On the morning of September 11, 2001 a Jersey City, N.J. housewife named Maria was making coffee in her kitchen when she received a phone call from a neighbor who excitedly told her to look out the window. When Maria looked she was shocked to see a plume of smoke rising from the World Trade Center about a mile away across the Hudson River. Quickly Maria grabbed some binoculars and stepped out onto the balcony of her high-rise apartment, known as the Doric Towers, which afforded an excellent view of lower Manhattan. Maria did not yet know that a commercial airliner had plowed into the north tower of the World Trade Center, but it was obvious that an ugly tragedy was in progress.
As she watched, she noticed three men in the parking lot below who were behaving strangely. They were sitting or kneeling on the roof of a white panel truck and, like her, were watching the stricken World Trade Center. Oddly, however, the three men were celebrating. They were smiling and laughing, giving high-fives, taking photos, and one looked to be filming the World Trade Center as it burned. Their inappropriate behavior made Maria suspicious and, a few minutes later, when the men drove off in the van, she copied down their license plate number. When her husband returned home from jury duty, she discussed the matter with him, then, called the police and reported what she had seen.
At 3:31 p.m., the FBI put out a “be on the lookout” (BOLO) all points bulletin and, about an hour later, East Rutherford police officers Scott DeCarlo and Sgt. Dennis Rivelli identified the white van, then stopped it on Rt. 3, near Giants stadium. The cops approached and instructed the occupants to exit the vehicle, but the driver refused and the officers, now with guns drawn, had to physically remove the occupants (there were now five of them). The men were hand-cuffed, read their rights, and taken into custody.
All of them were between 22-27 years of age. Their names were Sivan Kurzburg, his brother Paul Kurzburg, Yaron Shmuel, Oded Ellner and Omer Marmari. The driver [Sivan Kurzburg] reportedly told officer DeCarlo, “We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem.”i Another occupant falsely said, “We were on the West Side highway in New York City during the incident.”
A search of the vehicle turned up several passports, cameras, rolls of film, a sock stuffed with $4700 in cash, backpacks, notebooks and, according to the Bergen Record, “maps of the city with certain places highlighted….It looked like they were hooked in with this. It looked like they knew what was going to happen.”ii This story in the local newspaper was prescient, because the issue of foreknowledge would preoccupy the subsequent FBI investigation. The question was eventually answered, though as we will learn, not by the FBI.
The five Israelis claimed to be tourists temporarily employed by a local moving company, Urban Moving Systems (UMS), based in Weehawken, N.J. The owner of the business was also an Israeli, 31-year old Dominik Suter whom FBI agents briefly questioned, before Suter fled to Israel with his family. At that point, the FBI obtained a warrant and searched the UMS premises. They found evidence of Suter’s hasty departure, uneaten sandwiches, cell phones and half-full coffee cups, as well as stored furniture and the belongings of numerous customers who had been left hanging. FBI agents seized documents and at least fifteen computers.
The FBI placed the five Israelis in a federal detention center, isolated them from one other, and began to interrogate them closely. The investigation was driven by numerous discrepancies in their accounts, and by the men’s strange behavior in the period before the second plane impact when everyone still assumed that the first crash was simply a tragic accident. Some of the Israelis were given as many as seven lie-detector tests in an effort to determine if they had advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks. One, Paul Kurzburg, refused for weeks to take a lie-detection test, then agreed to take it, and promptly failed it.iii
During interrogation, the Israelis reportedly explained why they were happy that morning. They said it was because “the United States would now have to commit itself to fighting [Middle East] terrorism, that Americans would have an understanding and empathy for Israel’s circumstances, and that the attacks were ultimately a good thing for Israel.”iv As we know, Likud-leader Benjamin Netanyahu made a similar comment when asked about 9/11. “It’s very good,” Netanyahu told the press, then back-tracked, “Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy for Israel.”v
The FBI investigation took a serious turn when two of the men turned up in a US national intelligence database, indicating they were known Mossad agents. Mossad is the Israeli equivalent of the CIA. Also, two of the men (it is not clear if these were the same two) were found to be in possession of round-trip airline tickets. The two had arrived in the US from Tel Aviv via Athens on June 15, 2001, and were scheduled to return to Israel on September 12, 2001, the day after the attacks.vi Was the suspicious timing of their planned departure just a coincidence?
In March 2002, an un-named high-ranking US intelligence official told The Forward, a venerable New York Jewish newspaper, that the FBI concluded at the end of its investigation that the Israelis arrested in New Jersey had been conducting a Mossad surveillance mission on September 11, and that their employer, Urban Moving Systems, served as a front.vii
ABC News conducted its own probe and reported a similar view on the network’s prime-time show 20/20.viii During a taped interview with co-hosts Barbara Walter and John Miller, the Israeli detainees’ attorney, Steve Gordon, made a belated attempt at damage-control. Gordon said his clients denied the news reports that that they had been celebrating, or rejoicing, or even horsing around, that morning. But Gordon’s attempt to spin the story in a more favorable light remained at odds with the evidence found in the white van, namely, rolls of film plus the film pulled from three cameras, which when developed by the FBI appeared to confirm exactly what Maria first told police. The Israelis had taken portrait shots of one another with the burning World Trade Center in the background, and plainly were in a festive mood. The FBI never found the alleged videocamera, however.ix
ABC consultant Vince Cannistraro, who formerly had served as CIA chief of counter-terrorism operations, later told journalist Christopher Ketcham that “the question that most troubled FBI agents in the weeks and months after 9/11 was whether the Israelis had arrived at the site of their ‘celebration’ with foreknowledge of the attack to come.” According to Cannistraro, “From the beginning, the FBI investigation operated on the premise that the Israelis had foreknowledge.”x
The FBI report
Such a conclusion is consistent with the FBI report on the case, or rather, with the small part of it that was made public in 2011. Most of the FBI report, some 1280 pages or more in length, remains classified and will not be released until 2035. But even from the lesser part that has been declassified, it is evident that the FBI uncovered some disturbing material linking the Israelis to 9/11, material that was never reported by the US news media.xi
For instance, the report mentions that the FBI received information from its Miami office that one of the 19 alleged 9/11 hijackers had utilized another Israeli-run moving company, Classic International Movers (CIM), also based in New Jersey. It seems that a number of Israeli-owned moving companies were operating in the New York area. Curiously, CMI’s telephone number turned up in one of the notebooks found in the white van, all of which prompted the FBI to detain and interview four CIM employees. The four were Israelis and had served in the Israeli military; and all four had entered the US from various locations in South America.xii Although the outcome of the expanded investigation cannot be determined from the heavily censored FBI report, the connection to the 19 hijackers must have alarmed US intelligence experts. If Mossad agents were shadowing Arab terrorists in the US, it possibly meant the Israelis had prior actionable intelligence about the 9/11 attacks which they did not share with US officials.
In another case, the FBI interviewed a former Urban Moving Systems employee who said he had quit Urban “due to a high amount of anti-American sentiment present among Urban’s employees.” The former worker stated that, in addition to Israelis, UMS also employed Russians, Hungarians, and other foreign nationals. But the Israelis always spoke Hebrew among themselves and held frequent meetings in the company office, to which “he and the other non-Jewish employees were never invited.” The man said that “an Israeli employee of Urban had once remarked, ‘Give us twenty years and we’ll take over your media and destroy your country’.” I hasten to add, this is straight out of the FBI report. I am not making this up, nor embellishing.xiii
The same individual also offered a glimpse into the moving operation that could explain why UMS owner Dominik Suter fled the country. The former employee called Suter a “crook” and described how he “would have the delivery teams fill up the trucks with empty boxes, because he [Suter] would charge the customers by cubic feet. He [Suter] would also have some employees stay on the trucks when they were weighed so that he could charge more.”xiv If this is true, and Suter was engaging in shady business practices, it might explain why he fled. Suter might have feared exposure and possible prosecution.
The testimony of the plainly disgruntled individual must be treated with skepticism, yet, one of the Israeli detainees (I will refer to him as the “5th Israeli”) corroborated some of what he said. The fifth Israeli told the FBI that most of the foreign nationals employed at UMS lacked the necessary work-visas, which means that Dominik Suter made a practice of hiring illegals, and based on the testimony of his own workers, it’s clear he exploited their illegal status, paying sub-standard wages under the table, while avoiding payroll taxes. Suter definitely had cause for concern. Yet, as the reader is about to learn, his flight was also undoubtedly motivated by a much more serious matter.
In the end, despite considerable evidence to the contrary, the FBI concluded “that the five Israelis most likely did not possess prior knowledge of the WTC events.”xv On November 20, 2001, the detainees were served a deportation order for visa violations, then escorted from a US immigration and naturalization center in Brooklyn to JFK international airport where they were put on a flight to Tel Aviv. Once safely back in Israel, three of the men went on a national television show, and during the interview one, Oded Ellner, told his audience that “Our purpose was to document the event,”xvi which of course implies foreknowledge. Ellner’s public admission reduced the FBI investigation to absurdity. Unfortunately, from there it gets worse, because the rest of the story is almost too terrible to contemplate. Yet, face it we must.
The fifth Israeli
It seems that one of the five Israeli detainees did not know enough to keep his mouth shut, probably because he was not a member of the core Mossad group, hence, was not in the loop. This fifth Israeli was apparently just a guy, a poor shmuck who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. According to the FBI report, the man broke down and sobbed repeatedly under interrogation, not what you would expect of a Mossad operative. The man told the FBI he barely knew the four other Israelis who were in the van with him at the time of the arrest, and did not even know their last names. Evidently, this fifth man was one of two Johnny-come-late-lies who joined the group after the high-fivers left the parking lot below Maria’s apartment.xvii
This odd man out gave the FBI the fullest account of any of the detainees. He described in considerable detail the events of that morning; how he first noticed smoke pouring from the World Trade Center while en route to work; and how he arrived at UMS late, between 9:15 – 9:20 a.m., whereupon, he reported to the box packaging area in the UMS warehouse for some scheduled training. Apparently, the man was still a novice mover. He further explained that around 11 a.m. one of the other Israelis came in and announced that “they are taking down the second building,” at which point everyone in the warehouse hurried up to the roof to watch the mind-boggling spectacle. The fifth Israeli told the FBI that (and I quote) “at the time [he, the fifth man] believed that the authorities had purposely collapsed the building to prevent the additional damage that would be caused by the building tumbling to its side. It was not until later that night when he saw a TV news report in jail that he realized that the planes had caused the buildings’ collapse.” This is verbatim from the FBI report.
Looking back with unblinkered hindsight, it’s clear that the naive fifth Israeli heard it right the first time from the other Israeli who knew the truth: that the World Trade Center was being systematically demolished in plain view of the whole world.
Today, fifteen years after the fact, we know it was a demolition thanks to the independent research of some highly motivated scientists, engineers and truth-tellers, who over the years have gathered an overwhelming amount of evidence, proving beyond a reasonable doubt that explosives were used.xviii The basics have been known since at least 2007, when the physicist Steven E. Jones found explosive residues in samples of World Trade Center dust.xix
Some of the evidence for explosives was actually compiled on the morning of “the attacks.” Indeed, it was being gathered at Hoboken, N.J., on the shore of the Hudson, even as the Israelis celebrated on the roof of the UMS warehouse a mile or more upriver at Weehawken. When Rick Siegel heard about the tragedy unfolding in lower Manhattan, he hustled to the Hoboken waterfront, set up his videocamera on a tripod, and began shooting. Over the next two hours, Siegel diligently filmed both collapses, but even more importantly, he captured an audio record of the enormous rumbling explosions that ripped through the towers in the moments before they fell.xx
Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of shocked local residents who were also watching from the Jersey shore that morning must have heard the same enormous explosions, as did many more in lower Manhattan. Yet, not one of these Americans was ever asked to appear before the official 9/11 investigations and describe what he or she saw and heard, that morning.
Siegel’s audio-video tape is almost as shocking on replay as the events of that day. The slightly muffled but nonetheless unmistakable sounds of huge multiple blasts carried quite well for more than two miles across the open water of the Hudson River. Siegel’s audio record is yet more corroborating evidence refuting the fiction that has pervaded the US media ever since: that plane impacts and fires brought down the twin towers. No way, we were deceived. The official story about 9/11 is probably the most monstrous lie ever perpetrated upon the American people.
The Mossad team based in Weehawken not only had, by its own admission, foreknowledge of the “attacks,” the testimony in the FBI’s own report, as I have attempted to show, suggests that the Israelis also knew, that very morning, that the World Trade Center was being demolished with explosives.
Standing truth on its ear
Oded Ellner’s brazen admission that “our purpose was to document the incident” may have played well in Israel, but it raised a number of urgent questions for Americans, questions that still need answers. First and foremost: how did the FBI come to embarrass itself so badly? Indeed, how could the FBI have reached a conclusion 180 degrees from the truth? Especially since its investigation, judging from the portion of the FBI report that is available, appears to have been on track, at least initially.
I suspect the answer is rather simple. Although the FBI had all of the necessary resources to do its work, it was hamstrung by the official story and thus, was unable to pursue leads that would have led to the truth. The idea of a demolition was so far out of bounds as to be unthinkable. This no doubt also explains why the FBI declassified the fifth Israeli’s eyewitness account. The FBI censor evidently failed to comprehend the significance of the man’s testimony, pointing to the use of explosives.
But the FBI was also shut down from above. A source at ABC News told journalist Chris Ketcham that “there is a lot of frustration inside the bureau about this case. They feel the higher echelons torpedoed the investigation….Leads were not fully investigated.”xxi
ABC reported that a settlement was finally reached in the case after “high level negotiations between Israeli and US government officials.”xxii According to former CIA counter-terrorism chief Vince Cannistraro, “there is no question but that [the order to close down the investigation] came from the White House. It was immediately assumed at CIA headquarters that this basically was going to be a cover-up so that the Israelis would not be implicated in any way in 9/11. Bear in mind, this was a political issue, not a law enforcement or intelligence issue.”xxiii
The travesty I have just described incriminates then-president G.W. Bush and VP Dick Cheney. We are left to ponder their obvious treachery, and the following incendiary question: how did the Mossad team in New Jersey know in real time that the Twin Towers were being demolished with explosives?
The second updated and expanded edition of Mark H. Gaffney’s 2012 book Black 9/11 will be released later this year. Reach Mark for comment at email@example.com
i This was widely reported by many different sources.
ii Paulo Lima, “Five men detained as suspected conspirators,” Bergen Record, September 12, 2001.
iii ABC News, 20/20 with Barbara Walters and John Miller, June 21, 2002.
iv Christopher Ketcham, “What Did Israel Know in Advance of the 9/11 Attacks?”, Counterpunch, March 7, 2007.
v James Bennet, “DAY OF TERROR: THE ISRAELIS; Spilled Blood Is Seen as Bond That Draws 2 Nations Closer”, New York Times, September 12, 2001, posted at http://www.nytimes.com/2001/09/12/us/day-terror-israelis-spilled-blood-seen-bond-that-draws-2-nations-closer.html
vi FBI Report, section one.
vii Marc Perelman, “Discussion of the Dancing Israelis,” Forward, March 15, 2001.
viii ABC News, 20/20 with Barbara Walters and John Miller, June 21, 2002.
ix The matter of the videocamera was never resolved. The FBI never found the video-cam, but neither did it find reason to question the reliability of the witness Maria, who in repeated interviews never changed her story. In fact, Maria gave a very detailed description of what she saw. She described the video-cam as a small handheld unit with a liquid crystal display (LCD) screen. She also recalled that one of the men was holding it up to his face, moving the camera slowly from side to side, or, as she put it, “panning the area.” FBI Report, section one.
x Christopher Ketcham, “What Did Israel Know in Advance of the 9/11 Attacks?”, Counterpunch, March 7, 2007.
xi The declassified FBI Report about the five dancing Israelis may be downloaded at http://kennysideshow.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-dancing-israelis-docs_4.html
xii FBI Report, sections one and five.
xiii FBI Report, sections one and five.
xv FBI Report, section five.
xvii FBI Report, section three.
xviii Check out the papers at the Journal of 9/11 Studies, http://www.journalof911studies.com
Also check out the educational material posted by the Architects and Engineers for 9/11Truth, http://www.ae911truth.org
xix Dr. Steven E. Jones, “Revisiting 9/11/2001 — Applying the Scientific Method,” Journal of 9/11 Studies, May 2007, posted at http://www.journalof911studies.com/volume/200704/JonesWTC911SciMethod.pdf
xx Siegel’s video can be purchased at his website http://www.911eyewitness.com
Or, watch it for free at Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJ808QZjHxQ
xxi Christopher Ketcham, “What Did Israel Know in Advance of the 9/11 Attacks?”, Counterpunch, March 7, 2007.
xxii ABC News, 20/20 with Barbara Walters and John Miller, June 21, 2002.
xxiii Christopher Ketcham, “What Did Israel Know in Advance of the 9/11 Attacks?”, Counterpunch, March 7, 2007.
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