Five Israelis were seen filming as jet liners ploughed into the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 …

Originally Published: November 1, 2003

Source: The Herald Scotland

THERE was ruin and terror in Manhattan, but, over the Hudson River in New Jersey, a handful of men were dancing. As the World Trade Centre burned and crumpled, the five men celebrated and filmed the worst atrocity ever committed on American soil as it played out before their eyes.

Who do you think they were? Palestinians? Saudis? Iraqis, even? Al-Qaeda, surely? Wrong on all counts. They were Israelis – and at least two of them were Israeli intelligence agents, working for Mossad, the equivalent of MI6 or the CIA.


Five Israelis were seen filming as jet liners ploughed into the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 …
1st November 2003

THERE was ruin and terror in Manhattan, but, over the Hudson River in New Jersey, a handful of men were dancing. As the World Trade Centre burned and crumpled, the five men celebrated and filmed the worst atrocity ever committed on American soil as it played out before their eyes.

Who do you think they were? Palestinians? Saudis? Iraqis, even? Al-Qaeda, surely? Wrong on all counts. They were Israelis – and at least two of them were Israeli intelligence agents, working for Mossad, the equivalent of MI6 or the CIA.

Their discovery and arrest that morning is a matter of indisputable fact. To those who have investigated just what the Israelis were up to that day, the case raises one dreadful possibility: that Israeli intelligence had been shadowing the al-Qaeda hijackers as they moved from the Middle East through Europe and into America where they trained as pilots and prepared to suicide-bomb the symbolic heart of the United States. And the motive? To bind America in blood and mutual suffering to the Israeli cause.

After the attacks on New York and Washington, the former Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was asked what the terrorist strikes would mean for US-Israeli relations. He said: “It’s very good.” Then he corrected himself, adding: “Well, it’s not good, but it will generate immediate sympathy for Israel from Americans.”

If Israel’s closest ally felt the collective pain of mass civilian deaths at the hands of terrorists, then Israel would have an unbreakable bond with the world’s only hyperpower and an effective free hand in dealing with the Palestinian terrorists who had been murdering its innocent civilians as the second intifada dragged on throughout 2001.

It’s not surprising that the New Jersey housewife who first spotted the five Israelis and their white van wants to preserve her anonymity. She’s insisted that she only be identified as Maria. A neighbour in her apartment building had called her just after the first strike on the Twin Towers. Maria grabbed a pair of binoculars and, like millions across the world, she watched the horror of the day unfold.

As she gazed at the burning towers, she noticed a group of men kneeling on the roof of a white van in her parking lot. Here’s her recollection: “They seemed to be taking a movie. They were like happy, you know … they didn’t look shocked to me. I thought it was strange.”

Maria jotted down the van’s registration and called the police. The FBI was alerted and soon there was a statewide all points bulletin put out for the apprehension of the van and its occupants. The cops traced the number, establishing that it belonged to a company called Urban Moving.

Police Chief John Schmidig said: “We got an alert to be on the lookout for a white Chevrolet van with New Jersey registration and writing on the side. Three individuals were seen celebrating in Liberty State Park after the impact. They said three people were jumping up and down.”

By 4pm on the afternoon of September 11, the van was spotted near New Jersey’s Giants stadium. A squad car pulled it over and inside were five men in their 20s. They were hustled out of the car with guns levelled at their heads and handcuffed.

In the car was $4700 in cash, a couple of foreign passports and a pair of box cutters – the concealed Stanley Knife-type blades used by the 19 hijackers who’d flown jetliners into the World Trade Centre and Pentagon just hours before. There were also fresh pictures of the men standing with the smouldering wreckage of the Twin Towers in the background. One image showed a hand flicking a lighter in front of the devastated buildings, like a fan at a pop concert. The driver of the van then told the arresting officers: “We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem.”

His name was Sivan Kurzberg. The other four passengers were Kurzberg’s brother Paul, Yaron Shmuel, Oded Ellner and Omer Marmari. The men were dragged off to prison and transferred out of the custody of the FBI’s Criminal Division and into the hands of their Foreign Counterintelligence Section – the bureau’s anti-espionage squad.

A warrant was issued for a search of the Urban Moving premises in Weehawken in New Jersey. Boxes of papers and computers were removed. The FBI questioned the firm’s Israeli owner, Dominik Otto Suter, but when agents returned to re-interview him a few days later, he was gone. An employee of Urban Moving said his co-workers had laughed about the Manhattan attacks the day they happened. “I was in tears,” the man said. “These guys were joking and that bothered me. These guys were like, Now America knows what we go through.'”

Vince Cannistraro, former chief of operations for counter-terrorism with the CIA, says the red flag went up among investigators when it was discovered that some of the Israelis’ names were found in a search of the national intelligence database. Cannistraro says many in the US intelligence community believed that some of the Israelis were working for Mossad and there was speculation over whether Urban Moving had been “set up or exploited for the purpose of launching an intelligence operation against radical Islamists”.

This makes it clear that there was no suggestion whatsoever from within American intelligence that the Israelis were colluding with the 9/11 hijackers – simply that the possibility remains that they knew the attacks were going to happen, but effectively did nothing to help stop them.

After the owner vanished, the offices of Urban Moving looked as if they’d been closed down in a big hurry. Mobile phones were littered about, the office phones were still connected and the property of at least a dozen clients were stacked up in the warehouse. The owner had cleared out his family home in New Jersey and returned to Israel.

Two weeks after their arrest, the Israelis were still in detention, held on immigration charges. Then a judge ruled that they should be deported. But the CIA scuppered the deal and the five remained in custody for another two months. Some went into solitary confinement, all underwent two polygraph tests and at least one underwent up to seven lie detector sessions before they were eventually deported at the end of November 2001. Paul Kurzberg refused to take a lie detector test for 10 weeks, but then failed it. His lawyer said he was reluctant to take the test as he had once worked for Israeli intelligence in another country.

Nevertheless, their lawyer, Ram Horvitz, dismissed the allegations as “stupid and ridiculous”. Yet US government sources still maintained that the Israelis were collecting information on the fundraising activities of groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Mark Regev, of the Israeli embassy in Washington, would have none of that and he said the allegations were “simply false”. The men themselves claimed they’d read about the World Trade Centre attacks on the internet, couldn’t see it from their office and went to the parking lot for a better view. Their lawyers and the embassy say their ghoulish and sinister celebrations as the Twin Towers blazed and thousands died were due to youthful foolishness.

The respected New York Jewish newspaper, The Forward, reported in March 2002, however, that it had received a briefing on the case of the five Israelis from a US official who was regularly updated by law enforcement agencies. This is what he told The Forward: “The assessment was that Urban Moving Systems was a front for the Mossad and operatives employed by it.” He added that “the conclusion of the FBI was that they were spying on local Arabs”, but the men were released because they “did not know anything about 9/11”.

Back in Israel, several of the men discussed what happened on an Israeli talk show. One of them made this remarkable comment: “The fact of the matter is we are coming from a country that experiences terror daily. Our purpose was to document the event.” But how can you document an event unless you know it is going to happen?

We are now deep in conspiracy theory territory. But there is more than a little circumstantial evidence to show that Mossad – whose motto is “By way of deception, thou shalt do war” – was spying on Arab extremists in the USA and may have known that September 11 was in the offing, yet decided to withhold vital information from their American counterparts which could have prevented the terror attacks.

Following September 11, 2001, more than 60 Israelis were taken into custody under the Patriot Act and immigration laws. One highly placed investigator told Carl Cameron of Fox News that there were “tie-ins” between the Israelis and September 11; the hint was clearly that they’d gathered intelligence on the planned attacks but kept it to themselves.

The Fox News source refused to give details, saying: “Evidence linking these Israelis to 9/11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It’s classified information.” Fox News is not noted for its condemnation of Israel; it’s a ruggedly patriotic news channel owned by Rupert Murdoch and was President Bush’s main cheerleader in the war on terror and the invasion of Iraq.

Another group of around 140 Israelis were detained prior to September 11, 2001, in the USA as part of a widespread investigation into a suspected espionage ring run by Israel inside the USA. Government documents refer to the spy ring as an “organised intelligence-gathering operation” designed to “penetrate government facilities”. Most of those arrested had served in the Israeli armed forces – but military service is compulsory in Israel. Nevertheless, a number had an intelligence background.

The first glimmerings of an Israeli spying exercise in the USA came to light in spring 2001, when the FBI sent a warning to other federal agencies alerting them to be wary of visitors calling themselves “Israeli art students” and attempting to bypass security at federal buildings in order to sell paintings. A Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) report suggested the Israeli calls “may well be an organised intelligence-gathering activity”. Law enforcement documents say that the Israelis “targeted and penetrated military bases” as well as the DEA, FBI and dozens of government facilities, including secret offices and the unlisted private homes of law enforcement and intelligence personnel.

number of Israelis questioned by the authorities said they were students from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, but Pnina Calpen, a spokeswoman for the Israeli school, did not recognise the names of any Israelis mentioned as studying there in the past 10 years. A federal report into the so-called art students said many had served in intelligence and electronic signal intercept units during their military service.

According to a 61-page report, drafted after an investigation by the DEA and the US immigration service, the Israelis were organised into cells of four to six people. The significance of what the Israelis were doing didn’t emerge until after September 11, 2001, when a report by a French intelligence agency noted “according to the FBI, Arab terrorists and suspected terror cells lived in Phoenix, Arizona, as well as in Miami and Hollywood, Florida, from December 2000 to April 2001 in direct proximity to the Israeli spy cells”.

The report contended that Mossad agents were spying on Mohammed Atta and Marwan al-Shehi, two of leaders of the 9/11 hijack teams. The pair had settled in Hollywood, Florida, along with three other hijackers, after leaving Hamburg – where another Mossad team was operating close by.

Hollywood in Florida is a town of just 25,000 souls. The French intelligence report says the leader of the Mossad cell in Florida rented apartments “right near the apartment of Atta and al-Shehi”. More than a third of the Israeli “art students” claimed residence in Florida. Two other Israelis connected to the art ring showed up in Fort Lauderdale. At one time, eight of the hijackers lived just north of the town.

Put together, the facts do appear to indicate that Israel knew that 9/11, or at least a large-scale terror attack, was about to take place on American soil, but did nothing to warn the USA. But that’s not quite true. In August 2001, the Israelis handed over a list of terrorist suspects – on it were the names of four of the September 11 hijackers. Significantly, however, the warning said the terrorists were planning an attack “outside the United States”.

The Israeli embassy in Washington has dismissed claims about the spying ring as “simply untrue”. The same denials have been issued repeatedly by the five Israelis seen high-fiving each other as the World Trade Centre burned in front of them.

Their lawyer, Ram Horwitz, insisted his clients were not intelligence officers. Irit Stoffer, the Israeli foreign minister, said the allegations were “completely untrue”. She said the men were arrested because of “visa violations”, adding: “The FBI investigated those cases because of 9/11.”

Jim Margolin, an FBI spokesman in New York, implied that the public would never know the truth, saying: “If we found evidence of unauthorised intelligence operations that would be classified material.” Yet, Israel has long been known, according to US administration sources, for “conducting the most aggressive espionage operations against the US of any US ally”. Seventeen years ago, Jonathan Pollard, a civilian working for the American Navy, was jailed for life for passing secrets to Israel. At first, Israel claimed Pollard was part of a rogue operation, but the government later took responsibility for his work.

It has always been a long-accepted agreement among allies – such as Britain and America or America and Israel – that neither country will jail a “friendly spy” nor shame the allied country for espionage. Chip Berlet, a senior analyst at Boston’s Political Research Associates and an expert in intelligence, says: “It’s a backdoor agreement between allies that says that if one of your spies gets caught and didn’t do too much harm, he goes home. It goes on all the time. The official reason is always visa violation.”

What we are left with, then, is fact sullied by innuendo. Certainly, it seems, Israel was spying within the borders of the United States and it is equally certain that the targets were Islamic extremists probably linked to September 11. But did Israel know in advance that the Twin Towers would be hit and the world plunged into a war without end; a war which would give Israel the power to strike its enemies almost without limit? That’s a conspiracy theory too far, perhaps. But the unpleasant feeling that, in this age of spin and secrets, we do not know the full and unadulterated truth won’t go away. Maybe we can guess, but it’s for the history books to discover and decide.

Out-Thought, Out-Bought, Out-Fought: Why the “9/11 Truth” Movement Failed • Unz Review

By: Alan Sabrosky

Source: Unz Review

I have cited my late friend “Mick” Trainor’s words elsewhere, and kept them in mind since he said them to me in the late 1980s.They ought to be graven in granite in the minds of everyone of good heart in public life. They are also an indictment of the “9/11 Truth” movement as a whole, which tried to speak the truth about this atrocity to the people as well as to those in power, but increasingly lied to itself about the effect it was having. It finally ended in complete failure, lacking only a decent funeral oration.

An Overview

It gives me no pleasure at all to write these words. I personally came to the movement late in 2009, then met many excellent people and worked with many fine editors at a time when overt censorship was still minimal. The best of the “Truthers” shared one thing in common: they were right that the US Government explanation of the 9/11 attacks was singularly flawed, in whole and in all its major parts. But they – and I include myself here – were never able to convey that message in a politically significant way to enough of the American public to matter.

The net effect is that despite innumerable articles, speeches, seminars, videos, protests and the like by tens of thousands of activists, the 20th anniversary of 9/11 came and went with barely a whimper. It was preceded by the collapse of the 9/11 lawyers effort in New York City on which so many had staked their hopes, and the dismissal of Richard Gage – the founder of the seminal “Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth” – from his own organization by his own board. It is tragic enough when evil triumphs, which is what the real planners and perpetrators of 9/11 did. It is even worse when the collapse of the efforts to expose them and to bring them to justice ends in farce.

So Why Did We Fail?

Even posing this question is certain to prompt some – perhaps many – to assert that they are still fighting, and as long as they do, they have not yet lost. This assumes that effort without effect matters, and perhaps in a metaphysical sense, it does.

But nothing we have done to date has produced a corresponding result. We went from Bush to Obama to Trump to Biden, and each administration saw a continuous growth in Jewish influence within the government and in Israeli power (which was a major goal of 9/11, after all). Trump was easily the most pro-Israel president in my long (80 years) memory, which took some doing, and Biden’s administration is cast in the same mould. None ever called into question the essential elements of the original US Government case on 9/11. None even hinted in the most oblique manner that Israel abroad and the assorted mostly Jewish neo-conservatives at home had any part to play in that event and what ensued. How could they? Many of those responsible were or still are in the government.

Countering the official narrative on the 9/11 attacks and exposing the real culprits was admittedly a daunting task from the beginning. The real perpetrators – not the handful of hapless named Arabs including pilots who could not fly the type of aircraft hijacked, but the ones who wired three buildings at the World Trade Center for controlled demolition, arranged for the attack on the Pentagon which conveniently wiped out the team auditing the missing $2.3 trillion in Pentagon funds, and orchestrated the US Government support and protection apparatus for them – held all the aces. Not just what the US Government itself could and did marshal on their behalf, but virtually all of the mainstream media increasingly echoed the official 9/11 narrative. Hollywood and country music (CMT has the same type of owners as Hollywood and the networks) combined to produce movies and music reinforcing the official narrative. The wars in Afghanistan and then Iraq as part of the illusory “war on terror” both nailed that down, and later shifted focus away from 9/11 to the wars themselves – not coincidentally, another major goal of the 9/11 attacks.

So where did it all go wrong, given the mountain of evidence and analyses on the side of the “Truthers” – enough to make the mountain of evidence about actual fraud in the 2020 elections seem like a molehill? First of all, we were out-thought. We knew what we were against: the US Government case on 9/11. But we did not know how to present that case to the public in a coherent way that mattered to them – there were many (I would say too many) ideas, but no strategy. Think of the 9/11 Truth movement as a variant of China’s “Hundred Flowers” campaign in Mao Zedong’s early years in power. That one’s slogan was “let a hundred flowers bloom, let a thousand thoughts contend.” And when those thoughts did contend, after a while the Chinese government cut them down. It hasn’t been that gruesome (yet) for 9/11 Truthers, but the sheer number of contending – and often contradictory or mutually exclusive – ideas presented, some sensible but many not, without any overarching design meant a good deal of activity with little or no practical effect.

Our opponents, in contrast, seized the initiative from the outset, and never lost it. (I would love to meet with whoever devised their plan, and I do not mean the 1990s PNAC document on “A New American Century” – it was masterful.) Their strategy was simple: name an enemy, attack at once while people are still stunned (the long-standing “rally around the flag” syndrome), take the war home (the misbegotten “Patriot Act” and its bastard offspring, the “War on Terror”), keep reminding people of it (e.g. TSA at airports), and never ever let people forget any of the above.

To safeguard the narrative, any who question what is being done (the “Truthers”) are dismissed as quacks, derided as fools, or treated as handmaidens to the terrorists. Governance by fear is not in theory the best form of governing, but it keeps most people from rethinking just why in the hell are we doing this? And it worked – forget what happened to the “9/11 Truth” movement, which never really found an effective response – just look at how quickly the corresponding peace movement faded into insignificance.

Second, we were out-bought. It is an old saying that when money talks, everything else walks, and I expect that has been true throughout history. It certainly determined the course of the 9/11 Truth movement, and all but dictated its failure. For all their efforts individually and collectively, the Truthers were never able to garner the support of even one major individual, non-profit or corporate donor. Not one. Financing of our efforts was done on a literal shoestring, via monetizing videos or Patreon or similar pay-per-view efforts – IF they were permitted, and increasingly they were demonetized. None of the conservative billionaires or foundations supported our efforts, with anything more than a pittance – and that only rarely. Nor did Arab-Americans – especially Palestinian-Americans – step forward in support, even though they ought to have understood that pinning 9/11 on Israel and its supporters would inevitably work to their own benefit.

So why was this the case? I expect insofar as American donors were concerned, almost all – no matter which political party they preferred – supported Israel by 2001. And the more perceptive of them (or their program directors) knew, suspected or feared that a close examination of the evidentiary trail to 9/11 would lead directly or indirectly to Israel and its supporters in the United States – which would mean the wrath of the American people, would be visited on both. This they did not want. As for Arab-Americans and especially Palestinian-Americans, those I knew simply did not want to be bothered – they were safe, their investments were prospering, and that was enough.

The 9/11 planners and perpetrators, on the other hand, had a much easier task financially. The US Government and its immense resources were at their beck and call. Billionaires and multi-billion dollar individuals, foundations and corporations funded their activities and those of the organizations which supported them. The American Jewish lobby – yes, it does exist – look at the website of the “Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations” which has 51 member organizations (of which AIPAC and ADL are but two) and 3 adjunct organizations plus the SPLC – threw all of its considerable political and monetary support into the balance against the Truthers. Incidental Patreon payouts and occasional YouTube proceeds didn’t much matter against those odds. And not surprisingly, they prevailed.

Third, we were out-fought. We fought the war for 9/11 Truth as badly as the US fought the wars in Vietnam and Afghanistan, and like the US in those places, absent a coherent strategy, we lost. The movement was infiltrated from the outset, those of us who fought the good fight knew it, but lacking any organization, any strategy, or any monetary resources, were powerless to excise or even counter them. Many Truthers seemed in all too many instances to have spent as much effort attacking or criticizing one another as we did pursuing the supposed goal of undermining the government case.

Moreover, most of us – and I am a prime transgressor here – misunderstood the proper focus of our criticism. I and many others focused on the WTC – especially WTC7 – because it was so blatantly obvious that the three towers were brought down by controlled demolitions, with the impacting planes (or whatever) serving merely as gruesome distractions from that fact. But we forgot that even if we had convinced people that this did happen, they had no way to organize and do anything about it, given the near-total subservience of the mainstream media and increasingly the social media to Israel. The proper focus should have been the Pentagon attack – convince the military then of what had happened and who had done it, and they had the means to do something about it. Today, it is probably too late: means or not, the will is mostly gone.

In contrast to this haphazard and misguided approach to working through 9/11, the “bad guys and gals” did well. We Truthers (to reuse an apt analogy applicable here] were like a thousand or more people standing in a circle, shooting arrows in all directions (and sometimes at one another) with no attention to impact or effectiveness. We told ourselves that we were firing arrows, and that more people understood why we were doing it. That we hit little or nothing never seemed to register. But our opponents were like that same number of archers in a circle shooting collectively into the center: they were on target, largely did no damage to one another – and at least marginalized the 9/11 Truth movement, and ultimately made it irrelevant. If there is anything worse than fighting and failing, it is fighting and being meaningless.


So where do we go from here? It ought to be abundantly clear that simply refilling our quivers, doing more podcasts or articles or whatever, won’t work. More of the same when that same has failed in the past is never smart. Nor are we going to alter the financial framework much, and the political situation is grim: We have an America that is on the verge of social and economic collapse, overlaid by an impending Democrat party dominance of the political system for the foreseeable future. If we are lucky, there’ll be a civil war that precludes that outcome. If not, worrying about who did 9/11 and what it means will be the least of our problems.

From my point of view, anyone who wishes to pursue 9/11 Truth, should reorient their focus to the Pentagon attack. Stop this nonsense about whether the 757 really hit: the plane simply doesn’t fit, the visual damage doesn’t support such a plane impacting the building, and onsite witnesses an hour after the attack found nothing to support a that happening. Don’t waste time arguing about what it was: Simply point out that a 757 did not hit, that the named pilot who could not fly a propeller-driven Cessna could not possibly have flown a 757 if it had been there, and use that as the point of departure. That woke pansy of a Chairman JCS aside, there are still some officers who lost friends there and who still have a sense of professionalism – they are your proper target audience.

For my part, doing what I can to try and stave off the coming train wreck that is the United States is far more important. Our country, our society, our very culture is being eroded from within. Anyone who does not see impending disaster is living in a dream world. It may well be too late to avert catastrophe: 2020 was the time to do it, and faced with the choice of standing up and fighting – and I mean fighting with weapons, not words – conservative patriots did nothing. If the ship of state wrecks on the rocks and shoals, do not blame the Left – or those who orchestrated the 9/11 attacks – look into a mirror. It was our fault – not others, but ours – and none other. If you want to do better, put 9/11 on the back burner and save the country – 9/11 will still be there when the smoke clears if we win, and if we lose, it won’t matter.

Alan Ned Sabrosky (PhD, University of Michigan) is a ten-year US Marine Corps veteran. He served two tours in Vietnam with the 1st Marine Division and is a graduate of the US Army War College. He can be contacted at