[Ed. Note: May 31, 2002
- After commissioning a professional translation of a Russian
news story used as a source in FTW reportage, we discovered
the word “suicide” was not contained in warnings to the
Bush Administration from Russian intelligence. Although
the word “suicide” was not in the story by Izvestia, the fact remains 25 pilots training for hijack missions
and attacks in the U.S.
could have meant nothing other than suicide missions.]
16, 2002, (FTW) -- Never in the history of scandals
involving the United States
government has an attempt to conceal criminal conduct by
an administration been more transparently dishonest or more
easily exposed. On May 15 White House Press Secretary Ari
Fleischer -- while making the startling admission that President
Bush received CIA and FBI intelligence briefings in August
indicating Osama bin Laden might be planning hijackings
-- told major news sources including CBS News, "All
appropriate action was taken based on the threat information
we had," Fleischer said. "The president did not
-- not -- receive information about the use of airplanes
as missiles by suicide bombers."
In other statements Fleischer told the
press, "The president was also provided information
about bin Laden wanting to engage in hijacking in the traditional
pre-9-11 sense, not for the use of suicide bombing, not
for the use of an airplane as a missile." According
to a May 16 story by the New York Times, "Mr. Fleischer
said the information given to the president in Texas
[last August], had prompted the administration to put law
enforcement agencies on alert."
Every major position taken by an administration
in full retreat and on the defensive can be easily deconstructed
and shown to be false.
For more than seven months FTW has been
documenting specific warnings received by the U.S.
government from both foreign intelligence services and,
in one case, from Russian President Vladimir Putin, indicating
commercial airliners were going to be used by terrorists
to attack -- among other things -- the WorldTradeCenter
in the week of Sept. 9. In order for Fleischer's statement
to be credible he would have to assert then that George
W. Bush either ignored or was not informed of a direct warning
from a head of state and also from the German intelligence
service, the BND.
As reported in the German daily Frankfurter
Algemeine Zeitung (FAZ) http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/
f_a_zeitung_story.html on Sept. 14, the
BND warned both the CIA and Israel
in June that Middle Eastern terrorists were "planning
to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack
important symbols of American and Israeli culture."
The story specifically referred to an electronic eavesdropping
system known as Echelon, wherein a number of countries tap
cell phone and electronic communications in partner countries
and then pool the information. The BND warnings were also
passed to the United Kingdom.
No known denial by the BND of the accuracy
of this story exists, and the FAZ report indicates the information
was received directly from BND sources.
According to a Sept. 14 report in the Internet
newswire online.ie, http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/
online_ie_story.html German police, monitoring
the phone calls of a jailed Iranian man, learned the man
was telephoning U.S.
intelligence agencies last summer to warn of an imminent
attack on the WorldTradeCenter
in the week of Sept. 9. German officials confirmed the calls
to the U.S.
government for the story but refused to discuss additional
In an MSNBC interview on Sept. 15, Russian
President Putin stated he had ordered Russian intelligence
to warn the U.S.
government "in the strongest possible terms" of
imminent assaults on airports and government buildings before
the attacks on Sept. 11. No credible information has emerged
from any source indicating that Putin omitted the above
information when issuing the warning.
These stories give the immediate lie to
Fleischer's statements that Bush had no inkling of airliners
being used as weapons.
But there is
In 1996 -- as reported by the German paper
Die Welt on Dec. 6, and by Agence France Presse on Dec.
7 -- Western intelligence services, including the CIA, learned
after arrests in the Philippines
that Al Qaeda operatives had planned to crash commercial
airliners into the TwinTowers. Details
of the plan, as reported by a number of American press outlets,
were found on a computer seized during the arrests. The
plan was called "Operation Bojinka." Details of
the plot were disclosed publicly in 1997 in the New
York trial of Ramsi Youssef for
his involvement in the 1993 WorldTradeCenter
FBI MEMOS TRIGGER
WHITE HOUSE BACKSTEPPING
In "traditional" hijackings the
hijackers have no need or desire to learn how to fly.
As reported by the New York Times, CNN
and the Washington Post (among others) the events leading
to Fleischer's statements were the recent disclosure of
FBI memoranda originated by field agents in Arizona and
Minnesota that warned of a possible hijack attempt by bin
Laden's followers. In both cases the suspects were taking
According to Newsweek and the New York
Times, FBI agents in Phoenix
submitted a classified memorandum in July naming Osama bin
Laden and tracking the activities of possible Middle Eastern
terrorist suspects who had enrolled in local flight schools.
The memo, according to the Times, stated bin Laden's followers
"could use the schools to train for terror operations."
The information in the Phoenix
memo was not shared with FBI field agents in Minnesota
who had uncovered other startling evidence.
Just days before the attacks in early-September,
FBI agents in Minnesota
wrote notes that subsequently became included in an internal
FBI document warning that accused terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui
"might be planning on flying something into the WorldTradeCenter."
A story from the May 20 issue of Newsweek by Michael Isikoff
described how a local flight instructor had reported Moussaoui
had "showed a suspicious interest in learning how to
steer [and not land] large airliners...The [FBI] agents were
'in a frenzy, absolutely convinced he was planning to so
something with a plane.'"
A multitude of sources have reported the
FBI agents requested a warrant to search Moussaoui's personal
computer but were denied by Attorney General John Ashcroft's
Justice Department. After the 9-11 attacks the computer
was seized and found to contain information directly related
to the WorldTradeCenter attacks.
This apparent lack of support from within
the administration is consistent with reports released last
fall by the BBC's Gregg Palast showing that in January 2001
the Bush Administration had issued direct orders to the
FBI to curtail investigations of two of Osama bin Laden's
relatives, Omar and Abdullah bin Laden. The two bin Ladens
had been connected to possible terrorist activities and
were living in Falls Church,
Va., near CIA headquarters.
Fleischer's statement that adequate warnings
had been given to appropriate federal agencies falls flat
on its face. Two of the most "appropriate" agencies
would have been the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
and the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard.
As documented by researchers like Jared
Israel at www.tenc.net, it has been standard
FAA procedure for more than 25 years to scramble U.S.
fighters to intercept -- not shoot down -- any errant or
non-responsive aircraft under FAA control. This protocol
is even more stringent in the case of a hijacking. Yet,
Vice President Dick Cheney and others have stated publicly
there were no fighters available in some cases, and there
was no heightened state of alert on Sept. 11. For 50 minutes
on 9-11, in direct contravention of established policy,
no fighters were scrambled to intercept two outstanding
hijacked airliners even though it was known attacks were
Given the above information, it would have
been an obvious move to have placed fighter aircraft on
a heightened state of alert in this time period. This unresponsiveness
stands in contrast to the fact that, in October 1999 at
a time when there was no heightened alert, the ill-fated
Lear Jet occupied by golfer Payne Stewart had an F-16 fighter
and an A-10 attack aircraft flying beside it within minutes
of losing radio contact and veering off course.
FTW has spent months on this important
story that proves foreknowledge of the attacks by people
who also profited from them. This was a glaring warning
signal, since such trades ran the risk of being detected
by intelligence agencies that routinely monitor all market
activity in real time.
The insider trading involves the placement
of large numbers of "put" options on stocks of
companies directly affected by the Sept. 11 attacks. They
include United Air Lines, American Air Lines, Morgan Stanley,
Merrill Lynch, AXA Reinsurance, Munich Reinsurance and Swiss
Reinsurance. Put options are a leveraged bet that a stock's
price will fall dramatically.
As CBS news noted on Sept. 26, the peak
of trading activity occurred just before the attacks. There
was a jump in United Air Lines put options 90 times (not
90 percent) above normal between Sept. 6 and Sept.10, and
285 times higher than average on Sept. 6. Numbers for other
affected stocks were equally alarming. It is uncontested
that only United and American stocks had this level of put
buying before the attacks. No other airlines were affected.
A May 13 story by the Washington Times'
Insight Magazine attempted to explain the insider trading
by stating higher numbers of put options had been placed
on United and American stocks earlier in 2001. By relying
only on the numbers of put options, Insight asserted that
there was nothing unusual about the pre-9-11 trades.
However, FTW has contacted several experienced
traders and reviewed existing documentation from financial
experts, which indicate the alarm for insider trading is
to look for any "imbalance" between the level
of put options (a bet that a stock's price will fall) and
the level of call options (a bet that a stock's price will
rise). It is a significant imbalance in puts vs. calls that
indicates criminal insider trading. The Insight piece did
not address this point.
Several traders have stated that in a fairly
flat market with high trading volumes, it has been a routine
procedure for experienced traders to place roughly equal
numbers of puts and calls on various stocks in order to
generate a paper cash flow. They were quick to point out
that by September, the market had gone into sharp decline
and trading volumes were way down. Thus, lower numbers of
put options did not mean that everything was normal. They
stressed it was the imbalance in put-to-call ratios that
signaled the insider trading. [Ed. Note: FTW has undertaken
a more detailed investigation of this trading activity and
hopes to have a more comprehensive report within 4-6 weeks].
Part of the problem in Insight's research
stems from the fact that since Sept. 11, there has been
no transparency from either the government or the financial
sector on how the trades worked or how the markets tracked
them. Secrecy is everywhere. Telephone calls have not been
returned, and the government refuses to divulge any information
about probes it admits are still ongoing. But simplistic
dismissals from sources quoted in the Insight story contradict
not only other evidence, but statements made by financial
experts and major news sources just after the attacks.
"This could very well be insider trading
at the worst, most horrific, most evil use you've ever seen
in your entire life...This would be one of the most extraordinary
coincidences in the history of mankind if it was a coincidence,"
said Dylan Ratigan of Bloomberg Business News, interviewed
Sept. 20 on Good Morning Texas.
"'I saw put-call numbers higher than
I've ever seen in 10 years of following the markets, particularly
the options markets,' said John Kinnucan, principal of Broadband
Research, as quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle,"
reported the Montreal Gazette on Sept. 19.
To quote 60 Minutes from Sept. 19, "Sources
tell CBS News that the afternoon before the attack, alarm
bells were sounding over unusual trading in the U.S. stock
Assertions that the reported number of
puts involved were not abnormal also failed to analyze highly
intricate shell games that involve the movement of put options
to markets outside the U.S. or hidden in what traders refer
to as "net positions." Serious financial experts
have indicated the profits from insider trading could have
been in the billions. Andreas von Bülow, a former member
of the German parliament responsible for oversight of Germany's
intelligence services, estimated the worldwide amount at
$15 billion, according to Tagesspiegel on Jan. 13. Other
experts have estimated the amount at $12 billion. CBS News
gave a conservative estimate of $100 million.
A hasty conclusion reached by many is the
insider trades were placed by bin Laden and his associates.
Such a notion is flatly contradicted by the now absolute
certainty that such insider trades would have -- and apparently
did -- set off alarm bells. It makes little sense to argue
bin Laden et al would have risked compromising at the last
minute an operation planned in total secrecy for at least
Also lacking credibility is the argument
that many of the trades were what some brokers described
as inconsequential amounts valued at $1 million or $2 million.
This does not address the possibility that U.S. intelligence
officials decided in a few cases to make a quick profit
from attacks they knew were going to succeed. As distasteful
as it may seem, this explanation is far more credible than
an assumption that bin Laden made the trades himself and
risked the exposure of what the world has been led to believe
was his life's "masterpiece."
The explanations offered by the Bush Administration
over the last 48 hours will not withstand even the slightest
scrutiny if a major press organization asks any question
about the warnings received from credible foreign government
sources and heads of state. Other questions must inevitably
follow that will implode an oil dictatorship whose sins
and crimes are exposed and just waiting for someone to pick
them up and run with them.