Out from that clear September 11th skyline in Somerset County, Pennsylvania 2001, a United Airlines Boeing airliner came barreling down upon the green fields near Indian Lake. The plane nose diving down from the sky at over 560mph impacted the green field causing a large, fiery mushroom cloud that showered plane debris, human bits, clothes and paper effects a mile wide. Some residents just starting the day noticed it’s rapid descent…
One of them was Kelly Leverknight:
“I heard the plane going over and I went out the front door and I saw the plane going down. It was headed toward the school, which panicked me, because all three of my kids were there. Then you heard the explosion and felt the blast and saw the fire and smoke.”
Another witness, Eric Peterson, looked up when he heard the plane:
“It was low enough, I thought you could probably count the rivets. You could see more of the roof of the plane than you could the belly. It was on its side. There was a great explosion and you could see the flames. It was a massive, massive explosion. Flames and then smoke and then a massive, massive mushroom cloud.”
The explosion rocked Shanksville, enough for local residents to rush to a scene of untold carnage, destruction and debris which littered the ground for over 6 miles. Most of it, mail in which Flight 93 was carrying 2,858 pounds of U.S mail. Nylon was also found as well as human remains, local Somerset County coroner was able to recover approximately 8 percent, 600 pounds, of the passengers human remains. No piece bigger than part of a backbone.
As investigators from Pennsylvania and the FBI combed the large debris field which now extended to 8 miles, a peculiar yet remarkable find was a business card belonging to an “Assem Jarrah”. He would turn out to be a second cousin to suspected pilot hijacker of United Airlines Flight 93, Ziad Jarrah. Most of the American public would not know who Assem Jarrah is, or care to know. This would be exactly what most within the U.S Intelligence Community would want. But why?
Assem Omar Jarrah was born in 1962 by the Bekka Valley, Lebanon. His family were found to be quite fond of living a secular lifestyle even thou they were nominal Sunni Muslims, they were hardly religious to any extent. Assem would move to Greifswald, East Germany, in 1984, there he would begin making inroad to linking himself within the communities more prominent members. He would begin operating established firms, selling chemicals and medical equipment to Middle Eastern clients like Libya. Assem was known for his manipulating nature, and in time began a connection to members of the Stasi, the East German secret service, the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) as well as being coveted by the Abu Nidal Organization (ANO) whom began taking a liking to the impressionable businessman. . After German unification in 1989, he continued working for Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) and he continued to work for it at least until the mid-1990s.
Assem Jarrah’s family began noticing the fluctuation of his visits back home, and also noticed his very lavish lifestyle. His expensive and egregious nature was even noticed by the Intelligence contacts he did business with. One of his German handlers tells Der Spiegel (German publication) that “Jarrah played us all for fools. He… had tons of cash, women — simply everything.” Assem, however, denies that he ever spied for anyone. By the mid 1990’s it was suspected he was also dealing with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Asla Aydintasbas reporter from the Wall Street Journal even describes Assem Jarrah as working very closely with the ANO, even having a separate file within the German Intelligence Agency (BKV).
The report from Asla Aydintasbas….” According to Stasi files described by Der Spiegel last November, a note on the back of Assem Jarrah’s file specified he had contacts with people in “Operation Trader” — Stasi code for the Abu Nidal group, which staged several operations in Germany and recruited agents among Arab students.
The elder Jarrah, who allegedly also worked for Libya as a double agent, was among the students Nidal’s men approached. Thus his contacts with Foreign governments and the Intelligence Community began to grow, much like his personal businesses in Germany. Meanwhile Abu Nidal would continue to do business with notable countries whom would also be on the receiving end of his terrorist campaigns, unless they paid handsomely well. Israel’s Mossad, long suspected of being behind his group Fatah which undermined the Palestinian Liberation Organization founded in 1964 by the Arab League, later headed by Yasser Arafat. One of the core tenets of the PLO’s ideology is the belief that Jewish Zionist had unjustly expelled the Palestinians from Palestine and established a Jewish state in place under the pretext of having historic and Jewish ties with Palestine. Arafat would later implicate Abu Nidal as working for the Israeli Mossad.
Assem Jarrah would continue his close relationship with even Libyan President, Muammar Gaddafi and with German intelligence. Jarrah explains “I do not deny that I have received money from Libya, because in Greifswald I founded a German-Arab friendship society, which was supported by the Libyan government.” Because of these actions, he had “of course also have to speak with security”: “That was the case in the GDR.” Jarrah also maintains he had nothing to do with terrorism related activities. Members of his family thought otherwise, while one stated to Der Spiegel, “Assem sells information for money, whether they vote or not.” After the September 11th attacks, media reporters would quickly descend on the shocked Jarrah family home in Beirut. Salim al-Jarrah, father of Ziad Jarrah, would continually deny vehemently that what was reported about Ziad Jarrah as being an “Islamic extremist” was shamelessly wrong.
He denied that Ziad Jarrah would ever hijack a plane and crash it killing people. Only one member of the Jarrah family however would not only implicate Ziad as being involved in the 9/11 attacks, but that he was indeed an Islamic fundamentalist. Assem Jarrah told German authorities at the BFV on September 17th, that Ziad went to Pakistan or Afghanistan in 1999, and when he came back, he yearned to die a martyr. However according to most everyone in the Jarrah family, his friends and even his girlfriend Aysel Senguin, nothing was ever related to them, by Ziad, regarding his willingness to die as a martyr. In fact only the Intelligence Community would know, after the fact, that Jarrah even went to Afghanistan in 1999.
U.S investigators would claim that Ziad Jarrah was not very close to his second cousin, Assem, but Gunther Latsch, an investigative journalist at Der Spiegel, countered otherwise: “He was the one who picked him up at the airport when he first came to Germany. The uncle paid for his apartment. He really took care of him.” The story is also quite similar to Ziad Jarrah’s uncle, Ali al-Jarrah who would later be arrested in 2011 in Lebanon for being an Israeli spy for 25 years, while being paid well over $300,000 dollars for his services. His arrest shocked even those closest to him. But Assem Jarrah remained silent on the matter. It seemed even after all this time nothing would become of Assem Jarrah, as he continued to live under a seemingly quiet lifestyle after all these years of being involved with numerous intelligence entities.
That is until his businesses card was found amongst that steaming wreckage of United Airlines Flight 93….on the back of the card were some handwritten notes. The notes include an address in Germany linked with Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a member of the hijacker cell in Hamburg. The address was located in Wilhelmsburg, at a red-brick prewar housing project, where Mohamed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi also lived. The Jarrah family very much like a puzzle with missing pieces has many more questions than answers as to why, it seems, that certain members of the Jarrah family are inexplicably linked to some of histories most infamous terrorist activities. Meanwhile the damaging links are a constant reminder……that even thou there is no definitive link of the Jarrah family to the 9/11 attacks, the famous quote “A little to close to home” can be put to context in this regard. especially when in the summer of 1988, the Foreign Office sent a terrorism warning message to the BKA:
Content: The terrorist Abu Nidal plan on August 20, an attack on Lufthansa flight 651, Athens-Frankfurt. Codename of the operation: “Jarrah”.
The Jarrah family continues to be synonymous with the 9/11 attacks along with being involved with the Abu Nidal Organization. Coincidence? Or something far more nefarious.