attackers didn't know they were to die

Sun, 14 Oct 2001 18:38:53 -0400

Subject: Re: Hijacking suspects --- ids and methods (Boston Herald)

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At 11:57 AM 9/12/01 -0400, Clay Shirky wrote:

>Not a single aspect of this attack -- not the hijacking, not the
>flying a plane, not the timing -- was as hard as convincing a group of
>men that if they died in this way they would go to heaven.

(kelley) Easy: Lie. Tell them they're doing it for fame and fortune and 
they'll stay alive, most likely. Afterall, if you're brining pilots, it 
could sound plausible to the folks who aren't in the know.

heh heh heh. i was right!

Observer (London) - October 14, 2001

Attackers did not know they were to die

David Rose

FBI investigators have officially concluded that 11 of the 19 terrorists 
who hijacked the aircraft on 11 September did not know they were on a 
suicide mission, Whitehall intelligence sources said last night.

Unlike the eight 'lead' attackers, who were all trained pilots, they did 
not leave messages for friends and family indicating they knew their lives 
were over. None of them had copies of the instructions for prayer and 
contemplation on the eve of the attacks and for 'opening your chest to God' 
at the moment of immolation, which FBI agents discovered in the luggage of 
Mohamed Atta, the man believed to be the hijackers' leader, who flew the 
first plane to destruction in New York.

It is understood the FBI has found evidence suggesting the 11 men expected 
to take part in 'conventional' hijackings - with the planes flown to 
distant airports, and the passengers and crew taken hostage while the 
hijackers presented demands. Items found among the 11 men's possessions 
suggest they had been preparing themselves for incarceration. One source 
said: 'It looks as if they expected they might be going to prison, not 

The FBI analysis concludes the 11 may have believed the purpose of the 
hijackings was to free the perpetrators of previous extremist terrorist 
attacks on the United States, such as the first World Trade Centre bombing 
in 1993.

Other clues suggest the purpose for the 11 was to provide 'muscle': to 
overwhelm the passengers and crew. They had arrived in the US only recently 
and had not had pilot training. <...>,1373,573707,00.html

I concede that Clay was right insofar as there was a sophisticated social 
net involved.  However, since it operated as a cell network, it is likely 
that these guys don't have to be deeply socialized to accept suicide or die 
for some cause. instead, they are sent on missions, given instructions 
(think La Femme Nikita) and carry them out or risk punishment. that is easy 
to do: think of the way gangs work.

I'd guess that ultimately only 4 pilots knew and they knew at the last 
minute. At that point it was either finish the job or be finished later. 
therefore, I disagree with the article  that suggests that just because 8 
had pilot training then they were in the know. I think they just put 
several though pilot training--a pool of potential pilots--and selected 
four later.