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Old 08-09-21, 09:48   #1
 
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United States of America 9/11: Al Qaeda 'Plot' Was an FBI SCAM-7 Innocent Black Men Were JAILED

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: How 9/11 Mastermind Slipped Through FBI's Fingers

The man accused of hatching the devastating plot to fly hijacked passenger planes into US landmarks 20 years ago is locked up awaiting trial. But could he have been stopped years before?


BBC 8 SEP 2021.









Mohammed in court in 2012








Pellegrino in 1987 and in 2020





The 1993 World Trade Center bombing killed six and wounded over 1,000



"He was my guy."

Frank Pellegrino was sitting in a hotel room in Malaysia when he saw the television pictures of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers. The first thing he thought was: "My God, it's got to be Khalid Sheikh Mohammed."

The target and the ambitions were a match and Pellegrino was in a unique position to know.

The former FBI special agent had pursued Mohammed for nearly three decades, yet the alleged 9/11 mastermind is yet to face justice.

A lawyer for Mohammed has told the BBC it may be another 20 years before the case is concluded.

Osama Bin Laden, at the time the leader of al-Qaeda, is the man most closely associated with the 9/11 attacks. But the reality was that Mohammed - or "KSM" as he became known - was the "principal architect", according to the 9/11 Commission which investigated the attacks. He was the man who came up with the idea and took it to al-Qaeda.

Born in Kuwait, he studied in America before fighting in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Years before the 9/11 attack, FBI Agent Frank Pellegrino had been on the trail of the jihadist.

Pellegrino had been assigned by the FBI to investigate the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. That was where Mohammed's name first came to the attention of US authorities because he had made a money transfer to one of those involved. The FBI agent realised the scale of Mohammed's ambition in 1995 when he was linked to a plot to blow up multiple international airliners over the Pacific. In the mid-1990s, Pellegrino had come close to getting his man, tracking him to Qatar.

He and a team went to Oman from where they planned to cross into Qatar and arrest Mohammed. A plane was ready to bring the suspect back. But there was resistance from US diplomats on the ground. Pellegrino went to Qatar and told the ambassador and other officials at the embassy that he had an indictment against Mohammed for the plot involving airliners. But he says they seemed wary of causing trouble in the country.

"I guess they thought maybe this was rocking the boat," Pellegrino recalls. Frank Pellegrino

Eventually the ambassador informed Pellegrino that Qatari officials claimed to have lost Mohammed. "There was angst and there was anger and frustration," he says. "We knew at the time it was a missed opportunity."

But he acknowledges that in the mid-90s Mohammed was not seen as a high-priority target. Pellegrino could not even get him listed on America's Top Ten Most Wanted. "I was told there's too many terrorists in there already."

Mohammed seems to have been tipped off about the US interest in him and fled Qatar, ending up in Afghanistan.

Over the next few years KSM's name kept cropping up, often in phone books of terror suspects arrested across the world, making clear he was well connected. It was during these years that he went to Bin Laden with the idea of training pilots to fly planes into buildings inside the US.

And then 9/11 happened. Pellegrino's suspicions of KSM's role would be proven right when a key al-Qaeda figure in custody identified him. "Everybody realised it was Frank's guy that did it," Pellegrino recalls. "When we found out he was the guy, there was nobody more miserable than me."

In 2003, Mohammed was tracked down and arrested in Pakistan. Pellegrino hoped he would stand trial under the indictment he had worked on. But then he disappeared. The CIA had taken him to a "black site" where "enhanced interrogation techniques" were used.

"I want to know what he knows, and I want to know it fast," a senior CIA official said at the time.

Mohammed was waterboarded at least 183 times, something described as "near drownings". He was subjected to rectal rehydration, stress positions, sleep deprivation, forced nudity, and told his children would be killed.

He would confess to multiple plots during that time. But a Senate report later found that much of the intelligence supposedly produced had been made up by the detainee.




Information from Mohammed led to an intensified search for Bin Laden on the Pakistani border


After details of the CIA's detention programme were revealed, "high value detainees" like Mohammed were moved to Guantanamo Bay in 2006. The FBI were finally allowed access.

In January 2007 Frank Pellegrino came face-to-face with the man he had pursued for so long.

The men sat across the table from each other.

"I wanted to let him know I'd been involved in indicting him in the 90s," he says, in the hope of opening up the conversation to extract information about 9/11.

The former FBI man won't disclose the details of what was said but conceded "he's a very engaging guy with a sense of humour, believe it or not".

KSM has often been seen "grandstanding" at hearings in Guantanamo and Pellegrino describes the world's most infamous terrorist suspect as "Kardashian" in his craving for attention but says he shows no remorse.

Would he confess or want to make the most of a trial? "I certainly think he's OK with what he did, but he likes the show," he says.

After six days of talking Mohammed finally said he had had enough. "And that was it," recalls Pellegrino.

Subsequent attempts to deliver justice for 9/11 have floundered. A plan to hold a trial in New York faltered after public and political opposition. "Everyone was screaming 'I don't want this guy in my backyard. Keep him down in Guantanamo,'" says Pellegrino, himself a New Yorker.

Next came a military tribunal at Guantanamo. But procedural delays, compounded by the Covid pandemic closing the base, have made it a long-drawn out process. More hearings are taking place this week but an end looks a long way off.

Mohammed's lawyer believes the latest hearings are timed to show the media that something is happening on the 20th anniversary of 9/11. David Nevin told the BBC he expects "something in the order of 20 years for a complete resolution of the process."

The criminal defence lawyer has been on the case since it began in 2008. The original plan was to begin trials almost immediately. But they are still not even close to starting, he says, noting a newly appointed judge is "the eighth or ninth judge that we have had" depending on how you count.

The judge has to familiarise himself with around 35,000 pages of transcripts of previous hearings and thousands of motions in what Nevin describes as the "largest criminal trial in the history of the United States".

And it is the most controversial.

That is primarily because the five defendants were all held in secret detention by the CIA and subjected to "enhanced interrogation techniques."




Camp Justice in Guantanamo where some early hearings took place


That has led to arguments over evidence being contaminated by what happened at the so-called black sites.

The United States "organised and implemented a clearly defined programme to torture these men," says Nevin. Those methods provide plenty of scope for potential appeals against any convictions dragging on for years.

Nevin won't disclose details of what it's like to represent one of the world's most notorious defendants. He says initially his client was "deeply sceptical" of being represented by an American lawyer so there was a long process of getting to know each other.

When Mohammed was held in a top-secret part of the naval base the lawyers were put in a van with the windows blacked out and driven around for 45 minutes to disorient them, he says. But now his client is held in the less secret Camp 5.

The legal team are alive to the sensitivities of the 9/11 victims' families who are flown out to attend tribunal hearings. At meetings some family members will challenge lawyers like Nevin about representing defendants, but others will ask questions about how the process works







Bereaved 9/11 families gave a press conference when Mohammed had his first pre-trial hearing




"We work awfully hard to not do anything that will exacerbate the pain and suffering they've experienced over the years," says Nevin.

Another reason he believes the tribunal has dragged on is because it's a death penalty case and that raises the stakes. "It would have been over long ago if the government weren't seeking to execute these men."

Pellegrino delayed his retirement from the FBI by three years in the hope that Mohammed's military tribunal at Guantanamo, which he expects to testify at, would be completed. "It would have been nice to see this through while I still had the badge."

But the veteran special agent hit retirement age and has just left the bureau.

Having crossed the world pursuing leads on Mohammed, he now feels a strong sense of failure, wondering whether capturing him in the 1990s might have prevented 9/11.

"His name comes up in my head every day and it's not a pleasant thought," he says.

"Time helps heal things. But it is what it is
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Old 11-09-21, 09:31   #2
 
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Hacker Re: 9/11: Al Qaeda 'Plot' Was an FBI SCAM-7 Innocent Black Men Were JAILED

The Most High-Profile Al Qaeda Plot Foiled After 9/11 Was an FBI Scam

The case of the “Liberty City Seven,” a group of 7 Innocent poor black men the FBI coached into pledging allegiance to Al Qaeda.


The Intercept 11 SEP 2021.








The biggest Al Qaeda plot the FBI claimed to have foiled in the years following the 9/11 attacks involved no weapons, no plot, and no Al Qaeda.


Instead, the vague, implausible threat by a group of construction workers in Florida to blow up U.S. buildings, including Chicago’s Sears Tower, was mostly the making of the FBI, whose undercover operatives sought out the men, promised them money, and coached them over months to implicate themselves in a conspiracy to commit violent acts they never actually intended or had the means to carry out.

The “Liberty City Seven” case — known by its connection to the poor, violence-ridden Miami neighborhood where the men involved lived — was the most high-profile FBI investigation of a supposed terrorist cell after the attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. It came as the bureau, which had failed to act on intelligence it had received before 9/11, faced enormous pressure to predict and stop the next attack, setting off its transformation, in the words of former Deputy Director John Pistole, “from reactive crime-solving agency to preventative national security agency.”

The ordeal of the seven Black men, most of them Haitian American, who were manipulated by two paid FBI informants into pledging allegiance to Al Qaeda is recounted in a new Frontline documentary, “In the Shadow of 9/11,” by British director Dan Reed.

“It was kind of really absurd, almost unbelievable,” said Reed, who has previously directed documentaries about terror attacks in Moscow and Mumbai. “I didn’t really understand how the Liberty City guys could have got themselves in this predicament.”

The story of the seven men, five of whom were sentenced to a cumulative 43 years in federal prison in connection to the case, is a largely forgotten tale about the lengths to which government agencies were empowered to go in the panicked aftermath of 9/11 and about the absurdities the U.S. criminal justice apparatus sold to the public in the name of national security. The case is indicative of how quickly the so-called war on terror morphed into a battle to shape a narrative: that there was a real threat — and that the U.S. government was winning.

The case set the stage for hundreds of FBI sting operations in the following years, as the bureau continued to frame individuals who were often poor, credulous, and had dubious ability to independently plan any attacks. In doing so, the agency leaned on a sprawling surveillance apparatus set up after 9/11 and used constitutionally protected speech as a basis for monitoring people, even as bureau officials regularly denied doing so. FBI agents relied heavily on well-paid informants operating with little accountability. And they expanded the stings to an ever-growing list of supposed threats: not only foreign-inspired ideologies but also domestic ones, like that posed by what the FBI called “black identity extremism.”


Most of the nearly 1,000 people the U.S. has prosecuted for terrorism since 9/11 never came close to committing an act of violence. Like the Liberty City Seven, most had no connection to terrorist groups and many were set up in FBI stings.


Those cases were not only unnecessary, colossal wastes of investigative and prosecutorial resources that destroyed people’s lives, but they also distorted the American public’s understanding of security threats after 9/11.

“What terrorists want to do is spread terror, they want to make people afraid that there will be more terror attacks,” said Reed. “And when the government goes in and essentially makes terrorists that way, then that’s achieving the terrorists’ aims. It’s making the American public more afraid.”


Fabricated Fear


The story of the Liberty City Seven, pieced together in the documentary through interviews as well as hours of surveillance footage and audio recorded by the informants, is so tragic and farcical it is hard to fathom that it was a real FBI operation.

The supposed terror cell’s ringleader, Narseal Batiste, was a construction business owner and eccentric spiritual guru with a small following of men faithful to the Moorish Science Temple of America, a mix of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam whose primary belief is the improvement of African Americans’ condition. His associates were mostly poor, young men hustling on the streets of Miami. With Batiste self-styled as their “divine leader,” they mostly offered martial arts training and spiritual teachings to neighborhood kids.

The FBI learned of the group when a Yemeni convenience store clerk who had once worked as an informant for the New York Police Department claimed to the bureau that the group had asked him to make a connection with Al Qaeda. The tip seemed improbable even to the FBI, but the agency hired the clerk as an informant and concocted a scheme to introduce the group to yet another informant who claimed to be connected to Osama bin Laden.


Batiste, who was struggling to pay off business-related debts, seized on what he thought was an opportunity to scam the two men out of money, which they kept promising while leading Batiste to make progressively more compromising statements of support for Al Qaeda. He played along.

In one of the exchanges that sealed his fate, Batiste agreed to provide one of the informants with a list of items he supposedly needed to carry out an attack in Chicago — including, for some reason, knee-high boots. “I had to make up something up right then and there,” says Batiste, whom FBI surveillance video shows struggling to differentiate a pistol from a machine gun before his unrelenting handler. “I didn’t know any names of guns. I had never owned a gun.”

Pressed by the informants, Batiste repeated a bizarrely written oath of allegiance to Al Qaeda and, crucially, convinced his six associates to do so as well. Led on further, he made bombastic statements about a made-up plot to blow up buildings and shoot survivors, at one point boasting that it would be “greater than 9/11.” After yet more pressure, he agreed to drive around Miami, in a vehicle and with a camera the FBI had provided, to snap photos of federal buildings.

Throughout the ordeal, Batiste believed that he was conning the FBI informants, who themselves were manufacturing a threat they knew was not real. The end goal for both parties was to cash in.

Not even the FBI agents working with the informants to set up the sting believed that the threat was real, yet the Justice Department cited Batiste’s “overt acts” to bring terrorism-related charges.

The Justice Department touted the case as a major victory in its newly launched war on terror, even as officials were aware that the seven “weren’t really the terrorists that we were seeking out,” said Michael Mullaney, a former chief of the Justice Department’s Counterterrorism Section, in the documentary.

It became apparent that the case was staged by the government as soon as the seven were arrested in June 2006. Justice Department officials tried to rationalize their decision to prosecute the men by insisting that they were guilty of the acts they were convicted of: swearing allegiance to a terrorist organization and taking photos of federal buildings. They justified stings as a tool to predict who might plot an attack, rather than traps set out for individuals who likely would have never thought to do so had the FBI not written the script for them.

“The problem with terrorism cases is you have to stop the act, and so you really in a way have to predict who is going to do what,” said Mullaney. “And so stings are very important.”

The documentary, telling the story of a scam, seems to conclude that the victims are not just the seven men and their families but also the American people, whose government fabricated fear to justify its powers.




No Lead Goes Uncovered

In the film, Mike German, a former FBI special agent who did undercover work for terrorism investigations before 9/11, says that had he told his superiors that he wanted to initiate an operation targeting individuals who did not belong to a terrorist group, did not have any weapons, and did not have a plot — and that the FBI itself would provide all those things in the course of the operation — “they would have sent me for counseling.”

The 9/11 attacks changed that, ushering in a “no lead goes uncovered” policy at the bureau that forced agents to pursue any tip that came in, no matter how far-fetched or improbable and regardless of the civil rights implications. That those tips often came from informants with clear financial agendas did not stop the bureau.

In the Liberty City case, the FBI went much further than checking out an unlikely tip. Even as the agents quickly realized that Batiste and the others posed no credible threat, they kept pushing forward, investing countless hours and resources into the sting. After the first trial ended with a hung jury, prosecutors tried it two more times before getting any convictions in 2009.
Rather than abandoning stings as pointless and harmful, the FBI doubled down on them.


The operation became a cautionary tale within the bureau, which used it as a case study to train informants on how not to cross a line and to master the art of manipulation while steering clear of the legal threshold for entrapment. Rather than abandoning stings as pointless and harmful, however, the FBI doubled down on them, in some cases even providing weapons to the individuals they set up.

Trevor Aaronson, a contributor to The Intercept and the author of a book about FBI stings, says in the documentary that the bureau’s takeaway from the case seemed to be that “if they can convict these guys in Miami, they convict just about anybody.”

In the following years, the FBI did just that, prosecuting hundreds of people, including at least 350 who were set up in sting operations, mostly through paid informants.

The bureau manipulated a group of Black men in Newburgh, New York, to plant what they thought to be functioning bombs by two synagogues. In Ferguson, Missouri, after the police killing of Michael Brown led to widespread protests, federal agents framed two young protesters and coached them into a plan to blow up St. Louis’s iconic Gateway Arch, before retroactively referring to their conviction to describe a new category of domestic extremism and expand surveillance of Black activists.


At Standing Rock, the agency relied on an FBI informant who became romantically involved with an Indigenous activist and whose gun was used in what ended up becoming the most severe prosecution in connection to protests against the Dakota Access pipeline.

“I was hoping they would learn that this case” — Liberty City — “was an overreach, they had gone too far, and perhaps undermined public trust in the counterterrorism tactics that they were using,” German says in the documentary, referring to the FBI. “But they seem to have taken the opposite lesson.”

The fear I experienced that terrible day in New York doesn’t begin to compare with the dread I’ve developed watching our path since.



DOWNLOAD IT FROM HERE:
In The Shadow Of 9/11 2021 SD-720p-1080p

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Old 11-09-21, 11:17   #3
 
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Movies Re: 9/11: Al Qaeda 'Plot' Was an FBI SCAM-7 Innocent Black Men Were JAILED

Heartbreaking Image of 9/11 'Falling Man' Still Haunts The World 20 Years on

The Falling Mans' final moments became a symbol of the horror of those trapped in the burning towers two decades ago, but for millions they still refuse to view the heartbreaking photograph


Daily Mirror 11 SEP 2021.



























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