An Interview with Ken Timmerman
by Jerry Gordon and Rod Reuven Dovid Bryant (January 2020)
Alireza Soleimanpak and Giorgi Gakharia
Rod Reuven Bryant and Jerry Gordon interview Ken Timmerman, veteran Iran watcher, intrepid investigative journalist, and New York Times best-selling author fresh back from Tbilisi, Georgia with a tale of Iran’s Islamic regime brutality and deception facilitated by the Prime Minister of Georgia. Timmerman reveals in this interview the latest brutal attempt by Iran to cover up its role in the 9/11 attacks.
Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia admitted on national television that, when he was Interior Minister, he launched in February, 2018, a sting operation, at the request of Iran, against Iran Intelligence defector Alireza Soleimanpak. Soleimanpak provided an “earth shattering” affidavit in the US Federal Court Case in 2011 on 9/11 Al Qaeda-Iran links. Soleimanpak revealed “direct contact between Iran and Al Qaeda; an act of state-sponsored terrorism.” Timmerman also cited recent Iranian terror operations against defectors foiled in the Netherlands, Germany, and Sweden.
Soleimanpak left Germany in 2018, where he had lived since 2002, trying to free his brother imprisoned in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran, following the imprisonment, torture, and death after release of Soleimanpak’s sister in 2016. Soleimanpak was arrested in 2018, imprisoned and tortured by Georgian internal security personnel under trumped up charges that he was planning to murder two Iranians. The Iranian Ambassador in Georgia sent a letter describing the alleged conspiracy to the Georgian Foreign Ministry—one week before it even allegedly began. Before that, he offered Soleimanpak $5 million and a Georgian passport if he would recant his testimony in the 9/11-Iran Links case. Soleimanpak refused. Soleimanpak’s brother was subsequently murdered by Iranian security personnel.
Timmerman notes that Soleimanpak has been detained for 18 months, seven of which were in solitary confinement. Timmerman called Moscow-educated Georgian PM Gakharia, an Iranian “stooge” on Georgian media, following the Prime Minister’s admission that he had ordered Soleimanpak’s arrest.
Timmerman was the lead investigator for plaintiffs in the 2011 New York Southern District Federal Court landmark “9/11-Iran links” case: Fiona Havlish et al., v. Sheik Usamah bin-Muhammad bin-Laden et al. The lead plaintiff lost her husband on the 101st floor of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Other 9/11 victims’ surviving families and loved ones were included as co-plaintiffs.
The New York Southern District Federal Court judge in the 9/11-Links case handed down upwards of $10 billion in two awards made to the certified class of 9/11 claimants in 2012 and 2015.
According to Timmerman, testimony from Soleimanpak and other defector witnesses in the 9/11 Links case showed that Iran gave direct material assistance to the 9/11 Saudi perpetrators. Iran provided a flight simulator for training of the 9/11 pilots on Boeing 747, 757, 767 aircraft. Timmerman noted that the 9/11 Commission only reported that the 9/11 pilots received flight training on small aircraft in the US but left vague the issue of training on jumbo jets.
Soleimanpak defected in July 2001. In his meeting with the CIA station chief and translator in Baku, Azerbaijan, Soleimanpak revealed there was going to be a major attack in the US using aircraft as bombs. He also stated that no Iranians were involved in the attack. The 9/11 perpetrators were all Sunni Jihadi; 15 from Saudi Arabia, the balance from Egypt, Lebanon, and the UAE. Soleimanpak’s warning on July 26th to the CIA team in Baku was that the attack would occur on 20th of Shahrivar, which was misread by the CIA translator as the 10th of September, when in fact it was 9/11. His warning wasn’t heeded. 3,000 lives were lost in the Al Qaeda jihadi attacks on the Twin Towers in lower Manhattan, the Pentagon, and southwestern Pennsylvania.
Timmerman argues that Soleimanpak “was framed—not given a fair trial and no evidence presented.” He noted that the Republic of Georgia has both the strategic interest of the US and the West. It has applied for entry to the EU and NATO. Notwithstanding, as evidenced by the Soleimanpak case, the country needs to reform its legal system to conform to Western and international norms. Timmerman has reached out to both the US State Department and the US House “Georgia Caucus” co-chaired by Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA).
Timmerman noted, Germany provided dual use equipment to both Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and Iran. One contemporary example is Siemens supplying equipment to the Mlad Tower in Tehran capable of intercepting wireless email and text messages by protesting Iranian dissidents.
Timmerman noted that the late Soviet tyrant Joseph Stalin was a Georgian though he is not popular in Georgia, according to Timmerman. Timmerman drew attention to Russia’s Putin seizing both Abkhazia and South Ossetia amounting to 20 percent of Georgia during the 2008 war.
What follows is the Israel News Talk Radio – Beyond the Matrix interview with Ken Timmerman.
Rod: On this program with Ken Timmerman we are discussing his extraordinary investigation in the Republic of Georgia endeavoring to free an Iranian defector who provided “earth shattering” information as a witness in the Iran 9/11 Al Qaeda Links case in Federal Court in New York in 2011.
Jerry: Ken, you just returned from Tbilisi in the Republic of Georgia, with a story of betrayal of Alireza Soleimanpak, an Iranian defector and star witness in the U.S. 9/11 Iran links federal court case exposing Iran’s support for the Al Qaeda perpetrators. He was caught in a sting operation by the current Prime Minister and Former Interior Minister “Moscow man” Giorgi Gakharia working with the Iranian Ambassador to the Republic of Georgia. Why were you in Tbilisi?
Ken: I was in Tbilisi paying back a moral debt that I owe and that I think all of us who were involved in this US court case owe to this individual, Alireza Soleimanpak, also known as Hamid Reza Zakeri, for his courage in coming forth and telling the truth about 9/11. He told the truth about Iran’s direct material involvement in the 9/11 conspiracy with Al Qaeda, in a videotaped deposition in front of a U.S. Court and now he’s paying the price for it. The Iranians have been trying to get him for several years. Americans might not be aware of his testimony because the lawyers had not been trumpeting it from the rooftops in the hopes that we can preserve the life of our witnesses. We are trying to protect our witnesses. In this case the Iranians have been tracking this man for several years asking him to recant his testimony and offered him all kinds of things—money, passports and the rest. In 2016 he said, “no I’m not going to do it,” they arrested his sister. His sister was thrown in jail, she was beaten terribly and released from jail but then died a few weeks later. In 2017 they arrested his brother. They took him to Evin Prison. Soleimanpak said “I’m not going to let the same thing happen that has happened to my sister. I’m going to the Republic of Georgia which is close to Iran.” It is just across Azerbaijan. He said, “if I could get my brother out on a prison furlough, I am going to get him out of the country and bring him to Georgia.” That was his plan. Unfortunately, as soon as he arrived, an Iranian Intelligence Officer—who also happened to be the Iranian Ambassador to Tbilisi—showed up in his restaurant and made him a final offer. The officer offered him five million dollars, a Georgian Passport, and his brother’s release if he recanted. Alireza said, “you bring my brother here face to face in this restaurant. Then maybe we can talk.” Well, it ended badly. A couple of months later, the Iranian Ambassador wrote a letter to the Georgian Foreign Ministry saying that Alireza was going to murder two Iranians in Tbilisi and they should investigate it. They sent a letter to the Interior Minister, who is now Prime Minister Gakharia, and he got their intelligence services all over it. They set up a sting operation and a conspiracy. He was arrested, charged with conspiring to murder two people—who he had never had anything to do with in his life—and thrown in jail where he has been for the past eighteen months. He was falsely accused of being a notorious terrorist in Europe. He spent over seven months in solitary confinement, 150 days on a hunger strike; was beaten by his Georgian jailers. When I was there in December 2019 for a court hearing, I gave an interview to a Georgian television network where I told the story, especially the part about a Georgian passport. I said, “How could the Iranian Ambassador offer a Georgian passport unless there is complicity by the Georgian Interior Ministry—and at the time the Interior Minister was Georgi Gakharia—who is now Prime Minister! While I was there, I gave a TV interview. The television people then got Gakharia on tape saying “yes, I was the one who was behind this case.” Not only is Gakharia—as you said, Jerry—a “Moscow man,” but he is also a stooge of Tehran. I have been saying this on social media, on radio, and on the front pages of certain Georgian newspapers. I was very pleased once I got the country behind me.
Rod: That was a brave move to confront Georgian PM Gakharia and the only way to deal with this type of corruption. For many people in English-speaking countries in our listener audience, this will connect the dots as to why this Iranian defector was there and what he did was so important and what testimony he provided. This is really a big story.
Ken: It is a big story. The attorneys involved in the US Federal court case have not played it up because they wanted to protect the witnesses. Now, all pretense in “protecting the witnesses,” frankly, is over. This is earth-shattering information. What we showed in this court case—and your listeners can go to Iran911case.com and see some of the information there—we showed that 9/11 was not extremist jihadis working in a cave in Afghanistan coming up with this amazing plot where they simultaneously hijacked four aircraft and crashed them into targets having never flown planes like this in their lives. In fact, many of them never ever had flown a plane. That is not what happened. They had direct material assistance from the Iranian regime. The Iranian regime, as we show in the case, had a flight simulator for Boeing 747, 757, 767 aircraft. It was 757 and 767 aircraft that were used on 9/11. Iran does not have those aircraft in the Iran Air fleet.
Rod: And yet they provided them the training in the simulator so that they could do this.
Ken: That’s right. They provided them the training in the simulator so they could do this. By the way, you will find nowhere in the 9/11 commission report an explanation of how these jihadi were able to fly a big Boeing aircraft. There is no explanation whatsoever. They talk about flight school and training with small aircraft. But nowhere do they talk about them flying big Boeing jets at least not all four of the pilots. They learned that in Iran. That is what one of our witnesses told us. Alireza gave us eyewitness confirmation that Sa’ad bin Laden, the son of Osama bin Laden, came to Iran in January 2001 to launch the cooperation with Iranians that ultimately led to the 9/11 plot. The deal was sealed in May of 2001 when Ayman al Zawahiri, who is now the leader of Al Qaeda—then the number two—came to Tehran to meet with Supreme Ruler Ayatollah Khamenei in Tehran. Our witness was a security officer who was handling security for that meeting, so he was there, but not inside the meeting. He brought Zawahiri to the meeting, saw him, identified him, knew who he was. Alireza defected in July of 2001, went to the U.S. Embassy in Baku. I tell part of this story in my book Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran, which you could find that on my website. He went to the Embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan in July, 2001, and said “I want to see the CIA. I want to see the CIA. I’ll wait.” They finally sent a young officer in. He told the story over two days. They brought in a Farsi linguist from out of town—I call him “CIA George.” Alireza told them there is going to be a major terrorist attack against the United States targeting the Twin Towers in New York, targeting the Pentagon, targeting the CIA headquarters and they are going to be using aircraft as missiles. There will not be a single Iranian on board these planes, it was all going to be done by Arabs and was going to happen on the 20th of Shahrivar in the Persian Calendar.
Rod: So, this is important. How many days or weeks prior to the 9/11 event did this occur?
Ken: From July 26th through September 11th; that was eight weeks. “CIA George” thumbed through his conversion calendar between the Persian dates and the American dates and he said the 20th of Shahrivar must be the 10th of September. Why don’t you come back then when you have a better idea of what you are talking about and he blew Alireza off. “CIA George” couldn’t even read his own calendar because the 20th of Shahrivar happens to be the 11th of September.
Jerry: Ken, what you have been reporting is just stunning. That the Interior Minister, now Prime Minister of Georgia, admitted that he did a sting operation on behalf of Iran.
Ken: It is very simple Jerry; it’s guilt. He said his sister was already killed because of him. Now his brother is in jail and he will do whatever he can to get him out of it. He felt a tremendous sense of guilt. Instead of being able to free him he was framed by the Georgian Prime Minister who, it now turns out, has admitted that he was working in tandem with Iranian Intelligence in Tbilisi, Georgia, in a sting operation to put him in prison and throw away the key.
Jerry: So how do we free this hero from his jail in Georgia?
Rod: Yes, that is the big question.
Ken: That is what we are working on. I can tell you that I have been going to the court hearings in Georgia. I will be going back to future court hearings with my partner Tim Fleming, who was the lead investigative attorney in the 9/11 Iran Links Federal court case. I was the outside investigator on the case. Fleming has written a letter to President Salome Zourabichvili of the Republic of Georgia—who has the power of pardon—explaining to her all the legal defects in this case and that Alireza did not receive a fair trial. There was no evidence presented, nothing. I mean there was not even a jury present. They had to bring in four translators because nobody could agree on the surveillance videos what they said in Farsi. It was completely incomprehensible and we explained that to the Prime Minister. We are also talking to Congress. We have had some good contacts with members of Congress. We intend to reach out to both Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. We hope to get them engaged to work with Secretary of State Pompeo and the Georgian authorities. There is a Georgia Caucus in Congress led by Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger and Democrat Gerry Connolly of Virginia. I believe there are eight members or nine members of the Caucus so there are people who care about the Republic of Georgia. It is a country which does have some significance to us. It wants to become a NATO Member and join the European Union. Georgia is at the crossroads between East and West. There are gas pipelines that have been built in recent years to bypass Russia, to bring gas from Baku, Azerbaijan, to Ceyhan in Turkey through Georgia to bypass Russia. It is called the BTC Pipeline—Baku, Tbilisi, Ceyhan—in Turkey. Thus, it does have strategic interest for the United States. They want to be doing the right things, but they have deep problems when they have a KGB stooge for a Prime Minister.
Rod: They are about in the same position as Ukraine.
Ken: Yes, very similar.
Rod: With a corrupt government and it is going to bring it back to a more righteous place. How important was the affidavit you obtained from the former Iranian Intelligence Officer and how did it impact on the Federal 9/11 Iran Links Court case?
Ken: His information proved conclusively that the Iranians had direct contact with Al Qaeda in planning the 9/11 attacks and we had other defector witnesses as well. We had information from before the attacks that showed them conspiring during the attacks. It showed how they were doing it and after the attacks from three separate eyewitnesses who did not know each other and did not talk to each other. We interviewed them in separate countries and separate years so there was no collusion of their testimony. It was completely independent. 9/11 was an act of state sponsored terrorism by the Islamic regime in Tehran against the United States of America and three thousand people are dead as a result.
Rod: Our response was to put a band-aid on it by invading Afghanistan in what became a 19-year war against the Taliban in reprisal for sheltering bin Laden, al Zawahiri, and Al Qaeda.
Ken: That and the response of the Obama Administration that gave them $1.7 billion dollars in cash and released $150 billion dollars in their assets overseas frozen by international sanctions.
Rod: Which I don’t understand at all.
Jerry: That allowed them to ramp up Iran’s terrorism.
Jerry: And create the infamous land bridge to Lebanon.
Ken: Absolutely correct on both counts.
Rod: We already know that is a foregone conclusion. Russia is going to be involved in developing the ports in Syria.
Jerry: Ken, there have been other recent predatory actions by the Islamic Republic in Europe?
Ken: In terms of what terrorist operations that have been foiled? Yes, indeed. They have been caught in the Netherlands, in Denmark, even in Sweden, tracking dissidents and plotting to murder them.
Jerry: Why have countries like Germany waited so long to do things as they did recently, finally voting in the Bundestag sanctions against Hezbollah?
Ken: Germany is a peculiar country. Germany had a long record of supporting Saddam Hussein in Iraq when he was in power and supporting the tyrannical regime in Tehran for money. This is all about the deutschmarks in the old days, it’s all about the euros today. It is about the German export market. They exported machine tools to these countries that allow them to build bombs and other things, nerve gas in the case of Saddam Hussein used against the Kurds. Now it is telecom equipment. Siemens sent Iran wonderful new technology that has been publicly photographed on the Mlad Tower in North Tehran, with a revolving restaurant up on the top of it. It is a landmark building. At the very top of it you can see these Siemens devices that allow them to intercept wireless communications and texts so they can track dissidents, people moving around and texting each other in a crowd as they demonstrate against the regime. Thank you, Siemens.
Rod: For the Germans it is all about the money.
Jerry: Ken, you mentioned the bipartisan Georgia Caucus in Congress. What about the Trump Administration’s National Security Council?
Ken: We have primarily reached out to the State Department because they are directly in contact with the Georgian government. It is a small country. President Trump did not have a very high opinion of Ukraine, justifiably before the election of Zelensky, who is a reformer. I would rather, in the case of this episode in Georgia, we go directly through the State Department than going through the National Security Council. That is just my personal preference at this point. I’m not excluding it. It’s become sensitive with impeachment pending against the President. Which has just tarnished the reputation of this House of Representatives possibly beyond repair.
Rod: Could you describe the history of the Republic of Georgia and what infamous leader of the Soviet Union came from there?
Ken: Georgians aren’t so proud of Mr. Stalin. Yes, Stalin was a Georgian at the time when Georgia was a Soviet Republic. Georgians are not particularly fond of Stalin and they don’t revere his grave. There is museum of Stalin’s crimes in Georgia to remind people of the horrors of the Soviet era.
Jerry: Back in 2008, there was a war between irredentists that Putin had set up in places like Abkhazia and Ossetia to steal more terrain from Georgia.
Jerry: What was that all about?
Ken: I was twenty kilometers away from those borders in Southern Ossetia. The Russians are still there, they still occupy these rump states that they have set up with these irredentists who pretend to be locals and not Russians. It is all supported by the Russian government. This remains an ongoing problem. Twenty percent of the Republic of Georgia is occupied by the Russians today.
Jerry: Yet, the plucky Georgians are willing to opt for entry into the EU and NATO.
Ken: Yes, and rightly so. However, they need to reform their government, they need to deal with the corruption, they need to reform their court system. The EU is aware of this. They know that and they are working with them. This is their future. Their future is with the West not with the Russians.
Rod: We must remind our illustrious President in the United States not to call the Georgian President and ask him anything at this time, right? So, we will just leave it up to the EU and NATO to figure that all out.
Jerry: Ken, how much support has the US given the Republic of Georgia to keep it western oriented?
Ken: We gave them well over a billion dollars over the past decade, and it’s ramped down a bit now to between $40 to $60 million, annually. Congress is now contemplating a Georgia Support Act to help their armed forces against the Russians, to help them modernize their court system to introduce jury trials. Congress cares about Georgia because the United States would like to see Georgia as a free independent country on the Black Sea. It is between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. It has difficult neighbors. There is Russia to the north, Turkey to the south, Armenia and Azerbaijan to the Southeast and Iran nearby, which amounts to a tough neighborhood. The Black Sea coast is very important. There’s a new project there to build a deep-water port that would be critical for the Georgians to allow them to become a maritime transit power as well. America cares about Georgia. There is money that is being sent there and we need to make sure that it is not all siphoned off into the pockets of the corrupt oligarchs who run the place.
Jerry: There’s a quote you had in your FrontPage Magazine piece by somebody I’ve interviewed, Emanuele Ottolenghi of the Foundation for Defense of Democracy in Washington, DC. He said, “the list of Iranians active in Georgia is a Who’s Who of the Iranian sanctions evasion cottage industry.”
Ken: That’s right. The US Treasury in 2014 sanctioned three Iranians in the Republic of Georgia, for money laundering. They did not mention their Georgian partners because that would have gone right up to the top of the country to very prominent people who are giving them, what they call “the tent.” That term in Russian is where you say, who is my tent, the one protecting me. There are top people in the Republic of Georgia, who are protecting the Iranian money launderers. Look at the case that I went there for of this Iranian witness defector from Iranian intelligence thrown in jail.
It is the Prime Minister of the country who is working with Iran as well as with the Russians. This is a really serious problem. Money laundering continues in Georgia today. I have been collecting evidence on that while I am doing these trips. These are ongoing. I expect that the Treasury is following this very closely as well.
Rod: Yes, the question is what are they doing with that aid? Has several million dollars gone into the pockets of government leaders and oligarchs over the past decade?
Ken: I have not done an audit of the aid, so I can’t tell you that. I’m sure that there are Congressional offices who have investigated that.
Jerry: Does Georgia have a relationship with a US ally, called Israel?
Ken: I think they do and there is a modest defense relationship with Israel. I’m sure the Israelis are also interested in tracking all the Iranian intelligence operations that are being conducted on Georgian soil and the infiltration. While I’m guessing here, I do not have hard information, but my guess is that they are treading very carefully because they understand the Georgians are half in the pocket of the Russians and half-not and half trying to get out of the pocket of the Iranians.
Rod: I find it interesting. Didn’t Israel sell drone technology to Georgia?
Ken: I believe they did. And that’s very valuable for them in monitoring the borders of South Ossetia and Abkhazia territory currently occupied by the Russians.
Jerry: Given your current writing projects, one of which is your fabled memoirs, does this Georgian episode have a role in this?
Ken: Oh, eventually that may be something for volume four. I am still negotiating the deal on volume one of my memoirs. However, I do have a fiction book called The Election Heist coming out in a couple of months talking about how a certain party in the United States is planning to steal the 2020 election. All the background on the hacking techniques I had vetted by consulting with some sophisticated people who do this for a living, including some who worked for agencies in the US Government.
Rod: Fact or Fiction? So where can our listeners find the book when it does come out?
Ken: You can go to my website, kentimmerman.com, you can find it on Amazon, and we will see if we get into the bookstores. The bookstores have been bad with conservative books unless they are number one best sellers. Hopefully your audience will talk about it and pass it along.
Rod: You obviously have not authored just one book. Can you give us an idea of some of the material you have put out and why?
Ken: I started with my first book in the late 1980s. it was called Fanning the Flames: Guns, Greed and Geo-politics in the Gulf War. That was during the First Gulf War between Iran and Iraq where I named hundreds of companies selling weapons some of them to both sides in the war and their relationships. Those are the kind of books I do, I love the arms trade, I love the intelligence business I’ve done many books on intelligence including the deep state here in the United States in a book of mine that came out in 2007 called Shadow Warriors: The Untold Story of Traitors, Saboteurs, and the Party of Surrender. People didn’t pay as much attention to that one as I would have liked them to do, but it was about an episode by the deep state against an earlier President George W. Bush.
Jerry: Is it likely that The House Foreign Relations Committee, might hold a hearing on this rather dramatic episode in the Republic of Georgia?
Ken: I don’t know if they are going to hold public hearings. My immediate goal is to get people activated in Congress to put pressure on the State Department and pressure on the Georgian government to get this man free, get him out of jail. He is a hero, he is someone who has been betrayed by the Georgian government, obviously the Iranian government is trying to kill him. So, we’re trying to keep him alive and we’re trying to get him free and back with his family.
Rod: Ken, you are a real mensch. We can’t thank you enough and really appreciate you coming on the show and putting up with me and Jerry. This has been Israel News Talk Radio- Beyond the Matrix. Until next time, Shalom.
Listen to the Israel News Talk Radio – Beyond the Matrix interview with Ken Timmerman
Jerome B Gordon is a Senior Vice President of the New English Review, author of The West Speaks, NER Press 2012, and co-author of Genocide in Sudan: Caliphate Threatens Africa and the World, JAD Publishing, 2017. Mr. Gordon is a former US Army intelligence officer who served during the Viet Nam era. He is producer and co-host of Israel News Talk Radio – Beyond the Matrix. He was the co-host and co-producer of weekly The Lisa Benson Show for National Security that aired out of KKNT960 in Phoenix Arizona from 2013 to 2016 and co-host and co-producer of the Middle East Round Table periodic series on 1330amWEBY, Northwest Florida Talk Radio, Pensacola, Florida from 2007 to 2017.
Rod Reuven Dovid Bryant is creator and host of Israel News Talk Radio-Beyond the Matrix.
Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast