes it at the door…Many times I saw him let a girl go at the gate in the morning. It was always a different girl.32

Another person who recognized Atta from photos was Ferdinand Abad, who was working there as a security guard in mid-1999. He remembered Atta asking at what time he should wait outside the hotel for a van to take him to the Angeles City Flying Club. Still another person who remembered Atta was Trudis Dago, manager of the Jerusalem Restaurant in Angeles City. He said Atta “would never smile and would never talk to anyone except his friend. I knew this face when I saw it in the paper”, she said.33

None of these drinking episodes could be explained by the need of the “hijackers” to “blend into American society”. These episodes demonstrate, however, that the persons who presented themselves in the USA and the Philippines as Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi, enjoyed drinking alcohol. Were these the same persons who were known in Hamburg as strict Muslims?

 Notes

1 FBI FD-302 document Nr. 265D-NY-280350-MM, of September 11, 2001. Author’s document #355; FBI FD-302 document Nr. 265D-NY-280350-MM, of September 11, 2001. Author’s document #356; FBI FD-302 document Nr. 265D-NY-280350-MM, of September 11, 2001. Author’s document #357. The FBI documents do not carry an identifying number.

2 NBC, September 12, 2001, 6:42:15. Cached on September 11 Television Archive at http://www.archive.org/details/nbc200109121841-1922, (last visited January 2, 2011)

3 Ken Thomas, Feds investigating possible terrorist-attack links in Florida, Associated Press, September 12, 2001, http://web.archive.org/web/20030402060235/www.nctimes.net/news/2001/20010912/10103.html

4 Dana Canedy and David E. Sanger, Hijacking Trail Leads F.B.I. to Florida Flight School, New York Times, September 13, 2001, at http://www.nytimes.com/2001/09/13/national/13SUSP.html (last visited January 2, 2011)

5 Johanna McGeary and David van Biema, The New Breed of Terrorist, Time Magazine, September 24, 2001, at http://www.time.com/time/covers/1101010924/wplot.html (last visited January 2, 2011)

6 Thomas C. Tobin, Florida: terror’s launching pad, St. Petersburg Times, September 1, 2002, at http://www.sptimes.com/2002/09/01/911/Florida__terror_s_lau.shtml (last visited January 2, 2011)

7 Eliot Kleinberg and Colleen Mastony, FBI agents follow leads in Florida cities, Cox
News Service, September 12, 2001

8 Associated Press, supra

9 Barry Klein, Wes Allison et al, FBI seizes records of students at flight schools, St. Peterburg Times, September 13, 2001, http://www.sptimes.com/News/091301/Worldandnation/FBI_seizes_records_of.shtml. Author’s document #525.

10 Dana Canedy, New York Times, supra

11 Daniel de Vise, Curtis Morgan and Manny Garcia, On Terror’s Trail: Five Florida Men Were Among The Suspects They Were Listed Aboard Planes in N.Y. Crashes, The Miami Herald, September 13, 2001, Final Edition

12 Associated Press, Feds investigating possible terrorist-attack links in Florida, The August Chronicle, September 12, 2001, at http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2001/09/12/nat_319250.shtml

13 Amy Goldstein and Peter Finn, Hijack suspects profile: polite and purposeful, Washington Post, September 14, 2001 (author’s document #68)

14 Barry Klein, supra

15 Dana Caneday, New York Times, supra (Federal agents arrived at the restaurant “late Tuesday”)

16 Number of bars and restaurants in the US, at http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview/id/762475.html

17 Number of bars and restaurants in Florida, at http://www.manta.com/mb_43_C4_10/restaurants_bars/florida

18 NBC, supra

19 Dana Cadeny, NYT, supra

20 Ibid.

21 FBI FD-302, document #355. supra

22 FBI FD-302, document #356 supra

23 FBI FD-302, document #357 supra

24 Joel Achenbach, ‘You Never Imagine’ A Hijacker Next Door, Washington Post, September 16, 2001, at http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A38026-2001Sep15&notFound=true (last visited January 2, 2011)

25 Peter Finn, A Fanatic’s Quiet Path to Terror, the Washington Post, September 22, 2001, at http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A6745-2001Sep21&notFound=true (last visited January 2, 2011)

26 Carol J. Williams, John-Thor Dahlburg and H.G. Reza, Mainly, They Just Waited, Los Angeles Times, September 27, 2001, at http://web.archive.org/web/20010927120728/http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-092701atta.story (last visited January 2, 2011)

27 Liz Jackson and Quentin McDermott, Transcript: A Mission to Die For, ABC Australia, November 12, 2001, at http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/atta/transcript.htm (last visited January 2, 2011)

28Elinor J. Brecher, Mastermind may be gone, but troubled memories linger, Miami Herald, May 5, 2011, at http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/05/05/2203576/mastermind-may-be-gone-but-troubled.html

29 Shay Sullivan, Two Hijackers on Longboat? The Longboat Observer, November 21, 2001. Author’s document #177

30 Don Kirk, Filipinos Recall Hijack Suspects Leading a High Life, New York Times, October 5, 2001. Author’s document #176

31 Ibid.

32 Ibid.

33 Ibid.

The flight skills of alleged suicide-pilot Hani Hanjour

The flight skills of alleged suicide-pilot Hani Hanjour

by Elias Davidsson

According to the official account, repeated by the media, “[c]ontrollers say the plane crossed the Pentagon at 7,000 feet and then made a sweeping circle to the right, during which time it dropped down tonear surface level”.1

One of the alleged hijacking pilots, Hani Hanjour, was credited with having mastered the most difficult maneuver of that day, namely plunging Flight AA77, a Boeing 757, horizontally into the ground floor of the Pentagon at approximately 500 mph. An experienced military pilot, Gary Eitel, told author Michael C. Ruppert that the maneuver performed by that aircraft, as described in official reports, was beyond the capabilities of 90 percent of even the best and most experienced pilots in the world.2

Commander Ted Muga, a retired Pan-Am commercial and military airline pilot with years of experience, stated in a media interview in 2007:

The maneuver at the Pentagon was just a tight spiral coming down out of 7,000 feet.  And a commercial aircraft, while they can in fact structurally somewhat handle that maneuver, they are very, very, very difficult.  And it would take considerable training.  In other words, commercial aircraft are designed for a particular purpose and that is for comfort and for passengers and it’s not for military maneuvers.  And while they are structurally capable of doing them, it takes some very, very talented pilots to do that. (…)  I just can’t imagine an amateur even being able to come close to performing a maneuver of that nature.3

The above evaluation is corroborated by Capt. Fred Fox, a retired commercial airline pilot with 33 years experience flying for American Airlines:

I know from my experience that it would have been highly improbable that even a seasoned American test pilot, a military test pilot, could have flown a T-category, aircraft like the 757, into the first floor of the Pentagon because of a thing called Ground Effect.4

Commander Ralph Kolstad, U.S. Navy (ret.) says:

I have 6,000 hours of flight time in Boeing 757’s and 767’s and could not have flown it the way the flight path was described.

Flight controller Danielle O’Brien recalled what she observed on her radar screen: “The speed, the maneuverability, the way that [Flight 77] turned, we all thought in the radar room, all of us experienced air traffic controllers, that that was a military plane.”5 According to a 2002 report by the NTSB  “[Flight 77] started a right 330-degree descending turn to the right. At the end of the turn, the aircraft was at about 2,000 feet altitude and four miles southwest of the Pentagon. Over the next 30 seconds, power was increased to near maximum and the nose was pitched down in response to control column movements.”6 The “complex maneuver suggests the hijackers had better flying skills than many investigators first believed.”7 Aviation sources said the plane was flown with extraordinary skill, making it highly likely that a trained pilot was at the helm…Someone even knew how to turn off the transponder, a move that is considerably less than obvious.8

According to press reports, flight AA77 flew so low as to knock down electrical poles on its approach to the Pentagon. After crossing the highway the pilot had to take the plane to within inches of the ground so as to crash into the Pentagon on its side.  According to official reports, the airliner crashed between the first and second floor at approximately 400 mph and penetrated three rings of the building, indicating that it had approached the building at nearly horizontal position.

Did Hani Hanjour possess the skills necessary to accomplish these tasks?  New York Times devoted an entire article to Hanjour in 2002.9 That’s what they wrote: Hanjour “was reported to the [Federal Aviation Administration] in February 2001 after instructors at his flight school in Phoenix had found his piloting skills so shoddy and his grasp of English so inadequate that they questioned whether his pilot’s license was genuine.”10 In a subsequent New York Times article, it is revealed that Hanjour’s instructors thought he was so bad a pilot and spoke such poor English that they contacted the Federal Aviation Administration to verify that his license was not a fake. The aviation agency verified the license and reportedly “offered to find Mr. Hanjour a language tutor.”11

According to CBS News, the staff of the Phoenix flight school will be so appalled at his lack of skills that they will contact the FAA not less than five (5) times and ask them to investigate how he got a pilot’s license.12 Peggy Chevrette, manager at that school said: “”I couldn’t believe he had a commercial license of any kind with the skills that he had.”  The FAA, reacting to these repeated complaints, sent an inspector by the name of John Anthony to verify that Hanjour’s 1999 license was legitimate.  The inspector even suggested that the school provide Hani with an interpreter. This surprised Chevrette, because it was a violation of FAA rules.  According to an unnamed official the inspector “did not observe any serious issue” with Hanjour’s English. Laura Brown, spokeswoman of the FAA, explained:  “There was nothing about the pilot’s actions to signal criminal intent at the time or that would have caused us to alert law enforcement.” 13 That was evidently not the point.  The point was rather: why did the FAA issue a pilot’s license to Hanjour in the first place and then tried desperately to let him keep it?

After 9/11, the FBI will appear to investigate how Hanjour got his license and question and polygraph the instructor who signed off on his flying skills. The Washington Post will note that, since Hanjour’s pilot skills were so bad, the issue of how he was able to get a license “remains a lingering question that FAA officials refuse to discuss.”14

Other Arizona flight schools he attended also questioned his abilities.15 A former employee of the school reportedly said that Hanjour was a poor student. To complete one written problem that usually takes 20 minutes, Mr. Hanjour needed three hours, the former employee said, and he answered incorrectly. But the ex-employee said Mr. Hanjour continued to pay to train on a simulator for Boeing 737 jets. ”He didn’t care about the fact that he couldn’t get through the course,” the ex-employee said.”16

At Freeway Airport in Bowie, Md., 20 miles west of Washington, flight instructor Sheri Baxter instantly recognized the name of alleged hijacker Hani Hanjour when the FBI released a list of 19 suspects in the four hijackings. Hanjour, the only suspect on Flight 77 the FBI listed as a pilot, had come to the airport [in August 2001] seeking to rent a small plane. However, when Baxter and fellow instructor Ben Conner took the slender, soft-spoken Hanjour on three test runs during the second week of August, they found he had trouble controlling and landing the single-engine Cessna 172. Even though Hanjour showed a federal pilot’s license and a log book cataloging 600 hours of flying experience, chief flight instructor Marcel Bernard declined to rent him a plane without more lessons.17

FBI Special Agent Scott Thorlin was interviewed by the staff of the 9/11 Commission on January 5, 2004 at the FBI, Phoenix Field Office. In his testimony he said Amro Hassan had been a flight instructor for Hanjour who apparently referred to Hanjour as a “terrible pilot.”18

The only significantly different evaluation of Hani Hanjour’s flight skills was provided to the 9/11 Commission by an Israeli “instructor at Congressional Air Charters of Gaithersburg, Maryland.”19 The Final Report of the 9/11 Commission does not provide any information about that person. In a Memorandum For the Record drafted by the Commission staff and released in 2009,  some details are given about this man named Eddie Shalev. The company for which he worked apparently “went out of business”.  Shalev is reported to have evaluated Hanjour’s flying skills in August 2001 to determine if Hanjour be allowed to rent an aircraft from that company. Shalev said that Hanjour used “landmark or terrain recognition system for navigation” and not instruments. He said that he considered this “unusual”. He thought that Hanjour “may have received training from a military pilot because of his use of terrain recognition for navigation.” He stated that, based on his observations, Hanjour was a “good” pilot.  On August 26, 2001 Hanjour reportedly returned to Congressional Air Charters with a “young mid-eastern male” and rented an aircraft. Shalev said he did not know where they flew on that day. Shalev said he had been interviewed on September 13, 2001 by the FBI.20 Contrary to the hundreds of released 302-reports, summarizing interviews conducted by the FBI in connection with the attacks, the 302-report on Shalev’s interview was not released.  Shalev could not be located in order to interview him.

Dismissing the overwhelming number of negative testimonies about Hanjour’s flight skills, the staff of the 9/11 Commission wrote in their declassified report of August 26, 2004:  “[Hanjour] was perhaps the most experienced and highly trained pilot among the 9/11 hijackers.” Probably the only true word in the preceding sentence is “perhaps”. The report concluded by referring to unnamed “experts consulted by the Commission staff” who believe that the “training and experience [of the four alleged pilots of the hijacked planes] adequately prepared them to complete the mission.”

Going by the redaction of James Charles McRae’s entire testimony to the FBI regarding his experience with Hani Hanjour as his flight student at Airline Training Center in Phoenix, Arizona, it appears that this testimony was considered too damaging for the U.S. government to reveal.21

In a detailed essay by Mark Gaffney entitled “How the FBI and 9/11 Commission Suppressed Key Evidence about Hani Hanjour, alleged hijack pilot of AAL 77”,22 the author provides evidence supporting the view that the suppression of evidence about Hanjour’s sub-standard flight skills, was both intentional and constituted merely one element in a larger cover-up operation.

Author Jeremy R. Hammond also provides a detailed analysis of Hani Hanjour’s flight skills (or lack of same) and convincingly demonstrates a “clear pattern of willful deception on the part of the 9/11 Commission with regard to alleged hijacker Hani Hanjour”.23

END

1Glen Johnson, supra n. (author’s document #450)

2 Michael C. Ruppert, Crossing the Rubicon, p. 350

3Statement by Commander Ted Muga, April 1, 2007, at http://www.patriotsquestion911.com/pilots.html (last visited 2.9.2011)

4Statement by Capt. Fred Fox, in 9/11 Ripple Effect, August 2007, at http://www.patriotsquestion911.com/pilots.html (last visited 2.9.2011)

5 ABC News, Air Traffic Controllers Recall Sept. 11, September 24, 2001, at http://web.archive.org/web/20011025074733/http://abcnews.go.com/sections/2020/2020/2020_011024_atc_feature.html (last visited December 11, 2010)

6 NTSB, Flight Path Study – AA77, February 19, 2001. at http://www.ntsb.gov/info/Flight_%20Path_%20Study_AA77.pdf (last visited December 11, 2010)

7 CBS News, 189 Dead or Missing From Pentagon Attack,  September 21, 2001, at http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/09/11/national/main310721.shtml (last visited December 11, 2010)

8 Marc Fisher and Don Phillips, On Flight 77:’Our Plane Is Being Hijacked’, Washington Post, September 12, 2001, at http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A14365-2001Sep11 (last visited December 11, 2010)

9 Jim Yardley, A Trainee Noted for Incompetence, New York Times, 4 May 2002. Doc.079-Hanjour.pdf

10 Ibid.

11Jim Yardley and Jo Thomas, For Agent it Phoenix, the Cause of Many Frustrations Extended to His Own Office, New York Times, 19 June 2002, at http://www.nytimes.com/2002/06/19/national/19ARIZ.html?pagewanted=all&position=top

12David Hancock, FAA Was Alerted To Sept. 11 Hijacker, CBS News, May 10, 2002, at  http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/05/10/attack/main508656.shtml

13Ibid.

14Amy Goldstein,  Lena H. Sun and George Lardner, Jr.,  Hanjour a Study in Paradox, Washington Post, October 15, 2001, at http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A59451-2001Oct14&notFound=true

15 CBS News, May 10, 2002, at http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/05/10/attack/main508656.shtml

16 Ibid.

17 Thomas Frank, Tracing Trail of Hijackers,  Newsday, 23 September 2001, Doc.080-Hanjour.pdf

18 9/11 Commission records, MFR 04017510 of January 5, 2004

19 Final Report of the 9/11 Commission, Footnote 170 for Chapter 7

20 9/11 Commission, MFR 04018410. Author’s document #344

21FBI document 315N-NY-280350-302 Serial 4839, September 17, 2001

22 Mark Gaffney, How the FBI and 9/11 Commission Suppressed Key Evidence about Hani Hanjour, alleged hijack pilot of AAL 77, Information Clearinghouse, July 7, 2009, at  http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article22999.htm (last visited December 13, 2010)

23Jeremy R. Hammond, Hani Hanjour: Al Qaeda’s Top Gun, April 18, 2010, at  http://911blogger.com/news/2010-04-18/al-qaeda’s-top-gun-willful-deception-911-commission-jeremy-r-hammond-april-18th-2010

The difficulties of hitting a building at 500 mph

The difficulties of hitting a building at 500 mph

by Elias Davidsson

John Lear, a retired commercial airline pilot with over 19,000+ total hours flown in over 100 different types of planes for 10 different airlines in 60 different countries around the world, doubted that even a professional pilot could fly into the World Trade Center at 500 miles an hour.1 He said in an interview with Rob Balsamo, himself a pilot:

[N]o Arab hijacker, ever in a million years, ever flew into the World Trade Center.  And if you got 30 minutes I’ll tell you exactly why he couldn’t do it the first time.  Now, I’d have trouble doing it the first time…Maybe if I had a couple tries to line up a few building, I could have done it.  But certainly not the first time and certainly not at 500 or 600 miles an hour.2

Rob Balsamo then added:

Yeah, as a matter of fact, one of our members [Pilots for 9/11 Truth3], he was a 737 Check Airman.  He was in the sim at the time on September 11 and right after it happened they tried to duplicate it in the simulator and they said they couldn’t do it.  They were trying to hit the Towers and they couldn’t do it.4

Capt. Russ Wittenberg, a retired commercial pilot who flew for Pan Am and United Airlines for 35 years on most commercial aircraft said:

I don’t believe it’s possible for (…) a so-called terrorist to train on a [Cessna] 172, then jump in a cockpit of a 757-767 class cockpit, and vertical navigate the aircraft, lateral navigate the aircraft, and fly the airplane at speeds exceeding it’s design limit speed by over 100 knots, make high-speed high-banked turns, exceeding – pulling probably 5, 6, 7 G’s. And the aircraft would literally fall out of the sky. I couldn’t do it and I’m absolutely positive they couldn’t do it.5

Commander Ralph Kolstad, retired commercial airline captain with 27 years experience on most commercial aircraft said:

I was also a Navy fighter pilot and Air Combat Instructor, U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School and have experience flying low altitude, high speed aircraft.  I could not have done what these beginners [apparently] did. Something stinks to high heaven!6

Gaffney (p. 199-200) reports the remarkable story of a flight instructor named Dan Govatos, who was  on  9/11 training a class on a Boeing 737 flight simulator.  The next morning Govatos said, “Hey, guys, let’s try something. Let’s see if we can hit those buildings [the WTC]. Like we saw happen.”  So they all took turns trying to crash the Boeing 737 into the WTC.  They all had many years flight experience, but none of them could do it, not even after ten high-speed runs at the building.  They only succeeded to hit the building when slowing down to near-landing speeds.  During the radio interview Govatos explained why his pilots had failed to replicate the impacts at the WTC:

You’ve to understand, when you’re going 300 knots in a Boeing airliner and you move the controls like you would expect to do in a little airplane, you couldn’t stand the “G” forces. Everything has to be fingertip control. Even pilots who have logged thousands of hours of flight time have an extremely difficult time controlling a large airplane at those speeds.

 

END

1  According to NIST (Final Report) p. 9, the aircraft hit the North Tower at the speed of 466 mph. ±34 mph, while the other aircraft hit the South Tower at 542 ±24 mph. (NIST, NCSTAR p. 24)

2 http://www.patriotsquestion911.com/pilots.html

3 Pilots for 9/11 Truth is an organization of aviation professionals and pilots throughout the globe who have gathered together for one purpose. We are committed to seeking the truth surrounding the events of the 11th of September 2001. The organization’s website is: http://pilotsfor911truth.org/

4 Ibid.

5Statement by Capt. Russ Wittenberg, U.S. Air Force, August 2007. At http://www.patriotsquestion911.com/pilots.html (last visited 2.9.2011)

6Statement by Commander Ralph Kolstad (US Navy (ret)), August 20, 2007, at http://www.patriotsquestion911.com/Statement%20Kolstad2.html (last visited 2.9.2011)

The question of negative proof and 9/11

The question of negative proof and 9/11

by Elias Davidsson
2 June 2008

It has been shown elsewhere that there exists not a shred of evidence that 19 Muslims boarded the four flights of 9/11.  When saying “no shred of evidence”, what is meant is that such evidence does not exist in the public domain.  Theoretically, such evidence may exist that would prove that 19 Muslims did actually board these flights.  But if such evidence does exist, it has not been yet produced.

According to these circumstances, an agnostic position has been taken by some observers, namely that to state that we cannot, at this point, establish whether 19 Muslims boarded or did not board the four flights of 9/11, because while there is no evidence that they did, there is no evidence that they went elsewhere.  This position is based on the formal axiom that one cannot prove a negative.

The formal axiom stating the impossibility of proving a negative must, however, be qualified by life’s realities.  In pure science, such axiom must be respected.  When applied to life’s situations, few people apply this axiom in a dogmatic manner.  At times, a dogmatic application of this principle might even be dangerous to human life.  Furthermore, criminal law does not apply this axiom dogmatically.

Let us take examples of daily life.  I come home and do not find my wife there.  She did not leave a message where she is.  But due to experience, I would guess where she is and thus find her.  In order to find her, I did not use the tool of formal logic, but my intuition, based on experience.

In criminal law, the police would arrest people suspected of having committed a crime. In many cases, the police would not possess sufficient evidence to make definite conclusions about the guilt of the person, but some indicators pointing to possible guilt. After arrest, the suspect would be interviewed, investigated and perhaps charged or released.  The arrest of the suspect and the possibility of subpoening documents and items, would permit to either prove the suspicion or disprove it and release the suspect from suspicion.  Here, again, experience, circumstancial evidence and a good intuition, are the tools that lead the police, not formal logic.

In the case of 9/11, an agnostic position towards the question whether there were or were not Muslims aboard the four flights, is untenable for the following reasons:

There are material consequences resulting from the position taken on that matter.  This is no an academic exercise that can await a scientific proof.  The US Government has used and continues to use its unsubstantiated allegations (regarding the 19 Muslims) as a base for criminal policies against other nations and systematic human rights violations.  Taking the stand that the Government may – for unexplained reasons – simply keep hidden the evidence it possesses, amounts to allowing the Government to maintain its criminal and oppressive policies by continuously justifying such policies on its account of 9/11.  Can we accept such risk to life and freedom in order to stick dogmatically to a principle of formal logic?

In criminal law, guilt is not determined solely on the basis of positive evidence. In some cases, the absence of evidence – where such evidence should exist – is a sufficient ground to infer guilt.  In the case of 9/11, the US Government has a moral and political duty to produce the evidence on which it bases its accusations against 19 named individuals for mass murder.  The fact that it did not fulfil this duty is a sufficient reason not to take an agnostic position towards the lack of evidence, but make a reasonable and plausible inference from the lack of evidence.  This inference must be that the US Government is unable to produce this evidence, either because it does not exist, or because it varies substantially from what the Government has claimed.

An agnostic position towards this question is scientifically correct, but politically irresponsible in view of the stakes involved.

What Muslim Would Write: ‘The Time of Fun and Waste is Gone’?

What Muslim Would Write:
'The Time of Fun and Waste is Gone'?
by Robert Fisk
The Independent (UK), 29 September 2001

Fearful, chilling, grotesque? but also very, very odd. If the handwritten, five-page document which the FBI says it found in the baggage of Mohamed Atta, the suicide bomber from Egypt, is genuine, then the men who murdered more than 7,000 innocent people believed in a very exclusive version of Islam ? or were surprisingly unfamiliar with their religion.

"The time of Fun and waste is gone,'' Atta, or one of his associates, is reported to have written in the note. "Be optimistic … Check all your items ? your bag, your clothes, your knives, your will, your IDs, your passport … In the morning, try to pray the morning prayer with an open heart.''

Part theological, part mission statement, the document ? extracts from which were published in The Washington Post yesterday ? raises more questions than it answers.

Under the heading of "Last Night'' ? presumably the night of 10 September ? the writer tells his fellow hijackers to "remind yourself that in this night you will face many challenges. But you have to face them and understand it 100 per cent … Obey God, his messenger, and don't fight among yourself [sic] where [sic] you become weak … Everybody hates death, fears death …"

The document begins with the words: "In the name of God, the most merciful, the most compassionate … In the name of God, of myself, and of my family.''

The problem is that no Muslim ? however ill-taught ? would include his family in such a prayer. Indeed, he would mention the Prophet Mohamed immediately after he mentioned God in the first line. Lebanese and Palestinian suicide bombers have never been known to refer to "the time of fun and waste'' ? because a true Muslim would not have "wasted'' his time and would regard pleasure as a reward of the after-life.

And what Muslim would urge his fellow believers to recite the morning prayer ” and then go on to quote from it? A devout Muslim would not need to be reminded of his duty to say the first of the five prayers of the day ” and would certainly not need to be reminded of the text. It is as if a Christian, urging his followers to recite the Lord's Prayer, felt it necessary to read the whole prayer in case they didn't remember it.

American scholars have already raised questions about the use of "100 per cent'' ? hardly a theological term to be found in a religious exhortation ” and the use of the word "optimistic'' with reference to the Prophet is a decidedly modern word.

However, the full and original Arabic text has not been released by the FBI. The translation, as it stands, suggests an almost Christian view of what the hijackers might have felt ? asking to be forgiven their sins, explaining that fear of death is natural, that "a believer is always plagued with problems''.

A Muslim is encouraged not to fear death ? it is, after all, the moment when he or she believes they will start a new life ” and a believer in the Islamic world is one who is certain of his path, not "plagued with problems''.

There are no references to any of Osama bin Laden's demands ? for an American withdrawal from the Gulf, an end to Israeli occupation, the overthrow of pro-American Arab regimes ? nor any narrative context for the atrocities about to be committed. If the men had an aspiration ” and if the document is above suspicion ? then they were sending their message direct to their God.

The prayer/instructions may have been distributed to other hijackers before the massacres occurred ? The Washington Post says the FBI found another copy of "essentially the same document'' in the wreckage of the plane which crashed in Pennsylvania. No text of this document has been released.

In the past, CIA translators have turned out to be Lebanese Maronite Christians whose understanding of Islam and its prayers may have led to serious textual errors. Could this be to blame for the weird references in the note found in Atta's baggage? Or is there something more mysterious about the background of those who committed a crime against humanity in New York and Washington, just over two weeks ago?

From the start, the hole in the story has been the reported behavior of the hijackers. Atta was said to have been a near-alcoholic, while Ziad Jarrahi, the alleged Lebanese hijacker of the plane which crashed in Pennsylvania, had a Turkish girlfriend in Hamburg and enjoyed nightclubs and drinking. Is this why the published text refers to the "forgiveness'' of sin?

The final instruction, "to make sure that you are clean, your clothes are clean, including your shoes,'' may have been intended as a call to purify a "martyr" before death. Equally, it may reflect the thoughts of a truly eccentric ” and wicked ? mind.

The document found in Atta's baggage ends with a heading: "When you enter the plane". It then urges the hijackers to recite: "Oh God, open all doors for me … I am asking for your help. I am asking you for forgiveness. I am asking you to lighten my way. I am asking you to lift the burden I feel …''

Was this an attempt to smother latent feelings of compassion towards the passengers on the hijacked planes ? who included children among them ? or towards the thousands who would die when the aircraft crashed? Did the 19 suicide bombers say these words to themselves in their last moments?

Or didn't they need to.

The entire Johnelle Bryant interview by ABC News

Transcript of 6/6/02 Johnelle Bryant Interview by Brian Ross, ABC News

The Johnelle Bryant interview and all references to Ms. Bryant have been deleted from the ABC News website but here is the interview in its entirety.

Face to Face With Atta, Part I
Excerpts From Government Worker's Interview Recalling Encounter With 9/11 Hijacker
ABCNEWS.com

June 6, 2002 ? Government loan officer Johnelle Bryant says she was face to face with Mohamed Atta, believed to be the ringleader of the Sept. 11 hijackers, for hours as he requested money apparently intended to finance a terrorist plot. Here are excerpts of Brian Ross' interview with Bryant.

JOHNELLE BRYANT: I'm a formal manager at, for a farm service agency. It's a agency, part of the United States Department of Agriculture. And my main office is located in Homestead, Florida. But my servicing area includes: Dade County, Broward County, and Palm Beach County, and, and Monroe County.

BRIAN ROSS: And, and what is it you do actually. Is it like a, a bank sort of, or?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: It's similar. Only, it's guaranteed, it's government financed loans for agriculture, for farming, type operations. We make real estate operating loans.

BRIAN ROSS: And so, it's open to any American Citizen to come, and?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Yes, sir. As long as they are farmers, and they do have experience farming. And they're family-size farmers. And they're unable to obtain credit elsewhere.

BRIAN ROSS: And how long have you been at the office in, in Homestead?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Two years. I started in Homestead, January of 2000. But I have been with my agency for 16 years.

BRIAN ROSS: And, when did you first meet someone who you say is Mohamed Atta? What happened?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: I met him somewhere between the end of April, around the third week of April to the third week of May of 2000.

BRIAN ROSS: Somewhere in that?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Somewhere in that general area. I can't pinpoint it down any more than that.

BRIAN ROSS: And tell me what happened?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: He came to my agency to finance an aircraft. A, a crop-duster.

BRIAN ROSS: That's what he told you.

JOHNELLE BRYANT: That's what he told me. Yes, sir.

BRIAN ROSS: What, what'd he say?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: It, it wasn't actually a crop-duster in itself that he was wanting to finance. He wanted to finance a twin-engine, six-passenger aircraft, that he could use as both a charter flights, and remove the, the seats. And he said he was an engineer, and he wanted to build a chemical tank that would fit inside the aircraft, and take up every available square inch of the aircraft, except for where the pilot would be sitting. And run the spray nozzles along the wind span. And use it as both a crop-duster plane, and as a charter plane.

BRIAN ROSS: And when he came, did he, what name did he give you?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Mohamed Atta. And I was taking notes. We typically take notes of a, it's considered an initial applicant interview. And while taking notes, I, I wrote his name down. And I spelled it A-T-T-A-H, and he told me, "No, A-T-T-A, as in 'Atta boy!'"

BRIAN ROSS: Atta boy.

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Atta boy.

BRIAN ROSS: And did he tell you where he lived?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Yes. We, we, actually discussed his background and what he was doing in the United States.

BRIAN ROSS: What, what'd he say?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Before we really started talking about the loan.

BRIAN ROSS: Mm-hmm.

JOHNELLE BRYANT: And he told me that he was originally from Egypt, I believe. But that he had actually moved here from Afghanistan. And, I believe, he told me that he moved from Egypt to Afghanistan, having to do with some kind of political pressure. But I don't, I don't remember exactly what it was. He also mentioned that he had an engineering degree and had gone to school in Germany. Because when we were talking about the aircraft, and the chemical tank, he was wanting to put in the aircraft, I, I mentioned that a tank of that size wouldn't fit through the door. And he said that he was a, an engineer, and that he knew how to solve those problems.

He told me that he had sold all of his belongings at home, to move to the United States to start his dream, which was to go to flight school, and, and get his pilot's license, and work both as a charter pilot, and a, a crop duster, too.

BRIAN ROSS: How did he know to come to you for a loan?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Oh. He told me that he had purchased a book from, off the cable TV, that advertised how to get, how to obtain a free grants, or loans from the government. And he had said that he had paid $40 for it. And that it, it explained to him our agency, and our loan limits. Actually we have a guaranteed loan limit of $750,000. And he was asking for $650,000.

JOHNELLE BRYANT: He also thought that he, all he had to do to obtain the money, was to actually just come to my office, tell me what he wanted the loan for, and that he would obtain the cash, without any kind of application processing, whatsoever. And he, when I explained to him about the application process, he became very agitated. And he said that that's not what the book said. That the book said that I, I come to your agency and that I could get up to $750,000 in, in loan. And he also thought that the loan was going to be cash.

BRIAN ROSS: So he believed the TV commercial. Free money from the government.

JOHNELLE BRYANT: He actually believed, yes. He actually believed that he could walk into the office and say that he needed $650,000 to purchase an aircraft with. And that I would give him $650,000 in cash.

BRIAN ROSS: So he must have been very disappointed.

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Yes, sir. He was. What, what kind of compounded that was the fact that our agency, we have a very large, very old safe. A great big black safe. And it happened to be in my office.

Yes. And he, he asked me what would, and he asked this in a rhetorically. After explaining what kind of security they had in his, in his country, he asked me what would prevent him without the, with any visual, audio security equipment, behind my desk and in my office with that safe sitting there. He asked me what would prevent him from going behind my desk and cutting my throat, and making off with the millions of dollars of cash in that safe. And, I told him that, well I kind of laughed. I mean I didn't laugh at him. But I chuckled a little bit about it. And I thought well, for one thing. I told him for one thing, there's, there's no cash in that safe. And then I explained to him about the evidence of indebtedness. And then, and he asked about, well, when you get a loan, you get cash. You get money. And you make loans so you have money. And I said, well, we do make loans, sir. However. The loans in this country come typically in two forms. You get a U.S. Treasury check, which is similar to a income tax return check. Or, it's, it's wired to your account. So it's electronic funds transfer. But we never handle cash. There's absolutely no cash in that safe. And so then he asked me what the second thing was that would prevent him from coming behind my desk. And you've got to understand that when he said this, he said it in a rhetorical manner, as compared to the lack of security in my office, versus what he was accustomed to, at, at home. And?

BRIAN ROSS: But, he said, "What would prevent me from cutting your throat?"

JOHNELLE BRYANT: "Coming behind your desk and cutting your throat and making, and making off with all the cash in that safe because you don't have any security in your office." And so I told him, "No, there's no cash in, in the safe, number one. And I told him number two, my, my training would prevent him from coming behind the desk and cutting my throat." And he asked me, and he kind of, he kind of, stepped back. And he said, "So you've had military training?" I said, "Oh, no, sir, I've never been in the military." And he, he mentioned something about that he understood that the United States allowed women in the armed forces now. But that he didn't understand, he didn't actually realize that, that they, they were given combat training. I said, "No, no I've never been in the military." And so then he asked me what kind of training that I had. And I told him that I took about six months of karate training. Koname Ru, karate training. And he asked what karate was. He asked if that was similar to tae kwon do. I said yes, it is, it's just a type of martial arts training. And he was very surprised that a woman would have that kind of training. And he was very interested in that kind of training. And he wanted to know how, once he became settled down, in, in the United States, how he could take that kind of training. And I told him that, just look it up in the Yellow Pages.

BRIAN ROSS: And what did he describe, how did he describe the business he wanted to start?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: A combination charter airplanes and crop duster.

BRIAN ROSS: And he wanted the money ?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: To purchase the aircraft.

BRIAN ROSS: And how much did he want?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Six hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

BRIAN ROSS: And what kind of aircraft did he want to buy?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: He, he actually wanted to purchase a six-passenger, twin-engine airplane, that he could pull the back seats out, and build a special made chemical tank to put, put into, into the aircraft to hold the chemicals for crop-dusting, and yet remove that when he, when he needed to, and replace the seats for, in, for charter type, plane.

BRIAN ROSS: So he wanted the plane where he could put a huge tank in the back.

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Yes, sir. Yes, sir. And, and he mentioned that he could get a larger tank in a twin-engine plane than what he could, than the chemical capacity of a regular crop-duster plane, which he said that he could use it, to stay up in the air longer while he's spraying sugar cane, out in the Broward County area.

BRIAN ROSS: And what did you think of that when he told you he had this plan?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: I didn't think it would work. Because crop-dusters are very agile, and they fly under high wires. And my, my stepfather actually had a single-engine, four-seater plane, that I used to go up with him, on occasion. And, it's, they don't have near the agility of a crop-duster plane. So, any kind of, I didn't think they would, that what he was suggesting would work. I thought it was a very creative idea, on, on his part.

BRIAN ROSS: And you asked him about the size of the tank? About whether it would fit?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: He, he I didn't really ask him about the size. He informed, he offered that information to me. He said that he wanted to pull the back seats out and build a tank that would take up all the space of the back seat. And take up all the space, except for where the pilot sat. And that way, when he went out to spray, he wouldn't have to land and reload. He could just continue spraying, which, I, it didn't make sense. But I had, I mean, prior to 9-1-1 I had no idea what else he would be wanting to do with the airplane.

BRIAN ROSS: And did you tell him that you didn't think it made much sense?
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Face to Face With Atta, Part II
Excerpts From Government Worker's Interview About Her Encounter With 9/11 Hijacker
ABCNEWS.com

June 6, 2002 ? Government loan officer Johnelle Bryant says she encountered Mohamed Atta, believed to have been the ringleader of the Sept. 11 hijackers, as he requested money apparently intended to finance a terrorist plot. Here are more excerpts of Brian Ross' interview with Bryant.

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Yes, sir. I told him that I didn't think that it, he would be able to use the same aircraft for, for both crop- dusting and, and as a charter plane.

BRIAN ROSS: What'd he say?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: He seemed to assure me that he, he was an engineer, and that it most certainly would. He was very sure about that.

BRIAN ROSS: So he told you he had studied this, or he knew what he was talking about?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Yeah. Evidently he had put a lot of thought into it, yes.

Yes, sir. Yes, sir. He, he, the entire time he was in my office, his, his emotions kept going up and down, and up and down. At one point in time, when I told him that he, we were unable to finance the type of operation he was interested in, he, he kind of jumped back in his chair, and he started accusing me of discriminating against him because he was not a United States citizen. And he was from a foreign country. And so I tried to talk to him very nicely, and calm him back down. And, when we were, we discussed several things. And while I was discussing things with him, one of the reasons for discussing it was to keep him calm, so that he would relax. I was attempting, in every manner I could, to help him make his, his relocation into our country as easy for him as I could make it.

BRIAN ROSS: So he asked you about the picture over your wall?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Yes.

BRIAN ROSS: “Over your desk?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Yes, when he had asked me about what my qualifications were to hold my position, um, I told him that I, I used to work in Washington, D.C., in the national office as well, and um, he, he saw this picture, which was a going-away gift to me from uh, the people that I worked with in Washington, and he asked me if the autograph at the bottom of it were famous members of parliament. I told him that actually they're really close friends of mine that I worked with while in Washington, D.C., and I explained to him that we don't actually have a parliament, that uh, we have a House of Representatives and senators.

He actually tried to purchase the picture from me and he, he pulled out a wad of cash about that thick around and started throwing money on my desk. He wanted that picture really bad. He said that it was a beautiful picture of Washington, D.C., and um, I explained to him that it was a gift and that it was not for sale. And at that point he just more money down on the desk. And, I, I, I told him that, I said, "You don't understand. It's a gift. Thi-this picture is not for sale, not for anything." And so then he said that um,”

BRIAN ROSS: Why did he want it so badly did he say?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: He just said that it was one of the prettiest, one of the, the best he'd ever see of Washington. Ah, with the panoramic view, it does catch all the buildings and um, all the monuments in, in one photograph.

BRIAN ROSS: Did he ask about them?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Yes. Uh, he, he asked, when I was in Washington how many of, how many places did I get to go visit. And I told him that um, I had, had visited most of the Smithsonians and he asked me which building I worked in and, and my, the USDA building is part of that picture. And I should him the USDA building and he, he started, he said that he wanted to go to Washington um, as a tourist, to Washington, D.C., and, and visit it. And he said he wanted to go visit some ah, places across the nation too, but one specifically was asking me about Washington, D.C., which to him as a tourist he was concerned that he wouldn't be allowed any of the buildings. Um, and since he was not a, a U.S. citizen and I told him that there wouldn't be a problem with that, that there is security inside of most of the buildings, but there's, it would be like I, a metal detector similar to, to an airport where they search baggage.

BRIAN ROSS: When he, when he looked at this aerial view, did he ask about any specific buildings or where things were?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Mm-hmm. Uh-huh, he asked about the Pentagon and the White House and I pointed them out. Um.

BRIAN ROSS: He asked about the Pentagon?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Yes, sir, he did. And he asked about the White House and, and the Capital, um, which this, the photograph encompasses all that as well as all the Smithsonians and the monuments too.

BRIAN ROSS: And you showed them.

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Right, in fact, he picked out where the Pentagon was, himself.

BRIAN ROSS: In addition to his interest in Washington, Pentagon, the White House, the Capitol, were there other areas of the United States he seemed interested in?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Yes, sir. When he told me that um, he was more excited about moving to the United States and that he, there were places he wanted to see such as Washington, D.C. He also told me he wanted to go to New York and visit the World Trade Center.

BRIAN ROSS: That's what he said?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Yes, sir. And he asked me if I'd ever been there. And I told him that I had, it had been a couple of years, but yes, I had been there and that, um, if he goes to uh, to New York that I recommend him going to the top to the obs-, observing deck and, if he went, to be sure and go right at sunset because you can take pictures off the top of it at sunset and it's beautiful pictures because that's, that's what I had done. And he asked me again if he would have any problems getting there. Um, and he would say, "Yeah, in his country ah, someone such as myself while I was visiting the country, I wouldn't be allowed to something like that." And, I told him again that I, to my knowledge he as a visitor, um, as long as he had an ID with him that he could go just about anywhere he wanted to. And he asked about the security to get it and I told him it was like at an airport, it was uh, uh, metal detector and most likely they search bags and that's, that's what he would, he would come across in the United States.

BRIAN ROSS: And, what were the cities he seemed to be interested in?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Um, Chicago, L.A. and Seattle, and it seems like he mentioned Phoenix because Phoenix is another city that I had only been to as a um, as a layover, changing planes.

BRIAN ROSS: So he didn't mention any specific location.

JOHNELLE BRYANT: No sir, just. When, when he asked me about the cities and when he found out I'd either been there, I had not been there or had not been outside the airport, he didn't mention anything else. Um, and I kept thinking that if I was in his shoes and I had just moved to a new country, I'd sold all my belongings to move to a new country and start a new life, I would want to go the major cities of that country and get some idea of the, my surroundings, the geographical makeup of the cities and, and that's what I thought he was doing.

BRIAN ROSS: So you thought he was essentially asking you for some travel tips: where to go in ?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Right.

BRIAN ROSS: In the United States.

BRIAN ROSS: Right. Did he talk about his own political beliefs, heroes?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Uh, yes he did. When he, when he asked me about leaving Washington, D.C., and asked if I'd been banished, um, and I tried to tell him that I hadn't, he, he started talking about um, an organization that uh, back in his country, and he kept referring to his country and I can only assume now that he was referring to Afghanistan. At the time I didn't know if he meant Egypt or Afghanistan, um, that [SIGH] uh, they had an organization in, and he, I couldn't understand, he got really emotional when he talked about it, like really excited about it. And, um, he said that they, they could use people. In other words, that they could use people, um, as, as members. They could use memberships from Americans, um. ?

BRIAN ROSS: In his … [OVERLAP] [INAUDIBLE]

JOHNELLE BRYANT: In this organization, um. With, with the type of background that I, that I had, working with Washington and all this stuff, and he, and when he would mention it, he, his accent came out and I didn't have a clue what he was talking about prior to Sept. 11. I'd never heard of Osama bin Laden. I'd never heard of al Qaeda. I'm sure I'd read about it at one point or time in the paper, but it, it wasn't something that I discussed.

BRIAN ROSS: Did he give you a name?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Yes, he um, I know now that he talking about al Qaeda, but the way pronounced it, it sounded like he was talking about a woman's name. He kept saying uh, it sound like, Akeda, Akeda, "Surely you've heard. Surely you know, Akeda." And I went, "Oh yeah, yeah, yeah right." [LAUGHS] I mean, I didn't know what he was talking about.

BRIAN ROSS: But he mentioned.

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Yes, he mentioned it.

BRIAN ROSS: Al Qaeda.

JOHNELLE BRYANT: He, he mentioned Al Qaeda. He mentioned Osama bin Laden. And ?

BRIAN ROSS: He mentioned Osama bin Laden?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Yes, sir. And when he, when he mentioned it. I didn't have a clue what he was talking about and, and?

BRIAN ROSS: You'd never heard of Osama bin Laden at that point?

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Not that I'd re-, remember. This was prior, this was nearly 18 months give or take prior to Sept. 11, so no, I didn't know who Osama bin Laden was. Um, to me, it was, you know, he could have been a character on Star Wars for all I knew.

BRIAN ROSS: Could have been Obi-Wan Kenobi.

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Could have been Obi-Wan Kenobi for all I knew.

BRIAN ROSS: But he mentioned Osama bin Laden to you.

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Yeah, he said, he mentioned that um, this man would someday be known as the world's greatest leader. I didn't know who he was talking about.

Bryant on Mohamed Atta's appearance:

JOHNELLE BRYANT: Very intense. His eyes. He had very scary-looking eyes. His eyes were black. So black that he was sitting, probably closer to me, when he sat across from my desk, for about an hour, he was sitting closer to me than perhaps you are. And his, his iris was almost he same color as his pupil. And when I was sitting there speaking with him and making eye contact with him, I had a difficult time seeing the difference between his iris and his pupil, which in itself gave him the appearance of being very, very scary. And then of course with his accent, he, he came across as being very intimidating. He had a, an unusual habit of, when he'd ask a question, and then he was listening to your response, he pressed his lips together. And, actually, the picture that came out in the newspaper, that's exactly what that man looked like. Except for the newspaper does not really show how black that his eyes actually were.

BRIAN ROSS: What were you thinking as you looked at it? Looked at those pictures, and thought back to the man who you had so kindly tried to help.

JOHNELLE BRYANT: How could someone be so evil? How could somebody be that evil, be that close to me, and I didn't recognize it? But I think prior to Sept. 11, most Americans, I know I couldn't, I can't speak for most Americans, but I could not comprehend. It, it's just a matter of just comprehending someone intentionally taking a commercial jetliner full of human beings, innocent human beings, as far as the terrorists were concerned, and, and using that to kill other innocent human beings. Those people were sick, beyond belief. But the scary thing is, is that they look like you and I. Not necessarily as, as, as an American, but they just look like people. They don't, they don't look like an evil monster.

Here is the preface to the Johnelle Bryant transcript that used to be on the ABC News website:

Face to Face
With a Terrorist
Government Worker Recalls Mohamed Atta Seeking Funds Before Sept. 11

By Brian Ross
ABCNEWS.com

June 6 ? Four of the hijackers who attacked America on Sept. 11 tried to get government loans to finance their plots, including ringleader Mohamed Atta, who sought $650,000 to modify a crop-duster, a government loan officer told ABCNEWS.

First Atta, then Marwan Al-Shehhi, Ahmed Alghamdi and Fayez Rashid Ahmed Hassan al Qadi Banihammad, all of whom died in the September attacks, tried to get loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Johnelle Bryant told ABCNEWS, speaking out to the public for the first time.

It was Atta who was the most persistent, and the most frightening, Bryant said in an exclusive, extensive interview in which she recounted how Atta railed against her when the loan was denied, asking her how she would like to see the destruction of Washington, D.C., and monuments there, which he observed in a picture on the wall of her Florida office.

Bryant recalled how Atta sat across from her with his "very scary" black eyes for more than an hour.

"His eyes, he had very scary-looking eyes. His eyes were black," she remembered. "How could somebody be that evil, be that close to me, and I didn't recognize it?"

Only after seeing Atta's picture in the newspaper did she realize who the man sitting inches away from her was, and alert the FBI of the interaction.

"I think it's very vital that the Americans realize that when these people come to the United States, they don't have a big 'T' on their forehead," she said, telling her story to ABCNEWS in defiance of direct orders from the USDA's Washington headquarters.

"They don't look like what you think a terrorist would look like," said Bryant.

"I had terrorists in my office, and I helped them," she said. "I gave them information unknowingly ? And I'm afraid that there probably will be a next time, unless it's stopped from the ground-floor level by an American."

Financing for an Immigrant's Dream

According to Bryant, who has worked at the government agency for 16 years, Atta arrived in her office sometime between the end of April and the middle of May 2000, inquiring about a loan to finance an aircraft.

"At first, he refused to speak with me," said Bryant, remembering that Atta called her "but a female." Bryant explained that she was the manager, but he still refused to conduct business with her. Ultimately, she said, "I told him that if he was interested in getting a farm-service agency loan in my servicing area, then he would need to deal with me."

Throughout the interview, he continued to refer to Bryant as "but a female," and Bryant said, "He would say it with disgust."

During the initial applicant interview, Bryant was taking notes. "I wrote his name down, and I spelled it A-T-T-A-H, and he told me, 'No, A-T-T-A, as in Atta boy!' "

He said he had just arrived in the United States from Afghanistan "to start his dream, which was to go flight school and get his pilot's license, and work both as a charter pilot and a crop duster too," she said. He was seeking $650,000 for a crop-dusting business.

"He wanted to finance a twin-engine six-passenger aircraft ” and remove the seats," said Bryant. "He said he was an engineer, and he wanted to build a chemical tank that would fit inside the aircraft and take up every available square inch of the aircraft except for where the pilot would be sitting."

When Bryant explained that there was an application process, Atta became "very agitated." He thought the loan would be in cash, and that he would have no trouble obtaining it to purchase an aircraft.

He also remarked about the lack of security in the building, pointing specifically to a safe behind Bryant's desk. "He asked me what would prevent him from going behind my desk and cutting my throat and making off with the millions of dollars in that safe," said Bryant, who explained that there was no money in the safe because loans are never given in cash, and also that she was trained in karate.

"He wanted to know how, once he became settled down in the United States, how he could take that kind of training," she says.

Bryant turned him down for the loan because as a non-U.S. citizen he did not meet the basic eligibility requirements and because the program is intended for actual farming purposes. But she referred him to other government agencies and to a bank downstairs.

He asked questions about whether his plans to be out of the country for a few weeks would interfere with his eligibility for a loan. "I think he said he needed to go to Madrid, and somewhere in Germany, and then there was a third country," said Bryant.

Being turned down for the loan altered the hijackers' plans. According to law enforcement officials, packing twin-engine planes with explosive chemicals, making it a flying bomb, had been the terrorists' plan since the mid-1990s. When Atta reported to his group that he could not get a loan to buy smaller planes, the plan was switched to hijacking passenger jets, according to what Abu Zabaydah, a top lieutenant of Osama bin Laden, has told American interrogators since his capture.

So in the fall of 2000, the hijackers who had been learning to fly small planes began to seek simulator training in the large jets they would fly into the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Familiar Places, Unfamiliar Names

Before leaving Bryant's office, Atta became fixated with an aerial photo of Washington that was hanging on her office wall.

"He just said that it was one of the prettiest, the best he'd ever seen of Washington," she said, remembering that he was impressed with the panoramic view that captured all the monuments and buildings in one photograph, pointing specifically to the Pentagon and the White House.

"He pulled out a wad of cash," she said, "and started throwing money on my desk. He wanted that picture really bad."

Bryant indicated that the picture was not for sale, and he threw more money down.

"His look on his face became very bitter at that point," Bryant remembers. "I believe he said, 'How would America like it if another country destroyed that city and some of the monuments in it,' like the cities in his country had been destroyed?"

Atta also expressed an interest in visiting New York, specifically the World Trade Center, and asked Bryant about security there. He inquired about other American cities, including Phoenix, Los Angeles, Seattle and Chicago. Prompted by a souvenir she had on her desk, he also expressed interest in the Dallas Cowboys' football stadium, mentioning that the team was "America's team" and the stadium had a "hole in the roof."

Atta also talked about life in his country. "He mentioned al Qaeda, he mentioned Osama bin Laden," said Bryant. "I didn't know who Osama bin Laden was ? He could have been a character on Star Wars for all I knew."

He boasted about the role that they would one day play. "He said this man would someday be known as the world's greatest leader," she said.

Bryant and Atta shook hands on his way out. "I told him I wished him luck with his endeavor," remembered Bryant.

“How Could I Have Known”?

Bryant never thought to report her strange encounter because she thought she was just helping a new immigrant learn about the country.

"I felt that he was trying to make the cultural leap from the country that he came from, with all the violence, as compared to the United States," she says. "I was attempting, in every manner I could, to help him make his relocation into our country as easy for him as I could make it."

His questions about American cities, she assumed, were because he had moved to a new country and he wanted to find out about the major cities.

"How could I have known? I couldn't have known, prior to Sept. 11. I don't think anyone else would have either, if they'd been in my shoes that day," she says. "Should I have picked up the telephone and called someone? You can't ask me that more often than I have asked myself that ? I don't know how I could possibly expect myself to have recognized what that man was. And yet sometimes I haven't forgiven myself."

But that wasn't the only time she saw Atta. He returned again, slightly disguised with glasses. He claimed to be an accountant for Marwan Al-Shehhi, who was with him, and said he wanted $500,000 to buy land for a sugar-cane farm.

Ahmed Alghamdi and Fayez Rashid Ahmed Hassan al Qadi Banihammad also came separately seeking loans, but were less successful in speaking with people.

Bryant hopes her story will serve as a warning to all Americans.

"The American people, the public, need to be aware that if these men can walk into my office, they can walk into your office, they can walk into anyone's office," she says.

"If they watch this interview and they see the type of questions that Atta asked me on my first encounter with that man, and then someone walks into another American's office and behaves in the same manner, then perhaps they will recognize a terrorist, and perhaps they will pick up the phone and make the call that I didn't make."

————————————————–

On July 3, 2006 – 10:06am mrs panstreppon said:

Where is Johnelle Bryant today? Good question.

David Nason wrote a companion piece to Mark Steyn's vituperative column about Johnelle Bryant, published on 8/13/05 in The Australian. Nason wrote that Johnelle Bryant was "medically retired" from the USDA in 2004. LOL – I'm not touching that with a ten-foot pole!

I've been looking for Johnelle on and off for four years now. I want to send her a letter and ask her some questions about her story. I doubt she'd respond but you don't know until you try.

I looked all over south Florida for her in 2003 but no luck.

LOL – I was taken for $35 by Intelius the other day when I bought a full report on a Johnelle Bryant living in Honolulu. To put my purchase in perspective, I've shelled out a grand total of $2.50 for public information since 9/11 and that was for a Northern Lights search of "Charles A. Gargano" in October 2001. Worth every penny, btw.

What is strange about the Intelius report on a Johnelle Bryant living at 1232 Young Street in Honolulu is that 1232 Young Street does not appear to be on the City of Honolulu's property tax rolls.

The phone number is (808) 597-9094 but I don't want to call and bother anyone if I have the wrong Johnelle Bryant.

I'm also on to another lead about Johnelle Bryant's whereabouts. A blogger somewhere online suggested that Johnelle Bryant spells her first name as "Johnell". I broke down and spent another few bucks for an Intelius report on "Johnell Bryant" and I'm tracking down the addresses listed under that name whenever I have a spare moment.

There are "Johnell Bryants" listed in Miami, Arlington, Lubbock and Montgomery.

I'll keep everyone posted as to my progress!
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On September 11, 2006 – 8:01am mrs panstreppon said:

It is 7:30 a.m. on the morning of 9/11/06 here on Long Island. Another beautiful day like another 9/11 five years ago, only a bit colder.

I am thinking about Johnelle Bryant this morning.

I revised the first sentence in my blog entry to delete the part about Johnelle Bryant or Mohammed Atta being the stupidest person on the face of the planet.

I never really thought Johnelle Bryant was a stupid woman. I just wanted people to read my post because I think her story is so important.

I prefer to think Johnelle Bryant genuinely believed she met Atta at one time after 9/11 and when she reported her concerns to the authorities, she got entangled in a scheme perpetrated by the Bush administration to scare Americans.

I prefer that theory than to one about Johnelle Bryant being a willing participant in the worst kind of fraud.

A worst case scenario would be that Johnelle Bryant really did meet Atta. Terrorists do not say and do what Atta and the other hijackers supposedly did on their own.

Researching the Johnelle Bryant story did not require as much time as some of my other posts but I gave it the most thought. I consider this thread to be my best effort to date.

I feel so let down by the press. Where are the reporters who say they care about truth?

Isn't there one investigative reporter who wants to know how Johnelle Bryant came to be interviewed by Brian Ross on ABC News in prime time?

Johnelle Bryant is one of the potentially most important witnesses in the 9/11 case yet the 9/11 commission did not even mention Ms. Bryant once in its report.

The 9/11 Commission should have told us why they did or did not believe Johnelle Bryant.

The commission had an obligation, as did the press, to tell Americans why the FBI and the Bush administration allowed Johnelle Bryant to be interviewed because the reason has a direct bearing on the government's crediblity.

Johnelle Bryant's story frightened Americans in June 2002. Her story is more frightening today than it was four years ago.

My Johnelle Bryant thread is dedicated to Americans who want their government to tell the truth.
l

Clever, efficient and secretive hijackers (9/11)

Hijackers conducted surveillance flights ahead of 9/11

Saturday, September 28, 2002 Posted: 12:28 AM EDT (0428 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The hijackers who took over four airplanes on September 11, 2001, and carried out the worst-ever terror attacks on U.S. soil conducted several surveillance flights prior to that day, according to newly-declassified information released Thursday.

One of those flights was on the same route as the plane that was crashed into the Pentagon.

The information was made public during a hearing conducted by the House and Senate intelligence committees. It came from a statement by FBI Director Robert Mueller — made at a closed-door hearing in June — about how the hijackers entered the United States and prepared their attack without arousing any suspicion.

"Meetings and communications between the hijackers were done without detection, apparent surveillance flights were taken, and nothing illegal was detected through airport security screening," Mueller's statement said.

"In short, the terrorists had managed very effectively to exploit loopholes and vulnerabilities in our systems. To this day, we have found no one in the United States except the actual hijackers who knew of the plot and we have found nothing they did while in the United States that triggered a specific response about them," he added.

Mueller said his remarks could not include a discussion of Zacarias Moussaoui because of the case pending against him. Moussaoui faces six conspiracy charges and a possible death penalty for his involvement with al Qaeda, the Islamic terrorist group behind the attacks.

Each of the return flights taken on the preparatory missions included a one-to-two day layover in Las Vegas, but Mueller said the purpose of the stops in that city is not known.

The FBI chief also disclosed for the first time that hijackers including Nawaf al Hazmi and ringleader Mohammed Atta had monthly, face-to-face meetings to discuss their deadly plan. More than 3,000 people were killed in the September 11 attacks.

Mostly, the hijackers blended in to American society, Mueller said.

"They dressed and acted like Americans, shopping and eating at places like Wal-Mart and Pizza Hut," he said.

Aside from minor traffic violations, they committed no crimes, and al Hazmi even reported an attempted street robbery on May 1, 2001, to Fairfax, Virginia, police, although he later declined to press charges.

Mueller said the September 11 attack plan was conceived and carried out using simple means.

"Clearly, these 19 terrorists were not supermen using extraordinarily sophisticated techniques. They came armed with simple box cutters," he said.

"But they also came armed with sophisticated knowledge about how to plan these attacks abroad without discovery, how to finance their activities from overseas without alarm, how to communicate both here and abroad without detection, and how to exploit the vulnerabilities inherent in our free society.

"There were no slip-ups. Discipline never broke down. They gave no hint to those around them what they were about," Mueller's statement continued. "They came lawfully. They lived lawfully. They trained lawfully. They boarded the aircraft lawfully. They simply relied upon everything from the vastness of the Internet to the openness of our society to do what they wanted to do without detection."

His remarks were released as top counter-terrorism officials defended their various agencies to lawmakers. Both CIA and FBI officials said they did the best job they could given the resources they had to work with.

Responding to criticism that the FBI missed clues about the use of aircraft by terrorists, the FBI's counter-terrorism chief said those clues came amid a torrent of other intelligence information.

"We had threats to malls, threats to power plants, threats to assassinations, across the board we had threats coming in every day," said Dale Watson, executive assistant director of the FBI.

In his statement, Mueller praised the work of his agency, especially after September 11, but admitted "there were clearly things we should have done better or differently."

And he warned that the threat from terrorists has not subsided.

"Those who masterminded and financed these attacks are still capable of doing so. Capturing a number of important operatives has been a huge victory but there are others, still loosely connected and still a potent threat," Mueller said.

"Nor should we forget that thousands of 'foot soldiers' — those who trained in the camps — remain disbursed. And there are those who, without direction or control, are compelled for ideological reasons to pursue jihad and kill Americans."

Mueller said the FBI needs new structures, new training and new technologies, which are now being put in to place.

"Nothing can be paramount to preventing the next attack," he said.

— CNN Justice Department Correspondent Kelli Arena contributed to this report.

Remains Of 9 Sept. 11 Hijackers Held

Remains Of 9 Sept. 11 Hijackers Held

WASHINGTON, August 17, 2002

(CBS) Among the human remains painstakingly sorted from the Pentagon and Pennsylvania crash sites of Sept. 11 are those of nine of the hijackers.

The FBI has held them for months, and no one seems to know what should be done with them. It's a politically and emotionally charged question for the government, which eventually must decide how to dispose of some of the most despised men in American history.

“I think in Islam, you're supposed to be buried whole, so I would take them and scatter them all over the place,” said Donn Marshall, whose wife, Shelley, died at the Pentagon. “They don't deserve any kind of religious courtesies.”

In New York, where the monumental task of identifying the remains of 2,823 victims believed to be dead continues, no remains have been linked to the 10 hijackers who crashed two airliners into the World Trade Center. About half the victims' families still are waiting for their loved ones to be identified, though it's likely many never will be because so much of the site was incinerated.

In contrast, the remains of all 40 victims in the Pennsylvania crash and all but five of the 184 victims at the Pentagon site were identified months ago.

A group memorial service is planned for Arlington National Cemetery on Sept. 12, when all the remains from the Pentagon that could not be matched with a particular victim will be buried, said Maj. Sandy Troeber, a spokeswoman.

Little attention has been paid to the terrorists' remains found mingled with those of the Pennsylvania and Pentagon victims.

“It's a unique situation,” said Dr. Jerry Spencer, a former chief medical examiner for the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, who worked 30 years as a Navy forensic pathologist. “The terrorists are usually not in our possession in the United States like this. The other issue is, will the families want them back?"

Four sets of remains in Pennsylvania and five at the Pentagon were grouped together as the hijackers – but not identified by name – through a process of elimination.

Families of the airplanes' passengers and crews and those who died within the Pentagon provided DNA samples, typically on toothbrushes or hairbrushes, to aid with identification. The remains that didn't match any of the samples were ruled to be the terrorists, said Chris Kelly, spokesman for the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, which did the DNA work. The nine sets of remains matched the number of hijackers believed to be on the two planes.

Without reference samples from the hijackers' personal effects or from their immediate families to compare with the recovered DNA, the remains could not be matched to individuals.

With the one-year anniversary approaching, State Department officials say they have received no requests for the remains. The department would be responsible for handling such a request from any government seeking the return of a citizen's body.

Officials have said that all but one of the nine hijackers recovered had connections to Saudi Arabia. The other was Lebanese.

Officials at the Saudi Embassy in Washington did not respond to requests for comment.

In more typical cases, foreign families also could contact local authorities. But the hijackers' remains are under the control of the FBI.

“To the best of my knowledge, there haven't been any friends or family members to try to claim the remains of these people,” said Jeff Killeen, spokesman for the FBI field office in Pittsburgh. “They are in the custody of the FBI in Washington. They have not been released.”

In cases where badly damaged bodies cannot be identified, or when no one steps forward to claim a body, state or local laws usually dictate what will be done with them.

“If it's a mass disaster, and they can't identify the remains, they may put all of them in a mass grave or they may be cremated,” said Michael Bell, vice president of the National Association of Medical Examiners and the deputy chief examiner for Broward County, Fla.

Authorities usually retain only small DNA samples, photographs or other pertinent information that might lead to identification later or become evidence in a criminal case.

The remains linked to terrorists were taken by the FBI in February, she said.

James Starrs, a professor of forensic science and law at George Washington University, said there should be public oversight of what the government does with human remains, whether they are criminals or victims.

Policies must take into account that there are cases where relatives don't seek repatriation of remains, including many examples of Americans killed on overseas battlefields, noted Starrs, who is known for his forensic work in historical cases, such as the outlaw Jesse James and the mystery of the Boston Strangler.

“Good persons or bad persons, you can't assume that the relatives are going to come to the fore and try to reclaim their remains,” Starr said.

The Sept. 12 ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery will hold special significance for families of five people whose remains have never been identified, Col. Jody Draves, a spokeswoman for the Military District of Washington, which oversees the cemetery, said Friday.

The service will include burial of the cremated ashes of all remains not linked to a particular victim, as well as some remains which were identified that family members asked to be included.

“The intent is not as a memorial service but as a group burial for victims not identified,” Draves said.

9/11 ‘hijackers’ spill beans on eve of attack

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2001/09/14/miami-club.htm

USAToday, 14 September 2001
Manager: Men spewed anti-American sentiments

The night before terrorists struck New York and Washington, three men spewed anti-American sentiments in a bar and talked of impending bloodshed, according to a strip club manager interviewed by the FBI. John Kap, manager of the Pink Pony and Red Eyed Jack's Sports Bar in Daytona Beach, said the men made the claims to a bartender and a patron. "They were talking about what a bad place America is. They said 'Wait 'til tomorrow. America is going to see bloodshed,"' Kap said.

He said he told FBI investigators the men in his bar spent $200 to $300 apiece on lap dances and drinks, paying with credit cards. Kap said he gave the FBI credit card receipts and a business card left by one man and a copy of the Quran that was left at the bar." –


Mohammed Atta, fanatic Muslim, drunk in Florida

FBI seizes records of students at flight schools

By BARRY KLEIN, WES ALLISON, KATHRYN WEXLER and JEFF TESTERMAN

? St. Petersburg Times,
published September 13, 2001

“A bar manager in Hollywood told FBI agents he saw the two men drinking heavily last week.


Tony Amos, the night manager at Shuckums Bar in Hollywood, told the Palm Beach Post that Atta argued with him over his tab. When Amos asked Atta whether he could pay, Atta got offended and said, “I’m a pilot for American Airlines and I can pay my bill,” bartender Patricia Idrissi said.
“They were wasted,” said Idrissi, who said she directed the two men to a Chinese restaurant a few doors down.

 

They later returned and each ordered about five drinks, she said. The bill came to $48 and the men began arguing in broken English. After the confrontation with Amos, she said, Atta paid her with a $100 bill from a thick wad of currency in large denominations.”


http://www.sptimes.com/News/091301/Worldandnation/FBI_seizes_records_of.shtml?

Hijackers’ lost luggage conveniently solves so many 9/11 mysteries

Hijackers' lost luggage conveniently solves so many 9/11 mysteries

by Michael Dorman, Newsday

April 17, 2006

Former federal terrorism investigators say a piece of luggage hastily checked in at the Portland, Maine, airport by a World Trade Center hijacker on the morning of Sept. 11 provided the Rosetta stone enabling
FBI agents to swiftly unravel the mystery of who carried out the suicide attacks and what motivated them.

A mix-up in Boston prevented the luggage from connecting with the plane that hijackers crashed into the north tower of the trade center. Seized by FBI agents at Boston's Logan Airport, investigators said, it contained Arab-language papers revealing the identities of all 19 hijackers involved in the four hijackings, as well as information on their plans, backgrounds and motives.

The luggage saga represents what the former federal authorities describe as an untold story of 9/11 — offering explanations for questions long unanswered about the investigation of the tragedy, such as how authorities were able to identify the hijackers so soon after the attacks.

The former federal investigators said information found in the bag was passed on to Justice Department lawyers, who prosecuted Zacarias Moussaoui on charges growing out of the suicide attacks. A Justice Department spokesman, Brian Roehrkasse, said: "Under the judge's order, we're not going to comment on anything relating to the case."

Mohamed Atta, a chief coordinator of the hijackings, and conspirator Abdulaziz AlAlomari spent the night before the attacks in room 232 of a Comfort Inn south of Portland. They checked out at 5:33 a.m. on Sept. 11. Portland Police Chief Michael Chitwood said they drove in a rented blue Nissan Altima — eventually seized by the FBI — to Portland International Jetport.

Records show the Altima was parked in an airport lot around 5:45, allowing Atta and Alomari only a few minutes to catch a 6 a.m. commuter flight to Boston's Logan Airport. Although they planned to hijack an American Airlines jet that would take off from Logan later that morning, investigators said they might have gone through Portland in the belief that airport security would be less stringent there.

Once the commuter flight landed at Logan, Atta and Alomari boarded American Airlines Flight 11 bound for Los Angeles — which they would crash into the trade center.

A staff report to the 9/11 Commission later concluded: "The Portland detour almost prevented Atta and Alomari from making Flight 11 out of Boston. In fact, the luggage they checked in Portland failed to make it onto the plane. Seized after the Sept. 11 crashes, Atta and Alomari's luggage turned out to contain a number of telling items, including correspondence from the university Atta attended in Egypt; Alomari's international driver's license and passport; a videocassette for a Boeing 757 flight simulator; and folding knife and pepper spray, presumably extra weapons the conspirators decided they didn't need."

The report did not say how many bags were checked in Portland, nor did it differentiate them by their contents. But three commission staff members who helped prepare the report said there were two pieces. Two staff members, John Raidt and R. William Johnstone, said it was clear both bags belonged to Atta. "He plopped both of them down on the luggage rack," Raidt said. "Alomari just stood by."

An affidavit filed by FBI agent James K. Lechner in federal district court in Portland reported that two bags checked by Atta were recovered at Logan Airport Sept. 11. They were never placed on Flight 11 before it departed from Boston, Lechner said, but there was no explanation of why they had not been loaded. Lechner described them as "a green Travel Gear bag" and "a black Travelpro bag."

A former FBI agent and a former federal prosecutor who helped direct the New England investigation of the Sept. 11 attacks told Newsday that one bag found in Boston contained far more than what the commission report cited, including the names of the hijackers, their assignments and their al-Qaida connections.

"It had all these Arab-language papers that amounted to the Rosetta stone of the investigation," former FBI agent Warren Flagg said. The former federal prosecutor, who declined to be identified publicly, supported Flagg's account.

"How do you think the government was able to identify all 19 hijackers almost immediately after the attacks?" Flagg asked. "They were identified through those papers in the luggage. And that's how it was known so soon that al-Qaida was behind the hijackings.

The former prosecutor agreed that papers from the luggage helped identify suspects. "I can't speak on the record about that evidence," he said. "This evidence was gathered under grand jury subpoenas and I can't discuss grand jury matters."

The papers discovered in the hijackers' luggage were bolstered by other evidence gathered against the conspirators by the FBI, the former federal prosecutor said. "These guys left behind a paper trail," he said. "They had bank accounts. They rented cars. They had to show what they were doing in the United States. We investigated 9/11 from day one on the assumption that there might be a criminal prosecution."

But when it seemed clear that all 19 hijackers had been killed in the attacks, jurisdiction transferred from various federal prosecutors' offices around the country to Justice Department headquarters in Washington.

Flagg, an FBI agent for 22 years, worked on terrorism cases, among others. Now president of Flaggman Inc., a Manhattan-based investigative firm, he was retired by Sept. 11 but stayed in close touch with former FBI colleagues and prosecutors.

He said he first heard the account of the luggage's significance in the investigation on Sept. 28, 2001, after attending the funeral for John O'Neill, a former top FBI antiterrorism official who died helping others to safety Sept. 11 in his new job as director of security at the World Trade Center.

After the funeral, he said, he fell into conversation with a young FBI agent he had helped train in the New York office. The agent, working on the Sept. 11 investigation, told him about the luggage. The agent said the New England prosecutor helping direct the investigation — whom Flagg also knew — was familiar with the evidence. Flagg said he telephoned the prosecutor that same day and received confirmation of the agent's account.

"I was devastated because word had already leaked out of the hijackers' identities," Flagg said. "But I was also excited that the FBI had so much evidence so quickly."

The young FBI agent, who has since left the agency, works in private industry and is reportedly in Dubai. He could not be reached for comment.

News reports published in late September and early October 2001 described a piece of luggage apparently belonging to Atta that had been discovered at Logan Airport after the attacks.

That piece of luggage was said to contain Arab-language papers amounting to Atta's last will and testament, along with instructions to the other hijackers to prepare themselves physically and spiritually for death. The papers also admonished them: "Check all of your items — your bag, your clothes, knives, your will, your IDs, your passport, your papers. … Make sure that nobody is following you." Similar papers were also found in the wreckage of another crashed airliner.

Flagg and the former prosecutor, however, said it was the second bag that identified all 19 hijackers.

"That was the one that became the Rosetta stone," Flagg said.

Hijack Suspect Lived a Life, Or a Lie

Hijack Suspect Lived a Life, Or a Lie
Boston Globe
25 September 2001

by Elizabeth Neuffer

URL:http://web.archive.org/web/20010925123748/boston.com/dailyglobe2/268/nation/Hijack_suspect_lived_a_life_or_a_lie+.shtml

EW 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.''