December 8, 2003

SHOCK VIDEO: WHO SHOT NEW 9/11 TAPES?
Did Al Qaeda shoot recently released footage of 9/11 WTC attack – or was it someone else?

by Justin Raimondo

I shivered, a little, as I watched Lisa Meyers' report on NBC the other night:

"New and threatening messages have been received from Al Qaeda. There's a videotape aimed at American and Saudi Arabian rulers and another that includes what appears to be well-produced footage of the 9/11 attacks – raising still other questions."

This new 9/11 footage sure does raise a lot of other questions, first and foremost: who shot the video? It was posted on what is described as "a known Al-Qaeda website" last Wednesday, although it was taken down after a few days. Aside from the usual militaristic gymnastics by jihadi commandos, Meyers reports:

"The tape also contains what U.S. counterterror experts say may be never-before-broadcast video of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York's World Trade Center shot from across the East River in Brooklyn. The FBI says it is familiar with the video, which was provided by a friendly bystander. But that raises the question – how did a tape that was not widely circulated end up on a known Al Qaeda site?"

It's sinister to contemplate. Video believed to have been in U.S. government hands somehow pops up on a website alleged to be an Al Qaeda mouthpiece, and U.S. government officials hold it up as a reason to cower in fear before the threat of another major terrorist attack on American soil. Meanwhile, the President avers that Iraq is the central arena in his "war on terrorism," and his supporters claim that we're battling them in the streets of Baghdad so we don't have to fight them in the streets of Boise or whatever alliterative cliche first comes to mind.

The idea that Al Qaeda had additional agents in the area, who knew the attack was coming, would certainly explain the unflinching steadiness of the camera's eye as it recorded the terror of that moment. But instead of inventing additional elements and players, it's always best to stick with what we already know. So who else just happened to be videotaping the World Trade Center attack that day?

Hours after the terrorists struck, five people were arrested in New Jersey as they taped the WTC from their vantage point across the Hudson River in New Jersey. A witness identified only as "Maria" by ABC News said she saw:

"Three young men kneeling on the roof of a white van in the parking lot of her apartment building. 'They seemed to be taking a movie,' Maria said. The men were taking video or photos of themselves with the World Trade Center burning in the background, she said.

"What struck Maria were the expressions on the men's faces. 'They were like happy, you know They didn't look shocked to me. I thought it was very strange,' she said."

Even stranger it turned out the five were Israelis. When law enforcement swooped down on this crew, they found them in possession of $4,700 in cash, box cutters, and multiple foreign passports. Police dogs reacted as if the presence of explosives was indicated, and, as the Bergen County Record reported:

"Sources close to the investigation said they found other evidence linking the men to the bombing plot. 'There are maps of the city in the car with certain places highlighted,' the source said. 'It looked like they're hooked in with this. It looked like they knew what was going to happen when they were at Liberty State Park.'"

These guys were held for three months, much of the time in solitary confinement, and extensively interrogated. One refused to take a lie detector test for weeks, and then failed it. All five had been in the employ of Urban Moving Systems, of Weehawken, New Jersey, the company name on their van's registration.

Police raided the Urban Moving Systems warehouse 48 hours later, and carted away a lot of computer hard drives and other materials. The owner, one Dominik Suter, fled to Israel the next day. A few months later, Suter's name turned up on a list of terrorist suspects circulated by the FBI to European financial institutions.

The apprehended Israelis claimed that they were merely "documenting" the day's events: police confiscated their photographic equipment, and whatever film they had taken. The new film shows the World Trade Center burning from the Brooklyn side of the East River, while the Urban Movers were filming from the vantage point of Liberty State Park, across the Hudson River in New Jersey. But whomever had foreknowledge of the attack on the World Trade Center could have taken that film and Al Qaeda operatives are not the only possible suspects.

I have written at length about the five arrested Israelis in my new book, The Terror Enigma: 9/11 and the Israeli Connection, and I commend the attention of my readers to this modest little volume if they want to know more. I bring this up, not merely to plug my book, but to point out that we can't begin to understand the strange expropriation of this previously unknown footage outside the context provided by The Terror Enigma.

As I prove in my book, Al Qaeda did not carry out its plans for a major terrorist attack entirely undetected. The Israelis were hot on the trail of the 9/11 hijackers, and must have had some foreknowledge of what happened that fateful day.

Did they shoot the footage we are just now seeing, or was an Al Qaeda film team at the ready the moment the twin towers were hit? Readers of The Terror Enigma will understand how and why the former scenario is just as likely the latter.

As to how, in that case, the video passed into the hands of Al Qaeda's propagandists it wouldn't be the first time the fruits of Israeli spying operations in the U.S. fell into the hands of America's enemies.

In any case, how this new 9/11 footage, previously known only to the FBI and a "friendly bystander," wound up in Al Qaeda's possession or in the hands of a website claiming to represent them is a mystery that the U.S. government seems quite uninterested in unraveling.

NOTES IN THE MARGIN

The U.S. is now completely enclosing Iraqi villages in barbed wire. A more appropriate metaphor for the occupation of Iraq couldn't be created by any novelist. Like the Israelis, the American occupiers are requiring an internal passport of all travelers coming into and going out of these villages. And, speaking of Israel, we are now doing to the Iraqis what Ariel Sharon and his ultra-rightist Likud party bloc have been dishing out to the Palestinians: arresting and detaining the relatives of "suspected guerrillas."

I can hear all the weeping and wailing on the part of the "liberal" wing of the War Party, crying out that this is hardly going to win "hearts and minds." The point is that it isn't meant to: turning Iraq's villages into concentration camps is designed to humiliate, demean, and ultimately subjugate a proud people who refuse to be conquered. That's the real face of the American "liberation" flat out ugly.

– Justin Raimondo

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Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com. He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against U.S. Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Libertarian Studies, and writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard.

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