THE TOP 40 REASONS TO DOUBT THE OFFICIAL STORY OF SEPTEMBER 11th, 2001 – #911truth #nyc #dc

Originally Published on September 11, 2011

… An outline in simple talking points … (from 911Truth.org)

We are continuing to compile the best documentation links for every single point on this page, and intend to post the updated version as soon as possible, and create teaching tools and more from the info. This is a significant and time-consuming process–if you have useful links, please send them to janice[at]911truth[dot]org. Thanks for your help!
If you use the search function with title key words, you will discover that 911Truth.org is home to articles backing virtually every point made below. Much of the basic research is available at the Complete 9/11 Timeline (hosted by cooperativeresearch.org), the 9/11 Reading Room (911readingroom.org), and the NY Attorney General Spitzer petition and complaint (Justicefor911.org). For physical evidence discussion, see Point 7.

THE DAY ITSELF – EVIDENCE OF COMPLICITY

1) AWOL Chain of Command
a. It is well documented that the officials topping the chain of command for response to a domestic attack – George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Myers, Montague Winfield – all found reason to do something else during the actual attacks, other than assuming their duties as decision-makers.
b. Who was actually in charge? Dick Cheney, Richard Clarke, Norman Mineta and the 9/11 Commission directly conflict in their accounts of top-level response to the unfolding events, such that several (or all) of them must be lying. 

2) Air Defense Failures
a. The US air defense system failed to follow standard procedures for responding to diverted passenger flights.
b. Timelines: The various responsible agencies – NORAD, FAA, Pentagon, USAF, as well as the 9/11 Commission – gave radically different explanations for the failure (in some cases upheld for years), such that several officials must have lied; but none were held accountable.
c. Was there an air defense standdown?

3) Pentagon Strike
How was it possible the Pentagon was hit 1 hour and 20 minutes after the attacks began? Why was there no response from Andrews Air Force Base, just 10 miles away and home to Air National Guard units charged with defending the skies above the nation”s capital? How did Hani Hanjour, a man who failed as a Cessna pilot on his first flight in a Boeing, execute a difficult aerobatic maneuver to strike the Pentagon? Why did the attack strike the just-renovated side, which was largely empty and opposite from the high command?

4) Wargames
a. US military and other authorities planned or actually rehearsed defensive response to all elements of the 9/11 scenario during the year prior to the attack – including multiple hijackings, suicide crashbombings, and a strike on the Pentagon.
b. The multiple military wargames planned long in advance and held on the morning of September 11th included scenarios of a domestic air crisis, a plane crashing into a government building, and a large-scale emergency in New York. If this was only an incredible series of coincidences, why did the official investigations avoid the issue? There is evidence that the wargames created confusion as to whether the unfolding events were “real world or exercise.” Did wargames serve as the cover for air defense sabotage, and/or the execution of an “inside job”?

5) Flight 93
Did the Shanksville crash occur at 10:06 (according to a seismic report) or 10:03 (according to the 9/11 Commission)? Does the Commission wish to hide what happened in the last three minutes of the flight, and if so, why? Was Flight 93 shot down, as indicated by the scattering of debris over a trail of several miles?

THE DAY – POSSIBLE SMOKING GUNS 

6) Did cell phones work at 30,000 feet in 2001? How many hijackings were attempted? How many flights were diverted?

7) Demolition Hypothesis
What caused the collapse of a third skyscraper, WTC 7, which was not hit by a plane? Were the Twin Towers and WTC 7 brought down by explosives? (See “The Case for Demolitions,” the websites wtc7.net and 911research.wtc7.net, and the influential article by physicist Steven Jones. See also items no. 16 and 24, below.)

FOREKNOWLEDGE & THE ALLEGED HIJACKERS

8) What did officials know? How did they know it?
a. Multiple allied foreign agencies informed the US government of a coming attack in detail, including the manner and likely targets of the attack, the name of the operation (the “Big Wedding”), and the names of certain men later identified as being among the perpetrators.
b. Various individuals came into possession of specific advance knowledge, and some of them tried to warn the US prior to September 11th.
c. Certain prominent persons received warnings not to fly on the week or on the day of September 11th.

9) Able Danger, Plus – Surveillance of Alleged Hijackers
a. The men identified as the 9/11 ringleaders were under surveillance for years beforehand, on the suspicion they were terrorists, by a variety of US and allied authorities – including the CIA, the US military”s “Able Danger” program, the German authorities, Israeli intelligence and others.
b. Two of the alleged ringleaders who were known to be under surveillance by the CIA also lived with an FBI asset in San Diego, but this is supposed to be yet another coincidence. 

10) Obstruction of FBI Investigations prior to 9/11
A group of FBI officials in New York systematically suppressed field investigations of potential terrorists that might have uncovered the alleged hijackers – as the Moussaoui case once again showed. The stories of Sibel Edmonds, Robert Wright, Coleen Rowley and Harry Samit, the “Phoenix Memo,” David Schippers, the 199i orders restricting investigations, the Bush administration”s order to back off the Bin Ladin family, the reaction to the “Bojinka” plot, and John O”Neil do not, when considered in sum, indicate mere incompetence, but high-level corruption and protection of criminal networks, including the network of the alleged 9/11 conspirators. (Nearly all of these examples were omitted from or relegated to fleeting footnotes in The 9/11 Commission Report.)

11) Insider Trading
a. Unknown speculators allegedly used foreknowledge of the Sept. 11th events to profiteer on many markets internationally – including but not limited to “put options” placed to short-sell the two airlines, WTC tenants, and WTC re-insurance companies in Chicago and London.
b. In addition, suspicious monetary transactions worth hundreds of millions were conducted through offices at the Twin Towers during the actual attacks.
c. Initial reports on these trades were suppressed and forgotten, and only years later did the 9/11 Commission and SEC provide a partial, but untenable explanation for only a small number of transactions (covering only the airline put options through the Chicago Board of Exchange).

12) Who were the perpetrators?
a. Much of the evidence establishing who did the crime is dubious and miraculous: bags full of incriminating material that happened to miss the flight or were left in a van; the “magic passport” of an alleged hijacker, found at Ground Zero; documents found at motels where the alleged perpetrators had stayed days and weeks before 9/11.
b. The identities of the alleged hijackers remain unresolved, there are contradictions in official accounts of their actions and travels, and there is evidence several of them had “doubles,” all of which is omitted from official investigations.
c. What happened to initial claims by the government that 50 people involved in the attacks had been identified, including the 19 alleged hijackers, with 10 still at large (suggesting that 20 had been apprehended)? http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/sns-worldtrade-50suspects,0,1825231.story

THE 9/11 COVER-UP, 2001-2006

13) Who Is Osama Bin Ladin?
a. Who judges which of the many conflicting and dubious statements and videos attributed to Osama Bin Ladin are genuine, and which are fake? The most important Osama Bin Ladin video (Nov. 2001), in which he supposedly confesses to masterminding 9/11, appears to be a fake. In any event, the State Department”s translation of it is fraudulent.
b. Did Osama Bin Ladin visit Dubai and meet a CIA agent in July 2001 (Le Figaro)? Was he receiving dialysis in a Pakistani military hospital on the night of September 10, 2001 (CBS)?
c. Whether by Bush or Clinton: Why is Osama always allowed to escape?
d. The terror network associated with Osama, known as the “base” (al-Qaeda), originated in the CIA-sponsored 1980s anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan. When did this network stop serving as an asset to covert operations by US intelligence and allied agencies? What were its operatives doing in Kosovo, Bosnia and Chechnya in the years prior to 9/11?

14) All the Signs of a Systematic 9/11 Cover-up
a. Airplane black boxes were found at Ground Zero, according to two first responders and an unnamed NTSB official, but they were “disappeared” and their existence is denied in The 9/11 Commission Report.
b. US officials consistently suppressed and destroyed evidence (like the tapes recorded by air traffic controllers who handled the New York flights).
c. Whistleblowers (like Sibel Edmonds and Anthony Shaffer) were intimidated, gagged and sanctioned, sending a clear signal to others who might be thinking about speaking out.
d. Officials who “failed” (like Myers and Eberhard, as well as Frasca, Maltbie and Bowman of the FBI) were given promotions.

15) Poisoning New York
The White House deliberately pressured the EPA into giving false public assurances that the toxic air at Ground Zero was safe to breathe. This knowingly contributed to an as-yet unknown number of health cases and fatalities, and demonstrates that the administration does consider the lives of American citizens to be expendable on behalf of certain interests. 

16) Disposing of the Crime Scene
The rapid and illegal scrapping of the WTC ruins at Ground Zero disposed of almost all of the structural steel indispensable to any investigation of the collapse mechanics. (See also item no. 23, below.) 

17) Anthrax
Mailings of weapons-grade anthrax – which caused a practical suspension of the 9/11 investigations – were traced back to US military stock. Soon after the attacks began in October 2001, the FBI approved the destruction of the original samples of the Ames strain, disposing of perhaps the most important evidence in identifying the source of the pathogens used in the mailings. Were the anthrax attacks timed to coincide with the Afghanistan invasion? Why were the letters sent only to media figures and to the leaders of the opposition in the Senate (who had just raised objections to the USA PATRIOT Act)? 

18) The Stonewall
a. Colin Powell promised a “white paper” from the State Department to establish the authorship of the attacks by al-Qaeda. This was never forthcoming, and was instead replaced by a paper from Tony Blair, which presented only circumstantial evidence, with very few points actually relating to September 11th.
b. Bush and Cheney pressured the (freshly-anthraxed) leadership of the Congressional opposition into delaying the 9/11 investigation for months. The administration fought against the creation of an independent investigation for more than a year.
c. The White House thereupon attempted to appoint Henry Kissinger as the chief investigator, and acted to underfund and obstruct the 9/11 Commission.

19) A Record of Official Lies
a. “No one could have imagined planes into buildings” – a transparent falsehood upheld repeatedly by Rice, Rumsfeld and Bush.
b. “Iraq was connected to 9/11” – The most “outrageous conspiracy theory” of all, with the most disastrous impact.

20) Pakistani Connection – Congressional Connection
a. The Pakistani intelligence agency ISI, creator of the Taliban and close ally to both the CIA and “al-Qaeda,” allegedly wired $100,000 to Mohamed Atta just prior to September 11th, reportedly through the ISI asset Omar Saeed Sheikh (later arrested for the killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was investigating ISI connections to “al-Qaeda.”)
b. This was ignored by the congressional 9/11 investigation, although the senator and congressman who ran the probe (Bob Graham and Porter Goss) were meeting with the ISI chief, Mahmud Ahmedon Capitol Hill on the morning of September 11th.
c. About 25 percent of the report of the Congressional Joint Inquiry was redacted, including long passages regarding how the attack (or the network allegedly behind it) was financed. Graham later said foreign allies were involved in financing the alleged terror network, but that this would only come out in 30 years. 

21) Unanswered Questions and the “Final Fraud” of the 9/11 Commission:
a. The September 11th families who fought for and gained an independent investigation (the 9/11 Commission) posed 400-plus questions, which the 9/11 Commission adopted as its roadmap. The vast majority of these questions were completely ignored in the Commission hearings and the final report.
b. The membership and staff of the 9/11 Commission displayed awesome conflicts of interest. The families called for the resignation of Executive Director Philip Zelikow, a Bush administration member and close associate of “star witness” Condoleezza Rice, and were snubbed. Commission member Max Cleland resigned, condemning the entire exercise as a “scam” and “whitewash.”
c.The 9/11 Commission Report is notable mainly for its obvious omissions, distortions and outright falsehoods – ignoring anything incompatible with the official story, banishing the issues to footnotes, and even dismissing the still-unresolved question of who financed 9/11 as being “of little practical significance.”

22) Crown Witnesses Held at Undisclosed Locations
The alleged masterminds of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohamed (KSM) and Ramzi Binalshibh, are reported to have been captured in 2002 and 2003, although one Pakistani newspaper said KSM was killed in an attempted capture. They have been held at undisclosed locations and their supposed testimonies, as provided in transcript form by the government, form much of the basis for The 9/11 Commission Report (although the Commission”s request to see them in person was denied). After holding them for years, why doesn”t the government produce these men and put them to trial?

23) Spitzer Redux
a. Eliot Spitzer, attorney general of New York State, snubbed pleas by New York citizens to open 9/11 as a criminal case (Justicefor911.org).
b. Spitzer also refused to allow his employee, former 9/11 Commission staff member Dietrich Snell, to testify to the Congress about his (Snell”s) role in keeping “Able Danger” entirely out of The 9/11 Commission Report.

24) NIST Omissions
After the destruction of the WTC structural steel, the official Twin Towers collapse investigation was left with almost no forensic evidence, and thus could only provide dubious computer models of ultimately unprovable hypotheses. It failed to even test for the possibility of explosives. (Why not clear this up?)

25) Radio Silence
The 9/11 Commission and NIST both allowed the continuing cover-up of how Motorola”s faulty radios, purchased by the Giuliani administration, caused firefighter deaths at the WTC – once again showing the expendability, even of the first responders. 

26) The Legal Catch-22
a. Hush Money – Accepting victims” compensation barred September 11th families from pursuing discovery through litigation.
b. Judge Hallerstein – Those who refused compensation to pursue litigation and discovery had their cases consolidated under the same judge (and as a rule dismissed).

27) Saudi Connections
a. The 9/11 investigations made light of the “Bin Ladin Airlift” during the no-fly period, and ignored the long-standing Bush family business ties to the Bin Ladin family fortune. (A company in which both families held interests, the Carlyle Group, was holding its annual meeting on September 11th, with George Bush Sr., James Baker, and two brothers of Osama Bin Ladin in attendance.)
b. The issue of Ptech.

28) Media Blackout of Prominent Doubters
The official story has been questioned and many of the above points were raised by members of the US Congress, retired high-ranking officers of the US military, the three leading third-party candidates for President in the 2004 election, a member of the 9/11 Commission who resigned in protest, a former high-ranking adviser to the George W. Bush administration, former ministers to the German, British and Canadian governments, the commander-in-chief of the Russian air force, 100 luminaries who signed the “9/11 Truth Statement,” and the presidents of Iran and Venezuela. Not all of these people agree fully with each other, but all would normally be considered newsworthy. Why has the corporate-owned US mass media remained silent about these statements, granting due coverage only to the comments of actor Charlie Sheen?

GEOPOLITICS, TIMING AND POSSIBLE MOTIVES 

29) “The Great Game”
The Afghanistan invasion was ready for Bush”s go-ahead on September 9, 2001, with US and UK force deployments to the region already in place or underway. This followed the failure earlier that year of backdoor diplomacy with the Taliban (including payments of $125 million in US government aid to Afghanistan), in an attempt to secure a unity government for that country as a prerequisite to a Central Asian pipeline deal. 

30) The Need for a “New Pearl Harbor”
Principals in US foreign policy under the current Bush administration (including Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle and others) have been instrumental in developing long-running plans for worldwide military hegemony, including an invasion of the Middle East, dating back to the Ford, Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations. They reiterated these plans in the late 1990s as members of the “Project for a New American Century,” and stated a clear intent to invade Iraq for the purpose of “regime change.” After 9/11, they lost no time in their attempt to tie Iraq to the attacks.

31) Perpetual “War on Terror”
9/11 is supposed to provide carte-blanche for an open-ended, global and perpetual “War on Terror,” against any enemy, foreign or domestic, that the executive branch chooses to designate, and regardless of whether evidence exists to actually connect these enemies to 9/11.

32) Attacking the Constitution
a. The USA PATRIOT Act was written before 9/11, Homeland Security and the “Shadow Government” were developed long before 9/11, and plans for rounding up dissidents as a means for suppressing civil disturbance have been in the works for decades.
b. 9/11 was used as the pretext to create a new, extra-constitutional executive authority to declare anyone an “enemy combatant” (including American citizens), to detain persons indefinitely without habeas corpus, and to “render” such persons to secret prisons where torture is practiced.

33) Legal Trillions
9/11 triggers a predictable shift of public spending to war, and boosts public and private spending in the “new” New Economy of “Homeland Security,” biometrics, universal surveillance, prisons, civil defense, secured enclaves, security, etc.

34) Plundered Trillions?
On September 10, 2001, Donald Rumsfeld announced a “war on waste” after an internal audit found that the Pentagon was “missing” 2.3 trillion dollars in unaccounted assets. On September 11th, this was as good as forgotten.

35) Did 9/11 prevent a stock market crash?
Did anyone benefit from the destruction of the Securities and Exchange Commission offices at WTC 7, and the resultant crippling of hundreds of fraud investigations? 

36) Resource Wars
a. What was discussed in the Energy Task Force meetings under Dick Cheney in 2001? Why is the documentation of these meetings still being suppressed?
b. Is Peak Oil a motive for 9/11 as inside job?

37) The “Little Game”
Why was the WTC privatized just before its destruction?

HISTORY

38) “Al-CIA-da?”
The longstanding relationship between US intelligence networks and radical Islamists, including the network surrounding Osama Bin Ladin. (See also point 13d.)

39) Historical Precedents for “Synthetic Terror”
a. In the past many states, including the US government, have sponsored attacks on their own people, fabricated the “cause for war,” created (and armed) their own enemies of convenience, and sacrificed their own citizens for “reasons of state.”
b. Was 9/11 an update of the Pentagon-approved “Project Northwoods” plan for conducting self-inflicted, false-flag terror attacks in the United States, and blaming them on a foreign enemy?

40) Secret Government
a. The record of criminality and sponsorship of coups around the world by the covert networks based within the US intelligence complex.
b. Specifically also: The evidence of crime by Bush administration principals and their associates, from October Surprise to Iran-Contra and the S&L plunder to PNAC, Enron/Halliburton and beyond.

REASON NUMBER 41: RELATED MOVEMENTS AND PARALLEL ISSUES

Ground Zero aftermath movements:
– Justice for the air-poisoning cover-up (wtceo.org)
– “Radio Silence” (radiosilencefdny.com)
– Skyscraper Safety (www.skyscrapersafety.org).

Election fraud and black box voting, 2000 to 2004. (BlackBoxVoting.org)

Lies to justify the invasion of Iraq. (afterdowningstreet.org)

Use of depleted uranium and its multi-generational consequences on human health and the environment.

Longstanding development of contingency plans for civil disturbance and military rule in the USA (See, “The War at Home”)

Oklahoma City Truth movement. (Offline, but not forgotten – May 9, 2008!)

Whether you call it “Globalization” or “The New World Order” – An unsustainable system of permanent growth ultimately requires warfare, fraud, and mass manipulation.

GOING FORWARD …

“But an inside job would involve thousands of people! How could they keep a secret?” Counter-arguments, red herrings, speculations and false information.

Selected essays, books and websites that make the case for 9/11 as inside job. (See Resources)

Demanding a real investigation of the September crimes – Not just a patriotic duty, but a matter of survival.

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.

HeraldScotland

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.