Saturday, February 24, 2007

Israeli Art Student Spies

The Israeli Art Student Spies story has got some traction recently with Christopher Ketcham's recent piece at Counterpunch (it should be online next week)

Here's Democracy Now.

and Scott Horton's interview with Ketchams.


noise said...

Suspicious Israeli actions. Moving van and art students.

Suspicious Saudi actions. Special flights for Saudis, including at least one Bin Laden.

Suspicious Pakistani actions. Mahmoud Ahmed meeting with US government big shots before the attacks. Weird story about possible bribery of the 9/11 Commission.

Suspicious Egyptian links. Ali Mohamed, Zawahiri and Blind Sheikh Rahman are all from Egypt.

Edmonds points to an Iranian and an Uzbek who were in jail and anxious to get out. I believe Grossman facilitated their release. She also points to direct and indirect Turkish involvement.

How many foreign agents were involved?

9/11 goes directly to US intelligence in terms of getting answers to why the attacks weren't prevented. The idea that Mossad agents knew more than US intel is absurd. Alec Station (CIA's Bin Laden unit) was setup in '96. Peter Lance points out bizarre FBI actions going back to the Kahane shooting.

al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi attended the al Qaeda summit in Malaysia yet the CIA claims they simply lost track of them and decided to wait until late August to give the FBI a heads up. Ridiculous story. The FBI's Radical Fundamentalist Unit was aware of the Phoenix memo (agent Williams) and the urgency of FBI agents in Minnesota to get a FISA warrant on Moussaoui. Yet, neither they or anyone at the CIA decides to warn the FAA that al Qaeda operatives are in the country and should be put on their watchlist. Again, this is utterly stupid.

Ketcham made an excellent point...US foreign policy isn't necessarily good for Israel but rather good for right wing Israelis with ties to the MIC in Israel and the US. Richard Cummings said the same thing in his interview with Horton. The priority wasn't Israel's security, the priority was increased military spending.

lukery said...

good comment. thnx.

US foreign policy isn't necessarily good for Israel but rather good for right wing Israelis with ties to the MIC in Israel and the US.

giraldi: "Feith, Perle and a number of other neocons have long had beneficial relationships with various Israeli defense contractors."

damien said...

And keep in mind Noise that prior to 9/11 al Qaeda had been thoroughly penetrated by a number of foreign intelligence services. Their phones has had been tapped, their emails read. (There was a trial in the late 90's - the details of which I have lost - in which the US government offered evidence based on monitored al Qaeda phone conversations).

Chaim Kupferberg notes some oddities [edited quote]: "By way of Spanish Police Chief Juan Cotino, other al-Qaida cells were discovered as further proof of bin Laden's global reach. In fact, as the 9/11 Legend would have it, Mohamed Atta had rendezvoused with Ramzi Binalshibh in Spain sometime in July 2001, where the two presumably made final preparations for September 11. Around the same time, the FBI's lead point man on al-Qaida, John O'Neill, was in Madrid to discuss counter-terror issues with Police Chief Cotino. Thereafter, O'Neill made his last public appearance at a counter-terror conference held at a three-star hotel in the Spanish resort town of Salou - coincidentally, only a few days before Mohammed Atta had checked into the very same hotel in his last international trip before September 11 (a curious fact reported in John Miller's book "The Cell"). Atta's previous trip to Madrid had been in January 2001, within days of the very first Europol Conference On Terrorism, also held in Madrid."

Barbara Honegger claims that the CIA was likely monitoring Atta's activities in Spain: "The FBI's top bin Laden/al Qaeda hunter until shortly before 9/11, John O'Neill, "happened" to be at the same hotel in the same town near Tarragona, Spain in mid-July 2001 just before lead hijacker Mohamed Atta and 9/11 plot "coordinator" Ramzi Binalshibh. Some Bush administration officials now also believe that 9/11 "mastermind" Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) met there for what the 9/11 Commission calls "the Final 9/11 Planning Meeting." This cannot be-and is not-a coincidence. O'Neill, who was in close contact with German intelligence-recall that Atta led the "German cell" for the 9/11 attacks-and Spanish intelligence, had clearly been alerted to the upcoming meeting and was at the hotel to surveil/tap/bug the room where the meeting was about to be held. O'Neill and his agency, the Bush administration's FBI, thus knew every detail,or nearly every detail, of the planned 9/11 plot at least two months in advance. "

I am not sure I agree with the last sentence, but CIA monitoring of Atta seems likely, especially since Spanish authorities were monitoring al Qaeda.

Edward Jay Epstein (and here) notes from a lengthy report by Spanish judge Baltazar Garzon that Atta and Ramzi Binalshibh did meet in Spain, as described previously, but that they also made other trips there in which, according to the 9/11 Commission, they met no-one(!)

The Spanish security service secretly had an al Qaeda cell headed by Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas under extensive monitoring since the mid-1990s. There were also meetings between Spanish and German al Qaeda cells about this time - Yarkas, Atta and Mamoun Darkazanli - quite a few al Qaeda operatives would have been aware of 9/11 planning beyond the 19 hijackers from sept 11.

It was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Binalshibh's "evidence" via their CIA captors to the 9/11 Commission that allowed the Commission to (wrongly) conclude that the 9/11 terrorists were a self-contained cell with no other helpers.

John O'Neill was very involved in investigating al Qaeda connections to the USS Cole Bombing of Jan 2000. He later resigned alleging White House obstruction of all things Saudi related (and hence al Qaeda related). FBI agent Ali Soufan was investigating the links between the Cole bombings and the al Qaeda summit in Malaysia held in Jan 2000. The CIA concealed a whole lot of stuff from him so that the FBI did not get to find out that "al-Qaeda operatives were in America and had been there for more than a year". (link).

There were also very strong Moroccan - al Qaeda links as well that continued after 9/11 (I've misplaced the details) .

The key to unravelling this seems to lie in following the movements and meetings of Atta. There is no doubt that many more people were aware of the pending 9/11 attacks than is popularly believed. I don't accept that the 9/11 terrorists could have been allowed to come and go as freely as they did if they were being hunted by US intelligence as al Qaeda members. The "we were incompetent/made mistakes" argument just doesn't add up. Various intelligence agencies were monitoring these individuals.

lukery said...

D - fascinating, thanks.

on related matters - an update on the Lance interview. I like to be as prepared as possible for interviews - and i learnt what i could about Lance's argument/story. We agreed to do an interview and he wanted to do it by email (yuk for both of us, particularly him) - so i sent him a bunch of questions and he replied 'it will take me a lot of work to answer your questions - where will it be published?" i told him that i couldnt guarantee him wide distribution and i havent heard from him since.

damien said...

I guess you could tell Lance that you have a select and influential readership (Larissa, Scott, Sibel etc). That may help.

The Barbara Honegger link (above) is fantastic if you've never read it. She has a lot of interesting anomalies about the Pentagon attack: evidence that it occurred at 9.32am, not 9.37 as officially stated; that the initial fire was all but put out by a passing local fire brigade using foam, yet the fire allegedly continue to burn for 63 hours(!), stuff on Atta etc.

TPM Muckraker has a terrific story on the Osama 9/11 'confession' video. He claims that it was obtained by Saudi intelligence at the behest of the CIA in order to make the case for the US invading Afghanistan - with the conclusion that the US was in a position to capture bin Laden very early on but chose not to do so since they'd lose the reason for invading.

lukery said...

D - that's a great article by muckraker (FYI - I dont think it is associated with TPM)

noise said...

Thanks for the links Damien.

Is Honegger suggesting O'Neill knew about 9/11 two months before it happened? That's a strange theory if she is making that case.

I didn't know this but read recently that the CIA's CTC has FAA officials. That sure is interesting in light of the bizarre lack of coordination between US intel and the FAA.

I read [I]Perfect Soldiers[/I] by Terry McDermott not too long ago. Basically, his account suggests the hijackers (at least the presumed pilots) were college/graduate degree students who became radicalized by extreme Islamic beliefs. The overall sense was that the al Qaeda operatives involved in the attacks were amateurs. The difference between Atta and Shehhi vs. Ali Mohamed is night and day. One would expect operatives of Mohamed's training to have been involved in an attack like 9/11. And there is no way that McDermott's Atta and Hopsicker's Atta are the same guy. Anyone have an explanation?

damien said...

Is Honegger suggesting O'Neill knew about 9/11 two months before it happened? That's a strange theory if she is making that case..

Yes she is, and I think that's a nutty conclusion given O'Neill's commitment against al Qaeda elsewhere.

Honegger has some useful facts (her pdf is good) but her conclusions are unsustainable.

I think you're right in following the story of Atta if you want to unravel it. Teamplus8 are the guys who have studied all the hijackers. They reckon a number of them have 'doubles'. Hopsicker also reckons there are two Atta's (excluding the third 'Atta', some weirdo who showed up in Florida after 9/11 claiming to be Amanda Keller's 'real' boyfriend. He disappeared but seems to be a US intel/FBI distraction to Keller's claims about Atta).

Hopsicker also places Atta in Portland early in 2000 when the official account only has him arriving in the US in mid year. Interestingly, Atta flew to Portland before flying on to Boston for his hijack flight. Hopsicker's suggestion is that Atta was tied up with a Portland military base.

Sorry it's all so vague from me, but Hopsicker and TeamPlus8 have all the evidence bits.

Spanish intelligence was monitoring Spanish al Qaeda and those guys met with Atta as described above in early 2001. So the likelihood is very high that the CIA was aware of Atta's movements there even if they didn't know all the 9/11 attack details.

Don't forget, there's all that planted evidence - Atta's will, Koran etc, and the hijacker passport discovered in the streets of NY after 9/11. So there was a very early disinfo exercise by US authorities. Whatever they knew about the terrorists it's a hell of a lot more than they're letting on.

damien said...

re CIA- FAA links... there's also the fact that the Presidential Security Service monitored FAA radar in real time and saw the hijackings unfold just as the FAA did. Richard Clarke spelled it all out in his book. I just don't except this keystone cops rubbish for 9/11. My impression is that this was one of the most choreographed and planned exercises ever. There's just too many contradictions, too many failures by the authorities. I just can't figure out who or exactly how.

noise said...

That Team 8 stuff is very interesting. They (or it could be Hopsicker I forget) have anecodotes like someone talking to Atta in German and he doesn't respond even though he lived in Germany and was presumably fluent.

With Atta, I get thrown by his unique appearance and mistakenly assume that someone would have told the media that the Atta they saw wasn't the guy with the menacing glare.