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?