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Murder in the SunMorgue
by Denis O'Brien, PhD

Who killed hundreds of Syrian children in Ghouta, Aug21|2013? How, and why?

WordPress version


Breaking News

May 13, 2016

80,000 FBI pages on the Sarasota Saudis,
and a few loose questions

If a name like al-Hiijjii doesn't make a bunch of 
Floridians suspicious post 9/11, nothing will





Shane Harris'  May11 The Daily Beast article about the Saudi al-Hiijjii (seriously) family who fled the US shortly before 9/11 is exceptionally well written and worth the read. But there are some gaps in the story that should have been at least mentioned, if not filled in. I just want to focus on a few of those gaps. 

The al-Hiijjii family lived at 4224 Escondito Circle in Sarasota, just 8 miles from Emma E Booker Elementary School where George Bush famously read "My Pet Goat" on the morning of 9/11. The precise location of the house is 27°15'12.88" N 82°29'01.86" W .  It’s across the street from to a mosquito pond in an "exclusive" community.

In addition to being Arabs, the al-Hiijjiis were weird enough that when the Towers came down, the neighbors called the cops to report suspicious Muslims, which is what just about every non-Muslim in the States was doing right after 9/11. But by 9/11 the mail had been piling up, the three cars had not been moved, and the family hadn’t been seen for two weeks.  According to the Daily Mail, the family blew out of town in a white van on Aug20|2001.

The FBI investigated the neighbors' suspicions and originally said they found "numerous connections" between the al-Hiijjiis and the hijackers.  But the FBI the scrubbed all that and said there’s nothing to see here, keep moving. The husband, Abdulazzi al-Hiijjii , told the FBI he was a "student" and they left Sarasota because he had graduated and gotten a job in Saudi Arabia.  The FBI was good with that. Case closed. (The questions below should be filed under "FBI idiots.")

Now the FBI is in court trying to prevent the release of 80,000 pages of PENTTBOM (FBI for Pentagon/Twin Towers Bombing -- bombing?) documents from the local FBI shop in Tampa -- the 80,000 pages is what Harris’ article is about.  For the last two years a very patient, intrepid federal judge, William Zloch, has been reviewing all 80,000 pages to determine which ones can be made public.  

But there are a few questions Harris’ story raises if you read between the lines.  For instance . . .

1. Did Harris or any of the private investigators he writes about check to see if Abdulazzi was, in fact, a student, and if so, where, and did he, in fact, graduate, and if so, when? Seems like a bunch of pretty basic questions that could easily be sorted out with minimal effort.

2. Harris reports that it looked like the family left in a hurry: food left on the counter, refrigerator stocked, toys floating in the swimming pool, dirty diapers in the bathroom, empty safe wide open, three cars left parked in the garage and driveway. Did the FBI resolve this obvious inconsistency in Abdulazzi’s story? Surely, he would have known far in advance the date he was going to graduate, so there would be no need to rush out of town afterwards. And it would be inconceivable that any job would require the family to rush off leaving peanut butter sandwiches, or whatever, on the counter and dirty diapers stinking up the bathroom.

3. This was a Saudi family. The wife, Anoud, was very religious and prayed "every two hours." Consequently, it’s not likely that she drove a car. The two children were young, and we know at least one was in diapers. So, basically, you’ve got one member of the family, the student-husband, who drove. Why three cars?

4. What happened to the house and the three cars after 9/11? The house was owned by the wife’s father. Did he sell? Did he also own the three cars? Were they sold, or did the cops come and get them? There should be easily identified records of any such sales, and the neighbors would have known when the cars were moved. If there was a real estate transaction and vehicle transactions, they may represent very helpful additions to the al-Hiijjii timeline, particularly if they were initiated before the attack.  Also, there could be incriminating DNA evidence in the cars if any of the hijackers rode in or drove them. 

5. The fact that these people suddenly disappeared is what made the neighbors suspicious. If we assume the al-Hiijjiis were somehow connected to 9/11 and played some role, and if they knew the attack was coming, why would they just disappear in such a suspicious way and provoke the attention of everybody in the neighborhood? Why didn’t they just close down the house, say goodbye to the neighbors, get on their camels and shuffle off back to Saudi?

6.  Three of the hijackers, Mohamed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi, and Ziad Jarrah, trained at Venice Municipal Airport, which is, coincidentally (or not), just 15 miles south of the al-Hiijjii house. Evidence that was unearthed by private investigators includes a visitor’s log for the al-Hiijjii’s gated community, which indicates that Atta and Jarrah visited the al-Hiijjis. Why not al-Shehhi? Seeing as how these three principals of the 9/11 attack were all living in the same area as the al-Hijjiis, it would seem that all three of them would have visited the house. I mean, assuming the al-Hiiggiis were part of the sinister plot, they clearly all had a lot to talk about. So why is there no record of al-Shehhi visiting the house, after all, he was closest to Atta? It has been reported that Atta and al-Shehhi arrived in the US together and initially moved in with an employee of the flight school they attended, Huffman Aviation, but they were soon kicked out for insulting the employee’s wife. Jarrah arrived separately and trained at a separate school operating out of the same airport.

The way sleepy Sarasota figures into the 9/11 case in so many ways is surreal: Bush being there on 9/11, the al-Hiijjii connection, three of the hijackers taking flight training there. It is not surprising that the local FBI shop had 80,000 pages – there must have been a hell of a lot of investigating going on.


Denis R. O'Brien, PhD/Esq.
denis [at-sign] logophere [full stop] com


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