On the fifteenth anniversary of the the day that changed our lives, Bangkok Jack revisits the events in a weekend series of The Jack Report
In January 2001 the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency started receiving unusual reports from its field offices all over America. Young Israelis, it was being submitted, were claiming to be art students and touring the country offering their work for sale.
Unusually there seemed to be a large number of DEA Agents and other senior federal officials who were approached at their private addresses and offered specials deals on this artwork at the front door.
Reports were also submitted by DEA offices, defence agencies and law enforcement facilities. The students, it appeared, only wanted to sell their art to top secret facilities or members of staff at their homes.
The DEA noted the emerging pattern, which began to include FBI agents, and concluded that the DEA appeared to have been targeted in what was called an ‘organised intelligence gathering activity.’ By nobody understood why, or for whom it was being carried out.
Further reports came in throughout the first six months of 2001 from over forty U.S. cities and more than one-hundred and thirty separate incidents of ‘art student encounters,’ as they were known, were documented involving the U.S. Marshall Services, the ATF, the US Air Force, the Secret Service, the FBI and the DEA themselves.
Some of the students were seen sketching the inside of federal buildings after they had gained access to innocently sell pictures to employees. Others were found to have photographs of individual federal agents and one had a computer printout of DEA groups.
On many occasions the students visited facilities and agencies so secret that they were not even known to the American public. These are located in areas without street names and with only unidentified, discrete buildings. This confirmed to U.S. authorities that information had already been gathered beforehand and that there was a major infiltration being attempted.
One of the young students was discovered to have bank receipts close to $200,000 which he claimed to have been the product of art sales. One of the groups, it was later discovered, had lived for some time in the small town of Hollywood, Florida, close to Mohammad Atta.
In March 2001 the CIA issued a warning to all federal employees about the students and informed them that two had been arrested for trespassing and then found to have counterfeit work visas and green cards. Immediately after the warning officials began dealing more aggressively with the students.
According to one account, one-hundred and forty Israeli nationals were detained or arrested between March 2001 and Sept. 11, 2001. Many of them were deported. None of the students were enrolled in the art colleges they claimed to be and some of those did not even exist.
At the time the media were generally led to believe that the students were Arabs posing as Israelis and looking for potential targets. Incredibly the story died and was rarely even mentioned.
However, after 9/11 reporter Carl Cameron did start investigating the story and was told by one U.S. Intelligence Officer that the art students were a spy-ring who were possibly observing Al- Qaeda members during the months leading up to September 11. But he was also told, quite abruptly, that ‘evidence linking these Israelis to 9/11 is classified. I cannot tell you about the evidence gathered as it is classified information.’
Cameron’s explosive story was then scuttled by the major news networks, as their sources inside the Justice Department and the FBI laughed it off as fantasy, and it then died in his arms. It would only resurface later in Europe. However, inside the DEA they knew they had a major problem. The fact that foreign nationals had the home addresses of their agents was only the start of it.
The Israeli Embassy, for their part, denied everything. Spokesman Mark Reguev (who later lied about the Dancing Israelis) said; ‘No American official or intelligence agency has complained to us about this. This story is nonsense. Israel does not spy on the United States.’
There are a number of theories as to what the Israeli students were actually doing. One is that they were trying to infiltrate a known ecstasy drug smuggling ring being run by Israeli nationals.
Another is that Mossad were simply training a new group of recruits in field operations. Both of which would seem unlikely. However yet another suggestion is that they were simply a smoke-screen. A cover for the real operation.
In May 2000 the Lower Manhattan Cultural Arts Programme, who occupied floors ninety and ninety-one of the World Trade Centre Tower One, invited an Israeli Art Project known as Gelatin to share building space with them. Fourteen art students then moved into the ninetieth floor, where they set up tents, and were issued with construction worker passes which gave them access to the trade areas of the buildings.
The group of fourteen then created a project known as The B-Thing which involved removing a window on the ninetieth floor and installing a temporary balcony. That was about it. Just a small, wooden balcony which was the photographed from a rented helicopter.
In August 2001 Gelatin published a booklet describing Project-B which included some text and obviously many behind the scenes photographs. In some of these photographs the artists are pictured clearly wearing repelling harnesses and there are fixed abseiling ropes hanging from the ceiling.
Project-B did not involve anybody climbing down the building. In another photograph rows and rows of boxes can been seen lined along a rear wall with the mark BB 18 stamped on each one. Product BB 18 are fuse holders that can be used for demolition charges. Why would art students need them for their project?
Throughout the booklet all of the art students are only pictured facing away from the camera, although not exactly concealing their identities. Or, at least, not very well because one of them has been identified as Hanan Serfaty, an Israeli military intelligence officer and bomb expert.
It was Serfaty who rented two Hollywood apartments close to Mohammad Atta and four of the other named suspects. And it turned out to be Serfaty who was found to have moved nearly $200,000 around during the first quarter of 2001 and explained it away as the proceeds from successful art sales.
This is not a conspiracy theory. These are the facts and are easy to check for yourselves. We don’t know what caused the collapse of the Twin Towers. But we do know what did not. So research Project B by the Gelatin Art Group and see for yourselves.
Finally, just to give you one more thing to think about, but it is just really a detail that may prove important one day. Or may not.
Those BB 18 fuse holders are supplied by the Littel Fuse Company in Chicago, a subsidiary of Tracor Company, a Government contractor based in Austin Texas. Tracor also owned a company called Vitro, formerly known as the KellX Corporation and now known as Halliburton.
The company of the former Vice President of the United States, Dick Cheney, and the company who made and $40 Billion profit on the Iraq War alone.
So now we have WTC7, the Twin Towers and the men in suits who walked through the fire to survival. The Dancing Israelis. And the questionable evidence provided by the U.S. Solicitor General about his wife’s phone calls. Pilots who could not fly the aircraft, suspects who were alive after 9/11 and one who was dead before hand.
Very questionable, and contradictory, evidence from the airline itself. Betty Ong and her staircase. No plane at either the Pentagon or in the field in Shanksville. And a captain in the Israeli Defence Force’s Elite Anti-Terrorist Unit, who was a hostage rescue specialist, sitting with the hijackers on Flight 11.
And there are two dark, windowless military looking planes at the Twin Towers. And we even have the American-Israeli Secretary for Defense and his company’s Flight Interruption System for remotely controlling passenger jets in case of hijack.
And thousands of BB 18 fuse holders on the ninetieth floor of the World Trade Centre where an Israeli Art group were carrying out a project that involved removing a window and abseiling equipment.