|Montreal, June 8, 2002 / No 105|
by Ralph Maddocks
The cataclysmic events of September 11th 2001 have perhaps improved the financial fortunes of the world's ink manufacturers, but oddly enough most of it seems to have been used by the non-traditional media. The conspiracy theorists were out in force, the Internet is full of sites devoted to asking pertinent questions, most of which remain unanswered still. The first serious book covering those events which I came across, recommended to me by my QL colleague, Hervé Duray, was called L'Effroyable imposture ("The Appalling Fraud") by Thierry Meyssan – published by Carnot and, for quite some time after its publication, unavailable in North America. It became an immediate best seller in France and I was able to secure a copy only through the auspices of Amazon.fr.
The North American mainstream press spent a great deal of their time rubbishing it, even though it was quite obvious that most of the critics had not bothered to read it, even had they possessed the necessary linguistic skills to do so. Employing a typical and quite unoriginal approach, Meyssan's detractors questioned the writer's sources, his political views, his sanity and various other aspects of his personality. Yet his book is among the best annotated and referenced works one is likely to come across. Without doubt, it is possible to construct alternative theories using the same evidential sources as Meyssan. Although he may not be entirely correct in his conclusions, there is enough material present to suggest that a serious independent investigation is warranted.
Many other sources came to light in the ensuing months, and a US Representative from the State of Georgia, Miss Cynthia McKinney, caused an outburst of Republican indignation following her March 25th appearance on the Flashpoints public affairs program on KPFA, a public radio station in Berkeley, California. She had the temerity to suggest that, "Congress should conduct a full and complete investigation into the most disastrous intelligence failure in American history." She called for the investigation after suggesting that the administration had prior knowledge of the attack. Immediately, she too was the subject of much opprobrium, with the same kind of unoriginal accusations regarding her personality, sanity, patriotism, etc.
A tidal wave of criticism emanated from the White House, the right-wing talk radio and press, spokespersons for the military-industrial complex and from her fellow members of Congress. On May 16th of this year she must have felt vindicated when President Bush was obliged to admit that the administration were given months of notice that a terrorist attack was a distinct possibility. Rep. McKinney again pointed out the critical need for a full and complete congressional investigation. She accused the Bush administration of engaging in "a conspiracy of silence" saying, "If committed and patriotic people had not been pushing for disclosure, today's revelations would have been hidden by the White House." And, "Ever since I came to Congress in 1992, there are those who have been trying to silence my voice. I've been told to "sit down and shut up" over and over again. Well,
Because of the noise made by an FBI employee who complained that evidence had been ignored by higher ranking officials, an official investigation has begun. An investigation which seems to be receiving limited co-operation from the Bush Administration. Looking over the composition of this Joint House and Senate Intelligence Committee one finds that its members, which includes luminaries such as Garry Condit, have received funding from many of the companies which may be expected to benefit from increased military spending. The report from this circus – sorry, committee – may well turn out to be similar to that of the Warren Commission, which dealt with the assassination of the 35th President of the United States and whose findings are still disputed almost forty years later.
Much confusion seems to reign in the ranks of the Bush administration. For example, on May 15th last the White House Press Secretary, Ari Fleischer, made the first admission that President Bush had received both CIA and FBI intelligence briefings in August 2001 indicating that Osama bin Laden might be planning a hijacking. He told the major news sources, including CBS News, that "All appropriate action was taken based on the threat information we had," Fleischer added that. "The President did not – not – receive information about the use of airplanes as missiles by suicide bombers." Elsewhere, in other statements, Fleischer told the press, "The President was also provided information about bin Laden wanting to engage in hijacking in the traditional pre-9-11 sense, not for the use of suicide bombing, nor for the use of an airplane as a missile." However, according to a story by the New York Times on May 16th, "Mr. Fleischer said the information given to the President in Texas [last August], had prompted the administration to put law enforcement agencies on alert."
On September 14th, the German daily newspaper, the Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung, reported that the BND (the Bundesnachrichtendienst – the German Security service – not as some in the US Administration might think, the Bank of North Dakota!) had warned both the CIA and Israel in June that Middle Eastern terrorists were "planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack important symbols of American and Israeli culture(1)." The story specifically referred to an electronic eavesdropping system known as Echelon, wherein a number of countries tap cell phone and electronic communications in partner countries and then pool the information. The BND warnings were also passed to the United Kingdom security services. As far as I know, no denial of this story, or of its veracity, has been made by the BND, even though the Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung story indicated that the information was received directly from BND sources.
The German paper Die Welt, on December 6th last, and Agence France Presse, on December 7th, reported that in 1996, Western intelligence services, including the CIA, learned following arrests made in the Philippines, that Al Qaeda operatives had planned to crash commercial airliners into the Twin Towers. Details of this plan, as reported by the American press, were found on a computer seized during those arrests. The plan was called "Operation Bojinka." Details of the plot became public in 1997 in the New York trial of one Ramsi Youssef for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing.
Another strange and thus far unexplained anomaly was the enormous amount of trading in certain stocks the day prior to September 11th. This involved very large numbers of "put" options placed on stocks of companies which were affected subsequently by the September 11th attacks. They included American Air Lines, AXA Reinsurance, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Munich Reinsurance, Swiss Reinsurance and United Air Lines. Put options are in effect a leveraged bet that a stock's price will fall dramatically. As CBS noted on September 26th, the peak of this trading activity occurred just before the attacks. Put options on United Air Lines jumped 90 times higher than normal between September 6th and September 10th, and 285 times higher than average on September 6th. Similar effects were noticed for other stocks. However, nobody has contested that only United and American stocks experienced this amount of put buying before the attacks. Nor were any other airlines affected.
On September 19th, our own Montreal Gazette quoted the San Francisco Chronicle which reported John Kinnucan, principal of Broadband Research, as saying "I saw put-call numbers higher than I've ever seen in 10 years of following the markets, particularly the options markets". Initial explanations were that this had to have been done by Mr. bin Laden and his associates, but one must wonder why, if this was so, he was prepared to risk discovery of his plot? What is interesting, is that the only report to have emerged thus far accuses two former FBI agents and an Egyptian/American, Amr I. Elgindy, a well-known Wall Street whistleblower, of placing those put options. Given the much vaunted regulatory regime of the US stock markets, it is surprising that it took so long for even these names to have been revealed. The US Attorney prosecuting the case made a very interesting disclosure. He claimed that classified information had been found during a search of possessions of a former FBI agent who is allegedly part of this insider trading conspiracy. The US Attorney did not elaborate in court but said that the confidential data found was material the agent had no legitimate reason for having and might lead to "something more serious."
On the fateful day, I happened to be watching the news when the report of what became the first plane hitting the WTC was broadcast. Then, like so many others, I saw the second plane collide with the second tower.
JORDAN: One thing, Mr. President, is that you have no idea how much you've done for this country. And another thing is that, how did you feel when you heard about the terrorist attack? (Applause)Clearly, unless he is being untruthful, the President saw something that the rest of us did not, and it has intrigued me ever since. Maybe he was watching CIA-TV and not CNN?
In an act of unrivalled prescience, President Bush's brother Jeb, Governor of Florida, called up his state's National Guard on September 7, 2001. His Executive Order 01-261 repeatedly makes reference to the Guard aiding law enforcement and emergency-management personnel in the event of "civil disturbance." Section 3 expressly tasks the Guard with aiding security at Florida's ports due to the "the potential massive damage to life and property that may result from an act of terrorism at a Florida port, [and] the necessity to protect life and property from such acts of terrorism..." Isn't it quite astonishing such an order was signed into effect four days before the terrorist attacks?
There is another Canadian connection to all this which has disappeared from the headlines in recent times. This is the case of one Delmart "Mike" Vreeland, a U.S. Naval intelligence officer imprisoned in Canada at the request of U.S. authorities. Vreeland and his lawyers spent months attempting to warn the US government, as well as Canadian intelligence officials, of the impending attacks, only to be completely ignored. Finally, in August, presumably frustrated beyond endurance, Vreeland had two pens, high-tech Pilot water-based pens with light blue ink, smuggled into his cell and used them to write a letter.
The only pens permitted by Canadian prison authorities are oil-based, dark blue Bic pens. He wrote a warning note in which he listed details of the forthcoming attacks and then had the letter secured with his prison property, out of his reach, and immediately advised his gaolers that he was in possession of two unapproved pens. Authorities have admitted that they confiscated these pens and that they have retained them in their possession, acknowledging that Vreeland had no such pens in his jail cell after that time. Initially, somewhat vague charges of credit card fraud were alleged against Vreeland and he was being held also on an extradition warrant alleging credit card fraud in Michigan. The actual motive for his arrest now seems to be something quite different. The Canadian charges against him were dropped this March and he has now been granted political refugee status in Canada until the extradition issues are resolved.
There was so much material available upon which an article such as this could be based, that one is truly spoiled for choice. Perhaps the dearth of official information, along with the continuing unwillingness of the mainstream press to investigate the matter, is related to a couple of comments attributed to President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld. The former was quoted as saying, "I will not tolerate second guessing." The latter, more ominously, was quoted as saying, "Those who ask questions could face government charges." Quite a rousing endorsement of the First Amendment regarding free speech in fact.
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