Category Archives: Identities

Lebanese in Shock Over Arrest of an Accused Spy

Lebanese in Shock Over Arrest of an Accused Spy

The New York Times, February 18, 2009
Al al jarrah

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hijack suspect lived a life, or a lie

Hijack suspect lived a life, or a lie

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

Boston Globe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

”He didn’t stand out,” he said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Atta Mystery: Double agent or multiple Attas?

The Atta Mystery

Double agent or multiple Attas?

by Elias Davidsson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1.Pious Muslim or Hardcore Playboy?

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

Ralph Bodenstein, a German urban planner, said

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a)Drinking alcohol

At Shuckum’s

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Here again, no mention is made of drinking.

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

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

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

At Longboat Key

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

In the Philippines

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

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

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

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

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

Prof. Machule’s evaluation

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

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

(b)Consorting with prostitutes

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


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

(c)Snorting cocaine

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

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

And then Amanda said something about the vacant room:

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

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

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

(d)Dressing like a dandy

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

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

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

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

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

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

(e)Living with an ex-stripper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) Mohamed Atta’s obnoxious and arrogant character

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


3.Atta seen simultaneously at different locations

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

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

Florida, 7 September 2001

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Atta inspected on Canadian-American border

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

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

On September 22, 2001, the Miami Herald reported:

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

Germany March 2001

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

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

Germany, April 2001

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

Germany, June or July 2001

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

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

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

Florida’s West Coast, August-September 2001

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

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

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

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

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

Los Angeles

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

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

Portland, Maine

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

New York City, September 10, 2001

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5.Cover-up by the FBI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Another story appears to corroborate this conclusion.

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


7. Atta was already a pilot by July 2000

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Daniel Hopsicker’s attempt to find out

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

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

Hopsicker’s account continues:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

2John Hooper, The shy, caring, deadly fanatic, The Guardian, September 23, 2001, at (last visited January 2, 2011)

3Spanish MP’s photo used for Osama Bin Laden poster, BBC, January 16, 2010, at (last visited 5.10.2011); see also (last visited 5.10.2011)

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

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


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


9McDermott, supra n. p. 32

10Ken Thomas, Feds investigating possible terrorist-attack links in Florida, Associated Press, September 12, 2001, (last visited 5.10.2011)

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

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

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

14Ed Vulliamy et al,When our world changed forever, The Guardian (U.K.) September 16, 2001, at (last visited December 25, 2010)

15Associated Press, Sept. 12, 2001 supra

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

17Author’s Document #24

18Author’s Document #25

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

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

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

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

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

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

25Author’s document #178

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



29Daily Mail, 16 September 2001


31Charlotte Sun, September 14, 2001

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

33Hopsicker, supra n. 38 at p. 98

34Hopsicker,supra n. 38, p. 283

35McDermott, p. 27

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


44Hopsicker, supra n. 38

45Hopsicker, supra n. 38, p. 56

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

47Hopsicker, supra n. 38, p. 279


49Peter Finn, Suspects Used German Rental As Headquarters, The Washington Post, September 15, 2001, at (last visited December 26, 2010)

50Author‘s document #184 Liz Jackson interviews

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

52at (last visited December 27, 2010)


54McDermott, supra n. p. 32-33

55Ibid. p. 32

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

57Peter Finn, Suspects Used German Rental As Headquarters, The Washington Post, September 15, 2001, at (last visited December 26, 2010)

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

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

60Ibid. p. 25

61Interview of Quentin McDermott with Rudy Dekkers, ABC Australia, October 21, 2001. Transcript. At visited December 27, 2010)

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

63Stephen J. Hedges and Jeff Zeleny, Hijacker eluded security net, Chicago Tribune, September 16, 2001, at visited 5.10.2011) Author’s document #434

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



67James V. Grimaldi and Guy Gugliotta, Chemical Plants Feared as Targets, The Washington Post, December 16, 2001, at visited December 27, 2010)

68Joel Engelhardt,From terrorist to spy, Atta’s mission was extensive. The Palm Beach Post, October 29, 2001, at (last visited December, 27, 2010)

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

70Roger Simon, Anthrax Nation, U.S. News & World Report, October 28, 2001 at (last visited 5.10.2011) Author’s document #435

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

72Rober Simon, supra n.

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

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

75Interview with Rudi Dekkers, president of Huffman Aviation by Quentin McDermott, A Mission to Die For, ABC Australia, October 21, 2001, at (last visited 5.10.2011)

76Exhibit OG00020.02

77Exhibit OG00020.01

78Chronology of events for hijackers, Mohamed Atta,Exhibit Nr. OG00020.2. p. 2 Moussaui Trial, at (last visited December 27, 2010)

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


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

82Author’s document #359

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

84Author’s document #358

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

86JICI, Aprtil 19, 2002, page FBI03018

87FBI Miami Timeline, supra n.

88FBI Document FD- 302, Serial 13680

89FBI Document FD- 302, Serial 14918

90FBI Document FD- 302, Serial 955)

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

92 Curtis Morgan, David Kidwell and Oscar Corall, State a natural for training, blending into the communities, The Miami Herald, September 22, 2001, at

93Sydney P. Freedberg, The trail of the terrorists, St. Petersburg Times, September 27, 2001, at visited January 22, 2011)

94Wall Street Journal, 16 Oct. 2001.

95The Road to Ground Zero, Part Five: A Trail of Missed Opportunities, The Sunday Times, February 3, 2002, at (last visited December 27, 2010) Author’s Document # 346)



98Herbert Gude, Pentagon aus Pappe, Focus Magazin, March 3, 2002, at (last visited 5.10.2011)

99Stipulation, supra, p. 73

100 Hopsicker, supra n. 38,p. 61

101 Associated Press, September 29, 2001

102 Las Vegas Review Journal, October 26, 2001

103 New York Post, October 5, 2001

104 Portland Press Herald, October 5, 2001

105 Newsday,November 18, 2001

106Susan Candiotti, Source: Records suggest Atta in NYC on Sept. 10, CNN, May 22, 2002, at (last visited January 2, 2011)

107Greg B. Smith, Hijacker in City Sept. 10 Used Navigation Tool to Pinpoint WTC Site, New York Daily News, May 22, 2002, cached at


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

110FBI document 265A-NY-280350-MM

111Portland Press Herald, 10/5/01

112Boston Herald, 10/5/01

113Portland Press Herald, 10/5/01


115The FBI Releases 19 Photographs of Individuals Believed to be the Hijackers of the Four Airliners that Crashed on September 11, 2001, September 27, 2001, at (last visited December 29, 2010)

116See FBI Miami Timeline, supra n.

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

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

119Hopsicker, supra n. 38. p. 65

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

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

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

123Jonathan King, Vicky Agnew and Nancy Othón, Suspects trained at S. Florida gyms before terror attacks, Sun-Sentinel, November 5, 2001, at (last visited December 27, 2010) Author’s document #347

124FBI document FD-302, Serial 9954.

125JICI report, p. FBI03026

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

127The Immigration and Naturalization Service’s Contacts with Two September 11 Terrorists, Office of the Inspector General, May 20, 2002, Chapter Four, at (last visited January 2, 2011)

128Hopsicker, supra n. 38, 136-7

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

The question of negative proof and 9/11

The question of negative proof and 9/11

by Elias Davidsson
2 June 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remains Of 9 Sept. 11 Hijackers Held

Remains Of 9 Sept. 11 Hijackers Held

WASHINGTON, August 17, 2002

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Michael Dorman, Newsday

April 17, 2006

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How did ‘Mosear Caned’ appear on the first 9/11 passenger lists?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Mosear Caned

Researchers are still digging up interesting material on September 11. Allan Wood has discovered (which I found from here, but with only part of the original) a transcript of a CNN broadcast from the morning of September 14, 2001. CNN Anchor Leon Harris broke away from a press conference of Rudy Giuliani – so you know it must have been important! – to talk to Kelli Arena, CNN Correspondent, who read the names of the hijackers from a list that was supposed to be officially released by the Justice Department sometime later that day (it obviously wasn't released). Although she had trouble with the names, you can do a phonetic match of all the names she read with each of the identified hijackers, except for one big anomaly. Hani Hanjour isn't on the list, but someone pronounced as "Mosear Caned" is. A few comments:

  1. Hanjour has always been the most problematic of the hijackers. Although he was officially a pilot, he is well documented as being a lousy pilot, and it is impossible to conceive that he could have flown Flight 77 as we are told it flew into the Pentagon. Since he was easily the worst of the four hijackers who are identified as pilots, it is very odd that this meticulously planned operation would assign him to what appeared to be the most difficult of the flying jobs. The original list of hijackers had only 18 men on it, with Hanjour's name missing. I have always thought that the FBI added him when they realized they had no hijacker on Flight 77 who could possibly have flown the plane. Since I don't believe Flight 77 actually flew into the Pentagon, this isn't a problem for me, but I can see somebody in the FBI worrying that someone might ask how Flight 77 was flown so well without a trained pilot amongst the hijackers.

  2. Kelli Arena said she had a list with 18 hijackers on it, and then proceeded to read out 19 names. This indicates to me that this was an intermediate list, between the original list with 18 names, and the final official list with the now infamous 19. It is likely that "Mosear Caned" was their first attempt to add a nineteenth hijacker to the list, but they hadn't yet changed the title of the list to reflect the addition.

  3. The list read by Kelli Arena is evidence that one of the main ways the FBI used to create the list was to simply make a list of all the Arab-sounding names on the passenger manifests. When they needed another guy, they found another Arab-sounding name, probably somebody who could be described as a pilot.

  4. The addition of "Mosear Caned" must have been a mistake, for we have heard no more of him. What is most interesting is that he doesn't even appear on lists of the non-hijacker passengers on Flight 77. He must have been on a manifest, for otherwise how did the FBI get his mane and how did he board the plane? If they took his name off the published list of non-hijacker passengers, why did they do so? Was his a name that wasn't supposed to be known to the public? Did they simply not want an 'innocent' Arab victim to appear on the list? The disappearance of "Mosear Caned" off the face of the earth is as interesting as his mysterious appearance.

  5. It is unbelievable that the original passenger manifests have still not been released.

Two of the biggest anomalies of September 11 are the story of Hani Hanjour and how he managed to fly Flight 77 into the Pentagon, and how the FBI so quickly came up with a list purporting to be all 19 hijackers. Robert S. Mueller III, the FBI Director at the time, said:

"The hijackers also left no paper trail. In our investigation, we have not uncovered a single piece of paper ? in the U.S. or in Afghanistan ” that mentioned any aspect of the September 11th plot."

Where are the security video tapes from 9/11 airports?



911 Dutch Treat?

By Stephen M. St. John
15 November 2005

Why haven't we seen the routine video surveillance tapes of ANY of the passengers alleged to have boarded the ill-fated 9/11 flights at Boston's Logan, Newark's Liberty and Washington's Dulles international airports?

Will two lips in Holland end the 9/11 coverup?

NEW YORK — Those who have bothered to read the 9/11 skeptics know about the extraordinary "coincidences" that took place that fateful morning. One of them happens to be the lack of routine video surveillance tapes of ANY of the passengers alleged to have boarded the ill-fated flights at Boston's Logan, Newark's Liberty and Washington's Dulles international airports.

The 9/11 Commission simply ignored this issue even though it can be fairly said that not only did the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington originate at these airport gates, but so did the resulting invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Why haven't we seen these video tapes? Why has the Fourth Estate failed to ask, Why haven't we seen these video tapes? Why the conspiracy of silence?
Well, the answer may very well lie in Holland. You see, security at some if not all of these airport gates of 9/11 was in the hands of an American minimum-wage subsidiary of a Dutch corporation called ICTS-International. What is most remarkable about this arrangement is that the Dutch corporation ICTS-International was, as of 9/11, Dutch in name only. An early 2003 check of its web-site showed a Board of Directors consisting entirely of nationals of the Zionist state with the single exception of the Comptroller, who apparently was the nominal Dutchman. And if I need to clue in the clueless, the Zionists were hellbent on finding a reason for the USA to invade Iraq. And it would be fair to say that these Zionists of ICTS-International were the gatekeepers of 9/11 and all that followed, such as the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Interesting, eh?
But the story gets even wilder. Not long after 9/11, the chairman of ICTS, Ezra Harel, whose surname is famous in the annals of the Mossad, died suddenly of a heart attack in his early 50s on his yacht off the coast of Palestine. Talk about not being available for comment!

But that's not the kicker. Hours before the House version of the first Patriot Act went to a vote, "technical corrections" were inserted into the body of the legislation whereby foreign security companies such as ICTS-International would be immune from lawsuits related to the events of 9/11. Talk about not being available for deposition! This "Patriot" act legislative sleight of hand occurred before the inception of the 9/11 Commission when Fearless Leader George W. Bush was still resisting the very IDEA of an investigation into 9/11. Hence, in the face of an institutional cover-up, citizens were denied the possibility of a discovery process which is normally afforded to litigants. Without such discovery process, ICTS-International would never be compelled by a court of law to give testimony and show evidence related to the missing airport video surveillance tapes of 9/11 or any other aspect of security measures in place on 9/11.

The legal situation has since changed and ICTS-International is now a co-defendant in a lawsuit in Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York. (see More about this will follow.
And so, we are supposed to believe that even as multiple NORAD drills were underway, video surveillance tapes from multiple cameras at multiple locations in three different "Category X" high security international airports just happened to fail to capture images of ANY of the passengers – the good, the bad and the ugly – about to board the ill-fated flights of 9/11! As many 9/11 skeptics already know, what I have just described here is just one aspect of the BIG LIE about 9/11. Some of the answers to our national security problem will be found in Holland. That is for sure!

But there are those who will insist that they have seen on television video surveillance tapes of the hijackers of 9/11 and are satisfied with the official explanation of what happened on that fateful day.

However, these people are confused by the tape repeatedly shown on TV of two of the alleged hijackers (Mohammad Atta being one of them) passing through a security checkpoint at Portland Maine International Airport to take a connecting flight to Boston on the morning of 11 September 2001.
This Portland tape has no timestamp, which makes it suspect. Also, even IF the tape were genuine, it does not place either of the two young Arabs at Logan International Airport.

Nearly all Americans were lulled into believing that the Portland, Maine tape was sufficient proof when it was not. People were mesmerized by the repeated showing of this tape on TV and in their emotional state did not realize exactly what they were looking at and what they weren't looking at.

Also, yet another tape was shown in the 24 hour interval leading to the official release of the 9/11 Commission Report; however, this tape, released to the news media by the South Carolina law firm Motley Rice LLC, was almost immediately withdrawn because it quickly became apparent that it was bogus. This Motley Rice surveillance tape purportedly showed two young Arabs boarding flight 77 at Dulles International Airport on the morning of 9/11. But again, just like the Portland Maine tape, there is no timestamp, which makes it suspect. Beyond that, as pointed out by the late, great Internet researcher/writer Joe Vialls, who some believe is really Ari Ben-Menashe (see, the shadows appearing just outside the terminal door are those you would expect to see at midday rather than in the early morning. Moreover, the surveillance camera is no ordinary surveillance camera; for the tape reveals a panning camera focused on the two young Arabs and then zooming in on them and then moving left as they move left instead of following the pretty blonde lady who was going to the right. Clearly, some person unknown at some time unknown was filming these young Arab men for a specific but unknown reason.

This Motley Rice film was never shown again because of the critical eyes of researchers, many of whom preserved copies of the mysterious tape in their computers.

In consideration of the foregoing, one must conclude that no tape has EVER been shown that reveals ANY of the passengers boarding the 9/11 flights out of Boston's Logan, Newark's Liberty and Washington's Dulles international airports.
One must also ask, if the 9/11 surveillance tapes at these airports do in fact exist, why haven't we seen them? And if they do not even exist, how can this be explained?

The alleged hijackers and their doubles

Updated info is here…


The alleged hijackers and their doubles :

Here a brief presentation of the surprising contradictions of several alleged hijackers concerning their language skills. Besides their location and their physical appearance this parameter seems important in order to conclude if there have been doubles or not. (I  base this on the assumption that it is difficult to fake a fluent English without accent if one originally had a strong accent and could barely speak English).


Mohamed Atta:

Atta spoke German almost without any accent.

For his English:

Brad Warrick who rented Atta a car and met him twice said:

“He had very little accent and acted like he was a businessman.


“He seemed to be a businessman,” Mr. Warrick said. “His driver’s license and insurance matched up to a Florida address, he had a credit card, he spoke very good English, and he carried a briefcase. He seemed pretty friendly.”


New York Times, 9/14/01 b


In general his English is described as good or quite good.

Marian Smith who rented Atta a Piper in middle of August

Charlie Voss.

Whitener at Gwinnett County Airport who once talked to him.

Rudy Dekkers.

But on the other hand we have also an Atta in Shuckums on September 7 who is clearly described as having a “thick accent”.

Can he be the same?

We have the change of Atta in North Port seen by his landlords.

At first Amanda Keller has to translate for him (I assume he must have talked in French! As she didn’t understand German and certainly not Arab. Therefore a real language genius!) and he “spoke limited English”. Then he comes back from a party and spoke “good English”!



Besides Shuckums we have another case where Atta is supposed to have spoken with a heavy accent: The voice talking to the passengers on AA 11.

It’s usually described “as heavily accented? or “thickly accented”.

Could this be Atta?


Mohand Al Shehhi:

A real language genius.

All agree that he spoke German almost fluently. This is already an achievement as he only came to Germany as an adult.

But he also spoke ? good English, with either no or only a slight accent, said Diane Surma.”


Dekkers and Voss judge that his English (like Att!) “not totally good but not bad.”

(Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/13/01)

and ?quite good 

New Questions About Real Identity of 9-11 Hijackers

New Questions About Real Identity of 9-11 Hijackers

Ticket agent says Atta, Alomari were dressed in business suits; surveillance photos don’t match 

By Greg Szymanski

He sat silent for years, keeping a secret Americans were dying to hear. Not able to talk, there were days he cried uncontrollably, days he pounded his fists on the table like a madman, wondering if he could have prevented so many people from dying the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. For years, he tossed and turned, cursing himself for letting Mohammad Atta and Abdul-azziz Alomari, two of the alleged 19 hijackers, slip through his fingers at 5:40 a.m. on 9-11.

There’s an old saying that “a moment can change a lifetime.” And the moment that changed U.S. Airways ticket agent Michael Tuohex’s life was when he says he was face to face with the two purported hijackers, one being Atta, the man the federal government claims was the ringleader of
the entire operation.

But there are major discrepancies to the story that have yet to be explained by federal authorities and are still perplexing to Tuohey. The following relates the unanswered questions that form the basis of the government’s explanation of what happened on that day.

Tuohex’s brief encounter took place at the U.S. Airways ticket and baggage check-in at the airport in Portland, Maine. Working the ticket counter as he did most every morning for 37 years, he remembered two clean-shaven Arab-looking businessmen with tickets in hand approaching his workstation, both looking elegant and wearing suits and ties.

He remembers they were running late for their flight as they presented prepaid, one-way tickets from Portland to Boston and then onto Los Angeles on Flight 11. Looking back, he recalls nothing unusual about the alleged hijackers, saying both appeared calm, and the younger Alomari acting happy-go-lucky.

“Not like you?d expect from someone knowing he is going to die,” recalls Tuohey, now retired and living near Portland. “There are certain things in my job you are trained to look for that red-flags danger. One is adult males with a one-way ticket paying in cash.

“If they had paid in cash, we probably would have run them through security, checked their bags, and they might have never gotten on the flight,” he said. “I can’t tell you how many nights I have seen their faces in my dreams and how many nights I second-guessed myself for not stopping

Asked why he waited so long to tell his story, which came to public attention on national television as well as in an article in The Portland Press-Herald he added: “No one really ever asked. However, looking back, I probably wasn’t ready to face the public since I had asked the FBI to keep my name out of the papers. Thank God they kept their word.”

Behind the emotions and the human interest Tuohex’s story evokes, there is an ulterior motive behind those now questioning him about his encounter with Atta and Alomari. Those now asking questions are hoping his eyewitness accounts and recollections help clear up a controversy brewing over the only airport surveillance photo ever released of Atta and Alomari.

The government claims the surveillance photo released in the Portland airport conclusively shows them walking through the security clearance gate about 100 yards away from where Tuohey checked the pair’s tickets and bags. Critics, however, contend that the government altered the photos since they were not a clear match of other independent mug shots released of Atta and Alomari.

These same critics claim Atta and Alomari never boarded the 19-seat airplane. This, they claim, is just another small piece of the larger 9-11 government conspiracy puzzle.

And now since Tuohey was one of the last to see the alleged hijackers before the controversial surveillance photos were taken, his words are being dissected and interpreted, perhaps misinterpreted, with the obvious goal of trying to establish if Atta and Alomari actually boarded Flight 11.

“I know about the conspiracy theories and about the surveillance camera shots released, but all I can tell you is what I saw. I?ll tell you what I told the FBI agents when I was interviewed on 9-11,” said Tuohey. “I believe the two men in front of me on 9-11 were Atta and Alomari. I have no reason to believe otherwise. They looked like the same two guys that were in the mug shots shown to me by the FBI agents the same morning.”

As for details, Tuohey is very precise about the appearance, demeanor and attitudes of the alleged hijackers even after four years when memories fade and prior visions become cloudy.

“You don’t forget something like this,” he added. “I remember looking into Att eyes like it was yesterday. He spoke good English, and the other one never spoke. Looking back, they appeared to have rehearsed the proper way to act and the proper things to say. Atta appeared to
understand everything I said.

“When I asked how many bags they were checking in, Atta simply said “two.” He then asked for a one-stop boarding pass, which means he wouldn’t be again checked at Logan if I gave it to him,” he said.

“It was customary back then to give one-stop boarding passes on connector flights, but I never did it, because I figured I worked for U.S. Airways and not for American, which was their connector flight,” Tuohey added. “When I didn’t give it to him, he became noticeably agitated. But he
stopped short of making a scene and hurriedly left in order to catch his flight.”
One of the major inconsistencies between Tuohex’s description of their appearance and the surveillance photo released was that the two men in the photo were dressed casually in shirts without suits and ties, and there was no white shawl over Alomari’s head.

“They left my workstation in suits and ties. I didn’t see them take their coats off,” recalls Tuohey. “Atta left carrying a small duffel bag and the other had a very small bag. I guess they could have placed the jackets, ties and shawl in Att bag. I just don’t know.”

Asked if a surveillance camera was posted by his workstation, he said he was told by the FBI on 9-11 that the video camera had been out of order for several weeks and no other pictures were available.

“I had worked there a long time and never knew the cameras were broken until I was told by the agents,” said Tuohey, adding they were installed by airport officials and not U.S. Airways.

To shed light on Tuohex’s vivid recollections, an independent 9-11 researcher, who prefers to remain anonymous due to prior government harassment, added these important details after numerous interviews and countless hours of researching the two hijackers? movements in and around
Portland prior to 9-11:

“Atta and Alomari were conveniently captured on video cameras at three different locations in Portland the night before 9-11. Yet none of the stills taken from those locations, Jetport Gas, the ATM machine and Wal-Mart, were clear enough, as posted on the FBI web site, to confirm that they were the same two men whose FBI mug shots were displayed prominently on the major networks for weeks along with the other 17 hijackers.

“The Portland Press Herald article that came out back in October of 2001, the first publication to print the now famous Atta and Alomari surveillance photo, was also too fuzzy to make the confirmation that they were the same two men.

“When I interviewed “Jerry,” the attendant at Jetport Gas in early 2002 who saw the hijackers, he told me that the “second one could not have been the Alomari the FBI showed on TV because he was too tall.” He also told me that “they spoke such poor English that I had to give them directions to Wal-Mart three times.” This clearly contradicts Tuohex’s statements that Atta spoke perfect English.

“The eyewitness quoted in the original Portland Press Herald article, who put Atta and Alomari on the 19-seater to Logan, was Jane Eisenberg of Cape Elizabeth, Maine. I interviewed Ms. Eisenberg around the same time as Jerry, and she told me when asked if she could confirm if the two men she saw on the 19-seater were the same two men the FBI was displaying all over the major networks, “No, I cannot.”

“And remember, it was the FBI who told Tuohey the camera he worked under every day hadn’t worked for some time. They knew that, but a guy who worked directly under it every day didn’t know?

“Also, a friend of Tuohex’s, who took that flight to Boston, was quoted as saying, he recalled seeing the two leaving the plane in Boston in suit coats and ties.

“Like Tuohey mentioned, Alomari also wore a shawl of some type that is missing in the famous photo. Although he assumed they must have placed these articles of clothing in their carry-on bags, his friend on the plane didn’t mention them dressing up again on the flight.

It should be mentioned that the short distance between Tuohex’s workstation and the security check-in, the size of Alomari’s carry-on piece and the fact that they were running late for the flight, make it very suspicious that they would first take off their jackets and ties before boarding.

Some Hijackers’ Identities Uncertain

Some Hijackers’ Identities Uncertain

By Dan Eggen, George Lardner Jr. and Susan Schmidt
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, September 20, 2001; Page A01

FBI officials said yesterday that some of the 19 terrorists who carried out last week’s assault on New York and Washington may have stolen the identities of other people, and their real names may remain unknown.

Saudi government officials also said yesterday that they have determined that at least two of the terrorists used the names of living, law-abiding Saudi citizens. Other hijackers may have faked their identities as well, they said..
FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III said Friday that the bureau had "a fairly high level of confidence" that the hijacker names released by the FBI were not aliases. But one senior official said that "there may be some question with regard to the identity of at least some of them."

The uncertainty highlights how difficult it may be to ever identify some of the hijackers who participated in the deadliest act of violence on American soil. Most of the hijackers’ bodies were obliterated in the fiery crashes.

"This operation had tremendous security, and using false names would have been part of it," said John Martin, retired chief of the Justice Department’s internal security section. "The hijackers themselves may not have known the others’ true names."

The identity problem adds to the steep challenges facing the FBI and other federal investigators as they race to hunt down suspected conspirators in the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, which are believed to have killed nearly 6,000 people.

In other developments yesterday:

? Investigators now believe accomplices of the hijackers may have tried to confuse air traffic controllers by making a series of false bomb threats against airliners on the morning of Sept. 11, sources close to the case said.

? New information from law enforcement officials indicates that at least 44 of the people the FBI has sought for questioning in the probe are trained pilots. One of them, a man identified as Ayub Ali Khan, was arrested as a material witness in the case after being detained in Texas. He was carrying box-cutter knives like those believed to have been used in some of the four hijackings.

Other potential suspects include a native of Yemen who investigators believe may also have been involved in the bombing of the USS Cole, and two men — both in Jordanian custody — who were arrested in connection with a bomb plot related to the millennium celebrations. U.S. intelligence officials have linked both of those events to Saudi militant Osama bin Laden.

? Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, repeated warnings of other, unspecified threats, but officials said none had been confirmed.

Some reports have cited Sept. 22 as a potential date for additional attacks in part because alleged associates of the hijackers purchased airline tickets for flights that day from San Antonio to San Diego. But Justice Department spokeswoman Mindy Tucker said, "There is no credible evidence of any threat for Sept. 22."

By yesterday evening, officials said they had detained 115 people in connection with the probe. Officials continue to work through a list of about 190 others sought for questioning.

Gaafar Allagany, chief of the Saudi Embassy’s information office in Washington, said yesterday that the Saudis are convinced that most, if not all, of the suspected hijackers named last week by the FBI used stolen identities. In two cases that the Saudis say they have confirmed, passports were stolen several years ago.

One of the terrorists who the FBI said died aboard the American Airlines flight that crashed into the Pentagon used the name of Salem Alhazmi.

"The Hazmi we have is 26 years old and has never been to the United States," Allagany said. He said the man, whose picture has been published as that of the dead terrorist, works at a government-owned petrochemical complex in the Saudi city of Yanbu.

"He has shown authorities there that he has not left Saudi Arabia in two years," Allagany said.

Alhazmi has told reporters in Saudi Arabia that his passport was stolen by a pickpocket on a trip to Cairo three years ago. His picture was published yesterday in a Saudi newspaper, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, alongside that of the man the Saudis believe to be the dead terrorist, Badr Alhazmi.

Another Saudi, Abdulaziz Alomari, had his passport and other papers stolen in 1996 when he was a student in Denver and reported the theft to police there, Allagany said.

A hijacker identified by the FBI as Abdulaziz Alomari was aboard the American Airlines flight from Boston that crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. He was said to have used different birth dates and was believed to have been a pilot.

Allagany said the real Abdulaziz Alomari is an electrical engineer in Saudi Arabia.

The names identifying the hijackers were obtained through searches of passenger manifests combined with information from financial records and other sources, officials said. Investigators have concluded that at least some of the names could have been stolen from other people.

Investigators have found that the hijackers and some of their suspected accomplices have freely swapped names, credit cards, e-mail accounts and other identifying information.

For example, Badr Mohammed H. Hazmi, a San Antonio radiologist under arrest as a material witness, has used the alias of Khalid Al-Midhar, who is listed by the FBI as a hijacker on the flight that struck the Pentagon, according to documents distributed to law enforcement agencies.

The father of another alleged hijacker, Mohamed Atta, told reporters in Cairo earlier this week that he did not believe his son was a terrorist and said that his documents may have been stolen. He also said on Tuesday that he had spoken to his son "four or five days ago . . . about 48 hours after" the attacks, according to the Associated Press.

New information from law enforcement sources and documents suggests previously unknown connections among the suspected hijackers and men believed to have been their accomplices.

For example, officials are seeking several men who have the same last name as Atta, a suspected hijacker of American Airlines Flight 11. One is Asem Atta, a Pakistani national and a former resident of Kuwait who is being sought for questioning in connection with the case. He lived in a downtown Houston apartment building until a few weeks before the attacks, when he disappeared, a neighbor said.

Dozens of those sought for questioning were trained as pilots. Khan, one of the two men arrested with box-cutters on an Amtrak train bound for San Antonio, was a commercially certified pilot, law enforcement documents show. Khan and Mohammed Jaweed Azmath, both from India, boarded TWA Flight 679 on Sept. 11, which left Newark at 6:10 a.m. The plane was grounded in St. Louis after the terrorist attacks, and Azmath and Khan boarded the train.

In Detroit, federal agents found three airport dishwashers in possession of a day planner that included notations in Arabic relating to the "American base in Turkey," the "American Foreign Minister" and "Alia Airport" in Jordan, according to court records.

Authorities made the arrest while looking for another man, Nabil Al-Marabh, who is believed by the FBI to be an associate of Raed Hijazi. Hijazi is in custody in Jordan in connection with the millennium bomb plots.

Authorities are also examining whether there are links between the attacks and two New Jersey men who were arrested in June for allegedly acting as go-betweens for a foreign buyer interested in Stinger missiles, night-vision goggles and nuclear weapons components.

The attorney for Diaa Mohsen, 57, of Jersey City, said federal agents interviewed his client late last week in the federal detention center in Miami where he is being held. Mohammed Rajaa Malik, 52, of Watchung, N.J., has not been contacted, his attorney said.

An Orlando man arrested Sunday as a material witness appeared Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. After a 15-minute detention hearing, U.S. Magistrate David Baker granted a government motion to close the proceedings and seal the court record in the case because it "is related to a grand jury proceeding in another district," possibly one in White Plains, N.Y.

In Dania Beach, Fla., the owner of U.S. 1 Fitness said that one of the men suspected of hijacking the United Airlines flight that crashed near Pittsburgh spent several months learning "close quarter grappling" and how to use knives and sticks in combat.

Bert Rodriguez said he provided regular training for a man who gave his name as Ziad Jarrah and paid with cash. The center’s records show he was a member of the gym from May 7 to Sept. 7.

Farther up the coast, five suspected terrorists’ memberships at World Gyms in Delray Beach and Boynton Beach have attracted the FBI’s attention. The FBI has reviewed records showing that two of the suspects paid using personal Visa cards, the gyms’ owner said.

Staff writers Justin Blum, Michael A. Fletcher, Amy Goldstein, Charles Lane, Serge F. Kovaleski, Allan Lengel, Bill Miller and Lena H. Sun contributed to this report.


Remains of two Sept. 11 hijackers identified, so so…

“This is the first confirmation that these individuals were on those planes.” (Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, professor of forensics at New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice)

Remains of two Sept. 11 hijackers identified

From Jonathan Wald
CNN New York Bureau
Thursday, February 27, 2003 Posted: 2222 GMT

NEW YORK (CNN) — New York medical examiners using DNA samples have identified the remains of two of the 10 suicide hijackers who crashed jetliners into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, officials said Thursday.

The FBI provided the medical examiners’ office with DNA profiles of the 10 hijackers, said Ellen Barakove, a spokeswoman for the New York Medical Examiner’s office. Examiners “a few days ago” matched two of the profiles to remains collected after the twin towers’ collapse, she told CNN.

Examiners could not say which of the hijackers’ remains had been discovered because the FBI did not identify which of the DNA samples belonged to which hijacker, she said.

The samples came from items recovered from locations such as the scene of the crashes, a hotel or other places where the hijackers stayed, said a law enforcement official.

The matches could be beneficial to the investigation into the attacks by revealing more about what the hijackers were like and where they had been, said an FBI spokesman in New York.

Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, professor of forensics at New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, believes the discovery is “extremely significant.”

“This is the first confirmation that these individuals were on those planes. Now we have their genetics, we can use this information to follow them. Perhaps we can hook them to other individuals,” Kobilinsky said.

Examiners requested the profiles from the FBI last summer and received them “a few weeks ago,” said Barakove.

New York officials are attempting to identify the hijackers’ remains because “the families of victims in the attacks do not want the hijackers’ remains mixed together with those of the victims in any future memorial that may be created,” she said.

“We meet with family groups every so often,” said Barakove, “and they raised the possibility of attaining the hijackers’ profiles from the FBI.”

Remains are “indefinitely” being stored near the Medical Examiners’ Office in a location that examiners call Memorial Park. “They will probably go into a permanent memorial at the World Trade Center site, but this matter is still under consideration,” Barakove said.

Medical examiners have so far identified remains from 1,465 of the 2,792 people reported killed in the attacks. Those figures do not include the hijackers.

Of the 19,935 separate human remains recovered from Ground Zero, 6,289 have been identified. City officials said that in several instances more than 200 separate pieces belonged to one person.

“Nobody in history has had to deal with the number of remains that came from the disaster but we will go on trying to identify remains until we can go no further,” Barakove said.

Fifty percent of the remains have yielded complete DNA profiles and 25 percent have yielded partial profiles, officials said.

Medical examiners in New York are currently testing a new means of identification which would require shorter strands of DNA. The results of the tests are expected “within weeks,” officials said.

“All samples are being dried and preserved so that if technology improves we can go back and try to identify those that we can’t right now,” Barakove said.

Genetic profiles of five people from the Pentagon crash scene and four from the scene in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, that did not match any of the passengers’ profiles have been handed over to the FBI, said a spokesman for the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. The FBI has not given the institute any DNA to match up in those crashes, said the spokesman.

At the Pentagon, there were 184 victims of the September 11 attacks — 125 people in the building, 53 passengers and six crew members on board the third hijacked plane, not including the five hijackers.

In Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the fourth hijacked plane crashed, there were 40 victims — 33 passengers and seven crew members, not including the four hijackers.

Producer Kevin Bohn and Correspondent Jamie Colby contributed to this report

Video allegedly showing hijackers released in 2004

Video allegedly showing hijackers released in 2004

"Surveillance video from Washington’s Dulles Airport the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, shows four of the five hijackers being pulled aside to undergo additional scrutiny after setting off metal detectors but then permitted to board the fateful flight that later crashed into the Pentagon.

The surveillance video, obtained by The Associated Press, shows an airport screener hand-checking the carryon baggage of one hijacker, Nawaf al-Hazmi, for traces of explosives before letting him continue onto American Airlines Flight 77 with his brother, Salem, a fellow hijacker.

Details in the grainy video are difficult to distinguish. But an earlier report by the commission is consistent with the men’s procession through airport security as shown on the video obtained by the AP.

No knives or other sharp objects are visible on the surveillance video. But investigators on the commission have said the hijackers at Dulles were believed to be carrying utility knives either personally or in their luggage, which at the time could legally be carried aboard planes.

The video shows hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Majed Moqed*, each dressed conservatively in slacks and collared shirts, setting off metal-detectors as they pass through security. Moqed set off a second alarm, and a screener manually checked him with a handheld metal detector.

The pair were known to travel together previously and had paid cash to purchase their tickets aboard Flight 77 on Sept. 5, 2001, at the American Airlines counter at Baltimore’s airport.

Only Hani Hanjour, believed to have been the hijacker who piloted Flight 77, did not set off a metal detector as he passed through Dulles security that morning, according to the video.

The AP obtained the video from the Motley Rice law firm, which is representing some survivors’ families who are suing the airlines and security industry over their actions in the Sept. 11 attacks." – ABC (07/21/04)

*Note that the video clips do not show Majed Moqed as the ABC article says.

[One may reasonably ask why this video suddenly emerges only three years after the events and was not shown before; what is the evidence that the video was taken on the morning of 9/11; who kept the video all this time; and what exactly the video is showing].

FBI director Mueller doubts about ‘hijackers identities’

September 20, 2001 – FBI Director Robert Mueller admits that some of the alleged 19 hijackers identities are in doubt as at least seven of them appear to be alive.

"FBI Director Robert Mueller acknowledged Thursday that investigators may not know the true identities of some of the 19 suspected airplane hijackers from last week’s suicide attacks.

But while in Pennsylvania on Thursday for a tour of the crash site there, he raised fresh doubts about the accuracy of the identifications.

"We have several hijackers whose identities were those of the names on the manifests," Mueller said. "We have several others that are still in question. The investigation is ongoing, and I am not certain as to several of the others."

Officials refused to say how many hijackers may have used false identities, but officials of the Saudi Arabian government said Thursday that six of the men that the United States has named as hijackers killed in the attacks appear to be living in the Middle East.

The six Saudis are: Abdulaziz Alomari [Flight 11], Salem Alhamzi [Flight 77], Saeed Alghamdi [Flight 93], Ahmed Alnami [Flight 93], Wail Alshehri [Flight 11], and Waleed M. Alshehri [Flight 11]." – LA Times (09/21/01)

Flight 93 remains yield no evidence

Flight 93 remains yield no evidence

Thursday, December 20, 2001 Tom Gibb, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

United Airlines Flight 93’s crash into rural Somerset County decimated all human remains so badly that investigators can’t say if any of the 44 people aboard were killed before the aircraft went down, the FBI has told the county coroner.

That leaves it up to the jet’s cockpit voice recorder to offer support for widely held assumptions that the four hijackers began killing passengers before or during a fight for control of the jetliner. For now, federal investigators holding that recorder, one of two pieces commonly dubbed the black box, are staying mum.

Investigators who recovered remains from the Shanksville-area crash site brought possible stab wounds and lacerations to the attention of FBI pathologists, Somerset County Coroner Wallace Miller said yesterday. But the FBI has responded that “the catastrophic nature of the crash and fragmentation” left them unable to draw conclusions, Miller said.

The coroner’s assessment came yesterday as he confirmed that the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory has used DNA samples to match recovered remains with the last of 40 crew members and passengers aboard the hijacked jetliner 14 weeks ago when it slammed into a recovered strip mine at around 500 mph.

Miller has kept control of the crash site, under watch by security guards hired by United Airlines, expecting a possible final search for remains in the spring.

Remains of passengers and crew identified so far should be released in February to families or for burial, entombment or cremation in the Somerset County area, depending on families’ preferences, Miller said. Unidentified remains, yielding no DNA information, will be “treated properly,” probably interred or entombed in the county, according to the coroner.

This is where hijackers and victims get different treatment.

Death certificates for the 40 victims list their deaths as homicides. The hijackers’ death certificates, not released yet, call their deaths suicides.

The four hijackers’ remains will stay in FBI custody in case they prove important to the evolving investigation.

Investigators segregated remains which yielded DNA samples that did not match DNA profiles of the 40 passengers and crew. Those, by process of elimination, are the hijackers, and their remains are being grouped by common DNA.

The air pirates have been identified as Ziad Jarrah, Ahmed Al Haznawi, Saeed Al Ghamdi and Ahmed Al Nami — but not so positively identified that officials will list the names in official records.

“The death certificates will list each as ‘John Doe,’ ” Miller said.

Saudi Suspects in U.S. Attacks Were Not in the U.S.

Saudi Suspects in U.S. Attacks Were Not in the U.S.


RIYADH, Sept 17 [2001] (IslamOnline & News Agencies) – U.S. officials in Riyadh offered Abdul Rahman Said al-Omari an official apology in the presence of Saudi interior ministry officials for including his name among the list of suspects in the U.S. terrorist attacks, news agencies reported Monday.

Omari, a pilot with Saudi Airlines, told the Saudi daily Al-Watan that he was amazed to see his name on the FBI’s list of suspects allegedly involved in the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center Tuesday, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.

Omari said he returned to Saudi Arabia in early September after undergoing training for one year in the United States, AFP added.

Meanwhile, the mother of another Saudi man, also suspected in the September 11th attacks, said Monday that her son has been in Chechnya for two years with a relief committee operating in the tiny war-torn Muslim republic. 

The mother of Ahmad Ibrahim al-Ghamdi told Al-Watan that her son had been studying engineering in the Saudi city of Mecca before departing for Chechnya, AFP reported.

Ibrahim, 20, the youngest child in a family of three sons and four daughters, had been in constant contact with his family from Chechnya, said his mother.

The father of Fayez Mohammad al-Shehri, yet another Saudi suspect, also told the daily that his son had also left for Chechnya two years ago with the relief committee.

"He was going with the relief committee," said Shehri’s father, a school headmaster.

Notably, the preliminary lists of confirmed dead of American Airlines flights 11 and 77 and United flight 175, released September 13th by U.K. daily The Guardian, did not include any Arab or Middle Eastern names.

According to The Guardian, some 81 passengers and 11 crew members were on board when American Airlines flight AA11, en route from Boston to Los Angeles, crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center.

This is the preliminary, partial list of passengers aboard the flight.

Captain John Ogonowski 
First Officer Thomas McGuinness 
Barbara Arestegui 
Jeffrey Collman 
Sara Low 
Karen Martin 
Kathleen Nicosia 
Betty Ong 
Jean Roger 
Dianne Snyder 
Madeline Sweeney

Anna Allison 
David Angell 
Lynn Angell 
Seima Aoyama 
Myra Aronson 
Christine Barbuto 
Carol Bouchard 
Neilie Casey 
Jeffrey Coombs 
Tara Creamer 
Thelma Cuccinello 
Patrick Currivan 
Andrew Currygreen 
Brian Dale 
David Dimeglio 
Donald Ditullio 
Albert Dominguez 
Al Filipov 
Carol Flyzik 
Paul Friedman 
Karleton Fyfe 
Peter Gay 
Linda George 
Edmund Glazer 
Page Hackel Farley 
Peter Hashem 
Robert Hayes 
Edward Hennessy 
John Hofer 
Cora Holland 
Nicholas Humber 
John Jenkins 
Charles Jones 
Robin Kaplan 
Barbara Keating 
David Kovalcin 
N Janis Lasden 
Danny Lee 
Daniel Lewin 
Jeff Mladenik 
Antonio Montoya 
Laura Morabito 
Mildred Naiman 
Laurie Neira 
Renee Newell 
Jacqueline Norton 
Robert Norton 
Jane Orth 
Thomas Pecorelli 
Bernthia Perkins 
Sonia Puopolo 
David Retik 
Philip Rosenweig 
Richard Ross 
Heath Smith 
Douglas Stone 
Xavier Suarez 
James Trentini 
Mary Trentini 
Mary Wahlstrom 
Kenneth Waldie 
John Wenckus 
Candace Williams 
Christopher Zarba

Some 58 passengers and six crew members were on board when American Airlines flight AA77, en route from Washington Dulles to Los Angeles, crashed into the Pentagon, The Guardian reported. Again, no Arabic or Middle Eastern names appear on the list.

Captain Charles Burlingame 
First Officer David Charlebois 
Michele Heidenberger 
Jennifer Lewis 
Kenneth Lewis 
Renee May

Paul Ambrose 
Yemen Betru 
MJ Booth 
Bernard Brown 
Suzanne Calley 
William Caswell 
Sarah Clark 
Asia Cottom 
James Debeuneure 
Rodney Dickens 
Eddie Dillard 
Charles Droz 
Barbara Edwards 
Charles Falkenberg 
Zoe Falkenberg 
Dana Falkenberg 
James Ferguson 
Budd Flagg 
Dee Flagg 
Richard Gabriel 
Ian Gray 
Stanley Hall 
Bryan Jack 
Steve Jacoby 
Ann Judge 
Chandler Keller 
Yvonne Kennedy 
Norma Khan 
Karen Kincaid 
Norma Langsteuerle 
Dong Lee 
Dora Menchaca 
Chris Newton 
Barbara Olson 
Ruben Ornedo 
Lisa Raines 
Todd Reuben 
John Sammartino 
Diane Simmons 
George Simmons 
Mari Rae Sopper 
Robert Speisman 
Leonard Taylor 
Sandra Teague 
Leslie Whittington 
John Yamnicky 
Vicki Yancey 
Shuyin Yang 
Yuguag Zheng

Some 56 passengers and nine crewmembers were on board when United flight 175, on route from Boston to Los Angeles, crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center, The Guardian reported. No Arabic or Middle Eastern names appear here either.

Captain Victor Saracini 
First Officer Michael Horrocks 
Robert J Fangman 
Amy N Jarret 
Amy R King 
Kathryn L Laborie 
Alfred G Marchand 
Michael C Tarrou 
Alicia N Titus

Alona Avraham 
Garnet Bailey 
Mark Bavis 
Graham Berkeley 
Klaus Bothe 
David Brandhorst 
Daniel Brandhorst 
John Cahill 
Christoffer Carstanjen 
John Corcoran 
Dorothy Dearaujo 
Gloria Debarrera 
Lisa Frost 
Lynn Goodchild 
Francis Grogan 
Carl Hammond 
Gerald Hardacre 
Eric Hartono 
James Hayden 
Roberta Jalbert 
Ralph Kershaw 
Heinrich Kimmig 
Brian Kinney 
Maclovia Lopez 
Marianne Macfarlane 
Juliana Mccourt 
Ruth Mccourt 
Wolfgang Menzel 
Shawn Nassaney 
Marie Pappalardo 
Patrick Quigley 
Jesus Sanchez 
Kathleen Shearer 
Robert Shearer 
Jane Simpkin 
Brian Sweeney 
Tim Ward 
William Weems

Meanwhile, an official source at Saudi Airlines announced that Amer Kenfer, a Saudi aviation engineer whose name appeared on the list of passengers on board the United Airlines flight, en route from Boston to Los Angeles, is currently in Saudi Arabia.

Kenfer called Saudi Airlines from his home in Mecca once he heard his name announced as one of the passengers on the United flight, confirming that another passenger must have made use of the fact that foreigners in the U.S. are not asked to show their passports on domestic flights and had in this way used Kenfer’s name.

The official Saudi source added that another Saudi suspect whose name was also included on the list of passengers who boarded the same United flight, Amir Bokhari – a Saudi Airlines pilot – had died two years ago during aviation training exercises.