Saturday, November 30, 2002

There are some intriguing instances of foreknowledge of September 11 from unlikely sources:

  1. On September 10, a fifth-grader in a Dallas suburb told his teacher World War III would begin the next day, and the United States would lose. This occurred in a northern suburb of Dallas. Just a few days before the student's remarks, the FBI had raided InfoCom Corporation, a website hosting company for clients in the Middle East, which is located in the nearby suburb of Richardson. Across the road from InfoCom's offices is the headquarters of the Holy Land Foundation, an Islamic charitable organization which was the largest Islamic charity in the U. S. and whose chairman was a vice president of InfoCom, and which has been accused of being a sponser of Hamas terrorists in Israel (there may also have been family connections between Hamas and InfoCom). The Holy Land Foundation was subsequently shut down by the U. S. government. The FBI investigated the matter of the prescient student and dismissed it on the rather unsatisfactory grounds that the teacher later decided she could not be certain the boy had actually predicted World War III would begin on the same day as the terrorist attacks (do they think she must have imagined this story?).

  2. The most famous story of foreknowledge is that of the 14-year-old student in Brooklyn, who supposedly stared out the window of his school at the WTC on September 6, and predicted that the towers would not be standing the next week. The story was investigated but the issue appears to remain a mystery and the student remains in the school. There are a few other similar stories around (see the Insight article), most of which are probably legends, but this story appears to be an example of true foreknowledge.

  3. A writer for the Village Voice was in a cab driven by an Arab cab driver on July 16, 2001. The driver told her that he would be going home to Egypt sometime in late August or September, as Osama bin Laden had planned big terrorist attacks for New York and Washington for that time. She reported him on September 13, which caused him to be questioned, but not arrested, by the FBI. Over a year later she asked him about it. After initially denying that that he told her about the attacks, he admitted that he had, saying: "But many people knew this." He said it was merely common knowledge in the Arab world. There are other stories involving cab drivers not working on the morning of September 11, which are probably mostly urban legends.

The common factor in these stories is an odd reluctance by the authorities to believe any of them. Of course, it is now very embarrassing to all American police and intelligence agencies, not to mention the Bush Administration, that knowledge of the attacks should have been so readily available, and therefore they have an interest in downplaying any stories of foreknowledge. It seems to me that there were rumors in the Arab community that were taken semi-seriously, but these rumors were never reported as people felt, no doubt correctly, that the authorities would not believe them. Schoolchildren and talkative cab drivers were the only ones who would mention them outside the community. In the wake of the massive number of arrests of young Arab men who were held unconstitutionally, often without proper legal representation, and eventually released, the Arab community will probably take future warnings much more seriously but will not dare report them to the authorities. There is a cost to racial profiling and the denial of constitutional rights.