A dispassionate examination of existing reliable, open-source evidence on advance warnings of the Sept. 11 attacks provides strong and sustainable grounds to conclude the Bush Administration was in possession of sufficient advance intelligence to have prevented the attacks, had it wished to do so. With a known intelligence budget of approximately $30 billion, it must be assumed there are classified files that only add to the weight of the available data presented here. Is it reasonable to assume that what is presented here is the only intelligence the U.S. possessed?
This article will focus on four primary areas where the U.S. had information that forewarned of the attacks in sufficient detail to have prompted their prevention. Those areas are: Documented warnings received by the United States Government (USG) from foreign intelligence services; Obvious and large scale insider stock trading in the days before the attacks; Known intelligence successes achieved by the USG in its penetrations of Al Qaeda; and, the case of Delmart “Mike” Vreeland, a U.S. Naval intelligence officer jailed in Canada at the request of U.S. authorities, who -- with his attorneys -- spent months attempting to warn USG and Canadian intelligence officials of the pending attacks, only to be rebuffed and ignored.
This article will not focus on a number of well-known and documented instances where the Bush Administration actively interfered with or curtailed investigations into Al Qaeda-linked groups that could have provided even more intelligence. Included in this category are reports by the BBC’s Gregg Palast, the French book “The Forbidden Truth,” and a lawsuit/OPR complaint filed by an active FBI agent alleging investigations that could have prevented the attacks were derailed by superiors, in some cases on orders from the White House.
WARNINGS FROM FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SERVICES
This section focuses on known advance warnings received by the U.S. government from foreign intelligence services that proved to be specific enough to have identified the date (within one week), method, targets, and perpetrators of the attacks. It will not include warnings issued to the USG that could be considered vague or non-specific. The latter includes documented warnings sent by the governments of Egypt and Israel. However, in light of the specific warnings, these additional warnings add greater weight to the argument that the Administration was in possession of sufficient information to have prevented the attacks.
As reported in the respected German daily Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung (FAZ) on Sept. 14, 2001 the German intelligence service, the BND, warned both the CIA and Israel that Middle Eastern terrorists were “planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack important symbols of American and Israeli culture.” The story specifically referred to an electronic eavesdropping system known as Echelon, wherein a number of countries tap cell phone and electronic communications in partner countries and then pool the information. The BND warnings were also passed to the United Kingdom.
No known denial by the BND of the accuracy of this story exists, and the FAZ story indicates that the information was received directly from BND sources.
According to a Sept. 14 report in the Internet newswire online.de, German police, monitoring the phone calls of a jailed Iranian man, learned the man was telephoning USG intelligence agencies in summer 2001 to warn of an imminent attack on the World Trade Center (WTC) in the week of Sept. 9. German officials confirmed the calls to the USG for the story but refused to discuss additional details.
In August 2000 French intelligence sources confirmed a man recently arrested in Boston by the FBI was an Islamic militant and a key member of Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network. The FBI knew the man had been taking flying lessons at the time of his arrest and was in possession of technical information on Boeing aircraft and flight manuals, as reported by Reuters on Sept. 13.
According to a story in Izveztia on Sept. 12, Russian intelligence warned the USG that as many as 25 suicide pilots were training for missions involving the crashing of airliners into important targets.
In an MSNBC interview on Sept. 15, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that he had ordered Russian intelligence to warn the USG “in the strongest possible terms” of imminent assaults on airports and government buildings before the attacks on Sept. 11.
As reported by CNN’s Daniel Seberg on Sept. 28, Newsbytes’ Brian McWilliams on Sept. 27 and the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, Odigo, the Israeli instant messaging company located in Herzliyya, Israel, received telephone calls stating that attacks on the WTC were imminent. The calls came less than two hours before the first plane hit the WTC. This information was immediately forwarded to Israeli and U.S. intelligence.
Conclusion: From just these six press stories, then, the USG had received credible advance warnings, some from heads of state, that commercial aircraft would be hijacked by as many as 25 suicide pilots at airports, with Boston a strong candidate, during the week of Sept. 9. The call to Odigo would have signaled the exact day.
No known preventive measures were taken.
The documented pre-Sept. 11 insider trading that occurred before the attacks involved only companies hit hard by the attacks. They include United Airlines, American Airlines, Morgan Stanley, Merrill-Lynch, Axa Reinsurance, Marsh & McLennan, Munich Reinsurance, Swiss Reinsurance, and Citigroup.
In order to argue that the massive and well-documented insider trading that occurred in at least seven countries immediately before the attacks of Sept. 11 did not serve as a warning to intelligence agencies, then it is necessary to argue that no one was aware of the trades as they were occurring, and that intelligence and law enforcement agencies of most industrialized nations do not monitor stock trades in real time to warn of impending attacks. Both assertions are false. Both assertions would also ignore the fact that the current executive vice president of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) for enforcement is David Doherty, a retired CIA general counsel. And also ignored is the fact that the trading in United Airlines stock -- one of the most glaring clues -- was placed through the firm Deutschebank/Alex Brown, which was headed until 1998 by the man who is now the executive director of the CIA, A.B. “Buzzy” Krongard.
One wonders if it was a coincidence then, that Mayo Shattuck III, the head of the Alex Brown unit of Deutschebank -- which had its offices in the WTC -- suddenly resigned from a $30 million, three-year contract on Sept. 12, as reported by the New York Times and other papers.
The American exchanges that handle these trades, primarily the Chicago Board of Options Exchange (CBOE) and the NYSE, know on a daily basis what levels of put options are purchased. “Put options” are highly leveraged bets, tying up blocks of stock, that a given stock’s share price will fall dramatically. To quote 60 Minutes from Sept. 19, “Sources tell CBS News that the afternoon before the attack, alarm bells were sounding over unusual trading in the U.S. stock options market.”
It is hard to believe that they missed:
- A jump in UAL put options 90 times (not 90 percent) above normal between Sept. 6 and Sept.10, and 285 times higher than average on the Thursday before the attack– [CBS News, Sept. 26]
- A jump in American Airlines put options 60 times (not 60 percent) above normal on the day before the attacks. [CBS News, Sept. 26]
- No similar trading occurred on any other airlines. [Bloomberg Business Report, the Institute for Counterterrorism (ICT), Herzliyya, Israel citing data from the CBOE]
- Morgan Stanley saw, between Sept. 7 and Sept.10, an increase of 27 times (not 27 percent) in the purchase of put options on its shares. [ICT Report, Mechanics of Possible Bin-Laden Insider Trading Scam, Sept. 21, citing data from the CBOE].
- Merrill-Lynch saw a jump of more than 12 times the normal level of put options in the four trading days before the attacks. [Ibid]
These trades were certainly noticed after the attacks.
“This could very well be insider trading at the worst, most horrific, most evil use you’ve ever seen in your entire life…This would be one of the most extraordinary coincidences in the history of mankind if it was a coincidence,” said Dylan Ratigan of Bloomberg Business News, interviewed on Good Morning Texas on Sept. 20.
“’I saw put-call numbers higher than I’ve ever seen in 10 years of following the markets, particularly the options markets,’ said John Kinnucan, principal of Broadband Research, as quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle,” reported the Montreal Gazette on Sept. 19. The paper also wrote, “Agence France Presse, on Sept. 22, reported, ‘And Germany’s Bundesbank chief, Ernst Weltke, said on the sidelines of the meeting that a report of the investigation showed “bizarre” fiscal transactions prior to the attacks that could not have been chalked up to coincidence.
“Weltke said the transactions, ‘could not have been planned and carried out without a certain knowledge,’ particularly heavy trading in oil and gold futures.”
ABC World News reported on Sept. 20, “Jonathan Winer, an ABC News consultant said, ‘it’s absolutely unprecedented to see cases of insider trading covering the entire world from Japan, to the U.S., to North America, to Europe.”
How much money was involved? Andreas von Bulow, a former member of the German Parliament responsible for oversight of Germany’s intelligence services estimated the worldwide amount at $15 billion, according to Tagesspiegel on Jan. 13. Other experts have estimated the amount at $12 billion. CBS News gave a conservative estimate of $100 million.
Not a single U.S. or foreign investigative agency has announced any arrests or developments in the investigation of these trades, the most telling evidence of foreknowledge of the attacks. This, in spite of the fact that former Security and Exchange Commission enforcement chief William McLucas told Bloomberg News that regulators would “certainly be able to track down every trade.”
What is striking is that a National Public Radio report on Oct. 16 reported Britain’s Financial Services Authority had cleared bin Laden and his henchmen of insider trading. If not bin Laden, then who else had advance knowledge? Who else had certainty that the attacks would succeed to give them confidence to make millions of dollars in stock purchases?
It has been standard and established USG policy to be alert and responsive to anything even remotely resembling an attack on U.S. companies and/or the economy. The word “remote” does not apply here. The possible claim by the Bush Administration that, ‘Gee, we just happened to miss this,’ becomes even more implausible when considering the lengths intelligence agencies go to in order to track stock trades.
Note that the Israeli Institute for Counter-Terrorism was the first entity to release a detailed report on the insider trading. That alone is prima facie evidence of a direct relationship between the financial markets and terrorist investigations.
CIA and the Markets
We can thank Fox News on Oct. 16 for breaking post 9-11 stories disclosing the use of sophisticated PROMIS software by the FBI and the Justice Department. A multitude of court records and investigative reports have established not only the reality, but the versatility of a program initially designed to incorporate data from a variety of data bases in different languages into one readable format. PROMIS has since been refined to include artificial intelligence and ”back doors” inserted by intelligence agencies to allow for surreptitious retrieval and/or removal and alteration of data.
The Fox stories clearly confirmed, especially when added to stories from last summer by the Washington Times which were based on interviews with Justice Department officials, that PROMIS was used to monitor banking and financial transactions in a virtual real-time environment.
This writer has written extensively on the software. More information can be found on the Web site at http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/index.html.
However, one point is critical to this report. In the Autumn of 2000 I was visited in Los Angeles by two members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) national security staff. They were conducting a major investigation inside the U.S. to determine whether or not the RCMP’s version of the software had been compromised. During discussions with the Mounties, I confirmed several times that the software was used to monitor stock trades in real time. A subsequent investigation led me to contact several people in Canada who had been interviewed in the same investigation. They were stockbrokers.
In a taped panel discussion, which aired March 14 on Canada’s Vision-TV, I faced a panel of three Canadian experts on the issue of U.S. foreknowledge of, and possible complicity in, the 9-11 attacks. Among them was Ron Atkey, former Canadian Solicitor-General and the former parliamentary head of the committee charged with oversight of Canada’s military and intelligence operations. Over the course of the program I made specific statements, relying not only on the RCMP interactions but also on previous investigations, in which it was documented that intelligence services track stock trades in real time. On camera, I produced the business cards of the two RCMP agents. Atkey, who had not hesitated to challenge me on other points during the show, went silent.
Four basic intelligence successes need to be acknowledged here. These admitted successes, while not addressing any other still secret penetrations of the Al Qaeda network, further diminish any Bush Administration assertion that it did not know of the attacks.
On Feb. 13 United Press International terrorism correspondent Richard Sale, while covering a Manhattan trial of one of Osama bin Laden’s followers, reported that the National Security Agency had broken bin Laden’s encrypted communications. Even if that prompted an immediate change in bin Laden’s methods of communication, just six months before the attacks, the administration has consistently maintained -- and military and covert experience dictates -- that the attacks were planned for at least several years.
The FAZ story indicates that the secret eavesdropping program Echelon had been successful in securing details of the pending attacks. Echelon employs highly sophisticated computer programs capable of both voice and word recognition to filter billions of telephone conversations and locate specific targets. Assuming, as some sources indicate, Al Qaeda stopped using encrypted communications after it was known that their system was compromised, why was the NSA not able to pick up any cell phone calls or e-mails? Mohammed Atta and other alleged hijackers were known to have used cell phones. The FAZ story establishes that as late as June, Al Qaeda operatives were being tracked in this manner.
In the trial of a former Deutschebank executive Kevin Ingram, who pled guilty to laundering drug money to finance terrorist operations linked to Al Qaeda just two weeks before the 9-11 attacks, indications surfaced that the Justice Department had penetrated the terrorists’ financial networks. A Nov. 16 Associated Press story by Catherine Wilson stated, “Numerous promised wire transfers never arrived, but there were discussions of foreign bankers taking payoffs to move the money to purchase weapons into the United States, said prosecutor Rolando Garcia.”
Two questions are begged but unanswered. How were the wire transfers blocked and how was the Justice Department able to monitor the money flows without alerting either the bankers or the suspects?
Finally, as reported by the German paper Die Welt on Dec. 6 and by Agence France Presse on Dec. 7, Western intelligence services, including the CIA, learned after arrests in the Philippines, that Al Qaeda operatives had planned to crash commercial airliners into the WTC. Details of the plan, as reported by a number of American press outlets, were found on a computer seized during the arrests. The plan was called “operation Bojinka.”
Details of the plot were disclosed publicly in 1997 in the New York trial of Ramsi Youssef for his involvement in the 1993 WTC bombing.
DELMART “MIKE” VREELAND
“I believe that, from the information I have seen, Mike Vreeland tried to pass information to the Canadian government that should have been passed to the U.S. government. That information had to do with the attacks of Sept. 11. Whatever other attempts were made by Vreeland and his attorneys to alert U.S. and Canadian officials of the attacks, it is clear that he did pass information about the pending attacks to his guards in August. I am willing to go to the Secretary of the Navy to determine whether or not he was actually a Navy officer.
“I know that there have been other U.S. citizens with a similar background used on missions similar to what has been alleged by Vreeland. This man fits a pattern. I would like for the Secret Service to put him on a polygraph.” -- Mike Osborne, a veteran former CIA case officer with 26 years of experience in counter-terrorism.
With a court record now estimated to approach 10,000 pages, the case of Delmart “Mike” Vreeland is starting to attract worldwide attention. Vreeland, with a growing amount of evidence admitted into court record in Toronto, Canada, claims to be a former U.S. Naval lieutenant assigned to the Office of Naval Intelligence. He was jailed in Canada -- at the request of U.S. authorities -- in December 2000 after returning from Moscow.
Although Canadian authorities initially alleged vague fraud charges against him and also held him on an extradition warrant alleging credit card fraud in Michigan, the actual motive for his arrest now seems to be something quite different. All Canadian charges against Vreeland were dropped this March and he has been granted political refugee status in Canada until the extradition issues are resolved.
Vreeland’s position is that he returned from Russia to meet with a Canadian and a Russian intelligence operative, and had intended to hand over a sealed pouch containing intelligence documents. When the handoff was compromised and the Canadian did not show for the Toronto meet, Vreeland opened the pouch and looked at some of the documents. Those documents, which he later had translated, gave specific warnings of the pending WTC attacks that were to take place nine months later. Again, on its face, since these documents were in a sealed intelligence pouch, this indicates that intelligence operatives were aware of the contents because they had placed them there originally.
According to both Vreeland and his lawyers, as reported in numerous interviews with this writer and other members of the FTW staff, immediately after his arrest Vreeland began making urgent attempts to alert both Canadian and U.S. intelligence officials of the coming danger.
After eight months of unsuccessful attempts to have either Canadian or U.S. intelligence services debrief him, Vreeland wrote a desperate, last-ditch warning in August. Through means he will not disclose, he acquired two high-tech Pilot water-based pens with light blue ink and used them to write the letter. The only pens permitted by Canadian jail authorities were oil-based, dark blue Bic pens.
Immediately after writing the letter, Vreeland notified his jailers that he had pens which might be considered contraband. A Sept. 17 letter from the Ministry of Correctional Services was entered as Exhibit “M” into court records on Oct. 7, along with Vreeland’s warning letter which had been opened on Sept. 14 and entered as Exhibit “N.” The letter states, “On August 13, 2001 inmate Vreeland’s corridor #2 was searched and as far as we know 2 blue ink pens were removed from his cell because they were considered contraband. There is no written record of them being placed in his personal property. He did submit a request to have them returned to him on August 14, 2001, but was denied.”
Since the ink on the warning letter, if tested, will match the ink in the confiscated pens, there can be no doubt that the letter was written a month before the attacks.
In an interview with this writer published on April 4, Vreeland clearly stated his belief that Al Qaeda operations had been completely penetrated by U.S. intelligence services. That belief is supported by a statement in his warning letter.
The statement, following a list of potential targets that included the WTC, the Pentagon and the White House said, “Let one happen, stop the rest.” Such a statement could only imply complete penetration or compromise of the terrorist cells perpetrating the attacks.
Compelling evidence continues to grow that Vreeland was, in fact, a U.S. Navy officer. On Jan. 10 from open court with a court reporter recording the conversation, his attorneys placed a speaker-phone call to the Pentagon. A Pentagon operator, after checking a back-up military database, confirmed Vreeland was a U.S. Navy officer and provided an office listing and a telephone number for his office. The primary database had been disabled, according to Vreeland, on 9-11. In addition, redacted and incomplete military records provided by the Pentagon to the Canadian courts indicate Vreeland had a service record of more than 1,200 pages.
This is difficult to reconcile with the U.S. Navy’s assertion that Vreeland was discharged as a Seaman Recruit after four months of unsatisfactory service in 1986.
No press entity has covered the Vreeland case more than FTW. This writer has traveled twice to Toronto, sat in on court proceedings, and retained the services of a Canadian correspondent to cover the case. I have interviewed Vreeland personally and conducted numerous interviews with his attorneys. Greta Knutzen, FTW’s Canadian correspondent, has also interviewed Vreeland and his attorneys, as well as Vreeland’s mother. Knutzen has attended every court proceeding since January, 2002. All of our previous reporting on the case can be located on the Internet at www.copvcia.com.
Mike Vreeland believes that if he is successfully extradited to the U.S., he will be assassinated. Previous press stories concerning Vreeland’s criminal past and a criminal arrest record fail to account for the fact that, as an undercover operative who targeted organized crime and terrorist organizations, a criminal record would have been necessary to give him credibility with organizations that have previously demonstrated capabilities to retrieve law enforcement records. They also fail to account for an Oct. 2, 1986 Los Angeles Times story that lists Vreeland as a non-criminal witness to a major cocaine bust carried out by LAPD investigators known to have contacts with USG intelligence services.
There is much about Vreeland’s past that is objectionable, questionable, or both. But even in a worst-case scenario, nothing in his past explains how he was able to write a detailed warning of the attacks before they occurred, and why the intelligence services of both Canada and the U.S. ignored attempts to warn them while both Vreeland and his attorneys were banging down their doors.
There is clear and substantial evidence to suggest that the Bush Administration had sufficient foreknowledge of the attacks of Sept. 11 to have prevented them. Rather than viewing each of the four listed areas as a separate piece of evidence, they should be considered as a body, in the exact same way exhibits presented to a jury in a criminal trial are viewed as a body. By viewing the evidence in this manner, an unavoidable conclusion is reached -- the USG knew 25 suicide hijackers during the week of Sept. 9 were going to use United and American airlines commercial planes, some of them likely originating in Boston, to attack the WTC and the Pentagon. A multitude of press stories and intelligence reports indicate the WTC would have been the primary target.
Given the financial commitments made during insider trading activity that occurred immediately before the attacks involving businesses that were directly damaged by the attacks, the threats had clearly moved from the realm of speculation to reality. Why else would mysterious investors have risked millions of dollars to purchase the put options? There is compelling evidence to suggest these trades were noted by the CIA and other USG entities.
Recently, Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga., has been widely criticized in the mainstream press for raising the need for a Congressional investigation to answer some of these obvious questions. This, in spite of the fact that popular reaction indicates a different sentiment. An opinion poll, conducted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution just a day after McKinney’s remarks received wide public attention in a Washington Post story dated April 12, was pulled after poll numbers showed that 51 percent of the respondents agreed with McKinney.
The people seem to recognize and agree with the opinion of former CIA officer Mike Osborne who says, “I think that the U.S. government needs to get behind McKinney’s questions because her agenda is truth and justice, and nothing else.”
Special Thanks: To Kyle Hence for meticulous research on insider trading coverage in the major media and to Tom Flocco for diligent work on the Kevin Ingram case
Copyright © Michael C. Ruppert and FTW Publications 2002, www.copvcia.com all rights reserved. May be reprinted, distributed or posted on web sites for non-profit purposes only. Reprinted for fair use only
The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/RUP204A.html
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