History Commons Groups

February 28, 2010

9/11 Commission Documents about the US Consulate in Jeddah (updated 13 April 2010)

This post lists all the documents we are finding in the 9/11 Commission’s archives about the US Consulate in Jeddah, at which numerous visas were issued to the 9/11 hijackers.The documents have been posted at the 9/11 Document Archive at Scribd. I am reading through the commission’s documents gradually and highlighting interesting information. This post will be updated if I find any more information related to the consulate.


February 15, 2010

Miscellaneous: Pre-9/11 Intelligence Community, Total Information Awareness

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline — kevinfenton @ 7:38 am
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These are just some interesting quotes I found in a 9/11 Commission proposal for reforming the intelligence community:

Currently, as various current and former OSD [Office of the Secretary of Defense] and CMS [CIA’s Community Management Staff] officials confirm, neither the DCI [Director of Central Intelligence] nor the staff of the Secretary of Defense get access to detailed budget execution information from the defense intelligence agencies [i.e. NSA, DIA and others]. It is not clear how this remarkable arrangement evolved, but logic suggests that each staff neutralized the other and the agencies cultivated autonomy in the ensuing void.


Under Title 10, the military departments’ and defense agencies’ acquisition programs are under the direction and authority of senior acquisition executives, who in turn are to report to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition. The Service Chiefs, Service Secretaries, and defense agency directors are not in the chain of command when it comes to managing acquisition programs. Yet, the directors of the defense intelligence agencies have operated as though they had been delegated acquisition management authority by the Secretary of Defense, and all parties have essentially ignored the law.

And lastly:

On the other side, opponents of data mining are equally determined to prevent any use of this technology, under any circumstances. This group, too, for its own reasons also strongly opposes any attempt to develop policy and guidelines to safeguard privacy during data mining operations because any step down what they see as a slippery slope leads inexorably to Big Brother. Thus far, these opponents of data mining have won the day in public battles over the Total Information Awareness program; both chambers of Congress voted by very wide margins across the political spectrum to prohibit the operational use of the program’s technology. However, other ambitious data mining programs exist that either have not come to the attention of opponents or have found other means to survive.

February 13, 2010

10 Words You Need to Stop Misspelling

Filed under: community — Max @ 4:45 pm
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We’re all readers and writers around here, and no one gets the language right all the time. This is the funniest set of spelling reminders I’ve seen in a very long time:

10 Words You Need to Stop Misspelling

July 2001 Communication between KSM and Bin al-Shibh Intercepted, Later Obtained by Moussaoui Prosecutors

A July 2001 telephone call between alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM) and 9/11 coordinator Ramzi bin al-Shibh was intercepted, apparently by the NSA. Prosecutors and FBI agents working on the Zacarias Moussaoui case later obtained detailed information about the call, and shared it with the 9/11 Commission.


February 12, 2010

Who Is This Guy?

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline — kevinfenton @ 3:33 pm

I am currently going through the CIA inspector general’s report about its interrogation and detention programme. This passage, about the interrogation of Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi from page 86 of the report, has me baffled:

For example, Mustafa Ahmad Adam al-Hawsawi, the al-Qaeda financier who was captured with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, provided the Agency’s first intelligence pertaining to [redacted name of around 20 characters]—another participant in the 9/11 terrorist plot. [Redacted] Hawsawi’s information to obtain additional details about [shorter version of redacted name’s] role from Khalid Shaikh Mohammed [redacted phrase or sentence].

Who is that guy? Al-Hawsawi was allegedly captured in early March 2003, so this information would have probably been given up shortly after that, 18 months after the attacks. Surely, everybody’s role was known by then? This has got me baffled. Also, why redact the name? Since when have the names of al-Qaeda operatives involved in 9/11 been secret?

Here’s al-Hawsawi’s substitution for testimony at the Zacarias Moussaoui trial. He names numerous operatives involved in 9/11: several of the hijackers; KSM; Moussaoui; Ramzi bin al-Shibh; and Muhammed al-Khatani. As far as I can see, nobody’s name is redacted here. Weird.

February 10, 2010

Wonders Will Never Cease: An Intelligent Book about Conspiracy Theories

In Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy, World War I to 9/11, University of California, Davis, History Professor Kathryn Olmstead takes a refreshing look at conspiracy theories. Almost nobody will agree with every word she wrote, but what makes it different to the usual dross others turn out on the topic is that Olmstead can think out of the box some. This is best illustrated by the “conspiracy theories” she covers: Woodrow Wilson manipulated the US into World War I, Pearl Harbor, McCarthyism, JFK, Watergate, the CIA’s “crown jewels,” aliens, Iran-Contra, 9/11 and others. This is a really interesting cross-section and not one usually found in such books—while most people would probably strongly doubt aliens exist, is there anybody out there that doesn’t think Watergate was a conspiracy?

The main question analysts of conspiracy theories try to answer is this: why do people believe them? Usually, the conclusion is packaged in psycho-babble, but Olmstead has a much better response: people believe conspiracy theories because the government sometimes lies to the people and conspires against them. Take the introduction, she kicks off with 9/11,  name checks Loose Change (which she obviously doesn’t agree with) and asks why people believe this stuff: “Here’s one reason: it has happened before.” Then she goes into Northwoods.

Later on, we get this, on why Americans believe conspiracy theories:

First, as the government grew, it gained power to conspire against its citizens, and it soon began exercising that power. By the height of the cold war, government agents had consorted with mobsters to kill a foreign leader, dropped hallucinogenic drugs into the drinks of unsuspecting Americans in random bars, and considered launching fake terrorist attacks on Americans in the United States. Public officials had denied potentially life-saving treatment to African American men in medical experiments, sold arms to terrorists in return for American hostages, and faked documents to frame past presidents for crimes they had not committed.

The second reason is that the government is itself constantly packed with conspiracy theorists. The chapter on 9/11 is particular instructive in this regard as she draws a very extensive parallel between Neocon attempts to pin the attacks on Iraq and the idea that the 9/11 was performed or facilitated by elements inside the government. You might not agree with this, but it at least demonstrates that Olmstead has committed the sin of independent thought instead of trotting out the usual rubbish.

Or take the JFK chapter. She clearly does not think elements inside the government murdered JFK, but she doesn’t have much time for the Warren Commission, which she calls a coverup. I like this part especially, about the assassination researchers:

Over the years, they would convert millions to their cause. They had the virtues of dedication, diligence, and almost messianic belief in the righteousness of their cause. They also had the advantage of being partly right.

Towards the end she takes a pop at Paul and HC, which I obviously disagree with, but you don’t have to agree with every word of a book to find it interesting.

Overall, well worth reading. This is the last paragraph:

Since the First World War, officials of the U.S. government have encouraged conspiracy theories, sometimes inadvertently, sometimes intentionally. They have engaged in conspiracies and used the cloak of national security to hide their actions from the American people. With cool calculation, they have promoted official conspiracy theories, sometimes demonstrably false ones, for their own purposes. They have assaulted civil liberties by spying on their domestic enemies. If antigovernment conspiracy theorists get the details wrong—and they often do—they get the basic issue right: it is the secret actions of the government that are the real enemies of democracy.

February 5, 2010

Abu Zubaida Was Not Waterboarded 83 Times

Filed under: Torture and Abuse — kevinfenton @ 10:02 am
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There is a story going round the press and the internet that militant training camp facilitator Abu Zubaida was waterboarded 83 times by the CIA in August 2002. However, this story is not true, as I will show.


Let Them Fly – Case of Undie Bomber Revealed (updated)

I can’t say I’m a big fan of the World Socialist Web Site, but they’ve got a real scoop here. They take a Detroit News article that reveals:

The State Department didn’t revoke the visa of foiled terrorism suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab because federal counterterrorism officials had begged off revocation, a top State Department official revealed Wednesday.

Patrick F. Kennedy, an undersecretary for management at the State Department, said Abdulmutallab’s visa wasn’t taken away because intelligence officials asked his agency not to deny a visa to the suspected terrorist over concerns that a denial would’ve foiled a larger investigation into al-Qaida threats against the United States.

“Revocation action would’ve disclosed what they were doing,” Kennedy said in testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security. Allowing Adbulmutallab to keep the visa increased chances federal investigators would be able to get closer to apprehending the terror network he is accused of working with, “rather than simply knocking out one solider in that effort.”

And run with it. Read the whole thing.

February 2, 2010

Ziad Jarrah’s German Passport Revisited

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline,Document Collection — kevinfenton @ 10:27 am

Many, many years ago I wrote a post arguing that Ziad Jarrah had a German alien’s passport, in addition to his two Lebanese ones. As I was looking through the 9/11 Commission’s files I found some support for this.

Here is 122-page FBI document which repeatedly states Jarrah had a German passport:

On page 33:

Admission number was 15081969007 as 01 visitor status and he returned to using his German passport number 1619505.

On page 57:

LISA had made copies of JARRAH’s Florida driver’s license and German passport #1619505 with US Visa.

On page 110:

5/25/00 JARRAH obtained a German Passport # 1619505 with US visa issued through Berlin.

Additionally, in a section giving basic information about Jarrah, this document (page 3) says:

Lebanon Passport # 1619505 (same # as German passport).

Naturally, this is pretty bizarre (he had a German passport with the same number as his Lebanese passport?!), but I suppose there must be some explanation.

Even more strangely, the longer document says he also used another passport number. On page 32 it is given as 0029337102, and on page 111 it is given as 0029537102 (presumably a small typo in one place). However, the country issuing this passport is not specified.

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