9/11 - How It Started

By Anthony C Heaford, 05 June 2021 
Updated 11 June: last paragraph titled "December 1997 — The First Warnings” added
2,000 words


Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s terror cell initiated the 9/11 plot on Wednesday 24 September 1997 while based in a secure front company in Yemen. That happened two days after a visiting service technician had first spoken to them of the danger of a hijacked civilian airliner being used as a missile to strike the World Trade Centre (WTC) in New York. 

I was that visiting service technician. 

Unbeknown to me, my employer - a British manufacturer and exporter of printing machinery - had worked with the CIA - the United State’s Central Intelligence Agency - for at least ten years. It was my employer's US salesman Dave Dean (a US military Special Forces veteran and associate of infamous CIA contractor Billy Waugh) who I believe setup the machine sale to furnish Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s (KSM) front company in Yemen. 

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My employer's machine sale was made at a Chicago trade show where both Dave Dean and I were present in April 1997. The sale was made via a London based purchase agent called Longulf Trading. Longulf Trading is a subsiduary of the multi-billion dollar Yemeni Hayel Saeed Anam Group, in whose Yemeni HQ compound KSM's front company was located. KSM's front company was called YemPak - an abbreviation of Yemen-Pakistan they told me.

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Since the Hayel Saeed Anam (HSA) Group founding in the British Protectorate of Aden in 1938 (the same year Saudi discovered its first commercial oil well) business has flourished for them. But the HSA Group suffered after the British Empire's ignoble exit from Aden in 1967; by 1970 the new socialist republic government had confiscated all of HSA’s assets and the group had to move to Taiz in the religiously orientated north. Reestablishing themselves from scratch, the Saeed family dynasty has enjoyed remarkable success since then.

HSA opened its London office in 1977, Longulf Trading. 

In 1984 one Saeed family member and HSA director - Abdul Rahman Hayel Saeed - gave his power of attorney for a Swiss shell company called MIGA to a known terrorist fund-raiser, Ahmed Idris Nasreddin. In 2001 the UN described Nasreddin as a supporter of terrorism" involved in "an extensive financial network providing support to Al Qaeda and other terrorist-related organizations.

Osama bin Laden was from Yemeni linage and his closest advisors in the 1980s were Yemeni too. Yemeni General Ali Mohsen was a principle conduit for Arab-Afghan Mujahideen recruits for OBL, even visiting him in Afghanistan during the War against the Soviets. In 1987 it’s known OBL requested permission to visit Yemen, and it was during that visit I think he established his training camp one mile from al Qaidah town in Ibb Governorate, the camp I visited in 1997. Ibb Governorate was also home to OBL’s last wife whom he married in 2000. It’s also widely reported that OBL gave General Mohsen $20-million around 1988, presumably to finance the camp. 

On 22 June 1988 the HSA Group established Pacific-Interlink, a shipping company based in Malaysia with a global business footprint matching al Qaeda’s almost exactly, a group founded in August 1988. The timing coincidence (two months apart) and the logistical match make al Qaeda and Pacific Interlink being parallel organisations possible. HSA’s 1984 terrorism funding link via Switzerland and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s presence in their headquarters (ten miles from al Qaidah town) make it a close certainty that Pacific Interlink is a legitimate business providing logistic support to the group known as al Qaeda since its very inception. 

The Beginning of 9/11

11 June 1997 — Departing Boston’s Logan Airport

At the aircraft door of a Toronto bound flight I stopped and cautioned the cabin crew member checking boarding passes. I told her there’d been no security checks whatsoever in the airport, literally none. She told me:  

“Don’t worry, that’s normal"

The next morning I was attending a service visit at an important customer in Toronto but I refused to start work until the Sunworthy Decorative factory manager had given me an assurance that he'd pass on my airport security concerns to Canadian security services, along with my business card. My caution on 12 June 1997 was:

“I think the same terrorists who attacked the WTC in 1993 will try again, but next time they’ll use a hijacked civilian airliner departing Logan airport as a missile."

I think the factory manager did say he had passed my warning on to a contact he had in the security services but there was no feedback and I was never contacted back either.

September 1997 — Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s Front Company, Yemen

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Monday 22 September the Pakistani chemistry graduate I was training to operate the machine I was installing asked me about visiting New York as a tourist and specifically the WTC. My response was very specific:

“Don’t visit the WTC and take care whilst flying - I think the same terrorists who attacked the WTC in 1993 will try again, but next time they’ll use a hijacked civilian airliner as a missile."

We discussed my warning for a few minutes - I explained how I thought it could happen based on my experience at Logan airport in June - but I don’t recall an extended conversation about it. It was just a travel warning, one I’d given whenever the topic - travelling in the USA - was raised.

Tuesday 23 September the second Pakistani national chemistry graduate I was training either asked me the same travel question about visiting the WTC or just raised the topic of my travel warning. He asked me:

Q. What if the hijackers couldn’t smuggle guns aboard?
A. I showed him my boxcutters I’d accidentally carried on several flights

Q. Where would they put the bomb?
A. I said a fully fuel ladened 767 was the bomb

Wednesday 24 September was a typical day for me, ten hours inside a windowless factory building. I spent a few hours training the factory mechanic but there were no questions about visiting New York, and no repetition of my travel warning that day.

I think  23/24 September 1997 was when the 9/11 plot was initiated: 

— via the Pakistani chemistry graduates of KSM’s terror cell, my travel warning of a hijacked plane being used as a missile to strike the WTC was deemed a viable attack plan by KSM

— the Hamburg Cell [the hijacker/pilots] led by Mohammed Atta were assigned the 9/11 planning task immediately, communication likely via Yemeni national Ramzi bin al-Shibh 

— I think the future Saudi muscle hijackers were the men I met on 26 September at the al Qaeda camp by al Qaidah town, just ten miles north of KSM’s front company in Taiz

— “the Chief” of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s terror cell, Hayel Saeed Anam Group HQ managing director Saeed Alrobaidi, oversaw all this. Mr Alrobaidi said he was from Oman.


"In September 1997, Jarrah abruptly switched his intended course of study from dentistry to aircraft engineering—at the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg. His motivation for this decision remains unclear." 

The 9/11 Commission Report (2004), Page 163: https://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf

There’s a very good chance that future hijacker/pilot Ziad Jarrah made his abrupt course change application on Wednesday 24 September 1997 or very soon after, confirmation of which would provide very strong documented evidence in support of my claims.

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Thursday 25 September was the first time I saw Khalid Sheikh Mohammed; he was on the far side of the factory chatting to “the Chief”, Saeed Alrobaidi. The Chief approached me alone and casually confirmed my travel warning about a hijacked plane being used as a missile and then gave me the afternoon off. He also said a dinner companion not connected to the HSA Group would come to my hotel at about four o’clock.

My evening walk and dinner with Yousef were interesting distractions for me but I now realise he was vetting me before two further meetings planned for the next day. We spoke about my 9/11 style attack fears. Yousef raised the possibility of more than one plane being used and we both speculated on likely reactions. Yousef specifically lamented the murder of a Jew too, the political assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in November 1995, saying it was a lost last hope for a negotiated resolution between Israel and the Palestinians.

Friday 26 September was the morning I had my photo taken with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed - introduced to me as “the Engineer” . We didn’t speak or shake hands. Thirty minutes later I was at a second meeting ten miles away, at bin Laden's original training camp besides al Qaidah town, established in 1987 for Arab-Mujahideen returning from defeating the Soviets in Afghanistan. 

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That second meeting at the base was cut short at my behest but I suspect if I'd stayed, lunch would've been followed by more photos - incriminating group shots of me holding or firing a Kalashnikov assault rifle perhaps, before a military helicopter ride to catch my flight from Sanaa. As it was I skipped their itinerary, opting instead for a four hour drive back to Sanaa, in an uncomfortable and somewhat unnerving silence with a new driver.

My flight’s departure had been delayed solely for me and after being whisked through Sanaa airport like a VIP, the plane took off as soon as I sat down.

Saturday 27 September I tried to raise my first concerns about the customer in Yemen. I told the first person I spoke too, my works manager, saying:

Me: "there's something very suspicious about the Yemen customer"

He said:  "Don't worry they've already paid in full” 

 I said, "No, really, there was... “ 

 He shooed me out of his office, saying "It doesn't matter"

October 1997 — Hamburg Cell Activated

Lead hijacker pilot Mohammed Atta and his second-in-command Ramzi bin al-Shibh disappeared from Germany for a few months in late 1997. They have a party upon their return in early 1998, when the Hamburg Cell coalesces. 

There are reported sightings of Atta and Shibh in Afghanistan that winter, where they may well have been, but I think their principle destination was KSM’s front company in Yemen and the training camp I visited besides al Qaidah town. I think this is where the Hamburg Cell, KSM and the Saudi hijackers formulated their 9/11 plan, starting September 1997 till about February 1998. KSM will then have presented that formulated plan to his boss in Afghanistan, the NATO backed, CIA linked, Saudi sponsored, Wahhabi Warlord Abdul Rasul Sayyaf. 

November 1997 — The First Reconnaissance 

Saudi national Hani Hanjour had spent six months in the US in 1991/92 studying English language and returned in 1996 for six months when he started flying lesson but dropped out and returned home in November citing financial pressures. 

November 16 1997, fifty days since my visit to Yemen, Hanjour re-entered the US and resumed his English classes and his flying lessons. He lived with a Saudi veteran of the 1990s Afghan and Bosnian conflicts, future 9/11 hijacker Nawaf Hazmi. I believe this was the first reconnaissance mission for the 9/11 plot, performed by two of the most capable and qualified men within KSM’s wide circle of contacts.

December 1997 — The First Warnings 

December 02 1997, during my last visit to the the United States I gave my clearest and most specific 9/11 warning. I gave that warning to a business owner in Brooklyn, New York during a machine installation. Mr Dan Barkochba of Ultra Flex Packaging at 975 Essex Street said he had good security services contacts and that he would pass my warning and my business card on to them. I never heard back. I visited the Empire State building the next day, photographing the World Trade Centre whilst perceiving the impact of such an attack.

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CIA veteran Richard Baer is warned by a former police chief from Qatar that: 

"Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is going to hijack some planes.” 

Baer passed that warning to the CIA in early 1998 and repeated it after 9/11 but he said no one was interested.