911 Urban Moving Systems
Actually, since half the country and the rest of the entire damn world sees their lies, deception, manipulation and dirty tricks blatantly, I don't think it's so much a matter of underestimating the lie machine but more a matter of not underestimating the sheer stupidity of too many American citizens who buy it.
By: KEITH PHUCAS,
Times Herald Staff
NORRISTOWN - Accusations that the 9/11 Commission ignored information about a defense intelligence operation "Able Danger" that targeted al-Qaida in 2000 has renewed criticism that the panel may have passed up other intriguing leads gathered in the months before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
A memorandum sent to the 9/11 Commission, and Senate and House intelligence committees in September 2004, suggests that young Israelis who canvassed dozens of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) offices in 2000 and 2001 trying to sell paintings to federal workers, may have been spying not only on the DEA, but also on Arab extremists in the United States - including the Sept. 11 hijackers who were living in Florida and New Jersey.
The Israeli "art student" story, which first surfaced in 2001 in news reports, has yet to be explained by U.S. authorities. Curiously, the 9/11 Commission did not venture to connect the myriad of dots to solve the mystery.
Did you get the memo?
The 53-page memorandum, compiled by former corporate attorney Gerald Shea cites a lengthy report from the DEA's Office of Security that describe groups of Israeli men and women. Nearly all were in their 20s, who peddled artwork at DEA, and other federal government offices, in the months leading up to the terrorist attacks.
Many reports describe incidents of government employees spotting individuals in office hallways or elevators carrying large art portfolio cases. The art sellers would typically make a pitch to sell paintings, but if they were told that soliciting in government offices was prohibited, some replied that the art wasn't actually for sale but was promoting a future art show, the DEA report said.
During the first five months of 2001, according to Shea's memorandum, the "Israeli DEA Groups" visited a total of 57 DEA locations - 28 offices and 29 private residences.
Other individuals that Shea calls the "Israeli New Jersey Group" were based in Bergen and Hudson counties, in New Jersey, according to the well-annotated memorandum that also cites the 9/11 Commission report, the 2002 congressional intelligence committees' joint inquiry into the terrorist attacks, newspaper and magazine reports, Fox News telecasts, 9/11 hijacker timelines, FBI suspect lists, and an East Rutherford (New Jersey) Police Department report.
According to the June 2001 DEA report headed "Suspicious Activities Involving Israeli Art Students at DEA Facilities" the art-selling activities occurred in many U.S. cities, with "most activity reported in the state of Florida."
The individuals peddling art work, many of whom claimed they were art students, were observed at DEA division offices in Montgomery, Ala. Dallas and Houston; Los Angeles and San Diego; Oklahoma City; Orlando, Tampa and Fort Myers and Miami, Fla., among other cities. The art sellers also showed up on the doorsteps of federal workers.
Dozens of the more than 100 Israelis were stopped and questioned by DEA agents, and other federal government authorities. The individuals were vague about why they were in the U.S. or what their purpose was for being here. Dozens were arrested for visa violations and deported, according to the memorandum.
Many in the groups had served in the military, which is compulsory for Israeli citizens, and group leaders had been in intelligence and electronic communications units. With such expertise, it strikes many as odd that the Israelis would be hawking inexpensive artwork. In the report, the DEA concluded that the agency was being spied on by the Israelis.
In 2001, a Fox News report by Carl Cameron laid out the Israeli spy scenario, however, the story was short-lived, and Shea was told by a representative at the news organization that there was outside pressure to kill the story.
Several publications, including The Forward, Insight and the French newspaper, Le Monde, picked up the story in 2002. All indicated there was extreme reluctance by U.S. officials - and practically anyone else - to discuss the matter publicly.
The DEA did acknowledged the internal reports describing the Israelis activity at the agency's offices to The Times Herald, but refused to elaborate.
"There were some reporting documents that were referred to the appropriate authorities," said DEA spokeswoman, Rogene Waite. "Nothing came out of it."
Waite declined to identify specifically what federal agencies or individuals were the "appropriate authorities."
Hot on the trail?
One of the memorandum's most fascinating revelations puts the Israelis and would-be 9/11 hijackers in close proximity geographically in the months prior to the terrorist attacks in Florida, Oklahoma and New Jersey.
As the DEA was compiling its report in June 2001, 15 or the 19 plotters of the Sept. 11 attacks were living in the Hollywood, Fla., area, according to Shea's research, and more than 30 of the young Israelis also lived in the same area during this time period.
According to the memorandum, some of the Israelis and hijackers in Florida lived "within hundreds of yards" of each other. Besides Hollywood, the Israelis and hijacker lived within about five miles of one another in other southern Florida towns, including Coral Springs, Plantation, Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Coral Gables.
Hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan al Shehhi, who entered the U.S. in 2000, attended several flight schools in Florida, but also toured the Airman Flight Training School in Norman, Okla., according to "Annotated Timeline of the 9/11 Hijackers for Researchers (www.freerepublic.com).
In February 2001, suspected terrorist, Zacarias Moussaoui, moved to Norman, Okla., to begin flight lessons at Airman Flight Training School. Five other suspected terrorists who appeared on the May 2002 FBI Suspect List also lived in Norman, according to the memorandum.
On April 1, 2001, Nawaq al Hazmi, a 9/11 hijacker aboard American Airlines Flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon, got a ticket for speeding on Interstate 40 west of Oklahoma City, according to the 9/11 hijacker timeline. He was believed to be on his way to meet Moussaoui.
The Israeli DEA Groups were also active in Oklahoma City during the spring of 2001. On April 30, 2001, Tinker Air Force Base, in Oklahoma City, issued an alert about "a possible intelligence collection effort being conducted by Israeli art students," according to the DEA report.
Three Israelis questioned by U.S. authorities in St. Louis on April 4, 2001, had visited Oklahoma City a few days before, according to the DEA report.
Many of the Israelis questioned about their suspicious activities had Florida driver's licenses and addresses in south Florida.
Yet Shea found only two references to Hollywood, Fla., in the 9/11 report, and those were in footnotes. The conspicuous absence of any discussion in the commission's report of a possible links between the Israelis and Sept. 11 plotters is odd, he said.
"It seems like they were clearly trying to avoid the issue," Shea said.
He concludes that some in the Israeli group were indeed spying on the terrorists while they were in Florida. If the commission had been aware of the surveillance by the Israelis, he said, the revelations should have come to light during the panel's inquiry.
Did the 9/11 panel, which included 80 staffers, gloss over this information because it was too controversial or perhaps classified? The jury is still out, Shea said.
"I would have focused on the fact that the hijackers were based in Hollywood," he said. "Whether they were downplaying the Israelis would be a matter for a future public inquiry."
On Sept. 11, 2001, five Israeli men in a van marked "Urban Moving Systems," were detained after East Rutherford police were told that the men were "smiling and exchanging high-fives" when they saw the Trade Center burning across the Hudson River, according to the memorandum.
An arresting officer, Sgt. Dennis Rivelli, now a lieutenant with the East Rutherford police, reported that one of the suspects said "We're Israelis" when police stopped them on Sept. 11.
According to the memorandum, the men - Sivan Kurzberg, Paul Kurzberg, Yaron Shmuel, Oded Ellner and Omer Marmari - were questioned by the FBI and detained for several weeks. Eventually, they were deported on visa violations.
According to Shea, Dominik Suter, listed as the owner of the "Urban Moving Systems," was questioned by the FBI, but then fled the country. Eventually, Suter's name appeared on the May 2002 FBI Suspect List, along with the Sept. 11 hijackers and other suspected Muslim extremists.
In October 2001, the Plymouth Township Police Department detained three Israelis - Moshe Elmakias, Ron Katar and Ayelet Reisler - who were suspected of dumping furniture behind Pizzeria Uno on Ridge Pike, according to an Oct. 17, 2001, article in The Times Herald.
The suspects were riding in a tractor-trailer truck bearing the name "Moving Systems Incorporated." The vehicle was loaded with furniture. The company name is oddly similar to one used by the New Jersey men arrested on Sept. 11.
Police also discovered a videotape that had footage of the Sears Tower in Chicago.
The FBI and Immigration and Naturalization Service took custody of Elmakias and Katar and they were taken to a federal facility, the article reported.
There are still many troubling unanswered questions about the Sept. 11 plot, Shea said, and the American people should demand that Congress get to the truth about the suspicious activities of the Israeli groups.
"We're talking about the security of the United States, and people should be concerned about it," he said.
William Hewgley Aug, 31 2005
Mr.Phucas is doing our country a great service by writing about the gaping holes that exist in the reporting of the causes of the 9/11 terrorist attack. There are other holes and I predict that the full story will eventually be told. I have never been able to believe that 20 Arab terrorists could train for their mission inside the U.S. for 2-3 years without most or all of them being detected. It is inconceivable to me that the Intelligence Community's major, secret, broad-based, surveillance network would not have been conducting routine surveillance on all or most of these terrorists for some time prior to 9/11. In particular, the FBI's Special Support (Surveillance) Group (SSG) would most certainly have been tracking the terrorists.
Manfred Stricker Aug, 31 2005
your opinion is that Israelis didn't share their informations with the USA. The opinion of others is that the Israelis organized all the 9/11. You think that the Israelis were happy that Arabs did something usefell for Israel. Some think that Bush was happy that the Israelis did something usefull for his clan, as FDR was happy that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
Israeli Spy Operation Confirmed
14 March 2002
ÜIntelligence Online is now in possession of new evidence that the "Israeli spy ring affair" was examined at the highest levels of the Bush administration, in the form of a letter from the Attorney General's office.
In addition, Intelligence Online has obtained an in-house document from the U.S. Coast Guard service which makes it clear the U.S. intelligence community is still worried about the affair.
The Task Force set up by the DEA issued an initial report in June of last year that listed the names of 125 Israeli nationals and described their activities in the U.S. One of the striking aspects of the document was its suggestion that the ring had infiltrated federal justice department buildings, and computer companies also of Israeli origin which operate in the U.S. and sell equipment to U.S. government departments.
Intelligence Online has a copy of a memorandum dated March 4, 2002 and signed by Robert Diegelman, assistant attorney general for administration. It was addressed to officials in charge of the justice department's information systems. For security reasons, it called on them to forbid information system access to all non-U.S. citizens and no longer use foreign-supplied computer and communication gear. It referred specifically to an initial warning entitled Department of Justice Order 2640.2D Information Technology Security and sent out on last July 12 which cautioned in vaguer terms against using information technology sold by foreign firms. The July 12 warning confirmed that the DEA's report, completed in June 2001, was being borne in mind at the highest level.
The role played by the DEA in the case takes on a wider dimension because of the fact that in September, 1997 it purchased $25 million worth of interception equipment from a number of Israeli companies which were named in the report. In assigning so many resources to the inquiry (all DEA offices were asked to contribute) the agency was clearly worried that its own systems might have been compromised. We've also obtained an internal document from the US Coast Guard, an Intelligence Bulletin dated Jan. 17, 2002. Reserved for security bosses in America's biggest companies, the bulletin regularly tracks all attempts to penetrate protected sites recorded by the US Coast Guard. The Jan. 17 issue described the case of a man and woman "of Middle East origin" taking pictures of a refinery. When questioned they said they were "art students" even though they were able to discuss technical details concerning refineries. The Intelligence Bulletin said it had recorded several other cases of suspicious activity in the past.
Intelligence Online's exclusive report on Feb. 28 concerning the existence of a 61-page report by a Task Force set up by the Justice Department concerning an Israeli intelligence ring unleashed a wave of denials. While the authenticity of the document wasn't questioned by any of the government departments concerned by the case (the Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration & Naturalisation Service, US Air Force, Environmental Protection Agency) several justice department spokespersons and particularly the FBI publicly stated there had been no case of Israeli espionage in the U.S. and even passed off the matter was "an urban myth."
Other "anonymous sources" told newsmen from the Washington Post that a single DEA employee at loggerheads with his superiors had written the report to wreak revenge. That was rather an odd claim in view of the large amount of classified information from several government departments contained in the report. Could it have been gleaned by a single employee of modest rank in trouble with his bosses? On March 9 a report by the Associated Press in Washington confirmed that the document had been the joint work of a Task Force put together after several DEA offices had warned of suspicious activity by "art students" of Israeli origin.
The same AP report confirmed that several of the Israelis had never enrolled in the art colleges they claimed to attend in Israel. On March 13, Intelligence Online learned from a justice department official that the DEA report had been handed over to the department's Joint Terrorism Task Force.
The same day, at a DEA press conference, the agency's administrator, Asa Hutchinson, said simply that he had passed the document along to "other agencies" working on the matter.