Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #415 Campaign Preview

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Review­ing infor­ma­tion from pre­vi­ous broad­casts about the Al Taqwa milieu and the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, this pro­gram sets forth the inter­sec­tions between Al Taqwa and the Repub­li­can Party’s eth­nic out­reach orga­ni­za­tion in antic­i­pa­tion of the 2004 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. The broad­cast presents the obser­va­tions of a top coun­tert­er­ror­ism expert con­cern­ing the Bush administration’s “war on ter­ror.” Rand Beers con­cluded that the admin­is­tra­tion was mak­ing the coun­try less safe, not more safe, and he went to work for John Kerry, a lead­ing Demo­c­ra­tic can­di­date for Pres­i­dent. Before high­light­ing some of the key points of the Al Taqwa/Republican con­nec­tion, the broad­cast under­scores the fact that for­mer Bush (Sr.) Sec­re­tary of State James Baker’s law firm is rep­re­sent­ing Prince Sul­tan in the trillion-dollar law­suit against the Saudi elite. (Youssef Nada is also a defen­dant in that law­suit.) Baker is a key mem­ber of the Car­lyle Group, and was present at that company’s annual investor con­fer­ence in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. (along with mem­bers of the Bin Laden family.)

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Al Taqwa head Youssef Nada’s work on behalf of the Third Reich in World War II; the Al Taqwa con­nec­tion to the Repub­li­can Party; Karl Rove’s role in form­ing the Al Taqwa milieu’s con­nec­tions to the Repub­li­can Party; the inter­ces­sion of Bush inti­mate and busi­ness part­ner Talat Oth­man on behalf of the Al Taqwa-connected ele­ments tar­geted in the Oper­a­tion Green Quest raids of 3/20/2002; review of the links between the Saudi elite, the Al Taqwa milieu and the Islam­o­fas­cist Mus­lim Brotherhood.

1. The broad­cast begins by pre­sent­ing the obser­va­tions of a top coun­tert­er­ror­ism expert con­cern­ing the Bush administration’s “war on ter­ror.” Rand Beers con­cluded that the admin­is­tra­tion was mak­ing the coun­try less safe, not more safe, and he went to work for John Kerry, a lead­ing Demo­c­ra­tic can­di­date for Pres­i­dent. (In con­nec­tion with this, see-among other programs-FTR#‘s 407, 412.) “Five days before the war began in Iraq, as Pres­i­dent Bush pre­pared to raise the ter­ror­ism threat level to orange, a top White House coun­tert­er­ror­ism adviser unlocked the steel door to his office, an intel­li­gence vault secured by an elec­tronic key­pad, a com­bi­na­tion lock and an alarm. He sat down and turned to his inbox. ‘Things were dicey,’ said Rand Beers, recall­ing the stack of clas­si­fied reports about plots to shoot, bomb, burn and poi­son Amer­i­cans. He stared at the color-coded threats for five min­utes. Then he called his wife: ‘I’m quit­ting.’ Beers’s res­ig­na­tion sur­prised Wash­ing­ton, but what he did next was even more astound­ing. Eight weeks after leav­ing the Bush White House, he vol­un­teered as national secu­rity adviser for Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), a Demo­c­ra­tic can­di­date for pres­i­dent, in a cam­paign to oust his for­mer boss. All of which points to a ques­tion: What does this intel­li­gence insider know?” (“For­mer Aide Takes Aim at War on Ter­ror” by Laura Blu­men­feld; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 6/16/2003; p. 1; accessed at www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A62941-2003Jun15? .)

2. ” ‘The admin­is­tra­tion wasn’t match­ing its deeds to its words in the war on ter­ror­ism. They’re mak­ing us less secure, not more secure,’ said Beers, who until now has remained largely silent about leav­ing his National Secu­rity Coun­cil job as spe­cial assis­tant to the pres­i­dent for com­bat­ing ter­ror­ism.’ As an insider, I saw the things that weren’t being done. And the longer I sat and watched, the more con­cerned I became, until I got up and walked out . . .’” (Idem.)

3. ” . . . Much of what he knows is clas­si­fied and can­not be dis­cussed. Nev­er­the­less, Beers will say that the admin­is­tra­tion is ‘under­es­ti­mat­ing the enemy.’ It has failed to address the root causes of ter­ror, he said, ‘The dif­fi­cult, long-term issues both at home and abroad have been avoided, neglected or short­changed and gen­er­ally under­funded.’ The focus on Iraq has robbed domes­tic secu­rity of man­power, brain power and money, he said. The Iraq war cre­ated fis­sures in the United States’ coun­tert­er­ror­ism alliances, he said, and could breed a new gen­er­a­tion of Al Qaeda recruits. Many of his gov­ern­ment col­leagues, he said, thought Iraq was an ‘ill-conceived and poorly exe­cuted strat­egy.’” (Idem.)

4. Before delv­ing into review of the Nada/Al Taqwa/Republican party link, the pro­gram sets forth the role of Bush asso­ciate James Baker’s law firm as the coun­sel for Saudi Prince Sul­tan, a defen­dant (along with Al Taqwa prin­ci­pal Youssef Nada) in the trillion-dollar law­suit filed against alleged financiers of Al Qaeda on behalf of sur­vivors of the vic­tims of the 9/11 attacks. ” . . . Baker Botts, Sultan’s law firm, for exam­ple, still boasts for­mer sec­re­tary of State James Baker as one of its senior part­ners. Its recent alumni include Robert Jor­dan, the for­mer per­sonal lawyer for Pres­i­dent Bush who is now U.S. ambas­sador to Saudi Ara­bia.” (“A Legal Coun­ter­at­tack” by Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosen­ball; Newsweek Web Exclu­sive; 4/16/2003; p. 4; accessed at http://stacks.msnbc.com/news/901320 .)

5. Nada is being rep­re­sented by King and Spald­ing in the same law­suit. ” . . .King and Spald­ing (the Arab Bank and Youssef Nada.)” (Idem.)

6. Next, the pro­gram reviews infor­ma­tion from FTR#414 con­cern­ing Karl Rove’s role in help­ing to coa­lesce the Islamist ele­ment in the Repub­li­can Party. It should be noted that the Islamist, Al Qaeda and Al Taqwa ele­ments that were raided on 3/20/2002 were linked directly to the Repub­li­can party’s eth­nic out­reach orga­ni­za­tion. ” . . . That brief con­ver­sa­tion [between Norquist and Karl Rove] in Austin, Texas, helped start a new chap­ter in Mr. Norquist’s career-and in the polit­i­cal lives of Mus­lims in this coun­try. The fol­low­ing year, Mr. Norquist started the non­profit Islamic Free Mar­ket Insti­tute. In col­lab­o­ra­tion with Mr. Rove, now Mr. Bush’s chief polit­i­cal adviser, he and other insti­tute lead­ers courted Mus­lim vot­ers for the Bush 2000 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. Mr. Norquist even cred­its gains among Mus­lims with putting Mr. Bush in a posi­tion to win the crit­i­cal Florida con­test . . . To run the nonprofit’s day-to-day oper­a­tions, Mr. Norquist turned to Khalid Saf­furi, a Palestinian-American raised in Kuwait who had been an offi­cial of the Amer­i­can Mus­lim Coun­cil, a polit­i­cal group in Wash­ing­ton. The institute’s found­ing chair­man was a Pales­tin­ian Amer­i­can, Talat Oth­man, who had served with Mr. Bush on the board of Harken Energy Corp. and later vis­ited the pres­i­dent in the White House, accord­ing to records obtained by the National Secu­rity News Ser­vice.” (“In Dif­fi­cult Times, Mus­lims Count On Unlikely Advo­cate” by Tom Ham­burger and Glenn R. Simp­son; The Wall Street Jour­nal; pp. A1-A8.)

7. On April 4, Trea­sury Sec­re­tary O’Neill met with pow­er­ful Islamist Repub­li­cans whose spheres of inter­est over­lap those of the insti­tu­tions and indi­vid­u­als tar­geted on March 20. (“O’Neill Met Mus­lim Activists Tied to Char­i­ties” by Glenn R. Simp­son [with Roger Thurow]; Wall Street Jour­nal; 4/18/2002; p. A4.)

8. A prin­ci­pal fig­ure in the group that inter­ceded on behalf of the (alleged) Al Qaeda/Al Taqwa-connected tar­gets of the Oper­a­tion Green Quest raids was Talat Oth­man, a close busi­ness and polit­i­cal asso­ciate of Pres­i­dent Bush. (For more about the Bush/Othman rela­tion­ship, see-among programs-FTR“s 356, 368, 376.) “Among the Mus­lim lead­ers attend­ing [the meet­ing with O’Neill] was Talat Oth­man, a long­time asso­ciate and sup­porter of Pres­i­dent Bush’s fam­ily, who gave a bene­dic­tion at the Repub­li­can National Con­ven­tion in Philadel­phia in August 2000. . .But he also serves [with Barz­inji] on the board of Amana Mutual funds Trust, an invest­ment firm founded by M. Yac­qub Mirza, the North­ern Vir­ginia busi­ness­man who set up most of the enti­ties tar­geted by the Trea­sury and whose tax records were sought in the raid.” (Idem.)

9. As Mr. Emory hypoth­e­sized in FTR#353, the Norquist/GOP/Islamist links are part of the Repub­li­can Party’s eth­nic out­reach pro­gram. “The case also high­lights con­flicts between the Bush administration’s domes­tic polit­i­cal goals and its war on ter­ror. GOP offi­cials began court­ing the U.S. Mus­lim com­mu­nity intensely in the late 1990’s, seek­ing to add that eth­nic bloc to the party’s polit­i­cal base.” (Idem.) (For more about the fas­cist her­itage of the GOP’s eth­nic out­reach orga­ni­za­tion, see, among other pro­grams, RFA #37, FTR#‘s 29, 48, 113, 248, 346, 353.)

10. The Amana orga­ni­za­tion (on the board of which Oth­man serves) has numer­ous areas of over­lap with orga­ni­za­tions described as being impli­cated in ter­ror­ism and the milieu of Al Queda. “Two non­prof­its affil­i­ated with Mr. Mirza and named in the search war­rant, the SAAR Foun­da­tion Inc. and the Her­itage Edu­ca­tion Trust Inc., held large blocks of shares in Amana’s mutual funds in 1997, accord­ing to SEC records. The SEC doc­u­ments and other records detail­ing con­nec­tions between Mr. Oth­man and the Islamic Insti­tute [on the board of which Mr. Oth­man serves] and the raided groups were com­piled by the National Secu­rity News Ser­vice, a Wash­ing­ton based non­profit research group.” (Idem.)

11. Fur­ther details have emerged about the links between Al Taqwa and the GOP/Bush admin­is­tra­tion. “Mr. Oth­man also is on the board of Mr. Saffuri’s [and Norquist’s] Islamic Insti­tute, the GOP-leaning group that received $20,000.00 from the Safa Trust, one of the raid’s tar­gets. The pres­i­dent of the Safa Trust, Jamal Barz­inji, is a for­mer busi­ness asso­ciate of Switzer­land based investor Youssef Nada, whose assets were frozen last fall after the Trea­sury des­ig­nated him a per­son sus­pected of giv­ing aid to ter­ror­ists.” (Idem.)

12. Othman’s links to Bush are pro­found. “Mr. Oth­man has ties to the Bush fam­ily going back to the 1980’s, when he served with George W. Bush on the board of a Texas petro­leum firm, Harken Oil & Gas Inc. Mr. Oth­man has vis­ited the White House dur­ing the admin­is­tra­tions of both Pres­i­dent Bush and his father George H.W. Bush.” (Idem.) (For more about Harken Oil and George W. Bush, see FTR’s 284, 355, 368.)

13. Next, the pro­gram reviews other areas of inter­sec­tion between the labyrinthine net­work attacked in the 3/20 raids, the Al Taqwa milieu, and the Repub­li­can Party. [FTR#342 doc­u­mented the role of six mem­bers of the Bin Laden fam­ily in the found­ing of Al Taqwa.] A recent Wall Street Jour­nal arti­cle described some of the orga­ni­za­tions tar­geted in the raids. “These include Al-Taqwa Man­age­ment, a recently liq­ui­dated Swiss com­pany the U.S. gov­ern­ment believes acted as a banker for Osama bin Laden’s al Queda ter­ror­ist net­work. . .Two peo­ple affil­i­ated with the com­pa­nies and char­i­ties are linked by records to enti­ties already des­ig­nated as ter­ror­ist by the U.S. gov­ern­ment. Hisham Al-Talib, who served as an offi­cer of SAAR, the Inter­na­tional Insti­tute of Islamic Thought and Safa Trust Inc., another Mirza char­ity, dur­ing the 1970’s was an offi­cer of firms run by Youssef M. Nada, records show. Mr. Nada is a Switzerland-based busi­ness­man whose assets have been frozen by the U.S. for alleged involve­ment in ter­ror­ist financ­ing, and is alleged by U.S. offi­cials to be a key fig­ure in the Taqwa net­work. . .Jamal Barz­inji, an offi­cer of Mr. Mirza’s com­pany Mar-Jac and other enti­ties, also was involved with Mr. Nada’s com­pa­nies in the 1970’s, accord­ing to bank doc­u­ments from Liecht­en­stein. A mes­sage was left yes­ter­day for Mr. Barz­inji at his address in Hern­don. Mr. Barz­inji and Mr. Talib live across the street from each other. A third busi­ness asso­ciate of Mr. Nada, Ali Ghaleb Him­mat (who also has been des­ig­nated by the Trea­sury as aid­ing ter­ror­ism), is listed as an offi­cial of the Geneva branch of another char­ity oper­ated by Mr. Mirza, the Inter­na­tional Islamic Char­i­ta­ble Orga­ni­za­tion.” (“Funds Under Ter­ror Probe Flowed From Off­shore” by Glenn R. Simp­son [with Michael M. Phillips]; Wall Street Jour­nal; 3/22/2002; p. A4.)

14. Review­ing infor­ma­tion from FTR#343, Nada him­self is alleged to have been agent of the Abwehr, the mil­i­tary intel­li­gence ser­vice of the Third Reich. “But Yussef Nada is even better-known to the Egypt­ian [intel­li­gence] ser­vices, who have evi­dence of his mem­ber­ship in the armed branch of the fra­ter­nity of the Mus­lim Broth­ers in the 1940’s. At that time, accord­ing to the same sources, he was work­ing for the Abwehr under Admi­ral Canaris and took part in a plot against King Farouk. This was not the first time that the path of the Mus­lim Broth­ers crossed that of the ser­vants of the Third Reich.” (Dol­lars for Ter­ror: The United States and Islam; by Richard Labeviere; Copy­right 2000 [SC]; Algora Pub­lish­ing; ISBN 1–892941-06–6; pp. 140–141.)

15. Infor­ma­tion pre­sented in FTR#347 high­lights the fact that mem­bers of the Bin Laden fam­ily were present (along with Bush asso­ciate and Prince Sul­tan coun­sel James Baker III) at the annual investor con­fer­ence of the Car­lyle Group in Wash­ing­ton D.C. on 9/11. FTR#347 dis­cusses the fact that mem­bers of the Bin Laden fam­ily were flown out of the United States after 9/11, before they could be ques­tioned by the F.B.I. “Like every­one else in the United States, the group stood trans­fixed as the events of Sep­tem­ber 11 unfolded. Present were for­mer sec­re­tary of defense Frank Car­lucci, for­mer sec­re­tary of state James Baker III, and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Bin Laden fam­ily. This was not some under­ground pres­i­den­tial bunker or Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency inter­ro­ga­tion room. It was the Ritz-Carlton in Wash­ing­ton, C.C., the plush set­ting for the annual investor con­fer­ence of one of the most pow­er­ful, well-connected, and secre­tive com­pa­nies in the world: the Car­lyle Group. And since Sep­tem­ber 11, this little-known com­pany has become unex­pect­edly impor­tant. That the Car­lyle Group had its con­fer­ence on America’s dark­est day was mere coin­ci­dence, but there is noth­ing acci­den­tal about the cast of char­ac­ters that this private-equity pow­er­house has assem­bled in the 14 years since its found­ing. Among those asso­ci­ated with Car­lyle are for­mer U.S. Pres­i­dent George Bush Sr. [as well as George W. Bush] . . . and Osama bin Laden’s estranged fam­ily. . .And as the Car­lyle investors watched the World Trade tow­ers go down, the group’s prospects went up.” (“Carlyle’s Way” by Dan Briody; Red Her­ring; 1/8/2002; accessed at www.redherring.com/vc/2002/0111/947.html.)

16. A very impor­tant arti­cle from the Wash­ing­ton Post draws more closely the con­nect­ing links between Al Taqwa, the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, the tar­gets of the 3/20 raids, and Al Qaeda. (This arti­cle is pre­sented as sup­ple­men­tal infor­ma­tion to under­score the broader links of the milieu linked to the Repub­li­can eth­nic out­reach com­mit­tee. This arti­cle is reprised from FTR#382.) “Six months after they raided the North­ern Vir­ginia head­quar­ters of some of the nation’s most respected Mus­lim lead­ers, fed­eral agents say they are pur­su­ing a trail of intrigu­ing clues in a top-priority search for evi­dence of tax eva­sion and finan­cial ties to ter­ror­ists. Fed­eral and Euro­pean inves­ti­ga­tors say that sev­eral lines of inquiry have emerged from their review of doc­u­ments and com­puter files they carted off in a dozen panel trucks from offices and homes affil­i­ated with the Herndon-based SAAR Foun­da­tion, a tight-knit clus­ter of promi­nent Mus­lim groups funded by wealthy Saudis. One avenue of inves­ti­ga­tion is the alleged trans­fer of mil­lions of dol­lars from the SAAR net­work to two over­seas bankers who have been des­ig­nated by the U.S. gov­ern­ment as ter­ror­ist financiers. Another is the net­work offi­cials’ his­tory of ties to the mil­i­tant Mus­lim Broth­er­hood.” (“U.S. Trails Va. Mus­lim Money, Ties” by Dou­glas Farah and John Mintz; Wash­ing­ton Post; 10/7/2002; p.1; accessed at www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A52054-2002Oct6.html .)
17. Note the con­nec­tions between the SAAR Foun­da­tion, its founder al-Rajhi and the Third Reich-connected milieu that we have exam­ined in con­nec­tion with al Taqwa and the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. “A third part of the inves­ti­ga­tion con­cerns a key mys­tery: whether an aston­ish­ing $1.8 bil­lion in gifts passed through the SAAR Foun­da­tion in a sin­gle year, 1998. SAAR lead­ers reported that sum on a tax form, but later said it was a cler­i­cal error. Agents are strug­gling to sort through and trans­late rooms full of doc­u­ments — many in Ara­bic — and chas­ing leads in 17 coun­tries. U.S. offi­cials call the inves­ti­ga­tion one of the high­est pri­or­i­ties of Oper­a­tion Green Quest, the U.S. Cus­toms Ser­vice task force formed after the Sept. 11 attacks to wage a finan­cial war on ter­ror. The probe is part of a global crack­down the U.S. gov­ern­ment has launched to stem the fund­ing of ter­ror groups since Sept. 11, 2001. That crack­down has tar­geted a num­ber of large Mus­lim char­i­ties here and abroad. The SAAR net­work con­sists of more than 100 Mus­lim think tanks, char­i­ties and com­pa­nies, many of which are linked by over­lap­ping boards of direc­tors, shared offices and the cir­cu­lar move­ment of money, accord­ing to tax forms and fed­eral inves­ti­ga­tors. The net­work, named for Sulaiman Abdul Aziz Rajhi, the patri­arch of the Saudi fam­ily that funded it, gives to char­i­ties, invests in com­pa­nies and spon­sors research, all with a goal of fos­ter­ing the growth of Islam.  The SAAR Foun­da­tion offi­cially dis­solved in Decem­ber 2000, and many of its func­tions were taken over by another group, Safa Trust, run by many of the same peo­ple.” (Ibid.; pp. 1–2.)
18. Touch­ing on the Florida law­suit filed by the heroic John Lof­tus, cul­mi­nat­ing in the 3/20 raids against the SAAR-related enti­ties, the pro­gram sets forth some of the par­tic­u­lars about the con­nec­tions to Youssef Nada and the Al Taqwa milieu. (For more on this law­suit, see FTR#‘s 357, 362.) “Gov­ern­ment offi­cials say the inves­ti­ga­tion of the SAAR groups, which began with a probe of anti-Israel activists in Florida in 1996 and inten­si­fied after the Sept. 11 attacks, has not traced money from the SAAR enti­ties to the al Qaeda ter­ror­ist net­work. But U.S. and Euro­pean inves­ti­ga­tors say they have uncov­ered infor­ma­tion in the Bahamas and Europe that in recent years some SAAR enti­ties’ funds have moved to two men, Youssef Nada and Ahmed Idris Nasred­din, des­ig­nated by the United States as ter­ror­ist financiers.” (Ibid.; p. 2.)
19. Note that Pier Felice Barchi, attor­ney for Ahmed Idris Nasred­din (as well as Ital­ian Prime Min­is­ter Sil­vio Berlus­coni and Youssef Nada), has some very inter­est­ing con­nec­tions.  Reflect on the Barchi com­ments below against the infor­ma­tion pro­vided about him in FTR#‘s 357, 358, 359, 377.) “The funds moved through two off­shore banks in the Bahamas that the pair con­trolled, offi­cials said.  The insti­tu­tions, Bank al Taqwa and Akida Bank Pri­vate Ltd., have been des­ig­nated con­duits for ter­ror­ist funds by the U.S. Trea­sury Depart­ment. In recent months they were shut down by Bahamian author­i­ties under U.S. pres­sure. In an August report, Trea­sury said that the banks “have been involved in financ­ing rad­i­cal groups” includ­ing Hamas and al Qaeda, both before and after the Sept. 11 attacks. Bank al Taqwa and Akida Bank were described by the Trea­sury Depart­ment on Aug. 29 as “shell com­pa­nies” that were “not func­tional bank­ing insti­tu­tions.” Nada and Nasred­din said they have done noth­ing wrong and pointed out that thou­sands of busi­nesses use off­shore havens like the Bahamas. In March, Nada told reporters he is a legit­i­mate busi­ness­man and has never funded ter­ror. Nasred­din could not be reached for com­ment, but his Geneva-based lawyer, P.F. Barchi, said in May that his client has no links to ter­ror and abhors vio­lence.” (Idem.)
20. The SAAR/Al Taqwa link is dis­cussed at greater length. “U.S. offi­cials say they believe that the SAAR net­work moved a total of about $20 mil­lion to off­shore accounts, much of it through Bank al Taqwa and Akida Bank to Nada and Nasred­din firms.  But because of the com­plex nature of the wire trans­fers, which sent money through myr­iad accounts, offi­cials say they have had dif­fi­culty track­ing SAAR enti­ties’ money around the world. In 1998, for exam­ple, SAAR moved $9 mil­lion to the Humana Char­i­ta­ble Trust, which a SAAR tax form said was based in the tax haven of the Isle of Man. U.S. inves­ti­ga­tors said they found no evi­dence the trust existed. Panama, another tax haven, was also the des­ti­na­tion of mil­lions of dol­lars.  “Look­ing at their finances,” one U.S. offi­cial involved in the probe said, “is like look­ing into a black hole.”  Much about the SAAR enti­ties remains in dis­pute, includ­ing the reported $1.8 bil­lion in gifts in 1998. For years, the foun­da­tion oper­ated on annual bud­gets of about $1.5 mil­lion. Then it reported on its 2000 tax form that it had taken in $1.8 bil­lion in con­tri­bu­tions two years ear­lier. . . . U.S. offi­cials say that they believe the ref­er­ence to $1.8 bil­lion was no mis­take. “We are still look­ing at it as a real trans­ac­tion,” a U.S. offi­cial said. But inves­ti­ga­tors acknowl­edge that they haven’t found evi­dence that sums of that size coursed through the net­work.” (Ibid.; pp. 2–3.)
21. The SAAR links to the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and that institution’s links to other Islamist ter­ror groups are delin­eated in the pas­sage that fol­lows. “Another focus of the probe is the SAAR lead­ers’ links to the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, a 74-year-old group which is under inves­ti­ga­tion by Euro­pean and Mid­dle East­ern gov­ern­ments for its alleged sup­port of rad­i­cal Islamic and ter­ror­ist groups. For decades the broth­er­hood has been a well­spring of rad­i­cal Islamic activ­ity; Hamas, the mil­i­tant Pales­tin­ian group, is an off­shoot of it. Euro­pean offi­cials are par­tic­u­larly inter­ested in the brotherhood’s ties to lead­ing neo-Nazis, includ­ing the Swiss Holo­caust denier Ahmed Huber. A num­ber of cen­tral fig­ures in the SAAR net­work, includ­ing Rajhi, were for decades involved in the broth­er­hood, where they befriended Nada, said rep­re­sen­ta­tives and friends of the SAAR offi­cials. The one-time rad­i­cal­ism of SAAR net­work mem­bers has mel­lowed since they moved to the United States, SAAR asso­ciates said. Nada, 73, a native of Egypt, has been one of the brotherhood’s lead­ing fig­ures for years, and Euro­pean offi­cials say his net­work of banks and com­pa­nies, includ­ing Bank al Taqwa and Akida Bank, are inti­mately tied to the broth­er­hood. Euro­pean offi­cials say the two banks han­dled tens of mil­lions of dol­lars for the broth­er­hood over the years.” (Ibid.; p. 3.)

“A wealthy con­struc­tion mag­nate, Nada con­trols firms across Europe and the Arab world. Nasred­din, of Ethiopian descent, oper­ates a busi­ness empire inter­twined with Nada’s out of Milan. Founded in Egypt, the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood has over the decades helped stir a revival in Islamic pride and mil­i­tant oppo­si­tion to sec­u­lar Arab regimes. Gov­ern­ments in Egypt, Syria and Iraq have harshly cracked down on the group since the 1950s. The orga­ni­za­tion, viewed as heroic in much of the Arab world, has recently mod­er­ated some of its rad­i­cal stances.” (Idem.)
22. Ibrahim Has­s­a­balla, another of the Al Taqwa-linked indi­vid­u­als, is dis­cussed in con­nec­tion with the SAAR/Safa Trust nexus. “Inves­ti­ga­tors said they have also uncov­ered numer­ous ties between SAAR enti­ties and Bank al Taqwa. Samir Salah — a founder of the Safa Trust, SAAR’s suc­ces­sor, and an offi­cer of other SAAR com­pa­nies — helped estab­lish Bank al Taqwa in the Bahamas in the mid-1980s, accord­ing to a Trea­sury doc­u­ment. In a let­ter to The Wash­ing­ton Post, Salah said he had no role with the bank. Ibrahim Has­s­a­balla, another offi­cer of some SAAR-related com­pa­nies, also helped set up Bank al Taqwa in the Bahamas, accord­ing to the doc­u­ment. Has­s­a­balla did not respond to numer­ous requests for com­ment.”  (Ibid.; pp. 3–4.)
23. Under­scor­ing the duplic­i­tous nature of many of the Isamo­fas­cist ele­ments asso­ci­ated with the SAAR net­work, the dis­cus­sion high­lights the use of that nexus by Saudis’ intent on mask­ing their involve­ment with ter­ror­ism. Again-note the links to the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. “Ter­ror­ism spe­cial­ists say the sig­nif­i­cance of the SAAR net­work is that it could offer wealthy Per­sian Gulf financiers a cir­cuitous route for money they don’t want traced. “A rich Saudi who wants to fund rad­i­cal ideas or ter­ror­ists like Hamas and al Qaeda knows he can’t send the money directly, so he fil­ters it through com­pa­nies and char­i­ties, often in the U.S. or Europe,” said Rita Katz, a ter­ror­ism expert at the pri­vate SITE Insti­tute in Wash­ing­ton. The SAAR orga­ni­za­tions are run by approx­i­mately 15 Mid­dle East­ern and Pak­istani men, a num­ber of whom live in two-story homes on adjoin­ing lots in Hern­don that were devel­oped by one of their affil­i­ated firms in 1987. SAAR rep­re­sen­ta­tives say most were born into devout Mus­lim fam­i­lies and some fell under the sway of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. In the 1960s and 1970s, funded largely by Per­sian Gulf and par­tic­u­larly Saudi money, the men who would later form the SAAR net­work fled their home­lands amid crack­downs on the broth­er­hood.” (Ibid.; p. 4.)
24. The World Assem­bly of Mus­lim Youth (for­merly headed by Al Taqwa asso­ciate Jamal Barz­inji and a mem­ber of the Bin Laden fam­ily sus­pected of help­ing Al Qaeda) is among the insti­tu­tions linked to SAAR.  (For more on this link, see FTR#356, 357.) Note also that SAAR became one of the biggest land­lords in the Wash­ing­ton, D.C. area in the 1980’s.) “In Saudi Ara­bia and the United States, they helped launch groups that would evolve into some of the nation’s and the world’s lead­ing Islamic orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing the Mus­lim Stu­dents Asso­ci­a­tion, the World Assem­bly of Mus­lim Youth and the Islamic Soci­ety of North Amer­ica. In 1984, Yaqub Mirza, a Pak­istani native who received a PhD in physics from the Uni­ver­sity of Texas in Dal­las, used money from the Rajhis to start SAAR in Vir­ginia, with the goal of spread­ing Islam and doing char­i­ta­ble work. Mirza also sought out busi­ness ven­tures for SAAR. By invest­ing the Rajhis’ money with Wash­ing­ton real estate devel­oper Mohamed Hadid, he made SAAR one of the region’s biggest land­lords in the 1980s. The SAAR net­work also became one of South America’s biggest apple grow­ers and the owner of one of America’s top poul­try firms, Mar-Jac Poul­try in Geor­gia. “The funds came very eas­ily,” said a busi­ness­man who dealt with SAAR. “If they wanted a few mil­lion dol­lars, they called the al-Rajhis, who would send it along. . . .” (Idem.)
25. Fur­ther devel­op­ing the dis­crep­ancy between the mod­er­ate face put for­ward by SAAR’s defend­ers and the extrem­ist real­ity of the organization’s influ­ence, the pro­gram revis­its the Lof­tus law­suit filed in Florida against Sami al-Arian and oth­ers. (Be sure to visit Lof­tus’ web­site at www.john-loftus.com for more infor­ma­tion about the law­suit and the 3/20 raids.) “Despite their mod­er­ate pub­lic face, the SAAR groups” lead­ers have had close deal­ings with peo­ple who were more rad­i­cal. Among them were Mus­lim activists who ran two vehe­mently anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tions affil­i­ated with the Uni­ver­sity of South Florida in Tampa. Despite the Florida activists’ denials, fed­eral offi­cials have been inves­ti­gat­ing them for years based on sus­pi­cions that they orga­nized sup­port for Pales­tin­ian Islamic Jihad, which the U.S. gov­ern­ment has declared a ter­ror­ist group because it orga­nizes sui­cide bomb­ings in Israel. Steve Emer­son, a ter­ror­ism expert who has stud­ied SAAR for six years, said that “although the SAAR net­work presents a mod­er­ate pro­file, they have con­tacts and con­nec­tions to Islamic groups here and abroad that are under inves­ti­ga­tion for ties to ter­ror­ism.” (Ibid.; pp. 4–5.)
26. Some of the group’s cor­re­spon­dence belies their “mod­er­ate” pre­ten­sions. “In a let­ter to a SAAR offi­cial, the Tampa groups described the SAAR net­work as their main fund­ing source. SAAR allies said the money went only to con­fer­ences and pub­li­ca­tions. Some of the Tampa activists later joined a SAAR affil­i­ate in Vir­ginia. One of them, Bashir Nafi, was deported as an alleged Islamic Jihad oper­a­tive in 1996.  The inves­ti­ga­tion of SAAR began after a 1995 raid of the Tampa groups’ offices yielded many doc­u­ments show­ing close ties with the SAAR orga­ni­za­tions, U.S. offi­cials said. Lees­burg scholar Alal­wani, in a 1993 let­ter to the Tampa groups that he said was also on behalf of sev­eral other SAAR lead­ers, described dona­tions sent to the Florida activists. “We con­sider you a part of us and an exten­sion of us,” the let­ter said. “All your insti­tu­tions are con­sid­ered by us as ours. . . . We make a com­mit­ment to you; we do it for you as a group, regard­less of the party or facade you use the money for.” After the 1995 Tampa searches, inves­ti­ga­tors widened that probe, launch­ing a related inves­ti­ga­tion of the SAAR net­work, which lasted into the late 1990s.” (Ibid.; p. 5.)
27. In the con­text of the doc­u­mented links of the SAAR/Al Taqwa/Muslim Brotherhood/Al Qaeda nexus to the Bush fam­ily and the Repub­li­can Party, it is inter­est­ing to con­tem­plate the fact that the Clin­ton White House pushed for a more rig­or­ous inves­ti­ga­tion of the milieu-to no avail. “In 1998, National Secu­rity Coun­cil aides in the Clin­ton White House pushed the FBI to inten­sify that SAAR inves­ti­ga­tion. But knowl­edge­able sources said the FBI declined because of fears that a probe would be seen as eth­nic pro­fil­ing. The sources said U.S. offi­cials also pressed senior Saudi offi­cials to inves­ti­gate SAAR and other Saudi-funded char­i­ties.  “At the end of the day the progress can best be described as mar­ginal,” said one U.S. offi­cial. . . U.S. offi­cials dis­pute that account, say­ing that FBI offi­cials never gave SAAR offi­cials such blan­ket clear­ance. Cus­toms revived the probe after the Sept. 11 attacks, with help from Euro­peans prob­ing Bank al Taqwa’s Ital­ian and Swiss oper­a­tions.  “We are look­ing for pat­terns and con­nec­tions, so it is very com­pli­cated,” said a U.S. offi­cial. “The al Taqwa-SAAR nexus is a very high pri­or­ity.’” (Idem.)

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