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Terrorism

Simulation exercises that make attacks easier

Just like military organizations, which carry out periodic exercises to check their equipment and organizational capacity for real combats, public civilian powers also hold their own attack-simulation exercises. By considering a hypothetical disaster, like that of a suicide airplane or the explosion of a bomb in the subway, crisis management groups are trained to coordinate relief actions and rapid responses. However, recent studies have shown that what should save lives has been used to make attacks easier. This is what happened in London on July 7, 2005 or in New York on September 11, 2001.

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Let’s focus on London first.
Peter Power, manager of Visor Consultants, a private firm hired by the London police, explained in an interview granted to the BBC on July 7, how he had organized and controlled that very day an exercise in which attacks were simulated at the request of an anonymous client.

P.Power: At 9:30 this morning we were focused on our exercise at the request made by a society that has more than 1000 people in London. The action was about the explosion of synchronized bombs in subway stations, the same stations in which real explosions did take place that morning. I’m still shocked.

ITV: To be more precise: you mean, you were designing an exercise to know how to handle such a situation and that was what really happened while you were working on the exercise?

P.Power: Exactly. It was about 9:30 a.m. We had designed that training exercise for a society, which I will not identify for obvious reasons but they are now watching television and they know it. We were in a room full of people whose job was to manage a crisis. That was the first meeting. In five minutes we reached the conclusion that what was happening was real and we implemented all crisis-management procedures to go from slow to rapid reaction and so on (...) [1]

By foreseeing a flood of emails, Peter Power, a former Scotland Yard officer specialized in counterterrorism, wrote the following automatic reply:

“Thanks for your message. Due to the amount of emails with regard to the July 7 events and the criteria that make people believe that our exercise had a premonitory character or that it was a sort of conspiracy [we have to point out that there are some web sites that interpreted our 7/7 job in an improper/naive/ignorant/hostile way]. Therefore, we have decided to give this automatic reply: It’s been confirmed that a small group of “walk through” scenarios previously planned were implemented this morning at the request of a private company in London (as part of a more extensive program that is still classified). It’s been also confirmed that two scenarios had to do with bomb attacks at the same time the tragic consequences we all know took place . One of the scenarios, in particular, was very similar to the real developments.

However, all those who know of the threats the capital has been subjected to should know that
a) emergency services have already developed several exercises considering the explosion of bombs in subway stations. _ b) some months ago, the BBC broadcasted a documentary about similar issues but with more dramatic consequences [??] Therefore, having chosen a feasible scenario –despite the fact that the timing and the script were really impressive- is not surprising.

In short, our exercise (that only included a handful of people such as crisis management experts) became real quickly and, that morning, participants reacted to facts in a perfect way.

We have no other comments. Besides, due to the extraordinary amount of emails coming from misinformed people, we have decided to answer the questions of those with justified reasons (that is, accredited journalists, etc.)” [2].

Attack-simulation exercises

Power’s automatic reply suggests that attack-simulation exercises take place frequently and are very common, and that the exercise of July 7 was not different from others. It just coincided with real attacks. But, the so called “walk through” scenarios are not a routine. Visor’s phony attacks were not a coincidence at all.

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Peter Power, chief manager at "Visor Consultants"

There are widely documented cases of mock attacks in the United States and Great Britain which have taken place some time before or the very same day of real attacks. The examples we’ll quote now are amazingly similar to real terrorist attacks...

Britain’s Atlantic Blue: April, 2005

In Great Britain several mock attacks had taken place in the London subway before July 7. In 2003, the maneuver was called Osiris 2. It required the participation of several hundreds of people. According to Peter Power, it was about “checking the equipment and the people in the subway.” [3]. Apart from the July 7 exercise controlled by Visor Consultants, a similar one identified as Atlantic Blue took place on April 2005. Atlantic Blue was part of a program aimed at managing emergency situations called TOPOFF 3, which was developed by the United States with the participation of Great Britain and Canada. Its implementation was decided by Britain’s Home Secretary Charles Clarke and his American counterpart Michael Chertoff, current Secretary of Security, drafter of the final version of the USA Patriot Act, which affects the fundamental freedoms in the United States with the purpose of fighting Islamic terrorism.
The hypotheses of the exercise directed by Visor Consultants on July 7 were the same ones of Atlantic Blue. But this is not surprising for Visor Consultants was involved –due to a contract with the British government- in the organization and implementation of Atlantic Blue with the assistance of Michael Chertoff’s US Department of Homeland Security.

Exercises before September 11

The official comments that try to justify the lack of reaction of the American defense on 9/11 affirm that the events were so unimaginable that the military was not prepared for what happened. However, many similar exercises had already taken place. According to the USA Today, [4] “During the two years previous to 9/11, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, NORAD, responsible for the air defense of the United States and Canada, carried out exercises that represented what the White House described later as imaginable […]: the use of hijacked planes as weapons that crashed against targets.” One of the imaginary targets was the World Trade Center… With respect to these exercises, NORAD has explained that “several types of civil and military aircrafts” are used to play the role of hijacked aircrafts and check the “detection of the flight route and the identification of the [aircrafts], emergency take-off and the interception, the procedures to be follow in a hijacking, the internal and external coordination of the agency as well as the procedures of operational safety and communications security”. NORAD’s spokesperson added: “We organized four maneuvers a year in which all the American zone is included. Most scenarios include the hijacking of planes” [5]
On the other hand, the Defense Department had organized from October 24 to the 28, 2000, that is, ten months previous to 9/11, exercises dealing with a possible attack against the Pentagon. These included three scenarios: a terrorist attack against the subway station used by the staff, a construction accident and ...a passenger airplane crashing against the Pentagon taking the lives of 342 people [6].

Same thing on September 11

More interesting still is the fact that the very same date of September 11 was chosen as the day for exercises. Dozens of military bases all over the country and all kinds of governmental agencies were mobilized for maneuvers. Let’s see some representative examples...

World Trade Center drill

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Cover of the FEMA manual concerning the June, 1999 exercises on which the World Trade Center appeared as a target

Tom Kenney, spokesperson of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA, agency in charge of managing disasters) told journalist Dan Rather that his agency had been deployed in New York on Monday night, September 10 because of the drills of September 12.“We’re one of the first teams deployed to assist the city of New York in that disaster. We arrived in late on Monday night and we’re in action on Tuesday morning.”
This was confirmed by the mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, before the investigative commission of September 11. “Hundreds of people were there, people from FEMA, the federal government, the State, crisis management bureau, and they were getting ready for a maneuver related to a biochemical attack.”
Like the previous ones, that drill, called Tripod, had to represent a biochemical attack against the World Trade Center which would lead to the evacuation of the building.

Maneuver related to the crashing of an aircraft against a building

A few minutes before the attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, John Fulton, head of the Strategic War Gaming Division of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO, intelligence agency that manages espionage from the space. It depends on the Defense Department and half of its staff comes from the CIA whereas the other half comes from the very same Defense Department) was organizing a maneuver that had been planned for a very long time. Let’s see a report of the Associated Press, dated August 22, 2002:
“What the government describes as a strange coincidence, had been planned by an intelligence agency of the United States for September 11. It was a maneuver in which a lost aircraft crashed against one of its buildings. But the cause was not terrorism: it was supposed to be a faked accident.
Those in charge of Chantilly, in Virginia, the base of the National Reconnaissance Office, had planned for that morning a maneuver in which a small private jet crashed against one of the four towers of the agency headquarters due to a mechanical damage.
The agency is located at 4 miles [6,5 km] from the landing strip of Washington’s Dulles International Airport and at 24 miles [40 km] from the Pentagon. [ ] This coincidence was joined by the fact that flight 77 of American Airlines –the 767 Boeing that was diverted and crashed against the Pentagon-had taken off from Dulles at 8:10, September 11, 50 minutes before the beginning of the maneuver. [This flight] crashed against the Pentagon about 9:40.”

Operation Global Guardian

When the September 11 attacks took place, a very important military maneuver called Global Guardian was underway. It had started the previous week and involved the US Strategic Command (Stratcom, an agency in charge of American nuclear forces), in cooperation with the US Space Command and the NORAD. In view of the fact that the scenario considered was a nuclear attack by a foreign power (Russia) against the United States, hundred of troops were involved and it was related to other maneuvers, such as Crown Vigilante (a maneuver of the Air Combat Command), Apollo Guardian (US Space Command) as well as NORAD’s programs Vigilant Guardian and Amalgam Warrior. It was a maneuver that includes in-door and ground exercises. [7]. The command post of maneuver Global Guardian was located in an underground bunker at the Air Force Base in Offutt (Nebraska). There was the Commander in Chief of the Stracom, admiral Richard Mies. Due to the maneuver, he was the person in charge of all American bombers, cruise missiles and submarines. In addition, three air command aircrafts equipped with sophisticated means of communications had cleared the base. Those aircrafts (E-4B) were aimed at controlling nuclear forces from the air in case of a crisis. These are alternative command centers for high ranking governmental officials who control American forces and war operations as well as coordinate the actions of the civil forces in case of important crises.

In the morning of September 11, the staff of Fort Monmouth, a base of ground forces, 70 km from New York, was getting ready for a maneuver called Timely Alert II, whose purpose was to test the reaction capacity in case of a chemical attack. The maneuver included the participation of different agencies and means such as the firefighters of the base and the police of New Jersey. At the same time, in Fort Belvoir, some 15 km from the Pentagon, an exercise was being held with the purpose of “checking the security of the base in case of a terrorist attack.”. Meanwhile, at the Pentagon, doctor Matt Rosenberg was studying “a new medical emergency plan based on the unlikely scenario of a plane crash against the building.” [8]. And these are just some of the maneuvers organized that day… On the other hand, part of the most qualified staff to face attacks was being trained on the other side of the country. That was the case of the mixed FBI/CIA counterterrorist intervention group that was participating in a training exercise in Monterrey (California). USA Today reported on September 11 that “by the end of the day, with airports closed all over the country, the intervention group could not return to Washington”.. Informative site evote.com added that the very same day the FBI had deployed “its best special operation and counterterrorist agents (apart from helicopters and light airplanes) in a training in Monterrey”. This means that during the attacks, “the most important federal agency aimed at preventing crimes was decapitated.”
Likewise, by the end of August, two thirds of the planes that make up the 27th Fighter Squadron had been sent to operations abroad (Turkey and Iceland). Based in Langley, this squadron is one of the responsible ones for the protection of New York and Washington...

The simultaneity of all these maneuvers at the very moment of the real attacks on September 11 in the United States, can’t be explained by stating simple coincidences. This makes us consider that the organizers of the attacks knew what was being cooked at the heart of state bodies of the United States and Great Britain, that is, the organizers, or at least some of them, belonged to such state organizations. But, why using what they knew and then run the risk of being exposed? First Point: Those responsible persons from the military, the government or the members of the intelligence services that might wish a tougher political action could have not organized attacks without being exposed. This is the first function of a maneuver: to grant organizers the necessary legitimacy to launch an operation, to allow them to use government officials and facilities to do it and to offer a satisfying response to all those who might express their concern for what’s happening. For its effectiveness, the scenario of the maneuver should be similar to the attack in the project.
Second Point: By being scheduled for the date of the attack, the maneuver justifies the deployment of men on the ground, men wearing the uniform of the security and relief services; therefore, they won’t be bothered. It’s easy to infiltrate those in charge of setting the bombs among them. Third Point: The simultaneous execution of maneuvers at the moment of the real attacks helps to obstruct the work of the security and rescue services because of the confusion between reality and fiction. This is what happened with September 11 aircrafts when up to 29 aircrafts were said to be hijacked in a moment of that morning. Where to send patrols? What building are to be protected as a priority? ...it is not difficult to imagine the chaos that should have provoked in the command posts. The hypothesis with respect to the existence of organizers of attacks in the heart of the state apparatus is shocking at first sight. However, there’s a recent historical record. Since the end of the 1960s and until the 1980s, the Stay behind [9] of NATO orchestrated attacks throughout Europe. Known as the “tension strategy”, the case was officially revealed before the Italian parliament by the President of the Council Giulio Andreotti in 1990 and brought about a scandal on the continent. It was about scaring the population to have it accept the loss of part of its individual freedoms in return of an increase in security.

Finally, let’s see a report of the Associated Press wired on August 15, 2005, at 15:08:

High risk of attacks in Italy according to the Minister of Interior

ROMA (AP) – A “high risk” of attacks persists in Italy, said on Monday the Italian Minister of Interior who announced the organization of maneuvers for next month aimed at confirming the country’s reaction capacity.

The Minister of Interior talked about this threat at the end of a meeting in Rome with high-ranking officials in charge of security, intelligence and civil defense.

”After examining the level of investigations in Italy after the attacks in London and in Charm-el-Cheik, the committee (that of security) made a deep analysis of the terrorist threat in the Islamic context”, pointed out the ministry in its communiqué. The conclusion is that “the high risk of a terrorist action in our country still persists”, added the ministry.

Maneuvers aimed at checking the organization of the country in case of attacks will be organized in September in all Italy “with the purpose of keeping the public order, guaranteeing rapid assistance and correct information and undertaking an investigation”, highlighted the ministry.

For more details about the drills, the reader can check the excellent work of Paul Thomson and the Center for Cooperative Research “Complete 911 Timeline: Military exercices up to 9/11”.
For more elements of the attacks of July 7 in London, the articles of Michel Chossudovsky and his collaborators at the Center for Research on Globalization as well as article “77 unanswered questions concerning 7/7” of investigative team Team 8 + are very useful.

[1] Attentats de Londres : le même scénario se déroulait simultanément sous forme d’exercice !, Voltairenet.Org, July 13, 2005.

[2] «London Underground Exercises: Peter Power Responds, Jon Rappoport, July 13 2005», infowars.com.

[3] Interview granted by Peter Power, CTV, July 11, 2005

[4] USA Today, April 18, 2004

[5] CNN, April 19, 2004.

[6] MDW News Service, November 3, 2000, Daily Mirror, May 24, 2002, UPI April 22, 2004, Report of the investigative commission, pp. 314.

[7] Defense Department, 5/97; Associated Press, February 21, 2002; Omaha World Herald, February 27, 2002 and September 10, 2002

[8] Washington Post, September 16, 2001.

[9] read about this theme”Stay-behind : les réseaux d’ingérence américains network, by Thierry Meyssan.

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