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FTR #432 Update on Operation Green Quest

Lis­ten:
MP3 One seg­ment [1]
RealAu­dio [2]
NB: This stream con­tains both FTRs 431 and 432 in sequence. Each is a 30 minute broad­cast.

Updat­ing the sub­ject of the Oper­a­tion Green Quest raids of 3/20/2002, the broad­cast begins with White House stonewalling of the inves­ti­gat­ing com­mis­sion look­ing into 9/11. Mem­bers of the com­mis­sion are explic­it­ly stat­ing that the White House is hid­ing some­thing for polit­i­cal rea­sons. One of the poten­tial­ly most explo­sive aspects of the inves­ti­ga­tion con­cerns the GOP Eth­nic con­nec­tion to the Islamist milieu tar­get­ed under the 3/20/2002 raids. It is that series of busi­ness­es, reli­gious char­i­ties and NGO’s that has pro­vid­ed the main link in fund­ing for Hamas, Al Qae­da and Islam­ic Jihad. Key White House aids Grover Norquist and Karl Rove were instru­men­tal in gen­er­at­ing the GOP Eth­nic Out­reach milieu’s Islam­o­fas­cist con­nec­tion. Recent tes­ti­mo­ny before Con­gress cit­ed the tar­gets of the 3/20/2002 raids as being cen­tral to inter­dict­ing the bat­tle against Al Qae­da. Counter-ter­ror­ism offi­cial Richard Clarke stat­ed that the Bush admin­is­tra­tion’s reor­ga­ni­za­tion of the gov­ern­ment was hurt­ing the Green Quest inves­ti­ga­tion. Abdur Rah­man Al-Alam­ou­di [3], piv­otal to the oper­a­tions of the Green Quest tar­gets and an orga­niz­er of the vet­ting process for Mus­lim chap­lains in the mil­i­tary is an asso­ciate of for­mer Abwehr agent and Al Taqwa king­pin Youssef Nada.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: The oper­a­tions of the Green Quest tar­gets in the Balka­ns dur­ing the 1990’s; late Pres­i­dent Ali­ja Izetbe­gov­ic [4]’s links to both the SS Handzhar of World War II and to Osama bin Laden; Alam­oudi’s links to Osama bin Laden’s nephew Abdul­lah, evac­u­at­ed by the Bush admin­is­tra­tion after the 9/11 milieu.

1. Begin­ning with White House reluc­tance to release doc­u­ments to the 9/11 inves­tiga­tive com­mis­sion, the pro­gram high­lights grow­ing fric­tion between com­mis­sion­ers and the Bush admin­is­tra­tion. The com­mis­sion may sub­poe­na doc­u­ments and is hint­ing fair­ly open­ly that the White House is hid­ing some­thing. (Recall [5] that peo­ple inves­ti­gat­ing the Green Quest tar­gets were them­selves sur­veiled by the FBI and CIA after the 3/20 raids.)

“The chair­man of the fed­er­al com­mis­sion inves­ti­gat­ing the Sept. 11 ter­ror attacks said the White House was con­tin­u­ing to with­hold sev­er­al high­ly clas­si­fied intel­li­gence doc­u­ments from the pan­el and that he was pre­pared to sub­poe­na the doc­u­ments if they were not turned over with­in weeks. The chair­man, Thomas Kean, the for­mer Repub­li­can gov­er­nor of New Jer­sey, also said in an inter­view that he believed the bipar­ti­san 10-mem­ber com­mis­sion would soon be forced to issue sub­poe­nas to oth­er exec­u­tive branch agen­cies because of con­tin­u­ing delays by the Bush admin­is­tra­tion in pro­vid­ing doc­u­ments and oth­er evi­dence. . .”

(“9/11 Probe Chief Frus­trat­ed” by Philip Shenon [New York Times]; San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle; 10/26/2003; p. A4.)

2.

” . . . While Kean said he was barred by an agree­ment with the White House from describ­ing the Oval Office doc­u­ments at issue in any detail—he said the White House was ‘quite ner­vous’ about any pub­lic hint at their contents—other com­mis­sion offi­cials said that the weeks lead­ing up to Sept. 11, 2001. The reports are known as the Pres­i­den­tial Dai­ly Brief­ing. ‘These are doc­u­ments that only two or three peo­ple would nor­mal­ly have access to,’ Kean said. ‘To make those avail­able to an out­side group is some­thing that no oth­er pres­i­dent has done in our his­to­ry. But I’ve argued very strong­ly with the White House that we are unique, that we are not the Con­gress, that these argu­ments about pres­i­den­tial priv­i­lege do not apply in the case of our com­mis­sion.’ ”

(Idem.)

3.

” . . .Kean’s com­ments on Fri­day came as anoth­er mem­ber of the com­mis­sion, Max Cle­land, the for­mer Demo­c­ra­t­ic sen­a­tor from Geor­gia, became the first pan­el mem­ber to say pub­licly that the com­mis­sion could not com­plete its work by its May 2004 dead­line and the first to accuse the White House of with­hold­ing clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion from the pan­el for pure­ly polit­i­cal rea­sons. ‘It’s obvi­ous that the White House wants to run out the clock here,’ he said in an inter­view in Wash­ing­ton.”

(Idem.)

4.

“He said that the White House and Bush’s re-elec­tion cam­paign had rea­son to fear what the com­mis­sion was uncov­er­ing in its inves­ti­ga­tion of intel­li­gence and law enforce­ment fail­ures before Sept. 11. ‘As each day goes by, we learn that this gov­ern­ment knew a whole lot more about these ter­ror­ists before Sept. 11 than it has ever admit­ted.’ ”

(Idem.)

5. While the White House stonewalls, Al Qaeda’s fund­ing sources—especially elite Sau­di ele­ments direct­ly con­nect­ed to the Bush busi­ness milieu—continue to finance that orga­ni­za­tion.

“Al Qaeda’s finan­cial spig­ot is still open, and the new Home­land Secu­ri­ty Depart­ment is ill-equipped to turn it off, lead­ing ter­ror­ism experts tes­ti­fied Wednes­day before a con­gres­sion­al pan­el. Even after exten­sive gov­ern­ment efforts to stop the mon­ey flow to al Qae­da, the ter­ror­ist still receives more than $5 mil­lion each year, much of it from Sau­di Ara­bia, Jean-Charles Bris­ard, a for­mer ter­ror­ism inves­ti­ga­tor for the French gov­ern­ment told the Sen­ate Bank­ing Com­mit­tee. ‘Sau­di Ara­bia is present at every stage of al Qae­da financ­ing, but pri­mar­i­ly as the major source of fund­ing,’ said Bris­ard, who is inves­ti­gat­ing the fund­ing sources of al Qae­da on behalf of fam­i­lies who lost loved ones in the Sept. 11, 2001 ter­ror­ist attacks. . . .”

(“Funds Still Flow­ing to Al Qae­da” by Rebec­ca Carr [Cox News Ser­vice]; San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle; 10/23/2003; p. A6.)

6.

” . . . The Fed­er­al gov­ern­ment now has the FBI, the Ter­ror­ist Threat Inte­gra­tion Cen­ter, the Finan­cial Crimes Enforce­ment Cen­ter and the Office of For­eign Asset Con­trol to name a few of the gov­ern­ment agen­cies that look into ter­ror financ­ing. ‘All coor­di­nat­ed by the White House now, but nonethe­less all doing their own thing in their own space,’ [for­mer counter-ter­ror offi­cial Richard] Clarke said. ‘I believe there should be a sin­gle fusion cen­ter where all of those agen­cies move per­son­nel on a per­ma­nent basis to work togeth­er.’ ”

(Idem.)

7.

“Shut­ting down front com­pa­nies and char­i­ties that send mon­ey to ter­ror­ist regimes will go a long way toward stem­ming the flow of mon­ey to ter­ror­ists, said Matthew Levitt, senior fel­low of ter­ror­ism stud­ies at the Wash­ing­ton Insti­tute for Near East Pol­i­cy and a for­mer counter-ter­ror­ism ana­lyst at the FBI. While Sau­di Ara­bia has tak­en steps to crack down on char­i­ties that are divert­ing mon­ey to ter­ror­ist groups, it has not been enough, Levitt said. More than 50 per­cent of the mon­ey flow­ing into Hamas, for exam­ple, comes from Sau­di Ara­bi­an sources, he said.”

(Idem.)

8.

“The US effort to shut down finan­cial sup­port for ter­ror­ist net­works is being seri­ous­ly ham­pered by a gov­ern­ment reor­ga­ni­za­tion that has left the most expe­ri­enced agen­cies with­out any real pow­er, the US gov­ern­men­t’s for­mer top counter-ter­ror­ism offi­cial said yes­ter­day. Richard Clarke, who head­ed counter-ter­ror­ism at the White House for the Clin­ton and Bush admin­is­tra­tions before leav­ing gov­ern­ment ear­li­er this year, said the deci­sion to put the Fed­er­al Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion in charge of ter­ror finance inves­ti­ga­tions, and to give new pow­ers to the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty, had set the cam­paign back.”

(“Shake-Up Amid War on Ter­ror ‘Has Hit Cam­paign’ ” by Edward Alden; Finan­cial Times; 10/23/2003; p. 2.)

9. Of para­mount impor­tance in the con­text of the pro­gram is Clarke’s analy­sis that the Bush admin­is­tra­tion’s reor­ga­ni­za­tion of the gov­ern­ment has actu­al­ly ham­pered the fight against ter­ror financ­ing. He specif­i­cal­ly cites the shift­ing of respon­si­bil­i­ty for Oper­a­tion Green Quest to the FBI as a rea­son to fear what is tak­ing place. Recall that the Oper­a­tion Green Quest milieu is inex­tri­ca­bly linked to the GOP/Bush administration/Bush busi­ness nexus.

Recall, also, that Bush (Senior) Jus­tice Depart­ment offi­cial Robert Mueller was placed in charge of the FBI in July of 2001. His “over­sight” of the BCCI inves­ti­ga­tion com­pro­mis­es his abil­i­ty to inves­ti­gate Green Quest and the vital­ly impor­tant links between Bush and the Saud­is.

” ‘Reor­ga­niz­ing the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment in the mid­dle of the war on ter­ror­ism was per­haps not the bright­est thing we could have done,’ he told the com­mit­tee. The admin­is­tra­tion agreed ear­li­er this year to des­ig­nate the FBI as the lead orga­ni­za­tion for inves­ti­gat­ing ter­ror finance net­works, mov­ing a sep­a­rate inves­tiga­tive team, known as Oper­a­tion Green Quest from the Cus­toms ser­vice to the FBI. In addi­tion, cus­toms was moved to the new home­land secu­ri­ty depart­ment, break­ing it away from oth­er agen­cies in the Trea­sury depart­ment that play a key role in ter­ror finance inves­ti­ga­tions and enforce­ment. The move came at a sen­si­tive time when the Trea­sury was lead­ing a series of actions, includ­ing the inves­ti­ga­tion into a broad net­work of Sau­di-backed char­i­ties based in north­ern Vir­ginia.”

(Idem.)

10.

” ‘Hav­ing the cur­rent struc­ture where the FBI is in charge and tells every­body else what to do, is a recipe, I think for fail­ure,’ said Mr. Clarke. He added: ‘The FBI by tra­di­tion does­n’t co-oper­ate well with oth­er fed­er­al agen­cies and it does­n’t share infor­ma­tion it treats oth­er fed­er­al agen­cies as sec­ond-class par­tic­i­pants in the over­all effort.’ ”

(Idem.)

11. Still more about Green Quest and the maze of Vir­ginia char­i­ties and busi­ness­es that were involved with the oper­a­tions of the Green Quest milieu:

“Dol­lar by dol­lar, U.S. pros­e­cu­tors in Vir­ginia are unrav­el­ing a world-wide finan­cial net­work oper­at­ed by alleged Islam­ic extrem­ists. Inves­ti­ga­tors have laid out the net­work’s intri­ca­cy and geo­graph­ic breadth in recent court fil­ings relat­ed to a ter­ror-finance inves­ti­ga­tion of a Vir­ginia-based group of char­i­ties and busi­ness­es. Yes­ter­day, they indict­ed a key fig­ure they say is linked to Hamas and al Qae­da. The funds flowed from Sau­di Ara­bia and Europe to the U.S.—possibly to help make the mon­ey look legitimate—and then through a maze of Vir­ginia enti­ties and back to Europe and the Mid­dle East, author­i­ties say. The mon­ey went through the secre­tive Swiss banks and Isle of Man trusts and end­ed up in sus­pect hands, includ­ing a char­i­ty found­ed by an alleged Tunisian ter­ror­ist and a group impli­cat­ed in the plot to blow up Los Ange­les Inter­na­tion­al Air­port, court doc­u­ments say.”

(“Unrav­el­ing Ter­ror’s Finances” by Glenn R. Simp­son; Wall Street Jour­nal; 10/24/2003; p. A2.)

12. A piv­otal indi­vid­ual in the milieu tar­get­ed by Green Quest is Abdur Rah­man Alam­ou­di. Alam­ou­di is linked to Al Taqwa’s Youssef Nada (a for­mer Third Reich intel­li­gence agent), as well as the GOP/Grover Norquist milieu.

As dis­cussed in FTRs 356, 386, 405, the Mus­lim Chap­lains net­work with­in the US mil­i­tary is inex­tri­ca­bly linked with Alam­ou­di and the Green Quest milieu.

“At the net­work’s cen­ter is Abdur Rah­man Alam­ou­di, a Mus­lim-Amer­i­can activist who was indict­ed yes­ter­day in U.S. Dis­trict Court in Alexan­dria, VA. On mon­ey laun­der­ing and tax, immi­gra­tion and cus­toms-fraud charges. The 18-count indict­ment isn’t direct­ly relat­ed to the Vir­ginia probe, focus­ing most­ly on alleged ille­gal deal­ings with Libya. . . .In oth­er recent fil­ings, pros­e­cu­tors unveiled evi­dence that they say links Mr. Alam­ou­di to Hamas, the Pales­tin­ian group des­ig­nat­ed as ter­ror­ist by the U.S., and Osama bin Laden’s al Qae­da orga­ni­za­tion. Pros­e­cu­tors say Mr. Alam­oudi’s Palmpi­lot con­tained con­tact infor­ma­tion for sev­en men designed as ‘glob­al ter­ror­ists’ by the U.S. in freez­ing their assets. They includ­ed Sau­di busi­ness­man Yassin Qadi, and alleged sup­port­er of Hamas and al Qae­da, and Swiss financier Yusuf Nada, an alleged al Qae­da banker. . .”

(Idem.)

13. As dis­cussed in FTRs 423, 425, one of the Saud­is flown out of the coun­try in the wake of 9/11 (before they could be prop­er­ly inter­ro­gat­ed) was bin Laden’s nephew Abdul­lah, asso­ci­at­ed with the World Assem­bly of Mus­lim Youth, an appar­ent Al Qae­da front. Abdul­lah is the nephew referred to here:

” . . . Anoth­er Vir­ginia char­i­ty, the Taibah Inter­na­tion­al Aid Asso­ci­a­tion, worked in tan­dem with the Suc­cess foun­da­tion, pros­e­cu­tors say. A nephew of Mr. bin Laden liv­ing in Vir­ginia helped run Taibah, which had offices in the Balka­ns. Taibah per­son­nel there told the Fed­er­al Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion that it sup­port­ed the Glob­al Relief Foun­da­tion, a char­i­ty des­ig­nat­ed by the U.S. as an al Qae­da front. . . .”

(Idem.)

14. The broad­cast excerpts the obit­u­ary of for­mer Bosn­ian pres­i­dent Ali­ja Izetbe­gov­ic [4], his asso­ci­a­tion with the SS Handzhar Divi­sion in World War II, and the sup­port he received from Osama bin Laden.

” . . . Dur­ing World War II, when Bosnia became part of the pup­pet-Nazi state of the Croa­t­ian Ustashe, Mr. Izetbe­gov­ic joined the Young Mus­lims, a group torn between sid­ing with the Ger­man-spon­sored Handzar divi­sions orga­nized by the Ger­man SS or with the Yugoslav com­mu­nist par­ti­sans led by Josip Broz Tito. Mr. Izetbe­gov­ic sup­port­ed the Handzars. After Tito’s Com­mu­nist gov­ern­ment was estab­lished in 1946, a mil­i­tary court sen­tenced Mr. Izetbe­gov­ic to three years in prison for his wartime activ­i­ties. . . .”

(“Ali­ja Izetbe­gov­ic, Mus­lim Who Led Bosnia, Dies at 78” by David Binder; The New York Times; 10/20/2003; p. 2.)

15.

” . . . Osama bin Laden vis­it­ed him [Izetbe­gov­ic] in Sara­je­vo in 1993 and spon­sored some fight­ers from Ara­bic coun­tries to fight on the Mus­lims’ side in Bosnia, accord­ing to a report in the Ger­man mag­a­zine Der Spiegel. . .”

(Idem.)

16. Look­ing ahead to FTR#433, the pro­gram under­scores the Islam­o­fas­cist Alam­oudi’s links with the Pen­tagon’s Chap­lain vet­ting pro­gram.

” . . . He [Alam­ou­di] also set up a Pen­ta­gon pro­gram in the 1990’s to recruit Mus­lim chap­lains for the armed ser­vices, now the sub­ject of an espi­onage probe.”

(“Unrav­el­ing Ter­ror’s Finances” by Glenn R. Simp­son; Wall Street Jour­nal; 10/24/2003; p. A2.)

17. The 2002 Raids referred to here are the Oper­a­tion Green Quest Raids of March of that year.

” . . . The Amer­i­can Mus­lim Armed Forces and Vet­er­ans Affairs Coun­cil is a sub­group of the Amer­i­can Mus­lim Foun­da­tion, whose leader has been arrest­ed and accused of act­ing as a couri­er to fun­nel mon­ey from Libya to ter­ror­ist groups in Syr­ia. The Grad­u­ate School of Islam­ic and Social Sci­ences in Lees­burg, VA., was raid­ed by Cus­toms in 2002 as part of an inves­ti­ga­tion into mon­ey being fun­neled to al Qae­da and oth­er mil­i­tant Islam­ic groups, sen­a­tors added. . . .”

(“Mil­i­tary Adopts New Chap­lain Pol­i­cy” by Jesse J. Hol­land; San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle; 10/15/2003; p. A10.)