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One problem with the new information released about the men by authorities is that some of it does not appear to jibe with what was said about the men when they were initially detained. For example, when the men made their attempt to enter the base last Friday morning, they said they’d been hired to pick up some household goods in base housing.

Base spokesman Ed Buczek was quoted saying the men acted  "nervous and apprehensive" at the pass and identification office when they were asked to provide identification.

The men were unable to provide security personnel with proper credentials. So base personnel and bomb-sniffing dogs inspected the van. When the bomb-sniffing dogs alerted on a briefcase in the front seat, the base perimeter was sealed.

Traffic was re-routed by St. Marys police for nearly three hours until it was determined the vehicle and its contents did not contain explosives or other materials prohibited on base.

"So far so good."

Neither of the men had valid work permits and one of the men had an expired passport, Navy officials said, and were held at the base until being taken into custody by immigration officials in Savannah until deportation proceedings can be held. 

“We determined that they were employees for an Atlanta moving company hired to move the personal belongings of a sailor living at base housing,” explained a base spokesman.

We asked for the name of the sailor. The base spokesman declined to reveal it.

The spokesman explained that the firm the two men worked for, Advantage Moving & Storage in Atlanta, has a contract with the Department of Defense to provide moving services to the military. Company officials there had confirmed the two men were employees.

There is no evidence to indicate the two men intended to get on base as part of a terrorist act, the base spokesman insisted.

End of story?





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A few loose-ish threads

All visitors, vendors and contractors are required to get a pass at the office before they can get on base, base spokesmen said. But if the men indeed did work for a moving company with a DOD contract, they were presumably routinely required to provide identification. So why had they acted so "nervous and apprehensive," according to base personnel, when asked to provide identification at the pass and identification office?

Navy officials couldn’t comment. 

Also, we persisted, if the men worked for a moving-and-storage company with a DOD contract, wouldn’t they have known not to show up with expired passports and without valid work permits?

“We require a show of proper identification with photo id at all times,” the spokesman replied crisply.

Presumably the two Israelis already knew that.

Thankfully there was one subject on which the Navy spokesman was prepared to wax eloquent... The bomb-sniffing guard dogs at the base were filled with the right stuff, and possessed a high level of skill & accuracy.

"The military dogs were alerted to a scent in the cab of the truck," a base spokesman had stated. "Guards immediately closed access to the base.”

“Do they often test false positives?” we inquired. 

Not at all. “The idea that they would pick up a false positive is highly unlikely,” sniffed the base spokesman.

"Its a mystery. There's lots of 'em."

Why did highly-trained military guard dogs alert to the presence of explosive residue in a briefcase in the moving van? 

Although it was little-publicized, in the Mars Hill incident law enforcement stated that 'their' Israeli moving van tested positive for drugs in the field. They were later told by the FBI it had been a false positive. Some remained skeptical.

The Navy official's main talking point was that no questions were necessary because officials at the nuclear submarine base in St. Marys, Ga. believe there was no criminal intent on the part of the two Israelis when they tried to enter the tightly guarded facility.

Obviously they're not worried. Why should we be?

In an interview with the MadCowMorningNews a military spokesman divulged that the moving company the men work for, Advantage Moving & Storage, Inc., of Norcross, GA., has a contract with the Department of Defense. 

Advantage Moving, we learned in a check with the Georgia Secretary of State's office, was incorporated barely a year ago, on May 12, 2003, which hardly seems enough time to win a contract to move military personnel with the U.S. Department of Defense.

Are they just really fast workers? What, then?

The company is owned by an Israeli named Yair Knafo, we learned, and listed as active but in "non-compliance" in the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office. A switchboard operator said last Monday the company's spokesman was out of the office and unavailable for comment about how long the men worked for the company and how they got jobs without valid permits to work in the United States.

When we called Friday afternoon the woman who answered the phone informed us the company's spokesman was still away from his desk.

Maybe he just takes a really long lunch. He certainly had been successful brazening it out. And nobody said a word. Well, we did. But we got there late.   

But... wouldn't you expect local Atlanta reporters to hound his doorstep for comment, or to get an interview with one of the two young movers who'd caused a whole friggin' U.S. NAVY nuclear base to shut down?

Apparently not.

Enough already with the moving vans

Based only on what's been reported, its hard not to conclude that something strange is going on.

Since September 11th, 2001, when five "movers" from a Miami company called Urban Moving System's were arrested as they watched and allegedly celebrated as the Twin Towers crumbled, there have been numerous incidents involving Israelis in moving vans around the U.S.

In fact, you can fill a virtual shoebox with news clippings just since 9/11 from places around the country where locals have been startled by "Israeli Movers Doing Inexplicable Things Before Being Deported.”

The Jerusalem Post reported on Oct. 26, 2001 that five Israeli men with box-cutters and multiple passports were detained in New Jersey on the day of the attack after being spotted  laughing and posing for photographs with the smoking Twin Towers in the background.

The men were held in FBI custody for 71 days before being quietly released, amid news accounts stating the men would be deported back to Israel for immigration violations. The moving firm they worked, Urban Moving Systems, was Israeli-owned. Its owner, Dominick Suter reportedly dropped the business and left the country.

We're just taking pictures. Nice Tower.

Then in October of 2001 two Israeli men in a moving van were arrested after being found with detailed video footage of the Sears Tower in Chicago. They were taken into custody by the FBI, and handed over, in what is beginning to seem like another pattern, to the Immigration and Naturalization Service for deportation.

No word on whether they got flown home in coach.

In May 2002 Fox News first reported that two Israelis with altered passports were apprehended in a rental truck containing traces of TNT and plastic explosives after local police became suspicious at the truck driver's insistence that they were moving furniture, a claim that did not seem to mesh with the late hour. They were on a state highway bordering Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, the home of the Navy’s fleet of electronic warfare Prowler jets.

Perhaps Israeli movers have just developed a market niche, specializing in delivering furniture to customers near U.S. Navy facilities. It seems the only possible explanation, other than a federally-orchestrated cover-up of whatever is really going on.

There is the New Mexico incident. And recently we learned of one near Detroit... The list, as they say, it do go on.

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Compounding the troublesome nature of the current incident is the place and time where it occurred: Kings Bay is very near Sea Island, which will host the G-8 Summit this month, which puts a more serious and slightly-sinister spin on the story.

Today the "Israeli Moving Van" story has taken on a life of its own. With few hard facts available, its becoming a sort of uneasy urban legend, increasing the feeling of many Americans who no longer trust the motives and statements of federal authorities the way they did before 9/11.

About our virtual gavel-to-gavel coverage of the ongoing mystery of Israeli movers loitering outside sensitive U.S. facilities, one reader wrote, fairly snorting, “Israelis in moving vans?  I'd have thought that they'd have sprouted a new cover by now after the bunch that got busted on 9/11 in New Jersey.”

Another reader had a slightly more droll take on the mystery. “Do you think its just that we can’t we meet our furniture moving requirements with domestic talent?”


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