Human Rights Interactive Network presents:

September 11th Attacks - Archive of Articles

Press Investigation

"What went wrong is we had no information on [the hijackers] from intelligence and law enforcement... I'm surprised how much we learned in the immediate aftermath."

Mary Ryan, State Dept.
Bureau of Consular Affairs
  • Intelligence Inquiries into bin Laden Relatives Squashed Before September 11th FBI and military intelligence officials in Washington say they were prevented for political reasons from carrying out full investigations into members of the Bin Laden family in the US before the terrorist attacks of September 11. From The Guardian, UK.

    FBI Agent Exposes Cover-Up at Top Level In a letter to FBI director Robert Mueller, Coleen Rowley, the FBI agent in Minnesota who tipped off her superiors last August to the activities of Zacarias Moussaoui, the alleged '20th hijacker' and the sole person charged in the 11 September attacks, accused the agency of operating in 'a climate of fear. From The Observer, UK.

  • FBI Pigeonholed Agent's Recommendation to Check Flight Schools Officials had previously been unclear about when and how the suggestion was abandoned. But now they acknowledge that the request was quickly marked "closed," and plans to pursue it were postponed indefinitely. From The Washington Post.

  • 1995 Raid in Phillipines Unearthed Plot to Use Civilian Airliners Under Project Bojinka, the Bin Laden group would hijack US-bound commercial aircraft and crash them into key structures in the US. From Phillipines Headline News Online.

  • Anonymous Letter Warned of Bin Laden Attack A Cayman Islands radio station received the letter on August 29th. Three Afghan men had mysteriously appeared on the islands the previous year. This is a statement from the Cayman Islands Government, along with the text of the letter. (See also the reference to these islands in the money laundering story below from Pacific News Service.) Reprinted in the PR Newswire.

  • Intelligence Agencies Fell Asleep at the Switch Ken Garcia comments on the Los Angeles Times probe and asks why the feds didn't use the law enforcement tools already available to them. From the San Francisco Chronicle.

  • Hijacker Shuttled in and out of U.S. on Approved Visas.. Mohammed Atta also obtained a driver's license in Broward County, Florida. His name had been on the immigration watchlist since 1986. A report from the Los Angeles Times.
  • "Do you realize that a 747 loaded with fuel can be used as a bomb?"

    Minnesota Flight Instructor
    Warning to FBI in August
  • Flight School Warned F.B.I. of Suspicions.. Congressman Oberstar said the instructor's warnings could not have been more blunt. "He told them, `Do you realize that a 747 loaded with fuel can be used as a bomb?'" Congressional officials said the account by the school, the Pan Am International Flight Academy in Eagan, outside Minneapolis, raised new questions about why the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies did not prevent the hijackings. From the New York Times.

  • CIA, FBI Disagree on Urgency of Aug. 27 Cable Warning of Terrorists Entering U.S.. An intelligence official said he couldn't explain why the CIA version of the cable was marked 'immediate,' and the one the FBI received was not. He speculated that the coding had been stripped out in the FBI computers. In addition, the head of the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs complained bitterly at a Senate hearing last week that consular offices could have stopped more of the suspected terrorists from entering the country if the CIA and FBI had shared more of their intelligence with the State Department. From the Los Angeles Times.

    Search for Terrorist Suspects was on Since Early August.. The F.B.I. office in New York failed to contact its offices in L.A and San Diego, where the men were living, until a few days before the attacks. From the Los Angeles Times.

  • "I don't know when, in the last 20 years, I've heard so many members of both parties come up and say, what the heck is going on?"

    Senator Patrick J. Leahy
    Chairman, Judiciary Committee.
  • Authorities Failed to Alert Airline about Names on Watchlist. Asked Wednesday whether the FBI informed American Airlines about the two suspected terrorists who hijacked Flight 77, FBI spokesman John E. Collingwood said: "This is a pending investigation and I cannot comment." From the Los Angeles Times.

    Retracing a Trail to Sept. 11 Plot. German investigators now ruefully admit that Mohammed Atta and his colleagues, who were under surveillance in 1998 and 1999, used a Hamburg apartment as a base to plan the Sept. 11 attack. From the New York Times.

  • Bin Laden Boasts in June of Imminent Attack . An Israeli terrorist expert comments on bin Laden's claim that there will be some "surprises" for the United States and Israel in the coming weeks. From The Jerusalem Post.

  • U.S. and British Intelligence Present Details of Al Qaeda Activity Before Sept. 11th. In the weeks before last month's suicide hijackings, Bin Laden warned close associates to return to Afghanistan from other parts of the world by Sept. 10, and he "indicated he was about to launch a major attack on America," according to the intelligence. Much of the information released in London came from a lengthy, classified cable that the United States sent to allies on Tuesday. From the Los Angeles Times.

  • FBI Let Suspected Terrorist Get Away. A suspected bomber on President Bush's new list of "most wanted" terrorists was in the FBI's grasp eight years ago for allegedly playing a role in the first attack on the World Trade Center, but he was released and then allowed to leave the country, authorities acknowledged. The suspect had been questioned about his sharing of apartments in Jersey City, N.J., with others who were later indicted and convicted in the bombing, and about how explosive chemicals got on one apartment's walls and may have caused a burn mark found on his thigh. From the Los Angeles Times

  • Terrorist Insider Trading Probed By German Bank. Besides massive short selling of airlines and insurance stocks, bank president Welteke said "there was a fundamentally inexplicable rise" in world oil prices just before the attacks... German researchers also detected movements in gold markets "which need explaining." From The Washington Post.

  • U.S. Treasury and Other Agencies Accused of Footdragging . Money-laundering experts say that the U.S. effort to deny funds to terrorists by freezing their assets lacked a sense of urgency before Sept. 11, reflecting a failure to appreciate the extent of the terrorist threat. From the Los Angeles Times

  • Money Laundering: U.S. Asks Countries to Freeze Assets of "Mr. Miller". "Gulf bankers have greeted the U.S. lists with a mixture of anger, amusement and confusion. The lack of detail has slowed the identification process and caused some bank officials to be hesitant in ordering accounts frozen without better identification. 'It's like saying, 'Freeze the accounts of Mr. Miller in the USA,' Al Suweidi said. 'There might be a million of them.'" From the Los Angeles Times.

  • Tracking Terrorist Money -- Too Hot For U.S. to Handle? A controversial European book that might help authorities track terrorist funding sources remains unpublished and relatively unknown in the United States. Entitled "Revelation$," it exposes a secret banking system that might be used by terrorists. At the center is a clearinghouse in Luxembourg called Clearstream, which transfers money for international banks and major companies. From Pacific News Service.

  • A Strange Intersection of Bushes, bin Ladens Until recently, the Texas-based Bush political dynasty that produced two presidents and the Saudi Arabian-based bin Laden family that spawned the FBI's most wanted terrorist reaped dividends from the same source. Details of the case of strange business bedfellows have dribbled out over the last several months, raising at least the perception of conflicts of interest. From the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

  • 57,000 Florida Voters Purged before Election. The U.S. media, lost in patriotic reverie, dressed up the Florida recount as a victory for President Bush. But however one reads the ballots, Bush's win would certainly have been jeopardized had not some Floridians been barred from casting ballots at all. From Harper's Magazine.
  • A Taste of Things to Come. In its first major round-up of men deemed to be suspected terrorists, U.S. law enforcement officials have in many cases put aside the rule of law. And only a few of the 700 Arab men detained are being held in connection to the Sept. 11th attacks. From the Los Angeles Times

  • Attorney General Ashcroft Proposes Ending Human Rights Restrictions for Intelligence Agencies . The Justice Dept. also wants aditional police powers for surveillance and internet eavesdropping within the United States. From the Washington Post

  • USA PATRIOT Act Allows Law Enforcement Agencies to Spy on Innocent Americans. According to the ACLU director, the act gives enormous, unwarranted power to the executive branch unchecked by meaningful judicial review. Most of the new powers, she said, could be used against American citizens in routine criminal investigations completely unrelated to terrorism. From a press release issued after the new law passed Congress.

  • Congress in the Dark as Executive Power Expands. Congress, while deeply sympathetic to the Bush administration's aims in the legal fight against terrorism, is starting to rebel at the means. From the New York Times.

  • Statement of In Defense of Freedom Coalition Delivered at the National Press Club on September 20, 2001. Over 150 organizations will lobby against curtailment of civil liberties.

  • Why I Opposed Giving a Blank Check to the President The only member of Congress to oppose the War Powers resolution explains why allocating $40 billion to the President to conduct a war on terrorism may not be in our national interest. By Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Reprinted in the San Francisco Chronicle.

  • "To some it may look like the horse is out of the barn and now we?re locking the door and making a subcommittee. Well, they?re wrong.?

    Porter Goss (R-Fla.)
    House Intelligence Committee Chairman
  • The Lonely Dissenter on the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution In1964, Senator Wayne Morse was one of only two senators to vote against the Tonkin Gulf resolution, which served as the green light for the Vietnam War. His explanation may be relevant to today's war on terrorism. By Norman Solomon. From the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

    Congress Forms Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security The new subcommittee will be administered under the auspices of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. From Insight Magazine Online. For the latest on legislation, visit the House Committees and the Senate Committees official websites.

  • While Nation Distracted by Sept. 11th, FCC Chairman Announces Corporate Giveaway of Billions in UHF Channel Auctions The FCC's decision,virtually unreported in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, except by the trade press, gives 21 broadcast companies a green light to sell off a slice of the public airwaves and pocket billions of dollars that would otherwise go to the U.S. Treasury.

  • "Madison County's elections supervisor Linda Howell refused the purge list after she found her own name on it.?

    Greg Palast
    Reporting on Florida election
  • House Passes Stimulus Plan Awarding $70 Billion in Corporate Tax Breaks This Year Democrats repeatedly attacked a provision in the bill that would repeal the corporate alternative minimum tax, which was created in 1986 to make sure that companies could not escape paying income taxes through use of deductions. The bill would not only end the tax, but in effect allow companies to claim refunds of the tax back to 1986.

    The Justice Department Rewrites the Bill of Rights So it Can Eavesdrop on Suspects. The U.S. Constitution was designed to protect us from overzealous police-the sort who seize upon the flimsiest pretext to knock down doors and throw people into leg irons in the name of fighting crime. This protection, known as the "exclusionary rule," has kept the cops at bay for 40 years. But what if the police weren't interested in winning convictions? In fact, what if the top cop-the attorney general-gave them a green light to ignore constitutional protections in the name of preventing as opposed to prosecuting terrorism? From Slate Magazine.

  • U.S. Foreign Policy:

  • U.S. Rewards Pakistan with Billions for Help With Taliban. A major aid package was announced following the Sept. 11th attacks, even though Pakistan is the principle banker and defender of Afghanistan's rogue government. From The Guardian, a British newspaper.
  • U.S. Establishes Warm Relations with Afghanistan's New Rulers. "For a bunch of people who advertised their takeover with public hangings, and threaten to confine half the population to their homes, the Taliban have been given a polite American welcome." From The Economist, a British weekly magazine. November 1996.
  • America's Link to the Taliban. The United States helped groom the Taliban to counter other terrorist factions and facilitate the construction of a pipeline in Afghanistan for Unocal Oil. From the Al-Watan al-Arabi and Jeune Afrique, two Paris weeklies. November 1996.

  • The Taliban, Unocal and a Pipeline . In 1997, the Unocal vice president in charge of the pipeline project was quoted as saying that his company had provided 'non-cash bonus payments' to members of the Taliban regime in return for their cooperation. In January 1998, the Taliban signed an agreement that would allow a proposed 890-mile, $2-billion, 1.9-billion-cubic-feet-per-day natural gas pipeline project led by Unocal to proceed. From Mother Jones.

  • U.S. State Department Reports on Afghanistan
    Several reports on human rights, terrorism and the situation of women.

  • In the Middle East:

  • Terrorist Hamas: A Frankenstein Created by the U.S. Taxpayer? A former reporter for ABC looks at U.S. support and financing of the Muslim Brotherhood, the principle organization behind islamic fundamentalism. By John Kooley. From the International Herald Tribune.March 13, 1996.

    Israel Moves Into Two Arab Neighborhoods Hours after rebuking the United States for its role in the Middle East and declaring that Israelis would "depend only on ourselves," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon began one of the biggest military assaults of the yearlong conflict today, sending troops, tanks and Apache helicopters against Palestinian gunmen. From the New York Times.

  • A Conservative Total for U.S. Aid to Israel: $91 Billion and Counting "The U.S. gives Israel all of its economic aid directly in cash, with no accounting of how the funds are used. The military aid from the DOD budget is mostly for specific projects... [including] the development of the Merkava tank, which has been encircling and firing on Palestinian towns in the West Bank and Gaza." By Shirl McArthur, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. January 2001

  • A Quick Review of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict A timeline compiled by the BBC. March, 2000.

  • A Closer Look at the Israeli-Palestinian Dispute For 33 years, Israel has administered a military occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in defiance of the rest of the international community. By Richard Falk, Professor of International Law at Princeton University. From The Middle East Report. Winter, 2000

  • The Israel Lobby AIPAC is widely regarded as the most powerful foreign-policy lobby in Washington. Its 60,000 members shower millions of dollars on hundreds of members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. From The Nation.

  • "We (the U.S.) found the medieval mind, and that's who we garnished."

    Karen Parker
    Human rights attorney
  • Islamic Fundamentalism's War on Women Ann Louise Barbach's 1993 article containing interviews with Moroccan scholar Fatima Mernissi, Benazir Bhutto and other key players on this issue. Mernissi offers some particularly pointed insight on the rise of fundamentalism and its hostility towards the United States. (Worth noting: Pakistan's human rights-minded Prime Minister Bhutto was ousted from her post at the time the Taliban invaded Afghanistan in 1996. Now Pakistan's General Musharraf has forbidden her from running in elections planned for October, 2002.)

    International Law

    Report of the U.N. Special Rapporteur On Terrorism E/CN.4/Sub.2/2001/31 (Spring, 2001)
    Covers the definition and kinds of terrorism, plus applicable international law. This document is a PDF (Adobe Acrobat) file.

  • Report of the U.N. Special Rapporteur On Sanctions E/CN.4/Sub.2/2000/33 (Spring, 2000)
    Discusses humanitarian law considerations of trade embargoes and other sanctions against countries like Iraq. This document is a PDF (Adobe Acrobat) file.

    The following country reports below are excerpted from Armed Conflict in the World Today, A Country By Country Review. Compiled for International Educational Development/Humanitarian Law Project and the Parliamentary Human Rights Group by Karen Parker, J.D. et. al. Spring 2000.

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