Category Archives: Cover-up

Eliott Spitzer’s mouthpiece has his own secrets to hide

Spitzer’s mouthpiece has his own secrets to hide

Peter Lance
Published: Tuesday March 18, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cherry Picking the Evidence

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

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

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

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

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

The Fox and the Chicken Coop

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

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

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

So I prepared my “testimony” ahead of time.

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

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

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

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

“That’s Classified”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The senior counsel he met with was Dietrich Dieter Snell.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Entering Private Practice

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

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

It was an ironic use of the term.

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

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

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

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

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

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.


1. Acronyms used in this chapter:

BAO USA: Besondere Aufbauorganisation USA

BfV: Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz

BKA: Bundeskriminalamt (German Federal Criminal Police Office)


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

FAC:Bundesverwaltungsgericht (Federal Administrative Court)

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Butler, supra n. 4

7. Ibid.

8. Ibid.

9. Ibid.

10. Ulrich, supra n. 3

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

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

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

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

15. Cziesche et al, supra n. 14

16. Finn, supra n. 13

17. Feyder, supra n. 11

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

19. DW, supra n. 2

20. Cziesche et al, supra n. 14

21. Butler, supra n. 4

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

23. Cziesche et al, supra n. 14

24. Ibid.

25. Ibid.

26. Brinkbäumer, supra n. 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

35. N/A

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

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

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

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

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

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

42. Butler, supra n. 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

50. DW, supra n. 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

74. Mascolo et al, supra n. 731

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

92. Ibid,footnote 16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

106. Amnesty International: Muhammad Haydar Zammar

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

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

109. Amnesty International: Muhammad Haydar Zammar

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

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

112. Bundeskanzleramt, Sperrerklärung, 3 Februar 2003

113. Bundesministerium des Inneren, Sperrerklärung, 3 Februar 2003

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

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

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

117. Ibid.

118. Ibid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Elias Davidsson*


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


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

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

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

1.The right to truth as a collective right

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

Principle 2: The inalienable right to the truth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4.Standards of investigation

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

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

4.1Effectiveness of investigations

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

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

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

4.2Promptness of investigations

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

4.3Thoroughness of investigations

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

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

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

4.4Independence of investigations

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

The U.N. Principles specify that

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

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

4.5Impartiality of investigations

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

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

4.6Transparency of investigations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6.The official account of 9/11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7.No urgency to investigate 9/11

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

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

8.Omitted investigations

8.1No aircraft crash investigation

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

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

8.2No investigation of air defence failures

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

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

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

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

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

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

8.3No investigation of WTC pulverisation

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

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

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

9. Inadequate investigations

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

9.1FBI’scriminalinvestigation (PENTTBOM)

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

9.1.1The FBI lack of independence

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

9.1.2 The lack of transparency

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

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

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

9.1.3No prosecutions

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

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

9.2 The first investigations of the demise of the Twin Towers

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

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

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

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

9.3 The second investigation of the demise of the Twin Towers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not an independent investigation

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

Not a thorough investigation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9.4The investigation by the 9/11 Commission

9.4.1Government opposition to a public investigation

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

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

9.4.2The establishment of a investigation “set to fail”

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

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

9.4.3The 9/11 Commission’s lack of independence

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

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

9.4.4The 9/11 Commission’s partiality

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

9.4.5The 9/11 Commission’s lack of thoroughness

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

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

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

9.5Ineffective investigation: The perpetrators were not identified

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

10.Proactive measures to suppress the truth

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

10.1Concealing evidence

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

10.2Destroying evidence

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

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

10.3Planting evidence

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

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

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

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

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

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

10.4Buying the silence of witnesses and victims’ relatives

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

23 Toteva, supra note 21, para. 82.

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

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

26 Ibid.

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

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

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

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

31 Ibid.

32 Toteva, supra note 21, para. 79.

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

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

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

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

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

38 Nachova, supra note 30, para. 132.

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

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

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

42 Adali, supra note 24, para. 222.

43 Ibid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

50 Article 2(3) of the ICCPR.

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

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

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

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

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

56 Congressional Records, 106th Congress (2001-2002), 12 September2001, at <>.

57 Negroponte Letter to U.N. Security Council President, 7 October 2001, at <>, cached at <>.

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

59 John Ashcroft, Media Briefing, 12 September 2001. Available at <>.

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

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

62Amerithrax or Anthrax Investigation, FBI, at <>.


64 Science Briefing on the Anthrax Investigation, Opening Statement by Dr. Vahid, Majidi, 18 August 2008, FBI website at <>.

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

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

67Mary Schiavo, Statement to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, 23 May 2003,at <>.

68 Flight AA11 deviated from its flight path at 8:28 (official crash time 8:46); flight UA175 deviated from its flight path at 8:58 (official crash time 9:03);flight AA77 deviated from its flight path at 8:54 (official crash time 9:37); flight UA93 deviated from its flight path at 9:41 (official crash time 10:03) (Source: Final Report of the 9/11 Commission).

69 Flight AA11 turned off its transponder at 8:21 (official crash time 8:47); flight UA175 changed twice its transponder code at 8:47 (official crash time 9:03); flight AA77 turned off its transponder at 8:56 (official crash time 9:37);flight UA93 turned off its transponder at 9:41 (official crash time 10:03)(Source: Final Report of the 9/11 Commission).

70 Flights AA77 and UA93 were in the air for more than 30 minutes after it was known that the Twin Towers had been struck, and after these two aircraft had been designated as hijacked.

71 Hearings before the Committee on Armed Services, United States Senate, 16-17 August 2004, para. 39.

72 L. Slobodian, ‘Norad on Heightened Alert: Role of air-defense agency rapidly transformed in wake of Sept. 11 terrorist attacks’, The Calgary Herald, 13 October 2001.

73 9/11 Commission, Staff Report Nr. 17, 17. June 2004.

74E. Hehs, ‘Conversation with Major General Larry Arnold’, One Magazine, January 2002.

75Interview with Maj. Gen. Arnold and Leslie Filson, 9/11 Commission, 11 September 2002. Team 8, Box 22, p. NCT0068077.

76R. A. Baker, ‘Commander of 9/11 Air Defenses Retires’, Newhouse News Service, 31 March 2005.

77″Live-fly” exercises mean exercises using real aircraft, not table-top simulations.

789/11 Commission Final Report, p. 20.


80 A. Hartocollis, ‘Connecting with lost loved ones, if only by the tips of fingers’, The New York Times, 11 September 2011.

81 R. Hampson and M. T. Moore, ‘Closure from 9/11 elusive for many’, USA Today, 3 September 2003, att<>.

82 There is no evidence that the computers and other items were “crashed and incinerated”. Visual evidence suggests rather that they were transformed into dust as the building was disintegrating downwards.

83 This is obviously wrong. The number of bodies apparently “pulverised” is approximately 1,100, namely those persons for whom no trace was found.

84 D. Biello, ‘What Was in the World Trade Center Plume?’, Scientific American, 7 September 2011, at <>.

85 Such pulverisation did not occur at building WTC no. 7.

86 Random office fire and aircraft fuel cannot produce a constant high temperature sufficient for body cremation.

87 Among the main investigations not considered here, are the Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activities Before the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 and an investigation about suspected inside trading, the results of which have not been published.

88 9/11 Commission Records, National Archives. <>, last visited 2 October 2012.

89 9-11 Commission Records are posted in accessible form at <>.

90 T. Hargrove, ‘Third of Americans suspect 9-11 government conspiracy’, Scripps Howard News Service 1 August 2006, cached at <>.

91 Private correspondence of the author with the FBI.

92 Ibid.

93FBI 9/11 Investigation (PENTTBOM); Press Release of 27 September 2001,at <>.

94 D. Eggen, ‘FBI’s 9/11 Team Still Hard at Work’, The Washington Post, 14 June 2004, at <www. washingtonpost. com/wp-dyn/articles/A39160-2004Jun13. html>, cached at <>.

95. 9/11 Investigation (PENTTBOM) at <>.

96 George J. Tenet (Director of CIA), ‘Testimony Before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’, 6 February 2002: Support to the War on Terrorism and Homeland Security <>.

97 Helen Duffy, The ‘War on Terror’ and the Framework of International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2005), pp. 119, 122

98 A list of court documents regarding Moussaoui’s case was posted on the website of FindLaw, at <> but has meanwhile disappeared.  Trial transcripts can meanwhile be found on <> (as of February 19, 2014)

99Committee on Science, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing Charter: Learning from 9/11: Understanding the Collapse of the World Trade Center, 6 March 2002, cached at <>. The formulation “progressive collapses” predetermined the conclusions of the investigation.

100Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, as amended, and Related Authorities, 30 October2000.

101 Nomination of Joe M. Allbaugh, Hearing before the Committee on Governmental Affairs, United States Senate, 13 February 2001.

102 J. Gerstenzang, ‘Bush puts FEMA in charge of domestic terrorism response’, Los Angeles Times, 9 May 2001, last visited 19 February 2014.

103 FEMA WTC Building Performance Study (May 2002)

104 Ibid.

105 J. Ridgeway, ‘Did the FBI Bury Oklahoma City Bombing Evidence?”, Mother Jones, 21 July 2011, at <>, last visited on 29 September 2012.

106 ‘Learning from 9/11 – Understanding the Collapse of the World Trade Center’, Hearing Before the Committee on Science, House of Representatives, 6 March 2002, p. 14

107 J. Glanz and E. Lipton, ‘Experts Urging Broader Inquiry in Towers’ Fall’, The New York Times, 25 December 2001, last visited 19 February 2014.

108 Ibid.

109 FEMA WTC Building Performance Study, supra note 139

110 B. Manning, ‘$elling out the investigation’, Fire Engineering, 1 January 2002, at < >.


112H. Semerjian, ‘NIST World Trade Center Inveestigation Report Press Briefing’, NIST, 23 June2005.

113 Final Reports from the NIST Investigation of the WTC Disaster, September 2005, at <>.


115 ‘Computer professionals call for public debate on new government encryption initiative’, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR), 16 April 1993

116NIST, ‘Questions and Answers about the Overall NIST WTC Investigation’, 19 September 2011, no. 14, at <>.

117J. L. Gross and T.P. McAllister, NIST NCSTAR 1-6 (Draft), September 2005. (emphasis added)

118 The Sept. 11 Records (“Oral Reports”), New York Times: File 9110369, Interview of Fire Patrolman Paul Curran, December 18, 2001, p.11; File 9110369, Interview of EMS Lieutnant Bradley Mann, November 7, 2001, p.11; File. 9110200, Interview with EMT Joseph Fortis, November 9, 2001, p. 7; File. 9110203, Interview with EMT Lonnie Penn, November 9, 2001, p. 3; File 9110194, Interview with EMT Lieutnant Bradley Mann, November 7, 2001, p. 3; File9110431, Interview with Battalion Chief Brian O’Flaherty, January 9, 2002, p. 3; G. MacQueen, ‘Did the earth shake before the South Tower hit the ground’, 9 July 2009, Journal of 911 Studies, Vol. 29,July 2009. At <>.

119 Among witnesses are Reporter John Bussey (Wall Street Journal), Dan Rather (CBS), Deputy Fire Commissioner Thomas Fitzpatrick, Assistant Fire Commissioner Stephen Gregory andFirefighter Richard Banaciski.

120 FEMA-BPAT, ‘World Trade Center Building Performance Study’, Section 1.3, pp. 1-8. It can also be observed with the naked eye on videos of the “collapses”.

121 G. MacQueen, ‘118 Witnesses: Firefighters’ Testimony to Explosions in the Twin Towers’, Journal of 9/11 Studies, August 2006;On 12 September 2001 Senator Mary Landrieu (Louisana) referred to “explosions which brought down skyscrapers” (Congressional Debates, September 12, 2001, p. S9306) and Senator Olympia Snowe (Maine) referred to the “sounds of blasts [which] echoed across Manhattan and our Nation’s Capital.” (Ibid.).

122 ‘Damage to Buildings Near WTC Caused by Falling Debris and Air Pressure Wave, Not by Ground Shaking’, The Earth Institute, Columbia University, 16 November 2001 (“The fall of the towers was similar to that of a pyroclastic flow down a volcano”); See an excellent but ominous video documentary(9/11 Debris: Investigation of Ground Zero, Pt. 1, at <>, which provides testimonies of eyewitnesses who corroborate the puzzling absence of office equipment, furniture and other human artifacts from the rubble of Ground Zero.

123 ‘World Trade Center Disaster’, RMS Special Report, 18 September 2001, p. 5, 7; ‘The Environmental Impacts of the World Trade Center Attacks’, NRDC, February 2002,p. 18.

124 Visual observations from video recordings.

125 D.Chandler, ‘Freefall and Building 7 on 9/11’, Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, 22 December 2010, at<>.

126 J. Lin, ‘Recovery worker reflects on months spent at Ground Zero’, Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, 29 May 2002; F. Lyman, ‘Messages in the Dust’, National Environmental Health Association, September 2003, p. 40; M. H. Gaffney, The 9/11 Mystery Plane (Trine Day LLC, Walterville, OR, 2008), p. 129, 132-136; G. Lounsbury, ‘Serving on sacred ground’, National Guard, December 2001, author’s document #471; ‘Mobilizing Public Health – Turning Terror’s Side with Science’, Johns Hopkins Public Health, Late Fall 2001.

127 N. H. Harrit, et al, ‘Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe’, The Open Chemical Physics Journal (2009, 2), pp. 7-31.

128 D.R. Griffin points out that while in its Draft Report, NIST qualified its calculations of the fall of the 18 top floors of WTC 7 as “consistent with physical principles”, this reference to “physical principles” was not included in its Final Report.

129 Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth. See <>.

130 Ibid. See <>.

131 ‘Citizens critique of flawed 9/11 Commission process’, 23 July 2004. At <>.

132 J. Heilbrunn, ‘A lack of intelligence’, New York Times, April 13, 2008, at <>.

133 J. Dwyer, ‘Investigating 9/11: An Unimaginable Calamity, Still Largely Unexamined’, New York Times, 11 September 2002.

134 Public Law 107-306, 107th Congress, Title VI.

135 S. J. Paltrow, ‘White House Hurdles Delay 9/11 Commission Investigation’, Wall Street Journal, July 8, 2003, at <>.

136 T.Frieden, ‘Price tag for Starr investigation: $40 million plus’, CNN, 1 February 1999

137 P. Recer, ‘NASA: Columbia Cleanup Cost Nears $400M’,, 11 September 2003, at <,0,7895931.story>.

138 Cf.D.R. Griffin, The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions (Olive Branch Press, Northampton, 2005), p. 284, n. 12.

139 “The Kean Commission: The Official Commission Avoids the Core Issues”, 9-11 Research, at<>; also “Conflicts Of Interest On Sept. 11 Panel? 6 Of 10 Panel Members Allegedly Have Ties To Airline Industry”, CBS News, 5 March 2003. At <>.

140 Griffin, supra note 182, at 8.

141 See, particularly, Philip Shenon, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation (Twelve publisher, 2008).

142 Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001, U.S. Government Printing Office, H. Rept. 107-792, December 31, 2001

143 Ibid,p. 90.

144 The agreement, in the form of a letter of 11 July 2003, is posted on </>.

145 P. Shenon, The Commission, supra note 185, pp. 388-9,.

146 Ibid., p. 389

147 D.R. Griffin, ‘The 9/11 Commission Report: A 571-Page Lie’, 22 May 2005, 911Truth.Org, at <>.

148 Griffin, supra note 182, p. 12.

149 FBI, Press Release, supra note 129.

150 One of these alleged suicide-pilots by the name of Hani Hanjour is officially alleged to have flown a Boeing 757 (flight AA77)horizontally into the first floor of the Pentagon at over 450 mph. According to his flight instructors, he could hardly control a single-engine Cessna. Professional pilots say they themselves would have difficulty in maintaining a Boeing 757 horizontally attwenty feet above the ground while flying at450 mph.

151 For a comprehensive examination of these issues, see E. Davidsson, ‘There is no evidence that Muslims committed the crime of 9/11’, 10 January 2008. At <> Visited on 27 September 2012.

152 “Baosteel Will Recycle World Trade Center Debris”, China.Org, 24 January 2002, at <> (“Baosteel Group, [China’s] largest steel firm, has purchased 50,000 tons of the scrap steel from ‘Ground Zero’”); also “Mangled WTC Steel Bought by China“, Chicago Tribune, 27 January 2002

153 “On WTC debris, these Indian buildings stand”, REDIFF.COM, 14 September 2006 (“The Indian Steel Alliance […] estimates that scrap processing companies across India […] imported nearly 50,000 tonnes of the WTC steel wreckage.”).

154 D. Watson, ‘60,000 Tons of WTC Steel Recycled’, WASTE360.COM, 31 January 2002 (“Approximately 60,000 tons of steel from the WTC have been shipped to recyclers around the world, mostly to South Korea and certain U.S. cities.”).

155 “WTC scrap melted near al-Qaida site”, Associated Press (the Enquirer), 10 September 2002, at <> (“Company executives and government officials confirmed that Megasteel [Malaysia] took delivery last month of a 35,000-ton shipment of scrap metal that included some World Trade Center steel.”).

156 Final Report on the Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7, NIST NCSTAR 1A, p. 16 and 56, At <>.

157 Moussaoui trial exhibit PA00108, at <>.

158 Moussaoui trial exhibit PA00110, at <>.

159 Moussaoui trial exhibit PA00102, at <>.

160 Moussaoui trial exhibit PA00105.08, at <>.

161 Moussaoui trial exhibit GX-PA00109, at <>.

162 R. Frederick, ‘The day that changed Amereica’, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 11 September 2002. Cached at <>.

163 Final Report of the 9/11 Commission; note 1 to chapter 1, p. 451.

164 Had flight AA11 not hit the North Tower of the WTC, no TV camera would be recording the aircraft impact on the South Tower.Osama bin Laden and his bosses would not have been able to present the worldwith a real-time, visual evidence, of a plane crash on the World Trade Center.

165 United States of America v Zacarias Moussaoui, U.S. District Court, Alexandria Division. Cross-examination of FBI Special Agent James M. Fitzgerald. March 7, 2006, 10:00 A.M. Transcript p. 222. Available at <>.

166 FBI Affidavit, at <>.

167 M. Dorman, ‘Unravelling 9-11 was in the bags’, Newsday, 17 April 2006, at <>.

168 United States of America v Zacarias Moussaoui, supra note 134.

169 FBI document 302-1306.

170 Dieter Snell, Senior Counsel of the 9/11 Commission, addressing the 9/11 Commission at its 12th Public Hearing, June 16, 2004.

171 B. Whitaker, ‘Chilling document hints at ‘Armageddon’‘,The Guardian, 1 October 2001.

172 Ibid.

173 Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act (ATSA), 107th Congress (2001-2002), H.R.2926. At <>.

174 R. L. Rabin, ‘September 11 through the prism of victim compensation’ (Abstract), Columbia Law Review, March 2006, Vol. 106, No. 2, p. 464.

175 ATSA, supra note 261. Title IV, Section 405 (c) (3)

176 ‘Who gets what: Putting A Price On Human Tragedy’, Interview with Kenneth Feinberg, NPR Talk of the Nation, 27 June 2012, at <>.

177 J. Taglieri, ‘9-11 Lawsuits: Saudis, Airlines, Bush Face Litigation’, From the Wilderness, 27 August 2002. Available at <>; also W. Gilberti, ‘Bush administration moves to stifle discovery in 9/11 lawsuits’, World Socialist Web Site, 2 August 2002. Available at <>.

178 T. Harper, “Families Sue U.S., Reject 9/11 ‘Bribe’”, Toronto Star, 23 December 2003, at <>.

179 Ibid.

180 ATSA, supra note 261,Section 408, para. (3) (Jurisdiction).

181 ‘Jury Can Hear Part of Flight 93 Tape’, CBS News, February 11, 2009. At <>.

182 B. Weiser, ‘Family and United Settle Last 9/11 Wrongful-Death Lawsuit’, New York Times, 19 September 2011, at <>.

183 A. Harocollis, ‘More 9/11 Lawsuits Are Settled’, The New York Times, 18 September 2007. At <>, last visited 30 September 2012.

184 Enukidze, supra note 14, para. 276.

185 See Security Council resolution 1757 (2007) authorizing the establishment of a special tribunal to try suspects in [the] assassination of Rafiq Hariri, 30 May 2007.

186 Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth

187 Firefighters for 9/11 Truth

188 Lawyers for 9/11 Truth

189 Medial Professionals for 9/11 Truth

190 Military Officers for 9/11 Truth

191 Pilots for 9/11 Truth

192 Political Leaders for 9/11 Truth

193 Religious Leaders for 9/11 Truth

194 Scholars for 9/11 Truth

195 Scientists for 9/11 Truth

196 9/11 Questions Meetup Groups

197 9/11 Truth Europe (the list represents the status in 2007).

Officials told to ‘back off’ on Saudis before September 11

0.World news

FBI claims Bin Laden inquiry was frustrated

Officials told to ‘back off’ on Saudis before September 11

Greg Palast and David Pallister

The Guardian, Wednesday 7 November 2001 16.31 GMT

FBI and military intelligence officials in Washington say they were prevented for political reasons from carrying out full investigations into members of the Bin Laden family in the US before the terrorist attacks of September 11.

US intelligence agencies have come under criticism for their wholesale failure to predict the catastrophe at the World Trade Centre. But some are complaining that their hands were tied.

FBI documents shown on BBC Newsnight last night and obtained by the Guardian show that they had earlier sought to investigate two of Osama bin Laden’s relatives in Washington and a Muslim organisation, the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), with which they were linked.

The FBI file, marked Secret and coded 199, which means a case involving national security, records that Abdullah bin Laden, who lived in Washington, had originally had a file opened on him “because of his relationship with the World Assembly of Muslim Youth – a suspected terrorist organisation”.

WAMY members deny they have been involved with terrorist activities, and WAMY has not been placed on the latest list of terrorist organisations whose assets are being frozen.

Abdullah, who lived with his brother Omar at the time in Falls Church, a town just outside Washington, was the US director of WAMY, whose offices were in a basement nearby.

But the FBI files were closed in 1996 apparently before any conclusions could be reached on either the Bin Laden brothers or the organisation itself. High-placed intelligence sources in Washington told the Guardian this week: “There were always constraints on investigating the Saudis”.

They said the restrictions became worse after the Bush administration took over this year. The intelligence agencies had been told to “back off” from investigations involving other members of the Bin Laden family, the Saudi royals, and possible Saudi links to the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Pakistan.

“There were particular investigations that were effectively killed.”

Only after the September 11 attacks was the stance of political and commercial closeness reversed towards the other members of the large Bin Laden clan, who have classed Osama bin Laden as their “black sheep”.

Yesterday, the head of the Saudi-based WAMY’s London office, Nouredine Miladi, said the charity was totally against Bin Laden’s violent methods. “We seek social change through education and cooperation, not force.”

He said Abdullah bin Laden had ceased to run WAMY’s US operation a year ago.

Neither Abdullah nor Omar bin Laden could be contacted in Saudi Arabia for comment.

WAMY was founded in 1972 in a Saudi effort to prevent the “corrupting” ideas of the west ern world influencing young Muslims. With official backing it grew to embrace 450 youth and student organisations with 34 offices worldwide.

Its aim was to encourage “concerned Muslims to take up the challenge by arming the youth with sound understanding of Islam, guarding them against destructive ideologies, and instilling in them level-headed wisdom”.

In Britain it has 20 associated organisations, many highly respectable.

But as long as 10 years ago it was named as a discreet channel for public and private Saudi donations to hardline Islamic organisations. One of the recipients of its largesse has been the militant Students Islamic Movement of India, which has lent support to Pakistani-backed terrorists in Kashmir and seeks to set up an Islamic state in India.

Since September 11 WAMY has been investigated in the US along with a number of other Muslim charities. There have been several grand jury investigations but no findings have been made against any of them.

Current FBI interest in WAMY is shown in their agents’ interrogation of a radiologist from San Antonio, Texas, Dr Al Badr al-Hazmi, who was arrested on September 12 and released without charge two weeks later. He had the same surname as two of the plane hijackers.

He was also questioned about his contacts with Abdullah bin Laden at the US WAMY office.

Mr Al-Hazmi said that he had made phone calls to Abdullah bin Laden in 1999 trying to obtain books and videotapes about Islamic teachings for the Islamic Centre of San Antonio.

Most commented


China buys the silence of grieving parents

In a move echoing the US government with respect to the families of 9/11 victims, the Chinese authorities are "buying" the silence of parents whose children died when schools collapsed.

Here a story by The Sunday Times (UK). Note that when the US government bribed families of 9/11 victims – by requiring of them to forfeit their right to their day in court in return for lavish compensations –  Western media did not describe such moves as "buying" the families’ silence.


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July 27, 2008

China buys the silence of grieving parents

Earthquake: Free ‘life insurance’ has been offered to families of children who were killed when schools collapsed

Little boy who is walking on crutches after he lost his leg in the Sichuan earthquake

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WE did not notice the cars following us until we drove out of the village onto the dusty track leading to the rice fields. Crawling menacingly in the distance, the cars briefly lost sight of us when we turned a corner but were close enough to catch up again at a moment’s notice.

We had no option but to keep driving. Inside our car, a man I shall call Liu Qiang was explaining why he had texted me and arranged a meeting.

One of hundreds of parents who lost children in schools that collapsed during the Sichuan earthquake in May, he was in a state of deep shock when I met him four days after the quake. Choked with tears and unable to hide his anger, he took me to see his 13-year-old daughter’s freshly dug grave. Before I left, we swapped telephone numbers, and we have kept in contact since.

Ten weeks later we arranged to meet again on a busy street corner, not far from his home, to talk about the Chinese government’s attempts to buy the parents’ silence with spurious offers of free life insurance.

“I don’t want to fall out with the government,” he said firmly. “All I’m asking for is justice for our dead children.”

He had just come from a meeting called by village officials. All the parents who had lost children in the local middle school – more than 100 families were affected – had been asked to attend. He fished out a folded sheet of paper with writing on one side – an application form for basic life insurance handed out at the meeting.

The form asked for details of the dead child and their parents’ ID and mobile phone numbers. It left space at the bottom for the signatures of parents and representatives of the school and a government official. There was no sum of money mentioned; no details of the coverage, to whom it would apply or for how long.

“We were rounded up and ordered to sign the contract if we wanted to collect the government’s gift of free life insurance,” Liu explained. “They also said we would get £5,000 in cash as compensation for our dead children.” Some parents were already signing their forms.

“How do we even know if it is real life insurance?” he said. “If we accept the cash, my wife and I want to use it to take the local government to court over the death of our daughter, but we’re afraid it is not enough to cover the legal fees.

“If we don’t sign the contract, we are afraid we will be left with no children and no money to look after us when we grow old.

“We’re thinking about having another child to safeguard our future. Eventually that child will also have to go to school and we’re afraid if we don’t cooperate with the government now they will cause problems for the child later on.”

Liu’s voice strained as he mentioned the possibility of having a new child so soon after his daughter died. He added quietly that his wife was already 34 and they had little time to decide.

“They’re trying to buy our silence,” he said, his voice cracking. “All the people in our village are poor, but how can the money they are offering make up for the losses we have suffered?”

It is a dilemma felt by all the parents whose children died. At least 10,000 of the 70,000 people who perished in the earthquake were of school age; the government has done its best to play down the number of schools that collapsed.

Sichuan’s bereaved parents refuse to stay silent, however, and, as details of shoddy construction work emerge, a case for corruption is mounting.

One example is Xinjian primary school in Dujiangyan, where more than 400 of the 600 students died. The main building collapsed in less than four minutes, but nearly all the structures around it survived. Bereaved parents have been subjected to a campaign of intimidation and bribery to bully them into silence.

Liu told me that all the parents in his village had been made to give their mobile phone numbers to the police and were warned that their phone lines could be tapped for “security reasons”. Plain-clothes police had been deployed to their village to spy on them and everywhere they went they felt they were being “watched”. One bereaved couple made secret plans to travel to Beijing and petition the government. They were apprehended by police and ordered to return home.

There was no mistaking the two cars gaining speed behind us. I needed to get Liu out of the vehicle before stopping to face them. We sped back to the village, letting Liu slip out onto a busy side street to dissolve into the crowd.

Thirty seconds later I was joined again by the two cars and when we stopped a mile further on, they pulled up, followed by three more. Several uniformed policemen and a number of people in civilian clothing piled out. I was asked to hand over my passport. As they stood writing down my details, one policeman filmed me while several of the plain-clothes men snapped me on their mobile phone cameras.

At the station they let me go after an hour of questioning, but not before I had signed and fingerprinted a letter of apology for going to places “under supervision” by the authorities.

“The Chinese authorities promised when bidding for the Olympics that hosting the Games would improve human rights, but things have got worse, not better,” said Steve Ballinger of Amnesty International. “We want people here in the UK to speak up – online and in letters and faxes to the Chinese authorities – and demand human rights for China.”

Many Sichuan schools were ‘time bombs’

At the Xinjian primary school in Dujiangyan, more than 400 out of the 687 killed were children. A nursery school less than 20ft away was barely cracked. A 10-storey hotel opposite was also largely intact. Parents say the school was known to be unsafe but it was not properly reinforced because of its low importance compared with other schools in the area.

Another school in the same town, catering for children of the Communist elite, was so structurally sound that it was used by officials as their base after the earthquake struck.

Independent evidence from structural engineers confirmed that the materials used to build the school were unsafe and a “time bomb waiting to explode”. The entrance was also too small for emergency vehicles to pass through to reach the site after the accident.

In Wufu village 126 children aged between nine and 13 died. Parents said the school was ruled unsafe 10 months ago and the children moved to a single-storey structure next door. They were moved back again without explanation shortly before the disaster struck.

At least 10,000 of the 70,000 people who died in the earthquake were of school age. The government has promised a full investigation into why the schools collapsed.

Bush and Cheney opposed 9/11 inquiry

Daschle Says Bush And Cheney Urged No 911 Inquiry
By Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Both President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney urged Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle four months ago not to push for an investigation into the events of Sept. 11, Daschle said on Sunday.

Appearing on the NBC program "Meet the Press," Daschle flatly contradicted Cheney, who last week denied he had warned Daschle off an investigation.

Daschle and other Democrats favor a special commission into the official handling of pre-Sept. 11 terror warnings. Both Cheney and Bush have in recent days argued publicly against a the idea, opting instead for an ongoing inquiry by the intelligence committees of Congress.

Daschle, a South Dakota Democrat, said Cheney telephoned him on Jan. 24 to urge that no Sept. 11 inquiry be made, and that Bush had followed up on January 28 with a similar request during a breakfast meeting at the White House.

"I can tell you on January 24th, first, and on January 28th second, and on other dates following, that request was made, Daschle said.

Mohammed Atta was known to Pentagon in 2000

"An active-duty Navy captain has become the second military officer to come forward publicly to say that a secret defense intelligence program tagged the ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks as a possible terrorist more than a year before the attacks."

Navy Officer Affirms Assertions About Pre-9/11 Data on Atta

Published: August 22, 2005
New York Times

WASHINGTON, Aug. 22 – An active-duty Navy captain has become the second military officer to come forward publicly to say that a secret defense intelligence program tagged the ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks as a possible terrorist more than a year before the attacks.

The officer, Scott J. Phillpott, said in a statement today that he could not discuss details of the military program, which was called Able Danger, but confirmed that its analysts had identified the Sept. 11 ringleader, Mohamed Atta, by name by early 2000. "My story is consistent," said Captain Phillpott, who managed the program for the Pentagon's Special Operations Command. "Atta was identified by Able Danger by January-February of 2000."

His comments came on the same day that the Pentagon's chief spokesman, Lawrence Di Rita, told reporters that the Defense Department had been unable to validate the assertions made by an Army intelligence veteran, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, and now backed up by Captain Phillpott, about the early identification of Mr. Atta.

Colonel Shaffer went public with his assertions last week, saying that analysts in the intelligence project had been overruled by military lawyers when they tried to share the program's findings with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2000 in hope of tracking down terror suspects tied to Al Qaeda.

Mr. Di Rita said in an interview that while the department continued to investigate the assertions, there was no evidence so far that the intelligence unit had come up with such specific information about Mr. Atta and any of the other hijackers.

He said that while Colonel Shaffer and Captain Phillpott were respected military officers whose accounts were taken seriously, "thus far we've not been able to uncover what these people said they saw – memory is a complicated thing."

The statement from Captain Phillpott , a 1983 Naval Academy graduate, who has served in the Navy for 22 years, was provided to The New York Times and Fox News through the office of Representative Curt Weldon, Republican of Pennsylvania, who is vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and a longtime proponent of so-called data-mining programs like Able Danger.

Asked if the Defense Department had interviewed Captain Phillpott in its two-week-old investigation of Able Danger, another Pentagon spokesman, Maj. Paul Swiergosz, said he did not know.

Representative Weldon also arranged an interview with a former employee of a defense contractor who said he had helped create a chart in 2000 for the intelligence program that included Mr. Atta's photograph and name.

The former contractor, James D. Smith, said that Mr. Atta's name and photograph were obtained through a private researcher in California who was paid to gather the information from contacts in the Middle East. Mr. Smith said that he had retained a copy of the chart for some time and that it had been posted on his office wall at Andrews Air Force Base. He said it had become stuck to the wall and was impossible to remove when he switched jobs.

In its final report last year, the Sept. 11 commission said that American intelligence agencies were unaware of Mr. Atta until the day of the attacks.

Commission members did acknowledge in a statement on Aug. 12 that their staff met with a Navy officer last July, only 10 days before releasing the panel's final report, who had asserted that Able Danger, a highly classified intelligence operation, had identified "Mohamed Atta to be a member of an Al Qaeda cell located in Brooklyn."

But the statement, which did not identify the officer by name, said that the commission's staff had determined that "the officer's account was not sufficiently reliable to warrant revision of the report or further investigation" and that the intelligence operation "did not turn out to be historically significant."

With his comments today, Captain Phillpott acknowledged that he was the officer who had briefed the commission last year. "I will not discuss the issues outside of my chain of command and the Department of Defense," he said. "But my story is consistent. Atta was identified by Able Danger in January-February of 2000. I have nothing else to say."

Pentagon Employee Ordered to Destroy Mohammed Atta Papers on Order

Weldon: Atta Papers Destroyed on Orders
16 September 2005

by Donna De


Sep. 16, 2005 – A Pentagon employee was ordered to destroy documents that identified Mohamed Atta as a terrorist two years before the 2001 attacks, a congressman said Thursday.

The employee is prepared to testify next week before the Senate Judiciary Committee and was expected to identify the person who ordered him to destroy the large volume of documents, said Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa.

Weldon declined to identify the employee, citing confidentiality matters. Weldon described the documents as "2.5 terabytes" as much as one-fourth of all the printed materials in the Library of Congress, he added.

A Senate Judiciary Committee aide said the witnesses for Wednesday hearing had not been finalized and could not confirm Weldon's comments.

Army Maj. Paul Swiergosz, a Pentagon spokesman, said officials have been "fact-finding in earnest for quite some time."

"We've interviewed 80 people involved with Able Danger, combed through hundreds of thousands of documents and millions of e-mails and have still found no documentation of Mohamed Atta," Swiergosz said.

He added that certain data had to be destroyed in accordance with existing regulations regarding "intelligence data on U.S. persons."

Weldon has said that Atta, the mastermind of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and three other hijackers were identified in 1999 by a classified military intelligence unit known as "Able Danger," which determined they could be members of an al-Qaida cell.

On Wednesday, former members of the Sept. 11 commission dismissed the "Able Danger" assertions. One commissioner, ex-Sen. Slade Gorton, R-Wash., said, "Bluntly, it just didn't happen and that's the conclusion of all 10 of us."

Weldon responded angrily to Gorton's assertions.

"It's absolutely unbelievable that a commission would say this program just didn't exist," Weldon said Thursday.

Pentagon officials said this month they had found three more people who recall an intelligence chart identifying Atta as a terrorist prior to the Sept. 11 attacks.

Two military officers, Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer and Navy Capt. Scott Phillpott, have come forward to support Weldon's claims.


U.S. seeks to keep evidence from 9/11 families

U.S. seeks to keep evidence from 9/11 families
Prosecutors ask Moussaoui judge to reconsider order

From Phil Hirschkorn

Thursday, April 27, 2006 Posted: 0129 GMT (0929 HKT)

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (CNN) — Prosecutors asked a judge to rethink granting 9/11 families suing airlines access to evidence gathered for the criminal case against al Qaeda terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui.

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema's April 7 order requires prosecutors to provide copies of all unclassified aviation security documents to attorneys representing September 11 families in a civil lawsuit pending in New York.

Prosecutors called the order "unprecedented" and urged Brinkema to withdraw it. The motion was filed by Chuck Rosenberg, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Brinkema's order would allow the families' attorneys access to "highly sensitive" law enforcement documents and could compromise the continuing investigation into the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The inquiry is "the largest criminal investigation in our nation's history, which is still ongoing," the motion says.

"This order will likely provoke negative consequences for numerous criminal cases in the future," prosecutors said. Rosenberg requested a May 19 hearing.

American and United airlines each lost two passenger jets to al Qaeda hijackers on September 11, 2001.

Among the 65 plaintiffs in the civil case is Mike Low, whose daughter, Sara, was a flight attendant on the first plane to strike the World Trade Center. He testified as a government witness in the criminal case.

The plaintiffs sued the airlines for wrongful death in 2002, rather than accept compensation from a federal fund that gave $7 billion to families. Brinkema agreed with their attorneys that legislation creating the victims compensation fund protected the rights of nonparticipating families to bring a negligence claim.

In their motion, prosecutors argued that the aviation security documents are specially selected materials provided to a small group of attorneys cleared to handle sensitive evidence in the Moussaoui case.

"The government never contemplated this material would be disclosed more widely for use in private civil litigation," the motion says.

Ron Motley, an attorney who successfully argued for access to the documents last month, said he would reply to the government's motion next week.

"We have not asked the government to give the 9/11 victims one single thing they didn't provide to Moussaoui's lawyers," Motley said.

The order would require the government to begin turning over copies of documents two weeks after a verdict is returned in Moussaoui's trial.

The plaintiffs have struggled with the Transportation Security Administration to obtain pre-September 11 aviation security documents.

"It is amazing what some agencies think is secret," Brinkema said before issuing her order last month. "As a culture, we need to be careful not to be so wrapped up in secrecy that we lose track of our core values and laws."

The families' pursuit was triggered by the revelation early in the Moussaoui trial that TSA lawyer Carla Martin improperly coached witnesses. Martin, who had prepared aviation security documents and witnesses in the case, sent witnesses transcripts and commentary by e-mail, even though a court order required scheduled witnesses to ignore the proceedings.

Martin's e-mail chain revealed she had been communicating with airline attorneys, and the families' attorneys suspected collusion.

FAA Manager Destroys Evidence

FAA Manager Destroys Tape

by Matthew L. Wald,
The New York Times, May 6, 2004

WASHINGTON, May 6 — At least six air traffic controllers who dealt with two of the hijacked airliners on Sept. 11, 2001, made a tape recording that same day describing the events, but the tape was destroyed by a supervisor without anyone making a transcript or even listening to it, the Transportation Department said in a report today.

The taping began before noon on Sept. 11 at the New York Air Route Traffic Control Center, in Ronkonkoma, on Long Island, where about 16 people met in a basement conference room known as "the Bat Cave" and passed around a microphone, each recalling his or her version of the events a few hours earlier.

But officials at the center never told higher-ups of the tape's existence, and it was later destroyed by an F.A.A. official described in the report as a quality-assurance manager there. That manager crushed the cassette in his hand, shredded the tape and dropped the pieces into different trash cans around the building, according to a report made public today by the inspector general of the Transportation Department.

NY Times

NTSB: No investigation of 9/11 crash N591UA (UA93)

NTSB Identification: DCA01MA065.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of United Airlines
Accident occurred Tuesday, September 11, 2001 in Shanksville, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 3/7/2006
Aircraft: Boeing 757, registration: N591UA
Injuries: 44 Fatal.

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 are under the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Safety Board provided requested technical assistance to the FBI, and any material generated by the NTSB is under the control of the FBI. The Safety Board does not plan to issue a report or open a public docket.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The Safety Board did not determine the probable cause and does not plan to issue a report or open a public docket. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 are under the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Safety Board provided requested technical assistance to the FBI, and any material generated by the NTSB is under the control of the FBI.
Full narrative available

NTSB: No investigation of 9/11 crash N612UA

NTSB Identification: DCA01MA063.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of United Airlines
Accident occurred Tuesday, September 11, 2001 in New York City, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 3/7/2006
Aircraft: Boeing 767-200ER, registration: N612UA
Injuries: 65 Fatal.

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 are under the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Safety Board provided requested technical assistance to the FBI, and any material generated by the NTSB is under the control of the FBI. The Safety Board does not plan to issue a report or open a public docket.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The Safety Board did not determine the probable cause and does not plan to issue a report or open a public docket. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 are under the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Safety Board provided requested technical assistance to the FBI, and any material generated by the NTSB is under the control of the FBI.

NTSB: No investigation of 9/11 crash N644AA (AA77)

NTSB Identification: DCA01MA064.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of American Airlines
Accident occurred Tuesday, September 11, 2001 in Arlington, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 3/7/2006
Aircraft: Boeing 757-200, registration: N644AA
Injuries: 64 Fatal.

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 are under the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Safety Board provided requested technical assistance to the FBI, and any material generated by the NTSB is under the control of the FBI. The Safety Board does not plan to issue a report or open a public docket.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The Safety Board did not determine the probable cause and does not plan to issue a report or open a public docket. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 are under the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Safety Board provided requested technical assistance to the FBI, and any material generated by the NTSB is under the control of the FBI.

NTSB: No investigation of 9/11 crash N334AA

NTSB Identification: DCA01MA060.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of American Airlines
Accident occurred Tuesday, September 11, 2001 in New York City, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 3/7/2006
Aircraft: Boeing 767-200ER, registration: N334AA
Injuries: 92 Fatal.

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 are under the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Safety Board provided requested technical assistance to the FBI, and this material generated by the NTSB is under the control of the FBI. The Safety Board does not plan to issue a report or open a public docket.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The Safety Board did not determine the probable cause and does not plan to issue a report or open a public docket. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 are under the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Safety Board provided requested technical assistance to the FBI, and any material generated by the NTSB is under the control of the FBI.

U:S. deports suspected terrorists to avoid prosecution

Individuals in the U.S. with links to terrorism were deported to their home countries even though investigators believed they posed a danger to national security and could be prosecuted, according to a Department of Justice brief… The authors of the brief are Solicitor General Theodore Olson [who lost his wife on 9/11], Assistant Attorney General Robert McCallum and Justice Department attorneys Robert Loeb and Sharon Swingle.
U.S. Deported Suspected Terrorists Whose Trials Could Jeopardize Probes

Jim Edwards
New Jersey Law Journal
May 20, 2003

Individuals in the U.S. with links to terrorism were deported to their home countries even though investigators believed they posed a danger to national security and could be prosecuted, according to a Department of Justice brief.

The policy, which affected "many cases" after Sept. 11, was disclosed in a footnote to the brief, filed in opposition to U.S. Supreme Court certification, in North Jersey Media Group v. Ashcroft, 02-1289.

Under the policy, terrorism charges would be "withheld" in instances where prosecution might show other terrorists how the government’s investigation worked. "[T]he Department of Justice determined that the best course of action to protect national security was to remove potentially dangerous individuals from the country and ensure they cannot return," the footnote says in the April 25 brief. "Such charges would have been withheld, for example, if their assertion could have compromised ongoing investigations or sensitive intelligence matters."

The brief does not say how many people were allowed to leave the country while prosecutors sat on charges.

The Justice Department has long maintained that many of the hundreds of Muslims arrested after Sept. 11 were linked to the terrorist incidents. Those links have previously turned out to be relatively minor, such as having a passing acquaintance with the hijackers, worshiping at the same mosque as al-Qaida members or unwittingly providing the terrorists with false identification.

The footnote, therefore, appears to admit that the government knowingly allowed actual terrorists, or their supporters, to leave the country rather than face prosecution, military tribunal or detention as "enemy combatants."

The authors of the brief are Solicitor General Theodore Olson, Assistant Attorney General Robert McCallum and Justice Department attorneys Robert Loeb and Sharon Swingle. Their office referred calls to Justice Department media spokespeople. Swingle declined comment and said her colleagues would as well. Messages left for them were not returned.

Justice Department spokesman Charles Miller said the footnote was based on a Dec. 10, 2002, fact sheet published by the department. The fact sheet, "An Update on Detentions Conducted by the Justice Department Following 9-11," received little attention at the time it was published, coming as it did more than a year after the bulk of the mass arrests.

It mentions in abstract terms that some of the 766 Muslims detained could have faced terrorism prosecutions in addition to immigration charges. The Supreme Court brief goes a step further, however, by calling the terror-linked detainees "potentially dangerous" and describing the decision not to prosecute them in concrete, past-tense terms.

The Justice Department’s position has always been that the integrity of the probe could only be maintained by a cloak of secrecy over its operations. Those operations included hundreds of arrests, lengthy detentions and secret hearings in U.S. immigration courts, most of which occurred in Newark, N.J.

Disclosing the workings of the probe would give al-Qaida a mosaic of clues about the Justice Department’s conduct of its war on terror, argued Dale Watson, an executive assistant director of the FBI, in a statement filed in one of many cases spawned by the "special-interest" mass deportation process, Detroit Free Press v. Department of Justice, No. 02-70339.

The new brief raises issues about those priorities, as it appears to give the integrity of the investigation at least as high a priority as the purpose of the probe — arresting terrorists.

It also leaves unanswered questions about the relative success or failure of the probe: In how many cases did this scenario occur? Were the dangerous deportees handed over to foreign security forces in their homelands or allowed to go free? Were they monitored by U.S. foreign intelligence services after their return? Have any of them since rejoined terrorist groups? Is the United States able to track these people’s activities?

Miller declined to comment beyond the Dec. 10 fact sheet, citing the ongoing nature of the case. The Supreme Court has a conference on Thursday in which it will decide whether to hear the matter.

Lee Gelernt, the senior staff counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the petition for writ of certiorari that prompted the government’s brief, also declined comment, for substantially the same reason. Gelernt’s petition seeks access for two newspaper organizations, the New Jersey Law Journal and the North Jersey Media News Group, to the secret immigration hearings of the detainees. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found no First Amendment right of access to the hearings.

Veterans of foreign intelligence and national security have mixed feelings about the policy. It makes sense, they say, but it also carries grave risks because of its dependency on a number of variables outside the control of the United States.

Robert McNamara Jr., general counsel to the Central Intelligence Agency until November 2001, says he is not surprised at the existence of the policy. Avoiding prosecutions in order to protect intelligence sources is a common way of dealing with such cases, he says. Although there is a risk in sending a bad actor home, detainees tend not to be given a free pass. "There’s got to be some level of certainty that the individual is not going to be just cut loose in the country of return or, on the other hand, turned into some kind of martyr," he says.

That risk, however, is very real, according to Wayne Madsen, a former National Security Administration analyst during the Reagan administration. "They go home, they get lost in the general population, they evade the local intelligence agencies or they go to Saudi Arabia, where the local agencies may be sympathizers and look the other way when they disappear," he says.

On the other hand, that might be a good thing. "Maybe it’s because they want to turn them and use them as double agents," Madsen says. "If you keep them in jail here, they’re of no further intelligence use."

And there are factors beyond the mere calculation of whether a deportee is more useful on the inside or the outside. Charges can be withheld for political reasons, too. "Sometimes they get a lot of pressure from the home governments of these individuals to return them," says Earl Tomlinson, a 25-year CIA veteran who has served clandestinely in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is now a senior director at Citigate Global Intelligence & Security in Dallas.

"For diplomatic considerations, it may be worth our interests to send them back and the receiving government would make a ‘parole’ promise and say, ‘We’ll see to it they don’t get back into terrorism,’" says Tomlinson. That scenario occurred with hundreds of Pakistani detainees who were deported en masse in June 2002 in a series of secret nighttime airlifts on airliners specially chartered out of Louisiana.

Deportation may also be a function of stretched budgets, according to Stewart Baker, former general counsel to the National Security Agency and now a partner at Steptoe & Johnson in Washington. "In the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, they may have thought, ‘Look, we just don’t have the resources to follow everyone around or find other sleeper cells.’ In a lot of cases you’re deporting them to countries that have no more enthusiasm for al-Qaida than we do," he says. "You can let the local governments watch them very carefully."

There are not many special interest hearings left, the solicitor general’s brief indicates in its accounting of the fate of the Muslims arrested after the attacks. There were 766 arrested under the special interest rubric, 611 of whom had hearings that were closed to the public, witnesses or the detainee’s family. About 505 of the men have been deported. There are four detainees left who still carry the special interest label, and only one of those has a likelihood of future closed hearings.

Whether the Justice Department’s policy was a successful one is something that may never be known. "The answer will be when one of them shows up in a terrorist operation or a jihad group," says Tomlinson. "They’ll go back to terrorism. It’s like going back to drinking."

NIST research of WTC collapse in violation of the Data Quality Act

NIST in violation of the Data  Quality Act

By Ed Haas,

May 31, 2006  ? When the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was charged with determining how three World Trade  Center Buildings collapsed at freefall speed onto their footprints on September 11, 2001, there was an expectation that NIST  would demonstrate quality, utility, objectivity, and integrity in its analysis ” that it would not be influenced by  predeterminations.  However, upon thoroughly studying the NIST Final Report  on the Collapse of the World Trade Center Towers, as well as the current working hypothesis by NIST on how WTC-7 collapsed  in 6.6 seconds, it is clear that this compromised federal agency violated the Data Quality Act when it published its conclusions  regarding the collapse of the twin towers, and is preparing to violate the Data Quality Act again when it releases its report  on World Trade Center Building Seven. 

The Data Quality  Act took effect on October 1, 2002.  Its purpose is to ensure that federal agencies  such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology disseminate accurate information to other federal agencies, states,  and the public.  When the Data Quality Act was enacted, it mandated that the Director  of the Office of Management and Budget, with public and Federal agency involvement, develop and issue guidelines  under section 3504(d)(1) and 3516 of title 44, United States Code, that provide policy and procedural guidance to Federal agencies for ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information  (including statistical information) disseminated by Federal agencies in fulfillment of the purposes of chapter 35 of title  44, United States Code, commonly referred to as the Paperwork Reduction Act.
In response to the  Data Quality Act, the National Institute of Standards and Technology developed, defined, and enacted the following guidelines  and standards.[1]
Quality  is an encompassing term comprising utility, objectivity, and integrity.  Therefore,  the guidelines sometimes refer to these four statutory terms, collectively, as “quality.”
Utility  refers to the usefulness of the information to its intended users, including the public.  In assessing the usefulness of information that the agency disseminates to the public, NIST considers the  uses of the information not only from its own perspective but also the perspective of the public.  As a result, when transparency of information is relevant for assessing the information’s usefulness  from a public’s perspective, NIST takes care to ensure that transparency has been addressed in its review of the information.
Objectivity  consists of two distinct elements: presentation and substance.  The presentation element includes whether disseminated information is presented in an accurate, clear, complete, and unbiased manner and in  a proper context.  The substance element involves a focus on ensuring accurate,  reliable, and unbiased information.  In a scientific, financial, or statistical  context, the original and supporting data will be generated, and the analytic results will be developed, using sound statistical  and research methods.
Integrity  refers to security ? the protection of information from unauthorized access or revision, to ensure that the information  is not compromised through corruption of falsification.
The mission of the  National Institute of Standards and Technology is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement  science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.[2]  True to its mission statement ?  NIST did not approach its research on how WTC-1, WTC-2, and WTC-7 collapsed from a forensic science perspective.  It did not treat its investigation as a crime scene investigation.   It based its research on the predetermined conclusions fed to it by the U.S. government.   NIST only had one working hypothesis when it started its investigation into how the twin towers collapsed  ” that the government’s account of 9/11 as articulated in the 9/11 Commission Report was one hundred percent  accurate and therefore complete.  NIST did not set out to reach a different  conclusion.  It purposely set out to validate the conclusion that had already  been fed to the media by the White House ” that the twin towers miraculously collapsed in 10 seconds (South Tower) and  11.4 seconds (North Tower) due to the impact of aircraft and ensuing fires.
In the scientific  world, a hypothesis is a proposal intended to explain certain facts or observations, a concept that is not yet verified but  that if true would explain certain facts or phenomena.  A scientific hypothesis  that survives experimental testing becomes a scientific theory.  It is important  to note that in its final draft on how the twin towers collapsed, NIST used the word “probable? frequently ?  such as “probable cause” and “probable collapse sequence of WTC-1 and WTC-2”.  NIST also generously used this disclaimer; a disclaimer that in my opinion, essentially invalidates the  entire NIST report:
No part of any report resulting  from a NIST investigation into a structural failure or from an investigation under the National Construction Safety Team Act  may be used in any suit or action for damages arising out of any matter mentioned in such report (15 USC 281a; as amended  by P.L. 1007-321).[3]
Why did the  U.S. government deem it appropriate to exclude the NIST reports from being used as evidence in lawsuits and legal actions?  There is only one plausible explanation.  The U.S. government knows that the NIST findings could not withstand the rigors of cross-examination.  The fact that approximately 150 plaintiffs that refused the government’s 9/11 Victims Fund are still  waiting for their day in court nearly five years after 9/11 validates my premise that the government is allergic to any civilian  force that desires to put the government’s account of 9/11 to the test of a jury trial.
If the NIST  scientists responsible for the “probable collapse sequence of WTC-1 and WTC-2? had to take the stand in a civil  court proceeding, it would quickly be discovered by the world that NIST failed to perform and disseminate its research regarding  the collapse of the twin towers in accordance with its own Data Quality Act guidelines.   Even a rookie attorney fresh out of law school would be able to quickly dissect and dismiss as irrelevant, the NIST conclusions.  It is precisely what NIST did not consider in its research that  makes its published conclusions suspect.  NIST simply refused to consider and  vigorously pursue a second working hypothesis; that the twin towers collapsed as the result of controlled demolition.
NIST is quick  to boast about the volume of its final draft as if twenty thousand pages of text prove completeness.  However, quantity does not prove quality.  Anybody that has  taken the time to read the NIST reports on the probable collapse sequence of WTC-1 and WTC-2 is quick to point out that while  NIST has assembled an impressive looking book set and DVD series, what the final draft on the twin towers actually amounts  to is an exercise in futility and redundancy.  Throughout the pages of the NIST  report, the government repeats itself over and over and over ? never actually saying anything new or informative.  It’s as if NIST has subscribed to the notion that if a lie is told often enough  ? it somehow becomes a truth.
Throughout the NIST reports is found  this language:
NIST found no corroborating  evidence for alternative hypotheses suggesting that the WTC towers were brought down by controlled demolition using explosives  planted prior to September 11, 2001.
This statement  is a gross contradiction that cannot be easily dismissed or ignored.  When defining  its approach to its research into the probable collapse sequence of WTC-1 and WTC-2, NIST explained that with the assistance  of the media, public agencies and individual photographers, it acquired and organized nearly 7,000 segments of video footage,  totaling in excess of 150 hours and nearly 7,000 photographs representing at least 185 photographers.  NIST claimed that this information guided the Investigation Team’s efforts to determine the condition  of the buildings following the aircraft impact, the evolution of the fires, and the subsequent deterioration of the structure.  Assuming that this statement by NIST is true, then it is proof that NIST was grossly  negligent and violated the Data Quality Act by not pursuing a controlled demolition hypothesis in addition to the “pancake  theory? hypothesis that was the centerpiece of the NIST research.
Why should  NIST have worked with two working hypotheses instead of one?  Why should there  have been a controlled demolition hypothesis that received matching computer modeling and explanation, as did the “pancake  theory? hypothesis?  The answer is found in the 7,000 segments of video  footage that NIST used to develop the computer modeling and collapse simulations that were intended to validate the government’s  9/11 Commission Report.  Nobody can deny that the collapse of WTC-1, WTC-2, and  WTC-7 looked like controlled demolitions.  Americans remember watching the news  on the morning of 9/11.  We remember all the newscasters reporting live from New  York City.  We remember when the first tower fell, and the voices of news anchors  from all the major networks attempting to describe what they just witnessed.  To  a man, every major network, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, and MSNBC used the language, “It looked like what we have all seen  before when a building is purposely demolished ? like a controlled demolition.”   If NIST viewed over 7000 video segments, if it listened to the commentary given by the major media outlets on the morning  of September 11, 2001, then it had to have seen buildings collapsing in the style of a controlled demolition.  NIST had to have heard newscasters describing the scene as looking like “a controlled demolition.”
The footage  of the collapse of WTC-1, WTC-2, and WTC-7 and its similarity to footage of other buildings being demolished by controlled  demolition demanded that NIST develop a controlled demolition hypothesis.  NIST  did not.  Instead, NIST spent millions of dollars developing what amounts to computer-enhanced  imagery that’s sole purpose was to coincide with what the 9/11 Commission Report proclaimed as truth, regardless of  how warped the science had to become to fit the government’s account of 9/11.
When putting  the NIST study to the Data Quality Act test, it is clear that by refusing a controlled demolition hypothesis ? NIST  demonstrated contempt prior to investigation.  The people responsible for preventing  the NIST scientists from adequately studying a controlled demolition hypothesis remain unknown, but rest assured, those government  scientists were on short leashes whether they care to admit it or not.  The message  was predetermined, and those that did not want the public to suspect any other conspiracy theory, other than the government-issued  conspiracy theory, controlled it.   Believe otherwise if you must, but the government’s account of 9/11 is the most conspiratorial and outlandish of all conspiracy theories offered to date regarding  the events of September 11, 2001.
In reading  the NIST report, I sometimes sense that the authors are trying to send distress signals to the American people.  It’s as if the NIST scientists are hostages being forced to read a script against their will.  We have all see footage of hostage tapes and have learned not to believe the words  that come out of a hostage’s mouth under such duress.  We recognize that sometimes a hostage, when fearing for his or her life, will say whatever it is that he or she thinks needs to be said to survive.  It might be extreme, but not necessarily far-fetched to suggest that the government  scientists at NIST were coerced to perform exactly as the U.S. government required to substantiate the findings of the 9/11  Commission Report.
It is reasonable  to suggest that if the team of lead scientists would have begun showing signs of even a split decision on how the twin towers  collapsed ? each would have been relieved of his or her duties.  Careers  would have been destroyed, and if necessary, people would have been silenced.  That  is to say that if controlled demolition would have become a talking point for the NIST scientists ? the conversation  would have been squelched at all costs.
When defining  the approach of their investigation, the NIST scientists said that “the scarcity of physical evidence that is typically  available in place for reconstruction of a disaster? led to the NIST approach of computer modeling and collapse simulation.  This is critical and another example as to why NIST should have developed a controlled  demolition hypothesis to fulfill the mandate set by the Data Quality Act.  Why  was there a “scarcity of physical evidence that is typically available in place for reconstruction of a disaster”?  NIST stumbled over the lack of evidence, when what was lacking should have  served as evidence that something peculiar happened to the physical evidence that would have been extremely helpful in accurately  determining how the twin towers and WTC-7 collapsed.  NIST should have viewed  the utter destruction of the crime scene by FEMA and the FBI at Ground Zero and the fact that FEMA only allowed NIST  access to 236 pieces of steel from the entire World Trade Center Complex wreckage ? steel that was contaminated if not  tampered with prior to being delivered to NIST for analysis, as all the evidence it needed to open and thoroughly explore  a controlled demolition hypothesis.  Incidentally, some of the steel NIST received from Ground Zero belonged to other WTC buildings ? particularly buildings five and six.   In total, NIST examined less than one-fifth of one percent of meaningful steel from the twin towers.
More importantly,  there is no record that any of the miniscule pieces of steel that FEMA gave NIST were tested for traces of explosives.  Why?  The 236 pieces of steel were not  tested for traces of explosives commonly used in controlled demolitions because NIST was not working a controlled demolition  hypothesis.  It was working the “pancake theory? hypothesis in support  of the 9/11 Commission Report.
Remember the  four pillars of the Data Quality Act ? quality, utility, objectivity, and integrity.  Recall that in accordance with the Data Quality Act, NIST defined objectivity as consisting of two distinct  elements: presentation and substance.  The presentation element includes whether disseminated information is presented in an accurate, clear, complete, and unbiased manner and in a proper context.  The substance element involves a focus on ensuring accurate, reliable, and unbiased information.
NIST did not  investigation the collapse of the twin towers free from a predetermined bias.  Nor  is NIST investigating the collapse of WTC-7 in an unbiased manner.  In fact, NIST  has already released a statement on WTC-7 that says that NIST has seen no evidence that the collapse of WTC-7 was caused by  bombs, missiles, or controlled demolition.  The use of the words, “bombs?  and “missiles? is a purposeful distraction.  The focus should be on  the words “controlled demolition” and the fact that the collapse of WTC-7 and the twin towers both require a controlled  demolition hypothesis because the video evidence that NIST claims it used to develop its “pancake theory” and  insists to ignore in the context of a controlled demolition, speaks for itself ” that the collapse of the twin towers  and WTC-7 clearly looks like a controlled demolition.  The appearance of controlled  demolition is all that should have been required for NIST to pursue a controlled demolition hypothesis.  NIST refused or was prevented from pursuing this hypothesis. 
Another fact  that clearly places NIST in direct violation of the Data Quality Act is that its “pancake theory? cannot be supported  when tested against the laws of gravity and many laws of physics.  Focusing on  the laws of gravity ? it is impossible for the twin towers to have collapsed in the elapsed times of 10 seconds and  11.4 seconds within the NIST “pancake theory”.    It’s  as if NIST finally achieved success with its computer image manipulation and dared not to put its theory to a real world scientific  test to learn if the laws of gravity permit its conclusions.  Had NIST measured  its “pancake theory? against the laws of gravity, it would have quickly discovered that the theory simply does  not sustain itself.
The south  tower stood 1,362 feet tall, the north tower, 1,368 feet.  The computer generated models that NIST produced show all building material falling unrestricted ? at freefall speed.  NIST had no alternative in this regard because the towers did indeed collapse at freefall speed.  In fact the towers? resistive systems ” that being the super steel structure skeleton, offered  no resistance to its own collapse.  It’s as if the structural steel suddenly  and simultaneously vanished from within the buildings.  For the “pancake  theory? to stand against the laws of gravity requires that the 70 to 85 tons of intact steel below where the airplanes impacted the two towers provided zero resistance when the buildings began to collapse.
How long should  the towers have taken to collapse within the NIST “pancake theory”?  Some  experts suggest 40 seconds ? four times longer than the elapsed collapse time caught in the 7000 video segments NIST  claimed to have studied.  There is a more telling fact about gravity though that  cannot be ignored.  If the roof of either tower were to be suspended in midair  in a vacuum that offered no wind resistance to its fall ? 1,362 feet above the ground with nothing whatsoever beneath  it ? no building, no 85 tons of super steel structure, no trusses and cross members, nothing but the actual roof of  either tower exactly as it appeared prior to 9/11 hovering 1,362 feet above the ground, and it was dropped ? the laws  of gravity dictate that the roof, with no building beneath it, would take 9.2 seconds to hit the ground.
How then is  it possible for the towers to have collapsed in 10 and 11.4 seconds within the confines of the “pancake theory”?  If one floor fell upon the other, would there not be a resistance time requirement  before the lower floor failed as a result of the floor above falling on it?  Wouldn’t  each floor be paused before it collapsed from the weight of the others?  How is  it possible that there was a downward, simultaneous advance failure of all structural integrity that allowed these  incredible steel superstructures to completely collapse at a speed slightly above the elapsed time required for the roof alone  to fall from 1,362 to the ground?
The truth is that it simply is  not possible.

[1] The National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Institute of Standards and Technology Guidelines, Information Quality Standards, and Administrative Mechanism,, [Accessed May 21, 2006]
[2] National Institute of Standards and Technology, Guidelines, Information Quality Standards,  and Administrative Mechanism,, [Accessed May 21, 2006]
[3] National Institute of Standards and Technology National Construction Safety Team Act Report  1 ? 1,298 pages (September 2005) CODEN: NSPUE2 

Ashcroft relegates 9/11 investigation to second plan

"FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III began to describe the investigation underway to identify those responsible for hijacking the four airplanes the day before. Mueller said it was essential not to taint any evidence gathered so that if accomplices were arrested, they could be convicted.

But Attorney General John D. Ashcroft interrupted him. Let’s stop the discussion right here, he said. The chief mission of U.S. law enforcement, he added, is to stop another attack and apprehend any accomplices or terrorists before they hit us again. If we can’t bring them to trial, so be it."


‘We Will Rally the World’
Bush and His Advisers Set Objectives, but Struggled With How to Achieve Them

By Bob Woodward and Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, January 28, 2002; Page A01

Second in a series

Wednesday, September 12

 At 7:30 a.m., half an hour after arriving for work in the Oval Office, President Bush phoned his friend Tony Blair, the British prime minister. He knew Blair would help buoy his spirits — and might have some useful advice about what to do.

The president was driven by conflicting impulses that morning. He was anxious, even impatient, to strike back as quickly as he could at those responsible for the Pentagon and World Trade Center attacks less than 24 hours earlier. He wanted, as he said later, "to move yesterday." But the response had to be big enough to inflict pain on the terrorists and demonstrate to them and the rest of the world that there had been a fundamental change in U.S. policy.

Within Blair’s government — and in other European capitals — there were widespread fears that Bush would be under irresistible political pressure at home to retaliate with an immediate military strike. Many Europeans believed that hasty military action not only would be ineffective in deterring future terrorism but also would shatter any hopes of building an international coalition.

Blair did not share those fears about the United States acting prematurely, confiding to an adviser his belief that American public opinion would give Bush breathing space and adequate time to prepare. But on the phone with Bush, he expressed shock and horror, pledged his "total support" to the president and said he assumed Bush was considering an immediate response.

"Obviously, you know, we’re thinking about that," the president replied. But he added that he did not want to "pound sand with millions of dollars in weapons" to make himself feel good. He did not plan to shoot off a bunch of cruise missiles.

The two leaders agreed it was important to first move quickly on the diplomatic front to capitalize on international outrage about the terrorist attack. If they got support from NATO and the United Nations, they reasoned, they would have the legal and political framework to permit a military response afterward.

Before hanging up, Bush and Blair returned to the question of a military response. Blair told Bush he had to make a choice between rapid action and effective action. And effective action would require preparation and planning.

Bush agreed. For the second time, he said he didn’t want to fire missiles at targets that did not matter.


 In the first hours after the terrorist attacks Sept. 11, Bush and his top advisers had been preoccupied with the crisis at hand, assessing additional threats, grounding airplanes, moving government officials to safety, mobilizing emergency rescue crews, measuring the scope of the devastation in New York and Washington, determining who might be responsible. Now, on the day after, they began to turn their attention more systematically to the U.S. response.

Like many members of his national security team, the president believed the Clinton administration’s response to Osama bin Laden and international terrorism, especially since 1998, had been so weak as to be provocative, a virtual invitation to hit the United States again. Most often, they believed, Clinton had chosen to respond to terrorist incidents by launching a cruise missile attack that did not jeopardize U.S. forces.

In an interview last month, Bush described his own thinking. "The antiseptic notion of launching a cruise missile into some guy’s, you know, tent, really is a joke," he said. "I mean, people viewed that as the impotent America . . . of a flaccid, you know, kind of technologically competent but not very tough country that was willing to launch a cruise missile out of a submarine and that’d be it."

"I do believe there is the image of America out there that we are so materialistic, that we’re almost hedonistic, that we don’t have values, and that when struck, we wouldn’t fight back," he said in the interview. "It was clear that bin Laden felt emboldened and didn’t feel threatened by the United States."

Many months earlier, in the formative stages of his new administration, Bush had talked with his prospective secretary of defense, Donald H. Rumsfeld, about their shared belief that America’s deterrent strength had been eroded through misapplication of the country’s military power. Rumsfeld recalls saying to Bush that whenever the United States was attacked or threatened, the Clinton administration had followed a pattern of "reflexive pullback." Rumsfeld said he believed that U.S. power was needed to help discipline the world.

"I left no doubt in his mind but that, at that moment where something happens, that I would be coming to him to lean forward, not back. And that I wanted [him] to know that," Rumsfeld said. "And he said, unambiguously, that that is what he would be doing, and we had a clear, common understanding."

However, until the attacks of Sept. 11, Bush had not put that thinking into practice. For months, his advisers had been developing a plan to fight terrorism, and specifically bin Laden and al Qaeda. Among the proposals was one by the CIA for expanded covert action against bin Laden. Its cost was $200 million.

But formal recommendations had never been presented to the president. Nor had he demanded them.

"I know there was a plan in the works. . . . I don’t know how mature the plan was," Bush said in the interview.

What was his state of mind about bin Laden?

"There was a significant difference in my attitude after Sept. 11. I was not on point, but I knew he was a menace, and I knew he was a problem. I knew he was responsible, or we felt he was responsible, for the [previous] bombings that killed Americans. I was prepared to look at a plan that would be a thoughtful plan that would bring him to justice, and would have given the order to do that. I have no hesitancy about going after him. But I didn’t feel that sense of urgency, and my blood was not nearly as boiling."


National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in the Oval Office.  (Eric Draper – White House Photo)
 Just before 8 a.m., CIA Director George J. Tenet and a top aide arrived at the White House for the president’s daily intelligence briefing. Vice President Cheney and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice joined them in the Oval Office.

Bush’s father, the former president and former CIA director in the Ford administration, had once told him that the morning intelligence briefing was one of the most important things he would do every day as president.

As a new president without significant foreign policy experience, Bush had taken intelligence seriously from the start of his administration and invited Tenet for regular 20- to 30-minute sessions most mornings. It was a departure from the previous administration, when President Bill Clinton used to receive his briefing in writing.

Tenet’s briefing for Bush this morning included a review of available intelligence tracing the attacks to bin Laden and his top associates in al Qaeda. One report out of Kandahar, the spiritual home of the Taliban, showed the attacks were "the results of two years’ planning." Another report said the attacks were "the beginning of the wrath" — an ominous note. Several reports specifically identified Capitol Hill and the White House as targets on Sept. 11. One said a bin Laden associate — erroneously — "gave thanks for the explosion in the Congress building."

A key figure in the bin Laden financing organization called Wafa initially claimed "the White House has been destroyed," before having to correct himself. Another report showed that al Qaeda members in Afghanistan had said at 9:53 a.m. Sept. 11, shortly after the Pentagon was hit, that the attackers were following through with "the doctor’s program." The second-ranking member of bin Laden’s organization was Ayman Zawahiri, an Egyptian physician often referred to as "the doctor," as was another Chechen al Qaeda leader.

A central piece of evidence involved Abu Zubayda, identified early as the chief field commander of the October 2000 attack on the Navy destroyer USS Cole that killed 17 sailors in the Yemeni port of Aden. One of the most ruthless members of bin Laden’s inner circle, Zubayda, according to a reliable report received after the terrorist attacks, had referred to "zero hour."

In addition, the CIA and the FBI had evidence of connections between at least three of the 19 hijackers, bin Laden and his training camps in Afghanistan.

For Tenet, the evidence on bin Laden was conclusive — game, set, match. He then turned to the agency’s capabilities on the ground in Afghanistan.

As the president knew, the CIA had had covert relationships in Afghanistan authorized first in 1998 by Clinton and then reaffirmed later by Bush. The CIA was giving several million dollars a year in assistance to the Northern Alliance, the loose amalgam of opposition forces in the northern part of the country that had been fighting with the ruling Taliban. The CIA also had contact with tribal leaders in southern Afghanistan. And the agency had secret paramilitary teams that had been going in and out of Afghanistan without detection for years.

Over the past few months, as part of the administration’s review of its policy on terrorism, Tenet, along with Rice and other officials, had been working on a plan to vastly expand covert action in Afghanistan and throughout the world. Tenet told Bush an even more expanded plan would soon be presented for approval, and it would be expensive. Tenet said CIA paramilitary teams would be able to provide indispensable assistance to any U.S. ground forces that might follow.

 "Whatever it takes," the president said.


 After the intelligence briefing, Bush met with Karen P. Hughes, the White House counselor who served as the administration’s communications czar and one of the president’s closest confidants. Bush told Hughes he wanted a daily meeting to shape the administration’s message to Americans about the fight against terrorism. It should be modeled, he said, on the meetings held in the spring during the administration’s first international crisis, when the Chinese had held an American spy plane crew hostage for 11 days.

Hughes, who was focused on details of the day ahead, proposed that Bush make an early public statement and reminded him that he would need remarks for a visit to the Pentagon that had been scheduled for the afternoon.

"Let’s get the big picture," he said, interrupting her. "A faceless enemy has declared war on the United States of America. So we are at war."

They needed a plan, a strategy, even a vision, he said, to educate the American people to be prepared for another attack. Americans needed to know that combating terrorism would be the main focus of the administration — and the government — from this moment forward.

Hughes returned to her corner office on the second floor of the West Wing to begin drafting a statement that reflected the president’s instructions. But before she could open a new file on her computer, Bush called and summoned her.

"Let me tell you how to do your job today," he told Hughes when she came back to the Oval Office. He handed her two pieces of White House notepaper with three thoughts scratched out in his handwriting: "This is an enemy that runs and hides, but won’t be able to hide forever."

"An enemy that thinks its havens are safe, but won’t be safe forever."

"No kind of enemy that we are used to — but America will adapt."

Hughes went back to work.

9:30 a.m.
In the Cabinet Room: Confidence, Determination

FBI Director Robert Mueller addresses a joint press conference at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 12. (Tim Sloan – AFP Photo)
 Bush convened his National Security Council in the Cabinet Room and declared that the time for reassuring the nation was over.

The enemy, he said, "hides in shadows and runs." The United States would use all its resources to find this enemy, but it would entail "a different kind of war than our nation has ever fought." He said he was confident that if the administration developed a logical and coherent plan, the rest of the world "will rally to our side." At the same time, he said, he was determined not to allow the threat of terrorism to alter the way Americans lived their lives. "We have to prepare the public," he said, "without alarming the public."

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III began to describe the investigation underway to identify those responsible for hijacking the four airplanes the day before. Mueller said it was essential not to taint any evidence gathered so that if accomplices were arrested, they could be convicted.

But Attorney General John D. Ashcroft interrupted him. Let’s stop the discussion right here, he said. The chief mission of U.S. law enforcement, he added, is to stop another attack and apprehend any accomplices or terrorists before they hit us again. If we can’t bring them to trial, so be it.

The president had made clear to Ashcroft in an earlier conversation that he wanted to make sure an attack like the ones on the Pentagon and World Trade Center never happened again. Now, Ashcroft was saying, the focus of the FBI and the Justice Department should change from prosecution to prevention, a fundamental shift in priorities.

"It was made very clear to me" by Bush, Ashcroft said in an interview, "that we had a responsibility to do everything in our power and to find ways to do those things that we might not otherwise think there are ways to do, to curtail the likelihood, to reduce the risks, to prevent this from happening again."

"My instruction was this: We’ve got to think outside the box. . . . We can’t think outside the Constitution, but outside the box. . . . If there’s a question between protecting a source and protecting the American people, we burn the source and we protect the American people. That’s just the way it has to be."


After he finished with the NSC, Bush continued meeting with a smaller group of senior administration officials — the half-dozen principals, including the vice president and the secretaries of state and defense who formed the war cabinet, without most of their deputies and aides.

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said the State Department was ready to carry the president’s message — you’re either with us or you’re not — to Pakistan and the Taliban.

Bush responded that he wanted a list of demands for the Taliban. "Handing over bin Laden is not enough," he told Powell. He wanted the whole al Qaeda organization handed over or kicked out.

Rumsfeld interjected. "It is critical how we define goals at the start, because that’s what the coalition signs on for," he said. Other countries would want precise definitions. "Do we focus on bin Laden and al Qaeda or terrorism more broadly?" he asked rhetorically.

"The goal is terrorism in its broadest sense," Powell said, "focusing first on the organization that acted yesterday."

"To the extent we define our task broadly," Cheney said, "including those who support terrorism, then we get at states. And it’s easier to find them than it is to find bin Laden."

"Start with bin Laden," Bush said, "which Americans expect. And then if we succeed, we’ve struck a huge blow and can move forward." He called the threat "a cancer" and added, "We don’t want to define [it] too broadly for the average man to understand."

Bush pressed Rumsfeld on what the military could do immediately.

"Very little, effectively," the secretary replied.

Bush told his advisers what he had told Blair — that above all he wanted military action that would hurt the terrorists, not just make Americans feel better. He understood the need for planning and preparation but said his patience had limits. "I want to get moving," he said.

Powell drew an obvious conclusion from the president’s words. "Focus is on winning the war," he scribbled on his pad.

When Bush posed the question of what military action could be taken immediately, Gen. Henry H. Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, later told others that he recalled feeling that the president might be heading down the same path that the Clinton administration had followed: Strike quickly, but with no follow-through.

Shelton, just three weeks away from retirement, knew there were two important problems in formulating a response. First was geography: The United States had no bases close to Afghanistan. Any large-scale military strike would entail multiple in-flight refuelings for helicopters or aircraft involved in an operation. The second problem was al Qaeda, a guerrilla organization whose members lived in caves, operated with mules and large sport-utility vehicles, and presented few desirable targets. Their training camps were mostly empty. Airstrikes might destroy a few buildings or tents but also send the message that the United States was looking to fight terrorism on the cheap.

Shelton was relieved as he rather quickly realized Bush was not looking for an easy or obvious response, not demanding military options on his desk by the next day.

Bush said he knew some of the generals might have had reservations about him. "I think General Shelton wasn’t sure about the commander in chief at this point in time," Bush said last month. "He was a little uncertain as to whether or not we were going to create expectations for him that he couldn’t live up to."

Bush said he knew the military would resist committing forces to an ill-defined mission. But he also believed he needed to push the Pentagon to think differently about how to fight this war. "They had yet to be challenged to think on how to fight a guerrilla war using conventional means," he said. "They had come out from an era of strike from afar — you know, cruise missiles into the thing."


Shelton, though he would soon be gone, was part of a national security team notable for its experience. Cheney was a former secretary of defense, White House chief of staff and leader in the House. Powell had served as national security adviser and as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and, like Cheney, was an architect of the Persian Gulf War during the administration of Bush’s father. Rumsfeld had been White House chief of staff and secretary of defense in Gerald Ford’s administration a quarter-century earlier. Tenet was serving as CIA director under his second president. Rice had been a Russia specialist on the NSC staff in the first Bush administration. Ashcroft was a former state attorney general, governor and senator. Mueller was a highly respected former prosecutor.

But for all the experience around the table, this was a team that had not fully lived up to expectations. Cheney had struggled, particularly early in the administration, not to appear to be overshadowing his boss. His true role — the power behind the throne or simply the sage, confidential adviser — remained a mystery to outsiders. Rumsfeld had irritated lawmakers on Capitol Hill and many of his senior military officers at the department with his brusque and sometimes secretive style of management. Powell suffered from perceptions, fair or not, that he had been pushed to the edges of the new administration, a view encapsulated by a headline on the cover of the Sept. 10 Time magazine: "Where have you gone, Colin Powell?"

Rice and Tenet had become presidential confidants but were little known to the public. Ashcroft, attacked for his conservative views, had survived a bitter confirmation battle in the Senate, while Mueller had taken over the FBI just one week before the attacks.

The biggest unknown of all was Bush himself. He had come to the presidency with little foreign policy experience, and his early actions on global climate change and national missile defense had rattled U.S. allies in Europe. America’s friends feared the administration was infected with a new strain of unilateralism, a go-it-alone attitude of looking inward rather than engaging the world as the lone superpower might be expected to do.

Bush described in the interview how he believed the rest of the world saw him in the months leading up to the attacks of Sept. 11. "Look," he said, "I’m the toxic Texan, right? In these people’s minds, I’m the new guy. They don’t know who I am. The imagery must be just unbelievable."

From his first trips abroad, Bush also had come to some conclusions about how the rest of the world saw the United States. "People respect us, but they like to tweak us," he said. "People respect America and they love our values, but they look for every excuse in the world to say that, because we didn’t do exactly what, you know, the international community wanted, we became unilateralist. In other words, I had a very interesting taste of what it would mean to be the president of a great country. There is a certain sense of jealousy, I guess is one way to describe it."

He said the international community simply did not know what he was really like. "Nor does the nation, by the way, understand what it’s like to have a commander in chief tested under fire like this," he added. "No one knew."

9/11 Investigators Complain About Intimidation

Leaders of a federal commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks complained Tuesday that the Bush administration has been too slow to provide access to key documents and is intimidating witnesses by insisting that CIA and FBI "minders" attend sensitive interviews.
9/11 Attack Investigators Complain About Hindrances. Bush team is dragging its feet on access to papers and is cowing witnesses, they say.


By Greg Miller, Times Staff Writer
July 9, 2003.

WASHINGTON ? Leaders of a federal commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks complained Tuesday that the Bush administration has been too slow to provide access to key documents and is intimidating witnesses by insisting that CIA and FBI "minders" attend sensitive interviews.

The chairman of the commission, former New Jersey Gov. Thomas H. Kean, said the delays are threatening the panel’s ability to meet its congressionally imposed deadline and produce a final report before the 2004 presidential election.

"The coming weeks will determine whether we will be able to do our job within the time allotted," Kean, a Republican, said during a news conference billed as an interim progress report. "Time is slipping by."

Kean and commission Vice Chairman Lee H. Hamilton were particularly critical of the administration’s insistence that interviews with intelligence or law enforcement officials be supervised.

"The commission feels unanimously it is some intimidation to have someone sitting behind you all the time," Kean said.

The CIA acknowledged that it requires all interviews with its employees to be monitored, but denied the practice has any chilling effect.

"It has been the CIA’s standing operating procedure for decades," said CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield. He said the minder is only present to keep a record of any classified information that is disclosed.

Asked whether the presence of a monitor might discourage witnesses from being forthcoming, Mansfield said: "We have not heard that from our employees. They understand the purpose and do not see it that way."

Despite their criticism of the administration, Kean and Hamilton ? a former Democratic congressman from Indiana ? said they do not believe the White House is stonewalling investigators.

And the officials said that in some cases they are getting access to highly sensitive materials that congressional investigators did not obtain in a separate Sept. 11 probe that concluded earlier this year.

Kean said the commission has gotten transcripts of interrogations of Al Qaeda detainees. He declined to identify the prisoners, but a commission official said the panel has received interrogation records of at least half a dozen top Al Qaeda operatives now in custody ? a group that would include accused Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and operations organizer Abu Zubaydah.

The commission also is expecting to receive, as early as this week, National Security Council documents that were not provided to congressional investigators, Kean said. He declined to elaborate, but acknowledged that the commission has requested NSC minutes and presidential briefings from the months leading up to the attacks.

Kean said that in some cases, agencies have been slow to turn over records in part because they have been caught off guard by the nature and volume of materials the commission has requested. Some of these records include officials’ private diaries and notes, Kean said.

The commission was created seven months ago and is widely perceived to have gotten off to a slow start. Tuesday’s news conference appeared designed to quiet such criticism and put fresh pressure on the White House to accelerate the turnover of records.

The complaints from commission leaders prompted prominent lawmakers on Capitol Hill, as well as relatives of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, to question whether the White House is trying to stall until the commission runs out of time or the presidential election is over.

"This administration has opposed at every turn the creation of an independent commission to investigate the tragedy of Sept. 11th," said Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), a presidential candidate who co-sponsored legislation creating the panel. "By delaying its response to the commission’s information requests, the administration may now be hoping to run out the clock."

The White House has dismissed such criticisms, saying it is cooperating fully with the investigation. Just this week, the administration designated a senior Justice Department official to expedite handling of requests for information.

The commission’s report is due May 27. Kean said members do not plan to seek an extension.

President Bush initially opposed the creation of the panel, saying it would distract intelligence agencies in the midst of the war on terrorism. But he reversed his position after congressional investigators unearthed evidence that the FBI and CIA had mishandled clues and warnings of the Sept. 11 plot.

Commission officials said they have encountered obstacles at numerous agencies.

The Justice Department, they said, has sought to block access to a number of important files on the grounds that turning over the records might contaminate the prosecution of Zacarias Moussaoui, the only suspect charged in direct connection with the Sept. 11 attacks on New York City and the Pentagon.

And Hamilton was particularly critical of the Pentagon, saying the panel has not received responses to requests for information from the North American Aerospace Defense Command, which is responsible for patrolling skies over the United States.

Hamilton said the CIA has been helpful in arranging briefings, but has been "slower in producing the internal documents that we have requested on management and resource choices in the pre-Sept. 11 war on terrorism."

That topic became a critical issue in last year’s congressional hearings, with key lawmakers contending that the agency had done little to mobilize against Al Qaeda despite a memo from CIA Director George J. Tenet declaring "war" on the terrorist organization.

The commission itself has been beset with problems. The administration’s first choice as chairman, former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, was forced to bow out when he refused to disclose certain financial and business records.

And members of the panel complained for months after its inception that it wasn’t moving quickly enough to get them security clearances and access to classified records of the congressional inquiry.

But Kean said those problems have been solved, and that with a staff of 60 and a $14-million budget, the commission can meet its deadline and produce a substantial report if it gets adequate cooperation from the administration. He said the commission plans another report in September.

Copyright 2003 Los Angeles Times