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FTR #439 Update on 9/11

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As the title of the program indicates, this broadcast brings up to date a number of the important elements figuring in the inquiry into the analysis of 9/11 and related matters. Although the chairman of the “independent” commission investigating 9/11 has indicated that the attacks could have been prevented, there are a number of developments that indicate that the investigation is being attenuated. A major focal point of the discussion concerns the continued activities of Al Taqwa’s Youssef Nada and Ahmed Idris Nasreddin. The activities of both have continued apace, despite the fact that international sanctions have been leveled against them. In addition, the program reviews connections between the SAAR network, Bank Al Taqwa, the Muslim Brotherhood and the GOP’s ethnic outreach organization.

Program Highlights Include: The 9/11 investigating commission’s agreement to allow the Bush administration to censor the documents it gives to their inquiry; a Federal judge’s ruling that Princes Sultan and Turki of Saudi Arabia could not be sued in connection with 9/11; the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Tariq Ramadan [4] and his brother Hani in Europe; Al Taqwa personage Yusef al-Qaradawi [5]‘s activities in connection with African-American Muslims; the connection of Abdurahman Alamoudi [6] to a Boston mosque; the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe.

1. The broadcast begins with analysis of a statement by the chairman of the commission that has been investigating 9/11. Chairman Thomas Kean stated that the attacks could have been prevented.

“For the first time, the chairman of the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks is saying publicly that 9/11 could have and should have been prevented, reports CBS News correspondent Randall Pinkston. ‘This is a very, very important part of history and we’ve got to tell it right,’ said Thomas Kean. ‘As you read the report, you’re going to have a pretty clear idea what wasn’t done and what should have been done,’ he said. ‘This was not something that had to happen.’ Appointed by the Bush administration, Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey, is now pointing fingers inside the administration and laying blame. ‘There are people that, if I were doing the job, would certainly not be in the position they were in at that time because they failed. They simply failed,’ Kean said.”

(“9/11 Chair: Attack was Preventable” from CBS correspondent Randall Pinkston; CBSNews; 12/17/2003.)

2.

“To find out who failed and why, the commission has navigated a political landmine, threatening a subpoena to gain access to the president’s top-secret daily briefs. Those documents may shed light on one of the most controversial assertions of the Bush administration—that there was never any thought given to the idea that terrorists might fly an airplane into a building.”

(Idem.)

3.

“‘I don’t think anybody could have predicted that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile,’ said national security adviser Condoleeza Rice on May 16, 2002. ‘How is it possible we have a national security advisor coming out and saying we had no idea they could use planes as weapons when we had FBI records from 1991 stating that this is a possibility,’ said Kristen Breitweiser, one of four New Jersey widows who lobbied Congress and the president to appoint the commission. The widows want to know why various government agencies didn’t connect the dots before Sept. 11, such as warnings from FBI offices in Minnesota and Arizona about suspicious student pilots. . . .”

(Idem.)

4. Next, the program notes that the commission is not really all that “independent”—the White House has the option of blocking the release of information from viewing by the committee.

“The commission investigating the Sept. 11 terror attacks said Thursday that its deal with the White House for access to highly classified intelligence reports would let the White House edit the documents before they were released to the commission’s representatives.”

(“White House to Edit Files 9/11 Panel Seeks” [New York Times]; San Francisco Chronicle; 11/14/2003; p. A16.)

5.

“The agreement, announced Wednesday, has led to the first public split on the commission. Two Democrats on the 10-member panel say that the commission should have demanded full access to the intelligence summaries, known as the President’s Daily Brief, and that the White House should not be allowed to determine what is relevant to the investigation.”

(Idem.)

6.

“An umbrella group of victims’ families joined the criticism, saying the terms of the accord should be public. While panel spokesmen refused again to provide the terms, its executive director acknowledged that the White House would be able to remove information from the reports unrelated to Al Qaeda and to the Sept. 11 attacks.”

(Idem.)

7. Yet another indication that the investigation of 9/11 is not proceeding well is a ruling by a judge that neither the Saudi defense minister, Prince Sultan, nor Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former intelligence chief can be sued by the survivors of the victims of 9/11. (Prince Sultan, it should be noted, is being represented by Baker Botts, the law firm of former Secretary of State James Baker—the same firm that handles the legal work for the Carlyle Group [7].)

“Saudi Arabia’s defense minister and its former intelligence chief, who have denied allegations in a $1 trillion lawsuit tying them to the Sept. 11 attacks, are beyond the reach of U.S. courts, a federal judge ruled. The suit, filed by victims and survivors of the 2001 attacks, accused the Saudis of having long, personal relationships with Osama bin Laden and officials of the Afghan Taliban militia. The officials are the defense minister, Prince Sultan, and Prince Turki al-Faisal, former director of general intelligence and now the Saudi ambassador in Britain. The suit also alleged that Sultan had donated millions of dollars to Saudi charities that subsequently forwarded the money to bin Laden’s al Qaeda network and other terrorist organizations. In an order issued Friday, U.S. District Judge James Robertson ruled that his court lacked jurisdiction under both international and U.S. law and dismissed all claims against the two Saudi officials.”

(“Saudi Officials Ruled Outside Reach of U.S.”; San Francisco Chronicle; 11/16/2003; p. A3.)

8. Following up on a point of information presented in FTR#435, the program notes that attempts at interdicting the flow of money to Al Qaeda and related groups are faltering. In particular, the efforts and assets of Al Taqwa founders Youssef Nada and Ahmed Idris Nasreddin are apparently remaining largely unaffected.

“Governments around the world are not enforcing global sanctions designed to stem the flow of money to Al-Qaida and impede the business activity of the organization’s financiers, allowing the terrorist network to retain formidable financial resources, say U.S., European and U.N. investigators. Several businessmen designated by the United Nations as terrorist financiers, whose assets were supposed to have been frozen more than two years ago, continue to run vast business empires and travel freely because most nations are unaware of the sanctions and others don’t enforce them, the investigators said. Several charities based in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan that were reportedly shut down by the governments there because of the groups’ alleged financial ties to Osama bin Laden also continue to operate freely, they said.”

(“Terrorist Funds Still Flowing Despite Global Sanctions” by Douglas Farah [Washington Post]; San Jose Mercury News; 12/14/2003; pp. 1A-10A.)

9.

“As a result, Al-Qaida continues to receive ample funding not only to carry out its own plots but also to finance affiliated terrorist groups and to seek new weapons, the investigators and terrorism experts said. A report released this month by a U.N. panel of experts documented the continued flow of money—including drug money—to terrorist organizations and warned that Al-Qaida ‘has already taken the decision to use chemical and biological weapons in their forthcoming attacks. The only constraint they are facing is the technical complexity to operate them properly and effectively’—rather than a lack of means to acquire them. . . .”

(Ibid.; p. 10A.)

10.

” . . . Illustrating the ineffectiveness of the sanctions regime, U.S. and U.N. officials said, are the joint business empires of Yousef Nada and Idris Nasreddin, which sprawl across Europe and Africa and are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Nada, an Egyptian national who lives in Switzerland, was designated a terrorist financier by the United Nations on Nov. 9, 2001, and was publicly accused by U.S. and U.N. officials of providing direct aid to Al-Qaida. Nasreddin, an Eritrean who lives in Italy, was designated a terrorist supporter on April 24, 2002. At that time, the assets of more than a dozen of their joint enterprises were supposed to have been frozen, and a travel ban was imposed on the pair. . . .”

(Idem.)

11.

” . . . U.S. officials and the United Nations report said that many of the pair’s businesses, including a luxury hotel in Milan, continue to operate and that both men violate the travel ban with impunity. . . .”

(Idem.)

12. Next, the broadcast turns to the Operation Green Quest raids of 3/20/2002. The institutions raided on that day overlap the milieu of al Taqwa, as well as the Republican Party’s ethnic outreach organization and the Bush administration.

“A secretive group of tightly connected Muslim charities, think tanks and businesses based in Northern Virginia were used to funnel millions of dollars to terrorists and launder millions more, according to court records unsealed yesterday. An affidavit from Homeland Security agent David Kane said that the Safa Group, also known as the SAAR network, in Herndon had sent more than $26 million in untraceable money overseas and that leaders of the organization ‘have committed and conspired to . . . provide material support to foreign terrorist organizations.'”

(“Terror Probe Points to Va. Muslims” by Douglas Farah; Washington Post; 10/18/2003; p. A6.)

13.

“The probe of the Herndon groups is the largest federal investigation of terrorism financing in the world, authorities have said. And the unsealing of Kane’s report marks the first time the government has alleged the main purpose of the Virginia organizations, set up primarily with donations from a wealthy Saudi family, was to fund terrorism and hide millions of dollars. Kane said the convoluted nature of the myriad financial transactions and the fact that much of the money was sent to tax havens with bank secrecy laws make it impossible to trace the final destination of much of the money. But he said the pattern of the money’s movement, coupled with the association of leaders of the Safa Group with suspected terrorists, were strong indicators the group was financing terrorism.”

(Idem.)

14.

“‘There appears to be no innocent explanation for the use of layers and layers of transactions between Safa Group companies and charities other than to throw law enforcement authorities off the trail,’ Kane wrote. In march 2002 federal agents raided the organization’s offices on Grove Street in Herndon as well as the homes of eight leaders of the group. . . .The 101-page affidavit was released yesterday at the request of the Wall Street Journal. The document, which also includes several lengthy attachments, lays out the government case in detail for the first time, including alleged financial ties going back almost two decades between the Safa Group and groups under investigation for terrorist ties in Florida and Dallas. . . .”

(Idem.)

15.

“The affidavit charges that overlapping companies in the Safa Group were deliberately set up to ‘layer’ or obscure the final destination of millions of dollars that moved in complicated transactions among organizations led by the same small group of people. It details how, from 1996 to 2000, charities in the Safa Group raised $54 million and that $26 million was sent to the Isle of Man, a known tax haven where bank secrecy laws make it impossible to trace the final destination of the money. About $20 million went to Safa Group charities and $8 million went to people and groups outside the organization, according to the group’s outside the organization, according to the group’s own Internal Revenue Service filings.”

(Idem.)

16. Of particular note in connection with the Green Quest raids is Ibrahim Hassaballa, who hand-carried the seed money for the Safa Group from Saudi Arabia.

“The purpose of all the transactions, Kane said, is ‘to route money through hidden paths to terrorists, and to defraud the United States by impeding, impairing, obstructing and defeating the lawful government functions of the IRS.’ In a five-year period, four groups in the network sent more than $26 million to the Isle of Man. The initial money to set up the Safa Group, was $3.4 million hand-carried in 1980 from Saudi Arabia by Ibrahim Hassaballa, Kane said. The heart of the network in the early years was the SAAR foundation, named for Sulaiman Abdul Aziz Rajhi. . . .”

(Idem.)

17.

” . . . The affidavit alleges leaders of the Safa Group knowingly supported the Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), both designated terrorist entities by the United States in 1995. Senior investigators said leaders of the Safa Group also put millions of dollars into banks and companies that financed Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda organization. In the past month, two individuals with ties to the Safa Group have been in federal court.”

(Idem.)

18. Both Soliman S. Bihairi and Abdurahman Alamoudi were heavily involved with Nada and Nasreddin [8].

“On Oct. 9, Soliman S. Bihairi, who handled investments for some of the leaders of the Safa Group, was convicted on two counts of immigration fraud. He awaits sentencing, and prosecutors have requested he receive 10 years in prison because of allegations that Biheiri’s company was used to fund terrorism. Abdurahman Alamoudi, a well-known leader of the American Muslim community who also led several organizations in the Safa Group, was arrested earlier this month on charges of illegally traveling to Libya.”

(Idem.)

19. Note that the above-mentioned Ibrahim Hassaballa also played a role in setting up Bank al Taqwa. Hassaballa was one of many principals involved in the al Taqwa operations and the SAAR network.

” . . . Investigators also say they have uncovered numerous ties between SAAR entities and Bank al Taqwa. Samir Salah—a founder of Safa Trust, SAAR’s successor, and an officer of other SAAR companies—helped establish Bank al Taqwa in the Bahamas in the 1980’s, according to a Treasury document. . . . Ibrahim Hassaballa, another officer of some SAAR related companies, also helped set up Bank al Taqwa in the Bahamas. . . .”

(“U.S. Trails Va. Money, Ties” by Douglas Farah and John Mintz; Washington Post; 10/7/2002; pp. 3-4.)

20. Underscoring the connections between the Third Reich and the Muslim Brotherhood (the parent organization of Al Taqwa), the broadcast reviews the allegation that Youssef Nada helped the Grand Mufti escape from Germany at the end of World War II.

“Another valued World War II Nazi collaborator was Youssef Nada, current board chairman of al-Taqwa (Nada Management), the Lugano, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Bahamas-based financial services outfit accused by the US Treasury Department of money laundering for and financing of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda. As a young man, he had joined the armed branch of the secret apparatus’ (al-jihaz al-sirri) of the Muslim Brotherhood and then was recruited by German military intelligence. When Grand Mufti el-Husseini had to flee Germany in 1945 as the Nazi defeat loomed, Nada reportedly was instrumental in arranging the escape via Switzerland back to Egypt and eventually Palestine, where el-Husseini resurfaced in 1946.)”

(“Islamism, Fascism and Terrorism (Part II)” by Marc Erikson; Asia Times; 11/5/2002; p. 2.) [9]

21. Next, the broadcast focuses on the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic fascist organization that was allied with the axis during World War II and which underlies the majority of Islamic terrorist organizations.

Note that Tariq Ramadan is the son of Said Ramadan and the son-in-law of Hassan Al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Of all the Muslim leaders in Europe, perhaps none has more visibility—and more faces—than Tariq Ramadan. To many experts on Islam, Ramadan, a 41-year-old Swiss-born philosophy professor, is a respectable scholar who promotes a modern, tolerant version of Islam from his headquarters in Geneva and in his lectures around the world.”

(“For Muslim Leader, Devotion and Suspicion” by Elaine Sciolino [New York Times]; International Herald Tribune; 11/17/2003; p. 1.)

22.

“To his Muslim followers in the rough suburbs of France, he is a spiritual guide whose passionate speeches and cassette tapes inspire them to throw themselves and their beliefs into Western society like a ‘bomb,’ as he says on one cassette tape, even as he tells them to become model, law-abiding citizens. To a number of French intellectuals, he is a dangerous demagogue whose words have multiple meanings and are laced with anger and anti-Semitism.”

(Idem.)

23.

“‘So Who is Tariq Ramadan?’ read the front-page headline in the daily tabloid Le Parisien on Friday. Below the headline, there was a color photo of a pensive Ramadan, a hand on his bearded chin. Ask Ramadan the question and he will say that he is a misunderstood man. In an interview on Thursday in an office he keeps in this working-class Paris suburb, he fiercely denied that he was anti-Semitic and attributed the campaign against him to his popularity.”

(Idem.)

24. In assessing Tariq Ramadan, it is particularly important to note the influence he has through his connections with academia and the media. (This influence should be evaluated in the context of the Serpent’s Walk [10] scenario—in which the “opinion-forming media” are the catalyzing agent for the transformation of society into a fascist organization. Ramadan may be viewed as constituting an Islamofascist manifestation of the Serpent’s Walk situation.)

“‘I have so many students and followers in the States,’ he said, noting that his writings are used in American courses on Islam and that he is invited to lecture all over the world. ‘Look at my new book,’ he said, citing the Internet version of a book titled ‘Western Muslims and the Future of Islam’, soon to be published by Oxford University Press. ‘It’s the product of 15 years of work.'”

(Idem.)

25.

” . . . In 1928, his grandfather Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, an Islamic revival movement that preached a return to Muslim values as part of the struggle against Western colonialism and decadence. (The group is now banned in Egypt.) In the 1950’s, the family was sent into exile by the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser, and Ramadan’s father, Said Ramadan, moved with his relatives to Switzerland. There he created an Islamic center that became a place of pilgrimage for figures like Malcom X. Ramadan’s brother Hani won notoriety in France and was suspended from his job as a high school French teacher in Geneva after he wrote an essay for Le Monde last year that justified stoning women as punishment for adultery. . . .”

(Idem.)

26.

” . . . In an interview, [Bernard] Kouchner, a foreign aid advocate and a former health minister of France, called Ramadan ‘absolutely a kook with no historical memory’ and ‘a dangerous man.’ He added, ‘The way he denounced some Jewish intellectuals is close to anti-Semitism.’ In a joint essay in the newsweekly Le Nouvel Observateur three leading French Socialists accused Ramadan of committing a ‘crime’ against the Republic with his words. ‘We cannot allow people to categorize French citizens according to their race, their origin or their religion,’ they said, adding, ‘what Tariq Ramadan has done is sow hatred and racial discord.'”

(Ibid.; p. 2.)

27. According to the book Dollars for Terror, the original move by Said Ramadan to Switzerland was to coordinate the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood with those of Nazi banker Francois Genoud.

“Let us mention only the incident of the treasure of the FLN, at the center of which the banker Francois Genoud may be found. [Said] Ramadan and the Muslim Brothers thought that they could play a part in the Algerian process as they had done in Palestine in 1947. Said Ramadan thus left Munich to settle in the city of Calvin.”

(Dollars for Terror: The United States and Islam; by Richard Labeviere; Copyright 2000 [SC]; Algora Publishing; ISBN 1-892941-06-6; p. 154.) [11]

28. The program reviews an item of discussion from FTR#352. An article in the San Francisco Chronicle contains an assertion that Francois Genoud is believed to have founded Al Taqwa in order to fund terrorists such as Carlos the Jackal and Bin Laden.

“Authorities believe Genoud founded Al Taqwa Bank and allocated its resources to support international terrorists such as Vladimir Ilich Ramirez, alias Carlos the Jackal, and Bin Laden.”

(“Swiss Probe Anti-U.S. Neo-Nazi” by Jay Bushinsky; San Francisco Chronicle; 3/12/2002; p. A12.)

29. In evaluating the tactics of the Muslim Brotherhood–the parent organization of al Qaeda and other Islamist terror groups–it is important to note that, as Tariq Ramadan’s brother Hani stated, the freedoms afforded by the Western Democracies offer the Brotherhood the opportunity to spread its Islamofascist ideology.

” ‘The advantage of our presence in Europe’ Hani Ramadan says, ‘is that we can take advantage of the freedom of the democratic regimes.’ For example on March 11, 1995, Ramadan spoke during a gathering that was officially organized by the Algerian FIS. The demonstration, in fact, brought together the European supporters of the Armed Islamic Groups (GIA). And the center directed by Ramadan, which has enough meeting space for some 20 people, is also used as a hub for the European representatives of various organizations that are under surveillance by several European police forces. . .”

(Ibid.; p. 155.)

30.

” . . . Like his brother Mr. Ramadan Tariq, Mr. Ramadan Hani is thus an important figure in the European Islamist movement and entertains close relations with the Union of Islamist Organizations of France (UOIF). This association has participated in demonstrations in favor of wearing the Islamic headscarf and its sympathies extend to the Palestinian movement Hamas.'”

(Idem.)

31. Next, the program turns to analysis of the extent to which the Brotherhood has successfully penetrated Muslim circles in the United States. One of those whose efforts have penetrated African-American Muslim circles is Dr. Yussef al-Qardawi, a primary element in the al Taqwa network.

“An advisor who insisted on anonymity would later provide me with a confidential list of the founders of the bank and the first shareholders. I thus learned that the president of Al Taqwa’s office of religious control is Dr. Yussef al-Qardawi. Regarded as the theorist behind Islamic international finance, he is famous throughout the Arab world for the radical sermons which he gives regularly on the national television of Qatar, where he is living in exile. This confidential list also mentions several eminent personalities of the Tunisian and Syrian Muslim Brothers, as well as leaders of the international organization of the Fraternity.”

(Ibid.; p. 139.)

32. Al-Qardawi has been involved with the establishment of a mosque in Boston.

“The Islamic organization poised to build the largest mosque in the Northeast on a site in Roxbury has long-standing ties to an Egyptian cleric who praises suicide bombings and a Muslim activist indicted last week in a terrorism financing probe. The Islamic Society of Boston, which has city approval to build a sprawling $22 million Islamic cultural center and mosque on Malcolm X Boulevard, has had a long association with Dr. Yusuf Abdullah al-Qaradawi, whose vocal support of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas prompted the State Department to bar him from entering the U.S. four years ago.”

(“Radical Islam: Outspoken Cleric, Jailed Activist Tied to New Hub Mosque” by Jonathan Wells, Jack Meyers, Maggie Mulvihill and Kevin Wisniewski; The Boston Herald; 10/28/2003.)

33. In addition, Abdurahman Muhammad Alamoudi [6](another Al Taqwa associate) is affiliated with this organization.

“The local religious organization, now headquartered on Prospect Street in Cambridge, was founded by Abdurahman Muhammad Alamoudi—a high-profile Washington, D.C. activist who has publicly supported Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations.”

(Idem.)

34. It is interesting and significant that Europe is witnessing the rise of virulent anti-Semitism. The presence of Islamic fascist elements within Europe is undoubtedly one of the contributing factors, along with some of the European fascist elements associated with them.

“On Britain’s National Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Independent newspaper runs a cartoon of a bloodthirsty Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon devouring a Palestinian baby. Despite many complaints, it is named best cartoon of 2003 by the U.K. Political Cartoon Society. Anti-globalization groups in Germany invoke old stereotypes of Jews as global manipulators by suggesting that Jews played a major role in planning the Iraq war and the events of Sept. 11, 2001. A book alleging that the CIA and Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency conspired to plot the attacks on New York and Washington sits on the German best-seller list for months.”

(“Fears of Anti-Semitism Sweep Europe” by Veronique Mistiaen, Jody K. Biehl and Elizabeth Bryant; San Francisco Chronicle; 12/14/2003; p. A1)