TO NO GOOD
leaked document – provided to us by the
heroic John Sugg, of Creative Loafing (Atlanta)
and the Weekly Planet (Tampa) -- describes in excruciating
detail the doggedly persistent efforts of Israelis claiming
to be "art students" to get into the offices and even the
homes of federal law enforcement agents and government officials.
In this 60-odd page report, incident is piled on incident
until, at a certain point, even the most mentally challenged
reader -- even one who wants to give the Israelis the benefit
of every doubt -- is forced to conclude that our friends,
the Israelis, were up to no good: and, perhaps, far worse
are given, first, a broad overview of this covert operation,
where the reader learns about:
timeframe: these Israeli covert ops have been going
on, we are told, "since at least the beginning of 2000,"
right up until the weeks before 9/11.
geography: the operation extended from California to
Florida, and, although concentrated in the southwest and
Florida, included at least 40 states. According to the report:
Hollywood, Florida, area seems to be a central point for these
individuals, with several having addresses in this area."
personnel: a majority of Israeli agents intercepted
and interrogated by US law enforcement agencies, including
but not limited to the DEA, the INS, and the FBI, served
in intelligence, electronic intercept, and explosive ordnance
units of the Israeli army.
Internal Security became aware of a systematic effort to bypass
security at their various offices in January of 2001, and
the next month an official Security Alert was issued, instructing
agents to watch for and detain these "art students" as they
tried to talk their way into the offices and homes of DEA
personnel. Just how these "students" found the home addresses
of a large number of government employees is what apparently
shocked somnolent federal agencies into action.
IS A RAID
the end of March, 2001, several law enforcement agencies were
on the lookout for these students of Israeli "art," and 13
were busted in Irving, Texas, on immigration charges, and
detained. The detainees were interrogated, revealing that
the two principals of the operation were Itay Simon and Michael
Calmanovic (pp. 12-13, paragraphs 39-41). The former was identified
as in charge of the overall operation by an unidentified Israeli,
while the latter was tagged as the leader of the Texas operation. Calmanovic
had rented a number of apartments at two apartment complexes,
and the landlady at one of them said that the approximately
25 Israelis in five different apartments had hurriedly abandoned
the place right after the first 13 were busted.
and Simon were tracked down to another apartment complex,
Hidden Ridge Apartments, also in Irving, where they were interrupted
in the process of making their escape (p. 15, paragraph 49).
Simon told his interrogators that he "did ‘classified work
for the Israeli army.’" According to the report, "Simon refused
to answer questions about his military service" As for Calmanovic,
he stated that he was a recently discharged "electronic intercept
operator for the Israeli military" (p. 15, paragraph 50).
were arrested on immigration charges, and held on $50,000
bond. "This bond was immediately posted," the report says,
but we are not told by whom. In another case of arrested "art
students" of the Israeli persuasion, we are told who
posted bail: one Ophir Baer, an employee of AMDOCS (p. 13,
paragraph 42), an Israeli-based company that has a virtual
monopoly on phone-billing in the US, and is mentioned
prominently both by Carl Cameron of Fox News and Paul
Rodriguez of Insight magazine in their respective exposés
of Israeli penetration of US communications systems. The octopus,
once rattled, began to surface
the leaked document is a strange experience. The cumulative
effect of these dry-as-sand descriptions of incident after
incident of attempted penetration of US government offices
and officials’ homes is to instill, in the reader, an ominous
sense of growing urgency. The plot-line, as it slowly develops, is clear by the time we get to page 17, paragraph 54: this
section describes an encounter with yet more "discharged"
Israeli special operations officers at Dallas Fort Worth airport,
on their way to join their fellow "art students." One of them
has a printed-out "read-me" file in his luggage with a reference
to a file named "DEA Groups." Something tells me these are no ordinary "art students"…
to the report, on March 23, 2001, the Office
of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) issued a National
Security Alert that described "the apparent attempts by Israeli
nationals to learn about government personnel and office layouts."
In St. Louis, they were caught "diagramming" the DEA building (p. 23, paragraph 71). At the Tampa District Office of the
DEA, in March 2001, a group of these "students" were apprehended
trying to enter a locked, unmarked office on the fifth floor
of the building, which no ordinary member of the public would
even realize is a DEA office. Included in the haul was one
Hanan Serfaty, 24, who told his interrogators that he had
served in the Israeli army between the ages of 18-21:
questioned as to what he did between the ages of 21-24, he
refused to answer" (p. 27, paragraph 80).
interesting guy, made even more fascinating by a number of
documents in his possession: 51 deposit and withdrawal slips
from various Florida banks, totaling $107,502 in deposits,
and $86,000 in withdrawals. Pretty good money for a poor Israeli
"art student" trying to sell enough paintings to get by.
particularly telling incident took place on May 3, 2001. When
Peer Segalovitz, 27, showed up at the DEA Orlando District
Office, peddling his line about being an "Israeli art student,"
federal agents pounced on him, detaining and interrogating
him for four hours. According to the report:
was untruthful about his reasoning to be in the US for approximately
the first three hours. Segalovitz finally admitted that he
was one of approximately 30 Israeli art students who are currently
in Florida. [He] would not admit what their purpose was in
Florida, but did state that they were not here for legitimate
means" (p. 31, paragraph 96).
innocent "art student" had been a platoon leader in the Israeli
army; he and his men, Segalovitz told his interrogators, "specialized
in demolition." He also begged the federal agents "not to
divulge this information to Israel, because it would lead
to his arrest in Israel." To add a real cloak-and-dagger note
to this affair, a car that had been parked outside the Orlando
office as Segalovitz was being interviewed "sped away" when
RIVER NAMED DENIAL
highlights of this amazing document: the wife of a member
of the DEA’s Office of Investigative Technology related an
incident during which one of the "students" tried to gain
entry into her home – no doubt, I am told, in order to plant
a bugging device – and was shown "the photographs of the individuals
who have been included in the Security Alert Bulletin." So
we know that at this point – mid-March, 2001 -- the investigation
was active and ongoing: an investigation that the
US government now denies.
QUESTION OF DEMEANOR
Richmond, Virginia, one of the Israeli "students" tried to
break into DEA District Office, and was apprehended. Tinker
Air Force Base, in Oklahoma City, was also targeted: after
an alert was issued, four spies were nabbed in the vicinity,
and arrested. Volk Field Air National Guard Base, in Camp
Douglas, Wisconsin, saw an incursion by two young Israeli
nationals, who were observed photographing the facilities
and subsequently taken into custody. Both were asked if they
had been involved in selling artwork in this country, and
one, Gal Cantor,
very up over this, and questioned [why] they were being asked
about that…. Sgt. Kurt Moore of Volk Field stated that when
asked about the art sales, Kantor’s whole demeanor changed,
and he became uncooperative."
I’ll just bet his demeanor changed: perhaps the color
ran out of his face, as he realized the jig was up. Naturally,
both "students" asked to telephone the Israeli embassy, no
doubt to receive further orders. But what were their original
begin with, the primary mission of any spook is surveillance
– and the persistent attempts to enter offices and residences
of US government employees clearly point to an effort to plant
bugging devices, as well as provide photographic and other
intelligence on the physical layout of federal and military
facilities. Another purpose, however, was more specific and
limited to the peculiar circumstances of this particular operation,
which, you’ll remember, took place in the months leading up
to 9/11. As
John Sugg points out in his excellent (and recently updated)
article published in the Weekly Planet:
of the apparent [Israeli] operatives had set up shop at addresses
only stones' throws from Arabs in San Diego, Little Rock,
Irving, Texas, and in South Florida. The Planet also
has obtained a watch list of mostly Arabs under scrutiny by
the U.S. government. The addresses of many correspond to the
specific areas where the Israelis established bases.
example, an address for the Sept. 11 hijacking leader, Mohammad
Atta, is 3389 Sheridan St. in Hollywood, Fla., only a few
blocks and a few hundred feet from the address of some of
the Israelis, at 4220 Sheridan."
see: a nest of Israeli "ex"-special forces, electronic interception
and explosives experts are holed up blocks away from
Mohammed Atta and his fellow hijackers. Is it even credible
that the former didn’t know about the existence of the latter?
Certainly not. And, just as certainly, the Israelis – let’s
just call them what they are: spies -- had the means
at their disposal to not only detect the presence of Al Qaeda
operatives, but to find out what they were up to. And that,
my friends, is the very least we can surmise….
striking fact stands out, and that is the large number of
"art students" who were experts in the art of handling explosives.
What were these guys doing during their stay in this country
before it was so rudely interrupted by the feds – or, rather,
what were they preparing to do?
IT ALL ABOUT?
I first began reporting on this story, in
November of last year, mine was a lone voice crying out
in the wilderness. Now, we have everyone from Jane’s
Intelligence Digest to Le
Monde horning in on the action. The release of the
"’Israeli Art Student’ Papers" ensures that this story is
not going to go away. But, amid all the voluminous details
– incident reports strewn with names, license plate numbers,
telephone numbers, and a bewildering array of personal and
corporate interconnections -- what is this story about,
is, in short, about complicity: some degree of Israeli
complicity with Atta and his fellow monsters. At the very
least, the mechanics of what is obviously a covert operation
directed by Israel imply a certain degree of foreknowledge.
At worst, the details of this complex and by-no-means completely
uncovered spy ring may wind up pointing to active (albeit one-sided) Israeli collusion with the mass murderers of 9/11.
While the first conclusion is a virtual certainty, the second
is, admittedly, speculation. What’s scary is that such theorizing
is not without a certain basis in fact.
was responsible for the horror of 9/11? That’s what this case
is all about, and the question it raises is the one that was
on everyone’s lips in the hours and days following the terrorist
attacks. How could a small band of Arab terrorists have pulled
off such a feat of coordination and organization without state
aid: this had to be an act of state-sponsored terrorism.
Yet none of the alleged links to Iraq, Iran, or any of the other the usual suspects panned out
news of the Israeli spy operation had been effectively
– if temporarily – stifled, and so we were left with the
theory that the hijackers had acted alone, patiently boring
into American society and making their plans, which they carried
out with deadly precision on the appointed day. This aura
of ruthlessly efficient evil, single-minded and deadly, covered
the hijackers with a kind of malevolent glory, and made them
seem a formidable enemy against which the whole might of the
US had to be mobilized. This set the stage for a perpetual
"war on terrorism." But what if this air of mystery and power
also covered up the trail of the other half of the
terrorist conspiracy, coming from a quarter that no one in
the West would ever suspect? What if….?
BABE IN THE WOODS
include myself among the unsuspecting. My first reaction to
statements coming from the Arab world that "the Zionists"
were really behind the terrorist attacks was to dismiss
them as authored by certifiable nutballs: I devoutly wished
they would shut up. Little did I know, or want to know, that
our best friend, valiant little Israel, was involved in any
way, shape, or form. While a frequent critic of Israeli government
am not hostile to Zionism per se, and my opinion of the
current regime was never that low. It wasn’t until
the end of November, when the
first reports of detained Israelis began to be widely
circulated, that I even suspected there was an Israeli angle.
the story developed, however, one thing became all too clear:
the Israelis could well have had foreknowledge of 9/11, and,
as Carl Cameron averred, failed to inform the US. With the
publication of "the ‘Israeli Art Student’ Papers," however,
we are faced with only two possible explanations:
Israelis knew, but didn’t tell us, and Cameron’s surmise
is confirmed, or:
Israelis knew and did tell us, but the incompetence
of the US government got in the way of effective preventive action.
what we now know, either explanation is possible. We won’t
know for sure, of course, until a thorough investigation is
undertaken. But that won’t happen until and unless the media
takes up this story, and starts reporting it to the American
people. Then and only then will Congress be moved, perhaps,
to awaken from its post-9/11 trance and come to life, awakened,
perhaps, by the prospect of political gain, or the suspicion
that the wool is being pulled over their eyes – maybe both.
Whatever the motive, the results of such an investigation
can only lead to the shedding of more light on a very dark
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