Editor’s Note: The story of the Dancing Israelis remains one of the most controversial and explosive untold stories of Sept. 11, 2001. Previous efforts to analyze this aspect of 9/11 have been mostly emotive OpEds and conspiratorial rants – until now. Writer Greg Fernandez presents some new declassified FBI material as part of a newly compiled and highly detailed account of this chilling chapter in the 21st century’s most iconic event.
Greg Fernandez Jr.
21st Century Wire
It only took only a few hours for the Twin Towers to fall to the ground on September 11th, 2001.
Later that same day, World Trade Center Building 7 became the third tallest building in the world to implode into its own footprint, allegedly from ‘fire.’ Additionally, to date there is still no evidence that commercial airline Flight 77 struck the Pentagon, even though authorities insist that they have the attack captured on film (but for some reason, they cannot show it to us).
Added to the long list of strange events that happened on September 11th is the infamous story of the five Israeli nationals who were arrested by New Jersey police officers in connection with the WTC attacks on the day. The five suspects were held in detention for three months while the FBI investigated their “jovial” behavior after the North Tower was struck by an aircraft. As the North Tower burned, witnesses saw three young men “high-fiving” each other and appearing to be celebrating the worst attack in American history. One eyewitness wrote down the license plate of the men’s vehicle and called police. It didn’t take long for New Jersey’s finest to locate the van and find traces of explosive materials inside.
The Five Israelis
“On May 29th, 2015, John Massaria filed a FOIA request in attempt to retrieve the data stored on the 16 computers seized by the FBI from the ‘Urban Moving Systems’ warehouse in New Jersey.”¹
John Massaria asked for the data on the hardrives but instead, was given the following FBI Report –doc-1 (141 pages), Police Report (4 pages), and FOIA-2 – FOIA-6. Special thanks to Ken Doc for making me aware of these files. Within three days of filing the FOIA request for the data on the Urban Moving Systems’ hardrives, John Massaria was given the declassified files.
On September 10th, 2001, one of the five Israeli nationals was seen in the Doric Towers apartment complex exiting the 9th floor. The Israeli claimed to be a “construction worker” who would be working in the complex until 7 p.m. that night. Several residents of Doric Towers also believed they may have seen one or more of the five Israelis on September 10th, 2001 inside the apartment complex.
FBI files also revealed that all five Israeli nationals were together on September 10th, 2001 at an apartment in Brooklyn on Lawrence Street. At least one of the five men went from this Brooklyn residence to the “J&S Gulf” gas station, before heading to the Urban Moving Systems warehouse in New Jersey. I believe four of the five men were living at the Brooklyn apartment on September 11th. How many of the five men were in the van when the vehicle left Brooklyn?
Also living in the apartment was an unnamed woman. The woman worked in New Jersey and used “mass transit to get to work” because she “doesn’t own a car.” She “takes a train from Brooklyn to the World Trade Center where she takes a Path train to Journal Square. From Journal Square [ – ] takes a cab to work.” It’s not clear if this woman works for Urban Moving Systems, or is the woman who later tells FBI agents that Urban Moving Systems only has one white van; which is a lie.
An Urban Moving Systems white Chevrolet 2000 van was used by the Israeli nationals to travel from their residence in Brooklyn, New York to the Urban Moving Systems location in Weehawken, New Jersey. The EZ-Pass found by authorities revealed that the van “passed through the Brooklyn, New York entrance to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel at 7:48 a.m.”
A gas station attendant at J&S Gulf, located at 1324 Willow Avenue, Hoboken, New Jersey, told FBI agents that a white Urban Moving Systems van came to get gas prior to the attacks on the World Trade Center. “The driver had short, dark hair” but the gas station attendant did “not know if any other people were in the van with the driver.” Though the gas station attendant was certain the white van arrived before the attacks on the Twin Towers, FBI agents “determined that the Israelis purchased gasoline [“from the Gulf service station”] at approximately 2:14 p.m., which was subsequently corroborated by reviewing the photographs taken by the Israelis that day.” Did the Israelis make two stops to the same gas station on September 11th?
Arriving at Urban Moving Systems
An employee for Urban Moving Systems saw two of the Israelis “clocking in” at 8:58 a.m. That doesn’t necessarily mean the two Israelis arrived at Urban Moving Systems at 8:58 a.m. One of them was on the internet “and began reading about the events onand , an Israeli newspaper.”
“After learning that the WTC was struck by airliners,” A female employee of Urban Moving Systems told FBI agents “that, all of the employees went outside of the building to watch.” The employees stayed outside for a while until they were told to get back to work. The female employee did “not recall seeing anybody taking pictures outside the building, although she does recall that [ – ] had received a new camera from [ – ] the day before.”
This would be one of three witness reports within the FBI files to suggest that the Israelis did have a video camera when in the parking lot of Doric Towers. Another eyewitness would be someone who worked at Doric Towers, and the third person would be a resident of the apartment complex, referred to as “T-1.”
Doric Towers Rear Parking Lot
FBI agents concluded that the Israelis were in the rear parking lot of Doric Towers “between 8:50 a.m. and 9:03 a.m.” FBI agents telephonically interviewed two people from Union City, New Jersey, with an officer from the Union City, New Jersey Police Department acting as a translator. The two unnamed people work at Doric Towers, at 100 Manhattan Avenue, Union City, New Jersey. “They were at work the morning of the destruction of the World Trade Centers. Doric Towers was the site where 3 young men were seen taking video and still pictures of the destruction of the first tower. The men were in a festive mood and high fiving each other. They were driving a white utility van.”
One of the two workers at the Doric Towers apartment complex was painting a baseboard inside an apartment when a co-worker told him about the first plane hitting the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The painter “stands up from painting the baseboard, looks out of the window, and noticed 3 young men taking video and still photographs from atop the roof of the parking garage adjoining Doric Towers.”
The painter also saw “a white utility van next to the men and a brown van further behind. There were no other people in the parking lot at that time. He believes this occurred between 9:00 a.m. and 9:10 a.m.” The man left the apartment complex and went to his own apartment, “which takes approximately 5 minutes. He looks out of the window and sees both towers on fire. After 6 to 7 minutes he goes to another window in his apartment and sees that the men and both the white and brown van gone.” The man “did not see any writing on the van or any windows other than the glass on the driver and passenger sides.”
Three cigarette butts were found in the area where the three Israelis were taking pictures.
Eyewitnesses at Doric Towers
At 8:15 a.m. on September 11th, 2001, a female resident at the Doric Towers apartment complex in Union City, New Jersey, “observed a white van parking in the rear parking lot of the apartment complex. A male individual appearing to have a brown but not dark complexion, round face, dark hair, approximate age 30’s, was driving the van. He drove the van very slowly into the rear parking lot, paused, and backed into a parking spot which, from the front, overlooked the New York City skyline. No passengers were visible. Upon returning to the area, at approximately 9:20 a.m. that same day, the interviewee did not see the van. The van was white and had no windows on the sides. It appeared to be a utility van for an electric company because the words ‘electric supplies’, among others, were printed on it. The name of the utility or vendor company, since forgotten, was in red letters on the van.”
The woman noticed the vehicle because utility vehicles usually park in the front of the apartment complex, but the white van was in the rear parking lot. A second eyewitness also saw the same van in the same parking lot around 8 a.m. on September 11th, 2001.
At 9:00 a.m. on September 11th, 2001, an unnamed housewife and resident of Doric Towers, later referred to as “T-1” (possibly named Settembrino), watched the smoking Twin Towers from the rear-window of her apartment. While looking in the direction of the World Trade Center, the resident “observed three (3) males kneeling on the roof of a white van located in the rear parking lot of her apartment complex. She noticed the individuals and it appeared as though they noticed her.” Three clean-cut white males in their mid-twenties were on top of the box-style van “which had no windows on the side; it reminded Settembrino of a telephone company style van…one of the males appeared to be taking still photographs and video of the other males with the WTC in the background. All of the males appeared to be jovial in that they smiled, hugged one another, and gave “high fives.”” The resident wrote down the license plate number of the van as it left the parking lot, JRJ-13Y.
The female resident, T-1 (Settembrino?), was first interviewed “in the presence of her husband” on September 11th, 2001 by at least one FBI special agent. The woman was born in South America, became a United States citizen, and eventually retired from employment. This is the woman who was contacted by telephone at 9 a.m. about smoke coming from the World Trade Center by a neighbor in Doric Towers, later referred to as “T-2.”
Using her Binolux binoculars, “T-1” was able to get a closer look at the World Trade Center “through her rear window. Then she opened the balcony door and walked onto the balcony. As she looked in the direction of the WTC, she observed three (3) males kneeling on the roof of a white van in the rear parking lot of her apartment complex. She noticed them and it appeared as if they noticed her…all of the males were white, males, in their mid-twenties, no facial hair, no glasses, “clean cut”, no hats, all wearing short sleeve shorts, with lean builds. She recalls that one male (Male #1) had light hair which was cut very short. The top of his hair appeared somewhat “curly” or “wavy”. He was wearing a white tee shirt and light blue jeans, with a hole in the left knee. He was smoking cigarettes. She believes she has the best memory of this male.” The woman remembered Male #2 the least of all five. Male #3 had dark, short, straight hair.
“The van was not parked perpendicular to the fence,” according to the FBI files. “Instead, the front of the van faced in a southeast direction. Male #1 knelt on the roof above the front passenger side of the vehicle, and he faced the apartment complex. Male #2 knelt on the rear portion of the roof of the vehicle, and he faced New York City. Male #3 appeared to be taking still photographs and video of Males #1 and #2 with the WTC in the background. All of the males appeared to be jovial. The[y] smiled, they hugged each other and they appeared to “high five” one another. [ – ] is certain that the first fire at the WTC had just started. The second explosion had not yet occurred when she noticed these males.”
“T-1” saw no one else in the rear parking lot. As the van pulled away the woman wrote down the license plate number, JRJ-13Y. She didn’t contact local police until she told her husband about the “jovial” men later that day. Her husband suggested she contact the police.
President George W. Bush addresses the media during a tour of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Headquarters with Director Robert Mueller, left, and U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft (Source: National Archives)
On Friday, September 14th, 2001, at 7:35 a.m. the female resident “T-1” (Settembrino?) was telephonically interviewed by an FBI “Supervisory Special Agent” and an FBI “Special Agent.” The woman “observed three (3) males on top of a white van with one (1) camera.” The FBI file stated that the housewife “believes that it was a video recording device, rather than a still camera. [ – ] recalls that the camera was a small, handheld unit, with a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) screen. She recalls that one of the unknown males was holding the camera up to his facial area and moving the camera, slowly from side to side. She described this motion as “panning the area.” [ – ] also recalls the males appeared to be “horsing around.”
In response to T-1’s initial claims, FBI agents canvassed the Doric Towers apartment building in Union City, New Jersey, on September 13th, 2001 “to determine whether anybody residing at the apartment building could identify any of the five individuals appearing in two pages of photocopied photographs shown to them.” Residents were shown a picture of each of the five Israelis and were asked if they had seen any of the five males (Males #1–#5) at Doric Towers on or before September 11th, 2001.
A male interviewee living in the apartment complex “definitely saw the individual identified in the photographs as number 5 within the apartment building at around 3:00 p.m.” on September 10th, 2001, “the day before the interview” on September 13th, 2001, “as well as here and there during the preceding weekend. The individual was observed entering the elevator in the lobby along with another individual with whom he was conversing, perhaps in Spanish. The manner in which the two men were speaking suggested that they knew each other. The second man was not within the pictures presented.” “Several times during the course of the interview, the interviewee independently volunteered that he was positive that the man identified within the photographs as number 5 was the man he saw in the building.”
A female resident “stated she may have seen #3 [ – ] and #4 [ – ] around the building area throughout the past summer months.” Another female who lived in the same apartment stated Males #2 and #4 “looked familiar…she recognized them from around the apartment building.” A mole on the face of one of the men “was an identifying mark” that both women remembered.
A male resident believed Male #3 “or someone that looks similar to him has visited apartment [ – ] in the past.” Another female resident “said that she may have seen” Male #4 before, but she didn’t “recall where and when.”
An unnamed male, possibly the apartment complex manager or superintendant, did not recognize any of the five males. However when asked about “Urban Moving Company” he told agents that “a tenant in apartment [ – ] called on Sunday, 09/09/2001, and stated he and his wife, [ – ] would be moving out of the building Monday morning” on September 10th, 2001. In a phone message to the unnamed male the tenants “stated in the message that Urban Moving Company would be moving them. [ – ] thought this odd, because [ – ] had paid through the end of September and had not given an earlier notice of his intentions to move.” Whoever the married couple was, they had a joint-checking account with Chase Manhattan Bank with an address in Hoboken, New Jersey, 07030. They were a young couple who were very quiet while living in the apartment complex. The husband did not drive. One of them “took a cab to the path station in Hoboken every morning for work.”
Another possible male employee saw “three male movers with foreign accents” moving the two tenants out of the building on September 10th, 2001. When shown photographs of the five Israelis, the male did not recognize any of them as the movers.
A female resident “said she may have seen” Male #3 “in the Newark area” and Male #4 “in the Doric Apartment complex office.” Another female resident said Male #4 “or someone that looks similar to him was around the apartment complex during the summer.” A white female resident told the FBI agents Male #3 and Male #4 “appeared similar to the males she saw on the morning of 09/11/2001. However, she was not sure. No positive identification was established.”
A white male living in the apartment complex “stated that his window faces the south side of the apartment complex building. He also stated that he recalls seeing someone who looks like” Male #5, but again, “no positive identification was established.”
Another white female resident said Male #5 “vaguely looks like someone I’ve seen. I can’t tell you where or when.” She also told the FBI agents “she may have seen this individual on a bicycle. [ – ] recalls that the [ – ] for the apartment complex was working in the morning hours of 09/11/2001. He may operate a van. No positive identification was established.”
Another female resident “stated that she observed a white car in the far southeast corner of the rear parking lot on the morning of 09/11/2001. An unidentified female appeared to be sitting on the vehicle and taking photographs of New York. No positive identification was established.”
A white male resident thought Male #3 “resembled a homeless man that sleeps near the apartment complex.” Another white male resident “walked onto his balcony between 9:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.” He did not see anyone in the rear parking lot, nor did he recognize any of the five Israelis.
A Union City, New Jersey woman, possibly a resident at Doric Towers, was interviewed at her residence about the five Israelis. She recognized Male #4 “from standing in line for the bus at the Port Authority in New York, New York.”
Another eyewitness recalled seeing a white van “in the rear parking lot of the apartment complex” on the morning of September 11th. “The van was white and had no windows on the sides. It appeared to be a utility van for an electrical company. The name of the company, since forgotten, was in red letters on the van. Usually, utility or service vehicles at the complex building parked in the front. This vehicle was parked in the back which is why it came to the interviewee’s attention. It seemed out of place.”
On September 17th, 2001, two FBI agents interviewed a male eyewitness in his Doric Towers apartment, located at 100 Manhattan Avenue, Union City, New Jersey. The person “previously telephoned the Newark FBI and indicated that he had photographs prior to the explosions at the World Trade Center…However, upon review, the photos appeared to be taken around the time of the collapse of the first tower, not prior to the attack.” After the interview, “while waiting for the elevator, the agents noticed a drawing, approximately eye level, on the wall near the elevator call buttons. The drawing appeared to depict the World Trade Center towers. This was evident by the shape of the buildings depicted, with one tower bearing a large antenna at the top. There was no evidence indicating how long the drawing had been there.”
Liberty State Park Sightings
On September 14th, 2001, the FBI’s “Newark Division, with the assistance of the New York Office (NYO), initiated an investigation predicated upon the detention of five (5) Israeli Nationals who may have possessed information about the terrorist incident targeting the twin towers of New York City’s World Trade Center on 09/11/2001.” FBI agents in Newark received information about a “big, white 2000 Chevy van” or a “panel truck” with ‘Urban Movers’ written in black on the side of the vehicle, being seen at the Marine Terminal building in the Liberty State Park area. The male eyewitness said the vehicle could have been a U-Haul truck.” After spotting the vehicle on September 11th, 2001, the eyewitness “mentioned that later he was in the vicinity of the Port Authority/George Washington Bridge, when he noticed someone wearing a Bergen County fireman’s uniform. [The eyewitness] stated that he was unaware that Bergen County had a fire department.”
A male eyewitness arrived at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey “sometime between 10:00 a.m. and 11 a.m.” He drove “from his residence to Liberty State Park, Jersey City, New Jersey in order to give blood.” Twenty or thirty minutes later the eyewitness “observed a truck enter Liberty State Park. The truck was new, either a 2000 or 2001 model year GMC box truck with dual rear wheels…the side of the box had a sign which said Urban Moving in black letters. [ – ] did not recall the exact words, but recalled it contained wording to the effect of Urban and a moving company along with an unrecalled (973) telephone number. The truck had no apparent dings, dents or scratches on it and was remarkably clean for a moving truck. The truck backed into a parking space near the pier, within 50 feet of the water. [ – ] did not see anyone exit the vehicle…the Urban Moving truck left Liberty State Park just after an announcement was made to close Ellis Island. At this time, [ – ] saw three males approach and enter the vehicle.”
The eyewitness “described UNSUB 1 as the driver of the van.” UNSUB 1 is Sivan Kurzberg. He “had skin-tone which could have been that of Mexican origin. UNSUB 1 looked light, and didn’t look like he would work as a mover. He wore faded blue jeans, white short sleeve tee-shirt, and a black vest, possibly leather. UNSUB 1 also wore a black fanny pack of average size which hung to look as if it contained three to five pounds of weight inside. The fanny pack hung just below UNSUB 1’s front left pocket of his jeans. [ – ] did not get a good look at UNSUB 2 or UNSUB 3…UNSUB 2 carried a Digital or 35mm camera with a zoom lens…the three UNSUBS entered the vehicle and departed the area.”
A third eyewitness at Liberty State Park saw a “big, white, model 2000 Chevrolet van, or possibly panel truck or U-Haul truck, bearing the words “Urban Movers” in black lettering along the side. The vehicle was observed in the Liberty State Park’s Marine Terminal in Jersey City, NJ, located across the Hudson River from WTC. Pursuant to this information, East Rutherford, NJ police authorities stopped an Urban Moving Systems van at a pre-positioned roadblock which was occupied by males similar to those described by witnesses above. The van had been traveling eastbound along State Route 3 in New Jersey. Following the stop, police detained five (5) individuals, all Israeli Nationals, on the grounds that they may have had information pertaining to the WTC explosions.”
A Union City, New Jersey female resident “said that at approximately 12:30 p.m. on September 11th, 2001, she was returning to New Jersey on the Liberty State Park ferry from New York City, New York.” She identified Male #4 “or somebody that looks similar to him” as being “on the same ferry.”
White Glove Movers
At least three of the five Israeli nationals were seen in the rear parking lot of Doric Towers. Likewise, three of the same Israeli nationals were seen at Liberty State Park. From there, the van was headed to White Glove Movers in New Jersey. FBI files state it was a ten minute drive from the Urban Moving Systems warehouse to the “White Glove” location. They don’t account for the alleged stop for gas at J&S Gulf at 2:14 p.m.
One of the five Israelis entered the White Glove Movers location and spoke with someone inside. “It was after leaving White Glove and looking for a crossing into New York, that they were stopped by the Police and arrested. It was at this point that [ – ] admitted that he had additional information. [ – ] stated that on the way to the parking lot, [ – ] remarked, “I am glad I brought my camera today.”” Was this a video camera or a still photography camera?
The Israeli who “admitted that he had additional information” for the FBI agents also told authorities that one of the Israelis in the rear parking lot of Doric Towers “had a backpack with him that could have contained a video camera…[ – ] said it is possible that [ – ] was using a video camera from inside the van, but that [ – ] did not see him doing so.”
On September 14th, 2001, an FBI Special Agent was given verbal authority by Assistant United States Attorney [ – ] “for the retrieval of any and all information electronically stored in the three cellular telephones found to be located inside a white van bearing New Jersey registration JRJ-13Y. This vehicle was seized and its occupants were detained as part of the investigation of the bombing of the World Trade Center.” As noted before this was the information John Massaria requested in his FOIA request. Three days after filing the request, Massaria received the declassified FBI files instead.
“Your Problems Are Our Problems.”
On September 11th, 2001, at 1:10 p.m., a statewide broadcast was sent out at the request of the FBI Newark field office. New Jersey police officers were told to search for “a white 2000 Chevrolet van with New Jersey” license plate “JRJ13Y with [an] ‘Urban Moving Systems’ sign on back.” The van was spotted by eyewitnesses at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey “at the time of the first impact of a jet airliner into the World Trade Center. Three individuals with the van were seen celebrating after the initial impact and subsequent explosion. F.B.I Newark field office is requesting that if the van is located, hold for prints and detain individuals.” The declassified FBI files specifically mention explosions at the World Trade Center several times.
The five Israeli nationals were arrested at 3:56 p.m. After their arrests, two FBI special agents interviewed East Rutherford New Jersey Police Officer Scott DeCarlo about the arrests. DeCarlo and several other officers were “assigned to a traffic detail, diverting traffic from Route 3 East to Route 120 North and Route 3 West.”
In his preliminary report, Officer Scott DeCarlo “observed a van traveling quite slower than the rest of traffic east towards me on the service road…I immediately informed Sgt. Rivelli (The OIC at the scene) of the possibility of a match on the vehicle. As this officer approached the vehicle I did not observe a front license plate. I went to the rear of the vehicle and observed the license plate (NJ JRJ13Y). I felt that the only letter difference in the plate could have been a mistake and requested a confirmation. The return transmission revealed the plate on the van matched the broadcast. So at this time I returned to the driver door and requested the driver to stop the vehicle and exit. The driver did not immediately exit the vehicle and was asked several more times but he appeared to be fumbling with a black leather fanny pouch type of bag. This officer then physically removed him. Sgt. Rivelli removed the passenger and one other passenger from the passenger side of the van and with minor assistance from officer in training T. Yannacone. The other two occupants were removed, placed on the grass off to the shoulder and this officer read all five individuals their Miranda rights. The van was secured and headquarters was requested to immediately notify the County Bomb Squad and FBI of the situation. All occupants were transported to the state police facilities inside the Meadowlands Sports Complex by State Troopers to await the arrival of the FBI.”
East Rutherford Police Officer Scott DeCarlo described the five occupants in the vehicle. Along with his descriptions, I have also included additional information found in the declassified FBI files:
Driver: Sivan Kurzberg
Sivan was born in Israel on February 2nd, 1978. He had two known addresses at the time. The first was at 100 Laurence Street, Brooklyn, N.Y. and the other was in Pohtkua, Israel. He also had a renewed passport that originally expired on March, 20th, 2001. The passport was extended until October 22nd, 2005. He had a relative in Charlotte, North Carolina to whom he wrote a letter to. More notably, Sivan told arresting officer Scott DeCarlo, “We are Israeli; we are not your problem. Your problems are our problems, The Palestinians are the problem.” Sivan was wearing blue jeans, torn at the knees, with a gray and black shirt. He was found with a black bag (fanny-pack). “The black bag that the driver was fumbling with contained all of his belongings (see attached Receipt from the FBI for its contents)…This officer did not speak to the Special Agent in charge, Kevin Donovan, and there were many other agents involved in the investigation. Two of which were Dan O’Brien (973) 792-3389 and Robert F. Taylor Jr. (973) 792-3327.”
Front Seat Passenger: Oded Ellner
Oded was born on December 6th, 1975. He was found with an Israeli passport, and had an address in Brooklyn, New York. He lived with at least two people whose names have been censored in the FBI files. He also had an American Express card (#375518092154895), along with a “white sock-like sack filled with $4,700 in cash.” He made sure to tell the arresting officers, “We’re Israeli.” Oded told Sgt. Rivelli that “they were on their way to Lawrence Street in Brooklyn where they are staying with a roommate.” I believe the roommate mentioned was a female.
Rear Seat Passenger: Yaron Shimuel
Yaron was born in Israel on November 21st, 1975, and is listed as being “German.” He had an Israeli passport that was issued on April 7th, 1991, expired on 4/6/1993, and was extended until 8/7/2000. He also had a German passport that was issued on March 15th, 1999, in Tel Aviv and expired on March 14th, 2004. After he was arrested, FBI agents requested “HQ” to “verify validity of German-issued passport with Berlin LEGAT.” Yaron had two known addresses; one at 1345 Drexel Avenue, #6, Miami Beach, Florida, 33139, and his other residence was in Brooklyn, New York.
FBI special agents interviewed someone who said Yaron “lived in Miami one year ago. He has at least one tattoo. Yaron was employed at the Urban Moving Company. The FBI files also indicated he has children. His roommate was employed in Jersey City, New Jersey, though the roommates name and address was censored. He planned to travel to Australia, and had an unnamed associate. Police believed Yaron lied when he told them, “We were on the west side during the incident.” He was wearing jean overalls when arrested.
Rear Seat Passenger: Baul Kurzberg
Baul was born on February 24th, 1974. He had a residence in Brooklyn, New York and an address in Dallas, Texas. He was employed at Urban Moving Company Systems Inc. He also had an American Express credit card. When arrested he was wearing a pink shirt and blue jeans.
Rear Seat Passenger: Omer Gavriel Marmari
The Chevrolet van was registered to Omer Gavriel Marmari, who was born on November 28th, 1979 in New York, New York. His address was listed as 509 West 212th Street, Manhattan, N.Y. (917) 529 – 2528. He also had an Israeli passport. He was found with a pack of cigarettes and black sunglasses. He’s the only Israeli national mentioned who has possession of cigarettes.
East Rutherford Police Department Sergeant Dennis Rivelli was on the passenger side of the van when Officer DeCarlo ordered it to stop, “I was able to see at least 4 people in the van, two in the front and two in the back. Officer DeCarlo read the plate number and I contacted the desk for confirmation on the plate number.”
The license plate number was off by one letter so the officers contacted headquarters. Sgt. Dennis Rivelli wrote, “It was confirmed that the plate on the vehicle was in fact the plate that the FBI had stated in the broadcast. While PO DeCarlo was removing the driver from the vehicle, I removed the front seat passenger. He stated, “We’re Israeli.” He was identified, via Israel passport as Oded Ellner W/M Dob 12/06/75 of Israel. He advised me that they were on their way to Lawrence St. in Brooklyn where they are staying with a roommate. He did not have the exact address. D/Capt Felton and Det. Yannacone arrived at the scene. All five males were handcuffed and PO DeCarlo read them their Miranda warnings. All five spoke and understood English and they acknowledged their understanding of Miranda. Bergen County Bomb Squad, State Police and FBI were notified…FBI agents responded and took over the scene. All five were separately transported to the State Police facilities in the Meadowlands Sports Complex by State Troopers.”
Under the FBI case file titled, “Twin Tower Bombing,” the special agent who filled out the report described the details of the investigation. “The Israelis were observed near Liberty State Park, New Jersey, celebrating and photographing the World Trade Center (WTC) explosion within minutes after the WTC was first hit by an aircraft. It should be noted that there were inconsistencies in the statements made by [Yaron Shimuel] who stated that the van he was in was on the West Side highway in New York at the time of the attack on the WTC. However, he is clearly visible in photographs (enclosed) which he and other occupants in the van had taken from a roof top parking garage located at 100 Manhattan Avenue, Jersey City, New Jersey, within minutes after the first WTC building was struck by an aircraft.”
After the first airplane struck the World Trade Center “a white Chevrolet van, year 2000, with New Jersey license plate JRJ13Y and URBAN MOVING SYSTEMS written on the back, was observed at 100 Manhattan Avenue, Jersey City, New Jersey.” Three of the Israelis “were observed celebrating after the initial impact and subsequent explosion of the WTC.”
At least two of the detainees were employees of Classic International Movers Incorporated. The Chevrolet van was towed to “MV’s Impound.” The FBI investigation apparently identified seven “individuals in connection with Urban Moving Systems.” FBI agents also requested further investigation of the 28 names “found in papers seized during the search of a vehicle leased to Urban Moving Systems,” as well as seventy-two telephone numbers.
Found Inside the Van
Vehicle Registration: 2000 Chevrolet Van.
License Plate: JRJ13Y.
Address: Vault Trust, P.O. Box 83, Garden City, New York, 11530.
DL: 94090 90001 15300.
Insurance Information: Empire Fire and Marine Insurance Company.
Agency Issuing Insurance Card: DeBellis Insurance Agency, Inc. 492 Franklin Avenue, Nutley, New Jersey, 07110.
Insured: Urban Moving and Systems Inc., 3 18th Street, Weehawken, New Jersey, 07087.
New Jersey Auto Insurance Card:
- Insured: Urban Moving Systems, Inc
- Address: 3 18th Street, Weehawkin, New Jersey, 07087
- Vehicle: 00 GMC Van
- VIN: 1GCEG15W4Y1142815
- Policy: CABIND080601
- Effective: August 6th, 2001
- Expires: October 6th, 2001
- Co: Empire Fire & Marine Ins Co (Insurance Co #11)
- Agency: DeBellis Insurance Agency, Inc., 492 Franklin Avenue, Nutley, New Jersey, 07110
The white 2000 Chevrolet with the license plate #JRJ13Y was registered to Omer Gavriel Marmari of Urban Moving Systems Incorporated, with the address of 312 Pavonia, Pavonia, Avenue, #1. Inside the van, the arresting officers found “telephone numbers” and “names directly associated with previously identified [ – ] and activities.”
In the van authorities also found money, maps, photographs, an address book labeled [ – ], two Israeli passports, one German passport, a flight coupon, a flight itinerary, a black organizer, miscellaneous note papers, two notebooks, “vaccuming”, a black organizer, two pocket notebooks, a hand-written letter with a return address from Charlotte, North Carolina, an EZ pass “dated from 10/30/1997 for New Jersey license: JRJ13Y and [ – ],” two cell-phones (Items #11 & #13: Sprint-Samsung and Sprint-Nokia), a Smart Beep Motorola pager (Item #12), a flier for “Garage” with the opening night dated as July 11th, 2001, and an application to visit Australia for tourism.
Also found inside the van:
- (FBI Item #1) (3) Copies of each (76) 8×10 black & white photographs
- (FBI Item #2) Film Negatives – Canon EOS SLR & Pentax P550
- Photos later developed by the Newark FBI office – (35mm camera photos) Photos clearly show “that the Israelis are visibly happy on nearly all of the photographs. Further, the photos revealed that the Israelis had taken photographs from both the top of a van and from another location believed to be a parking lot near the Urban Moving Systems location in Weehawken, NJ.”
- “Film from camera bag”
Still photographs from the Canon 35mm camera (developed later) show two of the Israelis in a “parking lot adjacent to the Doric Tower apartments…The three (3) Israelis, sitting together on top of a white van, are visibly smiling on at least three (3) of the photographs. The photographs also revealed that all five (5) Israelis later observed the WTC burning from a location on top of the roof of an Urban Moving Systems warehouse located adjacent to the Urban Moving Systems office location described herein.” How could a photograph reveal that all five men observed the World Trade Center burning unless a sixth person was behind the camera? The Israelis took photographs of themselves on the rooftop of the Urban Moving Systems warehouse as well as in the rear parking lot of Doric Towers.
FBI agents believed “that the Israelis photographs were taken closer in time to the explosion of Tower #2 (South Tower) than to the initial impact into Tower #1.” One of the Israelis “apologized for appearing happy in the photographs,” and added “that Israel has been dealing with incidents like this for years. He believes that the United States will take steps to stop terrorism in the world.”
Listed as photographs found in van:
- “Ryder Truck, tag #R9051J”
- “Hash Pipe (“Adapted Nesquick drink bottle with spout”)”
- “Black cat and boarded up house”
- “WTC lit up at night”
- “Great Lawn Oval, Central Park: two men posing by pair of signs, (left) no dogs allowed on great lawn oval, and (right) great lawn diagram/description”
- “Woman wearing cowboy hat (white with black spots)”
Black Fanny Pack:
- 1 Address Book
- ELAL Luggage Tag
- Visa Check Card
- State of Israel Driver’s License
- WTC 1 Visitor’s Card: dated 7/11/2001
- Cash – $1,000 in $20 bills, $22.30 additional cash
International Student Identity Card (ISIC):
- Valid from September of 2000 until December of 2001
- Full-time student
Olympic Airways Airline Ticket and Itinerary:
- On June 15th, 2001, the unknown person was on Flight 302 from Tel Aviv, Israel at 06:55, scheduled to arrive in Athens, Greece at 8:55. The person departed Athens, Greece, at 12:20 on Flight 411 and arrived at JFK International Airport in New York, New York, at 16:10.
- On September 12th, 2001, the person was scheduled to depart on Flight 412, from JFK International Airport in New York, New York, at 17:45 and arrive in Athens, Greece at 10:10.
- On September 14th, 2001, the person was scheduled to depart Flight 301 from Athens, Greece at 2:20, and arrive in Tel Aviv, Israel at 4:15.
- UNI Connection Prepaid Calling Card for $10
- Issta 012 CARD [calling card] [Israeli]
- Three $5 phone cards
- Two $2 Internet User IDs issued in Early April of 2001
- Lone Star Janitorial Service
- Urban Moving Systems Inc. (Hebrew handwriting on back)
- Immigration Office (handwritten initials in Cyrillic across bottom of card)
- I-94 Departure Record, USINS
- STA Travel (Travel Adviser)
- ISSTA Lines (Israel Youth & Students Travel Company), 21 Hertzel Street, Hadera 38204 Israel
- J&S Gulf, 1324 Willow Avenue, corner of 14th Street, Hoboken, New Jersey, 07030 (doc-1 pg. 128)
- La Quinta Inns Inc., 13235 Stemmons Freeway, Farmers Branc, Texas, 75234
- Addison! http://www.addisontexas.net, Along Belt Line Road at the Dallas North Tollway
- Qui / Yau Associates, Consulting-Engineer/Arch., Real Estate, [ – ], Licensed Master Plumber, 119 Essex Street, New York, New York, 10002
- Avis Rent A car System, Inc., 304 East 64th Street, New York, New York, 10021
- Urban Moving Systems Inc. with both New Jersey and New York addresses
- [ – ] “the Jewish Israeli Yellow Pages”
- Aldad & Associates, Attorneys at law Real estate, Immigration, Closings Leases Mortgages, Foreclosures. 350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 6912, New York, New York, 10118.
Two International Youth Travel cards, ISTC, UNESCO (possible forgeries):
- Valid until January of 2000 (“Exemplar from brochure, possibly for forgery?”)
- Valid until August of 2002 (“Possible forgery, note missing graphic in top left corner, different fonts for text, “valid to” doesn’t require a beginning date, and beginning date doesn’t appear in original.”)
Other writings found include:
- A torn piece of paper with handwritten notes.
- Half a piece of 8 ½” x 11 paper “with two points of contacts in two different pens and handwritings.”
- “Time and attendance records for Aug-Sep. Find the date (reversed month and day) in the fourth column, number of hours worked in third column, name in second column, and ordinal numbers in the first column seem to represent shifts worked.” (Item #32)
- Two page letter in Hebrew.
- Small diary book in Hebrew text.
- Handwritten page in Hebrew, dated April 29th, 2001. The page was inside an envelope, postmarked Charlotte, North Carolina, 28228, and dated April 30th, 2001. On the back-side of the envelope was a sticker of an “eight-legged cartoon character juggling six balls.” The letter was sent to Motel 6 Operating L P, Location #0744, 3510 Old Annapolis Road, Laurel, Maryland, 20724, room # [ – ] [plus Hebrew text].
- A letter of introduction from the Kiryat Ono branch of Bank Haporlim to the U.S. Embassy. It’s believed this person “is the second in a specific group of applicants for travel to US. It is possible that [ – ] isn’t associated with the others in the group except by his ties to a travel agency processing a group of travelers together. But the others could also be contacts of [ – ].”
Other Items Found:
- Garage Flier – opening night is July 11th, 2001
- El-Al Luggage Tag from Charlotte, North Carolina, 28210
- International Driver’s License for a resident of Israel – “Written in French; seals seemingly in Hebrew placed over vehicle categories B and C and on either side of photograph of holder; includes a place to show excluded countries.”
- Israeli driver’s license with photo – payment date was August 19th, 1999, license valid until June 12th, 2004
- Student ID card for the Israeli Students & Academics Organization
- American Express card, valid from July of 2000 until July of 2002, member since 2000
What Was Not Found
Newark FBI agents also wrote about what was not found, “Oddly, equipment typically used in a moving company’s daily duties was not found, including work gloves, blankets, straps, ropes, boxes, dollies, rollers, ect. Also not found was the video camera that [ – ] observed at least one of the males using to film the explosion at WTC.” When Newark’s Criminal Division interviewed the detainees about what might have been on the missing video camera, “it was determined that several of the detainees had, by their own admission, [ – ].” Lied? Though four of the five Israeli nationals were given polygraph tests, only two of them were given polygraph tests specifically related to the alleged video camera that was used to film “the WTC explosions.”
Two FBI special agents from Newark conducted a “follow-up investigation” on September 20th, 2001. The two agents “conducted the review in an attempt to locate the green lighter shown in one of the photographs, locate evidence of a video camera and to determine the accuracy of the time/date LCD readout on the Canon EOS 2000 camera. After completing the search of the van and its contents, both agents were unable to locate the lighter or video camera and any evidence of a video camera.”
An FBI laboratory file points out that a TDK-160 VHS video tape (K1966) was received on October 1st, 2001, adding that “the results of the video tape examination are included in this report.”
Inside the van authorities found “a positive result for the presence of explosive traces.” According to the declassified FBI files, “A search of the van and individuals was conducted at the time of the vehicle stop. The vehicle was also searched by a trained bomb-sniffing dog which yielded a positive result for the presence of explosive traces. Swabs of the vehicle’s interior were taken, and those samples were sent to the FBI laboratory for further analysis. Final results are still pending.”
Officer DeCarlo, or one of the other officers on the scene, notified the Bergen County Bomb Squad, “Bergen County Bomb Squad dispatched. 1856 – Bergen County PD requests ERES and ERFD to stand by at the ramp from the Sports Complex to the NJ TRPKE.”
The FBI found at least four “items” related to explosive material inside the van:
- Item # 15 is listed as a “Fabric Sample (Explosive Residue)”
- Item #16 is listed as “Control Swabs – SA [ – ] Gloves”
- Item #17 is listed as “Control Swabs – (Bomb Suits)”
- Item #34 is listed as “Blanket Samples For Explosive Residue”
A videotape and several still photographs “were sent to Laboratory Examiner [ – ] (Explosives Unit).”
Not mentioned in the declassified FBI files was the alleged NYPD audio recording about an explosion inside of a truck. Officers requested the “bomb squad” assist them on King Street. It’s unclear if this truck is in any way related to the numerous vans mentioned in the FBI files, “We need to put some [inaudible] north of 6th Ave, [inaudible], all I know is remote control planes filled with explosives.” The police radio recording between several New York City Police officers on September 11th, 2001 specifically mentioned a “big truck with a mural painted of an airplane diving into New York City and exploding. Don’t know what’s in the truck. The truck is in between 6th and 7th on King Street.”
The bomb squad was en route to King Street when one of the officers spoke about a mural on the side of the truck, “…with a mural painted, airplane diving into New York blowing up…two men got out of the truck, ran away from it. We got those two under…” A minute later, another officer reported, “We have both suspects under, k. We have the suspects who driv- drove in the van, the van exploded. We have both of them under, k. Let’s get some help over here…we have both [inaudible] that exploded, is that correct?”
Multiple White Vans
On September 20th, 2001, Newark FBI agents interviewed a female employee of Urban Moving Systems at her home in Union City, New Jersey. She told the FBI “that Urban Moving Company had only one white van, which did not have any lettering on either side reflecting the name of the company. However, she recalled seeing magnetic panels with lettering for Urban Moving Company in the office at some point in the past. On the day of the Twin Towers being struck by aircraft, she could not recall seeing the white van owned by the company in its usual parking space on the side of the building.”
On September 17th, 2001, two FBI special agents went to the Urban Moving Systems location “to obtain information about how Urban’s employees record that they have arrived for work (time cards, for example).” While at the Urban Moving Systems office and warehouse, FBI agents saw several trucks parked in the parking lot behind the building. Three of them were white trucks, not vans, with Urban Moving Systems written on the side of the vehicles.
One truck had Urban Moving Systems written in black lettering and the other two had orange and black lettering on both sides. Another white Urban Moving Systems truck had no license plate, and had nothing written on the sides of the trailer.
The Penske Truck
At 11:30 p.m. on September 10th, 2001, a Penske truck leased by Urban Moving Systems was stopped by Pennsylvania State Police for a traffic violation. The two individuals in the truck were Israeli nationals, apparently on their way to Columbus, Ohio.
Then on September 11th, 2001, “the Pennsylvania State Police Department detained two Israeli nationals in a yellow Penske box truck upon the request of Newark.” Police officers inspected the Penske truck, which apparently belonged to two employees of Urban Moving Systems. Those two Israeli nationals also told the officers they were going to Columbus, Ohio.
“When Newark later questioned [ – ] of Urban Moving Systems about the vehicle’s presence in Pennsylvania, he could not offer an explanation…the two (2) occupants and their vehicle were supposed to complete a moving job in a different part of the country…Newark also received reports from law enforcement officials in New England that a second vehicle, displaying markings for Urban Moving Systems, was noted to have stopped somewhere between New York and Boston on 09/11/2001 for the purpose of asking for directions to Boston, MA. The occupants of this second Urban Moving Systems vehicle were also identified as Israeli nationals.”
The same two Israelis who were pulled over by police on September 10th, 2001 were again stopped by Pennsylvania State Police on September 12th, and this time they were detained. “During questioning by the Pennsylvania State Police, the Israelis advised that they weren’t “in New York” on 09/11/2001. A gasoline purchase receipt recovered by the Pennsylvania State Police seems to contradict their claim in that the receipt, dated 09/11/2001, was for gasoline purchased in New Jersey.”
Authorities discovered that “statements made by the vehicle’s occupants contradicted documentation found in the vehicle, as well as statements made by Urban Moving Systems’ [ – ] as to the vehicle’s true destination and purpose.”
The president/owner of Urban Moving Systems was questioned about the delivery schedule of the two Israelis. According to the declassified FBI files, the schedule for September 11th, 2001 “did not include any pickups or deliveries outside of New Jersey.” The two Israelis “were stopped while traveling in the direction of the site of the hijacked plane that crashed outside of Pittsburgh, PA.” There are four photographs mentioned relating to the two UMS employees “who were detained by the Pennsylvania State Police and later questioned and polygraphed by the Philadelphia Field Office.”
The FBI files also revealed that the “Penske truck was leased by Urban Moving System of 3 West 18th Street, Weehawken, New Jersey” and both Israelis had Florida driver’s licenses. They were also citizens of Israel. The two Israelis were “detained at the York County Detention Center by INS in York County, Pennsylvania,” and were believed to be associated with the five Israeli nationals. At the very least, they were employed by the same company, Urban Moving Systems. One Florida license was issued on July 31st, 2001, “His reason for getting a driver’s license was to cut down on transportation costs and borrow a friend’s car to drive places.”
“After the polygraph,” one of the two Israelis arrested in Pennsylvania “admitted to being untruthful regarding his employment status (he stated he wasn’t getting paid by Urban Moving, but only helping [ – ]. Later he admitted that he was, in fact, getting paid directly by Urban Moving), the employment status of his [ -] (he stated that she didn’t work at all and was visiting from Israel…he later admitted that she did work in the U.S. [ – ] but didn’t want to get her in trouble). When questioned about whether he was untruthful about matters pertaining to the terrorist incident, [ – ] said absolutely not.”
On September 13th, 2001, Pennsylvania State Police inter-viewed a male New Jersey resident at the PSP Barracks at 899 Cherry Street, Montoursville, Pennsylvania. This person was a former Urban Moving Systems employee at 3 West 18th Street, Weehawken, New Jersey. The witness reported that something happened at 9 a.m. on September 10th, 2001, though that portion was censored in the report. The one uncensored sentence in the paragraph reads, “More detailed directions were in the cab of his truck.” What type of directions?
Because this section is so heavily censored, it’s impossible to understand what “detailed directions” the agent writing the report was referring to. “Most of the employees of UMS that work like him are Israeli citizens visiting the United States. He did not know [ – ] prior to his working for UMS. He was not aware of the pay arrangements [ – ] has with UMS. [ – ] was not paid by him from his 20 cents per mile. His passport was stolen sometime in October or November, 2000. His visa to be in the United States legally expired in July, 2000.” The man’s only proof of ID given to investigators was a driver’s license from somewhere unknown. He was finger-printed and photographed.
Sometime around 1 p.m. on September 11th, 2001, “three dark-skinned males had been observed driving a white van, bearing New Jersey plates, on Spirit Brook Road near Nashua, New Hampshire (just outside of Boston). According to the report, the driver of the van appeared to be lost; the van had a sign on the side for Urban Moving Systems.” Additionally, “Two (2) complaints were received which indicated that Urban Moving Systems vehicles had been spotted in the greater Boston, MA metropolitan area, one in Plymouth, MA and one in Nashua, NH.”
Before that, on August 14th, 2001, two Israeli nationals in a Ryder truck were stopped by a Mount Holly police officer at 10:30 p.m. and were “found to be in possession of a RYDER rental truck which was overdue and reported stolen. Both were taken into custody and held in the Burlington County Jail.” The following day at 4:55 a.m. their bail was posted by two other Israeli nationals. “These two individuals were also in possession of an overdue rental truck which was also reported stolen…all were arrested and charged with possession of stolen property. These individuals were identified as Israeli nationals operating a moving company called [ – ]. The statements given to the arresting officers were inconsistent and did not make any sense. All four individuals provided home addresses in Florida. The arresting officers could not establish any legitimate reason why these individuals were in Mount Holly, NJ.”
On September 17th, 2001, Ha’aretz (Tel Aviv) reported, “The five are expected to be deported sometime soon.” The article, “Five Israelis Detained for ‘Puzzling Behavior’ After WTC Tragedy“, by Yosi Melman³ claimed the five detainees, “had been kept in solitary confinement for three days, and had been humiliated, stripped of their clothes and blindfolded.” The mother of one of the men told Ha’aretz that all five men worked for Urban Moving Systems “between two months and two years. They had been arrested some four hours after the attack on the Twin Towers while filming the smoking skyline from the roof of their company’s building, she said. It appears that they were spotted by one of the neighbors who called the police and the FBI.”
The mother of one the five men told Ha’aratz that her son “had been tortured by the FBI in a basement. He was stripped to his underwear, he was blindfolded and questioned for 14 hours. They thought that because he has citizenship of a European country as well as of Israel that he was working for the Mossad.” Her son could be the Israeli with German citizenship. The article also explained that the five were being charged with “illegally residing in the United States and working there without permits.”
According to the Ha’aratz article, “The Foreign Ministry told the families that the FBI had denied holding the five and that the consulate had chosen to believe the FBI, the mother said.” The Foreign Ministry was later informed “that the FBI had arrested the five for “puzzling behavior.” They are said to have been caught videotaping the disaster and shouting in what was interpreted as cries of joy and mockery.”
On September 13th, 2001, two of the five Israeli nationals were given polygraph tests “concerning the issue of whether a video camera had been used to film the crash of an aircraft into the WTC” after “inconsistencies were found in the statements of the five (5) detained Israelis, and the interviews conducted of T-1 [the woman who saw the Israeli with a video camera] and other tenants of the Doric Towers apartments.”
“The two men denied having a video camera.” FBI agents “then obtained a search warrant to search the offices of Urban Moving Systems in Weehawken, NJ.” Authorities did not find the video camera but they did seize “fifteen (15) computers and a network server.” FBI agents “noted the unusually large number of computers relative to the number of employees for such a fairly small business. Further investigation identified several pseudo-names or aliases associated with Urban Moving Systems and its operations.”
During the polygraph tests, one of the Israelis admitted “that he had been employed as a [ – ] in Israel with responsibility for [ – ] in Israel.” In one of the Israelis “personal notebooks was a business card for NIS, a business dealing in “General Services” and “Drivers Licenses,” telephone number [ – ]. According to FBI records, that telephone number is referenced in a Miami investigation as subscribed [ – ].”
Four of the five detainees were given polygraph examinations not specifically related to the alleged video camera. “Numerous discrepancies in their statements, specifically as to their location during the time immediately preceding the attack on the WTC, as well as photographs in which some of the Israelis appear visibly happy by the attacks led FBI-NK to further pursue a possible criminal link between these Israelis and the events associated with the WTC.” After the polygraph tests were completed, “The number of discrepancies in the statements made by the five (5) Israelis continues to increase.” Why only four of the five Israeli nationals were given polygraph tests has not been revealed yet.
During the interviews with FBI agents, one of the five Israeli nationals “never fully revealed to the satisfaction of interviewing agents, how hand written telephone numbers found in his personal notebook just happened to be [ – ]. In lite of the seriousness of Newark’s investigation, and considering the totality of mounting circumstantial evidence indicating either direct or indirect links between the Five (5) Israeli Nationals [ – ]. Newark found no basis to suggest [ – ] was in possession of or had any prior knowledge relating to the attacks of the World Trade Center.”
Also, a phone number was found inside a notepad belonging to one of the five Israeli nations. “The overseas telephone number [ – ] was coincidentally subscribed to by an individual in South America with authentic ties to Islamic militants in the middle east [ – ]. This number was later identified as a legitimate bank account belonging to a friend of [ – ] who lent him two hundred dollars ($200).”
At least one of the five Israeli nationals was “working for the Israeli Government through his employment” for an undisclosed business. This “belief” was based on “physical evidence as well as [ – ] statements to Special Agents of the FBI.”
The Cigarette Man
On September 18th, 2001, two FBI special agents interviewed one the five detainees inside the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York. He was born in Israel and “majored in Psychology. He speaks Hebrew and English and knows a few phrases in Arabic and Yiddish.” He served in the Israeli army but stated he didn’t “possess a security clearance and his duties included being a supply clerk in charge of ordering computer related supplies.”
During the interview with FBI agents the Israeli requested a cigarette. This is most likely the one detainee who was found with a pack of cigarettes on him. Also, three cigarette butts were found in the rear parking lot of Doric Towers on September 11th, 2001. It’s possible those three cigarette butts belonged to this same Israeli detainee.
The Israeli’s second visit to the United States was on July 10th, 2001, “when he arrived at JFK International Airport aboard Olympics Airlines.” He stayed at a friend’s apartment in Manhattan. He was hired at Urban Moving Systems in Weehawkin, New Jersey. He “was not referred to UMS by anyone and did not know anyone employed by UMS prior to his first day of employment. However, about two weeks ago, a UMS employee recognized him as a former Israeli army member.” When the Israeli was arrested, “he lied to FBI agents…when he told them that he had worked for UMS for only one day.” His reason for doing so was because “he was afraid that he would be prosecuted for illegally working in the US on a visitor’s visa.”
The detainee also told FBI agents “that he has never had contact with anyone associated with US intelligence or other foreign intelligence agencies. He advised that to his knowledge he has never been in contact with anyone associated with Israeli Intelligence.”
During the interview he told the two FBI agents he left the apartment in Brooklyn around 8 a.m. on the morning of September 11th, 2001. While walking through the Port Authority bus terminal “he noticed many commuters running towards television monitors located throughout the terminal…[he] was able to walk close enough to a television to notice that what had captured everyone’s attention was what appeared to him to be buildings on fire.”
He boarded bus 126 at 9 a.m. and “exited the bus at its first stop in NJ which is located in the proximity to the Lincoln Tunnel’s NJ entrance. From the bus stop he could clearly see the Twin Towers burning and he believes that they were still erect at the time.” He arrived at Urban Moving Systems in Weehawkin, New Jersey “sometime between 9:15 a.m. [and] 9:20 a.m. and found that [ – ] (lnu), [ – ] (lnu), [ – ] (lnu), [ – ] (lnu), the [ – ] (name unknown), and [ – ]…at about 11:00 a.m., [ – ] told him that “they are taking down the second building” and that they were going to see from the roof.” That places six Israelis on the rooftop of the Urban Moving Systems warehouse.
At first, the Israeli detainee “believed that the authorities had purposely collapsed the building to prevent the additional damage that would be caused by the building tumbling to its side. It was not until later that night when he saw a TV news report in jail that he realized that the planes had caused the building’s collapse.”
The man and someone else “then climbed on top of a truck and made their way onto UMS’s roof. They spent about 10 to 15 minutes on the roof whereat he took one photograph of [ – ] and [ – ] together, and [ – ] and the others took various other photographs.” (142) He claimed he never saw “anyone in the group with a video camera or tripod and does not recall seeing the items during the only time he visited [ – ] apartment on 09/11/2001.”
The man also told the FBI agents, “While the group was on the roof, they just took pictures and moved from roof to roof looking for the best vantage point. There were no arguments among anyone in the group and they spent most of the time viewing the damage to the “Twin Towers.” When they came down from the roof, [ – ] borrowed money for lunch from [ – ] and he walked to the deli down the block from UMS where he purchased a ham sandwich. [ – ] spent about 15 minutes in the deli and learned that the tunnels had been closed. When he got back to UMS he was told that UMS had closed and that they had been dismissed. Since he had no other way of getting home, [ – ] accepted [ – ] invitation to sleep overnight at his apartment. They went back inside UMS where [ – ] queried the Internet to find alternative ways of driving into Brooklyn. About 30 minutes, [ – ] and he left UMS in the white van. [ – ] stated he jumped into the back of the white van where he fell asleep on top of blankets.”
He woke up later “when the van made a stop and someone placed skis and a red bag in the back of the van.” The stop made by the van was most likely to White Glove Moving in New Jersey. He went back to sleep again and “the next time he awoke he heard a police officer ask [Sivan Kurzberg] for his driver’s license and within a minute they were arrested at gunpoint and were taken to jail.”
Sometime after he was detained he told police, “Israel now has hope that the world will now understand us. Americans are naïve and America is easy to get inside. There are not a lot of checks in America. And now America will be tougher about who gets into their country.” The Israeli “broke down emotionally numerous times and cried. He wondered if he would ever see his family again and questioned the interviewing agents when or if he would be released.”
Classic International Movers Arrested
Four more Israeli nationals were also arrested in New Jersey soon after the terror attacks. “Based on information provided by the Miami Division, Newark initially detained and interviewed four (4) employees of Classic International Movers, a New Jersey-based moving company which was believed by Miami to have been utilized as a mover by one of the nineteen (19) alleged hijackers involved in the terrorist attacks. All four detained employees, were identified as Israeli nationals, who had [ – ] and recently entered the U.S. from various locations in South America.”
One of the four employees of Classic International Movers “was visibly disturbed by the Agents questioning regarding his personal e-mail account. [ – ] Of note is that the telephone number for Classic International Movers also appeared in one of the aforementioned notebooks seized from the five (5) Israelis already held in detention by FBI-NK.”
‘Urban Moving Systems Warehouse’
The FBI files also revealed some interesting information about Urban Moving Systems, “A search of Urban Moving Systems, Weehawken, NJ, revealed more oddities which caused the search team leader to characterize the company as a possible “fraudulent operation.” Little evidence of a legitimate business operation was found. Evidence recovery agents did seize, however, sixteen (16) separate computer units used by Urban Moving Systems. The FBI presence at the Urban Moving Systems search site drew the attention of the local media and was later reported on both television and in the local press. A former Urban Moving Systems employee later contacted the Newark Division with information indicating that he had quit his employment with Urban Moving Systems due to high amount of anti-American sentiment present among Urban’s employees. The former employee stated that an Israeli employee of Urban had even once remarked, “Give us twenty years and we’ll take over your media and destroy your country.””
FBI agents seized fifteen or sixteen Urban Moving Systems computers, and a server, and sent them to “Newark’s Franklin Township RA.” The “oddities” with Urban Moving Systems, along with “the deception over the alleged usage of a video camera by its Israeli employees, and the observed positive reaction (by the Israeli detainees) to the explosions at WTC” caused “Newark Squad C-9” FBI agents to investigate further. What they investigated further is also censored.
However, wherever the investigation led to, it involved the assistance of “Agents of the NYO” because of “their knowledge and past investigations.” Based on the heavily censored FBI reports, the investigation seemed to involve FBI agents from San Diego and Miami. “Based on information provided by the Miami Division, Newark detained (initially) and interviewed four (4) employees of Classic International Movers, a New Jersey based moving company which was believed by Miami to have been used by one of the nineteen (19) alleged hijackers involved in the terrorist attacks. All four employees, Israeli nationals, had served in the Israeli military, and entered the U.S. from various locations in South America.”
On September 17th, 2001, two FBI special agents interviewed a male who lived in Secaucus, New Jersey and worked in Weehawken, New Jersey. The interviewee gave the special agents the surveillance video tape from his place of employment. “This video tape provides a view of the area surrounding the [ – ] and covers the dates of 09/10/2001. [ – ] is located near Urban Moving Systems and [ – ] identifies movers from Urban Moving Systems by the orange shirts that many of them often wear. [ – ] read about the FBI’s interest in Urban Moving Systems in a newspaper and believed that Urban Moving Systems may not be a legitimate business operation but could not substantiate this claim with factual information.”
On August 21st, 2001, ADT Security Systems “followed a sales lead for a new security system for Urban Moving Systems Inc. An ADT employee met with two workers at the UMS warehouse. The employee told FBI agents that he was not allowed to look at the second floor. He also said the first floor of the warehouse was empty, “except for a forklift and garbage cans.””
Weehawken Police and FBI special agents from both Newark and New York were involved in the second search of Urban Moving Systems on October 12th, 2001. By that time, “the building and all of its contents had been abandoned by…the owner of Urban Moving Systems. This [was] apparently being done to avoid criminal prosecution after the 09/11/2001 arrest of five of his employees and subsequent seizure of his office computer systems by members of the FBI-NK on or around 09/13/2001.” The search and seizure involved thirty-five 3.5” magnetic disks (floppy disks), fifty-seven compact disks, and two “IOMEGA” zip disks (100 mb).
During the first search of the UMS location on September 13th, 2001, “FBI-NK noted the unusually large number of computers relative to the number of employees for such a fairly small business. Further investigation identified several pseudo-names or aliases associated with Urban Moving Systems and its operations.”
Max Movers was basically the same company as Urban Moving Systems. According to what one of the five Israelis told authorities, “Max Movers is the name given to the part of the company that does long distance moves.” Both Urban Moving Systems and Max Movers were owned by the same person “and operated from the same physical storage and office locations.”
An FBI file dated September 24th, 2001, explained that “both the Newark and the New York Divisions conducted a through investigation which determined that none of the Israelis had any information or prior knowledge regarding the bombing of the World Trade Centers. Furthermore, Newark and New York determined that none of the Israelis were actively engaged in clandestine intelligence activities in the United States.” The FBI’s investigation of the five Israelis was coming to an end.
The “Newark investigation found no factual or substantive circumstantial information to corroborate eyewitness accounts the five (5) Israeli Nationals “videotaped” the attacks on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Investigation did find that still photographs were taken of the attack by these individuals with a 35 mm camera found in their possession. Newark investigation found no factual or substantive circumstantial information to indicate the five (5) Israeli Nationals were on top of a parking garage “videotaping” prior to first hijacked aircraft striking tower #2 of the World Trade Center. Numerous circumstantial facts strongly support the five (5) individuals statements they traveled to the roof of the parking garage after learning of the attacks from radio broadcasts and Internet news sites. None of the pictures developed from the film found inside the 35 mm camera depicted the twin towers prior to the attack.”
“On or about 11/20/2001, all five (5) of the Israeli Nationals held in detention under authority of the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) were served a deportation order, then discharged from the INS detention facility in Brooklyn, New York, and escorted by INS personnel to J.F.K. International Airport for a flight to Tel Aviv, Israel. On 07/10/2003 Newark investigation was completed and closed.”
“In April of 2002 an in-depth analytical inquiry was initiated by personnel from FBIHQ and other members of the U.S. Intelligence Community who physically traveled to Newark to review this case file. Newark was advised the purpose of the inquiry was to determine if a nexus, if any existed between the five (5) Israeli Nationals under investigation by Newark to other Israeli Nationals fitting a similar “profile” some of whom were also held in INS detention around the time of 9/11/01. The analytical inquiry further attempted to determine if these five (5) individuals were possibly part of [a] clandestine human intelligence collection network. Newark notes that the findings of FBIHQ’s analytical inquiry are not complete at the time of this writing. Newark suggests FBIHQ’s investigation [ – ] be the repository for any further investigative findings relative to suspicious activities or Israeli Nationals not specifically related to Newark’s inquiry. Investigation at the Newark is complete.”
However, on February 10th, 2004, FBI Newark agents filed paperwork to “reopen and reassign subject case.” A new special agent was assigned to reopen the case, “The previous agent has been reassigned to HQ.”
On April 14th, 2004, a report filed by an FBI Newark special agent found that “the evidence related to the above-listed investigation was determined to be of no value to the PENTBOMB investigation, but was found to be worthy of a CI investigation. Newark’s CI inquiry TWIN TOWERS was closed in July of 03, however FBIHQ’s [ – ] is still pending. Newark is awaiting a summary of [ – ] to assist us in determining the final disposition of evidence retained by Newark.”
The search for the truth about the terror attacks on September 11th, 2001 continues. The information in the declassified FBI files proved to me that authorities found “traces” of explosive material inside the white van. Authorities also believed that Urban Moving Systems was a fraudulent company and requested a counter intelligence investigation be conducted by FBIHQ. At least one of the five Israeli nationals was still employed by the Israeli government on September 11th, but the FBI did not find evidence that the Israeli was collecting intelligence inside the United States. Based on their theory, the Israeli just happened to be in the New York-New Jersey area in the months leading up to the worst terror attack in American history. Sure.
As for the alleged video camera, FBI files indicate that only three people claim to have seen a video camera in the hands of the five Israeli detainees. Authorities also seized a TDK VHS tape, which could have been related to the alleged video camera. For some reason, the video tape was sent to an FBI laboratory examiner from the “Explosives Unit.” However, it’s possible that the VHS tape was not related to the alleged video camera. Regardless, the woman known as “T-1” never backed down from her belief that she saw a video camera in the hands of one of the three Israelis. If she was not mistaken, then the video camera must have been given to someone somewhere between Doric Towers, State Liberty Park and the White Glove Movers location.
Though one of the Israelis apologized for his “jovial” behavior as he watched the Twin Towers burn, there’s no denying that he and the other two Israelis in the Doric Towers rear parking lot were happy about the World Trade Center attacks. Upon arrests and during interrogations, several of the Israelis believed the terror attacks would motivate the United States to respond to terrorism much like the way Israel responded to terror attacks in their country.
Writer Greg Fernandez Jr is researcher and independent investigative journalist whose work has previously appeared here at 21st Century Wire. See more of Greg’s works at his blog Mind Body and Soul Productions and also at We Are Change TV.
READ MORE 9/11 NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire 9/11 Files