As investigations of September 11 continue, it is important to note that they are closing in on the Islamofascist milieu of Al Taqwa and the Muslim Brotherhood. One of the investigations stemming from the Operation Green Quest raids of 3/20/2002 implicates the Youssef Nada/Al Taqwa milieu still further in the events of 9/11. In Spain, crusading judge Baltasar Garzon has indicted Osama Bin Laden and 34 others in connection with the 9/11 attacks. Judge Garzon’s inquiry is also moving in the direction of the Muslim Brotherhood. After discussing these parallel investigations, the program further develops the story of the Operation Green Quest investigations, as well as the kidnap-murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, the D.C. sniper case and the possibility that Pakistani intelligence officials sympathetic to Al Qaeda may obtain nuclear weapons for that organization.
Program Highlights Include: The profound role of Al Taqwa’s Youssef Nada in setting up the SAAR network; the investigation and harassment of the Green Quest investigators by the FBI and the CIA; links between the D.C. sniper investigation and the Pearl kidnapping and murder; the Nazi influence on Omar Sheikh (Pearl’s killer); further indications of possible Islamist influence within the Chaplain corps of the armed forces.
1. Beginning with discussion of parallel investigations underway in Spain and the United States, the program notes that both inquiries focus on the Muslim Brotherhood. (Judge Garzon’s investigation in Spain subsequently resulted in the indictment of some 35 individuals, including Osama Bin Laden, in connection with 9/11.)
“A pair of investigations in the United States and Spain is bringing new attention to the hidden role played by a secretive group called the Muslim Brotherhood in supporting radical terror networks. The brotherhood has a rich history of fomenting mayhem throughout the Middle East. It first popped up in Egypt more than 75 years ago, dedicated to overthrowing that country’s government and replacing it with a strict Islamic state. Later, the group fell off the radar screens of Western intelligence agencies. . .”
(“Jihad’s Long Reach” by Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff; Newsweek Web Exclusive; 9/17/2003; pp. 1–2.)
2. In the U.S. the investigation of Solomon Biheiri in conjunction with the Operation Green Quest raids of 3/20/2002 has uncovered connections with the Brotherhood.
” . . . Some of the most striking new evidence about the Brotherhood’s octopuslike connections have surfaced only in the past few days as part of the case against Solomon Biheiri, an Egyptian-born businessman who has been arrested by federal agents investigating a murky web of Islamic charities based in Herndon and Falls Church, Va., that are allegedly linked to terrorism and money laundering.”
(Ibid.; p. 2.)
“Biheiri has been detained on immigration charges; no terrorism charges have been filed against him and his lawyer has denied any connection to terrorism. But to make their case that Biheiri should be detained pending trial, federal prosecutors last week portrayed Biheiri as the U.S. banker of the Muslim Brotherhood, linked him to a leading Muslim Brotherhood cleric in the Middle East and described apparent connections to Al Taqwa, a Swiss-based financial network whose assets have been frozen by the U.S. Treasury Department and which investigators believe functions as the central bank for the Muslim Brotherhood.”
“At the same time, a Spanish investigation into Al Qaeda operations in that country has run up against a parallel, and possibly overlapping, network of Muslim Brotherhood members. Overseen by that country’s crusading jurist, Baltasar Garzon, the Spanish inquiry has laid out an elaborate terror conspiracy that includes the ferrying of cash from Spain to Al Qaeda members in Afghanistan. One alleged player-a jailed Syrian born al Jazeera correspondent named Taysir Alouni—is identified in a Spanish police report obtained by Newsweek as ‘a person strongly connected to the Muslim Brotherhood,’ and some of his associates are strongly suspected Brotherhood members, as well.”
(Ibid.; p. 3.)
5. Much of the program highlights the courageous work of Rita Katz, an Iraqi-born Jew who utilized her Arabic language skills to infiltrate the funding conduits investigated under Green Quest.
“SAAR wasn’t a what. It was a who. SAAR: Sheikh Sulaiman Abdul Aziz al-Rajhi. Or his brother, Saleh Abdul Aziz al-Rajhi. Two Saudi tycoons, among the richest people on Earth. This was my missing link, my clue, my Open Sesame to Ali Baba’s secret cave. Al-Rajhi was behind it all along, behind SAAR, behind IIIT, behind 555 [Grove Street, Herndon, Virginia], behind the devious and elusive multibillion-dollar enterprise that funneled money to some of the world’s most dangerous terrorist groups. I wasn’t sure whether it was Saleh or Sulaiman who gave SAAR its name. Perhaps it was both. It made little difference to me; these two were the main players in the al-Rajhi empire that created 555. . .”
6. Highlighting the tangle of institutions implicated by the Green Quest sleuths in terrorist financing, the program sets forth the importance of 555 Grove Street in the investigation.
“A year after I’d figured out the connection between 555 and al-Rajhi, the embassy bombings trial began, during which the government released previously classified documents about the investigation. One such document was Wadih al-Hage’s phone book. The same book in which Ghassan Dahduli’s numbers had been found. I went through the book, parts of which are in Arabic and others in English. Some portions were hardly legible. Toward the end of the book, I saw the name, with an address in Saudi Arabia. The name—Saleh Abdul Aziz al-Rajhi. SAAR. Now why would Usama Bin Laden’s personal secretary have the contact information for Saleh al-Rajhi?”
(Ibid.; p. 294.)
“A few days later, the government released al-Hage’s other phone book. Again Saleh al-Rajhi’s name appeared in it, this time not with the address, but with a telephone number in Saudi Arabia. During his testimony in that trial, al-Hage disclosed how he started his way with Bin Laden by joining the Afghan mujahideen as a relief worker with the Saudi organization Muslim World League, MWL. I knew that many other al-Qaeda members such as Wa’el Julaidan and Ihab Ali began their jihad with MWL. After I’d heard that al-Hage was also involved with MWL, I checked for the address of its United States office. Naturally, it was 555. . .”
8. Jamal Barzinji is linked to the milieu of Green Quest, and Grover Norquist’s Islamic Institute, closely associated with the GOP’s ethnic outreach organization. Barzinji, in turn, is connected to the WAMY and the milieu of Osama Bin Laden’s brother Abdullah.
“At that point in my investigation, two critical questions remained unsolved about the SAAR network. One was how did the men heading the SAAR network, none of whom were Saudi, end up controlling a multibillion-dollar Saudi-funded empire? Many of the directors of the SAAR network live in a fancy neighborhood of Herndon, Virginia, on a street and a court named ‘Safa.’ Their group is now believed by the government to be a close-knit and secretive organization. I found the answer to that in IIIT’s corporate records. The records stated the following names of founders and board members: Taha Jaber al-Alwani, WAMY, Saudi Arabia. Jamal Barzinji, WAMY, Saudi Arabia . . .”
(Ibid.; pp. 295–296.)
“Oh my God, I thought. IIT was but a different name for WAMY. WAMY—the World Assembly of Muslim Youth—was for youth. IIIT was WAMY for the youth who came of age. Batterjee, who has been named Bin Laden’s financier by the government, headed WAMY in the early 1990’s. WAMY published Batterjee’s biography of Bin Laden, where the ‘river of Jihad’ is glorified. WAMY published manuals found in the possession of Ahmed Ajaj, one of the conspirators in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, where the hijacking of buses and murder of civilians were glorified and where poisonous hate statements were made against Americans, Christians, and Jews. WAMY’s director in the United States since the day it was founded was Abdallah Bin Laden, Usama’s half brother. For these reasons and others, the FBI considers WAMY a suspected terrorist organization. Above all, WAMY was a Saudi organization, a fact over which it took great pride; it even received funding from the government of Saudi Arabia. Barzinji, al-Alwani, al-Talib and Ahmed Totonji, the four Iraqis who in time would establish the SAAR empire, somehow found their way to Saudi Arabia. . .”
(Ibid.; p. 296.)
10. In addition, Barzinji is intimately connected to the Al Taqwa network and Youssef Nada.
” . . . In 1976, Hisham al-Talib, Muhammad M. Shamma, and Jamal Barzinji, the founders of the SAAR network founded a bank in the small kingdom of Liechtenstein, in the city of Vaduz. They named it Nada International after its director, Youssef M. Nada. Nada, an Egyptian-born naturalized Italian citizen in his seventies, a good friend of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, was one of the most prominent leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. . . After he was set free, he left for Europe, where he established the Muslim Brotherhood’s major financial organizations—and those of al-Qaeda. Nada also became director of two banks founded in the Bahamas: Bank al-Taqwa—‘fear of Allah’—and Akida Bank Private. . .”
(Ibid.; p. 310)
11. A very significant detail concerns the fact that Nada employed Sulaiman Abdul Aziz al-Rajhi. In turn, Nada and his associates Barzinji and al-Talib worked for the SAAR foundation.
” . . . Other clients of al-Taqwa included several members of the Bin Laden family, including brothers and sisters of Usama. As Akida Bank’s director, Nada rather amazingly employed one Sulaiman Abdul Aziz al-Rajhi: one of the Saudi brothers behind SAAR. So Al-Rajhi, with his legendary riches, worked for nada. Yet Nada worked for Barzinji and al-Talib, who in turn worked for al-Rajhi’s charity, the SAAR Foundation. Are you good and confused? That’s the general idea.”
(Ibid.; p. 311.)
12. The milieu of SAAR and the other objects of the Green Quest raids significantly overlaps the GOP’s ethnic outreach organization and the Bush administration. The fact that elements of the Al Qaeda milieu appear to have been involved in Western intelligence covert operations in the Balkans, as well as the GOP ethnic/Green Quest connection may well explain the hostile interest in the investigators of Operation Green Quest, including Rita Katz, A.K.A. “Anonymous.”
“The CIA was investigating me and the SAAR investigators from Green Quest and Customs. The CIA and the FBI investigated everyone who had anything to do with the SAAR investigation. White vans and SUV’s with dark windows appeared near all the homes of the SAAR investigators. All agents, some of whom were very experienced with surveillance, knew they were being followed. So was I. I felt that I was being followed everywhere and watched at home, in the supermarket, on the way to work . . . and for what? . . .”
(Ibid.; p. 328.)
” . . . The Customs agents were questioned. So were their supervisors. So was the U.S. attorney on the SAAR case. One of the questions they were all asked was whether they’d leaked material to me. They all kept saying that this was the most preposterous idea; they all said that before I came, none of them had the slightest clue about SAAR and 555. They said that there was nothing of value they could give me that I didn’t have already. That it was I who gave them the material, not the other way around. None of the investigated parties has the slightest clue as to the real reason they were being investigated.”
(Ibid.; p. 329.)
“Risking criticism for being unfoundedly paranoid, I must convey my theory about the investigation and CIA’s involvement in it, I don’t know for certain what’s the deal with the CIA investigating the SAAR investigators, but it sure feels as if someone up in that agency doesn’t like the idea that the Saudi Arabian boat is rocked. The raids on 555 had taken place already—the CIA couldn’t change that—but investigating and giving the people behind the raids a hard time is a most efficient way of making sure the SAAR investigation stops there. Which, come to think of it, may be the reason the government looks so unfavorably on the lawsuit filed by 9–11 victims’ families against several Saudi entities and individuals, accusing them of funding terrorism and seeking damages.”
15. Adding further significance to the appearance of Abdullah Bin Laden in the milieu targeted by the Operation Green Quest raids is the fact that the White House flew Abdullah and other members of the Bin Laden family out of the country in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Abdullah and Khalil Bin Laden were the two members of the Al Qaeda-linked family alluded to by Senator Schumer. The program reviews material from the description of FTR#423.
“The young bin Ladens and members of the House of Saud who were living in the United States in September 2001 were mostly students attending high school or college and young professionals. Several bin Ladens had attended Tufts University near Boston. Sana bin Laden had graduated from Wheelock College, in Boston. Abdullah bin Laden, a younger brother of Osama’s, was a 1994 graduate of Harvard Law School and had offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts. . . .”
” . . .But half-brother Khalil Binladin decided to go back to Jidda. Khalil, who has a Brazilian wife, had been appointed Brazil’s honorary consul in Jidda, though he also owns a sprawling 20-acre estate in Winter Garden, Florida, near Orlando.”
17. Abdullah Bin Laden is linked to the WAMY, which in turn overlaps both Al Qaeda, the GOP’s Republican ethnic outreach organization and the Al Taqwa milieu.
“In fact, the F.B.I. had been keeping an eye on some of the bin Ladens. A classified F.B.I. file examined by Vanity Fair and marked ‘Secret’ shows that as early as 1996, the bureau had spent nearly nine months investigating Abdullah and Omar bin Laden, who were involved with the American branch of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a charity that has published writings by Islamic scholar Sayyid Qutb, one of Osama bin Laden’s intellectual influences.”
(Ibid.; p. 175.)
“Khalil bin Laden, who boarded a plane in Orlando that eventually took him back to Saudi Arabia, won the attention of Brazilian investigators for possible terrorist connections. According to a Brazilian paper, he had business connections in the Brazilian province of Minas Gerais, not far from the tri-border region, an alleged center for training terrorists. . . .”
(Ibid.; p. 176.)
“F.B.I. officials declined to comment on the investigation, which was reported in Britain’s The Guardian, but the documents show that the file on Abdullah and Omar was reopened on September, 19, 2001, while the Saudi repatriation was still under way. ‘These documents show there was an open F.B.I. investigation into these guys at the time of their departure,’ says David Armstrong, an investigator for the Public Education Center, the Washington, D.C., foundation that obtained the documents.”
20. Institutions associated with the targets of the Operation Green Quest raids (specifically the GSISS) are involved with vetting Muslim chaplains in the U.S. armed forces. Some of those individuals have become the focal point of investigations of possible terrorist activities.
“An Islamic chaplain in the U.S. Army who ministered to detainees at the camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the military holds captured militants and terrorism suspects is now himself under arrest while the Army investigates his activities, according to military and law enforcement officials. The chaplain, Capt. James Yee, also known as Youssef Yee, has not been charged either by the military or by civilian authorities, the officials said. His case is being investigated by the Army and if he is charged, it will be most likely be under the military justice code, they said. . . . Upon his return to the United States, Yee rejoined the military as a Muslim chaplain and ministered to soldiers at Fort Lewis in Washington state, serving as chaplain of the 700-member 29th Signal Battalion, which included about a dozen Muslims in its ranks.”
(“Islamic Chaplain in Army Arrested” by Eric Lichtblau [New York Times]; San Mercury News; 9/21/2003; p. 3A.)
21. In FTR#386, we examined information indicating the possibility that the accused D.C. sniper was associated with the milieux of Yaqub Mirza, the SAAR network and Al Qaeda. There is an evidentiary tributary running between the D.C. sniper investigation and the kidnapping and slaying of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Pearl’s executioner, Omar Sheikh was close to Sheikh Gilani, who had John Allen Muhammad in one of his networks.
” . . . So in January of 2002, Omar set about setting up Daniel Pearl. He manipulates Pearl’s eagerness to get to Sheikh Gilani–an eagerness not misplaced, Mr. Levy persuades us, revealing that Gilani’s connections range from Osama bin Laden to D.C. sniper John Allen Muhammad (who spent time in one of Gilani’s network of Muslim communities in America.) . . .”
(“In Danny Pearl Book, Levy Says Next 9/11 Brewing in Pakistan” by Ron Rosenbaum; New York Observer; 9/15/2003.)
22. Pearl kidnapper and killer Omar Sheikh appears to have been heavily influenced by Nazi influence while waging jihad in the Balkans.
” . . . Mr. Levy captures this divide in his book when he reports that Omar ‘played chess and read Mein Kampf.’ At one point during the “C-Span” interview, I asked him about Omar and Mein Kampf: ‘There are those who say ‘Hitler is dead,’ but among people like Omar—terrorists, jihadists like him—Hitler is spoken of with affection, right?’ True, Mr. Levy said: According to the testimony of one of the men he kidnapped in India, Omar ‘was able to recite entire pages of Mein Kampf by heart.’ Mr. Levy gave a world-weary, Gallic shrug: ‘Everybody has the poetry he deserves.’ And he went on to add that Omar was not alone in seeking to finish what Hitler started: ‘You have today, in Damascus, in Syria, in Libya, some people who think that the anti-Semitic message of the Nazis was a good message—and has to be completed’ . . .”
23. A terrifying possibility concerns an allegation that Daniel Pearl may have discovered links between Al Qaeda and Pakistani intelligence elements sympathetic to the possibility of getting nuclear weapons to the Bin Laden organization.
” . . . Through a series of intermediaries, he finds himself meeting, in a shady place called the Hotel Akbar in Rawalpindi, with Omar, the jihadist who has links to many of the radical Islamist forces in Pakistani intelligence who are seeking to undermine the fragile Musharraf government, to end Pakistan’s alliance with the U.S. in favor of a pro-Al Qaeda ‘Islamist’ foreign policy, and most of all to place control of Pakistan’s alliance with the U.S. in favor of a pro-Al Qaeda ‘Islamist’ foreign policy, and most of all to place control of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons—the so-called ‘Islamic bomb’—at the disposal of the worldwide Islamic crusade against the infidels of the West.”
24. French author Henry Bernard-Levy has speculated that elements of Pakistani intelligence themselves may have been behind the Pearl kidnapping.
” . . . It is that experience [staying at the Hotel Akbar in which Pearl stayed], that stay, and the sense he got from his observation of the other inhabitants of the hotel, that convinces him that he—and Danny before him—has stumbled onto a safe house for jihadists maintained by Pakistani intelligence. Which leads him to concludes that Pearl kidnapping operation was itself masterminded—or at least supervised—by elements within Pakistani intelligence. That it was what he calls ‘a crime of state.’”