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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Ingrid Carlqvist : Sweden: A Beggar on Every Corner

Sweden: A Beggar on Every Corner

by
  • For the last few years, Sweden has been overwhelmed with Roma beggars from Romania and Bulgaria. Recently, the government estimated that there are now around 4,000 in Sweden (population 9.5 million).
  • "We do not fool anyone. We just benefit from the opportunity." — Bulgarian beggar in Sweden who said he "owned" five street corners.
  • "If the begging is profitable, they stay miserable.... [Giving money] improves the acute situation. At the same time, it contributes to making the bigger issue permanent -- the misery.... It will not help the Roma, but it gives you a chance to feel like a good person. ... The basic concept of racism is precisely that we as westerners and Swedes are far superior (smarter) and that the Roma are inferior (dumber). If this... is not racist then I do not know what is. ... One could add that the image is inverted among Roma. They consider themselves superior and smart, while the gadjo (non-gypsies) are stupid, naïve and gullible." — Karl-Olov Arnstberg, Swedish ethnologist
  • "It is our very strong recommendation not to give money to beggars. It turns the panhandling into an occupation... To give [money] encourages a life with no future; moving from country to country does not solve their problems." — Florin Ivanovici, director of the Life and Light Foundation, Bucharest, Romania.
Nobody knows exactly how many of them there are, but for the last few years Sweden has been overwhelmed with Roma beggars from Romania and Bulgaria. In 2014, the newspaper Sydsvenskan reported that an estimated 600 Roma beggars lived in the country; a few months ago, the government-appointed "National Coordinator for Vulnerable EU Citizens," Martin Valfridsson, found that there are now around 4,000.

You see beggars sitting outside virtually every store, not just in the big cities, but also in small rural villages. In the far north of Sweden, at gas stations in the middle of nowhere, patrons are greeted by beggars saying "Hello, hello!" while holding out their paper cups.

Not long ago, begging was considered eradicated in Sweden. In 1964, the law of 1847 against begging for money was abolished -- the welfare state was considered so all-encompassing that there were no longer any poor people; therefore the law was obsolete. No one would ever have to beg anymore. The people who, for some reason, could not work and support themselves were taken care of via various social welfare programs. Swedes who grew up in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s had never seen a street-beggar in Sweden.

Then, suddenly, everything changed. Today, Stockholm, Malmö and Gothenburg are among the cities with the most beggars per-capita in Europe. More and more people feel uneasy about the beggars, who sometimes are even aggressive.

Things started to change in 1995, when a reform of the psychiatric care system led to the closing of psychiatric hospitals and the discharge of patients. People who had been institutionalized for many years were suddenly expected to fend for themselves, with a little help from the government on an outpatient basis. The idea was that it was undignified to keep people locked up in hospitals year after year, but in many instances the alternative turned out to be even worse. Many former psychiatric patients could not manage to cope with daily life outside the hospitals, and ended up as drug-users, homeless and begging on the street.

Ten years later, the real surge of beggars came – Roma people from Romania and Bulgaria flooded into Sweden.
Romania and Bulgaria had been granted membership in the European Union, and their citizens could now stay in another EU country for three months. According to the rules, if after three months they have not been able to procure work or begun studying, they are supposed to return home. However, as there are no border controls between Sweden and its immediate neighbors, there is no way of knowing who stays longer than three months.

One of the strongest proponents for granting the Eastern European countries membership in the EU was Sweden's then Prime Minister Göran Persson. When Sweden held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first time (January-June 2001), Mr. Persson lobbied hard for an expansion of the EU. Sweden had three goals: Enlargement, Employment, Environment. These three E's guided the Swedish Presidency.

In 2004, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary joined the EU. Three years later, so did Bulgaria and Romania.

However, in 2003, it seemed Persson had gotten cold feet, when he realized free movement could also lead to what is referred to as "benefit tourism" -- the movement of people from new, poorer, EU member states to existing member states, to benefit from their welfare systems rather than to work. Persson therefore suggested transitional rules, before less affluent countries such as Bulgaria and Romania were allowed to partake of the free movement scheme. In a 2003 interview with Dagens Eko public radio, Persson said: "We want free movement of labor, but not benefit tourism. We must not be naïve there."

Mr. Persson was heavily criticized for this statement, and more or less labeled a racist. In a debate in the Swedish Parliament in early 2004, Agne Hansson of the Center Party (Centerpartiet) said: "Is it not time ... to apologize for the rhetoric on benefit tourism and the portrayal of the peoples of the new member states as freeloaders?"

Lars Ohly, then party leader of the Left Party (Vänsterpartiet), said: "We are not going to talk about benefit tourism. We are not going to talk about people in a way that discriminates against them compared to the citizens of the current EU states. That is actually a way of fanning the flames of xenophobia and racism."

A little over a decade later, Göran Persson's prediction has come true. Romanian and Bulgarian beggars are now demanding that their children should be allowed to go to school in Sweden. They also take advantage of Sweden's free healthcare, and some dentists even offer them free dental care. In 2014, an Administrative Court ruled that beggars from Romania are entitled to welfare payments in Sweden.

Still, it is not just the lack of anti-panhandling laws and the abundance of welfare benefits that have made Sweden so popular among Roma beggars -- or "vulnerable EU citizens" as they are called in politically-correct Swedish. The Roma soon realized that Swedes feel uneasy when they see poor people, and therefore are very willing to put money in the beggars' cups. A typical Swedish attitude is: "Of course no one would ever degrade themselves willingly by begging from other people, everyone wants to work and support themselves. It is unfair that we have it so good, when they suffer so much."

The problem is that this is simply not true. Begging has for centuries been a completely accepted way of "earning a living" among Roma people, and as the Swedes are so generous, beggars can make much more money in Sweden than working in their home countries.

Swedish ethnologist Karl-Olov Arnstberg has done extensive research into the Roma culture. In a blog post in August 2014, he wrote about how Swedes tend to view the Roma as victims:
"The above 'filter of understanding' is widespread in Sweden, particularly within the power and cultural elites. As an ethnologist and scientist who have studied the Roma, I object. If you ask me, this is a highly ethnocentric view of things, based not just on ignorance, but also on hostility towards knowledge. If I were to use the power and cultural elites' moralizing language -- it is also deeply racist. The reason is, that it paints a picture of the Roma as victims. And if there are victims, then there must be perpetrators and the perpetrators are, of course, us.
"Maybe not precisely you and I, and not we Swedes, but we are part of a Western civilization that oppresses and discriminates against Roma. Thus, we are served up an image where we (the winners) are far above the Roma down below (the losers). We are better and they are inferior. The basic concept of racism is precisely that we as westerners and Swedes are far superior (smarter) and that the Roma are inferior (dumber). If this train of thought, involving perpetrators and victims, is not racist then I do not know what is. One could add that the image is inverted among Roma. They consider themselves superior and smart, while the gadjo (non-gypsies) are stupid, naïve and gullible."
Arnstberg's analysis is pretty much what the Romanians say, as well. In April 2015, the public television broadcaster Sveriges Television interviewed Florin Ivanovici, director of the relief organization Life and Light Foundation, in the Romanian capital of Bucharest. He said:
"It is our very strong recommendation not to give money to beggars. It turns the panhandling into an occupation; the children at home in Romania are abandoned and often miss school when the parents are away. To give [money] encourages a life with no future; moving from country to country does not solve their problems."
The year before, Ivanovici had visited Stockholm and interviewed his Roma countrymen:
"We interviewed beggars, and almost all of them told us they would rather stay in Romania if they could. Yet many of them claimed that they made about €1,000 (about $1,100) per person a month [from begging in Sweden]. As the average salary in Romania is $450-570 a month, begging in Sweden is more profitable than making a living in Romania."
Many claim that the begging is organized, that gangs recruit beggars in Romania, send them to Sweden, assign them a street corner and then take most of their money. But Ivanovici does not believe this is common: "The Roma live very close together; if someone succeeds in getting €1,000 a month in Stockholm by begging, the news travels fast to their home village. And that prompts more people to go."
Sweden's biggest problem with the begging Roma is where they settle. The Roma park their trailers and put up tents in parks, wooded areas and vacant lots, where they live in utter misery -- at least by Swedish standards.

The largest and most talked-about settlement was located in Malmö. In 2013, a group of Roma simply started squatting on a 99,000-square-foot vacant lot in a former industrial area in the center of the city. This was the beginning of a process that would drag on for almost two years, wherein the City of Malmö tried all kinds of measures in order to close down the so-called Sorgenfri Camp.
The lot is owned by a private citizen, who had plans for residential buildings on the property. When the Roma broke into the lot, parked their cars and trailers and built sheds there, the property owner filed a complaint with the police regarding trespassing. In many countries, that would have been the end of the story -- the police would simply have removed the squatters, and that would have been that. Not in Sweden.

No matter how illegal a settlement is, in order for people to be evicted, the Enforcement Authority (Kronofogden) needs to know the identity of every person living on the property. As none of the Roma had, or wanted to show, any identification, nothing could be done. To the dismay of many residents of Malmö, the camp grew into a large settlement where more than 200 people lived. There was no running water or sewage system on the property; mountains of garbage and human excrement grew day by day. Finally, these health hazards sealed the camp's fate. Malmö's Environmental Board, in the decision that finally led to the demolition of the camp, wrote in November 2015:
"The Environment Department has already prohibited living on the private lot. The sanitary situation at the location entails serious health hazards for the people living there, and affects the surrounding environment by littering and smoke from open fires, among other things."
At 4 a.m. on November 3, 2015, police entered the camp and, using excavators and boom trucks, tore it down.
By then, many of the Roma had already left, but those who remained marched towards Malmö City Hall to protest the decision. They sat outside for days, camping in front of the building to show their discontent. The Roma protesters were loudly supported by leftist activists, who demanded that the City of Malmö arrange free housing for them. Sanitizing the camp began the day after it was torn down -- by municipal staff wearing protective clothing and surgical masks.

"The sanitary conditions have been very poor. It is hard to believe that people actually lived here," Jeanette Silow, the head of Malmö's Department of Environmental Health and Safety, told the daily, Kvällsposten.
Martin Valfridsson, Sweden's "National Coordinator for Vulnerable EU Citizens," presented a report on the Sorgenfri Camp saga, on February 1, 2016. Among Valfridsson's conclusions: Sweden should not assign special locations where the Roma can settle:
"If one makes municipal or private property available, in the end, new problems arise. Society contributes to reinstating the slums we have so diligently worked to root out. If someone chooses to come to Sweden, they must live here in a way that is legal."
Valfridsson also said he did not want to offer schooling for the children of Roma beggars, and urged Swedes not to put money in their cups: "I do not believe that is what helps individuals get out of poverty in the long run. I really do believe that the money is put to better use if you give it to relief organizations in the home countries."
It may sound heartless not to give people seemingly living in downright misery any money, but according to ethnologist Karl-Olov Arnstberg:
"When you leave a contribution in the Roma's paper cups, what you are actually doing is sustaining a situation that we do not find fit for human beings. It bears a strong resemblance to urinating your pants because you are cold. It warms you up a little, but only solves the problem for a moment. Furthermore, if you urinate in your pants often enough, this becomes a 'normal' way of fighting the cold. Yes, I know I am crossing the line with this metaphor, but this is pretty much how it works with the Roma. They will change their economic income pattern only if it becomes absolutely necessary. Plainly put: If the begging is profitable, they stay miserable. Giving them some coins solves the smaller issue -- it improves the acute situation. At the same time, it contributes to making the bigger issue permanent -- the misery. If you want to perpetuate the Roma's living in misery, you give them nickels and dimes. It will not help the Roma, but it gives you a chance to feel like a good person."
What Valfridsson, the "National Coordinator," actually wants to do about the situation is not quite clear. He mentioned assigning the Stockholm county government the responsibility for gathering regional data on the situation across the country, and setting up an advisory board. Sweden and Romania actually signed a cooperation agreement back in June 2015, stipulating that Sweden will help Romania financially, so the Roma can have a better life there, and thus refrain from traveling to Sweden to beg. A similar agreement was struck with Bulgaria on February 5, 2016.

A few years ago, the Swedish media conveyed the message that the Roma are grossly discriminated against in their home countries, and therefore are forced to come to Sweden and beg. Is it really true that Romania and Bulgaria discriminate against their Roma minorities?

The truth is that in Romanian, the Roma have the same right to welfare benefits as all other citizens, but the authorities in this post-communist country hold firmly to the principle that welfare benefits should be a temporary aid, not a lifelong livelihood, and therefore make demands on welfare recipients.

Many also claim that the European Union has made the Roma problem worse. As long as the Iron Curtain divided Europe, neither the Roma nor any other citizens could move to the West. During the communist era, in fact, the Roma made some progress. Their children were forced to go to school by governments, they were provided with modern housing, and required to work. When Eastern Europe rid itself of communism, many countries kept some programs to fight crime and vagrancy among Roma. Families were ordered to send their children to school. Police patrolled Roman areas and clamped down on child marriage, a common occurrence in the Roma culture.

Then came the EU with its mighty representatives, who said: Shame on you; you cannot treat people differently -- that is called racism. So Romania had to abandon its programs for the Roma, and since then, child marriage has skyrocketed -- from only three married children in 2006 (an all-time low), to over 600 married Roma children in recent years.

The EU also forced Romania to implement a kind of "affirmative action," which gives Roma precedence for jobs, schools, housing and so on. But despite aggressive marketing, the program has not been effective, presumably because of the Roma's reluctance to join in gadjo (non-Roma) activities.

Last year, a Bulgarian news team visited Sweden to film a documentary about the beggars. The footage showed that there are people who actually organize the panhandling; one of them talked openly on camera about being prosecuted for blackmailing a beggar who did not earn him enough money. The man also talked about how he "owned" five street corners in central Gothenburg, and said that the best location was outside Systembolaget (the government-owned liquor store) -- where he posted his wife.


Last year, a Bulgarian news team visited Sweden to film a documentary about Roma beggars from Bulgaria and Romania.

The man denied that the beggars themselves worked for him -- he claimed they were all part of a Bulgarian team, and split the income between them. His role was just to "protect" them from the Romanian beggars, who, he said, would otherwise "beat up and chase the Bulgarians away." He said that the beggars make about 400-500 kronor ($50-60) a day, and use the money to buy food, beer and cigarettes.
"Is it not fraud," the reporter asked, "to pretend that you are destitute, all the while using the money for beer and cigarettes?"
"No," the man said, "we do not fool anyone. We just benefit from this opportunity."
The charges against him were dropped.

Bruce Bawer : Sweden: What You Won't See in This Book...

  • What won't you see in this book? You won't see a picture of Muslim "morality police" patrolling neighborhoods and controlling women's conduct. You won't see Muslim men cutting in front of Swedish women in queues and then calling them "whores" when they protest.
  • One of Sweden's former prime ministers, Fredrik Reinfeldt, pronounced with approval in December 2014 that the future of Sweden belonged not to ethnic Swedes but to immigrants.
Speaking at a rally in Melbourne, Florida, on February 18, President Trump mentioned recent terrorist attacks in Nice, Paris, and Brussels, and then said:
"You look at what's happening in Germany, you look at what's happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this. Sweden. They took in large numbers. They're having problems like they never thought possible."
Nothing major had happened the night before in Sweden, except that the country has taken in armies of Muslims, and as a result is descending into social and economic disaster.

The Swedish media might have responded to Trump's comment by addressing their country's immigrant crisis honestly. Instead, they took it as an opportunity to mock Trump. The Stockholm newspaper Aftonbladet ran an article in English headlined: "Here's what happened in Sweden Friday night, Mr President." The article included a list of innocuous news items, among them technical problems that had occurred at rehearsals for Swedish Eurovision and the temporary closing of a highway because of lousy weather.

So much for that episode, right? No. Several Swedish photographers decided to drag it out way beyond a single news cycle. The result: a new coffee-table book entitled Last Night in Sweden.

At least one Swedish photography website has applauded this project. This book, the anonymous author wrote, is a "profound and insightful" work that "encapsulates a true and candid Sweden," shows "the country as it really is, from the inside -- in its multiplicity, subtle textures, and political, social and cultural nuance."

Lee Roden of the free Swedish newspaper The Local agreed, claiming that the pictures in the book "combat the hysteria about the country provoked by people like US President Donald Trump." The photographer in charge of the project, Jeppe Wikström, told Roden that people smear Sweden out of jealousy: "We manage to combine diversity with success. We do have high taxes, but we also have a very successful business life." Wilkström admitted that there are some odd things about Swedes: "We take off our shoes before going inside, put money into the right position and make sure it's not so wrinkly before paying at a cash register."

The first copy of Last Night in Sweden, published on September 7, was mailed to Donald Trump. Other copies have been, or will be, sent to "all members of the US Congress and European Parliament" as a way of countering "false news." [This is how they put it] At the end of October, an exhibition of photos from the book will move from Stockholm to the European Parliament in Brussels.

The book contains pictures of an ethnic Swedish man sitting on a snowmobile on a snow-covered icy river; a young guy walking around a gym practicing the tuba; a 94-year old Swedish woman in a retirement home being pushed in her wheelchair by a Somali immigrant; an octogenarian Swedish couple sitting in their home sauna in Lapland; a handicapped Algerian immigrant working out in the gym he founded; a Romani beggar woman kneeling on a city street; an elderly Swedish couple playing in their kitchen with their dog. And so on. In other words, a bunch of images showing immigrants doing things that, in one way or another, enhance life in Sweden, mixed in with a few photos of ethnic Swedes living pretty much the same way they did before the immigration tsunami started.

What won't you see in this book?

You won't see Muslim violence in Sweden's public libraries, which has increased so dramatically in the last couple of years that many librarians are looking for other jobs.
You won't see a picture of the three condos in which a newly arrived Syrian immigrant's three wives and sixteen children are being put up at a total cost to Swedish taxpayers of $1.75 million.
You won't see a picture of Muslim "morality police" patrolling neighborhoods and controlling women's conduct.
You won't see Muslim men cutting in front of Swedish women in queues and then calling them "whores" when they protest.
You won't see a TV news crew from Australia being physically attacked by Muslims for entering a no-go zone.
You won't see Muslim girls being beaten by their families for removing their hijab.
You won't see Muslims setting cars on fire, and then hurling bottles and stones at the firefighters who show up to put out the blaze.
You won't see a picture of a recent event at which politicians and welfare officials met with residents of Stockholm's Järva neighborhood to address the prevalence of violence, forced marriage, compulsory hijab, and other forms of oppression within Muslim families – only to be told by the locals that they were not interested in conforming to "Swedish values."
You won't see a picture of the head of the Swedish security service, Anders Thornberg, who in a TV interview the other day admitted that the number of potential perpetrators of terrorist violence in Sweden had risen immensely in recent years.
You won't see a gang of Muslim youths raping an infidel teenager.
You won't see a Syrian refugee raping the fourteen-year-old daughter of the woman who took him into her house out of compassion.
You won't see ten men committing a gang rape in August of last year – or their arrest, which finally took place earlier this month because it took that long for the police to fit it into their schedule. They are too busy these days investigating murders to spend much time on rapes.
You won't see convicted Muslim rapists being punished by paying small fines and performing community service for a few days. (When they pay the fine, do they put the money in the right position and make sure it's not so wrinkly?)
You won't see a Muslim youth perusing the new booklet put out by the Swedish Ministry of Youth and Civil Affairs, which explains to immigrants that Swedish culture disapproves of rape.
You won't see Muslim girls being raped by relatives – a common enough event that goes unreported because the victims know that if they go to the authorities they'll be killed.
You won't see a picture of the annual, highly popular Bråvalla summer music festival, which will no longer be held after this year because the number of rapes occurring at the event has gotten out of hand.
----------------
Of course, Sweden's current crisis is not an invention of Islamophobic foreigners. It has been acknowledged by Swedish police inspector Lars Alvarsjö, who has warned that the scale of immigrant crime is straining the country's police departments and courts to the breaking point.
It has been acknowledged by Swedish police investigator Peter Springare, who has said that virtually all of the criminals he deals with are Muslims.
 It has been acknowledged by Malmö police chief Stefan Sinteus, who has said that Muslim immigrants in his city are responsible for an "upward spiral of violence." And of course it has been acknowledged by the recent history of the Sweden Democrats, the only party to speak the truth about these problems, and now enjoys so much voter support that the so-called cordon sanitaire erected around it by the mainstream parties will soon no longer be able to hold.

In recent weeks, Norwegians on social media have been sharing a 1977 video in which Carl I. Hagen, founder of Norway's Progress Party, warned that Sweden, by admitting too many immigrants and giving them special benefits, has started down a long road to self-destruction. He saw it forty years ago, but even now, many Swedes still refuse to see it.
One of Sweden's former prime ministers, Fredrik Reinfeldt, pronounced with approval in December 2014 that the future of Sweden belonged not to ethnic Swedes but to immigrants. (Why didn't Wikström and his colleagues erupt in outrage at that remark? Why, instead, get angry at a foreign head of state for actually showing empathy for their plight?)

This is a country in which it was reported on September 9, that a new Muslim political party has filed papers to field candidates in next year's parliamentary elections. The party is called Jasin, which is also the name of the thirty-sixth sura of the Koran. On September 10, seventeen-year-old Fatemeh Khavari, who wears hijab and who recently led a weeks-long sit-in protesting the expulsion of rejected asylum seekers, told a reporter that her goal is to be Sweden's prime minister. And why not? By the time she is old enough, she will be just what they are looking for.


Riot police in Gotheburg, Sweden. (Photo by Sion Touhig/Getty Images)
Bruce Bawer is the author of the new novel The Alhambra (Swamp Fox Editions). His book While Europe Slept (2006) was a New York Times bestseller and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist.

Douglas Murray : Mass-Migration: The Tiniest Dose of Reality Hits

  • If you do not have control of your borders, with a meaningful set of immigration laws and the right to keep people out of your country, then you do not really have a country.
  • While the public wants their representatives to control their borders, politicians seem to see only political capital in running the other way. In part this is because there appears to be some kind of "bonus" to be achieved by looking welcoming and kindly, in contrast to the unwelcoming and mean things that borders now appear to represent.
  • By the end of August, it was estimated that almost 12,000 people had arrived in Canada through this route so far this year. It is a number that constitutes little more than an averagely busy week in Italy at any time over recent years. But even this comparatively tiny movement across an entire year has proven too much for Canada. At the end of last month, Prime Minister Trudeau told reporters: "For someone to successfully seek asylum it's not about economic migration. It's about vulnerability, exposure to torture or death, or being stateless people. If they are seeking asylum we'll evaluate them on the basis of what it is to be a refugee or asylum seeker."
Bombings and other terrorist attacks are now a common feature of life in modern Europe. On just one day (September 15, 2017), an improvised explosive device was placed on a London Underground train, a man wielding a knife and shouting "Allah" attacked a soldier in Paris, and a man with a hammer shouting "Allahu Akbar" badly wounded two women in Lyon.
As the former Prime Minister of France and the present Mayor of London have put it, perhaps this is all just a price we have to pay for living in big cities in Europe in the 21st century: we have traffic congestion, great restaurants and terrorist attacks.

Of course, the public are all the time worrying about other things -- not just whether all this is just a taste of something worse to come, but whether anything might be done to stop it. While our political leaders continue to view this as a narrow security-related question, the public can see that it is also a border-security and mass-immigration issue. Across the continent, poll after poll shows the European public continuously calling for migration into Europe to be slowed down. This plea is not due to some atavistic urge or distasteful racist instinct, but something that the public seems to intuit better than their politicians -- which is that if you do not have control of your borders, with a meaningful set of immigration laws and the right to keep people out of your country then you do not really have a country.

Since the upsurge in Europe's migration crisis in 2015, when Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel unilaterally decided to suspend normal border checks and turn an already existing flow of migrants into a tidal wave, politicians and the public have divided from each other over this issue. While the public want their representatives to control their borders, politicians seem to see only political capital in running the other way. In part this is because there appears to be some kind of "bonus" to be achieved by looking welcoming and kindly in contrast to the unwelcoming and mean things that borders now appear to represent.

Politicians such as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Canada have used the opportunity of Europe's migration catastrophe to grandstand and present themselves as offering a different way. In the wake of Donald Trump's campaign rhetoric on building a wall along the US-Mexican border, Trudeau in particular has presented himself as the yin to Donald Trump's yang. In January, when President Trump was sworn into office, Trudeau sent out a Tweet reading, "To those fleeing persecution, terror and war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength." To which he added the hashtag, #WelcomeToCanada. In March of this year, in another clear response to the US President, Trudeau tweeted, "Regardless of who you are or where you come from, there's always a place for you in Canada" -- a tall order, given the existence of 7.5 billion people on this earth, many of whom are not already Canadian.

The movement which the Canadian Prime Minister appears to be auditioning to lead is one which seeks (as protestors often put it) to "build bridges not walls". It is an attractive slogan, although anyone who utters it cannot have been to London recently where (after attacks on Westminster and London Bridge within just a few weeks) the city's bridges are covered in security walls and barricades. Which might suggest that the "walls and bridges issue" is not, after all, an either/or business, or even the central issue at all.

Yet, given this considerable grandstanding in the early part of the year, it would take a heart of stone not to laugh now at the situation in which Prime Minister Trudeau finds himself.
In recent months, thousands of migrants, most of them from Haiti, have crossed the border -- illegally -- from the US into Canada. This influx -- tiny by European standards -- has already started to buckle the Canadian immigration system. Hundreds of migrants have had to be housed in emergency tent villages set up by the Canadian army and many have been temporarily housed at the old Olympic stadium in Montreal.


Pictured: Two people, who claimed to be from Turkey, illegally cross the U.S.-Canada border into Canada, on February 23, 2017, near Hemmingford, Quebec. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Unlike many of the migrants still daily moving into Europe, the migrants arriving in Canada are not fleeing war, persecution or poverty. They are simply people who are not keen to end up on the wrong side of America's immigration laws now that there is a president who may (though may just as likely not) enforce those laws. As a Washington Post report has put it, "Though they've been lazily framed as 'fleeing Trump,' most of the Haitians appear motivated by a desire to dodge American laws they don't care to obey."

By the end of August, it was estimated that almost 12,000 people had arrived in Canada through this route so far this year. It is a number that constitutes little more than an averagely busy week in Italy at any time over recent years. But even this comparatively tiny movement across an entire year has proven too much for Canada. At the end of last month Trudeau told reporters:
"For someone to successfully seek asylum it's not about economic migration. It's about vulnerability, exposure to torture or death, or being stateless people. If they are seeking asylum we'll evaluate them on the basis of what it is to be a refugee or asylum seeker. You will not be at an advantage if you choose to enter Canada irregularly. You must follow the rules and there are many."
Of course, this is a very different tune to the one he had been advantageously -- perhaps even opportunistically -- playing to date.
 When he was trying to present a clear alternative to European and American leaders at the start of 2017, there was no talk of "irregular" or "regular" entry, or of the "many" rules.
Before he experienced his own tiny trickle of migration, Trudeau spoke only of there always being a "place" for everyone in the world who wanted to come to Canada.
How things can change when even the tiniest dose of reality hits.
Douglas Murray, British author, commentator and public affairs analyst, is based in London, England. His latest book, an international best-seller, is "The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam."

Bruce Bawer : Scandinavia: Shift in Immigration Debate

  • Until recently, the very notion that some European neighborhoods were "no-go" zones was vehemently dismissed by politicians and commentators on both sides of the Atlantic as a myth, a lie, a vicious right-wing calumny. But even as Swedish officials were denying the existence of such zones in their own country, they were secretly mapping them out and overseeing a police effort to liberate them.
  • The Sweden Democrats are on the rise because voters finally grasp the extent and significance of the damage their elites have been doing to their country -- and the elites, both in the media and in government, are scrambling to snap into line in order to keep hold on power.
  • In some ways, the winds in Scandinavia may be turning, but it does not seem as if Stanghelle and his ilk are about to speak the whole truth about Islam, or to apologize for their inexcusable abuse of those who have.
Not long ago, Norwegian journalists were virtually united in representing Sweden, with its exceedingly liberal immigration policy and its strict limits on public discussion of the subject, as a model of enlightened thinking that deserved to be emulated.
Meanwhile Denmark, with its far freer atmosphere of debate (remember the Danish cartoons) and more sensible border controls, was almost universally depicted in Norway as a deplorable hotbed of Islamophobia.
That appears to be changing.
As Hans Rustad of the alternative Norwegian news website Document.no noted recently, the term "Swedish conditions," which some of us have been using for years to refer to the colossal scale of Sweden's Muslim-related problems, is actually turning up these days in the mainstream Norwegian media -- although the relationship of those conditions to Islam is still routinely underplayed, if not entirely avoided.


Until recently, Denmark, with its far freer atmosphere of debate and more sensible border controls, was almost universally depicted in Norway as a deplorable hotbed of Islamophobia. Pictured: A Danish checkpoint on the border with Germany, near Padborg, on January 6, 2016. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Case in point: on August 10, the daily Aftenposten ran a piece by Tarjei Kramviken about an official Swedish report stating that police, during the past couple of years, have been pursuing an organized campaign to "take back neighborhoods from criminals who have set up parallel societies."
But the attempt, the report admitted, has failed. Instead, even more such neighborhoods have sprung up, and the level of violence within them has become more common, more brutal, and more spontaneous. If a police car crosses the invisible border, it is pelted with rocks or bottles.

The neighborhoods in question are, of course, Muslim neighborhoods, and the criminals are Muslims. Although the persons in question are indeed criminals -- they carry guns, sell drugs, commit burglaries, and break out into the occasional riot -- the use of the word criminals seems somewhat euphemistic.
We are not talking about some kind of Mafia that has moved into certain neighborhoods, taken them over, and terrorized the locals.
The criminals are the locals. 
They are the young men who live there. Maybe not every last young man, but a high percentage of them.
Some of these criminals, moreover, are mere children. One Stockholm cop told Kramviken about "five-year-olds who give the finger to the police and say nasty things."

What we are talking about here, needless to say, is not conventional crime and run-of-the-mill perpetrators but the violent psychopathology associated with a certain religion.
We are also talking about the notorious "no-go zones." Until recently, the very notion that some European neighborhoods were "no-go" zones was vehemently dismissed by politicians and commentators on both sides of the Atlantic as a myth, a lie, a vicious right-wing calumny.
But even as Swedish officials were denying the existence of such zones in their own country, they were secretly mapping them out and overseeing a police effort to liberate them.

To be sure, they don't call them "no-go zones." Just as the British media refer euphemistically to "Asian neighborhoods," Swedish officials label such heavily Muslim areas as Rinkeby in Stockholm, Rosengård in Malmö, and Biskopsgården in Gothenburg as "vulnerable areas" and "especially vulnerable areas."  

Aftenposten's Kramviken, while frank about the nature and level of criminal activities in these areas, is careful to skirt the issue of Islam. The word appears nowhere in his article; instead, he focuses on the Muslim neighborhoods' low rates of education and employment and high levels of disability claims and long-term sick leave.

Kramviken's piece came a little over a week after a commentary by Aftenposten's editor-in-chief, Harald Stanghelle, who claimed to have noticed a rapid shift in Sweden's public-debate climate over the last year or so, particularly as regards the topic of immigration.

Suddenly, mainstream Swedish politicians are talking positively about "Swedish values" and listening to the concerns of ordinary Swedes; Åsa Linderborg, a leftist editor at Sweden's daily Aftonbladet, has actually apologized for calling Norway's Progress Party "fascist" because of its support for immigration reform. Stanghelle attributed this sea change to the current refugee crisis, the votes for Brexit and Trump, and the growing success at the polls of the officially reviled anti-mass-immigration Sweden Democrats Party.

Well, one thing is true: the Sweden Democrats are on the rise because voters finally grasp the extent and significance of the damage their elites have been doing to their country -- and the elites, both in the media and in government, are scrambling to snap into line in order to keep hold on power. 

What Stanghelle does not mention is that the same exact shift is taking place, on a smaller scale, in Norway. 

One example of this shift is Stanghelle's own essay, in which he writes with apparent approval of what he depicts as the Swedish establishment's increasing openness to critics of uncontrolled immigration -- even as he ignores the massive role that the Norwegian media, including Aftenposten, have played in the creating the disaster for which that immigration is responsible.

There is one word that is at the very heart of what Stanghelle is writing about but that (as with Kramviken) appears not once in his piece: namely, Islam.

For years, Stanghelle's own rag has systematically whitewashed, and outright celebrated, the "religion of peace." even as it has mendaciously and malignantly demonized its critics.

In some ways, the winds in Scandinavia may be turning, but it does not seem as if Stanghelle and his ilk are about to speak the whole truth about Islam, or to apologize for their inexcusable abuse of those who have.
Bruce Bawer is the author of the new novel The Alhambra (Swamp Fox Editions). His book While Europe Slept (2006) was a New York Times bestseller and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist.

Judith Bergman : EU: Delusions without Borders

  • Many migrants simply refused to leave, disappeared, or their home countries refused to receive them.
  • The European Commission published a "report card" on the EU member states' "progress" in taking the allocated quotas of migrants. Even Sweden, on the brink of societal collapse from the influx of migrants, was told that it was only "close" to reaching its quota.
  • ISIS apparently has at its disposal some 11,000 stolen blank Syrian passports that it could put to use in order to smuggle its terrorists into Europe under fake identities; at the same time, more European ISIS fighters are expected to return to Europe. Why does the EU want to make it easy for them?
On September 13, the President of the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, Jean Claude Juncker gave his State of the Union Address to the European Parliament, saying:
"Last year... Europe was battered and bruised by a year that shook our very foundation. We only had two choices. Either come together around a positive European agenda or each retreat into our own corners... I argued for unity. I proposed a positive agenda to help create ... a Europe that protects, empowers and defends... Over the past twelve months, the European Parliament has helped bring this agenda to life. We continue to make progress with each passing day... In the last year, we saw all 27 leaders... renew their vows... to our Union. All of this leads me to believe: the wind is back in Europe's sails."
Most EU citizens probably wondered what EU Juncker was talking about. The EU Juncker inhabits does not appear to be the same one most Europeans live in.


Jean Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, gives his State of the Union Address to the European Parliament on September 13. (Image source: European Parliament)

This past year in Europe, a terrorist attack was attempted every seven days, on average. Juncker delivered his speech just two days before yet another terrorist attack, this time on the London underground, perpetrated by an 18-year old migrant. The European Commission, however, does not appear particularly concerned with such matters. Juncker mentioned terrorism only very briefly toward the very end of his long speech, almost as if it were an afterthought:
"The European Union must also be stronger in fighting terrorism. In the past three years, we have made real progress. But we still lack the means to act quickly in case of cross-border terrorist threats. This is why I call for a European intelligence unit that ensures data concerning terrorists and foreign fighters are automatically shared among intelligence services and with the police".
"Real progress"? The last three years saw an enormous surge in large-scale terrorist attacks in European cities: The ISIS attacks in Paris in November 2015, the Brussels attacks in March 2016, the Nice attack in July 2016, the Berlin Christmas Market attack in December 2016, and the Manchester attack in May 2017 -- and those are just the most spectacular ones. The hundreds of people killed and thousands more maimed would probably not subscribe to Juncker's definition of "progress".

Moreover, 16 years after 9/11 -- and the large-scale attacks that followed in Europe just a few years later -- it seems a bit embarrassing that the president of the European Commission is calling for enabling automatic data-sharing among intelligence services and police. Should that not have been in place more than a decade ago?

Juncker spoke of the five main priorities of the EU Commission for the coming year.
Strengthening trade and industry were first and second on the list of priorities; climate change, third, and protecting Europe from cyber-attacks fourth. The issue of migration came last.

Migration, Juncker said, choosing casual words, "will stay on our radar". He tried to claim that the EU is "protecting Europe's external borders more effectively" by adding the ridiculously small number of 1,700 officers from the new European Border and Coast Guard to aid member-states patrol places such as Greece, Italy, Bulgaria and Spain. He also claimed, "We have managed to stem irregular flows of migrants, which were a cause of great anxiety for many" -- making it sound as if the problem were European "anxiety", rather than the invasion of the continent by millions of mainly young Muslim men, several of whom have turned out to be Islamic terrorists.

Juncker made it clear that whatever Europeans may think -- polls repeatedly show that the majority of Europeans do not want any more migrants -- the EU does not intend to put a stop to migration. With ill-concealed reference to the Central and Eastern European member states' refusal to bow to EU demands, Juncker said:
"Even if it saddens me to see that solidarity is not yet equally shared across all our Member States, Europe as a whole has continued to show solidarity. Last year alone, our Member States resettled or granted asylum to over 720,000 refugees -- three times as much as the United States, Canada and Australia combined. Europe, contrary to what some say, is not a fortress and must never become one. Europe is and must remain the continent of solidarity where those fleeing persecution can find refuge".
Juncker also spoke about the issue of repatriation, a matter most European politicians gave up on years ago, even if they continue to say what they know their electorates want to hear:
"When it comes to returns: people who have no right to stay in Europe must be returned to their countries of origin. When only 36% of irregular migrants are returned, it is clear we need to significantly step up our work. This is the only way Europe will be able to show solidarity with refugees in real need of protection".
Hardly any migrants are returned to their countries of origin, nor are they ever likely to be.
As Juncker well knows, it is too complicated and too expensive. Sweden serves as an example: In 2015, Sweden received a record 163,000 migrants. In January 2016, the Swedish government stated that 80,000 of them were not eligible for asylum and would have to be repatriated.
In 2016, however, only a fraction of the migrants were sent back: roughly 4,000 out of the original 80,000 -- and at an extremely high price. 784 of the migrants were flown back home at a cost to Swedish taxpayers of 45.6 million Swedish kroner ($5.6 million).

Many migrants simply refused to leave, disappeared, or their home countries refused to receive them. The Swedish authorities paid one Moroccan migrant, Kader Bencheref -- a dangerous convicted rapist -- 40,000 Swedish Kroner ($5,000) before he finally agreed to be flown out of Sweden.
A Sudanese migrant cost taxpayers 1 million Swedish kroner ($125,000) in botched attempts at repatriation: after being sent away by Sudan, the plane had to return to Sweden.
Sometimes migrants are flown in expensive chartered private planes.
The European Commission, however, has little patience for such details. In a press release published September 6, the Commission published a sort of "report card" on the EU member states' "progress" in taking the allocated quotas of migrants.
 Even Sweden, on the brink of societal collapse from the influx of migrants, was told that it was only "close" to reaching its quota.

Finally, Juncker spoke of the need to extend the borderless area to those EU countries that are not parties to the Schengen agreement -- establishing that the EU should have no internal borders.

 Juncker said he hopes that by March 30, 2019, the Schengen area will have "become the norm for all EU Member States". As terrorists posing as migrants travel unhindered through Europe, the Schengen agreement has been proven an enormous mistake. But why bother with facts?

ISIS apparently has at its disposal some 11,000 stolen blank Syrian passports that it could put to use in order to smuggle its terrorists into Europe under fake identities; at the same time, more European ISIS fighters are expected to return to Europe. Why does the EU want to make it easy for them?

Juncker spoke about the "unity" of the EU, but the EU has never been less unified. On September 6, the European Court of Justice ruled that the European Commission has the right to order EU member states to take in asylum seekers, and that EU member states have no legal right to resist those orders.
As the EU continued to impose its will upon states that refuse to bow to its demands, Hungary's and Slovakia's complaints were thrown out.
This show of force by the EU can be called many things -- "unity" is not one of them.
Judith Bergman is a columnist, lawyer and political analyst.

Friday, September 22, 2017

2008 Mumbai attacks : Four Disturbing Questions About the Mumbai Terror Attack

Four Disturbing Questions About the Mumbai Terror Attack

February 22, 2013

 
 

David Coleman Headley case

The 35-year prison sentence imposed on David Coleman Headley, a terrorist scout and Pakistani spy convicted in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, has closed the U.S. chapter of a case with explosive international implications.

But justice remains elusive. Neither the U.S. nor Pakistani governments have fully answered critical questions about the case — including why most of the accused masterminds remain at large in Pakistan despite evidence implicating them.

Headley, 52, pleaded guilty to doing surveillance for the three-day terrorist rampage in Mumbai that killed six Americans and 160 others. His sentencing last month in Chicago made the Pakistani-American businessman the highest-ranking conspirator to be punished. Last year, India executed the surviving gunman of the attack squad sent by Pakistan’s Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group.

The investigation of Headley revealed evidence that Pakistani security forces played a direct role in terrorism against the West. His testimony at the trial of an accomplice gave an unprecedented look inside operations of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), Lashkar and al-Qaida. Yet the U.S. and Pakistan have been relentlessly secretive about Headley, who had worked as an informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

What follows is an analysis of four major questions about the Mumbai plot that includes new information and material ProPublica has not yet published in the three years we have spent examining the attack and its aftermath.

Sources include court files, investigative documents and interviews with witnesses, victims, experts and others in the United States, Europe, India and Pakistan, as well as law enforcement and intelligence officials whom we agreed not to identify because they were not cleared to speak publicly about the case.


Q. Why doesn’t Pakistan capture Sajid Mir?

A. U.S. prosecutors indicted Mir, a Lashkar chief and the accused lead planner of the Mumbai plot. But despite overwhelming evidence — notably phone intercepts that recorded Mir directing the slaughter — Pakistani authorities have not pursued him.

Some investigators believe he is or was an ISI officer. Others think he merely works with the ISI and has powerful protectors. Nonetheless, his trajectory confirms a former French operative’s comment that he is “untouchable in Pakistan.”

Information recently obtained by ProPublica reveals that Pakistani authorities questioned and released Mir after the Mumbai attacks in late November 2008. Mir spent three days in a Karachi command post overseeing the attacks by phone, then returned to a Lashkar compound of residences, offices and training areas in Muzaffarabad, according to a captured Indian militant who assisted at the command post.

On Dec. 1, a team from Pakistan’s Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) showed up at the compound known as Beit-ul-Muhajadeen. The investigators arrested Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the group’s military chief, and a few others. But they did not arrest Mir, another mastermind named Abu Qahafa or the Indian militant, 31-year-old Syed Zabiuddin. The three militants slipped out a back gate, according to Zabuiddin’s confession after his arrest last summer.

In mid-December, FIA investigators questioned Mir and Qahafa in Islamabad. But the two Lashkar chiefs “were let off two days later,” Zabiuddin told Indian investigators. It is not clear why the Pakistani investigators released Mir, the most-wanted accused mastermind, while keeping other suspects in custody.
In the months after Mumbai, Mir worked on new plots against India and sent Headley to do reconnaissance for an attack on a Danish newspaper that had published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. In spite of his wanted status, Mir was so sure of his clout that he visited Lakhvi at least twice at the Adiala jail in Rawalpindi.

Headley told Indian and U.S. interrogators about a jailhouse visit by Mir in early 2009. Zabiuddin has revealed a second visit. He said that in September 2009 he accompanied Mir to the jail, where the Lashkar defendants are housed together in comfortable quarters, according to Indian counterterror officials. The militants ate sweets while Lakhvi told them “he had struck a deal with the government and as such no further arrests ought to be made,” Zabiuddin later told investigators.

Mir survived Headley’s arrest in Chicago in late 2009. Headley told FBI agents all about his Lashkar handler and even helped in a failed bid to lure Mir out of Pakistan. In 2010, Mir began another bold plot: a plan to attack the Nashik Police Academy about 120 miles east of Mumbai, Indian counterterror officials said. Mir cultivated at least two operatives, one of whom was arrested in Nashik that October, according to the Indian counterterror officials.
“I believed [Mir] was constantly making efforts to station (Lashkar) cadres to target Nashik Police Academy,” Zabiuddin said.

In November 2010, a two-part ProPublica series put Mir on the front page of The Washington Post. Weeks later, he again consulted the Indian militant about the Nashik plot, according to Indian counterterror officials. Mir asked if he thought a Pakistani named Hafiz Usman could function undercover in India effectively enough to strike the police academy, the counterterror officials said.

Today, investigators say Mir remains operational and that his whereabouts are known to Pakistani security. They say his alliance with the ISI and his determination to kill Indians, Americans, Europeans, Jews and other Westerners make him a threat.


Q. What was the full extent of the role of Pakistani intelligence in Mumbai?

A. The case marks the first time U.S. prosecutors have charged a serving Pakistani intelligence officer in a terrorist attack.
Given the delicate U.S.-Pakistan relationship, the Justice Department and FBI did not reach the decision lightly. They were convinced that the ISI officer, known only as Major Iqbal, plotted in tandem with Mir. Pakistani officials deny that Major Iqbal is an ISI officer. But there is compelling evidence that Iqbal was Headley’s ISI handler, that he provided direction, funding and training for the Mumbai attacks and that he helped launch the Denmark plot.

U.S. investigators have a good idea of who and where Iqbal is. He has rotated to a new ISI assignment, according to U.S. and Indian counterterror officials.
Zabiuddin’s account offers further corroboration of Headley’s story. Zabiuddin gave investigators the first look inside the operation’s control room, according to Indian counterterror officials, and he linked the location to the ISI.

Lashkar militants set up the command post in a house in the Malir neighborhood of Karachi, according to Zabiuddin. Indian counterterror officials have obtained the GPS coordinates of the site. The house usually functioned as offices for a fishing business; the Indian saw life vests and fishing nets on the premises. The fishing business, a front, was run by the chief of Lashkar’s air and sea operations, a militant named Yaqoob. An ISI officer named Major Sameer Ali worked with Yaqoob in the front company, according to Zabiuddin’s account.

This echoes Headley’s description of Yaqoob and ISI officers using fishing vessels for operations, including sea deployment of the 10-man Mumbai squad.
Headley identified Major Ali as a colleague of Major Iqbal and fellow liaison to Lashkar. On the afternoon of Nov. 26, 2008, Zabiuddin said he saw Major Ali arrive in a Toyota HiLux at the Lashkar command post just a few hours before the attackers landed ashore in Mumbai. Major Ali met with Lakhvi, the Lashkar military chief, at the safe house for half an hour, according to Zabiuddin.

The ISI reassured militants they could rest easy after the attack, Zabiuddin told investigators. In January 2009, he said a high-ranking Lashkar boss named Muzzammil took him to a factory in Muzaffarabad, where they met with an ISI officer named Colonel Hamza and his personal assistant, Subeder Abdul Sabir.
“Both of us came out with assurances from Col. Hamza on my protection from arrest,” Zabiuddin told Indian investigators.

U.S. and Indian investigators believe Col. Hamza is a spymaster whom Headley also met and identified as “Lt. Col. Hamza,” Major Iqbal’s commanding officer.
Indian leaders accuse the ISI leadership of direct involvement in Mumbai. In all, Headley and others implicated a brigadier, two colonels, at least three majors, a Pakistani Navy frogman and noncommissioned officers. Headley described an almost symbiotic bond between Lashkar and ISI chiefs, though he also said he did not think the ISI director knew about the plot.


Q. What risk does Lashkar-e-Taiba pose in the future?

A. Pakistani authorities insist they have cracked down on Lashkar. They have prosecuted suspects for Mumbai, shut down militant outposts and prevented major new attacks against India and the West.

Yet the crackdown has been a strange dance. It gives the sense of a deal negotiated in the shadows. The power of the ISI and of Lashkar, which is a military, political, social and religious force in Pakistan, has ensured impunity.

In contrast to al-Qaida trainers dodging U.S. drone strikes in remote secret compounds, Lashkar camps are large, well-appointed and well-known. Mountain training complexes have churned out thousands of fighters over the years. The group’s air and sea wings display its ambitions. Zabiuddin said Lashkar stockpiled hundreds of cartons of paragliding kits and trained with the paragliders, which the militants “envisaged using in an attack,” an Indian counterterror official said.

There were clearly tensions between elements of the Pakistani government and Lashkar after the Mumbai attacks. The FIA, a relatively small agency with the daunting task of investigating terrorism in Pakistan, showed aplomb in arresting Lakhvi and several others at their headquarters. Soon afterward, the Pakistani Army fired shells and rockets at the Bait-ul-Mujahadeen complex, wounding a Lashkar fighter and drawing retaliatory fire, according to the account of Zabiuddin. He said the Army occupied the complex for three months.

The crackdown only came, however, after Lashkar had been given advance warning and removed equipment from harm’s way, the Indian militant told investigators. Zabiuddin described a methodical reaction: Lashkar operatives leased 10 or 12 acres and brought in excavation gear owned by the militant group to build a replacement complex near Dolai. The new facility was up and running by July 2009, Zabiuddin said. Training and plotting shifted to this and other venues, according to Western and Indian counterterror officials.

FIA investigators have told U.S. agents they do not plan to arrest other plotters, according to U.S. counterterror officials. A trial of Lakhvi and fellow defendants in Pakistan drags on, plagued by procedural delays and disputes with India.

Lakhvi’s custody arrangements are a topic of derision among Western and Indian counterterror officials. Headley told interrogators an anecdote: After Lakhvi’s arrest, FBI agents asked to question him for their investigation into the six American deaths. The ISI refused, telling the FBI instead to submit questions. ISI officers then sat down with Lakhvi and “came up with answers” for the FBI, according to Headley’s account.

Lakhvi’s three wives visit him in custody. One wife had a child in 2010, according to Zabiuddin’s statement. In addition, imprisonment does not prevent Lakhvi from calling shots as Lashkar military commander. As ProPublica reported, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, chief of Pakistan’s armed forces and a former ISI director, rebuffed a face-to-face appeal from a senior U.S. official in 2011 to prevent new attacks by confiscating the Lakhvi’s cellular phone.

By phone and in person, Lakhvi oversees operations in Afghanistan, where his militants fight U.S. troops alongside other Islamic groups. Lashkar fights on traditional fronts too: attacking India in the contested Kashmir region and directing proxy Indian terrorist groups.

Upcoming elections in Pakistan may shape the group’s future. Lashkar has a huge treasury: a mix of donations and tens of millions of dollars allegedly provided by the ISI. The group owns companies, schools, hospitals and charities and could develop a more overt political role, comparable to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Hafiz Saeed, Lashkar’s spiritual leader, has raised his profile. He gave a rare interview to The New York Times this month in which he denied involvement in terrorism. Although the U.S. has issued a $10 million reward for Saeed’s capture, Pakistani police guarded the compound where he gave the interview.

As U.S.-led military forces pull out of Afghanistan, combat-hardened Lashkar militants could push for attacks on India and the West, some experts warn.
“There are multiple potential pathways for the group,” said Stephen Tankel, an American University professor who’s written a book about Lashkar. “Depending on how things play out in Afghanistan as well as with the India-Pakistan peace process we could see an uptick in internal tension in the group. If so, that could mean trouble for Pakistan, for the region and possibly for the West as well.”


Q. Why didn’t U.S. authorities stop Headley sooner?

A. ProPublica has explored in detail the repeated warnings about Headley to the FBI and the missed opportunities to stop him between 2001 and 2009.

Reacting to ProPublica’s reports, in late 2010 the Director of National Intelligence ordered a multiagency review of Headley’s contacts with the U.S. government. The conclusions were kept secret. In addition, Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., chairman of a House appropriations subcommittee, responded to ProPublica articles by submitting a long list of questions to the FBI and DEA about Headley’s work as an informant and six FBI inquiries into his extremist activity. Wolf has declined to disclose the responses.

The secrecy makes it hard to assess the government’s failure to detect the threat from Headley. But the FBI’s tepid approach contrasts with other cases, according to lawyer Charles Swift, who defended Headley’s accomplice in Chicago and specializes in terrorism cases.

“What has struck me is the FBI’s doggedness in tracking anyone who has potential information,” Swift said. “I have clients who the FBI has flown across the country to interview at airports. I have had clients stopped for four hours of questioning by the Joint Terrorism Task Force at airports. It’s unthinkable they didn’t do more regarding Headley.”

Federal agents opened six inquiries about Headley between 2001 and 2008, but only questioned him once. That interview took place in a DEA office three weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks because of a report that he praised the al-Qaida strike and wanted to fight jihad in Pakistan.

Headley’s defense was partly true: that he was a DEA informant and had been gathering intelligence on Islamic extremists. Yet strangely, his DEA handlers did not write a report about the FBI inquiry or look into a claim Headley made that he was related to a Pakistani spymaster. DEA officials insist that they did not know that Headley was already an active militant in Lashkar.

There also is no convincing explanation of why a federal court abruptly ended Headley’s probation for a drug conviction three years early, or why the DEA deactivated him soon after he signed a one-year informant contract in September 2001. The official silence and contradictions reinforce suspicions that he kept working as a U.S. informant in some capacity while he trained with terrorists in Pakistan.

Official explanations are incomplete about other inquiries into Headley. Why didn’t FBI agents interview Headley in 2005 after his wife had him arrested for domestic abuse and accused him of being a Lashkar militant? Interviews with her and a DEA handler indicated that he was at least a potentially valuable intelligence source. What explains Headley’s contact with the DEA soon after that inquiry? According to a DEA timeline prepared in response to a ProPublica request, in February of 2006 “the DEA received an impromptu phone call from Headley. The call lasted between five and 10 minutes and was social in nature. Operational and investigative matters were not discussed.”

According to the DEA, this was the agency’s last contact with Headley until his arrest for the Mumbai attacks. The timing of his social call to the DEA is perplexing. In early 2006, Headley was doing surveillance in Mumbai, changing his name to perfect his cover, and becoming a spy for the ISI.

The next warning was the closest U.S. agencies came to discovering the Mumbai plot. In meetings in late 2007 and 2008, another of Headley’s wives went to the U.S. embassy in Pakistan and accused him of being a spy and terrorist. Embassies get many “walk-ins” who make wild accusations. The wife later admitted to an investigator that she was emotional and mixed lies with the truth. Still, she told U.S. agents about Headley’s Lashkar activity, his suspicious travel to India and her belief he was involved in attacks.

She said she showed U.S. agents photos of her with Headley at the Taj Mahal Hotel, his main target. She phoned an agent several times with more information, according to her account. She said the agents had a file on Headley and knew about his Lashkar training. Yet officials say Headley was not interviewed or monitored. The key unanswered question: Did U.S. agents learn at this time of the three similar previous warnings that bolstered the wife’s credibility?

The final inquiry into Headley also remains murky.
Days after the Mumbai attacks, an associate of Headley’s mother alerted FBI agents in Philadelphia about her suspicions that Headley was involved with Pakistani militants. It is disconcerting that Headley’s cousin in Philadelphia succeeded in lying to FBI agents, claiming Headley was in Pakistan and then calling him at home in Chicago to warn him. It is surprising that the FBI did not locate Headley, who weeks later left the country and did extensive terrorist surveillance in Denmark and India, returning to the scene of the crime.

Lashkar was now an urgent threat. Agents learned about the previous FBI inquiries, which connected Headley to Lashkar and Mumbai. But U.S. authorities did not warn Indian law enforcement or issue a travel alert for him. It took another seven months and a tip from British intelligence to open the investigation that resulted in his capture.

“It is a puzzling question,” said Patrick Blegen, Swift’s co-counsel in the Chicago case. “It could be explained by ineptitude. Or it could be that the federal agencies had some comfort with him, they didn’t think he was a threat because he had been an informant in the past.”

Top Indian officials allege that Headley was a double agent for the U.S. government at the time of the Mumbai plot. After extensive reporting, ProPublica has found no proof for that allegation. As U.S. officials insist, Headley may have simply slipped through the cracks of the counterterror system. Until more is revealed, however, legitimate suspicions will persist.

“Headley proved that for all our changes in security, we are not much safer,” Swift said. “It was too easy. When the real big bad terrorist showed up, no one saw him.”

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/four-disturbing-questions-about-the-mumbai-terror-attack/

No evidence that Muslims hijacked planes on 9/11 By Elias Davidsson


No evidence that Muslims hijacked planes on 9/11
By Elias Davidsson

10 January 2008 (revised 8 February 2008)
 http://911blogger.com/news/2008-06-16/no-evidence-muslims-hijacked-planes-911-elias-davidsson



Abstract: The United States government has alleged that 19 individuals with Arab names, deemed fanatic Muslims, hijacked four passenger planes on 11 September 2001 and crashed them in a suicide-operation that killed approximately 3,000 people. In this Note, the author shows that there is no evidence that these individuals boarded any of these passenger planes. Absent such evidence for over six years, the official account of 9/11 must finally be exposed as a lie.

The US government alleges that nineteen individuals whose names and photographs have been released by the FBI1 and whom no one has seen since 11 September 2001, had booked seats on flights AA11, AA77 (American Airlines) UA93 and UA175 (United Airlines) for that same day, boarded onto those flights, hijacked the aircraft and deliberately crashed these aircraft with passengers and crew on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on a field in Pennsylvania.

The accusations against these nineteen individuals were based, for the most part, on what were described as lucky discoveries made on 9/11 by the FBI.
The first was the discovery of two pieces of luggage allegedly owned by Mohammed Atta, the lead suspect, which were not loaded onto flight AA11 at Boston Logan airport. The reason why these bags were not loaded onto the aircraft was never disclosed. According to FBI Special Agent James M. Fitzgerald, who testified at the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the connecting flight from Portland which brought Mohammed Atta and his alleged co-hijacker Abdul Aziz Alomari to Boston, had ‘arrived too late for the luggage to be loaded onto Flight 11’2 According to the 9/11 Commission, however, the flight arrived on time at approximately 6:45 A.M., one hour before the scheduled departure of Flight AA11.3 It has never been revealed who was responsible for the “mistake” that ensured that the bags would not be loaded onto the aircraft. The contents of the luggage enabled FBI agents, as claimed by them, to ‘swiftly unravel the mystery of who carried out the suicide attacks and what motivated them’.4

Among the items reportedly found in Atta’s bags were: a hand-held electronic flight computer, a simulator procedures manual for Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft, a slide-rule flight calculator, a copy of the Qur’an and a handwritten testament written in Arabic.5 According to later testimonies by former FBI agents, the luggage also contained the identities of all 19 suspects involved in the four hijackings, information on their plans, backgrounds, motives, al Qaeda connections and [a] folding knife and pepper spray.6 According to FBI Special Agent Fitzgerald, Abdul Aziz Alomari’s passport was also found in one the bags.7

1
FBI, Press Release, 27 September 2001. Available at
http://www.fbi.gov/pressrel/pressrel01/092701hjpic.htm
2
United States of America v Zacarias Moussaoui, U.S. District Court, Alexandria Division. Cross-
examination of FBI Special Agent James M. Fitzgerald. March 7, 2006, 10:00 A.M. Transcript p. 38.
Available at http://cryptome.org/usa-v-zm-030706-01.htm
3
9/11 Commission’s Staff Report of 26 August 2004 (declassified), p. 3. Available at
http://www.archives.gov/legislative/research/9-11/staff-report-sept2005.pdf
4
Michael Dorman, ‘Unravelling 9-11 was in the bags’, Newsday, 17 April 2006. Available at
http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/ny-
uslugg274705186apr17,0,6096142.story?coll=ny-nationalnews-print
5
FBI Affidavit, at http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/atta/resources/documents/fbiaffidavit1.htm
6
Michael Dorman, supra n. 4
7
United States of America v Zacarias Moussaoui, supra n. 2

p. 2

Other incriminating items were also swiftly found at other locations. 

= The 9/11 Commission noted, for example, that a passport of one of the alleged hijackers was found near the World Trade Center where a ‘passer-by picked it up and gave it to a NYPD detective shortly before the ...towers collapsed’8. Numerous observers found it hard to believe that such a document could make it undamaged from the pocket of a dead suspect in the burning wreckage within the building to the street and be found miraculously within minutes.
= A Saudi Arabian driver’s license of Ahmad al-Ghamdi, another suspect, ‘was [also] recovered at the World Trade Center crash site’.
= A Toyota Corolla registered to alleged hijacker Nawaf Alhazmi was discovered at Washington’s Dulles Airport on 12 September. It contained a ‘four-page letter written in Arabic that was identical to the one recovered from the luggage of Mohammed Atta at Logan Airport’, a cashier’s check made out to a flight school in Phoenix, four drawings of the cockpit of a 757 jet, a box cutter-type knife, maps of Washington and New York, and a page with notes and phone numbers.9
= In a car rented by alleged hijacker Marwan Alshehhi and discovered at Boston’s Logan Airport, the FBI found an Arabic language flight manual, a pass giving access to restricted areas at the airport, documents containing a name on the passenger list of one of the flights, and the names of other suspects. The name of the flight school where Mohammed Atta and Alshehhi studied, Huffman Aviation, was also found in the car.10
= A number of documents purporting to identify the suspects of flight UA93 were reportedly found at that flight’s crash site, though no aircraft wreckage was seen there and no drop of blood.11 The incriminating items included the passport of alleged hijacker Al Ghamdi,12 alleged hijacker Alnami’s Florida Driver’s License13, his Saudi Arabian Youth Hostel Association ID card14, a visa page from alleged hijacker Ziad Jarrah’s passport15, and a business card of Jarrah’s uncle.16
At the Pentagon crash site, a “Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Student Identity Card” is discovered with alleged hijacker Majed Moqed’s name on it.17
= On September 12, 2001, the FBI was notified by a hotel owner in Deerfield Beach, Florida, that he found a box cutter left in a room left by alleged hijacker Marwan Alshehhi and two unidentified men. The owner said to have found in a nearby trash a duffel bag containing Boeing 757 manuals, three illustrated martial arts books, an 8-inch stack of East Coast flight maps, a three-ring binder full of handwritten notes, an English-German dictionary, an airplane fuel tester, and a protractor.18

8
Susan Ginsburg (staff member of the Commission) at Public Hearing of the 9/11 Commission, 26
January 2004. Available at http://www.sacred-texts.com/ame/911/911tr/012604.htm
9
U.S. v. Moussaoui, supra n. 7, p. 39; Arizona Daily Star, 28 September 2001, Cox News Service, 21
October 2001.
10
Los Angeles Times, 13 September 2001
11
Robb Frederick, ‘The day that changed Amereica’, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 11 September 2002.
Cached at
http://www.aldeilis.net/english/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2263&Itemid=107
12
Moussaoui trial exhibit PA00108, at
http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov/notablecases/moussaoui/exhibits/prosecution/PA00108.html
13
Moussaoui trial exhibit PA00110, at
http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov/notablecases/moussaoui/exhibits/prosecution/PA00110.html
14
Moussaoui trial exhibit PA00102, at
http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov/notablecases/moussaoui/exhibits/prosecution/PA00102.html
15
Moussaoui trial exhibit PA00105.08, at
http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov/notablecases/moussaoui/exhibits/prosecution/PA00105-08.html
16
Moussaoui trial exhibit GX-PA00109, at http://www.rcfp.org/moussaoui/
17
9/11 Commission Final Report, p. 132
18
Miami Herald, 16 September 2001; Associated Press, 16 September 2001.

p. 3

And to complete the picture, the night before 9/11, after making predictions that an attack on America would be carried the next day, some of the alleged hijackers were reported to have left in a bar a business card ... and a copy of the Qur’an.19

The amount and nature of all of that incriminating evidence suggested to an unidentified former high-level intelligence official that “whatever trail was left was left deliberately – for the FBI to chase.”20
Such suspicion is, of course, warranted. But it is important to keep in mind that the discovery of these items does not, by itself, prove that their alleged owners actually boarded any particular aircraft, hijacked those aircraft and crashed the aircraft at the known sites. The findings merely represent circumstantial evidence.
In order to prove that the suspects actually boarded the aircraft and died at the known crash sites, at least three types of evidence could and should have been produced: Authenticated passenger lists, identification of the suspects as they boarded the aircraft and identification of their bodily remains from the crash sites.

1. No authenticated passenger lists

Airline passenger lists are essential documents required for insurance purposes. This is why it is important for each airline to meticulously document and check the identities of passengers who board passenger airliners. Yet, as will be shown, the US authorities have not only failed to produce authenticated passenger lists, but have - by producing contradictory reports – admitted that such lists do not exist.

= On 13 September 2001 Attorney General John Ashcroft said that ‘between three and six individuals on each of the hijacked airplanes were involved’ in the hijackings.21
= On the same day FBI Director Robert Mueller said that a ‘preliminary investigation indicated 18 hijackers were on the four planes -- five on each of the two planes that crashed into the World Trade Center, and four each on the planes that crashed into the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania’.22
= A day later the number grew to 19. 23
= Initially, the name of Mosear Caned (ph) was released by CNN as one of the suspected hijackers.24 His name disappeared a few hours later from the list of suspects when CNN posted a new list of suspects released by the FBI 25. It was never explained why Caned’s name had appeared in the first place and why it was then removed.26
= Two other names, Adnan and Ameer Bukhari, whose names had also apparently figured on the original passenger list, disappeared and were replaced by other names.27
= A fourth person, Amer Kamfar, was also named as an initial suspect hijacker.28 His name also disappeared from the subsequent lists of suspect hijackers.
The Washington Post revealed that the original passenger lists did not include the name of Khalid Al Mihdhar who later appeared as one of the alleged hijackers. In its Final Edition of 16 September 2001 the paper explained that his name ‘was not on the American Airlines manifest for [Flight 77] because he may not have had a ticket.’29 After that date ‘reports began emerging saying that al-Mihdhar was still alive.’30

19
Associated Press, 14 September 2001
20
New Yorker, 8 October 2001
21
‘FBI: Early probe results show 18 hijackers took part’, CNN, 13 September 2001. Available at
http://edition.cnn.com/2001/US/09/13/investigation.terrorism/
22
Ibid.
23
FBI Press Release of 14 September 2001. Available at
http://www.aldeilis.net/english/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=372&Itemid=107
24
Kelli Arena, CNN, 14 September 2001, 10:11 ET. Available at
http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0109/14/bn.01.html
25
‘FBI list of suspected hijackers’, CNN, 14 September 2001, 2:00 PM, EDT. Available at
http://edition.cnn.com/2001/US/09/14/fbi.document/
26
Xymphora, ‘Analysis of the Mosear Caned mystery’. Available at
http://www.aldeilis.net/english/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1993&Itemid=107
27
Mike Fish, ‘Fla. flight schools may have trained hijackers’, CNN, 14 September 2001. Available at
http://edition.cnn.com/2001/US/09/13/flight.schools/
28
Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amer_Kamfar


p. 4

On 12 September 2001, various newspapers published partial passenger lists of the crashed flights.
= These reports included Jude Larsson, 31, and his wife, Natalie, 24, as passengers aboard flight AA11.31 Yet on September 18, 2001, the Honolulu Star Bulletin reported that the newspaper had received an email from Jude, apparently alive, notifying of the mistake.32 According to the paper, “a person claiming to be with the airlines” called Jude’s father, a person described as a “known sculptor” in his community, and informed him that his son and daughter-in-law had been passengers on flight AA11. The names of Jude and Natalie Larson then disappeared from publicized passenger lists. More bizarre is that the names of Jude and Natalie Larson, whose names are not anymore officially listed as flight AA11 victims, are still listed as dead on the National Obituary Archive.33

The aforementioned fluctuations in the number and names of the alleged hijackers (and two passengers) suggest that their identification was not based on the original passenger lists.
While printouts purporting to be copies of passenger lists from 9/11 were presented as exhibits at the Moussaoui trial and posted in May 2006 on the internet34, these printouts contain no authentication and were not accompanied by chain-of-custody reports. These lists were released discreetly, without comments or indication as to their source, suggesting that the US authorities did not relish having questions being asked about these lists’ authenticity.

While the names of all passengers, crew and suspected hijackers were publicized shortly after 9/11 in the media, the FBI and the airlines have consistently refused and continue to refuse to release the authentic, original, passenger lists and flight manifests, of the four 9/11 flights, if such lists exist at all.35
As the names of all victims and alleged hijackers have been publicized within days after 9/11, privacy considerations cannot explain the refusal to simply confirm – by releasing the original, authentic, documents – what has been publicly asserted since 9/11. The only plausible explanation for this refusal is that the release of the authentic passenger lists (if they at all exist) would undermine the official account on 9/11 and raise questions about official complicity in the crime.

2. No testimonies of aircraft boarding

A second category of evidence to prove that particular individuals have boarded a particular airplane at a particular gate and a specific time, is eyewitness testimony and security video recordings.

Did anyone witness the boarding of the aircraft?

29
Khalid Al-Mihdhar, Washington Post, 16 September 2001, p. A06 (no author indicated)
30
Wikipedia: Khalid Al-Mihdhar. Available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalid_al-Mihdhar
31
CBS, 12 September 2001, http://election.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/09/12/national/main310935.shtml;
The Honolulu Star Bulletin, 12 September 2001: http://starbulletin.com/2001/09/12/news/story1.html;
Washington Post, 13 September 2001, http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A18970-2001Sep12;
CNN (undated), http://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2001/trade.center/victims/AA11.victims.html.
32
Honolulu Star Bulletin, 18 September 2001, http://starbulletin.com/2001/09/18/news/story5.html
33
National Obituary Archive: http://www.arrangeonline.com/Obituary/obituary.asp?ObituaryID=64182329;
http://www.nationalobituaryarchive.com/donation/donation.asp?ObituaryID=64182329;
http://www.cemeteryonline.com/ctz/0Mem/20010911/AA11-2001.htm
34
http://911research.wtc7.net/planes/evidence/passengers.html
35
The refusal to release the original passenger lists, has typically taken an evasive form, illustrated in an
exchange of emails between this author and American Airlines. See
http://www.aldeilis.net/english/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2329&Itemid=107


p.5

According to the 9/11 Commission, ten of the nineteen suspects were selected on 9/11 at the airports by the automated CAPPS system for ‘additional security scrutiny’.36  Yet no one of those who handled the selectees, or any of the numerous airline or airport security employees interviewed by the FBI or the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on or after 9/11 is known to have seen the suspects.
= As for flights AA11 and UA175, which reportedly left from Logan Airport, Boston, the 9/11 Commission found that “[n]one of the [security] checkpoint supervisors recalled the hijackers or reported anything suspicious regarding their screening.”37
= As for flight AA77, which reportedly left from Dulles Airport, Washington, D.C., the 9/11 Commission wrote that “[w]hen the local civil aviation security office of the FAA later investigated these security screening operations, the screeners recalled nothing out of the ordinary. They could not recall that any of the passengers they screened were CAPPS selectees.”38
= As for flight UA93, which reportedly left from New Jersey International Airport, the 9/11 Commission indicated that the “FAA interviewed the screeners later; none recalled anything unusual or suspicious.”39 According to an undated FBI report, the ‘FBI collected 14 knives or portions of knives at the Flight 93 crash site.’40 Yet no screener is known to have mentioned coming across a single knife that morning.41

To sum this paragraph, no airport security employee has testified to have actually seen any of the alleged hijackers.

Airline personnel traditionally see off passengers as they board onto aircraft in order to tear off the stub of their boarding cards. Under the circumstances of 9/11, one would have expected to see, hear and read international media interview airline employees under headlines such as “I was the last to see the passengers alive”. Yet no such interview is known to have taken place.
The 9/11 Commission does not even mention the existence of any deposition or testimony by airline personnel that witnessed the boarding of the aircraft. And even the identities of these employees remains secret: As a response to this author’s request to interview American Airlines employees who saw off passengers of flight AA77, the airline responded that their identities cannot be revealed for privacy reasons.42

The absence of testimonies regarding the boarding process can, perhaps, be explained by a number of anomalies. It was discovered in 2003 by independent investigator Gerard Holmgren and ascertained by the present author that according to the BTS database of the US Department of Transportation (DoT), flight AA11 and flight AA77 were not scheduled to fly at all on 11 September 2001 but were scheduled to fly on the preceding and subsequent days.43 After Holmgren’s discovery was publicized on the internet, the DoT hastily added the records for AA11 and AA77 flights on the 9/11, fraudulently manipulating official records to correspond with the official account on the crime. Another discovered anomaly is that according to the BTS database the aircraft, which reportedly crashed on the Pentagon (flight

36
Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, Official
Government Edition. Available at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/911/index.html, Chapter I, Note 2, p. 451.
37
Ibid. Chapter I, p. 2. In support of this statement, the Commission refers to interviews with six named
individuals.
38
Ibid. Chapter I, p. 3. In support of this statement, the Commission refers to an interview made on April
12, 2004 with Tim Jackson, a person whose role is not indicated.
39
Ibid. Chapter I. p. 4. In support of this statement, the Commission refers to an unreleased FAA report,
“United Airlines Flight 93, September 11, 2001, Executive Report,” of Jan. 30, 2002.
40
Ibid. Note 82, p. 457
41
Staff Statement No. 3 to the 9/11 Commission made at the 7th Public Hearing, 26-27 January 2004, pp.
9-10. Available at
http://www.9-11commission.gov/staff_statements/staff_statement_3.pdf
42
Exchange of emails between the author and American Airlines, supra n. 35. See letter from American
Airlines to the author dated 1 December 2005.
43
Gerard Holmgren, ‘Evidence that Flights AA 11 and AA 77 Did Not Exist on September 11, 2001’, 13
November 2003. Available at http://www.serendipity.li/wot/aa_flts/aa_flts.htm


p.6

AA77, tail number N644AA), did not depart at all from Dulles Airport, Washington, D.C. as officially reported.44 A third anomaly is that flight AA11 was initially reported in the media to have departed from Gate number 26, while this particular flight usually had departed from Gate 32.45 The 9/11 Commission claimed, however, that the flight had departed from Gate number 32. No explanation has been given for these contradictory reports. Testimonies by eyewitnesses would have easily resolved these inconsistencies. The absence or suppression of such testimonies suggests, therefore, that what happened at boarding time is a closely held secret, the revelation of which might help solve the mystery surrounding 9/11.

As no person has testified to have witnessed the boarding process, did perhaps security cameras document it? Apparently none of the three airports from where the 9/11 aircraft reportedly departed had surveillance cameras above the boarding gates. Thus, there exists neither eyewitness testimony nor a visual documentation of the boarding process. This means in plain language that the families of those who had booked flights with one of the 9/11 flights and of the crew of these flights have been prevented from knowing what happened to their loved ones once they arrived at the three airports on the morning of 9/11.
Whether they boarded any aircraft, and if so, which, remains uncertain.

Yet public opinion remains convinced that surveillance videos of the boarding process had been shown on TV networks. In fact, what has been shown around the world was not the boarding process of any of the four aircraft but two video recordings, one of which is said to be from Portland airport and the other from Dulles Airport. The Portland video purports to show alleged hijackers Atta and Alomari before they board onto a connecting flight to Boston. Even if this video is authentic and if it actually shows these individuals, it does not show what they did after they arrived in Boston.
The other security video recording is said to be from the screening checkpoint at Dulles Airport, Washington, D.C., from where flight AA77 allegedly departed.

According to all known sources, Logan Airport, Boston, did not have any surveillance cameras on 9/11, neither at the security checkpoints nor above the boarding gates.46 No one is known to dispute this fact. According to the 9/11 Commission’s staff, the Newark International Airport, from which flight UA93 reportedly departed, did not either have such equipment47. But this claim has been contradicted by Michael Taylor, president of American International Security Corporation who claims that security cameras had been installed at that airport.48 The video recording that has been shown widely purports to show the alleged hijackers of flight AA77 pass through the security checkpoint at Dulles Airport, Washington, D.C. This recording was not voluntarily released by the US government, but was forced out in 2004 under the Freedom Of Information Act.49 This video recording can be found on various sites on the Internet.50 Jay Kolar, who published a critical analysis of this recording,51 pointed out that it does not show the date and time of recording or the camera number. Security videos typically record such identifying information automatically. He also pointed

44
The Flight Path Study – American Airlines Flight 77 by the NTSB, 19 February 2002,
http://www.ntsb.gov/info/Flight_%20Path_%20Study_AA77.pdf
45
Ewing2001, Flight 11 – The Twin Flight, http://911wideopen.com/mirror/twin11-1/twin-11-mod.htm
46
Staff Statement No. 3, supra n. 41. p. 18
47
Staff Statement No. 3, supra n. 41. p. 35
48
Doug Hanchett and Robin Washington, ‘Logan lacks video cameras’, Boston Herald, 29 September
2001.
49
Nick Grimm, ‘Commission report finalised as 9/11 airport video released’, ABC.net.au, 22 July 2004.
Available at http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2004/s1159804.htm
50
The video can be viewed here: http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/hijackers_video.html
51
Jay Kolar, ‘What we now know about the alleged 9-11 hijackers’, in The Hidden History of 9-11-2001,
Research in Political Economy, Vol. 23, 3-45, Elsevier Ltd. (2006), pp. 7-10


p.7

out further anomalies, such as the unusually bright lighting (which suggest that the recording was not made in the morning) and the fact that a human operator had manipulated the camera in order to zoom on particular subjects (indicating foreknowledge of those subjects). His conclusion is that someone deliberately decided to film certain persons passing a security checkpoint at a certain time in order to produce “evidence”. The released recording does not show any passengers pass through the security checkpoint. Aside from the dubious source of this recording, it does not show who boarded the aircraft but only a few individuals who passed some security checkpoint at an unknown time.

3. No boarding passes

To ensure that all checked-in passengers actually board the aircraft, airline personnel usually tear a stub of the boarding pass and count these stubs. These stubs carry the names of the passengers.
The 9/11 Commission Staff report,52 which mentions specifically that Mohammed Atta received a “boarding pass” at Portland airport, does not mention at all boarding passes in connection with flights AA11, AA77, UA175 and UA93, as if such documents did not exist. The Staff report does not explain how the airlines checked who boarded the aircraft.

4. No positive identification of the alleged hijackers’ bodily remains

According to the official account, the 19 hijackers died in the crashes at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and at the crash site near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Yet, there is no positive proof that they did. There is no indication that a proper chain of custody53 between the crash sites and the final disposition of bodily remains had been established by the FBI, as required in criminal cases. The 9/11 Commission did not refer to any such documentation.

Unidentified officials spoken to by The Times (U.K.) in October 2001 expected that the bodies of the 9/11 suspects would be identified ‘by a process of elimination’54. They did not explain why they did not expect a positive identification of these bodies.

Chris Kelly, spokesman of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP), where the identification of the victims’ remains from flights AA77 and UA93 took place, said that the authorities were reluctant to consider releasing the hijackers’ bodies: ‘We are not quite sure what will happen to them, we doubt very much we are going to be making an effort to reach

52
Staff Report, supra n. 3
53
In practical terms, a chain of custody is the documentation and testimony that proves that the evidence has not been altered or tampered with in any way since it was obtained. This is necessary both to assure its admissibility in a judicial proceeding and its probative value in any preceding investigation. “Proving chain of custody is necessary to ‘lay a foundation’ for the evidence in question, by showing the absence of alteration, substitution, or change of condition. Specifically, foundation testimony for tangible evidence requires that exhibits be identified as being in substantially the same condition as they were at the time the evidence was seized, and that the exhibit has remained in that condition through an unbroken chain of custody. For example, suppose that in a prosecution for possession of illegal narcotics, police sergeant A recovers drugs from the defendant; A gives police officer B the drugs; B then gives the drugs to police scientist C, who conducts an analysis of the drugs; C gives the drugs to police detective D, who brings the drugs to court. The testimony of A, B, C, and D constitute a "chain of custody" for the drugs, and the prosecution would need to offer testimony by each person in the chain to establish both the condition and identification of the evidence, unless the defendant stipulated as to the chain of custody in order to save time.” (Free Online Law Dictionary, http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Chain+of+custody )
54
Damian Whitworth, ‘Hijackers' bodies set Bush grisly ethical question’, The Times (U.K.), 6 October
2001


p.8

family members over there.’55 He did neither explain why no efforts would be made to locate the families of the alleged hijackers, nor why AFIP could not use comparison DNA samples from known locations in the United States where the alleged hijackers had lived. While the AFIP announced to have positively identified the human remains of all ‘innocent’ passengers and crew from the flights, they did not identify the remains of any of the alleged hijackers.
Kelly said later: ‘The remains that didn’t match any of the samples were ruled to be the terrorists’.56 Somerset County coroner Wallace Miller said that the “death certificates [for the suspected hijackers] will list each as 'John Doe'”.57

As for the remains of the suspects who allegedly flew AA11 and UA175 into the Twin Towers, a spokeswoman for the New York Medical Examiner’s Office, where the identification of the WTC victims took place, said to have received from the FBI in February 2003 “profiles of all 10 hijackers ...so their remains could be separated from those of victims.” She added: “No names were attached to these profiles. We matched them, and we have matched two of those profiles to remains that we have.”58 No explanation was given where and how the FBI secured the “profiles” of these 10 individuals, why it took so long to hand them for identification and why they could not be identified by name.

The lack of positive identification of the alleged hijackers’ bodily remains, compounded by the lack of an established chain of custody of these remains, means that the US authorities have failed to prove that the alleged hijackers died on 9/11 at the known crash sites.

5. Conclusion

As shown above, the US authorities have failed to prove that the 19 individuals accused of the mass murder of 9/11 had boarded the aircraft, which they allegedly used to commit the crime.
No authenticated, original, passenger lists, bearing their names, have been released; no one is known to have seen them board the aircraft; no video recordings documented their boarding; no boarding pass stub is know to exist, which would document their boarding; and there is no proof that the alleged hijackers actually died at the known crash sites.

In the months following 9/11, reports appeared in mainstream media that at least five of the alleged hijackers were actually living in various Arab countries.59 These reports led to speculation that the identities of some of the hijackers were in doubt. Typical of such reports is an Associated Press dispatch of 3 November 2001, which states: “The FBI released the names and photos of the hijackers in late September. The names were those listed on the planes’ passenger manifests and investigators were certain those were the names the hijackers used when they entered the United States. But questions remained about whether they were the hijackers’ true identities. The FBI has not disclosed which names were in doubt and [FBI Director] Mueller provided no new information on the hijackers’ identities beyond his

55
Ibid.
56
‘Remains Of Nine Sept. 11 Hijackers Held’, CBS, 17 August 2002. Available at
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/08/17/attack/main519033.shtml, mirrored at
http://www.aldeilis.net/english/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2264&Itemid=107; Tom
Gibb, ‘FBI ends site work, says no bomb used’, Post-Gazette News, 25 September 2001. Available at
http://www.post-gazette.com/headlines/20010925scene0925p2.asp
57
Tom Gibb, Flight 93 remains yield no evidence, Post-Gazette News, 20 December 2001. Cached at
http://www.aldeilis.net/english/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1060&Itemid=107
58
‘Remains of 9/11 hijackers identified’, BBC, 28 February 2003
59
A collection of articles from mainstream media on the “living hijackers” is posted on
http://www.aldeilis.net/english/index.php?option=com_content&task=category&sectionid=10&id=97&It
emid=107


p. 9

statement to reporters.” The 9/11 Commission did neither address at all these doubts nor the reports about the “living hijackers”.

On September 14, 2001, the FBI released the names of the 19 individuals “who have been identified as hijackers aboard the four airliners that crashed on September 11, 2001”.60
On September 27, 2001, the FBI released photographs of these 19 individuals. Withdrawing from its unqualified statement of September 14, the new press release said these were photographs the FBI merely “believed to be the hijackers of the four airliners”.61
Yet for most names no birth date, birthplace or specific residence is given despite the apparent availability of such data on visa application forms and other documentation possessed by the FBI.
The FBI webpage provides the following caveat: “It should be noted that attempts to confirm the true identities of these individuals are still under way.” This statement, issued on September 27, 2001, still applies today, in 2008, because the webpage has not been updated since it was initially posted and remains, therefore, the US government’s official designation of the alleged hijackers. Accordingly, a significant difference exists between the official position of the US government, as reflected by the website of the FBI, regarding the identities of the alleged perpetrators of the crime committed on 9/11 and the popularized version parroted by politicians and the media about the guilt of 19 Muslims for the mass murder of 9/11. The 9/11 Commission has studiously avoided the question of the alleged hijackers’ identities.

More than six years have elapsed since the events of 9/11. The U.S. government had in those years sufficient time to prove the identities of the persons who allegedly boarded and crashed airplanes on 9/11. If the official account on 9/11 were true, the U.S. government, more than anyone else, would have had a vested interest to produce compelling evidence in order to prove to the world, once and for all, who committed the crime. No one has better access to incriminating evidence on 9/11 as the U.S. government and its agencies. As more and more
people suspect the U.S. government of having either allowed the crime of 9/11 to take place or actually orchestrated the crime, one would have expected the U.S. government to trumpet its incriminating evidence in order to quash such suspicions. Yet, surprisingly, the U.S. government has not attempted to prove its case. On the contrary, it has maintained a low profile regarding the actual events of 9/11, preferring to focus on other alleged threats by Al Qaeda. The most plausible explanation for this surprising conduct is that the U.S. government is unable to prove its allegations for the simple reason that these allegations are lies.

Some people may wonder why the U.S. government has not simply faked all necessary evidence, such as “authentic passenger lists”, fake testimonies and fake boarding passes, in order to prove its allegations. One can only conjecture why this has not been done. Perhaps the U.S. government found that involving a larger number of individuals in fraudulent activities by manufacturing fake evidence would be riskier than simply avoid mentioning these issues in the first place: Until now the U.S. government could rely on mass media to ask no questions about the lack of evidence.

The crime of 9/11 has served to justify two wars of aggression by the United States, an indefinite and global “war on terror”, and numerous, serious, violations of international law.
The continuous reliance on the official account regarding 9/11 threatens international peace and security. The above account should prompt all those who are concerned by human rights violations and the threat to international peace and security, to join in demanding the full truth on the events of 9/11.

60
http://www.fbi.gov/pressrel/pressrel01/091401hj.htm (emphasis added)
61
http://www.fbi.gov/pressrel/pressrel01/092701hjpic.htm (emphasis added)
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