lshan at bcn.net lshan at bcn.net
Fri Apr 2 06:49:34 MST 2004

This is a re-post of what I sent to Marxmail June 3, 2003. It directly
applies to Andrew Buncombe's report. Like Ms. Edmonds, I also pointed
specifically to the phrasing that implied that the government knew that
there was a terrorist threat regarding airplanes. However, commenting on
Bush's phrasing, I emphasized the killing, which in retrospect was off the
mark. I should have emphasized "on that fateful morning."

I also pointed out that if the government knew about a "fifth plane" they
had to have pre-knowledge of the outline of the plot itself. This is because
the rumors of the "fifth plane" only surfaced on the day of the 9/11 attack.
Within a few days, it had dropped out of sight. So the question comes up
again: Who, on that fateful day, knew of a plot that involved five planes?

from Brian Shannon 


Many of us remember on 9/11 that for a short time, there were rumors  about
a "Fifth Plane" as well as confusing stories about why President  Bush was
taking so long to get back to Washington. This was soon ignored  and no one
seems to have gone back to look at these rumors.

Until it was reopened by government lawyers attempting to prove that
Zacarias Moussaoui was to participate in the terrorist hijacking. (See
below the line. This case is in the news again today, but the "fifth  plane"
theory has again dropped out of sight.)

Which makes me ask: (1) Is there a connection between this "fifth plane"
theory and the original rumors on 9/11? (2) What was the basis for the
"fifth plane" rumor? I.e., what reporter(s) said it and from whom did
he/she get the idea? (3) Doesn't this suggest that before 9/11 someone  in
the intelligence agencies had information on 5 planes being used  somewhere,
for some purpose? (4) Doesn't this also suggest why Bush  stayed away from
Washington so long? And why Cheney was away for so long?

The Bush administration continues to fight the release of the full  report
of the congressional investigation into 9/11, which is still tied  up in
congressional committee.

I also find the parsing of a statement by Bush on May 18, 2002, to be  very
suspicious and designed to cover himself in case in knew that "the  enemy
was going to" do something, he just didn't know what. (I recall  Condoleeza
Rice saying something similar.) Here is the L.A. Times report  on Bush's

"In his first public comments on the controversy over the August  briefing,
Bush also felt compelled to defend his actions before Sept.  11, saying he
did not know 'the enemy was going to use airplanes to kill  on that fateful

So, was there a report about 5 airplanes, but no one "knew" that they  were
to be used to "kill"?

Moussaoui Should Get Details in '5th Plane' Theory, Judge Says

A federal judge today ordered the Justice  Department to provide Zacarias
Moussaoui with details to support the  department's theory that Mr.
Moussaoui was meant to participate in a  terrorist hijacking separate from
the four on Sept. 11, 2001.

The judge, Leonie M. Brinkema, ordered the department to begin  preparations
to provide Mr. Moussaoui with a transcript of a secret  court hearing in
January in which prosecutors outlined the theory that  Mr. Moussaoui was
intended to be aboard a fifth plane, which was to  crash into the White

Mr. Moussaoui, the only person charged in an American court with  conspiring
in the Sept. 11 attacks, was not allowed to attend the  hearing in
Alexandria, Va., because it involved classified information.  Acting as his
own lawyer, he has demanded a copy of the full transcript,  saying he needs
it to prepare his defense.

The Justice Department has refused to release details to the public  about
the prosecution theory, but details have been disclosed in  documents filed
by the judge and a group of court-appointed defense  lawyers who attended
the January hearing but have been barred from  sharing details with Mr.

The theory centers on the hijacking of a plane separate from the four
seized by terrorists of Al Qaeda on Sept. 11. And it reflects a major
change in thinking by senior government officials, who had initially
asserted that Mr. Moussaoui was meant to be the so-called 20th hijacker  in
the Sept. 11 attacks.

Mr. Moussaoui, who acknowledged that he was a member of the Qaeda  network
and was loyal to Osama bin Laden, has denied any involvement in  the Sept.
11 attacks.

In her order today, Judge Brinkema told the Justice Department that "the
prosecution's theory alone cannot be classified" and ordered prosecutors  to
work with intelligence agencies to release an edited version of the
transcript and to arrive at an "appropriate" version that could be
disclosed to Mr. Moussaoui.

"Unless the government can justify treating that theory and its  supporting
facts as classified, it must also share them with the pro se  defendant,"
she said. "To refuse to do so would undermine Mr.  Moussaoui's ability to
mount his pro se defense and further erode  standby counsel's ability to be
of any assistance."

Mr. Moussaoui was given a version of the transcript, but Judge Brinkema
noted that the editing was so heavy that "all references to the
government's theory of the case were redacted." She said that Mr.  Moussaoui
had learned of the "fifth plane" theory after seeing  references to it in a
recent court order.

Judge Brinkema also announced that she would hold a closed hearing early
next month and that Mr. Moussaoui would be invited to attend unless the
Justice Department can demonstrate a "legitimate reason to exclude the

Trial has been postponed indefinitely while a federal appeals court  weighs
whether Mr. Moussaoui and his court-appointed lawyers can  question a
captured Qaeda member who is identified prominently in the  indictment. The
Bush administration is refusing to allow access to the  prisoner, Ramzi bin
al-Shibh, arguing that Mr. Moussaoui has no right to  interview an enemy
combatant held outside the United States. 

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