Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Urban Moving Systems

Via whatreallyhappened, Urban Moving Systems Inc received almost $500,000 in a loan from the American government in fiscal year 2001. The loan was a small business loan from the Small Business Administration and was made on June 22, 2001. Urban Moving Systems Inc is most famous now as the employer of the 'dancing Israelis', who videotaped and celebrated the collapse of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. They arrived at the scene - somehow knowing in advance that there would be something interesting to videotape - in a van marked 'Urban Moving Systems'. Curiously, 'Middle Eastern' men, who turned out to be called Moshe Elmakias and Ron Katar, were detained (or here) and turned over to the INS (!) for acting suspiciously and having video footage of the Sears Tower, and were driving a tractor-trailer marked 'Moving Systems Incorporated'. There was another incident near York, Pennsylvania on September 12, another police stop of suspicious persons, involving another Urban Moving Systems vehicle. One of the drivers was a former Israeli paratrooper. The other "is given polygraph tests and claims to have satisfied his questioners except on the issue of who sent him to the US." (my italics) Dominick Suter (whose name is misspelled in some of the whatreallyhappened postings), the 'owner' of the company, immediately fled to Israel.

What was Urban Moving Systems? Christopher Ketcham (my emphasis in red):
". . . two days after the men were picked up, the owner of Urban Moving Systems, Dominik Suter, a 31- year-old Israeli national, abandoned his business and fled the United States for Israel. Suter's departure was abrupt, leaving behind coffee cups, sandwiches, cell phones and computers strewn on office tables and thousands of dollars of goods in storage. Suter was later placed on the same FBI suspect list as 9/11 lead hijacker Mohammed Atta and other hijackers and suspected al-Qaeda sympathizers, suggesting that U.S. authorities felt Suter may have known something about the attacks. The suspicion, as the investigation unfolded, was that the men working for Urban Moving Systems were spies. Who exactly was handling them, and who or what they were targeting, was as yet uncertain.

It was New York's venerable Jewish weekly The Forward that broke this story in the spring of 2002, after months of footwork. The Forward reported that the FBI had finally concluded that at least two of the men were agents working for the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, and that Urban Moving Systems, the ostensible employer of the five Israelis, was a front operation. Two former CIA officers confirmed this to me, noting that movers' vans are a common intelligence cover. The Forward also noted that the Israeli government itself admitted that the men were spies. A 'former high-ranking American intelligence official', who said he was 'regularly briefed on the investigation by two separate law enforcement officials', told reporter Marc Perelman that after American authorities confronted Jerusalem at the end of 2001, the Israeli government 'acknowledged the operation and apologized for not coordinating it with Washington'. Today, Perelman stands by his reporting. I asked him if his sources in the Mossad denied the story. 'Nobody stopped talking to me', he said.

In June 2002, ABC News' 20/20 followed up with its own investigation into the matter, coming to the same conclusion as The Forward. Vincent Cannistraro, former chief of operations for counterterrorism with the CIA, told 20/20 that some of the names of the five men appeared as hits in searches of an FBI national intelligence database. Cannistraro told me that the question that most troubled FBI agents in the weeks and months after 9/11 was whether the Israelis had arrived at the site of their 'celebration' with foreknowledge of the attack to come. From the beginning, 'the FBI investigation operated on the premise that the Israelis had foreknowledge', according to Cannistraro. A second former CIA counterterrorism officer who closely followed the case, but who spoke on condition of anonymity, told me that investigators were pursuing two theories. 'One story was that [the Israelis] appeared at Liberty State Park very quickly after the first plane hit. The other was that they were at the park location already'. Either way, investigators wanted to know exactly what the men were expecting when they got there.

Before such issues had been fully explored, however, the investigation was shut down. Following what ABC News reported were 'high-level negotiations between Israeli and U.S. government officials', a settlement was reached in the case of the five Urban Moving Systems suspects. Intense political pressure apparently had been brought to bear. The reputable Israeli daily Ha'aretz reported that by the last week of October 2001, some six weeks after the men had been detained, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and two unidentified 'prominent New York congressmen' were lobbying heavily for their release. According to a source at ABC News close to the 20/20 report, high-profile criminal lawyer Alan Dershowitz also stepped in as a negotiator on behalf of the men to smooth out differences with the U.S. government. (Dershowitz declined to comment for this article.) And so, at the end of November 2001, for reasons that only noted they had been working in the country illegally as movers, in violation of their visas, the men were flown home to Israel."
It appears to be Mossad protocol to help finance Israeli spy operations by taking out government loans. By June 2001, the Mossad would have been aware that the Urban Moving Systems operation was going to be over in a matter of a few months, meaning that it was intended that the 'loan' was never going to be paid back. To add insult to injury, American taxpayers are not only spied upon by a foreign country, they have to pay for the privilege.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

The above link is to a story on Dominik Suter's newest venture in NY state.

Anonymous said...