The 9/11 Anniversary and What Didn’t Happen


undici-settembreSept. 11, 2010, the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, was a day of solemn ceremony, remembrance and reflection. It was also a time to consider the U.S. reaction to the attack nine years ago, including the national effort to destroy al Qaeda and other terrorist groups in order to prevent a repeat of the 9/11 attacks. Of course, part of the U.S. reaction to 9/11 was the decision to invade Afghanistan, and the 9/11 anniversary also provided a time to consider how the United States is now trying to end its Afghanistan campaign so that it can concentrate on more pressing matters elsewhere.

The run-up to the anniversary also saw what could have been an attempted terrorist attack in another Western country. On Sept. 10 in Denmark, a potential bombing was averted by the apparent accidental detonation of an improvised explosive device in a bathroom at a Copenhagen hotel. The Danish authorities have not released many details of the incident, but it appears that the suspect may have been intending to target the Danish Jyllands-Posten newspaper, which has been targeted in the past because it published cartoons featuring the Prophet Mohammed in 2005. Groups such as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have tried hard to ensure that the anger over the cartoon issue does not die down, and it apparently has not. It is important to note that even if the perpetrator had not botched it, the plot — at least as we understand it so far — appears to have involved a simple attack plan and would not have resulted in a spectacular act of terrorism.

Yet in spite of the failed attack in Denmark and all the 9/11 retrospection, perhaps the most interesting thing about the 9/11 anniversary in 2010, at least from an analytical perspective, was what did not happen. For the first time, the al Qaeda core leadership did not issue a flurry of slick, media-savvy statements to mark the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. And the single statement they did release was not nearly as polished or pointed as past anniversary messages. This has caused us to pause, reflect and wonder if the al Qaeda leadership is losing its place at the ideological forefront of the jihadist cause.

Al Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri in a video marking the 5th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks

 

A History of Anniversary Messages

When it comes to anniversaries, al Qaeda has not always seized upon them as opportunities for attacks, but it has long seen them as tempting propaganda opportunities. This first began in September 2002, when the group released numerous messages in a multitude of forms to coincide with the first anniversary of 9/11. These included a one-hour video titled “The Nineteen Martyrs,” referring to the 9/11 attackers; a book released by al-Ansar media telling the story of the 9/11 attacks; an audio tape from al Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri; a statement from al Qaeda’s “Political Bureau”; and a statement from al Qaeda spokesman Sulaiman Abu Ghaith. Then, on Oct. 7, 2002, al Qaeda released a message from Osama bin Laden to the American people to commemorate the first anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

Since 2002, other 9/11-anniversary messages from al Qaeda have included:

  • A September 2003 video of bin Laden and al-Zawahiri walking in the mountains and praising the 9/11 attackers, released via the Qatar-based Al Jazeera television network. As-Sahab, al Qaeda’s media wing, also released a video that contained Saeed al-Ghamdi’s martyrdom tape.
  • A September 2004 audio message from al-Zawahiri released on the same day as a bombing attack against the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia.
  • A September 2005 video message in which Adam Gadahn, the American-born al Qaeda spokesman, came to the world’s attention threatening attacks against Los Angeles and Melbourne. Al-Zawahiri had released a video message on Sept. 1 that contained the martyrdom video of July 7 London bomb-plot leader Mohammad Sidique Khan.
  • A September 2006 video message in which Gadahn reappeared to commemorate the fifth anniversary of 9/11, this time in tandem with al-Zawahiri. As-Sahab then issued, on Sept. 7, a video message titled “Knowledge is for Acting Upon: The Manhattan Raid,” and on Sept. 11 an interview and question-and-answer session with al-Zawahiri. As-Sahab also released some undated and previously unreleased video footage of bin Laden and other high-ranking al Qaeda members planning the 9/11 attacks.
  • A September 2007 video, released by As-Sahab, showing bin Laden speaking and titled “The Solution.” This was followed by a video released on Sept. 11 that contained an audio statement by bin Laden and the martyrdom message of Abu Musab Waleed al-Shehri, one of the 9/11 operatives.
  • A September 2008 video, released by As-Sahab, showing al-Zawahiri criticizing Iran for helping the Americans in Afghanistan and Iraq. On Sept. 17, As-Sahab released a video titled “Results of 7 Years of the Crusades” and, on Sept. 19, it released another message from al-Zawahiri.
  • A September 2009 video, released by As-Sahab, that contained an audio recording and still photo of bin Laden intended to address the American people on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. As-Sahab also released a video by al-Zawahiri on Aug. 29 entitled “The Path of Doom.”
  • A September 2010 video, released by As-Sahab, that contained an audio recording and still photo of al-Zawahiri and was titled “A Victorious Ummah, a Broken Crusade: Nine Years after the Start of the Crusader Campaign.”

This history shows a steady decline in al Qaeda’s anniversary messaging in terms of quantity and production quality (clearly seen in comparing the al-Zawahiri audio message of 2010 with the al-Zawahiri video message of 2006). Another consideration is topical relevance. Al-Zawahiri’s 2010 message was actually rather bland, uninspiring and little more than a rehash of several points the group has made in the past. There were no stirring and inspirational calls to action, no new threats to the West, and no real meaningful discussion of the 9/11 anniversary beyond the message title.

While the recent 9/11 anniversary highlighted a declining trend in al Qaeda’s messaging, it has actually been going on since long before Sept. 11, 2010. It has been more than a year since a video appeared featuring a key al Qaeda leader (the last one, of al-Zawahiri, was released in August 2009).

 

Explaining the Lapse

Currently, there are very few people, all in the al Qaeda core leadership and their As-Sahab media wing, who know the true reason why the group has suffered such a decline in its propaganda efforts. There could be a number of possible explanations for the lapse. The first could be that the group is observing a period of radio silence in expectation of a large attack. This is certainly possible, and something we have heard analysts propose during al Qaeda quiet times. However, an examination of past patterns of al Qaeda communiques and attacks since 9/11 has not shown any type of correlation between times of silence and attacks. This is to be expected when most of the actors conducting attacks are either affiliated with the regional franchise groups or are grassroots operatives with no link to the al Qaeda core leadership. In fact, we have seen media releases by As-Sahab shortly before past attacks such as the March 2004 Madrid bombings and the July 2005 London attacks. As-Sahab was in the midst of a media blitz in the months leading up to the thwarted August 2006 Heathrow liquid-bomb plot, and it also released several statements in the weeks prior to the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.

In the past, hackers have used the occasion of the 9/11 anniversary to disrupt jihadist websites in an attempt to cripple al Qaeda’s ability to distribute its 9/11 anniversary statements. We saw this particularly in September 2008, in a hacking that resulted in some of the messages being delayed until Sept. 17 and Sept. 19. This year, however, there is no sign of that type of broad-based hacking campaign, and while some jihadist websites are down for a variety of reasons, many other jihadist websites continue to operate unabated, offering recent Ramadan and Eid ul-Fitr sermons and salutations.

It is also possible that the floods that have ravaged Pakistan this summer could have displaced the al Qaeda leadership or the As-Sahab crew. However, the floods began with the heavy monsoon rains in late July and the dearth of messages from the al Qaeda core leadership reaches back much further, with 2010 being an unusually quiet time for the group. Past anniversary messages have been produced weeks, and even months, before their release dates, so the As-Sahab multimedia crew should have had time to adjust to the flood conditions if that was truly the cause.

The best explanation for the decline in As-Sahab’s propaganda efforts may be the increase in the number of strikes by U.S. unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) inside Pakistan in areas along the Afghan border since August 2008. More than 1,000 people have been killed in such strikes, including a number senior al Qaeda members. A confluence of factors could be responsible for the decline, with floods and hackers posing additional problems for an organization on the run from U.S. airstrikes and trying to maintain a low profile. Even if the core al Qaeda leadership is living deeper in Pakistan and away from the threat of U.S. airstrikes, many lower-level al Qaeda members are operating in the border area and have certainly been impacted by the strikes.

 

An Eclipse?

It is important to view the decline in As-Sahab propaganda efforts in the larger context, specifically statements involving the core al Qaeda leadership, and then compare those statements to the messages released by the franchise groups, such as AQAP.

Over the past few years, STRATFOR has often discussed how the war against the jihadists is occurring on two planes, the physical battlefield and the ideological battlefield. We have also discussed how we believe that the al Qaeda core leadership has lost its place in recent years at the forefront of the physical battlefield and has instead focused its efforts largely on the ideological battlefield, where its role is to promote jihadism and inspire jihadist groups and individuals to conduct attacks.

This belief that the franchise groups are assuming leadership on the physical battlefield was supported by attacks in 2009 and early 2010 that were linked to groups such as AQAP and allied organizations like the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. Even the suspect in the June 2009 shootings in Little Rock, Ark., claimed to be part of “Abu Basir’s Army” and not bin Laden’s. (Abu Basir is the honorific name, or kunya, for Nasir al-Wahayshi, the current leader of AQAP.)

And it appears that the leadership provided by the franchise groups may not be confined to just the physical battlefield. As the core al Qaeda leadership continues to maintain a low profile, the leaders of groups like AQAP and figures such as Anwar al-Awlaki and Nasir al-Wahayshi have dramatically increased their profile and significance on the ideological battlefield. They have been the individuals leading the way in calling for grassroots jihadists to conduct simple attacks and in fanning the flames over issues such as the Mohammed cartoons. Even the al Qaeda core tried to jump on the AQAP bandwagon when spokesman Adam Gadahn echoed al-Wahayshi’s call for simple grassroots attacks and praised AQAP-inspired Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan as an example for all Muslims to follow. Indeed, it was interesting to watch the core al Qaeda group following the lead of a regional franchise rather than paving the way themselves.

Now, perhaps in a few days or a few weeks, As-Sahab will return to releasing a flurry of slick, high-quality messages as it has done in years past. Maybe fresh videos of bin Laden and al-Zawahiri will appear that will present new ideas, vault them back into prominence in jihadist discourse and motivate their intended audience to action. But we may be witnessing, instead, the eclipse of the al Qaeda core leadership on the ideological battlefield.

By Scott Stewart

The 9/11 Anniversary and What Didn’t Happen is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

WTC ed i suoi misteri


11 settembre 2001A distanza di anni da quel undici settembre del 2001 ancora ci si domanda : come mai le Torri gemelle sono crollate? E perchè è crollato il WTC7?
I complottisti si domandano : cosa è stato usato per indebolire le strutture metalliche e provocare il collasso delle strutture?
Cosa mai si sono inventate le “segretissime organizzazioni capitanate da Bush per scatenare la guerra in Iraq ed in Afganistan?”
Bene, la risposta è data dalla scienza, nessun complotto ma fenomeni dei quali si hanno indizi seri e che sono da studiare attentamente per evitare il ripetersi di disastri simili.
Buona lettura .

There is no indication that any of the fires in the World Trade Center buildings were hot enough to melt the steel framework.
Jonathan Barnett, professor of fire protection engineering, has repeatedly reminded the public that steel–which has a melting point of 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit–may weaken and bend, but does not melt during an ordinary office fire. Yet metallurgical studies on WTC steel brought back to WPI reveal that a novel phenomenon–called a eutectic reaction–occurred at the surface, causing intergranular melting capable of turning a solid steel girder into Swiss cheese.
Materials science professors Ronald R. Biederman and Richard D. Sisson Jr. confirmed the presence of eutectic formations by examining steel samples under optical and scanning electron microscopes.
A preliminary report was published in JOM, the journal of the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society.
A more detailed analysis comprises Appendix C of the FEMA report.
The New York Times called these findings “perhaps the deepest mystery uncovered in the investigation.” The significance of the work on a sample from Building 7 and a structural column from one of the twin towers becomes apparent only when one sees these heavy chunks of damaged metal.

A one-inch column has been reduced to half-inch thickness. Its edges–which are curled like a paper scroll–have been thinned to almost razor sharpness. Gaping holes–some larger than a silver dollar–let light shine through a formerly solid steel flange. This Swiss cheese appearance shocked all of the fire-wise professors, who expected to see distortion and bending–but not holes.

A eutectic compound is a mixture of two or more substances that melts at the lowest temperature of any mixture of its components.
Blacksmiths took advantage of this property by welding over fires of sulfur-rich charcoal, which lowers the melting point of iron.
In the World Trade Center fire, the presence of oxygen, sulfur and heat caused iron oxide and iron sulfide to form at the surface of structural steel members. This liquid slag corroded through intergranular channels into the body of the metal, causing severe erosion and a loss of structural integrity.
“The important questions,” says Biederman, “are how much sulfur do you need, and where did it come from? The answer could be as simple–and this is scary- as acid rain.”
Have environmental pollutants increased the potential for eutectic reactions? “We may have just the inherent conditions in the atmosphere so that a lot of water on a burning building will form sulfuric acid, hydrogen sulfide or hydroxides, and start the eutectic process as the steel heats up,” Biederman says. He notes that the sulfur could also have come from contents of the burning buildings, such as rubber or plastics. Another possible culprit is ocean salts, such as sodium sulfate, which is known to catalyze sulfidation reactions on turbine blades of jet engines. “All of these things have to be explored,” he says.
From a building-safety point of view, the critical question is: Did the eutectic mixture form before the buildings collapsed, or later, as the remains smoldered on the ground. “We have no idea,” admits Sisson. “To answer that, we would need to recreate those fires in the FPE labs, and burn fresh steel of known composition for the right time period, with the right environment.” He hopes to have the opportunity to collaborate on thermodynamically controlled studies, and to observe the effects of adding sulfur, copper and other elements. The most important lesson, Sisson and Biederman stress, is that fail-safe sprinkler systems are essential to prevent steel from reaching even 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, because phase changes at the 1,300-degree mark compromise a structure’s load-bearing capacity.
The FEMA report calls for further metallurgic investigations, and Barnett, Biederman and Sisson hope that WPI will obtain NIST funding and access to more samples. They are continuing their microscopic studies on the samples prepared by graduate student Jeremy Bernier and Marco Fontecchio, the 2001–02 Helen E. Stoddard Materials Science and Engineering Fellow. (Next year’s Stoddard Fellow, Erin Sullivan, will take up this work as part of her graduate studies.) Publication of their results may clear up some mysteries that have confounded the scientific community.

Articolo da : WPI

Sono stato responsabile per gli attacchi avvenuti a New York e Washington l’11 settembre 2001


“Sono stato responsabile dalla A alla Z per gli attacchi avvenuti a New York e Washington l’11 settembre 2001”. Questa è la dichiarazione che Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, l’uomo sospettato di essere stato il numero tre di al Qaeda, ha rilasciato di fronte al tribunale militare incaricato di giudicare i detenuti di Guantànamo.
Durante la confessione, diffusa dal Pentagono mercoledì 14 marzo e pubblicata dal New York Timesil giorno successivo, Khalid avrebbe ammesso le responsabilità  di altri 30 imputati, tutti coinvolti negli attacchi terroristici da lui stesso organizzati. In un inglese stentato, Khalid ha detto di non essere felice della morte di tremila americani e ha dichiarato il suo dispiacere per scomparsa di ragazzi e bambini ma nella guerra, ha aggiunto, ci sono sempre delle vittime. Nella confessione, trascritta su 26 pagine, il terrorista catturato nel marzo 2003 in Pakistan ammette altri attentati, tra cui l’attacco dinamitardo al nightclub di Bali e il tentativo di far esplodere due aerei americani con l’uso di dinamite nascosta nelle scarpe. Khalid a inoltre confermato i sospetti delle autorità  americani, e cioè di essere membro di al Qaeda, capo operativo del gruppo terroristico di Osama bin Laden per le azioni all’estero e di aver pianificato e seguito personalmente l’esecuzione degli attentati dell’11 settembre.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

Khalid Sceicco Mohammed che bella faccia rassicurante, vero?

Tra le intenzioni della cellula americana di al Qaeda, sarebbe stato progettato l’assassinio dell’ex presidente Usa Jimmy Carter e l’attacco al ponte sospeso di New York. Al termine della ammissione di colpevolezza, Khalid avrebbe rivelato 31 attacchi tra cui: quelli alle navi americane avvenuti ad Hormuz, Gibiltera e Singapore; il fallito attentato dell’ex presidente Clinton; i pianificati attentati allo stretto di Panama, al Big Ben di Londra e all’aeroporto di Heathrow.
Nella stessa sessione, il tribunale militare ha inoltre interrogato un altro terrorista sospettato di essere stato ai vertici di al Qaeda, Abi Faraj al Libi, che, asserendo di essere trattenuto da due anni senza ragione, si è rifiutato di rispondere. Ora le autorità  indagheranno sulla confessione rilasciata da Khalid, anche se non è ancora chiaro perché il prigioniero abbia ammesso le responsabilità  di altri 30 terroristi. Khalid, dopo essere stato arrestato dal Fbi durante un’operazione a Rawalpind, in Pakistan, è stato tenuto per lungo tempo in custodia dalla Cia, accusata di aver inflitto torture al detenuto durante gli interrogatori, cosa comunque ammessa dalla legge americana in casi di minaccia alla nazione. La posizione dell’amministrazione Bush, che aveva puntato sulla lotta al terrorismo e sul progetto Guantà namo, esce rafforzata dalla confessione del terrorista internazionale e anche se le procedure di arresto e di detenzione dei sospettati terroristi sono state più volte criticate dalle organizzazioni per i diritti umani, nel tempo si è dimostrata una strategia vincente.

11/9


Bloggers honor the innocent victims of that awful day…

For some people, it’s about the numbers: 4 planes. 4 targets. 2,996 victims. 4 years and 10 months. 1,763 days. 42,312 hours. 2,538,720 minutes. For others, like me, it’s about the people. Every victim was, at the very least, a son or daughter. Many were parents, grandparents, siblings, etc… Many of the victims themselves were related to each other. Each one represents a void in many lives, where new memories aren’t made and old ones are the only thing that stands in the way of insanity.

Our dearest friends lost their daughter, Heather Lee Smith, on Flight 11. These people live with a grief that is so vastly different, in a world that has been forever changed. Their loss is marked every year by an entire nation – that can be a great comfort but also a terrible intrusion. But in the 9/11 memorial services they have organized all over the Northeast, they honor their losses while celebrating the lives of their loved ones. I have had the privilege of attending these ceremonies in Boston and I’ve seen the youth and potential that was lost. Yet I’ve also seen the powerful resilience of the families, capable of laughter in the midst of great sorrow.

They possess the ability to turn their tragedy into community action and they have, in immeasurable ways. Memorial scholarships will pave the way for hundreds of students to pursue an educational path they might not otherwise have been able to afford. Foundations have been set up to shepherd a victim’s dearest cause to a higher profile. Charitable organizations will benefit from the largesse of friends and family for generations to come. In their grief, these families and friends are ensuring that the memories of their loved ones are not lost to time, but rather that they endure thru the lives of countless others.

As our great nation moves further away from the events of 9/11/01, I see us forgetting what we felt in the days and weeks that immediately followed. That sense of unity of purpose, that feeling of brotherhood, of belonging to something larger than ourselves. And I worry that in the process of forgetting, we will lose part of what makes us a great nation – our ability to be compassionate for our fellow man, to extend ourselves past our immediate world and recognize that sometimes we need to make sacrifices to ensure our safety.

We can’t afford to forget 9/11/01 – for the sake of our country’s future. The victims of 9/11 deserve the same respect from all of us that their families and friends give to them. They are, and should remain, a reminder of what the world could look like. Their deaths should not divide us they should unite us as they did in the days and months after 9/11. So that we never forget their sacrifice; so that we make certain the world we caught a glimpse of that horrible morning will never become a reality. We must honor them and remember them.

Frank V. Moccia, age 57

Place killed: World Trade Center. Resident of Hauppauge, N.Y. (USA).

Frank V. Moccia will be honored by Carlo at the blog I diavoli neri. This was the 1012th blogger to sign up for the 2,996 Tribute project.

Frank V. Moccia

Frank V. Moccia

By filling out and submitting this form, you are agreeing to create a tribute to a 9/11 victim on your blog. Your tribute can take any form you like — but please remember that the purpose is to honor the victim. You must fill out all the fields in the form above with valid information. Once you’ve completed and submitted the form, the system will randomly select one of the unassigned 9/11 victims. The key information about this victim will then be presented to you, and a copy will be emailed to you. Please record this information (or save the page). If you lose the information, you can always get it again by visiting the assigned victims page on the site.

I Remember
Frank V. Moccia, age 57
Resident of Hauppauge, N.Y. (USA)

Ring da Il Castello a Cecilia

Al Zawahiri: “Fate attentati come negli Usa”


Dal Corriere  04 marzo 2006

Le vignette satiriche sul profeta Maometto fanno parte di una campagna organizzata dagli Stati Uniti. Lo sostiene il numero due di Al Qaeda, Ayman al Zawahiri, in una registrazione audio comparsa su un sito internet usato da gruppi islamici integralisti. Una voce attribuita al medico egiziano, stretto collaboratore di Osama Bin Laden, afferma poi che «un esempio dell'odio dei crociati guidati dall'America sono le ripetute offese contro il profeta Mohammad, che la pace sia con lui»

Zawahiri ha invitato a boicottare i Paesi in cui sono avvenute le offese sacrileghe, la Danimarca in primis, ma anche Norvegia, Francia e Germania. E si è appellato ai militanti islamici in tutto il mondo affinché compiano attacchi sul modello di quelli negli Stati Uniti, a Madrid e a Londra. Il medico ha inoltre esortato il mondo islamico ad evitare che gli occidentali continuino a «rubare» il petrolio dei musulmani.

Poi un'esortazione ai leader di Hamas, vincitori delle ultime elezioni politiche in Palestina: «continuare la lotta armata» e non accettare di partecipare alle trattative per un piano di pace con Israele. «Aver raggiunto il potere non è di per sè un traguardo… e nessun palestinese ha il diritto di cedere un solo granello di terra», afferma Zawahri, aqgiungendo che «i laici dell'Autorità palestinese hanno venduto la Palestina in cambio di qualche briciola».
Dal mio punto di vista questa dichiarazione fà il paio e conferma quello che dichiara Magdi Allam

Come muore un Italiano


  • A Bin Laden, ad Al-Zarquawi, alla cricca estremista che insozza il nome di Allah con i propri laidi proclami: vi faccio vedere come muore un italiano.
  • Ai terroristi di tutto il mondo, di qualunque parte politica, fogna umana da sterminare come un branco di ratti: vi faccio vedere come muore un italiano.
  • A Prodi, Fassino, Bertinotti, Cossutta, Pecoraro ed agli altri “leader” di sinistra: vi faccio vedere come muore un italiano.
  • Ai noglobal in piazza a bivaccare nulla facendo, pronti a distruggere città ed a prendersela con le forze dell’ordine: vi faccio vedere come muore un italiano.
  • Agli animali che lo hanno definito a suo tempo “noglobal”: vi faccio vedere come muore un italiano.

Fabrizio Quattrocchi