Saturday, July 02, 2011

Fishing for Truth

Or maybe it's "twoof". Ed Morrisey points to a negligence charge leveled against the Massachusetts authorities in charge of Logan airport security in a lawsuit filed by the family of a 9/11 victim. The suit claims Mohammed Atta was milling around filming the security checkpoint at Logan several months prior to the attack, and they did nothing about it.

As Ed correctly says, this sounds like a pretty big case of "shoulda, coulda, woulda".

But as he also says, where has this been all along? The time period in question is identified as "May 2001" with no specific dates May 11, so checking an Atta timeline, it says he got a drivers license and rented a few cars in May, then made several flights in and out of Boston in June and July 2001. Aside from the possibility they were not told about it, which is almost impossible, why would the 9/11 Commission not include these May adventures? Let's speculate wildly!

Part of the issue with a review of anything so horrific is culpability--fault. People have been hurt and they want justice. The 9/11 truthers always fail to understand how bureaucracies work and the inherent concept of CYA, preferring to see dark intent even if none exists. But the easiest explanation is that certain information was left out to protect public and private entities from major bankrupting lawsuits, ie, the 'greater good'. Oh yes, one could also speculate it was to save GW's Bush political keister from those who would say Cheney was in the shadows guiding Atta via headset.

It has to be terrible for grieving family members to hear that Atta was known to be filming around Logan before the attacks but at the same time he was also stopped by police for traffic violations. It's easy to forget that although UBL declared war on America beginning in 1996, Americans had yet to fully grasp what that meant until September 11, 2001. Lawyers often ignore such things when pursuing damages.

Then again, Ed didn't mention this story regarding the same plaintiff from earlier in the year:
Lawyers for the family of a Sept. 11 victim want to question a United Airlines worker who they say might have contacted terrorist ringleader Mohamed Atta on the day of the attacks...

...According to court papers filed yesterday, the lawyers "believe that FBI reports and records show that a call was placed from Julie Ashley's cellphone to hijacker Mohamed Atta's cellphone on or about Sept. 11, 2001."

The court papers also reveal that Ashley's husband, Iranian-born pilot Ahmad Farid Khorrami, was jailed for three months right after the attacks on suspicion of links to some of the Sept. 11 hijackers

"The fact that Ashley's husband was not charged with any crime related to 9/11 does not allow Julie Ashley to avoid testifying in a civil trial," wrote Bavis' lawyer, Mary Schiavo, a former inspector general at the US Department of Transportation.
Again, something else not made very public. While the phone thing could well be another fishing expedition--the man was released and is suing the government--it also seems strange the feds would have immediately picked this guy up and held him for three months, suggesting they were aware of him beforehand. So what did they find on the cellphone? Did the phone dial Atta or not?

Let's say that it did--such would still not automatically prove guilt. Just because the pilot was an instructor of several of the hijackers while in Florida doesn't mean he was complicit in the plot. The explanation could be as innocent as "I knew he was coming through town and wanted to say hello". In other words, the feds would need to prove prior knowledge, which they apparently could not do. But still. Wow.

And 'wow' is exactly the reason they probably spiked it. Just imagine a story coming out right after the attack saying, "Iranian pilot involved with hijackers, wife works for United"--where would our national anger have been directed? Besides, as Cheney said in Woodward's book "Bush at War", even if--we weren't ready to do anything about it yet.

MORE 7/3/11

From the Atta timeline linked above (and no, I cannot verify it for accuracy):
9th - 10th May 2001: Unit #1, 1836 Lincoln Street
On May 9, 2001, Marwan al-Shehhi and Mohamed Atta rented Unit #1, 1836 Lincoln Street, Hollyowod, Florida. Al-Shehhi paid $954 in cash to the owner of the small apartment complex for what was to be a month-to-month rental starting on May 13, 2001. Later in the day on May 9, 2001, al-Shehhi and Atta called the owner and stated that they did not want to rent the apartment and they wanted their money back. On May 10, 2001, both Atta and al-Shehhi came by the owner's residence and he returned their deposit.

10th May 2001: AT&T cellphone account

An exhibit at the Moussaoui trial mentions documents relating to Atta's AT&T cellphone account for number 305-632-2408. (Source)

13th May 2001 - 16th June 2001: 1818 Jackson St

A Moussaoui trial exhibit mentions a $1110 receipt for Atta & al-Shehhi, covering the rental of the apartment 1818 Jackson St., #3A, Hollywood, FL.
If this is accurate it means Atta was in Florida on May 10th, one day before supposedly casing the Boston airport, then returned to Hollywood, FL on the 13th. Obviously that would give them a window but for some reason the list does not show them flying to Boston. If they drove they would have had to have made it within 24 hours.

Then again, a careful reading of the Herald story says Atta wasn't actually captured on security tape:
The family argues that troopers missed the opportunity that day to possibly intercept the men or at least capture Atta on surveillance camera footage.
..and that Atta was placed there not through discovery of FBI documents but through depositions from "airline employees and other witnesses". If Atta was in the airport filming near security checkpoints why wouldn't the security video show it? Smells kinda fishy. The family says they want ".. their day in court to expose what went terribly wrong on 9/11." So perhaps we'll see whether any new theories are unearthed.

Meanwhile, the story rekindles one of the strangest periods in the Atta timeline, the Madrid Spain trip between July 8-19, 2001. According to the 9/11 commission he met with Ramzi binalShibh between July 9 and 16th to discuss final planning, but at the same time he dropped off all hotel registries during most of this period. BinalShibh claims Atta met with nobody else during his overseas trips, but according to Spanish investigators there were two other men present, contradicting binalShibh and therefore the official US version.

The mystery of falling off hotel registries is probably answered by the gang being put up in a safe house near Barcelona to conduct the meeting--meaning they had a facilitator in Spain. Exactly what Atta did between the time he dropped off binalShibh at Reus airport on the 16th and left Madrid for Florida on the 19th remains in question, but hotel receipts suggest he stayed around Barcelona. It's possible he just took a little vacation before going back to his terrorist duties but with binalShibh back in Germany how does the 9/11 Commission know with certainty who or whom Atta might have encountered during those last three days?

Whatever the case one thing seems certain--Atta was well-trained, by somebody.

MORE 7/5/11

This post has drawn the attention of a smattering of 9/11 truthers, who apparently don't appreciate use of the word "fishing". But that's what these lawyers are doing. Doesn't mean they won't catch something.

Meanwhile, one of the truthers linked a site detailing a lawsuit filed that alleges that Iran was involved in the 9/11 plot via the world's second most wanted terrorist before the late bin Laden, the late Hizballah chieftain Imad Mughniyah. Such a concept wouldn't be surprising in the least, as mentioned here (for those scoring at home, Mughniyah was taken out in 2008 during the reign of Bush II).

But these lawsuits are not uncommon. There was one against Saudi Arabia, dismissed in lower courts and recently rebuffed by the Supreme Court to the delight of Obama. In previous years there was a lawsuit against Iraq for complicity in the Oklahoma City bombing, and Iraq was actually found guilty in absentia of having a hand in 9/11 through a link to al Qaeda. Did you know that?

Or in other words, lawsuits don't carry a lot of weight as far as public perception. At the same time it's doubtful the government wants it bandied about that Iran had anything to do with 9/11 because they are still pretending they had nothing to do with the Khobar Towers bombing either, despite a verdict saying they did. Or maybe they let the Saudis decide.


Debbie said...

Very interesting. Lots of unanswered questions to be sure. Will anything come out as a result of this lawsuit? I guess we will have to wait.

Well trained and well funded, by whom? We still don't know how much involvement (financial or otherwise) the terrorists received from the Saudis.

Right Truth

A.C. McCloud said...

Somebody taught him to change hotels, to change apartments, to change cell phones, cars, etc. They never exchanged important info via email or phone, usually in person. He never gave up anything to anyone who would have fingered the crew. Amazing, really, and hard to believe it came exclusively from a bunch of religious fundies.