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Newsweek: Mystery Flight (KLM 685-Alarms flashing red 2 Saudis)

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RamboLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-05 03:14 PM
Original message
Newsweek: Mystery Flight (KLM 685-Alarms flashing red 2 Saudis)
Edited on Sun Apr-17-05 03:15 PM by RamboLiberal /

It's part of the routine for air travel since 9/11. Fifteen minutes after KLM Flight 685 took off from Amsterdam for Mexico City on April 8, Mexican authorities forwarded the names of all the passengers to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The reason: the flight was scheduled to pass through U.S. airspace after making a long swing over Canada. The information was then passed on to the U.S. National Targeting Center, based at a secret address in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. That's when the routine became extraordinary: by the time the Boeing 747 had finished its three-hour crossing of the Atlantic, Homeland Security screeners were on high alert. The names of two Saudi passengers aboard the KLM flight had begun producing "hits" on the screening center's lists of 70,000 suspect foreigners.

One of these hitsfrom an FBI database of terror suspects known as TIPOFFsmacked investigators right between the eyes. The two Saudis, the database reported, were brothers and pilots who had attended the same Arizona flight school as 9/11 hijacker Hani Hanjour. Soon the multiplicity of U.S. terror databases started pumping out similar hits. Fearing that Flight 685 might be a 9/11-style plot in the making, U.S. authorities refused the plane overflight rights, and Canada rejected a request to land. Much to the chagrin of its 278 passengers, the KLM jet made an exhausting odyssey back to Amsterdam.


Even so, by the end of last week the reasons the Saudi brothers gave for their trip to Mexico appeared to be holding up, U.S. investigators conceded. The men told authorities they were visiting their ill father, a retired Saudi diplomat who is living in Mexico. A Saudi official in Riyadh later told NEWSWEEK that the father was a former "administrative employee" of the Saudi Foreign Ministry, but that he has not worked for the government for 10 years and has a Mexican wife. One counterterrorism official said authorities were aware of the family and had been watching the brothers for some time, adding, "I just don't think this was a plot along the lines of 9/11." Much as some intelligence officials insist that the Saudis have Qaeda links, no Western agency made a move to arrest them. (Because of the ambiguous nature of the case, NEWSWEEK has decided not to publish their names.)

So did the United States overreact? "There are so many people on that watch list that shouldn't be on it," explained a U.S. official privy to the KLM case. "But you have to err on the side of caution in the post-9/11 world. You've got a plane with unknown quantities hurtling towards the U.S. You're going to act first and think later." Unfortunately, some foreign governments now think Washington does too much acting and too little thinking. While the Bush administration has made the case that this is a war without rules, Europeans still tend to see counterterrorism as a law-enforcement problem. That is partly why Dutch and other European authorities, lacking direct proof of a crime or plot, decided not to detain the two Saudis. Yet even the Europeans aren't completely on the same page. Officials with Dutch and U.S. intelligence say that after the two men arrived back in Amsterdam, they flew to London, where they were refused entry. Then they flew back to the Netherlands, where they were under surveillance before returning on their own to Saudi Arabia. British officials were later peeved that Dutch authorities failed to communicate to them the full tale of KLM 685. A Saudi official later told NEWSWEEK the two men had been detained for questioning.

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dArKeR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-05 03:24 PM
Response to Original message
1. I wonder if the NSA had these guy fly this route just to make it look like
NaziHomelandStormTroopers are on top of things?
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cire4 Donating Member (580 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-05 03:34 PM
Response to Original message
2. Can a full plane really be hijacked by only two people?
I tend to doubt that two terrorists would have the ability to hijack a 278 passenger plane. The only exception is if they had access to some sort of firearms while on board, which would be extremely rare considering 1.) airport security and 2.) the Netherlands; tough anti-gun laws.

Sometimes, I think the Bush administration needs to err on the side of logic. If you were a terrorist, wouldn't you try to pick a flight where the passenger load would be rather thin???
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DulceDecorum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-05 07:56 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. Yes, if they have an Octium chip.
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Zorra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-05 03:50 PM
Response to Original message
3. Over 600,000 people cross the Mexican Border undetected each year.
Given the (alleged) facts that most of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudis, and the fact that Bush and the neocons are in bed with the Saudis, IMO it would be wise to keep real good track of any Saudis entering Mexico.
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DulceDecorum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-05 07:52 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. If Bush and the neocons are really in bed with the Saudis
then why did the Saudis pull all their money out of the New York Stock Exchange in August 2001?
(after Bush told them to go get stuffed)

If Bush and the neocons are in bed with the Saudis
then why did Bush REFUSE to meet with the Saudis or publish that 28-page redaction after the Saudis asked him to?

From where I am standing,
it is Bush and the neocons VERSUS
the Saudis
and Egypt.

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Frederik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-05 08:01 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Do you have a source
for the Saudis pulling their money out of the NYSE in aug 2001? That is very interesting, I've never heard that before.
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DulceDecorum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-19-05 12:08 AM
Response to Reply #6
11. Many links are now archived
but this ought to give you a feel for the situation.

Saudis withdraw billions of dollars from US
Published: August 20 2002 21:49 | Last Updated: August 20 2002 21:49
....Details of Saudi investments in the US are sketchy but financial analysts believe they range between $400bn and $600bn. The funds are invested in private equity, the stock and bond markets and real estate. The figures include investments by members of the royal family.
Investors are not thought to be closing down their US accounts. Instead they are moving money into European accounts. Bankers in London said the largest established Saudi investors did not yet seem to be following the trend.
One said: "I'm sceptical about a mass exodus. But there was a lot of Saudi money with American banks that was not diversified, now they are spreading their wings. Perhaps 30 per cent to 50 per cent of the money that was with US banks is seeking diversification."
The Saudi money shifts may have contributed to the recent downward pressure on the dollar.
"People no longer have any confidence in the US economy or in US foreign policy," said Bishr Bakheet, a financial consultant in Riyadh.

These billions pumped up the euro and depressed the dollar.
Dubya was warned against developing a theocracy.

Crown Prince Abdullah read from a letter
he sent to President George W. Bush on Aug. 27 (2001), according to three participants
who took notes at the meeting, in which he wrote that "a time comes when peoples
and nations part. We are at a crossroads. It is time for the United States and
Saudi Arabia to look at their separate interests. Those governments that don't
feel the pulse of the people and respond to it will suffer the fate of the Shah
of Iran."

The letter was ignored and the bearer was sent packing.
Then the withdrawals began. By September 10, Wall Street was in dire distress and the word DEFAULT was being whispered.
But then, on September 11, 2001, something happened that stopped the NYSE in its tracks.

I suppose you would like to know where some of that Saudi money went.

Posted: August 23, 2002
5:00 p.m. Eastern
The current Sunni prime minister, Rafiq Hariri, is a Lebanese business tycoon who made his fortune in Saudi Arabia and enjoys close relations with the House of Saud. With the potential for billions of Saudi dollars to begin flowing through Lebanese banks, Riyadh would find itself in a strong position to push its interests in Lebanon via Hariri and his Sunni constituency. The government is keen on exporting the Wahabi branch of Sunni Islam a particular brand of Islamic fundamentalism that is followed and supported by the House of Saud and building Lebanon as ally in the Arab world against secular Syria and Shia Iran.

I guess it will be leaving Lebanon, now.
Rafiq Hariri has been assassinated.
However, he never did suffer the fate of the Shah of Iran.
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Frederik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-19-05 04:37 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. Wow!
Why didn't I know this? Thanks a bunch. Very interesting regarding Hariri.
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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-05 08:16 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. The evening after 9.11 Bush was dining with "Bandar Bush".
Edited on Sun Apr-17-05 08:19 PM by w4rma
While planes full of over 100 Saudis were being allowed to fly out of the U.S., no questions asked.
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DulceDecorum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-18-05 10:56 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. because a DEAD Saudi "crashed" Flight 11 into the WTC.
In the beginning, Flight 11 is said to have crashed into the SECOND tower.

1.) I have reviewed the affidavit of FBI Special Agent Mark Hastbacks which was submitted in support of a Search Warrant issued on September 12, 2001, by united States Magistrate Judge Barry S. Seltzer in the Southern District of Florida. I have learned the following:

a.) At approximately 8:19 am. on September 11, 2001 United Airlines Flight 175 (UA 175) departed Logan International Airport in Boston Massachusetts (Logan) bound for Los Angeles California. At approximately 8:48am. UA175 struck a tower of the World trade Center in new York causing a massive explosion fire and eventual collapse of the tower. Based upon visual observation, it is apparent that UA175 was steered on a path for the purpose of colliding with the tower.

b.) At approximately 7:45 am. on September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 11 (AA11), a Boeing 767 aircraft departed Logan bound for Los Angeles, California. At approximately 9:08 am. AA11 struck the other tower of the World trade Center in new York causing a massive explosion fire and eventual collapse of the tower. Based upon visual observation, it is apparent that AA11 was steered on a path for the purpose of colliding with the tower. Rescue and recovery efforts are ongoing, but at least hundreds of deaths have resulted from these events.

Flight 11 was also said to have been piloted by Ameer Bukhari.
According to the first reports, Atta drove to Logan and parked there and went in and hijacked Flight 175 and crashed it into the first tower.
Ameer and Adnan drove to Portland to pick up some other hijackers who had crossed over the Canadian border by ferry or had taken a plane from Halifax. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police impounded a car in the Halifax airport parking. Then the story died.
The Bukharis caught US Airways Flight 5390 (operated by Colgan Air)
and landed in Logan where they boarded Flight 11, hijacked it and crashed it into the second tower.
Then it collapsed.
You see, some diligent worker who had access to the FAA computer records, did a pilot-license search on the hijackers.
Ameer Bukhari turned up very dead.
So they fired the nosy worker 'cos he wouldn't shut up,
but the union jumped into the mix and the upshot of this is that they had to redo the whole story.
So they decided that Atta and Alomari went to Portland and some other toughs were arguing over parking space at Logan. Where the car with Atta's five year old suicide note was sitting in the glove compartment or whatever.

the story they have come up with simply does not wash.
For example, there is no such thing as US Airways Flight 5390- operated by Colgan Air.
Never was, never will be.

But assuming, for the sake of argument, that such a thing did exist on the morning of September 11, there is no way that Atta made it off that flight and onto Flight 11. (They shoulda stuck to the Atta/Flight 175 story.)
Even the 911 Omission report questioned this.

Given all this, would YOU have kept the Saudis hostage?
To what end?
All them had diplomatic passports, and they were issued with the full knowledge and consent of the US Government which issued the diplomatic visas in the first place.
Yes, the Saudis are blamed for this.
As well the Afghans.
And the Iraqi.
And just about anyone else who does not speak in tongues as they await Rapture.

But many of the Saudis whose photos are up on the FBI website have turned up very much alive

Filed: 06/10/2001
A CONFIDENTIAL FBI list of 370 people suspected of helping Osama bin Laden's terrorist network has leaked out.
The names, addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail, and social security codes of the suspects were posted on the internet by Finland's Financial Supervision Authority (RATA).
When the error was spotted, the website was shut down. The list was put together by the FBI and European counter-terrorism agencies for use in tracking down the bank accounts, assets, and money flows of the al-Qa'eda network.

The first post is very informative.
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CHIMO Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-05 08:18 PM
Response to Original message
8. A Dutch Analysis
Tongue in cheek.

Danger - Saudi on board! - Insight 16 April 2005 - with Rob Greene

Thank god the world's a safer place today than it was on 9/11. I'm telling you: if I had been one of the 278 passengers on board that KLM Boeing bound for Mexico City I would not have grumbled at all at hearing from the captain that we were heading back to Amsterdam because the US wouldn't allow us into their airspace. No, I would have applauded the Mexican authorities for discovering, after checking the passenger list, that I was sharing an aircraft with two decidedly dodgy characters from Saudi Arabia. I would commend the Canadians for not allowing us to land and I would -need I say this- raise my glass to those prudent Americans. You never know what two highly suspect Arabs in a KLM plane can get up to.

Does the name Mustafa al-Harimi mean anything to you? No? Well, I'm not surprised because I just made it up. Funny thing is, though, that there might well be any number of Arab gentlemen with precisely that name. Anything that sounds Arab usually is; there could well be page after page of al-Harimis in the Djeddah phone directory. For that's how it is with names. Do a Google search on "Robert Greene" and see how many of my namesakes pop up in the 3 million-plus results, from Robert Greene the late Elizabethan dramatist to Robert Greene the author of The Art Of Seduction (how I wish that was me!). I'm especially anxious to meet Robert Greene the New York-based Public Certified Accountant, for advice on how I can start my own business and hire my wife so I can get a hefty tax concession. My wife Elaine herself is frequently mistaken for the current President of the Texas Tumor Registrars Association, who happens to bear the same name.

What I'm trying to say - and I admit I'm taking my time doing it - is this: how many Saudi citizens share their name with the two dodgy characters on board the KLM plane? To use my invented name again: how did the Mexicans know they were dealing with al-Harimi the Al Qaeda convert and explosives expert, instead of al-Harimi the halva merchant from Medina? When it comes to that: how likely is it that a would-be terrorist would check in at Amsterdam Schiphol under his own name, claiming to be taking a break from combat training in Afghanistan for a bit of sightseeing in Mexico City? And, if he did indeed have evil plans, why depart from Schiphol, where not even a wooden toothpick will pass through security unnoticed?

If I were a clean living, law-abiding Saudi (or Algerian, Tunisian, Moroccan, Egyptian, Jordanian, Syrian or Afghan) I'd be bloody angry at not being allowed to overfly the United States in the course of my legitimate business, merely because I share my name with someone on a list. If, on the other hand, I were a naughty Saudi (or Algerian etc.) I'd get quite a kick out of booking a transatlantic flight and then sitting back and enjoying the mayhem and confusion I caused. I think we can expect more of this.

broadband RealAudio

Other formats available.

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DS1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-05 08:42 PM
Response to Original message
9. That's it. I'm hereby renaming myself Smartypants McShowmeyertits
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dutchdoctor Donating Member (306 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-19-05 06:31 AM
Response to Original message
13. So the Dutch are close enough allies to send troops to die in Iraq,
but when it comes to sharing information on terror suspects in dutch airplanes the FBI tells us nothing until the plane is actually over U.S. territory?
Even better, the plane then gets sent back so it has to land in the Netherlands? Thanks guys.. What if these men actually did plan an attack and then decided to do it upon landing in the Netherlands instead?

With allies like the U.S., who needs enemies?
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