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FTR #393 Love Means Never Having To Say You’re Saudi

Listen: One Segment

Updating discussion of Saudi links to the 9/11 attacks, this program highlights institutional connections between elements of the Saudi elite and the Al Qaeda milieu. In addition, the broadcast underscores the altogether problematic German connections to the 9/11 attacks.

1. Beginning with an observation by a university professor with excellent connections to the political and national security establishments, the discussion sets forth the concept of “the virtual state”-useful for understanding the “Underground Reich,” as well as Al Qaeda. “University of Texas law professor Philip Bobbitt spent 10 years working on a book published this year that is proving eerily prescient. The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace, and the Course of History is a daunting 919 pages about the transformation of war. It’s filled with political theory. It’s laced with portraits of key diplomatic figures. It’s pages upon pages that discuss the differences between what he terms the nation state, and the market state and the emergence of the virtual state (represented by Al Qaeda as an enemy organization without a definable location.) [Mr. Emory views the Underground Reich as just such a virtual state.]” (“UT Professor Has Finger on Pulse of Warfare” by Sharon Jayson; Austin American-Statesman; 12/2/2002; p. B1.)

2. Next, the program delineates a frightening case in which the German authorities allowed a principal Al Qaeda suspect to slip through their fingers. Their excuse–that to detain him would have violated his civil liberties and their constitution–is less than convincing, under the circumstances. “A German man under investigation for links to top figures of Al Qaeda slipped out of the country last month, withdrawing his four children from school, terminating his lease and obtaining visas for Saudi Arabia without attracting any attention from the police, according to German officials. [Italics are Mr. Emory’s.] Christian Ganczarski, 36, a Polish immigrant who until recently lived in the western German city of Muhlheim, had been under investigation since the German police overheard a telephone call from Nizar Nawar, shortly before Mr. Nawar detonated a bomb on April 11 in front of the Ghriba Synagogue on the Tunisian Island of Djerba. The blast killed 21 people, including 14 German tourists.” (“Terror Suspect’s Departure From Germany Raises Concern in Other Nations” by Desmond Butler; The New York Times; 12/24/2002; p. A12.)

3. Prosecutors overseeing the investigation say that under German law, the evidence tying Mr. Ganczarski to the bombing and his own confession of recent contact with Qaeda leaders were insufficient to keep him under constant surveillance or to prevent him from traveling. They say those limitations are the consequence of a Constitution devised to prevent the reoccurrence of the country’s totalitarian past. . . .” (Idem.)

4. Tunisia is among the countries decrying the behavior of the German authorities in this case. “Last week, the Tunisian justice minister complained openly about Mr. Ganczarski’s departure. ‘Investigations into the attack on Djerba have moved forward very well, and I hope that the flight from Germany of an accomplice of the suspected perpetrator of the attack will not hamper inquiries,’ the minister, Bechir Tekkari, told Agence France-Presse.” (Idem.)

5. The French were less than thrilled, as well. “In a recent interview, a high-ranking French official, who insisted on anonymity, expressed frustration that Mr. Ganczarski had not been detained. Under French law, the official said, ‘he would have been.'” (Idem.)

6. Underscoring the significance of the laxity of the German authorities under the circumstances, the discussion focuses on Ganczarski’s significance in the context of his contact with Al Qaeda leadership. “Mr. Ganczarski is a figure who German prosecutors say may have been able to provide unique knowledge of Qaeda cells. Under interrogation, he has admitted to traveling five times to Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, including once about a month after the Sept. 11 attacks. [Emphasis added.]” (Idem.)

7. Underscoring Ganczarski’s significance, Germany’s chief prosecutor noted: ” ‘This suspect stands out from all others because he has had contact with the inner circles of Al Qaeda,’ said Kay Nehm, Germany’s chief federal prosecutor, in a recent interview. ‘We do not find such a witness every day. He is someone who knows a lot.'” (Idem.)

8. Ganczarski’s situation is reminiscent of that of Ahmed Huber. “He [Ganczarski] is also a European Muslim convert, which might pose some concern to investigators. ‘The blond-haired, blue-eyed Al Qaeda terrorist is an investigator’s nightmare because he does not fit the typical profile.’ Col. Nick Pratt, a professor at the George C. Marshall European center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, said in an interview.” (Idem.)

9. The Vertriebene groups, German organizations closely connected to the residua of the Nazi SS. Espousing the cause of German ethnic nationals in areas formerly occupied by the Third Reich, the groups also had strong connections to the milieu of the ABN. Ganczarski is exemplary of the Volksdeutsche-ethnic Germans from Poland, who were a primary beneficiary and constitutency of the Vertriebene milieu. “Until recently, Mr. Ganczarski, who was unemployed, lived in Mulheim, near the industry of the Ruhr Valley. As a child, he immigrated to Germany from Poland under laws providing for the return of ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe.” (Idem.)

10. In addition to Ganczarski, the Germans also let his apparent Al Qaeda recruiter slip out of the country. “In the mid-1990’s, Mr. Ganczarski converted to Islam. The police believe that he was recruited by Al Qaeda in nearby Duisburg. The suspected recruiter, Elfatih Musa Ali, also under investigation in connection with the Tunisian blast, left Germany for Sudan in May, according to the German weekly Der Spiegel. In the weeks following the bombing on Djerba, Mr. Ganczarski was questioned on a number of occasions. The German police had been monitoring him because he had been seen in the company of known extremists at a mosque in Duisburg . . .” (Idem.)

11. Although the German police claim it was impossible to prove Ganczarski’s involvement in the Djerba bombing, a partial transcript of the conversation suggests that they were less than vigorous in their pursuit of truth. ” ‘Don’t forget to remember me in your prayers,’ Mr. Nawar told Mr. Ganczarski, according to the transcript. ‘God willing,’ replied Mr. Ganczarski. ‘Do you need anything?’ ‘No thanks,’ came the reply from Mr. Nawar. ‘I need your blessing.’ ‘God willing, O.K.,’ Mr. Ganczarski said.” (Idem.)

12. Adding significance to the unconscionable release of Ganczarski is the fact that Ganczarski’s associate Nawar had apparently been in touch with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the probable planner of the 9/11 attacks. The German role in the 9/11 attacks is rapidly approaching that of accessory after the fact. “Shortly before the blast, Mr. Nawar had also called Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who is widely believed to be one of the chief planners of the Sept. 11 attacks. . .” (Idem.)

13. Among Ganczarski’s contacts in Afghanistan were Mohammed and Bin Laden himself. (Bear in mind that one of his trips was a month after 9/11.) “The failure to monitor Mr. Ganczarski occurred after he had confessed to the police that he had been in Afghanistan five times and that he had met on occasions with Mr. Mohammed and once with Osama bin Laden . . .” (Idem.)

14. We examined the International Relief Organization, one of the Saudi charities implicated in the funding of Al Qaeda. Closely connected to Yassin Al-Qadi (a prominent Saudi and alleged Al Qaeda backer also tied to the milieu of Al Taqwa and the 3/20/2002 Operation Green Quest raids), the IRO was under investigation in the 1990’s. This broadcast further develops the attenuation of that investigation. “Newly available documents show federal investigators had extensive information as early as 1997 about possible fraud and money laundering at a Virginia-based Islamic charity under scrutiny for possible terrorist links. The information shows that U.S. suspicions of financial irregularities at Muslim charities long predate the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist hijackings-and that information-sharing among federal investigators remains a significant hurdle even as this line of pursuit has intensified since the attacks. The International Relief Organization of Alexandria, Va., had been the subject of a major probe of fraud, money laundering and possible terrorism involvement launched in 1995 by the U.S. Attorney in Chicago. The case was an outgrowth of a sweeping federal inquiry into alleged terrorist cells in the Midwest during the mid-1990’s following intelligence reports of stepped-up organizing by groups there . . .” (“U.S. Had Data on Virginia Group In Terror Probe as Early as 1997” by Glenn R. Simpson; The Wall Street Journal; 12/16/2002; p. A4.)

15. Failing to comply with the subpoena, the leaders of the organization (with the apparent backing of the Saudi government) frustrated the inquiry. “The probe faltered after the group, which was sponsored by the Saudi government, allegedly failed to comply with a subpoena from federal prosecutors seeking information about its finances. No charges were ever brought, and for more than five years details of the case have remained under seal in federal court.” (Idem.)

16. When the IRO became a renewed investigative focus following the 3/20/2002 Operation Green Quest raids, federal investigators successfully worked to have the records of the earlier investigation unsealed. “The IRO came under investigation again earlier this year, but officials had little information on the earlier case. Then, following a November report in the Wall Street Journal on the 1997 IRO probe, federal investigators sought the unsealing of testimony and evidence in the case. One Federal Bureau of Investigation affidavit offers new details on the previously undisclosed 1997 probe of the IRO, including evidence that much of the charity’s funds were dispersed to its own officers, to related entities or for vague purposes . . .” (Idem.)

17. Highlighting the role of the Saudi embassy in the events surrounding the IRO investigation, the discussion underscores the significance of the 3/20/2002 Operation Green Quest raids. “The Saudi Embassy also is enmeshed in the IRO case: During the 1990’s, the group received more than $400,000 through the embassy, Saudi officials confirm. U.S. officials now are investigating whether some of the IRO’s funds went to groups or individuals suspected of having ties to terrorists. The prior probe ended without charges against IRO officials, but the group and related entities are at the center of a new high-priority money-laundering and terrorism investigation by federal prosecutors in Virginia. The group’s offices in Alexandria were raided again in March by the Customs Service and FBI. [These raids were the Operation Green Quest raids of 3/20.]” (Idem.)

18. Reviewing a major point of controversy in connection with the 3/20/2002, the program discusses millions of dollars that passed through IRO without having been sufficiently accounted for. “Investigators want to know what happened to millions of dollars that passed through the group’s bank accounts during the 1990’s and remain unaccounted for. They also are interested in the group because it funded another Saudi-backed charity, Taibah International, that has been accused by the Bosnian government of involvement in terrorism.” (Idem.)

19. Exemplifying the economic milieu within which the Saudi elite’s relationship to the Al Qaeda/Al Taqwa forces exists, the program highlights the alleged work of an Al Qaeda operative for the Al Rahji interests. (For more about the Al-Rahjis, see-among other programs-FTR#’s 353, 382.) The SAAR foundation, a major target of the 3/20 raids, is named after the Al Rahji family. ” . . . He [Al Qaeda operative Faisal al-Yusuf] earned a degree in computer engineering, and then, according to his resume, got a job as programmer for the ‘Al Rahji company’ and al-Rahji real estate. Al-Rahji is the name of a large and prominent business family in Saudi Arabia, one branch of which controls a big bank, the Al-Rahji Banking and Investment Corp.” (“Al Qaeda Acolyte, One of Many, Vows To Die for the Cause” by Alan Cullison and Andrew Higgins; The Wall Street Journal; 12/30/2002; p. A9.)

20. Posing a very important question, the program sets forth Saudi Arabia’s sudden reversal of course with regard to allowing the United States to use bases in that country in a war with Iraq. Having previously indicated that they would not allow the use of such bases, they have now changed position. Was there a quid-pro-quo with the Bush administration, and will Bush and company now suppress or discourage investigation of the Saudi role in 9/11 in exchange for the use of these bases? Does this Saudi reversal have anything to do with the “Political Plate Tectonics“? “Saudi Arabia has told American military officials that the kingdom would make its airspace, air bases and an important operations center available to the United States in the event of war with Iraq, senior military officials say. Saudi Arabia was the main staging area for U.S. forces in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, but conflicting public statements by top Saudi officials over the past several months have cast doubt on the Saudis’ support for military operations against Iraq this time around.” (“Saudis to Let U.S. Use Air Facilities in Iraq War” by Eric Schmitt [‘The New York Times]; San Francisco Chronicle; 12/29/2002; p. A8.)

21. Returning to the concept with which we began the discussion, the program concludes with a look at another aspect of the international “Money-Go-Round” that empowers the “virtual state”-in this case Al Qaeda. Numerous programs have discussed the profound interconnections between the international arms trade, the trade in contraband, intelligence agencies and organized crime. Because of the enormous profits derived from these overlapping trades (including badly-needed hard currency), these operations transcend international borders and ideological divisions. In addition, the ubiquitous presence of intelligence and counter-intelligence elements in this relationship further complicates the picture. These “para-political relationships” sometimes become deep political relationships-outside of the control of those who created them. The perpetuation of a “virtual state” can be the result. A recent case involving an Al Qaeda-linked diamond operation revealed links to an Israeli arms dealer and a Russian professional associate, and a Bulgarian company. The source for the Al Qaeda-bound weapons was to be the Nicaraguan army. ” . . . European, U.S. and Central American officials have recently found evidence that [Al Qaeda operatives] Nassour and Osailly were trying to buy weapons from the Nicaraguan army and a Bulgarian company. Investigators are trying to unravel whether that deal was meant to supply al Qaeda with SA-8 surface-to-air missiles and sophisticated rockets. Documents obtained by The Post show that on January 2, 2001, an Israeli arms dealer in Panama named Simon Yelnik sent an e-mail to a Russian arms merchant in Guatemala discussing an order that ‘our friends in Africa need.’ Attached was a list of assault rifles, ammunition and rocket-propelled grenade as well as 20 SA-8 missiles and 200 rockets for BM-21 multiple rocket launchers. The weapons provider was to be the Nicaraguan army, the documents show.” (“Report Says Africans Harbored Al Qaeda terror Assets Hidden In Gem-Buying Spree” by Douglas Farah; The Washington Post; 12/29/2002; p. A01.)

Discussion

2 comments for “FTR #393 Love Means Never Having To Say You’re Saudi”

  1. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/16/saudi-princes-court-documents-secret

    Saudi princes lose battle to keep court documents secret

    Allegations against former defence minister and his son emerge in papers obtained by Guardian

    Owen Bowcott and Ian Black
    The Guardian, Thursday 16 May 2013 14.41 EDT

    Two prominent Saudi princes are involved in a London-registered company that supposedly facilitated “money laundering” for Hezbollah in Lebanon and helped smuggle precious stones out of Congo, according to contested allegations in court documents obtained by the Guardian.

    The claims emerge from court papers that lawyers for the Saudis have spent a year trying to suppress, including resorting to threats that relations with Britain would be damaged if they were revealed.

    Lawyers for the two princes – Prince Mishal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a former defence minister, brother of King Abdullah and chairman of the country’s influential allegiance council, and his son Prince Abdulaziz bin Mishal bin Al Saud – dismiss the claims as fabrications, “extortion” and “blackmail”.

    They contend that their former partner, a Jordanian, Faisal Almhairat, “misappropriated” money from accounts, denied them access to company books, shut down the shared business and “interfered with the negotiations” on telecommunications deals. Almhairat, in turn, disputes their claims.

    In the context of Middle East politics, the suggestion that two prominent Sunni Muslims from the Saudi royal family have been surreptitiously dealing for profit with Hezbollah, a Shia force supported by Iran, is extremely damaging. Hezbollah is designated a terrorist organisation by the US.

    The Guardian and Financial Times originally requested to see the court documents – filed as part of a commercial dispute between Almhairat and the Saudis – in spring 2012. On Thursday, the court of appeal finally agreed to the immediate release of the statements of case.

    Among other allegations is the claim that at the “instigation” of Prince Abdulaziz, Saudi police issued an arrest warrant for Almhairat and asked Interpol to issue a red notice sanctioning the extradition of the Saudis’ former business partner to Saudi Arabia.

    The case revolves around a catastrophic breakdown in relations between Almhairat and the Saudis. They were business partners in a London registered telecommunications company, Fi Call Ltd, whose capital value was £300m.

    Fi Call was developing a software application for smartphones that would allow users to make free phone calls. The Saudis’ shares were mainly held through Global Torch Ltd, a British Virgin Islands company that the princes are said by Almhairat to control. Almhairat’s shares are held by his Seychelles-based firm Apex Global Management.

    The dispute, which erupted over allegedly misappropriated money and the sale of $6.7m (£4.3m) worth of shares, has “thrown up a nuclear mushroom cloud” of litigation, according to Mr Justice Morgan, who gave judgment at an early stage in the litigation.

    The case raises questions about whether the transparency of British justice can be upheld at a time when the Ministry of Justice is eagerly inviting wealthy, international claimants to resolve their disputes in London’s commercial courts.

    The legal dispute was initiated by Global Torch but a counter-petition by Almhairat forced the two Saudi princes to become involved in the case. The princes then tried unsuccessfully to extract themselves from the proceedings by claiming “sovereign immunity”. Prince Mishal is aged 86 and said to be in frail health.

    A further, preliminary hearing is due to take place next week at the Rolls Building in central London where commercial disputes are tried. That argument will focus on an application by the princes that the UK courts do not have jurisdiction to involve them in the counter-claim launched by Apex and Almhairat.

    The full trial, if it goes ahead, is due to be heard in January next year. On Thursday three judges in the court of appeal, Lord Justice Kay, Lord Justice Richards and Lord Justice Briggs, lifted a stay on reporting court submissions. They are due to give their reasoning at a later date.

    None of the factual issues have yet been resolved by the court. The allegations are fiercely contested on both sides. At one point in a court document, lawyers for Almhairat remark: “Each side maintains that the other is lying about almost everything.”

    During the appeal court hearing, Guy Vassall-Adams, counsel for the Guardian and Financial Times, said: “Global Torch has chosen to bring proceedings in this jurisdiction. This is an open justice jurisdiction.

    “They [the Saudis] have to accept that these damaging allegations will be heard in open court in the usual way. The protection they are entitled to is a judgment delivered in public which will refute unfounded allegations. That’s how a legal system works in a democracy under the rule of law.”

    The case continues.

    Posted by Vanfield | May 20, 2013, 8:51 pm
  2. http://www.arabianbusiness.com/uk-court-hears-saudi-prince-threatened-behead-partner-510015.html

    UK court hears Saudi prince threatened to behead partner
    By Shane McGinley

    Sunday, 21 July 2013 9:35 AM

    According to court documents, the partnership eventually broke down over the movement of funds through company accounts and a disagreement over the ownership of shares.

    A Saudi prince allegedly threatened to behead a business partner and ship his body parts back to his family in Jordan, it was revealed in contested court evidence as part of a legal battle currently before the High Court in London.

    The case involves a Jordanian businessman Faisal Almhairat who set up a telecoms company named Fi Call, which developed a software application for smartphones that would allow users to make free phone calls.

    Almhairat went into partnership with two Saudi princes, Prince Mishal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a former defence minister and brother of King Abdullah, and his son Prince Abdulaziz bin Mishal bin Al Saud, who agreed to invest in the business.

    As part of evidence submitted in the case, Almhairat’s legal team presented a contested transcript of conversations in which Prince Abdulaziz threatened Almhairat and his family.

    Below is a transcript of a telephone conversation which allegedly took place between Prince Abdulaziz and Faisal Almhairat on March 21, 2010:

    Prince Abdulaziz: Hello, Faisal

    Faisal Almhairat: Who is this?

    Prince Abdulaziz: This is Abdulaziz

    Faisal Almhairat: Yes, Your Royal Highness

    Prince Abdulaziz: Hello Faisal, How are you?

    Faisal Almhairat: Very well, thank you, Your Royal Highness

    Prince Abdulaziz: [XXX] has told me about the conversation he had with you. I’m not pleased with it.

    Faisal Almhairat: I’m sorry to hear that.

    Prince Abdulaziz: Faisal, I thought you were a smart man and understood your position. There is no need to explain more. Yet, it seems that I should spend my time explaining the position to you.

    Faisal Almhairat: I just asked [XXX] why he would be dealing with Hezbollah.

    Prince Abdulaziz: Faisal, listen to me carefully. I’ll explain this only once.

    Faisal Almhairat: Yes, Your Royal Highness.

    Prince Abdulaziz: We deal with whoever we want to deal with, whether it’s Hezbollah, the mafia or even the Jews.
    The important thing is that you implement any given order without questioning. Even your king does not raise a question.
    Who the f*** are you to raise questions about my business?

    When you work for us, it’s a lifetime commitment. You agreed to obey us and in return you get our protection.
    Yet, be sure if we remove our protection, you and all your family are dead within a second.
    There is a single lesson which you should understand. Do as you are instructed. Otherwise, your head will be at my feet without your body.

    When [XXX] tells you something on my behalf obey my orders without questioning.

    Faisal Almhairat: But, Your Royal Highness…

    Prince Abdulaziz: Shut-up! I haven’t finished yet.
    This deal is important and I need to show Hezbollah that we can transfer the money to them smoothly.
    They have potentially billions which they want to be transferred.

    My father is interested in this deal and he will be very pleased with us if things go well.
    My father has placed me in charge of this company and has given his money to manage and I’ll not disappoint him.
    So don’t disappoint me; if you want to stay alive. Hurry up to Beirut and finish the job”.
    Court documents also presented a contested transcript of a conversation which allegedly took place between Prince Abdulaziz and

    Almhairat at the Atlantis Hotel in Dubai on April 9, 2011.

    Prince Abdulaziz: Listen, my father [Prince Mishal] will speak to you about [Fi Call] and he may speak about other activities.
    I’ve given him a full briefing about you and I’ve told him that you’re a trusted man and you are considered one of us. I told him that you helped move the money for us in Lebanon and I told him about your help in Nairobi.
    Concerning Nairobi, XXX has said that you’ve been raising questions once again. It seems that you haven’t understood my last lesson to you over the phone.

    Listen, carefully to what I’m telling you now. My father will tell [you] everything.
    Don’t question my father about what he says or I swear you will not leave Dubai alive.
    We’ll ship your body in pieces back to Jordan after which we will take care of the other members of your damned family.

    Faisal Almhairat: Yes, Your Royal Highness.

    Prince Abdulaziz: My father likes to talk about his business of which he’s proud.

    Don’t raise questions [or] provide an opinion.
    Agree with everything he says. Let me make it clear. My father is my whole life.
    Everything I do is with his permission and blessing. He’s a great businessman. His biggest achievement is his ability to move money.
    He moves more money than some of the biggest banks in the world.
    So, if he speaks about it don’t ask him stupid questions. It’s your privilege to listen to a great teacher who may explain to you how he moves money for important people.
    Just listen to him. My father has true power.

    The case is taking place in the London High Court as the telecoms company was registered in the UK.

    The two princes recently lost an appeal in which they claimed sovereign immunity and contested the UK’s jurisdiction in the case.

    Earlier this year in May, the three judges in the case lifted a stay on reporting of court submissions. The trial is due to start in January 2014.

    Posted by Vanfield | July 26, 2013, 9:18 am

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