Category Archives: Court cases

The case of Muhammad Haidar Zammar



 

The case of Muhammad Haidar Zammar1

By Elias Davidsson (January 2014)

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

1. Who is Zammar?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4.  What was the purpose of monitoring Zammar?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9. Zammar disappears

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

13. Zammar and Germany’s alleged national interest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NOTES

1. Acronyms used in this chapter:

BAO USA: Besondere Aufbauorganisation USA

BfV: Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz

BKA: Bundeskriminalamt (German Federal Criminal Police Office)

BND:Bundesnachrichtendienst

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

FAC:Bundesverwaltungsgericht (Federal Administrative Court)

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Butler, supra n. 4

7. Ibid.

8. Ibid.

9. Ibid.

10. Ulrich, supra n. 3

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

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

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

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

15. Cziesche et al, supra n. 14

16. Finn, supra n. 13

17. Feyder, supra n. 11

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

19. DW, supra n. 2

20. Cziesche et al, supra n. 14

21. Butler, supra n. 4

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

23. Cziesche et al, supra n. 14

24. Ibid.

25. Ibid.

26. Brinkbäumer, supra n. 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

35. N/A

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

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

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

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

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

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

42. Butler, supra n. 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

50. DW, supra n. 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

74. Mascolo et al, supra n. 731

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

92. Ibid,footnote 16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

106. Amnesty International: Muhammad Haydar Zammar

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

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

109. Amnesty International: Muhammad Haydar Zammar

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

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

112. Bundeskanzleramt, Sperrerklärung, 3 Februar 2003

113. Bundesministerium des Inneren, Sperrerklärung, 3 Februar 2003

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

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

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

117. Ibid.

118. Ibid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

9/11 Families Urge Judge to Release Aviation Security Evidence on Terrorist Attacks

9/11 Families Urge Judge to Release Aviation Security Evidence on Terrorist Attacks

Call for a Completion of the Historical Record on 9/11 at Pivotal Hearings in Aviation Cases

Supported by The New York Times Company, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

NEW YORK, March 25, 2009 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Calling for truth, rather than secrecy, to be the legacy of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, attorneys for a group of 9/11 family members are presenting oral arguments today urging U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein to release more than one hundred deposition transcripts and over a million pages of evidence relating to the aviation security failures resulting in the worst terrorist attack in American history.

In hearings being held in the September 11th litigation against the aviation industry, the families are arguing that public disclosure of these materials, which the defendants are trying to keep confidential, will strengthen our security and provide the public with vital information without compromising the defendants’ proprietary interests. They are joined in their motion by The New York Times Company and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP).

"This is about completing the historical record of 9/11," said Mike Low of Batesville, Ark., father of Sara Low, 28, an American Airlines flight attendant who was on Flight 11 which struck the World Trade Center. "To learn all the lessons of this horrific day, to protect ourselves from future terrorist attacks, and to know the truth — a foundation of our democracy — this body of evidence should be available to all of the American people."

"I have the right to know why my mother was killed on September 11, 2001 and the American people have the right to know how our nation became so vulnerable," said Paul Keating of Ashland, Mass., son of Barbara Ann Keating, 72, a passenger on American Airlines Flight 11. "This information will ensure transparency and accountability, and it will empower our country to prevent future attacks on our citizens."

"This motion has nothing to do with classified information and everything to do with the defendants’ abuse of the confidentiality process," said Don Migliori of the law firm Motley Rice LLC, lead counsel for the plaintiffs. "None of the evidence contested today has been designated as sensitive for aviation security purposes. Rather, the defendants are trying to protect themselves from public embarrassment and legal liability by claiming that release of virtually every document in question would violate trade secrets."

As an example that the defendants’ claims are groundless, Migliori notes that the families have demanded answers to questions about the qualifications of the preboard screeners on duty on 9/11, including whether they met the minimum requirements of fluency in English, high school diplomas and clean criminal records. The families also have demanded information about the training of the preboard screeners and whether or not the items used to carry out the hijackings, as reported on each of the four flights, were permitted on board those planes. The answers to these questions, these families argue, need to be open to the public.

"The defendants’ arguments are insulting to those families who took the risk and pursued litigation over the no-fault Victim’s Compensation Fund," said Migliori. "Sweeping this evidence under the rug would deny accountability to the 9/11 family members, handicap our nation’s ability to protect itself, undermine our democratic principles, and prevent historians today and in the future from writing the complete record of this tragic, pivotal event."

Today’s hearing on the plaintiffs’ motion to set aside the defendants’ claims of confidentiality is part of In re: September 11 Litigation, pending before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The families allege that the aviation security in place on September 11, 2001 was grossly inadequate.

The families first sought to have the confidentiality order removed in 2007. On March 19, 2008, the request was withdrawn as both sides tried to negotiate a resolution. That effort failed and the families renewed their motion on January 14, 2009. The New York Times Company and the RCFP moved for leave to intervene on January 21, 2009. Judge Hellerstein’s ruling on the motion being argued today is expected soon.

"My daughter was a hero," said Low. "I learned only through this litigation and only in the last three months that, in her last terrifying moments, Sara stayed calm, tended to passengers and co-workers, and made sure that authorities on the ground knew what was happening on board. If Judge Hellerstein supports our motion, her legacy will be part of the history books. I can’t think of anything more fitting for this amazing young woman."

"My mother volunteered countless hours to make her community a better place to live," Keating said. "In that same tradition, our legal action and this motion are designed to make America a better place, because everyone will have the same access to the truth. The more we know, the stronger we are."

"By shining the light of public disclosure on the evidence developed in this historic case, Judge Hellerstein can ensure that the enduring legacy of In Re September 11 Litigation is to advance our nation’s best traditions of openness, unity, and truth," Migliori said.

The firm where Migliori is a member, Motley Rice LLC, is one of the nation’s largest plaintiff’s litigation firms. Headquartered in Mt. Pleasant, SC, the firm also has offices in Providence, RI, New York, NY and Hartford, CT. For more information on this case, contact attorney Don Migliori (MA, MN, RI) at 1-800-768-4026 or visit www.motleyrice.com.

Judge defends pretrial secrecy of 9/11 documents

Judge defends pretrial secrecy of 9/11 documents

By LARRY NEUMEISTER – 26. March 2009, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — A judge said Wednesday he favors keeping Sept. 11-related documents and interviews secret until the trials for several families of victims suing the airline industry, an opinion that upset several victims’ family members.

Donald Migliori, a lawyer for families of three people who died on hijacked planes in the 2001 attacks, asked U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein to make nearly a million pages of evidence and 200 depositions public, saying there was no reason for secrecy.

Hellerstein did not rule, but he said he favored not publically disclosing evidence that had been gathered and shared with lawyers for the victims under a confidentiality agreement until a trial occurs. No trial has yet been scheduled.

He said the confidentiality agreement speeded a pretrial process that enabled more than 90 families of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to settle their cases. Only three families have not settled.

Michael Rowe Feagley, a lawyer for the aviation defendants, said it would not be fair to make all of the pretrial evidence public now, especially since defendants had turned over so much with the understanding that it would remain confidential before trial. He said it would take "extraordinary circumstances and an extreme need for it" to force its public release.

Mike Low, the father of a flight attendant who died on one of the hijacked planes, said afterwards that he was disappointed but not surprised by Hellerstein’s position.

Low sued in spring 2003 on behalf of his daughter, Sara Low, 28, a Boston-based flight attendant who died when American Airlines Flight 11 struck the World Trade Center.

"A few days after 9/11, a veil of secrecy came down. It’s still there," he said.

He said his main reason for not settling the case was because he wanted to make sure the public learned everything it could from the investigation of flaws in security that allowed 19 hijackers to board four planes. Two were flown into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and a fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.

"I would go away if all the discovery and depositions that will tell us about the terrible failures and ineptitudes that led up to that day" were made public, he said.

He said he wanted to hold accountable "these people who allowed these 19 thugs on these airlines to murder my Sara and all the others."

Migliori said he will continue to try to force the public disclosure of the depositions and documents, though he would not say what step he would take next.

"I don’t know what the defendants are trying so hard to hide," he said.

Migliori said the public will be interested in the findings because the lawyers interviewed people no one else had spoken to and concentrated solely on how the 19 hijackers got on the planes.

He noted that Low had learned as a result of information gathered in response to his lawsuit that his daughter had acted heroically on her plane, passing along to another crew member with a phone the seat numbers of the hijackers, how they busted into the cabin and how one had claimed to be wired with a bomb.

"That’s not hero. That’s beyond hero," he said.

German court bases 9/11 judgment on conspiracy theory

German court bases 9/11 judgment on conspiracy theory

By Elias Davidsson
15 January 2007

Germany’s highest court, the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, announced on January 12, 2007 that it will not hear the appeal of the sentence of “convicted September 11 conspirator” Mounir al-Motassadeq.

Mounir el Motassadeq, a Moroccan, has admitted to have known Mohammed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah – three of the 19 Arabs named by the FBI as the “hijackers” of 9/11 – when they lived and studied in Hamburg.  He also admitted to have trained in Afghanistan but denied to have known of his friends’ “murderous plans”.  He was convicted on January 8th to 15 years jail as accessory to the murder of 246 people on the four hijacked planes. The Court, however, claimed it possessed evidence showing that he knew his friends planned to hijack and crash planes. Another Hamburg student, Abdel-Ghani Mzoudi, was acquitted on nearly identical evidence in 2004 and went home to Morocco.

The Court did not bother to examine whether Mounir’s friends actually participated in the alleged hijackings of 9/11, or even boarded the aircraft which crashed on 9/11. It simply assumed that this was true, apparently basing their belief on reports published in the German press.  The Court presented no legal document proving this fact.  It is on the base of such non-evidence that the Court decided to send el Motassadeq to jail for 15 years as “accessory to murder”.

Motassadeq started his address to the Court on Friday, January 5th with the following words: “Everything said here are only baseless allegations and conclusions…You are not interested in the truth.” He cried out: “I swear by God that I did not know what they wanted to do” and insisted again on his innocence. “There never was a terrorist organisation in Hamburg,” he said.

Part of the blame for his conviction must be laid at the feet of el Motassadeq’s lawyers. They failed to demand that the Court prove that Mounir’s friends participated in the mass murder of 9/11. 

On November 20, 2006, I wrote to Dr. Gerhard Strate, one of Motassadeq’s two lawyers, reminding him of his duty to “use the best arguments available to defend his client”. I emphasized in my letter that there exists no evidence whatsoever to prove that Mounir’s friends (or any other Muslims) participated in the mass murder of 9/11, or even boarded the aircraft which crashed on that day. I added: “By failing to adduce the above facts in defense of your client, you do not only endanger his freedom and personal integrity but undermine the struggle of the families of 9/11 victims for the truth on the events of 9/11.   By this letter, I consider having put you on notice regarding the above facts.”

Dr. Strate did not answer my letter.  He did not demand that the Court produce evidence that Mounir’s friends participated in the mass murder of 9/11.  Mounir’s lawyers have announced that they might appeal the judgment to the European Court of Justice.

Ladislav Anisic, one of two legal-aid lawyers in court for Motassadeq, said he would continue appeals for his client, who won earlier his first retrial because evidence from US interrogations of terrorists was withheld from the court. “This is only an intermediate stage on the way up to the next court,” he said outside the courtroom.

END

Open Letter to Stand-By Counsel in the Moussaoui Case

Open Letter to Stand-By Counsel in the Moussaoui Case

Today, May 4, 2006, the media announced that Zacarias Moussaoui was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. Contrary to received opinion, this decision does neither render justice nor fulfill security needs.

I appreciate that you have pleaded Moussaoui’s insanity and difficult childhood as mitigating circumstances. However, there are a number of grave irregularities in the proceedings, which should have compelled the dismissal of the case in its entirety.

The first irregularity is that the Court admitted Moussaoui’s endorsement of a so-called Statement of Facts. By signing this Statement, Moussaoui formally “agreed” that “[i]f this case were to go to trial, the Government would prove the following facts beyond a reasonable doubt.” Moussaoui thus effectively allowed the U.S. Government to escape the need to prove its own allegations. Moussaoui’s signature was, however, no more than a statement of opinion.

Take, for example, the third statement of fact. There Moussaoui claims that “[c]amps in Afghanistan were used to instruct members and associates of Al Qaeda and its affiliated groups in the use of…chemical weapons, and other weapons of mass destruction.” But even the U.S. Government has not made such a formidable allegation. Was Moussaoui simply trying to embellish the case against himself?

By Statements 17-21, Moussaoui apparently “agreed” with the official narrative on the hijacking of four aircraft by Al Qaeda members on 9/11. Yet he was not a witness to these events and was therefore incompetent to opine, whether these acts took place as described. On the day of 9/11 he sat in prison.

Yet the Court admitted Moussaoui’s signature on the Statement of Fact as if it represented a bona fide certification of facts, made in good faith.

The second major irregularity is the introduction into the proceedings of “evidence” attempting to link Moussaoui to the events of 9/11. I appreciate the objection by the Stand-By Counsel that legal causality existed between Moussaoui’s alleged “silence” in custody and the harmful consequences of the events of 9/11. This objection apparently did not deter Judge Brinkema from directing the jury to consider this link in determining Moussaoui’s sentence. By such an unwarranted direction, and by introducing emotionally loaded evidence from 9/11 into the proceedings, Judge Brinkema deliberately induced the jury to conclude that the “Government has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the actions of […] Moussaoui…in fact did cause, tremendous disruption to the function of the City of New York and its economy,” as well as “tremendous disruption to the function of the Pentagon.” 

Yet, there exists absolutely no causal link between Moussaoui’s acts (of commission or omission) and the crime of 9/11. More disturbing still is that the Court directed the jury to assume that the official narrative on the events of 9/11 had been proven beyond reasonable doubt and needs not be further questioned, as if the Court had taken judicial notice of this narrative. These assumptions comprise particularly the manner in which the crime of 9/11 was executed as well as the identity of the perpetrators. Remember that none of the facts surrounding the crime of 9/11 has ever been judicially determined, let alone proved beyond reasonable doubt, as is the practice in criminal cases. Judge Brinkema expected the members of the jury to rely – with regard to the events of 9/11 – on what they had read in newspapers.

Unfortunately, the Moussaoui case is now widely hailed as the “first conviction” of a 9/11 terrorist. While everybody is rightly shocked by Moussaoui’s obscene shoutings, these alone do not justify the inhumane sentence inflicted on this person. I share his family’s grief and anger.

More serious in terms of policy is that this trial may induce in the public a false sense of vindication, as if the families of the victims could now feel relieved that justice had been rendered. This is far from being the case. Moussaoui did not participate in the mass murder. His trial was an attempt to show some result in the war on terror. The various irregularities accompanying the trial, including those mentioned above, only served to undermine public confidence in the judicial process. The trial did not increase public security: The real planners and perpetrators of 9/11, whoever they are, still roam at large, and represent a true threat. The trial did not either contribute to a better insight into what actually happened on 9/11. Moussaoui’s inexplicable confessions were seized by the Government as one more occasion to refrain from proving its case on the events of 9/11.

I urge you, respectfully, to consider seriously the above shortcomings, if an Appeal is going to be lodged on behalf of Moussaoui.

Sincerely yours,

Elias Davidsson
Reykjavik, Iceland

Scholars Call Moussaoui Trial a ‘Charade’

Scholars Call Moussaoui Trial a “Charade;?

See Constitutional Rights on Trial; Describe Accused as Patsy
1/3/06

Witness tampering, faked evidence, inflammatory testimony display political motives and confirm Charlie Sheen’s concerns, experts claim.

Washington, DC (PRWEB) April 22, 2006 ? The trial holding Zacarias Moussaoui responsible for the horrors of 9/11 has all the marks of a political charade, according to Scholars for 9/11 Truth, a society of experts devoted to exposing falsehoods and establishing truths about the events of that day. “Even the most basic elements of due process have been violated,” according to James H. Fetzer, its founder and co-chair, “by failing to prove that the accused had anything to do with 9/11. What we are seeing here tends to substantiate Charlie Sheen’s allegations.”

Fetzer insists there has been a clever ruse to confuse the jury by using a confession to one plot as though it were evidence of complicity in another. As The New York Times (April 27, 2005) reported, Moussaoui “confessed? to having been involved in a plot to fly a plane into the White House to free Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, who is serving a life sentence for terrorist acts. He denied that he was part of the 9/11 attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C.

A Judicial “Shell Game?

The mentally instable Moussaoui has now “confessed” that he and shoe-bomber Richard Reid were going to hijack a fifth aircraft and fly it into the White House, which was not the plot of which he was convicted. The Scholars believe government prosecutors have been playing a deceptive “shell game? by tying him to 9/11. Even the FBI has expressed doubts about Moussaoui’s new version of events, since Reid left a will naming Moussaoui as his beneficiary, which was very odd if they were going to participate in a suicide mission together.

The government claims Moussaoui should be put to death for failing to report everything he knew about 9/11, which it claims would have saved lives. “This is blatantly unconstitutional,” says 9/11 Truth Scholar Webster Tarpley. “Under the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution, nobody can be prosecuted for a failure to incriminate themselves.”?

“This entire trial has been a farce,” says Fetzer, a professor of philosophy at the University of Minnesota. “Government prosecutors have contaminated witnesses, elicited testimony they cannot corroborate, and ? according to multiple reports ? even forced Moussaoui to wear a “stun belt”. 50,000 volts should be enough to keep anyone from straying from the script,” he said. “It is very difficult to imagine how testimony taken under duress is admissible.”

The 9/11 Truth Movement

The fast-growing, over 200-member strong society is only the tip of an iceberg of a ?9/11 Truth? movement which has produced dozens of books and scores of websites assailing the official version of 9/11. According to those involved, it’s an uphill battle. John Leonard, a member of S9/11T and the publisher of several books on 9/11, including one by Webster Tarpley, insists that at least one basic element of the ?9/11 Truth? idea can be conveyed in less than a minute, but he finds most Americans have psychological barriers to it.

“When we hit a fact that contradicts our world view, we usually pause, rationalize it and keep going. But sometimes we stumble onto something and want to dig deeper. That’s where 9/11 researchers get started.” Psychologists describe the resistance to ideas that threaten our sense of security as “cognitive dissonance”, which can occur when, for example, a mother discovers evidence her husband has been molesting their daughter.

To demonstrate his position, Leonard asks people to consider three points:

First, as the video-clip on this page (wtc7.gif) reveals, when WTC-7, a 47-story building that was not hit by any airplane, collapsed at 5:20 PM on 9/11, it displayed all of the signs of a controlled demolition, including sudden and complete collapse at virtually the rate of free fall into its own footprint, precisely as old casinos and hotels are brought down in Las Vegas.

Second, the collapse of WTC-7 is not even mentioned in The 9/11 Commission Report and has yet to be explained by the government. When Steven Jones, professor of physics at BYU, wanted the video of the collapse played on Tucker Carson’s MSNBC program, only a single frame was shown, which is typical of the attention it has drawn from the national media.

Third, for WTC-7 to be brought down by controlled demolition implies the existence of previously positioned explosives. That raises the possibility there were previously positioned explosives in WTC-1 and WTC-2 as well. Jones? own physics research, archived on the Scholar’s web site at st911.org, suggests that all three must have been brought down by controlled demolition.

Appeals to Fabricated Evidence

The most stunning example of government mendacity in the Moussaoui trial, Fetzer explains, came with the inflammatory recordings, allegedly the last moments of Flight 93, which went down in Pennsylvania. “Not only should they not have been admitted into evidence,” he said, “but Allen Green has noted that much of the conversation is from the passenger cabin ” which would not have been picked up in by the cockpit voice recorder, even through an open door. Yet the cockpit door was supposed to be closed before it was finally broken open using a drink cart.”

Another blunder was noted by a Muslim member of S9/11T. The last words of the “hijackers” that the tape are “Allah is great! (Allahu akbar!?). Muhammad Columbo says, “The last words of a Muslim cannot be these! They are used in the call to prayer, or in an attack at war. On the moment of death, a Muslim must confirm that “There is but one God, Allah, and that Mohammed is his prophet!? The government’s own evidence proves either the tapes or the Muslims are fake.

Fetzer has also been struck by the use of phrases that appear to come from Hollywood scripts. “It’s not enough that he talks about “making his day? as though he were a fan of Dirty Harry, but he also parodies “Born in the USA? with his rendition of “Burn in the USA” and has described his trial as a “cyberlynching”. We are so used to movies that we may not notice this is supposed to be real life, where this trial appears to be following a script.

Patsies and Moles

Another perception of the events taking place in Alexandria, VA, comes from Webster Tarpley. “Moussaoui represents the classic case of the patsy ?- part double agent consciously working for the government, part psychotic, part fanatic, part dupe,” Tarpley observes. “His lawyers tried to save him by suggesting he is a delusional paranoid schizophrenic, and this may be accurate.” (See www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2006/04/17/AR2006041700637.html.)

“Like shoe bomber Richard Reid, Moussaoui is a product of Finsbury mosque in London, long notorious as a British intelligence recruiting center for expendable patsies”? In his book, ?9/11: Synthetic Terror,” Tarpley explains that, “Again and again, terrorist groups with US-UK backing have intervened against progressive nationalists in the Arab world, in favor of fundamentalists.”

Of “false-flag? operations (a term from sailing ship days, when a war could be begun by raising an enemy flag and attacking one’s own side), Tarpley observes, “The patsies ultimately have three vital functions. The first is that they have to be noticed. They must attract lots and lots of attention. They may issue raving statements.” That description does seem to fit Moussaoui.

Secondly, they must stay out of jail, not to carry out the terrorist attack ” that is a job for the professionals ? but only to be blamed for it. Keeping them out of jail is a job for “the moles.”

After the terror act is complete, the moles turn on the patsies and destroy them. In this case, the situation may be more complex, since Moussaoui has expressed the belief that he is going to be pardoned by President Bush, possibly in exchange for Americans captured in the war in Iraq.

Painwashing and Propaganda

On March 21, 2006, CBS reported the prosecutors? allegation that Moussaoui’s lies to FBI agent Harry Samit had prevented the FBI from thwarting or at least minimizing the 9/11 attacks. Samit himself, however, in one of the most embarrassing twists of the trial with regard to the government’s case, testified that he had already “warned higher-ups and others in the government at least 70 times that Moussaoui was a terrorist.”

This nullifies the entire prosecution, Fetzer observes. “Ignoring five or six reports of this kind might reflect incompetence. Twenty or thirty, criminal neglect. But ignoring 70 reports has to be a matter of deliberate policy.” Samit’s testimony proves that, even if Moussaoui had come forward to incriminate himself in a plot in which he was not involved, it would not have helped. “Which means,” Fetzer adds, “that this trial is simply an exercise in propaganda.”

Jerry Mazza, Online Journal (April 14, 2006), has described the trial as a “painwashing,” which he defines as repeating the same painful stories over and over again until the audience’s resistance to questioning their authenticity is overcome. Leonard adds, ?9/11 was what Pavlov called “traumatic conditioning,” a way of reversing your normal characteristics by deep shock.”

“If our findings are correct,” Fetzer observed, “then the American government has been using acts of violence to instill fear into the American people in order to manipulate us for political purposes. That, however, is the definition of “terrorism?; which means that the American government has been practicing terrorism on the American people. That may be difficult for many Americans to accept, but the evidence is clear and compelling. Charlie Sheen was right!?

***

Al Motassadeq appeals

Al Motassadeq appeals

By Hugh Williamson in Berlin

Published: Financial Times, January 9 2007 20:06 | Last updated: January 9 2007 20:06

Lawyers for a Moroccan man convicted in Germany for helping plan the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks on Tuesday launched an appeal against the 15-year prison sentence handed down this week, saying they may take the case to the European Court of Justice.

Mournir al-Motassadeq was given the sentence on Monday evening by a Hamburg court, in what legal experts said would probably mark the end of a legal saga that has also strained co-operation between Germany and the United States on anti-terror measures.

Udo Jacob, a lawyer for Mr Motassadeq, said the appeal was aimed in part at forcing a re-trial with new witnesses. Walter Hemberger, a state prosecutor involved in Mr Motassadeq’s conviction, said the appeal “was unlikely to be successful”.

Mr Motassadeq, 32, one of only two people convicted for involvement in the al-Qaeda attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, was a student friend in Hamburg of three of the suicide pilots in the September 11 attacks, but has always denied knowledge of their plot.

He was convicted last November by Germanx’s Federal Court of Appeals as an accessory to the murder of 246 passengers and crew abroad the four airplanes used in the attacks. The case was sent to the Hamburg court for this week’s sentencing.

Mr Motassadeq’s case has strained US-German relations because, ever since legal action against the accused started in 2002, Washington refused to give German courts access to alleged al-Qaeda leaders in US custody who German lawyers believed could have influenced the outcome if they had reached the witness stand. The US ruled out access on security grounds, providing only partial transcripts of prison statements made by the alleged al-Qaeda men.

This problem of access to witnesses was a key reason why Mr Motassadeq’s original conviction, also to 15-years in prison, in February 2003, was overturned in August 2005. On this occasion he was given a seven-year sentence for being a member of a terrorist organisation. Charges of being an accessory to murder were dismissed.

That 2005 verdict was over-turned by the November 2006 federal court ruling. During the 2005 trial the ruling judge criticised Washington’s stance as “difficult to understand”. Legal experts said the case highlighted the problems of pursuing terrorism-related cases through civil courts.

Zacarias Moussaoui, a French citizen of Moroccan descent, who received a life sentence in a US court in May last year, is the only other person convicted of having links to the September 11 attacks. Mr Motassadeq has already spent three years in prison ? time that will be taken into account as he fulfils his sentence, court officials said.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007

Hamburg court violates international law by admitting evidence potentially obtained through torture

AI Index: EUR 23/001/2005 (Public)
News Service No: 227
18 August 2005


Germany: Hamburg court violates international law by admitting evidence potentially obtained through torture


[See comments by Elias Davidsson at the End]

Amnesty International is deeply concerned that the Hamburg Supreme Court (Hanseatisches Oberlandesgericht) decided on 14 June 2005 to accept evidence which may have been obtained through torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (ill-treatment) in flagrant violation of its obligations under international law to investigate complaints of torture and to exclude any statement made as the result of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

The statements have been given by USA intelligence officials to German authorities in the form of summaries of interrogations of three persons suspected of “terrorist” activities held at unknown locations by USA authorities. These three individuals are reported to be Ramzi Binalshibh, Mohamed Ould Slahi and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The statements are to be used in a re-trial of Mounir al-Motassadeq. The prosecution accuses Mounir al-Motassadeq of belonging to a terrorist group and of having assisted the hijackers of the aeroplanes that crashed into the World Trade Center on 11 September 2001 and killed over 3,000 people.

If the statements used in the trial have been obtained through torture, they are not admissible as evidence in legal proceedings according to Article 15 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which Germany is a party. Furthermore, Germany would be in breach of Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as Article 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms which both include the absolute prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The court has decided to accept the statements as evidence as it claims that it cannot be proven that they were obtained through torture or other ill-treatment. Although human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as journalists and almost all released detainees, have repeatedly reported on numerous allegations of torture and other ill-treatment reported from detention centres in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guant

Serious travesty of justice in Germany in an alleged 9/11 case

Serious travesty of justice in Germany in an alleged 9/11 case

by Elias Davidsson
17 November 2006

According to the international press, a German appeals court convicted on November 14, 2006 a Moroccan national, Mounir el-Motassadeq, of involvement in the September 11, 2001 plot. He was convicted as an “accessory to murder” because he was a friend of three of the alleged September 11 perpetrators and allegedly knew of their plan to hijack and crash planes. He faces 15 years of prison.The defendant denies any foreknowledge of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The judicial proceedings regarding el-Motassadeq began already in 2002 with ups and downs. Both the prosecution and the defense agreed to rely on the official account on the events of 9/11, and particularly on the allegation that Mohammed Atta, apparently a friend of el-Motassadeq, was one of the perpetrators of the mass murder of 9/11.

The problem is that Mohammed Atta was not one of the perpetrators of the mass murder of 9/11 because he did not board any of the aircraft which were used as the tools of murder. Anyone alleging that he actually boarded on such aircraft rather than climb the Himalaya, fish in the Amazon or drink whiskey in Florida, bears the burden of proof, for the simple reason that those who level accusations of murder against a person must prove their allegations. Atta’s name does not appear on passenger lists. No one has seen him board the aircraft. And his bodily remains were not identified in the crash sites. Incidentally, this applies to all 19 alleged hijackers, whose names do not appear on the passenger lists, whom no one saw board the aircraft and whose bodily remains remain unidentified. For all practical purposes, the entire story on the hijacked planes is a fairy-tale.

Now, it is theoretically possible that US law-enforcement agencies possess the above evidence but have decided not to release it for reasons that they have not given. I say “theoretically”, because one would have expected the US administration not only to publicize incriminating evidence as proof for their allegations against the 19 Muslims, but to use this evidence as the main proof for its allegations. Yet, instead it has relied on dubious confessions by Osama bin Laden, who no one has seen. But even if one would argue that such evidence may exist somewhere in the archives of the FBI, it is the duty of a court of justice to prove that the persons whom el-Motassadeq helped actually participated in the mass murder of 9/11. If the court cannot produce such proof, it must release the defendant, even if the defendant himself may believe – due to press reports – that his erstewhile friend participated in this murder.

The consensus formed by the prosecution, the defense, the judges and the German media, the international media and even human rights organisations, to disregard this crucial evidential issue, is sinister and may further undermine public confidence in the justice system. 

Questions or observations regarding the above statement, are welcome.

Moussaoui is innocent!

Moussaoui is innocent!
by Elias Davidsson
4 May 2006

Today, the media announced that Zacarias Moussaoui was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for allegedly contributing to the mass murder of 9/11. Thus ended the Moussaoui saga, which began in August 2001, when he was arrested.

The entire Moussaoui trial was punctuated by irregularities and unfairness: Moussaoui was not entitled to choose his own defense lawyer. The trial judge, Leonie Brinkema, accepted inadmissible hearsay evidence regarding the commission of the mass murder of 9/11, and accepted that the Government link Moussaoui’s statements with such hearsay evidence. She also admitted a Statement of Facts signed by Moussaoui, which includes alleged facts that Moussaoui could not in any way certify (when these alleged facts occurred, he sat in prison) and which were also unproved by themselves. His appointed judges did not ask that such a document be rejected as inadmissible. The Government did not bother to prove the facts “admitted” by Moussaoui. It relied on his own ravings as if they were the truth. Moussaoui was not permitted to have alleged Al Qaeda members in US detention testify in his case, on the absurd allegation by the US Government that their testimony might endanger US national security. The jury was never told that the whole official account on 9/11 remains until today heresay, in that the most fundamental facts concerning the commission of this crime have not been judicially established but determined by a political body.

Zacarias Moussaoui has not killed anyone. His alleged silence in custody did not cause – according to legal rules of causation – the death of anyone. His contradictory and bizarre statements should not have been taken at face value by the court. He may have been brainwashed. He may have been bribed or coerced to say what he said. He may be mentally insane. He may be megalomanic. In trying to demonstrate that finally one person was convicted for the mass murder of 9/11, the US Government found no one better to convict that this wreck, while the accused planners of the mass murder, Ramzi Binsalshibh and Khaled Mohammed Sheikh, who find themselves incommunicado in US custody, have neither been indicted nor presented to a judge. We do not know whether they have been tortured, brainwashed, or killed. We don’t know and the Moussaoui court did not ask, while accepting a summary of their alleged testimony.Judge Brinkema accepted to play this dirty game. 

Whether Moussaoui will remain in prison all his life, or compelled to kill himself, is anyone’s guess. His conviction has not furthered the quest for the truth on the events of 9/11 nor justice for the victims. 

The decision to sentence Zacarias Moussaoui to life imprisonment will remain a historical stain on US justice. Meanwhile the real planners and perpetrators of the mass murder are still roaming free and capable of committing further atrocities.

Moussaoui asks to withdraw guilty plea

Moussaoui’s Move to Recant Guilty Plea Is Denied

By NEIL A. LEWIS, New York Times
Published: May 9, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/09/us/09moussaoui.html?_r=1&n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20Topics%2fPeople%2fM%2fMoussaoui%2c%20Zacarias&oref=slogin

WASHINGTON, May 8 ? Zacarias Moussaoui, who was sentenced last week to life in prison for his role in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, filed a motion on Monday asking to withdraw his guilty plea and go to trial again.

Judge Leonie M. Brinkema quickly rejected Mr. Moussaoui’s motion, noting that under federal law a defendant may not withdraw a plea after sentencing. Nonetheless, the motion contained some interesting tidbits.

Mr. Moussaoui said he pleaded guilty in April 2005, over the advice of his court-appointed lawyers, because his "understanding of the American legal system was completely flawed." He said he was "extremely surprised" that the jury in the federal court in Alexandria, Va., decided to spare his life.

As a result, Mr. Moussaoui said he wanted to withdraw his guilty plea "because I now see that I can receive a fair trial even with Americans as jurors and that I can have the opportunity to prove that I did not have any knowledge of and was not a member of the plot to hijack planes and crash them into buildings on Sept. 11."

He said, "I had thought that I would be sentenced to death based on the emotions and anger toward me for the deaths on Sept. 11, but after reviewing the jury verdict and reading how the jurors set aside their emotions and disgust for me and focused on the law and the evidence that was presented during the trial, I came to understand that the jury process was more complex than I had assumed."

Last Wednesday, the jury rejected the Justice Department’s argument that Mr. Moussaoui, the only person charged in an American courtroom with involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks, be given a death sentence. On Thursday, Judge Brinkema sentenced him to life in prison.

In the affidavit attached to his motion, Mr. Moussaoui also said he lied when he testified during his trial that he had planned to fly a fifth plane into the White House as part of the Sept. 11 plot. He was also lying, he asserted, when he said he had been an intimate of Mohammed Atta, the pilot of one of the hijacked planes that day.

Mr. Moussaoui is expected to be moved shortly to a maximum security federal prison in Florence, Colo., where he will be kept in solitary confinement for the rest of his life. There is no parole in the federal system.

Moussaoui: The Patsy Effect

The Patsy Effect <!– (3.00 / 0) –> <!– (#1) –>

by DurandoKid
gsenne<ta>myDurango<tod>ne
 

25 April 2006

I can’t completely dismiss the notion that Zakarias Moussaoui is a patsy.  He seems to fit the criteria such as being a flake, saying anything that pops into his head, devotion to a cause he doesn’t appear to understand.  Perhaps he’s the Lee Harvey Oswald that made it to trial.  The whole issue of cause and effect in the 9-11 story is muddled by official secrets, non-independent non-investigations, outright lies and a trail of evidence that is claimed to be the opposite of what your eyes tell you it is.  If the trial of Moussaoui was another attempt to get at the truth of 9-11, it failed. I have to conclude that the Moussaoui trial was another instance of the propaganda system’s attempt to define reality.  This is the reality where every piece of information is just an opinion, all opinions are of equal weight, and loyal Americans should believe the official opinion.  I can’t bring myself to believe that anyt

Zacarias Moussaoui finally makes his dreams come true

Yet because of Moussaoui’s false testimony, the government’s nutty conspiracy theory, and the nation’s need for closure, Moussaoui’s name will be in the history books and the law books for all time; inextricably linked with 9/11, just as it has always been in his dreams.
http://www.slate.com/id/2139185/

When You Wish Upon a Scar
Zacarias Moussaoui finally makes his dreams come true.
By Dahlia Lithwick
Posted Monday, April 3, 2006, at 7:12 PM ET


Hand it to Zacarias Moussaoui, who managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory with his fantastical eleventh-hour trial testimony last week about a never-before-mentioned fifth 9/11 airplane; the one that he would apparently have co-piloted with Richard Reid and flown into the White House. In a trial featuring some of the most spectacular episodes of government overreaching and misconduct we will ever see, Moussaoui managed to persuade the jurors that he was a key figure in the 9/11 attacks?even though he was in jail at the time and had always claimed before that Sept. 11 was "not my conspiracy."

When it looked like little Moussaoui was too small to play the outsized role the prosecutors had scripted for him, he simply grew himself to fit into it. Moussaoui’s lies don’t appear to have actually advanced the conspiracy of 9/11, but they have certainly forwarded the conspiracy to put him to death as a perpetrator of 9/11.

Faced with the choice of believing the combined wisdom of Waleed bin Attash, Sayf al-Adl, and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, or that of the defendant, jurors finally opted to believe Moussaoui and today found him eligible for the death penalty. And why shouldn’t they believe him? One terrorist in the hand is better than three in undisclosed overseas locations.

Put aside the uncomfortable fact that Moussaoui was always willing – even eager?to die as a martyr. Put aside also the fact that Moussaoui told the prosecution that he wanted to be executed. And that he was willing to testify against himself if it would mean avoiding a life sentence – because it was "different to die in a battle … than in a jail on a toilet," as he put it.

Why shouldn’t his jurors make his dreams come true?

This was what negotiators describe as a Pareto-optimal result: a win-win, in which Moussaoui, the government, and Americans craving vindication all got what they wanted. In the end, the verdict’s only casualties are a few impossible-to-explain facts. Facts that should have added up to just this: We don’t execute people for fanciful happenings that may have followed from imaginary conversations.

Nobody will dispute that Moussaoui would have happily done anything at all to help the 9/11 plot succeed. But he did nothing to help it succeed because, as everyone but Moussaoui now agrees, he was flaky, wifty, and weird. It’s not a capital crime to be flaky, wifty, or weird. Nor is it a capital crime to wish you were a hero instead of a dud.

Yet because of Moussaoui’s false testimony, the government’s nutty conspiracy theory, and the nation’s need for closure, Moussaoui’s name will be in the history books and the law books for all time; inextricably linked with 9/11, just as it has always been in his dreams. And perhaps we will all sleep better for believing that if Moussaoui had come forward and told what little he knew, we could have stopped those terrible attacks, just as it happens in our own dreams.

How lucky for Moussaoui that his fantasies and ours are such a perfect match.

Dahlia Lithwick is a Slate senior editor.

Moussaoui: It’s About Us, Not Him

It’s About Us, Not Him

April 17, 2006

Attorney Andrew Cohen analyzes legal issues for CBS News and CBSNews.com.

Zacarias Moussaoui’s jurors should resist the sweet temptation to judge him based upon the beastly words he used in court last Thursday during the waning days of his federal sentencing trial in Alexandria, Va. Indeed, to the extent humanly possible, the brave men and woman of the jury should ignore what the al Qaeda conspirator says altogether — dismiss it like the rantings of a six-year-old child — and base their life-or-death decision about him solely upon which message they wish to send to their fellow citizens and the rest of the world.

It is becoming increasingly clear with each blustery outburst from Moussaoui that his fate ultimately is about us, as a people, and not about him, a low-grade failure in the dark world of terror. It is about how experienced we have become in perceiving the terror threat around us; how capable we now are of separating true terrorists from wannabe terror punks like Moussaoui. It’s about whether we are smart enough to see through his shtick; through what his own lawyers call “manipulation;” through the bluffs and the threats and the grade-school insults. He says inhuman things. How human will be our reaction to them?

Several jurors in court Thursday looked away from Moussaoui as he mocked 9/11 and its victims. I wish more had done so. In fact, I wish the jurors in a moment of drama had simply turned their back on the guy or even walked out of the courtroom. For Moussaoui now is worthy of no more attention or respect from the panel than that. He is saying what he is saying, all the ugly words and false bravado, because he wants the world to think he is brave, a true-believer in the cause of al Qaeda, a warrior who will fight until the fight is done. He wants to do with words what he could not do in deed.

But his jurors know, and we know, that when Moussaoui was free to fight he did not. He could not. The guy who ridiculed the victims of 9/11 by telling jurors Thursday “no pain, no gain” was, is and forever will be all show and no go. He wasn’t going to the 20th hijacker; he wasn’t going to fly into the White House; he wasn’t even going to get anywhere near a plane. Every organization has its share of losers, of men and women who just don’t cut it for one reason for another. For al Qaeda, Moussaoui was that guy. Only now, with everyone who could contradict him either dead, on the run, or on government-inspired ice, suddenly he’s Genghis Khan. Please.

Some of his jurors were laughing at him in court, the Associated Press reported, and that’s because they know now, as if they did not before, that he is merely a punk — either loony or a jerk or some combination of both. Think of him as the insecure kid who, craving for attention, hectors both his friends and his enemies. Think of him as the student who tries out for the team but comes up woefully short and thus becomes an obnoxious rah-rah cheerleader. Think of him as the guy who tries to get into the exclusive club by telling the bouncer that he knows the celebrities inside.

Remember that all of Moussaoui’s al Qaeda leaders except one — Osama bin Laden himself — couldn’t stand the guy and couldn’t wait to be rid of him. The guy is a rube, elevated to the status he currently occupies only because of monumentally poor judgment by the White House and Justice Department, which picked him, of all people, to endure a 9/11 show trial. The feds should forever be ashamed of themselves for making that choice all those years ago, and for sticking to it so stubbornly since. But that doesn’t mean that jurors have to endorse it. Even Moussaoui couldn’t stick to his own script. He told jurors that he came to believe that it ultimately “was useless to differentiate” himself from 9/11 as if it were a choice.

Moussaoui tells the jury that he has “no regret, no remorse” about 9/11, as though he played a central role in its planning and execution. Notwithstanding Moussaoui’s false confession a few weeks ago, in which he planted himself at the center of the hijacking plot, the truth is that the guy didn’t know who the other hijackers were, when they would strike, which planes they would use, or any other material operational details of the plot. He said what he wanted to say back then because he was smart enough to sense that the government’s case against him was falling apart. Now, he is saying what he is saying because he figures he’ll meet the real hijackers in Paradise and at the same time become a martyr in the madrasahs of Pakistan and Iraq.

He’d be happy to see another 9/11? Sure, he told the defense attorney he had just scorned, “every day until we get you.” This from a guy whose of idea of “getting” us was to draw immediate attention to himself by asking his flight instructor in Minnesota in August 2001 whether the doors of a jet plane could be opened automatically once in flight. This from a guy who tried to train to fly 747s without ever flying a Cessna. This from a guy who kept asking his terror bosses for more money even as the real hijackers were sending their unspent funds back to the Middle East in the hours before 9/11. If Moussaoui were in the Mob he long ago would have been whacked for being soft.

He’d be happy to hear sobbing again like what he heard in court from prosecution witnesses during the second phase of this proceeding? “Make my day,” he told an attorney. “I am glad there was pain and I wish there will be more pain.” This from a guy who reportedly told his terror bosses that he didn’t want a hijacking gig on the East Coast and who made a mess of his terror training opportunities in Asia long before 9/11. Moussaoui isn’t bin Laden Light. He’s not even Richard Reid, the failed shoebomber. No, Moussaoui is a stooge; the guy who tripped over his own shadow, fell into a hole, and is about to come out a poster child for, as he so self-inflatingly puts it, one man’s crusade against a Superpower.

Jurors should forget about Moussaoui’s taunts. They should forget about his hatred. They should forget about his boasts. They should forget about the lack of empathy or compassion he showed to the innocents of 9/11. They should instead decide what punishment would be worst for him and best for America; what punishment would best differentiate our society, our culture, and our legal system from the one Moussaoui thinks it is — or wishes it would be. They should think not of the immediate outcome of their decision but upon its long-term influence on the war on terror. They should not sink to his level or allow his level to become the baseline for this and future terror trials.

If Moussaoui is going to act like a child, a petulant, spoiled, silly, bragging brat of a child, then his jurors should take a stand and act like adults. They owe it to us, to him, and in the end to themselves.

 

Scholars Call Moussaoui Trial a ‘Charade; Describe Accused as Patsy

Scholars Call Moussaoui Trial a "Charade;" See Constitutional Rights on Trial; Describe Accused as Patsy

http://news.yahoo.com/s/prweb/20060421/bs_prweb/prweb375105_2

Fri Apr 21, 9:16 AM ET

(PRWEB) – Washington, DC (PRWEB) April 22, 2006 — The trial holding Zacarias Moussaoui responsible for the horrors of 9/11 has all the marks of a political charade, according to Scholars for 9/11 Truth, a society of experts devoted to exposing falsehoods and establishing truths about the events of that day. "Even the most basic elements of due process have been violated," according to James H. Fetzer, its founder and co-chair, "by failing to prove that the accused had anything to do with 9/11. What we are seeing here tends to substantiate Charlie Sheen's allegations."

Fetzer insists there has been a clever ruse to confuse the jury by using a confession to one plot as though it were evidence of complicity in another. As The New York Times (April 27, 2005) reported, Moussaoui "confessed" to having been involved in a plot to fly a plane into the White House to free Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, who is serving a life sentence for terrorist acts. He denied that he was part of the 9/11 attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C.

A Judicial "Shell Game"

The mentally instable Moussaoui has now "confessed" that he and shoe-bomber Richard Reid were going to hijack a fifth aircraft and fly it into the White House, which was not the plot of which he was convicted. The Scholars believe government prosecutors have been playing a deceptive "shell game" by tying him to 9/11. Even the
FBI has expressed doubts about Moussaoui's new version of events, since Reid left a will naming Moussaoui as his beneficiary, which was very odd if they were going to participate in a suicide mission together.

The government claims Moussaoui should be put to death for failing to report everything he knew about 9/11, which it claims would have saved lives. "This is blatantly unconstitutional," says 9/11 Truth Scholar Webster Tarpley. "Under the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution, nobody can be prosecuted for a failure to incriminate themselves.'"

"This entire trial has been a farce," says Fetzer, a professor of philosophy at the University of Minnesota. "Government prosecutors have contaminated witnesses, elicited testimony they cannot corroborate, and — according to multiple reports — even forced Moussaoui to wear a 'stun belt'. 50,000 volts should be enough to keep anyone from straying from the script," he said. "It is very difficult to imagine how testimony taken under duress is admissible."

The 9/11 Truth Movement

The fast-growing, over 200-member strong society is only the tip of an iceberg of a "9/11 Truth" movement which has produced dozens of books and scores of websites assailing the official version of 9/11. According to those involved, it's an uphill battle. John Leonard, a member of S9/11T and the publisher of several books on 9/11, including one by Webster Tarpley, insists that at least one basic element of the "9/11 Truth" idea can be conveyed in less than a minute, but he finds most Americans have psychological barriers to it.

"When we hit a fact that contradicts our world view, we usually pause, rationalize it and keep going. But sometimes we stumble onto something and want to dig deeper. That's where 9/11 researchers get started." Psychologists describe the resistance to ideas that threaten our sense of security as "cognitive dissonance", which can occur when, for example, a mother discovers evidence her husband has been molesting their daughter.

To demonstrate his position, Leonard asks people to consider three points:

First, as the video-clip on this page (wtc7.gif) reveals, when WTC-7, a 47-story building that was not hit by any airplane, collapsed at 5:20 PM on 9/11, it displayed all of the signs of a controlled demolition, including sudden and complete collapse at virtually the rate of free fall into its own footprint, precisely as old casinos and hotels are brought down in Las Vegas.

Second, the collapse of WTC-7 is not even mentioned in The 9/11 Commission Report and has yet to be explained by the government. When Steven Jones, professor of physics at BYU, wanted the video of the collapse played on Tucker Carson's MSNBC program, only a single frame was shown, which is typical of the attention it has drawn from the national media.

Third, for WTC-7 to be brought down by controlled demolition implies the existence of previously positioned explosives. That raises the possibility there were previously positioned explosives in WTC-1 and WTC-2 as well. Jones' own physics research, archived on the Scholar's web site at st911.org, suggests that all three must have been brought down by controlled demolition.

Appeals to Fabricated Evidence

The most stunning example of government mendacity in the Moussaoui trial, Fetzer explains, came with the inflammatory recordings, allegedly the last moments of Flight 93, which went down in Pennsylvania. "Not only should they not have been admitted into evidence," he said, "but Allen Green has noted that much of the conversation is from the passenger cabin — which would not have been picked up in by the cockpit voice recorder, even through an open door. Yet the cockpit door was supposed to be closed before it was finally broken open using a drink cart."

Another blunder was noted by a Muslim member of S9/11T. The last words of the "hijackers" on the tape are "Allah is great! (Allahu akbar!"). Muhammad Columbo says, "The last words of a Muslim cannot be these! They are used in the call to prayer, or in an attack at war. On the moment of death, a Muslim must confirm that "There is but one God, Allah, and that Mohammed is his prophet!" The government's own evidence proves either the tapes or the Muslims are fake.

Fetzer has also been struck by the use of phrases that appear to come from Hollywood scripts. "It's not enough that he talks about "making his day" as though he were a fan of Dirty Harry, but he also parodies "Born in the USA" with his rendition of "Burn in the USA" and has described his trial as a 'cyberlynching'. We are so used to movies that we may not notice this is supposed to be real life, where this trial appears to be following a script.

Patsies and Moles

Another perception of the events taking place in Alexandria, VA, comes from Webster Tarpley. "Moussaoui represents the classic case of the patsy ? part double agent consciously working or the government, part psychotic, part fanatic, part dupe," Tarpley observes. "His lawyers tried to save him by suggesting he is a delusional paranoid schizophrenic, and this may be accurate." (See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2006/04/17/AR2006041700637.html.)

"Like shoe bomber Richard Reid, Moussaoui is a product of Finsbury mosque in London, long notorious as a British intelligence recruiting center for expendable patsies…." In his book, "9/11: Synthetic Terror," Tarpley explains that, "Again and again, terrorist groups with US-UK backing have intervened against progressive nationalists in the Arab world, in favor of fundamentalists."

Of "false-flag" operations (a term from sailing ship days, when a war could be begun by raising an enemy flag and attacking one's own side), Tarpley observes, "The patsies ultimately have three vital functions. The first is that they have to be noticed. They must attract lots and lots of attention. They may issue raving statements." That description does seem to fit Moussaoui.

Secondly, they must stay out of jail, not to carry out the terrorist attack — that is a job for the professionals — but only to be blamed for it. Keeping them out of jail is a job for "the moles."

After the terror act is complete, the moles turn on the patsies and destroy them. In this case, the situation may be more complex, since Moussaoui has expressed the belief that he is going to be pardoned by
President Bush, possibly in exchange for Americans captured in the war in
Iraq.

Painwashing and Propaganda

On March 21, 2006, CBS reported the prosecutors' allegation that Moussaoui's lies to FBI agent Harry Samit had prevented the FBI from thwarting or at least minimizing the 9/11 attacks. Samit himself, however, in one of the most embarrassing twists of the trial with regard to the government's case, testified that he had already "warned higher-ups and others in the government at least 70 times that Moussaoui was a terrorist."

This nullifies the entire prosecution, Fetzer observes. "Ignoring five or six reports of this kind might reflect incompetence. Twenty or thirty, criminal neglect. But ignoring 70 reports has to be a matter of deliberate policy." Samit's testimony proves that, even if Moussaoui had come forward to incriminate himself in a plot in which he was not involved, it would not have helped. "Which means," Fetzer adds, "that this trial is simply an exercise in propaganda."

Jerry Mazza, Online Journal (April 14, 2006), has described the trial as a "painwashing," which he defines as repeating the same painful stories over and over again until the audience's resistance to questioning their authenticity is overcome. Leonard adds, "9/11 was what Pavlov called 'traumatic conditioning,' a way of reversing your normal characteristics by deep shock."

"If our findings are correct," Fetzer observed, "then the American government has been using acts of violence to instill fear into the American people in order to manipulate us for political purposes. That, however, is the definition of 'terrorism'; which means that the American government has been practicing terrorism on the American people. That may be difficult for many Americans to accept, but the evidence is clear and compelling. Charlie Sheen was right!"

***

How a 9/11 conspirator gave himself away

How a 9/11 conspirator gave himself away

Flight managers explain the many red flags raised by Moussaoui

CNN, Friday, March 3, 2006 Posted: 0419 GMT (1219 HKT)

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) — He spoke fluent Arabic but rusty English. He had plenty of cash, but didn’t seem like the playboy type. He said he wanted to learn to fly a jumbo jet simply to impress his pals.

But when al Qaeda operative Zacarias Moussaoui asked a flight instructor how to turn off the oxygen and transponder on a jet, two managers at the flight school had a hunch something was up.

That hunch may be the reason that Moussaoui — the only person indicted in the U.S. in connection with the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — is awaiting a death penalty trial next week.

The managers — Hugh Sims, 65, and Tim Nelson, 45 — said they saw red flags before Moussaoui even showed up at the Pan Am International Flight Academy in Eagan, Minnesota, 29 days before the attacks that toppled the World Trade Center and left a smoldering hole in the Pentagon. (Watch the men who suspected Moussaoui — 6:53)

Those instincts earned the men, both Air Force veterans, a Senate proclamation last year commending them for their bravery that "possibly prevented another attack against our nation."

It was an e-mail from Moussaoui to the flight school’s Miami, Florida, headquarters that first piqued their suspicion. In it, Moussaoui — using the handle "zuluman tango tango" — said he wanted to learn how to fly 747 passenger jets.

"I need to know if you can help me achieve my ‘goal,’ my dream," Moussaoui wrote, listing five types of Boeing and Airbus jets. "To be able to pilot one of these Big Birds, even if I am not a real professional pilot."

Moussaoui further claimed to be a British businessman, and in the e-mail — laced with grammatical errors — he said he wanted to learn how to take off and land, communicate with air traffic controllers and navigate between London, England, and New York City.

But Moussaoui had no pilot’s license and only 55 hours of flying time on small aircraft at a flight school in Oklahoma. He had never flown solo.

"I know it could be better, but I am sure you can do something. After all, we are in AMERICA, and everything is possible," Moussaoui wrote.

Nonetheless, Moussaoui was allowed to sign up for classes and flight-simulator training for the Boeing 747. He paid $1,500 of the $8,300 for the class with a credit card, the rest with cash when he showed up at the school.

Nelson said he was suspicious because cash is so difficult to track, but he set aside his concerns, figuring the man was a wealthy thrill seeker.

However, when Moussaoui, who claimed to be an international consultant, arrived wearing a T-shirt, jeans and a baseball cap, Sims was confused.

"I was expecting this guy to show up very well-dressed," Sims said. "He just didn’t fit the profile of what I would think he would be, for want of a better word, a rich playboy type."

Sims said Moussaoui’s English skills were fair, but didn’t seem up to snuff for an international businessman.

"His demeanor was not that sophisticated," Sims said.

He also had a weird reason for wanting to learn to fly a jumbo jet, said Nelson — he told them that he merely wanted to be able to boast to his friends that he could fly a 747.

"He was telling us that it’s an ego thing," Nelson said. "That’s a lot of money to spend to play."

But Moussaoui’s overall demeanor — often characterized as brash and abrasive because of his condescending remarks to the judge and attorneys involved in his case over the past four years — was friendly, even shy, Sims and Nelson recall. (Read how Moussaoui was barred from the courtroom for his antics)

The next day — August 14, 2001 — Moussaoui continued to earn the suspicion of the flight school staff, first when Nelson saw some Syrian airline students speaking to Moussaoui in Arabic. The students later told Nelson that Moussaoui, who was born to Moroccan parents, was a native speaker.

"That bothered me," Nelson said. "It’s just one more red flag."

At a manager’s meeting at the school, instructor Clancy Prevost said that Moussaoui had asked him how to turn off the oxygen in the passenger cabin and how to disconnect the transponder used to track the plane.

"There was an unease that was beginning to spread out among all the people who had come into contact with him," Sims said.

Nelson had recently seen a training video about a 1999 hijacking in Japan in which a deranged hijacker stabbed a pilot to death and took over the controls of a 747 with 500 people aboard to prove that he could fly.

"I’m thinking, do I have that or do I have something worse on my hands?" Nelson recalled, but he and Sims were both reluctant to call authorities when they had yet to pinpoint anything illegal Moussaoui had done.

But the next day, August 15, they both called the FBI without knowing the other had the same inclination.

"I don’t know what this guy is up to, but he is paying a lot of money for nothing he can use legitimately," Nelson recalls telling the FBI. "You need to understand this aircraft weighs 900,000 pounds. It carries between 50 and 57,000 gallons of jet fuel.

"If you fly it at 350 knots into a heavily populated area, you’re going to kill a boatload of people."

Sims called later and spoke to the same agent, telling him Moussaoui wanted training "that could become dangerous."

The following day, FBI and immigration agents went to Moussaoui’s hotel and arrested him. He had no visa, and his French passport allowed him to stay in the country only 90 days. He had exceeded it.

Moussaoui was indicted in December 2001 in connection with the 9/11 attacks, and upon pleading guilty to terrorism conspiracies last year, Moussaoui revealed he had been less than forthcoming when he told flight instructors his dream was to "pilot one of these Big Birds."

In fact, Moussaoui told the court, his dream was to pilot a big bird right into the White House in what he hoped was a second wave of attacks to follow the ones in New York and Washington.

"Maybe we did stop something from happening," Nelson said. "I was hoping I was wrong, because being right — we saw what being right was — 9/11."

Moussaoui Tells Court 9/11’s Toll Was Too Low

Moussaoui Tells Court 9/11’s Toll Was Too Low

By Jerry Markon and Timothy Dwyer
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, April 14, 2006; Page A01

Zacarias Moussaoui proudly reaffirmed his involvement in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist plot yesterday and said his only regret was that more Americans didn’t die.

Taking the stand for the second time at his death-penalty trial, Moussaoui calmly and matter-of-factly said that the sobbing Sept. 11 survivors and family members who testified against him were "disgusting," that the testimony of one man who crawled out of his burning Pentagon office was "pathetic" and that executed Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was "the greatest American."

In this image released by the U.S. District Court, a government exhibit shows a photo of an airplane part found in a crater at the scene in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, where United Air Lines Flight 93 crashed on Sept. 11, 2001, that was introduced at the sentencing trial of admitted terrorist conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui. (AP Photo/U.S. District Court)
In this image released by the U.S. District Court, a government exhibit shows a photo of an airplane part found in a crater at the scene in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, where United Air Lines Flight 93 crashed on Sept. 11, 2001, that was introduced at the sentencing trial of admitted terrorist conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui. (AP Photo/U.S. District Court) (AP)
Special Report

A 12-member jury has determined that Zacarias Moussaoui, who pleaded guilty last April to six counts of conspiring with al Qaeda in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, is eligible to be executed.

His cool demeanor was on display throughout his cross-examination. Moussaoui laughed when Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Spencer asked if he thought the United States was destined to fall. "I know it, I know it," he said. He stared at Spencer as the prosecutor inquired, "You wake up every day to destroy the United States, don’t you?"

"To the best of my ability," Moussaoui responded.

"It was your choice to accept a suicide mission from Osama bin Laden," Spencer stated.

"It was my pleasure," Moussaoui clarified.

The exchange between the prosecutor and the terrorist came as Moussaoui’s attorneys began their case to spare the convicted al-Qaeda operative’s life. But, just as he did when he testified in the trial’s first phase, Moussaoui may have hamstrung that argument before it began.

His words triggered tears from one family member of a Sept. 11 victim. An official from the U.S. attorney’s office put her arm around the woman and escorted her out. Outside the U.S. District Courthouse in Alexandria, Abraham Scott of Springfield, whose wife, Janice Marie Scott, died at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, said that hearing Moussaoui again left him feeling "like raw meat, like a pincushion."

"I can’t go beyond that or I’ll go insane," Scott said. "All I care about is putting him to death . . . regardless of what he wants."

What Moussaoui wants, he indicated yesterday, was to live to fight another day. He said he hopes jurors sentence him to life in prison, adding that he told the truth when he testified several weeks ago that he planned to fly a fifth hijacked plane into the White House on Sept. 11. "If I testify truthfully, I know that God will help me and I will not be executed," he said.

He said he was convinced that President Bush would free him in a prisoner exchange and that he would be allowed to return to Europe.

It was unclear how Moussaoui thought his statements would help his case and whether they represented his real feelings. He has gone back and forth on the subject of execution several times since he was charged with conspiring with al-Qaeda in 2001, often seeming to embrace the possibility of death. Some legal experts wondered if he was using reverse psychology with the jurors yesterday, expressing a wish for life when his real aim was to die a martyr.

What was clear was that the more familiar Moussaoui — known for his fiery courtroom speeches and vitriolic pleadings filed from jail — was back. He had sat quietly for most of the trial, but yesterday he proclaimed his hatred for the United States, saying he didn’t care what the jury thought about him because he would be judged only by God.

Moussaoui, 37, pleaded guilty last year to conspiring with al-Qaeda in the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. He is the only person convicted in a U.S. courtroom on charges stemming from Sept. 11. After three weeks of testimony, federal jurors this month said Moussaoui was eligible for execution, finding that his lies to federal agents when he was arrested in August 2001 allowed the attacks to go forward. The jury is now hearing testimony about whether Moussaoui should be put to death.
 

His testimony yesterday was another significant moment in a sentencing hearing that has had its share of gut-wrenching emotion. Jurors heard from more than 35 family members of Sept. 11 victims who told how the attacks shattered their lives. On Wednesday, prosecutors played a tape of the cockpit voice recorder depicting the struggle of passengers to retake control of United Airlines Flight 93, one of the four planes hijacked Sept. 11.

Yesterday featured more of the role reversals that have come to mark the proceedings. In the trial’s first phase, defense attorneys portrayed their client as a liar after he testified about his planned attack on the White House, while prosecutors said he was telling the truth. Yesterday, prosecutors portrayed Moussaoui as perfectly sane — he happily agreed — while his attorneys, who had fervently opposed his testimony, tried to leave jurors with the impression that he is irrational and delusional.

Questioned by his court-appointed attorney, Gerald T. Zerkin, Moussaoui declared that he thought his attorneys were trying to kill him. He denounced members of the defense team, saying they were more interested in fame than in saving his life and had refused his repeated requests for a Muslim attorney.

Moussaoui said his previous statements, including his wish to be executed as a martyr, were all part of his battle against America. "This is what I call psychological war or propaganda," he said.

Invited by Zerkin to explain why he hates America, Moussaoui said much of the reason is U.S. support for Israel, saying the Jewish state was "a creation of the Jewish community of New York and London. . . . For me, the Jewish state of Palestine is a missing star in the American flag. You are the head of the snake for me. If I want to destroy the Jewish state of Palestine, I have to destroy you."

Staring directly at Zerkin, who is Jewish, Moussaoui calmly said that he and other Muslims want to "exterminate" American Jews. Zerkin stared impassively back.

More incendiary statements followed. Moussaoui said that he had no regrets to offer the Sept. 11 family members who testified and that he finds it "disgusting that some people would come here to share their grief at the death of someone else. . . . Many of them, they will cry, be very emotional, but when they pass by me, they stare at me and they don’t cry."

Asked by Spencer whether he had any regrets at all, Moussaoui said, "There is no regret for justice."

Asked about the testimony of U.S. Army Lt. Col. John Thurman, who recalled how he fled his burning Pentagon office Sept. 11, Moussaoui said: "It was pathetic. I was regretful that he didn’t die."

After Moussaoui endorsed suicide bombing missions as "not crazy but based on Islam," Spencer said softly, "You would do it again tomorrow if you could, wouldn’t you?"

"Today," Moussaoui answered, smiling.

Government in Moussaoui trial admits no evidence that he, shoe-bomber Reid planned attack

Government in Moussaoui trial admits no evidence that he, shoe-bomber Reid planned attack

 

By MATTHEW BARAKAT Associated Press Writer
20 April 2006

(AP) – ALEXANDRIA, Virginia-The government conceded Thursday it had no evidence that would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid was to have conducted a terrorist hijacking with Zacarias Moussaoui, as Moussaoui has claimed.

 

The defense introduced a statement, agreed to by the government, that was presented to the jury considering whether Moussaoui should be executed or imprisoned for life.

news230(); Click here to find out more!

Moussaoui had stunned his trial on March 27 by claiming for the first time that he had intended to participate in the Sept. 11 attacks before his arrest a month earlier, and Reid was to have been an accomplice.

 

His lawyers hoped the statement would help undercut that claim and bolster their argument that their client is lying about his role in the attacks to inflate his place in history or achieve martyrdom through execution.

 

Earlier, defense lawyers tried to bring Reid to court from the federal prison in Colorado, where he is serving a life sentence for attempting to detonate a shoe bomb on a trans-Atlantic flight in late 2001.

 

That bid was thwarted, but defense attorneys were able to obtain from the government its agreement on the statement about Reid.

 

"No information is available to indicate that Richard Reid had pre-knowledge of the Sept. 11 operation or was instructed by al-Qaida leaders to conduct an operation in coordination with Moussaoui," the statement said.

 

The statement also said Reid had named Moussaoui as the beneficiary in his will and two FBI analysts concluded that was an unlikely decision for him to make had they planned a joint suicide mission.

 

The statement also said the FBI has learned from al-Qaida sources that Reid had been ordered to undertake shoe-bombing attacks in late 2001 with another operative, Saajid Badat, who pulled out of the operation and has never been heard from again.

 

The two FBI analysts also said that it was unlikely Reid was part of a Sept. 11 plot with Moussaoui because he spent the period from May to September 2001 traveling abroad, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel, Turkey and Amsterdam and The Hague in the Netherlands.

 

By contrast, the statement said, all members of the Sept. 11 operation were in the United States by July 2001.

 

The courtroom development followed a second round of testimony from families of Sept. 11, 2001, victims, who were brought forward by the lawyers trying to spare Moussaoui’s life. These witnesses pressed their point that they sought no revenge for their loss.

 

Testimony from about a dozen relatives was meant to counter the emotional punch of nearly four dozen witnesses who gave heartbreaking testimony for prosecutors about the impact of the attacks that killed close to 3,000 people.

 

Among defense witnesses Thursday was Andrea LeBlanc of New Hampshire, who lost her husband Robert, a retired geography professor, on the United Airlines plane that struck the second of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York.

 

She recalled having watched television when that plane hit and finding out hours later that her husband had been on it. She also remembered the pain of having to tell her children.

 

"To their credit, they’re all their father’s children," said LeBlanc, an opponent of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. "There’s never angry words, no recrimination or vengeance-seeking."

 

Court rules prohibited witnesses on either side from opining on the choice the jurors will face when deliberations begin next week: whether Moussaoui should be sentenced to death or life in prison.

 

Still, the defense witnesses left the unmistakable message that they opposed Moussaoui’s execution, as they talked about how they have devoted their lives to reconciliation rather than vengeance.

 

Alice Hoglan, mother of a public relations man, Mark Bingham, who died on United Flight 93 in Pennsylvania, said she had tried since Sept. 11 to embody the values of her son, "who embraced everyone."

 

Bingham was flying to San Francisco that day for the wedding of a fraternity brother, an Egyptian Muslim.

 

His mother said she and other relatives of Flight 93 victims now sponsor athletic events and hope to create a scholarship in Bingham’s name.

 

Moussaoui is the only person charged in this country in the attacks. The jury deciding his fate already has declared him eligible for the death penalty by determining that his actions caused at least one death on Sept. 11.

 

Even though Moussaoui was in jail in Minnesota at the time of the attacks, the jury ruled that lies he told federal agents a month before the attacks kept authorities from identifying and stopping some of the hijackers.

 

Moussaoui has pleaded guilty to conspiring with al-Qaida to fly planes into U.S. buildings, but not on Sept. 11.

 

 

AP Writer Michael J. Sniffen contributed to this story.

Moussaoui jury hears 9/11 cockpit recordings .

 

Moussaoui jury hears 9/11 cockpit recordings .

Staff and agencies
Wednesday April 12, 2006
The Guardian
http://www.guardian.co.uk/september11/story/0,,1752514,00.html

Jurors deciding whether Zacarias Moussaoui should be executed were today played recordings from the cockpit of one of the planes hijacked on September 11.

 

US federal prosecutors played a tape of the last 31 minutes in the cockpit of United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in western Pennsylvania during the 2001 terror attacks on the US.

The recordings revealing the terror of the passengers after al-Qaida hijackers took control of the plane, one of four to be simultaneously hijacked. It was the first time they had been heard in public.

Two planes were flown into the World Trade Centre twin towers and another into the Pentagon, killing almost 3,000 people.

The recording began at 9.31am with a hijacker’s voice clearly stating: “Ladies and gentlemen, this is the captain … we have a bomb on board, so sit.”

For the next few minutes, passengers were repeatedly told “don’t move” and “shut up”.

The hijackers alternated between Arabic and English, and a translation of their Arabic words was provided to the jury. At one point, a hijacker was heard to say: “In the name of Allah, most merciful, most compassionate.”

A voice in the cockpit was heard saying: “Please don’t hurt me. Oh God.” A few seconds later, somebody said: “I don’t want to die.”

As the tape proceeded, it became clear that passengers were gaining the upper hand in their attempts to regain control of the aircraft.

A hijacker’s voice said: “They want to get in”, and the sounds of a struggle could be heard. At that point, the plane appeared to go out of control.

At 10.02, a hijacker said: “Give it to me. Give it to me.” At 10.03, the plane dived amid crashing sounds.

The last sound heard as the plane neared the ground was a voice saying: “Allah is the greatest.” All 44 people on board died.

As the jury heard the recording, prosecutors played a video presentation that simultaneously showed the flight path, speed and direction of the aircraft. It had been heading for the US Capitol, according to the September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed.

Jurors have already decided that Moussaoui, an admitted terrorist conspirator and the only person to be prosecuted in connection with the September 11 2001 attacks, is eligible for the death penalty.

This phase of the trail is to determine whether he deserves it.

Even though he was in jail in Minnesota at the time of the attacks following immigration irregularities, the jury ruled that lies he had told federal agents a month before September 11 had kept them from identifying and stopping some of the hijackers.

Prosecutors must prove the victims suffered heinous and cruel physical abuse and that his acts resulted in “serious physical and emotional injuries, including maiming, disfigurement and permanent disability” to numerous survivors, and injured or harmed the victims’ families, friends and co-workers.

Moussaoui’s defence team is likely to claim that the jury should spare his life because of his limited role in the attacks, evidence that he is mentally ill and because his execution would only play into his dream of martyrdom.

During earlier court sessions, the 37-year-old French citizen at various times appeared distracted, animated and recalcitrant. He has thwarted the efforts of his defence lawyers to depict him as a deranged would-be terrorist.

Moussaoui said he wants to be executed to avoid a life sentence because it is “different to die in a battle … than in a jail on a toilet”.

The case continues.

Link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/september11/story/0,,1752514,00.html

Moussaoui’s trial: Open letter to Judge Leonie Brinkema

I am concerned that your contradictory directions to the jury and the failure by your Court to establish, according to standards of evidence required in criminal law, that the crime of 9/11 was committed by the nineteen alleged hijackers,  may represent a gross miscarriage of justice.  
Open letter to Judge Leonie Brinkema,
U.S. District Court,
Alexandria, Virginia

Your Honor, Judge Brinkema,

I feel compelled to address you this letter regarding the Moussaoui case. I hope this is not yet too late to avoid a terrible miscarriage of justice.

In the Jury Questionnaire Proceedings of February 6, 2006, which was posted on the web, you gave the following direction to the jury:

"I assume every one of you is aware of what happened on September 11, 2001, and has watched or read extensive media coverage about that day and has watched news reports or read about Al Qaeda."

Yet in the same directions you said:

"Persons on trial must be judged not on the basis of what is in the news or popular media, but rather on the hard evidence presented in the courtroom during the trial."

To my knowledge, no evidence was presented to the Moussaoui court which establishes the true facts on the events 11 September 2001, and the identities of the perpetrators of the crime committed on that day.  Nor did the Court refer to any authoritative findings regarding these events by other courts. The Court simply assumed and asked the jury to assume that the facts reported in the media and in non-judicial reports were true.  Such reliance on hear-say is contrary to principles of criminal law.

On the base of these assumed facts, your Court asks the jurors to determine whether Moussaoui’s silence while in detention had the causal effect to allow the perpetration of the above crime by nineteen named individuals, who have never been found guilty for the crime they are accused, and whose identities remain in question.  

I am concerned that your contradictory directions to the jury and the failure by your Court to establish, according to standards of evidence required in criminal law, that the crime of 9/11 was committed by the nineteen alleged hijackers,  may represent a gross miscarriage of justice.    I urge you, in the name of justice, to reconsider your decisions.

 Respectfully,

 Elias Davidsson
 Rekjavik, Iceland
 17 March 2006