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White van in Liberty State Park, Jersey City on 9/11

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 2:58 pm    Post subject: White van in Liberty State Park, Jersey City on 9/11 Reply with quote

Hudson County Fact:

White van in Liberty State Park, Jersey City on 9/11/2001
Group sets up cameras in advance and films the destruction of the World Trade Center

On September 11, 2001, after the collapse of the Twin Towers, Jersey City Police radio relayed a FBI alert concerning a white van in Liberty State Park. The report stated that well in advance of the planes crashing into the buildings the vehicle's occupants had set up camera equipment on the Jersey City side of the Hudson River directly across from the World Trade center. The FBI bulletin directed law enforcement to exercise caution when approaching the van and warned that the occupants might be armed with unconventional, perhaps chemical weapons.

Audio Recordings of Jersey City Police Radio Broadcasts Identifying the White Van
Description of Van
License Plates

- - -

The office of Urban Moving Systems was located in Weehawken. After the attack, the owner took off to Israel. The FBI seized and removed the office contents. According to a source, the Feds subsequently brought the items back, reconstructing the location as it was on 9/11.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 9/11 van story quickly faded away. I never read any follow up on it.

Did the white van in LSP have anything to do with the one picked up on the GW bridge?

I'm also wondering, you wrote that the JC Police called in the report to the FBI. Isn't LSP patrolled by County Police? Wouldn't they have called it in or is there a chain of command that makes the report first go to the JCPD?
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1776 wrote:
I'm also wondering, you wrote that the JC Police called in the report to the FBI. Isn't LSP patrolled by County Police? Wouldn't they have called it in or is there a chain of command that makes the report first go to the JCPD?

The Jersey City Police read the FBI bulletin over the Jersey City Police radio. The JCPD got the bulletin from the FBI. I've no idea how the FBI received the information in the first place. I also don't know why the warning of "unconventional, perhaps chemical, weapons" was issued.

Liberty State Park is patrolled by NJ State Park Police. Since 9/11, I've seen National Park Police, NJ State Police, and the Coast Guard on duty there.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

getnj wrote:

I also don't know why the warning of "unconventional, perhaps chemical, weapons" was issued.

Sometimes bombs, chemicals and biologicals make strange bedfellows.

Police stumbled upon a bomb-making factory Sunday in the home of a Columbia professor who specializes in the spread of infectious disease - and are investigating whether he and his roommate have terror ties.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 7:09 am    Post subject: The Israeli "art student" mystery by Christopher K Reply with quote

The Israeli "art student" mystery
For almost two years, hundreds of young Israelis falsely claiming to be art students haunted federal offices -- in particular, the DEA. No one knows why -- and no one seems to want to find out.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Christopher Ketcham

May 7, 2002 | In January 2001, the security branch of the U.S. Drug
Enforcement Agency began to receive a number of peculiar reports from DEA
field offices across the country. According to the reports, young Israelis
claiming to be art students and offering artwork for sale had been
attempting to penetrate DEA offices for over a year. The Israelis had also
attempted to penetrate the offices of other law enforcement and Department
of Defense agencies. Strangest of all, the "students" had visited the
homes of numerous DEA officers and other senior federal officials.

As a pattern slowly emerged, the DEA appeared to have been targeted in
what it called an "organized intelligence gathering activity." But to what
end, and for whom, no one knew.

Reports of the mysterious Israelis with an inexplicable interest in
peddling art to G-men came in from more than 40 U.S. cities and continued
throughout the first six months of 2001. Agents of the DEA, ATF, Air
Force, Secret Service, FBI, and U.S. Marshals Service documented some 130
separate incidents of "art student" encounters. Some of the Israelis were
observed diagramming the inside of federal buildings. Some were found
carrying photographs they had taken of federal agents. One was discovered
with a computer printout in his luggage that referred to "DEA groups."

In some cases, the Israelis visited locations not known to the public --
areas without street addresses, for example, or DEA offices not identified
as such -- leading authorities to suspect that information had been
gathered from prior surveillance or perhaps electronically, from credit
cards and other sources. One Israeli was discovered holding banking
receipts for substantial sums of money, close to $180,000 in withdrawals
and deposits over a two-month period. A number of the Israelis resided for
a period of time in Hollywood, Fla. -- the small city where Mohammed Atta
and three terrorist comrades lived for a time before Sept. 11.

In March 2001, the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive
(NCIX), a branch of the CIA, issued a heads-up to federal employees about
"suspicious visitors to federal facilities." The warning noted that
"employees have observed both males and females attempting to bypass
facility security and enter federal buildings." Federal agents, the
warning stated, had "arrested two of these individuals for trespassing and
discovered that the suspects possessed counterfeit work visas and green cards."

In the wake of the NCIX bulletin, federal officials raised several other
red flags, including an Air Force alert, a Federal Protective Services
alert, an Office of National Drug Control Policy security alert and a
request that the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) investigate
a specific case. Officials began dealing more aggressively with the "art
students." According to one account, some 140 Israeli nationals were
detained or arrested between March 2001 and Sept. 11, 2001. Many of them
were deported. According to the INS, the deportations resulted from
violations of student visas that forbade the Israelis from working in the
United States. (In fact, Salon has established that none of the Israelis
were enrolled in the art school most of them claimed to be attending; the
other college they claimed to be enrolled in does not exist.) After the
Sept. 11 attacks, many more young Israelis -- 60, according to one AP
dispatch and other reports -- were detained and deported.

The "art students" followed a predictable modus operandi. They generally
worked in teams, typically consisting of a driver, who was the team
leader, and three or four subordinates. The driver would drop the
"salespeople" off at a given location and return to pick them up some
hours later. The "salespeople" entered offices or approached agents in
their offices or homes. Sometimes they pitched their artwork --
landscapes, abstract works, homemade pins and other items they carried
about in portfolios. At other times, they simply attempted to engage
agents in conversation. If asked about their studies, they generally said
they were from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem or the
University of Jerusalem (which does not exist). They were described as
"aggressive" in their sales pitch and "evasive" when questioned by wary
agents. The females among them were invariably described as "very
attractive" -- "blondes in tight shorts or jeans, real lookers," as one
DEA agent put it to Salon. "They were flirty, flipping the hair, looking
at you, smiling. 'Hey, how are you? Let me show you this.' Everything a
woman would do if she wanted to get something out of you." Some agents
noted that the "students" made repeated attempts to avoid facility
security personnel by trying to enter federal buildings through back doors
and side entrances. On several occasions, suspicious agents who had been
visited at home observed the Israelis after the "students" departed and
noted that they did not approach any of the neighbors.

The document detailing most of this information was an internal DEA memo:
a 60-page report drawn up in June 2001 by the DEA's Office of Security
Programs. The document was meant only for the eyes of senior officials at
the Justice Department (of which the DEA is adjunct), but it was leaked to
the press as early as December 2001 and by mid-March had been made widely
available to the public.

On the face of it, this was a blockbuster tale, albeit a bizarre and
cryptic one, full of indeterminate leads and fascinating implications and
ambiguous answers: "Like a good Clancy novel," as one observer put it. Was
it espionage? Drug dealing? An intelligence game? The world’s wackiest
door-to-door hustle? Yet the mainstream media has almost entirely ignored
the allegations or accepted official "explanations" that explain nothing.
Even before the DEA memo was leaked, however, some reporters had begun
sniffing around the remarkable story.

On Oct. 1 of last year, Texas newswoman Anna Werner, of KHOU-TV in
Houston, told viewers about a "curious pattern of behavior" by people with
"Middle Eastern looks" claiming to be Israeli art students. "Government
guards have found those so-called students," reported Werner, "trying to
get into [secure federal facilities in Houston] in ways they're not
supposed to -- through back doors and parking garages." Federal agents,
she said, were extremely "concerned." The "students" had showed up at the
DEA's Houston headquarters, at the Leland Federal Building in Houston, and
even the federal prosecutor's office; they had also appeared to be
monitoring the buildings. Guards at the Earle Cabell Federal Building in
Dallas found one "student" wandering the halls with a floor plan of the
site. Sources told Werner that similar incidents had occurred at sites in
New York, Florida, and six other states, "and even more worrisome, at 36
sensitive Department of Defense sites."

"One defense site you can explain," a former Defense Department analyst
told Werner. "Thirty-six? That's a pattern." Ominously, the analyst
concluded that such activity suggested a terrorist organization "scouting
out potential targets and ... looking for targets that would be vulnerable."

Post-9/11, this should have been the opening thrust in an orgy of
coverage, and the scoop of a lifetime for Werner: Here she’d gotten a
glimpse into a possible espionage ring of massive proportions, possibly of
terrorists scouting new targets for jihad -- and those terrorists were
possibly posing as Israelis. KHOU’s conclusions were wrong -- these
weren’t Arab terrorists -- but at the time no one knew better. And yet the
story died on the vine. No one followed up.

Just about the same time that KHOU was stabbing in the dark, reporter Carl
Cameron of the Fox News Channel was beginning an investigation into the
mystery of the art students that would ultimately light the way into
altogether different terrain. In a four-part series on Fox’s "Special
Report With Brit Hume" that aired in mid-December, Cameron reported that
federal agents were investigating the "art student" phenomenon as a
possible arm of Israeli espionage operations tracking al-Qaida operatives
in the United States. Yes, you read that right: a spy ring that may have
been trailing al-Qaida members in the weeks and months before Sept. 11 --
a spy ring that according to Cameron’s sources may have known about the
preparations for the Sept. 11 attacks but failed to share this knowledge
with U.S. intelligence. One investigator told Cameron that "evidence
linking these Israelis to 9/11 is classified. I cannot tell you about
evidence that has been gathered. It's classified information."

According to Cameron, some 60 Israeli nationals had been detained in the
anti-terrorism/immigrant sweeps in the weeks after Sept. 11, and at least
140 Israelis identified as "art students" had been detained or arrested in
the prior months. Most of the 60 detained after Sept. 11 had been
deported, Cameron said. "Some of the detainees," reported Cameron, "failed
polygraph questions when asked about alleged surveillance activities
against and in the United States." Some of them were on active military
duty. (Military service is compulsory for all young Israelis.) Cameron was
careful to note that there was "no indication that the Israelis were
involved in the 9/11 attacks" and that while his reporting had dug up
"explosive information," none of it was necessarily conclusive. Cameron
was simply airing the wide-ranging speculations in an ongoing investigation.

Incendiary as it was, that story died on the vine, too, and the
scuttlebutt in major newsrooms was that Cameron’s sources -- all anonymous
-- were promulgating a fantasy. Reporters at the New York Times and the
Washington Post hit up their go-to people inside Justice and FBI and CIA,
but no one could seem to confirm the story, and indeed numerous officials
laughed it off. Fox got it wrong, the newspapers of record concluded. And
nothing more was heard on the topic in mainstream quarters.

But inside the DEA, the Fox piece reverberated. An internal DEA communiqué
obtained by Salon indicates that the DEA made careful note of Cameron’s
reports; the communiqué even mentions Fox News by name. Dated Dec. 18,
four days after the final installment in the Fox series, the document
warns of security breaches in DEA telecommunications by unauthorized
"foreign nationals" -- and cites an Israeli-owned firm with which the DEA
contracted for wiretap equipment -- breaches that could have accounted for
the access that the "art students" apparently had to the home addresses of

It wasn’t until nearly three months after the Fox reports that the "art
student" enigma resurfaced in newsrooms, this time in Europe. On Feb. 28,
the respected Paris-based espionage newsletter Intelligence Online
reported in detail on what turned out to have been one of Cameron's key
source documents: the 60-page DEA memo. The memo itself, which Salon
obtained in mid-March, went no further than to speculate in the most
general terms that the "nature of the individuals’ conduct" suggested some
sort of "organized intelligence gathering activity." The memo also pointed
out that there was some evidence connecting the art students to a drug
ring. "DEA Orlando has developed the first drug nexus to this group," the
memo read. "Telephone numbers obtained from an Israeli Art Student
encountered at the Orlando D.O. [District Office] have been linked to
several ongoing DEA MDMA (Ecstasy) investigations in Florida, California,
Texas and New York."

However, Intelligence Online and then France's newspaper of record, Le
Monde, came to a much more definite -- and explosive -- conclusion. This
was the jackpot, they concluded, a proven spy ring run by the Mossad or
the Israeli government. Thus you had Intelligence Online leading its Feb.
28 piece with the statement that "a huge Israeli spy ring operating in the
United States was rolled up," and you had Le Monde trumpeting on March 5
that a "vast Israeli spy network" had been dismantled in the "largest case
of Israeli spying" since 1985, when mole Jonathan Pollard was busted
selling Pentagon secrets to the Mossad. Reuters that same day went with
the headline "U.S. Busts Big Israeli Spy Ring," sourcing Le Monde’s story.

The two French journals came to conclusions that the memo itself clearly
did not. And yet they had unearthed some intriguing material. Six of the
"students" were apparently carrying cell phones purchased by a former
Israeli vice consul to the United States. According to Le Monde, two of
the "students" had traveled from Hamburg to Miami to visit an FBI agent in
his home, then boarded a flight to Chicago and visited the home of a
Justice Dept. agent, then hopped a direct flight to Toronto -- all in one
day. According to Intelligence Online, more than one-third of the
students, who were spread out in 42 cities, lived in Florida, several in
Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. -- one-time home to at least 10 of the
19 Sept. 11 hijackers. In at least one case, the students lived just a
stone's throw from homes and apartments where the Sept. 11 terrorists
resided: In Hollywood, several students lived at 4220 Sheridan St., just
down the block from the 3389 Sheridan St. apartment where terrorist
mastermind Mohammed Atta holed up with three other Sept. 11 plotters. Many
of the students, the DEA report noted, had backgrounds in Israeli military
intelligence and/or electronics surveillance; one was the son of a
two-star Israeli general, and another had served as a bodyguard to the
head of the Israeli army.

The DEA report on which the French journals based their investigations
contained a wealth of remarkable tales. To take just a few samples:

On March 1, 2001, a DEA special agent in the Tampa division offices
"responded to a knock at one of the fifth floor offices. At the door was a
young female who immediately identified herself as an Israeli art student
who had beautiful art to sell. She was carrying a crudely made portfolio
of unframed pictures." Aware of the "art student" alert, the agent invited
the girl to an interview room, where he was joined by a colleague to
listen to the girl's presentation. "She had approximately 15 paintings of
different styles, some copies of famous works, and others similar in style
to famous artists. When asked her name, she identified herself as Bella
Pollcson, and pointed out one of the paintings was signed by that name."
Then things got interesting: In the middle of her presentation, she
changed her story and claimed that the paintings were not for sale, but
"that she was there to promote an art show in Sarasota, Fla., and asked
for the agents' business cards so that information regarding the show
could be mailed to them." Well, where's the show? asked the agents. When's
it going up? Pollcson couldn't say: didn't know when or where -- or even
who was running it. Later it was determined that she had lied about her
name as well.

On Oct. 20, 2000, in the Houston offices of the DEA, a "male Israeli art
student was observed by the Security Officers [entering] an elevator from
a secure area. [The officers] were able to apprehend the art student
before he could enter a secure area on the second floor." Three months
later, in January 2001, a "male Israeli" was apprehended attempting to
enter the same building from a back door in a "secured parking lot area."
He claimed "he wanted to gain access to the building to sell artwork."

On April 30, 2001, an Air Force alert was issued from Tinker Air Force
Base in Oklahoma City concerning "possible intelligence collection being
conducted by Israeli Art Students." Tinker AFB houses AWACS surveillance
craft and Stealth bombers. The report does not elaborate on what kind of
intelligence was being sought.

On May 19, 2001, two Israeli nationals "requested permission to visit a
museum" at Volk Field Air National Guard Base in Camp Douglas, Wis.
"Approximately ten minutes after being allowed on the base, the two were
seen on an active runway, taking photographs." The men, charged with
misdemeanor trespass, were identified as 26-year-old Gal Kantor and
22-year-old Tsvi Watermann, and were released after paying a $210 fine.
According to the Air Force security officer on duty, "Both were asked if
they were involved in the selling of art while in the U.S. Kantor became
very upset over this, and questioned why they were being asked about that
... Kantor's whole demeanor changed, and he then became uncooperative."

So it went week after week, month after month, for more than a year and a
half. In addition to the locations mentioned above, there were "art
student" encounters in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, El Paso, Los
Angeles, Miami, Orlando, New Orleans, Phoenix, San Diego, Little Rock,
Seattle, Washington, D.C., Arlington, Texas, Albuquerque, and dozens of
other small cities and towns.

"Their stories," the DEA report states, "were remarkable only in their
consistency. At first, they will state that they are art students, either
from the University of Jerusalem or the Bezalel Academy of Arts in
Jerusalem. Other times they will purport to be promoting a new art studio
in the area. When pressed for details as to the location of the art studio
or why they are selling the paintings, they become evasive."

Indeed, they had reason to be nervous, because they were lying. Salon
contacted Bezalel Academy's Varda Harel, head of the Academic Students'
Administration, with a list of every "student" named in the DEA report,
including their dates of birth, passport numbers, and in some cases
military registration numbers. Not a single name was identified in the
Bezalel database, either as a current student or as a graduate of the past
10 years (nor had any of the "students" tried to apply to Bezalel in the
last ten years). As for the University of Jerusalem, there is no such
entity. There is the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, but Heidi Gleit, the
school's foreign press liaison, told me that Israelis commonly refer to
the school as Hebrew University, not the University of Jerusalem. (Hebrew
University, she said, does not release student records to the public.)

Still, the U.S. press was uninterested. Just one day after the Le Monde
report, the Washington Post ran a story on March 6 that seemed to put the
whole thing to rest. Headlined "Reports of Israeli Spy Ring Dismissed,"
the piece, by John Mintz and Dan Eggen, opened with official denials from
a "wide array of U.S. officials" and quoted Justice Department spokeswoman
Susan Dryden as saying, "This seems to be an urban myth that has been
circulating for months. The department has no information at this time to
substantiate these widespread reports about Israeli art students involved
in espionage."

The Post quoted anonymous officials who said they thought the allegations
had been "circulated by a single employee of the Drug Enforcement
Administration who is angry that his theories have not gained currency ...
[T]wo law enforcement officials said the disgruntled DEA agent, who
disagreed with the conclusion of FBI and CIA intelligence experts that no
spying was taking place, appears to be leaking a memo that he himself wrote."

An INS spokesman acknowledged to the Post that several dozen Israelis had
been deported, but said it was the result of "routine visa violations." At
the same time, DEA spokesman Thomas Hinojosa told the Post that "multiple
reports of suspicious activity on the part of young Israelis had come into
the agency's Washington headquarters from agents in the field. The reports
were summarized in a draft memo last year, but Hinojosa said he did not
have a copy and could not vouch for the accuracy of media reports
describing its contents."

The Post's apparent debunking was far from convincing, even to the casual
reader. Of course there was no proof that the art students were part of a
spy ring: Intelligence Online and Le Monde had jumped the gun. However,
the real possibility that they were part of a spy ring could not be
dismissed -- any more than could any other theory one might advance to
explain their unusual behavior. With that in mind, Justice spokeswoman
Dryden's assertion that reports of an Israeli spy ring were an "urban
myth" was an oddly overplayed denial. A response that fit the facts would
have been something like "There have been numerous reports of suspicious
behavior by Israelis claiming to be art students. We are looking into the
allegations." Instead, Dryden appeared to be trying to forestall any
discussion of just what the facts of the case were. Given the political
sensitivities and the potentially embarrassing nature of the case, that
was not surprising,

If the whole thing was an "urban myth," like the sewer reptiles of
Manhattan, and if it all led back to one deskbound nut job in the DEA,
then what were those "reports of suspicious activity" that had come in
from agents in the field? Hinojosa's statement about the DEA memo was
suspiciously evasive: If the "media reports describing its content" (that
is, the articles in Le Monde and Intelligence Online) were in fact based
on the DEA memo whose existence Hinojosa acknowledged, then the "lone nut"
explanation offered by anonymous U.S. officials was at best irrelevant and
at worst a rather obvious piece of disinformation, an attempt to shove the
story under the rug. (In fact, the French articles were based on the
actual DEA memo -- a fact any news organization could have quickly
verified, since the leaked DEA document had been floating around on
various Web venues, such as, as early as March 21).

To someone not familiar with the 60-page DEA memo, or to reporters who
didn't bother to obtain it, the fact that a disgruntled employee leaked a
memo he wrote himself might seem like decisive proof that the whole "art
student" tale was a canard. In reality, the nature of the memo makes its
authorship irrelevant. The memo is a compilation of field reports by
dozens of named agents and officials from DEA offices across America. It
contains the names, passport numbers, addresses, and in some cases the
military ID numbers of the Israelis who were questioned by federal
authorities. Pointing a finger at the author is like blaming a bank
robbery on the desk sergeant who took down the names of the robbers.

Of course, the agent (or agents) who wrote the memo could also have
fabricated or embellished the field reports. That does not seem to have
been the case. Salon contacted more than a half-dozen agents identified in
the memo. One agent said she had been visited six times at her home by
"art students." None of the agents wished to be named, and very few were
willing to speak at length, but all confirmed the veracity of the information.

Despite such obvious holes in the official story, neither the Post nor any
other mainstream media organization ran follow-up articles. The New York
Times has not yet deemed it worth covering -- in fact, the paper of record
has not written about the art student mystery even once, not even to
pooh-pooh it. One or two minor media players did some braying -- Israel
had been caught spying, etc. ­ and the bonko conspiracy fringe had a field
day, but the rest of the media, taking a cue from the big boys, decided it
was a nonstarter: the Post's "debunking" and the Times' silence had
effectively killed the story.

So complete was the silence that by mid-March, Jane's Information Group,
the respected British intelligence and military analysis service, noted:
"It is rather strange that the U.S. media seems to be ignoring what may
well be the most explosive story since the 11 September attacks -- the
alleged break-up of a major Israeli espionage operation in the USA."

The only major American media outlet aside from Fox to seriously present
the "art student" allegations was Insight on the News, the investigative
magazine published weekly by the conservative Washington Times. In a March
11 article, Insight quoted a senior Justice Department official as saying,
"We think there is something quite sinister here but are unable at this
time to put our finger on it" -- essentially echoing what the DEA report

Managing editor Paul M. Rodriguez, who wrote the Insight story and had
quietly tracked the art student phenomenon for weeks before Intelligence
Online scooped him, took an agnostic stance toward the mystery. "There is
zero information at this time to suggest that these students were being
run by the Mossad," he told me. "Nothing we've come across would suggest
this. We have seen nothing that says this is a spy ring run by the Israeli
government directly or with a wink and a nod or some other form of sub
rosa control. Based on what we've been told, seen and obtained I just
don't see the so-called spy ring as a certain fact. Does that make it not
so? I don't know."

Rodriguez added, "I think the investigators' take is this: What were these
'students' doing going around accessing buildings without authorization,
tracking undercover cops to their homes -- if not for some sort of intel
mission? It's sort of a mind-fuck scenario, if one were to believe this
was a conspiracy by a foreign intel source and/or a bunch of nutty 'kids'
fucking around just to see how far they could push the envelope -- which
they seem to have pushed pretty damn far, given the page after page after
page of intrusions and snooping alleged."

The Israeli embassy denies the charges of a spy ring. "We are saying what
we've been saying for months," spokesman Mark Reguev told Salon, referring
to the Fox series in December. "No American official or intelligence
agency has complained to us about this. The story is nonsense. Israel does
not spy on the United States."

Whether or not the "art students" are Israeli spies, Reguev's blanket
disavowal is untrue: Israel does spy on the United States. This should
come as no surprise: Allies frequently spy on each other, and Israeli
intelligence is renowned as among the best and most aggressive in the
world. Israel has been at war off and on since its birth as a nation in
1948 and is hungry for information it deems essential to its survival. And
America's relationship to Israel and support for it is essential to the
survival of the Jewish state. Add these things up, and espionage against
the United States becomes understandable, if not justifiable.

The U.S. government officially denies this, of course, but it knows that
such spying goes on. In 1996, the U.S. General Accounting Office issued a
report indicating that "Country A," later identified as Israel, "conducts
the most aggressive espionage operation against the United States of any
U.S. ally." A year earlier, the Defense Investigative Service circulated a
memo warning U.S. military contractors that "Israel aggressively collects
[U.S.] military and industrial technology" and "possesses the resources
and technical capability to successfully achieve its collection
objectives." The memo explained that "the Israelis are motivated by strong
survival instincts which dictate every facet of their political and
economic policies."

In the history of Israeli espionage in and against the United States, the
case of Jonathan Pollard was certainly the most heinous. Pollard, a
civilian U.S. naval intelligence analyst, provided Israeli intelligence
with an estimated 800,000 pages of classified U.S. intelligence
information. The Israelis in turn passed the information to the Soviets,
compromising American agents in the field -- several of whom were
allegedly captured and killed as a result. Israel at first denied, and
then admitted, Pollard's connections to the Mossad after he was arrested
in 1985 and imprisoned for life. The case severely strained
American-Israeli relations, and continues to rankle many American Jews,
who believe that since Pollard was spying for Israel, his sentence was
unduly harsh. (Other American Jews feel equally strongly that Pollard and
the Israelis betrayed them.)

Any attempt to understand the official U.S. response to the Israeli art
student mystery -- and to some degree, the media response -- must take
into account both the smoke screen that states blow over incidents that
could jeopardize their strategic alliances, and America's unique and
complex relationship with Israel. The Jewish state is a close if
problematic ally with whom the United States enjoys a "special
relationship" unlike that maintained with any other nation in the world.
But U.S. and Israeli interests do not always coincide, and spying has
always been deemed to cross a line, to represent a fundamental violation
of trust. According to intelligence sources, the United States might
perhaps secretly tolerate some Israeli spying on U.S. soil if the
government decided that it was in our interest (although it could never be
acknowledged), but certain types of spying will simply not be accepted by
the United States, whether the spying is carried out by Israel or anyone else.

If England or France spied on the United States, American officials would
likely conceal it. In the case of Israel, there are far stronger reasons
to hide any unseemly cracks in the special relationship. The powerful
pro-Israel political constituencies in Congress; pro-Israel lobbies; the
Bush administration's strong support for Israel, and its strategic and
political interest in maintaining close ties with the Jewish state as a
partner in the "war against terror"; the devastating consequences for
U.S.-Israeli relations if it was suspected that Israeli agents might have
known about the Sept. 11 attack -- all these factors explain why the U.S.
government might publicly downplay the art student story and conceal any
investigation that produces unpalatable results.

The pro-Israel lobby is a vast and powerful force in American politics;
the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, is the No. 1
foreign-policy lobby and the fourth most powerful lobby in Washington,
according to Fortune Magazine. Michael Lind, a senior fellow of the New
America Foundation and a former executive editor of the National Interest,
calls the Israel lobby "an ethnic donor machine" that "distorts U.S.
foreign policy" in the Middle East. Among foreign service officers, law
enforcement and the military, there is an impression, says Lind, that you
can't mess with Israel without suffering direct and indirect smears, such
as being labeled an Arabist. Lind, who himself has been virulently
attacked as an anti-Semite for his forthrightness on the subject,
acknowledges that the Israel lobby is no different from any other -- just
more effective. "This is what all lobbies do," Lind observes. "If you
criticize the AARP, you hate old people and you want them to starve to
death. The Israel lobby is just one part of the lobby problem."

Considering the volatility of the issue, it is not surprising that almost
no one in officialdom wants to go on the record for a story like the art
students. "In government circles," as Insight's Rodriguez put it,
"anything that has to do with Israel is always a hot topic, a third rail
-- deadly. No one wants to touch it." Fox News' Cameron quoted
intelligence officers saying that to publicly air suspicions of Israeli
wrongdoing was tantamount to "career suicide." And the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, in one of its bloodiest and most polarizing phases, has only
exacerbated sensitivities.

Some of the same pressures that keep government officials from criticizing
Israel may also explain why the media has failed to pursue the art student
enigma. Media outlets that run stories even mildly critical of Israel
often find themselves targeted by organized campaigns, including
form-letter e-mails, the cancellation of subscriptions, and denunciations
of the organization and its reporters and editors as anti-Semites.
Cameron, for example, was excoriated by various pro-Israel lobbying groups
for his exposé. Representatives of the Jewish Institute for National
Security Affairs (JINSA), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and the
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) argued
that the Fox report cited only unnamed sources, provided no direct
evidence, and moreover had been publicly denied by spokesmen for the FBI
and others (the last, of course, is not really an argument).

In a December interview with Salon, CAMERA's associate director, Alex
Safian, said that several "Jewish/Israeli groups" were having
"conversations" with representatives of Fox News regarding Cameron's
piece. Safian said he questioned Cameron's motives in running the story.
"I think Fox has always been fair to Israel in its reporting," said
Safian. "I think it's just Cameron who has something, personally, about
Israel. He was brought up in the Middle East. Maybe that has something to
do with it. Maybe he's very sympathetic to the Arab side. One could ask."
The implicit suggestion was that Cameron is a bigot; in conversation,
Safian would later make the same allegation about the entire editorial
helm at Le Monde, which he called an anti-Semitic newspaper.

Told of Safian's comments, Cameron said, "I'm speechless. I spent several
years in Iran growing up because my father was an archaeologist there.
That makes me anti-Israel?" The chief Washington correspondent for Fox
News, Cameron had never before been attacked for biased coverage of Israel
or Israeli-related affairs -- or for biased coverage of Arabs, for that
matter. Cameron defends his December reporting, saying he had never
received any heat whatsoever from his superiors, nor had he ever been
contacted by any dissenting voices in government.

Oddly, four days after the Cameron investigation ran, all traces of his
report -- transcripts, Web links, headlines -- disappeared from the archives. (Normally, Fox leaves a story up for two to three
weeks before consigning it to the pay archive.) When Le Monde contacted
Fox in March for a copy of the original tapes, Fox News spokesmen said the
request posed a problem but would not elaborate. (Fox News now says Le
Monde never called.) Asked why the Cameron piece disappeared, spokesman
Robert Zimmerman said it was "up there on our Web site for about two or
three weeks and then it was taken down because we had to replace it with
more breaking news. As you know, in a Web site you've got x amount of
bandwidth -- you know, x amount of stuff you can put stuff up on [sic]. So
it was replaced. Normal course of business, my friend." (In fact, a
text-based story on a Web site takes up a negligible amount of bandwidth.)

When informed that Cameron's story was gone from the archives, not simply
from the headline pages (when you entered the old URL, a Fox screen
appeared with the message "This story no longer exists"), Zimmerman
replied, "I don't know where it is."

The extreme sensitivity of the Israeli art student story in government
circles was made clear to this reporter when, in the midst of my inquiries
at DEA and elsewhere, I was told by a source that some unknown party had
checked my records and background. He proved it by mentioning a job I had
briefly held many years ago that virtually no one outside my family knew
about. Shortly after this, I received a call from an individual who
identified himself only by the code name Stability. Stability said he was
referred to me from "someone in Washington." That someone turned out to be
a veteran D.C. correspondent who has close sources in the CIA and the FBI
and who verified that Stability was a high-level intelligence agent who
had been following the art student matter from the inside.

Stability was guarded in his initial conversation with me. He said that
people in the intelligence committee were suspicious about my bona fides
and raised the possibility that someone was "using" me. "Your name is
known and has been known for quite a while," Stability said. "The problem
is that you're going into a hornet's nest with this. It's a very difficult
time in this particular area. This is a scenario where a lot of people are
living a bunker mentality." He added, "There are a lot of people under a
lot of pressure right now because there's a great effort to discredit the
story, discredit the connections, prevent people from going any further
[in investigating the matter]. There are some very, very smart people who
have taken a lot of heat on this -- have gone to what I would consider
extraordinary risks to reach out. Quite frankly, there are a lot of
patriots out there who'd like to remain alive. Typically, patriots are dead."

In a subsequent conversation, Stability said that the DEA's Office of
Professional Responsibility is currently undertaking an aggressive
investigation targeting agents suspected of leaking the June 2001 memo.
The OPR inquiry was initiated as a result of Intelligence Online's exposé
of the DEA document in late February. According to Stability, at least 14
agents -- including some in agencies other than DEA -- are now under
intense scrutiny and interrogation. Half a dozen agents have been
polygraphed several times over, computers have been seized, desks have
been searched.

A DEA spokesman would neither confirm nor deny the allegation. "Anything
that has to do with internal security, which would include OPR, is not
anything we're able to discuss," the spokesman said.

As for the DEA document itself, Stability said that all information
gathering for it ceased around June 2001. He also noted that "there are
multiple variations of that document" floating around DEA and elsewhere.

"It was a living, breathing document," Stability said, "that grew on a
week-by-week basis, that was being added to as people forwarded
information. To say this was a coordinated effort would be a stretch; it
was ad hoc. But that document [the DEA memo] didn't just happen. That
document was the result of literally dozens of people providing input,
working together. These events were going on, people were looking at them,
but could not understand them.

"It wasn't until the end of 2000 and the beginning of 2001 that field
agents ran across a series of visits that occurred within a very close
period of time," Stability said. Agents from across the country began
talking to each other, comparing notes. "There was an embryonic
understanding that there was something here, something was happening.
People kept running across it. And agents being who they are, gut feelings
being what they are, they would catch a thread. They'd start to pull a
thread, and next thing, they'd end up with the arm of the jacket and the
back was coming off, and then you'd end up with reports like you saw. The
information, in its scattered form, is one thing. The information
compiled, documented, timelined, indexed, is a horrific event for some of
these people. Because it is indisputable."

"Agents started to realize that people were coming to their homes," he
continued. "If you are part of an organization like this, you tend to be
careful about your security. When something disturbs that sense of
security, it's unnerving. One thing that was understood fairly early on
was that the students would go to some areas that didn't have street
signs, and in fact they would already have directions to these areas. That
indicated that someone had been there prior to them or had electronically
figured where the agents were located -- using credit card records, things
of that nature. This sat in the back of people's minds as to the resources
necessary to do that."

"I will tell you that there is still great debate over what [the art
students’] specific purposes were and are," Stability went on. "When you
take an individual who picks up a group of individuals from an airport,
individuals who supposedly have no idea what they're doing in-country, who
fly on over from a foreign land, whose airline tickets could in some
instances total a value greater than $15,000 -- and who get picked up at
the airport and drive specifically to one individual's home, which they
know the exact directions to: Yeah, you could say there's a problem here.
You don't need to be a rocket scientist to understand that. The
overarching item is that a lot of work went into going to people's houses
to sell them junk from China in plastic frames."

But to what end? What was the value? What was to be gained? "Unknown,
unknown," Stability said. "You could be anywhere from D.C. to daylight on
that one. Even on our side, you have to take all the stuff and draw it all
out and clean out all the chaff. I will tell you that from those who are
working ground zero [of this case], it is a difficult puzzle to put
together, and it is not complete by any means." Even the spooks are
baffled; they have no answers.

So let’s draw out the chaff ourselves and see if we can at least
speculate. In intel circles, there are a number of working theories,
according to Stability. "Profiling of federal agents is one," said
Stability. "Keeping tabs on other people, other foreign nationals, is
another. A third is that they were working for organized crime -- that's
an easy one, and it almost sounds more like a cover than a reality. The
predominant thought is that it was a profiling endeavour, and from a
profiling aspect, also one of intimidation."

You mean this whole vast scheme was a mind fuck, to use Paul Rodriguez’s
elegant phrasing? A psy-ops endeavor to spook the spooks? Perhaps. As
Stability put it, "Almost nothing is wrong in this particular instance,
Mr. Ketcham. In this particular situation, right is wrong, left is right,
up is down, day is night."

Yet for the most part the targeted agents weren’t spooks in the strictest
sense: They were DEA -- cops who bust drug dealers. And that leads us into
Theory No. 1, also known as the Art Student/Drug Dealer Conspiracy. This
theory has a piece of evidence to support it: the link, mentioned in the
leaked DEA memo, between an Ecstasy investigation and the telephone
numbers provided by an Israeli detained in Orlando. There are "problems"
with Israeli nationals involved in the Ecstasy business, according to
Israeli Embassy spokesman Reguev. "Israeli authorities and the DEA are
working together on that issue," he said. In a statement before Congress
in 2000, officials with the U.S. Customs Service, which intercepted some 7
million Ecstasy tablets last year, noted that "Israeli organized-crime
elements appear to be in control" of the multibillion-dollar U.S. Ecstasy
trade, "from production through the international smuggling phase.
Couriers associated with Israeli organized crime have been arrested around
the world, including ... locations in the U.S. such as Florida, New
Jersey, New York and California."

Miami was cited as one of the main entry points of Ecstasy into the United
States and was specified as one of the central "headquarters for the
criminal organizations that smuggle Ecstasy"; Houston was also cited for
large Ecstasy seizures -- an interesting nexus, given the large number of
"art students" who congregated both in the Miami and Ft. Lauderdale area
and in Houston. "Israeli nationals in the Ecstasy trade have been very
sophisticated in their operations," says a U.S. Customs officer who has
investigated the groups. "Some of these individuals have been skilled at
counterintelligence and in concealing their communications and movements
from law enforcement."

It would thus seem that Israeli organized crime has at least the capacity
to pull off a widespread surveillance and intelligence operation. The drug
connection would also explain the sizable reserves of cash one Tampa
student was handling.

One DEA agent named in the "art student" report told Salon that the best
possible explanation for the affair ­- and he admitted to being utterly
baffled by it -- was that drug dealers were involved.

"Why us if not because of the DEA's mission?" the agent asked. "I mean,
what would Israeli intel want with us? Here's another avenue of inquiry to
take: Israeli organized crime is the now the biggest dealer of Ecstasy in
the United States. These students? It was Israeli organized crime judging
our strength, getting a survey of our operations. What if I wanted to
burglarize your building and go through your files? I'd do a reconnoiter.
Get a sense of the floor plan and security, where the guards are
stationed, how many doors, what kind of locks, alarm systems, backup alarm

The trouble with this theory is the obvious one: In the annals of crime
chutzpah, for drug dealers to brazenly approach drug agents in their homes
and offices may represent the all-time world record. And what conceivable
useful intelligence could they gather that would be worth the risk? Were
the tee-heeing tight-sweatered Israeli babes pulling some kind of Mata
Hari stunt, seducing paunchy middle-aged DEA boys and beguiling them into
loose-lipped info sharing?

Theory No. 2 is that they were all engaged in espionage. This scenario has
the virtue of simplicity -- if it smells like a spy, walks like a spy, and
talks like a spy, it probably is a spy -- but doesn't make much sense,
either. Why would the Mossad -- or any spy outfit with a lick of good
sense -- use kids without papers as spies? And, just as our incredulous
DEA agent noted, what intelligence useful to Israel could be gathered from
DEA offices, anyway?

I suggested to Stability that the operation, if it was that, was purposely
conspicuous -- almost oafish. "Yes, it was," he replied. "It was a noisy
operation. Did you ever see 'Victor/Victoria'? It was about a woman
playing a man playing a woman. Perhaps you should think about this from
that aspect and ask yourself if you wanted to have something that was in
your face, that didn't make sense, that couldn't possibly be them." He
added, "Think of it this way: How could the experts think this could
actually be something of any value? Wouldn't they dismiss what they were

That’s where you enter truly dark territory: Theory No. 3, the Art Student
as Agent as Art Student Smoke Screen. It has major problems, but let’s
roll with it for a moment. This theory contends that the art student ring
was a smoke screen intended to create confusion and allow actual spies --
who were also posing as art students -- to be lumped together with the
rest and escape detection. In other words, the operation is an elaborate
double fake-out, a hiding-in-plain-sight scam. Whoever dreamed it up
thought ahead to the endgame and knew that the DEA-stakeout aspect was so
bizarre that it would throw off American intelligence. According to this
theory -- Stability's "Victor/Victoria" scenario -- Israeli agents wanted,
let's say, to monitor al-Qaida members in Florida and other states. But
they feared detection. So to provide cover, and also to create a
dizzyingly Byzantine story that would confuse the situation, Israeli intel
flooded areas of real operations with these bumbling "art students" -- who
were told to deliberately stake out DEA agents.

Perhaps. Why not? Up is down, left is right. I nudged Stability on the
obvious implication of the "Victor/Victoria" scenario: If this was a ruse,
a decoy to conceal another operation, what was that other operation?
"Unknown," Stability said.

Then of course there’s Theory No. 4: that they really were art students.
Either they were recruited in Israel as part of an art-selling racket or
they simply hit upon the idea themselves. This theory is basically the de
facto position held by the U.S. and Israeli governments, which insist that
the only wrong committed by the "students" was to sell art without the
proper papers. There are almost too many problems with this to list, but
it's worth mentioning a few: Why in the world would people try to sell
cheap art market to DEA officials? Why would they almost all use the same
bogus Bezalel Academy of Arts cover story? Why would anyone running such a
racket to make money use foreign nationals without green cards, knowing
that they would quickly be snagged for visa violations? And why did so
many of these itinerant peddlers, wandering the United States on their
strange mission of hawking cheap Chinese knockoff paintings, have "black
information" about federal facilities?

There are other theories. One is that these were spies in training, newly
minted Mossad graduates on test runs to see how they would operate in
field conditions. I asked Stability how hotly the matter was now being
pursued in intel and law enforcement. "Depends on who you speak to," he
told me. "Some people say that it's a dead issue, a fantasy. Most of the
investigations are happening at an ad hoc level. There are people out
there that you couldn't sway off some of the cases, because that's how
dedicated they are."

Apparently, at least some agents in FBI remain quite concerned about the
art student problem. According to several intelligence sources, including
Stability, on Dec. 3, 2001, six separate FBI field offices simultaneously
forwarded communiqués to FBI headquarters inquiring into the status of the
investigation. The FBI agents wanted to have a "clarification" as to what
was going on.

The subject may not be officially dead yet. The art student matter may be
taken up by the congressional committees investigating intelligence
failures leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks, according to another source.

What about the crucial Washington Post article, in which anonymous federal
agents alleged the DEA memo was the work of a disgruntled employee?

"The Washington Post article was a plant -- that's obvious. The story was
killed," Stability told me. Who planted the story? Stability claimed the
FBI was behind it. "Every organization is running scared," Stability
added, "because they're afraid of the next shoe to drop. There are many
smoking guns out there, many. So consequently every one is at a level of
heightened anxiety, and when they're anxious they make mistakes."

Yes, but what are they afraid of? What will the smoking guns prove?
Questions, questions, labyrinthine questions, and the more you ask in this
matter, the fewer get answered. When I called the CIA to inquire about the
agency's March 2001 alert -- an alert that evinced deep disquiet over the
affair -- an official who was aware of the inquiry told me, "I'll make a
recommendation to you: Don't write a story. This whole thing has been
blown way out of proportion. As far as we're concerned, we reported it,
yes, but subsequently it's nothing of interest to us. And we've just
closed the book on it. And I really recommend you do the same. Let it go.
There's nothing here."

Not everyone else in law enforcement is so sure. "There's a lot of concern
among the agents," said the DEA source. "We're investigators. We're not
satisfied when we don't have answers. This is a mystery that has an answer
and it has to be resolved."

- - - - - - - - - - - -

About the writer
Christopher Ketcham is a freelance writer in New York City.
Jersey City Stories

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 7:13 am    Post subject: What Did Israel Know in Advance of the 9/11 Attacks? Reply with quote

What Did Israel Know in Advance of the 9/11 Attacks?

On the afternoon of September 11, 2001, an FBI bulletin known as a BOLO ­- "be on lookout" -- was issued with regard to three suspicious men who that morning were seen leaving the New Jersey waterfront minutes after the first plane hit World Trade Center 1. Law enforcement officers across the New York-New Jersey area were warned in the radio dispatch to watch for a "vehicle possibly related to New York terrorist attack":

White, 2000 Chevrolet van with 'Urban Moving Systems' sign on back seen at Liberty State Park, Jersey City, NJ, at the time of first impact of jetliner into World Trade Center Three individuals with van were seen celebrating after initial impact and subsequent explosion. FBI Newark Field Office requests that, if the van is located, hold for prints and detain individuals.

At 3:56 p.m., twenty-five minutes after the issuance of the FBI BOLO, officers with the East Rutherford Police Department stopped the commercial moving van through a trace on the plates. According to the police report, Officer Scott DeCarlo and Sgt. Dennis Rivelli approached the stopped van, demanding that the driver exit the vehicle. The driver, 23-year-old Sivan Kurzberg, refused and "was asked several more times [but] appeared to be fumbling with a black leather fanny pouch type of bag". With guns drawn, the police then "physically removed" Kurzberg, while four other men ­- two more men had apparently joined the group since the morning ­- were also removed from the van, handcuffed, placed on the grass median and read their Miranda rights.
. . .

For the complete article see:

- - -

CounterPunch editor and publisher Alexander Cockburn and Chris Ketcham appeared on Democracy Now radio to talk about the story with Amy Goodman.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1776 wrote:
The 9/11 van story quickly faded away. I never read any follow up on it.

Did the white van in LSP have anything to do with the one picked up on the GW bridge?

On 9/11, with the World Trade Center antenna lost, CBS was the only broadcast station still on the air in the NY area. I remember very well the story of the van with explosives under the George Washington Bridge. As the Israeli nationals in the Urban Moving Systems van were not nabbed until much later, the two vehicles were almost certainly different.

Urban Moving Systems received sporadic coverage. Nothing further was heard about the explosive-laden van at the GWB. I was very happy to see the Youtube clip. When recounting 9/11 news, I've been told that I must have imagined the incident.

BTW, one Online commentator states that all JCPD radio backups of 9/11 have been "lost." Does anyone know if this is true?
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 8:19 am    Post subject: what the... Reply with quote

1 of every 2 isreali between 20-30 worked few month in usa, uk, aus and more.
the making fast money selling painting door to door or dead sea prodact.
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