What do 9/11 and the Belgian bombings have in common?
Two news stories caught my eye yesterday in the media coverage of Tuesday's attacks in Brussels. The first was a Newsmax TV report featuring former NYC Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik giving his proposed strategy to defeat Daesh and stop future terrorist attacks. If the name Kerik rings a bell, it's because he commanded New York's police during 9/11. But more on that below; here's what wisdom he had to impart:
"They [Belgian intelligence] didn't have enough intel to figure out who they [the 'terrorists'] were, where they were, what they were doing — and this is in the aftermath of taking down the mastermind of the Paris attacks. ... The key is intelligence. Our state, local and federal authorities have to be communicating. We have to be working with those abroad."
Thanks, Bernie, for that remarkable insight. (Hey, at least it's better than Killary's plan to defeat ISIS by defeating ISIS.)
The second story was the report that one of the suspects in the attack at Brussels' Zaventem Airport, Ibrahim El Bakraoui, left a 'suicide letter' or rudimentary 'will' on a computer that was subsequently found in a trash can during a raid by Brussels police in the Schaerbeek neighborhood. The note allegedly said: "I don't know what to do, hunted everywhere, no longer safe" and "I don't want to end up in a cell next to him [i.e. Salah Abdeslam, presumably]." The street in which they found the laptop allegedly was also where police found an unexploded bomb, an ISIS flag and bomb-making materials.
The story doesn't make very much sense to me. Suicide notes or wills are written to be discovered and read. They are usually left in a conspicuous location, not thrown in the trash on some street. It's suspicious, to say the least, and I think any responsible investigator would hold such evidence in doubt by considering all possibilities: is it legitimate? Was it planted? The fact that such possibilities are not even raised is suspicious in itself. Police worth their salt should be circumspect, not certain, in their public statements about an ongoing investigation. If they were sincere, they would let the public know any doubts they have. The fact that they do not do so suggests they have an agenda: to paint these suspects as guilty in the minds of the public without a shadow of a doubt. The same goes for their motivations: there is no doubt raised as to their premeditated intent to engage in terroristic 'suicide bombings', no possibility raised that their intentions may have been something else - that they were perhaps coerced, or even outright framed.
This so-called methodology has been used by law enforcement in response to 'terror attacks' at least since 9/11. Which brings me back to Bernie Kerik.
Bernie Kerik: Toeing the Terror Line, Covering for Mossad
On Sunday, September 16, 2001, Kerik announced the discovery of one of the alleged hijackers' passports on the streets of New York. According to him a "passerby" came across the passport "several blocks" from the crash site. This was the passport of Satam al-Suqami. The "passerby" who allegedly discovered and turned in the passport was never identified. Here's an image of the pristine passport in question:
The passport was obviously planted: it could not have survived the impact and explosion (in this condition, no less). Nor is it plausible for it to have been found where it was alleged to have been found. Even the Guardian's Anne Karpf noted how this miracle "would have tested the credulity of the staunchest supporter of the FBI's crackdown on terrorism." And the lead counsel for the 9/11 Commission, Susan Ginsburg, noted that the passport had been "manipulated in a fraudulent manner in ways that have been associated with al Qaeda."
The motive is clear. Four of the hijackers of Flight 11, which crashed into the first tower on 9/11, were initially identified as Abdul Al-Omari, Amer Kamfar, Ameer Bukhari and Adnan Bukhari (they weren't brothers) - their names were even on the flight manifest. Adnan was a flight instructor at FlightSafety in Vero Beach, where several of the hijackers had trained. But then it turned out that Adnan was alive and well on September 12th in Florida; Ameer had died exactly one year before, on 9/11/2000; Al-Omari and Kamfar were alive and well in Saudi Arabia (they'd left the U.S. just two weeks before the attacks). Obviously, some new names were needed. Enter al-Suqami's miraculous passport.
Was the alleged passerby even real? Or were they a figment of Kerik's imagination? We know what Kerik would say to all this. According to him, conspiracy theorists are "retarded". But Kerik is one to talk. He's been called a "hero" of 9/11 and he was Bush's top pick for head of Homeland Security. In 2003 he received a multi-million-dollar contract to train Iraqi police. But military officials later said: "His whole contribution was a waste of time and effort." Kerik wasn't just incompetent; he was also a criminal, engaged in corruption and conspiracies of his own.
In 2006, he pleaded guilty to two ethics violations, and in 2009 pleaded guilty to eight federal charges. By doing so, investigators were willing to overlook his other alleged wrongdoings: mortgage fraud, tax fraud, conspiracy to eavesdrop, lying on his Homeland Security application. But there's more to the story of his tax fraud. According to the New York Times, he received a 'loan' for $250,000 to renovate his Bronx apartment from a New Jersey company, Interstate Industrial Corporation, which has been accused of ties to organized crime. In return for their work, they allegedly wanted a little 'help' obtaining a city license. After coming under scrutiny for the 'loan' in 2005, Kerik apparently repaid the money.
But that doesn't give the whole story. Another NYT piece gives more detail:
In filing the charges, prosecutors with United States attorney's office declined to identify a "wealthy Israeli industrialist" said to have financed the loan or to name the "Brooklyn businessman" said to have served as an intermediary in the transaction, referring to them only as John Doe No. 7 and John Doe No. 8.
But interviews with people who have been briefed on the transaction indicate that the industrialist was an Israeli billionaire and philanthropist, Eitan Wertheimer, whose family's vast holdings include companies with United States Defense Department contracts. The Brooklyn businessman was Shimon Cohen, a marble and stone merchant who has been a friend of Mr. Kerik's for several years. Mr. Wertheimer and Mr. Cohen ... declined to speak about the loan or the reasons it was made to Mr. Kerik.
Two years ago, though, Mr. Cohen was interviewed by city investigators and described the 2003 loan as an informal transaction. He said that in handing the money over, he had not discussed any interest with Mr. Kerik nor set any timetable for repayment ... The $250,000 loan to Mr. Kerik was provided in a personal check written by Mr. Cohen to Mr. Kerik's wife ... there was no written agreement that outlined the terms of the loan.
The indictment says that the money actually came from the wealthy industrialist, from whom Mr. Cohen had borrowed the funds. Prosecutors have not offered any explanation as to what might have brought about the transaction, or why Mr. Wertheimer did not provide the funds directly.
Mr. Wertheimer met Mr. Kerik through Mr. Cohen, a longtime friend, according to associates, and the two spent time together during Mr. Kerik's trip to Israel in August 2001. Later that year, as he left his New York City police post, Mr. Kerik handed out 19 gold and blue enamel badges that declared the recipients "Honorary Police Commissioners," and Mr. Wertheimer received one, as did Mr. Berman and Judith Regan, then Mr. Kerik's lover and publisher. [HK: Kerik allegedly used an apartment near Ground Zero for his trysts with Regan - the apartment was supposed to be used by exhausted 9/11 rescue workers.] The real estate developer Steven C. Witkoff, who is listed in the indictment as John Doe No. 5, who paid more than $236,000 in rent for Mr. Kerik from 2001 to 2003, also received one of the badges.
In Israel, Mr. Wertheimer serves as chairman of Iscar Ltd., a privately held metal cutting tool business that is one of Israel's largest companies and one that sold 80 percent of its stock last year to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway. The indictment referred to him as an industrialist whose companies "did business with the federal government."
Wertheimer was chairman for metal-cutting tool business Iscar, Ltd., one of Israel's largest companies. His father, Stef, former Knesset member and notorious 'free-enterpriser', also happens to be the second richest man in Israel. But did you catch that bit about a trip to Israel in August 2001, where he met with his money-man Wertheimer? He traveled there for four days at the end of August (video footage here). And you'll never guess why:
Shalom, Bernie. Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik leaves tonight for a four-day trip to Israel, where he will meet with government officials to discuss anti-terror tactics and Israeli traffickers of Ecstasy pills. Kerik was invited to the violence-wracked region by Israel's minister of public safety. Mayor Giuliani approved the trip. The visit is considered official business, so New York City taxpayers are picking up the tab. ... Kerik is not bringing any NYPD terrorist or narcotics experts with him. ... Referring to the Ecstasy issue, Kerik said, "I think I'll be giving them information with regard to seizures we've had and intelligence we've had on narcotics trafficking and see if we can coordinate better or work better together to address some of these issues. There have been several federal and state prosecutions of drug dealers who are Israeli nationals, but authorities believe Israel is a transshipment point rather than a producer of the pills. Kerik himself is no stranger to the Middle East and traveled to Israel before becoming commissioner. Before joining the NYPD, he coordinated security for the Saudi royal family.
While in Israel, Kerik had this to say:
Kerik was in Jerusalem yesterday to discuss common concerns, including terrorism and narcotics trafficking, with Israeli Police Commissioner Shlomo Aharonishki. "I thought that if I'm going to come, this is the time to come and send a clear message - you can't be intimidated by terrorism," he said after the meeting. "People shouldn't be afraid to come to Israel." Kerik also assured Israeli leaders that the NYPD will remain on alert for attacks on Jewish institutions in New York as long as Israeli-Palestinian fighting continues. The department is working with the FBI and the New York State Police on an anti-terrorism task force and is on top of all potential threats, Kerik said. "We've been on what we call 'enhanced alert' for the past several months, since the violence broke out here several months ago, and we've been doing just fine," he said. "That alert status will remain as is until further notice."
Israelis arrested in the U.S. for trafficking ecstasy? In July of 2001, police in Queens busted Israeli citizens David Roash and Israel Ashkenazi with one million ecstasy pills and $187,000 in cash. Kerik and Rudy Giuliani gave the press conference. Presumably Kerik needed to talk to the Israelis regarding some 'coordination and cooperation' on the subject. There isn't enough room here to get into it, but for now let me just say that the infamous cases of Israeli art students spying on DEA agents probably have something to do with Israeli organized crime/Mossad's involvement in drug trafficking in Florida, California, Texas and New York. Some of these same art students were in very close proximity to the individuals later identified as 9/11 hijackers. It looks like the "art students" were spying on DEA agents in order to keep one step ahead of their investigations into the Israeli drug trafficking operations, not to mention shadowing the 9/11 hijackers.
In a related story, on 9/11 five Israelis (two of whom were on a counterintelligence list as potential Mossad agents, and all of whom were associated with Urban Moving Systems (a Mossad-front moving company) were arrested after being observed filming, photographing, and celebrating the burning towers. That's also a tale too long to tell here (Ryan Dawson's documentary The Empire Unmasked goes into detail - see also Laura Knight-Jadczyk and Joe Quinn's 9/11: The Ultimate Truth). One of the five arrested was Paul Kurzberg, who served in an "anti-terrorist unit" in the Israeli Army. In the FBI report on the investigation of these men and their actions on 9/11, it states:
Specifically, [blank=thirteen characters=Paul Kurzberg] admitted to being employed by the [blank] [blank] and further admitted attending a [blank for entire line] [blank. Blank] advised during an additional interview he was selected by the [blank, fifteen characters, confirmed below as "Jewish Agency" including quotation marks] to attend a [blank] for employees working outside the country of Israel. He advised his [blank] for the [blank] [blank] was in [blank]. Statements by [blank's] associates corroborated this fact but also revealed that [blank, four characters, e.g. Paul] may have also been stationed in other countries as well.
Coincidentally, Eitan Wertheimer, whom Kerik visited two weeks before 9/11, and who later 'loaned' him $250,000, has been on the board of governors for the Jewish Agency since 2004.
In addition to the arrest of the five dancing Israelis (pulled over because of the 'be on the lookout' for their van), numerous reports on 9/11 said police also arrested two or three men (Israelis) in a van near the George Washington bridge that was full of explosives. The men in the van were arrested. At a press conference on 9/11, Giuliani passed off all questions relating to the Israelis and the other moving vans associated with them to Kerik, who did his best to evade and obfuscate, denying the presence of explosives and avoiding any mention of the fact that the men arrested were all Israelis:
An operation like 9/11 can't succeed without immoral and conscienceless people like Kerik on the ground to make sure the proper narrative gets advanced, and that any contradictory facts are conveniently hushed up or covered over. So much for Kerik and 9/11. Back to Brussels.
Patsies and Laptops
Contrary to Kerik, conspiracy theories are not 'retarded'. Conspiracies happen all the time. Western intel agencies (CIA, FBI, MI6, MI5, Mossad, etc.) have been conspiring with "Muslim extremists" for decades. That's conspiracy fact. And it has only gotten worse in recent years. The attacks in Brussels fit the pattern: trial by media, suspects previously known to law enforcement and intelligence agencies, non-sensical targets. The only people to benefit from these attacks are the governments of the citizens who have been murdered.
Within a day, Belgian officials had released the identities of three suspects: Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui and Najim Laachraoui. Early reports said that the Bakraouis were known to police for links to organized crime, but not terrorism. While suggestive, it wasn't exactly true, as we'll see. Khalid reportedly entered Belgium using a false ID and rented the house that Belgian police raided (where Mohamed Belkaid was killed, and from where Abdeslam reportedly fled before being captured elsewhere). The Telegraph provides the latest updates:
Clear links have emerged between the cells responsible for the Paris and Brussels attacks. One Brussels bomber, Khalid El Bakraoui, is believed to have rented a safe house for the Paris attackers while another, Najim Laachraoui, made the bombs used in that attack, authorities say.
Two Belgian cabinet ministers offered their resignations over security failures surrounding one of the bombers, Ibrahim El Bakraoui. He was deported from Turkey over terrorism concerns but was not being monitored by Belgian intelligence.
An overweight middle-aged man named Khalid Zerkani and known as Papa Noel has been unmasked as a major Isil recruiter in Belgium. He has been linked to at least one of the Brussels attackers.
Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui had allegedly been spying on a top Belgian nuclear official, with experts speculating that they wanted to construct a dirty bomb and one report claiming Isil was originally targeting a nuclear facility but changed course.
This information may or may not be true: I doubt we'll see any real evidence presented one way or the other. But one thing needs to be kept in mind: any way you look at it, these guys are patsies. Whether they knew it or not, they were playing their part in a Western intelligence operation - that's primarily what Daesh is. Let's look at the possibilities:
Some or all of these men are innocent of the crimes in question.
Some or all of these men were coerced into carrying out the attacks.
Some or all of these men willingly and knowingly carried out the attacks.
In a state governed by the rule of law, it would take an in-depth investigation and trial to determine which of the above possibilities applies. Officials would avoid any definitive statements before the investigation had taken place. Such a thing will never happen, of course. But that doesn't mean we should rule out the possibilities. If #1, it is possible these men were directed to the place of the attacks, unaware that explosives would be detonated and that they were the fall guys. (And that's assuming the names of the suspects are all accurate!) If #2, the question of who planned the attacks and handled the men involved is still an open question.
The links between Khalid, Najim and the Paris attackers look flimsy at this point (if he used a false name to rent the apartment, what evidence do they have that it was actually Khalid who rented the place?). But one thing looks relatively certain: Turkish intelligence did tell Belgian authorities about Ibrahim, who was arrested in Turkey on June 14, 2015, three days after his arrival, and deported to the Netherlands on July 14. (Not only that, Khalid "was the subject of an Interpol 'red notice,' an alert to police forces around the world saying that he was wanted in Belgium, evidently for having violated conditions of his parole.") According to Turkish officials (including Erdogan), the Turkish government then notified the governments of both Belgium and the Netherlands. According to Turkey's Daily Sabah:
Turkish authorities detained El Bakraoui for using a similar route that is used by foreign militants attempting to join Daesh and being in contact with suspected terrorists, sources said.
Turkish police apprehended El Bakraoui during a routine police check to catch possible terror suspects in Turkey's Gaziantep province and deported him from Istanbul Atatürk Airport. The Turkish official said, "We notified Belgium's and the Netherlands's authorities about his travel route and put an exclusion order on him."
They even provided a scan of his passport:
Dutch officials confirmed that they had been informed about him. This prompted Belgium's interior minister Jan Jambon and justice minister Koen Geens to offer their resignations (which were refused):
They both blame a Belgian official working in Turkey for failing to pass on intelligence that Ibrahim El Bakraoui was a potential terrorist.
"There were errors at Justice and with the (Belgian) liaison officer in Turkey," Jambon said.
Geens said: "There is perhaps no sufficiently rapid transmission of information from Turkey, but also at a Belgian level." ... He added: "There were obviously problems with the transmission of information with the Belgian liaison officers on July 14, 2015, when El Bakraoui was deported by Turkey to the Netherlands."
Shades of 9/11. According to Haaretz, "security services in Belgium had precise warnings about the attack on the airport and, likely, the subway as well." The article doesn't say who exactly provided such intel. The Israelis, perhaps? And now the Americans are jumping on the bandwagon, saying they know the identity of the third man from the CCTV footage; he was reportedly on a terror watch list, along with both El Bakraoui brothers.
While it's unclear why Ibrahim was in Turkey, I don't think it's a stretch to suppose he wanted to join up with Daesh. We can't say for certain, but it seems possible, even likely - thousands of other young Europeans have done just that. However, why was he arrested? Turkey regularly funnels militants across the border to join up with Daesh in Syria - even Daesh militants themselves describe the border as essentially open to them, since Turkey supports them. In Ibrahim's case (like that of Brahim Abdeslam, the Paris attacker who was also arrested in Turkey), it looks like they wanted a paper trail. People like Ibrahim are disposable tools used by intelligence services. Like Lee Harvey Oswald, there is just enough evidence on record to craft a narrative that will suit the agencies' purpose and provide some much-needed plausible deniability. The CIA has used confidential informants, agents, and low-life criminals for decades to do their dirty work, or simply as convenient tools on which to place the blame.
Unless everyone involved in the "anti-terror" raids and investigations is in on the big game, which I doubt, I don't have a problem accepting that some or even a lot of the 'evidence' provided by the authorities is true. It's entirely possible that authorities really did discover the laptop in the trash, and that it did contain a 'suicide note'. It's entirely possible that the named suspects really were where the authorities say they were, and even that they were involved in the attacks. But it's important to keep in mind what that does not necessarily imply. Even if all these things are true (and it hasn't been definitively shown to be true, nor do I think it will), it is still just as possible that the laptop was planted, the note was forged, and the 'suicide bombers' were either duped, coerced, or otherwise manipulated to participate in these attacks to whatever degree they did participate. How else are we to explain the fact that they avoided any target of strategic interest, like NATO and EU buildings in the vicinity? If targeting civilians and avoiding military/political targets really is Daesh's strategy, isn't it funny how that strategy happens to align perfectly with Western geopolitical interests?