Category Archives: Official protection

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)

 

US military intelligence identified four 9/11 hijackers in 2000

Why were the terrorists shielded?

US military intelligence identified four 9/11 hijackers in 2000

By Patrick Martin
10 August 2005

A top-secret military intelligence unit identified four of the 9/11 suicide hijackers as Al Qaeda operatives, including two of the pilots, more than a year before the September 11 terrorist attacks, a front-page report in the New York Times revealed Tuesday.

The article by reporter Douglas Jehl, cites Republican Congressman Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania and an unnamed former military intelligence officer as its sources.

Jehl’s report confirms what has been widely reported overseas but long covered up by the Bush administration and the American media: Mohammed Atta, believed to be the operational leader of the 9/11 attacks, was under US intelligence surveillance even before he came to the United States in 2000. How Atta was able to enter and re-enter the country on multiple occasions over the next year, enroll in flight school, and use credit cards and bank accounts in his real name, despite being a known Al Qaeda operative, has never been explained.

Weldon first revealed the existence of the military intelligence program, code-named Able Danger, in an interview with the Norristown Times-Herald, a newspaper in his suburban Philadelphia district, on June 19. He followed this up with a little-noticed speech to the House of Representatives on June 27. It was not until the issue was raised by Government Security News, a publication that specializes in reporting on the US homeland security apparatus, that it was taken up by the major media.

The Times interviewed the former military intelligence agent at Weldon’s congressional office. By his account, Able Danger was set up in 1999 to conduct data mining from publicly accessible databases, cross-referencing with information from US agencies like the Immigration and Naturalization Service and with classified intelligence information. This technique pinpointed the names of Mohammed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi, the pilots who flew hijacked jets into the north and south towers of the World Trade Center, as well as Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Midhdar, two of the five men who hijacked an American Airlines jet and crashed it into the Pentagon.

Had this information been widely circulated in 2000 or 2001, the September 11 attacks, which took the lives of 3,000 innocent people, could have been prevented. But the Times article states: “In the summer of 2000, the military team, known as Able Danger, prepared a chart that included visa photographs of the four men and recommended to the militarx’s Special Operations Command that the information be shared with the Federal Bureau of Investigation… The recommendation was rejected and the information was not shared…”

According to the account in Government Security News, the former military intelligence agent remarked bitterly: “We were directed to take those 3M yellow stickers and place them over the faces of Atta and the other terrorists and pretend they didn’t exist.”

White House discussions

Remarkably, Weldon reveals that he discussed Able Danger with top White House officials, including then-deputy national security adviser Stephen Hadley, in September or October 2001, just after the 9/11 attacks. The White House was thus fully aware that the US military had identified Mohammed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi well before September 11, but it suppressed that information from all subsequent investigations, including the 9/11 commission.

The 9/11 commission staff nonetheless learned of the existence of Able Danger in October 2003, when several former military intelligence officers spoke to the staff, including executive director Philip Zelikow. According to the former military intelligence officer interviewed by the Times, they specifically mentioned Mohammed Atta by name in these discussions.

The former spokesman for the 9/11 commission, Al Felzenberg, in an interview with the Times, confirmed that the discussions about Able Danger had taken place, but claimed Att name had not come up and the staff had not believed the report to be significant.

The June 19 Norristown Times-Herald article, however, gives the following account:

“Weldon said he was told specifically by commission members Tim Roemer, a former Democratic congressman from Indiana, and John Lehman, a former secretary of the Navy, that they had never been briefed on the Able Danger unit within Special Ops or on the unit’s evidence of a terrorist cell…”

The former military intelligence officer told the Times-Herald, “I personally talked with Zelikow about this. For whatever bizarre reasons, he didn’t pass on the information.”

There is no mention of Able Danger in the final commission report, and no hint that any US government agency had linked Atta to Al Qaeda before the September 11 attacks.

This demonstrates that the 9/11 commission was a fraud and a whitewash. Rather than uncover the real story of the terrorist attacks, the commission conducted a sophisticated cover-up of the real relations between US government agencies and the terrorists who killed 3,000 people. Meanwhile, Zelikow, the chief organizer of the 9/11 panel, has been rewarded for his services to the Bush administration and to the military/intelligence apparatus with an appointment as senior counselor to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a longtime friend and associate.

Nor is he an exception. Stephen Hadley, who was informed of Able Danger nearly four years ago, was given the top job at the National Security Council. The military officer who headed the Special Operations Command at the time the Able Danger information was suppressed, General Peter Schoomaker, is now the Army chief of staff.

It is clear from these promotions?all appointments requiring presidential approval – that the decision to conceal the identity of Atta and his three co-conspirators was endorsed at the highest levels of the American state. No one suffered from a decision that had the effect of giving a free hand to plan, prepare and carry out the worst terrorist attacks in US history.

The reasons given in the Times article for the suppression of the information generated by Able Danger do not hold water. There were allegedly concerns that information gathered by military intelligence could not be shared with law enforcement agencies because of legal prohibitions. “Under American law, United States citizens and green-card holders may not be singled out in intelligence-collection operations by the military or intelligence agencies,” Jehl writes, admitting, however, “That protection does not extend to visa holders? like Atta and his colleagues.

It is simply not credible, even in the pre-9/11 climate, that US intelligence agencies’steeped in the most sordid methods of work, from slander and blackmail to torture and murder?were somehow paralyzed by a too-delicate concern for the democratic rights of suspected Al Qaeda operatives. Such arguments are presented not as serious explanations, but to advance a definite political agenda: the removal of all restraints on the operations of the intelligence apparatus, both at home and abroad.

Weldon shares this agenda. He is a conservative Republican, vice chairman of both the House Armed Services Committee and the House Homeland Security Committee. He is an advocate of a much more intensive data-mining operation, such as the Total Information Awareness program briefly sponsored by the Pentagon after 9/11, then abandoned in the face of widespread criticism of its Orwellian implications.

The Pennsylvania congressman has clashed repeatedly with the US intelligence establishment, particularly over his efforts to hype the alleged threat of an Iranian-sponsored nuclear terrorist attack within the United States. He is the author of a recently published book whose title reveals his viewpoint: Countdown to Terror: The Top-Secret Information that Could Prevent the Next Terrorist Attack on America and How the C.I.A. Has Ignored It.

Whatever Weldon’s idiosyncrasies, however, the conflict between the warmongering congressman and the CIA has produced a major breach in the official wall of silence about the relationship between the US intelligence agencies and the 9/11 hijackers. Until now, the Bush administration, the CIA, and the various official investigations, including the 9/11 commission, all claimed that only two of the hijackers, al-Midhdar and al-Hazmi, had come to the attention of US intelligence prior to the terrorist attacks.

After lengthy footdragging, the CIA was compelled to admit that though it had linked these two with Al Qaeda in January-March 2000, it failed to notify the FBI until August 27, 2001?two weeks before they took part in the September 11 suicide hijackings. The two men were able to enter the United States and live in the San Diego area for months, with one of them listed in the local phone book, although both were on a CIA watch list. At one point, the two rented a room from an FBI informer who was debriefed in his living room by an FBI agent whom he politely introduced to his two terrorist tenants.

The Times article attempts to bolster this crumbling official cover story, declaring that Weldon’s account “is the first assertion that Mr. Atta, an Egyptian who became the lead hijacker in the plot, was identified by any American government agency as a potential threat before the Sept. 11 attacks.”

This claim is flatly untrue. There have been repeated accounts, particularly in the German media, about Atta being under surveillance by the CIA while he was living in Hamburg, and about this surveillance continuing after he shifted his activities to the United States in the summer of 2000, apparently by the Israeli secret service Mossad (the CIA not being permitted to conduct its own surveillance operations on US soil).

Reports were carried by the television network ARD, the magazine Der Spiegel, and major daily newspapers like the Berliner Zeitung and Die Zeit. Their accounts have the CIA beginning surveillance of Atta in Hamburg in January 2000, following him during a trip to Frankfurt, where he purchased chemicals that could be used in making explosives, right up to the point where he visited the US embassy in Berlin, on May 18, 2000, and obtained a US entry visa. Atta flew to the United States from Prague, capital of the neighboring Czech Republic, on June 3, 2000.

Both Der Spiegel and Die Zeit reported that Mossad kept Atta under surveillance while he was attending flight school in south Florida in 2000 and early 2001. At one point, after a trip to Europe, Atta was stopped by a customs officer when re-entering the US at Miami International Airport, because his visa was invalid. Nonetheless, he was allowed in.

Finally, on August 23, 2001, Mossad presented to the CIA a list of 19 named Islamic fundamentalist terrorists living in the United States and said to be planning an imminent attack. Aside from the chilling coincidence in the number?19 Islamic fundamentalists participated in the September 11 attacks?the Israeli list actually named four of the future hijackers, including Mohammed Atta.

The Times report confirms once again the analysis the WSWS made within four months of 9/11 (“Was the US government alerted to September 11 attack”?). We charged then, and reiterate now, that the least plausible explanation of the September 11 tragedy is the official version: that terrorists entered the United States, obtained training at US flight schools and organized the simultaneous hijacking of four airliners, without any agency of the American government having the slightest idea what they were doing.

This new revelation only reinforces the suspicion that the tragedy of 9/11 was not the result of an “intelligence failure? or an inability to “connect the dots.” High-level officials in the state apparatus took affirmative action to protect the Al Qaeda operatives and allow them to prepare a terrorist attack. Whether they knew the full extent of what Atta and his confederates would do on September 11 can be debated, but there is no question that a terrorist outrage within the United States served the political purposes of the Bush administration.

The new right-wing government desperately needed a Pearl Harbor-style event to shift public opinion and create the conditions where it could press forward with plans?already well prepared before 9/11?for military interventions in the Middle East and Central Asia, the two largest sources for oil and gas. Bush, Cheney & Co. ruthlessly exploited 9/11 as an all-purpose justification for right-wing policies at home as well, from tax cuts for the super-rich to unprecedented attacks on democratic rights.

In response to the Times report, it is necessary to demand answers to basic questions about September 11:

* Why were known Al Qaeda members permitted to enter the United States and carry out their plans?

* Who made the decisions which facilitated the work of the terrorists and why have they not been held responsible?

* Why have the facts about September 11 been covered up, not only by the White House and the intelligence agencies, but by congressional Democrats and the American media?

Atta way to blow 9/11 panel’s credibility


Atta way to blow 9/11 panel’s credibility

 

August 14, 2005

BY MARK STEYN

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST

 If you want to know everything wrong with the 9/11 Commission in a single sound bite, consider this from Al Felzenberg, its official spokesman, speaking Wednesday:

 

 

”There was no way that Atta could have been in the United States at that time, which is why the staff didn’t give this tremendous weight when they were writing the report. This information was not meshing with the other information that we had.”

In fairness to Felzenberg, he was having a bad week, and a hard time staying on top of the commission’s ever-shifting version of events. It emerged that the U.S. military had fingered Mohammed Atta — the guy who plowed Flight 11 into the first World Trade Center tower — well over a year before before 9/11. Or as the Associated Press puts it:

"A classified military intelligence unit called ‘Able Danger’ identified Atta and three other hijackers in 1999 as potential members of a terrorist cell in New York City."

At first, the commission denied that it knew anything about "Able Danger": "The Sept. 11 Commission did not learn of any U.S. government knowledge prior to 9/11 of surveillance of Mohammed Atta or of his cell," insisted Lee Hamilton, the Democratic co-chair. "Had we learned of it, obviously, it would’ve been a major focus of our investigation."

But within 48 hours this version was non-operative. As the AP subsequently reported: "The Sept. 11 Commission knew military intelligence officials had identified lead hijacker Mohamed Atta as a member of al-Qaida who might be part of U.S.-based terror cell more than a year before the terror attacks but decided not to include that in its final report, a spokesman acknowledged Thursday."

So, far from being a "major focus" that they just happened to miss — coulda happened to anyone — it turns out they knew about it but "decided not to include" it.

How’d that happen? Well, as Felzenberg says so disarmingly, "this information was not meshing with the other information.” As a glimpse into the mindset of the commission, that’s astonishing. Sept. 11 happened, in part, because the various federal bureaucracies involved were unable to process information that didn’t "mesh" with conventional wisdom. Now we find that the official commission intended to identify those problems and ensure they don’t recur is, in fact, guilty of the very same fatal flaw. The new information didn’t "mesh" with the old information, so they disregarded it.

But, hey, let’s not have a philosophical discussion, let’s keep it practical: There was "no way" that Atta could have been in the United States except when the official INS record says he was? No INS paper trail, "no way" he could have got in?

Here’s one way just for a start. Forget the southern border, insofar as there is such a thing. Fact: On America’s northern border, no record is kept of individual visitors to the United States. All that happens is that a photo scanner snaps your rear license plate. The scanner is said to be state-of-the-art, which is to say, as one Customs & Border official told me, it’s "officially" 75 percent accurate. On the one occasion my own license plate was queried, it turned out the scanner had misread it. So, just for a start, without any particular difficulty, a friend of Mohammed Atta could have rented a car for him in Montreal and driven him down to New York — and there would be never be any record to connect him to the vehicle anywhere in the United States or Canada.

Would al-Qaida types have such contacts in Montreal? Absolutely. The city’s a hotbed of Islamist cells and sympathizers.

Fact: The only Islamist terrorist attack prevented by the U.S. government in the period before 9/11 was the attempt to blow up LAX by Ahmed Ressam, a Montrealer caught on the Washington/British Columbia frontier by an alert official who happened to notice he seemed to be a little sweaty. A different guard, a cooler Islamist, and it might just have been yet another routine unrecorded border crossing.

So, when the 9/11 Commission starts saying that there’s "no way" something can happen when it happens every single day of the week, you start to wonder what exactly is the point of an official investigation so locked in to pre-set conclusions.

For example, they seemed oddly determined to fix June 3, 2000, as the official date of Atta’s first landing on American soil — even though there were several alleged sightings of him before that date, including a bizarre story that he’d trained at Maxwell/Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala. Atta was a very mobile guy in the years before 9/11, shuttling between Germany, Spain, Afghanistan, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, the Philippines with effortless ease. I’ve no hard evidence of where he was in, say, April 2000. The period between late 1999 and May 2000 is, in many ways, a big blur. He might have been in Germany, he might have been in Florida, attempting to get a U.S. Farm Service Agency loan for the world’s biggest cropduster, as reported by USDA official Johnell Bryant.

But I do know it’s absurd to suggest he was never in the United States until June 3, 2000, simply because that’s what the INS says — especially when U.S. military intelligence says something quite different.

Sept. 11 was a total government fiasco: CIA, FBI, INS, FAA, all the hot shot acronyms failed spectacularly. But appoint an official commission and let them issue an official report and suddenly everyone says, oh, well, this is the official version of 9/11; if they say something didn’t happen, it can’t possibly have happened.

Readers may recall that I never cared for the commission. There were too many showboating partisan hacks — Richard ben Veniste, Bob Kerrey — who seemed more interested in playing to the rhythms of election season. There was at least one person with an outrageous conflict of interest: Clinton Justice Department honcho Jamie Gorelick, who shouldn’t have been on the commission but instead a key witness appearing in front of it. And there were far too many areas where the members appeared to be interested only in facts that supported a predetermined outcome.

Maybe we need a 9/11 Commission Commission to investigate the 9/11 Commission. A body intended to reassure Americans that the lessons of that terrible day had been learned instead engaged in what at best was transparent politicking and collusion in posterior-covering and at worst was something a whole lot darker and more disturbing.

The problem pre-9/11 was always political: that’s to say, no matter how savvy individual operatives in various agencies may have been, the political culture of the day meant that nothing would happen except a memo would get typed up and shoveled into a filing cabinet. Together with other never fully explained episodes — like Sandy Berger’s pants-stuffing at the national archives — the Able Danger story makes one thing plain: The problem is still political.

Did CIA employee buy air ticket for 9/11 hijacker?

http://bellaciao.org/en/article.php3?id_article=7305

Sunday 31st July 2005 (19h49) :

KOCO-TV Suppresses an Explosive 9/11 News Report

I have not been keeping this a secret all this time. I started putting this information online at my own website in December 2002.

In the fall of 2001, a librarian at the University of Oklahoma in Norman (OU) told me that she was present when the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) conducted an interview about the fact that an airline ticket for a 9/11 hijacker was purchased from a computer terminal at that school’s library. She said it was for United Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania.

This is very important. The purchaser was not a hijacker. He was a white American male and a temporary library employee. Apparently the FBI already knew the IP address of the terminal, and with that evidence librarians were able to locate it in the facility. The librarian speculated that he was a neo-Nazi who shared Al-Qaed hatred for Israel.

Months passed, and no one was ever arrested for this. I began to suspect that the purchaser was a covert CIA operative infiltrating Al Qaeda, and that immunity from arrest was quietly arranged for him later. In response to Freedom of Information Act requests, the FBI has refused to identify him and will not answer the question about whether he was arrested. They have stated that the requested material “is located in an investigative file which pertains to a pending investigation.” It occurs to me now that, if my suspicion is correct, they are relying on the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act as justification for not answering my question.

If he were indeed a CIA operative and still alive, then Americans do not need to know his name (but I actually suspect that he is dead.) We do deserve to know whether he was a covert operative. If I am correct, then he clearly crossed a terrible boundary from legitimate surveillance to active participation in a horrendous crime. The U.S. Congress and the public deserve the opportunity to scrutinize this kind of “surveillance.” It obviously was not effective in obstructing the 9/11 attack. On the contrary, it facilitated it.

A declassified CIA document confirms that the agency not only infiltrates terror cells, it also manipulates them (CIA-RDP85-00671R000200250001-4). I suspect that this 9/11 ticket purchase gives an example of their style of “manipulation.” The president of OU is former U.S. Senator David Boren, patron and mentor of ex-CIA director George Tenet. I have earlier reported some details about this relationship to Bella Ciao : http://bellaciao.org/en/article.php…

KOCO-TV Broadcasts It But Later Conceals It

Four different people have told me of seeing an Oklahoma City KOCO-TV news broadcast about the ticket-purchasing incident at OU. In October 2003, I called KOCO and tried to buy a videocassette of this broadcast. A woman at the news desk named Melissa confirmed that they had reported this, and then transferred me to the voice mail of Terri Watkins, the reporter who made the broadcast. I left a message there asking to purchase the videocassette.

To my surprise and indignation, when I checked my answering machine later, there was a message from Watkins denying that the station had reported it. Obviously, the station was pressured into suppressing the report. The pressure probably came from the CIA, FBI, or both. Recordings of these contradictory communications from the two women can be heard here:

http://members.aol.com/mpwright9/st…

Any resident of central Oklahoma who is willing to confirm having seen this suppressed news broadcast is encouraged to contact me.

Other Important Links:

CIA document — see page 21
http://www.icdc.com/~paulwolf/colom…

FBI letter (it may be necessary to enlarge this with the mouse):
http://members.aol.com/mpwright9/fb…

I also have assembled this information into a sworn affidavit. A fourth person has told me about seeing the KOCO report since I signed this:
sworn1
sworn2

It may be necessary to enlarge scans with the mouse.


by : Michael P. Wright
Sunday 31st July 2005