Posted Monday, October 1, 2001

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IT kept this privileged information to itself and its employees, evidently, passing it on to the FBI only belatedly, and not before first sending it to the Israeli authorities.





Monday, October 1, 2001
(Key West, Florida, USA)

THREE emails bring word that Doug Collins has died aged 81 in Vancouver yesterday. A kind, gentle old Englishman who was one of Vancouver's most popular journalists (North Shore News) until the traditional enemies decided to silence him for ever, using the full majesty of all their new "hate crimes" legislation to penalise him, his editor, and the newspaper company they worked for. As in England and the USA, the people who have monopolised the word "hate" are the worst haters themselves. There was not an ounce of hatred in his soul, just love and veneration of his English heritage and all that it stood for. Collins with CBC crewIf I were not banned from Canada, thanks to the dirty work of those same enemies, I would travel there immediately for his funeral.


The Washington Post has published the extraordinary fact that an Internet firm in the World Trade Center received two hours' warning from Israel of the impending terrorist attack. It kept this privileged information to itself and its employees, evidently, passing it on to the FBI only belatedly, and not before first sending it to the Israeli authorities. One may suspect that The Mossad had an informant who briefed them in good time; and that The Mossad, if it believed the story, decided to let the Sturm losbrechen, such an atrocity being -- as Benjamin Netanyahu incautiously blurted out to The New York Times, after the acts of mass murder took place -- "very good" for Israel.

Were this story not from The Washington Post, I would have placed the item in the bin where I have tossed all the other rumours and scuttlebutt, for instance about the 4,000 Jewish employees who did not turn up for work at the WTC that day, and the Wall Street firms that traded "futures" in a manner designed to make profits for them if the WTC towers and (the airline shares) should crash, and the snapshot of a tourist atop the doomed WTC just as the plane is closing in (wrong type of plane, wrong time of day, no anti-suicide barriers, etc., etc.).


The snapshot was said to have been leaked by secret FBI sources. The other item of interest is an article by Robert Fisk in Saturday's London newspaper The Independent. Rather more forcefully and certainly better informed than I, he casts doubts on the content, and perhaps even the authenticity, of that handwritten, five-page "letter" of which the FBI says it found copies in the baggage of one hijacker, in a car, and at the site of the Pennsylvania crash. Fisk calls the letter "fearful, chilling, grotesque -- but also very, very odd."

"In the name of God," the document begins, "of myself, and of my family." No Muslim, says Fisk, would include his family in such a prayer. He also finds fault with the remark, uncharacteristic of a Muslim, "The time of Fun and waste is gone," Mahommed Atta, or one of his associates, is reported to have written in the note. "Be optimistic ... Check all your items -- your bag, your clothes, your knives, your will, your IDs, your passport ... In the morning, try to pray the morning prayer with an open heart." The writer, whoever he really was, told his fellow hijackers to "remind yourself that in this night you will face many challenges. But you have to face them and understand it 100 per cent." That "100 per cent" bothers Fisk, and it does sound out of key. Nor would a devout Muslim need to be reminded of his duty to say his prayers or to be reminded of the text.

As the journalist points out, the full text has not been released by the FBI. Dropping a broad hint as to who may have authored, or at least translated, the letter, Fisk writes that it suggests an almost Christian view of what the hijackers might have felt -- asking to be forgiven their sins, explaining that fear of death is natural, that "a believer is always plagued with problems".

If the letter is a US Government forgery, on the other hand, it is strange that it includes no references to any of Osama bin Laden's demands -- for an American withdrawal from the Gulf, an end to Israeli occupation, the overthrow of pro-American Arab regimes. Fisk notes that CIA translators have previously turned out to be Lebanese Maronite Christians. "Or is there something more mysterious," he asks, "about the background of those who committed a crime against humanity in New York and Washington, just over two weeks ago?"

We await the FBI's further releases, which may well answer these awkward questions, with interest.

Previous diary

Death of Doug Collins:

Miami Herald obituary
Collins' last column
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