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911: COMPUTER DISK DRIVES FROM WTC COULD YIELD CLUES
Rick Perera
Submitted by Don Stacey
Jan. 28, 2005

How many remember that some "astute" " investors" made a fortune on 911? They bet that the stock of American Airlines and United Airlines would fall. They made the bet a few days before 911 and were they ever right. After each airline supposedly lost two Boeings, two by crashing into the World Trade Center, one by supposedly crashing into the Pentagon and a fourth crashing in Pennsylvania, the stock of both airlines plummeted and those who had bet they would made fortunes.

Now these were not ordinary trades. The size of the bets that were made far exceeded the historical average volume of such transactions. These were big bets, folks. And no one was making such bets on other airline stocks. These stood out like the proverbial sore thumbs.

Our government has very sophisticated means of monitoring such transactions. So what did they find? We are still waiting to hear. Always, always trust the government. Surely they will tell us someday who made these huge bets BEFORE the attack of 911. One interesting tidbit has come out. A large quantity of these transactions were processed by Alex Brown, a securities branch at Deutsche Bank. That unit was headed by an individual who left Alex Brown shortly after 911 to take a high position at the CIA. Hmmmm......!

In additiont to the above transactions, there were other suspicious transactions just before 911, suggesting that some had advanced knowledge of the attack. There were rumors of many large transactions, unusually large and numerous, just before 911, suggesting again that some people had advance knowledge of the attack.

Now a German company has developed a way to recover data from hard drives recovered from the towers. Many of the suspected financial types had offices in the Towers. Will we learn anything from this? Or will it all disappear into the FBI's dark hole, never to be seen again?

Stay tuned.

Don Stacey

COMPUTER DISK DRIVES FROM WTC COULD YIELD CLUES
Rick Perera
IDG News Service,
Berlin Bureau

(IDG) -- A new data-recovery technique could help trace suspicious financial transactions made shortly before the terrorist attacks in the U.S. on September 11.

An unexplained surge in transactions was recorded prior to the attacks, leading to speculation that someone might have profited from previous knowledge of the terrorist plot by moving sums of money. But because the facilities of many financial companies processing the transactions were housed in New York's World Trade Center, destroyed in the blasts, it has until now been impossible to verify that suspicion.

That's where Convar Systeme Deutschland GmbH comes in. The company is helping reconstruct data from hard disk drives found in the ruins of the twin towers. While other data-recovery companies are also involved in the effort, the company says it has a special edge: a laser-based scanning technology developed about two years ago.

Using the technology, "It's possible to read the individual drive surfaces, and then create a virtual drive," said Peter Wagner, a spokesman for the company, a subsidiary of U.K.-based Convar Europe Ltd. "Our competitors mostly work with (magnetic) heads, which is a very tedious process, but also risky."

Because of the fine dust created by the explosions that destroyed the towers, which was driven at high pressure into devices, physically touching the drive surfaces can damage them, he said.

"Laser scanning is a good deal quicker, has a higher success rate, and is also cheaper," he added. Companies contracting with Convar pay between US$20,000 and $30,000 per drive for the work.

When Convar discovers encryption keys on a drive, indicating a financial record, it saves the information and hands it over to its U.S. clients, who are in turn cooperating with the FBI, he said.

The company has completed processing 39 drives; another 42 have arrived, and a further 20 drives are expected in early January, Wagner said.

Convar's German facility, in the town of Pirmasens near the NATO air base Ramstein, is one of the few civilian data recovery centers to be certified for military purposes as a "high security zone," the company said.

Rick Perera is a correspondent for the IDG News Service.

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