Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cousin of 9/11 Hijacker an Israeli Spy?

Wow, this ought to really fire up the 9/11 conspiracy kooks, who never need much evidence of anything at all to get worked up.

Just imagine what they'll come up with when they find out the cousin of 9/11 hijacker Ziad al-Jarrah may have allegedly been an Israeli spy the past 25 years.

The Loose Change clowns must be wetting themselves.
For 25 years, Ali al-Jarrah managed to live on both sides of the bitterest divide running through this region. To friends and neighbors, he was an earnest supporter of the Palestinian cause, an affable, white-haired family man who worked as an administrator at a nearby school.

To Israel, he appears to have been a valued spy, sending reports and taking clandestine photographs of Palestinian groups and Hezbollah since 1983.

Now he sits in a Lebanese prison cell, accused by the authorities of betraying his country to an enemy state. Months after his arrest, his friends and former colleagues are still in shock over the extent of his deceptions: the carefully disguised trips abroad, the unexplained cash, the secret second wife.

Lebanese investigators say he has confessed to a career of espionage spectacular in its scope and longevity, a real-life John le CarrĂ© novel. Many intelligence agents are said to operate in the civil chaos of Lebanon, but Mr. Jarrah’s arrest has shed a rare light onto a world of spying and subversion that usually persists in secret.

Mr. Jarrah’s first wife maintains that he was tortured, and is innocent; requests to interview him were denied.

From his home in this Bekaa Valley village, Mr. Jarrah, 50, traveled often to Syria and to south Lebanon, where he photographed roads and convoys that might have been used to transport weapons to Hezbollah, the Shiite militant group, investigators say. He spoke with his handlers by satellite phone, receiving “dead drops” of money, cameras and listening devices. Occasionally, on the pretext of a business trip, he traveled to Belgium and Italy, received an Israeli passport, and flew to Israel, where he was debriefed at length, investigators say.

At the start of the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, Israeli officials called Mr. Jarrah to reassure him that his village would be spared and that he should stay at home, investigators said.

He was finally arrested last July by Hezbollah, which now has perhaps the most powerful intelligence apparatus in this country. It handed him to the Lebanese military — along with his brother Yusuf, who is accused of helping him spy — and he awaits trial by a military court.

Several current and former military officials agreed to provide details about his case on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to discuss it before the trial began. Their accounts tallied with details provided by Mr. Jarrah’s relatives and former colleagues.

It is not the family’s first brush with notoriety. One of Mr. Jarrah’s cousins, Ziad al-Jarrah, was among the 19 hijackers who carried out the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, though the men were 20 years apart in age and do not appear to have known each other well.

Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israel’s prime minister, Ehud Olmert, declined to discuss Mr. Jarrah’s situation, saying, “It is not our practice to publicly talk about any such allegations in this case or in any case.”
Update: Well, that didn't take long.

Cousin Of Alleged 9/11 Hijacker Exposed As Israeli Spy
Which other members of the Jarrah family were working for Israel as intelligence assets? Surely not Ziad al-Jarrah, one of the infamous “laughing hijackers” and the alleged pilot of Flight 93?

Al-Jarrah’s paper passport was one of those that miraculously survived to be legible, apparently avoiding being consumed by fires that were so intense that it took over 6 months just to identify the actual victims of Flight 93.

Israeli intelligence connections to 9/11 can be traced back to the five “dancing Israelis” who were witnessed setting up video camera equipment pointed at the World Trade Center in New York before the first plane hit the tower. The men were seen jumping and high-fiving with shouts of “joy and mockery” as Flight 11 and Flight 175 slammed into the buildings. They were later seen posing for photographs in front of the debris.
Cue the Twilight Zone music.

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