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Did Terrorist Pilots Train at U.S. Military Schools? "Some of the FBI suspects had names similar to those used by foreign alumni of U.S. military courses," said the Air Force in a statement. "However, discrepancies in their biographical data, such as birth dates 20 years off, indicate we are probably not talking about the same people." "Probably not talking about the same people" does not quite strike the right note of decisive certitude that we would expect when discussing the identities of the people who have just been responsible for the deaths of 6000 more-or-less vaporized Americans. But Air Force spokesmen are apparently more persuasive in person than when reading a press release over the telephone, because Newsweek, the Washington Post and Knight Ridder all dropped the story. Nothing has been reported about this since. Nada. Niente.
Pakistan spy service 'aiding Bin Laden' Afghan interior minister Younis Qanooni has accused the Pakistani secret service of helping al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden flee Afghanistan. - US planes have also continued sporadic bombardments of the Tora Bora region in a bid to flush out remaining al-Qaeda forces. (BBC)
Experts Urging Broader Inquiry in Towers' Fall Saying that the current investigation into how and why the twin towers fell on Sept. 11 is inadequate, some of the nation's leading structural engineers and fire-safety experts are calling for a new, independent and better-financed inquiry that could produce the kinds of conclusions vital for skyscrapers and future buildings nationwide. Senator Charles E. Schumer and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, both of New York, have joined the call for a wider look into the collapses. In an interview on Friday, Mr. Schumer said he supported a new investigation "not so much to find blame" for the collapse of the buildings under extraordinary circumstances, "but rather so that we can prepare better for the future." - "There is an urgent and critical need to determine the lessons to be learned from these events," reads a letter from the American Society of Civil Engineers, dated Nov. 15. - "I find the speed with which potentially important evidence has been removed and recycled to be appalling," Dr. Mowrer said. (The Towers)
Mistranslated Osama bin Laden Video -- the German Press Investigates A GERMAN TV show found that the White House's translation of the
"confession" video was not only inaccurate, but even "manipulative".
ON December 20, 2001, German TV channel "Das Erste" broadcast its analysis
of the White House's translation of the OBL video that George Bush has
called a "confession of guilt". On the show Monitor, two independent
translators and an expert on oriental studies found the White House's
translation not only to be inaccurate, but "manipulative".
Arabist Dr. Abdel El M. Husseini, one of the translators, states,
"I have carefully examined the Pentagon's translation. This translation is
very problematic. At the most important places where it is held to prove
the guilt of Bin Laden, it is not identical with the Arabic."
Whereas the White House would have us believe that OBL admits that "We
calculated in advance the number of casualties from the enemy", translator
Dr. Murad Alami finds that:
"'In advance' is not said. The translation is wrong. At least when we look
at the original Arabic, and there are no misunderstandings to allow us to
read it into the original."
At another point, the White House translation reads: "We had notification
since the previous Thursday that the event would take place that
day." Dr. Murad Alami:
"'Previous' is never said. The subsequent statement that this event would
take place on that day cannot be heard in the original Arabic version."
The White House's version also included the sentence "we asked each of
them to go to America", but Alami says the original formulation is in the
passive along the lines of "they were required to go". He also say that
the sentence afterwards - "they didn't know anything about the
operation" - cannot be understood. (WelfareState.com)
FBI won't release Flight 93 tape The FBI is refusing to release the cockpit voice recording from United Airlines flight 93 which crashed September 11 in Pennsylvania after being hijacked by terrorists, declining a request from at least one victim's family (Washington Post)
City Had Been Warned of Fuel Tank at 7 World Trade Center Fire Department officials warned the city and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 1998 and 1999 that a giant diesel fuel tank for the mayor's $13 million command bunker in 7 World Trade Center, a 47-story high-rise that burned and collapsed on Sept. 11, posed a hazard and was not consistent with city fire codes. (New York Times)
Flight 93 remains yield no evidence United Airlines Flight 93's crash into rural Somerset County decimated all human remains so badly that investigators can't say if any of the 44 people aboard were killed before the aircraft went down, the FBI has told the county coroner.
That leaves it up to the jet's cockpit voice recorder to offer support for widely held assumptions that the four hijackers began killing passengers before or during a fight for control of the jetliner. For now, federal investigators holding that recorder, one of two pieces commonly dubbed the black box, are staying mum.
Investigators who recovered remains from the Shanksville-area crash site brought possible stab wounds and lacerations to the attention of FBI pathologists, Somerset County Coroner Wallace Miller said yesterday. But the FBI has responded that "the catastrophic nature of the crash and fragmentation" left them unable to draw conclusions, Miller said. (Pittsburg Post-Gazette)
German firm probes final World Trade Center deals German computer experts are working round the clock to unlock the truth behind an unexplained surge in financial transactions made just before two hijacked planes crashed into New York's World Trade Center on September 11 (Rediff)
Osama Gump? The Camera That Couldn't Shoot Straight After days of anticipation, television viewers the world over witnessed the grand premiere of the mystery tape in which, according to British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, "bin Laden confirms his guilt" and consequently "totally vindicates the action that we, the U.S. and the international coalition have taken in Afghanistan."
The tape, the proverbial smoking gun, was found late November in a house in Jalalabad under circumstances enshrouded in mystery. The Pentagon which, apparently, spent two weeks agonizing over its release, proffered the tape to the networks with a translation of the material.
The Pentagon gives us the setting for the tape. "In mid-November, Osama bin Laden spoke to a room of supporters, possibly in Kandahar, Afghanistan."
A paraplegic Sheikh visits bin Laden. "We came from Kabul", he tells his host. "We asked the driver to take us, it was a night with a full moon." Later, he places the conversation in context to "this holy month of Ramadan". The full moon of Ramadan occurred around the 30th of November, not mid-November - exactly around the time the tape was allegedly found.
The transportation service in war-ravaged Afghanistan must be extraordinary. First, the tape moves from Kandahar to Jalalabad at a speed that would make Fedex envious! (Counter Punch)
Pentagon Releases Bin Laden Videotape: U.S. Officials say Tape Links Him to Sept. 11 Attacks The Pentagon has released a videotape of Osama bin Laden, that it says provides additional evidence that the al Qaeda leader is responsible for the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Administration officials say the tape shows bin Laden had specific knowledge of when and where those attacks would occur before they took place.
Osama bin Laden tape
The videotape -- discovered in a private home in Jalalabad, Afghanistan -- shows a relaxed bin Laden discussing the attacks in Arabic with another man who appears to be a cleric. On the tape, bin Laden says he was pleasantly surprised by the amount of destruction caused at the World Trade Center; he only expected the top portion of the twin towers to collapse.
According to a translated transcript issued by the Pentagon, bin Laden says the attacks on the World Trade Center did more damage than expected. "...we calculated in advance the number of casualties from the enemy, who would be killed based on the position of the tower," he says, according to the transcript. "We calculated that the floors that would be hit would be three or four floors. I was the most optimistic of them all. (...Inaudible...) due to my experience in this field, I was thinking that the fire from the gas in the plane would melt the iron structure of the building and collapse the area where the plane hit and all the floors above it only. This is all that we had hoped for." (National Public Radio)
Transcript of Bin Laden Videotape Following is a transcript of the videotape released by the Pentagon of Osama bin Laden, that U.S. officials say provides additional evidence that the al Qaeda leader is responsible for the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Source: U.S. Defense Department. - (US Department of Defense)
The Canada-U.S. Smart Border Declaration: BUILDING A SMART BORDER FOR THE 21st CENTURY ON THE FOUNDATION OF A NORTH AMERICAN ZONE OF CONFIDENCE The terrorist actions of September 11 were an attack on our common commitment to democracy, the rule of law and a free and open economy. They highlighted a threat to our public and economic security. They require our governments to develop new approaches to meet these challenges. This declaration commits our governments to work together to address these threats to our people, our institutions and our prosperity.
Public security and economic security are mutually reinforcing. By working together to develop a zone of confidence against terrorist activity, we create a unique opportunity to build a smart border for the 21st century; a border that securely facilitates the free flow of people and commerce; a border that reflects the largest trading relationship in the world.
Our countries have a long history of cooperative border management. This tradition facilitated both countries' immediate responses to the attacks of September 11. It is the foundation on which we continue to base our cooperation, recognizing that our current and future prosperity and security depend on a border that operates efficiently and effectively under all circumstances. (Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada)
The scene at NORAD on Sept. 11: Playing Russian war games ... and then someone shouted to look at the monitor Deep inside a mountain in Colorado and far beneath the granite of North Bay, members of the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) are at full "battle staff" levels for a major annual exercise that tests every facet of the organization. Operation Northern Vigilance, planned months in advance, involves deploying fighter jets to locations in Alaska and northern Canada. Part of this exercise is pure simulation, but part is real world: NORAD is keeping a close eye on the Russians, who have dispatched long-range bombers to their own high north on a similar exercise. (Toronto Star)
The Site Engineers Suspect Diesel Fuel in Collapse of 7 World Trade Center - By 11:30 a.m., the fire commander in charge of that area, Assistant Chief Frank Fellini, ordered firefighters away from WTC 7 for safety reasons. (New York Times)
Advantage: God Why the Salvation Army beats the Red Cross - The American Red Cross ran up a white flag recently, surrendering to critics who had accused it of bait-and-switch fund raising by planning to hold back more than half of the $543 million it had raised for victims of the Sept. 11 attacks (Wall Street Journal)
Buried WTC gold returns to futures trade A fortune in gold trapped for seven weeks in the ruins of the World Trade Center officially returned to the global bullion trade Friday, but dealers had already closed the book on the tale of tragedy and buried treasure (Rediff)
NTSB Investigators Continue to Research the Crash Site and Data Recorders of Flight 587; The Community of Rockaway Attempts Tries to Return to Normalcy JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Investigators working the crash of American Airlines Flight 587, considering now a number of possible causes. Just a little while ago, CNN aviation analyst Jim McKenna reported a leading theory involves air turbulence caused by another airplane in front of the American Airlines flight, that it might have gotten too close to. For the latest on that theory and rest of the investigation, let's go to CNN's Kathleen Koch, she's in New York. Hello, Kathleen.
KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Judy.
What we are expecting to hear from federal investigators this afternoon was that a Japanese Airlines plane, a 747, which was roughly twice the weight of this airbus, took off before flight 587 and apparently at about two minutes part, which is the appropriate distance. However, what we are expecting to hear, is that at these two planes climbed away from JFK that the airbus angled in too closely and the wake, aircraft actually spin out a wake from their wings, especially large aircraft like this JAL plane flying slowly with its gear up, with its tail flaps folded in, and that produces a wake and could have actually disrupted the plane behind it.
Now the NTSB, what you are seeing is video that the NTSB created when their was a similar incident of a U.S. air crash back in 1994. And they studied the problem, because it can be very disruptive to a plane that is following, especially a larger plane. We are expecting to hear more about that today.
Another issue, the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder both now found, both in Washington and being examined for vital clues. One problem, however, that the flight data recorder was damaged by the impact -- is being sent however to its manufacturer in Sarastoa, Florida. And investigators are still hoping that they will be able to get vital information from it about the mechanical functioning of the plane as it was going down. (CNN)
How cut-price diamonds are traded for weapons SIERRA Leonean rebels opposed by Britain have been selling cut-price "blood diamonds" to Osama bin Laden's al-Qa'eda network to support the group's terrorist activities.
For the past three years, senior bin Laden lieutenants have bought diamonds at about 10 per cent of the market price from members of Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front (RUF).
The diamonds, wrapped in polythene or rags, are taken across the border to a safe house in Liberia where they are exchanged for briefcases full of banknotes carried from Belgium by dealers who make several trips a month, according to American and European intelligence officials.
Payment is also made in the form of guns, medicine and food. During Sierra Leone's civil war, the RUF hacked the limbs off civilians and conscripted children. The diamond mines were principal among the spoils of war. (London Telegraph)
FBI: We Know Who Hijackers Were FBI Says It Has More Than 400,000 Leads - The FBI has resolved questions about the identities of the 19 hijackers involved in the Sept. 11 attacks and has discovered places outside the United States where the conspiracy was planned, FBI Director Robert Mueller said Friday.
Saudi Arabian officials and others have questioned whether some of the hijackers identified by the FBI in the weeks after the attacks used stolen identifications. Mueller said those questions have been answered.
"We at this point definitely know the 19 hijackers who were responsible," he said. "We have been successful in working with our foreign counterparts in identifying places where the conspiracy we believe was hatched as well as others who may have been involved in the conspiracy."
Mueller provided no new information on the hijackers' identities beyond his statement at a briefing Friday for reporters. Neither did he name any of the places abroad where authorities now believe the conspiracy was initiated, or any of the other conspirators. (CBS)
Treasure found in World Trade Center rubble Over $230 million in gold and silver was recovered from a delivery tunnel beneath 5 World Trade Center Wednesday. Canada's Bank of Nova Scotia stored over $200 million in gold and silver in their vaults under the building (Reuters)
CIA agent alleged to have met Bin Laden in July French report claims terrorist leader stayed in Dubai hospital - Two months before September 11 Osama bin Laden flew to Dubai for 10 days for treatment at the American hospital, where he was visited by the local CIA agent, according to the French newspaper Le Figaro. The disclosures are known to come from French intelligence which is keen to reveal the ambiguous role of the CIA, and to restrain Washington from extending the war to Iraq and elsewhere. (London Guardian)
Crushed towers give up cache of gold ingots RECOVERY workers at Ground Zero have discovered hundreds of gold ingots, part of a billion dollar cache which was lost when the twin towers fell.
Workers clearing rubble in a service tunnel underneath one of the collapsed World Trade Centre buildings found themselves surrounded by more than 100 armed FBI and secret service personnel, who had been tipped off by the owners where the gold was buried.
The collapsed buildings contained a number of vaults and strongrooms, but the police were not saying who owned the gold.
The Comex metals trading division of the New York Mercantile Exchange kept 3,800 gold bars — weighing 12 tonnes and worth more than $100 million (£70 million) — in vaults in the building’s basement. Comex also held almost 800,000 ounces of gold there on behalf of others with a value of about $220 million. It also held more than 102 million ounces of silver, worth $430 million. (London Times)
FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitive: USAMA BIN LADEN Murder of U.S. nationals outside the United States; conspiracy to murder U.S. nationals outside the United States; attack on a federal facility resulting in death - Usama Bin Laden is wanted in connection with the August 7, 1998, bombings of the United States embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. These attacks killed over 200 people. In addition, Bin Laden is a suspect in other terrorist attacks throughout the world. (Federal Bureau of Investigation)
Final Contact Will rules change concerning wireless calls on planes?
Early Sept. 11, airline passengers all over the country boarded their flights like any other day. Many chatted on their wireless phones. As the doors closed and the pilots prepared the planes for take-off, flight attendants asked passengers to turn off their wireless phones until the planes had landed at their destinations.
But on four flights, these phones would offer the last contact passengers would have with their loved ones. They would be using their wireless phones to say goodbye. - “On land, we have antenna sectors that point in three directions — say north, southwest, and southeast,” she explained. “Those signals are radiating across the land, and those signals do go up, too, due to leakage.”
From high altitudes, the call quality is not very good, and most callers will experience drops. Although calls are not reliable, callers can pick up and hold calls for a little while below a certain altitude, she added.
Brenda Raney, Verizon Wireless spokesperson, said that RF signals actually can broadcast fairly high. On Sept. 11, the planes were flying low when people started using their phones. And, each call lasted 60 seconds or less.
“They also were digital phones, and there's a little bit more leeway on those digital phones, so it worked,” she said. (Telephony Online)
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