Cults and the World Trade Center Attack

How does one convince an intelligent well educated person, as a hijacker who knows how to fly a large commercial aircraft must be, to go on a suicide mission of mass homicide?

The symptoms are classic - Mohamed Atta had been absorbed into a cult and lost his autonomy. - The man identified as Mohamed Atta apparently underwent a personality change while studying in Germany, according to one of his professors. "We observed that there was a changing between '95, and '98-'99 when he made his diploma," says Professor Dittmar Machule, Atta's thesis supervisor. Machule says Atta abruptly shaved off his beard and seemed to be a changed man, as if he had a split personality.

The Final Letter: A Classic Example of Cultic Mind Control

On Sept. 28, U.S. authorities released a handwritten letter in Arabic found in a suitcase that belonged to Mohamed Atta, the terrorist who hijacked a large commercial passenger aircraft on Sept. 11 and flew it into the north tower of the World Trade Center. An English translation of the letter is reprinted below.

At first glance the letter may look like just a final pep talk to the terrorists, but it is actually a classic example of cultic mind control. It demonstrates that the terrorists were merely actors following a script written by someone else. The terrorists were no longer thinking for themselves, they had been totally absorbed by a cultic organization and were being controlled like puppets with someone else pulling the strings.

It is frighteningly easy to control someone. All you need to do is tell them what to do and never give them a free moment to think about what they are doing. Once they take that first fatal step and become an actor in your play you can continue feeding them the script and they will faithfully do whatever you want as long as you always keep them busy and never give them a chance to stop and think on their own again.

The final letter to the terrorist hijacker Mohamed Atta has the following properties:

The terrorist is told in great detail exactly what to do. In the letter the terrorist is even told how to wear his socks and tie his shoes, and how to act when he exits the taxi at the airport. No detail has been left out. The terrorist does not have to do any thinking on his own. In fact the terrorist is encouraged not to think on his own. By carefully preplanning every detail the terrorist no longer has anything to figure about. The terrorist is now just an actor in a tragic play written by someone else.

In a cult the leader is the one running the show, with the members merely puppets under the leader's control. Cult members learn to let the leader tell them what to do next. This eventually goes to extremes, where members who finish a task given to them literally do not know what to do next, and look to the cult hierarchy to tell them what task to do next. Further details of this phenomena are covered in the book.

To further prevent the terrorist from thinking on his own during a time of idleness the terrorist is told to pass the time by reciting certain invocations he has been taught. It may appear on the surface that the purpose of this is to prepare the terrorist spiritually for his mission, but actually the purpose is to prevent the terrorist from thinking on his own by keeping his mind busy at all times. If the terrorist were actually given a moment to contemplate his own actions the cultic spell might be broken and he might decide to abandon his suicide mission of mass homicide. It is vitally important to keep the terrorist's mind on the script at all times, so filler material is added to insure the terrorist is always busy following the script.


Let us now examine the actual letter given to terrorist hijacker Mohamed Atta and see how the terrorist is being treated as just an actor in a play, being told at all times exactly what to do and how to do it. At no time is the actor given a chance to pause and think for himself. Indeed the actor is encouraged NOT to think for himself. It is the unseen director, the one who wrote the tragic script, who is in complete control, and his actors are just players who were drawn into the cult and given their roles to play. Once a person takes the first step into playing out a role that person is never given a chance for a second thought. There are no breaks in the play. There are no pauses. There is no idle time. There is no chance for the actor to catch his breath. The script is carefully written so there are no opportunities for the actor to stop and think for himself. He is too busy playing his part. The terrorists were not thinking for themselves, they were merely actors acting out their roles in someone else's tragic play. The result was as if their minds had been taken over, and they were being controlled entirely by someone else.

Translation of the Hijackers' Note (Originally Written in Arabic)
Translated by
Beginning Of Page One:

The last night:
[Note immediately how this is a script. The hijacker is being told what to do when this particular time comes.]

One of the companions of the Prophet said: The Messenger of God had ordered us to recite it [Qur'anic verse] before the battle, we did, we won the battle and we were not harmed.
[The scene for this act is set.]

[The script. Our hijacker, being treated as an actor, is told exactly what to do]
1- Pledge allegiance to die, and the renewal of steps to be alert. * shaving of extra body hair, wearing fragrance. * wash up.
[The rituals of shaving and washing are intended to keep the actor busy so there is no idle time for him to think on his own.]

2- To know the plan very well -- know all its aspects and notes regarding reaction by or resistance from the enemy.
[i.e. Make sure you've memorized the script. Also identify everyone else as "the enemy". In cults anyone outside the cult is always framed as the "enemy". Cult members are told not to fraternize with the "enemy" because they are "bad," but the real reason the leader does not want his actors to fraternize with outsiders is because outsiders are an uncontrollable element. They are the ones who are not controlled by the cultic leader and they are the ones who can break the cultic spell over the actors. In our culture we expect individuals to think for themselves. When we talk to an individual we expect to communicate with that individual's personal thoughts and feelings. If the individual doesn't appear to have autonomous thoughts and feelings we feel something is wrong and may start to question the individual to determine who or what is controlling them. Our ultimate goal is to expose to the individual how they are being controlled and manipulated by someone else. We wish to guide the person away from mind control back to being an autonomous individual. Thus interactions with outsiders is the biggest threat to a cult leader. This is why cult members are quickly weaned away from their family and friends and told to frame all outsiders as the "enemy."]

3- Read Surat al-Tawba, and Surat al-Anfal -- understand their meanings and understand what God had prepared for the faithful -- He prepared an everlasting paradise for the martyrs.
[Keep the actor busy. Fill the idle time.]

4- Remind yourself of obedience -- In this night you will face decisive moments. These moments require obedience (100%). Calm your soul, make it understand, and convince and push her to do that [the mission]. God said "Obey God and his Prophet, if you don't, you will fail and lose your winds, be patient, God is with those who are patient."
[Keep the actor's mind busy. Don't let his mind wander to thoughts that might be his own.]

5- Stay up at night, persist in your invocations of victory, control and conquest. [your invocation for] Thing to go well and for God to provides a cover for us.
[Keep the actor TIRED by having him stay up at night. A tired person is less likely to start thinking on his own and is more likely to just be a mindless performer.]

6- Increase your mention of God's name. The best mention is reading the Qur'an. All scholars agreed to this. It is enough for us, that [the Qur'an] is the word of the Creator of Heaven and Earth, Who we are about to meet.
[Keep the actor busy. Fill the idle time.]

7- cleanse your heart of sins, forget and try to forget something called life. The time of play is over, now is the time of the true promise [of God]. How many [years] we have wasted [!] shouldn't we use these hours to present [to God, our] sacrifices and obedience.
[Keep the actor's mind busy.]

8- let your heart be happy [crossed out word] only few easy seconds separate you from the beginning of a happy life, peaceful life, and the everlasting tranquility with Prophets and the faithful and martyrs, they are the kindest [creatures]. We ask God to [help us be] optimistic, the Prophet, peace be upon him (He loved to be optimistic in all his doings).
[Tell your actor what to think.]

9- Then, put that in front of your eyes, if you are facing a challenge -- how would you act [?] how to steadfast [?] and remember and learn [illegible] it wouldn't happen to you. It is a challenge from God [illegible] then it will be clear, God willing, God had said "did you think that you will enter paradise and that God knows those who performed Jihad and knows those who are patient"
[Have your actor go over the script again and again. "Remember and learn."]

10- Remember what God said "You wished death before you see it and?." "A small band have won over a large band", "if god make you victorious no one will defeat you, God willing?".
[More stuff to think about. Give your actor plenty of stuff to think about, stuff YOU want him to think about, so his mind will not wander to thoughts of his own.]

11- Remind yourself of the invocations [for the sake of] your brothers and understand what they mean (invocations of morning and night -- invocations of country - invocations of the place - invocations about meeting the enemy).
[Memorize the filler material. This is important because the filler material will keep your actor occupied at all times of idleness so he never has a thought for himself. Again note the framing of all outsiders as "the enemy."]

12- [illegible] [Check ] yourself, the bag, cloth, the knife, your tools, your ID ([illegible]) - your passport- all your papers).
[Make sure your actor is prepared for tomorrow's scene.]

13- Check your weapon [crossed out word or words] before leaving and before before leaving [word repeated is in original] and (one of you must sharpen his blade [crossed out word] to inflict wound on his prey [to slaughter] ).
[Again make sure your actor is prepared for tomorrow's scene.]

14- Wear your cloth appropriately -- tied, the way our good ancestors did it, may God bless them, they used to wear their cloth in a tied fashion -- before the battle, then tie your shoe very well, wear [tied] socks so you don't lose your shoes. We are ordered to follow these items, God is our Sustainer praise be to Him.
[Tell your actor exactly what to do and how to do it. To maintain control leave nothing for the actor to figure out on his own; even tell him how to tie his shoe.]

15- Pray the morning prayers with a group of people, understand its worth, then, begin the invocations, don't leave home unless you perform the ablution. Recite God's words " We created you.." the Saying [of the Prophet in the book of [illegible].
[Mind control works better in a group setting where everyone is following the same script and everyone is taking cues from the same director. The group mentality represses individual thought. Each individual is encouraged to stick to the script (which someone else has written). Any sign of deviation from the script can be corrected by the rest of the group. Everyone is doing what everyone else is doing because everyone else is doing it. A single individual alone by himself might change his mind at the last minute and leaving the play, but in a group setting peer pressure encourages conformity.]

End of Page One.
Beginning Of Page Two:

After that, the second phase:
[Begin act II. Notice how the letter reads just like a script. The next act begins on a new page.]

If a taxi transported you to (M) recite the invocation [illegible] the car -- a lot and the invocations of riding - the invocations of the country - the invocations of the place - and other invocations).
[Keep the actor busy reciting invocations so he has no idle time to think for himself. The actor is on autopilot. The actor and the script have become one.]

If you reached your destination and you saw (m). Get off the taxi, recite the invocations of the place, and do that in every place you go to, and smile and be assured, God is with his faithful, and angels will be guarding you without you noticing them.
[The script takes into account multiple possibilities. "If a taxi transported you,..." "If you saw (m),..."]

Then recite the invocation that "God is dearest of all his creation" and recite " Oh God [illegible] and save you from their evil" and recite 'Oh God construct a dam in front of their hands and behind their hands, and blind them, so they can't see [us]. " And recite "God is our Sustainer, Blessed be He" and recite "[illegible] increase their faith, ..".
[More invocations to keep the actor's mind constantly occupied.]

After you recite you will see things get easier without your intervention because God had promised his servants who recite this invocations with the following: 1- [Victory] with the grace of His blessings. 2- They were not harmed. 3- Follow God's [illegible]. God said " ?..".
[Aggressive mental suggestion. If you tell your actor ahead of time that it will get easier at this point, then when the time comes the actor will anticipate that it will get easier and will feel that it is getting easier because he has been told to expect to feel that way.]

The believer's shouldn't be scared of it, but those who obey Satan should, [illegible] God said " Satan scares his followers."

Those who admire the Western civilization, those who drank their love (the love of the West) [illegible] destruction, and they were scared of their week tools ("Do not fear them [illegible] and fear if you are believers") Fear is [illegible]. The believers are victorious because of God there is no god but God [illegible]. Be sure that God will stop the conspiracy of the infidels. God said " God will weakened their conspiracy."
[The real leader behind the actors is spouting his personal philosophy. His actors are thoroughly under his control. He is the one telling them what to think.]

Then you have to recite, and the greatest of recitation is, no one should notice that you recite "There is no god but God" because if you recite it a thousand time no one will be able to differentiate between your silence and your recitation [illegible] peace be upon him. You can smile while you say it [illegible].
[Make sure your actors don't give themselves away.]

It is enough that the concept of Oness [Tawheed] that you uphold as a banner that you fight for -- as the Prophet of God, peace be upon him, and his companions had done and will continue until the last day.
[Instill your actor with a sense of duty and pride. Make him believe this script is his destiny, something predetermined by God. Actually the script is predetermined by the leader, but it works better if you imply a supreme deity is in charge and your actor is just fulfilling the will of the supreme deity. This helps to reinforce a belief that there is no reason to question the script.]

End Of Page Two.
More: Pages Three and Four.
The letter was translated by ABC.

Beginning of Page Three:

Also do not appear to be nervous, be happy with a happy heart, be confidant because you are doing a job that religion accepts and loves. And then there will be a day that you will spend with beautiful angels [hur 'een] in paradise.
[Instruct your actors. You are the director, they are your actors.]

Oh young Man
keep a smiling face
You are on your way
to everlasting paradise.
[Possibly one of the invocations for your actor to occupy his mind with.]

Any place you go to, or any thing you do, you have to recite the invocations, pray to God, God is with His faithful servants. He will make them victorious and allow them to accomplish their goals and every thing.
["you have to recite the invocations." You must not allow your terrorist to have an idle mind where his own thoughts might intrude. It is imperative that your terrorist keep his mind occupied with thoughts you have chosen for him to think.]

The third Phase:
[Act III]
[The following five paragraphs detail the script and insure your terrorist's mind remains filled with filler thoughts you choose for him to think. Note how detailed the script gets here. The following script steps are:
1) Get on the aircraft.
2) Sit down.
3) The aircraft will taxi to the runway.
4) The aircraft will stop (position itself on the runway and await clearance for takeoff), and then the aircraft will take off.

Note that at each script step the terrorist is constantly reminded to recite the invocations which you have chosen for him to recite. It is imperative that your terrorist's mind remain busy following your script so he never thinks for himself. You don't direct your terrorist to just "sit and wait," because that would afford him opportunity to think for himself. You must keep your terrorist's mind busy at all times. Have him recite the invocations, not because you care about him and want him to prepare himself in some religious way for the afterlife, but because you want to keep him focused on the script. Your terrorist will be surrounded by all the passengers on the plane whom you have no control over. Make sure they do not interfere by talking with your terrorist. Make sure your terrorist identifies them as the "enemy" so he will ignore anything they may say. A strong "us vs. them" mentality must be maintained at this stage. You don't want an outsider to break the cultic spell, so you very carefully script this last part of the play step by step and insure your terrorist's minds are constantly occupied with thoughts you provide for him to think. You want your terrorists to have no idle time to stop and listen to the passengers who will try and get them to actually think for themselves.]

1) Get on the aircraft. Keep mind occupied.
When you get on (t) [the aircraft] -- when you put your foot in it, and before you enter it -- you have to begin reciting the invocations -- and think of it [your mission] as a battle for the sake of [God] ? as the prophet had said ( the battle [illegible] for the sake of God).

2) Sit down. Keep mind occupied.
When you put your foot in (t) [the aircraft] and when you sit on your seat recite the invocations known [to you] that we have mentioned before. Then keep busy, by mentioning what God had said " You believers if you meet a few [of the enemy] steadfast and mention God, so you might succeed."

3) The aircraft will taxi to the runway. Keep mind occupied.
And then when (t) aircraft moves towards (K) recite the invocations of travel, you are traveling to God, praise be to Him (enjoy these trip).

4) The aircraft will stop (position itself on the runway and await clearance for takeoff), and then the aircraft will take off. Keep mind occupied.
Then you will find it [the aircraft] stop and then take off, this is the hour where peace and tranquility meet, pray that God, as mentioned in his book, "God grant us patience and solidify our feet, and grant us victory over the infidels", (they say God forgive us, forgive our sins and solidify our feet and grant us victory over the infidels."

Pray for yourself and your brothers that God grants victory, ask Him to grant you martyrdom [illegible].

Then each one of you should be ready to perform his duty in a way that would pleases God. You should press on your teeth, just like our good ancestors did in their battles.

When engage the enemy hit them like the heroes who do not want to return back to life, and say [God is the greatest] this saying would scare the infidels. God said "Hit them above the neck and [illegible]."
[The last act of the script. Do this, think that.]

Only after all the instructions are given does the letter promise the martyr good favor with God, so the hijacker doesn't even have to think about his religious beliefs, even that has been done for him. Follow and accept the leader's version of logic and reasoning. You are always being told what to think, you are never being asked your own opinion.]
You know that paradise is already beautified [for you] and the beautiful angles are calling you after they put on their most beautiful dresses.

If God grant you [the honor of] slaughtering [the enemy] wish its reward [the actual slaughter] to be granted to your father and your mother, they have rights over you. Do not disagree, obey. If you slaughter, you should [illegible] this is a tradition of the Prophet, peace be upon him, but according to the rules, [illegible].

End Of Page Three.
Beginning Of Page Four:

You have to put the interest of the work of the group ahead of [illegible] because this work is permitted and [the work] is a part of the tradition. Do not take revenge for yourself, but dedicate your blow and everything else to God, praise be to Him. Ali Abu Taleb (the Prophet's nephew and the Imam of the Shii't faith), may God bless his soul, had a fight with one of the infidels. The infidel spit on Ali, may God bless him, but Ali did not wave his sword towards the infidel. When the battle was over, the companions [of the Prophet] asked Ali why he did not fight this infidel[?]. Ali answered, " I was afraid to fight him for the sake of revenge, but as the battle went on and I fought him latter, I did that for the sake of God."

Then you should apply the concept of taking prisoners [of war]. You are allowed to take prisoners and to kill them. God said "the prophet is [illegible] prisoners [illegible] they want that life and God want the afterlife, God is Wise."

If every thing went well, each one of you should touch the shoulder of his brother at (m) and (t) and (k). You should remind him that this work is for the sake of God, praise be to Him. You should encourage your brothers, assure them, and remind them of the beautiful Qur'anic verses like, "those who fight for the sake of God, those who buy the hereafter using their lives," and God's words "do not think that those who were killed for the sake of God are dead?"

And many others - You should raise their level of activism --- just like our good ancestors did during their battles to assure their brothers and calm their hearts.

Do not forget [illegible] water to drink, you and your brothers if possible, the true promise is near and the zero hour [D day] had arrived.

Trust your [illegible] and open your heart and welcome death for the sake of God. Always, remember to pray if possible before reaching the target or say something like "there is no god but God and Mohamed is His Prophet."

After that, God willing, we will meet in Paradise.

If you see groups of the infidels, remember the parties [of the infidels], they were 10,000 [infidel] fighters, and remember how God granted victory to his faithful servants.

God said "when the faithful saw the parties they said that what God had promised us, that increased their faith and their submission [to God]."

Pray for our Prophet Mohamed.

End Of Page Four.
End of Letter

Pictures of the original letter:
Page 1     Page 2     Page 3     Page 4

I believe the leader behind the terrorist attacks personally wrote this letter himself. A cultic leader would never leave so important a document for someone else to write.

I had been reading a book about cults because I wanted to learn more about the similarities and differences between religions and cults. On the day of the terrorist attacks I realized the book was explaining how one could convince a very intelligent, capable, and well educated person, such as one who knows how to fly a large aircraft must be, to go on a suicide mission of mass homicide.

cover CULTS in our midst by Margaret Thaler Singer This is an excellent book written by a college professor who has extensively studied the phenomonon of cults and has personally interviewed several thousand ex-cult members. It is very well written and is the kind of book you don't want to put down once you start reading it.


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