Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance for 9/11 Truth Who We Are
No Baggage: A Report on My Trip to Morocco in Search of the Alleged Suicide Hijacker Waleed al-Shehri
By Kevin Barrett
“No baggage.” –Sufi traveler’s motto, quoted in Brion Gysin’s The Process
Prelude: Barrett’s Missing Baggage
I just got back from Morocco with no baggage.
Just as I had arrived in Morocco three weeks ago—with no baggage.
My lack of baggage did not signify Sufi traveler status. It was not a mark of enlightenment, nor of dissociation from the material world, nor of complete reliance on God.
The truth is, the !*@#ing airlines lost our luggage both coming AND going. (At least I think it was the airlines...just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.)
The truth is, that five of our eight suitcases going, and four out of six returning, were loaded to the permissible maximum of thirty backbreaking kilos. The truth is, that seven of our eight suitcases did not arrive in Morocco until four days after our own arrival, and the eighth remained lost for ten days; while now, three days after our return, all our bags are still missing.
The truth is, that none of the lost suitcases ever contained a duct-taped-and-handcuffed Waleed al-Shehri, the alleged 9/11 hijacker who was reported to have turned up alive in Casablanca after the attacks. The truth is, that my first and only effort as a professional Fugitive Recovery Agent ended in abject failure. It’s a good thing I didn’t quit my day job as author, academic and 9/11 truth provocateur.
Another truth is that Waleed al-Shehri, once thought irretrievably lost in the fiery debris of the World Trade Center, then miraculously found, then lost again, may once again be found—and so, God willing, may our suitcases. We returned to the USA only 72 hours ago, and if the personnel of various airlines have still not located our suitcases, that does not suggest that they will never be found, any more than the fact that I failed to locate Waleed al-Shehri during my three weeks in Morocco suggests that Waleed will forever remain one of the other faces on those imaginary milk cartons depicting missing but apparently-alive 9/11 suicide hijackers.
The truth is, if I was not particularly disturbed, much less surprised, by my failure to find Waleed, I was even less disturbed about the lost luggage on our return trip. Nursing two bad shoulders, I was in no condition to keep lugging the stuff.
Once upon a time, kaana ma kaan fi qadîm az-zamân, the Sufi trickster Juha was observed skipping happily through a major international airport, laughing and saying “hamdullilah! Praise God, they lost our luggage!” His wife, exhausted by their ongoing ordeal of missed connections and missing baggage, grumbled “Why are you so happy the airlines lost our luggage?” Juha’s response: “Because if we were still with our luggage, we’d be lost too!”
* * *
Interlude: Atta’s Lost Luggage
Was Mohammed Atta, or perhaps Atta’s double, likewise pleased when his suitcase got misplaced in Boston’s Logan Airport on September 11th, 2001, missing its transfer from the Portland-Boston flight to the Boston-WTC one? That suitcase, we are told, contained a list of 19 alleged hijackers, Arabic flight manuals, and a bizarre parody that passed for Atta’s own last will and testament. “Many of the investigators believe that some of the initial clues that were uncovered about the terrorists' identities and preparations, such as flight manuals, were meant to be found. A former high-level intelligence official told me, ‘Whatever trail was left was left deliberately—for the F.B.I. to chase’ wrote Seymour Hersh, quoting an unnamed top intelligence official.
Having for some reason checked a suitcase containing his will onto a flight he intended to terminate with extreme prejudice, Atta presumably would have been overjoyed that the suitcase was lost, his will discovered, and his last words and worldly goods dispensed as per his instructions. The fact that his “Muslim fanatic’s will” began with the ludicrously un-Islamic “in the name of God, myself, and my family” presumably would not have bothered him, given his predilections for CIA cocaine, booze, lap-dancers, and pork chops.[i]
Why Atta’s magic suitcase, unlike Atta himself, did not make it from the Portland-Boston flight he arrived on, to the one he allegedly flew into the World Trade Center, is one of the many enigmas of the Official Story. After all, there was a full hour between the arrival of the first flight and the departure of the second. It was certainly convenient for the authorities to find such a treasure-trove of information. Atta’s magic suitcase was the one and only source of the 19 names that are still blamed for 9/11. It allowed the authorities to blame those 19 names immediately, and to continue blaming those same 19 names long after many of the people to whom the names belonged had apparently turned up alive.
Perhaps Atta’s magic will, magic flight manual, and magic list of 19 names, the three of them nestled together snugly in the magic suitcase—itself comfortably ensconced in the lost luggage room of Boston’s Logan Airport—were giving each other high fives and saying “Praise God! We’ve lost Atta!” A lonely pair of underwear in the neighboring suitcase grumbled “Why are you so happy you’ve lost your master?” Their response: “Because if we were still with him, we’d be lost too!”
Indeed. In a deeper sense, it is our knowledge of Atta and his baggage that is perhaps irretrievably lost. Atta’s father insists that his son Mohamed called from Canada on September 12th, 2001. And the suitcase’s contents—the wacky will, the 19 names, the flight manuals and all—has never been photographed and exposed to the scrutiny of the world. So Atta and his baggage, and the alleged evidence it contained—
not to mention Waleed al-Shehri and his brother Wail—are all still lost, wandering somewhere in the realm of mysteries inside riddles wrapped in enigmas sealed deep in the putrid bowels of intelligence agencies.
* * *
Interlude’s Interlude: Morocco’s Missing Baggage
If, upon setting foot on Moroccan soil, I was filled with a certain unbearable lightness of being, giddy with the dazzling sunlight beneath buoyant blue sheltering sky, it was not merely from lack of luggage.
It was not just because Morocco is a giddy place—which it is. (People who haven’t seen each other for awhile, when they re-meet, hug, kiss, and do verbal dances every bit as elaborate and enthusiastic as the bounciest American dog’s dance upon the return of his master...and when they are family, and haven’t seen each other for seven years, the dances go on long into the night.)
The weight that fell from my aching shoulders when I touched down in Morocco was the burden of history, sloughed off like an ill-fitting suit of armor.
It was the burden of being American in the neocon/neonazi era, of living beneath the crushing burden of the 9/11 American Reichstag Fire and the badly-disguised dictatorship it instigated...the burden of living beneath a mountain of tortured, mutilated, charred, starved, uranium-poisoned, bullet-ridden, sexually-abused Iraqi corpses numbering somewhere near two million, a mountain getting heavier every day...the burden of living in a nation whose Constitution guarantees rule by the people, but whose people are too cowardly, lazy, stupid, brainwashed, and/or evil to exercise that right.
Morocco’s sociopolitical system is far from perfect, yet it is unburdened by the awesome, tragic waste of potential that has transformed the USA from the best hope of the world, to a Neocon Nation far uglier, vastly more evil, and immeasurably more dangerous to humanity’s future than the Communist Russia or Nazi Germany of the last century.
In the USA, 9/11 is a terrible burden. People speak of it in hushed tones, beneath the waves of anxiety that rise into their throats when they dare to confront the unspeakable for even a split second. Schizoid anxiety separates the 64% who tell pollsters they don’t think it was an inside job from the 36% who know it was. Among the 64% who are in denial, internal schizoid anxiety—a split between the conscious mind that lies, and the unconscious that knows the truth—throws up a mind-smothering smokescreen of fear and revulsion.
In Morocco, by contrast, virtually everyone takes it for granted that 9/11 was probably an inside job. They are hardly surprised, much less shocked, that government officials would murder 3,000 of their own citizens in order to consolidate and expand their own wealth and power.
During my three weeks in Morocco, I spoke to many dozens of people about 9/11. I spoke to cabdrivers, university professors, engineers, teachers, clerks. Just last week I spoke to a standing-room-only audience of intellectuals at the Nibraz Cultural Association in Oujda. Not one person I met believed the official story. Not one.
What bothers some of my Moroccan informants is not that Cheney, Silverstein and company blew up the World Trade Center and reaped trillions in profits from the deaths of thousands of innocents. Elite deviance is nothing new. What puzzles and surprises many Moroccans is that Americans have thus far let them get away with it, despite the USA’s history as a relatively democratic, educated, transparent society. “What is wrong with Americans?” asked Muhammad, a retired engineer who has been researching 9/11 truth videos and websites. “With all the video and photo evidence, it is obvious that the World Trade Center was demolished and that no 757 hit the Pentagon. Why can’t Americans see this?” I did not have a ready answer.
Apparently the only people in Morocco who half-believe the Official Story are the small minority who are such fans of Osama Bin Laden that they hate to see him revealed as a CIA stooge. One taxi driver I met, for example, thought Osama was a hero for standing up to the Zionists and their Americana dupes. I told him I was not sure what other operations Osama might have been involved in, but that 9/11 was definitely a Western intelligence operation. After a moment’s reflection he agreed, but insisted that at least some of the other attacks credited to Osama were authentic.
When I was invited to speak at Nibraz, the director told me that it would be a private, invitation-only affair because if it were publicized and open to the public, a stray Bin Laden fan might show up and disrupt the event. That’s funny, I said, in the US it’s the stray Bush fans we worry about.
As it turned out, it was a good thing the event was unadvertised and private, since it drew an overflow crowd. (I will be posting the video of this event when my luggage containing my video camera AC adaptor is discovered and returned to me.)
My lecture on the evidence that 9/11 was an inside job, and the growth of the 9/11 truth movement, was extremely well-received, and, amazingly, I sold 17 copies of Truth Jihad. (As I told my publisher John Leonard, we could sell a whole lot more in places like Morocco if they were translated into French and/or Arabic.) The predominant reaction to my lecture was “we already knew this—you need to be doing this work in the USA, not here.” I responded that while I had yet to meet a Moroccan who believed the official story, few seemed especially well-informed about the evidence, nor was the 9/11 truth movement very well known. I urged my audience to get better informed and join the worldwide movement to spread the truth. Ongoing 9/11 truth demonstrations in front of US embassies all over the world, for example, would be extremely helpful. Ultimately, whether people in other nations feel burdened enough by 9/11 to take action, of course, is a question only they can answer.
While psychologically unburdened by America’s 9/11 complex, Morocco is suffering from the US “war on terror.” On May 16th, 2003 Casablanca suffered tragic suicide bombings that killed 45 people and injured over 100. Then again this year in March and April—just in time for my visit—various alleged al-Qaida operatives allegedly blew themselves up for no particular reason. A leading Moroccan journalist specializing in terrorism told me he had interviewed the suicide bombers’ families and acquaintances, and that they had unanimously insisted that the supposed terrorists’ behavior prior to blowing up was utterly inconsistent with what they were alleged to have done—exactly as was the case with the supposed 7/7 bombers in London. None of them had given any sign of being al-Qaida-style Islamic radicals. Immediately prior to their spectacular suicides, they had acted perfectly naturally, looking ahead to events that it would make no sense to plan for if they were intent on committing suicide in a couple of hours. Many other anomalies had led this journalist to question the official story of the bombings—but only privately, never in print. The journalist told me that the Moroccan authorities, and Moroccan journalists, might be afraid to look into the Waleed al-Shehri case, and other mysteries of 9/11, because the reverberations might lead too close to home.
In Morocco, as elsewhere in the Arab and Muslim worlds, and in the US, the “Global War on Terror” has really been a war on democracy. Wherever GWOT appears, dissent and the desire for freedom and self-determination is labeled “terrorism” and criminalized. In Islamic countries, by demonizing Islamists, the main voice of populist opposition, GWOT has allowed unpopular pro-US elites to consolidate their power by any means necessary.
Unrecovered Item: Waleed al-Shehri
It was like Waiting for Godot, with Waleed al-Shehri playing Godot.
Well, not exactly. But it was maddeningly passive. I spent most of my time waiting for people to call or write back.
I looked for Waleed at Royal Air Maroc, the Moroccan national airline colloquially known as RAM, where he was reported to have worked. The people I talked to there had never heard of him. They said that since Waleed was Saudi Arabian, it was unlikely that he had ever-worked as a full-time pilot for RAM. Almost all RAM employees are Moroccan, I was told. If there were Saudis working for RAM, they would stick out like sore thumbs. (I later learned that RAM started denying that they ever heard of Waleed as soon as the story broke back in September 2001.)
I called Saudi Arabian Airlines, just in case the RAM attribution had been in error. I was passed from office to office and finally spoke to an administrative higher-up. He sounded defensive, like he knew something he didn’t want to share.
I tried the French embassy. No luck.
I tried the US embassy. David, the press liaison, denied knowing anything about Waleed, but did alert me to the existence of a recent article about him in a Moroccan magazine—an article that turned out to be about my own hunt for Waleed, and which promisingly referred to him living in Morocc—in the present tense.
I looked for “Détectives Privées” in the Casablanca Yellow Pages—to no avail. I was later informed that there were no private detectives in Morocco. Apparently the police and security services there don’t allow competition.
I tried debt collection agencies, and discovered that they are only authorized to track down debtors, not alleged suicide hijackers.
I composed a letter to Moroccan journalists and emailed it to more than forty journalists and news outlets. My grand strategy had always been to flush out the truth about Waleed (and the larger truth about 9/11) the way hunters flush out their prey, by banging on pots and pans and making a lot of public noise.
Some of these journalists responded encouragingly. Here is one such response:
“Allow me to tell you that I have already had the occasion to become aware of the terrific work that you’re doing, and the courageous man you are, alongside David Ray Griffin, Steven Jones, and all the others I can’t name because they are so numerous.
“More generally, I am very much aware of the 9/11 truth movement. I learned of its existence about a year ago, and since then not a day passes when I don’t watch a video or read new information relating to it.
“Thus you can consider me one of yours. Besides, what human being gifted with a mind and a soul could not join your noble cause? (. . .)
“I am working on a comprehensive article on this horrific subject which I hope to publish during the run-up to next September 11th, 2007.”
I spoke to, and met with, other Moroccan journalists. I hope and suspect that some of them will, insha’allah, look a bit more deeply into the Waleed al-Shehri mystery (whateverhappened) and the 9/11 truth movement in general.
In the long run—and this is a long-term struggle, not a quick cut-and-run affair—I hope my visit to Morocco will contribute to the emergence of the truth, and the better world it will usher in. I didn’t get a quick checkmate, but I did play for a stronger position in the middle of the board. The attention I brought to the Waleed story, especially among Arabic-speaking journalists in the relatively free-media nation of Morocco, may kindle an interest in alleged-9/11-hijacker-mysteries that will eventually pay off.
[i] See Daniel Hopsicker’s Welcome to Terrorland. Since the Atta who pretended to learn to fly in Venice, Florida may have been an intelligence-agency double, I do not mean to impugn the piety of the original, Egyptian Atta. Note that the nasty, kitten-disembowling Atta who trained in Florida was fluent in Hebrew—a language that the original Egyptian Atta would hardly have been likely to learn.
[ii] “... permettez moi de vous dire que j'ai déjà eu l'occasion de prendre connaissance du formidable travail que vous faites et quel grand homme courageux vous êtes, de même que david ray griffin, steven jones et tous les autres que je ne peux pas citer tellement ils sont nombreux
plus généralement, je suis très au fait du mouvement pour la vérité sur le 11 septembre. j'ai appris son existence il y a à peu près un an, et, depuis, il ne passe pas un jour sans que je visionne une vidéo ou lise des nouvelles infos qui s'y rapportent.
vous pouvez donc me considérer comme l'un des vôtres. d'ailleurs, quel être humain doué d'une raison et d'une âme pourrait ne pas adhérer à votre noble cause?”
je prépare un grand dossier sur cette épouvantable affaire et je compte le publier à l'approche du 11 septembre 2007.