A Review of Jason Bermas’s Fabled Enemies

Fabled Enemies a new documentary video that challenges the official version of 9/11, is the latest in the ever-expanding list of films and videos dealing with the topic, which have varied greatly in worth. Though not without flaws, the video is a refreshing change of course from a great many of the less valuable ones that focused mainly on the collapses of the World Trade Center buildings. While touching briefly on the collapse of building 7, the documentary mostly approaches the issue from a different angle by reviewing some of the great amount of other evidence that the official story of the events of that day are a mere legend and that the U.S. government has gone to great lengths to cover up the truth.

Fabled Enemies is written and directed by Jason Bermas, who was a co-producer of the Loose Change series, and produced by Alex Jones. It is a significant improvement over the Loose Change videos, which, although progressing in quality which each new version, focused heavily on questions like whether or not a plane hit the Pentagon, whether Flight 93 crashed in the field in Pennsylvania, and whether the WTC buildings were brought down in controlled demolitions, while failing to sufficiently address the enormous amount of other information demonstrating that the official story is a lie. Fabled Enemies goes a number of steps further than the third and final edition of Loose Change toward bringing a good number of these other matters to the attention of the viewing public.

Bermas begins by suggesting that Osama bin Laden was not responsible for the attacks, such as by pointing out that 9/11 is not listed as being among the crimes for which Osama bin Laden is wanted on his FBI poster, and that the FBI has explained that this is because there is no hard evidence linking him to the attacks. He perhaps does himself a disservice, however, by implying that he isn’t a dangerous terrorist, a conclusion that doesn’t necessarily follow from the premise.

He then addresses the matter of the hijackers’ connections to U.S. intelligence and the military, such as reports that some were trained at U.S. bases.

The video features an interview with Mike Springman, a former consular officer who worked in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. During his service there from 1987 and through the end of the Soviet-Afghan war, he routinely turned down visas for foreigners seeking entry into the U.S. based upon the requirements of the law. But his decisions were sometimes overturned as CIA officers bypassed him or went over his head to get visas for members of the mujahedeen from the war in Afghanistan to travel to the U.S. for recruitment and training and other actions to assist the CIA-backed war effort.

Bermas might have also noted at this point in the video that there are other precedents substantiating Springman’s claims, such as the fact that it was similarly CIA agents that repeatedly granted Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, the “Blind Sheikh” accused of masterminding the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, entry into the U.S. despite the fact that he had been included on the State Department’s terrorist watchlist.

The interlocking web of events and characters connecting the 1993 bombing with the 2001 attacks is another underreported facet of 9/11.

Before bin Laden’s organization became known as “al Qaeda” or “the Base,” it was known as Makhtab al-Khidamat. Either as an alias or subsidiary branch, it was also known as Al Kifah. The U.S. Department of the Treasury has this to say about it: “Makhtab al-Khidamat/Al Kifah (MK) is considered to be the pre-cursor organization to al Qaeda and the basis for its infrastructure. MK was initially created by Osama bin Laden’s (UBL) mentor Shaykh Abdullah Azzam who was also the spiritual founder of Hamas, as an organization to fund mujahideen in the Soviet-Afghan conflict. MK has helped funnel fighters and money to the Afghan resistance in Peshawar, Pakistan, and had established recruitment centers worldwide to fight the Soviets.”

One of those recruitment centers was the Alkifah Refugee Center in Brooklyn, New York. One of the mosques from which a certain Omar Abdel Rahman, a.k.a. “the Blind Sheikh,” preached was a few doors down from Alkifah.

The Sheikh was good friends with Gulbaddin Hekmatyar, and had travelled to Peshawar to meet with the CIA’s favored beneficiary.

Despite being on the terrorist watch list, Sheikh Omar was allowed to enter the U.S. In fac, this visa was approved by the CIA. The Sheikh travelled in and out of the country at will, and it was the CIA itself which reviewed and approved his application on at least six separate occasions.

Of course, it is impossible for filmmakers to fit every piece of information into a reasonable time frame that seeks to keep viewers informed while keeping pace enough to not lose out to those with short attention spans. Bermas does an excellent job in his documentary of touching briefly on a huge variety of aspects of 9/11 that are, regrettably, often overlooked and overshadowed by the enormous focus within the 9/11 Truth movement on the building collapses. It is up to proactive viewers to then take that information they are presented and follow through by doing some research of their own.

Moreover, while Bermas has a tendency to sensationalize or overstate the evidence he presents, for the most part the information he covers has been solidly documented and his narrative draws plenty of solid conclusions and asks a lot of the right questions.

One example of information viewers should be skeptical about is the document that is shown stating that Osama bin Laden was a CIA asset known by the alias “Tim Osman”. This document is given even more prominence by its inclusion on the box cover for the DVD. Although widely distributed on the internet (such as at WhatReallyHappened.com, the website of Michael Rivero, who is also interviewed in the video), it is not sourced and is thus of questionable authenticity (Mr. Rivero did not respond to an e-mail request for information on the source of this document). Bermas does a disservice to his viewers by presenting the information this document purports to show as absolute fact while himself also failing to source it.

The courageous former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney makes an appearance in the video. In one section of her interview, she talks about how the U.S. financed the bin Laden family during the Soviet-Afghan war to construct the bases used to train the mujahedeen.

The video touches briefly on Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, noting that they rented an apartment from an FBI informant. It does not mention the arguably much more significant fact that the CIA not only tracked the two hijackers prior to their entry into the U.S., but then allowed them to enter despite having known that they had obtained visas. That bears repeating: The CIA knew two known al-Qaeda operatives under its surveillance intended to travel to the U.S. and allowed them to do so.

John O’Neil, the former deputy director for the FBI, is also mentioned as an example of government complicity in blocking terrorism investigations. O’Neil quit his job out of frustration at his investigations into terrorism being blocked to become head of security for the World Trade Center. He was killed on 9/11 while helping to ensure the safety of others after the planes hit the buildings.

Fabled Enemies then looks at a few other indications that the Bush administration, which has a serious conflict of interest with the Bush family’s tight relationship with Saudi Arabia and the bin Laden family, reined in investigators who tried to look at Saudi financing for terrorist groups like al Qaeda. It includes a snippet from one of Greg Palast’s investigative reports showing that the FBI had been obstructed from investigating Omar and Abdullah bin Laden for their involvement in a suspected terrorist organization.

It spends a bit of time looking at the story of Robin Wright, who went public about an FBI operation called “Vulgar Betrayal” that revealed Saudi financing of terrorist groups and that U.S. banks looked the other way as terrorist money flowed through the financial system. The FBI responded by demoting and trying to silence him.

Echoing an aspect made famous by Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911, Bermas notes that members of the bin Laden family were collected by private charter jet and whisked out of the country immediately following the attacks.

Bermas then moves on to look at the military intelligence operation “Able Danger” that reportedly identified hijackers, including Mohammed Atta, prior to 9/11. Although it was given the operation files the 9/11 Commission Report is silent on the matter and agents who have tried to come forward to bring this information to light have been gagged.

The video then moves on to discuss one of the great unanswered questions of 9/11, that, although receiving widespread attention on the Internet, has not been given a similar amount of attention by documentaries dealing with 9/11. Bermas does a good job of helping to correct that by going into some detail about the uncovering of a huge Israeli intelligence operation within the United States.

He begins with the story of the five Israelis seen celebrating the smoking trade center towers who were later arrested and deported after it was revealed that at least a couple of them were Mossad agents.

Bermas then looks at the story of the Israeli “art student” spy ring that was blown wide open in a four part series by Carl Cameron on Fox News. Numerous Israeli intelligence operatives operating under the cover of students selling art had targeted government officials, including members of intelligence and law enforcement agencies, prior to 9/11. The operation was discovered and 60 or more operatives were rounded up and deported.

In one of Cameron’s reports, he looks at how U.S. investigators had looked at the Israeli company Amdocs, which does the billing for most U.S. phone companies. It was feared that billing data could easily end up in foreign hands. Investigators were similarly concerned with another Israeli company, Comverse Infosys, which was responsible for wiretapping for U.S. law enforcement agencies. There were indications that information obtained from wiretaps was being leaked and the fear was that a “back door” in the Comverse system allowing the company access was being or could be exploited.

Bermas makes a leap of logic here. Fox News reported that investigators of the Israeli spy ring were concerned about a connection to 9/11, but that the information linking the Israelis to 9/11 was classified. From that, Bermas asserts that the Israelis were tracking the 9/11 hijackers. From Cameron’s reports and other information this is not an unreasonable assumption, but Bermas takes it a step further, asserting as fact that Israel had warned the hijackers. This is perhaps the most serious weakness in the video.

Another under-reported aspect of 9/11 is the story of former FBI contract translator Sibel Edmonds, who has been gagged for trying to go public with information she obtained while working for the FBI that there were agents within the government acquiring nuclear technology to be sold on the black market. Bermas does not spend a lot of time educating viewers on her story, but, importantly, does introduce it to those who may not have been familiar with Ms. Edmonds before watching Fabled Enemies.

Bermas also addresses the matter of the head of Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence agency Mahmud Ahmed having authorized the transfer of $100,000 to hijacker Mohammed Atta just prior to the attacks. Ahmed was in Washington on September 11th, where he met with his CIA counterpart, George Tenet. He was having breakfast as the planes crashed into the towers with Bob Graham and Porter Goss, who would later chair the Congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11. This was a vital piece of the puzzle that had been grievously excluded from 9/11 documentaries until 9/11 Press for Truth, perhaps the overall best 9/11 film to date, corrected that situation.

Graham later said, “I was surprised at the evidence that there were foreign governments involved in facilitating the activities of at least some of the terrorists in the United States. I am stunned that we have not done a better job of pursuing that,” adding that there is credible evidence that the terrorists were assisted “by a foreign government.”

Bermas takes the opportunity here to observe that this is a further demonstration of how the 9/11 Commission was a whitewash, but neglects to inform viewers precisely why this is so; the Commission report, despite having received the information on Mahmud Ahmed, stated that there was no such evidence and, incredibly, that the question of who financed the terrorists “is of little practical significance.”

But he demonstrates the absurdity of considering the Commission a real investigation into 9/11 by noting other aspects of its ridiculousness, such as by featuring former Commission member Max Cleland, who wanted the Commission to subpoena the FAA, Norad, and the White House. But the White House would review any documents and choose a minority of them to be shared with the Commission. Only a minority of the Commission members selected by the White House would be allowed access to those documents. And only information cleared by the White House could be shared by those selected individuals with the rest of the Commission.

While demonstrating the corruption and incompetence of government officials, Bermas also presents courageous leaders like Cynthia McKinney and Dennis Kucinich standing up and speaking out. This is an important note as the video then turns to the question of prior knowledge of the attacks and the warnings that had been received in advance.

Vice President Dick Cheney is shown warning others in government to “be very cautious not to seek political advantage” by “making incendiary suggestions” about the Bush administration, like suggesting that “the White House had advance information that would have prevented the tragic attacks of 9/11.”

Fabled Enemies goes a long way towards showing the ridiculousness of Cheney saying there was no information that could have led to the prevention of the attacks.

Bermas then gets into the numerous military and intelligence exercises that were taking place on the morning of 9/11, including drills which simulated the hijackings of airplanes, and shows evidence of how these exercises served to confuse FAA flight traffic controllers and to delay the NORAD response. Bush is shown saying, “No one in our government … could have imagined flying airplanes into buildings [pause] on such a massive scale.” Bermas does a good job of demonstrating the absurdity of that statement as well, including by showing that one or more of the drills held on 9/11 actually simulated that exact scenario.

Fabled Enemies next spends a considerable amount of time on the alleged “threat” to Air Force One, granting that “threat” more credibility than it perhaps deserves in an attempt to insinuate that Cheney or someone acting under him had leaked information to terrorists enabling them to target Bush. Viewers would have been better served had this dubious speculation been omitted and other more credible and well documented arguments granted more favor.

Next, the anthrax attacks are briefly discussed; another aspect of 9/11 deserving more attention than it has received in documentaries on the subject.

Bermas sensibly concludes by saying that it is not a revolution, but a restoration of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights that is required.

In the end, I was pleasantly surprised with Fabled Enemies. The final edition of Loose Change, a huge improvement over its predecessors, had apparently benefited from the knowledge and fact-checking of David Ray Griffin, who served as a consultant on the that video. Fabled Enemies does an even better job of sticking more to the facts and drawing reasonable conclusions, which might perhaps be in part the influence of producer Alex Jones.

Fabled Enemies also covers a much broader range of the many aspects of 9/11 requiring further investigation than most other films on the subject. This is one of the benefits of having dealt only briefly with WTC 7 and no time at all with the other towers’ collapses, events which have been exhaustively covered in numerous other videos, have in many regards served only to discredit the 9/11 Truth movement, and which have regrettably overshadowed the countless other important pieces of information about 9/11 that researchers have brought to light.

Jason Bermas does the 9/11 Truth movement a great service by choosing to finally bring much of this important information into one place and presenting it in a medium that can effectively reach a wide audience.

You can visit the official Fabled Enemies website and from the site, you can click to watch the full film on Google Video or purchase the DVD.

Jeremy R. Hammond is the editor of Foreign Policy Journal, a website providing news, analysis, and opinion from outside the standard framework provided by government officials and the corporate media. He was among the recipients of the 2010 Project Censored Awards for outstanding investigative journalism and is the author of The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination. You can contact him at: jeremy@foreignpolicyjournal.com. Read other articles by Jeremy, or visit Jeremy's website.

5 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. doug said on October 12th, 2008 at 10:55am #

    Thanks for a great review, and one that serves as a kind of post-introductory level education in and of itself. Since 9/11, it seems that the independent production of alternative documentaries, and the availability of documentary footage on the internet, has become one of the most effective routes for disseminating information about the contemporary geopolitical situation that serves to undermine the popularly reinforced notion that there are still (or ever have been) international relations between sovereign nation-states in the way that we typically think. Much more attention has been given to the structure of global finance, for instance, and specifically to the kinds of shady relations between covert actors–such as the CIA and known or suspected terrorists–that lend enormous support to people’s suspicions concerning the true causes of world events.

    The very fact that we are able to be critical of some 9/11 documentaries and less so of others, or even that we are able to pick out those elements of a single documentary that are more or less successful in contributing to the achievement of the film’s goal, points to the necessity for conspiracy documentaries to strike a balance between “the facts” and a believable narrative arrangement thereof. This is nothing new. My question, however, has to do with the nature of the intended audience for such documentaries and the possibility of “converting” people from a position of absolute doubt (as to the idea of there having been a conspiracy at all) to one of skepticism of the official story coupled with a desire for more information. It sounds like this film, for instance, is going to be useful to those of us who’ve already had our suspicions raised, but how effective do you think it would be as a first exposure to the events and relationships that appear to us so strongly as evidence of a cover-up? What would my republican grandmother think if she watched this documentary?

    I bring this up because I think it is always important for Truth-ers to remind themselves of how far removed their own worldviews really are from those of some Americans (and because I’d love to know how to open the eyes of my republican grandmother!), thus also of how far from our own premises so many people stand when this kind of evidence is presented to them. We need a narrative that lucidly strings together the strongest points of the argument in such a way as to make unequivocal meaning of the evidence. If “unequivocal meaning” is an impossible goal–which it surely is–then we need the next best thing, and the task of creating it needs to be an ongoing project high on the agenda of the 9/11 Truth community.

    What do you (and DV’s readers) think are those elements of the 9/11 story that should receive the strongest emphasis when trying to shake up the perspective of someone who’s not already inclined to doubt the official story? And how–since we don’t yet have “the truth” to simply tell–can we connect these things so that they should present a compelling case to ANYONE? There are those who will refuse to take any amount of evidence seriously because they have already decided that there was not and couldn’t have been a conspiracy, and even if there was a conspiracy, they either don’t care or don’t want to know. But there are countless others out there who might be swayed if we could break through their initial disbelief and call into question the integrity of the “debunking” efforts of Popular Mechanics/etc., should that also prove necessary. It seems we are getting to the point where a mountain of circumstantial evidence has been accumulated, but even direct evidence can be ignored by a person determined enough not to believe something. What, at this point, can our sound-bitten story about 9/11 be?

  2. Rowan Berkeley said on October 12th, 2008 at 10:59am #

    I don’t think it is at all accurate to say that Bermas claims the five dancing Israelis “WARNED the hijackers” – what on earth would this imply?

    In any case, readers can watch a lo-fi version of the film, provided by Bermas and Alex Jones productions free, on Googlevideo:

  3. brian said on October 13th, 2008 at 1:12am #

    and to make clear,there is no indication there were any arabs on any of the planes.

  4. Randy Dujour said on October 13th, 2008 at 1:44pm #

    What we do know for sure . . . 100% . . . is that the Cheney administration is lying through their teeth about 9/11 and that the official story has changed so many times as to leave one dizzy.


  5. Jeremy R. Hammond said on October 20th, 2008 at 9:02pm #


    One of the reasons I like Fabled Enemies more than many (probably most) of its predecessors is that it avoids the towers and goes into other aspects that really have not received the attention they deserve in documentaries on 9/11. I think that in itself makes it more accessible to a wider audience. Unfortunately, Bermas’s narration detracts from the film and its credibility. But it’s jam packed with news articles and news footage that show that this isn’t just a bunch of whacko conspiracy theory delusions; it’s been reported in the mainstream media — people just haven’t heard about it.

    Rowan Berkeley,

    It’s not accurate to say I said the five dancing Israelis warned the hijackers. But Bermas does indeed suggest the hijackers were warned by Israelis involved in spying in the U.S.:

    “Somehow, suspected terrorists who were being surveilled by these very Israelis were able to change their behavior to elude the FBI.”

    But that’s a distortion of the FOX News report. However, you are right that I was wrong in saying he asserted it “as fact”. He merely implied it. My memory was faulty.