The attacks affected everyone differently. Some got mad, others scared, others internalized the event and blamed presidents or America itself. Charlie Sheen is currently narrating a tape asking Obama to re-open the 9/11 investigation. While this might evoke Tower 7, thermate, and all sorts of other truther nonsense it also opens the door wide to investigating the "other side"--the history of what occurred before Bush 43 arrived in the White House.
The title of Sandra Harmon's new book "Mafia Son" doesn't give the impression it would interest those searching for the truth about 9/11. It's filled with all kinds of gory details about the evildoings of mobsters, specifically Columbo family member Greg Scarpa, Sr. and his son Greg, Jr. But aside from the stories and tall tales there's one indeed related to terrorism, a very interesting story told by Greg, Jr about his stay in the Manhattan lockup with 93 WTC bomber Ramzi Yousef during the mid 90s.
Before going further it's prudent to remember that most crooks are pathological liars; they lie during trial to stay out of jail and once in, they lie trying to get out. The story begins with Scarpa Jr's confinement in Manhattan, under indictment on RICO charges including 5 murders, who was angling for a reduction. Yousef was there too, charged with 6 murders (but they could have charged him with about 200,000 attempted murders) for trying to knock down the trade towers and a few airplanes. Scarpa was enlisted to snoop on the super-terrorist.
Harmon goes into detail starting in chapter 30 of her book. Scarpa, who had a cell between Yousef and Abdul Hakim Murad (the other bomber who was working on Bojinka), was involved in "kiting" coded messages between the two terrorists:
Before forwarding the messages, however, Gregory photographed the kites (which included recipes for making homemade bombs), using a miniature spy camera provided by the FBI.Included in the presumed treasure trove were detailed information about Uncle KSM, bin Laden, previous plots, and plans to blow up a 747 using micro bombs. Indeed:
Yousef told Gregory that a terrorist attack on a plane during his Bojinka trial would surely prejudice the jurors against him, allowing Yousef to request a mistrial...As Harmon tells it, rather unbelievably Scarpa convinced Yousef that the mob had a secret conduit to smuggle in a cell phone undetected by the jail, and he fell for it. Of course the FBI tapped the line and heard many calls to KSM about attacks and such, including this:
On March 5, 1996, Yousef told Gregory that Al-Qaeda had already positioned "four terrorists...here in the United States" who were awaiting orders from bin Laden to poison New York City's drinking water, attack government installations, or take down a plane.But the smoking gun in this whole encounter was undoubtedly when Yousef told Scarpa that AQ would bring down New York with "flying massive bombs". Harmon says Patrick Fitzgerald, then the AUSA in the SDNY, laughed when told of this plot. You'll have to read her book for the rest, including messages about the downing of a 747 on Iraq Liberation Day, July 17.
Needless to say, the gist of her story is that the Clinton administration and the Freeh FBI took these threats far too lightly and perhaps even covered up attacks or threats in the years before 9/11. In large part this is 20/20 hindsight; assuming the information presented to be truthful it's hard to say whether things would have been different had they pursued stronger defensive measures or gone harder after bin Laden. It's also worth remembering that the GOP was hammering Clinton at the time and accusing him of 'wagging the dog', so it's doubtful our increasingly divided population would have put down the remotes and paid any more attention back then as they are nowadays, even after 9/11.
But if they're gonna do another 9/11 investigation it seems imprudent not to take a little closer look at exactly what went on in that jail cell back in the mid 90s.
DOES THIS COUNT AS REMEMBRANCE? 9/12/09
Since 9/11 is officially a day of remembrance perhaps it should be extended back to other 9/11s before the 2001 version. September 11, 1990 was a fairly memorable day in world politics, since it was the day George W. Bush's father proclaimed to Congress that America and the civilized nations were on the verge of a "New World Order". Most older adults have no trouble remembering that but few know what day it occurred.
In the same speech Mr. Bush said the following:
Vital issues of principle are at stake. Saddam Hussein is literally trying to wipe a country off the face of the Earth. We do not exaggerate. Nor do we exaggerate when we say Saddam Hussein will fail. Vital economic interests are at risk as well. Iraq itself controls some 10 percent of the world's proven oil reserves. Iraq plus Kuwait controls twice that. An Iraq permitted to swallow Kuwait would have the economic and military power, as well as the arrogance, to intimidate and coerce its neighbors -- neighbors who control the lion's share of the world's remaining oil reserves. We cannot permit a resource so vital to be dominated by one so ruthless. And we won't.He was forthright about the oil, wasn't he? There's more:
Our interest, our involvement in the Gulf is not transitory. It predated Saddam Hussein's aggression and will survive it. Long after all our troops come home -- and we all hope it's soon, very soon -- there will be a lasting role for the United States in assisting the nations of the Persian Gulf. Our role then: to deter future aggression. Our role is to help our friends in their own self-defense. And something else: to curb the proliferation of chemical, biological, ballistic missile and, above all, nuclear technologies.When Yousef arrived in America in 1992 his phony passport had a date stamp-- September 11, 1990.
Let me also make clear that the United States has no quarrel with the Iraqi people. Our quarrel is with Iraq's dictator and with his aggression. Iraq will not be permitted to annex Kuwait. That's not a threat, that's not a boast, that's just the way it's going to be.