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

For The Record  

FTR #447 Update on 9/11 and Related Matters

Recorded February 29, 2004
Listen:
MP3 Side 1 | Side 2
RealAudio

Introduction: Highlighting various aspects of the continuing investigations into the events in, and around, 9/11, this program focuses primarily on the administrations of the first and second George Bush and their cover-ups of Saudi involvement in terrorist financing and the smuggling of nuclear technology. Particular emphasis is on the role of structural economic relationships in the frustration of various investigations into Islamist terrorism. In addition, the program description also notes the role of Third Reich alumni in the proliferation of nuclear technology in the Muslim world. In addition to the Saudis, the Muslim Brotherhood has also played a pivotal role in Islamist terrorism over the years. This program brings up to date some of the latest information about the Brotherhood’s activities. Note that the program description contains material not included in the original broadcast.

Program Highlights Include: The Bush administration’s backtracking on its stated intention to cooperate fully with the commission investigating 9/11; the ongoing investigation into the Riggs Bank and its alleged links to the financing of 9/11 terrorists; the Bush administration’s sabotaging of Operation Green Quest (the investigation into the financing of Al Qaeda and related elements); review of the GOP connections to the targets of Operation Green Quest; the role of the Afghan mujahadeen support effort in blunting investigations of what was to become Al Qaeda; the expiration of a U.N. task force investigating the financing of terrorism; the role of the Muslim Brotherhood in the founding of Bank Al Taqwa; the role of the Muslim Brotherhood in the founding of the Muslim World League (the most important Saudi Islamist outreach organization); the (second) Bush administration’s interdiction of the investigation into Pakistani nuclear smuggling; the role of European elements in the trafficking of nuclear technology; the first Bush administration’s blunting of an early investigation of Pakistani nuclear activity; the possible role of Nazi operative Francois Genoud in the events in and around 9/11.

1. The program begins with discussion of one of many actions on the part of the Bush administration aimed at limiting or frustrating investigations into the events in, and around, September 11. After indicating that he would cooperate with the commission investigating the 9/11 attacks, Bush then severely limited the testimony that would be given. “The White House said Saturday that President Bush plans to meet with only a limited number of representatives from the commission investigating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, despite a statement issued Friday that suggested he would meet with the whole panel. The new details surprised some commission members—who believed they had secured a promise from Bush for a private meeting with all 10 members—and could add to the tensions that have strained relations between the two sides.” (“Bush Will Meet with Few Sept. 11 Panel Members” [Mercury News wire services]; San Jose Mercury News; 2/15/2004; p. 5A.)

2. In addition, the administration will not permit disclosure of the (potentially compromising) financial connections of panel members who will be investigating intelligence failures in connection with the Iraq war. (For more about the composition of this panel, see FTR#445.) “The White House is declining to make public the financial histories of the commissioners President Bush appointed to investigate American intelligence failures. Administration officials say the arrangement has helped to attract the best-qualified people for the panel, but critics say the White House’s refusal to disclose financial information raises questions about potential conflicts of interest that could cloud the commission’s work. Citing an exemption to federal ethics regulations, the White House says the financial disclosure statements filed by the commission’s nine members will remain confidential because they are not being paid for their work. . . .” (“Intelligence Panel’s Finances Will Stay Private” by Eric Lichtblau; New York Times; 2/15/2004; p. 1; accessed at www.nytimes.com/2004/02/15/politics/15PANE.html.)

3. One of the members of the panel (Lloyd M. Cutler) is a founder of a law firm that has done work for the Carlyle Group, one of the many business ventures that joined the Bush and Bin Laden families. For more about the Carlyle Group, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 284, 329, 347, 406, 438.) ” . . . Also on the panel is Lloyd M. Cutler, a prominent Washington lawyer who has served in several Democratic administrations. The firm he founded, Wilmer Cutler & Pickering, has done work for the Carlyle Group, a large Washington equity firm that has used former President George Bush and other well-connected Republicans to advance its interests in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. Mr. Cutler said in an interview, however, that he had not personally represented the Carlyle Group.” (Ibid.; p. 3.)

4. Investigation of the 9/11 attacks is moving in the direction of the Riggs Bank, one of whose directors is Jonathan Bush, an uncle of the President. (For more about the Riggs bank, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 431, 442.) “Lawyers for the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks have subpoenaed Riggs National Corp. of Washington, seeking information on its handling of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia’s bank accounts. Attorneys are demanding access to a report by federal banking regulators that accuses Riggs of failing to maintain proper controls on the Saudi accounts, through which hundreds of millions of dollars flow annually for embassy operations and Saudi programs in the U.S. The report by the Office of the Comptroller of Currency details alleged lapses by the bank in connection with funds that flowed to two of the Sept. 11 hijackers. Among other things, regulators found that Riggs failed to file reports on suspicious activity involving tens of millions of dollars of transactions by Saudi diplomats, their families and employees. . . .” (“Lawyers for Victims of 9/11 Seek Riggs Records on Saudi Accounts” by Glenn R. Simpson; Wall Street Journal; 2/26/2004; p. A4.)

5. ” . . . The Federal Bureau of Investigation says that an undetermined sum of money from the accounts of Princess Haifa Al-Faisal, wife of Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Bandar bin Sultan, flowed to terrorists Nawaf Al Hazmi and Khalid Al Midhar through a third Saudi man, Omar Al-Bayoumi. The Saudis say Princess Haifa didn’t intend to give any money to the two men. According to people familiar with the matter, a discussion of the accounts at Riggs was among the things the Bush administration insisted on removing from the public version of the 850-page congressional intelligence report on the attacks. The accounts are also part of a continuing FBI investigation into Saudi financial activity in the U.S.” (Idem.)

6. Next, the program highlights the administration’s frustration of Operation Green Quest, the law enforcement/intelligence community operation aimed at interdicting funding for Islamist terrorists. (For more about Operation Green Quest, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 356, 357, 359, 382, 387, 389, 406, 423, 425, 432, 433, 435, 439.) In addition to the profound business connections between the Bush milieu and the Saudis implicated in terrorist funding, Operation Green Quest uncovered concrete links between the GOP and Muslim elements involved with the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, Al Taqwa and Hamas. ” . . . But despite those efforts, the United States has made only limited progress in blocking the funding of terrorists. Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups remain well financed. And one of their major sources of funding, a network of Islamic charities financed by Saudi Arabia, remains relatively uninterrupted. Its tough talk notwithstanding, the Bush Administration has failed to take decisive action against this significant source of terror financing—in part, it seems, to protect the government of Saudi Arabia and its friends in Washington.” (“Charity Cases: Why Has the Bush Administration Failed to Stop Saudi Funding of Terrorism?” by David Armstrong; Harper’s; March/2004; p. 81.)

7. “The Bush Administration has adopted an approach to Saudi terrorist funding that would best be described as hands-off. For example, last summer it censored the twenty-eight pages on the subject from a congressional report on the September 11 attacks and refused to release the names of Saudi entities suspected to be financiers of terrorism. . . .” (Idem.)

8. ” . . . In other cases, the Bush Administration made a conscious decision not to pursue major Saudi conduits for terrorist funding. The clearest example involves two ostensible charities that are long known to have funneled money to Al Qaeda—the International Islamic Relief organization (IIRO) and the Muslim World League (MWL). Both are financed directly by the Saudi government. MWL is an evangelical organization that was created to help spread Wahhabism, the Saudi brand of Islamic fundamentalism; IIRO is a humanitarian relief organization that operates primarily in Muslim countries. Yet a 1996 CIA report alleged that IIRO helped to fund six militant training camps in Afghanistan, and noted that the former head of the group’s Philippines office—Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law—had been linked to plots to ‘target the pope and U.S. airlines.’ U. S. intelligence officials also believe that MWL employees were involved in the 1998 bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa. Although both IIRO and MWL were known to have funded Al Qaeda, U.S. government sources indicated to Newsweek in October 2001 that the Bush Administration left the two organizations off the list of designated terrorist group in order to spare the Saudi government from embarrassment.” (Idem.)

9. Among the fish netted by Operation Green Quest is Abdurahman Alamoudi, himself very close to the GOP. (For more about Alamoudi, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 433, 435, 439.) Note that the responsibility for Operation Green Quest has been given to the FBI, which has been less than forthcoming with those involved in the investigation. (For more about this, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 425, 433, 435.) Note that Robert Mueller, head of the FBI, is compromised by his past (and less than vigorous) investigations into the Saudi/Bush/intelligence connection. (For more about this, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 310, 424.) “On top of this, the most promising domestic inquiry into these Saudi groups has been dismantled. In March 2002, as part of a Customs Service investigation known as Operation Green Quest, government investigators raided the Virginia offices of IIRO and MWL, along with a number of other Saudi-backed charities and businesses. Although the raids turned up concrete evidence that elements of the network had funded individuals and groups designated as terrorists by the United States, no assets have been frozen and that the few, belated arrests in this case have been made on charges unrelated to terrorist financing. In particular, Abdurahman Alamoudi, who heads a group called the Success Foundation—which in the late 1990’s absorbed the U.S. operations of IIRO—has been charged only with accepting money from Libya and with immigration violations, despite evidence, seized from the offices of Success and other groups he controls, of their material support not just for Hamas but for two known Al Qaeda fronts. (Alamoudi was once caught on tape remarking that he disapproved of the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa only because no Americans were killed, and that instead he preferred more ‘strategic’ targets such as the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, which had been bombed in 1994.) Now, under an agreement between Attorney General John Ashcroft and department of Homeland Security head Tom Ridge signed in May 2003, the Customs Service—part of Homeland Security since last March—has relinquished control of its counterterrorism investigations to the FBI, which repeatedly had refused to turn over critical investigative files to Green Quest agents. This deal between Ashcroft and Ridge effectively shut down Green Quest, quashing the one serious—if flawed—probe into domestic terrorist financing.” (Ibid.; pp. 81-82.)

10. Among the reasons for the blunting of the Green Quest inquiries is the fact that the funding conduits that nourished Al Qaeda had their genesis during the Reagan administrations and the first Bush administration. Those Islamic charities and businesses that lent financial support to Bin Laden’s cadre had earlier served to fund the Afghan mujahadeen fighting the Soviets in the 1980’s. “Part of the Bush Administration’s reluctance to confront the Saudis over terrorist financing may have less to do with embarrassing a key ally in the Middle East than with embarrassing the United States itself. Cracking down on IIRO and MWL, for example, would threaten to expose not only Saudi support of terrorism but also America’s own role in helping to create what would eventually become part of Al Qaeda’s funding network. During the 1980’s, the United States actively promoted the use of these and other Islamic charities as part of a joint U.S.-Saudi effort to fund the Afghan mujahedeen in their fight against the Soviet Union. The Reagan-Bush Administration, in cooperation with the Saudi government, funneled millions of dollars to the Afghan rebels through these charities to preserve ‘deniability’ of its support for a covert proxy war. When the scheme succeeded and the Soviets withdrew in 1989, the United States simply turned its back, leaving in place the funding apparatus it had helped to create. It also left behind extensive training and logistical facilities, an elaborate network of trans-Islamic organizations, large quantities of military hardware, and, more importantly, a large and experienced army of expert Islamic guerilla fighters anxious to carry on their struggle. It was at that point, in the midst of the first Bush Administration, that Osama bin Laden began transforming the mujahedeen funding network into a into a support structure for his newly created anti-Western jihadist organization—Al Qaeda.” (Ibid.; p. 82.)

11. “Meanwhile, elements of the erstwhile mujahedeen funding network, most notably IIRO and MWL, were expanding their operations and establishing offices worldwide, including the United States. During the next decade these organizations became prime conduits for Saudi financing of groups, including al Qaeda, now regarded by the United States as terrorist organizations. Thus the Islamic terrorism financing structure that the Bush Administration now proposes to crush is, in part, an outgrowth of the Reagan-Bush Administration’s Cold War effort to undermine the Soviet Union—a classic example of ‘blowback.’ For the Bush Administration to designate groups such as IIRO and MWL as terrorist financiers would risk unwelcome questions about the wisdom of having funded and trained an army of Islamic militants. Doing so would also expose the intelligence community to criticism for its failure to adequately monitor these former allies and their extensive funding network.” (Idem.)

12. In the context of the frustration of Operation Green Quest, the program notes the connections between the institutions and individuals targeted in the 3/20/2002 raids and the GOP. (For more about this subject, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 356, 357, 368, 376, 415, 433, 435.) “But the dilemma, for the Bush Administration, extends far beyond issues of history. Many prominent politicians—not least among them the Bushes—have for years maintained close political, business, and personal dealings with the Saudi royal family and, more generally, Saudi interests. The extent of the administration’s difficulties on this front became clear shortly after the Green Quest raids in March 2002. Just two weeks after the Customs task force raided the Saudi-backed groups in northern Virginia, two leading Muslim activists with ties to the groups were allowed to meet with Paul O’Neill, then secretary of the Treasury Department (which, at the time, controlled Customs) to complain about the conduct of the raids. The meeting was arranged by Grover Norquist, the influential Republican activist; Norquist is also the founder and former chair of the Islamic Institute, a conservative Muslim outreach group in which both of the men who met with O’Neill are officers and which has received funding from some of the raided individuals and groups, including Abdurahman Alamoudi.” (Idem.)

13. Talat Othman (a close associate of both Georges Bush) interceded on behalf of the targets of Operation Green Quest. (For more about this, see FTR#’s 356, 376, 415.) “And the connections do not end there. One of the Muslim activists who met with O’Neill was Talat Othman, a longtime friend and former business associate of President Bush. The two served together on the board of the Texas-based oil company Harken Energy starting in the late 1980’s and have remained close ever since. Othman sat on Harken’s board as the representative of Abdullah Taha Bakhsh, a Saudi business magnate and a close associate of suspected terrorist financier Khalid bin Mahfouz. Bakhsh now heads an oil company that is a subsidiary of Halliburton, the energy giant formerly run by Vice President Dick Cheney.” (Idem.)

14. “In addition to his work at the Islamic Institute, Othman serves on the board of Amana Mutual Funds Trust, an Islamic investment group that had close ties to raided entities and yet was not itself targeted. At the time of the Green Quest raids, in March 2002, at least four figures from the targeted groups were affiliated with Amana, icluding M. Yaqub Mirza, the individual who set up the U.S. branch of MWL, the fund-raising arm of the U.S. branch of IIRO, and many of the other raided organizations. Despite Mirza’s presence on the board, and despite the fact that large sums of money from the suspect groups have moved through Amana, Green Quest agents chose not to raid the firm.” (Idem.)

15. As noted above and in—among other broadcasts—FTR#’s 356, 357, 376, 390, 415, 423, 433, 435, the milieu of the SAAR network 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 FBI’s and CIA’s hostile interest in the investigators of Operation Green Quest. The investigators who were so harassed included 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? . . .” (Terrorist Hunter by “Anonymous” [Rita Katz]; CCC [imprint of Harper Collins]; Copyright 2003 by Harper Collins [HC]; ISBN 0-06-052819-2; p. 328.)

16. ” . . . 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.)

17. “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.)

18. A disturbing fact concerns the expiration of a U.N. task force that had been enforcing regulations against the financing of terrorism. Among the institutions that appears to have survived attempts at interdiction is the Al Taqwa network. (For more about the Al Taqwa network’s continued operations, see FTR#’s 433. 435, 442. For more about Al Taqwa, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 343, 352, 354, 356, 357, 359, 377, 378, 382, 413, 415, 416, 423, 425, 432, 433, 435, 439, 442. See also: three very important articles by Kevin Coogan: “The Mysterious Achmed Huber: Friend to Hitler, Allah and Ibn Ladin?” ; “Report on Islamists, The Far Right, and Al Taqwa” ; and “Achmed Huber, The Avalon Gemeinschaft, and the Swiss ‘New Right'”.) “A U.N. task force that fought the flow of money to Al Qaeda expired last month. After 9/11, U.N. members were required to freeze the assets of companies, charities and individuals who law-enforcement and intelligence agencies believed were funneling cash to Osama bin Laden’s network of the Taliban regime. The monitoring group ruffled feathers last year when it complained that some suspect individuals and groups continued to operate—including branches of a major Saudi charity, the Al-Haramain Foundation. Last week the Saudis and Treasury Secretary John Snow announced that a handful of Al-Haramain offices, including two branches linked to the U.S. Embasy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, only now are being closed. Al-Haramain’s Saudi HQ remains open. U.N. monitors also noted that principals in Al Taqwa, a Swiss-based Islamic financial network linked to bin Laden, stayed in business by renaming a couple of companies in Liechtenstein. A resolution to reestablish the task force may be introduced this week. But some U.N. officials fear the monitors’ power to criticize member countries may be sharply curtailed.” (“No More Watchdog” by Mark Hosenball; Newsweek; 2/2/2004; p. 8.)

19. Next, the program turns to the role of the Muslim Brotherhood, and its pivotal role in the founding of Al Taqwa. (For more about the Muslim Brotherhood, see—among other programs–FTR#’s 343, 344, 350, 351, 377, 381, 382, 414, 416, 439, 442. In addition, see “Islamism, Fascism and Terrorism” by Marc Erikson [Asia Times]; Parts I-IV. Parts I and II can be accessed at www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/DK08Ak03.html; Part III can be accessed at www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/DL04Ak01.html; Part IV can be accessed at www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/DL05Ak01.html.) This part of the program accesses information from an interview with Richard Labeviere, author of Dollars for Terror. Note the central role of the leadership of the Brotherhood (Said Ramadan in particular) in the founding of Bank Al Taqwa. “LE NOUVEL OBSERVATEUR:–In one of your works, you claim that the father of Tariq Ramadan, Said, was one of the founders of bank Al Taqwa, suspected by the United States to have financed Al Qaeda. RICHARD LABEVIERE:–In April 1998 in Cairo, I interviewed Mustapha Masshur, the Guide of the Brotherhood of the Moslem Brothers, at the seat of this organization, located at the edge of the Nile. One had then evoked the operation of the Islamic banks. The Guide assured me that Youssef Nada, the financier of the Moslem Brothers, and Said Ramadan, the father of Tariq Ramadan, were friendly since their escape from Egypt, in the middle of the 1950’s and that they were at the origin of the creation of bank Al Taqwa, the fiduciary company based in Lugano, whose seat was in the Bahamas. This establishment managed the money of the members of the Brotherhood. The Guide, now deceased, said to me that the Ramadan brothers always acted in the logic of their great father—Hassan el Banna, and that they were regarded as agents of the interests of the founder of the Brotherhood.” (“Secrets of the Financial Holy War [Interview with Richard Labeviere]”; La Nouvel Observateur; 1/31/2004; pp. 1-2; accessed at: http://www.bethel-fr.com/voxdei/infos/afficher_info.php3?cle+8439 .)

20. “N.O.:–That does not make any [of them], therefore, the accomplices of Bin Laden. R. LABEVIERE:–No, of course, But this bank, Al Taqwa, is suspect by the FBI, this shortly after the 11th of September, to have taken part in the financing of Bin Laden. It [Al Taqwa] is reproduced on the black list of the Americans. However, this kind of Islamic bank is quasi-impenetrable. It does not have the right to make interest, it thus makes assemblages of risk capital.—Translation: it invests in concrete operations, financing of NGO, etc. In fact, multi-stage financial arrangements feed a myriad of charitable organizations. It is what the specialists call bleaching back [laundering]—it is a zigzag a labyrinth in which the investigators lose themselves, inevitably. When one examines the financial exercises of these establishments, a whole fringe of their activities is registered under the heading of zakat, the religious tax, the obligation of charity, a truly forbidden zone. However one knows that the zakat is used to finance offshore companies, protected perfectly by the same bank secrecy, and also the Islamic NGO’s, which are completely unverifiable and uncontrolled. Thus, since November 2001, bank Al Taqwa changed names but Youssef Nada, the friend of Said Ramadan, continues its activities. The investigation does nothing create publicity.” (Ibid.; p. 2.)

21. The program highlights the power of Saudi capital in preventing the interdiction of Islamist funding sources. Note the failure of Carla del Ponte to move successfully against Saudi capital in Swiss banks. Del Ponte is a law partner of Pier Felice Barchi, the lawyer for Youssef Nada. (For more about del Ponte, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 359, 446.) “N.O.—What can make the Swiss authorities wrap up the matter? R. LABEVIERE:–The problem is that in Switzerland, the banking interests are the absolute priority. For the Federal government. It is imperative not to annoy the Saudis and their bankers. The experts of FATF (Group of Financial Action) consider the Saudi assets placed in Switzerland at between 30-60 billion dollars. It is a vital activity for this country [Switzerland]. So, nobody really wants to unearth a scandal which could kill the hen that lays the golden eggs. Judge Carla del Ponte even (when she was Attorney General of the Confederation) after the attack at Luxor in 1997, was accused of dragging her feat. To defend herself, she explained that she was confronted with a wall of money.” (Ibid.; pp. 2-3.)

22. It is worth noting that Said Ramadan was instrumental in the founding of the Muslim World League, one of the primary Islamist outreach organs of the Saudi government. (See the Harper’s article above, for more about the MWL.) “N.O.:–But the Ramadans are not directly implied in this history. R. LABEVIERE:–Historically, Said Ramadan was one of the founders of the Muslim World League, in 1961. It was he who advised the Saudis to finance the dawa in Europe, the propagation of the faith, by money, a kind of financial holy war. It is one of the key characters of this ideological war. He [Said Ramadan] is a central figure in the international branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Egyptian intelligence services suspect him of working directly for the Americans in the 1960’s.” (Ibid.; p. 3.)

23. 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. It was in this precise time period that Ramadan was instrumental in the formation of the Muslim World League. “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; visit www.algora.com .)

24. The program reviews an item of discussion from FTR#352. An article in the San Francisco Chronicle contains an allegation 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; visit http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2002/03/12/MN192483.DTL.) (For more about Genoud, see Miscellaneous Archive Shows M19 and M21, as well as FTR#’s 333, 341, 343, 344, 350, 351, 354, 371, 377, as well as the FTR interviews with Kevin Coogan.)

25. Reprising an item of discussion from FTR#357, the program cites the opinion of Ernest Backes (one of Europe’s foremost experts on money laundering) concerning the role of Francois Genoud in the development of the events of 9/11. Genoud (who committed suicide in 1996) was very close to Al Taqwa personages, especially Achmed Huber. According to Backes, Genoud was also a financial adviser to the Bin Laden family. “Financial expert Ernest Backes of Luxembourg has [studied] white-collar crime in the field of banking for many years. According to him, there are indications of unusual transactions with which the groups [associated with] bin Laden could have earned money. ‘You can, for example, examine whether, within a certain time period there’s been an attack against the securities of a given airline company. Since these securities are safe in a ‘clearing system,’ you can’t get an overall view, who the owner was at a given time.’ . . .According to Backes’ information, the trail leads to Switzerland, to the accounts of an organization that was founded by the late lawyer Francois Genoud and evidently still survives. Says Backes, ‘One of the grounds for accusation is that this Swiss attorney had the closest connections with the Bin Laden family, that he was an advisor to the family, one of its investment bankers. It’s known for certain, that he supported terrorism and was the estate executor for Hitler and part of the terror milieu.'”
(“Insider Trading Prior to the Terror Attacks in the US?: Speculating on Terror—Who Profited from the Attacks?” by Rolf Bovier & Pierre Matthias; Bayerische Rundfunk Online (BR-Online); 9/25/2001.)

26. Before leaving the subject of Genoud, the program reprises an item of information from FTR#354. The co-chairman of the board of directors of SICO, the holding company that manages the Bin Laden business interests in Europe, is Baudoin Dunant, a friend and professional associate of Francois Genoud. “This company, established by the bin Ladens in 1980, is the flagship for the group’s activities in Europe. It is headed by Yeslam bin Laden, and the board of directors is made up almost exclusively of members of the family clan, except for a Swiss citizen, Baudoin Dunant. This well-known lawyer from French-speaking Switzerland, who is on the boards of several dozen companies, came to public notice in 1983 when he agreed to represent the Swiss banker Francois Genoud, a controversial figure who had been a disciple of Hitler and sole heir of Goebbels’s copyrights before becoming one of the financiers of the FLN during the Algerian War. The friendships of the bin Ladens sometimes seem surprising, but they are logical: Francois Genoud has always been pro-Arab.”
(In the Name of Osama Bin Laden; by Roland Jacquard; Copyright 2002 [SC]; Duke University Press; ISBN 0-8223-2991-3; pp. 17-18.)

27. The balance of the program deals with the recent disclosures of a nuclear smuggling ring, involving Pakistan’s “father of the bomb” Dr. A.Q. Khan and the elements that helped him smuggle the nuclear technology to other countries. The Bush administration blocked investigation of this operation, once again to protect Saudi interests, who were helping to finance the creation of the so-called “Islamic Bomb.” “On November7, 2001, BBC TV and The Guardian of London reported that the Bush administration thwarted investigations of Dr. A.Q. Khan, who this week confessed to selling atomic secrets to Libya, North Korea, and Iran. The Bush Administration has expressed shock at the disclosures that Pakistan, our ally in the war on terror, has been running a nuclear secrets bazaar. In fact, according to the British news team’s sources, Bush did not know of these facts because, shortly after his inauguration, his National Security Agency (NSA) effectively stymied the probe of Khan Research Laboratories. CIA and other agents could not investigate the spread of ‘Islamic Bombs’ through Pakistan because funding appeared to originate in Saudi Arabia.”
(“Khan Job: Bush Spiked Probe of Pakistan’s Dr. Strangelove, BBC Reported in 2001” by Greg Palast; Gregpalast.com; 2/9/2004.)

28. “According to both sources and documents obtained by the BBC, the Bush Administration ‘Spike’ of the investigation of Dr. Khan’s Lab followed from a wider policy of protecting key Saudi Arabians including the bin Laden Family. Despite these tantalizing facts, Abdullah and his operations were A-OK with the FBI chiefs, if not their working agents. Just a dumb SNAFU? Not according to a top-level CIA operative who spoke with us on condition of anonymity. After Bush took office, he said, ‘there was a major policy shift’ at the National Security Agency. Investigators were ordered to ‘back off’ from any inquiries into Saudi Arabian financing of terror networks, especially if they touched on Saudi royals and their retainers. That put the bin Ladens, a family worth a reported $12 billion and a virtual arm of the Saudi royal household, off limits for investigation. Osama was the exception; he remained a wanted man, but agents could not look too closely at how he filled his piggy bank. The key rule of any investigation, ‘follow the money,’ was now violated, and investigations—at least before September 11-began to die.” (Idem.)

29. “And there was a lot to investigate—or, in the case of the CIA and FBI under Bush—a lot to ignore. Through well-known international arms dealers (I’m sorry, but in this business, sinners are better sources than saints) our team was tipped off to a meeting of Saudi billionaires at the Hotel Royale Monceau in Paris in May 1996 with the financial representative of Osama bin Laden’s network. The Saudis, including a key Saudi prince joined by Muslim and non-Muslim gun traffickers, met to determine who would pay how much to Osama. This was not so much an act of support but of protection—a pay-off to keep the mad bomber away from Saudi Arabia.” (Idem.)

30. “The crucial question here is that, if I could learn about this meeting, how did the CIA miss it? In fact, since the first edition of this book, other sources have disclosed that the meeting was monitored by French intelligence. Since U.S. intelligence was thus likely informed, the question becomes why didn’t the government immediately move against the Saudis?” (Idem.)

31. ” I probed our CIA contact for specifics of investigations that were hampered by orders to back off of the Saudis. He told us that the Khan Laboratories investigation had been effectively on hold.” (Idem.)

32. The administration of the first President Bush also turned a blind eye to Pakistan’s nuclear development, once again in order to help shield the Pakistani role in the Afghan mujahadeen war against the Soviets. “Pakistan warned the United States 14 years ago that it might give nuclear technology to Iran, but the administration of President Bush’s father did little to follow up, former Pentagon officials say. Word of the 1990 threat from Pakistan’s top general apparently was not passed along to the Clinton administration when it took office three years later, according to interviews by the Associated Press. . . .” (“Pakistan Threatened to Give Iran Nuclear Know-How in ’90” by Matt Kelley [AP]; San Francisco Chronicle; 2/28/2004; p. A3.)

33. ” . . . But former government arms control officials and declassified documents show the United States knew about Pakistan’s nuclear procurement network since 1983 and suspected the transfers to Iran since the mid-1980’s. The United States had hints of the transfers to North Korea in the mid-1990’s, officials say. The clearest evidence of the Iran link came in January 1990, when Pakistan’s army chief of staff conveyed his threat to arm Iran to a top Pentagon official. Henry Rowen, at the time an assistant defense secretary, said Pakistani Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg had issued the warning in a face-to-face meeting in Pakistan. . . .” (Idem.)

34. ” . . . Sokolski and Rowen said former President George H.W. Bush’s administration had done little to follow up on Beg’s warning. ‘In hindsight, maybe before or after that they did make some transfers,’ Rowen said. . . .” (Idem.)

35. “While Islamabad and Washington squabbled about the evidence, the Khan network provided sophisticated technology to Libya, North Korea and Iran, three countries the United States considered among the most dangerous. A decade earlier, the Reagan administration had looked the other way on Pakistan’s nuclear program, said Stephen Cohen, a State Department expert on the region from 1985 to 1987. Back then, Washington used Pakistan as a conduit for sending weapons and money to guerillas fighting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. ‘They were covering up our involvement in Afghanistan, pretending we played no role in Afghanistan, so they expected us to cover up their role in procuring a weapons system they saw as vital to their survival,’ said Cohen, now with the Brookings Institution.” (Idem.)

36. Next, the program turns to the role of European elements in the Dr. A.Q. Khan network. “The Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan has been demonized in the West for selling atomic secrets and equipment around the world, but the trade began in Europe, not Islamabad, according to court documents and experts who monitor proliferation. The records show that industry scientists and Western intelligence agencies have known for decades that nuclear technology was pouring out of Europe despite national export control efforts to contain it. Many of the names that have turned up among lists of suppliers and middlemen who fed equipment, materials and knowledge to nuclear programs in Pakistan and other aspiring nuclear nations are well-known players in Europe’s uranium enrichment industry, a critical part of many nuclear weapons programs. Some have been convicted of illegal exports before. . . . ” (“Roots of Pakistan Atomic Scandal Traced to Europe” by Craig S. Smith; New York Times; 2/19/2004; p. 1; accessed at www.nytimes.com/2004/02/19/international/europe/NUKE .)

37. ” . . . The problem began with the 1970 Treaty of Almelo, under which Britain, Germany and the Netherlands agreed to develop centrifuges to enrich uranium jointly, ensuring their nuclear power industry a fuel source independent of the United States. Urenco, or the Uranium Enrichment Company, was established the next year with its primary enrichment plant at Almelo, the Netherlands.” (Ibid.; pp. 1-2.)

38. “Security at Urenco was by most accounts slipshod. The consortium relied on a network of research centers and subcontractors to build its centrifuges, and top-secret blueprints were passed out to companies bidding on tenders, giving engineers across Europe an opportunity to appropriate designs. Dr. Khan, who worked for a Urenco Dutch subcontractor, Physics Dynamic Research Laboratory, was given access to the most advanced designs, even though he came from Pakistan, which has already known to harbor nuclear ambitions. A 1980 report by the Dutch government on his activities said he visited the Almelo factory in May 1972 and by late 1974 had an office there. . . .” (Ibid.; p. 2.)

39. ” . . . That same year [1987], despite American warnings to Germany that such a sale was imminent, a German firm exported to Pakistan a plant for the recovery of tritium, a volatile gas used to increase the power of nuclear bombs. The company simply called the plant something else to obtain an export license. ‘The export control office didn’t even inspect the goods,’ said Reinhard Huebner, the German prosecutor who handled the subsequent trial of the company’s chief, Rudolf Ortmayers, and Peter Finke, a German physicist who went to Pakistan to train engineers there to operate the equipment. Both men were sentenced to jail for violating export control laws.” (Idem.)

40. Among the Urenco figures involved in the smuggling of nuclear material was Karl Heinz Schaab, who smuggled critical nuclear technology to the Iraqis. “But there were clues that the technology had spread even further: a German intelligence investigation determined that Iraq and possibly Iran and North Korea had obtained Uranium-melting expertise stolen from Urenco in 1984, Mr. Hibbs reported in Nucleonics Week several years later. In 1989, two engineers, Bruno Stemmler and Karl Heinz Schaab, who had worked for Germany’s MAN New Technology, another Urenco subcontractor, sold plans for advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges to Iraq. They went to Baghdad to help solve problems in making the equipment work. In 1991, after the first Iraq war, international inspectors were stunned to discover the extent of Saddam Hussein’s hidden program. Mr. Schaab was later convicted of treason but only served a little more than a year in jail. Mr. Stemmler died before he could be tried. . . .” (Idem.)

41. ” . . . As recently as last year, German customs agents seized high-tensile-strength aluminum tubes made by a German company and bound for North Korea. The tubes matched the specifications for the housings of Urenco’s uranium-enriching centrifuges.” (Ibid.; p. 3.)

42. This description concludes with a recap of information about Karl –Heinz Schaab from FTR#395. Note that this information was not in the broadcast of FTR#447, itself. The Schaab/Urenco/Khan connection will be explored at greater length in a future program. “Stealing the Fire is an investigative film that provides staggering evidence showing how a German scientist, Karl Heinz Schaab, who helped develop the centrifuges necessary to extract weapons-grade Uranium 235, sold classified documents in the early 1990’s to Iraq.” (“Stealing the Fire;” Eye Spy; Issue 13; p. 18.)

43. It is interesting to note that the co-producer of the film discovered the “clandestine nuclear trail” while working on a PBS show about the BCCI. The BCCI scandal is inextricably linked with the subject of Saudi Arabia and the events of 9/11. (For a summary account of the significance of the BCCI scandal in the context of 9/11, see FTR#391 and the programs referenced in that program.) ” . . . The investigation started many, many years ago. In 1992, Eric Nadler an investigative journalist, began researching material on the underground trafficking of nuclear weapons. Ten years later, he and co-producer, John S. Friedman, the founder of the Documentary Center at Colombia University have released their findings. Nadler told Paperclips magazine. ‘I was working for Frontline on PBS, and I was doing a story about the BCCI scandal, which was a crooked bank based in Pakistan. I was doing a story called ‘The Arming of Saudi Arabia’ about the hidden history of United States/Saudi relations. I got very disturbed about the hidden history, especially about nuclear stories that weren’t being covered . . .” (Ibid.; pp. 18-19.)

44. According to Mr. Nadler, Saudi Arabia was heavily involved in financing Saddam Hussein’s quest for the bomb. Like the Saudis and the Bush family, Saddam Hussein’s own history is inextricably linked with that of the Third Reich. The For The Record series presents the view that Al Qaeda, the Wahhabi militants, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Iraqis and the PLO constitute “proxy warriors” for the Underground Reich, against the USA, Britain and Israel. (For discussion of the Saudi links to the Third Reich, see the discussion and references in FTR#391.) “. . . And I produced for Frontline something that aired in 1992, in which our team got classified CIA and DIA documents, which said the following: ‘We know that Saudi Arabia has given $5 billion to Saddam Hussein’s nuclear program for the express purpose of building a nuclear bomb.’ My investigative team at Frontline got the banks, we got the dates, we got the money transfers, and we put this on American television. [We showed] that America’s biggest ally in the Gulf had given $5 billion to the Hitler of the Gulf to build nuclear weapons. And though USA Today put it on their television page, it caused barely a ripple in the popular culture. I was interested in secret nuclear stories from that moment on . . .” (Ibid.; p. 19.)

45. In Stealing the Fire, the central figure in the Iraqi/German nuclear connection was one Karl Heinz Schaab. ” . . . He was fascinated by Iraq’s determined efforts to create nuclear weapons. By examining the investigation of the United Nations weapons inspectors, he came across a ‘mysterious man’-Karl Heinz Schaab. Nadler and Friedman thought that by researching Schaab, this would open other doors and reveal the companies behind the ‘covert nuclear trading deals . . .'” (Idem.)

46. Schaab was a protégé of Dr. Gernot Zippe, one of the principal figures involved with developing the Third Reich’s nuclear program. “Schaab was a student of Dr. Gernot Zippe, an Austrian physicist often referred to as the ‘father of the centrifuge.’ And Stealing the Fire is as much about the centrifuge as the dirty deals done to get the technology to Iraq. Nadler says the equipment originated in the research laboratories of wartime Germany. Hence the information supplied by Schaab in 1989 to the Iraqis basically originated from the failed Nazi atomic bomb program.” (Idem.)

47. After discussing Zippe’s capture by the Soviets and his work for the U.S.S.R. on nuclear matters, the program sets forth his return to Degussa, the firm which produced the Zyklon B for the gas chambers in World War II. (For more on Degussa, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 87, 292, 294, 388.) “The nuclear scientist worked at the University of Virginia for a while, and de-briefed the Pentagon on the Russian centrifuge. However, he got homesick and soon returned to Germany and found work at Degussa.” (Idem.)

11. Zippe was not the only Third Reich alumnus associated with Degussa’s nuclear export operations. “Dr. Alfred Boettcher was an SS scientific officer who headed the precious metals division at Degussa in the postwar years. He later became nuclear export attache for the West German Government.” (Ibid.; p. 21.)

48. Degussa subsidiary NUKEM was the division involved with the trafficking of nuclear material to Iraq, as well as other countries attempting to manufacture nuclear weapons. Boettcher and Zippe were joined by yet another Third Reich alumnus in Germany’s work on behalf of Iraq’s nuclear efforts. (For more on NUKEM, see Miscellaneous Archive Show M-8.) “Two transactions that spring heightened fears that Iraq intended to use the Osirak reactor to produce bomb-grade plutonium. An Italian company, in a semi-clandestine deal, sold Iraq six tons of depleted uranium purchased from the West German nuclear consortium NUKEM. Fearing that NUKEM might not deliver the uranium if they knew it was intended for Iraq, the Italians claimed it was for domestic use in Italy. But they needn’t have worried about NUKEM’s scruples. The consortium was a wholly owned subsidiary of the German chemicals giant Degussa, which had invented and manufactured Zyklon B, the powerful cyanide gas that streamed out of the showerheads in Hitler’s death camps, killing millions of European Jews. Degussa had also played a key role in the Nazi effort to build an atom bomb, stopped only when its Oranienburg works near Berlin were flattened by U.S. bombers in 1945. That same year, the Third Reich was going up in flames, Degussa’s chairman, Hermann Schlosser, donated 45,000 reichsmarks to Hitler’s SS. Thirty-five years later Schlosser was still on the Degussa board, and in 1987 he was awarded the German Federal Merit Cross for his services to industry. One of Schlosser’s services was shipping nuclear equipment and materials to almost every developing nation that was known to have a clandestine bomb program. Another was opening the vast Iraqi market to German firms. His readiness to supply nuclear materials to both India and Pakistan had impressed on Saddam Hussein that this was a man he could do business with.” (The Death Lobby: How the West Armed Iraq; Kenneth Timmerman; Copyright 1991 [HC]; Houghton Mifflin Company; p. 70.) (For more on the arming of Iraq, see RFA-20, FTR #’s 16, 24, 31, 52, 87, 287, 295.)

49. “Nadler called Degussa ‘the worst company ever.’ The investigator believes the directors of the company were ‘not prosecuted because of their international connections to several major US corporations.'” (Ibid.; p. 20.)

50. It is significant that, according to Nadler, the Iraqis received software, not hardware. This complicates the issue considerably. As will be noted in future programs, just what happened to this software is a source for concern. In the context of the Underground Reich (heavily involved with Latin America as well as the Middle East), it is worth noting that Schaab was also involved with deals with members of the Brazilian armed forces. “Schaab’s name was actually found on documents recovered by UN weapons inspectors in Iraq. He had been selling the centrifuge secrets to Baghdad. Eye Spy asked Nadler just what exactly the Iraqis received for their money, ‘software not hardware,’ he said. He then confirmed that with this data Iraq could easily build a factory—a production line-for nuclear bombs. The investigators tracked Schaab to Brazil, where he temporarily fled to avoid prosecution. Here also was the location of further obscure deals with high ranking officials of the Brazilian armed forces.” (Ibid.; p. 20.)

51. Nadler notes the role of Germany as the greatest exporter of nuclear technology in the postwar period. (The German role in the development of the Pakistani bomb is discussed in FTR#336. There is documented sympathy among some of the creators of the Pakistani bomb for the Taliban regime.) ” . . . .The investigator’s research tends to support the British intelligence brief on Iraq’s WMD, and highlights a controversial deal between a NATO country and Iraq. Nadler said that between 1945 and 1990, Germany was the ‘greatest proliferator of nuclear weapons technology in the world . . .'” (Idem.)

52. Schaab appears to have been operating with the blessings of the German government. (For more on the German government—and Underground Reich–connection to the Iraqi nuclear program, see FTR#155.) ” . . . On the German Government’s light sentence for Schaab, and the suggestion other people might be involved, Nadler was diplomatic: ‘Schaab had a story and he stuck to it. He said that two other men who are now dead were involved. But it’s quite clear that all this activity had to be monitored and known by the Germans. We can safely say that the case was woefully under-investigated, and, as one person says in our film, the German government just wanted it to go away. . .'” (Idem.)

53. ” . . . Schaab took the secret plans of the centrifuge and sold hundreds of blueprints to the Iraqis. And on a recent television news program on Fox, Nadler said it is possible that Iraq may have sold the plans to al-Qaeda. ‘The fact remains that the classified plans for uranium enrichment technology were stolen and sold to the Iraqis; what they do with it is a mystery. . . .”’ (Idem.)

Discussion

5 comments for “FTR #447 Update on 9/11 and Related Matters”

  1. It sounds like the notorious 28 pages of the redacted Joint Intelligence Committee Inquiry on 9/11 is quite the page turner. Hopefully it will be available in paperback soon. Or ever:

    International Business Times
    9/11 Link To Saudi Arabia Is Topic Of 28 Redacted Pages In Government Report; Congressmen Push For Release
    By Jamie Reno
    on December 09 2013 2:09 PM

    Since terrorists attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, victims’ loved ones, injured survivors, and members of the media have all tried without much success to discover the true nature of the relationship between the 19 hijackers – 15 of them Saudi nationals – and the Saudi Arabian government. Many news organizations reported that some of the terrorists were linked to the Saudi royals and that they even may have received financial support from them as well as from several mysterious, moneyed Saudi men living in San Diego.

    Saudi Arabia has repeatedly denied any connection, and neither President George W. Bush nor President Obama has been forthcoming on this issue.

    But earlier this year, Reps. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., and Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., were given access to the 28 redacted pages of the Joint Intelligence Committee Inquiry (JICI) of 9/11 issued in late 2002, which have been thought to hold some answers about the Saudi connection to the attack.

    “I was absolutely shocked by what I read,” Jones told International Business Times. “What was so surprising was that those whom we thought we could trust really disappointed me. I cannot go into it any more than that. I had to sign an oath that what I read had to remain confidential. But the information I read disappointed me greatly.”

    The public may soon also get to see these secret documents. Last week, Jones and Lynch introduced a resolution that urges President Obama to declassify the 28 pages, which were originally classified by President George W. Bush. It has never been fully explained why the pages were blacked out, but President Bush stated in 2003 that releasing the pages would violate national security.

    While neither Jones nor Lynch would say just what is in the document, some of the information has leaked out over the years.A multitude of sources tell IBTimes, and numerous press reports over the years in Newsweek, the New York Times, CBS News and other media confirm, that the 28 pages in fact clearly portray that the Saudi government had at the very least an indirect role in supporting the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attack. In addition, these classified pages clarify somewhat the links between the hijackers and at least one Saudi government worker living in San Diego.

    Former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., who chaired the Joint Inquiry in 2002 and has been beating the drum for more disclosure about 9/11 since then, has never understood why the 28 pages were redacted. Graham told IBTimes that based on his involvement in the investigation and on the now-classified information in the document that his committee produced, he is convinced that “the Saudi government without question was supporting the hijackers who lived in San Diego…. You can’t have 19 people living in the United States for, in some cases, almost two years, taking flight lessons and other preparations, without someone paying for it. But I think it goes much broader than that. The agencies from CIA and FBI have suppressed that information so American people don’t have the facts.”

    Jones insists that releasing the 28 secret pages would not violate national security.

    “It does not deal with national security per se; it is more about relationships,” he said. “The information is critical to our foreign policy moving forward and should thus be available to the American people. If the 9/11 hijackers had outside help – particularly from one or more foreign governments – the press and the public have a right to know what our government has or has not done to bring justice to the perpetrators.”

    It took Jones six weeks and several letters to the House Intelligence Committee before the classified pages from the 9/11 report were made available to him. Jones was so stunned by what he saw that he approached Rep. Lynch, asking him to look at the 28 pages as well. He knew that Lynch would be astonished by the contents of the documents and perhaps would join in a bipartisan effort to declassify the papers.

    “He came back to me about a week ago and told me that he, too, was very shocked by what he read,” Jones said. “I told him we need to join together and put in a resolution and get more members on both sides of the aisle involved and demand that the White House release this information to the public. The American people have a right to know this information.”

    A decade ago, 46 senators, led by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., demanded in a letter to President Bush that he declassify the 28 pages.

    The letter read, in part, “It has been widely reported in the press that the foreign sources referred to in this portion of the Joint Inquiry analysis reside primarily in Saudi Arabia. As a result, the decision to classify this information sends the wrong message to the American people about our nation’s antiterror effort and makes it seem as if there will be no penalty for foreign abettors of the hijackers. Protecting the Saudi regime by eliminating any public penalty for the support given to terrorists from within its borders would be a mistake…. We respectfully urge you to declassify the 28-page section that deals with foreign sources of support for the 9/11 hijackers.”

    All of the senators who signed that letter but one, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), were Democrats.

    Lynch, who won the Democratic primary for his congressional seat on that fateful day of Sept. 11, 2001, told IBTimes that he and Jones are in the process of writing a “Dear Colleague” letter calling on all House members to read the 28 pages and join their effort.

    “Once a member reads the 28 pages, I think whether they are Democrat or Republican they will reach the same conclusion that Walter and I reached, which is that Americans have the right to know this information,” Lynch said. “These documents speak for themselves. We have a situation where an extensive investigation was conducted, but then the Bush [administration] decided for whatever purposes to excise 28 pages from the report. I’m not passing judgment. That was a different time. Maybe there were legitimate reasons to keep this classified. But that time has long passed.”

    Most of the allegations of links between the Saudi government and the 9/11 hijackers revolve around two enigmatic Saudi men who lived in San Diego: Omar al-Bayoumi and Osama Basnan, both of whom have long since left the United States.

    In early 2000, al-Bayoumi, who had previously worked for the Saudi government in civil aviation (a part of the Saudi defense department), invited two of the hijackers, Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, to San Diego from Los Angeles. He told authorities he met the two men by chance when he sat next to them at a restaurant.

    Newsweek reported in 2002 that al-Bayoumi’s invitation was extended on the same day that he visited the Saudi Consulate in Los Angeles for a private meeting.

    Al-Bayoumi arranged for the two future hijackers to live in an apartment and paid $1,500 to cover their first two months of rent. Al-Bayoumi was briefly interviewed in Britain but was never brought back to the United States for questioning.

    As for Basnan, Newsweek reported that he received monthly checks for several years totaling as much as $73,000 from the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar, and his wife, Princess Haifa Faisal. Although the checks were sent to pay for thyroid surgery for Basnan’s wife, Majeda Dweikat, Dweikat signed many of the checks over to al-Bayoumi’s wife, Manal Bajadr. This money allegedly made its way into the hands of hijackers, according to the 9/11 report.

    Despite all this, Basnan was ultimately allowed to return to Saudi Arabia, and Dweikat was deported to Jordan.

    0Sources and numerous press reports also suggest that the 28 pages include more information about Abdussattar Shaikh, an FBI asset in San Diego who Newsweek reported was friends with al-Bayoumi and invited two of the San Diego-based hijackers to live in his house.

    Shaikh was not allowed by the FBI or the Bush administration to testify before the 9/11 Commission or the JICI.

    Graham notes that there was a significant 9/11 investigation in Sarasota, Fla., which also suggests a connection between the hijackers and the Saudi government that most Americans don’t know about.

    The investigation, which occurred in 2002, focused on Saudi millionaire Abdulaziz al-Hijji and his wife, Anoud, whose upscale home was owned by Anoud al-Hijji’s father, Esam Ghazzawi, an adviser to Prince Fahd bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, the nephew of Saudi King Fahd.

    The al-Hijji family reportedly moved out of their Sarasota house and left the country abruptly in the weeks before 9/11, leaving behind three luxury cars and personal belongings including clothing, furniture and fresh food. They also left the swimming-pool water circulating.

    Numerous news reports in Florida have said that the gated community’s visitor logs and photos of license tags showed that vehicles driven by several of the future 9/11 hijackers had visited the al-Hijji home.

    Graham said that like the 28 pages in the 9/11 inquiry, the Sarasota case is being “covered up” by U.S. intelligence. Graham has been fighting to get the FBI to release the details of this investigation with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and litigation. But so far the bureau has stalled and stonewalled, he said.

    Lynch said he didn’t know how the Obama administration would respond to the congressional resolution urging declassification, if it passes the House and Senate.

    “But if we raise the issue, and get enough members to read it, we think we can get the current administration to revisit this issue. I am very optimistic,” he said. “I’ve talked to some of my Democratic members already, and there has been receptivity there. They have agreed to look at it.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 16, 2013, 8:55 pm
  2. The wheel of time keeps turning and right now it’s looking like it’s once again time for blowback:

    Saudi Arabia says uncovers al Qaeda cell plotting attacks

    By Rania El Gamal and Yara Bayoumy

    RIYADH Tue May 6, 2014 1:10pm EDT

    (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia has detained 62 suspected al Qaeda militants with links to radicals in Syria and Yemen who were plotting attacks on government and foreign targets in the kingdom, its Interior Ministry said on Tuesday.

    The world’s No. 1 oil exporter is increasingly concerned that Syria’s civil war is radicalizing more of its own citizens and has announced tough new measures to counter militancy.

    The 62 represent the largest group of people said by authorities to have been detained on suspicion of Islamist militancy for at least two years in the conservative Islamic kingdom, which has imprisoned thousands over the past decade in its battle against al Qaeda.

    Some 35 of the detainees had previously been held by the Saudi authorities on security charges before being released, Major General Mansour Turki, the Interior Ministry’s security spokesman, told a televised news conference.

    “They swore allegiance to their warlord and started in constructing components of the organization, means of support and planning for terrorist operations targeting government installations and foreign interests and the assassination of security personalities,” he said.

    He said the group had links to the al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which is both a powerful force among rebels in Syria’s civil war and an anti-government combatant across the border in turbulent Iraq.

    International rights groups have said some of the thousands of people detained and jailed by Saudi Arabia on security grounds over the past decade were peaceful dissidents, something the authorities deny.

    The groups have also voiced concern at a new “anti-terrorism” law that gives the authorities wide scope to detain and jail people as militants for criticizing the ruling family.

    Turki said monitoring of social media played an important role in uncovering the group of 62, and had shown how al Qaeda members in Yemen and Syria were communicating with each other in coordination with members of the group inside Saudi Arabia.

    ANOTHER 44 WANTED OVER MILITANCY

    The authorities found a laboratory to make explosives and seized funds worth nearly one million Saudi riyals ($266,000) intended for the cell, Turki said. State television showed dozens of seized mobile phones, laptops and tablet computers.

    He said the cell comprised 59 Saudis, a Pakistani, a Yemeni and a Palestinian, and that one detainee was the group’s leader.

    Turki added that the authorities were still seeking another 44 people suspected of having links to the group.

    While Saudi Arabia is a leading supporter of the insurgency against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, it also fears the conflict could reinvigorate a threat from militants within its own borders.

    The Interior Ministry has said that anger at the Syrian conflict has spurred a surge in online militancy, and that it fears Saudis who travel to Syria to fight with the rebels might join al Qaeda and return to the kingdom to carry out attacks.

    An al Qaeda insurgency inside Saudi Arabia from 2003-06 was mainly led by veterans of civil wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and after it was crushed its survivors fled to neighboring Yemen where they founded a new branch of the movement.

    Al Qaeda has thrived in south Yemen since then, exploiting weak government and widespread poverty, but a Yemeni government offensive ousted militants from their main regional stronghold on Tuesday, the Defense Ministry said.

    Is blowback redux in on the way? Or might it be more of a blowout? It blows either way, but the particulars could be pretty important.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 7, 2014, 12:17 pm
  3. Exporting weapons can generate a lot of profits and a lot of tensions, especially when the weapons importers are increasingly oppressive theocrats running proxy wars

    Germany promises change as arms sales draw scrutiny

    By Alexandra Hudson and Sabine Siebold

    BERLIN Wed Jul 23, 2014 10:16am EDT

    (Reuters) – For lawmaker Jan van Aken, little symbolizes more potently all that he finds indefensible about Germany’s arms exports than the German and French-made anti-tank missile that he was shown in northern Syria.

    From its serial number, he believes the 1970s MILAN rocket was sold legitimately by France to then Syrian leader Hafez al-Assad. After decades in a depot, it fell into the hands of al Qaeda-linked militants in the uprising against Assad’s son Bashar.

    Earlier this year, the German politician examined the waist-high green tube left after the missile was fired at the Kurds.

    Van Aken fears the arms that Germany exports today may one day share the same fate. Arms exports rose 24 percent to 5.85 billion euros in 2013 from 2012 and are increasingly heading to states in volatile ares, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Algeria.

    These exports have started to stir public distaste. Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel pledged last month to restrict them, even if that means sacrificing some of the estimated 80,000 German jobs in arms manufacturing.

    “It’s a disgrace that Germany is among the world’s largest weapons exporters,” Gabriel has said.

    The debate within Germany mirrors a broader international debate over arms exports that has gained urgency since the downing of a Malaysian passenger aircraft over eastern Ukraine last week. Washington believes the aircraft was brought down by a surface-to-air missile fired from territory held by pro-Russian separatists.

    CARS NOT GUNS

    Weapons makers say Germany risks losing jobs and technical know-how and buyers will simply buy elsewhere, leaving the world no safer. They want to know what Gabriel’s “more restrictive” export policy means in practice.

    It is an industry, however, with few public friends and supporters, even among the wider business lobby.

    “Our total exports are 1,100 billion euros and weapons exports make up only a very small proportion,” said Anton Boerner, head of the German exporters’ association (BGA). “If people stopped buying German cars then we would be worried, but the issue of arms exports doesn’t concern us.”

    Since Angela Merkel took office in 2005, Germany has overtaken France to become the world’s third largest arms exporter behind the United States and Russia. This is a surprising rise for a country that has traditionally taken a back-seat on global security affairs and where a pacifist ethos is ingrained in many after the horrors of Nazism.

    Almost two thirds of Germans oppose arms exports, according to a 2012 poll. Yet just as the cars that Germany produces are coveted the world over for their quality engineering and reliability, so too are German tanks and guns.

    Buyers outside of traditional NATO partners have lined up to make purchases, and Germany has increasingly said yes to deals that helped offset dwindling orders from allies.

    UNACCEPTABLE RISK

    In early 2013, Berlin raised eyebrows by authorizing Krauss-Maffei Wegmann’s (KMW) 2 billion euro order from Qatar – 62 tanks for a country of 2 million people which is criticized in the region for backing Islamist rebels in Syria and elsewhere.

    Interest from abroad comes at a time when Germany’s own military has scaled back, reducing its arsenal of 4,600 tanks from the Cold War era to just 225 today.

    The SIPRI security think-tank in Stockholm says selling arms to ‘partner’ countries in the Middle East or North Africa has been part of Germany’s response to the Islamist terror threat since 2001. Control over the delivery of spare parts also allows Berlin to wield some soft influence later.

    Gabriel, whose Social Democrats (SPD) share power with Merkel’s conservatives, blames the surge in sales on Merkel’s previous coalition with the Free Democrats (FDP).

    While 38 percent of arms went to EU and NATO countries or other close allies such as Australia in 2013, 62 percent went to other states – up from 55 percent in 2012.

    Furthermore, total exports of small arms and light weapons (SALW) – portable arms such as guns, grenade launchers and anti-aircraft guns blamed for 60-90 percent of deaths in the world’s conflicts – hit a record 135.1 million euros, a rise of 43 percent, with 40.5 million worth heading to Gulf states.

    “There are no countries to which you can safely export weapons, particularly small arms and light weapons,” said van Aken. “You can never be sure into whose hands they will fall, even if you are selling to friends.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 24, 2014, 2:19 pm
  4. The drive to release the infamous “28 pages” that are alleged to contain evidence of Saudi government complicity in the 9/11 attacks just another push after John Lehman, one of the members of 9/11 Commission, just declared that the 28 pages contain clear evidence of Saudi government support:

    The Guardian

    Saudi officials were ‘supporting’ 9/11 hijackers, commission member says

    First serious public split revealed among commissioners over the release of the secret ‘28 pages’ that detail Saudi ties to 2001 terrorist attacks

    Philip Shenon

    Thursday 12 May 2016 07.00 EDT

    A former Republican member of the 9/11 commission, breaking dramatically with the commission’s leaders, said Wednesday he believes there was clear evidence that Saudi government employees were part of a support network for the 9/11 hijackers and that the Obama administration should move quickly to declassify a long-secret congressional report on Saudi ties to the 2001 terrorist attack.

    The comments by John F Lehman, an investment banker in New York who was Navy secretary in the Reagan administration, signal the first serious public split among the 10 commissioners since they issued a 2004 final report that was largely read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia, which was home to 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11.

    “There was an awful lot of participation by Saudi individuals in supporting the hijackers, and some of those people worked in the Saudi government,” Lehman said in an interview, suggesting that the commission may have made a mistake by not stating that explicitly in its final report. “Our report should never have been read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia.”

    He was critical of a statement released late last month by the former chairman and vice-chairman of the commission, who urged the Obama administration to be cautious about releasing the full congressional report on the Saudis and 9/11 – “the 28 pages”, as they are widely known in Washington – because they contained “raw, unvetted” material that might smear innocent people.

    The 9/11 commission chairman, former Republican governor Tom Kean of New Jersey, and vice-chairman, former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton of Indiana, praised Saudi Arabia as, overall, “an ally of the United States in combatting terrorism” and said the commission’s investigation, which came after the congressional report was written, had identified only one Saudi government official – a former diplomat in the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles – as being “implicated in the 9/11 plot investigation”.

    The diplomat, Fahad al-Thumairy, who was deported from the US but was never charged with a crime, was suspected of involvement in a support network for two Saudi hijackers who had lived in San Diego the year before the attacks.

    In the interview Wednesday, Lehman said Kean and Hamilton’s statement that only one Saudi government employee was “implicated” in supporting the hijackers in California and elsewhere was “a game of semantics” and that the commission had been aware of at least five Saudi government officials who were strongly suspected of involvement in the terrorists’ support network.

    “They may not have been indicted, but they were certainly implicated,” he said. “There was an awful lot of circumstantial evidence.”

    Although Lehman said he did not believe that the Saudi royal family or the country’s senior civilian leadership had any role in supporting al-Qaida or the 9/11 plot, he recalled that a focus of the criminal investigation after 9/11 was upon employees of the Saudi ministry of Islamic affairs, which had sponsored Thumairy for his job in Los Angeles and has long been suspected of ties to extremist groups.

    He said “the 28 pages”, which were prepared by a special House-Senate committee investigating pre-9/11 intelligence failures, reviewed much of the same material and ought to be made public as soon as possible, although possibly with redactions to remove the names of a few Saudi suspects who were later cleared of any involvement in the terrorist attacks.

    Lehman has support among some of the other commissioners, although none have spoken out so bluntly in criticizing the Saudis. A Democratic commissioner, former congressman Tim Roemer of Indiana, said he wants the congressional report released to end some of the wild speculation about what is in the 28 pages and to see if parts of the inquiry should be reopened. When it comes to the Saudis, he said, “we still haven’t gotten to the bottom of what happened on 9/11”.

    Another panel member, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of offending the other nine, said the 28 pages should be released even though they could damage the commission’s legacy – “fairly or unfairly” – by suggesting lines of investigation involving the Saudi government that were pursued by Congress but never adequately explored by the commission.

    “I think we were tough on the Saudis, but obviously not tough enough,” the commissioner said. “I know some members of the staff felt we went much too easy on the Saudis. I didn’t really know the extent of it until after the report came out.”

    The commissioner said the renewed public debate could force a spotlight on a mostly unknown chapter of the history of the 9/11 commission: behind closed doors, members of the panel’s staff fiercely protested the way the material about the Saudis was presented in the final report, saying it underplayed or ignored evidence that Saudi officials – especially at lower levels of the government – were part of an al-Qaida support network that had been tasked to assist the hijackers after they arrived in the US.

    In fact, there were repeated showdowns, especially over the Saudis, between the staff and the commission’s hard-charging executive director, University of Virginia historian Philip Zelikow, who joined the Bush administration as a senior adviser to the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, after leaving the commission. The staff included experienced investigators from the FBI, the Department of Justice and the CIA, as well as the congressional staffer who was the principal author of the 28 pages.

    Zelikow fired a staffer, who had repeatedly protested over limitations on the Saudi investigation, after she obtained a copy of the 28 pages outside of official channels. Other staffers described an angry scene late one night, near the end of the investigation, when two investigators who focused on the Saudi allegations were forced to rush back to the commission’s offices after midnight after learning to their astonishment that some of the most compelling evidence about a Saudi tie to 9/11 was being edited out of the report or was being pushed to tiny, barely readable footnotes and endnotes. The staff protests were mostly overruled.

    The 9/11 commission did criticize Saudi Arabia for its sponsorship of a fundamentalist branch of Islam embraced by terrorists and for the Saudi royal family’s relationship with charity groups that bankrolled al-Qaida before 9/11.

    However, the commission’s final report was still widely read as an exoneration, with a central finding by the commission that there was “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually” provided financial assistance to Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network. The statement was hailed by the Saudi government as effectively clearing Saudi officials of any tie to 9/11.

    Last month Barack Obama, returning from a tense state visit to Saudi Arabia, disclosed the administration was nearing a decision on whether to declassify some or all of the 28 pages, which have been held under lock and key in a secure room beneath the Capitol since they were written in 2002. Just days after the president’s comments however, his CIA director, John Brennan, announced that he opposed the release of the congressional report, saying it contained inaccurate material that might lead to unfair allegations that Saudi Arabia was tied to 9/11.

    In their joint statement last month, Kean and Hamilton suggested they agreed with Brennan and that there might be danger in releasing the full 28 pages.

    The congressional report was “based almost entirely on raw, unvetted material that came to the FBI”, they said. “The 28 pages, therefore, are comparable to preliminary law enforcement notes, which are generally covered by grand jury secrecy rules.” If any part of the congressional report is made public, they said, it should be redacted “to protect the identities of anyone who has been ruled out by authorities as having any connection to the 9/11 plot”.

    Zelikow, the commission’s executive director, told NBC News last month that the 28 pages “provide no further answers about the 9/11 attacks that are not already included in the 9/11 commission report”. Making them public “will only make the red herring glow redder”.

    But Kean, Hamilton and Zelikow clearly do not speak for a number of the other commissioners, who have repeatedly suggested they are uncomfortable with the perception that the commission exonerated Saudi Arabia and who have joined in calling for public release of the 28 pages.

    Lehman and another commissioner, former Democratic senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, filed affidavits last year in support of a lawsuit brought against the Saudi government by the families of 9/11 victims. “Significant questions remain unanswered concerning possible involvement of Saudi government institutions and actors,” Kerrey said. Lehman agreed: “Contrary to the argument advocated by the Kingdom, the 9/11 commission did not exonerate Saudi Arabia of culpability for the events of 11 September 2001 or the financing of al-Qaida.” He said he was “deeply troubled” by the evidence gathered about a hijackers’ support network in California.

    In an interview last week, congressman Roemer, the Democratic commissioner, suggested a compromise in releasing the 28 pages. He said that, unlike Kean and Hamilton, he was eager to see the full congressional report declassified and made public, although the 28 pages should be released alongside a list of pertinent excerpts of the 9/11 commission’s final report. “That would show what allegations were and were not proven, so that innocent people are not unfairly maligned,” he said. “It would also show there are issues raised in the 28 pages about the Saudis that are still unresolved to this day.”

    “The commissioner said the renewed public debate could force a spotlight on a mostly unknown chapter of the history of the 9/11 commission: behind closed doors, members of the panel’s staff fiercely protested the way the material about the Saudis was presented in the final report, saying it underplayed or ignored evidence that Saudi officials – especially at lower levels of the government – were part of an al-Qaida support network that had been tasked to assist the hijackers after they arrived in the US.
    Well, ok, so it sounds like the 28 pages definitely contain evidence of at least low-level Saudi government involvement, which suggests that, should these 28 pages actually get released, the obvious Saudi response will be to blame low level government officials. And then just try to forget the whole thing. And if that’s the scenario that plays out, it raises the question of what should be demanded if low level, but not higher level, involvement can be basically proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Hmmm….

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 12, 2016, 8:36 pm
  5. Just to mention, I believe Osama Basnan lived next door to a member of Ismail Elbarasse’s family on South George Mason Drive in Falls Church, Va.

    Posted by Adam | July 12, 2016, 3:07 pm

Post a comment