The secret story of Mossad and the World Trade Center attack
Told for the first time - the story of Mossad's advance knowledge about the 9-11 attack and how the US Army reported that Mossad "has capability to target US forces and make it look like a Palestinian/Arab act." The Clinton-Bush cover story is coming rapidly unraveled....more to come in this breaking story.
The unresolved role of Mossad in 9-11
© 2002 by Jim Moore, from the forthcoming book "Big Oil - Big War: The true story of September 11, 2001 and the 'War on Terror' - Writer's Club Press: San Jose, New York, Lincoln, Shanghai.
In the hours following the World Trade Center attack, millions of American Jews were shocked and deeply hurt at accusations spreading around the world like wildfire that Israel had been behind the attack, and had even warned thousands of Jews working in the Twin Towers not to go to work that morning.
The rumors were not restricted to wild-eyed terrorist sympathizers overflowing with anti-Jewish hatred. Sheikh Muhammed Al-Gamei-a was, until shortly after the attacks the US representative of Egypt's Al-Azhar University in New York City - westernized, educated, seemingly rational. He had also served as Imam of the Islamic Cultural Center and mosque in New York, but he fled America after the attacks, claiming Muslim life in America had become unbearable because of the "Zionist plot."
"I personally have suffered; my home was attacked, and my daughters were harassed." He said he confronted a mob attacking his home and told them what they were doing was uncivilized and also a two-fold crime in itself: they were letting the true criminals go free and attacking the innocent.
"It became very clear to me that they knew very well that the Jews were behind these ugly acts (9-11) while we, the Arabs, were innocent ... "
"All the signs indicate that the Jews had the most to gain from an explosion like that. They are the only ones capable of planning such acts.
"First of all, it was found that the automatic pilot was neutralized a few minutes before the flight. ... Second, the black boxes were found to contain no information. ... Third, America has the most powerful intelligence apparatuses, the FBI and the CIA. ... How did the [perpetrators] manage to infiltrate America without their knowledge?"
"Fourth, Jews control decision-making in the airports and in the sensitive centers in the White House and the Pentagon. Fifth, to date America has presented no proof incriminating Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda."
Further, repeating the wildfire rumor, he claimed 4,000 Jews had skipped work at the Twin Towers that morning. Even James Zogby, chairman of the Arab American Institute, shook his head in sadness and denounced it as a cruel and bizarre hoax.
Gamei-a insists that police "arrested a group of Jews rejoicing in the street at the time of the incident. This news item was hushed up immediately after it was broadcast. ... The Jews who control the media acted to hush it up. ... If it became known to the American people, they would have done to the Jews what Hitler did." (NewsMax.com - "A Muddled Muslim Mind" by Reed Irvine, chairman of Accuracy in Media, 18 October 2001)
What the Israeli government knew about 9-11
While it is obviously a cruelty to blame Jews as a whole, it is a fair question to ask if Israeli intelligence might have known in advance and, further, if Mossad (the Israeli intelligence agency) might have had a hand in advancing the act to deflect criticism against Israeli actions in Palestine. One can't deny that it would have strengthened their hand in dealing with their own terrorism problems.
Pravda, carrying the story a bit further but with some ambiguity, carried an article written by Bill White, which claimed:
"When asked what he thought about the September 11 attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, an Israeli minister told the press that "this is very good." That day, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon renewed his attacks on Palestinian territories, killing nearly a dozen Palestinians. Another Israeli government official gloated to the press that it appeared America no longer cared if Israel shot Palestinians dead in the streets. In the US, Israel's domestic lobby almost celebrated the attacks - in fact, five Israeli nationalists were arrested in New York after the FBI found them dancing in the streets - and public support for US aid to Israel jumped from ... around 40% to nearly 55% in a CNN opinion poll." (Pravda, "From Supporting Israel to Opposing 'Hate'" by Bill White - 4 October 2001)
First, one has to consider the source and the agenda of that source. Pravda has long been the official mouthpiece of Soviet propaganda. The "Israeli minister" who made the statement "this is very good" is conveniently unnamed. In fact, the quote may be accurate, but the story doesn't explain just what the minister meant. One can see where it would be "very good" to the Israeli position regarding Palestinian terrorist acts if it took some of the pressure off Israeli responses. Note also the use of the word "gloated" - obviously an emotional hot button, the kind of editorializing one finds so much of in our own press, such as the New York Times. The only individual identified is Ariel Sharon and, yes, he did take advantage of the attack to go after those in his own back yard he considered "terrorists", even though the Arab world considers them "freedom fighters." Even the story about the five arrested Israelis could be true, though this author has been unable to track down any confirmation. As for the CNN poll, it probably was true.
What one needs to be aware of when reading or viewing any news story is the subtlety of "hot button words," the use of certain adjectives to create an emotional image that may or may not be true. The very thought of some Jew "gloating" over thousands of innocent dead Americans is bound to awaken a rage in the average American listener. A common psy-op ("psychological operations") tactic is to mix information with disinformation in the hopes the whole story will be swallowed, hook, line and sinker. There are numerous examples of that throughout this book, where US officials have told partial-lies, partial truths and complete lies to advance covert political agendas the informed public would never support. But the US certainly has no monopoly on the tried and tested propaganda ploy.
On the other hand, the shrill cry of "anti-Semitism" has been used and over-used to stifle legitimate criticism and to strike fear in the hearts of those who disagree with Israeli policies but are not anti-Semitic. Israeli apologists have used the tactic for so long and with such over-kill that it is bound to lose its effectiveness. Its misuse does not serve genuine Israeli interests; too often Israelis demand that their policies and their actions, no matter how barbaric, be accepted because of who they are, not on the basis of what they are doing. It makes Israel an international bully, no matter how small a nation it may be. It is akin to discussing whether a color is blue or green. If an Israeli says it is blue, he must be right because he is a Jew and even if it's bright red, he's right and you are anti-Semitic to even think otherwise. The result is cruel and long-lasting to all Jews, and yet it is to some extent self-inflicted.
That said - at the risk of being falsely branded an anti-Semite myself, can one logically and rationally, based on fact, even discuss the possibility of an Israeli role in 9-11?
Just days after the WTC attack, on September 20, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not exactly play the role of statesman when he demanded of the US Congress that America must wage war not just on Afghanistan, but must also attack all of Israel's enemies, real and perceived, including Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran. He was clearly capitalizing on American heartbreak to further his own self-interest and that of Israel's. Israeli apologists in the Bush government immediately fell all over themselves in disgusting agreement. Under Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz demanded an attack on Iraq. Defense Policy Board Chairman Richard Perle wanted us to start bombing Egypt. It was reminiscent of the screams of one of the Columbine high school killers: "Kill 'em all!!!!" It was a cynical ploy on Netanyahu's part, but intelligence reports since then indicate he may get his way yet.
DoD warns about Mossad 'targeting US', framing Arabs
In 2001, even though the Bush administration said there were no active plans to put American peacekeepers between Palestinians and Israelis, there were contingency plans for such an action. Indeed, the Department of Defense would have been negligent not to have had such contingency plans that could be quickly activated if needed.
That 68-page contingency plan, calling for the introduction of three heavily-armed US brigades, was prepared by the Army's School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS), an elite training ground and military think tank at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. That report, obtained by the Washington Times, contains some eye-opening assessments about Israel - assessments overlooked in the more "newsworthy" angle of "20,000 US troops suggested for West Bank."
The study was compiled by 60 officers (all second-year SAMS students) called the "Jedi Knights." The goal of the study was to set out what could be accomplished in the first 30 days of US involvement. In the past, SAMS has done studies for the Joint Chiefs and Army chief of staff, and helped plan the allied ground attack against Iraq.
That report calls the Israeli armed forces a "500-pound gorilla in Israel. Well armed and trained. Operates in both Gaza [and the West Bank]. Known to disregard international law to accomplish mission. (Emphasis added) Very unlikely to fire on American forces."
Speaking more specifically of Mossad, the report continues: "Wildcard. Ruthless and cunning. Has capability to target U.S. forces and make it look like a Palestinian/Arab act." (Emphasis added; Source: The Washington Times, "Army study suggests U.S. force of 20,000" by Rowan Scarborough, 5 April 2002)
The Odigo Warning: Israeli employees get e-mail warnings of 9-11
On October 3, 2001, Online Newsbytes published a report that "officials at instant-messaging firm Odigo confirmed that two employees received text messages warning of an attack on the World Trade Center two hours before terrorists crashed planes into the New York landmarks." This was confirmed by Alex Diamindis, vice president of sales and marketing, who said that workers in the company's research and development and international sales office in Israel did in fact receive such a warning from another Odigo user about two hours before the first attack. "Diamandis said the sender of the instant message was not personally known to the Odigo employees." Although both the FBI and Israeli law enforcement agencies said they were "looking into the matter," it dropped entirely off the radar screen and not another word has been heard since. (NewsMax.com - "Instant Messages Warned of Attacks" - 3 Oct. 2001)
More ominous is the military assessment above that Israel has the capability and the willingness to do such a thing. US awareness of that fact is considered a vital military factor in US strategic planning, and carries more weight than the angry words of a young student or the vague rumors floating around a mosque, or even the more concrete and confirmed e-mails to Israeli workers at Odigo. One doesn't have to go too far back into recent history to discover very real Israeli attacks on US military ships.
Sharon's screaming match with Shimon Peres
On October 4, 2001, a report aired on Col Yisrael radio of a screaming match between Ariel Sharon and Foreign Minister (and former Prime Minister) Shimon Peres over the perceived decline of Israeli world status. "Don't worry about American pressure on Israel," Sharon reportedly yelled at Peres. "We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it." Peres wasn't sure how long that would prove to be true.
Heavy Jewish influence on the Clinton administration, as on most others, is far out of proportion to American Jewish population. Most of the world denounces US bias toward Israel, no matter how violent or abhorrent her actions. That has proven even more true in the recent escalation of West Bank violence.
Mossad alert - warning or play?
There is no doubt that Mossad did have pretty detailed knowledge of a forthcoming attack on the US. The London Telegraph reported on Sept. 17 that Mossad officials actually flew to Washington in August to try to personally plead with the CIA and FBI to deal with a cell of 200 terrorists planning a major operation - but both agencies refused to listen.
The Mossad officials specifically warned that "large-scale terrorist attacks on highly visible targets on the American mainland were imminent." While offering no specific target information, they pointed to Iraq and Osama bin Laden. A US official told the Telegraph that it was "quite credible" that the CIA did not heed the Mossad warning. "It has a history of being over-cautious about Israeli information." But he added that "if this is true, then the refusal to take it seriously will mean heads will roll." But of course they didn't. CIA "over-caution" stems from the Mossad too often crying wolf in order to get the US to do its dirty work for them.
It would seem self-defeating for Mossad to tell the CIA in advance about such an attack if Mossad was itself involved, but Mossad could have been playing an extremely clever card, knowing its warning would be ignored, and thus covering its own butt by issuing the warning anyway. Sometimes the best way to keep a secret is to "hide" it right out in the open, where no one would think to look.
There is always the possibility the CIA and Mossad may have even worked together to smooth the way for the New York attack, without having a direct hand in it. After all, the CIA supplied the explosives used in the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. That is confirmed by sworn court testimony from the CIA itself; its agents "didn't really believe the terrorist cell it had infiltrated would actually use the explosives." But they did, and so the CIA has to share the blame for 1,000 injuries and six deaths.
Arab charges of Mossad-CIA plot
Lebanon's Druze leader Walid Jumblatt is bitterly anti-Syrian, but he believes both the CIA and Mossad worked together to remove any roadblocks the bin Laden group might have encountered. In fact, he goes further and says he believes both agencies were more actively involved than just "smoothing the way."
"There are a number of questions on the authors of the attacks in America," he said. "I think they (the attacks) were a great coup carried out by the secret services. The CIA and the Mossad could be behind (the attacks) to provoke a new war and impoverish and occupy the Middle East."
He believes bin Laden is an "American agent," a belief that can be pretty well backed up by a mountain of evidence covering several years, as presented in this book.
"Who is bin Laden who has become the number one (enemy) of western civilizations? He is an invention of the American secret services who chose to fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan with US backing," said Jumblatt, who had close ties to the Soviet Union until its collapse in 1991.
"It's an enormous scandal," he was quoted as saying in the Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald Sept. 16, 2001, "because in 1994, the CIA pointed the finger at bin Laden as a very dangerous man. It is also surprising that a great state which has a military budget of $US 350 billion was not able to thwart these attacks."
"One should find out whether the American (secret) services are implicated in starting a merciless war between America and the racist West against Arabs and the Muslims." He expressed concern that the "war on terrorism" could develop into "a huge massacre of Palestinians." And so it has, but there has also been a "huge massacre" of innocent Israeli civilians by Palestinian suicide bombers, some of them no more than 16-year-old girls.
"Under the pretext of fighting bin Laden, the Zionists may commit a huge massacre in Palestine to push through an exodus of its Arab residents and give the green light to Sharon to carry out a huge massacre." The events of the first quarter of 2002 indicate he could well be correct.
He gave the interview in the Shouf mountains southeast of Beirut, where he was presiding over a local ceremony. During that ceremony he called on the audience to observe one minute of silence in memory of "the innocent (people) killed in the World Trade Center" and also in memory of the "Arabs killed in Palestine, in south Lebanon, in Syria, Jordan and Iraq in the war against Israel."
In March and April of 2002, Ariel Sharon expanded his columns of tanks and his aerial firepower back into Lebanon itself, threatening to engulf the whole area in nuclear war. While one must remember Jumblatt's affinity for the Soviet Union and the distinct possibility he is simply parroting the Russian line, he has nonetheless made some very valid points. Things are not always as they seem.
While it's been fashionable in recent years, especially during the Clinton years, to blame "the extreme right wing conspiracy" for everything wrong in America, and to specifically blame "racist militia movements" and "right-wing talk radio" for our ills, few Americans are aware that the largest and one of the most violence-prone militias in America is Jewish - the Jewish Defense League, which Mossad has used quite often. We are afraid to even discuss it for fear of being called "anti-Semitic." Even the "respected" Anti-Defamation League has engaged in illegal and wholesale spying on American citizens who have done nothing wrong whatsoever - except dare to listen to those who disagree with militant Jewish policies.
The Jewish Defense League bombing plot
Islamists are not the only "extremist terror groups" in the United States. One of the oldest is the Jewish Defense League (JDL), which has a troubled history as the nation's largest - and one of its most violent - militias, yet few Americans would ever think "Jewish" when they hear the word "militia." It has been labeled a "terrorist organization" by the FBI since the 1970s.
Late on the night of Dec. 11, 2001, Irv Ruben, 56, and Earl Krugel, 59, were kicked back in Krugel's Los Angeles home waiting for the final component of bombs (explosive powder) that would be used to blow up a Los Angeles (Culver City) mosque (King Fahg Mosque) and the office of Arab-American Congressman Darrell Issa, a Republican and the grandson of Lebanese immigrants. Rubin is chairman of the JDL. Just minutes later, as their informant delivered the material, federal agents moved in and arrested the two, along with several weapons and bomb components.
The plot was hatched because Arabs "need a wakeup call," Krugel allegedly said at one point. The original target was to be the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles, but for some unknown reason was changed just the weekend before.
The JDL was originally formed to mount armed response to anti-Semitic acts in New York, and gained notoriety for several bombings and arsons aimed at Soviet targets in retaliation for Soviet mistreatment of Russian Jews. Kahane left the JDL in the 1980s, sparking a bitter power struggle, and was assassinated in New York in 1990. El Sayyid Nosair, a 36-year-old Egyptian-born Muslim was convicted for the murder.
Rubin, by his own count, has been arrested more than 40 times and, in 1980 was acquitted of soliciting the murder of US Nazis after he held a press conference offering $500 to anyone who killed or maimed a member of the American Nazi Party. With slogans such "For every Jew a .22" and "Keep Jews alive with a .45", he views America as strongly anti-Semitic and insists that only the spilling of Gentile lood can protect American Jews.
In 1985, an Arab-American activist, Alex Odeh, was assassinated by bomb. While Irvin denied the killing, he said Odeh "got what he deserved." At one point, according to ABC News (March 19, 2002), JDL member Baruch Goldstein shot and killed 29 Muslims in a Hebron mosque and wounded 125, but the JDL refused to repudiate his actions.
"We feel that Goldstein took a preventative measure against yet another Arab attack on Jews. We understand his motivation, his grief and his actions," claims the JDL web site. "And we are not ashamed to say that Goldstein was a charter member of the Jewish Defense League."
The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University in San Bernardino classified it as a hate group, as does the Southern Poverty Law Center (itself somewhat suspect for several reasons) and the Anti-Defamation League.
In May 1999, the FBI closed a 31-month investigation into reported death threats the JDL made against rappers Tupac Shakur and Eric "Easy-E" Wright, unable to corroborate evidence provided independently by two different FBI informants. The investigation was launched just weeks after Shakur's murder in September 1996. The informants described a JDL "extortion racket of various rap music stars via death threats." Wright died of AIDS in March 1995. (Associated Press - Dec. 12, 2001; ABCNews.com - March 19, 2002; and The Smoking Gun web site).
The Anti-Defamation spy scandal
Yet even the Anti-Defamation League, which condemns the JDL, has secrets of its own to hide. In December 1992, the story broke that the ADL was engaged in a massive spying operation on American citizens, targeting critics of Israeli and South African policy so that Mossad and South African hit squads could eliminate them.
While claiming to be the nation's leading defender against prejudice and bigotry, the ADL followed people whose "crime" was to attend public meetings at which Israel was criticized. San Francisco cop Tom Gerard (who had tutored the El Salvadoran death squads on the fine arts of torture) teamed up with a South African spy, Tom Bullock, and sneaked around the parking lots where meetings were held, copying down license plate numbers, which Gerard then ran through police department computers to reveal names and addresses. It was part of an operation that targeted more than 12,000 individuals and 600 organizations in northern California alone. ADL's spin doctors managed to keep the story from receiving major national news coverage.
Police retrieved ten boxes of files from the ADL's San Francisco office and, when 19 pro-Palestinians sued in 1993, the ADL managed to keep the case dragging on for years by refusing to allow potentially embarrassing depositions taken by the plaintiff's lawyer (ex-Congressman Paul "Pete" McCloskey) to be made public. Through manipulation of the judges, the ADL managed to beat back a Court of Appeals decision forcing those files to be released. The manipulated court said the ADL was within its rights as "a journalist organization" to keep their files secret.
What triggered the police raid was a tip from the FBI, whose office had been broken into and files stolen on the Nation of Islam. Gerard was accused of the theft and arrested. On his computer, they found files on more than 7,000 individuals on anyone Gerard felt was "pinko." In his locker they found a black executioner's hood, several photos of dark-skinned men who had been bound and blindfolded, CIA manuals, secret documents on interrogation techniques - stamped "secret" and referring to El Salvador, and various false passports and IDs bearing Gerard's photo.
The FBI discovered the operation had been ongoing since 1954 and had spied on 12,000 individuals, 77 Arab-American groups, 29 anti-apartheid groups, more than 600 "pinko" groups, 20 Bay Area labor unions, 612 right-wing organizations and 27 skinhead groups. SF police inspector Ron Roth said 75% of their contents was non-public information illegally obtained directly from government agencies. That information was being covertly turned over to Israel and South Africa to be used for "neutralization" purposes. Bullock admitted he was being paid by both the ADL and South African intelligence. Just ten days before he was assassinated in South Africa upon his return home, Chris Hani, widely regarded as the successor to the African National Congress' Nelson Mandela, had visited California, where he had come under Bullock's surveillance. Bullock turned the information over to the ADL and South African intelligence and Hani was promptly murdered.
The ADL's defense was that, like South African intelligence, it was fighting a "terrorist" and "communist" organization. At the time, Israel was furnishing arms to the apartheid government to help keep it in power.
SF District Attorney Arlo Smith made 700 pages of documents available to public for copying costs implicating the ADL in a nationwide spy operation based out of New York and run by Irwin Saull, since deceased, who was the ADL's "spymaster." Oddly, Smith then dropped charges in 1994 saying it would be too "expensive and time-consuming."
Two years later, in 1996, the ADL was hit with another spying lawsuit. It, too, was quietly resolved on favorable terms to the ADL and the case was swept under the rug. All it cost the ADL was a $25,000 check and the promise "not to do it again."
Former Congressman McClockey was himself a victim of ADL attacks and his wife, Helen, was one of the plaintiffs. Inexplicably, the number of plaintiffs shrank when two veteran journalists, Colin Edwards and George Green, suddenly showed up dead. McClockey was able to get the case revived on the basis of new evidence and the case was scheduled for hearing in March 2002 - but all news of it has vanished from the American press, amid reports of a huge cash settlement to hush the matter up once and for all.
It was clearly a classic example of how US government and local police agencies get around the law by "sub-contracting" out surveillance work they themselves are prohibited by law from conducting. The ADL, which claims federal non-profit status as an "education organization", was desperate to avoid a public trial in which far broader illegal activities would be exposed. Those in the press who covered the case at all revealed only the tip of the iceberg. (CounterPunch - "The ADL Snoops: Were the Spies 'Journalists'?" and "The ADL Spying Case Is Over, But the Struggle Continues" - 25 February 2002)
The FBI has, without a scintilla of evidence, blamed the post-9-11 anthrax attacks on "domestic right-wing extremists" (Washington Post - "FBI and CIA Suspect Domestic Extremists; Officials Doubt Any Links to bin Laden" - by Bob Woodward and Dan Eggen, 27 Oct. 2001) while hiding evidence that points to a much more direct involvement by a party or parties deep within the catacombs of government itself. While it may be "politically correct" to smear a whole class of people so long as they're "right-wing," that does not make it ethically right, any more than to paint all Jews with a broad brush of blame. Have we learned nothing since the Third Reich and the infamous Reichstag hoax?
The 125 phony Israeli 'art students' and the 9-11 hijackers
The case for CIA or Mossad involvement is only circumstantial, and it seems to implicate US agencies more than Israeli. The extent of Israel's relentless espionage assault against the US cannot be denied. Remember Jonathan Pollard (1986)? Nor can the extent of Israel's double-dealing in which it sells secret and sensitive US technology to China.
While the activities of the JDL and ADL cannot be specifically linked to the terror of 9-11, there is another case - also hushed up - which is.
"In January 2001, the DEA's security office began a dossier on 125 youthful Israeli visitors, after a few showed up at DEA offices selling landscapes and abstract paintings." (AP - "Gov't tracks Israeli art students" by Connie Cass)
In March, 2001, the National Counterintelligence Center (NCIC) warned in a report that "in the past six weeks, employees in federal office buildings have reported suspicious activities concerning individuals representing themselves as foreign students selling artwork." The report noted concern that they were acting suspiciously and might even be Islamic fundamentalists posing as Israelis. In fact, they were Israelis.
In April 2001, months before the World Trade Center attack, a large group of 125 Jewish "art students" apparently knew about the planned al-Qaeda attack and were following the hijackers around the country, according to a 61-page DEA federal task force report. These "students" gained access to sensitive federal office buildings and even the homes of government employees. A draft report from the DEA characterized the operation as possible espionage, saying it "may well be an organized intelligence-gathering activity."
These "art students" were arrested in cities throughout the US from Arkansas to California to Texas to Florida, amid US intelligence warnings about "suspicious activities" by people posing as Israeli "art students" and "attempting to bypass facility security and enter federal buildings."
The classified DEA report said a majority of the "students" questioned acknowledged having served in military intelligence, electronic signals interception or explosive ordinance units of Israel (emphasis added). One person was the son of a two-star Israeli general, one had served in a Patriot missile unit, and another had been a bodyguard to the head of the Israeli army. The report noted that all of the women were "very attractive," an asset useful in intelligence and blackmail operations. The group was made up of 20 cells of between four and eight members each, ages 22-30. "Each cell was under the control of a local chief, who planned and dovetailed operations [with the other cells]. The team in Irving, Texas, for example, "answered to Michael Calmanovic, who was arrested last April 4, while the Hollywood, Florida cell was run by Hanan Serfaty. The Miami operation was run by Legum Yochai."
"In addition the "art students" cultivated contacts with Israeli information technology companies based in the US and serving as regular suppliers to various U.S. federal agencies, such as Amdocs, Nice or Retalix. For instance, Marine Glikman, an Israeli intelligence officer, was a programmer at Retalix Raanana."
DEA officials were shocked and angered to discover that the group had targeted Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City (home to AWACs surveillance planes and where many of the Stealth B-1 bombers are repaired). Also, one female "art student" had gained entrance to the home of an Environmental Protection Agency worker "to sell paintings" and then returned later to photograph the home. Alarmed, the agency documented "sales calls" to the DEA offices as well as agents' homes in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans, Miami and other cities. The "students" claimed to be selling paintings ranging in price from $50 to $200; others claimed they were simply showing the works to promote Israeli art. Their activities "might well be an organized intelligence-gathering activity," the classified report notes, listing mostly people selling overpriced paintings door to door.
"That these people are now traveling in the U.S. selling art seems not to fit their background," the report said. One cell leader, according to an AP report, described buying the paintings for $8 to $10 in Florida, then reselling them for $50 or more. Some of the art came from Universal Art Inc. in Sunrise, Fla. Repeated calls to the company were not answered. Was it an Israeli front?
More shocking, a dozen members of this mysterious team, including the surveillance leader, had been based in Hollywood, Florida between January and June of 2001, near where some of the 9-11 hijackers had been living. The report outlined that another dozen people had been arrested "suspected of being tasked with the logistics of preparing the September 11 attacks." (emphasis added)
In a rather convoluted bit of "newspeak" reminiscent of Bill Clinton's definition of the word "is," the Bush administration at first covered up the story for nearly a year, then sent out a flurry of government officials to deny the report, and then - when that failed - said the report couldn't be true because no Israeli has been charged with spying in the incident. That is true. They were quickly and quietly deported with no charges being filed.
No one would have ever known until an unhappy DEA agent leaked the report, apparently to French intelligence. French intelligence then alerted an online French intelligence web site (www.intelligenceonline.com) and provided direct Internet access to the DEA report sitting on government computers. The site announced in February that it had "exclusive access" to a US Justice Department report that showed "a huge Israeli spy ring operating in the United States was rolled up by the Justice Department's counter-espionage service" last year.
Bill Carter, an FBI spokesman, said "The issue of an Israeli spying network is not an issue. No Israeli has been charged with espionage by the FBI or the Justice Department in this matter." True, but disassembling.
A group of Israeli students, he said, "allegedly were involved in activity outside of their visas and they were removed from the US based on that fact." He then repeated that none of them had been charged with espionage.
Justice Department spokeswoman Susan Dryden went further, saying "This seems to be an urban myth that has been circulating for months. The department has no information at this time to substantiate these widespread rumors about Israeli art students involved in espionage." The FBI (which as documented elsewhere was ordered to back off the bin Laden investigation long before 9-11) and the CIA (who employed bin Laden) claimed a "disgruntled" DEA employee was simply upset because the FBI and CIA didn't agree with his report, and leaked a memo he himself wrote. Another FBI spokesman told Reuters the story was "simply not true", while Israeli Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Yaffa Ben-Ari said it was "nonsense." Yet another Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Irit Stopper, confirmed that "a few" Israelis posing as art students had been expelled from the US for not having work permits.
Yet Immigration and Naturalization Service spokesman Russell Bergeron must not have been fully clued in on the proper response. He confirmed that "several dozen" Israelis "in their twenties" had been arrested and deported in the first nine months (up to September) of 2001 for being employed without proper INS work papers. He refused to tell just how many "students" were arrested. Another law enforcement agent said some were investigated for possible fraud charges.
A little-noticed AP report March 9, 2002 revealed that, according to the classified report, several of the Israelis - like the accused Muslim hijackers - had never bothered to enroll in the art colleges they claimed to attend in Israel. Several of those questioned said they were students from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, but a spokeswoman for the Israeli school, Pnina Calpen, said no one named in the report had been a student there going back at least ten years.
"These were routine, normal cases," Bergeron said. "I have no knowledge of any espionage-related issues with these people." Well, what about terrorism-related charges?
Faced with more detailed revelations from France, DEA spokeswoman Rogene Waite confirmed the 61-page DEA document as genuine, according to Tampa Bay Online and AP (5 Mar. 2002). Another FBI spokesman, on the condition of anonymity, repeated the statement that no espionage charges had been filed against anyone. He was asked, "But was there espionage activity?" He would only repeat his original statement, and refused to answer that specific question. Another Justice Department official, also asking not to be identified, said they had been aware of "some alleged linkage" between the group and "alleged" espionage activities since early 2001, with arrests in Dallas, Chicago, San Diego and south Florida. The DEA report shows the "students" were active in several states, including Tennessee. Justice Department spokesman Bryan Sierra said no one in the Justice Department had "been concerned" about any alleged espionage. Deputy US Attorney General Larry Thompson refused to even discuss the matter at all.
Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL - see story above) shrugged it off, saying "It's become almost a tradition that once you finish [[Israeli] military service you take a world tour, and then you face life for real."
Clearly, the Bush administration was caught off guard by the revelations and in its haste to bring in the spin-doctors, many conflicting accounts were given to the news media. What was not revealed was that in March 2001, the US Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, a federal agency, sent out a public warning urging employees to report any contacts with people describing themselves as Israeli art students.
"These individuals have been described as aggressive," the warning said. "They attempt to engage employees in conversation rather than giving a sales pitch." The group's activities encompassed far more states than the administration would admit.
The task force carrying out the original investigation, it has been learned, included not just DEA investigators but those from the INS, the FBI and the US Air Force investigation unit, due to the broad national scope of the Israeli operation. However, it was the DEA's in-house security unit, the Office of Security Programs, that sparked the probe.
Some of the operatives were already well-known in the Israeli intelligence community, for example: Peer Segalovitz (military registration number 508798) and Aran Ofek (son the two-star Israeli general). Last year, on May 16, 2001, the US Air Force Office of Special Investigation sent a letter to the Justice Department asking for assistance in an "espionage" case against four of the "students": Yaro Ohana, Ronen Kalfon, Zeev Cohen and Naor Topaz.
One of the striking aspects of the document was its suggestion that the ring had infiltrated federal justice department buildings, and computer companies also of Israeli origin, which operate in the U.S. and sell equipment to U.S. government departments.
Intelligence Online has a copy of a memorandum dated March 4, 2002 and signed by Robert Diegelman, assistant attorney general for administration. It was addressed to officials in charge of the justice department's information systems. For security reasons, it called on them to forbid information system access to all non-U.S. citizens and no longer use foreign-supplied computer and communication gear. It referred specifically to an initial warning entitled Department of Justice Order 2640.2D Information Technology Security and sent out on last July 12 which cautioned in vaguer terms against using information technology sold by foreign firms. The July 12 warning confirmed that the DEA's report, completed in June 2001, was being borne in mind at the highest level.
The role played by the DEA in the case takes on a wider dimension because of the fact that in September, 1997 it purchased $25 million worth of interception equipment from a number of Israeli companies which were named in the report. In assigning so many resources to the inquiry (all DEA offices were asked to contribute) the agency was clearly worried that its own systems might have been compromised. We've also obtained an internal document from the US Coast Guard, an Intelligence Bulletin dated Jan. 17, 2002. Reserved for security bosses in America's biggest companies, the bulletin regularly tracks all attempts to penetrate protected sites recorded by the US Coast Guard. The Jan. 17 issue described the case of a man and woman "of Middle East origin" taking pictures of a refinery. When questioned they said they were "art students" even though they were able to discuss technical details concerning refineries. The Intelligence Bulletin said it had recorded several other cases of suspicious activity in the past. (Intelligence Online, "Israeli Spy Operation Confirmed, 14 March 2002)
On March 13, a Justice Department official told Intelligence Online that the DEA report had been handed over to the department's Joint Terrorism Task Force. The same day, DEA Administrator Asa Hutchison, at a press conference, said simply that he had passed the document along to "other agencies."
Earlier, on February 28, 2002, Intelligence Online reported that some officials had been hoping for six months that the case would end up in court, but that "the Bush administration appeared intent on hushing it up." So much so that when Fox News aired a four-part series by reporter Carl Cameron, the administration pressured Fox News to remove the series from its library. Fox News had originally been alerted by federal investigators who were outraged over the Bush cover-up. Cameron had raised their concerns that the Israelis had been more deeply involved with the 9-11 hijackers than the public was being told.
"Indeed, the addresses of Israeli agents mentioned in the report we obtained are very close to former, known residents of the terrorists," Intelligence Online reported (2 Feb. 2002), adding "For the moment, however, there's nothing to say that wasn't pure coincidence." Of the 19 accused hijackers, five of them lived in Hollywood: Mohamed Atta (alleged ringleader), Waleed M. Alshehri, Wail M. Alshehri, Abdulaziz Alomari and Marwan Al-Shehhi. Six others lived in nearby Del Ray Beach: Ahmed Alnami, Ahmed Ibrahim A. al Haznawi, Saeed Alghamdi, Mohand Alshehri, Hamzi Aghamdi and Fayez Rashid Ahmed Hassan al Qadi Banihammad. That accounts for 11 of the 19 accused killers.
"In politics, nothing happens by coincidence." - Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Intelligence Online literally caught hell for the story, which briefly spread like wildfire around the world, receiving coverage in Arab newspapers such as Arabia.com (online news) March 5, 2002, in Haaretz Daily, as well as the Washington Post (March 6), and Tampa Bay Online (April 8), and Le Monde (France), Associated Press (March 9) and Reuters..
"Indeed, most of the negative comment aimed at discrediting the document [already officially admitted to be genuine] came from commentators who had never read it," Intelligence Online noted on March 12.
Why Israeli soldiers don't trust their own government
There is little doubt that Israel has become mired down in its own "Vietnam" in its war against the Palestinians. It is a war that seems to drag on forever and one in which an increasing number of Israelis are refusing to serve. Even a growing number of Israeli troops are refusing duty in Gaza and the West Bank ("Israelis who won't join the fight" MSNBC, 3 April 2002), creating a "public unity" nightmare for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, whose government is deeply split and who must work alongside his old nemesis Shimon Peres, for whom he has no lost love. It is not incomparable to the growing hatred that existed between US President Lyndon Johnson and his Vice President Hubert Humphrey, as Humphrey sought to distance himself from Johnson in a failed effort to win the 1968 election.
Sharon is facing increasing world isolation, even demands that he be tried as a war criminal. He is facing a rapid deterioration of support at home both from the press and from the Israeli population. Israel has gone in a time machine back to the 1960s experienced by the US, with the country becoming internally polarized and, ironically, weaker than ever to a true external threat.
Although aware of this growing crisis of confidence, I was nonetheless surprised to hear from Israeli military that many of them are "more afraid of Mossad than of Arafat." They actually believe they are being targeted by their own government in a desparate attempt to sway public and world opinion - again, much like Johnson did from the very beginning of the Vietnam War.
"Do you know the Stern Gang?" one asked me. No, I didn't. "It is an Israeli operation. They bombed Pacha's Disco in June 2001. The government and the media lied about it, claiming it was done by a Palestinian suicide bomber. It wasn't. I was there. They blew up the Jerusalem Ben Yhudah Mall the following December. Abu Nidal - he was Mossad for 17 years. The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade? It is Mossad. Many of these attacks are carried out by Mossad terrorists, not Arafat - and that is why we refuse to kill Palestinians. In Vietnam, you had - what you call - friendly fire? Here, too! In early March, you had 11 Israeli soldiers killed by some crazy old man with an old bolt-action rifle, so they say. Not so!! It was Mossad. We came under attack from our own government, just so Sharon can tell the world what bad guys we are fighting. It is not true. I send you proof."
"Well, what's behind it?" I asked. "What would Sharon want with the damned West Bank anyway? It's a piece of desert shit!"
"Do you know Operation Pluto?" came the quiet, calm voice - more and more a question in reply to a question.
"You Americans don't read your own history very well, do you? We do. We have to survive. Especially military history. Remember - Operation Pluto. And I give you one more word - Operation Shekhinah." I had to get him to spell it. "I can say no more. It would be dangerous for me. Good luck with your book, you will probably not talk to me again."
"Why?" I asked. "Did I say something wrong?"
"No," he laughed. "I am being sent somewhere, and I may not come back. I may not even go. I may go to prison instead. That will be my choice. I can't say any more. Goodbye and good luck."
I looked again at the MSNBC story as I hung up the phone and said a silent prayer for the friend I had never met face to face. We had met through music - the blues, actually - through a mutual friend from one of the former Soviet Republics. He loved the blues. Now, I thought, he's about to be singing them.
"Why should I go to kill and to be killed - for what?" says Ron, one of about 400 Israeli soldiers refusing to join the fight in the West Bank and Gaza. "This is a war we have no chance to win." (MSNBC, ibid)
Lt. Itai Ryb got his call to serve on Friday, March 29. He packed, but for jail, not war.
"This war is not acceptable to me. I can't take part in it. It's occupation, it's illegal; mostly it harms the well-being of Israel. The sooner we end the occupation, the sooner we're going to have peace in this country." (MSNBC, ibid)
Will my friend be one of these, I wondered.
I found it very hard to believe, even coming from an Israeli. And yet, I could not forget the US Army report: "[Mossad] has capability to target U.S. forces and make it look like a Palestinian/Arab act." (Emphasis added; Source: The Washington Times, "Army study suggests U.S. force of 20,000" by Rowan Scarborough, 5 April 2002) If they could do it to us, surely they could do it their own or to the Palestinians with ease. If it is true, then it must be exposed, and it should not be taken as a blanket indictment of the Jewish people or the Israeli population any more than the US deception of Vietnam should be grounds for a blanket indictment of millions of Americans who either didn't know what was going on or, in fact, were strongly opposed.
My God, I wondered as I looked over the photographs and news stories provided me, what kind of insane reality are we slipping into? I increasingly was feeling more like a participant, a combatant, not just some researcher safe within his American home. The more leads I found, the more they in turned led to, and I began to see that my own quest was dangerous, though certainly not as deadly as the one my fellow humans were facing in Israel and Afghanistan.
Female Jewish Bomber Murders 12 in Jerusalem
"Girl in Red" in Bomb Horror
Forty minutes after a telephoned warning, the Jerusalem Railway Station was blown up yesterday. Agency reports say that at least twelve people are missing, and the station will not be able to be used for a week.
A young Jewess described as the "Girl in Red" slipped past Arab police, held up the railway clerk at pistol point, and planted three suitcases, containing bombs, in the waiting room.
Troops and police were rushed to the station to try and locate the bombs and a constable managed to remove one. A second exploded in his hands while he was trying to get it out of the building, wrecking the loading room and the waiting room. The police constable was killed instantly.
In the meanwhile, the "Girl in Red" leapt into a taxi, which tore off through a hail of fire from police. In an attempt to break through the police cordon drawn around the city, the taxi roared through twisting lanes in the Jewish slum quarters.
It is thought that the taxi must have stopped briefly to let the girl out, because when it was finally cornered near the walls of the Old City, she was not in it. The only occupants were three Jews, two of whom were wounded. There was a quantity of explosives and hand-grenades under the flooring of the taxi.
Police took in charge the bullet riddled, bloodstained taxi, scoured the adjacent Montefiore quarter, and arrested another Jew who was found wounded in a nearby house. They also held ten other suspects including a girl dressed in red, who is being questioned in an attempt to establish the identity of the girl who planted the bombs.
Although earlier agency reports mentioned at least 12 missing, the only fatality so far mentioned in the official version is the police officer. He was a demolition expert. Reuters in Jerusalem says that police and troops last night were still searching the debris at the station for further casualties.
After the explosion, an Irgun Zvai Leumi (terrorist) spokesman, broadcasting over the secret radio "Voice of Fighting Zion", said: "The Jews are at war. Only arms will decide Palestine's future, not an election."
Final death toll is 12, with 11 injured. The Female Jewish terrorist has been identified as Sima Fleishhaker-Hoizman (Source: The Daily New, Perth, Western Australia, 31 October 1946)
Only at the end, did I realize this wasn't an event that had just happened; it had taken place in 1946 - more than 50 years ago! How long, I wondered, had such things been going on? I never considered myself someone who had "just fallen off the turnip truck." As a journalist, as a political advisor to presidential campaigns, even as someone who had had his own experiences working with intelligence agencies (or, more properly their "cutouts"), I thought I was pretty well-informed. But I realized I had been so busy concentrating on US-focused events that unless they were linked, I hadn't paid enough attention to foreign deceptions.
Knowing virtually nothing about the specific terrorist attacks my source had mentioned - except for what I had skimmed over in the press - I read on through the other information, accompanied by perhaps half a dozen damning photos.
The "suicide bombing" in the Beit Israel district of Jerusalem March 2, 2002 had killed 10 and wounded 57. Jerusalem Police Chief Mickey Levy said a suicide bomber with a shrapnel bomb strapped to his waist had simply walked up to a group of people and blown himself up. The bomber "got to the center of the neighborhood, approached a group of people (and detonated) a large explosive on his body," he said. Initially, the London Independent claimed the bomber was a Mohammed Daragmeh. BBC, meanwhile, claimed it was a Mohammed al-Chouhani, working for the al-Aqsa Martyers Brigade, an off-shoot of Arafat's al-Fatah.
The photos clearly showed something entirely different - a car bomb. The first local press reports, before they were re-written by Jerusalem's mayor, claimed: "Burial society volunteers picked up body parts amid debris slick with motor oil and blood. A truck ferried off the charred husk of a car ... Fierce flames from the destroyed car rose into the night sky off the street where the blast ripped through the Beit Israel district of this city just as worshippers were emerging from synagogues ... "
"Now do you think an Arab is going to be able to drive a car into this neighborhood on a Saturday night and park it right next to our synagogue and walk away?" my Israeli friend asked. "He'd be shot on sight. He wouldn't have a chance. This neighborhood is one of the most radical and Orthodox in all of Jerusalem. If you think that, you're living in fantasy! No, my friend, this is Mossad. This is Ariel Sharon. He is a known man of massacre. What he did at the Lebanon refugee camp years ago, he is now doing to our own people."
The other information, dated March 3, was taken from the website of Joe Vialls, an author whose work about a very strange Australian massacre I had recalled reading. A friend had sent me the book from Australia, insisting I read it.
It claimed "Taking aim from a hilltop, a sniper killed 11 soldiers and civilians at a checkpoint Sunday in the deadliest of a two-day string of Palestinian attacks that killed 21 Israelis."
"Early Sunday a Palestinian sniper apparently using an old Carbine took pot shots at soldiers and civilians who were at a roadblock about a mile from the settlement of Ofra northeast of Ramallah, military sources and eyewitnesses said.
"The gunman who was on a hill overlooking a valley with the roadblock killed three civilians, two army officers and three soldiers before reinforcements arrived, returned fire and hit the Carbine.
"Apparently the hills surrounding the valley caused an echo so single shots sounded like bursts of fire and it was difficult to detect its source. The attacker disappeared." ( http://geocities.com/joevialls/Rambo.html)
Suddenly, my mind's eye fogged then re-opened in Dallas, Texas, Nov. 22, 1963, where a "lone gunman" was supposedly firing off more rounds, more accurately than the FBI's best snipers could ever replicate. His name was Lee Harvey Oswald. Perhaps this time, "Oswald" had escaped, evading 120-mm tank shells and more than 1,000 rounds of returning rifle fire. Or had the Israelis simply stood around in the open, being picked off one by one? Where were the Cobra gunships with their Hellfire missiles and Gatling cannon, thermal imagery, IR guidance and all the other luxuries paid for with American tax dollars?
As Vialls notes in his website, Rambo would have been proud:
"You can almost hear the distant voice of Colonel Troutman on the radio. "Come in John Rambo. Come in John. This is Colonel Troutman. You've done some bad things, John, some very bad things, but we can sort it out. I've come to take you home to Fort Bragg."
"But they drew first blood, Sir, they drew first blood!" ( http://geocities.com/joevialls/Rambo.html)
I gazed down at the words I had scribbled - Operation Pluto, Shekhinah. What did it mean? Through a cyberspace journey that took me to Norway, again to Israel, to Australia and back to the US, I found just how deeply the tentacles of Big Oil were attached to everything that is going on around us - and I began to grow even more concerned about my own safety.
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