Friday, August 13, 2010

Covert Tradecraft

A compendium posted online by the Hartford Courant shortly after the attacks of September 11th, 2001, attempts to assemble a list of all of Connecticut's September 11th victims. It names 149 individuals who either resided in the state, or did so formerly. Although undated, many of the quotes obviously came from interviews held just days after the attack---when many people were somehow still holding out hope their family members might return. The individual obits reference other news sources published throughout the state, and it is perhaps the earliest, and most comprehensive effort made to recognize those lost there.

Read in it's entirety as a historical document, it also reveals many of the attributes, which I have determined, are signs that many of the survivors are not who they say they are at all, but rather are members of an organized covert class who had only stepped into temporary public roles to serve just this purpose.

The recent series in the Washington Post, Top Secret America: A Hidden World, Growing Out of Control, references this fact of covert life directly, with a report about
...employees who must submit to strict, intrusive rules. They take lie-detector tests routinely, sign nondisclosure forms and file lengthy reports whenever they travel overseas. They are coached on how to deal with nosy neighbors and curious friends. Some are trained to assume false identities
So, poising as someone who you are really not is a matter of routine clandestine trade craft, and like any specialized skill or training, the results can be judged as being either a successful or failed effort.

Having built up a worldview in these matters myself, I can now spot repeated patterns in information, even within the compromised matrix of the overall media output. Corrupt personnel in the media are enormously adept at controlling the flow of information in a unified fashion to suit certain private agendas, however they also work alongside other honest, gullible and unknowing colleagues. It was in this way that the big secrets once could be kept.

The Post estimated that 265,000 contractors in 1,931 companies outside of government are currently doing top-secret work, in addition to the approximately 600,000 employees within government agencies and departments with the same level of clearance. This serves as the foundation class of an American culture large enough to embrace the practical outlines of a 9/11 conspiracy. Many people within the confines of that secret world were understandably distressed at whatever knowledge of bits and pieces of truth they held within their individual domains, and although unable to speak out publicly about it, nonetheless support the exoteric efforts at 9/11 truth and reconciliation.

There are many signs that the 9/11 plan was being hatched early on in the Clinton administration---so at the highest level, a decade is not too long a time frame to imagine as a parameter. More common for high-profile players is a three-year stint, a gig that is found frequently on CIA resumes. But it is startling to note how many people were only established in their roles for a few weeks or months. Whether it was in a new job at Cantor-Fitzgerald, a new house in a new city, or even in short-term, sham marriages, the record is riddled with this last minute push to plump the victims rosters. I think the reporters at the Courant were on to this fact somehow, and didn't fail to note the fact whenever it was uncovered.

I posted the Courant piece on a blog, Connecticut's Sept. 11 Victims, where I highlighted the many references I found there. A short duration in a role is one of the dominant characteristics that helps to spot and uncover these false identities.

Another telltale characteristic are people being listed as "formerly" a resident of the state. A remarkable collection of articles was published in The Fairfield Citizen that addressed the issue of memorializing individuals who only had vague "ties" to a specific locality. A subtext that I read into the published work is that these supposed victims were little known or appreciated within their communities. Greenwich, for example, could have either a dozen victims, or twice that number, depending on how strict the definition of a place "owning" a victim was---or in other words, how widely the identities were established and known.

Another aspect of validation for an identity is in the use of politicians and small town elected officials to provide credibility that a particular name or identity really existed. This extended all the way up to Connecticut's governor vouchsafing the existence, and final extinguishment, of the Rev. Francis Edward Grogan, who AP first reported was from Easton, but whose place of actual residency has shifted often in subsequent reports.

Although a memorial service was held there shortly after the attacks that was attended by 800 mourners, and a local funeral home in Easton handled his affairs, over a score of articles in the Fairfield Citizen comment on an Easton memorial plan for the three members of the Hanson family who died, but never mention Father Grogan once, even though they all died aboard Flight 175!

Clearly, the 9/11 perpetrators are a vagabond bunch.

An interesting thread running throughout the obituaries are the many references made to friends and family members who swarmed Manhattan, blanketing the city with missing-persons posters. This was a major deployment of thousands of 9/11 personnel, and they all seem to want credit for their efforts in order to look good to their bosses. It was in this shoe-leather fashion that identities were primarily established, but the overkill from Connecticut is striking! Here are a small sampling
"A colleague told Kathi Curioli he last saw her husband, Paul Curioli, of Norwalk, fleeing down the stairwell on the 78th floor. Eight family members were searching hospitals throughout the city, handing out fliers with her husband's photo, she said."

"Several of Randolph Scott's relatives fanned out around New York City on Wednesday and Thursday with his picture, anxiously showing it to emergency workers and television crews."
Bruce Eagleson, 53, of Middlefield, was an employee of the Los Angeles-based Westfield Corp.
"The company has hired a private security firm to help look for Eagleson and distribute his photo to area hospitals and media."
Bryan C. Bennett, 25,
"Since Tuesday, his tight-knit group of friends, which reach back to his days growing up in Glen Ridge, N.J., have been searching for him in New York City."
Jeffrey Bittner
"...while her older brother, Michael, Jeff's girlfriend, and other relatives and friends have hunkered down in New York in an attempt to find out anything they can about Jeff's whereabouts."
Cheryl Ann Monyak, 43, Greenwich, whose
"childhood friend Debbie Brydon, who is heading to New York City today with fellow friends Cindy Lamoureaux and Valarie Rourke to search for news about Monyak and spread her picture among emergency workers."
Whether these three women are real people is debatable, but they were gung-ho Friends of Cheryl's for the duration.

I think a factor in fake identities is the use of manufactured "twins." How easy it would be to say someone had a secret twin at home that no one knew about, one who could go on living---like the second-wife of Ted Olsen---while the dead rest.

Like Sean Schielke, 27, formerly of Southbury, who "moved to New York City three years ago," and became a stock trader for Cantor Fitzgerald five months before 9/11. He is survived by his twin "Brandon."

In a fascinating essay in The London Review of Books by a young man who had volunteered at the Cantor family grief center, which had moved from the Pierre Hotel ballroom to the Plaza Hotel ballroom, we get a glimpse:
Then a young Asian man dressed in an immaculate grey suit and grey tie joined me. He was wearing a name tag that said ‘Kristina’.

I asked him how he happened to be here.

‘I had a friend who worked there,’ he said.

‘I’m sorry,’ I said.

‘It’s no big deal for me. It’s not like I’m in his family. They’re really suffering.’

‘How did you know each other?’

‘We met in college, through a mutual friend I knew in high school. Yeah, man, Sean – that was his name.’ He shook his head and smiled. ‘He was a total derelict.’ Pause. ‘What’s crazy is that he’s got an identical twin and I don’t think anyone here knows about that. He’s just like him. And he’s coming out here now. Man, when the people at Cantor see him it’ll blow them away. He’s just like Sean.’

We were silent for a second. It occurred to me that all the people who might recognise Sean’s identical twin had probably perished.

‘Now he’s gonna have to rage twice as hard for both of them,’ Kristina added.
A dynamic feature of the fakery was the use of prestigious institutions to provide a cover. I'll quote one obit in full, that of the euphonious Tyler V. Ugolyn, 23, of Ridgefield
Ugolyn graduated from Ridgefield High School in 1997 and worked at the World Trade Center. "He was a great kid and a very excellent student," said Al Trimpert, his former basketball coach. "He lived to play basketball." Several colleges recruited the 6-foot-2 Ugolyn. He ultimately chose Columbia University. He hasn't been seen since Tuesday.
Tyler would have been at best just graduated from Columbia in 2001. It is almost unbelievable that such gall could be a component of the conspiracy, but I think it may very well be.

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating. This is the first time I have encountered this notion - but it sure rings true after 15 years of taking social histories (as a psychiatrist) of people who weren't who they pretended to be. Have you checked the Social Security Death Index to see if these people had social security numbers (if not, you better do it quick)? I write about my own close encounter with people with suspicious resumes in my recent memoir THE MOST REVOLUTIONARY ACT: MEMOIR OF AN AMERICAN REFUGEE ( I currently live in exile in New Zealand.