Tuesday, January 9, 2007


Bojinka’s second phase, when seen head-on, shows that the evolution to the full-on coordinated suicide airliner tactics of 9-11 was in fact complete as 1995 dawned. No wonder U.S. authorities and their allies and relatives have so distanced themselves from awareness of it, and hewn such a close line of quarantine around references to it. Immediately after September 11 was allowed to happen, the implications started dropping that they were never told about phase two at all. For example, FBI spokesman John Collingwood wrote a letter to the Washington Post in October 2001:

“The FBI had no warnings about any hijack plots. There was a widely publicized 1995 conspiracy in Manila to remotely blow up 11 U.S. airliners over the Pacific, but that was disrupted. And, as is the practice, what was learned in that investigation was widely disseminated, even internationally, and thoroughly analyzed by multiple agencies. It does not connect to the current case.”[1]

Collingwood makes no reference at all to the part of the plot that clearly “connects.” By Peter Lance’s account, Murad was turned over to the FBI in April 1995. After a few weeks with the flight student, the Bureau produced a final memo on May 11. For whatever reason, with access to Philippine interrogators’ reports and to Murad himself, the memo contained not a word about any suicide plot. [2] Thus what was widely available for analysis was indeed void of phase two references.

And at the 1996 trial it went completely unmentioned. Even Colonel Mendoza, who had headed the interrogation and discovered phase two, was never called to testify, and himself went totally unmentioned in the trial, even by his assistant when he testified. Lance noted that by these omissions, “the FBI seemed to be going out of its way to avoid even a hint of the plot that was ultimately carried out on 9/11.” [3]

In all the detail in Richard Clarke’s account of Bojinka, he made no mention at all of Murad nor of his phase two and its suicide plane attacks, even in its tamer Brzezinski version. The 9-11 Commission described the Bojinka plot, by name, as “the intended bombing of twelve U.S. commercial jumbo jets over the Pacific during a two-day span.” [4] They did not mention Murad’s second phase either, but their reference to 12 jets is interesting. At least one CNN report from 1996 said 12 planes were to be involved, perhaps including Murad’s solo hijacking, as mentioned in Mendoza’s memo, meaning the Commission indirectly verified this early awareness.

And officials can’t come right out and say they’ve never heard of phase two; Rex Hudson noted it in his 1999 report. Vincent Cannistrano, former CIA counter-terrorism director, said “no question about it. We knew about the pilots and suicide plots.” As for why this did not lead to any workable prediction of 9-11, he explained, they “just didn't put two and two together.” [5]

After the alleged costs of that bad math became clear, the official U.S. mantra indeed remained “unprepared, unforeseen, unimagined.” A flood of revelations of advance warnings hit the news in the spring of 2002 to curious effect; on the one hand, these revelations eclipsed earlier allegations of direct government execution and kept the terrorists center stage. But on the other hand, they demonstrated that no imagination or foresight was required to prevent the hijacking attacks.

An embarrassed Bush administration responded by repeating the same mantra even louder. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice went on the defensive, claiming repeatedly on May 16th the government had no idea that an airborne terrorist attack was even a possibility. Rice said “I don’t think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon, that they would try to use […] a hijacked airplane as a missile” [6] Fleischer told reporters “never did we imagine what would take place on September 11th, where people used those airplanes as missiles and as weapons.” He also took some heat off the President, stating that Bush “did not… not… receive information about the use of airplanes as missiles by suicide bombers. This was a new type of attack that had not been foreseen.” [7]

Even in 2004 the story held; Bush himself stated on April 13 “there was nobody in our government, and I don’t think the previous government, that could envision flying airplanes into buildings on such a massive scale.” [8] There’s a certain desperate evasiveness in these confused and clearly false assertions. The obvious explanation for this is that, as they’ve argued, they couldn’t have prepared to meet the threat because they’d never even imagined it. But they had to know people would see right through this position as stories about warning flooded out, with no sign of stopping.

While Bojinka phase two was a great idea, one must wonder, after Murad’s disastrous arrest and interrogation, would al Qaeda be dumb enough to have expected to succeed? If Philippine investigators and American report-writers are any indication, the element of surprise should have been blown years before a scaled-down Bojinka was realized on September 11th. In fact, the reason that the administration can claim they’ve never heard of the tactic is because it has never before happened. Numerous attempts have been made, but world governments and simple bad luck had thwarted all such plots up to that point. But somehow Bojinka finally came true in one place and at one time only - at the very military and financial heart of the world’s sole Superpower on September 11, 2001. They insist they simply hadn’t realized there was such a threat there to defend against.

And this is, curiously, a long-term silence. Throughout this chapter we’ve seen evidence of a see-no-evil strategy towards this tactic, from the FBI to the Pentagon to the Bush White House, from 1994 until the 9-11 attacks, with continued affirmations of ignorance to the present time. It almost smells like a long-held Pentagon proprietary concept, a rainy day project that can never be talked about, neither confirmed or denied, a top-secret Scenario 12-E. It first appeared, we are told, in the wake of the Corder crash and the failed Eiffel Tower attack as the silenced Cetron report. Within weeks of being handed to the Pentagon, it became tangled with al Qaeda via the prescient Bojinka phase two, extracted from Abdul Murad, that we hardly heard a peep about until after 9/11.

While Sonny Razon saw the occurrence of the first successful suicide hijacking attack as proof the U.S. had ignored his warnings, perhaps they actually did listen very closely, and the success of Shadow 9/11 is the proof.

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