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For The Record  

FTR #425 Closing the Ring: An Update on 9/11

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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.)

3.

“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.”

(Idem.)

4.

“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. . .”

(Ter­ror­ist Hunter by “Anony­mous” [Rita Katz]; CCC [imprint of Harper Collins]; Copy­right 2003 by Harper Collins [HC]; ISBN 0–06-052819–2; p. 293.)

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.)

7.

“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. . .”

(Idem.)

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.)

9.

“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.)

13.

” . . . 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.)

14.

“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.”

(Idem.)

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. . . .”

(“Sav­ing the Saudis” by Craig Unger; Van­ity Fair; October/2003; p. 165.)

16.

” . . .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.”

(Idem.)

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.)

18. In addi­tion, Khalil bin Laden has inter­ests in the tri-border area.

“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.)

19.

“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.”

(Idem.)

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’ . . .”

(Idem.)

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.”

(Idem.)

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.’”

(Idem.)

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