UQ Wire: June 10th Press Conference Transcript

Published: Wed 26 Jun 2002 02:29 PM
Unanswered Questions: Thinking For Ourselves
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June 10 Press Conference Transcript
First Panel (Members of 9/11 Families)Catherine Austin Fitts Moderator - Introduction
Kyle F. Hence - Survey of Questions
Julie Sweeney
Lorna Brett FAA / Airline Accountability
Mary Schiavo, Esq. FAA/Airline Accountability
Open Q & A from the Press
Second PanelCatherine Fitts
Michael Ruppert - Historical/Geo-strategic Context
John Judge - Air Defenses/NORAD
Tom Flocco - 9/11 Insider Trading
J. Michael Springmann, Esq. - CIA & Global Terrorism
Jennifer Van Bergen - Patriot Act and US Constitution
Dr. Stephen Camerado - Immigration and Terrorism
Richard Ochs - Government by Anthrax
Moderator Catherine Fitts
Open Q & A with all panelists
- See also…. Unanswered Questions: Listen To Press Conference
First Panel
Catherine Austin Fitts (Moderator)
Welcome to the press event to launch And we hope to bring a little bit of attention about the other events that are going to be going on in Washington too, there's a rally tomorrow. My name is Catherine Austin Fitts. I'm going to be the moderator today. We have two excellent panels for you. The set up is we're going to do a - Kyle and I are going to say a few words about Unansweredquestions and how it is we got together and why we're doing this. Then we'll have the first panel, have a few questions and answers and then a second panel and then questions and answers.
By way of background, I live in Hickory Valley, Tennessee and one of the things I try and do in my life is involve what I call truth seekers, people who ask great questions and try and get answers. One of my favorite truth seekers is a guy named Tom Flocco who helped to sponsor this event. And Tom Flocco is always calling me and he doesn't even say hello. I pick up the phone and he says, “This is outrageous.” I'm from Philadelphia so that's with a Philly accent. “This is outrageous.” So about three weeks ago Tom Flocco called me up and he said, “You know, I've had it. I'm going to do something about this. There are too many questions on 9/11 and the response to 9/11. I don't feel safe,” we talked about. And he said, “I'm going to do something. Let's have this event. Get everybody together at the Press Club. Talk about.” And he said, “Kyle Hence who's a sailor from Rhode Island,” so here we have Tom in Philadelphia and Kyle in Rhode Island and I'm in Hickory Valley, Tennessee, and we want to do something about it. So I said, “You know, what we need is we need a way to really collect up and aggregate and start really putting some weight behind the different questions that are going unanswered.” Well it turns out one of the people who started this question thing is a guy named Malcontent X. Who here has read Malcontent X's work on 9/11. Okay, well Malcontent, we don't know who Malcontent X is, but he's been publishing. One of the places he's published his series of unanswered questions was on Scoop Media, New Zealand. And Alistair Thompson is the editor of Scoop Media, and I knew Miles Thompson who had been not that far away, lives in New York. He's a software developer. And he'd been not that far away from the World Trade Center and so had a very personal experience. So I called Miles and I said, “Miles, would you help us put together a website where we can start to collect and aggregate and build a flow of not only the questions, but start to grapple with answering the questions because Tom and Kyle and I have a feeling, and some of the other researchers interested in 9/11, that that may ultimately be the only way we get our questions answered.” So we called Miles in New York and so Miles agreed to help launch the web site. And for those of you who have seen it on the web, I would encourage you to participate in this process of asking questions.
What we thought we'd do before bringing up the first panel is we've started to get an incredible flow of questions through the internet in the last couple weeks and I wanted to ask Kyle to come up and walk through some of the ones we've gotten, because already it's amazing when you realize that there are researchers all over the world who are working together and collaborating to try and understand not only what happened on 9/11 but to understand the response and to try and get some of these questions answered. So without further ado, let me introduce Kyle Hence who is a sailor in Rhode Island who has been helping Tom with his research on insider trading and various other events on 9/11 since September. So without further ado, Kyle.
Kyle Hence: (back to top)
Thank you very much Catherine, and I just want to say a few words of thanks to all of those who have come forth in the last month. It's been less than a month since Tom and I got together over the phone to set this ball in motion. And when we did set it in motion we didn't quite know where it would go but so far we like where it's going. So thanks to all the volunteers who've come forward.
I just would first off like to give a sense of the character of how this has come forward. People have asked, well, you know, what's your organizational affiliation or your political background and what have you. Where's your money come from. Well there is no organization as of yet. This is the penultimate of grassroots efforts. And my hope is that it will continue to be that. And so essentially we envision a network of researchers coming together and just concerned citizens raising these questions. I've been concerned as a citizen of this country about a sense of oppression. Like I feel that being here I'm exercising my freedom to ask these questions and it's been quite astounding the flow of questions just in the past few weeks. And those are also asking questions. Just the other day I've gotten emails from Czechoslovakia, Australia, the other side of the world, and some are general and some are extraordinarily detailed with copious references. Some are complex, others are just straightforward. But what unites them all is this deep underlying skepticism by those who posed them about the official story offered us of what happened on September 11th and the hunger to know the whole truth. They cover issues from highly unusual trading spikes and put options prior to September 11th to airline security failures to the failure of air defenses in defending the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. Some wonder whatever happened to the anthrax investigation. Did we receive detailed warnings from overseas as reported in the mainstream press? If so, who received them and what was done? Our site's been live to receive questions for I think about 24 hours or less and already we have hundreds coming in. I'll just read a few. People can pose questions and then vote on the questions that come through. They're posted and then you can vote on them.
134 people want to have this question answered: Who are the investors and individual stockbrokers that placed abnormally high bets, put options, just before 9/11 on American Airlines and United Airlines stock? Actually the put options. And let's see, I did some research with Tom and we found according to Bloomberg the spike of put options was a 285 multiple over the average daily volume of put options up until that date. These are in the trading days before September 11th.
Of the companies and individuals who are involved in the brokering, financing, construction and use of the Trans-Afghani Unocal pipeline, which were party to secret US energy policy meetings with Vice President Dick Cheney? 82 people want to have that question answers.
70 people want to have the following question answered: Is President George Herbert Walker Bush's advisory role in the private defense contractor Carlyle group and close business ties with the Bin Laden family endangering American lives?
These questions have to do with the failure of our air defenses on September 11th. After George W. Bush was first informed about the crisis in New York around 9:00 a.m. why did he not immediately make changes in his schedule and begin direct consultations with the NNMCC national security members and give the authorization to take defensive action? After the NNMCC crisis action team was set up at 8:50 a.m., knowing that one hijacked plane had crashed into the World Trade Center and that another hijacked plane was within 50 miles of New York City, why did the NNMCC not declare a state of emergency and order as many fighters as possible into the air? A question that occurred to me when I did my own analysis of the official NORAD press release is why did the plane fly at subsonic speeds when we had four hijacked planes? There were two planes reportedly that scrambled from Otis Air Force Base and two from Langley. And why did they scramble planes from Langley 140 miles away when you have ready squadrons available at Andrews Air Force Base here.
So I hope that gives you a flavor of some of the questions that are coming forth. Most of those that I've read have just come off the web. I just literally printed them this morning so I don't know who's asking them. But those are some questions that I've also wondered about myself and I think there are a lot of Americans out there who would like answers.
Before we move on I would like to acknowledge a few people who are here and introduce them and just acknowledge their presence. Ryan Amundson who is a co-founder of Peaceful Tomorrows is here. Ryan lost his brother Craig at the Pentagon. Ryan,? Would you raise your hand Ryan? And Derrill Bodley also with Peaceful Tomorrows is here. Derrill lost his daughter in United Airlines flight 93. Elizabeth, Steven and Elizabeth Alderman are also here, come down from New York. And Elizabeth, you were the co-chair, correct? - of the memorial committee, I believe, of the Families of September 11th. Elizabeth Steven? Thank you. And are there any members of Voices of September 11th? Okay, they didn't make it. Okay, well now we'll turn it back over to our moderator, Catherine, and she'll make some introductions. Thank you very much.
Moderator: Thanks. I'd like to ask Mary and Julie and Lorna if you would come up and why don't we put you right here? Is Lorna here? Oh there she is. You know, this is an aside but this is a much better panel, a much better looking panel than the second panel. [laughter] Let me just - I'm going to introduce all three people at once and then we'll go one by one. Julie Sweeney, I think everybody in America knows Julie Sweeney, you've been on Oprah, haven't you? I told her, “When I introduce you what should I say about you other than everybody loves you?” Julie's husband Brian, the ironic thing, was a pilot, an instructor, a top gun instructor working for the Department of Defense and he died on Flight United 175. And I know Julie has been very eloquent in speaking on behalf of herself and her family but also all the families. Julie will go first and then we're going to have Lorna Brett who is the Director of Communications at the Nolan Law Group in Chicago which is representing some of the passenger families. And third, Mary Schiavo who is an attorney, and help me if I get this right, at Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford & Schiavo in Los Angeles. She is an attorney for 32 passenger families from the 9/11 planes. She's a former Assistant US Attorney and the former Inspector General at the Department of Transportation and is the author of Flying Blind and Flying Safe. And so without further ado, Julie, would you like to come to the microphone.
Julie Sweeney: (back to top)
[Audience clapping] Now I 'm not nervous anymore, thank you I am, as introduced, one of the few but increasing number of people that have decided to pursue litigation in this event as opposed to accepting the government fund. I chose this route for a couple of reasons but my major reason, I think, is why we're all here today. And it's answers. And at first when I decided to file, I decided to file in January, I thought that that was my only route and still think it's one of the major routes for me to find the answers that I think I deserve and every family member deserves in this situation. I want the answers and I want the answers to lead to accountability. And I want this accountability to be the catalyst for change in our airline industry and everything that goes along with that. I want this never to happen again. And I can't take it back but I can also, I can be a person that helps prevent it from happening again and that's what I'm going to do. And morally this is what I feel I had to do. I can't accept money from our government under the façade of goodness and generosity when on the flip side they have capped the funds available to be recovered and they've limited the liability of the airlines for the approximately 271 people on these four planes. They literally changed laws overnight in secret without us knowing that they were doing it. And it's the only time in the history of any hijackings that they've ever done this to us. And to me immediately that just flagged, “We're hiding something.” And like I said, they're presenting this as, “Look at how wonderful we are. Look at the good we're trying to do for you.” And I didn't believe that for an instant. After really researching the fund it was blatantly obvious to me that the priority was not the victims and their families like they were saying but the airline industry that they were determined to save and protect. And to me the only correlation that I can draw is that's like a parent protecting a child that has been blatantly wrong, broken the law, done something horrible. A parent would do anything to protect their child even if they're wrong a lot of times. Maybe many of you have been in the situation. But in the long run all that that does is it doesn't teach your child right from wrong and it teaches them that they can get away with anything. And I think that's what we're teaching the airline industry by sheltering them from the onslaught of people that want these answers that they deserve.
I respect that the airline industry is a business, but first and foremost they owe the passengers protection. It's stated right on their tickets. And protection from all the things that they know, all the things that they've been warned about and all the things that have happened repeatedly in the past, and Mary will talk about how many hijackings there actually have been and it's astounding. If nothing else, the passengers should have been privy to this information and at the very least, the survivors of these families should be privy to this information. The industry should not be run by people who cross their fingers and hope that it doesn't happen to them. I want the information out. I want everything disclosed. I want someone to connect the dots and give the American public the big picture. I feel very let down by a government that I was taught from a very young age to trust and that they do good and righteous things for us and that when you put your trust - that when we put our trust in businesses that are federally regulated that the government should stand behind the common person because we have smaller voices than they do if something were to go wrong. And this isn't happening. And red flags are popping up everywhere that mistakes were made.
I'm not angry or vengeful. This does me no good. And I can choose to be that way or I can choose not to be that way. Nothing will ever bring Brian back to me and I have accepted that because I have to. I don't want anybody to ever deal with the phone call I dealt with at 8:58 that morning from my husband from United 175 saying goodbye and telling me that he would see me when I got there. I hope that this lawsuit will help instigate change so no one has to deal with that again and I'm also here in support of the McCain-Lieberman bill which hopefully will help bring about the change and give the answers to the people that need them that can't pursue a lawsuit or that choose not too. And again, that should be everybody's choice. Again, I will not sit back and be bought out in order to protect an industry, an industry that will never be destroyed because the American people depend on it too much. It's not going to go anywhere. Planes will always be flying in the skies. The proper people need to be held accountable and to me this is the only way we can insure it will never happen again. Hiding behind the truth is an embarrassment to this country. Admitting mistakes and the lax attitude is first and foremost. We need to know. We need to begin to heal. And we need to make sure this cannot be repeated. Thank you.
Moderator: Julie, thank you. Lorna Brett?
Lorna Brett:(back to top)
Thank you. You're a very brave person. I'm with Nolan Law Group. I'm not a lawyer and I don't play one on TV. My role at the firm is to help the families that come to us for answers to get those answers. I think that there's going to be - we're going to have a difficult time getting the answers to what happened but it can happen and I think that what we need to do is remember that public opinion - and that's why I want to thank all the journalists who are here - that people out there every day, busy, raising their kids, they have five minutes to read the paper. And when I'm out there - I live in the Midwest so I always feel like I'm doing focus groups when I'm out in my neighborhood, when I'm at coffee shops, and I ask people, what do you think about what happened on 9/11. And it's amazing how many people say “We couldn't have stopped it. It couldn't have happened. Nobody could have known.” And the truth is that there are a lot of people that should have known. That had the red flags in front of them. We have an agency that's in charge of regulating airlines. My question is, “Who's regulating that agency?” Are the airlines running the FAA? Or is the FAA regulating the agencies.
So let me back up and tell you Nolan Law Group filed the first lawsuit on behalf of Ellen Mariani who was on Flight 175. I'm sorry, on behalf of Ellen Mariani whose husband was on Flight 175. Ellen came to us and said she didn't want to go to the fund. She didn't even need to see the first set of rules that were coming out. And we filed her a lawsuit and we were duly criticized by plaintiff's attorneys, by everybody, how unpatriotic were we. It's all about money. It isn't about money. It's about accountability. What we'll get in court is accountability. If we can prove our case, and I believe that we can, and if we win, people will be held accountable. Corporations, the airlines, the security firms, whoever it is. However, we also know that a lot of the information we get in court is going to be under protective seal. So I'm actually in DC this week to be here, of course, but to be with my client tomorrow at the rally asking for an independent, nonpartisan commission to study 9/11. What's amazing to me is that a lot of people who are in Washington here don't want this. I mean we have commissions for everything. How much money did we spend investigating what happened at Whitewater? How quickly did it take us to have a commission to study what happened with the Space Challenger? We have commissions for everything and we're not having one for this? It really begs the question. And unfortunately this was turned into a partisan battle. The D's are lining on one side and the R's lining the other. And that is a huge, huge disservice to people like you, to people like Ellen Mariani and our other clients, and to me as an American. I get on the planes and fly. I flew here on business. I get on the planes and I fly to Orlando with my daughter. I deserve to know.
The third - going backwards I guess - lawsuits are going to be about accountability. The nonpartisan commission, independent commission, is going to give us answers. But we're also relying on really good, hard investigative journalists to help get those answers out there. There's not one - everything, everybody involved in this, because there's so much shame. And I really do say shame and it sounds like an odd word to talk about it but if you work in a federal agency and you've embraced that mission and suddenly your agency, and there's a lot of good people that work in these agencies, in the FBI, in the CIA, in the FAA. Suddenly their agencies are under attack and they feel a little shameful about it and I think what happens is you get into your defense mode.
What we know is that it's going to be difficult to litigate this for a couple of reasons. This is a side note I'll tell you, that we haven't even had our first status hearing yet and our case was filed in December. We had a conference call with the judge who said, “Let's get going with discovery.” And in response to that United Airlines sent a five page letter to the judge telling them why they couldn't. They're hiding behind the TSA. They're hiding behind the bailout package. And they want the TSA, the FBI and the CIA and everyone else you can think of to be at our status hearing. And I am not going to talk like I know. And Mary will tell you much more about the legal part of it. My role with Nolan is an activist. My background is as an activist. I have a lot of experience in public affairs and, dare I say, I was once a lobbyist. So those are my credentials. What I'm going to bring to the table for our clients and for our law firm is the superior knowledge of our expert aviation attorneys in court, that comes with the Nolan Law Group. But I also come with the Nolan Law Group. And I've been involved in a ton of class action suits that have created meaningful change in corporate America. So I'm bringing all those together for Nolan Law.
I guess I want to close by saying that I think it is ultimately the most patriotic thing we can do as a nation to ask why and to demand answers. It's stunning to me that some of the people that have filed suit and some of the people that are questioning some of our agencies have been accused of being unpatriotic. I was listening to a talk radio show and I think it was some ridiculous person like Imus, okay, sometimes I love him and sometimes I don't. You know how that goes. You like him when he's saying what you like. And he thought it was unpatriotic. And I was stunned because I thought the world is watching us right now. If we can't examine ourselves, our federal agencies, our government, the influence of lobbyists and politics on agencies that regulate industries like the airline industries - if we can't self-examine and change and cleanse that wound, reset that broken bone, what kind of an example are we setting? Are we a super power or are we super cowards? So I think tomorrow is going to be a very interesting rally. I dare say the President is going to understand the wrath of a widow and a widower who's been wronged. And I don't think he can hide behind it. Thank you.
Moderator: Mary Schiavo
Mary Schiavo: (back to top)
First of all I want to say thank you very much for inviting me here. I'm a firm believer that everybody needs to do what they do best and proceed ahead. And that's the way, the best way to get at the truth. So while I may be working in aviation and airline accountability and finding out the negligence and egregious negligence and what went wrong in the aviation system, there is so much more out there that needs to be answered and I think that there are three important things that I just can't - that's why I always wear two watches, so I remind myself of the time everywhere that I'm bound to follow your deadlines.
But there are three important things we need to emphasize right at the outset. First of all, the question is not what they should have known. And I believe I can show you in just a few seconds the question is what did they know? And believe me, they knew a lot. The second thing to emphasize is that in every single aviation disaster, whether there was intervening criminal activity or not, in every single one in the course of modern aviation history it has been followed by, not only were it necessary, a criminal investigation, but also a National Transportation Safety investigation into what went wrong in the aviation system. And the reason for that is so that it never happens again. This is the first time, and this is the worst disaster, but this is the first time that families have been attempted to be silenced through a special fund, which I believe is about silence more so than about money. Why? Because the money in the end is the same. The money is coming and it's going to be various sources of money. The money could have been made up for the airlines. If you want to bail out the airlines, bail out the airlines. You don't have to silence the families of the victims to do so. And the third thing, and we have to correct this right at the outset, is I believe it is not a Republican/Democrat thing. It is not. I served President Bush 41, and I served President Clinton. I was the Inspector General in both administrations. I saw things that were terrible. I saw protectionism of the aviation and airline industry by both parties. So I really do not think if you really search and look for the facts that it will break along party lines. It might break along money and power lines but it will never break along party lines. I fought the same battles whether I was in a Republican administration or a Democrat administration, and believe me, the battles where there to fight for airline safety.
Well the important question to ask, and knew this immediately, because I know a lot of you think that in the days following 9/11 that the carriers got together and figured out that they needed to do something to protect themselves from the obvious facts that would come out and some of the liability that would ensue there from. And so, like you, I thought that they probably did that in a respectable time frame following 9/11. And from my rounds on the Hill to find these facts and others, I found that the airlines approached members of Congress and the Senate to get their bailout and their immunity and their protection starting on 9/11. They sent their first lobbyist up to the Hill on 9/11. And this has been confirmed to me personally by Senators and members of Congress. Now to me that's very shocking but to me it raises another question, why? Why did they have to rush to the Hill to change the law? Laws that we are all sworn to uphold, laws that we are supposed to defend and protect, laws which we now say 9/11 is about, to bring the world in line with the rule of law and justice. Well I'll tell you why. Because on a September day four planes were hijacked in an Islamic Jihad. It shocked the world and will forever change the law under which we act. It would set new laws. It would change the world as we knew it and it should have forever changed the world of aviation. You think I'm talking about September 11th. I'm not. I'm talking about September 12, 1970. Yes we had an Islamic Jihad. Four airplanes were hijacked, actually it was supposed to be five. They were taken to Jordan. They were blown up on September 12, 1970. The laws were dramatically changed. The interesting thing is that one of the airlines involved rushed to court. Pan Am. Not to say, “Oh, hijacking is unforeseen, terrorism and sabotage, who would have known? Who could have suspected? Who would have ever thought this would happen to us? No one.” No. Pan Am went to court to say, “Of course the hijacking and terrorism against an airline is foreseen and foreseeable and of course our insurance protects against it. Why? Because we know that aviation is an industry which criminals go after, terrorists seek and hijackers prey upon to make their political statements in the world. We know this.” The date was 1970. So in the wake of September 11, 2001, when we heard the carriers and governments alike saying, “Oh, no one could have foreseen this. No one knew that this was coming. No one knew that there was any risk like this in the world,” is absolutely false. And we knew that before Condoleeza Rice made the shocking announcement a couple weeks ago about not only was there a great amount of information known, but that the carriers and the FFA were warned repeatedly. In fact, in that very speech the admission was that they were warned at least five times including specifically. I love this language that it wasn't a specific warning. Let me tell you, “Middle Eastern terrorists hell bent on a hijacking” is pretty darn specific. And in fact there are cases in law in the history of - of aviation history, that say that airlines are responsible for that whether or not they follow the law. They should have, as necessary, even hired armed personnel to guard their passengers. Why? Because passengers had a contract. And in addition here, of course, you had a horrible, horrible tragedy on the ground as well.
Let me give you a little for instance of what was known out there in the aviation industry. Thirty three years after the first attack on US aviation we had September 11th. But there were many, many other warnings in between. I, for one, believe that you should leave no stone unturned in the search for justice. But you have to do what you do best. So I am personally looking at every single terrorist attack and hijacking against modern aviation. And I even gave the carriers a break. I didn't start in 1970 with the big four airplane Islamic Jihad. I started thirty years ago from September 11, 1972. You want to see what kind of numbers are out there when the carriers said, “Oh, we couldn't possibly have known this” and “We didn't know that airlines are subject to this kind of attack?” Here's what we're looking at folks. This is the unknown and unforeseeable. That's what we've got. That's what the airline industry really looks like. Here, I have some extras if you want to send them around. In the last thirty years we have had 682 hijackings. 682. Here's an interesting statistic. When we had the United States saying, “Oh, we couldn't have known this.” And even when passengers were getting calls out to their family what information went back to them? Guess what, of those 682 hijackings in the last thirty years, 101 times passengers fought to defend themselves and took down the hijackers, including, of course, Elal which successfully foiled the hijacking on September 12, 1970 in the original hijacking in the original four plane Islamic Jihad. How many bombings do you suppose there have been? That's what we say we were busy looking for on September 11th. They said, “We were looking for bombers. We were still looking for Pan Am 103.” Well we had 682 hijackings and we had 31 bombings. How about shoot downs? We think that's even rarer. 59. So the thing that we were all out there searching for, the Pan Am 103 bomber, among hijackings, shoot downs and bombings, was actually the least number of things that we had suffered.
How about other unanswered questions from the aviation industry? What about the specific warnings? Hijacking. Middle Eastern. Going to seek to attack aviation. It's pretty specific. We now of course know from subsequent revelation that indeed this was being planned as early as 1995. But there are many, many more questions. What about the federal aviation security regulations which were violated? Both the carriers involved here had record number of violations in '98, '99 and 2000. What are they? Well, everybody seems to be hiding behind national security. How about those airliner doors? I think in the end we will find that the doors were open. But we are now asking questions about how do we secure them. What about the fact that they're opened with the same key? What about this profiling system? A profiling system which largely consists of asking you if you packed your own bags, if you bought a one way ticket, if you used a credit card or if you used cash. And, on that day, and I happen to represent some passengers who were profiled with some of the hijackers. That meant that they waited to see if you got on the plane before they put your bag on. That was our security. Remember, we'd had 682 hijackings but 31 bombings and our security was intense to see if you got on the plane before your bag went on.
Flight schools. Just now we're looking at flight schools. Airport screening contractors. Abominably incompetent. The Federal Aviation Administration was told to certify and screen the screeners by Congress. They did not do it. I think we need to know why. Airports themselves have the same security contractors, lack security. By the way, they're well represented by former government officials too, by the way, who are out doing spin control and saying how great the security was. We need to know. What happened to the airport security and what was their success and failure rate? By the way, those are now said to be national security secrets. Jump seat privileges. What happened to those? Targets of terrorism of other airlines' airplanes in the past. Those got investigations. This didn't. Why is this now impossible for anyone to ask a reasonable question about?
What about the information from the air traffic control? They had information that happened at the beginning. One of the other speakers has already mentioned the scrambling of the planes, and yet no warnings were given to the pilots about specific events that were going on or of warnings of “Don't open the door,” what's going on, “Don't open that door under any circumstances.” Already there's a federal aviation regulation about not opening the door. We need to know why. Why didn't that information go out? And finally, it was well known before September 11th not one, not two, not three and even more than four federal investigations showed that security could be breached at will. I know. I led up two of them. My successor has admirably done several more, including at the request of the President. And shockingly, one of his was done after September 11th where upon they found that the security rates of incursion where you could breach security were higher than even before some of the exams on 9/11. Why is that allowed to go on and why can that happen? Is it truly a case of it's just business as usual and it's cheaper? Well one would think that when we heard the statements including, sadly, of the administration when they said, “Well yeah. We knew that there might be hijackings. We knew that something was afoot, but we thought they'd be traditional hijackings.” Remember those words? “Traditional hijackings.” Does that truly mean that they were willing to risk passengers and planes and even the compromise of the aviation system because it was cheaper to allow it to happen than to take the necessary steps to prevent it? That is what we will prove in court.
But as Julie very accurately said, “That's not enough.” Because there are a lot more questions than the court can answer and the only way to do that is with a government investigation. Thank you. I've gone over my time and I'll be around for questions.
(back to top)
Moderator: We're going to take ten minutes for questions and answers. We have a mic here, so as you go ahead and ask questions please state the question clearly. If you can keep it short, one question at a time, say who you would like to ask that question and then I'll have Mr.O'Brian bring the mic towards you. Any questions?
Q: Thank you. My name is Derrill Bodley and my daughter was on Flight 93 which crashed in Pennsylvania and I appreciate the courage that you have to be on the panel today. I really, I'm glad that you're here and making these statements. My biggest unanswered question today in light of the information which has been recently uncovered is this. Did my daughter, my twenty year old daughter, my only child, have to die on September 11th for the sake of the well-being of the American civil aviation system? I have a big question in my mind whenever government officials denigrate the value of human life and well-being when comparing it to the value of a system. Yet this is exactly the comparison that was made by Condoleeza Rice in a press conference on May 16th when she said, “You would have risked shutting down the American civil aviation system with such generalized information.” Referring to general threats which had been increasing in number in the summer of 2001. Ms. Rice did not acknowledge that according to recent articles in Time magazine, U.S. intelligence analysts had received specific information that terrorists had discussed using jetliners in exactly the type of suicide attacks carried out in New York and Washington on September 11th. My question is was Ms. Rice unaware of this when she said in the same press conference on May 16th, “I don't think that anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon.” If the terrorists had envisioned it and the U.S. government knew that they had envisioned it, why didn't our U.S. intelligence community, including the NSA, envision it and compel the civil aviation system, the airlines and the airports, to protect us, to keep my daughter from dying on September 11th? I also have to add on behalf of the group that I belong to, Peaceful Tomorrows, and on behalf of my daughter who wrote in a diary that was found under her bed at home. I appreciate the issues that are being raised today but my daughter wrote this, “People ask who. People ask what. People ask when. People ask where. People ask why. I ask peace.” Thank you.
Mary Schiavo: Thank you. I can do a brief response if that's directed to one of us. Actually and there's additional information. For example, one of the terrorist attacks - is this not on? [adjustment to microphone]. What's really interesting, I think one of the great things about America is everybody has all sorts of weird backgrounds and I used to be an aviation professor, including aviation history. And people forget history. For example, we did have another plot in the United States to hijack a plane and crash it into a building. And, by the way, we had a government cost/benefit analysis of this very same scenario. The only problem with this government cost/benefit analysis was they used a 737 and figured it would be one plane crashed into a building. So I do believe that the government certainly knew that these things were possible. In fact it had been attempted before and the information was out there. But we do tend to get, as a government, tend to get bogged down in the cost/benefit analysis. And I, for one, happen to agree that the warnings were very fairly specific. June 22nd FAA issued a bulletin that had concerns about terrorism. July 2nd FAA told the airlines the man involved in the millennium plot had intention of using explosives in terminal buildings. July 18th the FAA issued a bulletin that said there are terrorist threats and we urge you to use caution. July 31 that there are going to be terror groups planning and training for hijacking. Use caution. And finally August 16th disguised weapons. So I think the warning signs were not only ample but specific and there was previous attacks where planes were going to be used to crash into buildings. So only the government can probably answer now at this point why they didn't take them seriously.
Moderator: Other questions?
Q: Hello. I'm L. B. Deyo from Jinx Magazine. I was wondering about the issue of the allegation that the attacks were unknown and unforeseeable. It was apparently repeatedly stated by the government that these attacks were unknown and unforeseeable and apparently as a means to contradict this you presented a list of 682 hijackings and other acts of terror aboard airlines. I'm wondering whether the government actually was stating the position that the hijackings were unknown and unforeseeable or whether they were saying that the use of the planes as cruise missiles was unknown and unforeseeable.
Mary Schiavo: Well I think Dr. Rice said it herself. She said that they assumed it would be the traditional. It would be passengers and planes and they didn't foresee that they would be used to plow into buildings. And I think that's what people are sort of discussing now in light of the information that the government held that was uncovered in the 1995 investigation of the Pacific plot to take out the twelve jetliners and in light of other information that they had. So I think that's probably going to be the question for the government. What specific part did you think was not foreseeable. Was it the World Trade Center specifically or was it crashing into buildings, etc. But certainly the fact that aviation was in jeopardy was, apparently now, fairly well known. That's my take on it.
Moderator: Okay, we have time for one more question, is there another one?
Q: Al Miliken, Washington Independent Writers. There was the question raised previously about Bin Laden family members and I'm wondering if anyone on the panel has investigated that at all, how that had been…
Mary Schiavo: The second panel will go into the connections with the Bin Laden family. I think some of the insider trading and the first presentation on the political - is your question about the…
Al Miliken: Yeah. If any of them had any specific reaction on how they were rounded up and sent away so quickly and so quietly.
Mary Schiavo: Anybody want to talk about that, the Bin Laden family flight? Okay. Let's wait and do that in the second. Okay, let's take one more question and then we're going to have to move on. Okay, it's the lady in the back with the glasses. Can you hold up your hand? No, that's it. Thank you.
Q: Thank you. I'm not important, I'm not well connected, and I'm not press. And how can I ask this question? But I find it very odd to talk about how well you expected a hijacking. Now when you hijack you're probably going to kidnap or abduct or whatever and then you're going to say I want ransom or I want so and so freed. I mean you do it for a purpose. You don't do it just to practice your skills. So there's hijacking has an intention to get something back. So who was to be released or what money was to be paid? I mean it just doesn't fit the picture to say, “Well, we thought it was going to be a hijacking.” In order to what? To what?
Moderator: Your question is what's the intention. And who would like to ask the question?
Q: I guess I'm going to have to ask this lawyer lady. She's the one who's more likely to…
Moderator: We have to ask you because the video camera, we need to know.
Mary Schiavo: I think that's an excellent point because it made no sense to me either. They said we were expecting a traditional hijacking. Where, to Cuba? The traditional hijackings in recent years, if you actually read them, and like I say it's a monumental task but I am reading every single one. And they had a decidedly different bent. They didn't go to Cuba anymore. Obviously the ones in Russia are very different. The ones in China. But there were a great number, in fact, in 2001 just before 9/11 most of the hijackings concerned the Middle East. And so it was a very different - everybody, and this stuff is available publicly. Your question on discovery. I mean we haven't really even been able to get discovery and obviously we're using investigators. We're using the Freedom of Information Act. I am reading things that is readily available. So this is information that we have turned up without even getting to American's and United's supply of documents yet. And so it was a decidedly different - you start reading hijackings you will see it had changed dramatically in recent years. I think you're right “What did you think?”
Moderator: I know there are lots of questions. We'll have another question and answer period and then many of the participants and panelists have agreed that they'll be available for interviews with reporters. But because of the time I'm going to start the second panel. So I'd very much like to thank all of you. Julie and Lorna.
Second Panel
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Catherine Fitts: Okay, let me introduce the second panel. The second panel, we've brought together a group of researchers who have been working on 9/11 that go into many of the areas we've discussed so far. And you can see it. Does everyone have one of the agendas? Let me briefly introduce. We're going to start with Michael Ruppert who is the publisher of From the Wilderness. He's is going to be speaking to us from Canada. Mike has been one of the leaders in trying to collect up and promote all the indications that the administration and the American government did have prior knowledge and some of the anomalies and inconsistencies in the story. Mike's a former LAPD narcotics officer who's done a great deal of illumination of official stories of many issues, including narcotics trafficking. Following Mike we're going to have John Judge who's up here. Mr. Judge. Who's going to talk about NORAD and the air defenses. He is the cofounder of the Coalition on Political Assassinations. Then Tom Flocco who's the real life behind bringing this organization together. Tom is a teacher in Philadelphia. He has published a series called “Profits of Death” on insider trading related to 9/11 which was published through Mike Ruppert's newsletter, From the Wilderness. Mike Springmann. Mike has twenty years of government and foreign service including he's an attorney who's the former Chief of the Visa Section for a consulate in Saudi Arabia and he's going to speak as to CIA and global terrorism. Dr. Stephen Comerota on immigration and terrorism is Director of Research for the Center of Immigration Studies. Then coming in by phone is Jennifer Van Bergen to talk about the Patriot Act and issues under the constitution, she's contributing editor to [and graduate of the Cardozo School of Law]. And finally, Richard Ochs who's a freelance writer and researcher who's going to talk about issues related to anthrax. So without further ado, Mike, are you ready?
Mike Ruppert: I am ready.
Moderator: Take it away.
Mike Ruppert: (back to top)
All right. First of all, Catherine, Kyle and Tom, congratulations on a fabulous job. I am honored to be with so many distinguished people doing so many courageous things but I'm really especially honored to be with the victims and the victim's families of September 11th and you are foremost in my heart and mind today.
Just a few short years ago the world was accustomed to not learning the real historical truth about an event for many decades and perhaps centuries, but since September 11th the internet and an increasingly skeptical world population have dramatically shortened history's learning curve. Rather than relying on unsupported theory it's possible to expose and focus attention on major discrepancies in the Bush administration's characterization and handling of events by using the internet as a vehicle to widely disseminate and analyze reports from respected mainstream media from all over the world and to then compare and contrast those reports with official government statements, official records and other unquestionable documents and undisputed conduct. In this manner it's possible, for example, to establish that the statements by President Bush, Ari Fleischer and National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice claiming that they had absolutely no idea that aircraft would be used as weapons are absolutely false. As established by reports from the Frankfurt Alegmangne Zeitung], Izvestia, Online IE, MS-NBC, Agence France Press, and the International Herald Tribune, it becomes clear that foreign intelligence services, not random callers or anonymous tipsters, were making direct and urgent pleadings to U.S. intelligence agencies that, when compared side by side, clearly establish that Al Qaida had trained as many as 25 suicide pilots who were planning to crash hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center in the week of September the 9th. Is that specific enough? Are we to assume that a direct warning from Russian President Putin to the highest levels of the US Government, that's George W. Bush, somehow fell through the cracks? The US government has not denied a single one of these press reports; neither have any of the intelligence services mentioned. In light of what the world has now seen what was done, with reports of possible hijackings from the FBI in Arizona and Minnesota, and the utterly disingenuous and unpersuasive profferings of the administration and its managers we are now being asked to believe in some kind of a grand and colossally contagious incompetence that any sentient being is not even capable of. And here we have to look at the brave actions of three FBI agents, Colleen Rowley, Robert Wright and Tyrone Powers. Colleen Rowley is now a legend, of course, and her thirteen page letter to FBI Director Muller should be mandatory reading for every journalist and politician in the country. Robert Wright's compelling press conference, I believe in the very room where this conference is being held, should be viewed by every member of Congress. And former FBI agent, law professor and author, Tyrone Powers' statement that the Bush Administration deliberately allowed the attacks all bear just a moment's comment before this conference moves on.
As I read through Rowley's memo or watch the Wright conference I see words that tell me negligence or stupidity are not the issue. The words are obstruct, block, thwart, threaten, intimidate, rewrite, harass, punish, dishonest and integrity. These are not words describing ignorant or careless behavior. They are words describing intentional and malicious behavior. And that is what ultimately must be addressed before the families and the victims of 9/11, the American people and the world will be satisfied. The Bush administration must be forced to admit that they knew hijacked planes were going to be used as weapons. Why else would terrorists take flight training lessons? You can't crop dust with a 757 that you don't know how to land or even take off. Why else would the G8 conference in Genoa, less than a year earlier, have had extensive preparations to prevent hijacked aircraft from being used as weapons? President Bush was there, surrounded by antiaircraft weapons. Was he not briefed on it? Just a few of the questions that must be answered are going to be discussed today and we have now been asking them at From the Wilderness since September the 12th. Now many more people are asking. Why did the U.S. State Department officials, Karl Inderfurth, Tom Simmons and Lee Coldren travel to Berlin in July 2001 to tell the Taliban that the U.S. government was going to, “bury them in a carpet of bombs in October 2001?” Why were no fighters scrambled for fifty minutes after the first two planes had hit the World Trade Center? Why did Andrews Air Force Base alter its website on 9/13 to hide the fact that it had scramble-ready fighters? Why were massive numbers of U.S., British and NATO forces pre-positioned off the Pakistani coast, in Oman and Egypt before the 9/11 attacks? Why has no one forcefully demanded an explanation from the administration as to why the head of the Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI, wired $100,000 to Mohamed Atta before the attacks and then was happily in Washington, DC, meeting with the heads of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees on September 11th? Why has the Wall Street Journal or any other major paper not investigated the fact that the aide to the head of the ISI who wired the money to Atta, Amad Omar Sheik, is also the lead suspect in the murder of the reporter Daniel Pearl? Why did the National Security Council convene a Dabhol working group in the summer of 2001 to help a beleaguered ENRON try to find a way to salvage a three billion dollar investment in a power generating station that could only operate if there was a natural gas pipeline across Afghanistan? Why has John Ashcroft not recused himself from two sitting Federal grand juries looking at Exxon Mobil and BP Amoco's frantic and desperate attempts to get oil out of Central Asia when those two companies donated more money to Ashcroft when he was a Senator than ENRON did? Why has the White House broken laws to hide the records of the Vice President's Energy Task Force when targets of grand jury probes looking a Kazak oil corruption at Exxon and BP Amoco were granted access? That's the same thing as having Manuel Noriega advise the White House in the war on drugs. Is it because the Vice President himself, Dick Cheney, was a sitting member of the Kazak government's oil advisory board when the bribes were given and the oil swap completed? Why has the government not disclosed the results of the massive insider trading on the financial markets before September 11th? Why has no one told the American people about the results of the put options that were placed on UAL through a firm, Alex Brown Deutschebank, that was headed until 1998 by the man who is now the Executive Director of the CIA, A. B. Buzzy Krongard? And what about the drugs? The Taliban destroyed their opium crop in January of 2001. There was virtually none in the country. And yet the world's largest harvest of opium poppies is taking place right now, all planted since the US government and the CIA took control of the country.
I'm one who believes that the last true vestige of an uncompromised rule of law in this country is in the civil courts. It's only there where discovery can compel the release of documents and the production of evidence that newly formed congressional committees, operating partly in secret and partly in the open, will only try to hide. The public is rightfully skeptical about a White House that has lied to them about the events of September the 11th and I, for one, am proud to be part of the vanguard of courageous and independent journalists and researchers who are continuing to bring these shocking yet utterly verifiable facts to light. We've also demonstrated that personal attacks on many of us, though draining, are ineffective when we demonstrate that we can read and use official records and undisputed mainstream media reports to arrive at an accurate and more productive picture of reality in a way that actually serves the interests of the people, rather than protecting the interests of a government of questionable legitimacy that is asking for more money and more power after having both betrayed us and allowed the deaths of thousands of people.
The stars today, of course, are the families and their brave lawyers, but they are a symbolic representation for all of us who have been victimized. Unmitigated and fearless accountability is the standard for all of us today and I can assure you that as far as September 11th goes, time is on our side and this government knows it. Anyone who wishes to see documentation for what I've described can find it on my website at and I'm here in Vancouver today continuing a lecture tour tomorrow, and we will do it in Toronto on the 14th and we're going to keep speaking out until we get some answers. Thank you and God bless all of you.
Moderator: Mike, thank you. John Judge?
John Judge: (back to top)
I'm John Judge. I'm a resident of Washington, DC. I've been an independent investigator and researcher for many years. I'm one of the cofounders of the National Coalition on Political Assassinations which is a network of independent researchers and investigators into the John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King assassination. We were responsible for passage of the JFK Records Act which to date has released over six million files, the largest release of classified documents in American history. We're working now on the Martin Luther King files. And I do independent research and investigation. I don't have any particular expertise in the questions that I'm raising, other than my own history and my own work here in DC. I am a part of the baby boom in the postwar years and I'm also someone who grew up in the shadow of the secret government in Washington, DC, in the bedroom community in Falls Church of the NSA and the CIA and the Pentagon. My parents were civilian Pentagon employees for thirty years. My mother was five levels above top security under the Joint Chiefs. I grew up in the Pentagon. I spent time as a child in the Pentagon. And that's part of the story I'll tell you today.
But briefly, the question that's been going around the press is what did Bush or the administration know about these events and when did they know it. And I would at least suggest that there is an undeniable and incontrovertible point at which Bush and the rest of the country knew in advance that the country was under attack by hijacked planes taken by terrorists or people who had the intent to use those planes as weapons, and that is 9:05 in the morning on September 11th. And the press reported that within moments after that, in conversation with Vice President Cheney, a shoot down order was given, an official shoot down order, for the planes that were remaining in the air. And then there's a period of almost 40 or 45 minutes, depending upon which time sequences you use, but at least 40 minutes during which Flight 77, the flight that left, turned around in Ohio and crashed into the Pentagon, was coming toward DC. I was awakened by a call at the time of the first plane going into the first tower by someone I knew here in the area who does flight administration out at Dulles. They knew that this was a very serious incident and there should not have been a plane anywhere near. By the time we began to discuss it, the second plane hit and at that point for most of the country coincidence theory and accident theory were out the window and people knew that these planes were being used as weapons. Not unprecedented, not even unprecedented by elements of Al Qaida or the Taliban to use planes as weapons into buildings. It'd been done before in other countries, but it was being done here. And these planes, even though at some point they turned off their transponders, were under radar surveillance. They knew what direction they were headed and even Channel 8, local TV, announced here in DC that the planes were headed to Washington, at least one of them. And they were watching this plane come, and it's coming into, at eventually, the most restricted airspace in the country and probably in the world.
It's an airspace that when I grew up here in DC I have seen, and friends of mine have seen, commercial aircraft stray into this airspace and be confronted by interceptors that came up from local military bases or other points in the city and wagged back out of that airspace. This is an airspace that's under constant surveillance. There were some quotes that came out shortly afterwards. This Pentagon spokesperson said, “We had no mechanism to respond.” I would suggest that if you're an investigative reporter that you will find out that they have a very extensive mechanism to respond. That they don't only respond in the case of a crisis emergency like this but they respond when any commercial aircraft goes off course, even for a period of a few minutes. They have interceptors that go up to find out what's happening, why it's off course, if communication to the tower is broken, and that these are procedures that don't need any order from the President. They don't need any order from the Pentagon or anything else. These are standard FAA and NORAD procedures. It was in the press that by 9:00, I'm sorry, by 8:25, they knew that an unprecedented situation, or at least relatively - this is the first I heard of the four planes in 1970 - but certainly relatively unprecedented situation - four simultaneous hijacked planes. And so there should have been some response already, just knowing that by 8:25. That didn't seem to occur. But certainly they knew that they were under a terrorist attack of some kind and a plane was coming to DC. It was known in advance and they began evacuation of the Capital. They announced it on the news. They interviewed people on the lawn of the White House who had been evacuated and they also announced on the local news that the Pentagon was being evacuated. So they knew the targets and they knew where it was coming. They watched it come for a long time and then, eventually, planes were scrambled, intercept planes, from Langley Air Force Base which is 130 miles to the south of DC, who flew at apparently, if you take the distance and divide the flying time that they say, at subsonic speeds, and got to the Pentagon after the plane actually crashed into it. Regardless of whether these planes would have shot the plane down, the planes should have been, and could have intercepted the plane at least, wagged at it, tried to indicate it or turn it in a particular direction. They have procedures that they follow.
Another quote that came out September 23rd in Newsday from the Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, Vick Warzinski [Ed: sp?], he says that it's simply not - that they simply weren't capable of understanding that the plane was heading our way. They weren't aware. They simply weren't aware that the aircraft in question was heading our way and I doubt that prior to Tuesday's events anyone would have expected anything like this. Now I arranged a demonstration called A Day Without the Pentagon in the late 1990's to march from the National Cemetery to the Pentagon to contest the bloated military budget and cutting it - What A Day Without A Pentagon Budget, in other words. I wasn't suggesting we get rid of the Pentagon by an explosion but I was saying what would it mean if we took one day of the Pentagon's budget and put it into social services. And we marched across. Now I had to negotiate that with about 16 different police agencies here in DC. And I was taken, by the head of security at the Pentagon, into the Pentagon building. I was walked through the area where the Joint Chief's have lunch and I was taken out to the grounds in the parade area where we were going to be. And he said, “You can't come up any further than this wall.” Well the wall was at the end of an area that doesn't come up to the steps. And I said there had been a Supreme Court decision in the 1970's that demonstrations could come all the way up to the steps. And he said, “You can't do that now because we are on delta alert.” And I said, “What's that?” And he said, “It's our highest form of alert.” And I said, “Why are you on alert?” And he said, “We're getting bomb threats every day from the Muslims.” And he said, “And we have this constant alert and you can't come any closer for security reasons.” And then he pointed up at the top of the building and he said, “We have radar up there watching to see if any planes are coming into the building.” And he said, “We have photographic equipment and look at the skies with the videos and we're going to be taping your demonstration.” And I said, “That's nice, can we get a copy?” This was the late 1990's. Did they go back to sleep? They have the equipment to know something's coming.
In addition to that, my parents used to take me to lunch during the day in the center area of the Pentagon in the courtyard in the middle. And I remember asking my father when I was young what certain things were there. And there were surface to air missile batteries in that area that defend the building. It's also the case after the Piper Cub that flew into the Whitehouse hit that a surface to air missile battery was built on the Whitehouse lawn in order to protect that building. This plane came into the restricted airspace. It flew over the Whitehouse and the Capital and then it took a 270 degree looping turn coming down from 5,000 feet. Nothing in its way. The simplest thing in an operation you'd think it would go to the nearest side of the Pentagon. But it went out of its way to hit the empty side of the Pentagon. And I think they studied it and there was something in the news last week that Muhammad Atta had a miniaturization of the Pentagon that he was carrying around in some public place. Anybody who was anywhere near the Pentagon in the last six years, even back in the '90's when I was there, knows that that's the side of the Pentagon that's empty and it's been under construction and so they went out of their way to come all the way around the Pentagon. There's nothing blocking their way to go into any other side and hit that side. But the entire time they were completely unchallenged.
Now is it the case, as they were saying, that they had no mechanism, that they didn't have any scrambling planes available here in DC? Absolutely not. Andrews Air Force Base which is ten miles away from here has both the 121st Fighter Squadron of the 113th Fighter Wing, F-16's, multiple planes, the equivalent of two squadrons of combat ready fighter jets at Andrews Air Force Base. They also house the 321st Marine Fighter Attack Squadron, the 49th Marine Air Guard which defends the airspace over the DC area and F-18's that are combat ready. In addition to that there is Anacosta Naval Air Station which houses the DC National Air Guard and DC National Guard, and they have combat ready jets. These jets are in the air now, after the fact, actively defending the United States. Where were they on September the 11th? Why was nothing put up in the way of this flight? Is it the case, then, perhaps, that there was some sort of a stand down? I have a few indications of that. There is a 177th Air National Guard based out of Pomona, New Jersey, near Atlantic City at the Atlantic City Airport. They're about equidistant, actually a little closer to DC. They could cover both Manhattan and DC. They have fighter ready intercept jets. But one investigator that talked to them said that they were told two weeks prior to the event to stop putting the jets up in the air on a regular basis. I also talked to an independent journalist investigator at the Pentagon whose response to my stand down thesis that I'm giving you, he said, “Didn't you read in the New York Times,” and I've not been able to find this article so it may be he mis-cited it, “that three days before September 11th half of the combat ready planes in the United States were taken down offline.” I said, “I did not. Are you making your argument or mine?”
And then there's a third indication I have from someone whose son is stationed at Otis Air Force Base. The son has talked to pilots who were in the air the hour that the second plane was hit, scrambled out of Otis, who turned their attention to Flight 77, the Pentagon flight, and made clear that they were going to go to try to intercept that flight coming back across from Ohio to DC and were called back, according to these pilots, were called back off the flight by the Command. So was there a stand down and no response? Were there call backs? These are not questions that I ultimately have the resources to answer but they're questions that stand and that raise, for me, a much deeper level of this scenario than is being addressed. But was there a point at which they knew ahead? There certainly was and for forty minutes everybody in DC knew the plane was coming and we didn't do a thing.
Moderator: John, you'll have to promise me that you'll put all those into the web site. Have you put them in? Okay, good. Absolutely. Absolutely. Next Tom Flocco on the insider trading. Tom? And I just, before he comes up, Tom wrote the check to make this happen. So I'd like a big round of applause for Tom. Yeah.
Tom Flocco: (back to top)
Also Linda Fanton helped us with this too. I'm not going to talk so much about put options and calls and most of you who are in here know about that and that's basically old news. I'm going to connect some dots today. And I think it critical that we understand, and there are going to be some things that just absolutely shocked me, and I was starting to put this together for today and, you know, I had some folders and I kind of keep things in folders. And I said, “Oh my gosh. If this is true then this is true.” And that's exactly what this thing is about. The whole concept of connecting the dots.
Congress is currently conducting a soft insider trading probe. There's growing evidence that the FBI and the government intelligence entities are more closely linked to the documented accumulation of 9/11 insider trading profits than was originally thought. But thus far the Joint Congressional Intelligence Committee has not publicly referred to prior knowledge of the attacks as it relates to stock transaction profits, while also failing, after nine months, to publicize the critical Securities and Exchange Commission Control List report that's tracing what in effect were stock trading profits of death. And I've written about 6,000 words that's in three parts on Michael Ruppert's site, that's Most of you have probably heard about that site. Mike does a great job. Intelligence agency spokesman, Tom Crispal, spoke to me and I asked him about the CIA monitoring real time pre-September 11th stock trading activity within the United States borders using such software as the Prosecutor's Management Information System, or PROMIS, or the Echelon satellite monitoring system. However, when asked whether the CIA had been scrutinizing world markets for national security purposes Crispal replied, “I have no way of knowing what operations are being affected by assets outside the country.” Well given 3,000 deaths, the victim families and their lawyers may want to know this.
The CIA and 9/11 investment espionage. A January 23, 2002, Houston Chronicle report revealed that ENRON corporation's top security team, including four former CIA officers and an ex-FBI agent left the company to form a private firm, Secure Solutions International, or SSI, while continuing with ENRON via a consulting contract. Team member and former CIA agent David Cromley's business biography at ENRON listed him as ENRON's Director of Business Analysis, the Chronicle reported, saying also that Cromley gave ENRON executives “detailed and unique information” allowing them to make “investments, sales of assets, joint ventures and financial products.” Sound familiar? But no public information has been forthcoming as to whether such “detailed and unique information” or sensitive CIA software was used in conjunction with ENRON's controversial off shore investment products or whether their missing assets, ENRON's missing assets, may have been employed in what former German Minister of Technology, Andreas von Bulow, estimated at 15 billion dollars, that's with a “b,” in insider trading products, profits, according to Tagesspiegel Berlin on January 13th of this year. An examination of SSI's website reveals that its corporate members have managed cutting edge counter-terrorism and counter-proliferation operations for the CIA, implementing advance technical information and security programs for the CIA and conducting a wide range of investments for the FBI while also overseeing all security arrangements for several large gas pipeline companies. The fraud-wracked ENRON corporation has had at least twenty CIA agents on the payroll in the last eight years. But while the Houston Chronicle reported the operatives as former CIA, a February 26, 2002, National Enquirer story quoted a top Washington insider familiar with several secret investigations into ENRON as reporting that they were given leaves of absence without pay and put on the ENRON payroll. These are taxpayer funded CIA agents, CIA agents on a corporate payroll. And Congress isn't asking questions, hence the soft probe. But it's in a secret, soundproof room, however.
The source added that ENRON CIA members used info gleaned from a satellite project called ECHELON which intercepted emails, phone calls, faxes with detailed business and stock information, adding that pure and simple, U.S. intelligence agents were involved in corporate espionage. These are tax payer funded U.S. agents, CIA agents. Another Inquirer source with ties to the CIA revealed that the cozy deal between ENRON and the CIA allowed the on-loan undercover operatives to return to the agency's payroll before ENRON's collapse. But even Congress has a CIA link Joint Intelligence Co-Chairman Bob Graham and his House Intelligence Co-Chairman and former CIA operative, Porter Goss, were meeting with the Chief of the Pakistani Intelligence Service on the very morning of the attacks, according to widely published reports. Oh to be a fly on the wall in that room.
FBI agents indicted in 9/11 linked stock schemes on the heels of alleged CIA involvement in public stock trading and the use of sensitive prior knowledge to last fall's attacks. Thirteen days ago on May 22, FBI agent Jeffery Royer and Lynn Wingate were charged with racketeering conspiracy, securities and stock fraud, conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Thirteen days ago. Royer was also charged with extortion according to examination of an unsealed Federal indictment which I have a copy of in my home. All of which clouds either open or secret Congressional probes of pre-attack insider trading profits. [Alan] Vinegrad's [U.S. Attorney, Eastern Dist. NY] news release said that the allegations, “reveal a shocking partnership between experienced stock manipulators and law enforcement agents undertaken for their illicit personal financial gain” Moreover Royer and Wingate allegedly used the FBI's automated case support database to actually monitor the investigation, passing confidential information about the investigations of companies to participants in a stock manipulation scheme, according to the Washington Post, 5/23/02. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Green said stock advisor Amr I. Elgindy, charged in the indictment, called his Solomon, Smith, Barney broker trying to sell $300,000 in stock from his children's trust fund during the afternoon of September 10th. During the conversation Elgindy predicted to the broker that the Dow Jones Industrial average, which at the time stood at about 9,600, would soon crash to below 3,000, according to the New York Times, thus begging the question whether Congress will publicly disclose other indications of alleged CIA or FBI complicity and prior knowledge of the attacks.
National Security Agency destroying 9/11 data on Americans and companies. Two individuals with close intelligence ties told the Boston Globe - and this is the only report in the country. I talked to the reporter. No one else has reported this - that since September 11th the super, super secret National Security Agency, acting on the advice of their lawyers, has been destroying data collected on American citizens and corporations, angering intelligence agencies seeking leads in the antiterrorist probe. Two of my phone calls to Senate Ranking Member of the Joint Intelligence Committee, Richard Shelby, to confirm these details were unreturned. Since the October Globe report, no other media outlet has examined the heated discussions with the CIA and Intelligence Committee staff members as NSA lawyers turned down requests to preserve the intelligence because regulations prohibit data collection on Americans. However, my discussion and phone call with Vincent Cannistraro, the former CIA Director of Counter-terrorism told me the law allows intelligence officials exceptions in certain circumstances. Both the CIA and FBI declined comment. Cannistraro added that “if American citizens are believed to be involved in some way in a foreign intelligence operation,” I feel like Chris Matthews here, “that could lead to terrorism against this country, I believe that the NSA is required to save and maintain that information.” When asked about the NSA and the attacks a former CIA official told this reporter, “In this case I believe they should have saved the surveillance data.” Congress, of course, has been tight lipped and government investigators are extremely frustrated.
The SEC, and this is list that Ms. Schiavo needs to obtain, and Mr. Nolan. The SEC Insider Trading “Control” List. And Control is in quotes because that's how they do it. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, 10/19/01, the SEC privately asked North American securities firms - and notice I said privately - to participate in an information sharing system to trace “large numbers of trades in securities of companies directly affected by the attacks.” But curiously, the SEC asked companies to designate senior personnel who appreciate the sensitive nature of the case, that is pre-attack trading, and can be relied upon to exercise appropriate discretion as point people linked to the government investigations.
October 2, Canadian securities officials confirmed that the SEC had asked firms to review records for 38 companies - and believe me I have them down and I went through them quite carefully - suggesting that some buyers and sellers might have had advance knowledge of the attacks according to Winokur, [of the San Francisco Chronicle]. My examination of The Center for Public Integrity's financial records of top 100 Bush administration officials reveals ownership of millions of dollars in these 38 stocks which would be not different than any other American citizen, of course.
Not me, however, I should say. However, Congress has thus far refused to make public the Chronicle report and the control list because the control list contains confidential information.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the Secret Service was probing an unusually high volume of five year Treasury Note purchases made prior to the attacks. One purchase included a single five billion dollar trade. Five billion, a few days before the attacks. And no one knows who purchased these. They know, but they haven't told us. The Journal called Treasury Notes among the best investments in the world in times of world crisis, obviously. And of course, a fellow who's done some researching for me, Kyle Hence, on the side here, has done a good deal of work with the gold futures because there's different ways to make money. Gold futures, you know, if you know the stock market was going to crash you'd just sell your stocks. How many people sold huge chunks? Well we don't know but that's out there.
Deutschebank, Meyer, Brown and Platt, and John Schmitz. Well I'm going to - later on I will phrase this. I'm going to leave out all of the ividence surrounding Deutschebank. I've written about it but I kind of condensed it into a nice, thick, juicy paragraph which I'll use when you ask me a question later on. But I'm going to move on. European reporters found that most of the suspicious pre-attack trades passed through Deutschebank and especially the ex-CIA Executive Director, A.B. Buzzy Krongard, from the Alex Brown Investment Division, by means of a procedure of portage, which assures the anonymity of individuals making the transactions. But Congress has not publicly revealed whether they will call Krongardt and other Alex Brown traders to testify in open hearings., an online site for corporate executives, revealed that the Deutschebank was a limited partner in either the controversial ENRON special purpose entities, LJM or Chewco, the off bound sheets and off shore products heavily involved in ENRON's demise and run by Andrew Fastow, the CFO. Of course this begs the question whether Congress or the courts will determine whether missing funds from ENRON were possibly part of a scheme to develop funds to profit from the air attacks.
Interestingly, a former ENRON employee preparing this SEC filing for Deutschebank deleted Deutschebank's name from the LJM version when he sent it to the SEC. But curiously, the deletion was made at the behest of the former Securities and Exchange Commission Enforcement Director who told him to delete it. The former employee also claims to have further received instructions to destroy the draft of the SEC filling, but not a word from Congress yet. Now John Schmitz. Here's a fellow that you're going to hear more and more about. It's John P. Schmitz, S-c-h-m-i-t-z. George H. W. Bush's former Deputy Counsel during the elder's vice presidency and presidency will likely to become a key player if Congress becomes serious about its 9/11 probe. Some may remember Schmitz from the Iran Contra Investigation when the Office of the Independent Counsel reported that each witness interviewed regarding document production complied except for Schmitz who asserted that his documents were privileged work product. Schmitz, fluent in German and a partner in the global law firm, Meyer, Brown and Platt, has clients that include Bayer AG, the German maker of the antibiotic, Cipro, which fights anthrax. About which Larry Klayman and the Judicial Watch will have keen interest. For five days ago Judicial Watch filed suit seeking the administration's anthrax documents to ascertain why the Whitehouse started taking heavy doses of Cipro the day of the attacks. Nearly a month before anthrax was even discovered on Capitol Hill but while postal workers continued to sort mail in contaminated, anthrax laden offices, some dying in the process.
But John Schmitz's Meyer Brown profile also reveals, this is from the website, that he represents ENRON, adding that “we were active in Germany with ENRON until the end. The bankruptcy surprised me as much as well as else,” he said, according to Reuters. Moreover, Meyer Brown also represents Deutschebank on a regular basis with its electronic activities. And interestingly, Schmitz's firm, Meyer Brown, also conveniently maintains an office in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, along with ENRON, if only to make sure that oil is well in the Caspian Sea basin. Many 9/11 victims will even come to recognize Meyer Brown for, conveniently, the firm will represent United Airlines against Ms. Mary Schiavo and Mr. Donald Nolan and their respective clients. And given Partner Schmitz's close former relationship to the Bush family, Meyer Brown's water coolers may become intriguing conduits when Ms. Schiavo and Mr. Nolan begin their respective legal discovery initiatives regarding who will be subpoenaed and what evidence is revealed.
A soft or investigative investigations, or aggressive investigations. And that's very important. I did an interview about a month ago with former Washington DC United States Attorney Joe DiGenova, who I really have a great deal of respect for Mr. DiGenova and his wife. Just highly talented and intelligent folks. And DeGenova took a hard line when he talked to me. He said, “If the Congress does not want to get answers to these critical questions regarding who profited from prior knowledge of the attacks then it needs to be litigated, period,” he said. And asked whether Americans have a right to know who sold large blocks of stock shares in companies and airlines directly affected by the attacks or purchased billions in ultra-safe Treasury Notes directly prior to 9/11, DiGenova said, “I believe someone will litigate the Freedom of Information Act too, the FOIA issue related to the Ashcroft memo. I'm involved in that myself on a personal family basis. You'll be hearing about me at the Attorney General in the very near future.”
While thousands of American families victimized by terrorism still remain numb with grief they don't show it. I lost my son almost two years ago. About two years ago. 21 years old. Tragic accident. So I'm grieving real hard right now and I know what this woman is going through. I know what he's going through. I know what they're going through. It's the worst thing in the world. But information is being advanced every single day and that's why we have all kinds of damage control, all kinds of announcements. They save things for a month and then they announce it. Any way to divert attention away from the real questions that we're asking today. We begged C-SPAN. They won't cover it. They're showing reruns on the radio. Reruns of Washington Journal. We'll deal with that later and I think Catherine will too. But this needs to be litigated as Joe DiGenova, the former U.S. Attorney in Washington, DC said. And that's pretty brave coming from, I believe, a lifelong Republican, if I'm not mistaken.
All this information is advanced, described by some, if it's not negligence, it's long term, at least long term slip shod government responsiveness, governmental responsiveness to fundamental internal or national security and safety questions, or worse. But even if Congress comes out of its secret, soundproof Capital bunker into the light of open hearings, the question still remains as to whether the members of Congress have the courage to forcefully seek answers to the real unanswered questions. Yes, we've come a long way from those pre-attack United and American Airlines put and call ratio arguments, about lucky bets that I read about in some - from some journalists. But this is real serious stuff. But curiously, both the President and the Vice President have lobbied mightily for only one joint investigative committee hearing instead of multiple and bicameral ENRON-style hearings. Maybe we'll even get a stacked deck. Maybe a wink and a nod blue ribbon panel. I think that's what they're hoping for tomorrow. We hope we're going to get more than that but where are the promises? Is it just going to be just a wink and a nod? Who's going to appoint those panel members that those victims' families are going to ask for regarding that investigation? Well only time will tell. But as the first lady always reminds us, “Don't worry. Just tell your children, 'You're safe.'“ Thank you.
Moderator: Thank you Tom. Michael Springmann?
Michael Springmann: (back to top)
Hi. I'm Mike Springmann. I want to thank Catherine and Kyle and the organization for the opportunity to be here and speak to you folks today. As Catherine mentioned when she first started the program today, I used to be in charge of the Visa Section at the CIA's consulate at Jeddah, the principle city of the Hejahs in Western Saudi Arabia. There, for a year and a half, I issued visas to terrorists recruited by the CIA and its asset, Osama Bin Laden. At the time I thought it was basically visa fraud. Somebody was paying $2500 bribes to State Department officials. I was ordered by these same high State Department officials to issue the visas, to shut up, to do my job and ask no questions.
And this wasn't simply a difference of opinion as was alleged later on. It wasn't one of these things where they wanted to visit their father in America and there was a question of where they worked, that sort of thing. It was basically two Pakistanis came to me one day and said, “We want to go to a trade show in America.” And I asked, “What's the trade show?” They didn't know. “What city is it going to be held in?” They didn't know. And I asked a few more questions and I said, “No. Visa denied. You haven't proved to me that you're going to come to the United States, accomplish your business and then return home.” Well a few minutes later I had a phone call from a CIA case officer assigned to the commercial section. “Issue the visas.” I said, “No.” He said, “Well, it's important they get a visa.” And I said, “No.” And a few minutes later he was over talking to the chief of the consular section, reversed me, issued the visas and these guys took off. And this was typical. I had a Sudanese who was unemployed in Saudi Arabia. He was a refugee from the Sudan and I said, “You don't get a visa” And he kept coming back and coming back and coming back. And after a bit I started getting calls from a woman I believe was a case officer who was in the political section. “We need this guy.” And I said, “No. He hasn't proved to me that he's going to America and he's going to come back, as the Immigration and Nationality Act says and that the State Department's Foreign Affairs Manual says.” Well, in short order I got reversed again and he got his visa for national security reasons. And this went on for a year and a half. I had people, not every day perhaps, but every week. And I estimate as many as 100 people got visas through me getting overruled on my analysis of their ability to go to the United states and then return.
And I protested this. I protested to the Counsel for Consular Affairs in Riad. I protested to the Bureau of Consular Affairs in Washington. I protested to the State Department's Inspector General. I protested to the State Department's Office of Diplomatic Security. I talked about this to the FBI, to the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility, and I went to a couple of Congressional Committees. And by and large I was told, “Shut up. You don't know what you're talking about. This is a difference of opinion. You don't know what you're doing. You're far to junior to question the Counsel General in Jeddah's interest in doing this.” He's a guy that was seen sitting in his office filling out visa application forms for Pakistanis with forged passports. He wanted visas for Libyans who had no ties to our consular district whatsoever. And I came back to Washington after a trip to Germany and I was assigned to the Bureau of Intelligence Research in the State Department. And eventually my appointment was cancelled. After this and after I tried mightily for several years to find out what had happened to me, and the Freedom of Information Act requests were being stonewalled on the basis of national security, I ran across a journalist, Joe Trento. And about the same time I ran across two people, one of whom was a government official and the other was a person attached to a local university here in Washington. All three confirmed that what I was protesting was not visa fraud but people being rounded up by the agency and Osama Bin Laden to come to the United Sates for training as terrorists to be sent to fight in the war against the then Soviet Union in Afghanistan. They used roughly a million dollars in liquor sales a year from the consulate in Jeddah to fund this. And you might ask, well, as the Washington Legal Times did, that was then, this is now, fifteen years later. Well, from what I read in the Los Angeles Times, fifteen of the nineteen people who allegedly flew airplanes into buildings in the United States got their visas from the same CIA consulate at Jeddah. And according to a journalist in Florida, Sidney Friedberg, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, they got this through the Visa Express program where you handed in your documents and they packed them off in a bunch of other documents, people traveling to the States for legitimate reason with a legitimate travel agency. Well Sevarino Castillo, the former DEA officer, told me this was common practice for the CIA in Central America. They put their guys in, hoping that the paperwork would be overlooked, that they wouldn't get too many questions asked. And when I raised this with the Los Angeles Times, with the New York Times, with the Washington Post, with 60 Minutes, nobody wanted to talk about it. But Covert Action Quarterly printed my article on The Hand that Rules the Visa Machine Rocks the World. Unclassified, the Journal of the Association of National Security Alumni, printed a couple of articles I had done on the links between the State Department and the CIA.
The agency assigns its people to virtually every section of every consulate and diplomatic post in the world. They routinely troll visa applications. They look to see who's coming to America, either to recruit them or to find out how they can get next to them and get some information from them, or to steer them for their own purposes. But, in Europe, in Canada, other people are interested in this. I was interviewed by Greg Palast of the BBC. And I was interviewed by the Canadian Broadcasting Company here in this building. The Italian Radio and Television Service, REI, interviewed me by telephone. I've had a couple of interviews on the radio with Pacifica. Greg Palast and I were on Friday morning. I've been interviewed on a couple of other radio programs scattered through the Midwest and West, but nobody in Washington, DC wants to hear about this. Nobody in Washington, DC wants to hear about the CIA and its assigning case officers to the consular section. There was a guy in with me who'd say, when there were a lot of people in front of us, “Mike, let me take this guy in line. He's one of my people.” So I really think the organization, Unanswered Questions, has a lot of questions to ask and it deserves answers to them from the government. Thank you for the opportunity to talk and I'd be happy to answer any questions.
Moderator: Okay, the next panelist is Jennifer Bergen coming, I believe, from, is it Los Angeles? Florida? Jennifer, finally we meet, welcome.
Jennifer Van Bergen: (back to top)
Hi Catherine, thanks. I should just introduce myself because I think you had incomplete information there. I'm Jennifer Van Bergen. I have a law degree from Benjamin Cardoso School of Law in New York. I'm a faculty member at the New School for Social Research in New York and I've written a series for which, a six part series on the Patriot Act. And I'm here to speak to you today about the Patriot Act.
On October 24, 2001, Congress passed a new set of antiterrorism laws called the USA Patriot Act. The Patriot Act largely builds on and expands existing laws, giving law enforcement agencies greater intelligence gathering powers. In the wake of 9/11 it may seem reasonable to grant government agencies these expanded powers, however, it is important to note that there was never any showing by the Department of Justice, by the administration, or by the intelligence agencies that the previous laws were in any way inadequate. In fact, it now appears that 9/11 was not prevented, not because of inadequate antiterrorism laws, but because of intelligence agencies own internal procedural failures. In terms of legal procedure basic criminal procedural laws have been shown to work quite well in terrorism cases.
The Patriot Act does not, therefore, help us to fight terrorism better. What it does do is it increases the administrative burden on already overburdened intelligence agencies, making terrorism even harder for them to fight. It introduces, excuse me, it intrudes upon many of our hard won civil liberties, liberties which many of our ancestors fought and died for, and it upsets the balance of powers in our government, putting unnecessarily greater power in the hands of the Executive and brings us one step closer to what a colleague of mine calls The National Security States of America.
The Patriot Act is a complicated law and I'm going to set forth just a few of the most worrisome provisions in it. Specifically, the Patriot Act allows the government to enter and search your home without ever informing you. The U.S. Constitution requires not only probable cause to search but that you be notified of the search. This law, Section 213 of the Patriot Act, circumvents the notice requirement of the Fourth Amendment. Section 216 of the Patriot Act allows the government to tap your phone and computer without probable cause. Under this section a judge must rubber stamp a warrant as long as law enforcement certifies that the surveillance is relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation. No probable cause of criminal activity is required to issue the warrant. This violates the probable cause provision of the Fourth Amendment. Further, Section 218 allows the government to carry out secret searches and wiretaps without showing probable cause merely by certifying that there is a significant foreign intelligence purpose. This also evades the Fourth Amendment.
Section 802 creates the crime of domestic terrorism. This criminalizes acts that “appear to be intended to influence the policy of the government by intimidation or coercion or to intimidate or coerce the civilian population.” This section would make just about any act of civil disobedience in protest against government policy into an act of domestic terrorism. Section 411, along with section 802, expands the power of government to designate a group a foreign terrorist organization. Any group which endorses so-called terrorist activity, which under Section 802 may be otherwise lawful protest activity, can be designated a terrorist organization. This would enable the government to designate such groups as the protesters at Vieques, Puerto Rico or those who protested against the World Trade Organization. Section 411 also allows the government to indict anyone who provides material support or assistance to a terrorist organization. If you provided humanitarian or medical assistance to the Northern Alliance, foes of Bin Laden, you could be arrested for supporting terrorism. Finally, Section 412 of the Patriot Act permits the government to arrest and detain immigrants indefinitely. That could be their entire lives, the rest of their lives, for nothing more than a visa violation. In fact, of the 1200 known immigrant detentions since 9/11, the ACLU determined that only about five were detained on terrorism related charges. Because the Department of Justice refused to release any information, the ACLU obtained this information from foreign embassies to whom the DOJ had courteously supplied the information where it affected one of their citizens. Thus, what is too sensitive to show to Americans the Department of Justice has no problem revealing to Islamic nations.
James Madison wrote in 1822 that “a popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both.” Madison goes on, “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” Our government has enacted bad legislation. Let's make sure this legislation doesn't lead to another tragedy. Thanks for having me. I'm available to answer questions if you need.
Moderator: Jennifer, thank you.
Dr. Stephen Camerota: (back to top)
Hi. I'm Steve Camerota. I am Director of Research at the Center for Immigration Studies here in Washington and I must tell you I have no evidence of, you know, a conspiracy or a specific wrongdoing but I do find lots of evidence for poorly administrated laws and so forth. In the report that I'm going to talk to you about I looked at the immigration system and to look at where are the weaknesses and breakdown there. In a report we released about two weeks ago. Now we've had no trouble, actually, getting interest in our report. USA Today did a nice big, full page feature on it. The LA Times did a nice story on it. So at least in our case we have had no problem getting attention for it. I've appeared on Fox News and MSNBC talking about it.
What we did was we looked at the September 11th hijackers, as well as a number of other terrorists, in total 48 foreign-born militant Islamic terrorists who have been charged, convicted or plead guilty, or who admitted to their involvement in the United States in terror, in terrorist activities since '93. Almost all of these individuals are now thought to be linked with Bin Laden. So in other words, even prior to September 11th there were about 28 Al Qaeda terrorists that had been involved in terrorism within the United States and had used our immigration system to gain access to the country. So what did we find in our study? Well there are an enormous number of findings and, again, you can go through them at our website, which is, but let me run through them quickly.
Every conceivable means, it turns out, had been used to enter the country. The terrorists have come as students, tourists, business travelers. They've also been lawful permanent residents, naturalized US citizens, they have snuck across the border illegally, arrived as stowaways on ships, used false passports and even been granted amnesty in the past. If we look at the 9/11 hijackers, all of them had been issued a temporary visa by an American consulate overseas. The only exception to this is Zacarias Moussaoui, the French national who is currently in custody. He actually entered using a system called the visa waiver which allows some countries, individuals from those countries to come without any visa. So they're never even checked out by an American consulate overseas. And Moussaoui seems to have used that system. And also Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, he wasn't in our study. He didn't quite make the deadline, but he used visa waiver, as well, to enter the country.
Of the 48 terrorists we studied about 21 or 22 of them, or almost half, committed significant violations of immigration laws prior to taking part in terrorism. Some have engaged in fraudulent marriages to American citizens. Some have used false names, false documents. And a number of them had worked in the United States illegally for some time prior to taking part in terrorism. Of the September 11th hijackers are concerned, a number had violated the law before September 11th. Moussaoui had overstayed his time limit. Nawaf al Hamzi had overstayed his time limit. Satam al Suqami had also overstayed his. Another hijacker, Hani Hanjour, received a student visa in September of 2000 but then he never attended class. He was supposed to go to a school in Oakland so he just never showed up and lived in the United States illegally.
Overstaying a visa is not the only way that 9/11 hijackers violated immigration law. Mohammed Atta and Marwan al Shehhi both used temporary visas basically to live in the United States, which is not something you're supposed to do. They basically stayed in the United States on their tourist visa, only leaving for a short period of time. Now if anyone had looked at their passports each time they came back into the country they would have noticed this. But unfortunately those passports aren't very closely examined. So in effect they were allowed to live in the United States and operate, over the course of about 18 months, on a tourist visa. The visa itself is only good for six months but if you leave and come back it resets the clock. And they were doing that. Something they should not have been allowed to do.
So the large number of terrorists who violate immigration law is important, both in 9/11 and in the past, because it suggests if we enforced immigration law we might well trip up a lot of terrorists, in the past as well as 9/11. Let me touch on something very quickly. It does appear that a lot of, several 9/11 terrorists should not have been issued visas in the first place, temporary visas that they used, because they had the characteristics of what's called an intending immigrant. It's very simple. If you're young, unmarried, don't have a job, you're not supposed to get a tourist visa because you're not likely to return. You're very likely to overstay that visa. Several of the terrorists who provided the muscle to overpower the flight crews appears that they should not have been issued visas in the first place. We can talk about that.
Mohammed Atta is an interesting case too. He was the ringleader of September 11th. He too, you could make a pretty powerful argument, should have been excluded as an intending immigrant. That is he was going to try to settle permanently and never should have gotten a temporary visa because he was unemployed, unmarried and had lived outside of his home country for many years, thus it does not appear that he had a residence that he was likely to want to return to. So again, you don't issue temporary visas to individuals like that. But unfortunately he was. And he's not the only one but we'll leave it at that.
I guess one final point I would point out is one of the main problems with the current immigration system in this regard to security is that both the INS, which deals with immigration within the United States, and the State Department which processes visas overseas, are just completely overwhelmed by the numbers. GAO reports, Inspector General reports have shown that they just can't process this number of visas. They can't process this number of change of applications, citizenship applications, and Congress just keeps the number very high and doesn't provide them with the resources. So both the level, and I should point out that of course, both the level of immigration and the lax way it is being administered are primarily the function of interest group pressure. Immigration lawyers, business community also pushes very hard for lax enforcement of immigration law, as well as a lot of ethnic pressure groups. So this lax immigration system that we have that unfortunately has been exploited often by terrorists is the result of a democratic process heavily penetrated by interest groups. Again, I don't find any evidence for conspiracy or that there was a foreknowledge or that any of these people were purposely issued visas for any particular reason, just rather a question of incompetence, overwhelmed staff at the State Department, INS, and basically the law is pretty laxed enforced for most people so it's not surprising that it has been for the terrorists as well. Thank you.
Moderator: Last, Richard Ochs is going to speak to us about anthrax.
Richard Ochs: (back to top)
I'm not an expert on anthrax. I'm a freelance writer. I've published in the Baltimore Sun, the Baltimore Chronicle, the Times Magazine, but more than a writer, I'm an activist. I'm on the board of the Aberdeen Proving Ground Superfund Citizen's Coalition, also the Military Toxics Project and [inaudible] working group. Ever since I've been a college student I've been trying to keep an eye on Fort Dietrich. I've written about it, even back in the '60's. And someone, a friend of mine told me that right after Senator Leahy called for hearings on military tribunals he got an anthrax threat. And right away I smelled a rat. And I started looking into it and I found a bunch of other circumstantial evidence that I think justifies a Congressional investigation or a Blue Ribbon Commission investigation to answer a lot of these questions that are raised by some of these circumstances.
I have a ten page paper that outlines some of these things which is on the table, but they're out. If someone didn't get one you get a card from me and I'll send it to you or you can get it off my web site. The timing and targeting of the letters, the anthrax letters, suggests that the motivation of the perpetrators was to promote legislation, mainly the USA Patriot Act. Anthrax letters were mailed to the Democratic Senate leadership on the same day that they blocked an attempt to rush the bill through without debate or amendments. These threats frightened Congress in general and intimidated certain opponents of the Patriot bill in particular. No Republican received an anthrax letter. The closing of the House and Senate office buildings made it difficult for members to read the bill. Many members didn't even get a chance to read most of the bill. It was like 350 pages. After the letters were received the Democratic leadership gave up their insistence on a two year sunset clause of the Patriot Act.
The day after the constitutionally challenged Patriot Act was signed, the Supreme Court was closed with a false anthrax scare. Anthrax letters to the news media created widespread fear and a lockstep mentality and support of the administration's policies. The administration suggested that the anthrax attacks were perpetrated by the same people who crashed the planes on 9/11. Well, while agreeing that the anthrax came from US government sources, the FBI investigation has been so inept that members of Congress and anthrax scientists have complained. And this is the other reason I think that we need to have a commission or Congressional hearings. Not just because of the strange coincidences of the Patriot Act, but the behavior of the FBI in investigating what's actually going on. It's been four months now since they, or anyone, has said anything. The last thing that's been written about the anthrax investigation was the beginning of February and nothing's been said since then, not even from our friends who are watching the FBI. They're just not saying much.
Dr. Barbara Hatch Rosenberg of the Federation of American Scientists thinks that the culprit is known by the FBI but may be untouchable because he has knowledge damaging to the government. That may be that knowledge is that the United States is doing illegal research in violation of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention. In an article by Laura Rosen in Salon on February 8th of this year revealed that the “Defense Intelligence Agency hired Betell Labs to create a genetically enhanced version of anthrax, even though no vaccine was proven to be effective beforehand.” A former Clinton administration official, Alyssa D.. Harris, “was shocked to read in the New York Times about bio-weapons research that she herself had not known about although she had served eight years in the White House as the point person for weapons of mass destruction non-proliferation issues.”
The FBI investigation has seemed to have ground to a halt. Some categories of suspects may be precluded due to the FBI's ideological boundaries and/or conflicts of interest. It is therefore advisable for Congress to conduct open hearings on the greatest criminal germ attack on citizens in US history. Now in terms of questions, I have written about 18 questions myself. I don't probably have time to read them all but I'll read a few. Why did the FBI allow the destruction of the Ames anthrax stockpile in Ames, Iowa one week after the same strain killed a tabloid editor in Florida? Why did the FBI wait for two months after the anthrax attacks before interviewing the experts at Ft. Dietrich? Why did the FBI rule the death of anthrax expert, Dr. Don C. Wiley, a suicide instead of a murder? Local homicide detectives thought otherwise. Would the FBI reconsider a homicide investigation? What is the source of the anthrax used in the letters? What is the hold up in the FBI's investigation? What damaging information, if any, does the suspected anthrax perpetrator have on the government? Why does the CIA or its contractors possess anthrax or other bio-weapons? And in my paper I go into what the CIA is doing on that. What is the extent of the CIA's research or the US bio-weapons program? Is the US or any of its agents in violation of the Biological Weapons Convention of 1972 and/or the Biological Weapons Antiterrorism Act of 1989? Is the US developing genetically modified biological agents? Does the US or its contractors possess genetically engineered pathogens which have no vaccine or cure? What would happen if such pathogens got into the general environment by accident or design? How easy is it to smuggle a few grams of lethal agent out of the high security labs? What is required to grow dangerous quantities of these agents from a few grams? And is the danger of proliferation worth the presumed benefit of possessing such bio-weapons? Thank you.
Catherine Fitts:(back to top)
And you promise you will put those into the web site as well? Okay. Good. Okay. Before we close Kyle and Tom asked me if I would mention two things. And let me just touch on them briefly. In the summer of the year 2000 I went to visit with the Chief of Staff to the then Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee that has jurisdiction over the Department of Housing and Urban Development where I used to be Assistant Secretary in the first Bush administration. And this was a person I had met before and they said, “What do you think is going on at HUD?” And I said, “I don't know, what do you think is going on at HUD?” And they said, “HUD is being run as a criminal enterprise.” Now the reason that that is such a devastating comment, if you understand HUD it has over a trillion dollars of financial portfolios. It cannot be run as a criminal enterprise without the concerted intention of the Department of Treasury and the Department of Justice to run it as a criminal enterprise. And not to mention a group of contractors who essentially run the computers systems and information systems at HUD. I communicated that story, in fact, to my Congressional delegation in Tennessee, My Congressman and two Senators, and subsequent they and the appropriations committees together, all Republicans, remember, at this point that this was still the Clinton Administration, voted a 1.7 billion dollar increase in HUD's appropriations. With no conversation. Why do I bring up that story? I bring up that story because in early September I was very confident that we had a chance of bringing up and finally breaking into visibility the fact that over 3.3 trillion dollars has been reported missing at several agencies, one of which is HUD. But the biggest, certainly, is the Department of Defense. And in fact my understanding is that one of the reasons that the Department of Defense Appropriations Bill had stalled and not even come out of subcommittee that summer was, not only the various politics of trying to decide how we're going to get increases but sort of trying to keep that issue under wraps. Sure enough, that log jam was broken, as we all know, on September 11th. There was no problem not only passing, getting the Department of Defense Appropriation out of subcommittee, but approved by full committee with tremendous increases. I'm from Hickory Valley, Tennessee. When you buy a car - we pay 350 billion dollars a year to make sure that 9/11 could never have happened, to the military and budget, and you know, when you buy a car and it doesn't work you don't go back to the dealer and say, “Let me give you a 60 billion dollar raise.” So I have an article that's up on Scoop Media called “9/11 - Rewarding Failure.” But to give you a sense of how bad this is, the number one defense contractor is Lockheed Martin. Runs the computer systems at both HUD and DOD where the 3.3 trillion is missing. Lockheed Martin stock is up over 60% since 9/11. Now I don't think there's anybody here who is in this room because of money. I don't think anybody came here because of money. This is, for many of us, this is an act of love. But I think, my experience as an Assistant Secretary and then as an investment banker in Washington, is about 80% of everything that goes on is about money. And I would encourage the reporters who are here and the researchers who are here to keep asking the question, qui bono, who benefited? Because if we're going to be safe in the future we need to understand how to do that. And if our government is being run as a criminal enterprise we need to take that into account and move forward accordingly.
On a subject related to money I would like to say, on behalf of Tom and Kyle, that we are extremely disappointed that C-SPAN declined to cover this conference. Several weeks ago, two weeks ago I think, I got onto the internet and watched Agent Wright tell the story of how he had been stopped from taking every step he could because the money laundering networks of terrorist organizations were protected by the higher ups. That C-SPAN coverage I thought was incredible, connecting to people and citizens and researchers all over the country. I'm very disappointed and I know Tom and Kyle, after all the work that's been done, and your presence here, are disappointed that that will not happen. I would ask, if we cannot depend on the national media and we cannot depend on the taxpayer related funded media, such as C-SPAN, I would encourage all of you to take advantage of the wonderful alternative medias here, but please do everything you can to help circulate to your family and friends that the truth can be gotten. We're going to try and link to the top web sites on 9/11 in Unanswered so that we can continue to have this conversation. Because if we can't depend on the Congress, if we can't depend on the White House and we can't depend on the national media, we can depend on each other. And Woodrow Wilson once said that no one is as smart as all of us. I think if you looked at other events like this, TWA 800, it's been incredible what the families, the participants, interested researchers have been able to accomplish and we hope the web site will help to accomplish that. So I'd like, on behalf of Kyle, and Miles Thompson who's not here, and Tom Flocco, I'd like to thank you very much for being here. I'd like to thank everyone who helped.
(back to top)
And now we have enough time for questions and answers. Again, Mr. O'Brien has the microphone. What I'd like to do is please give your name, keep your statements brief and ask the question, and if there's someone in particular that you want to have answer the question if you could mention them too.
Q: My name is Elizabeth Alderman. My 25 year old son, Peter, was murdered at the World Trade Center. This conference is all about questions. About unanswered questions. My question is, how do we begin to get answers? It is apparent that there are suits against the airlines, there are suits in progress against foreign governments, foreign individuals. How do we begin to get accountability from our government, from other involved. There are no lawsuits mentioned. There are no - there's nothing moving ahead to get these answers. I found the questions very interesting. I think it's very important to raise questions, but I think that we need some kind of a format where we can begin to get the answers that are necessary.
Tom Flocco: On April the - Ms. Schiavo could you come up and take questions also? I'll answer that because I had to spend almost two years searching out an attorney. I was laid off and he kind of led me on and I filed suit in Georgia and I filed suit in Pennsylvania on April the 19th against a certain travel corporation regarding negligence and fraud and so forth and misrepresentation in advertising in the death of my son. And I had to - it took me a full year. And what you have to do is you just have to get on and start doing some searches and start calling attorneys. And go after them and present them with this evidence and say, “Look, I want to hold the CIA accountable. I want to hold the FBI accountable.” Well, you have to find a way. You have to find a way to use creative legal theories. And the point is, for example, you could at least get all the victim families and instead of going up to the Capital steps and let's get an open-ended investigation where the President gets to pick the people on the committee, and you know, former CIA operatives in the House of Representatives get to pick who's going to be answering your unanswered questions and so forth, go ahead and find attorneys that can come up with theories that they can use to actually develop questions for the President. Maybe, does anyone here think that the President of the United States, if you had 3,000 families go outside of the White House in front of the whole American people and ask, “Mr. President, could we see the August 6th briefing document?” for example, and could we see other various documents that Larry Klayman is trying to get a hold of regarding why the administration was taking Cipro on the day of the attacks when they hadn't discovered it yet in town, regarding the various letters that were laden with anthrax and sent to various Democrats and so forth. And so those kinds of questions. I think you have to do it via political, you know, and I think in many respects. Because the country is going to be watching and they're going to say, hey, wait a minute. Why can't he release this document? Why can't we see this document?” You know, why can't we see the insider tradings? Why can't we see who bought that five billion dollar bill, Treasury Note, right before? Why can't we see the extended single one billion dollar notes that were purchased? Why can't we know who purchased that two and a half million dollar, or who made that trade worth two and a half million dollars in insider trading profits was made. Why can't we know the identify of that person? There's a lot of things that you can do but it has to be done politically. And what we're doing is right now there's reporters flying all over the place trying to ask questions about the variety of aspects of the terrorist that were just caught.
Mike Ruppert: This is Mike Ruppert. I'm still on the line. I'd like a piece of this question too, if I could. I've been around this a long time too and to second - legal action is one thing but I have 25 years of studying this kind of phenomenon, this of course. being the most egregious in our nation's history. And I for one am convinced that it - no tangible results will be achieved without public activity including mass demonstrations. We recall that it took a half a million, 600 thousand people in the streets of Washington in the civil rights movement, during the Vietnam War to bring those travesties to conclusions of one degree or another. And I've been traveling the world lecturing since September the 11th and one of the primary things that has to happen is to educate the public at large by whatever means necessary to make sure that the public will exists to give a foundation upon which the victim families can stand. And without that I am not optimistic for great success.
Catherine Fitts: Let me mention that one of the reasons - this year is an election cycle in the United States. In many communities the Town Hall Meeting forum is a forum where people can get their questions asked without intermediaries. One of the reasons that Tom and Kyle and I wanted to get Unanswered Questions launched was so that people all over the country could have access to these questions in a way that with a relatively small amount of time they could go to their Town Hall meeting and start to really grill their Congressmen. Because I think if 450 plus Congressmen have to face the population one on one, that can start to shift it. But it takes tremendous grassroots organization. Let me keep going. Next question?
Kyle Hence: Before we go onto the next question can I just offer my response? This comes in part from me and in part from John Judge. John has suggested that Congress is one avenue where we could bring this material. Okay, so in terms of what this material is, it's readily available on a lot of sites which will be listed on our web site, sort of a top ten list of the best websites for sources of this material. We're also going to try to organize and structure that data with the help of what we're going to call the UQ Network, which will be a network of people that has come forth who offer their services to help put the pieces together, structure it and make it understandable and then they'll go out and communicate it and bring it to various different avenues, including Congress, possibly an independent official commission as opposed to a Presidential commission, a people's commission or tribunal, or perhaps, some suggested, overseas and International Criminal Court. Because what happened has grave international implications. I would also add, on a very grassroots level, if C-SPAN won't do it perhaps your local public access channel will. And so I'd like to put forward that idea, that we could organize a national clearinghouse of some videos and documents that, I guess it needs to be in video format if you're going to put it on television, so that we offer this video and other subsequent videos from future events to put on local access channels. And then publicize that we're going to be putting this material on public access television. So if C-SPAN won't do it that's another avenue. Thank you.
Catherine Fitts: Can you stand up? The gentleman in the tie. Oh, I'm sorry, go ahead.
Q: [inaudible] from Vision TV in Toronto. I don't want to diminish the importance of the exchange that's just taken place. I happen to agree very much with that. But my question is more specific and it's for John Judge, it so happens. I believe we're in a bit of a disinformation soup post-9/11, that is not only is the Bush regime taking various evasive and deceptive actions to throw up smoke screens and distract people and so on, but information is going around various places which people in this room might be inclined to believe and it may or may not be so. So very specifically, John, on the internet the other day I saw that you had written something, or ostensibly you had, that you saw the plane go into the Pentagon.
John Judge: I had written that there were eyewitnesses that saw the plane go into the Pentagon because I was responding to a best selling French book and some other web sites that claim that Flight 77 never went into the Pentagon. I wrote back to the first person who wrote me about it and said, “Perhaps you don't live in DC.” A close personal friend of mine was a flight attendant on Flight 77. I thought she was dead that day. I subsequently found out she was home taking care of her father. She lost her best friend at work and the whole crew there that she worked with on the flight. There have been autopsies of the bodies and to me there is absolutely no question that the plane went into the Pentagon. But I wasn't an eyewitness but I was an ear-witness. My windows shook. I live right across the river in Anacostia. But there were eyewitnesses that saw the plane. There were some people who said they thought they saw something else but I believe that there's no question that the plane went into the Pentagon. And I think we've personally been in a disinformation soup for a lot of time prior to September 11th and it's been a fact since the inception of the National Security State in 1947 and the beginning of classification of information, that we have lost our own history in this country.
Q: [Questioner from Vision TV] I would tend to agree with that too. Could I just ask an ancillary question, having heard yours. Probably everybody in this room has seen the pictures at the web site that seem to indicate that no airliner could have gone in, so would you comment on that web site?
John Judge: I have seen some of the photos but I'm just saying, I mean, I think that the preponderance of evidence if you look at it seriously suggests that Flight 77 went into the Pentagon. If Flight 77 went someplace else, I mean, that raises so many people being involved in a cover up that even I can't, I mean, and they like to call me a conspiracy theorist, which is fine as long as you call everyone else a coincidence theorist. But I'd like to say for the coincidence theorists here in relation to the Pentagon, if you sleep better thinking incompetence and coincidence, that then you have spent 13 trillion dollars since the end of World War II on a massive defense and intelligence system that cannot defend its own building.
Catherine Fitts: Okay. Right here.
Q: Can you hear me? My name's Christopher Storey from England. I publish a paper called Soviet Analyst. I'll try to be very brief indeed. But there's been no geopolitical discussion at all, and the question qui bono has been asked. Now you won't notice that GOU officer Vladimir Putin, who started his career in GOU, he was also a KGB officer, is now Bush's closest friend. And Bush calls him Puti-Puti. You may also recall that the first phone call that Bush received on Air Force 1 was from Mr. Puti-Puti. That reminds me of the standard action of the Godfather, after the murder of an associate when he's commiserating with the widow. And in that context I'd like to draw your attention to two statements by Putin which are verified. One is that he is on record as saying, “I feel that I personally am to blame for what happened.” And secondly, he also said, a few days after the event he said, “My first feeling after September the 11th was guilt.” I'd just like to add one more point. Joseph Podanski, the Israeli expert, said on the 3rd of November on CNBC that Bin Laden has been working with Chechans who are former [Spetsnats]. Now in my office we do not use the word fledgling or former.
Mike Ruppert: I'd like a piece of that if I could. This is Mike Ruppert. Okay, yes, and that's a very important question to ask, is not just if the administration and the authorities are capable of this kind of act but what would motivate them to that. And I'm firmly convinced that the answer lies in the billions of dollars in liquid cash that the major oil companies had invested, paid to secure equity interest in Central Asian oil and gas, most particularly in Kazakhstan with the government of President Nazarbayev. We have documented, and Sy Hirsch has done some very good work about the two grand juries that were sitting, and Vladimir Putin was experiencing a monumental thorn in his side from Islamic fundamentalist terrorists that was alleviated somewhat by the attacks of September 11th in that threats to pipelines going north out of the region through Russia are now infinitely more secure than they were prior. In addition, now of course we know that Unical, Exxon, Shell, Texaco, all of them, can now monitize those huge investments. ENRON, or what remains of it, still owns, I believe, the Daphol Power Plant in India and will soon have a national gas pipeline to feed that plant. And that was a driving force that benefited both Vladimir Putin and the Bush administration and its oil creators, if you will. And I think that's a much larger picture. But Putin, I totally agree, has clearly been behaving as a US vassal. But to put that in context, you have to look also at what was done to Russia throughout the 1990's. The Harvard Endowment, IMF, Goldman Sachs, the US Treasury looted some three to four hundred billion dollars out of that economy to make Russia so weak that it was totally dependent upon US actions when we made the move to control Central Asia.
Catherine Fitts: Next question please.
Q: My name is Alderman. My 25 year old son was killed at the world trade center on September 11th. I must say this has been a marvelous conference. It is [inaudible] the presence of distinguished panelists. The problem is it seems to me that we're preaching to the choir. When you look around this room there's less than a quarter percent of the families here. Therefore it appears to me that while our government's behavior is heinous it's predictable. On the other hand, the failure to control them in any way shape or form, I think evolves to us. It's our fault. And I don't know how to change that and I don't know who even to ask that of the panel. Thank you.
Catherine Fitts: Does anybody want to?
Kyle Hence: I would just like to say that I have - when I first got the idea to bring this together, to have a conference, and called Tom, one of the first communications I made was to contacts that Tom and contacts that I had researched with the group, Families of September 11th. And I did invite them to collaborate and they said we have our own plans for press and perhaps we can collaborate in the future. So my hope is that those that are here, yourself, can go back, perhaps armed with the video or audio, or send them to our website to listen to the audio. And make a case to your 900 members somehow that the questions that we've raised are legitimate questions and look at how you can help get them answered and put some pressure on the government in the ways that we have discussed.
Catherine Fitts: Let me just close that with one other statement. I've worked with a great many people over the last five years who are in similar positions to the one you're in. My experience on this says that he who controls the money will control what happens. In fact, he who controls the money will control what the official story is, whether it's from the government or C-SPAN. And what I would encourage everyone, because we pay over one and a half trillion dollars a year in taxes, and it's are credit that supports the Treasury credit, in the end of the day we control the money. But one of the things that I would encourage the Families of 9/11 to think about is who controls the money and what are we going to do about the money. Because that's what this is going to come down to. Okay, next question?
Q: I'm Marion Kinsick and this question is for John Judge. Since a commercial jet goes just under mach 1 and a military jet can go mach 2 or mach 3, how come the military jets couldn't very easily have overtaken the commercial jets?
John Judge: I think there's a question that there was time enough had normal procedures gone ahead. If you can't scramble a plane in 40 minutes or if you can't catch something that flies less rapidly in less distance for you to get to, then you're not attempting to. It seems to me clear, from the actually distances from Langley and Otis to the points where they finally got to New York and DC, that they were not flying at full speed that they were capable of. They were flying at a subsonic speed if you just do the mathematics. There were some claims that continue that I also don't find credible, that the flight that actually went down in Pennsylvania was shot down by an interceptor plane. But I think had this government actually intercepted and shot down one of those planes it would have been tooting its horn.
Q: I'm L. B. Deyo, again, from Jinks Magazine. The American public since 9/11 has been treated to some of the most interesting theories in the history of this republic and just to go on what would has been offered today, we've heard it [inaudible] that the following may or may not have been involved in 9/11, Bush, the CIA, the FBI, the FAA, Condoleeza Rice, the Security Commission in charge of airline security, ENRON, the companies that run gas pipelines, the National Security Agency, the Securities Exchange Agency, Suisse Credit, Deutschebank, the DOD, the HUD, the Taliban, the manufacturers of Cipro, Putin and the Chechan rebels and, of course from Mr. Och's pamphlet that was handed out prior to this, a “cabal” of Jews. Now based on the standard of evidence that we've heard applied today I would like to make a theory of my own. I would like to point out that no one on this panel…
Catherine Fitts: Can you ask your question please?
L. B. Deal: Yes. My question is this. Why did no one on this panel receive an anthrax letter? Why did no one on this panel - how much have people on this panel benefited financially or in prestige from the 9/11 attacks? In other words…
Catherine Fitts: Can you give me the microphone back please? Thank you very much.
Mike Ruppert: Can I comment on that?
Catherine Fitts: Please Mike.
Mike Ruppert: Yeah, okay, good. I've been studying covert operations for 25 years and the question was a rhetorical one designed to create an impression of something that did not or need not have happened for such an effort to have taken place. Take a look, for example, at the Colleen Rowley memo which says clearly that there was one senior supervisory agent at FBI headquarters that was the single log jam for almost every FBI investigation. And the Rowley memo clearly says that this man obstructed, thwarted, rewrote affidavits, blocked investigations and yet what happened. That man, a choke point, was promoted post September the 11th. It would have been very easy to neutralize over eager fighter jocks on the ground who wanted to scramble and go up and get those planes. If you recall on September 11th that there was great confusion as to where Air Force 1 was, where it was going, its destinations were changed. And the orders could have come down from fighter command saying very clearly hold your position, Air Force 1 is in danger. And the pilots would have automatically followed orders. It would have required no more. There are 50 people, and I can - given time I can lay that out clearly - inside the US government, maybe a few more, to have effectuated such a conspiracy.
Now let me also comment that since September the 11th my offices have been burglarized three times, my web site has been hacked three times. My room was burglarized in Sidney, Australia less than three weeks ago. We have been subject to harassment at our offices. I'm not making a lot of money on this, not withstanding what the press may say about it. Many of us have undertaken great sacrifices and paid great prices to tell these stories. If you ask us to turn up dead will that make you happy?
Catherine Fitts: The gentleman back. We have a question in the back. No. Excuse me. We have a question in the back.
Q: My name is Jonathon [inaudible] from the Washington, DC Indymedia and we are a volunteer organization. We don't make any money at all. We have bake sales to pay rent. My question is, the story that happened after 9/11 of the two planes that left North America when all other planes were grounded with the Saudi royal family - like a lot of these stories, they get added on to. I'm asking for sources. I'm asking for clarification. I'm asking for what that story is about the two planes that left North America when everything else was grounded. Except of Air Force 1 of course, but I mean civilian craft. And I'm curious if anybody can verify or expand on that. Thanks.
Catherine Fitts: Mike, none of the panelists here are in a position to verify that story. Do you have any of the sources on it?
Mike Ruppert: Yeah. I do. I have in my files back in Los Angeles a number of press stories confirming that members of the Bin Laden family were assembled from various points throughout the Eastern Seaboard and Southeast part of the country. The were transported, I believe it was to Boston. It might have been either New York or Washington, where a chartered 747 then flew them safely out of the country back to Saudi Arabia. These are all good stories from mainstream sources.
Catherine Fitts: Are those sources listed on your website?
Mike Ruppert: Not yet, but I can certainly do that when I get back to Los Angeles.
Catherine Fitts: We would appreciate if you would do that. Okay, Julie has a question Kyle?
Julie Sweeney: I'll comment because I understand that question and I think the way I understand this and maybe this will help you understand it is there's so many coincidences. And maybe some of them are connected and maybe they're not. And we just want to find that out. We're just as frustrated as you are. We're not saying that ENRON's connected, and the CIA and the FBI and the President and we're in a criminally infested country run by criminals and the mob. We're not saying that. We're saying there's so many coincidences and we're trying to open the public's eye to all of them so that true, pure investigations are put out on the table and we find the answers. And I am on the panel and I have not benefited financially from this. I said no to two million dollars from our government.
Catherine Fitts: Question right here?
Q: Hello. Christopher Bolen from American Free Press. Nobody addressed the failure of the structures, the two World Trade Center towers where I think 3,000 people died. And I think that there are many questions about not only how the towers collapsed and the structural failure of those buildings, but also the ownership of these buildings. As you know, the Port Authority Chairman who was responsible for privatizing those buildings and turning them over to the private ownership, he's now the Financial Chairman for the Republican National Committee, Mr. Eisenberg. There's a very close connection here politically and to the privatization of these buildings and the failure of the buildings themselves. These are questions that have to be addressed as well. Thank you.
Catherine Fitts: Have you put those into the web site? Okay. Great. Another question, the woman with the black t-shirt whose hand's up? Thank you.
Q: My name is Margie Burns. I'm a local. I'm freelance. I have a question about anybody connected to or knowledgeable about the airlines. I'm wondering whether the airlines are connected or have made, have any financial ties to a corporation called Analytic Services Incorporated or ANSWER, Inc in Northern Virginia. It formed something called the Institute for Homeland Security starting back in 1999 and has been boosting Homeland Security and a coming second Pearl Harbor. It seems to me ever since, so far as I can tell with consistent help from publications like the Washington Times and Insight Magazine other news publications. It's listed by the DOD, ranked 58 among the top DOD contracting corporations for research and technology and so forth.
Mary Schiavo: Thank you. I will be asking that question.
Catherine Fitts: Another question? Right here.
Q: Hi. I'm William Maxon with Intelligence Online out of Paris. This question is, I guess, primarily for Mary Schiavo, but the FAA had a memo the evening of September 11th whereby the flight attendant on American Airlines 11 called on a cell phone to American Airlines flight control center reporting that the passenger in 9B has, apparently one of the hijackers, shot the passenger in 10B, who was apparently a dual US/Israeli businessman from Boston. The UPI got a copy of this memo. The FAA later said the memo had the wrong times listed and that it was erroneous. My question is, how could such an erroneous memo wind up in the FAA email system and do you know anything more about this? Thank you.
Mary Schiavo: We have gotten interesting and conflicting reports. Some reports from the FBI say that it is indeed a valid memo but they can't vouch for what's in the memo. My guess on that it was internal briefing in the department. When I was in the department when things happened you had to brief the Secretary and the front office repeatedly on that. What is interesting is now it's gotten to the position that everybody is saying they can neither confirm or deny, and I think the public assumption that it was always assuming shot with a weapon and then we find the interesting warning sent out to airlines that they should be looking for nontraditional weapons such as weapons in cell phones, etc. So the bottom line is we don't have a confirmation on that. Neither do we have anyone explaining how that came to be in the memo if indeed no one heard any gunshots and no one was shot. But that is obviously something that we will be seeking in discovery.
And I'd just like to say one other thing in comment to the fellow. For example, not all of us believe that everybody's coordinating, in the government is coordinating a big conspiracy. Quite frankly, from my days in the government it is difficult for the government to coordinate anything beyond a conspiracy of one. But from my position, what if then, indeed, you're dealing with colossal incompetence? Should you look the other way as well? You know, quite possibly lots of these things aren't connected at all and that various government agencies were so colossally incompetent and are covering up the fact that they're unable to do the jobs for which their tapped. And of course many people tapped into government are tapped into government without rudimentary abilities to do anything that they're assigned to do. And from my days in the government we would investigate colossal conspiracies, what we thought, and we would come up with colossal incompetence. And from my position, if the carriers, since I work in aviation, if the carriers and the aviation industry and the government is colossally incompetent I want them held accountable just as much as if they're engaged in some big conspiracy. And as far as the airline industry goes, I suspect when all is said and done the airlines and the FAA, at least where the aviation concerns are concerned, are found, we will find what it is is horrible, horrible egregious and knowing negligence, but muddling through. And for that we will hold them accountable and for that the law allows us to hold them accountable. Others are going to have a much harder time but for me, I find negligence, egregious negligence, just as bad in terms of risking loss of lives, in many cases, as incredible conspiracies. And indeed, many of the conspiracies, when I was Inspector General we set out to investigate, people would report incredible things. Often it would come down to incredible incompetence and that needs to be wiped out as well. So whether you believe it's conspiracy or incompetence, let's clean it up. Because it's not the kind of government that we deserve and pay for.
Q: Could I…
Catherine Fitts: Next question. There's a man in the back with a yellow jacket.
Q: John Bailey. Vanity Fair. I wrote the UPI piece that Wayne referred to and I'd like to talk to you afterwards. One piece that's missing from that which may have bearing on this is the passenger who reportedly was shot was named Daniel Lewin who was a dual US/Israeli citizen and he was also a member of Siercat Mectal, which is Israeli antiterror group that pursues terrorists beyond Israel's borders. And it seems that there may be a possibility that Lewin had a gentleman's agreement with the airlines, was able to bring a weapon onto the aircraft but was surrounded by the terrorists who wrestled it away from him, used it against him and continued on their mission. But the Siercat Mectal [Ed note: sp?] connection is something that's been reported very, very little.
Catherine Fitts: Okay. We have time for one more question and I would ask that we get a question, not a statement.
Q: Okay, it really is a statement, but, basically you talk about incompetence and yes, the government is incompetent in giving us what we need but what the government is very good at is using American military power to basically control the world economically and politically and to what extent are you willing to look at the fact that as long as they're controlling the world they don't give a damn if they're protecting us?
Stephen Camerota: Let me say, though, that I don't have any evidence of a conspiracy. The immigration system has got a lot of loopholes and a lot of problems, but I don't have any evidence of that so I haven't suggested that. I just want to make that clear.
Catherine Fitts: I'd like to thank everyone for coming. Before we close I want to we close, in particular thank Linda Fanton and Virginia. Thank you for your help. Finally, there are some people that have offered to stay late that are gathering in the bar. I would encourage you to stay and talk with them.

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