Thursday, January 19, 2012

Boundary Conditions for the 9/11 Hijackers, Part 3: the Muscle Hijackers

     As far as I know, no one has attempted to ask what qualifications the 9/11 muscle hijackers had for doing the grunt work on the hijacked planes.  Let's look into it.
       In the first part of this series, we discussed the concept of boundary conditions.  A strategic planner doesn't just "make do with what he has" and hope for the best.  He determines what conditions must exist for his project to succeed.  If even one condition fails to exist, or is outside his control, he either alters his plan or abandons it altogether.
     In the second part of this series, we examined the boundary conditions needed for the pilot hijackers to succeed in their respective missions.  The boundary conditions simply did not exist, but we're expected to believe that the 9/11 planner(s) went ahead anyway and the plan succeeded by dint of a series of highly unlikely accidents.
     Now let's turn our attention to the muscle hijackers.  A muscle hijacker was someone who, as the term suggests, provided the muscle for the hijacking.  A muscle hijacker's job was to scare the bejeebers out of the passengers and flight attendants and keep them in line. 
     What qualifications would be most reasonable for muscle hijackers?  Let us return to the image of Osama bin Laden pecking away at his laptop, making decisions that would bring about the most sophisticated terrorist act in history.
     Hmm, he thinks, I've already picked terrorists who'd make good pilots for a Boeing 757: four guys, none of whom has ever sat at the controls of an airplane—not even a Cessna. Now who would make good muscle hijackers?
      Consistent with his earlier decision to recruit pilot hijackers who weren't pilots, Osama bin Laden decided to recruit muscle hijackers who weren't muscular.   Far from filling the role of muscle hijackers, those fifteen young men would have been better qualified to play Munchkins in a remake of The Wizard of Oz.  Even Newsweek reporter Fareed Zakaria, actors Art Malik and James Belushi; and CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour would have been more intimidating than those guys.
     Would you have picked puny runts with boyish faces, of whom the 9/11 Commission Report would say, “Despite the phrase widely used to describe them, the so-called muscle hijackers were not at all physically imposing; most were between 5' 5" and 5' 7" in height”? Would you have picked men so lacking in English skills that they needed to be taught “a few basic words and phrases”?  (link to 9/11 Commission Report, Chapter 7)
     Remember that English skills were required for a wide variety of tasks needed to make the plan a success.  To give just one example, how did they make reservations on four planes that would be leaving three different airports, hundreds of miles apart, within 47 minutes of each other (two from Boston, and one each from Washington and Newark)?
     Oh, and let's not forget that the ironically termed "muscle" hijackers needed weapons to supplement their scrawny frames.  They were supplied with plastic serving knives and box cutters.
     I mentioned boyish faces.  I realize that Audie Murphy, of World War II fame, had a boyish face, but he also had a machine gun.  A boyish face and a machine gun will get you more respect than just a boyish face.  
     In bold type below, I've emphasized the ages of the muscle hijackers:
      Mohamed Mohamed el-Amir Awad el-Sayed Atta (alleged hijacker pilot AA11 WTC North Tower, age 33) Muscle hijackers: Waleed al-Shehri (22), Abdulaziz al-Omari (22), Satam al-Suqami (25) Wail al-Shehri (28)
     Marwan al-Shehhi (alleged hijacker pilot of UA175, WTC2, age 23) Muscle hijackers: Fayez Banihammad (24), Mohand al-Shehri (22), Hamza al-Ghamdi (20), Ahmed al-Ghamdi (22)
     Hani Hanjour (alleged hijacker pilot of AA77, Pentagon, age 29) Muscle hijackers: Khalid al-Mihdhar (26), Majed Moqed (24), Nawaf al-Hazmi (25), Salem al-Hazmi (20).
     Ziad Samir Jarrah (alleged hijacker pilot of UA93, Shanksville, age 26) Muscle hijackers: Ahmed al-Haznawi (20), Ahmed al-Nami (23), Saeed al-Ghamdi (21).    
     They ranged in age from 20 to 26.  The average age of a 9/11 muscle hijacker was between 22 and 23.  Nine out of the fifteen muscle hijackers were 22 years old or younger.  Four of them were 20.
     How do we explain the curious behavior of muscle hijacker Khalid al-Mindar (age 26)? Chapter 7 of the 9/11 Commission Report says, “The last muscle hijacker to arrive was Khalid al Mihdhar. As mentioned earlier, he had abandoned Hazmi in San Diego in June 2000 and returned to his family in Yemen. Mihdhar reportedly stayed in Yemen for about a month before Khallad persuaded him to return to Afghanistan. Mihdhar complained about life in the United States. He met with KSM, who remained annoyed at his decision to go AWOL. But KSM's desire to drop him from the operation yielded to Bin Ladin's insistence to keep him.” 
     How’s that again? He abandoned the project because he disliked “life in the United States.” (How long did he think he'd be living in the United States?)  Then he fled to the bosom of his family before being coaxed into going back to the United States and getting killed. In a nutshell, just because he got a case of culture shock, he ran home to his mama.  Then he was coaxed into going back and deliberately getting himself killed.  Ruminate on that one for a moment.
     Just as the pilot hijackers were allowed to wait until they'd arrived in the United States to take basic flying lessons, the muscle hijackers were allowed to start building muscles after they'd arrived in the U.S.  That is, they were sent even before they were qualified.
     The more closely a person looks at the terror attacks of 9/11, the more impressed he is with how meticulously planned almost everything was.  No matter how careful the planning was, though, the success or failure of the plan—assuming that it went according to the official story—depended on the hijackers.  
     Everything about the recruitment, training, and equipping of the hijackers, however, seemed astonishingly slipshod.  They seemed to be little more than props.  That's the weakest link in the chain.
     Further, the weakest link in the hijacker story was that these unimpressive-looking young naïfs  were provided with "weapons" that are commonly used as children's toys. The only source of information for the story that the hijackers used cardboard box cutters and plastic serving knives was the word of Theodore Olson, the lawyer involved in the Florida vote count that helped secure the presidency for George W. Bush.  His wife Barbara was a neo-conservative commentator and another Bush operative. (link)
     Olson claimed that his wife had made a cell phone call from Flight 77 and said that the hijackers had used plastic serving knives and box cutters.  Olson's word was discredited by phone company records, cell phone technologists, and the testimony of FBI agents in open court. (link)  If that one point in the 9/11 story is discredited, then we must question everything else in official story of 9/11.
     Everything I’ve read about the alleged 9/11 hijackers indicates that they were patsies who didn’t know they were going to get killed. Not one of them had any special qualifications. Everything about them suggests that they were naïve cannon fodder who were recruited only because they were expendable. 
     As Lewis Carroll wrote in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, "It just gets curiouser and curiouser."  Next, we'll look at the curious aftermath in the fourth and final article of this series.
Part 1: Boundary Conditions, Overview
Part 2: Boundary Conditions for the Pilot Hijackers
Part 4: Boundary Conditions, Aftermath
Other September 11, 2001, articles in this blog

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