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New confirmation US knew about early version of 9/11 plot in 1995

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paulthompson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-05 05:23 AM
Original message
New confirmation US knew about early version of 9/11 plot in 1995
Here's a new entry I'm very happy to have just completed. This material was in Nafeez Ahmed's book, The War on Freedom, but I was never able to find the source article he used, so I couldn't use the info in my timeline without having the source. But today, by sheer luck (fooling around with various URLs), I was able to find the article.

Spring 1995
US Authorities Learn of Bojinka Second Wave Plot from Yousef's Computer
Rafael Garcia, Chairman and CEO of the Mega Group of Computer Companies in the Philippines, often works with the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to decode computer files. He is assigned the task of decoding encrypted files on Ramzi Yousef's computer. Garcia will later comment to a popular Philippine newsweekly, "This was how we found out about the various plots being hatched by the cell of Ramzi Yousef. First, there was the plot to assassinate Pope John Paul II. Then, we discovered a second, even more sinister plot: Project Bojinka... This was a plot to blow up 11 airlines over the Pacific Ocean, all in a 48-hour period... Then we found another document that discussed a second alternative to crash the 11 planes into selected targets in the United States instead of just blowing them up in the air. These included the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia; the World Trade Center in New York; the Sears Tower in Chicago; the TransAmerica Tower in San Francisco; and the White House in Washington, DC... I submitted my findings to NBI officials, who most certainly turned over the report (and the computer) either to then Senior Superintendent Avelino Razon of the or to Bob Heafner of the FBI... I have since had meetings with certain US authorities and they have confirmed to me that indeed, many things were done in response to my report." Around the same time, Philippine interrogators were learning the same information from captured Bojinka plotter Abdul Hakim Murad. There has been some question whether Murad's complete description of Bojinka's second wave plot reached US authorities, but if they did not, they appear to have learned the information from Garcia's report.
Newsbreak Weekly, 11/15/01

This is extremely important, in my opinion, because there seems to always have been an attempt to surpress US knowledge of this second wave plot involving planes as weapons that goes way back before 9/11. (There's been a widely reported story about Murad wanting to crash a plane into CIA headquarters, but that was based on an early point of Murad's confession, and he soon confessed that was just one part of the larger plot.) So, for instance, in Yousef's 1997 trial, not a word of the second wave plot was mentioned, and the people who had gotten that information from Murad weren't asked to testify at the trial. And, for example, in 2002, AP reported, "FBI and other American law-enforcement officials, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, said that they considered Murad's suicide hijacking idea was half-baked, and in any case involved taking control of only a small single-engine plane that could not do much damage."

But now we know these denials are BS. Some US authorities, at least, knew this very clearly, probably from both Murad's interrogation and Garcia's report. In the years to come, they would be told various times, for instance by the government of Qatar, that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was working on hijacking plots. They knew KSM had co-masterminded the WTC bombing in 1993 and the Bojinka plot, so he should have been the most wanted man in the world. Yet they seemed to do little to try to find him or take steps to defend against the second wave plot.
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paulthompson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-05 05:33 AM
Response to Original message
1. The 9/11 Commission's take
Here's what the 9/11 Commission has to say on this issue. There were some things they couldn't deny, since author Peter Lance testified before the commission, but in the end they minimized it and elsewhere in their report concluded the 9/11 plot wasn't hatched until 1998:

After 9/11, some Philippine government officials claimed that while in Philippine custody in February 1995, KSM’s Manila air plot co-conspirator Abdul Hakim Murad had confessed having discussed with Yousef the idea of attacking targets, including the World Trade Center, with hijacked commercial airliners flown by U.S.-trained Middle Eastern pilots. See Peter Lance, 1000 Years for Revenge: International Terrorism and the FBI—the Untold Story (HarperCollins, 2003), pp. 278–280. In Murad’s initial taped confession, he referred to an idea of crashing a plane into CIA headquarters. Lance gave us his copy of an apparent 1995 Philippine National Police document on an interrogation of Murad. That document reports Murad describing his idea of crashing a plane into CIA headquarters, but in this report Murad claims he was thinking of hijacking a commercial aircraft to do it, saying the idea had come up in a casual conversation with Yousef with no specific plan for its execution. We have seen no pre-9/11 evidence that Murad referred in interrogations to the training of other pilots, or referred in this casual conversation to targets other than the CIA. According to Lance, the Philippine police officer, who after 9/11 offered the much more elaborate account of Murad’s statements reported in Lance’s book, claims to have passed this added information to U.S. officials. But Lance states the Philippine officer declined to identify these officials. Peter Lance interview (Mar. 15, 2004). If such information was provided to a U.S. official, we have seen no indication that it was written down or disseminated within the U.S. government. Incidentally, KSM says he never discussed his idea for the planes operation with Murad, a person KSM regarded as a minor figure. Intelligence report, interrogation of KSM, Apr. 2, 2004.


This commission account also denies widespread reporting that Murad gave the names of numerous other al-Qaeda agents being trained in the US at the time. For instance, this Fox News report from 2002:

Murad, who later claimed he was tortured during his interrogations, also told Filipino authorities how he and a Pakistani friend had crisscrossed the United States, attending flight schools in New York, Texas, California and North Carolina on his way to earning a commercial pilot's license. He identified to Filipino police approximately 10 other Middle Eastern men who met him at the flight schools or were getting similar training.

One was a Middle Eastern flight instructor who came to the United States for more training; another a former soldier in the United Arab Emirates. Others came from Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. None of the pilots match the names of the 19 hijackers from Sept. 11.

The U.S. officials said the FBI interviewed people at the flight schools named by Filipino police, but did not find evidence that any Middle Easterners other than Murad were plotting anything. With no other evidence to go on, they took no further action, the officials said. FBI agents descended upon the flying schools in 1995, and returned to some of those locations immediately after Sept. 11.

"There were several of them here. At one point three or four were here," said Laura Flynn, an assistant manager at Richmore Flight School in Schenectady, N.Y., where Murad and a friend attended in the mid-1990s. "Supposedly they didn't know each other before, they just happened to show up here at the same time. But they all obviously knew each other," she said.


I guess the 9/11 Commissioners didn't read the newspapers!
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Kevin Fenton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-05 06:36 AM
Response to Original message
2. One thing and another
"So, for instance, in Yousef's 1997 trial, not a word of the second wave plot was mentioned, and the people who had gotten that information from Murad weren't asked to testify at the trial."
According to Simon Reeve (who wrote The New Jackals, this is in chapter 12 Supermax), the 1997 trial was for the WTC bombing, so the second wave of the Manila Air Plot wouldn't be particularly relevant to it. The 1996 trial was for the Manila Air Plot (plus other things like PAL 434, although I've no idea how they could try him for that in the US). As for them not including it in the Manila Air Plot trial, I don't thing that's a particularly big deal. They had plenty of evidence to get a conviction on the other counts (11 of them), so why bother with it?

Reeve, who published his book in 1999, goes into a lot of detail about Bojinka (for example he lists the codenames of the five bombers and says which flights each of them was supposed to bomb) and mentions the CIA-Murad plot (pp. 87 and 97), but I can't find anything about the second wave in there (although I thought he mentioned it somewhere).
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paulthompson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-05 08:22 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Oops
I meant the 1996 trial. You may say it isn't that big of a deal, but in trials like that, there innumerable details revealed, details many times more mundane than that. When you have 6,000 pages of details, you have to go out of your way not to mention something like that. Here is my entry on it:

September 5, 1996: "Yousef Trial Ignores Bojinka 9/11 Blueprint Plot"
Ramzi Yousef and two other defendants, Abdul Hakim Murad, and Wali Khan Amin Shah, are convicted of crimes relating to Operation Bojinka. In the nearly 6,000-page transcript of the three-month Bojinka trial, there is not a single mention of the "second wave" of Bojinka that closely paralleled the 9/11 plot. Interrogations by Philippine investigator Colonel Rodolfo Mendoza had exposed the details of this plot quite clearly. However, not only does the FBI not call Mendoza to testify, but his name is not even mentioned in the trial, not even by his assistant, who does testify. "The FBI seemed to be going out of its way to avoid even a hint of the plot that was ultimately carried out on 9/11," notes author Peter Lance.

I would go farther and ask: why didn't the US just reveal the second wave plot publicly, and make a big spectacle about it? The Murad crashing into the CIA thing had been revealed before 9/11, so why not the rest? Further, KSM is hardly mentioned in the trial or otherwise publicly before 9/11. Why? With his nephew Ramzi Yousef, they made a big deal out of him before his arrest, for instance spreading matchboxes with his picture and a wanted notice on it throughout the world. Those matchboxes in fact directly led to his arrest, so why didn't they do the same with KSM? You can't say they didn't know KSM was a major terrorist, since they learned early on about his ties to the WTC bombing and Bojinka. In all my research, I've seen consistent playing down of the second wave plot and anything KSM related from 1995 all the way to long after 9/11 (for instance, the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry wasn't even allowed to mention KSM by name, one of only two things they made a formal complaint about, where they said they disagreed with their censors).
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Kevin Fenton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-05 08:53 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Bojinka was more developed
so it was natural that it received more attention than the planes into buildings idea. For example, the fire at the Manila apartment was on 6 January and Bojinka was supposed to kick off on 21 January (according to Reeve anyway), but AFAIK there was no set date for planes into buildings. Also, there had already been the PAL 434 trial run for Bojinka, so it seemed more real. So I don't think there's anything odd about planes-into-buildings being given less attention before 9/11, although it's pretty obvious that it (and the various other similar ocurences) were played down after 9/11, because it made the administration look bad. It could also have been played down before 9/11 because (1) it was thought better to focus attention on just a couple of topics for PR reasons, or (2) if attention was drawn to it, smething would have to be done about it, which would cost a lot of money.

As for KSM, yes, it is a bit odd (especially seeing as he is supposed to be the fifth Bojinka bomber, especially after 9/11), but he wasn't as famous as Yousef before it.
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reprehensor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-05 10:13 AM
Response to Original message
5. Thanks Paul, keep it up.
Straw, by straw, by straw...
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SittingBull Donating Member (398 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-05 10:36 AM
Response to Original message
6. They knew

Two interesting """"coincidences""""

They knew the plot of the arabs who want to free Omar Abdel Rahman, yes, indeed. ( Bojinka, Rice-Statement )

They cut all efforts to caught this arabs ( John O'Neill, Colleen Rowley, Able Danger, Phoenix-Memos )

Only conclusion: They were patsies that weren't allowed to been tracked or disturbed, they were needed for the role
of an enemy.

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