Category Archives: Major ‘terrorist’ events

Bali Bombings Cover-Up: “Fool Me Twice” (documentary)


Released on Youtube and Googlevideo , FOOL ME TWICE, exposes the cover-up of the Bali bombings and provides evidence that it was a Falseflag Operation.

The film begins by documenting the Australian government’s prior knowledge of the Indonesian military’s plan to use violence to maintain autonomy over East Timor. Contrary to The Howard Governments claims they argued against peacekeeping forces allowing the Indonesian Special Forces to carry out their campaign of fear and suppression.

Within 24 hours of the 2002 Bali bombings a team of FBI, UK special agents and Australian federal police started arriving in Bali. The investigation team continuously claimed different explosive devices were responsible for the main blast. Days after the attacks, Indonesian Police Chief, General Dai’ Bachtier, announced that the FBI had discovered C4 pointing the blame towards Jemaah Islamiah, JI (“SE Asia wing of Al qaeda”). Eventually, investigators concluded that the main explosive device was a potassium chlorate car bomb. C4 was never included in final reports.

The main explosive device was so powerful it seriously damaged buildings in a 2/400 metre radius and left a 1 metre deep, 10 metre wide crater. 202 people perished in the blasts, the majority incinerated from the main explosive device. Investigators quickly excavated the crater contents and dumped the remaining debris off the coast of southern Bali, including completely stripped concrete reinforcing bars. Potassium chlorate is a low velocity explosive and does not have the overpressure force to create a 1 metre deep crater or completely incinerate humans, let alone strip concrete. Only a high-tech explosive device has the power to strip concrete.

FBI claims of C4 announced by General Dai’ Bachtier, ensured Jemaah Islamiah was immediately blamed for the Bali bombings. All prior intelligence of the Bali bombings came from so called JI leader, Omar Al-Faruq. Omar Al-Faruq was secretly handed over to the US by Indonesia months prior to the bombings under the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program. Australian intelligence agencies reported that intelligence obtained from captured “JI suspect”, Omar Al-Faruq, warned of possible terrorist attacks in Bali. After the attacks the Bush administration denied access to Al-Faruq for questioning in the Bali bombing trials. When Omar Al-Faruq was suddenly called by US court to provide evidence in a trial of another terrorist suspect – he had “escaped high security prison”. No JI leaders have ever been brought to trial.

Prior to the Bali bombings the Indonesian government denied the existence of terrorists within Indonesia and opposed US anti-terror operations in Afghanistan. After the bombings President Megawati signed a joint statement – “Agreeing that terrorism poses a continued threat to international peace and security, and that the two Presidents are committed to enhancing their bilateral cooperation in the fight against terrorism”. The Bush administration provided funds to the Indonesian police and military and setup a national terrorism unit under the control of national police chief, General Dai’ Bachtier.



The Bali bombing, a comprehensive overview and timeline

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta, January 03 2003

The following timeline is excerpted from reports published in The Jakarta Post unless otherwise attributed.

Tuesday Oct. 15:

Police say C-4 was explosive material used to make bomb.

U.S. says al-Qaeda and Abu Bakar Ba’asyir responsible for bombing.

Hamzah Haz says Muslims not responsible and bombing was “”engineered””.

Wednesday Oct. 16

Hendropriyono says both technology and skills of bombers indicate they are from abroad and must have carried out surveillance before the attack.

Bali Police Chief Brig. Gen. Budi Setyawan said there is no indication of al-Qaeda involvement so far.

The Washington Post reports Indonesian police arrest former Air Force Lieutenant Colonel who allegedly confessed to building bomb that killed over 180 people and expressed regret for huge loss of life.

Air First Marshall says suspect released and this proves no Air Force Involvement.

Thursday Oct. 17

Susilo Yudhoyono admits possible involvement of foreigners in bombing.

Authorities focusing on seven “”foreigners”” suspected to have masterminded and carried out the bombings, a terrorist cell said to have been led by a Yemeni national, his Malaysian deputy and a European with links to Philippine bombings.

Police Chief Brig. Gen. Budi confirms bomb made of RDX.

Indonesian Army Brig. Gen. Ratyono denies Army supplied C-4 to terrorists. Denies Army possesses C-4 “”bombs””.

Friday Oct. 18

Hendropriono says technology and skills employed by attackers indicate they are from abroad.

Sunday Oct. 20

Pastika says investigation team focusing on four persons, including a security guard and a retired Air Force officer.

Monday Oct. 21

Police receive order to release former Air Force Officer Dedi Masrukhin although suspicions of his link to Bali blasts remain strong.

Forensics experts admit some victims could have been completely consumed by blast.

Tuesday Oct. 22

Omar al-Faraq allegedly tells CIA bin Laden transferred US $133,440 to JI for purchase of three tons of explosives from Indonesian military sources.

AFP agent Brett Swan says because of scale of explosion “”highly organized perpetrators”” carried it out.

U.S. declares “”technology transfer review”” between U.S. and RI as high-tech U.S. items may be found at bomb site.

Wednesday Oct. 23

Aritonang says investigators have determined specifications of bombs but not how they were deployed, large bomb made of RDX with a “”derivative”” of Ammonium Nitrate.

Friday Oct. 25

Aritonang says bomb was RDX and Ammonium Nitrate.

Saturday Oct. 26

Maj. Gen. Muhdi Purwopranjono (Kopassus) claims to have identified bombers.

Joint investigating team says it’s still in dark.

Aritonang says bombings were carefully and professionally planned and executed.

Sunday Oct. 27

Pastika says bombs made by Indonesians who “”could not have done it without help from foreign bomb experts. We believe that the explosives were brought in from outside Bali”” and “”The technology using mobile phones as a remote control is new for Indonesia and something that requires guidance from foreign experts.””

Monday Oct. 28

Two Generals, one police, one army named as possible suspects in bombing and subsequently file suit against Washington Post for libel.

Tuesday Oct. 29

Susilo Yudhoyono denies Army, Police Generals involved in bombing.

Wednesday Oct. 30

Pastika says “”main player”” identified who is also bomb maker.

Thursday Oct. 31

Police release three sketches of bomb suspects. Muchyar Yara says that the three were part of a list of 10 names submitted to police.

Friday Nov. 1

Da’I Bachtiar says they have identified East Javanese man but have not found him yet, along with driver of the van. Bachtiar says they used TNT, RDX, HDX and Ammonium Nitrate.

U.S. ambassador Ralph Boyce says media accusations of U.S. involvement in bombing “”inaccurate and unhelpful.””

Defense Minister Matori Djalil links bombing to JI and al-Qaeda.

ASIO director Dennis Richardson does the same.

Saturday Nov. 2

International investigation team finishes forensics after less than three weeks on site, concluding that bomb was TNT, RDX and other “”materials”” including chloride. AFP forensic team member says “”we have all we need to nail these bad guys down,””

BIN says bombings involved “”skilled foreign experts””.

Muchyar Yara says “”We are sure that foreign experts along with Indonesian experts or perpetrators were involved.””

National Police said bombs were constructed of TNT, RDX and HMX.

AFP officer Graham Ashton say that the degree of coordination and vehicle placement reflected a high degree of planning and expertise.

BIN issues a report saying bombs were made of Semtex.

Sunday Nov. 3

Police release on Nov. 2 man arrested in Ngada regency. Brig.Gen Aritonang says it’s the wrong guy.

Police raid house on Java and find photo matching suspect in composite sketch release earlier in week.

120 Australian police and intelligence officers working in Bali in addition to international investigators.

Minister of Defense Matori Jalil accuses al-Qaeda of bombings.

Australia accuses JI of bombing.

Monday Nov. 4

International team says bombers are professionals.

Intelligence sources say foreign perpetrators would hide for 6 months before trying to get out of the country.

Thursday Nov. 07

Mitsubishi van owner arrested in East Java on Nov. 5.

Gen. Heru Susanto identifies owner of van as Amz, 30, arrested in Paciran village in Lamongan. Amz says he bought van from man identified as Her from Tuban.

Joint inquiry team issues statement that a white Mitsubishi L300 van loaded with explosives stopped minutes before the blast in front of Sari club in drop off area not normally used for parking.

Aritonang says police have not named any suspects in relation to the bombing. Are focusing investigation on ten persons.

Friday Nov. 8

Da’I Bachtiar says Amrozi admitted using van for bombing and renting motorcycles and other car for bombing. Admits Amrozi does not match sketches.

Panorama in Italy reports Italian national bar owner “”Sartoni”” in Bali arrested in connection with bombing.

Asian Wall Street journal reports Hambali as planning bombing during meetings in south Thailand.

Saturday Nov. 9

Pastika says Amrozi admits to helping build main bomb, admits to being field coordinator for bombing.

Sunday Nov. 10

Police claim Amrozi bought sulfur, ammonium, fluorine and chlorate from Tidar Kimina chemical store in Surabaya.

Monday Nov. 11

Police claim to have produced an initial reconstruction of planning and execution of bombing, also that Amrozi purchased over one ton of chemicals to produce bombs from Silvester Tendean.

Former Bakin official AC Manullang expresses doubts about Amrozi’s part in pro team responsible for bombing.

Aritonang says Amrozi prime suspect in bombing.

Tuesday Nov. 12

Pastika says 10 Indonesians suspected of bombing.

Amrozi states he wanted to kill Americans in bombing. Bachtiar says Amrozi held four meetings in Surakarta to plan bombings.

Anti-terrorism officer and chemical expert express doubt over police claims they have identified bombers. Kopassus NCO says bombing would take a year of practice to execute. Chemical expert rules out conventional explosives, say they are incapable of causing level of destruction at Kuta.

Wednesday Nov. 13

Amrozi says he did not assemble bomb. Pastika says bomb consisted of 100 kilos TNT, PETN detonator and RDX “”booster””.

Thursday Nov. 14

Amrozi fingers Samudra as one of the masterminds of the bombing, says he drove van to Bali but denies assembling bomb.


JL named as prime suspect in blast.

Monday Nov. 18

Joint investigation team identifies 6 more suspects: Patek, Samdura, Imron, Wayan, Dulmatin, Idris with Samdura, Dulmatin and Idris as bomb assemblers. Samdura leader of group, Idris second in command, Dulmatin as detonator with his cell phone, electronics expert.

Amrozi refuses to identify driver of van.

Tuesday Nov. 19

Pastika says investigators have not yet focused on source of explosives, too early to move on that and only arrest of perpetrators would lead them to device.

Police say they found RDX and TNT trace at blast site. TNI denies ever storing RDX or C-4. PT Dahana confirms importing RDX for limited parties and military.

Wednesday Nov. 20

Da’I Bachtiar says there are other “”materials”” Amrozi did not procure in Surabaya and “”has no capacity to make bombs””.

AFP says they have not found RDX residue at site, only Chlorate and TNT.

Pastika will not confirm or deny foreign involvement.

Thursday Nov. 21

Hermawan Sulistyo says amount of explosives required do not match van story.

Police confirm chemicals purchased by Amrozi were not main bomb materials.

Pastika says main bomb materials TNT and RDX.

Friday Nov. 22

Three “”mystery”” men appear in Amrozi interrogation transcript, Amrozi appears to be in dark about Sari and Paddy club bombings until he sees it on TV.

Pastika claims he has not read interrogation report, now claims that only seven suspects have been identified.

Saturday Nov. 23

Bachtiar says that Amrozi himself provided the vehicle and materials for the bombs.

Sunday Nov. 24

Bachtiar says bombings carried out by three groups under leadership of Hambali.

Monday Nov. 25

Police claim that the device used at Paddy’s was detonated 118 centimeters above the ground.

Time Magazine claims Yemeni terrorist mastermind of Bali Bombing.

Tuesday Nov. 26

Police detain “”accomplices”” in bombing.

Police reveal Samudra was in process of getting fake passport to travel to Malaysia.

Wednesday Nov. 27

Legal experts say Amrozi and Samudra confessions inadmissible under KUHP.

Thursday Nov. 28

Bali bombing victims call for death of perpetrators. Friday Nov. 29

Aritonang says Samudra interrogation transcripts on Bali bombing not included in his case file because a lawyer did not accompany suspect.

Saturday Nov. 30

Police now say JI “”operating in Indonesia””.

Samudra claims he masterminded Batam bombings.

Sunday Dec. 1

Lawyers for Samudra say he is not linked to Ba’asyir or Mukhlas.

Monday Dec. 2

Political analyst Hermawan Sulistyo hints that media reports, including those from Time, which relied on “”intelligence sources””, may be false.

Tuesday Dec. 3

Police release names of 163 Bali bombing victims.

Wednesday Dec. 4

Bali investigating team “”not sure”” when investigation into the approximately 200 missing in the bombings will begin.

Thursday Dec. 5

Police say they have captured alleged JI operations chief Mukhlas.

Bomb blasts rock McDonald’s and car dealership in Sulawesi, killing three.

Monday Dec. 9

Pastika says at least “”90 percent”” of the Bali bombing plot had been uncovered.

Tuesday Dec. 10

Pastika says dossiers on Bali bombing suspects had to be “”perfect””, but has yet to assign responsibility for the three blasts to suspects or determine explosives used.

Sulawesi Police Chief Gen. Firman Gani says they have linked Sulawesi bombers with Bali bombings.

Wednesday Dec. 11

Samudra lawyer expresses doubt on client’s ability to assemble explosives, alleges that Samudra and other suspects had been manipulated by a “”third party”” to discredit Islam in Indonesia, suggests two devices were used in bombings: one conventional and one “”high tech device of great power””. Lawyer also says eyewitness saw something fall from sky before explosion.

Thursday Dec. 12

Joint investigative team says Makassar, Bali bombings closely linked.

Friday Dec. 13

Aritonang says he has strong case in Bali bombings. Says he does not have specialized knowledge to discuss explosives used in detail.

Saturday Dec. 14

Samudra denies knowing Mukhlas, Gufron, denies receiving funds from them. Wanted to kill Israeli spies, Americans. Says he did not assemble bombs or know where they were assembled.

Bachtiar questions whether Amrozi and Samudra acted alone in all bombings.

Bali bombing: An investigator’s analysis

Bali bombing: An investigator’s analysis
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta, Fri, January 03 2003

Robert S. Finnegan, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

On October 12, 2002 the Indonesian island of Bali experienced a terrorist attack that rocked the world. It was unquestionably well-coordinated and executed, the largest in the country’s history.

Investigators and forensics experts from both national and international teams that had quickly been assembled flocked to the crime scene, ostensibly to begin what should have been a long, drawn out exercise in forensics and investigative sleuthing to identify and capture the foot soldiers, coordinators and masterminds behind the attack that has left over 190 known dead, scores missing without a trace and hundreds more wounded.

It has turned out to be anything but that.

The Indonesian government immediately vowed to unite in the hunt for the bombers.

The U.S. government along with the international community seized the opportunity to point the finger at the shadowy al-Qaeda group along with Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Ba’asyir as the culprits.

In hindsight, it would appear that perhaps these individuals, given their apparent intimate knowledge of the perpetrators immediately following the bombing should have been included on the investigating team. Perhaps if they had we would know more than we do today, which is very little despite the volume of information (or disinformation) being vomited out by the spokesmen for the investigative teams on a daily basis.

A creeping sense of foreboding began soon after the forensics people and other investigators (inclusive of Insp. Gen. I Made Pastika and his army of hundreds of supposedly top-notch investigators with virtually unlimited resources at their disposal) announced after only a week and a half that they were wrapping up their on-site work and retreating to the labs to analyze their findings. Astounding work, as it must have set a world record for crime scene forensic analysis.

Given the scope of the bombing and the sheer size of the primary and secondary blast areas – where trace from a plethora of different explosive compounds were swabbed from – this was a feat that escaped even the vaunted investigators working the World Trade Center crime scene in New York, who spent nearly a year literally sifting by hand for evidence at the site. It would appear that the teams on Bali possessed far superior skills and techniques … or was there something else responsible for their haste in wrapping up so quickly and then sending the rest of the evidence as quickly as possible to the bottom of the ocean off Bali?

At this point in their investigation National Police Chief Gen. Da’i Bachtiar states for the record that “”traces of a chemical powder used in the bomb”” were found in the van allegedly used to transport the large device. What powder? Even a cursory examination of the crater and primary site immediately following the bombings would make this statement laughable were it not for the circumstances.

If indeed the Mitsubishi L300 van was used in the large blast, the five-foot deep by twenty-foot wide crater indicates that it would have been completely vaporized, including the engine block which they apparently found intact – along with the victims who instantly vanished. Indeed, this begs the question: Where did the investigators obtain this evidence in relation to the crater?

Is it possible that if the van survived the large blast it was because it was parked at the edge of the primary blast zone, packed with small amounts of all the explosives – whose traces were found at the sites – in order to throw off independent investigators?

In addition, there is the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), allegedly signed jointly by the National Police and the international investigation team, specifically restricting the scope of the “”investigation links”” and prohibiting international inquiries. Could this at least partially explain why Pastika has continually stonewalled, intimidated and generally obstructed independent investigators during the course of their work?

During the first weeks of the investigation, notables such as State Intelligence Agency (BIN) Chief Hendropriyono, Susilo Yudhoyono, Assembly Speaker Amien Rais and Pastika focused or pretended to focus on foreigners – without specifying “”which”” foreigners – who they said were behind the attack. Somehow this twisting, turning trail dried up and disappeared into thin air without explanation, along with the former retired Air Force Officer who allegedly confessed to police his involvement in the bombing and was then released. To this day his whereabouts remain unknown and police investigators either cannot or will not release any information on this man, an officer who was allegedly trained in America in explosives and is an incredible lead that should have been followed-up on aggressively and thoroughly. Why was it not?

Are these the statements and actions of professional investigators – or the actions of individuals engaged in a cover-up?

Let’s look at the myriad of explosive traces found at the site and subsequently cited individually off and on by investigators and police as “”the explosive”” used in the bombings.

First it was C-4, then RDX. These two are actually the same, the difference being nine percent mallable plastic used in C-4. So, which is more powerful? RDX – nine percent more powerful than C-4.

Day after day, investigators trotted out a different explosive and combinations of explosives purportedly responsible for the blasts. In addition to C-4 and RDX there was now TNT, Ammonium Nitrate, HMX, Semtex, PETN, Chlorate and napalm. Everything but the kitchen sink. Was this gross ineptitude? Or another ploy to throw independent investigators off the trail?

For example, had the originators of the napalm theory studied up on the material before opening their mouths they would have known that napalm leaves a sticky, smelly residue on everything, including victims. This was not in evidence at the blast site or at the Sanglah burn ward and morgue, where the burn victims were taken. Therefore, in the absence of any physical evidence, napalm must be excluded and the originators of this farce be awarded a grade of “”F”” in “”explosives analysis.”” In other words, if you are going to lie, be professional about it at least know what you are lying about and have the mental capacity to remember what you said when you said it. This single evidentiary template could easily be applied and extended to the entire “”official investigation”” of the Bali bombings where deceit, obstruction and obfuscation are and have been the name of the game.

To put this in perspective, let us look at three of the explosives claimed by official investigators to have been used in the bombings, starting with the compound that has the lowest velocity of detonation in feet per second (FPS) which is Potassium Chlorate at 3,500 FPS; compared to 12,000 FPS for Ammonium Nitrate and diesel and finally 27,800 FPS for RDX. In simple terms, at any given distance from ground zero these different explosive compounds will exert pressure in pounds per square inch. Damage to people and structures are a result of this pressure in varying degrees depending on the velocity of detonation. Even if RDX were used, the amount needed to cause the level of destruction in evidence at the crime scene should have been in excess of anything available through even the military, who denied possession of the explosive. There is also the delivery of the device to be taken into account.

Each of the explosives cited by investigators (with the exception of napalm) have unique and individual characteristics that vary for usage, stability and explosive yeild. They require specific detonators for each in order to obtain maximum effect.

Also now at the bottom of the ocean off Bali is the reinforcing bar (rebar) located more than fifty feet from ground zero that had been completely stripped of concrete as a result of the blast. Documented military estimates of the force required to accomplish this is roughly 1 million to 1.5 million pounds per square inch.

What kind of weapon or device could accomplish this? And for that matter leave a crater of that size? Why was it filled in? This arguably could have been one of the most important pieces of evidence available to investigators not only for the trace explosive in evidence, but from which also could have been determined (roughly) the size and composition of the device.

With the police claiming (off and on) that Amrozi, Mukhlas and Samudra (who allegedly at one point denied involvement in the Bali bombings) were the perpetrators of the blasts, then why do the official investigators not know EXACTLY the type of device used in the main bombing and its precise composition? To put it quite simply, how can we have a bomber or bombers in the absence of a bomb?

Why were Amrozi and Samudra so quick to confess and finger their “”accomplices””? Were these the actions of dedicated, radical, Islamic fundamentalists? “”Professionals””? Did they expect to further their cause by eviscerating their own organization? Does it make sense that they were willing to kill and maim hundreds of innocents – including many fellow Indonesians – and yet implicate their comrades to save their own skins?

Given this dismal investigative performance, exactly what role did the international investigating team play in this debacle?

If indeed there is one thing that has been glaringly apparent throughout this investigation, it is that perhaps nothing close to the truth has been told as of today. It is also apparent that something is very, very wrong not only with the procedural aspects of this case, but also with the suppression and outright destruction of evidence. The international investigators bear a heavy responsibility for this, and should be held accountable.

Jakarta Post Editor Robert S. Finnegan is an internationally published investigative reporter with over two decades investigative experience. He currently holds an Alaska (U.S.) Private Investigator license.

Why Does the FBI Have to Manufacture its Own Plots if Terrorism and ISIS Are Such Grave Threats?

Why Does the FBI Have to Manufacture its Own Plots if Terrorism and ISIS Are Such Grave Threats?

The FBI and major media outlets yesterday trumpeted the agency’s latest counterterrorism triumph: the arrest of three Brooklyn men, ages 19 to 30, on charges of conspiring to travel to Syria to fight for ISIS (photo of joint FBI/NYPD press conference, above). As my colleague Murtaza Hussain ably documents, “it appears that none of the three men was in any condition to travel or support the Islamic State, without help from the FBI informant.” One of the frightening terrorist villains told the FBI informant that, beyond having no money, he had encountered a significant problem in following through on the FBI’s plot: his mom had taken away his passport. Noting the bizarre and unhinged ranting of one of the suspects, Hussain noted on Twitter that this case “sounds like another victory for the FBI over the mentally ill.”

In this regard, this latest arrest appears to be quite similar to the overwhelming majority of terrorism arrests the FBI has proudly touted over the last decade. As my colleague Andrew Fishman and I wrote last month — after the FBI manipulated a 20-year-old loner who lived with his parents into allegedly agreeing to join an FBI-created plot to attack the Capitol — these cases follow a very clear pattern:

The known facts from this latest case seem to fit well within a now-familiar FBI pattern whereby the agency does not disrupt planned domestic terror attacks but rather creates them, then publicly praises itself for stopping its own plots.

First, they target a Muslim: not due to any evidence of intent or capability to engage in terrorism, but rather for the “radical” political views he expresses. In most cases, the Muslim targeted by the FBI is a very young (late teens, early 20s), adrift, unemployed loner who has shown no signs of mastering basic life functions, let alone carrying out a serious terror attack, and has no known involvement with actual terrorist groups.

They then find another Muslim who is highly motivated to help disrupt a “terror plot”: either because they’re being paid substantial sums of money by the FBI or because (as appears to be the case here) they are charged with some unrelated crime and are desperate to please the FBI in exchange for leniency (or both). The FBI then gives the informant a detailed attack plan, and sometimes even the money and other instruments to carry it out, and the informant then shares all of that with the target. Typically, the informant also induces, lures, cajoles, and persuades the target to agree to carry out the FBI-designed plot. In some instances where the target refuses to go along, they have their informant offer huge cash inducements to the impoverished target.

Once they finally get the target to agree, the FBI swoops in at the last minute, arrests the target, issues a press release praising themselves for disrupting a dangerous attack (which it conceived of, funded, and recruited the operatives for), and the DOJ and federal judges send their target to prison for years or even decades (where they are kept in special GITMO-like units). Subservient U.S. courts uphold the charges by applying such a broad and permissive interpretation of “entrapment” that it could almost never be successfully invoked.

Once again, we should all pause for a moment to thank the brave men and women of the FBI for saving us from their own terror plots.

The Charlie Hebdo False Flag in Paris: Theory, Evidence and Motive

The Charlie Hebdo False Flag in Paris: Theory, Evidence and Motive

1-Stuart J HooperStuart J. Hooper
21st Century Wire

The following essay looks to present a theory of false flag terrorism in relation to evidence and motives present for the case of the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris, France.


One must preface this piece with a short statement on its intentions. The shooting that took place in Paris is a tragedy of immense proportions, ruining the lives of many people, leaving a scar on French history and threatening the ideals of freedom of expression. This writer is not concerned with theories of a hoax where nobody was killed, nor the potential involvement of Reptilians, and would prefer to leave such ideas firmly behind; in favour of those which actually have supporting evidence. This piece is interested in presenting a theory of false flag terrorism, which has occurred numerous times throughout history, in parallel with evidence that can support such a theory and also show a motive for such actions. It is only through reasoned and well argued analysis that alternative theories can hope to gain ground in the mainstream consciousness. That being said, it is not possible to present any idea, official or otherwise, without some degree of subjectivity and speculation. However, the epistemological concern should be with the weight and relevance of the evidence invoked towards the case, not positivistic absolutism, and only you, the reader, can be the judge of that.


The theory of false flag terrorism we will be exploring here is that of Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley, which can be found in his book 9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA. This theory suggests that four key aspects are required for the successful execution of a false flag terror operation.

1) Patsies, dupes and useful idiots
– These are the people which you will see on the front pages of newspapers and on the evening news as those allegedly ‘responsible’ for the attack. They can have the will to perform terroristic actions, but usually are of low mental ability lacking the means and technical capabilities to do so. In some cases they will think that they are carrying out an attack, but it is also possible for patsies to not be aware they about to be framed. They must be under a level of supervision, yet free to fulfill their role.

2) Professional executioners
– These are the actors that have the means and technical capabilities to perform terroristic actions. They usually have to be unseen, at least personally although their actions will not be, throughout the entire false flag event. This allows them to shift blame upon the useful idiots at a later point.

3) Privatised command structure
– This is the ever illusive shadowy element of false flag terrorism. The instigator and bankroll. Neither seen nor heard of, and can be tricky to specifically identify. Uses Moles within both public and private institutions to implement the Synthetic Terror apparatus necessary to carry out the event.

4) Controlled corporate media
– Through means of monopolised ownership and coercion, a controlled corporate media is required to immediately espouse the story of the useful idiots, not professionals, being responsible.

In short, the privatised command structure employs the use of professional executioners and technicians, for whatever motive they have, to instigate a terroristic incident. Following this, a patsy is placed on the scene sometimes materially sometimes rhetorically, and immediately blamed, often with zero evidence and by an unnamed source, as being the perpetrator. The controlled corporate media will then run with this version of events as factual, whether it is or not, and sometimes even seek to discredit ideas to the contrary. What we must now attempt to do is see whether any evidence and facts from the Charlie Hebdo shooting points to the presence and operation of patsies, professional executioners and a privatised command structure.


Our first point of enquiry comes from the accused perpetrators allegedly being Muslims. This led to the event being declared “an act of Islamist terrorism, as the attackers shouted, ‘Allahu akbar’”. The Foreign Policy article goes on to state that the attackers “were captured on video shouting Islamist slogans and claiming they had attacked the paper to avenge the Prophet Muhammed“. Although this is what was seen and heard, it does not mean that this is what you were seeing. Anyone can shout “Islamist slogans“, whether they are Islamic or not, and, as the attackers were disguised behind masks we cannot assume that they were indeed the Islamic extremists we are being told they are.

Now, remember the role of the professional executioners and technicians is to carry out the event and help to place blame upon the patsy to blamed later on. The use of such slogans can, therefore, be seen as evidence of an attempt to frame an Islamic patsy and steer the subsequent narrative in the direction of Islamic extremism; away from any other potential source of terrorism, which could have otherwise been plausible [1].

This attempt at steering the narrative was furthered once more by a ‘claim’ allegedly being made by a representative of the group al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen. The problem here is, once again, that this was “provided on condition of anonymity“. It also did not come immediately after the attack and the delay was apparently “due to the executors’ security reasons”, which seems somewhat dubious [2]. Anonymous sources should, in this writer’s opinion, always be held in a skeptical regard. Their usage in situations such as this one can be dangerous, placing blame upon those who may not necessarily be responsible. The U.S. government has since taken a similar stance, itself suggesting that there is “no credible information” that an al-Qaeda group was actually behind the attacks [3].

Evidence of the alleged perpetrators being patsies, dupes and useful idiots does exist. We are informed by an AP article that one of the accused, Cherif Kouachi, was “a former pizza deliveryman” and had already been arrested back “in 2008 for trying to join up with fighters battling in Iraq“. As an employee in a position that requires little intellectual ability, combined with failure in previous terroristic attempts, we can suggest that Cherif Kouachi fits the definition of a potential patsy; as he demonstrates low mental ability and a will, but lack of means and capability, to perform terroristic actions [4]. We have also learnt that one of the alleged perpetrators was wrongly accused. The supposed getaway driver, 18-year-old Mourad Hamyd, was “in class”; leading to a Twitter campaign by his classmates, which you can find under #MouradHamydInnocent [5]. This demonstrates the potential for failures, deliberate or not, to occur; which may not only be limited to this one suspect.

Yet, what we see on the streets of Paris are men who are described as anything but incapable in the actions which they undertook. “Masked and garbed in black, the AK-47 wielding assassins appeared to be executing a well-coordinated plan in the late-morning raid, methodically seeking out and executing those targeted for death, and making a clean getaway“. That is how Fox News details the event. Their analyst, retired Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, said “it was evident immediately that this was a carefully planned, sophisticated operation by well-trained, well-armed veterans of jihad. This was not a pick-up team. These butchers were methodical and efficient. They weren’t just terrorists: They were terrorist commandos”. Peters elaborates and states “they didn’t just go nuts and shoot wildly, as amateur jihadis do. They set out to kill specific people and never lost focus. They even stayed cool during the getaway phase. These men had killed before”. Furthermore, Scott Stewart, vice president of tactical analysis at global intelligence firm Stratfor, also told Fox News, “these are not amateurs. Especially when you compare it to the deadly, but amateurish lone wolf attack on Oct. 22, 2014 in Ottawa. These men were working as a fire team” [6]. Moreover, Aki Peritz, a former CIA analyst, stated that the attacks were “very professional, well thought out and well executed“; also suggesting it is significant that, apart from the police, nobody other than the targets were killed [7]. Lt. Col. (Ret) Anthony Shaffer suggested in an interview on Fox and Friends that the perpetrators’ arsenal of weapons indicates evidence of vast “logistical support” , which is in turn evidence of a privatised command structure [8]. This collection of analysis does not corroborate with the profile we have of at least one of the alleged perpetrators, particularly as he had failed to even come close to killing before, and instead points to the presence of highly professional executioners; of utmost importance for successful false flag operations.

Alleged kosher store shooter Amedy Coulibaly in a video released after his death with A4 inkjet print of ‘ISIS flag’ taped to wall in upper corner.

So, why then did such ‘professionals’, obviously concerned with concealing their identities due to their wardrobe choices, leave behind an ID card in their getaway car? This can be framed as a mistake, a framing we find in an article from the UK’s Mirror stating “the suspected terrorists have been identified after one of the brothers left his ID card in the Citroën C3 they abandoned as they escaped” [9]. Could it be a mistake? Sure. But consider the analysis presented above. The professionalism and potential for advanced ‘logistical support’ suggest that the ID card story could fit in with a bigger picture. It bears striking similarity with a story that broke on 9/11, where “the passport of one of the hijackers” was  discovered. This story makes literally zero sense, as in the same report it is stated that “when the two airline jets crashed into the twin towers, thousands were vaporised almost instantly; consumed in the burning jet fuel” [10]. How then did a passport survive? Both stories suggest a deliberate attempt to plant false evidence, considering the near improbability of these events happening by chance, framing patsies, not the real perpetrators, for these crimes.

Incredible acts like these are usually found in false flag operations, yet the controlled corporate media usually refuses to address such events; instead choosing to parrot, and never question, the official story that is fed to them. We find further incredulous acts through reports stating that the alleged attackers “had been listed in databases for years” [11]. They “were both logged in the US government’s Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) system“, meaning they were also both on the notorious U.S. “No Fly List” [12]. Moreover, the “two brothers accused of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris have been on a British watch list for the last four years“, “to deter them from entering the UK or transiting through a British airport” [13]. This might explain why “French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Thursday that the suspects were “probably followed” prior to the shooting” [14]. If true we therefore find evidence of potential handling, a process of supporting and guiding someone for specific means and ends; often employed by intelligence agencies and police when they ‘handle’ an asset. It makes sense that such well known ‘potential terrorists’ would be followed on a regular basis, so, assuming it was them, why were they not stopped? It would have been obvious where they were heading and their outlandish actions on the streets of Paris do not allow for a defence of ‘confusion’ as to what was going on. This is strong evidence of patsies having their freedom maintained to carry out, or at least be able to blamed for, an operation; necessary for successful false flags. It is also evidence of the privatised command structure necessary, as people were keeping track of the potential patsies.

The fact that one of the alleged attackers apparently trained with al-Qaeda in Yemen might explain their presence on so many international terrorist watch lists. “Said Kouachi, 34, was in Yemen for a number of months training with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula“, so perhaps at least one of the suspects may have had some of the technical skills necessary to carry out the event [15]. Assuming then that it was the brothers at the crime scene and not covert professional executioners, we could suggest a merging of the roles of patsy and professional; but still a false flag event nonetheless. This is because, as evidenced above, we still have the existence of a private command structure in the supply of the weaponry and tailing of the suspects prior to the event. 

Anwar al Awlaki: Bona fide Global Terrorist Leader, or Western Intelligence Asset?

Now this is where things get really suspicious; potentially tearing apart the argument in the previous paragraph of this analysis. We are now told that Cherif, not Said, conducted an interview over the phone “to BFM-TV before his death while holed up inside the building“. In this interview, he said: “I was sent, me, Cherif Kouachi, by Al Qaeda of Yemen. I went over there and it was Anwar al Awlaki who financed me” [16]. Yet, we heard above that it was Said who was in Yemen. So who really was in Yemen? This, once again, appears to be an attempt to frame a patsy. What was stated explicitly identifies someone who had, apparently, previously undertaken efforts to disguise their identity with the use of a mask and quick getaway, which is an obvious inconsistency. The fact that the wrong name was used also raises suspicions as to the true origins of this phone call. Is this perhaps more evidence of the privatised command structure working to feed the controlled corporate media with its story? How did this television station get in contact with the suspects? What evidence, aside from claims of the station, do we have that this phone call is legitimate? It is interesting that the name Anwar al-Awlaki was mentioned too. This figure was invited by the Pentagon “to a luncheon just months after the 9/11 attacks“, supposedly to “to ease tensions with Muslim-Americans after the terror attacks” [17].

According to our analysis here, we can instead suggest that this too is evidence of handling. To what extent was al-Awlaki involved with military intelligence in the future? Did he receive funding, training or assistance of any kind under the guise of ‘easing tensions’? Involvement with such a figure casts further doubt onto the authenticity of the Paris attackers.


As keen investigators we should always look for specific and relevant motives, which avoid vast and vague sweeping ideas, to ensure both heightened credibility and potential for our work. First, let us contextualise the current geopolitical situation.

Anglo-American hegemony is on the decline due to vast, perhaps terminal, financial crises, and measures attempting to rectify this situation, austerity in particular, appear to failing on all fronts; especially as we now how have an anti-austerity party, Syriza, poised to come to power in Greece and reject the IMF. The IMF is an institution favoured, owned and operated by the Anglo-Americans for purposes of financially seizing countries throughout the world; through a process of destroying the capabilities of the state, under ‘structural adjustment’, and then burdening the country with exorbitant amounts of debt effectively leading to the IMF ‘owning’ the country. This decline of Anglo-American hegemony, and rejection of their methods, is putting these waning Western powers into a difficult position. Of course it would be possible for them to accept that their time as the dominant force on the world stage was coming to an end but, alas, we see a mad scramble to sustain hegemonic power at any cost; particularly through actions to destabilize the Middle East in favour of Western interests, attempts to portray Russia as a threat to Western liberal international order, and, even attempts at starting a new regional war through destructive clandestine operations in Ukraine. It is this stance of desperation that makes the Western powers unstable and, in turn, incredibly dangerous.

However, not all Western leaders agree with the stance of desperation. In an “unprecedented two-hour interview with France Inter radio“, French President Hollande took it upon himself to address the world situation as dire and in need of immediate change. Hollande said, “Putin does not want to annex eastern Ukraine“, putting him at odds with an entire narrative Western, NATO governments have been pushing relentlessly for months on end. He went past these rhetorical insinuations, of takeover desires, into hard reality stating that “the sanctions (against Russia) must stop“, which can be seen as a direct challenge to the already declining Anglo-American financial hegemony. Furthermore, he “ruled out unilateral military intervention in Libya“, where we heard above the West has been attempting to shift the balance of power in their favour; something that is much harder to accomplish without direct Western intervention. Hollande suggested that such an intervention would only include France under a “clear mandate, clear organisation and the political conditions” necessary for legal and international, not unilateral, action.The French President also spoke of the situation in Greece, mentioned above, saying “the Greeks were free to choose their own destiny“, and warned “not to interfere with the Greek election“. This “has been interpreted as a swipe at German Chancellor Angela Merkel“, as it once again directly challenges the West’s financial hegemony [18]. So, what we have here is a Western leader directly challenging all of the points of desperation described above; a move which demands respect from those of us also against such practises. This undoubtedly places a target upon the back of Hollande and provides motive for a false flag event, which acts as a warning to the French government to stop acting in such a conflicting manner or expect to face consequences far worse than what was seen at Charlie Hebdo.

The interview was a full-on assault against Western policy, as Hollande stated “I’m not for the policy of attaining goals by making things worse” [19]. If Angela Merkel was angered, it is certainly possibly for others within the Western power structure to have also felt that way. So is the suggestion above, of a false flag occurring after such an assault on Western policy, possible? Yes. This can termed geopolitical terrorism. It is not the view of the mainstream, which ascribes terroristic actions to the supposedly oppressed who are fighting back, violently, against their oppressors. This is an incredibly naive view of the subject of terrorism, and ignores the countless incidents of terrorism being used for geopolitical purposes throughout history. Operation GLADIO was a component of a NATO stay-behind operation aimed at preventing any assaults upon Western anti-communism policy in Europe during the Cold War. It did this by supporting radical right-wing groups by utilising “terror attacks and shootings in public venues to later be blamed on leftist and socialist groups” [20]. Here we have a concrete, undeniable example of terrorism being used to achieve the geopolitical aim of preventing attacks upon Western policy objectives. So, we are left with a situation where it is not inconceivable that the events of Paris may too have been acts of geopolitical terrorism; to prevent a rebellious Hollande from attacking almost all global, Western policy aims. The President of France has much wider powers than say the American President, with the ability to dispel parliament, which makes Hollande a real threat to Western norms as he could begin to work outside of them and against them; making his divisive rhetorical stance a reality. A desperate Anglo-American power structure can not afford such a challenge. Was this event their attempt at preventing it?


From the analysis presented here, we can point to numerous pieces of evidence supporting a theory of flag terrorism being applied to the events in Paris. There exists evidence of patsies, professionals and a privatised command structure. We have also looked at inconsistencies within the official story, which only add further suspicions. But, as stated at the beginning of this piece of work, only you the reader can decide if the evidence that has been invoked in this case is adequate to support the theory. This writer would argue that it is. The motive provided here has been presented within a larger framework of current geopolitical realities, which again, in this writer’s opinion, only strengthens the case for a potential false flag. Remember, just because geopolitical terrorism is not the mainstream view of terrorism, does not mean that it is not the correct interpretation of terrorism; for many years, a mainstream view existed that said the Earth was flat.

As a parting thought, let us consider the power that an intelligence agency wields over a government. The agency is, usually solely, tasked with informing the government of threats and in turn safeguarding the citizens of said country. Imagine the potential for abuse here. To what extent should a government trust an intelligence agency? How can a government know when a threat is truly credible? Is a pledge of allegiance enough to place such high levels of trust in an intelligence agency? How can we ever assure proper oversight of organisations that regard secrecy as the order of the day? Is it possible to provide any check or balance upon such an organisation? Surely, a cunning, albeit criminal, leadership in an intelligence agency would recognise this position of immense power which they occupy and use it to their advantage. Calls for expanded powers and enhanced funding for intelligence agencies to prevent terrorism from occurring, only places more power into the hands of these already questionable organisations. The time may now be right for a complete overhaul of the intelligence world, perhaps along the lines suggested by President John F. Kennedy:

I want to splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds!

Stuart J. Hooper

Who really bombed the Paris metro in 1995?

Who really bombed the Paris metro in 1995?

Naima Bouteldja, The Guardian, Thursday 8 September 2005 00.02 BST

The evidence is that the 1995 Islamist attacks on the French metro were in fact carried out by the Algerian secret service

Ever since the 1995 bombing of the Paris metro by the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) made France the first western European country to suffer so-called radical Islamist terrorism, its politicians and “terror experts” have consistently warned Britain to the dangers of welcoming Islamist political dissidents and radical preachers to her shores.

In the aftermath of the July London attacks, commentators were quick to argue that France’s “zero tolerance” policy and campaign of “integration” in the name of republican values – embodied in the 2004 ban on the display of all religious symbols in schools – has spared the country from terror attacks, while Britain’s failure to follow Spain and Germany in adopting the French model has proved a spectacular own-goal. However, as Tony Blair made clear in unveiling his government’s proposed legislation on August 5, “the rules of the game have changed”. Suddenly, the French recipe for dealing with Islamist terror has become feted by British politicians and media alike.

But how would we regard the virtue of the French model if, a decade after bombs ripped through the metro, enough evidence had been gathered to demonstrate that the attacks allegedly carried out by Islamist militants were not fuelled by fundamentalism, but instead were dreamt up and overseen by the Algerian secret service as part of a domestic political struggle that spilled over into Algeria’s former colonial master? The most comprehensive studies – including Lounis Aggoun and Jean-Baptiste Rivoire’s Françalgérie: Crimes and Lies of the State – argue that this is exactly what happened.

In 1991 Algeria’s main Islamic party, the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), won a first-round victory in the country’s inaugural multiparty general elections, which threatened to strip away the power of the generals who had controlled the state from the shadows.

Exploiting Europe’s fear of an Islamic government, the Algerian army intervened to halt the second round of voting, forcing the president to step down and a temporary commission to rule the country. But the legitimacy of this new arrangement could only be assured if the Islamic opposition could be discredited and crushed.

The DRS – the Algerian secret service – systematically infiltrated insurrectionary Islamist groups such as the GIA and from 1992 onwards launched its own fake guerrilla groups, including death squads disguised as Islamists. In 1994, the DRS managed to place Jamel Zitouni, one of the Islamists it controlled, at the head of the GIA.

“It became impossible to distinguish the genuine Islamists from those controlled by the regime,” says Salima Mellah, of the NGO Algeria Watch. “Each time the generals came under pressure from the international community, the terror intensified”. By January 1995, however, Algeria’s dirty war began to falter. The Italian government hosted a meeting in Rome of Algerian political parties, including the FIS. The participants agreed a common platform, calling for an inquiry into the violence in Algeria, the end of the army’s involvement in political affairs and the return of constitutional rule.

This left the generals in an untenable position. In their desperation, and with the help of the DRS, they hatched a plot to prevent French politicians from ever again withdrawing support for the military junta. As Aggoun and Rivoire recount, French-based Algerian spies initially given the task of infiltrating Islamist networks were transformed into agent provocateurs. In spring 1995, Ali Touchent, an Algerian agent, began to gather and incite a network of disaffected young men from north African backgrounds to commit terrorist attacks in France. The DRS’s infiltrators, led by Zitouni, also pushed the GIA to eliminate some of the FIS’s leaders living in Europe.

On July 11 1995 Abdelbaki Sahraoui, a FIS leader in France, was assassinated. The GIA claimed responsibility. Two weeks later the metro was hit by bombs, killing eight. After a further attack, Zitouni called on President Jacques Chirac to “convert to Islam to be saved”. The resulting public hysteria against Islam and Islamism saw the French government abandon its support for the Rome accord.

So what happened to the perpetrators? The masterminds of the main attack were never caught. Despite being publicly identified by the Algerian authorities as the European ringleader of the GIA and by French investigators as the key organiser, Touchent evaded capture, returned to Algeria and settled in a secure police quarter of Algiers.

France’s inability to bring to justice those genuinely responsible for the 1995 attacks was evidently more than an accident. According to Mohamed Samraoui, a former colonel in the Algerian secret service: “French intelligence knew that Ali Touchent was a DRS operative charged with infiltrating pro-Islamist cells in foreign countries.” It has never been officially denied that in return for supplying the French authorities with valuable information, Touchent was granted protection.

This is not the only explanation for French collaboration with the Algerian government. Algeria is one of the main suppliers of gas and oil to France, and an important client. François Gèze of La Decouverte, a French publisher which exposed the involvement of the Algerian secret services in the dirty war, argues that at the heart of this economic relationship is a web of political corruption. “French exporters generally pay a 10 to 15% commission on their goods. Part of this revenue is then ‘repaid’ by the Algerians as finance for the electoral campaigns of French political parties.”

What the true story of France’s 1995 brush with “Islamic terror” reveals is that the attacks, while probably executed by a small number of Muslim extremists, were conceived and manipulated by vested interests. British policymakers would do well to understand the specific context and complex colonial legacy of French-Algerian relations before they go looking for direct comparisons. The 1995 case is also a warning against blaming “Islamists” for terror, while turning a blind eye to repressive actions of governments in the Arab world when they suit western governments’ agenda.

· Naima Bouteldja is a French journalist and researcher for the Transnational Institute

Book review: “Fragile Frontiers – The Secret History of Mumbai Terror Attacks”

Fragile Frontiers: The Secret History of Mumbai Terror Attacks
by Saroj Kumar Rath (Routledge, 2014)

BOOK REVIEW by Elias Davidsson, 27 January 2015

Shoddy piece of propaganda

Under “Acknowledgements”, the author informs readers that his book was “commissioned” but does not reveal by whom.  Although the book presents the outward appearance of scholarship (several pages of acknowledgments and thanks, maps, hundreds of end notes, a substantial bibliography, a list of abbreviations, a glossary and an index), any person who has studied the 26/11 dossier needs only a couple of hours to determine that the book is basically a presumptuous piece of propaganda devoid of scholarly value.

While the author does not hide his animosity towards Pakistan, this by itself does not exclude the book’s value.  Scholarship can be attained despite an author’s bias.  Good scholars are able to set their personal feelings aside.

The subtitle of the book is: “The Secret History of Mumbai Terror Attacks.”  The author, however, dedicates only a single chapter – Chapter 4 – to the actual attacks of 26/11. In the light of the subtitle, this is surprising. Reading through that chapter one faces a new surprise. While this chapter contains literally hundreds of factual statements or allegations, these are supported by only 18 references.  Other chapters, however, are accompanied by far more references:
Chapter 1 (India’s Fragile Frontiers through the Prism of History):  179 notes
Chapter 2 (LeT: From Regional to Global): 161 notes
Chapter 3 (Prelude to Mumbai):140 notes
Chapter 4 (Mumbai outraged):18 notes
Chapter 5 (The After Effect): 55 notes
Chapter 6 (The Motives behind Mumbai): 143 notes
Chapter 7 (The Prosecution): 123 notes
Chapter 8 (The Afghan Conflict, Pakistan Conundrum and India’s Future Security):  27 notes

A good scholar attempts to establish as rigorously as possible the empirical basis of his theoretical observations. The events in Mumbai constitute the empirical basis for the author’s book. Of the 18 sources devoted to the Mumbai attacks, three refer to the author’s interviews with unidentified witnesses, two refer to Vinita Kamte’s book, four cite the Charge Sheet, six cite news media articles appearing between December 3, 2008 to November 26, 2009). Not cited are Kasab’s Judgment, the Supreme Court’s Judgment, testimonies of named witnesses, news reports issued during and shortly after the events and the critical research regarding 26/11 conducted by S.M. Mushrif.  The author does not even mention Mushrif’s seminal book “Who killed Karkare” in his long bibliography.  

Shoddy books of propaganda regarding the Mumbai attacks have been published before. They do not deserve a review.  This book deserves a critical review because the author engages in a double deception: First by suppressing crucial facts regarding the central tenet of his book and secondly by pretending to have written a scholarly work.  

Who profits from killing Charlie?

Who profits from killing Charlie?
By Pepe Escobar

Putin did it. Sorry, he didn’t. In the end, it was not Russia “aggression” that attacked the heart of Europe. It was a pro-style jihadi commando. Cui bono?

Careful planning and preparation; Kalashnikovs; rocket-propelled grenade launcher; balaclavas; sand-colored ammunition vest stuffed with spare magazines; army boots; piece of cake escape in a black Citroen. And the icing on the lethal cake; faultless Paris-based logistical support to pull that off. A former top French military commander, Frederic Gallois, has stressed the perfect application of “urban guerrilla technique” (where are those notorious Western counter-terrorism “experts” when one needs them?)

They might have spoken perfect French; others said it was broken

French. Anyway, what matters is that they uttered the magic word; “We’re al-Qaeda.” Better yet; they told a man in the street, “Tell the media that this is al-Qaeda in Yemen”, which means, in American terror terminology, al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP), which had Charlie Hebdo’s editor/cartoonist Stephane Charbonnier (“Charb”) on a hit list duly promoted by AQAP’s glossy magazine Inspire. Accusation: “Insulting the Prophet Mohammed.”

And just to make sure everyone had the perpetrators implanted on their brain, the killers also said, “Allahu Akbar”; “We have killed Charlie Hebdo”; and “We have avenged the Prophet.”

Case closed? Well, it took only a few hours for French police to identify the (usual?) suspects; French-Algerian brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi. The third man – the driver of the black Citroen, 18-year-old Hamyd Mourad – then turned himself in with an ironclad alibi. So the third man remains a cipher.

They all wore balaclavas. The Kouachi brothers have not been captured. But the police seem to know very well who they are. Because they found an abandoned ID in the black Citroen (oh, the troubles of being a command in a rush …) How come they didn’t know anything before the carnage?

Right on cue, Cherif Kouachi’s bio was splattered all over. He was on a global watch list. Along with six others, he was sentenced in May 2008 to 3 years in prison for “terrorism”; in fact unloading a dozen young Frenchmen via madrassas in Egypt and Syria to none other than Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the killed-by-an-American-missile former head of Al-Qaeda in Iraq and the spiritual father of Daesh/ISIS/ISIL.

Also right on clue, a full narrative was ready for mass consumption. The key point; French police privileges the hypothesis of “Islamic terrorism”. According to their “experts”, this could be an attack “ordered from abroad and executed by jihadis coming back from Syria that have escaped us”, or it could be “suburban idiots that radicalized themselves and concocted this military attack in the name of al-Qaeda.”

Scrap option two, please; this was a pro job. And staying with option one, this points right at – what else – blowback. Yes, they could be Daesh/ISIS/ISIL mercenaries trained by NATO (crucially, France included) in Turkey and/or Jordan. But it might get even false-flag nastier. They could also be former or current French special forces.

Blast Islam, will travel
Predictably, Islamofascism peddlers are already having a field day/week/month/year. For simpletons/trolls/hordes exhibiting an IQ worthy of sub-zoology, when in doubt, demonize Islam. It’s so convenient to forget that untold millions from Pakistan’s tribal areas to street markets across Iraq continue to feel pain devastating their hearts and lives as they are expendable victims of the jihadi mindset – or “Kalashnikov culture”, as it is known in Pakistan – profiting the “West”, directly or indirectly, for decades now. Think ritual droning of Pakistani, Yemeni, Syrian, Iraqi or Libyan civilians. Think Sadr City witnessing carnages over 10 times worse than Paris.

What French President Francois Hollande defined as “an act of exceptional barbarism” – and it is – does not apply when the “West”, France in the front line, from King Sarko to General Hollande himself, weaponizes, trains and remote-controls assorted mercenaries/beheaders from Libya to Syria. Oh yeah; killing civilians in Tripoli or Aleppo is perfectly all right. But don’t do that in Paris.

So this, in the heart of Europe, is what blowback feels like. This is what people feel in the Waziristans when a wedding party is incinerated by a Hellfire missile. In parallel, it’s absolutely impossible that the oh so sophisticated Western intel network had not seen blowback coming – and was impotent to prevent it (how come the scapegoats du jour, the Kouachi brothers, were not in the gallows?)

Of course the ultra-elaborate Western counter-terrorism expert network – so proficient at strip-teasing us all at every airport – saw it coming; but in shadow warland, portmanteau “al-Qaeda” and its myriad declinations, including “renegade” Daesh/ISIS/ISIL, are used as much as a mercenary army as a convenient domestic threat “against our freedoms”.

Who profits?
US Think Tankland, also predictably, is busy spinning the drama of an “intra-Muslim” split which provides jihadis a lot of geopolitical space to exploit – all this sucking the Western world into a Muslim civil war. This is absolutely ridiculous. The Empire of Chaos, already during the 70s, was busy cultivating jihadi/Kalashnikov culture to fight anything from the USSR to nationalist movements all across the Global South. Divide and Rule has always been used to fan the flames “intra-Islam”, from the Clinton administration getting cozy with the Taliban to the Cheney regime – helped by Persian Gulf vassals – advancing the sectarian Sunni/Shi’ite schism.

Cui bono, then, with killing Charlie? Only those whose agenda is to demonize Islam. Not even a bunch of brainwashed fanatics would pull off the Charlie carnage to show people who accuse them of being barbarians that they are, in fact, barbarians. French intel at least has concluded that this is no underwear bomber stunt. This is a pro job. That happens to take place just a few days after France recognizes Palestinian statehood. And just a few days after General Hollande demanded the lifting of sanctions against the Russian “threat”.

The Masters of the Universe who pull the real levers of the Empire of Chaos are freaking out with the systemic chaos in the racket they so far had the illusion of controlling. Make no mistake – the Empire of Chaos will do what it can to exploit the post-Charlie environment – be it blowback or false flag.

The Obama administration is already mobilizing the UN Security Council. The FBI is “helping” with the French investigation. And as an Italian analyst memorably put it, jihadis don’t attack a vulture hedge fund; they attack a satirical rag. This is not religion; this is hardcore geopolitics. Reminds me of David Bowie: “This is not rock’n roll. This is suicide.”

The Obama administration is already mobilized to offer “protection” – Mob-style – to a Western Europe that is just, only just, starting to be diffident of the pre-fabricated Russian “threat”. And just as it happens, when the Empire of Chaos mostly needs it, evil “terra” once again rears its ugly head.

And yes, I am Charlie. Not only because they made us laugh; but because they were sacrificial lambs in a much nastier, gruesome, never-ending shadowplay.

Pepe Escobar’s latest book is Empire of Chaos. Follow him on Facebook. He may be reached at

Book Review of B. Raman’s “Mumbai 26/11: A day of infamy”

Book Review of Bahukutumbi Raman’s “Mumbai 26/11: A day of infamy”

By Elias Davidsson, December 23, 2013

Naive attempt to understand 26/11

The author unquestionably attributes the events of 26/11 to the Pakistani organization LeT and also suggests ISI responsibility. The book does not dwell on details and does not contain references to sources. It contains affirmation upon affirmation that the author does not bother to substantiate.

The author does not attempt to hide his admiration for Israel and the United States and his hatred for Pakistan (He often refers to “The Pakistanis” as evil). This does not mean that what he presents as facts is false (or true), but indicates his partiality.

A few observations by Raman indicate that his book was not conceived as official propaganda, but was written by a person who believed what he wrote, but appears to lack the rigour of an investigator or that of a scholar.

(a) Taking a cue from Samuel Huntington’s thesis, he refers expressly to the “war of civilization between the Muslims and the infidels” that had allegedly begun in Indian territory. He suggests that this statement was issued in the name of the so-called Indian Mujahideen (IM) in November, 2007, “after three orchestrated explosions in three towns of Uttar Pradesh.”

(b) A revealing observation by the author is that 26/11 was “conceived, planned and executed by a mix of military and terrorist brains.” (p. 18) The key word here is “military”, for a military mind is trained to reflect upon the tactical or strategical utility of a particular operation. If those who planned 26/11 had a “military brain”, it must be presumed that they considered the costs/benefits of the operation. Which benefits? For Pakistan or even for the LeT, there was nothing to gain from 26/11.

(c) The author notes that the alleged attackers “were not worried over the dangers of their communications being intercepted.” (p. 22). Assuming that this had been the case, he does not explain why they would be so casual about such interception.

(d) The author tells readers about his participation in a conference at the Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya, Israel, in 2005, where he relished listening to Dr. Bruce Hoffman, “who is considered the world’s leading authority on Al Qaeda” (p. 25). Someone who looks upon Dr. Hoffman as an authority on terrorism, has either not read his writings, lacks critical faculties or engages in deception. In a detailed study of Dr. Hoffman’s book on terrorism – unfortunately still only available in German – I demonstrate that his book does not fulfill even minimal criteria of academic standards and objectivity (see […] ). Dr. Hoffman is a charlatan.

(e) In a brief attempt to explain the motives of the alleged attackers, he wrote: “The grievances of the Indian Muslims were not the cause of the terrorist attack. Pakistan’s strategic objectives against India, such as forcing a change in the status quo in J&K and disrupting India’s economic progress and strategic relations with the West and Israel were the principal motive.” (p. 74-5) “Reprisal against the US-led coalition in Afghanistan for its war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban was another motive.” (p. 75)

(f) In order to lend weight to his theories, the author claims that “available reports indicated that the terrorists were looking for American, British and Israeli nationals – particularly visiting public servants among them with official or diplomatic passports.” (p. 82) This claim is based on the first part of an interview with Alex Chamberlen, who escaped from the Oberoi/Trident Hotel. Chamberlen mentioned that the gunmen asked who, among the hostages, were American and British nationals (he did not mention Israelis). What the author suppressed was the second part of Chamberlen’s testimony, namely that after a mobile phone of one of the hostages rang, the gunmen got distracted and thereafter forgot to follow-up their demand for Americans and British nationals. See transcript of the documentary film “Secrets of the Dead – Mumbai Massacre” for Alex Chamberlen’s comments […]

(g) The author contends that the “terrorists” did not have any utilitarian purpose with their attacks: “The terrorists did not appear to have been interested in taking the Jewish people [at Nariman] as hostages and using them to achieve any demand. They just wanted to torture and kill all those found in the premises.” (p. 84) Disregarding the author’s attempt to mind-read the alleged attackers, his facts are also incorrect. They indeed did not attempt to kill all those found in the premises, as eyewitnesses testified. And we do not actually know who killed the Jewish residents. Indian authorities have denied commandos the right to testify and the Israeli government denied investigators the right to conduct autopsies, invoking religious sensibilities.

(h) According to the author Tzipi Livni, then Israeli Foreign Minister, said: “There is no doubt, we know, that the targets the terrorists singled out were Jewish, Israeli targets and targets identified with the West, Americans and Britons. Our world is under attack, it doesn’t matter whether it happens in India or somewhere else. There are Islamic extremists who don’t accept our existence or Western values.” (p. 85-6) Are statements by politicians a proof for anything?

(i) Turning again to the objectives of the alleged attacks, the author writes: “It was evident the terrorist strike had three strategic objectives: firstly, to discredit the Indian political leadership and counter-terrorism apparatus. Secondly, to damage our tourist economy and to create nervousness in the minds of foreign investors about the security of life and property in India. Thirdly, to disrupt the strategic co-operation between India and Israel.” (p. 88) Turning these explanations on their head might be a better answer, for the events of 26/11 created a rally behind the flag in India, gave corporate India a boost, including in the security sector, and strengthened Israeli-Indian security cooperation.

(j) At one point the author acknowledges in passing that reconstructing the entire strike, as part of the investigation “did not receive the immediate attention it deserved. Without a satisfactory reconstruction [of the events], our ability to prevent a repetition of Mumbai – November 26 in other cities would be weak.” (p. 88). On p. 92, the author surprisingly mentions what few had done: “In one’s anxiety to get as much information as possible from the captured terrorist, one did not seem to have paid attention to the important aspect of debriefing all the foreign survivors in the two hotels attacked as to what exactly happened. All of them, after their release, immediately went back to their respective countries. We do not have their version of what happened inside the hotels.” (p. 92). This observation is well grounded, although the author did not attempt to find out why no attempt was to depose the majority of eyewitnesses, including people who told media that they actually observed the killings.

(k) The author devotes an entire chapter to “the need for a comprehensive enquiry” into 26/11. He writes: “One would have expected the Governments of India and Maharashtra to order a joint comprehensive and independent enquiry similar to the enquiries held in our own country in the past and similar to those held in other countries since 2000 to identify the sins of commission and omission and the weak points in our counter-terrorism management and to take follow-up action. Unfortunately, the Government of India focused largely on Pakistan’s involvement in the strike and avoided any independent enquiry into its own responsibility and that of the Government of Maharashtra, which enabled the ISI and the Let to succeed in such a spectacular manner.” (p. 154-5)

He adds: “The GOI was successful in avoiding a comprehensive enquiry because the BJP leadership and the other opposition parties, whose responsibility was to see that there was no cover-up, failed to exercise this responsibility. By their confused inaction, the BJP and other opposition parties played into the hands of the Government and unwittingly facilitated its cover-up exercise. Nobody asked searching questions about our own failures at New Delhi as well as in Mumbai.” (p. 155)

The author acknowledges the set-up of the two-member Pradhan Committee by the Government of Maharashtra, but laments that a “suitably edited version” of its final report was not released to the public. (p. 156) He insists that “the public of this country and its legislators have a right to know what went wrong and why. The national security management system is funded by the tax-payers’ money… The successful functioning of the national security management system depends not only on the quality of the various components of the system, but also on the co-operation which it is able to get from the public…If the public is kept in the dark, how can it have the required confidence in the system?” (p. 157-8)

He furnishes an interesting detail on the grounds for refusing an investigation, suggesting that both sides were posturing: “One was surprised to note that Chidambaram firmly rejected on June 5, 2009, the demand of LK Advani, the leader of the opposition, for such an enquiry. In an interview to some journalists, he gave the following reasons for his rejecting the demand: Firstly, the demand was belated as it came six months after the terrorist attack. Secondly, the Vajpayee Government did not hold an enquiry into the hijacking of an aircraft of the Indian Airlines by some terrorists to Kandahar in December 1999 and into the attempted attack on the Indian Parliament in December, 2001.” The author then chides these reasons. (p. 158)

The author mentions particularly the “lack of activism by the relatives of the victims of terrorist strikes” in India, and compared that lack of activism to the alleged activism of relatives of such victims in the UK and US. (p. 159). His sweeping allegation aside (Karkare’s widow and Kamte did engage in substantial efforts), he did not take into account that relatives, particularly vulnerable individuals, can be easily intimidated by police to refrain from asking probing questions.

Those interested in the nuts and bolts of 26/11 will find little of value in this book. On the positive side, the author voices a healthy suspicion about the reasons for the Indian government to resist a public investigation. It is to be hoped that the author will feel compelled to probe more deeply into the events themselves before speculating on the motives of the alleged perpetrators.

Book Review: Adrian Levy and Ms. Scott-Clark: “The Siege: 68 hours inside the Taj Hotel”

Adrian Levy and Ms. Scott-Clark: “The Siege: 68 hours inside the Taj Hotel”

By Elias Davidsson, March 25, 2014

Disturbing omissions and opaque motives

Let me first acknowledge the eminently readable and vivid style of the book. The dramatic composition of the chapters puts it at the threshold of fiction, which – depending upon the perspective – could be considered an asset or a liability.

I missed in the introduction a few statements explaining the motives of the authors to write a book about this particular theme. Were they hired to do so? Did they select the theme by themselves, and if so, why? The substantial investigatory work required for writing such a book, certainly required financial resources. Did any institution help finance that work and if so, who?

The authors do not provide a timeline for the events at the Taj. Was this omission deliberate? The fact that no such timeline has been released by Indian authorities is disturbing, as it suggests an intent to suppress knowledge about the events. The authors do not that fact, which is rather surprising and reeks of a deliberate obfuscation.

I note with dismay some important omissions. The authors fail to mention a number of witnesses who reported highly significant facts. Among those are Mr. Prakash Bhoite, who testified about bombs he discovered outside the Taj; NSG commando Rajbir Singh Lamba, who participated in the encounter at room 472; Mr. A. Vaidyanathan, an eminent economic and member of the Central Board of Directors of the Reserve Bank of India, who reported multiple large explosions from his room; Bruce Hanna, President and CEO of InterGlobe Technology Quotient in New Delhi, who was confined to room no. 527, and compiled a detailed account of his text messages with exact times (he revealed surprising facts); Myles Curtis and Hugh Brown from Australia, who claimed that two terrorists hid among the guests; as well as Yasmin Wong, William Hsu, Sonali Chatterjee and Andrew Stevens from CNN, who stayed at the Taj during the crisis and provided real-time coverage from the building.

The author rely heavily on Michael Pollack, a U.S.-based businessman turned academic. Yet, his personal account, published by Forbes, contains at least five dubious statements, suggesting that his testimony is not credible. He wrote that the terrorists “had stormed the lobby and were firing indiscriminately,” implying thereby that numerous guests had been hit in the lobby. Yet, according to the authors’ RIP, included in the book, only one of the 33 fatalities of the Taj (Sadanand Patil) was shot in the lobby and he was apparently not shot initially when the terrorists entered the hotel but a later stage. Pollack also wrote, without qualifying his statement: “We later learned that minutes after we climbed the stairs, terrorists came into the Harbour Bar, shot everyone who was there and executed those next door at the Golden Dragon.”  Yet, according to the authors’ RIP, not a single person was killed in the Harbour Bar or at the Golden Dragon. Pollack also wrote: “[T]he terrorists managed to break through and lob in grenades that killed everyone in the basement.”  Yet, according to The Siege, four persons were killed in the basement (cellars): Gunjan Narang, Nilam Narang, Vishu Narang and Chef Boris Rego, although far more persons had sought refuge there. Pollack wrote: “It was terrorism in its purest form. No one was spared.” Yet, according to the authors, the terrorists did not kill all hostages: K.R. Ramamoorthy and four other hostages the terrorists held in room 632 were left to their own devices by the terrorists. There are other testimonies demonstrating that the terrorists did not target everyone.   It is, therefore, surprising that the authors should rely on such an unreliable witness.

The book’s subtitle is “Three days of Terror inside the Taj.” Officially, the crisis at the Taj lasted 59 hours. The authors devote almost 200 pages of their book to the first 10 hours of the crisis and only 20 pages to the remaining 49 hours. This huge discrepancy could not have been accidental. This discrepancy can also be observed in the Judgment of the Special Court on Kasab, which skipped almost entirely the 49 hours in which the NSG commandos were active in the Taj. What were the NSG doing in these 49 hours, which neither the authors nor the court wished to reveal?.

The authors rely extensively on sources that readers cannot verify. Under “A Note on Sources”, the authors, for example, state: “We obtained audio files and transcripts from the wiretaps placed on the gunmen’s phones from Indian, US and British security sources, the most complete to be assembled, which includes material never published before.” They also mention other unpublished sources, such as court documents and CCTVs. The authors do not explain on what account they obtained privileged access to such sources, to which even the families of the 26/11 victims did not obtain access.

From the above account it appears that the authors of The Siege were cooperating with intelligence agencies in India and the United States in promoting the official legend on 26/11. I have given the authors sufficient formal notice to address the above points. They chose not to answer my enquiry. I think potential buyers should know what they contemplate to buy.

Letter to Ms. Scott-Clark re. “The Siege: Three Days of Terror Inside the Taj [Mumbai]”

Letter to Ms. Scott-Clark re. her book “The Siege: Three Days of Terror Inside the Taj [Mumbai]” published with Adrian Levy

Elias Davidsson, August 10, 2014

A work on the threshold of fiction

On December 30, 2013, I addressed to the authors, through their publisher, a number of questions regarding their book. Having received no acknowledgment or reply, I reiterated my questions on March 6, 2014. I have not either received a reply. I feel now justified in publicizing my letter.

Dear Ms. Scott-Clark,

I have been reading and re-reading the book you jointly wrote with Adrian Levy, “The Siege”. I also found out that you left The Guardian and that you do not anymore use email. That is the reason I write to you through the publisher.

As an independent researcher, legal expert and author of a book on 9/11 (“Hijacking America’s Mind on 9/11”, Algora Publishers, New York, 2013), I am currently investigating the Mumbai attacks of 2008.

Let me first acknowledge your eminently readable and vivid style. The dramatic composition of the chapters puts it at the threshold of fiction, which – depending upon the perspective – could be considered an asset or a liability. It is very helpful to have included diagrams of two floors of the Taj, an annotated list of the fatalities, and extensive quotations. Going by the annexes (A Note on Sources and Acknowledgements), I gather that writing your book took a lot of time and substantial financial resources.

By comparing your book with other sources, I am nevertheless compelled to raise a number of questions. I would be most grateful for your answers.

1. What motivated you to embark upon the research on 26/11? I tried to find in your book some indications regarding your motivation but did not find any definite answer.

2. Can you give some indication regarding the amount of work you spent on this project and the size of financial resources involved? Is it impertinent to ask who financed this project?

3. Your list of fatalities at the Taj contains 33 names. That of the Judgment of Ajmal Kasab contains 36 names (thereof the name of Teitelbaum probably a mistake, for he died at Nariman House). I could not reconcile this discrepancy. Are you aware of it, and if so, what is your explanation. The Judgement refers, to two individuals who allegedly died at the Taj, but are missing from your listing: Eklak Ahmed Mustak Ahmed and Shoeb Ahmed Shaikh.

4. For several fatalities, no information could be found in your book regarding the circumstances in which these individuals had died (their names are listed under RIP):

• Willem-Jan Berbers was allegedly shot while he was checking in. I could not find in your book any evidence for this information, nor anywhere else. What is the source for this claim?
• Feroz Khan and Maqsood Shiekh are two individuals who allegedly died while visiting an MP in the hotel. I could not find, either, any evidence for these claims, neither in your book nor elsewhere. Actually, the very existence of these individuals could not even verified. Nor was the name of the MP revealed. Could you provide some verifiable background?
• Ravindra Jagan Kuwar is described as a security officer who was shot in the hotel. I could not find any source for the circumstances of his death. Can you provide some?

5. I have noted that you did not provide a timeline for the events at the Taj. You are certainly aware that the Indian authorities failed to determine when precisely the deadly events started at the Taj. Is the lack of a timeline in your book a deliberate omission, or weren’t you able to establish it, and if so, why?

6. Although your book purports by its length and apparent thoroughness to provide a definite account of the events at the Taj, I wonder why you did not mention a number of witnesses who reported highly significant facts. Among those are Mr. Prakash Bhoite, who testified about bombs he discovered outside the Taj; NSG commando Rajbir Singh Lamba, who participated in the encounter at room 472; Mr. A. Vaidyanathan, an eminent economic and member of the Central Board of Directors of the Reserve Bank of India, who reported multiple large explosions from his room; Bruce Hanna, President and CEO of InterGlobe Technology Quotient in New Delhi, who was confined to room no. 527, and compiled a detailed account of his text messages with exact times (he revealed surprising facts); Myles Curtis and Hugh Brown from Australia, who claimed that two terrorists hid among the guests; as well as Yasmin Wong, William Hsu, Sonali Chatterjee and Andrew Stevens from CNN, who stayed at the Taj during the crisis and provided real-time coverage from the building.

7. One of the witnesses on whom you heavily rely is Michael Pollack. Yet, his personal account, published by Forbes, contains at least five dubious statements, suggesting that his testimony is not credible. He wrote that the terrorists “had stormed the lobby and were firing indiscriminately,” implying thereby that numerous guests had been hit in the lobby. Yet, according to your RIP, only one of the 33 fatalities of the Taj (Sadanand Patil) was shot in the lobby and he was apparently not shot initially when the terrorists entered the hotel but a later stage. Pollack also wrote, without qualifying this statement: “We later learned that minutes after we climbed the stairs, terrorists came into the Harbour Bar, shot everyone who was there and executed those next door at the Golden Dragon.”  Yet, according to your RIP, not a single person was killed in the Harbour Bar or at the Golden Dragon. Pollack also wrote: “[T]he terrorists managed to break through and lob in grenades that killed everyone in the basement.”  Yet, according to your book, only the following persons were killed in the basement (cellars): Gunjan Narang, Nilam Narang, Vishu Narang and Chef Boris Rego, although far more persons had sought refuge there. Pollack also wrote: “It was terrorism in its purest form. No one was spared.” Yet, according to your book, the terrorists did not kill some hostages, such as K.R. Ramamoorthy and four other hostages the terrorists held in room 632.  All of the five hostages were left to their own devices by the terrorists. There are other testimonies demonstrating that the terrorists did not target everyone.  Pollack also wrote: “The next five hours were filled with the sounds of an intense grenade/gun battle between the Indian commandos and the terrorists.” According to official sources, the NSG commandos only began slowly deploying at the Taj after 9.00 a.m. (November 27).  The MARCOS “commandos” who arrived at 2.00 AM were – as you reported – stood down and did not engage in any battles during the first night. So who were battling whom during the night, as claimed by Pollack?  And why did you rely on such an unreliable witness?

8. Your book’s subtitle is “Three days of Terror inside the Taj”. Indeed, the crisis lasted approximately 60 hours. Yet, in your book you devote almost 200 pages to the first 10 hours of the crisis and only 20 pages to the following 50 hours. I gather that this huge discrepancy in coverage must have been deliberate. I noted that the Kasab trial also skipped almost entirely over these 50 hours in which the NSG commandos battled the gunmen. My question is: Why did you devote so little space to the lengthiest period in the Taj crisis?

9. In your book you rely extensively on sources which ordinary people cannot verify. Under “A Note on Sources” for example, you write: “We obtained audio files and transcripts from the wiretaps placed on the gunmen’s phones from Indian, US and British security sources, the most complete to be assembled, which includes material never published before.” You mention similar access to other unpublished sources, such as court documents and CCTVs. My question is: On what account did you obtain privileged access to sources to which even the families of 26/11 victims do not have access?

Hoping to read your response, I wish you and your colleague, Adrian Levy, a good new year.

Sincerely yours,

Elias Davidsson

The mysterious identity of Ramzi Yousef

Excerpts from “Al Qaeda’s Chief Of Ops Has Startling Background” by Michael Collins Piper

American Free Press, May 21, 2004


For years, there have been questions as to Yousef’s ethnic or cultural background, not to mention his identity. He has variously been described as an “Iraqi” or as a Kuwaiti national or as a Baluchi from Pakistan.
At the time Yousef was claiming to be an Iraqi, during his period operating in New York just prior to the first World Trade Center attack, there were Arabs who doubted it. However, for those who were eager to link Saddam Hussein and Iraq to both attacks on the World Trade Center and, as some continue to do today, to the Oklahoma City bombing, Yousef’s claim of Iraqi heritage has been convenient.
According to an investigative report by Emily Fancher, of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism: “Yousef’s identity was never settled in court.” So the truth is that not even the United States government has actually-at least officially-determined if Yousef really is an Arab or a Baluchi or a Muslim.

Mossad Linked To WTC 1993 Bomb Suspect

Mossad Linked To WTC Bomb Suspect

by Robert I. Friedman
The Village Voice
August 3, 1993

Ahmad Ajaj, a 27-year-old West Bank Palestinian being held in federal custody for conspiring to bomb the World Trade Center, may have been a Mossad mole, according to Israeli intelligence sources.

Ajaj was arrested at Kennedy Airport on September 1, 1992, after he arrived on a Pakistani International flight from Peshawar carrying a forged Swedish passport and bomb-making manuals. He was taken into custody, and subsequently pleaded guilty to entering the country illegally. Ajaj’s traveling companion was Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, an Iraqi who law enforcement sources say is a “key player” in the World Trade Center bombing. Yousef, currently a fugitive, is believed to be in Iraq. The State Department last week offered a $2 million reward for information leading to his capture.

The FBI has identified Ajaj as a senior intifada activist in the occupied territories, having close ties to both El Fatah, a constituent group of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization. According to federal sources and the Israeli National Police, the Israeli military expelled Ajaj to Jordan in April 1991 for conspiring to smuggle weapons to El Fatah on the West Bank. Ajaj claims in court papers that after his arrest he was tortured by Israeli soldiers who burned his body with lit cigarette butts.

But according to Kol Ha’ir, a highly regarded Hebrew-language weekly in Jerusalem, Ajaj was never involved in intifada activities, or with the PLO, or Hamas. Citing court papers and other sources, Kol Ha’ir says that far from being a political activist, Ajaj was actually a small-time crook who was arrested in 1988 for counterfeiting U.S. dollars. Ajaj and two other members of his counterfeiting ring ran a printing press in an Arab cemetery outside East Jerusalem, housing their equipment in the same building where religious Muslims wash corpses before burial. When Israeli police raided the cemetery, they arrested Ajaj, who was holding some $100,000 of bogus U.S. currency. Another gang member was carrying an antiquated pistol.

Ajaj was convicted for counterfeiting and sentenced to two-and-one-half years. It was during his prison stay that Mossad, Israeli’s CIA, apparently recruited him, say Israeli intelligence sources. By the time he was released after having served just one year, he had seemingly undergone a radical transformation. The common crook had become a devout Muslim and hard-line nationalist. Soon after, he was arrested for smuggling weapons into the West Bank, allegedly for El Fatah.

But Israeli intelligence sources say that the arrest for weapons smuggling, and Ajaj’s subsequent torture and deportation, were staged by Mossad to establish his credentials as an intifada activist. Mossad allegedly “tasked” Ajaj to infiltrate radical Palestinian groups operating outside Israel and to report back to Tel Aviv. Israeli intelligence sources say that it is not unusual for Mossad to recruit from the ranks of common criminals.

Although Israel says Ajaj was expelled to Jordan in April 1991 as a security risk, Peter Lems, an official for the Palestine Human Rights Center, based in East Jerusalem, told the Voice that Ajaj’s name does not appear on any known list of Palestinian deportees. Whatever the case, soon after Ajaj left Israel, he traveled to Peshawar, Pakistan, where he reportedly fought with the mujahedin, the Muslim fundamentalist rebels in Afghanistan. He later showed up in New York, where he allegedly befriended members of the radical Muslim clique surrounding Sheikh Abdel-Rahman.

On February 26, the day the World Trade Center was bombed, Ajaj was in a federal prison in upstate New York serving a six-month sentence for having entered the country on a forged passport. The following month, he was indicted for conspiring to bomb the World Trade Center.

Ajaj’s court-appointed attorney, Austin Campriello, says his client “has nothing to do with any of the [suspects] in this case.” Responding to allegations that Ajaj is linked to Israeli intelligence, Campriello told the Voice, “I have absolutely no reason to believe it’s true.” FBI spokesperson Joe Valiquette says, “I have no idea if it’s true. I’ve never heard it.”

If Ajaj was recruited by Mossad, it is not known whether he continued to work for the Israeli spy agency after he was deported. One possibility, of course, is that upon leaving Israel and meeting radical Muslims close to the blind Egyptian sheikh, his loyalties shifted.

Another scenario is that he had advance knowledge of the World Trade Center bombing, which he shared with Mossad, and that Mossad, for whatever reason, kept the secret to itself. If true, U.S. intelligence sources speculate that Mossad might have decided to keep the information closely guarded so as not to compromise its undercover agent.

Port Authority Liable in 1993 Trade Center Attack

Port Authority Liable in 1993 Trade Center Attack

A state appeals court ruled on Tuesday that the Port Authority was liable for damages caused by the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, because it knew about but chose to ignore “an extreme and potentially catastrophic vulnerability that would have been open and obvious to any terrorist who cared to investigate and exploit it.”

The ruling unanimously upheld a jury’s verdict that the agency was 68 percent liable for the bombing and the terrorists 32 percent liable. Under state rules, because the Port Authority’s liability was more than 50 percent, it can be forced to pay all the damages to injured survivors and to relatives of those killed.

In its decision, the court noted that the Port Authority, a bistate New York and New Jersey agency that owned the trade center, did not argue that the bombing was unforeseeable, only that it was unlikely, since its own consultants and an internal study group had predicted “with exact prescience” how an attack could be carried out.

Andrew Carboy, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, estimated on Tuesday that the Port Authority faced more than $100 million in damages for the 50 personal injury and dozen business-interruption cases remaining. Apart from its fiscal effect, the unanimous, 35-page decision signified the first time that a body of judges, versed in the nuances of the law and legal precedent as well as the evidence, had ruled on a seminal moment in New York history.

After the jury’s verdict, in 2005, the Port Authority called the notion that the agency would be more at fault than the terrorists “egregiously incorrect” and “bizarre.” The appeals court disagreed.

The amount of the damages has yet to be determined. The court, a five-judge panel of the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court in Manhattan, said that the jury decided that “the acts of these terrorists, even while obviously odious in the extreme, were not a cause for the easy absolution of this defendant from its civil obligations.” The five judges were Jonathan Lippman, Angela M. Mazzarelli, Luis A. Gonzalez, John W. Sweeny Jr. and Rolando T. Acosta.

In assigning fault, the court said, the jury considered not just the moral wrong of the terrorists, but how much the Port Authority contributed to the conditions that allowed the bombing.

“The evidence, fairly considered, clearly supported the view that the defendant’s negligence had been extraordinarily conducive of the terrorists’ conduct,” the judges said.

The blast, on Feb. 26, 1993, set off by Islamic militants who detonated explosives in a van they drove into the underground parking garage, killed six people and injured almost 1,000 others, foreshadowing the attack that brought down the towers and killed nearly 3,000 people. It created a crater about six stories deep that covered an area about half the size of a football field under the building complex.

Yet unlike its actions after the Sept. 11 attack, the federal government did not create a fund to compensate victims of the first bombing, and they have waited 15 years without a trial on damages. If Tuesday’s ruling stands, the remaining plaintiffs can go to trials for specific dollar awards.

The ruling may have at least psychological if not legal ramifications for another case now working its way through federal court in Manhattan. In that case, a small group of families of people killed in the 2001 attack declined to take federal compensation for their losses and have instead sued the airlines and airport security companies, saying that they failed to take adequate steps to protect the airplanes from hijackers. None of them have yet gone to trial.

The lead lawyer who argued against the Port Authority in the 1993 bombing trial, David Dean, said on Tuesday that he was “elated” by the appellate ruling.

“The best thing about the verdict, I think, is that it vindicated the jurors who heard the case for a month and a half and the trial court who heard the case,” Mr. Dean said.

He said that the Port Authority would have to ask permission to appeal to the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court. If permission to appeal is not granted, he said, “I’m ready to roll up my sleeves” and start to try cases.

Steve Coleman, a Port Authority spokesman, declined to say whether the authority would appeal, and said it would continue to try to settle the remaining cases. “We have resolved all but a few dozen of the remaining cases from the 1993 bombing, and we look forward to resolving those as well,” Mr. Coleman said.

The authority said that it originally faced 575 lawsuits and that over the years, all but about 50 have been resolved. He said he did not know how much the authority had paid to settle the cases so far. The appellate court rejected the authority’s argument that it could not be held responsible because there had never been such a bombing before, noting that liability was ultimately based on “notice, not history.”

The judges said, after reviewing the evidence at the trial on liability, that there was plenty of notice. In 1984, Peter Goldmark, then the Port Authority’s executive director, recognizing the trade center’s “iconic” stature, asked Scotland Yard to assess the security of the complex and reported back to his colleagues that British officials were “appalled” that there was public parking underneath the towers.

In July 1985, an outside engineering consultant, Charles Schnabolk, issued a report saying that it was not only possible but “probable” that there would be an attempt to bomb the trade center, and that it was “highly vulnerable through the parking lot.”

The court noted that in November 1985, a Port Authority study group, the Office of Special Planning, described a scenario eerily similar to the actual bombing, in which “a time bomb-laden vehicle could be driven into the W.T.C. and parked in the public parking area.”

But the authority decided that banning public parking in the underground lot, as the report recommended, would be an unacceptable inconvenience and loss of revenue, the court said.

The decision was filled with pungent and scathing language. The judges said that the Port Authority should have realized that it faced a “potentially monstrous” risk. In one aside, they noted that the terrorists had fulfilled their mission “without meeting a scintilla of resistance.”

And they scoffed at the Port Authority’s concerns about loss of revenue from eliminating underground parking. It said that the jury heard testimony that the Port Authority’s net income from the World Trade Center at the time was about $100 million, and the loss of revenue from closing the parking lot to the public would have been “inconsequential.”

The judges said that even if they accepted the Port Authority’s argument that it was required to take only “minimal” security precautions, the authority had failed to meet even that standard.

John Sullivan contributed reporting.

Who Bombed The World Trade Center? FBI Bomb Builders Exposed

Domenick DiMaggio CIT – December 2, 2007 03:17 AM (GMT) Lectric Law Library

QUOTE From the ‘Lectric Law Library’s stacks Who Bombed The World Trade Center? Fbi Bomb Builders Exposed!!

Combined report by Paul DeRienzo, Frank Morales and Chris Flash From newspaper _The_Shadow_ Oct. 1994/Jan. 1995 Issue

Two cassette tape recordings, obtained by SHADOW reporter Paul DiRienzo of telephone conversations between FBI informant Emad Salem and his Bureau contacts reveal secret U. S. Government complicity in the February 26, 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City in which six people were killed and more than a thousand were injured.

After careful deliberation, the SHADOW believes the question regarding the bombing boils down to the following: Did the FBI do the bombing, utilizing informant Salem as an “agent provocateur” or did it fail to prevent an independent Salem and his associates from doing it? The taped conversations obtained by the SHADOW seem to indicate the former:

FBI Informant Edam Salem: “… we was start already building the bomb which is went off in the World Trade Center. It was built by supervising supervision from the Bureau and the DA and we was all informed about it and we know that the bomb start to be built. By who? By your confidential informant. What a wonderful great case!”

Who is Emad Salem? FBI bomber, Arab double-agent or just greedy? Possibly a combination of all three. Salem is a former Egyptian Army officer who is currently the U. S. government’s star witness against Egyptian cleric Dr. Omar Abdel Rahman, whom the FBI says was the ringleader in several bombing plots, including the World Trade Center. Shortly after the bombing at the Twin Towers (World Trade Center) the U. S. government moved to take Salem into the Witness Protection program.

According to the FBI, Salem was aware of the plot ostensibly because he had infiltrated Sheik Rahman and his associates. He was recruited as a government informant shortly after the 1991 assassination of of right- wing militant Rabbi Meir Kahane. As an associate of Rahman, Salem traveled in the cleric’s inner circle, surreptitiously recording conversations, and selling his information to the Bureau. But unknown to his FBI handlers, Salem was also secretly recording his conversations with them, most likely to protect himself.

According to attorney Ron Kuby, after Salem was taken into the Witness Protection program on June 24, 1993, he told the feds about the more than 1,000 conversations he had recorded sometime between December, 1991 and June, 1993. Kuby says that while some of these tapes are not significant, others contain substantive dealings with Salem and his FBI handlers. Salem was actually bugging the FBI.

The World Trade Center bombing, along with subsequent alleged plots to bomb prominent targets in New York City, spawned a number of federal indictments and trials resulting in the conviction of more than a dozen men, all of Arabic descent. Salem’s exposure as a government informant who had a year earlier infiltrated the group of men later charged in the bombing conspiracy caused many to wonder why he and the FBI failed to provide any warning of the pending World Trade Center bombing.

The answer now appears self-evident. According to William Kuntsler, attorney for Ibrahim El-Gabrowny, one of those accused in the larger bombing case, the entire conspiracy was the product of Salem, the government informant. Kuntsler’s law partner Ronald Kuby told the SHADOW that within hours of the World Trade Center blast, Salem checked into a midtown hospital, complaining of a loud ringing in his ears. There is a growing belief that some of the four men charged and since convicted and jailed for the World Trade Center bombing, Mohammed Aboulihma, Mohammed Salameh, Nidal Ayyad and Ahmad Ajaj, may be innocent [victims] of a government frame-up.

Attorneys for those convicted have maintained that the government’s case is circumstantial at best, with no evidence or motive linking the accused with the bombing. The FBI and federal prosecutors have not as yet responded to questions over the lack of warning of the attack on the Twin Towers, despite the strategic placement of their informant.

Two possible scenarios emerge. One: Salem is a rogue FBI informant who created the conspiracy to bomb the World Trade Center for the money his information about the plot (minus his role) would bring. An attorney for one of the convicted men told the SHADOW that Salem was an FBI informant from November of 1991 to the summer of 1992. The attorney says that the FBI became aware of the World Trade Center bombing plot through informant Salem during this period, but they refused to believe his information or pay Salem’s exhorbitant fees. In fact, the feds claimed that they dropped Salem as an informant during the summer of 1992 after he refused or failed a lie detector test. This left Salem with a bombing plot but no one to sell it to.

According to the attorney, Salem let the plot that he hatched go forward and the World Trade Center was bombed so that he could get money and publicity. The attorney says that within 48 hours of the bombing, the FBI requested Salem to help them solve the case. Salem quickly pointed the fingers at the defendants, all followers of Sheik Rahman.

So, who did it? From the above point of view, Salem constructed the bomb plot with those whom he subsequently set up. The U. S. government and its FBI were innocent bystanders who failed to prevent the carnage due to their unwillingness to take Salem’s claims seriously, despite his close collaboration with Bureau agents for the better part of a year.

The other scenario looks like this: Informant Salem organized the bomb plot with the “supervision” of the FBI and the District Attorney as part of a classic entrapment setup. He befriended certain individuals, possibly some of the defendants, convinced them that his intentions to bomb the World Trade Center were sincere, and convinced them to get involved. The bomb goes off. Greedy Salem, with his ears still ringing, sells out his accomplices while attempting to sell more information to the Bureau. In order to protect him and their relationship, the FBI sequesters Salem and utilizes him against the real target of the FBI, Sheik Rahman.

In one of the taped conversations between Salem and “Special Agent” John Anticev, Salem refers to him and the Bureau’s involvement in making the bomb that blew up the World Trade Center. As Salem is pressing for money while emphasizing his value as a Bureau asset, the conversation moves in and out of references to the bombing and the FBI’s knowledge of the bomb making:

FBI: But ah basically nothing has changed. I’m just telling you for my own sake that nothing, that this isn’t a salary but you got paid regularly for good information. I mean the expenses were a little bit out of the ordinary and it was really questioned. Don’t tell Nancy I told you this. (Nancy Floyd is another FBI agent who worked with Salem in his informant capacity. The second tape obtained by the SHADOW is of a telephone conversation between Salem and Floyd -Ed.)

SALEM: Well, I have to tell her of course.

FBI: Well then, if you have to, you have to.

SALEM: Yeah, I mean because the lady was being honest and I was being honest and everything was submitted with receipts and now it’s questionable.

FBI: It’s not questionable, it’s like a little out of the’ ordinary.

SALEM: Okay. I don’t think it was. If that what you think guys, fine, but I don’t think that because we was start already building the bomb which is went off in the World Trade Center. It was built by supervising supervision from the Bureau and the DA and we was all informed about it and we know what the bomb start to be built. By who? By your confidential informant. What a wonderful great case! And then he put his head in the sand I said “Oh, no, no, that’s not true, he is son of a bitch.” (Deep breath) Okay. It’s built with a different way in another place and that’s it.

FBI: No, don’t make any rash decisions. I’m just trying to be as honest with you as I can.

SALEM: Of course, I appreciate that.

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Tapes Depict Proposal to Thwart Bomb Used in Trade Center Blast

The New York Times, Thursday October 28, 1993 Page A1

Tapes Depict Proposal to Thwart Bomb Used in Trade Center Blast

By Ralph Blumenthal

Law-enforcement officials were told that terrorists were building a bomb that was eventually used to blow up the World Trade Center, and they planned to thwart the plotters by secretly substituting harmless powder for the explosives, an informer said after the blast.

The informer was to have helped the plotters build the bomb and supply the fake powder, but the plan was called off by an F.B.I. supervisor who had other ideas about how the informer, Emad Salem, should be used, the informer said.

The account, which is given in the transcript of hundreds of hours of tape recordings that Mr. Salem secretly made of his talks with law-enforcement agents, portrays the authorities as being in a far better position than previously known to foil the February 26th bombing of New York City’s tallest towers.

The explosion left six people dead, more than a thousand people injured, and damages in excess of half-a-billion dollars. Four men are now on trial in Manhattan Federal Court [on charges of involvement] in that attack.

Mr. Salem, a 43-year-old former Egyptian Army officer, was used by the Government [of the United States] to penetrate a circle of Muslim extremists who are now charged in two bombing cases: the World Trade Center attack, and a foiled plot to destroy the United Nations, the Hudson River tunnels, and other New York City landmarks. He is the crucial witness in the second bombing case, but his work for the Government was erratic, and for months before the World Trade Center blast, he was feuding with the F.B.I.

Supervisor `Messed It Up’

After the bombing, he resumed his undercover work. In an undated transcript of a conversation from that period, Mr. Salem recounts a talk he had had earlier with an agent about an unnamed F.B.I. supervisor who, he said, “came and messed it up.”

“He requested to meet me in the hotel,” Mr. Salem says of the supervisor.

“He requested to make me to testify, and if he didn’t push for that, we’ll be going building the bomb with a phony powder, and grabbing the people who was involved in it. But since you, we didn’t do that.”

The transcript quotes Mr. Salem as saying that he wanted to complain to F.B.I. Headquarters in Washington about the Bureau’s failure to stop the bombing, but was dissuaded by an agent identified as John Anticev.

Mr. Salem said Mr. Anticev had told him,

“He said, I don’t think that the New York people would like the things out of the New York Office to go to Washington, D.C.”

Another agent, identified as Nancy Floyd, does not dispute Mr. Salem’s account, but rather, appears to agree with it, saying of the `New York people’:

“Well, of course not, because they don’t want to get their butts chewed.”

UK silence over bombings deafens

UK silence over bombings deafens

By Paul Reynolds
BBC, 5 August 2005


World Affairs correspondent, BBC News website


The details emerging from sources abroad about the London bombings illustrate yet again the restrictive attitude adopted by the British police and legal authorities.

We have learned that they were made of easily available ingredients and even that they might have been set off by timers on mobile phones, raising the intriguing question as to whether these were suicide bombers at all.

For those who have worked as reporters in the United States, it has come as little surprise that the information has come from there.

The New York Police Department (NYPD) has a team detailed to examine al-Qaeda-type bomb attacks all round the world and they were sent at once to London. Their findings were given to a meeting of security experts.

Reporters were at the meeting and the NYPD said they had the go-ahead from the Metropolitan Police in London – although they later admitted that was an error.

For those who have worked as reporters in the UK, it comes as no surprise that little information is coming out from here.

There have been other examples. On 7 July, the day of the first bombings, the police here were extremely cautious in giving even an estimate of the number of dead for some hours after the attacks.

Crime scene material

I flew in from Mexico City that day at about two o’clock and was told that only three people had died. Yet Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who was visiting London, was already giving a much higher and, as it turned out, not inaccurate figure based on what he had been told by the British authorities.


The UK’s paternalistic Contempt of Court law is out of step with democratic times

Heather Brooke

Your Right To Know

Then there were the photos of the insides of bombed carriages and of the nail bombs left in the bombers’ car at Luton. These first appeared on the American network ABC and were presumably obtained from American sources.

As we know, the British have been telling the US a great deal. Scotland Yard asked the British media not to use them on the grounds that they could impede inquiries and prejudice a prosecution. Eventually, however, the media in this country did use them, arguing that they were by then in the public domain.

The police did not explain why inquiries might be hindered but one can guess at one reason. Police often keep quiet about items found at crime scenes in the hope that a suspect refers to them, thereby indicating his or her presence at that scene.

Often the media are happy to comply with police requests. They kept to a news blackout on the day when the 21 July suspects were arrested in London.

And then there are the reported statements coming from the suspect held in Rome, Osman Hussain, who is also known, we learned from Italian police, as Hamdi Issac.

His Italian lawyer has released far more detailed information than would normally be the case if a suspect were arrested in the UK.

Fair trial

The British caution is governed by two factors. One is a law and the other is an attitude.

The law is the Contempt of Court Act 1981.

This bans the publication of material which creates a substantial risk that the course of public justice will be seriously impeded or prejudiced, in particular legal proceedings that are “active” at the time of the publication, and regardless of any intent to do so.

This basically means that once a suspect has been arrested, most information about him or her or anything beyond the bare details of the crime is simply banned.

The thinking is that only a jury should hear such evidence. Otherwise jury members – or indeed potential witnesses – might be “contaminated” or “prejudiced” by what they have heard or seen before they get to the courtroom.

This law explains why, in British criminal cases, the background is only fully revealed by the media after the verdict has been given.

It does not, of course, apply if a suspect dies, which is why so much has come out about the bombers who did die.

No limits

In the United States and many other countries, there is no such restriction. The media will reveal details immediately, as they did about the Oklahoma bomber, Timothy McVeigh, and the Washington sniper, John Allen Muhammad, for example.

The American press and courts guard the right to report very strongly and it is even written into the first amendment to the constitution: “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

This does not allow absolute licence because there are often competing rights from other quarters, but it is a powerful incentive.

The US courts deal with the problem of possible prejudice by questioning juries in advance, but mainly by trusting them to take decisions on what they hear in the evidence, not what they hear in the media.

One problem for the future is the internet. It knows no borders and information on the internet often contravenes the British law of contempt. Can the law survive in such an environment, in which case will new ways of protecting the accused have to be found?

‘Blanket of secrecy’

The other issue in the UK is attitude. There is a basic assumption by many British public bodies that the public does not need to know and that therefore the public will not be told.

Information, often of an innocent or harmless sort, is often hidden under a blanket of secrecy.

It is easier to block all information than to work out which bits might “seriously” impede or prejudice a trial.

Heather Brooke, a campaigner for greater openness who has worked in the United States as reporter herself, runs a British group called Your Right to Know.

In an article in The Independent newspaper she said: “That the police and judges want to stifle this lifeline to information shows the extent to which the UK’s paternalistic Contempt of Court law is out of step with democratic times.”

Ms Brooke went on: “No-one doubts the right of a defendant to have a fair trial, but it must be balanced against the law-abiding public’s right to be kept informed and the victim’s right to justice.

“Where empirical studies have been done – in the US for instance, where there are no such contempt of court laws – the evidence is overwhelming and all points in one direction: media exposure has no effect on a juror’s decision.”

Now jurors would say that wouldn’t they?

But it is time, perhaps, for a debate to be held. And the way that information has been coming out following the London bombs could speed up that process.

TMS sends journalists home on biggest news day of year

TMS sends journalists home on biggest news day of year

15 July 2005

Journalists at more than 60 weekly newspapers were banned from going out to report on the London bombings last Thursday amid fears for their safety – even though some were as far away as Kent and Buckinghamshire.

Staff at Trinity Mirror Southern titles – including the South London Press, The Wharf, the Croydon Advertiser, the Reading Chronicle and even the Whitstable & Herne Bay Times series – received an order to come back to the office or go straight home on Thursday afternoon.

A member of staff who contacted Press Gazette said the decision “went down like a lead balloon” in newsrooms as even journalists who were on jobs unrelated to the bombing, miles from London, were recalled.

The email, which was sent to all TMS newsdesk staff at 12.22pm by edi- torial director Marc Reeves, said: “Staff safety is the NUMBER ONE priority at this time.

“Please call back into the office anyone out in the field whether on bombrelated stories or not. Alternatively, send them home if they are closer.

“For staff in the office, take a view based on local police advice whether and when to send them home.

“You must account for every member of staff under your care today.”

A reporter at one of the weekly papers, who asked not to be named, said: “Even reporters covering village fetes out in the middle of nowhere had to go home.

“With some of the orders we get, it has long been believed that Trinity Mirror head honchos forget that we actually work hard to produce local newspapers, and this one just about summed it up.

“During the biggest story of the year,London TMS reporters and photographers were recalled to their offices and then sent home as their offices were shut.”

A spokesman for Trinity Mirror Southern said: “Every TMS title is a weekly, and the deadlines for all but three had passed. Those that hadn’t gone to press already had extensive coverage of the morning’s events filed.

“Therefore, after consulting with senior editors from across TMS, the managing director and editorial director took the view that there was no immediate need for employees to be out on the streets.

“They decided the responsible course of action was to recall all field staff to their offices or to send them home.”

He added that papers such as TMS flagship the South London Press – which comes out on a Friday – achieved “superb” coverage despite the early end to the day.

July 7 Tube bomber argued with cashier shortly before blast

July 7 Tube bomber argued with cashier shortly before blast

By Jason Bennetto, Crime Correspondent, The Independent, 31 October 2005

One of the suicide bombers who attacked London on 7 July was filmed arguing with a cashier about being short-changed hours before he blew himself up.

Another of the terrorists – the teenager who destroyed a double-decker bus – was also captured on surveillance cameras wandering around the streets of London, “bumping into people”, before detonating his rucksack bomb.

New details of the behaviour and last movements of the four suicide bombers, who killed 52 people, were disclosed by a representative of the Metropolitan Police Anti-Terrorist Branch, the magazine Police Review has reported.

The counter terrorist expert also told a seminar that the policing bill for the attacks on 7 July and the failed bombings on 21 July so far stands at £77m.

He warned traffic officers that the four terrorists – Mohammad Sidique Khan, 30, Shehzad Tanweer, 22, Germaine Lindsay, 19, and Hasib Hussain, 18, – did not fit the preconceived terrorist profile.

Tanweer hired a Nissan Micra and is believed to have been used to bring the other two Leeds-based terrorists, Hussain and Khan, to Luton railway station, from where they took the train into London for the bombing mission.

As an example the unnamed official told delegates that Tanweer argued with a cashier that he had been short changed, after stopping off at a petrol station on his way to the intended target in London.

The official told the seminar held in Preston, Lancashire two weeks ago: “This is not the behaviour of a terrorist – you’d think this is normal.

“Tanweer also played a game of cricket the night before he travelled down to London – now are these the actions of someone who is going to blow themselves up the next day?

“I’ve seen the CCTV footage of these people. They do not appear to be on their way to commit any crime at all. The Russell Square bomber [Hasib Hussain] is actually seen going into shops and bumping into people [prior to his attack].

“We have been told in the past that the normal age [for a terrorist] is about 30 … that profile is totally wrong.”

Fresh details about the apparent confusion and disorientation of the youngest bomber, Hussain, follows the disclosure that he left the Underground system and wandered around the King’s Cross area – at one point he was filmed going into a McDonald’s take-away – before setting off his bomb on a No 30 bus in Tavistock Square, killing 13, more than an hour after the other terrorists had detonated their devices on the Tube trains.

Tanweer detonated a bomb on a Circle line train between Aldgate and Liverpool Street stations which killed seven people, including himself.

Detectives also discovered that three of the bombers – not including Hussain – had visited London and staged a practice run nine days before the attack.

The representative from the anti-terrorist branch warned officers at the seminar that terrorists may not necessarily act like people who are about to blow themselves up.

He told delegates to watch out for signs of hostile reconnaissance. He added: “They will be looking to obtain a profile of the building, determine the best mode of attack, and determine the optimum time to conduct an operation.”

The official asked officers to look out for groups of two or more people taking significant interest in the location of CCTV cameras, and also vehicles parked outside a building with people staying inside the vehicle longer than usual.

Alleged London underground bomber played cricket the day before

July 7 ‘helper’ played cricket with Aldgate bomber

James Sturcke and agencies, The Guardian, 21 May 2008

A man charged with helping the July 7 bombers to plan their attacks told a court today of the last time he saw his childhood friend Shehzad Tanweer.

Waheed Ali said Tanweer, the Aldgate bomber who killed seven people, played cricket with him on the evening of July 6 2005, the night before the attacks on three London tube trains and a bus.

“On that day, he made a bit more of an effort, looking back,” he said.

The pair, who were once very close, had seen less and less of each other as Tanweer, whom he knew by his nickname, Kaki, spent more time with the July 7 ringleader, Mohammed Siddique Khan, Kingston crown court has heard.

Ali, 25, from Beeston, Leeds, told the jury his friend had given him no clue about what was being planned.

He said Tanweer told him they were “doing something for the brothers” and asked Ali to stay away from them.

Ali said he was happy his friend had come to talk to him on July 6, and thought things were getting back to normal.

“I thought they had finished what they were needed to do and we’d start chilling again,” he said.

“This was the last time I saw my best friend alive, and I wouldn’t change that for all the tea in China. I can still remember it vividly – I think he knew that this was the last time he was going to see me.

“It’s difficult, because he had been my friend since I was little and I had a lot of love for him. But what he did was unbelievable.”

He told the court the world would “always remember” Tanweer for what he had done.

“I can never justify what he did – I’m not going to try to justify what he did, but I’ve got my story about Kaki,” he added. “There are two different stories.”

Ali is charged, along with Mohammed Shakil, 31, and Sadeer Saleem, 27, both also from Beeston, with conspiring with Khan, Shehzad Tanweer, Jermaine Lindsay, Hasib Hussain and others unknown to cause explosions between November 17 2004 and July 8 2005.

They all deny the charges. The trial continues.