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September 11th Conspiracies - Hijackers - Page 2

Author: Edward L Winston
Contributors: Dave Sorensen

This is page two in my hijackers section of my series on the September 11th terrorist attacks. If you were linked here by mistake, please refer to page one in this section.

Hijackers

This section covers conspiracy theories related to the hijackers themselves, as in the people.

Atta's Connection with General Ahmed

No inquiry was ever made as to why General Ahmed of Pakistan had $100,000 wired to Mohammad Atta

General Ahmed was formally the head of the Inter-Services Intelligence in Pakistan[5]. Conspiracy theorists allege that General Ahmed wired $100,000 to Mohammad Atta. I went to try and track this down, but I only found such an accusation listed on other conspiracy sites. I finally found the original source on The Times of India web site[6]. I cannot find any other substantial source on the subject. Due to the fact that it was written by an Indian, I have to doubt the article's truthfulness even more, considering there is a long standing animosity between Indians and Pakistanis. At this time, no Wikipedia articles mention such a transaction except the General Ahmed article[7]. 

Several conspiracy sites say that the money was given on September 10, 2001. I just have to wonder why someone that is committing suicide the next day would need $100,000. So, I cannot definitively confirm or deny such an accusation at this time, but if I had to make a decision, I would say that it probably just did not happen.

On the morning of September 11th, US government officials were having breakfast with Ahmed in Washington D.C.

It was also hard to find information on a breakfast between General Ahmad and "government officials". I finally tracked down a few places, nearly all were known tabloids that also said General Ahmed was also Mohammad Atta's bagman, but we already discussed that. It may have taken a while but I did find an article from the Washington Post about such a breakfast taking place[8], but again the claims seem a bit iffy, considering there were absolutely no news sources at the time that report such a breakfast taking place, only within the next year did such accusations surface.

Hijacker's Passport Found

The passport for one of the hijackers was found near the World Trade Center.

Satam al-Suqami's passport was indeed found, reportedly in the vicinity of Vesey Street, before the towers collapsed[4]. He was not the only one who's passport was found, in fact the passports of Ziad Jarrah and Saeed al-Ghamdi are reported to have been found at the crash site of United Flight 93.

Although strange, it is not inconceivable that his passport could have survived the blast. For example, the plane is flying at nearly top speed, to crashes into the building, and explodes. Seeing how the gas tanks for the plane are behind the cockpit, it is entirely possible the explosion pushed the passport out of the building, causing it to go down the street, and it's worth mentioning other things such as highly flammable plane cushions and body parts were found[38].

Hijackers Found Alive

#1 Some of the claimed hijackers were actually found alive after the attacks

#2 At least six hijackers are still alive

#3 Since they have been proven alive, the FBI has not revised their list of suspects

On September 23, 2001 the BBC[9] and the Daily Telegraph[10] reported that some of the hijackers were actually alive and well. They reported they had found Waleed al-Shehri, who reportedly was living in Casablanca, Morocco. Reported also was that Abdulaziz al-Omari, Saeed Al-Ghamdi, and Khalid al-Midhar, three other hijackers, were still also living in the middle east.

All of the reports have since been acknowledged as cases of mistaken identity by the publications involved[11][12][13]. The problem may have arisen because the FBI names were common Arabic and Islamic names[14]. Another possible way confusion could have arise is because many of the hijackers varied the spelling of their names, for example Hani Saleh Hanjour, also used "Hani Hanjoor", "Hani Saleh", "Hami Hanjoor"[15].

The following was contributed by Dave Sorensen:

If the government were to make up a bunch of terrorists, why would they chose Saudis and not Iraqis or have them come from Afghanistan? And picking random identities that may still be alive wouldn't make sense either. The original hypothesis was identity theft, but the most likely explanation is a case of mistaken identities[12]. The Saudi government has since confirmed the identities of 14 of the hijackers and notified the families[52].

What about the other five? They all came from other countries including Lebanon and United States Emirates[53]. Its quite clear that these terrorists were real people and that they are now dead (see DNA evidence). A seldom talked about video tape entitled "19 martyrs" is online which features Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama Bin Laden talking about each of the men[54].

No Links to Osama bin Laden

No evidence has ever linked any of the alive or dead "hijackers" to Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden and the group he founded Al Qaeda is estimated to have spent at least $400,000 as well as an additional $300,000 that went to the hijackers[16]. Before the attacks, the hijackers returned approximately $26,000 to an unknown source in the United Arab Emirates. The hijackers were not really good at anonymous spending, so they left a very in depth paper trail behind that linked them directly to Al Qaeda and thus Osama bin Laden[17].

Hani Hanjour was a Bad Pilot

Hani Hanjour was a bad pilot and could not have executed a 270 degree (or 330 degree) turn that was required to hit the Pentagon

The evidence put forth is from his flight instructors, however their concerns were not about his piloting, but his poor English and behavior problems.

For example, "he didn't do his homework, didn't attend on time and he would sort of come and go," said Duncan Hastie of Cockpit Resource Management[18]. And also, "he wasn't the greatest of students in terms of his attitude, but most of that was his lack of ability to communicate in English, and I don't speak Arabic." said another flight instructor [19]. Peggy Chevrette, the manager for the now-defunct JetTech flight school in Phoenix, "Hanjour's English was so poor that it took him five hours to complete a section of a mock pilot's oral exam that is supposed to last just a couple of hours."[20]

His instructors obviously did not think he was too bad of a pilot, because he did have a commercial pilot's license, as well as instrument rating. Most of the concerns over Hani were due to his poor English language skills. The FAA requires commercial pilots to be able to speak and write fluently in English[20].

The New York Daily News spoke with an expert who said, "steering a large jet into a huge building wouldn't require a great deal of skill because taking off and landing are the most difficult maneuvers. A few hours in a twin-engine plane or a decent simulator could get you there."[21].

Hijackers not on Passenger Manifests

From mindfully.org[25]:

Another problem in the official account is that, although we are told that four or five of the alleged hijackers were on each of the four flights, no proof of this claim has been provided. The story, of course, is that they did not force their way onto the planes but were regular, ticketed passengers. If so, their names should be on the flight manifests. But the flight manifests that have been released contain neither the names of the alleged hijackers nor any other Arab names...

The flight manifest for AA 11 that was published by CNN can be seen at www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2001/trade.center/victims/AA11.victims.html. The manifests for the other flights can be located by simply changing that part of the URL. The manifest for UA 93, for example, is at www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2001/trade.center/victims/ua93.victims.html.

The biggest clue here is in the URL, which tells us it is a victims list. I find nothing unusual about a victims list not including those who did the victimization. If you look at the CNN web site the names were left out on purpose.

Regardless, since when are CNN lists of victims official passenger manifests? They are compiled from press reports and other sources, not directly from the airlines, because a UAL press release says that "At the request of the victims' families, a number of names have been withheld from release"[26].

The following was contributed by Dave Sorensen:

The claim originated from David Ray Griffin where he mistakenly sourced a "9/11 Victim's list" as the passenger manifests. An investigative journalist was able to get this information from the FBI in under 24 hours, in which he published in his book "Perfect Soldiers". David Ray Griffin still maintains that the hijackers are not on the passenger manifests; it seems David Ray Griffin keeps looking in the wrong places[55].

Flight School Dropouts

How could such precision attacks have been carried out by a bunch of flight school dropouts? It's just not possible.

This is a frequent claim, but it typically includes the racist "A bunch of Arab..." beginning. A frequently referenced article by the conspiracy theorists is this[27]:

Not one of the hijackers was deemed fit to perform this most elementary exercise by himself, in fact, here is what their flight instructors had to say about the aptitude of these budding aviators:

Mohammed Atta: "His attention span was zero."
Khalid Al-Mihdhar: "We didn't kick him out, but he didn't live up to our standards."
Marwan Al-Shehhi: "He was dropped because of his limited English and incompetence at the controls."
Salem Al-Hazmi: "We advised him to quit after two lessons."
Hani Hanjour: "His English was horrible, and his mechanical skills were even worse. It was like he had hardly even ever driven a car. I'm still to this day amazed that he could have flown into the Pentagon. He could not fly at all."

Incase you were confused about the quote above. That is what was said about each terrorist, not what the terrorist himself said. However compelling this all might sound, it pays to look at where the quotes come from and most importantly when. A practical example is the first one, about Atta, that dates back to October 2000, just under a year before the attacks[28]. It is not hard to imagine someone could developed better skills in that time, and he managed to because he obtained a commercial license. Similar claims are made about the other pilots, and are pretty much always from very old sources, and have been disproven[29][30][31][32].

Hijackers Trained by the US Government

Some of the hijackers were trained by the US government, at Pensacola Naval Air Station.

I have seen this claim in a few places, but it really does not match up with other claims frequently made by the same people, which states that they were bad pilots.

Alex Jones[33]:

"But something that everybody wants to ignore is that three of the hijackers, at least, were trained at Pensacola Naval Air Station not at a local airfield - on the base, by the government, at least"

If you look at the original source for this story, a Newsweek article, you will find some important information[34]:

"there are slight discrepancies between the military training records and the official FBI list of suspected hijackers -- either in the spellings of their names or with their birthdates. One military source said it is possible that the hijackers may have stolen the identities of the foreign nationals who studied at the U.S. installations".

Differently spelled names and incorrect birth dates are not slight discrepancies, they show the subjects were completely different people. That is not that unlikely, as some may think, even one of the Pensacola-linked hijackers is Saeed Alghamdi[35]:

"What we have here is a situation of people with identical names," said Harry White, public affairs officer at the base. He said the school has had more than 1,600 people with the first name Saeed, spelled various ways, and more than 200 with the surname Alghamdi.

White maintains, however, that none of the Saeed Alghamdi students was involved with terrorist activity. "We have found no direct connection between any of the foreign students trained at NAS Pensacola and any of the terrorist suspects," he said.

Some people dismiss White as a part of a cover-up, however if we look again at the original article, there is some interesting information[34]:

The three foreign nationals training in Pensacola appear to be Saeed Alghamdi and Ahmad Alnami, who were among the four men who allegedly commandeered United Airlines Flight 93. That flight crashed into rural Pennsylvania. The third man who may have trained in Pensacola, Ahmed Alghamdi, allegedly helped highjack United Airlines Flight 75, which hit the south tower of the World Trade Center.

Military records show that the three used as their address 10 Radford Boulevard, a base roadway on which residences for foreign-military flight trainees are located. In March 1997, Saeed Alghamdi listed the address to register a 1998 Oldsmobile; five months later he used it again to register a second vehicle, a late model Buick. Drivers licenses thought to have been issued to the other two suspects in 1996 and 1998 list the barracks as their residences.

One interesting piece of information is that none of them are suggested as being pilots in the official 9/11 account. Why would the plotters bother training Jarrah for Flight 93 when he would have been accompanied by two other pilots who were far more experienced, with military training? Not to mention the dates pose a problem as well, because the article says that Saeed Alghamdi registered a car in March 1997, however according to the hijackers I-94 document, that would make him around 16. On his I-94 form he put his birth date in 1979 and if it is real, it is highly unlikely Pensacola would accept pilots of that age.

However, other stories confirm these were different people, talking about the three living in Florida as early as 1992, when Saeed Alghamdi would have been around 12 years of page[36]. And some very important information from Daniel Hopsicker[37]: 

Official denial was swift, but strangely worded: "Officials stressed that the name matches may not necessarily mean the students were the hijackers because of discrepancies in ages in other personal data."

"Some of the FBI suspects had names similar to those used by foreign alumni of U.S. military courses," said the Air Force in a statement. "However, discrepancies in their biographical data, such as birth dates 20 years off, indicate we are probably not talking about the same people."

"Probably not talking about the same people" does not quite strike the right note of decisive certitude that we would expect when discussing the identities of the people who have just been responsible for the deaths of 6,000 more or less vaporized Americans.

We reached a major in the Air Force's Public Affairs Office who was familiar with the question, she said, because she had read the initial Air Force denial to the media.

"Biographically, they're not the same people," she explained to us patiently. "Some of the ages are 20 years off."

"Some" of the ages? We told her we were only interested in Atta. Was she saying that the age of the Mohamed Atta who attended the Air Force's International Officer's School at Maxwell Air Force Base was different from the terrorist Atta's age as reported?

Um, er, no, the major admitted. Still, she persisted. "Mohamed is a very common name."

We asked if the registrar of the International Officer's School might provide us with the name and address of this second Mohamed Atta, so that we might call him and confirm that there were really two Mohamed Atta's of about the same age pursuing flight training in the U.S. at about the same time.

"I don't think you're going to get that information," the major replied.

So, the other Atta may or may not have been the same age as the hijacker, and therefore it may be the same guy, or just a coincidence. Regardless, let's look back at the original News Week article again[34]:

"It is not unusual for foreign nationals to train at U.S. military facilities. A former Navy pilot told NEWSWEEK that during his years on the base, "we always, always, always trained other countries' pilots. When I was there two decades ago, it was Iranians. The shah was in power. Whoever the country du jour is, that's whose pilots we train".

So what does all this mean? Well it means they almost certainly were not the same people, except for Atta, there is a slight chance that could be the same person, however the others were far too young.

CNN Admits There was no Proof of Hijackers' Identities

From Loose Change:

On September 20th and 27th, Mueller admitted on CNN that there is "no legal proof to prove the identities of the hijackers"

Of course with a lot of cases, especially high profile ones where the perpetrators end up completely incinerated, it is understandable that the FBI was cautious and questioning of the identities of the hijackers early in the investigation. In fact here is the news source[39]:

On 21st September 2001. The FBI has said that the identities of some of its list of 19 hijackers behind last week's devastating attacks are in doubt.

However later on after they had further their investigation, they were more certain of the identities of the hijackers[40]:

The FBI has resolved questions about the identities of the 19 hijackers involved in the Sept. 11 attacks and has discovered places outside the United States where the conspiracy was planned, FBI Director Robert Mueller said Friday.

Saudi Arabian officials and others have questioned whether some of the hijackers identified by the FBI in the weeks after the attacks used stolen identifications. Mueller said those questions have been answered.

"We at this point definitely know the 19 hijackers who were responsible," he said. 

The first quote should never be used as an accurate depiction of the investigation, considering it occurred only 10 days after the investigation started. Therefore anyone who uses it as a source is clearly not telling the whole story.

Atta and Abramoff

From whatreallyhappened.com[41]:

...Mohammed Atta, supposed ringleader of the 9-11 hijackers, was a regular visitor to [Jack] Abramoff's Casino Ship.

My first thought about this claim was "So what?", but for the sake of science we should look into it further. Even if it is true, this really is not definitive as the conspiracy theorists suggest. Let's look at a few articles where this claim originates:

Casino Watch[42]:

SunCruz Casinos has turned over photographs and other documents to FBI investigators after employees said they recognized some of the men suspected in the terrorist attacks as customers.

Michael Hlavsa, chairman of the gambling cruise company, said Wednesday two or three men linked to the Sept. 11 hijackings may have been customers on a ship that sailed from Madeira Beach on Florida's gulf coast.

St. Petersburg Times[43]:

TREASURE ISLAND -- Employees on a SunCruz gambling ship that sails from John's Pass think some of the hijackers in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were gambling on the ship the week before the attacks.

The FBI is investigating. SunCruz Casinos has turned over security videotapes and documents to FBI investigators.

Two or three men linked to the hijackings may have been customers on the SunCruz ship that is based at John's Pass, said Michael Hlavsa, chairman of the gambling cruise company.

The FBI has not confirmed the men's identities, and the cruise line is declining to identify the men being investigated. An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment.

Hlavsa said that in the days after the attack, cruise employees said they recognized some of the hijacking suspects as former customers.

One name on the passenger list from a Sept. 5 cruise is the same as one of the suspected terrorists' names, Hlavsa said. A cash advance was taken out on that passenger's credit card, he said.

"They acted just like normal guests of ours and they were courteous," he said. "There were no issues."

The ship's extensive security systems, which are in place to protect its gaming operations and customers, may help the FBI confirm the men's identifies, Hlavsa said.

The cruise line also is giving the FBI a videotape from a Port Canaveral ship of a former customer that a casino manager thinks resembles one of the terrorists.

Washington Post[44]:

SunCruz Casinos LLC has turned over to the FBI surveillance pictures and other records from two Florida gambling cruises on Sept. 5. In both cases, a company official said, there was a passenger who looked similar to one of the hijackers, and the name given by the passenger was either the same or similar to the hijacker's name.

As we can see there is no real certainty that it was Atta, and in fact there is only one name that matches one of the hijackers, or at least it is somewhat similar as the last story suggests. The articles do provide a possibility that "Atta was a regular visitor", but they do not prove it. In any case, it does not matter, just as the same if they repeatedly went to McDonalds it shows no connection with Ray Kroc.

Strip Clubs and Bars

Mohammad Atta and other hijackers were reported as having drank alcohol, gambled, visited strip clubs, and other places not approved of in Islam. This proves that the hijackers were not the fanatically religious Islamic individuals that the government said they were.

There are several reports of this, primarily the one about how the night before 9/11 they were seen enjoying lap dances in the Pink Pony Strip Club in Florida[45]. This originates from several mainstream news sources, and of course conspiracy sites, and they all essentially state that Atta and other hijackers drank and paid for lap dancers at the Pink Pony Strip Club. However, there is a bit more to it than that[46]:

Manager: Men spewed anti-American sentiments

MIAMI (AP) The night before terrorists struck New York and Washington, three men spewed anti-American sentiments in a bar and talked of impending bloodshed, according to a strip club manager interviewed by the FBI. John Kap, manager of the Pink Pony and Red Eyed Jack's Sports Bar in Daytona Beach, said the men made the claims to a bartender and a patron. "They were talking about what a bad place America is. They said 'Wait 'til tomorrow. America is going to see bloodshed,"' Kap said.

He said he told FBI investigators the men in his bar spent $200 to $300 apiece on lap dances and drinks, paying with credit cards. Kap said he gave the FBI credit card receipts and a business card left by one man and a copy of the Quran that was left at the bar.

So, we have a second-hand account that really does not offer evidence that a single one of the hijackers were involved. However, I imagine that it would be difficult considering by the night before 9/11 they were not in Florida. This and other claims claims such has Atta ate pork, drank, and even did cocaine are actually based on the word of a woman named Amanda Keller, who Atta supposedly lived with for two months during 2001, however later she recanted her story, saying that it was another man named Mohammad, not Atta[47]. Not to mention that while Atta was supposedly staying with Keller, a fax from that time was sent from a location less than a mile from a different apartment where Atta was reported to be living with Alshehhi[48]. And later she admitted that she had lied and her boyfriend at that time was not Atta, but was someone completely different[49]. 

In any case even if they had drank and did drugs, it does not prove that Atta or the others were unable to do something such as hijack a plane, kill themselves, and others for their religious beliefs. The argument that "if you drink you are automatically not a fundamentalist Muslim" is not true.

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