Friday, May 31, 2002

Mohamed Atta is everywhere:

  1. The original, and in my mind still the best, Mohamed Atta is the piously religious architecture student born in Egypt and last seen in Hamburg, Germany. He, and two of the other alleged terrorists, had their passports stolen in Germany in 1999. It is interesting that this has been explained as their way of getting new passports, free of any stamps that would hurt their chances of obtaining U. S. visas. On the other hand, if their passports were really stolen, that might be the time when the identity theft began that has led to there being so much confusion.

  2. The evil imposter Mohamed Atta is the guy who played Mohamed Atta in the United States and piloted a plane into the World Trade Center.

  3. There is a Mohamed Atta who attended International Officer's School in Montgomery, Alabama.

  4. There is a Mohamed Atta who received U.S. military training, intended for members of foreign military services, in how to use E-2 Hawkeye radar aircraft at Norfolk Naval Air Station in Virginia.

  5. There is a Mohamed Atta who is said to have met with a high-ranking representative of Cuban intelligence in the spring of 1999.

  6. There is a Mohamed Atta who apparently spent many months in Afghanistan, possibly training at bin Laden camps in 1999 or 2000.

  7. There is a Mohamed Atta who apparently held himself out as having some family connection to the Royal House of Saud, making him a Saudi Prince!

  8. There is a Mohamed Atta who is said to be an Arab-American originally from Ramallah who was implicated in a series of bus bombings in Jerusalem in 1996!

  9. There is a Mohamed Atta who supposedly met with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague (this meeting has now been officially denied, probably because Atta would have to be in three places at the same time rather than only two, but some people refuse to give it up). It is even possible that the man who met with the Iraqi in Prague was a Pakistani named, you guessed it, Mohamed Atta!

  10. There is an older Atta who was originally confused in press reports with the Mohamed Atta who concerns us. This older Atta may be a terrorist named Mahmoud Mahmoud Atta who attacked a bus in Israel in 1986 and whose current whereabouts are unknown.

  11. There is a Dr. Mohamed Atta, who may have been confused with the hijacker Mohamed Atta when Dr. Atta's early September 2001 visit to New York City was thought to be a recon mission by the hijacker.

For reasons I've already discussed, it is extremely unlikely that the Mohamed Atta born in Egypt could be the same Mohamed Atta who hijacked the plane. The Mohamed Atta who hijacked the plane could be the same Mohamed Atta who was in Montgomery, Alabama, and may have used the Atta name and identity while attending Officer's Training School in order to reinforce his identity as a pilot. The hijacker could also have studied in Virginia. The architecture student Mohamed Atta could not possibly have been in any Officer's Training School, but might have been the Mohamed Atta who went to Afghanistan (given the vagueness of the Afghanistan story, I suppose they all could have vacationed together in Afghanistan). The architure student Mohamed Atta is very unlikely to have met with anyone in the United States in 1999, as even the Official Story holds that Mohamed Atta only arrived in the United States from Europe in June 2000 (although he may have already been in the United States at least as early as April 2000). It is difficult to see how hijacker Mohamed Atta could have met with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague unless he has mastered the art of being in two places at the same time (of course, someone calling himself 'Mohamed Atta' might very well have met with an Iraqi in Prague). The Mohamed Atta who blew up the bus appears to be too old to be the hijacker or the architecture student. I don't know what to make of the Saudi Prince or Ramallah stories. Finally, Dr. Atta has nothing to do with any terrorism or any of the other people calling themselves 'Atta', but it is very instructive that such identification errors were made in the investigation.

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Some U. S. and Canadian university researchers have done a study (published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal) of American patients to determine whether patients in for-profit hospitals have survival rates as high as patients in hospitals run not for profit. If it weren't for the general neo-con ideology that infects all traditional economics, it should be obvious that hospitals which don't have to lose 10 to 20 percent of their operating revenues each year to profits, and don't have to pay taxes, should do much better at keeping their patients alive. However, the neo-cons insist, in the face of all evidence, and in particular anecdotal evidence in the form of horror stories coming out of for-profit American hospitals (not to mention the universally dreaded HMO's which own a lot of the hospitals and 'manage' their patients to death), that the efficiencies of the market will provide both healthy profits and healthy patients. In fact, despite the fact that patients in not-for-profit hospitals are generally sicker when they go in, they are more likely to walk out alive (there is a 2% difference, which seems low, and the real difference may in fact be higher because of the conservative assumptions on which the study is based). It has been calculated that if the now not-for-profit hospitals in Canada are turned over to for-profit ownership, 2,200 more people a year will die in Canadian hospitals than die now. That is a figure in the general range of Canadian annual death rates from colon cancer, suicide, or automobile accidents. Sadly, you can be sure that the quibbling (here is a good summary of what the quibbling will look like, and here is what the neo-con arguments look like from the most neo-con of Canadian sources) about this study will drown out its common sense, and the struggle of the big American insurance companies to bring the Canadian health care system down to American levels will continue (since the study is based on American data, Americans should also be thinking about how they want their hospitals to be run). The study makes the important point that we have to distinguish the funding source for health care, on which much of the current Canadian debate centres, from the ownership status of the health-care delivery system. Regardless of who provides the money to pay for the system, not-for-profit hospitals will still do a superior job at delivering health care. Canadians are still going to have to fight long and hard to keep the evil (and 'evil' isn't too strong a word) U. S. insurance companies out of the current single-payer system. All Canadian health care delivery options are currently being studied. Even though the whole issue has been opened at the behest of the U. S. medical-pharmaceutical-industrial complex (in my opinion, currently the most corrupt of all the American 'complexes'), there may even be hope for improvement if Canadians can get a national pharmacare system out of the current debate.

Monday, May 27, 2002

John O'Neill was the former FBI agent who died in one of the WTC towers. He has been depicted as a hero who died when, after he escaped from his office in one tower, he went back into the other to try to rescue people. He has also been depicted as someone who quit the FBI in frustration at not being allowed by the Bush Administration to continue his investigations of the bin Laden family. It is the ultimate irony that he became head of security for the WTC, and died in what is supposed to be an attack by bin Laden. However, when I passed my invisible conspiracy coincidence meter over O'Neill, the dial started spinning so quickly that it broke. Consider the following:

  1. When I think of FBI agents, I think of boring bureaucrats living in the suburbs, driving minivans to work. John O'Neill had his own table at Elaine's in New York City, smoked cigars with people like Robert De Niro, and lived the life of the CEO of a large company or someone high up in the entertainment business. On top of all that, he had both a family with his wife and a family with his long-term girlfriend. On top of that, he had other girlfriends, who he managed to keep unknown to his wife or his long-term girlfriend. How did he manage all this on an FBI salary? Is it possible he was doing some freelance work on the side? He reminds me of FBI Agent Kemper Boyd in James Ellroy's great novel American Tabloid (which captures the feeling of the type of things that were going on at the time of the JFK assassination better than anything else I've read), who for want of money ends up working for everybody, a situation which doesn't end well for him either.

  2. O'Neill was apparently the creator of the politically convenient but highly questionable theory that TWA 800 was brought down by the ignition of leaking fuel and not by a terrorist or U. S. Navy missile. This is the kind of theory a political operative comes up with, not a regular FBI agent.

  3. O'Neill was up for promotion, but his chances were derailed when it became known that he was responsible for a security breach. Apparently he was attending a retirement seminar in Tampa, and lost a briefcase containing documents of a security level that he shouldn't have been carrying there. The briefcase and documents were recovered (with some of his personal effects missing), but the breach of security went on his employment record and he may have felt it was used as an excuse to deny him the promotion when it was really denied because his aggressive approach to his job, particularly his investigation of the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, wasn't univerally appreciated in the Bush Administration or the FBI. Maybe I'm stretching here, but this security breach took place in the summer of 2000, at a time and a place just north of where Atta and other hijackers were taking flying lessons. With his prospects at the FBI or elsewhere in a Bush-led government limited, and his frustration at not being allowed to do his job in investigating the bin Laden family because of oil, O'Neill was all too happy to resign from the FBI and take a much higher paying job as head of security for the WTC.

  4. The infamous 'Phoenix memorandum', the one prepared by the FBI that apparently states fears that suspected al-Qaeda operatives were taking flight training in the United States to prepare for terror attacks, was sent to only two people, or perhaps to only a dozen people, one of whom was John O'Neill. He reads it, and almost immediately takes a job with Silverstein Properties as head of security for the WTC (and dies on his second day of work!). So let me get this straight: the director of counterterrorism for the FBI's New York office and the FBI's main expert on bin Laden, knowing that al-Qaeda had already tried to blow up the WTC and had operatives who had expressed a desire to complete the job (O'Neill had recently said to a friend: "They'll never stop trying to take down those two buildings"), reads a memo suggesting that al-Qaeda operatives may be taking flight training in the United States (and whatever the Bush administration may claim about its knowledge of al-Qaeda plans to use hijacked planes as missiles, you can be sure that John O'Neill was fully aware of it), and immediately quits to be head of security at the WTC! (I'm sorry, but this is where the dial on my coincidence meter just exploded.) I'd really like to know how it was arranged for him to get this job, and whether he was actually working for more than one employer at the time of his death.

I don't know what all this means, but I know it means something. For example, what if he didn't really quit the FBI (the last thing he did before heading back to the other tower was to telephone FBI headquarters), but was posted at his new job to stop what was described to him as inside security breaches at the WTC (planting of bombs, etc., or an attack like the 1993 attack using bombs in a vehicle)? Presumably he wouldn't have agreed to work at the WTC after reading the Phoenix memorandum unless he was assured that the plane missile issue was being taken care of. I am very suspicious that there is more to the story of John O'Neill than we are being told.

Saturday, May 25, 2002

If you were an diabolical terrorist mastermind living in a cave in Afghanistan, around what place would you centre your evil terrorist plans? Of all the places you could choose as a base out of which to run your terrorism, would you pick Oklahoma City? From your cave, would you have even heard of Oklahoma City? Of course, Oklahoma City was the site of the 1995 attack on the Federal Building, an attack blamed on Timothy McVeigh (foolishly and suspiciously executed, thus removing his ability to give more evidence). At the time, however, there was considerable evidence that at least one man of Middle Eastern appearance was involved, and allegations that Arab terrorists were behind the attack, perhaps even terrorists working for Iraq. These issues were ignored by the McVeigh prosecutors, perhaps because they did not want to prejudice McVeigh's prosecution by adding unnecessary complications, and perhaps because the Clinton administration was attempting, with considerable success, to blame attacks on the U. S. and on Clinton personally on a right-wing conspiracy, from which people like McVeigh were a logical outcome. Now, with the United States flailing away to find even the slightest excuse to attack Iraq, ideas that Saddam Hussein was behind the Oklahoma City terrorism have been resurrected. In fact, American writers are trying to tie both Saddam Hussein and bin Laden to the Oklahoma City bombing. As we shall see, I think a completely different view may be more likely. It is, to say the least, very odd how often Oklahoma City comes up in the recent history of terrorism:

  1. In June 2000, Atta and al-Shehhi (hijacker pilot of Flight 175) visited a flying school in Oklahoma City. They had a tour of the facilities at the school, and left. Supposedly, they then went to Florida and got flight training there, but we have to remember that Atta may have been in Florida taking flight training as early as April, so the official story is suspect. In any event, of all the places they could have taken flight training, they somehow decided to investigate Oklahoma City.

  2. Moussaoui, the so-called '20th hijacker', lived in Norman, a suburb of Oklahoma City, and attended flying school (Airman Flight School) there, all before moving to Minneapolis.

  3. Ihab Mohammed Ali, who was later named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya, also trained at the same school in Norman, Oklahoma.

  4. At the trial of Ramzi Ahmed Yusef, the principal organizer of the 1993 World Trade Center car-bombing, Abdul Hakim Murad testified that he was an al-Qaeda operative and had trained at Airman Flight School in order to prepare for a suicide hijack attack on CIA headquarters.

  5. An important piece of evidence in unravelling this mystery is the Israeli spy ring, and, in particular, its geographic locations in the United States. We know various Israeli spies were located all over the United States, but in particular: 1) across the river from the WTC at the time of the crashes, filming and cheering; 2) within blocks of where Atta and his colleagues were living in Hollywood Beach, Florida; 3) in Dallas, Texas, where in the days before September 11 the FBI raided the offices of a number of Islamic charities accused of supporting terrorism; and 4) most intriguingly, at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City (see paragraphs 175-177 of the report).

It has been noted in various places that after the Gulf War the Clinton administration settled thousands of Iraqi dissident refugees in various places, including some 2000 in Oklahoma City. Remember that Vreeland stated that in Moscow he saw a warning letter to Putin on terrorist attacks against the United States. The letter was written by a son of Saddam Hussein. It is possible that Saddam has spies in the anti-Saddam group of refugees in Oklahoma City who warned him of the upcoming terrorism. It is possible, as he couldn't warn the U. S. directly, that he attempted to do so through Putin (if Saddam was behind September 11, why would he arrange for warning to be sent to Putin, who could not be relied on not to tell the Americans?). Putin did warn the U. S., and his warnings were apparently ignored. Is it possible that anti-Saddam refugees in Oklahoma City formed at least some of the group that was involved in the September 11 terrorism? The reason for the attack from the point of view of the Iraqis would be to provide an excuse for the United States to attack Iraq. This was so important a goal for these people that at least some of them may have been willing to die for it. When it happened, however, Saddam wasn't directly blamed, as it was necessary to use the terror as an excuse for a limitless war on terror, securing oil reserves around the world. Al-Qaeda, supposedly a world-wide organization, was chosen as the scapegoat. The interesting thing is that the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing could have been a model for September 11, in that the Iraqis could have been involved in both attacks. They would not have been agents for Saddam - they would have been anti-Saddam refugees trying to frame Saddam to provoke a U. S. attack against him. When you think about it, if the Iraqis who settled in Oklahoma were refugees from Iraq, why does the American media jump to the conclusion that any Iraqi involvement must be by an agent of Saddam Hussein? Isn't it much more likely that the involvement is by someone acting against the interests of Saddam? Of course, Saddam could have infiltrated the Iraqi refugees, bringing some pro-Saddam agents to the United States. It is much more likely, however, that any actions taken by this group would be intended to hurt the current Iraqi government. If you were looking for a group of actors who could speak Arabic, had the basic Middle Eastern appearance and the basic cultural knowledge to pass for Arab terrorists, and were so motivated with hatred for Saddam that they would sacrifice themselves to cause an excuse for a war to depose him, the people living around Oklahoma City may be just the actors you want. Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein may just be scapegoats to deflect attention from what is really going on, both with respect to the Oklahoma City bombing and September 11.
It is interesting to see how the Bush Administration is trying to pin all the blame for 9-11 on mistakes made by the FBI, but the FBI is refusing to play along. This is being depicted as an attack by an FBI agent on the Washington bureaucracy of the FBI, but I think it is more than that. We are entering a situation similar to Watergate, where a series of leaks ascribed to 'Deep Throat' gradually finished Nixon. If Bush doesn't lay off the FBI soon (and it is clear that each successive revelation is merely added to the supposed faults of the FBI, even is cases, like Moussaoui, where the decision not to obtain a warrant had to be a political decision), he may find himself in huge problems. For example, someone in the FBI could leak the contents of Bush's August 6 briefing, a subject obviously so devastating to Bush's future as President that it has until now been covered up.
I've been wondering about the oddness of the fact that American polls on George Bush continue to show him having highly favorable ratings, even after the recent revelations that show that at the very least he was extremely negligent with respect to warnings of terrorist attacks. It seems that it is not too much of a stretch to go even further and wonder whether September 11 was a desired outcome for the Bush administration, especially given all the benefits Bush and his friends have received from September 11. The innumerable and explicit warnings, the recent revelations about the Moussaoui investigation and the Phoenix memorandum, the fact that Carlyle was having a board meeting on the morning of September 11, the fact that normal air defences were obviouly interfered with, the billions of dollars in war profiteering, the advantages to Bush's friends of securing oil reserves using the war on terror as an excuse, the extraordinary problems with the Official Story blaming bin Laden for the terrorism, the obvious way the Bush Administration is trying to prevent an investigation (why do this if they have nothing to hide?) and the clumsy way they continue to use vague but scary warnings of imminent terrorist attacks to put their critics off the scent - the whole thing doesn't add up, and in spite of the fact that the 'elite' media unanimously has decided that Bush is blameless, I don't believe that Americans are incapable of seeing what is really going on. It occurs to me that the average American sees an administration that may be capable of risking the lives of tens of thousands of his or her fellow citizens in order to line the pockets of some very rich and powerful people. This average American gets a phone call from someone claiming to be from a polling company. If you were receiving this phone call, particularly given the Ashcroft-style insistence on complete political conformity to the policies of the Bush Administration, would you profess any dissent?

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that George Bush was at his pseudo-ranch in August for a well-deserved (!) vacation. Someone starts to brief him on some severe dangers faced by the United States regarding attacks by al-Qaeda, and he tells them to go deal with the problem, as he is on vacation. Again, for the sake of argument, let's say that it was in the interests of at least part of the Bush Administration for there to be a dramatic attack on the United States of sufficient importance to justify: 1) a war on Afghanistan; 2) a worldwide war on terror to be used as an excuse to secure major oil reserves for the United States; 3) major military spending including huge expenditures paid to defence contractors; 4) major increases in the budgets of the military, the CIA, and the FBI; and 5) a major revamping of U. S. domestic laws to restrict civil liberties. Let's say that aides working for this part of the Bush Administration told Bush not to worry and they would get right on it, and then did absolutely nothing. Meanwhile, Bush forgets all about it, enjoying tall, cool glasses of 'pretzel' and enjoying his vacation. A month or so later, Bush is sitting in a classroom waiting to read to some children, and all hell breaks loose. He is again told not to worry, that his advisors will figure it all out and solve the problem. So he sits in the classroom, and reads. About half an hour later, he is handed a speech to read. When he is no longer in front of the cameras, he challenges his aides to explain why nothing was done about the dangers. Over the course of the day, while he is being flown around the United States, it is explained to him that nothing was done to stop the terrorism because they wanted it to occur - "let one happen stop the rest" - and that it was in the best interests of the Administration and the country that things turned out the way they did. They also tell him that if he complains, they will make it clear that it was his dereliction of duty that led to the terrorism not being stopped, and that if this information were to be revealed to the press, he would be impeached. Any information that he might have received is covered up, and the official story is that the attack came as a total shock to the Administration. Everything works out just as planned until somebody, probably somebody in the FBI or CIA, starts to leak the truth. This is a pretty dark scenario, but it isn't the darkest possible scenario. The darkest possible scenario would be that al-Qaeda had nothing to do with the September 11 attacks . . .

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Here is the most comprehensive list of warnings received by the United States of the September 11 attacks. When you see them all at once, the sheer quantity and quality of warnings is amazing. It is unlikely that there has ever been a major event in U. S. history which has received so much warning.
Bush was told about the second WTC crash shortly after 9:00 a. m. on the morning of September 11, while he was waiting in a classroom to read to some students. He claims that he already knew about the first crash, and realized that the crashes were not an accident when he heard about the second crash (his own story is inconsistent as he claims to have seen a crash before he went in the classroom, which is impossible as the first crash wasn't broadcast by that time). Given what we now know about his foreknowledge of a plane hijacking attack on the United States (and that he must have known about plans to use hijacked planes as missiles), isn't his lack of any response bizarre? He does nothing but carry on with his little photo opportunity, and his first response, almost half an hour later, is to make a little speech. Shortly after 9:00 was still about 40 minutes before the Pentagon crash, and for all he knew the American skies could have been full of hijacked planes waiting to crash into buildings and nuclear power plants. This period of time may have been of vital importance to the history of the United States. Isn't this the time to get up, rush out to a telephone, and start, um, doing something about this? I know he always likes to point out what an excellent team he has behind him, but he doesn't even appear to care what is being done while he reads to the children. It is as if the information that the United States was under terrorist attack was completely unimportant to him. This is the type of response which leads one to wonder whether he knew what was going to happen and wanted it to happen. As Delmart Vreeland's famous note says: "let one happen stop the rest !!!".
Given the support that the Bush administration has received from all American quarters, especially the media (who speak with a remarkable unanimity), but even including the Democratic Party (who I guess are bribed from the same pool of money), the most interesting question about the recent revelations of Bush foreknowledge of the events of September 11 is simply why are they making such damning admissions and why now. One reason appears to be the beginnings of a tsunami of leaks from FBI and intelligence sources. The Republicans apparently fear losing control of management of the information that is getting out to the public, something the Republicans haven't had to worry about recently as all the media has been firmly on their side since the last Bush administration. It appears that law enforcement and intelligence forces are becoming tired of being used as political whipping boys for every mistake made by the politicians, and are starting to get their own stories out to counter all the blame they are receiving. It is therefore probably a foolish mistake to blame the failure to stop the terrorism on the FBI and the CIA, but the Republicans, forced into a corner and not used to facing any media criticism, are doing so anyway. This will no doubt further enrage the FBI/CIA leakers, and should lead to more negative information. The really interesting question is why is this leaked information being so readily broadcast by the mass media. There are always leakers passing brown envelopes to journalists, but usually the editors don't allow any information embarassing to the ruling classes to be published. There are attempts by major media figures to downplay the stories (probably out of sheer force of habit of running to the defence of the rich and powerful), but the damning stories keep coming. Is it possible that elements of the ruling classes are becoming dissatisfied with the constant incompetence of Bush and his administration? It is not only the flubbing of such big things as protecting Americans from terrorism, running a successful war in Afghanistan, keeping the Middle East from exploding, or prudently managing the economy, but the general unnecessary bad taste which Bush is leaving in the mouths of leaders all over the world due to a combination of stupidity, rudeness, and a stubborn insistance that since the United States is the most powerful nation in the world it doesn't even have to pretend to listen to anyone else. There is really old money in the United States with a long history of doing business all over the world which may now be feeling that this administration has the potential to do permanent damage to the position of the United States, a position that may be more precarious than fools like Bush can imagine. The recent publication of embarrassing information may be a warning that it is time for the administration to start taking the American position in the world more seriously, or a Nixon-like 'replacement of government' scenario may be in the offing (i.e, Cheney is forced to resign for health reasons, and is replaced by a popular and competent Republican, who can then take over the Presidency when Bush is forced out and contest the next two elections).

Monday, May 20, 2002

Waleed (or Walid) Alshehri is alleged to be one of the September 11 hijackers, in fact on Flight 11 (which is one of the planes that hit the World Trade Center). There is a good article in the Boston Globe delving into the early life of Waleed and his brother Wail (another of the hijackers) in Saudi Arabia. They had relatively normal middle class childhoods in Saudi Arabia. Although they were brought up in a strict Wahabi household, they showed no early trace of the fundamentalism that would end in tragedy. The article tries to answer the same question we have about all the hijackers: What caused them to turn to such evil? To try to explain it, the writer of the article even has the brothers taking an oath to commit to jihad. There is only one small problem. Waleed is currently still alive, and works as a pilot for Royal Air Maroc. There was no conversion to evil fundamentalism. All that happened is that Waleed was sent by his employer to the United States for further aviation training (he studied at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida, a school which originally feared that Waleed was involved as a hijacker in the terrorist operation that killed another graduate of the school, an officer on Flight 77, but later were relieved to find that their fears were unfounded). While in the United States, he had his identity stolen. This identity was then assumed by one of the hijackers, and used to confuse the American public. In fact, many if not all of the hijackers appear to be operating under assumed identities, identities which were individually crafted with great care. The creation of all 19 or 20 hijacker identities is a work of art, and whoever is responsible for it deserves to win the Nobel Prize for literature. The identities all started with Arab males from the Middle East who were at some time living outside of the Middle East. Sometimes the original identity had aspects of pious Islamic belief, or even involvement in fundamentalism. Sometimes the identity was entirely secular, but the original person had a background as a pilot. The goal was to lead to a composite false identity which included the Arab background, a connection to Islamic fundamentalism, and either pilot training or the capability to pass as someone who could hijack a plane using a boxcutter. Whatever was missing from the original stolen identity was added by documented behaviour in the United States. The beauty of the plan is that once the general framework of the faked identity was created, American journalists actually helped to complete the illusion by writing background articles like that one written in the Boston Globe. Here are three examples:

  1. Mohamed Atta was a pious fundamentalist architecture student from the Middle East living in Hamburg, Germany. He was afraid to fly, but his religious affiliation allowed him to serve as the connection to bin Laden and al-Qaeda. Therefore, when his identity was stolen, his identity as a pilot was added to the composite fake identity by clearly tying the actor who assumed his identity to officer's training school in Montgomery, Alabama, and ostentatiously taking pilot training (the actor almost certainly was already a highly trained pilot). Due to the strong connection to fundamentalism that could be obtained through the stolen Atta identity, Atta was used as the ringleader of the group, so that all the hijackers could be connected to fundamentalist Islam (and ultimately binLaden/al-Qaeda) through him. The identity was further built up by having the fake Atta use a credit card in Atta's name in the United States, make an obvious spectacle of himself, and clearly be seen with many of the other hijackers.

  2. Ziad Samir Jarrah was interested in aircraft, and studied aeronautical engineering in Germany. It is unclear if he was a pilot, but the vague connection to aircraft was enough. He was completely secular, but knew the real Atta in Hamburg, which further made his identity valuable. The man who assumed his identity was again a trained pilot, and became associated with fundamentalist Islam throught his connection with Atta. In order to 'beef up' his reputation, the actor took a course in street-fighting techniques while in the United States.

  3. Waleed Alshehri had absolutely no connection with the real Atta or fundamentalist Islam, but was a trained pilot. He also had an easily obtainable identity, due to his having taken pilot training in the United States. His stolen identity was improved, as with all the hijackers, by having him ostentatiously take flight training. He went through the motions of attending a gym, presumably in order to make him seem to have been able to take over a plane using just a boxcutter, but was just there for show and simply stood around and didn't actually lift any weights. His fundamentalist credibility comes from his association with the fake Atta in the United States, and of course by having American journalists wonder just what could have happened to turn him into an evil fundamentalist. Although the confusion with the pilot who studied at Embry-Riddle was eventually discovered, the general composite identity of Waleed still seems to survive in the general comprehension of the public, and this continued confusion shows just how powerful this composite identity method is.

We can see in each case how a composite identity was carefully built up to contain both Middle Eastern and American components, with the final faked personal identity filled out to incorporate whatever was needed for the particular actor playing a particular hijacking role. I conclude with a quote from the head of the FBI, Robert S. Mueller III, who, at a speech given to the Commonwealth Club of California on April 19, 2002, said: "The hijackers also left no paper trail. In our investigation, we have not uncovered a single piece of paper – either here in the U.S. or in the treasure trove of information that has turned up in Afghanistan and elsewhere – that mentioned any aspect of the September 11th plot." We can conclude from this that the FBI has found no information linking any personal identity to any of the hijackers, and we therefore know absolutely nothing about the real identity of any of them. I have to ask the same boring question: Who was capable of creating this kind of confusion? Was al-Qaeda? Was bin Laden?
Dick Cheney says it is thoroughly irresponsible to raise questions "in a time of war" about what Bush knew about the September 11 attack, and in particular that he might have known something that could have prevented the events of September 11. The problem with this logic, however, is that the United States may only be in a 'time of war' because of the failure of the Bush administration to protect its citizens from attack. If properly alerted air defence had forced down the planes before they hit any targets (or if properly alerted airport security had stopped the terrorists before they got on board or removed any knives they might have had), the United States wouldn't have had sufficient excuse to attack Afghanistan (a suspiciously convenient excuse, given that plans to attack bin Laden in Afghanistan were already awaiting Bush's approval in the days before September 11), and certainly wouldn't have had sufficient excuse to set out on its worldwide unlimited war on terror (which for some odd reason centres only on places which have large oil reserves which could be exploited by companies close to the Bush regime). The only reason for the United States being in a 'time of war' may be the incompetence (or worse) of Bush and his administration. Cheney's outrage at the reasonable questions only now being asked makes him not unlike the boy who kills both his parents and then seeks lenience because he is an orphan.

Saturday, May 18, 2002

It starting to look like the U. S. government is going to have to change the Official Story with respect to the Pentagon 'crash', or face extremely dangerous criticisms. The Bush admission that he was aware of the danger of al-Qaeda hijacking U. S. planes, coupled with the fact that we know the U. S. government was aware of al-Qaeda plans to use planes as missiles, means that he knew prior to September of the threat to the United States of plane missile attacks against prominent targets. Obviously, hindsight is 20/20, and we can't expect him to know exactly what would happen. His problem is that his administration did absolutely nothing. No real warnings were given to the FAA, the airlines, the security at the airports, or the air defence system. Contrary to what Rice has been saying, it would have been possible to give warnings that would not have unnecessarily shut down air traffic in the United States. The air defence system is where it gets interesting. Air traffic controllers were aware of a problem in one of the flights (Flight 11) that eventually crashed into the WTC at 8:25 (all these times have been reported slightly differenly in different places, usually within a minute or two). They should have been on high alert from that time on, and, in light of the warnings given to Bush, air defence jets should have been scrambled and in the air all along the Eastern Seaboard shortly thereafter. There was a problem noted on Flight 77 (the plane that supposedly crashed into the Pentagon) at 8:56 (the transponder was turned off), they were aware the plane turned around at 9:00, and the crash occurred at 9:43. That means before the Pentagon attack there were 78 minutes of warning from the time the first hijacking became apparent, 47 minutes of warning from the time that it was clear that something was wrong with Flight 77, and 43 minutes of warning from the time it was apparent it had turned around and was headed back to Washington. In case this wasn't enough warning, the first WTC crash occurred at 8:45, almost an hour before the Pentagon attack. Given all this time, why wasn't any timely effort made to intercept Flight 77? Unless you take the view that air defences were deliberately stood down, the U. S. air defence system was simply not prepared for any real threat. A warning from the Bush administration would have made it ready. Since such a warning wasn't given, at least the crash into the Pentagon can be directly blamed on the incompetence (or worse) of the Bush administration. The only way out of this is for Bush to admit that there was no Flight 77 attack on the Pentagon (perhaps the explosion was caused by a cruise missile fired by bin Laden from his cave in Maryland!), and therefore no reason for air defence to intercept Flight 77. This will still leave some big questions open (why have you lied to us up until now, where is Flight 77, etc.?), but it will stave off the immediate impeachment (or worse) that would occur once Americans figure out that the Pentagon attack can be directly blamed on Bush incompetence (or worse).
If Bush is admitting that he was informed of a threat on August 6 that al-Qaeda intended to hijack U. S. planes, common sense allows us to add since he had to know that al-Qaeda had intended to use planes as suicide missiles against buildings, therefore he had to know that the U. S. was under grave threat of such an attack. The problem with all this is that it seems very unlikely that al-Qaeda played any more that the very small role of patsy, taking the blame through bin Laden (his meeting with a CIA representative in Dubai may be where he got his 'script') for the attacks and allowing the U. S. to attack Afghanistan. Tucked in behind the news on Bush's admission is the perhaps even greater admission that the United States had plans in hand to attack Afghanistan before September 11. Neither bin Laden nor al-Qaeda would have been capable of constructing the elaborate false identities used by the hijackers, combining stolen identities (often from Arab men who had their identities stolen while they were taking training in the United States) and identities built up while in the United States. Obviously, al-Qaeda wouldn't have been capable of standing down U. S. air defences, nor is it capable of conducting the huge cover-up that is currently going on. I thus am led to the inescapable conclusion that Bush's latest admission is itself a form of disinformation, intended to keep the ultimate blame for 9-11 on al-Qaeda and lead us away from any darker culprits, and the frightening idea that 9-11 was part of an elaborate plan which included using the 9-11 attack as an excuse to attack Afghanistan.
Isn't is odd that of all the airports passed through by the September 11 hijackers, the only airport security video pictures that we've been allowed to see are those of Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari (there's pictures of them at Portland airport, at a gas station in Portland, at a Portland ATM, and at Wal-Mart in Portland)? There's another 17 (if you assume that 4 flights were hijacked, which I am coming to doubt) hijackers who must have been recorded by airport security cameras. Why have pictures from these cameras not been released? One possible answer is that the photos we've seen of the hijackers came from the original stolen identities assumed by the hijackers, and the actors who played these roles don't resemble the pictures we've seen. If it turned out, for example, that the 'Jarrah' captured in an airport security camera didn't resemble a picture of the real Jarrah, the Official Story would fall apart. In the case of Atta, the picture we've seen may well be a picture of the actor who played Atta, and not the original Atta. Someone recognized Atta as being in Montgomery, presumably on the basis of his published photo, which indicates that the photo depicts the North American Atta. Atta's father has said that the security camera picture does not look like his son. It could be that it was decided to use the photos of the actors depicting Atta and Alomari just so they would match, and the security camera pictures could be released as 'proof' that Atta and Alomari were hijackers. DNA testing of the bodies recovered in the crashed Pennsylvania plane would confirm whether the hijackers in that plane (assuming there were any!) were who we've been told they were. It's interesting how the lack of video camera evidence of the hijackers parallels the lack of video camera evidence of the Pentagon 'crash'. The modern ubiquity of video cameras is making it harder and harder to stage a decent faked terrorist attack.

Friday, May 17, 2002

The Bush Administration now admits that it had foreknowledge that al-Qaeda was planning to hijack airplanes in the United States. They are being extra careful to state that Bush did not know that the planes would be used as missiles to destroy buildings. The problem with this distinction is that it has been known for years, from information obtained in the Philippines, that the general al-Qaeda plan was to use hijacked planes as missiles. Therefore, if Bush knew about hijacked planes and al-Qaeda, he knew or ought to have known that the planes could be used as missiles (Ari Fleischer said: "Philippines - took place overseas." - I guess it doesn't apply in the United States then!). The Bush Administration, staffed by a bunch of political hacks from the days of Reagan, looks more and more like the Nixon Administration (as John Dean keeps pointing out). The admission is a form of 'limited hangout', the political equivalent of pleading guilty to a lesser offence, hoping the issue will go away (it didn't work for Nixon). I think we will find that they knew much more that they are admitting to now, and what they are admitting to now, with the background information on the plans of al-Qaeda to use planes as missiles, should be grounds for impeachment (this really puts the whole Clinton impeachment in perspective). Even as it stands, the admission puts a whole lot of things in a new light:

  1. John O'Neill's concerns about the FBI being called off the investigation of the bin Laden family.

  2. John Ashcroft's decision to no longer take commercial flights.

  3. Bush's extremely odd non-reaction to finding out about the terrorism, his comment that he'd seen it on television before he possibly could have (perhaps he had already imagined it), and his odd day of flying around, perhaps when the damage-control was planned.

  4. Delmart Vreeland's claims - that up until now have been scoffed at - that he as a agent of the U. S. government saw specific warnings of the attack.

  5. The U. S. government's ignoring of all the warnings made to it by other governments (and don't forget Echelon).

  6. The extraordinary speed with which the Bush Administration identified all the hijackers, and the speed with which they identified bin Laden as the culprit.

  7. The fact that some members of the Israeli spy ring lived a few blocks down the street in Hollywood Beach from where Atta and some of the other terrorists lived.

  8. The as-yet-not-and-probably-never-to-be investigated profits made by trading in stock markets based on foreknowledge of the tragedy (even the vaguest foreknowledge that airplanes were going to be hijacked would have led to big profits taking short positions on airline stocks).

  9. The standing down of air defences that would have protected the WTC and the Pentagon.

In some countries, this kind of admission would lead to rioting in the streets, but Americans are so cynical about their politicians that all they can manage to squeeze out is a 'ho' and a 'hum' (although they have no trouble in calling Congresswoman McKinney a traitor for having the temerity to have suggested that this very issue should be investigated). The bottom line is that if the Bush Administration had done anything about the warnings, the September 11 tragedy wouldn't have happened (despite their protestations, it appears they didn't give even the faintest of warnings to any part of the government). When you consider all the benefits that have accrued as a result of the September 11 tragedy to members of the Administration and its friends, you can't help but wonder . . . .

Thursday, May 16, 2002

I don't want to sound like a spy novel, but I've been thinking about Jarrah and the anomalies in his story and a way to explain them. The anomalies are so extreme that they need some sort of radical explanation. The explanation I've come up with is crazy, but everything about this story is crazy. Ziad Samir Jarrah was a completely secular, non-fundamentalist, happy-go-lucky guy, living with his girlfriend in Bochum and planning to be married. He was just about the last guy you'd expect would become a suicide terrorist. He had three fatal characteristics:

  1. He was a young Arab man born in the Middle East but living outside the Middle East.

  2. He had trained as a pilot (or at least had technical knowledge of airplanes).

  3. He knew Atta (the original Atta) in Hamburg.

Remember that his girlfriend reported him missing. I'm afraid he's not coming back. He was probably murdered, and his identification was probably taken from him and from his apartment (including the German work permit lent to him by his cousin). All the while, someone was already using parts of his personal identity in the United States, building up the 'legend' of Jarrah by attending flying school, learning street-fighting techniques, getting a speeding ticket (a must for all good terrorists), and hanging out in a conspicuous way with other actors in the play. The legend was further embellished by having a third person use Jarrah's identification to fly to Afghanistan, and then be detained and interrogated in Dubai at the specific request of the U. S. government. This added to the composite Jarrah terrorist ID the idea that he went to Afghanistan, where he presumably was indoctrinated and trained by al-Qaeda. It also explains how Jarrah got into the United States after this interrogation without incident (the first fake Jarrah was already in the United States, and the traveller to Afghanistan just disappeared). When the plane crashed into Pennsylvania, someone brought the German work permit to the wreckage and left it there, thus tying everything neatly together. Who would be capable of setting up such a complicated scenario (and remember, they had to do at least 18 more, one for each terrorist, and each one different)? Was al-Qaeda? Was bin Laden?

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

There is reason to believe that Mohamed Atta attended International Officer's School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. The official response to this is to give vague denials based on the fact that it must be someone with the same name, but someone claims to have actually met him at Montgomery, so the vague denials don't seem to be sufficient. When did Atta have the time to attend such a school? After his 'arrival' in the U. S., all his time has pretty much been accounted for (he did disappear for 15 months in 1997-98, but it's a bit of a stretch to conceive of his spending that time in U. S. military school). Before his 'arrival', he was supposedly a pious fundamentalist Muslim student of architecture from Egypt (who may even have been afraid to fly). How does he immediately switch from this to study at a U. S. military training school (on a student visa that was issued to allow him to study at a two-bit flying school in a retirement community in South Florida)? Do you think that such a student could knock on the door of a U. S. military school and be admitted for training? Consider that the whole Official Story of September 11 has Mohamed Atta as its keystone. He's the guy who began to assemble the hijackers while an architecture student in Hamburg, Germany; he's the guy who was the ringleader of the hijackers in the United States; he's the guy who flew to Spain (presumably to meet with other terrorists to plot the attack); he's the guy who allegedly met with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague (he probably didn't, but note that the Official Story is always plotted around Atta); he's the guy who received the $100,000 from the Pakistani who is supposed to be connected to al-Qaeda and bin Laden; and he's the pilot of one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center. Atta is the key connection of the September 11 terrorist group to international Islamic fundamentalism, al-Qaeda, and bin Laden. The Atta situation is particularly difficult for the fabulists of the Official Story, for if you get around the military training school problem by claiming he stole someone else's identity (a difficult argument if someone actually saw him in Montgomery), you also lose the connection to the architecture student in Hamburg, Germany. If Mohamed Atta attended a U. S. military training school, the whole Official Story falls apart. If the whole Official Story falls apart:

  1. The connection between the hijackers and al-Qaeda/bin Laden falls apart.

  2. There is no reason to detain all the people of Arab descent who have been detained in the United States.

  3. There is no justification for the draconian restrictions on civil liberties enacted to protect the United States from Islamic fundamentalist terrorism.

  4. There is no justification for the massive increases in military, CIA and homeland security budgets and the consequent reduction in spending on social programs.

  5. There is absolutely no justification for the war on Afghanistan, other current U. S. military operations, the future war on Iraq, and the general unending worldwide war on terrorism.

Given the massive significance of whether Atta attended a U. S. military training school, wouldn't it be prudent to fully investigate the matter?

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Three comments on recent Israeli actions:

  1. The Israelis recently evacuated the apartment building in which the terrorist suspect who set off the suicide bomb at Netanya had lived. They then blew it up, destroying the homes of some 100 people. How does any civilized society justify this? It is clearly collective punishment and is part of the program of degradation and harassment intended to ethnically cleanse the West Bank of Palestinians.

  2. One of the main points of Israeli propaganda is that they cannot negotiate with the Palestinians as the Palestinians only seek the destruction of the Israeli state. Now Sharon's party, Likud, the main ruling party in Israel, has overwhelmingly voted never to allow the Palestinians to have their own state west of the Jordan River (i. e., in the West Bank and Gaza Strip). Hypocrisy does not seem to bother them.

  3. The Israeli authorities have arrested 4 Israeli settlers who allegedly had planted a bomb at an Arab girls' school in East Jerusalem. Is that not terrorism, or does it only count as terrorism if Jews are hurt? The Israelis used the suicide bombers and their need to apprehend them as their excuse for the recent Israeli military brutality in the West Bank, including the holocaust (apparently the slaughter of at least 20-30 civilians doesn't rate as a massacre, so I've had to find another word) at Jenin. When can we expect the Palestinians to be allowed similar liberties in the illegal West Bank settlements to root out Israeli terrorists?

Each of these incidents is instructive. The first shows us how the Israelis are using the suicide bombers as an excuse to promote their real program of slow-motion ethnic cleansing. The second shows us that Israel has no intention of ever granting the Palestinians a state, and therefore it is a sham when Israel gives as its excuse for not negotiating with the Palestinians the fact that the Palestinians desire to eliminate Israel. The third shows us that terrorism is being committed by both sides (and the Israeli state terrorism is the worst terrorism of all), and the Israeli fixation on Palestinian suicide bombers is merely part of their propaganda war to justify their military brutality against the Palestinians.

Monday, May 13, 2002

Flight 93 was the flight that ended up on the ground in Pennsylvania on September 11. The hijacker who was supposed to be the pilot of that plane, Ziad Samir Jarrah, was not very good at flying (someone who flew with him said he didn't feel safe - maybe that's why Flight 93 ended up on the ground!), although he may have later improved his skills by training on a flight simulator in Arizona. He paid cash for instruction in street-fighting tactics (his instructor, who thought highly of him, said: "He did his best but he was very timid"). The Ziad Samir Jarrah who grew up in Lebanon was from a middle-class background and showed no signs of religious fundamentalism. He is supposed to have met Atta while studying in Germany. The U. S. version of Jarrah was caught speeding (90 mph in a 60 mph zone), and thus showed the same odd lack of concern for interacting with the authorities that we have seen in Atta. Just before the hijacking, he wrote his girlfriend (do fundamentalist islamic terrorists on suicide missions have girlfriends who they have lived with?) an incriminating note, but managed to get the address wrong which conveniently caused the letter to be returned (and isn't it odd that his girlfriend had reported him missing?). Even weirder, the non-U. S. version of Jarrah was detained and questioned by authorities in Dubai more that 7 months before September 11, when he divulged that he had just spent two months (December 2000 and January 2001, when, on some accounts, he was supposed to be learning how to fly in Florida) in Pakistan and Afghanistan (and his family apparently thought he had spent some time in Afghanistan 18 months before September 11). The chilling aspect of this is that the questioning was done at the request of the United States government and a UAE official said he was detained because his name previously had been placed on an Emirati "watch list" of terrorist suspects at the request of the U.S. (and then Jarrah was able to enter the United States without raising any official notice). What is going on here? It seems likely that there was a Lebanese Jarrah, whose fate is unknown, and an American Jarrah, who may have been involved in the hijacking of Flight 93 (there is also the possibility that Flight 93 was not hijacked at all but was shot down to account for the missing plane that supposedly flew into the Pentagon, a plan that was thwarted when its wreckage landed in a place where it was seen). The intrigue surrounding Jarrah is compounded by the fact that he has a distant cousin who may have been in the Libyan secret service (although the cousin denies it), and who gave his German work permit to Jarrah, a permit which was found in the Pennsylvania wreckage! This either definitively proves that American Jarrah is in fact the same person as Lebanese Jarrah, or, if you are suspicious like me, proves that someone went to a lot of trouble to ensure that this document would be found (for why would Jarrah, expecting to be consumed in whatever crash was planned for Flight 93, be carrying with him a German work permit from months or even years before?).

Sunday, May 12, 2002

Here I am being ridiculously suspicious again, but I have to comment on the assassination of Pim Fortuyn. It was originally supposed that his assassination had to do with his views on immigration, or his right-wing politics. Then the analysts started to tell us that his political views were very hard to categorize (though I have to say that modern fascists have become very clever at hiding their real positions, and Fortuyn's producing an anti-immigration policy based on the alleged intolerance of the immigrants may be the most clever yet!), and it turned out that he was assassinated by a radical animal-rights supporter. The man accused of the murder was allegedly unhappy at Fortuyn's position on fur farming. The problem I have is that Fortuyn was not going to be elected, and his views on fur farming were simply that the laws restricting fur farming should be relaxed. Fortuyn's party had not developed a position on animal rights (and in actual fact the Fortuyn style of politics seemed to be to avoid taking positive positions but just wittily attack the positions of other politicians), and he was famous for his devotion to his two dogs. Fortuyn's party seems to be the main beneficiary of his assassination, with many Dutch voters intending to protest against the attack on the democratic process by voting for the option which the assassin attempted to take away from them. Assassinating Fortuyn would have absolutely no effect on the prevalence of fur farming in the Netherlands. This animal rights story is much more convenient for Dutch politics than an assassination based on immigration policy. Does it not appear that there must be more to this story than we're being told?

Saturday, May 11, 2002

I don't usually care for the theories that the powers that be manipulate the news by creating some spectacular trifle that dominates the television broadcasts in order to obscure the real, hidden stories. These theories are not helpful as they could be applied in almost any situation, and are not verifiable. However, the latest terrorist, Luke Helder, the smiley-face pipebomber, has me wondering about the recent history of the FBI:

  1. It has been alleged that John O'Neill, the ex-FBI agent who, possibly coincidentally, was killed on September 11, was extremely critical of the orders for the FBI to stop the investigation of al-Qaeda and the bin Laden family in the months prior to September 11, and actually quit the FBI because of it.

  2. Despite detaining what seems to be every young male of Arab descent living in the United States, the FBI has made absolutely no progress in its investigation of the events of September 11.

  3. The continuing saga of the failure of the FBI to make any progress in the anthrax case is becoming a huge embarrassment, especially when you consider that there is vast amounts of evidence around that it was the work of the U. S. government or possibly a rogue scientist working for the U. S. government. There is every indication that the FBI has been ordered to bungle the investigation, which, given their recent history of bungling things they haven't been ordered to bungle, just makes them look completely incompetent.

  4. While the arrest and first court appearance of the pipebomber is in the news, the famous scoundrel and huge embarrassment to the FBI, Robert Hannsen, is sentenced.

I wouldn't put all these facts together if the story of the pipebomber weren't so odd. He allegedly commits extremely violent crimes which did hurt people and could have killed people, actions which seem to be completely out of character. He allegedly issues Unabomber-style letters with a trendy-progressive theme, but in no way containing any actual intellectual content, as if he were trying to ape the Unabomber but lacked the intelligence to understand what he was copying. When he is caught, he apparently indicates he was planting the bombs in a smiley-face pattern, acts totally unconcerned about the whole thing and actually seems to be 'blissed out' (Manchurian Candidate?). The FBI, using good old-fashioned police work, catches him and saves the day. Given the recent and on-going dangerous incompetence of the FBI, is this all not just a little suspicious?

Friday, May 10, 2002

Part of the general plan of ethnic cleansing being conducted against the Palestinians involves a concerted effort at humiliating them in the guise of providing for 'security'. The Israelis have set up an enormous number of military checkpoints in the West Bank. If these were for security, presumably it would not be possible to get through without passing the checkpoint. Here is a quote from Hady Amr:

"Israel’s acts belie an underlying crude objective of “disgrace” and “revenge” that has little to do with “security.” This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that Israeli military checkpoints on Palestinian land regularly refused to allow any passage ostensibly for security reasons, yet I along with tens of thousands of Palestinians have been nastily told by Israeli soldiers that we could get around checkpoints if we were willing to walk a mile through the mud, over a hill and through a quarry to make our daily commute instead of driving on a paved road."

Many of the checkpoints require two different means of transportation as vehicles aren't allowed through. Once at the checkpoints, the Palestinians have to proceed on foot, and are subject to long and arbitrary delays. As the checkpoints have been the subject of Palestinian attack, the soldiers fear for their own safety and are apt to be 'trigger-happy'. The constant delays waste time and increase the price of goods which have to be transported. There are also problems with people becoming ill waiting at checkpoints, and restrictions on the timely passage of emergency vehicles. Since the checkpoints are a collective punishment which forms the focus of much of the day-to-day anger of the Palestinians (there are some amazing stories of the degradation), it is arguable that they reduce security to Israel. The point of the constant delays and humiliation has to be to eventually wear down the Palestinians until they decide that life in the Occupied Territories is untenable.
I find it interesting that everyone is advocating the replacement of Arafat as leader of the Palestinians. What exactly did he do to deserve all this disdain? He doesn't appear to have changed over the years, but suddenly he is unacceptable. After Oslo, he effectively became the policeman for the Israelis. As the Palestinians were in a terrible negotiating position due to their stupid support for Saddam Hussein, the Israelis were able to negotiate a deal where they were allowed to continue to expand the settlements in the Occupied Territories (the Palestinians may not agree that that was the deal, but effectively they gave the Israelis a free hand in doing what the Israelis wanted). In return for this, the Israelis allowed the Palestinians a fake form of autonomy and a fake form of government in the Palestinian Authority. For agreeing to go along with the Israelis, Arafat was allowed to take the power and prestige that goes along with being able to hand out patronage (i. e., corruption). The main role of the Palestinian Authority from the Israeli/American point of view was to act as a collaborating police force to suppress the angry response that was expected to occur when the Palestinians began to see the effects of the long-term Israeli plan of squeezing out the Palestinians through gradually taking over all the usable land in the Occupied Territories. The brilliant Israeli plan of slow-motion ethnic cleansing would eventually 'voluntarily' drive all the Palestinians out of the West Bank, without the need for any messy wars or obvious human rights violations. The 'problem' of Arafat only occurred when he stopped collaborating by failing to completely suppress the suicide bombing. It appears that his failure is partly due to the fact that he really lacks full control of the Occupied Territories (his own police force partly sympathizes with the goals of the bombers), but it is in his interests to leave vague the extent of his actual control so that he does not give away his weakness. Of course, it is also likely that he sees that the Palestinians will be completely destroyed by the agreements that he himself made, and so is not completely against the bombings, seeing them as providing him with a strategic negotiating position out of the mess he has gotten himself and the Palestinians into. It appears that what the Israelis are looking for in a replacement for Arafat is someone who will return to the simple role of collaborating suppressor of Palestinian unrest until the ethnic cleansing is completed. While it is difficult to feel much sympathy for Arafat, especially as he is the author of both his misfortune and the misfortune of the Palestinians, it shows how silly the situation in the Middle East is when apparently the Israelis think they have the right to choose the person they negotiate with because they find their erstwhile cat's-paw insufficiently accomodating.

Wednesday, May 08, 2002

United States Attorney General John Ashcroft stopped flying on commercial flights in July 2001. The reason for this was said to be a 'threat assessment' made by the FBI, with no further details given. A few weeks later (August 16 or 17), Zacarias Moussaoui was arrested in Minneapolis, but local FBI requests for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant against him were turned down by Ashcroft's own FBI/Department of Justice on the obviously bogus excuse that such a warrant would not be obtainable on the basis of the information that had been obtained by local FBI agents (since the Act was passed in 1978, the special court which decides such things has approved over 12,000 applications for warrants and rejected one). The warrant was required in order to examine the contents of Moussaoui's computer, which turned out in the investigation finally made after September 11 to contain information on crop dusting. The refusal to try to obtain the warrant was odd in itself, but is even odder since Ashcroft was avoiding commercial flights and Moussasoui's behaviour which got him detained involved his comments made at a flight school where he had registered in order to learn to fly a Boeing 747. We may be able to draw the following conclusions:

  1. The fact that Ashcroft didn't take commercial flights after July 2001 meant that he knew that an attack was planned on some U. S. target using a commercial aircraft.

  2. The fact that Ashcroft didn't take commercial flights after July 2001 meant that he did not know where or when the attack would occur, for otherwise he could simply avoid the dangerous flights.

  3. Whatever the FBI's 'threat assessment' consisted of, it had to have contained information which would also have immediately identified Moussaoui as a danger, making the failure to obtain the warrant extremely suspicious.

  4. The fact that Ashcroft was not taking commercial flights was announced in response to a specific CBS question about the issue. This question may have been planted to give Ashcroft the opportunity to provide a plausible reason for his behaviour in advance of anything suspicious occurring (just think of how more suspicious it would have looked if it had been discovered after September 11 that Ashcroft was surreptitiously avoiding commercial flights). It is utterly impossible that Ashcroft not have informed himself as to the nature of the threat, and his reply to the question of whether he knew anything about the threat or who might have made it ("Frankly, I don't. That's the answer."), is ridiculous.

Monday, May 06, 2002

Consider what we know about the hijackers:

  1. The identities of the hijackers were provided by the FBI with alarming speed, some almost immediately. We now know that at least some of these identities were stolen from people living in the Middle East who had at some time lived in the United States. This is exactly what you would expect if the whole operation were following a script. The people chosen to play the roles of Islamic fundamentalist terrorists would assume the identities of Muslims from the Middle East, and the information required to build the stolen identities wold be assembled from information obtained when these people lived in the United States. The organization capable of doing this would either be associated with organized crime or be a large intelligence organization.

  2. The hijackers needed to establish a strong paper trail to connect them to their assumed and stolen identities. This was done through applying to U. S. flying schools, which then made student visa applications to the U. S. government, which applications connected the people playing their roles to the identities provided for them. We can see the absurdity in this in that the actual pilots of the hijacked planes were obviously so skilled that they could not have learned anything from the two-bit flying schools they attended, and at least some of the other hijackers were completely uninterested in the flying schools or were completely inept at flying. In other words, attending the flying schools had nothing to do with learning how to fly, and everything to do with establishing a paper trail to the new personal identities.

  3. The hijackers are supposed to have been pious fundamentalist Muslims. According to the al-Qaeda training manual, they were supposed to keep a very low profile. Instead, they did everything possible to make spectacles of themselves. They got into loud arguments (in English) and frequented bars, casinos and strip clubs. Atta even boasted that he was a Saudi prince (I'll admit this originally fooled me into thinking he was a Saudi prince!). In another amazing case, one of the hijackers brought a Koran into a bar, and left it there! One hijacker is reported to have possibly worn a gold cross! Many of them drank alcohol, and at least some of them hired prostitutes. One of them was seen in at least two pornography stores. All of this has been regarded by the American press as attempts by the hijackers to 'fit in', but surely they could have been much less noticable if they avoided all these public places where everyone easily remembered them, often because of some commotion they caused. The hijackers were obviously not pious fundamentalist Muslims, and in fact were possibly not Muslims at all. Their actions were intended to draw attention to themselves to complete the connection of each of them with their false personal identities and to ensure there were witnesses who would remember them being together.

  4. The hijacker we know as 'Mohamed Atta' played the starring role in this little play, and we've been given the fullest possible information on his background in order so that we see how someone turns into a monster. The quiet, pious Islamic student has morphed into the loud, rude, gambling, bar and strip club patron that we know as a hijacker. He also became a magnet for negative contacts with the establishment, getting a ticket for driving without a licence and a bench warrant for failing to turn up at court for the trial, abandoning an airplane on a runway at Miami airport, and having visa problems on his return to Florida from Spain (he did, however, get his student visa renewed posthumously!). All of these problems created more of a paper trail for investigators to find after September 11, and solidified his personal identity.

  5. In establishing the paper trail, the hijackers made sure that they used methods that left documents at each point. They flew under their own names (or at least the names they had assumed), and used credit cards to pay for everything. When they met they ensured that they were seen together, and booked into motels together.

  6. Despite all their efforts at being noticable and establishing a paper trail, they still needed some extra evidence to tie them to Islamic fundamentalism (for that is the main point of the exercise). To that end, Atta left behind in a car a Logan Airport an instructional video on flying (!), a Koran, and his Muslim 'will'. The latter document is not written as an authentic document would be written by a pious Muslim. It is, however, possibly written in the style of someone who has some familiarity with the religion through growing up in an Islamic country, perhaps someone who belongs to a Jewish or Christian minority in that country. There remains the question of why, if Atta knew he was going to die, did he bring this stuff with him, and if he did bring it with him, why did he abandon it in a car at the airport? Of course, the answer is that he abandoned things which he intended would be found (the will contains burial instructions which are really quite odd when you consider how he knew he was going to die).

All of this can only mean that, prior to September 11, some very powerful organization assembled a crew of people able to pass as Muslims (with at least two skilled pilots), obtained for this group a collection of stolen identities (at least one of which is the identity of a known Islamic fundamentalist), and gave them a script to follow. They were to enrol in flying schools, pretend to study, and be very obvious in the community, making a point of their religious identity and generally acting conspicuously and leaving a wide paper trail. Who would have been able to produce this play, and who were the actors?

Sunday, May 05, 2002

Some people are questioning why Daniel Pearl was murdered. It has been suggested that he was murdered by or on behalf of the Pakistani security agency, the ISI. The implication was that he was delving deeply into the connections between the ISI and radical Islamic fundamentalists, particularly, Jaish-e-Mohammad and al-Qaeda (Pearl's alleged murderer, Omar Sheikh, is supposed to have connections to both ISI and al-Qaeda). While the murder may have ISI connections, the theory that it was done to prevent Pearl discovering connections between ISI and al-Qaeda makes no sense to me. We know that the ISI is closely connected to Islamic fundamentalism. We also know that it is extremely closely connected to the CIA. It was the Pakistanis together with the CIA who arranged for Islamic fundamentalism to be used against the Russians in Afghanistan. In fact, rather amazingly, much of modern Islamic fundamentalism derives from the American idea to use Islamicist movements as a counterweight to American enemies, including the U. S. sponsorship of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in the 1950s to use against Nasser and Nasserism, so this manipulation of religious feelings for political goals is not a new thing. After the success against the Russians in Afghanistan, the ISI helped to set up the religious/terrorist schools to train Islamic warriors for use in Afghanistan, Kashmir and India. The same people who fought the Russians, augmented with students from these schools, became the Taliban. None of this is a secret, so why would Pearl be investigating it (interestingly, Pearl was apparently getting hints from Indian sources, sources with a bias in finding links between the Pakistani government and Islamic fundamentalism)? If he was investigating it, why would the ISI, very closely connected with the CIA, arrange to murder a reporter from the Wall Street Journal, a newspaper not known for its criticisms of U. S. geopolitics? I feel that the real hidden question in Pakistan has to be the connection between the ISI, the CIA, and the Pakistani elites, and how this connection relates to the planned Afghan pipelines. In particular, was the ISI, acting as an agent for the CIA, working to set up Islamic fundamentalists to take the blame for the September 11 terrorism (I do not believe that it was a coincidence that the head of ISI was in Washington on September 11, and I think there is more intrigue behind the $100,000 sent to Atta than we have been told)? As I think more and more about September 11 and its aftermath, al-Qaeda appears more and more to be a red herring, an orientalist fantasy of assassins and bearded, turbanned madmen intended to distract us from the truth. The al-Qaeda role in September 11, and the role of bin Laden in particular, may just be to vaguely take the blame for various acts of terror in order to facilitate the U. S. 'war on terror' with completely different real geopolitical goals than we are led to believe (the famous meeting in Dubai between a CIA representative and bin Laden may be where bin Laden was given the script for his role, a role, as they say, he was 'born to play'). When we hear about a connection between ISI and al-Qaeda we're supposed to think we've discovered some deep secret, but it seems to me this just hides a deeper secret. If Pearl was getting too close to the truth, it had to be a truth that is not yet obvious. If he was murdered by the ISI, it had to be for reasons that are not yet obvious.

Saturday, May 04, 2002

This article (and question-answering session) by Kathleen Christison on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is simply amazing. It's almost hard to believe that an American (and ex-CIA political analyst!) could summarize everything so absolutely perfectly. What would happen if the American public were to get serious exposure to this kind of intelligence?
Mohamed Atta was in Florida in April 2000, attending a pilot school and sending e-mails to a group which included people working for U. S. defence contractors (hardly the kind of group you'd think a quiet student in Hamburg, Germany would be able to assemble). The problem is that in the summer of 2000 (I assume the article is referring to 2000, as the summer of 2001 would be even weirder) he apparently was presenting a model of Washington, D. C. to his architecture class in Hamburg. He is in fact only supposed to have arrived in the United States in June 2000. How was he simultaneously at pilot school in April in Florida, and still a student in Hamburg who hasn't yet left for the United States? There were detailed reports that he was in Prague to meet with an Iraqi intelligence agent in April 2001, specifically, that he flew from Florida on April 7, met with the Iraqi in Prague on April 8 (an 'undisputed fact', according to U. S. expert William Safire), and flew back to Florida on April 9, or perhaps a few days later; there are also reports he was in Prague in June 2000, and in fact originally flew to the United States from Prague after meeting with the Iraqi. Now they say the man who met with the intelligence agent wasn't Atta (it is possible that the entire Czech story was created under U. S. pressure). Trying to follow the official story of Atta will just leave you confused. As I have already written, the Atta born in Egypt and living in Hamburg is almost certainly not the same person as Atta the hijacker. The fact that there are two 'Attas' tells us a lot (for one thing, it tells us how he can be in two places at once!). Who had the power to pick a suitable identity (right age, ethnicity, piously fundamentalist Muslim) and give it to the man who used the Atta identity in Florida? Who presented us with the fake identity, and who continues to cover up the truth? Why was the obviously skilled pilot who flew into the World Trade Center attending two-bit (the first one went out of business while he was attending it, and the second one also has a shady past) flying schools in South Florida, which wouldn't have been able to train him to so skilfully fly large passenger jets? The reason is that flight schools can accept foreign students on student visas, and the paperwork for the visas which is prepared by the schools on behalf of the students forms the main basis for the fictitious identities of the hijackers (the seemingly senseless mailing of a visa renewal to two of the hijackers six months after September 11, which caused such outrage in the United States, was just another way of emphasizing the personal identity of the hijackers to the American people). Why was Atta so extraordinarily sloppy in his relations with government bureaucracy (driving without a licence, not attending at his court hearing, abandoning a plane at Miami airport, and having, of all things, visa problems), all out of line with what is supposedly the al-Qaeda training manual which insists on terrorists keeping a low profile, unless he was trying to create an obvious record of his existence and identity in the United States? My guess is that the person playing the role of Mohamed Atta was an American citizen, possibly of Iraqi descent (and certainly of Arab descent, in order to have the language skills, cultural knowledge and general appearance), and a highly trained pilot and intelligence operative, whose real name we'll never know. We do know he was willing to kill himself for a cause. What cause would that be?