Monday, December 21, 2009

AFIP: Records Confirming Collection And Identification Of 9/11 Hijacker Remains Exempt From Disclosure

The following is a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reply from the U.S.Armed Forces Institute of Pathology regarding a request for records that confirm the collection and identification of terrorists accused of hijacking American Airlines flight 77 and United Airlines flight 93 on September 11, 2001. Such records are reportedly exempt from disclosure under exemption (b)(7)(a) which prohibits disclosure of information which would interfere with an on-going law enforcement investigation and exemption (b)7(c), which also provides protection for law enforcement information the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to result in an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy of individuals in being associated with criminal activities, including investigators.

Dear Mr. Monaghan:

This is in response to your August 28,2009, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for records establishing the recovery and/or identification of the remains of the terrorists accused of hijacking American airlines flight 77 and United Airlines flight 93 on September 2001, collected from the Pentagon building in Arlington, VA and Shanksville, PA. And positively identified following the terrorist attacks of September 2001.

You also requested the records establishing the recovery and/or identification of passenger remains of those aboard American Airlines flight 77 and United Airlines flight 93, who perished in the terrorist attacks of September 11,2001. Your request was received at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology on September 3, 2009, and assigned a tracking number of 1O-W2DL-000I5-F was processed in accordance with the Freedom of lnformation Act, 5 United States Code (U.S.C.) § 552.

The review has been completed and the potentially responsive documents are being withheld pursuant to the FOIA under the following Exemptions: Exemption (b)(6) prohibits the disclosure of an individual's personal information viewing it as an invasion of their personal privacy; Exemption (b)(7)(a) which prohibits disclosure of information which would interfere of information that could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

Additional you request is being denied pursuant to FOIA Exemption (b)(7)(a) which prohibits the disclosure of information whose release could reasonably be expected to interfere with an on-going law enforcement investigation. FOlA Exemption (b)7(c) also provides protection for law enforcement information the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to result in an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy of individuals in being associated with criminal activities, including investigators.

Because your FOIA request has been denied, you are advised of your right to appeal this determination to the Secretary of the Army. If you decide to appeal at this time, your appeal must be submitted within 60 days of the date of this letter. In your appeal, you must state the basis for your disagreement with the denial and the justification for the release of information associated with your request for this command. Your appeal should be addressed to: U.S. Army Medical Command, Attention: Freedom of lnformation Privacy Acts Office (MCPA), 2050 Worth Road Suite 21, Fort Sam Houston, Texas 78234-6021, for forwarding, as appropriate, to the Office of the Secretary of the Army. Please enclose a copy of this letter along with your appeal. To ensure proper processing of any appeal the letter and the envelope should both bear the notation, "Privacy Act/Freedom of Information Act Appeal."


Sunday, December 20, 2009

The 90-Minute Stand Down on 9/11: Why Was the Secret Service's Early Request for Fighter Jets Ignored?

Shortly after the second World Trade Center tower was hit, at 9:03 a.m. on September 11, 2001, an officer at Andrews Air Force Base, just outside Washington, DC, was notified that the Secret Service wanted fighter jets launched over the nation's capital. It was now obvious the U.S. was under terrorist attack, and Washington would have been an obvious potential target. And yet the Secret Service's request came to nothing.

No fighters had taken off from Andrews by 9:37 a.m., when the Pentagon was hit. Nor had any launched by the time Flight 93 apparently crashed in Pennsylvania, shortly after 10:00 a.m., while flying toward Washington. In fact, fighters did not launch from Andrews until over 90 minutes after the second attack in New York. The first fully armed fighters did not launch from there until more than two hours after that attack. So why was the Secret Service's early request for help not acted upon? Why did fighter jets only take off from this massive Air Force base to defend the capital well after the morning's attacks had ended?

The Secret Service agent who made the early request that fighter jets be launched appears to have been Nelson Garabito. Garabito was responsible for coordinating the president's movements, and was also the Secret Service's liaison to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). He was in the Secret Service Joint Operations Center (JOC) at the White House that morning. Just after Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower at 9:03 a.m., Garabito called Terry Van Steenbergen, his counterpart at the FAA, who was at the FAA headquarters in Washington. According to the 9/11 Commission, shortly into the call, Van Steenburgen told Garabito "that there were more planes unaccounted for--possibly hijacked--in addition to the two that had already crashed."

Possibly in response to this information, Garabito appears to have asked Van Steenbergen to arrange for fighters to be launched over Washington. Van Steenbergen asked three of his colleagues at the FAA to call various air bases to see if they could get fighters into the air. One of these colleagues, Karen Pontius, had previously worked at Andrews Air Force Base, so she made the call to the FAA air traffic control tower there. [1] Garabito would have been unable to call the tower himself, because, according to a 9/11 Commission memorandum, the Secret Service "did not have a phone line to the Andrews tower."

Pontius spoke to Steve Marra, an air traffic controller in the Andrews tower. Marra has recalled that Pontius "told him to launch F-16s to cap the airspace over Washington." He relayed this information to the District of Columbia Air National Guard (DCANG), which is based at Andrews, across the airfield from the control tower. [2] Marra appears to have done so when DCANG officer Major Daniel Caine phoned the tower and asked if any air traffic control measures were being implemented in response to the attacks. [3] Caine later recalled that the tower controller--i.e. Marra--told him "that they just received the scramble order." However, oddly, Caine told the 9/11 Commission that the Andrews tower "would not have been in the loop for any Secret Service orders to scramble aircraft." [4]

If the DC Air National Guard was notified of this early "scramble order," why was that order not acted upon? Pilots and others working for the DCANG at Andrews were already well aware of the crisis taking place. Upon learning of the second crash, someone at the unit reportedly yelled, "We're under a terrorist attack!" [5] And, seeing the television coverage of the burning WTC towers, an officer exclaimed, "Well, holy shit, if this is a terrorist attack, we need to get something in the air!"

Furthermore, a request from the Secret Service should have carried considerable weight. According to author Lynn Spencer, "Given that the Secret Service provides protection to the president--and that the president, and the vice president when the president is not available, is the ultimate commander in chief of the military--the Secret Service also has certain authority over the military and, in this case, the DC Guard." [6]

After his call to the control tower, Daniel Caine called his contact at the Secret Service, Kenneth Beauchamp, who was at the White House JOC. Caine later told the 9/11 Commission that, on reflection, he believed it was his hearing that the tower had received the "scramble order" that prompted him to call Beauchamp. [7]

And yet Beauchamp supposedly contradicted the Secret Service's request for fighters. Even though it was obvious that the U.S. was under attack, and it should have been clear that Washington was a likely target for any further attacks, he said the Secret Service did not require assistance from the DCANG. Caine had asked: "Do you have any additional information? Are you guys going to need some help?" and Beauchamp replied, "No, but I'll call you back if that changes." [8]

Caine has said that during this call, which he described as "a very quick, confusing conversation," Beauchamp told him that "things were happening and he'd call me back." [9] However, Beauchamp did not call Caine back. [10] (Another Secret Service agent, though, did subsequently call Caine, and asked about getting fighters launched. [11])

According to Lieutenant Colonel Marc Sasseville, the acting operations group commander under the 113th Wing of the DCANG, at the time Caine spoke to Beauchamp, "we weren't thinking about defending anything. Our primary concern was what would happen to the air traffic system." [12] But when Brigadier General David Wherley, the commander of the DC Air National Guard, subsequently called the Secret Service JOC shortly after the Pentagon was hit and spoke to Beauchamp, Beauchamp implored him to launch jets to protect Washington. Beauchamp said: "We want you to put a CAP [combat air patrol] up over the city. We need some fighters now." [13]

Between the second WTC attack at 9:03 a.m. and the Pentagon attack at 9:37 a.m., the DCANG fighter pilots on duty at Andrews appear to have been waiting around and doing very little, when they should have been hurrying to get airborne.

One of those pilots, Captain Brandon Rasmussen, was promptly informed of the second crash in New York after it occurred, and immediately realized its implications. He recalled: "I think everybody knew that this was a coordinated attack that was happening. We had no idea who it was by, but it was definitely intentional when you get two airplanes hitting both towers." And yet, he said: "At that point, we didn't know what we could possibly do; that's New York City way up the road. So … like everybody else in America, we're just standing by and watching the news."

This is extraordinary! An Air Force base just 10 miles from Washington had learned that the nation was under attack. And yet the immediate response of its pilots was to stand around watching television!

Rasmussen said it was only after the news broke about the Pentagon being hit that "we knew that we were going to be sticking around home and being quite busy," and "the squadron leadership went into action." [14] DCANG commander David Wherley only headed across the base from his office to the fighter squadron building, to assist his unit's response to the attacks, after a woman at his office saw on television that the Pentagon had been hit and started shrieking. [15]

But even after the Pentagon attack, the DCANG pilots were not immediately told to prepare for takeoff. Rasmussen recalled that at that point, "I'm just kind of standing back, waiting for somebody to task me with something." He added, "I was just waiting at the ops desk for someone to say, 'Okay, we've been cleared to take off and go.'" [16]

The first DCANG jet to take off from Andrews Air Force Base was an F-16 that had just returned from a training mission over North Carolina. It had little fuel remaining, carried no missiles, and had only practice ammunition. It took off at 10:38 a.m., an hour after the attack on the Pentagon. [17] Two more F-16s took off at 10:42 a.m., but these were also armed with only practice ammunition and had no missiles. [18] At 11:11 a.m., Rasmussen and Daniel Caine took off in their F-16s, the first fighters to launch from Andrews armed with missiles as well as bullets. [19] By that time, the attacks were long over.

Rasmussen has expressed his and the other DCANG pilots' frustration at having to wait around before being allowed to get airborne. He said that when his unit finally received authorization for its jets to take off, "We were relieved to actually be given permission to go up and do something, instead of feeling totally helpless. I mean, we are fighter pilots, just like guard dogs chomping at the bit, ready to go." [20]

Although the DC Air National Guard was not part of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) air defense force, its mission at the time of the 9/11 attacks included providing "capable and ready response forces for the District of Columbia in the event of a natural disaster or civil emergency." Lieutenant Colonel Phil Thompson, the chief of safety for the DCANG, said, "We practice scrambles, we know how to do intercepts and other things." [21] The unit was in fact known as the "Capital Guardians," implying that it was responsible for protecting Washington, DC. [22]

The fact that, in spite of an early request for help from the Secret Service, it took the DC Air National Guard so long to put together a response to the attacks should be of concern to all Americans. The unit's disastrously slow emergency response needs to be thoroughly probed as part of a rigorous new investigation of the 9/11 attacks.

[1] "USSS Statements and Interview Reports." 9/11 Commission, July 28, 2003; 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (Authorized Edition) . New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2004, pp. 464-465; "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Terry Van Steenbergen." 9/11 Commission, March 30, 2004.
[2] "Memorandum for the Record: Visit to Reagan National Airport Control Tower in Alexandria, VA and Andrews Air Force Base Control Tower." 9/11 Commission, July 28, 2003.
[3] Leslie Filson, Air War Over America: Sept. 11 Alters Face of Air Defense Mission. Tyndall Air Force Base, FL: 1st Air Force, 2003, p. 76.
[4] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Major John Daniel Caine, USAF, Supervisor of Flying at 121st Squadron, 113th Wing, Andrews Air Force Base on September 11, 2001." 9/11 Commission, March 8, 2004.
[5] Steve Vogel, "Flights of Vigilance Over the Capital." Washington Post, April 8, 2002.
[6] Lynn Spencer, Touching History: The Untold Story of the Drama That Unfolded in the Skies Over America on 9/11. New York: Free Press, 2008, p. 123.
[7] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Major John Daniel Caine."
[8] Lynn Spencer, Touching History, p. 124.
[9] Leslie Filson, Air War Over America, p. 76.
[10] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Major John Daniel Caine."
[11] Leslie Filson, Air War Over America, p. 78.
[12] William B. Scott, "F-16 Pilots Considered Ramming Flight 93." Aviation Week & Space Technology, September 9, 2002.
[13] "Memorandum for the Record: BG David Wherley, on September 11, 2001, Commander of the 113th Wing of the USAF Air National Guard, Andrews AFB." 9/11 Commission, August 28, 2003; Lynn Spencer, Touching History, pp. 184-185.
[14] Brandon Rasmussen, interviewed by Leslie Filson, September 18, 2003.
[15] Steve Vogel, "Flights of Vigilance Over the Capital"; Steve Vogel, The Pentagon: A History. New York: Random House, 2007, pp. 445-446; Lynn Spencer, Touching History, p. 184.
[16] Brandon Rasmussen, interviewed by Leslie Filson.
[17] Steve Vogel, "Flights of Vigilance Over the Capital"; William B. Scott, "F-16 Pilots Considered Ramming Flight 93"; "UA93 and Andrews Timeline." 9/11 Commission, n.d.
[18] William B. Scott, "F-16 Pilots Considered Ramming Flight 93"; Leslie Filson, Air War Over America, p. 82; Brandon Rasmussen, interviewed by Leslie Filson.
[19] Leslie Filson, Air War Over America, p. 84; "Relevant Andrews Transmissions." 9/11 Commission, February 17-18, 2004.
[20] Brandon Rasmussen, interviewed by Leslie Filson.
[21] "Andrews Air Force Base: Partner Units.", Summer 2001; William B. Scott, "F-16 Pilots Considered Ramming Flight 93"; Leslie Filson, Air War Over America, p. 76.
[22] Lynn Spencer, Touching History, p. 122.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Why No Shootdown Order Issued During 9/11 Attacks?

The famous document authorizing shoot down of planes dated 1 June 2001. It's been said this was changed just before 9/11, in June, to give the Sec of Defense authority to order shoot down aircraft. Actually it was updated from 1997 and hardly anything changed from the 1997 order but this is an important document nontheless..........

"1. Purpose. This instruction provides guidance to the Deputy Director for Operations (DDO), National Military Command Center (NMCC), and operational commanders in the event of an aircraft piracy (hijacking) or request for destruction of derelict airborne objects."

"NMCC is the focal point within Department of Defense for providing assistance. In the event of a hijacking, the NMCC will be notified by the most expeditious means by the FAA. The NMCC will, with the exception of immediate responses as authorized by reference d, forward requests for DOD assistance to the Secretary of Defense for approval."

"(1) When notified that military escort aircraft are needed in
conjunction with an aircraft piracy (hijacking) emergency, the DDO, NMCC, will notify the appropriate unified command or USELEMNORAD to determine if suitable aircraft are available and forward the request to the Secretary of Defense for approval."

"(2) Pursuant to reference j, the escort service will be requested by the FAA hijack coordinator by direct contact with the NMCC."

"c. If destruction is required, the DDO, NMCC will, forward all
requests or proposals for DOD military assistance to the DOD Executive Secretary and appropriate OSD staff offices, and then to the Secretary of Defense for approval in accordance with DODD 3025.15, paragraph D.7 (reference d)."

So the proper procedure was the FAA hijack coordinator would contact the NMCC who would contact NORAD/Military and get authorization for orders from the Sec of Defense.

But the hijack coordinator is in Puerto Rico, the NMCC officer in charge decides he has better things to do during the attacks, and the Sec of Defense has deserted his post.

"December 4, 2000: Special Forces Commander Appointed FAA Security Chief: US Army Lieutenant General Michael A. Canavan is appointed associate administrator for civil aviation security at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a position that includes being the “hijack coordinator".

From DoD Instructions:
"(2) Pursuant to reference j, the escort service will be requested by the FAA hijack coordinator by direct contact with the NMCC."

"However, the hijack coordinator, FAA Office of Civil Aviation Security Director Mike Canavan, is in Puerto Rico and claims to have missed out on “everything that transpired that day.” The 9/11 Commission fails to ask him if he had delegated that task to anyone else while he was gone."

"The 9/11 Commission fails to ask him if he had delegated that task to anyone else while he was gone." FAA Hijack coordinator, what about the Secretary of Defense?

“I was in my office with a CIA briefer and I was told that a second plane had hit the other tower.”
“In the meantime, he would get his daily intelligence briefing, which was already scheduled for nine thirty.” Di Rita and Clarke head off down the hallway to the ESC, while Rumsfeld stays in his office. Apparently Rumsfeld will not go to the ESC until around 10:15 a.m.

So the 9/11 attacks were an act of war? Well, the Secretary of Defense locked himself in his office and deserted his post then didn't he? No shoot down order, or any orders will be coming from that guy.

And the officer in charge of the NMCC?

"Major General Winfield served as the Deputy Director for Operations, J3, in the National Military Command Center, and was present as the General Officer-in-Charge during the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Major General Winfield was nominated for and earned a position as a Senior Military Fellow at the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations, a national membership organization and "think tank" headquartered in New York City."

"was present as the General Officer-in-Charge during the terrorist attacks of 9/11"

not quite....

"Captain Charles Leidig, the deputy for Command Center operations at the NMCC, takes over temporarily from Brigadier General Montague Winfield and is effectively in charge of NMCC during the 9/11 crisis. Winfield had requested the previous day that Leidig stand in for him on September 11. Leidig remains in charge from a few minutes before the 9/11 crisis begins until about 10:30 a.m., after the last hijacked plane crashes. He presides over an important crisis response teleconference that has a very slow start, not even beginning until 9:39 a.m."

Some questions for Gen M. Winfield from the 9/11 commission......

"1) To your knowledge, was the Secretary notified of the second crash? Did the NMCC receive any directions from the Secretary of the Vice Chairman before the hit at the Pentagon?"

"2) What actions were taken in the NMCC between the second strike on WTC (0903) and the attack at the Pentagon (0937)?"

Lots of other interesting questions as well......want to see his answers? Sorry...... for National Security reasons you can't........

"In the review of this file this item was removed because access to it is restricted."

So the FAA hijack coordinator, US Army Lieutenant General Michael A. Canavan, is in Puerto Rico. And apparently no one has replaced him. The NMCC officer in charge decides he has better things to do during the attacks, and the Sec of Defense has deserted his post. How unfortunate.

So how will the FAA and military respond with these major players in the chain of command absent? Well, it turns out we're not real sure. There were a lot of "false statements" being made. The "official story" changed after the 9/11 commission.

According to John Farmer from his book The Ground Truth...

"Northeast Air Defense Sector had eight minutes notice on one flight, five minutes notice on another, and was notified post-crash on the other two." Page 241

This from the 9/11 Commission Documents on Referral of False Statements by FAA and NORAD:

"During the course of our investigation, the staff of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States discovered evidence that certain public statements made by NORAD and FAA officials at a Commission hearing on May 23, 2003, and elsewhere, regarding the actions of NORAD and FAA officials in responding to the 9/11 attacks were not accurate."

"Inaccurate Statement #1: The FAA notified the military at 9:16 that United 93 was hijacked."

"During the May 2003 hearing, Commissioner Lehman asked several questions about the path of the Langley fighters, which traveled directly east, over the ocean, and then north toward Baltimore, before heading west to Washington. Why, the Commissioner wanted to know, didn't the fighters head more directly to Washington, if they had been scrambled to respond to American 77, the plane that struck the Pentagon? Col. Marr addressed this question in his response to retired Col. Scott:"

"The answer on AA77 is not easy, nor is it pretty. At the time AA77 was occurring we were focused on UAL93 which was the only confirmed hijack that the FAA had identified to us. My records show UAL93 reported as hijacked at 0916L, once we found it and identified it's [sic] westerly heading, we scrambled Langley at 0924L just in case it turned around toward DC, which it did later. At 0924L we also received a call from the
FAA about AA77 with a follow-up call at 0925 L. It is easiest to explain the simultaneous scramble order with the AA77 notification as the scramble being against AA77 - it takes a lot of time to explain to the public that you're scrambling fighters against a plane heading away from the possible target."

"Col. Marr, in other words, attempted to explain the circuitous route of the Langley fighters in getting to Washington, D.C., by indicating that they were not in fact scrambled to respond to a report at 9:24 that American 77 was hijacked; they were scrambled in response to the earlier "report" that United 93 was hijacked. Thus, the reintroduction of the discredited 9:16 notification time enabled NORAD to explain to the Commission the odd route of the Langley fighters in reaching Washington."

"There were two fundamental problems with the explanation. First, as at least some in the military have known since the week of 9/11, it is inaccurate. The plane had not been hijacked at 9:16; the hijacking did not occur until 9:28 after the Langley fighters were ordered scrambled—and NEADS was not notified until after the plane had crashed. NORAD informed Commission staff at the close of Commission interviews at NORAD headquarters in Colorado Springs that it now accepts that notification did not occur until after the plane had crashed. Second, as we will now discuss, NEADS was not notified that American 77 was hijacked at 9:24."

"Inaccurate Statement #2: The FAA notified the military of the hijacking of American 77 at 9:24."

"What notification did occur at 9:24? The Mission Crew Commander's staff at NEADS maintains a handwritten contemporaneous log of information received and actions taken (known as the "MCC/T Log"). The 9/11 entry in the log at 9:24 records: "American Airlines #N334AA hijacked." This tail number refers not to American 77 but to American 11, the first hijacked aircraft that crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The subpoenaed tapes confirm that this time corresponds to NEADS's receipt of tail number information on American 11 and to reports that American 11 was still airborne and headed towards Washington, D.C."

"Inaccurate Statement #3: When the Langley fighters were scrambled, their objective was to respond to the reports at 9:16 that United 93 was hijacked and at 9:24 that American 77 was hijacked."

"The best evidence for both this inaccurate report and the resulting scramble is the subpoenaed NEADS tape, which records that at approximately 9:21, the Mission Crew Commander spoke the following to the Battle Cab (where the Battle Commander, Colonel Marr, was located):"

"Okay. American Airlines is still airborne, 11, the first guy. He's headed towards Washington, okay? I think we need to scramble Langley right now, and I'm going to - I'm going to take the fighters from Otis and try to chase this guy down if I can find him. Yeah. You sure? Okay. He's heading towards Langley, or I should say Washington. American 11, the original guy. He's still airborne ...."

"Inaccurate Statement #4: Officials were tracking United 93 and intended to intercept the aircraft if it approached Washington, D.C."

"On September 15, 2001, General Paul Weaver, overall commander of the Air National Guard which provided the fighters used to scramble Otis and Langley, told reporters that no fighters were scrambled or vectored to chase United 93: "There was no notification for us to launch airplanes. We weren't even close." That same day, however, Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz stated in a television interview that Defense Department officials had been "following" United 93 and were prepared to shoot it down if it approached Washington, D.C."

"The FAA's standard operating procedures for notification of hijackings were disregarded on 9/11. The notifications that did occur, moreover, gave the military no realistic chance to intercept the aircraft, and were sometimes mistaken. NORAD scrambled the Langley fighters in the wrong direction against a nonexistent target. NORAD was, moreover, completely unaware of United 93—the fourth plane—as the flight was heading for Washington."

"The official USAF/NORAD account of 9/11, presented in testimony to the Commission, included in NORAD's official history, and apparently briefed and relied upon by the White House, was that NORAD scrambled its fighters from Langley AFB in order to respond to the hijacking of AA 77 (which hit the Pentagon), that they did not have time to intercept that aircraft, and that DOD subsequently tracked the approach of UA 93 toward Washington, but the aircraft crashed before action needed to be taken."

"The staff does not believe this account is true. Instead we have found, and are preparing to state publicly, that NORAD scrambled its fighters from Langley AFB in order to intercept an aircraft that no longer existed — AA 11 (which hit the WTC) — believing incorrectly that this aircraft might be headed toward Washington and sending fighters up the Eastern seaboard in order to meet AA 11. Further we have found that NORAD did not know about AA 77 until three minutes before it hit the Pentagon, and began diverting the already scrambled aircraft toward Washington against some target (which they did not know was AA 77) one minute before impact, much too late to make a difference. We have also found that NORAD was not tracking UA 93 and did not even know that aircraft had been hijacked until after it had crashed."

"Team 8 has unearthed evidence strongly suggesting the possibility that a USAF officer, and possibly others at the USAF and FAA, must have known that the official story was false, yet persisted in telling it or did not correct the record, even after the Commission began following up with questions after its May 2003 hearing."

The Inspector General of course in his report did find that officials had made false statements, but it wasn't on purpose. If you want to believe that, here is the report......

John Farmer, for one, doesn't buy it....
from his book:
"There are, in sum, significant reasons to doubt the reliability of both Inspectors General reports. Neither finds any evidence that the FAA and DoD coordinated their efforts after 9/11 to reconstruct the story. This conclusion is refuted by the e-mail from CONR to NEADS discussed above, which references the sharing of information, by the fact that NEADS provided its logs to the FAA, and by the fact that the agencies emerged on September 18 with identically erroneous notification times for American 77 and United 93." Page 286

I've served in two branches of the armed forces and I find it very hard to believe that the military would cover up for the FAA. In fact I would suspect that not only would they not cover for the FAA but would be outraged that their own headquarters (pentagon) was attacked due to the FAA not informing them in a timely manner. And yet they seemed to have made false statements and pretend the FAA did notify them. The only way (in my eyes)that the military would cover for anyone, would be to cover themselves.

"However, the hijack coordinator, FAA Office of Civil Aviation Security Director Mike Canavan, is in Puerto Rico and claims to have missed out on “everything that transpired that day.” The 9/11 Commission fails to ask him if he had delegated that task to anyone else while he was gone."

So who was doing the "coordinating" between the FAA and military? The answer apparently lies in the statement of Acting Deputy Administrator of the FAA, Monte R. Belger.........

Statement of Acting Deputy Administrator of the FAA, Monte R. Belger to 9/11 Commission:

"The Air Traffic Control System Command Center in Herndon, Va. was our primary source of information about aircraft locations and reports of other unusual situations. Military personnel were assigned to the Command Center on an on-going basis and they became involved in coordinating actions with the military." page 3

Discussion of Flight 93:
From a tape transcript showing air traffic control actions on 9/11. Officials from the FAA Command Center East, Boston, New York, Washington and Cleveland air traffic control centers, the National Transportation Safety Board, the FBI and others are present on the call:

"MR.: And this is Cleveland Center. Who's up?
MR.: It is the Command Center with about five or six people listening.
MR.:Okay. Mr {inaudible} the chief, just asked if we have any military up or not? Are we pursuing that? We'd like to be able to track this guy so we know what's going on, especially when we lose a transponder.
MR,: We have been in contact with the military cell here in the building and they're working the issue. I'm not sure where they are with--"

John Farmer:
"Northeast Air Defense Sector had eight minutes notice on one flight, five minutes notice on another, and was notified post-crash on the other two." Page 241

9/11 Commission:
"The notifications that did occur, moreover, gave the military no realistic chance to intercept the aircraft, and were sometimes mistaken. NORAD scrambled the Langley fighters in the wrong direction against a nonexistent target. NORAD was, moreover, completely unaware of United 93—the fourth plane—as the flight was heading for Washington."

Deputy Administrator of the FAA, Monte R. Belger:
"Military personnel were assigned to the Command Center on an on-going basis and they became involved in coordinating actions with the military." page 3

9-11 commission...
"NORAD was, moreover, completely unaware of United 93—the fourth plane—as the flight was heading for Washington."

From Air traffic control tapes:
"MR.: It is the Command Center with about five or six people listening.
MR,: We have been in contact with the military cell here in the building and they're working the issue. I'm not sure where they are with--"

It looks like the fault of the FAA not giving the military time to intercept these planes and according to the 9/11 commission not informing the military at all of two of the planes..possibly could be the fault, not with the FAA, but rather......

"Military personnel were assigned to the Command Center on an on-going basis and they became involved in coordinating actions with the military." page 3

More on the military cells, in hindsight, the last sentence seems most interesting....

From released 9/11 commission records:
"Military/FAA Relationships: There is a natural tension between the two entities because both desire the use of the same airspace for different reasons. As a result of the inherent tension and differing protocols and languages, military cells have been established in FAA to work day-day air space management issues. The New England Region has one such cell, a cell that also provides support to the Eastern Region in New York. Staff held a short discussion with the senior Navy officer in the cell. The cell has 2-3 person contingents from each of the three services and each reports separately to a different boss. The Army and Navy representatives report to their General Staffs at Headquarters US Army and US Navy, respectively. The Air Force Cell reports to the Air Force Liaison Officer at FAA Headquarters. All of the assigned military personnel are either flight or controller-trained and each cell exits to handle administrative matters only. There is no reason that they could have or should have been contacted or interjected themselves in the process on 9/11. The senior Navy officer put in succinctly from a military perspective. There are defined lines of communication and procedures to handle events like that and if he or his other service counterparts had
gotten involved they would have just confounded the situation."

It would make more sense, that they would lie to cover themselves rather than the FAA. Besides, no shoot down order ever reached any pilot......

John Farmer:
"The authorization to shoot down deviating and unresponsive aircraft was received from the vice president at 10:31 a.m., 15 minutes after NEADS learned that the last hijacked plane, United 93 had crashed. This order was never passed on to the scrambled pilots over New York and Washington." Page 241

So the attacks were going to happen. It shouldn't have even reached this stage. Saudi Intelligence knew of these hijackers.......

"Speaking to the Arabic satellite network Al-Arabiya on Thursday, Bandar -- now Abdullah's national security adviser -- said Saudi intelligence was "actively following" most of the September 11, 2001, plotters "with precision."

"If U.S. security authorities had engaged their Saudi counterparts in a serious and credible manner, in my opinion, we would have avoided what happened," he said.

American Intelligence knew of these hijackers.....

"Hamburg - The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had one of the September 11, 2001 terror pilots under surveillance as early as March 1999 after a tip from German security services, according to joint investigative reports in Germany."

"In March 1999, German intelligence officials gave the Central Intelligence Agency the first name and telephone number of Marwan al-Shehhi, and asked the Americans to track him.
Close surveillance of Mr. Shehhi in 1999 might have led investigators to other plot leaders, including Mohammed Atta, who was Mr. Shehhi's roommate.
Asked whether American intelligence officials gave sufficient attention to the information about Mr. Shehhi, Mr. Zelikow said, "We haven't reached any conclusions."

CIA Director G Tenet:
"We had at that point the level of detail needed to watchlist al-Mihdhar- that is, to nominate him to the State Department for refusal of entry into the U.S. or deny him another visa. Our officers remained focused on the surveillance operation and did not do so." page 4/27

July 2001 Phoenix FBI Agent Williams sends memo to Washington warning of UBL supporters going to flight schools......

Coleen Rowley, former FBI agent and whistleblower, to CIA director G Tenet:
"You were also told that the FBI had arrested Moussaoui because of a visa overstay and that the CIA was working the case with the FBI. One of the documents given to you even had Bin Laden's picture on it! And the CIA held successive briefings about Moussaoui: August 27th, 2001, with the deputy director of operations; August 28th, 2001, with the executive director of the CIA; August 30, 2001 with the director of Central Intelligence; September 4th, with the executive director of the CIA; and September 10th, with the deputy director of operations."

These attacks were going to happen. It is an undisputed fact, that after the first plane hit the WTC no shoot down orders were given. That after the second plane hit the WTC no shoot down orders were given, that after the pentagon had been hit, no shoot down orders were given, only after the attacks were over was a shoot down order given.

John Farmer:
"The authorization to shoot down deviating and unresponsive aircraft was received from the vice president at 10:31 a.m., 15 minutes after NEADS learned that the last hijacked plane, United 93 had crashed. This order was never passed on to the scrambled pilots over New York and Washington." Page 241

Lots "false statements" being made, here's a few from National Security Advisor Rice in 2002.....

C Rice interview Aug 2002:
"Q: And did you have any hunch at that point that it might be terrorism?
DR. RICE: It just didn't come to mind immediately that it might be terrorism. We knew a lot about al Qaeda. We knew that al Qaeda really coveted an attack against American interests, maybe even against the United States. We had gone through a summer in which we had heightened states of alert abroad for our embassies and for our forces, because we were getting a lot of chatter in terrorist channels. But most of it was pointing all of it was pointing abroad, that there was going to be some kind of attack abroad. And the human mind doesn't always put two and two together very quickly, and so, no, in that first attack, it didn't come together for me. When the second plane hit, though, it came together very, very quickly."

"But most of it was pointing all of it was pointing abroad, that there was going to be some kind of attack abroad."

Just a reminder.....

A couple of months after this interview the report of the joint Inquiry by the House and Senate select committee on intelligence was released which made the following points....


"Finding: During the spring and summer of 2001, the Intelligence Community experienced a significant increase in information indicating that Bin Ladin and al-Qa’ida intended to strike against U.S. interests in the very near future."

"Finding: Beginning in 1998 and continuing into the summer of 2001, the Intelligence Community received a modest, but relatively steady, stream of intelligence reporting that indicated the possibility of terrorist attacks within the United States."

"Finding: From at least 1994, and continuing into the summer of 2001, the Intelligence Community received information indicating that terrorists were contemplating, among other means of attack, the use of aircraft as weapons."

"Community received reporting in May 2001 that Bin Ladin supporters were planning to infiltrate the United States to conduct terrorist operations and, in late summer 2001, that an al-Qa’ida associate was considering mounting terrorist attacks within the United States."

"The FBI and CIA were also aware that convicted terrorist Abdul Hakim Murad and several others had discussed the possibility of crashing an airplane into CIA Headquarters as part of “the Bojinka Plot” in the Philippines, discussed later in this report."

"Community received reporting in May 2001 that Bin Ladin supporters were planning to infiltrate the United States to conduct terrorist operations and, in late summer 2001, that an al-Qa’ida associate was considering mounting terrorist attacks within the United States."

C. Rice:
"But most of it was pointing all of it was pointing abroad, that there was going to be some kind of attack abroad."

Title of Aug 6 Memo Given to President Bush
"Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S."

No, she isn't being honest. Will she also "mislead" about a shootdown order?

"Q: At one point that morning, the President gave an order to the Combat Air Patrol pilots giving them permission to shoot down U.S. commercial airliners. How did that decision come about, and how did you take on board the gravity of that decision?"

"DR. RICE: The President did give the order to shoot down a civilian plane if it was not responding properly. And it was authority through channels by Secretary Rumsfeld, and the Vice President passed the request, the President said yes."

John Farmer exposes this misleading statement in his book "The Ground Truth"......

"The authority was not requested through channels, when Secretary Rumsfeld joined the Air Threat Conference Call at 10:30 and was told about the shoot down order by Vice President Cheney, he was clearly unaware of it. Wether the vice president had requested prior authorization from the president is disputed, but uncorroborated by the records of the day. page 260

9/11 Commission admits:
"At 10:10, the pilots over Washington were emphatically told "negative clearance to shoot." Shootdown authority was first communicated to NEADS at 10:31."

There was no shoot down order during the attacks of 9/11.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Japan's 9/11 Victims to Press for Criminal Investigation of 9/11

GLOBAL PEACE THROUGH 9/11 TRUTH - TOKYO, JAPAN: DEMAND for 9/11 JUSTICE - The third 9/11 Truth conference in Japan keeps growing -- Twenty-four Japanese nationals were murdered by the events of 9/11 - now the families and Japan's new government are determined to do what Americans should have already accomplished: A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION and TRIAL. Thanks go to the organizational skills of Architect, Richard Gage and his staff in their determination to wake up the civilized world to expose the Bush/Obama coverup of 9/11 that includes the deliberate demolition of the Twin Towers and WTC building 7. Councilor Fujita deserves to be nominated for the NOBEL PEACE PRIZE for his years of his international work advocating the Truth about why the US went to war.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Emails Show bin Laden was Bush Talking Point, not Target

Millions of Messages Sent, but Only Handful Mention Al Qaeda Leader

By Margie Burns

Missing” White House emails retrieved from Bush administration records indicate that top Bush Justice Department officials had little interest in the pursuit of Osama bin Laden or Mullah Mohammed Omar, head of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), prolonged correspondence has pursued “missing” emails between the Bush White House and Bush’s attorney general, deputy attorney general, associate attorney general, Office of Public Affairs, Office of Legal Counsel and Office of the Inspector General, in the Justice Department.

After a lengthy search, President Obama’s Office of Information Policy, which handles FOIA requests, found emails pertaining to Osama bin Laden or to Mullah Omar only in Attorney General and Office of Public Affairs records from the Bush administration. Alberto Gonzales, previously Bush’s White House counsel and then Attorney General, did not use email.

White House emails from the Bush years, often reported as missing, numbered in the millions. Thousands of emails were sent between the Bush White House and top Justice Department officials, through both government email accounts and private accounts including the Republican National Committee.

FOIA inquiries have produced two emails, totaling four pages, between the White House and Justice under the former administration relating to Mullah Mohammed Omar.

The FOIA requests produced 26 emails, totaling 119 pages, relating to Osama bin Laden.

The first internal reference to Mullah Omar, according to email records, occurred Dec. 7, 2001. White House staffer Edward Ingle forwarded a series of talking points titled “Meet Mullah Omar” from Deputy National Security Adviser James R. Wilkinson to a distribution list of several dozen government personnel in Cabinet offices and the Pentagon including Paul Wolfowitz. Omar has continued to evade capture and is believed to be living in neighboring Pakistan. There is no reference in the emails to Omar dating from the period when he was evading US forces. The next, and only other, mention of Omar’s name was an incidental reference in a Sept. 23, 2004, New York Times article on Afghanistan forwarded the same day by White House staffers.

The 26 emails that mention Osama bin Laden in correspondence between the Bush White House and Justice Department break down as follows:

There were seven email references to Osama bin Laden in 2001. Five occurred in press releases from White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer forwarded by Ingle — one Executive Order, two transcripts of press briefings and two sets of talking points — dating from Sept. 24 to Dec. 17, 2001. Kenneth B. Mehlman, then in the Executive Office Building and later chairman of the Republican National Committee, sent around a copy of Bush’s address to the Joint Session of Congress Sept. 21, 2001, in which Bush briefly mentioned “a person named Osama bin Laden.” The other mention of bin Laden in 2001 comes in an Oct. 15 St. Louis Post-Dispatch article about John Ashcroft and terrorism, forwarded by David Israelite.

One email reference to bin Laden occurred in 2002, also forwarded by David Israelite. Under the heading “Do you remember?,” Israelite distributed to colleagues, including Barbara Comstock, a description of a purported 1987 video clip saying that Oliver North warned Congress about Osama bin Laden in the Iran-Contra hearings but was shut off by then-Sen. Al Gore. This claim had already been debunked by North himself (see Comstock went on to chair Scooter Libby’s defense fund in 2007 and in 2008 ran for Congress from Virginia.

There were three email references to bin Laden in 2003 — a press briefing, a forwarded newspaper article, and a December statement from Director of Public Affairs Mark Corallo criticizing a Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse study.

Fifteen emails mentioned bin Laden in 2004. Some were in response to criticism of the White House after disclosure of the famous Aug. 6, 2001, Presidential Daily Briefing, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” All email references are forwarded press briefings and other press releases, forwarded newspaper articles, or talking points related to bin Laden.

The Department of Justice represents the US government in enforcing the law in the public interest. According to the official definition of responsibilities printed under a photograph of then Attorney General Ashcroft, “Through its thousands of lawyers, investigators, and agents, the Department plays the key role in protection against criminals and subversion ... It represents the government in legal matters generally, rendering legal advice and opinions, upon request, to the President and to the heads of the executive departments. The Attorney General supervises and directs these activities, as well as those of the U.S. attorneys and U.S. marshals in the various judicial districts around the country.”

Either top Justice Department personnel under the previous administration were not a set of bloodhounds, or documents have been suppressed. The email archives contain no indication that inside circles in the Bush White House and DOJ were paying attention to capturing Osama bin Laden or Mullah Omar. Mentions of bin Laden and Omar come strictly in the context of public relations.

There are no records of emails to or from Alberto Gonzales, presumably because he did not have an email account.

Email records searched under FOIA include those of previous Attorney General Ashcroft; Michael Chertoff, previously assistant attorney general in the Criminal Division and later secretary of Homeland Security; former Deputy Attorney General James Comey; former Deputy Attorney Paul McNulty; Philip J. Perry, acting associate attorney general and son-in-law of Vice President Dick Cheney; former Associate Attorney General Jay B. Stephens; and David Ayres, Ashcroft’s chief of staff.

After leaving Justice, Ayres co-founded The Ashcroft Group. His corporate biography describes Ayres thus:

“After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Mr. Ayres managed the Department’s crisis operations and restructuring of the FBI to focus on preventing terrorist attacks. As the Attorney General’s principal counter-terrorism advisor, Mr. Ayres oversaw numerous counter-terrorism operations, program reorganizations and policy reforms to prevent additional terrorist attacks.”

Many persons in the Department of Justice and the executive offices of the White House had responsibilities in the “war on terror,” at least according to public pronouncements. Given all the public emphasis on “information sharing” and cooperation among law enforcement and security entities, and the speechifying against a purported “wall” between domestic and foreign information gathering, one would think there would have been extensive correspondence about bin Laden and Omar among others.

Again, either there was such extensive correspondence, and it is being suppressed; or there was no such interest in bin Laden at the highest levels of government, meaning that indeed the previous administration viewed bin Laden chiefly as a public relations tool.

What did they know about bin Laden that they did not share with the public? Were they confident, for undisclosed reasons, that he posed no threat? Why are there no expressions of concern about his whereabouts?

With this plate handed to him, it is a wonder that President Obama’s hair has not turned white already.

Margie Burns is a Texas native who now writes from Washington, D.C. Email See her blog at

Margie Burns; OpEdNews,
Entire Article:

After the Asia Digest page disappearing, I decided to post entire article.

Interesting article. How is it I wonder a federal Attorney General would not have an email account?

Peace all



Friday, November 6, 2009

OUR TERRORISTS by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed

Islamic fundamentalist militants are the enemies of Israel and Western governments, right? Think again. Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed reports.

US and Pakistani intelligence bigwigs get chummy at a mujahidin training camp in 1987. Note then-Director of the ISI (Inter-Service Intelligence) Major Gen. Hamid Gul (front left) and then-Director of the CIA William Webster (second left). Photo:

Once upon a time, the CIA trained, financed and supported Osama bin Laden and his mujahidin networks in Afghanistan to repel the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. After the end of the Cold War, bin Laden turned against the West and we no longer had any use for him. His persistent terrorist attacks against us for more than a decade, culminating in 9/11, provoked our own response, in the form of the ‘War on Terror’. This is the official narrative. And it’s false. Not only did Western intelligence services continue to foster Islamist extremist and terrorist groups connected to al-Qaeda after the Cold War; they continued to do so even after 9/11.

The CIA’s jihad

The story begins in the summer of 1979, six months before the Soviet invasion, when the CIA had already begun financing elements of an emerging Islamist mujahidin force inside Afghanistan. The idea, according to former US National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and former CIA Director Robert Gates, was to increase the probability of a Soviet invasion, and entrap ‘the Soviets into a Vietnamese quagmire’.[1]

Osama bin Laden arrived in the country later that year, sent by then-Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki bin Faisal, where he set up the Maktab al-Khidamat (MAK) which helped finance, recruit and train mujahidin fighters.[2] Bin Laden, the MAK, and the Afghan mujahidin in total received about half a billion dollars a year from the CIA, and roughly the same from the Saudis, funnelled through Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).[3]

By around 1988, as Jane’s Defence Weekly reports, ‘with US knowledge, Bin Laden created al-Qaeda (The Base): a conglomerate of quasi-independent Islamic terrorist cells spread across at least 26 countries’.[4] US and Western intelligence agencies facilitated this process, seeing rightwing Islamist movements as a counterweight to Communist, leftwing and nationalist political trends. They supported the Saudis and other Gulf states, as well as Pakistan, Turkey and Azerbaijan among others, in proliferating Islamist extremist institutions in far-flung countries such as Algeria, Yemen, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Funding for these activities was intertwined with the establishment of organized criminal financial centres in Malaysia, Madagascar, South Africa, Nigeria, Latin America, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Turkestan, and elsewhere.[5]

Islamism and the CIA’s destabilization doctrine

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, and in particular in 1991 when the Saudis accepted the stationing of 300,000 US troops in the country due to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, Osama bin Laden reportedly turned against his former masters in Riyadh and Washington. Since then, bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terrorist network became our enemy, targeting Western citizens and interests throughout the 1990s, culminating in the most devastating strike of all in the form of the 9/11 atrocities in the US.

Unfortunately, this is where the official story begins to break down. Because after 1991, Islamists affiliated to bin Laden and al-Qaeda continued to receive selective support from Western intelligence services. The policy was alluded to by Graham Fuller, former Deputy Director of the CIA’s National Council on Intelligence, when he stated: ‘The policy of guiding the evolution of Islam and of helping them against our adversaries worked marvellously well in Afghanistan against the Red Army. The same doctrines can still be used to destabilize what remains of Russian power, and especially to counter the Chinese influence in Central Asia.’[6]

Afghanistan, Big Oil and the Taliban

Throughout the 1990s, the selective US intelligence sponsorship of Islamist extremist networks was linked not simply to destabilizing potential Russian and Chinese influence, but further to securing US-led Western control over strategic energy reserves. When bin Laden moved from Sudan to Afghanistan in June 1996, the State Department warned that the move ‘could prove more dangerous to US interests’, granting him ‘the capability to support individuals and groups who have the motive and wherewithal to attack US interests almost worldwide’.[7] He had been offered protection by Pakistan in May on condition that he align his mujahidin forces with the Taliban. The new al-Qaeda-Taliban alliance was reportedly blessed by the Saudis.[8]

Yet as the respected Pakistani correspondent Ahmed Rashid reported, US intelligence supported the Taliban as a vehicle of regional influence at least between 1994 and 1998. This policy continued up to the year 2000, despite growing cautions. Thus, when the Taliban conquered Kabul in 1996, a State Department spokesperson explained that the US found ‘nothing objectionable’ in the event. One year later, a US diplomat commented: ‘The Taliban will probably develop like the Saudis… There will be Aramco (consortium of oil companies controlling Saudi oil), pipelines, an emir, no parliament and lots of Sharia law. We can live with that.’[9]

Continued US sponsorship of the al-Qaeda-Taliban nexus in Afghanistan was confirmed as late as 2000 in Congressional hearings. Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on South Asia, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher – former White House Special Assistant to President Reagan and now Senior Member of the House International Relations Committee – declared that ‘this administration has a covert policy that has empowered the Taliban and enabled this brutal movement to hold on to power’. The assumption is that ‘the Taliban would bring stability to Afghanistan and permit the building of oil pipelines from Central Asia through Afghanistan to Pakistan’.[10] US companies involved in the project included UNOCAL and ENRON. As early as May 1996, UNOCAL had officially announced plans to build a pipeline to transport natural gas from Turkmenistan to Pakistan through western Afghanistan.

US officials held several meetings with the Taliban from 2000 to summer 2001, in an effort to get the Taliban to agree to a joint federal government with their local enemies, the Northern Alliance, promising financial aid and international legitimacy if the deal was struck. By then, US policymakers had belatedly concluded that the Taliban would never bring the stability needed for the pipeline project. According to Pakistani Foreign Minister Niaz Naik, who was present at the meetings, US officials threatened the Taliban with military action if they failed to comply with the federalization plan. Even the date of threatened military action, October 2001, was proposed. Needless to say, the Taliban rejected the plan.[11] So months before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a war on Afghanistan was already on the table. Jean-Charles Brisard, a former French intelligence officer, thus speculates that 9/11 may have been a pre-emptive attack by al-Qaeda to head off the declared US military invasion of Afghanistan.[12]

There is still keen interest in the pipeline. ‘Since the US-led offensive that ousted the Taliban from power,’ reported Forbes in 2005, ‘the project has been revived and drawn strong US support’ as it would allow the Central Asian republics to export energy to Western markets ‘without relying on Russian routes’. Then-US Ambassador to Turkmenistan Ann Jacobsen noted that: ‘We are seriously looking at the project, and it is quite possible that American companies will join it.’[13] The problem remains that the southern section of the proposed pipeline runs through territory still de facto controlled by Taliban forces.

Mega Oil and mujahidin from the Balkans to the Caucasus

Unfortunately, we now know that US flirtations with the al-Qaeda-Taliban nexus in Afghanistan throughout the 1990s were only one moment in a much wider covert US geostrategy to secure control over strategic energy resources across the Eurasian continent, by co-opting Islamist networks affiliated with bin Laden.

In 1991, the first Bush Administration wanted an oil pipeline from Azerbaijan, across the Caucasus, to Turkey. That year, three US Air Force officers, Richard Secord (a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs), Heinie Aderholt and Ed Dearborn, landed in Baku, and set up a front company, ‘MEGA Oil’. They were veterans of previous CIA covert operations in Laos and later with Lt. Col. Oliver North’s Contra scandal. In Azerbaijan, they setup an airline to secretly fly hundreds of al-Qaeda mujahidin from Afghanistan into Azerbaijan. By 1993, MEGA Oil had recruited and armed 2,000 mujahidin, converting Baku into a base for regional jihadi operations.[14]

The covert operation contributed to the military coup that toppled elected president Abulfaz Elchibey that year, and installed US puppet Heidar Aliyev. A secret Turkish intelligence report leaked to the Sunday Times confirmed that ‘two petrol giants, BP and Amoco, British and American respectively, which together form the AIOC (Azerbaijan International Oil Consortium), are behind the coup d’état.[15]

From 1992 to 1995, the Pentagon flew thousands of al-Qaeda mujahidin from Central Asia into Europe, to fight alongside Bosnian Muslims against the Serbs. The mujahidin were ‘accompanied by US Special Forces equipped with high-tech communications equipment,’ according to intelligence sources. Bin Laden’s mercenaries were used as shock troops by the Pentagon ‘to coordinate and support Bosnian Muslim offensives’.[16]

The pattern continued in Kosovo, where ethnic violence broke out between Albanians and Serbs. In 1998, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) was listed by the State Department as a terrorist organization financed by bin Laden and the heroin trade. Bin Laden had sent a senior lieutenant, Muhammed al-Zawahiri (brother of al-Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri), to lead an élite KLA unit during the Kosovo conflict. He had direct radio contact with NATO leadership. Indeed, British SAS and American Delta Force instructors were training KLA fighters as early as 1996. The CIA supplied military assistance up to and during the 1999 bombing campaign, including military training manuals and field advice, under the cover of OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) ceasefire monitors.[17]

After the Kosovo War, when the KLA switched operations to Macedonia under the banner of the National Liberation Army (NLA), its links with al-Qaeda were as strong as ever according to US, Macedonian, Albanian and Yugoslav intelligence sources. Yet by 2001, Canadian military correspondent Scott Taylor reported after a visit to Tetovo that ‘there is no denying the massive amount of material and expertise supplied by NATO to the guerrillas’.[18]

So why the Balkans? Gen. Sir Mike Jackson, then-commander of NATO troops in the region, summed it up in 1999: ‘We will certainly stay here for a long time in order to guarantee the safety of the energy corridors which cross Macedonia.’ The General was talking about the Trans-Balkan pipeline passing through Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania, planned to be a primary route to the West for Central Asian oil and gas.[19]

Around the same time, US intelligence stepped up sponsorship of al-Qaeda mujahidin in Chechnya. Chechnya is traditionally a predominantly Sufi society, yet the increasing encroachment of US-sponsored mujahidin operatives linked to Osama bin Laden transformed the character of the Chechen resistance movement, empowering al-Qaeda’s hardline Islamist ideology. US intelligence ties had been established in the early 1990s in Baku under Dick Secord’s operation, where mujahidin activities had quickly extended into Dagestan and Chechnya, turning Baku into a shipping point for Afghan heroin to the Chechen mafia.[20]

From the mid-1990s, bin Laden funded Chechen guerrilla leaders Shamil Basayev and Omar ibn al-Khattab to the tune of several millions of dollars per month, sidelining the moderate Chechen majority.[21] US intelligence remained deeply involved until the end of the decade. According to Yossef Bodanksy, then-Director of the US Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, Washington was actively involved in ‘yet another anti-Russian jihad, ‘seeking to support and empower the most virulent anti-Western Islamist forces’. US Government officials participated in ‘a formal meeting in Azerbaijan’ in December 1999 ‘in which specific programmes for the training and equipping of mujahidin from the Caucasus, Central/South Asia and the Arab world were discussed and agreed upon’, culminating in ‘Washington’s tacit encouragement of both Muslim allies (mainly Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia) and US “private security companies”... to assist the Chechens and their Islamist allies to surge in the spring of 2000 and sustain the ensuing jihad for a long time.’ The US saw the sponsorship of ‘Islamist jihad in the Caucasus’ as a way to ‘deprive Russia of a viable pipeline route through spiralling violence and terrorism’.[22]

Algeria – state terrorism in disguise

Parallel covert operations were deployed in the same period in Algeria, where the army cancelled national democratic elections in 1992 that would have brought the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) to power in a landslide victory. Tens of thousands of FIS voters were rounded up into detention camps in the Sahara, while the FIS and other Islamist political parties were banned. Not long after the coup, hundreds of civilians were being mysteriously massacred by an unknown terrorist group, identified by the Algerian junta as a radical offshoot of the FIS calling itself the Armed Islamic Group (GIA). The GIA was formed largely of Algerian veterans of bin Laden’s mujahidin forces in Afghanistan who had returned in the late 1980s.[23] To date, the total death toll from the massacres by the GIA is an estimated 150,000 civilians.[24]

Yet in the late 1990s, evidence began to emerge from dissident Algerian Government and intelligence sources that the GIA atrocities were in fact perpetrated by the state. ‘Yussuf-Joseph’, a career secret agent in Algeria’s sécurité militaire for 14 years, defected to Britain in 1997 and told the Guardian that civilian massacres in Algeria, blamed on the GIA, were ‘the work of secret police and army death squads… not Islamic extremists’. GIA terrorism was ‘orchestrated’ by ‘Mohammed Mediane, head of the Algerian secret service’, and ‘General Smain Lamari’, head of ‘the counter intelligence agency’. According to Joseph: ‘The GIA is a pure product of Smain’s secret service. I used to read all the secret telexes. I know that the GIA has been infiltrated and manipulated by the Government. The GIA has been completely turned by the Government… In 1992 Smain created a special group, L’Escadron de la Mort (the Squadron of Death)... The death squads organize the massacres... The FIS aren’t doing the massacres.’

Joseph also confirmed that Algerian intelligence agents organized ‘at least’ two of the bombs in Paris in summer 1995. ‘The operation was run by Colonel Souames Mahmoud, alias Habib, head of the secret service at the Algerian embassy in Paris.’ Joseph’s testimony has been corroborated by numerous defectors from the Algerian secret services.[25]

Western intelligence agencies are implicated. Secret British Foreign Office documents revealed in a terrorist trial in 2000 showed that ‘British intelligence believed the Algerian Government was involved in atrocities, contradicting the view the Government was claiming in public’. The documents referred to the ‘manipulation of the GIA being used as a cover to carry out their own operations’, and that ‘there was no evidence to link 1995 Paris bombings to Algerian militants’.[26]

Algeria has the fifth largest reserves of natural gas in the world, and is the second largest gas exporter, with 130 trillion proven natural gas reserves. It ranks fourteenth for oil reserves, with official estimates at 9.2 billion barrels. Approximately 90 per cent of Algeria’s crude oil exports go to Western Europe, including Britain, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain. Algeria’s major trading partners are Italy, France, the United States, Germany, and Spain.

Currently, the militant Algerian splinter group, the al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb – formerly known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) – plays a predominant role in regional terrorist violence. Yet in a series of extensive analyses for the Review of African Political Economy, social anthropologist Dr Jeremy Keenan – Director of Sahara Studies at the University of East Anglia – documents ‘an increasing amount of evidence to suggest that the alleged spread of terrorist activities across much of the Sahelian Sahara, has indeed been an elaborate deception on the part of US and Algerian military intelligence services’. He discusses evidence that an al-Qaeda hostage-taking of European tourists in early 2003 ‘was initiated and orchestrated by elements within the Algerian military establishment’, an operation ‘condoned by the US’, and that al-Qaeda leader Ammar Saifi (also known as Abderazzak El Para, or ‘the Maghreb’s bin Laden’) ‘was “turned” by the Algerian security forces in January 2003’.[27]

Energy hegemony is a key priority. Reported al-Qaeda activity in North Africa has focused on oil-rich nations, particularly the Niger Delta, Nigeria, and Chad. Thus, in July 2003, Keenan reports, under US auspices Algeria, Chad, Niger and Nigeria ‘signed a co-operation agreement on counter-terrorism that effectively joined the two oil-rich sides of the Sahara together in a complex of security arrangements whose architecture is American’. This has now evolved into the $500 million Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Initiative, in which Algeria plays a pivotal role in US plans for future regional military deployment. The region-wide security arrangement coincides with the inauguration of a $6 billion World Bank project, the Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline.[28]

Islamist extremism and the Israeli connection

Curiously, Israel has played a key role in some of these policies, starting with the involvement of Congressman Charlie Wilson, who used his position in the House Select Committee on Intelligence, gained with the support of then Senator Dick Cheney, to ramp up billions of dollars’ worth of support for both Israel and the Afghan mujahidin.[29] Gust Avracotos, the CIA’s Station Chief in Islamabad, commented that Wilson brought ‘the Israelis into the CIA’s Muslim jihad’, opening opportunities for Mossad penetration of the ISI and al-Qaeda and securing Israeli arms contracts and intelligence ties with Pakistan.[30]

Closer to home, Israel played a very similar game in its ambiguous relationship to Hamas. US Government and intelligence sources confirm that Israel provided direct and indirect financial aid to Hamas in the late 1970s as a counterbalance to the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).[31] According to the Israeli military affairs experts Ze’ev Schiff and Ehud Ya’ari, at the time of the first Intifadah, Fatah ‘suspected the Israelis of a plot first to let Hamas gather strength and then to unleash it against the PLO, turning the uprising into a civil war... many Israeli staff officers believed that the rise of fundamentalism in Gaza could be exploited to weaken the power of the PLO’.[32]

Israeli support for Hamas reportedly continued even after the signing of the Oslo accords in 1993, during the period of some of the worst suicide bombings.[33] Even the late Palestinian Authority (PA) President Yassir Arafat said in 2001 that Hamas ‘continued to benefit from permits and authorizations, while we have been limited, even [for permits] to build a tomato factory... Some collaborationists of Israel are involved in these [terrorist] attacks.’[34]

Indeed, there are indications that the Israeli assassination of Hamas leader Abu Hanoud in November 2001 was a ploy to provoke more terror bombings. Three months earlier, the Israeli Insider reported Ariel Sharon’s plan for an all-out attack on the PA to permanently destroy its infrastructure, noting that the plan would only ‘be launched immediately following the next high-casualty suicide bombing’ – which was later provoked by Israel’s extrajudicial killing of Hanoud. As Israeli military security analyst Alex Fishman noted: ‘Whoever gave a green light to this act of liquidation knew full well that he was thereby shattering in one blow the gentleman’s agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. Under that agreement, Hamas was to avoid in the near future suicide bombings inside the Green Line (pre-1967 border), having come to the understanding that it would be better not to play into Israel’s hands by mass attacks on its population centres. This understanding was, however, shattered by the assassination the day before yesterday – and whoever decided upon the liquidation of Abu knew in advance that that would be the price. The subject had been extensively discussed both by the military and the political echelon, before it was decided to carry out the liquidation.’[35]

Elements of the Israeli far-right, including senior cabinet officials, recognized that the plan to destroy the PA would facilitate the rise of Hamas. In an Israeli Cabinet meeting in December 2001, for instance, one minister declared: ‘Between Hamas and Arafat, I prefer Hamas.’ He added that Arafat is a ‘terrorist in a diplomat’s suit, while Hamas can be hit unmercifully… there won’t be any international protests’.[36]

Ties with terror

Islamist terrorism cannot be understood without acknowledging the extent to which its networks are being used by Western military intelligence services, both to control strategic energy resources and to counter their geopolitical rivals. Even now, nearly a decade after 9/11, covert sponsorship of al-Qaeda networks continues. In recent dispatches for the New Yorker, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh cites US Government and intelligence officials’ confirmation that the CIA and the Pentagon have funnelled millions of dollars via Saudi Arabia to al-Qaeda affiliated Sunni extremist groups, across the Middle East and Central Asia. The policy, which Hersh says began in 2003, has spilled over into regions like Iraq and Lebanon, fuelling Sunni-Shi’a sectarian conflict.[37] The programme is part of a drive to counter Iranian Shi’a influence in the region. In early 2008, a US Presidential Finding to Congress corroborated Hersh’s reporting, affirming CIA funding worth $400 million to diverse anti-Shi’a extremist and terrorist groups. This was not contested by any Democratic members of the House.[38] Now, President Obama has retained Bush’s Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, as his own. Yet Gates was the architect of the covert strategy against Iran. To date, Obama has given no indication that this strategy will change. The history outlined here throws into doubt our entire understanding of the ‘war on terror’. How can we fight a war against an enemy that our own governments are covertly financing for short-sighted geopolitical interests?

If the ‘war on terror’ is to end, it won’t be won by fighting the next futile oil war. It will be won at home by holding the secretive structures of government to account and prosecuting officials for aiding and abetting terrorism – whether knowingly or by criminal negligence. Ultimately only this will rein in the ‘security’ agencies that foster the ‘enemy’ we are supposed to be fighting.

Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed is Executive Director of the Institute for Policy Research and Development. His latest book is The London Bombings: An Independent Inquiry (Duckworth, 2006).

This is an extended version of the article which appeared in the October 2009 issue of NI, Islam in Power.

1. Le Nouvel Observateur (15-21 January 1998) p. 76; Robert Gates, From the Shadows – The Ultimate Insider’s Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997) pp. 143-149

2. Craig Unger, House of Bush, House of Saud – The Secret Relationship between the World’s Two Most Powerful Dynasties (London: Scribner, 2004) p. 100.

3. Ahmed Rashid, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil, and Fundamentalism in Central Asia (Yale: Yale University Press, 2000) p. 91

4. Rahul Bedi, ‘Why? An attempt to explain the unexplainable,’ Jane’s Defence Weekly (14 September 2001)

5. Richard Labeviere, Dollars For Terror: The United States and Islam (New York: Algora, 2000)

6. Cited in ibid.

7. Judicial Watch Press Release, ‘Clinton State Department Documents Outlined bin Laden Threat to the United States in Summer 1996’ (17 August 2005)

8. Gerald Posner, Why America Slept: The Failure to Prevent 9/11 (New York: Ballantine, 2003) pp. 105-6

9. Ahmed Rashid, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2000) pp. 166, 179

10. Dana Rohrabacher, ‘US Policy Toward Afghanistan,’ Statement before Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on South Asia (Washington DC: US Senate, 14 April 1999). Also see Rohrabacher, Statement before Hearing of the House International Relations Committee on ‘Global Terrorism And South Asia,’ (Washington DC: US House of Representatives, 12 July 2000).

11. George Arney, ‘US ‘planned attack on Taleban’,’ BBC News (18 September 2001)

12. Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie, Forbidden Truth: US-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy and the Failed Hunt for Bin Laden (New York: Nation, 2002); George Arney, ‘US ‘planned attack on Taleban’,’ BBC News (18 September 2001).

13. ‘US Companies Eye Trans-Afghan Pipeline’, Forbes (19 January 2005)

14. Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 911 – Wealth Empire and the Future of America (Berkley: University of California Press, 2007) pp. 163-165

15. ‘BP Linked to the Overthrow of Azerbaijan Government,’ Drillbits and Trailings (17 April 2000, vol. 5, no. 6)

16. Cees Wiebes (2003) Intelligence and the War in Bosnia 1992-1995: The role of the intelligence and security services (New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, Rutgers State University, 2003); ‘US Commits Forces, Weapons to Bosnia,’ Defense and Foreign Affairs: Strategic Policy (31 October 1994)

17. Sources in Nafeez Ahmed, The War on Truth: 9/11, Disinformation and the Anatomy of Terrorism (New York: Interlink, 2005)

18. Scott Taylor, ‘Macedonia’s Civil War: ‘Made in the USA’’ (Randolph Bourne Institute, 20 August 2001)

19. Michel Collon, Monopoly – L’Otan à la Conquête du monde (Brussels: EPO, 2000) p. 96

20. Scott, op. cit., pp. 163-165.

21. Mark Erikson, ‘Bin Laden’s terror wave 2’, Asia Times (29 October 2002)

22. Yossef Bodanksy, ‘The Great Game for Oil’, Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy(June/July 2000)

23. Colin Robinson, ‘Armed Islamic Group a.k.a. Groupement Islamique Armé’ (Washington DC: Center for Defense Information, 5 February 2003)

24. The Guardian (8 April 2004)

25. Ahmed, 2005, pp. 65-77; Ahmed, 2001

26. Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘Terrorist case collapses after three years’, The Guardian (21 March 2000)

27. Jeremy Keenan, ‘Terror in the Sahara: the Implications of US Imperialism for North & West Africa,’ Review of African Political Economy (September 2004, 31 (101): 475–486); ‘Political Destablisation and ‘Blowback’ in the Sahel’, Review of African Political Economy (December 2004, 31(102): 691–703).

28. Keenan (2005) ‘Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline: World Bank and ExxonMobil in Last Chance Saloon,’ Review of African Political Economy (2005, Vol. 32, No. 104/5) pp. 395-405; Keenan, (2006) ‘The making of terrorists: Anthropology and the alternative truth of America’s ‘War on Terror’ in the Sahara’, Focaal – European Journal of Anthropology (2006, No. 48) pp. 144-51.

29. George Crile, Charlie Wilson’s War (London: Atlantic Books, 2003).

30. Ibid. p. 391.

31. Richard Sale, ‘Analysis: Hamas History Tied to Israel,’ United Press International (18 June 2002)

32. Ze'ev Schiff and Ehud Ya'ari, The Intifada: The Palestinian Uprising – Israel’s Third Front (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990)

33. George Szamuely, ‘Israel’s Hamas’, New York Press (April 2002, Vol. 15, No. 17)

34. L’Espresso (19 December 2001) [Rome]

35. Yediot Ahranot (25 November 2001)

36. Ha’aretz (4 December 2001)

37. Seymour M. Hersh, ‘The Redirection’, New Yorker (5 March 2007)

38. Alexander Cockburn, ‘Exclusive: Secret Bush ‘Finding’ Widens Covert War on Iran’, Counterpunch (2 May 2008)


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Amalgam Virgo: Document Reveals Details of Military Exercise Involving Suicide Pilot Three Months before 9/11

New details of a NORAD exercise called Amalgam Virgo 01-02 have been found in a document at the National Archives. The exercise involved a suicide pilot attacking a military installation in the US. It was run in early June 2001, just three months before 9/11.

The document was found in the 9/11 Commission’s files at the National Archives by History Commons contributor Erik Larson (a.k.a. Paxvector) and uploaded to the 9/11 Document Archive at Scribd. Some information about the exercise was revealed at the History Commons Groups blog in June, when we publicised a commission document summarising a group of military exercises designed to help the military deal with suicide hijackings. However, the newly-found three-page scenario provides more detail.

In the scenario, a Haitian AIDS sufferer named Reginald Montrose forms an alliance with Columbian drug lords. This link-up is inspired by funding the Columbians have provided to treat AIDS patients in Haiti. Montrose plans to crash a Cessna into the headquarters of the Southeast Air Defense Sector (SEADS) in Florida. Its destruction will draw attention to the Haitians’ plight and “allow the drug cartel to flood the US with flights of aircraft and to increase their market share in the US drug market.”

The exercise starts with a call from a local airport manager to SEADS saying that they have found a suicide note in a suspicious car, and one of their small aircraft is missing. Another call then comes in based on FBI information. Montrose’s sister has contacted the bureau and told it of a second suicide note. The target is believed to be a Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, where SEADS is located.

The text of both suicide notes is included in the scenario. The first even states that Montrose has taken out an insurance policy with Lloyds of London to cover the cost of the plane he intends to crash into SEADS, and has filled the gas tank of his rental car, which is to be returned to the Alamo facility at Tampa International airport.

SEADS launches fighters to intercept and identify the incoming Cessna, and to attempt to turn it away from the Florida coastline. However, Montrose is to remain on course, without turning. The scenario states, “This will develop into an ROE [Rules of Engagement] drill that will challenge the battlestaff as they work to keep the target aircraft from impacting SEADS.” It adds, “Target will remain on course… throughout scenario or until simulated shot down…. Scenario fruition is up to Blue Forces.”


Destruction of Flight Controllers’ Tape, Day of 9/11 – Additions to the 9/11 Timeline as of November 4, 2009

One of the main focuses at the 9/11 Timeline recently has been the destruction of a tape of FAA flight controllers’ recollections. The tape was made at the FAA’s New York Center about an hour and a half after the attacks ended, despite worries about the procedure by a union official and the controllers. However, when New York Center forwarded evidence about the attacks to the FBI the next day, it did not provide the tape, and its existence was not reported to superiors. The controllers then prepared written statements without reviewing the tape, and a union official was concerned whether anyone had heard it. One of the controllers later asked to listen to the taped statement he had made, but his request was denied. When New York Center submitted a formal accident package, the tape was again absent. Although the Center had been told to retain 9/11 evidence, the tape was later destroyed. Following the tape’s destruction, the manager who destroyed it was suspended, but did not face criminal charges. A later Transportation Department report simply attributed the tape’s destruction to “poor judgment.”

There are also a number of new entries about the day of 9/11. The Secret Service learned of additional hijacked aircraft around 9:03 a.m., but the agents protecting Vice President Dick Cheney were apparently not alerted. A National Reconnaissance Office exercise simulating a plane crashing into its building was scheduled to begin around 9:30 a.m., when unidentified planes were flying near the Pentagon. Shortly after 9:40 a.m., the FAA Command Centre updated FAA headquarters about hijacked flight 93, a National Airborne Operations Center plane launched from Andrews Air Force base, and American Airlines briefly lost contact with a third airliner.

After 9:50 a.m., American Airlines CEO Don Carty questioned Transportation Secretary Mineta about the plane that hit the Pentagon, Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) officers created a battleplan to respond to the attacks, the control tower at Reagan Airport was evacuated due to a report on an approaching aircraft, and numerous international flights began transmitting emergency codes. After 10:00 a.m., NORAD commanders considered a shootdown authorization, but pilots launched from Langley Air Force Base were told they could not shoot down hijacked planes, and NORAD sectors were told peacetime rules of engagement applied.

Finally, alleged lead hijacker Mohamed Atta was supported by a German Foundation with US ties and Robert Fuller, one of the FBI agencies involved in the failed hunt for Khalid Almihdhar, later handled an informer so badly he immolated himself in front of the White House.


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