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Is it high treason or just a simple case of dereliction of duty?
January 11, 2007 -- All the available information indicates that at least one of these crimes was committed and the finger points squarely at the Bush administration.
On Dec. 13, 2001, the Pentagon released a tape of Bin Laden in which he confessed to his visitor, Khaled Al-Harbi, of prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks.
The tape was billed as the smoking gun that proves Bin Laden’s guilt and in order to remove all suspicion of fowl play; the Pentagon released the tape in its entirety.
If Bin Laden, through his own words, implicated himself in the planning of the 9/11 operations that took 3,000 innocent lives, the rest of the tape, which is a Bin Laden family home video of a downed Special Forces helicopter, implicates the Bush administration in a premeditated act that resulted in the loss of thousands of innocent lives in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other corners of the world.
A detailed analysis of the tape, the only one of its kind, was summarized in an article published by counterpunch.com, “Osama’s Confession; Osama’s Reprieve”. The article shows that the tape was the result of a two-part sting operation run by U.S. intelligence with the help of Saudi intelligence. The first part of the sting was to tape Bin Laden. The second part of the operation was to capture him.
The Bush administration was the closest ever to Bin Laden and could have captured him on September 26, 2001, the date of the taping; intelligence operatives were feet from him, had 4 days advance notice of the date of the meeting, 24 hours advance notice of the exact location, and knew that Bin Laden would be there for at least 3 hours if not longer since his family and his favorite son Hamza lived in that village and Bin Laden was very likely to stay overnight.
This scripted opportunity to capture him, barely two weeks after 9/11 and ten day prior to invading Afghanistan, was squandered in favor of taping him confessing; that can only be considered dereliction of duty in time of war.
There is no telling how the war on terror would have evolved with Bin Laden in custody, but, if captured on September 26, there would have been no justification to launch military operations against Afghanistan ten days later; the civilians who died in Afghanistan as a result are no longer unfortunate collateral damage, they were murdered.
The article also shows that Bin Laden’s capture was deferred to a future unknown date with little or no advance notice and little control over the capture operation parameters.
The technical analysis of the tape places a member of the sting team that did the taping, in the village up until November 5, 2001. Based on events and the variety of U.S. assets that converged on that little village on November 2, 2001, the sting team member's duty was to alert the Special Forces of when Bin Laden returned to visit his family.
On that date, a Special Forces helicopter crashed on a hill near the village. The Pentagon tells us that the helicopter was on a rescue mission to retrieve a wounded soldier and that it crashed in bad weather. A second helicopter on that mission rescued the crew while an F-14 destroyed the disabled helicopter shortly thereafter. The Pentagon gave 1:30 pm ET as the time of the helicopter crash, 11:00 pm local.
On that same date, the Pentagon reported that a Predator went missing at 2:15 pm ET, 11:45 pm local.
When the counterpunch article was published, I had not made a connection to the Predator. However, there was one loose item in my analysis that I filed away thinking it did not effect my article's conclusions. This item was a four cylinder, air cooled reciprocating engine with a Garrett turbo charger. At the time, I knew it was not large enough to run the main rotor of a military helicopter and assumed it was an auxiliary power unit (APU) that a variety of aircrafts use.
Approximately two weeks ago, I decided to revisit that item. I approached my investigation from a different angle and, after two days of work, was able to identify the engine as a Rotax 914. The only aircraft that uses this engine is a modified Predator of which the Air Force had only two examples on the date of the crash.
The Bin Laden family home video tapes the Predator engine as part of the helicopter wreckage. Further viewing of the video reveals that among other wreckage footage, the camera housing of a Predator was taped and erroneously identified as part of the helicopter.
Rotax 914 Wreckage (inverted), engine mounts visible, source Pentagon tape. CSPAN
Rotax 914 Wreckage, valave cover and turbo charger visible, source Pentagon tape. CSPAN
Predator Wescam camera pod, source Pentagon tape. CSPAN
Such intermingling of wreckage parts can only indicate that the helicopter and the Predator collided in midair and crashed.
Bad weather might have been the cause but freezing rain did not cause equipment failure; both the Predator and the helicopter are equipped with sophisticated deicing systems. The Bad weather and low ceiling might have caused the air space to shrink and caused the aircraft to fly in closer proximity. While the helicopter is equipped with a collision avoidance system, the Predator is not.
Predator excluded, a university math professor had put the probability of Bin Laden being in that village at the same time as the helicopter at 5 in 1000 and much lower on a night with freezing rain. When an intelligence operative was added to his calculations, the probably got closer to a certainty that Bin Laden was the target.
Now that a Predator is also placed at the scene, one of only two examples in the Air Force’s arsenal, there is no doubt that Bin Laden was the target of either an elimination or capture operation.
One might think that sending those troops on such an operation, in such horrendous weather conditions, was tantamount to sending them on a suicide mission. On its own operational merits it might not have been. The question is whether those sent on the mission were aware of the taping operation and the better opportunity to capture Bin Laden?
The "failure of the capture" part, the important and what should have been the primary part of the sting operation, makes the entire operation a failure and the confessional video, a by-product of a failed intelligence operation.
On December 13, 2001, the date the tape was released by the Pentagon with presidential approval, there was no real need to release it. All was going the way the Bush administration wanted except for sentiments in the Muslim world.
Ramadan had started on November 16 that year and Bush and Rumsfeld chose to continue military operations during that holy month regardless of the pleas from Muslim nations in the Middle East and Asia. The images that were reaching Muslim households through Al-Jazeera during that month infuriated them and was a strong call for proof that Bin Laden was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
The only item in the possession of the Bush administration that could counterbalance the images of dead civilian Afghanis was the Bin Laden confessional tape.
By releasing the tape, a by-product of a sensitive intelligence operation to justify an illegal policy of aggression at the detriment of national security, the Bush administration committed high treason.
When Bin Laden saw himself on TV confessing his prior knowledge, he realized that the taping was done by a covert camera and realized how close intelligence was to capturing him; Bin Laden would never let anyone that close again.
The release of the tape undermined all future efforts to capture Bin Laden, whether it is conducted by the Bush administration or any future administration; again, it screams of high treason.
Other than this recent discovery of the predator that strongly supports the original findings, there was another item I was discouraged by veteran journalists from including, and was convinced the story was strong enough without it. Sine I have already shared it with Patrick Fitzgerald, I am going to use this opportunity to share it with you as I think the people are the better judge of what is of value.
The item is a memo sent on behalf of Leo Wanta to VP Dick Cheney regarding Khaled Al-Harbi, the visitor to whom Bin Laden confessed.
First, a bit of background on Mr. Al-Harbi. Khaled Al-Harbi is an old acquaintance of Bin Laden from the early eighties who later lost the use of his legs due to an injury in Bosnia. At one time, he shared with Bin Laden the wrath of the Saudi government who stripped them both of their Saudi nationality.
Late in the nineties, Al-Harbi, without explanation, regained his citizenship and was allowed back in Saudi to teach Islam in his native Makkah. The security services of Saudi Arabia describe him as harmless, a follower, and an Al-Qaida wannabe.
Al-Harbi became famous because of his appearance in the Bin Laden video. Even though shortly after the video was released it became clear that he left Saudi on September 21, 2001, and that he traveled through Iran, there were no attempts made to retrace his movements or to track him down; his handicap would have made him very easy to track.
On December 14, 2001, a day after the confession video aired, a memo was faxed by Thomas Henry on behalf of Leo Wanta to VP Dick Cheney. In the memo, Leo Wanta tells Mr. Cheney that Al-Harbi was seen in Manila around October 14, 2001, in the company of one CIA and one FBI agent and provided the names of the agents. The memo goes on to say that there was an exchange of money and financial assets (“u boxes”) between the agents and Al-Harbi.
The date of October 14, 2001 fits well with the date of the tape of September 26, 2001. My interpretation of the financial transactions is different from that of Leo Wanta; I see them as payments for a job well done.
Through the individuals running the websites where the memo appeared, Mr. Wanta was made aware of my findings and followed by several requests for comments or discussion. The go-between told me, after several emails and phone calls, which spanned two months, that Mr. Wanta was too afraid to deal with the issue.
In the memo, when associates of Mr. Wanta approached the named federal agents, the agents identified the person in the wheel chair, Khaled Al-Harbi, as Datu Bin Abu, a name that is not Arabic, a name I could not associate with any language or ethnicity, it is simply a fictitious name the agents made up on the fly to conceal his true identity.
A leading investigative reporter for The New Yorker criticized visual identifications as unreliable. I do agree with him if such visual identification is based on a glance by an average person. Wanta, a retired intelligence operative, and his associates, are not average persons. The memo identifies them as intel op and indicates that they had close contact with Al-Harbi, observed him over a period of time, and were planning future encounters with him.
After Manila, there were no reports of the whereabouts of Al-Harbi until he arrived in Saudi Arabia in July of 2004. Al-Harbi was one of just a handful of Saudis who took advantage of a failed amnesty program for Al-Qaida members. His surrender and his treatment by Saudi Authorities were highly publicized. The Saudi authorities never questioned him, provided him with the best medical treatment, and immediately awarded his foreign wife who arrived with him, Saudi citizenship and a monthly stipend. The whole affair reeked of propaganda designed to show the magnanimity of the Saudis and to encourage other Al-Qaida members to surrender.
If Mr. Cheney received such memo, it should have been shared with the various law enforcement agencies and the agents named in the memo should have been questioned. Other than its appearance on the various websites associated with Leo Wanta and described as the “explosive memo” there is no mention of it anywhere and certainly not in the 9/11 commission report.
The majority of the information I shared with you has been shared with major mainstream media outlets, selected senators and congressman, and Patrick Fitzgerald through his media contact Randall Samborn.
For good measure they will all be copied again.
Unlike other crimes that the Bush administration is suspected of, the evidence used to expose these is still available to the media, our elected representatives, and law enforcement to probe and independently analyze.
If they choose to investigate using their resources and access that are far superior to mine, they should quickly reach the same conclusions.
Again, they cannot plead ignorance. Their inaction can only be viewed as a failure in performing their primary duty, which is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. For those sworn to protect the Constitution, their failure to act is more like aiding and abetting.
A closing message to the reader: The material you just read has been shared with Congressmen Conyers, Kucinich, and Paul, and with Senator Finegold. No action has been taken yet. I will be sharing it with Congressman Shays. I encourage all to make your elected representatives aware of this material. In terms of law enforcement, Patrick Fitzgerald and Eliot Spitzer when he was still the NY Attorney General have been provided this information. Regarding the corporate media, I am going to give a quick list of those that have been provided this information: Washington Post, LA Times, McClatchy News Organization, several Hearst newspapers, Boston Globe, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, 60 minutes, Al-Jazeera, Observer, Independent, Scotsman, and Guardian.
Of the independent media: counterpunch, Zmag, The Nation, Salon, CommonDreams, AlterNet, Antiwar, Rolling Stones Magazine, Project Censored, Village Voice, Mother Jones, Muckraker Report, The Lone Star Iconoclast, etc. were contacted and provided this information. This is a short list from memory. The point is I knocked on many doors.
When I say these entities were made aware of this information, I don't just mean via email. There were several follow up calls to various reporters and editors and often-lengthy conversations. If you think a publication might be interested, please have them either contact myself, or the Muckraker Report directly.
Very few news sources have the courage to publish this sort of information, and special thanks goes to counterpunch for putting all the effort in editing and publishing the first article. I also tip my hat to The Muckraker Report and The Iconoclast for publishing follow up articles.
I was contacted by a producer at Al-Jazeera and asked to summarize the counterpunch article in 5 to 7 minutes. Unfortunately, it did not happen. If it had, about 50 million Arabic speaking individuals would have been made aware of this information. Follow up conversations with the producer led me to believe that Al-Jazeera headquarters in Doha pulled the plug on my interview.
Recall that it was Al-Jazeera's coverage of Afghanistan that forced out the Bin Laden confession tape.
Thank you for reading this article. Please make the effort to get this information to you Congressman and Senators. Ask your associates and groups to do the same.
Remember, Speaker of the House Palosi took impeachment off the table in order to make Democrats more palatable to those on the political fence in the November 2006 elections. In one sentence she put in the dumpster all the work that Conyers did. Not that Conyers really did much with the information I sent him; not even a call from a staff member to ask follow-up questions. I can only describe the offices of the officials I contacted as black holes.
This article was first published by The Muckraker Report