We're going to spend the rest of this week on this difficult topic. I would imagine that I will lose some readers, and lumped into the tinfoil-hat-wearing lunatic fringe by others.
I expect that I will get the majority of you to think about what you've been told, and begin asking some pointed questions yourself, or at the very least wonder if things are always what they seem. I have been granted access to photographs that have never been published elsewhere, and later in the week I'll also be sharing video that you haven't seen before as well.
Without further fanfare, let's just get right into it.
We all know the official story of September 11th: four jetliners were hijacked by groups of four and five Arabic men armed with box cutters, who proceeded to fly three of the four jets into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. Subsequently the World Trade Center Towers, weakened by the impacts and fires, collapsed into piles of rubble. The FBI had compiled a list of hijackers within three days, and it was so obvious that Osama bin Laden had masterminded the operation from caves in Afghanistan, that there was no need to seriously investigate the crime or produce evidence. The "retaliatory" attack on the Taliban would soon commence.
Is this story true? Its central assumptions have never been tested by an official government body whose members lack obvious conflicts of interest. There are numerous red flags in the official story, which requires a long series of highly improbable coincidences. Questioning that story is an act of responsible citizenship.
The September 11th Targets, and Their Defense
The targets of the September 11th attacks aside from the four jetliners, were some of the most famous and unique buildings in the world:
The World Trade Center Towers
These were only the focal points of the attack. The real target of the attack appears to have been something much broader and far-reaching than mere buildings, and even the thousands of innocent victims in the buildings and airplanes. Whatever the motives of the perpetrators of the attack, lower Manhattan, a section of the Pentagon, and four jetliners were the immediate physical targets.
The World Trade Center was a collection of seven buildings in lower Manhattan, including the famous Twin Towers, which were once the world's tallest buildings. By the end of September 11th, 2001, all seven buildings were either leveled or severely damaged and gutted, including Building 7, which was on a separate block.
The Pentagon is the administrative heart of the U.S. military establishment and the largest office building in the world. On September 11th, one of 10 sections was damaged in the attack.
The cities and military installations in the United States are normally defended from airborne attack of any type by NORAD, which monitors all air traffic in North America in real time, and rapidly dispatches interceptors whenever there is a flight emergency. The World Trade Center and the Pentagon would normally be two of the best defended buildings in the world.
Actions Reveal Widespread Advance Knowledge of the Attack
Several events immediately preceding the September 11th attacks suggests many people other than Islamic extremists anticipated the attack. These include the following:
Extremely large purchases of put options on stocks of American Airlines, United Airlines, and other companines hurt by the attack.
A surge in financial transactions on computers in the World Trade Center on the morning of 9/11/01.
Financial transactions in the days before the attack suggest that certain individuals used foreknowledge of the attack to reap huge profits. 1 The evidence of insider trading includes:
Huge surges in purchases of put options on stocks of the two airlines used in the attack -- United Airlines and American Airlines.
Surges in purchases of put options on stocks of reinsurance companies expected to pay out billions to cover losses from the attack -- Munich Re and the AXA Group.
Surges in purchases of put options on stocks of financial services companies hurt by the attack -- Merrill Lynch & Co., and Morgan Stanley and Bank of America.
Huge surge in purchases of call options of stock of a weapons manufacturer expected to gain from the attack -- Raytheon.
Huge surges in purchases of 5-Year US Treasury Notes.
In each case, the anomalous purchases translated into large profits as soon as the stock market opened a week after the attack: put options were used on stocks that would be hurt by the attack, and call options were used on stocks that would benefit.
Put and call options are contracts that allow their holders to sell and buy assets, respectively, at specified prices by a certain date. Put options allow their holders to profit from declines in stock values because they allow stocks to be bought at market price and sold for the higher option price.
Computer systems in the World Trade Center processed an unusual volume of credit card transactions in the minutes before the planes crashed into the towers on 9/11/01. The computer systems were destroyed in the subsequent collapses of the towers. Although details of the surge remain unknown, reports speculate that the transactions may have amounted to more than $100 million in value, with both the volume and sizes of transactions surging.
In December of 2001, press reports noted that Convar Systeme Deutschland GmbH was working on recovering data from some hard drives extracted from the destroyed computer systems. Unlike conventional data recovery efforts, the German company used laser scanning to read drive surfaces in order to create virtual disks. These virtual disks were then read to recover data. As of December 20th, 2001, Convar had completed processing 39 out of 81 drives, and expected to receive 20 more drives in January. These reports do not indicate how many drives were believed lost or destroyed in the collapses. Companies paid Convar between $20,000 and $30,000 per drive for the work.
Avoidance of the airlines and New York City on September 11th by a number of important people, some admitting to having been warned of an attack.
Much has been reported about how warnings of attacks by Muslim extremists in the year leading up to 9/11/01 were ignored. So far no official has been fired or otherwise punished for his or her failure to act on such information.
What is more informative than who failed to act on a tip, is who acted on a tip. A number of people apparently knew to stay clear of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001.
Government Officials and Business Leaders
There is evidence that a group of Pentagon officials was warned to avoid the attack targets. Newsweek reported:
"Three weeks ago there was another warning that a terrorist strike might be imminent - On September 10, Newsweek has learned, a group of top Pentagon officials suddenly cancelled travel plans for the next morning, apparently because of security concerns."
A number of business leaders who would normally have been in the World Trade Center, were instead at a meeting hosted by Warren Buffett on September 11th at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska. That group included Anne Tatlock, CEO of Fiduciary Trust Inc., a company that occupied five floors on or above the 90th floor of the South Tower. This is the same Air Force Base that George W. Bush would fly to later that day. It has an underground command center.
San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown admitted to having received a warning from what he described as his airport security late Monday evening, just hours before the attack.
Salman Rushdie, who is under the continuous protection of Scotland Yard, was prevented from flying on September 11th, 2001.
On 9/11/01, Jim Pierce, cousin of President Bush, was scheduled to attend a conference on the 105th floor of the South Tower, where his company's New York offices were based. But the conference was moved across the street to the Millennium Hotel, because, the story goes, the group was too large.
Another group of people that received warnings in advance of the attack were employees of Odigo, the instant messaging service. Two employees received e-mail messages two hours before the first World Trade Center assault, predicting the attack.
According to reporter Christopher Bollyn, Zim American Israeli Shipping Co. broke a lease in order to vacate the World Trade Center just days before the attack. Bollyn's source claims that Zim's lease extended through the end of the year and that the termination cost $50,000.
The company heading a consortium that had just obtained a 99-year lease on the World Trade Center was supposedly spared by a last-minute cancellation. According to the New York Times, Silverstein Properties had planned to meet on 9/11/01 on the 88th floor of one of the towers to "discuss what to do in the event of a terrorist attack," but cancelled the meeting Monday night "because one participant could not attend."
Suspicious Security Lapses in the Twin Towers Preceding the Attacks
An article in New York Newsday documented the removal of bomb-sniffing dogs just five days before the attack.
The World Trade Center was destroyed just days after a heightened security alert was lifted at the landmark 110-story towers, security personnel said yesterday.
Daria Coard, 37, a guard at Tower One, said the security detail had been working 12-hour shifts for the past two weeks because of numerous phone threats. But on Thursday, bomb-sniffing dogs were abruptly removed.
"Today was the first day there was not the extra security," Coard said. "We were protecting below. We had the ground covered. We didn't figure they would do it with planes. There is no way anyone could have stopped that."
Security guard Hermina Jones said officials had recently taken steps to secure the towers against aerial attacks by installing bulletproof windows and fireproof doors in the 22nd-floor computer command center.
Security for the World Trade Center on 9/11/01 was provided by Stratesec, a company in which George W. Bush's brother Marvin was a past principal, and which was backed by a Kuwaiti-American investment firm.
The World Trade Center complex came under the control of a private owner for the first time only in mid-2001, having been built and managed by the Port Authority as a public resource. The complex was leased to a partnership of Silverstein Properties and Westfield America.
The new controllers acquired a handsome insurance policy for the complex including a clause that would prove extremely valuable: in the event of a terrorist attack, the partnership could collect the insured value of the property, and be released from their obligations under the 99-year lease.
Author Don Paul investigated this and related issues for his 2002 book, which contains the following passage detailing financial aspects and ownership changes of the complex preceding the attack.
On April 26 of 2001 the Board of Commissioners for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey awarded Silverstein Properties and mall-owner Westfield America a 99-year-lease on the following assets: The Twin Towers, World Trade Center Buildings 4 and 5, two 9-story office buildings, and 400,000 square feet of retail space.
The partners' winning bid was $3.2 billion for holdings estimated to be worth more than $8 billion. JP Morgan Chase, a prestigious investment-bank that's the flagship firm of its kind for Rockefeller family interests, advised the Port Authority, another body long influenced by banker and builder David Rockefeller, his age then 85, in the negotiations.
The lead partner and spokesperson for the winning bidders, Larry Silverstein, age 70, already controlled more than 8 million square feet of New York City real estate.
Don Paul also documented the money flows surrounding the loss of Building 7.
In February of 2002 Silverstein Properties won $861 million from Industrial Risk Insurers to rebuild on the site of WTC 7. Silverstein Properties' estimated investment in WTC 7 was $386 million. So: This building's collapse resulted in a profit of about $500 million.
The insurance money flows involved in the destruction of the original six World Trade Center buildings were far greater. Silverstein Properties, the majority owner of WTC 7, also had the majority interest in the original World Trade Center complex. Silverstein hired Willis Group Holdings Ltd. to obtain enough coverage for the complex. Willis undertook "frenetic" negotiations to acquire insurance from 25 carriers. The agreements were only temporary contracts when control of the WTC changed hands on July 24.
After the attack, Silverstein Properties commenced litigation against its insurers, claiming it was entitled to twice the insurance policies' value because, according to a spokesman for Mr. Silverstein, "the two hijacked airliners that struck the 110-story twin towers Sept. 11 were separate 'occurrences' for insurance purposes, entitling him to collect twice on $3.6 billion of policies." This was reported in the Bloomberg News less than one month after the attack.
The ensuing legal battle between the leaseholders and insurers of the World Trade Center was not about how the 9/11/01 attack on the WTC could be considered two attacks, when the WTC was only destroyed once. Rather it seemed to revolve around whether the beneficiaries thought it was one or two "occurrences." The proceedings before U.S. District Judge John S. Martin involved a number of battles over the insurers' discovery rights regarding conversations about this issue between insurance beneficiaries and their lawyers.
To put these events in perspective, imagine that a person leases an expensive house, and immediately takes out an insurance policy covering the entire value of the house and specifically covering bomb attacks. Six weeks later two bombs go off in the house, separated by an hour. The house burns down, and the lessor immediately sues the insurance company to pay him twice the value of the house, and ultimately wins. The lessor also gets the city to dispose of the wreckage, excavate the site, and help him build a new house on the site.
I'm just getting started... We'll be back with more tomorrow.