Thursday, July 20, 2006

The NYC tunnel terrorists: Hopsicker's latest

Regarding the plot to blow up the tunnels in New York City, Daniel Hopsicker has (as is his wont) staked out a weltanschauung outside both the "official" view and the standard un-official view. Of course, he has done this sort of thing before, in his investigations of Mohammed Atta.

Many of the tunnel plotters were related to a strange figure named Assem Hammoud, a Hezbollah-related criminal. Hammoud, Hopsicker contends, is no simple-minded religious maniac, but a jet-setting, sophisticated smuggler who enjoys the good life, including those pleasures denied to the devout. In this dichotomous behavior, he resembles Atta.

The Hammoud clan, Hopsicker contends, is fairly large and has long had an involvement in various unsavory activities, primarily smuggling. More importantly, Hopsicker connects one clan member with Atta himself...
But Assem Hammoud's most intriguing relative in the U.S. is the Dearborn clan member who moved to Sarasota Florida, where he was quite a busy boy...

Wissam Hammoud owned a cell phone store in Sarasota which supplied mobile phones to Mohamed Atta... bragged of helping Hezbollah buy assault weapons and night-vision goggles (the group needed them so they “could kill Jews at night”)... was convicted in February in a Federal Court in Tampa of soliciting the murder and beheading of a Federal Agent...and suspected of having foreknowledge of the 9.11 attack.

“In September 2001, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement interviewed Hammoud because someone had anonymously called saying Hammoud had made a comment that the Oklahoma City bombing was small compared with what was coming,” reported the Tampa Tribune on Jan 6 2004, in a story headlined “Man Bragged Of Ties To Terror, Records Say.”
If (as Hopsicker argues) it is true that the Hammoud family has connections to Hezbollah, the obvious questions are these: Did Hezbollah have foreknowledge of the events of 9/11? If Hezbollah did see it coming, did they participate in the plot? Did foreknowledge extend to Hezbollah's state sponsors?

If so, Bush would have his much-needed pretext for bombing Iran and Syria.

But, but, but: We must be careful when we set foot on such dangerous territory...

(To read the rest, click "Permalink" below)

Many times in the past, agents connected to American intelligence have gone "off the reservation" to commit acts unapproved by either the President or the head of the CIA. Similarly, it is perfectly conceivable that individuals who supply Hezbollah with arms, funds, and smuggled goods might also form independent schemes and alliances.

So even if we concede that Hopsicker may be on to something in his thoughts on the Hammoud clan, we should not conclude that the time has come to bomb Tehran. As readers know, I have been screaming against the administration's plans to attack Iran for quite some time -- and I shall continue to do so.

That said, I wonder why the Bush administration has not used the possible Hammoud/Hezbollah/911 links for propaganda purposes? Perhaps (one could argue) they hesitate because the available evidence does not allow one to speak definitively of such a linkage. Of course, a lack of hard evidence has never before deterred this administration's propagandists.

Conceivably, the Bushites may -- as we shall see -- have personal reasons for not wanting much light shed on this corner of the terrorist infrastructure. Wissam Hammoud seems to have had a powerful "guardian angel" or two:
In 1999 Hammoud and two pals, Mohamed Saad and Saad Saad, were stopped while attempting to board a flight in Tampa. Mohamed Saad owned a market which was raided in 2003 as part of a nationwide stolen baby formula scam. The owner of the property, Sami Al-Arian, was convicted of terrorism-related charges in Tampa last year.

The three men were heading to Detroit. In their luggage was an assault weapon and more than eleven pounds of ammunition, as well as what newspapers delicately called “other gun-related equipment.”

Even before 9/11, bringing a personal arsenal fit for paramilitary bank robbers in Los Angeles onboard a commercial flight was considered something of a faux pas.

Yet...nothing happened.
Hopsicker strongly hints that Hammoud ran a protected operation -- in a state run by Jeb Bush, in a district Katherine Harris calls home. (In the past, Hopsicker has directly linked with our unbeloved Kathy with a certain "spooky" flight school that played a major role in the Atta tale.)

What, ultimately, is Daniel Hopsicker getting at? He does not here state his underlying thesis directly, but the hints are unmistakable. The theory seems to be that jihadist terrorism relates to a massive smuggling ring, in which drugs are but one of the products. Moreover, these smugglers had, in turn, strong links to key figures within the Republican party.

This infrastructure of corruption granted the 911 plotters immunity. The crime could not be prevented -- and could not, after the fact, be fully investigated.

This key idea underlies many of Hopsicker's disparate investigations. It is a theory which I, for one, consider worthy of serious consideration.

Post script:
I am a bit concerned that Hopsicker has cited Steve Emerson as a source. Emerson lied outrageously during the October Surprise controversy. I trust that man about as far as I can throw the collected World Trade Center rubble.
geez, every time i read something like this i absolutely, physically CRAVE to have sibel edmonds sit in my kitchen for a long weekend and spill ALL the beans.

this is precisely what i've suspected she learned all along; that abramoff's operation was small potatoes, and his foray into the 'gambling cruise line' was his attempt to get more involved in the smuggling racket that financed the repug power grab. and this would include human trafficking, which made a bizarre appearance in a bush speech to the UN (03?), which immediately fried my antennae; if they start complaining about some sin publicly, they're either setting up a major league ass covering operation, or at the very least, attempting to get congressionally legislated financial funding for their operations. or both.

so what's a little plane accident in nyc? a few bodies, closed market, but SO much money to be made, and think of the pr potential! think of how many civil liberties we can just strip away. think of the countries we can invade!

with no allegiance to this country, strange bedfellows are everywhere apparent.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
I forgot to mention. NEW RULE FOR THIS BLOG: AAll comments supporting the bombs-in-the-building theories of 9/11 will be deleted mercilessly. You have plenty of other forums; you do not need this one.
All roads lead to...... Israel!
Daniel used testimony given before congress as a source in his article. That testimony was given by Steve Emerson. This is not exactly the same as using Emerson as a source - on the record or off - directly. Here, lying at least carries the threat of criminal prosecution.

I'm not saying that Steve Emerson (as an example) isn't capable of lying to congress. But if you are going to impugn a story because his name appears in it, at least give that concern its proper context.
"strange bedfellows are everywhere apparent"
I'm finding the same theme. Groups that supposedly hate each other are working in tandum to accomplish assigned political, business, money, etc, tasks. This isn't exactly a Soprano's steal the academy awards goodie bag operation. (not that they wouldn't.
The problem I have with Hop's latest piece is the timing. Earlier, he takes us to a Republican political operation in Vegas (with ties to the Jewish lobby) and then changes the trip itinerary and we end up landing in Lebanon with Hezbollah. Strange indeed.
I do have my doubts about Hopsicker, and it seems you might suspect quite a few others do as well considering the "bombs in the building" warning. I can't help but wonder though on the timeleness of this Hezbollah information. Just a little too convienient considering the lop-sided criminal coverage of the massacre ongoing in Lebanon and Gaza, not to mention Iraq.
I waasn't expressing doubts about Hopsicker -- we occasionally correspond on friendly terms, and I happen to think he has uncovered some extremely important things.

I simply wanted to express my doubts about Steve Emerson, who behaved shamefully in a major piece he wrote (was it for Time or Newsweek?) on the October Surprise. Basically, he concocted an alibi for Bush the elder. It was the sort of exercise in fiction that would have destroyed the career of other journalists. Alas, everyone now seems willing to ignore what Emerson did at that time.

I am starting to regret the policy regarding advocates of the bombs-in-the-buildings notion. But what are my choices? Understand, I've already made my objections to the idea clear, and those who have tried to counter those objections have never had anything comprehensible to say.

Yet these people ARE wedded to their hypothesis, and they refuyse to consider the possibility that they may be wrong. They will defend thier idea ENDLESSLY, ignoring every other topic of discussion. These guys are the worst sort of fanatics, and they refuse to agree to disagree.

What are my alternatives? Either I can ban all discussion of the theory, or I can let its adherents turn this into a bombs-in-the-buildings blog.

I am just sick unto death of these zealots. I can never bring up 911 in ANY context without those creeps trying to comandeer the discussion. If thye could somehow find it within themselves to act like normal human beings, I would find their views easier to tolerate. Instead, they act just like fundamentalist Christians who have found a new gospel.
I understand - I didn't think you were expressing doubts about Hopsicker, only just enough doubt about the story to write a post script to your coverage of it.

I think Emerson is a slimy weasel. I just don't think that fact (based on the facts you have already referenced) significantly impacts his testamony to congress, particularly in the context of how that testamony was used in the story. Hence, my compelling urge to post on the subject.

Thank you... Enjoy your analysis (even if I don't always agree with it... in fact, especially so. ;^D)
For a more scholarly analysis than Hopsicker of the links between drug trafficking, the so-called terrorists behind 9/11 and the sort of issues Sibel Edmonds hints at I suggest your readers go to Peter Dale Scott's web site.
Yes, Joseph, the Hopsicker stuff is very interesting, and deserves further examination. He ties some Saudis to the drug trafficking. I'm not sure if that relates to another item that may involve the Saudis.

Sen. Bob Graham was Head of the Joint Congressional 911 Inquiry. He was interviewed (Dec 11, 2002) on the PBS Lehrer Hour and had this to say:

"I was surprised at the evidence that there were foreign governments involved in facilitating the activities of at least some of the terrorists in the United States..... I think there is very compelling evidence that at least some of the terrorists were assisted not just in financing - although that was part of it - by a sovereign foreign government... It will become public at some point when it's turned over to the archives, but that's 20 or 30 years from now." (link) (link)

In a similar vein:

We also have the recent(April 2006) report from the Pakistan Public Accounts Committee that bribes were paid to keep Pakistan's name out of the 911 Report.

This from The Telegraph of India:

"The Pakistan foreign office had paid tens of thousands of dollars to lobbyists in the US to get anti-Pakistan references dropped from the 9/11 inquiry commission report, The Friday Times has claimed. The Pakistani weekly said its story is based on disclosures made by foreign service officials to the Public Accounts Committee at a secret meeting in Islamabad on Tuesday. It claimed that some of the commission members were also bribed to prevent them from including damaging information about Pakistan." (link) (link)

Pakistan or Saudi Arabia helped 9/11? Take your pick...
There is also a similar account of inaction on the part of US authorities towards islamic terrorists by Peter Lance here and here.
Ref: Earlier post
Laura Rosen directs us to the European Tribune "It appears that not only did private companies and reporters linked to SISMI throughout Italy were able to steal information on citizens, but illegal operators were able to cancel compromising evidence linked to organized crime."
With the threat of blackmail or legal prosecution, opposing groups or individuals could be forced into slavery to support your own political agenda or treason.
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