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For The Record  

FTR #360 Ties That Bind Pt 4

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1. The broadcast begins with review of a terrifying disclosure that was recently revealed by British intelligence analysts. In the context of the discussion that follows, one should not lose sight of the alleged source of the new financing for Al Qaeda-Saudi Arabia. “The al-Qaeda terrorist network has been deluged with funds from Osama Bin Laden’s Saudi supporters since the start of the Middle East crisis, a British intelligence dossier has revealed. Intelligence chiefs have also warned the government that Mr. Bin Laden could be plotting another terrorist atrocity on the scale of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center.  One senior minister said he was shocked by the scale of the threat outlined in the ‘chilling’ intelligence briefing presented to the government recently.  It suggested the September 11 atrocities could be repeated at any time. . .The minister said: ‘Bin Laden might be cornered in a cave, but that won’t necessarily prevent Al-Qaeda carrying out further attacks.  We were pretty shocked at what we heard.  “The American attacks were five years in the planning: who knows what could also be in the pipeline?” (“Bin Laden Supporters ‘Still Funding Al-Qaeda'” by Cathy Newman; The Financial Times; 5/8/2002; p.8.)  In light of the recent (as of 5/19/2002) warnings of another devastating attack, the continued Saudi funding of Al Qaeda should be noted.  So should George W. Bush’s unwillingness to reproach the Saudis and the utter cowardice of those who remain silent in light of what has been done, what is being done, and what is about to come.

2. Next, the program develops some of the deep politics underlying the Clearstream network, which appears to have been a major funding conduit for Al Qaeda. “By 1980, [Cedel executive Ernest] Backes had become Cedel’s No.3 official, in charge of relations with clients.  But he was fired in May 1983.  Backes says the reason given for his sacking was an argument with an English banker, a friend of the CEO.  ‘I think I was fired was because I knew too much about the Abrosiano scandal,’ Backes says.  Banco Ambrosiano was once the second most important private bank in Italy, with the Vatican as a principal shareholder and loan recipient. The bank laundered drug-and-arms-trafficking money for the Italian and American Mafias and, in the’80’s, channeled Vatican money to the Contras in Nicaragua and Solidarity in Poland.  The corrupt managers also siphoned off funds via fictitiousbanks to personal shell company accounts in Switzerland, the Bahamas, Panama and other offshore havens.  Banco Abrosiano inspired a subplot of The Godfather, Part III.  Several of those behind the swindle have met untimely ends.  Bank chairman Roberto Calvi was found hanged under Blackfriars Bridge in London.  Michele Sindona, convicted in 1980 on 65 counts of fraud in the United States, was extradited to Italy in 1984 and sentenced to life in prison; in 1986, he was found dead in his cell, poisoned by cyanide-laced coffee.  (Another suspect, Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, the head of the Vatican Bank, now lives in Sun City, Arizona with a Vatican pasport; U.S. authorities have ignored a Milan arrest warrant for him.)  Just two months after Backes’ dismissal in 1983, [Cedel general manager Gerard] Soisson, 48 and healthy, was found dead in Corsica, where he’d gone on vacation.  Top Cedel officials had the body returned immediately and buried, with no autopsy, announcing that he had died of a heart attack.  His family now suspects he was murdered.  ‘If Soisson was murdered, it was also related to what he knew about Ambrosiano,’ Backes says.  ‘When Soisson died, the Ambrosiano affair wasn’t yet known as a scandal.  [After it was revealed] I realized that Soisson and I had been at the crossroads. We moved all those transactions known later in the scandal to Lima and other branches.  Nobody even knew there was a Banco Ambrosiano branch in Lima and other South American countries.'” (“Explosive Revelation$” by Lucy Komisar; In These Times; 3/15/2002; pp.2-4.)  According to the remarkable Ernest Backes, the Clearstream network (run by Cedel) was the principal conduit for the Banco Ambrosiano scandal.

3. Recent review of Backes’ book by a former investment industry professional (who knew Backes) lent support to Mr. Backes’ credibility.  (“Revelation$: A Book by Denis Robert & Ernest Backes;” by David Guyatt.)

4. Backes has also alleged that the Clearstream network was a principal conduit in what has come to be called the “October Surprise.” “In November 1979, the U.S. Embassy in Iran was seized, and 52 Americans were held hostage.  Their capture, and the Carter administration’s failure to win their release, became a major issue in the 1980 presidential campaign.  Carter had frozen billions in Iranian assets in U.S. banks, money that was being claimed by American firms and individuals who had lost property in the Islamic revolution.  American and Iranian officials were negotiating the amount of funds to be released in return for freeing the hostages.  The Iranians also wanted Carter to release arms that had been ordered and paid for by the deposed Shah.  Reagan campaign officials allegedly met with Iranian representatives several times during the 1980 campaign, promising arms and money if Iran delayed release of the hostages until after the November election.  This scandal would become known as the ‘October Surprise.’  Reagan won the election, but Carter officials continued to negotiate with the Iranians.  Finally, around the turn of the year, an accord was reached under which the United States would release $4 billion but no arms.  However, the Iranians did not release the hostages immediately.  A few days before Reagan’s inauguration, Ernest Backes recalls, Cedel got an urgent joint instruction from the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank and the Bank of England to transfer $7 million in bearer bonds, $5 million from an account of Chase Manhattan Bank and $2 million from an account of Citibank, both in offshore secrecy havens.  The money was to go to the National Bank of Algeria, and from there to an Iranian bank in Teheran.  Backes was informed that the $7 million was a small fraction of sums being sent from around the world and concentrated in the Algerian bank.  He was told the transfers were linked to the fate of the hostages.  The Fed and the Bank of England were not members of Cedel, and by its rules had no right to order the transfers.  Backes’ two superiors were absent.  He informed the president of the Cedel administrative council, Edmond Israel, then acted to execute the order.  (Israel, now honorary chairman, did not respond to phone and e-mail messages.)  On January 20, 1981, about 15 minutes after Reagan took the oath of office, the hostages were finally freed.  Reagan and then Vice President George Bush have always denied the payoff happened.” (“October Surprises;” [sidebar to “Explosive Revelation$” by Lucy K million from an account of Citibankomisar]; In These Times; 3/15/2002.)

5. Next, the broadcast reviews the untimely death of Salem Bin Laden (another of Osama’s brothers), and the allegation that Salem was involved with the “October Surprise.” “Bin Laden’s son Salem was also very close to the kind [of Saudi Arabia], and it is likely that he rendered significant services to the monarchy, in particular by carrying out secret missions.  According to several witnesses, his mysterious death is evidence of this.  In 1988, a BAC 111 plane piloted by Salem crashed in Texas.  His death gave rise to speculations about the exact role he played for King Fahd and the Saudi government in secret operations in the Middle East and Central America.  For instance, there was an indication from American sources that he was connected to a secret meeting between Iranian and American emissaries in Paris in October 1980.  Some felt that his death was not an accident.” (In the Name of Osama Bin Laden; by Roland Jacquard; Copyright 2002 [SC]; Duke University Press; ISBN 0-8223-2991-3; p. 12.)

6. The program also reviews the fact that a key Bin Laden business executive (Baudoin Dunant) represented key Nazi banker Francois Genoud in a case in 1983, in which Genoud was charged with terrorism.  “It [Geneva Sico, the Saudi Investment Company] is headed by Yeslam bin Laden, and the board of directors is made up almost exclusively of members of the family clan, except for a Swiss citizen, Baudoin Dunant.  This well-known lawyer from French-speaking Switzerland, who is on the boards of several dozen companies, came to public notice in 1983 when he agreed to represent the Swiss banker Francois Genoud, a controversial figure who had been a disciple of Hitler and sole heir of Goebbels’s copyrights before becoming one of the financiers of the FLN during the Algerian War. The friendships of the Bin Ladens sometimes seem surprising, but they are logical:  Francois Genoud has always been pro-Arab.” (Ibid.; pp. 17-18.)

7. For an understanding of how far back some of this “networking” goes, the program highlights the tenure of the relationship between Genoud and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.  Note that Genoud became the manager of the Grand Mufti’s funds.  “In 1934, back in Switzerland, the 19-year-old Genoud joined the pro-Nazi National Front, and two years later he began to forge the other political links that would prove so valuable.  He traveled to Palestine.  There he met the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, the pro-Nazi religious and political leader of Palestinian Muslims, Amin el-Husseini, who was to spend most of World War II in Germany, and who, according to British author Gitta Sereny, ‘would consider [Genoud] a confidant until his death in 1974.’  Genoud traveled to Berlin frequently during the war ‘to see his friend the Grand Mufti,’ and visited him afterward many times in Beirut, according to Le Monde correspondent Jean-Claude Buhrer.  The Grand Mufti ‘entrusted Genoud with the management of his enormous financial affairs,’ according to Sereny.” (“Hitler’s Swiss Connection” by David Lee Preston; The Philadelphia Inquirer; 1/5/1997; p. 2.)

8. In an interrogative mode, the program discusses the fact that Robert F. Kennedy’s son Joseph was among the hostages in a hijacking in which Genoud assisted. “More is to be learned about Genoud’s contacts with the Americans.  The State Department has yet to declassify 16 documents relating to Genoud; 29 other documents relating to his application for a visa or permit to enter the U.S. remain classified.  The Lufthansa Boeing 747 bound for Frankfurt was ready for takeoff in Bombay when the control tower received a bizarre message: ‘Call us the Victorious Jihad.  If you call us Lufthansa, we won’t answer you.’  It was the evening of Feb. 21, 1972, and Palestinian hijackers had taken the plane hostage.  Among the 188 passengers was Joseph Kennedy, 19-year-old son of assassinated Senator Robert F. Kennedy.  The next day, a letter from Cologne demanded $5 million for the ‘Organization for the Victims of the Zionist Occupation.’  In perfect English, the letter gave Lufthansa explicit instructions: A man carrying a suitcase with the money should wear a black jacket and gray pants, disembark at the Beirut airport holding Newsweek magazine in his left hand and the suitcase in his right hand, and go the parking lot.  With the key sent in the envelope from Cologne, he was to open an old Volkswagen parked under a sycamore tree and read the instructions on the rear seat.  The jet flew to Yemen, where the crew and passengers were freed, including the young Kennedy.  And $5 million in used bills went to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which has committed numerous international terrorist attacks since.  The operation was orchestrated by the Palestinian terrorist Wadi Hadad with the assistance of Francois Genoud, who drove overnight to Cologne with his wife carrying the letter with the ransom demand.  After sending the letter to Lufthansa and to news agencies, Genoud and Elisabeth took off for vacation in the Belgian Ardennes.  ‘The amount of money demanded of Lufthansa was very high,’ Genoud told French journalist Pierre Pean, revealing his role in the hijacking in a biography published this year in Paris.  ‘Too low a number would have made us lose credibility.  Too high a number might have made the operation fall through, especially considering how quickly the money had to be collected.'” (Ibid.; p. 4.)  One wonders just how deep the Genoud/RFK assassination entanglement goes.  How thick are these “ties that bind?”

9. In the context of the previous item, the broadcast reviews a couple of elements of information from FTR#350.  A remark made by Sheik Rahman (convicted of conspiracy in 1993) is reviewed.  “‘Slow down; slow down a little bit,’ the sheik cautioned, whispering for fear the FBI was bugging his apartment-which it was.  ‘The one who killed Kennedy was trained for three years.’  It was never made clear in later court testimony which assassination the sheik was talking about.” (Wall Street Journal; 11/26/2001; p. A6.)  It is believable that the reference is probably to the assassination of Robert Kennedy, allegedly committed by a Palestinian Arab, Sirhan Sirhan.  Sirhan supposedly killed Kennedy because of his support for Israel.  (The available evidence suggests very strongly that Sirhan was a patsy and a probable victim of mind control.)

10. An affidavit submitted by Robert Byron Watson alleged that an intelligence-connected guns and drug smuggling operation was heavily involved in the killing of King, and that the same organization was planning to kill Robert Kennedy two months later. Beginning with an excerpt from RFA#8, the second side of the program highlights an article detailing key aspects of the Robert Byron Watson affidavit. (“King Assassination Conspiracy Revealed” by David Wemple; Hudson Valley Chronicle; July 1977 [Vol. 1, #1].)

11. One of the alleged participants in this network was PFLP kingpin George Habash’s brother, Fouad Habash.  Fouad Habash, in turn, was close to Anthony Malek, alleged by Watson to have been a key planner in the RFK assassination.  (Idem.)

12. One of Genoud’s proteges was Klaus Barbie attorney Jacques Verges and one of the employees in Verges’ law firm is representing “20th hijacker” Zacarias Moussaoui.  It appears that Moussaoui’s activities had attracted some rather prescient thinking (tragically ignored) on the part of some FBI analysts.  An FBI memorandum is eerie to contemplate.  “The memorandum may not be the only internal document embarrassing to the bureau.  In August, an agent speculated in notes, made when investigators sought to explain why Zacarias Moussaoui was enrolled in a fMinnesota flight school, that Mr. Moussaoui might be planning to fly a plane into the World Trade Center.  Mr. Moussaoui, a French citizen, who was soon arrested on immigration charges, was believed by the United States government to be the intended 20th hijacker on September.” (“Pre-Attack Memo Cited Bin Laden;” by David Johnston; The New York Times; p. A16.)

13. It would appear that Hakim Murad’s activities had attracted attention for years and alerted some to the possibilities of 9/11.  “However the Phoenix memorandum was not the first warning that terrorists affiliated with Al Qaeda had interest in learning to fly.  In his 1996 confession, a Pakistani terrorist, Abdul Hakim Murad, said that he planned to use the training he received at flight schools in the United States to fly a plane into C.I.A. headquarters in Langley, Virginia, or another federal building.  Mr. Murad, who was captured in the Philippines in 1995 and convicted in New York on charges of conspiring to blow up 12 American jumbo jets over the Pacific simultaneously, received flight training at schools in New York, North Carolina, California and Texas.  Information from Mr. Murad’s confession formed a basis for an analysis prepared for United States intelligence agencies in 1999.  The analysis warned that Bin Laden terrorists could hijack a jet and fly it into government buildings like the Pentagon.  Additionally, a flight school in Oklahoma that provided training last year to Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker in the September 11 attacks, had been under scrutiny by the F.B.I. in 1998 after the discovery that another former student had been linked to the bombing that year of two American embassies in East Africa, attacks atributed to Al Qaeda.  The school, the Airman Flight School in Norman, has cooperated with the F.B.I.” (“F.B.I. Knew for Years About Terror Pilot Training” by Philip Shenon; The New York Times; 5/18/2002; p. A1.)

14. In conclusion, and in light of the above information about Mr. Murad, the broadcast reviews some of Murad’s other associates in the Philippines. Murad has “binding ties” (apparently) with people involved with the Oklahoma City Bombing. “While making final preparations for Bojinka [a terrorist attack], the terrorists met with Terry L. Nichols several times in Cebu City.  Nichols, along with Timothy McVeigh, were charged with the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, that killed 168 people and wounded another 600.  Some FBI officials now believe that Nichols, who has ‘mail-order’ Filipino wife from Cebu, obtained contact with Youssef through Muslim students at Southwest College in Weatherford, Oklahoma.  The officials further believe that Youssef and [Abdul Hakim] Murad provided Nichols with training in making and handling bombs. Without such instruction, Nichols and McVeigh would not have been able to assemble a 5,600-pound bomb made of ammonium nitrate and nitromethane.  Several informants recently gave testimony that they met Nichols with Youssef in the Philippines and that the American was affectionately known there as ‘the Farmer.’  After that Oklahoma bombing, Murad told prison guards that Youssef’s ‘Liberation Army,’ a branch of Al Qaeda, was responsible for it.  He later made this same claim in writing.” (Al Qaeda: Brotherhood of Terror; by Paul Williams; Copyright 2002 [SC]; Alpha Books; ISBN 0-02-864352-6; pp. 145-146.)

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