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FTR #454 The War President in Action

Recorded April 4, 2004
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Archiving important material from past broadcasts about the Bush administration’s record on combating terrorism, this program evaluates the performance of this “war president” (as Bush characterized himself in a recent interview.) Not only has the administration run interference for powerful Saudi interests (with which the Bush family and much of the rest of the GOP have important business and political alliances), but it has done so in such a manner as to utterly neutralize intelligence efforts at interdicting Al Qaeda operations. Furthermore, the administration and elements closely allied with it are deeply implicated in the active frustration of investigations into Saudi complicity in the financing of terrorism. At the foundation of the commercial, political and national security relationships between Saudi and American power elite elements is the petroleum and fossil fuels industrial complex. The CIA and petroleum industry background of the elder George Bush, the petroleum industry background of the younger George Bush and the structural relationships between the Bush milieu and the Saudis have generated and perpetuated the political and economic power embodied in this administration. Much as a mosquito–seeking only to draw precious fluids through its pipeline—transmits the Malaria infection, so the Saudi/US commercial and political relationship has served to transmit the virus of terrorism. And it is within this “mosquito-like” structural economic relationship between the US and the Saudis that the deadly, conspiratorial elements behind the events of 9/11 have nurtured, operated and thrived. Note the presence in the material that follows of both the Al Taqwa/Al Qaeda link to the GOP and the links of the same elements to the Islamofascist Muslim Brotherhood. Both the Bush family and the Brotherhood have historical relationships with the Third Reich, in both its aboveground and postwar underground phases.

Program Highlights Include: The Bush administration’s withholding of Clinton-era documents on Al Qaeda from the 9/11 commission; reports covering a decade prior to 9/11 of the projected use of kamikaze-style terrorist attacks involving aircraft; the Bush administration’s interdiction (through the State Department) of the FBI’s investigation into the bombing of the USS Cole; the Bush administration’s interdiction of US intelligence investigations into the Saudi link to Al Qaeda and Islamist terrorism; the administration’s interdiction of US intelligence investigations into the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) and Abdullah bin Laden; the administration’s interdiction of US intelligence investigations of the Saudi financial interest backing the Pakistani-based Khan nuclear smuggling effort; the Caspian Basin pipeline negotiations underway between Dick Cheney, Enron, the Saudis and the Taliban; the role of the Enron/Cheny deal in neutralizing US intelligence investigations into Al Qaeda; the role that the Enron/Cheney deal appears to have played in facilitating the attacks of 9/11; the Bush administration’s authorization of the evacuation of Abdullah bin Laden and Khairallah bin Laden shortly after 9/11 (when no other civilians could fly); the links of the GOP and Bush family to Islamists associated with the SAAR network and the other targets of the 3/20/2002 Operation Green Quest raids; the interference by Bush political and business allies in the Green Quest investigations; the role of Harken Energy director and Bush political chum Talat Othman in the frustration of Operation Green Quest; the dismissal of former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neil eight months after Talat Othman interceded with him on behalf of the defendants in Operation Green Quest; the links between the GOP/Bush/Operation Green Quest milieu and the that of the Bank Al Taqwa/Muslim Brotherhood; the Justice Department’s frustration of Operation Green Quest after the investigation was transferred from the Treasury Department; the FBI and CIA surveillance of the investigators of Operation Green Quest; intelligence reports indicating that Saddam Hussein had contacted Al Qaeda about serving as a backup unit in the event of his ouster by the U.S.; reports that the US invasion of Iraq had made the country less secure and more at risk for terrorist attacks; predictions by US counter terrorist expert Rand Beers that the Iraqi invasion would hurt the US and help the terrorists.

Note that this program description contains material that was not included in the original broadcast due to the limitations of time.

1. The program begins with discussion of the Bush administration’s withholding from the 9/11 commission of Clinton-era documents about Bin Laden, Al Qaeda and terrorism. “The White House has agreed to allow the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks to review thousands of Clinton administration national-security documents that the White House acknowledged this week it had withheld from the panel, the commission said Friday. But even as the White House struggled to convince the panel that it was not withholding valuable information, administration officials refused to make a commitment to allow it to have copies of the Clinton-era documents. [Italics are Mr. Emory’s.] And they suggested that similar, highly classified Bush White House documents might have also been withheld from the panel. . . .
(“9/11 Panel to Get Clinton Papers” by Philip Shenon [New York Times]; San Francisco Chronicle; 4/3/2004; p. A4.) [4]

2. ” . . . But the final decision on whether the documents could be handed over to the commission was left to the Bush White House, which decided to block transfer of three-quarters of the nearly 11,000 pages of material, according to former Clinton aides who said they were concerned that so many of the documents had been withheld from the panel.” (Idem.)

3. ” ‘This is very disturbing,’ said Richard Ben-Veniste, the former Watergate prosecutor who is a Democratic member of the commission. The White house said on Thursday that it decided to withhold the Clinton documents from the panel because they duplicated other documents, were not relevant to the commission’s requests or involved national security and were ‘highly sensitive.'”(Idem.)

4. ‘” ‘Since all of the commissioners and most of the staff have security clearances at the very highest level, it puzzles me as to what would be withheld on the basis of national security concerns,’ Ben-Veniste said.” (Idem.)

5. Among the topics the Bush White House might have been seeking to obscure is the amount of forewarning that existed of the probability of an attack of the nature of the one that occurred on 9/11. For years, intelligence agencies (including American services) had been aware of the existence of Islamist terrorist attempts involving the use aircraft as kamikaze weapons. “1994 EIFFEL TOWER THREAT: ‘Algerian Armed Islamic Group terrorists hijacked an Air France flight. . . and threatened to crash it into the Eiffel Tower.'”
(“Kamikaze Terrorism Wasn’t New Idea” by Scot J. Paltrow; The Wall Street Journal; 4/1/2004; p. A4; [Sidebar Titled “Warning Signs”].)

6. “1995 BOJINKA PLOT TO BLOW UP AMERICAN JETS: ‘

An accomplice of Ramzi Yousef told police in the Philippines [and the FBI] that a variant of the plot involved flying a plane on a suicide mission into CIA headquarters.'” (Idem.)

7. “1996 IRANIAN PLOT TO CRASH JAPANESE JET IN ISRAEL: ‘A passenger would board the plane in the Far East, commandeer the aircraft order it to fly over Tel Aviv, and crash the plane into the city.'” (Idem.)

8. “1998 ALLEGED PLAN BY AL QAEDA-LINKED TERRORISTS TO CRASH PLANE INTO WORLD TRADE CENTER: ‘. . . A group, since linked to al-Qa’ida, planned to fly an explosives laden plane from a foreign country into the World Trade Center.'” (Idem.)

9. “1999 FEDERAL RESEARCH DIVISION REPORT ON TERRORISM: “Suicide bomber(s) . . . could crash-land an aircraft . . . into the Pentagon . . . or the White House.'” (Idem.)

10. In the early months of the Bush administration, former FBI agent John O’Neill’s investigation into the bombing of the USS Cole (executed by Al Qaeda) was actively frustrated by US ambassador (to Yemen) Barbara Bodine and her diplomatic staff. This was part of a larger pattern of political protection of Saudi Arabia against criminal investigations into Saudi complicity in the funding of Al Qaeda. O’Neill attributed the interdiction of his investigation to the influence of US corporations involved in business relationships with the Saudis. Key Saudi backed charities and many important members of the Saudi elite are implicated in the funding of Al Qaeda and other Islamist terrorist organizations.

11. “John O’Neill was a rebel in a world where the president and his administration called the shots. In charge of investigating acts of terrorism by the Al Qaeda organization, he went to Yemen in October 2000 after the attack on the USS Cole, in which seventeen U.S. servicemen died. He lambasted the obstructionist attitude among American diplomats there. In the course of the investigation, it became clear that diplomats from the State Department and FBI investigators did not share the same approach. The diplomats wanted to comply with the Yemenite regime in order to calm political relations, while the FBI wanted to solve the crime and find those responsible for the attack as quickly as possible. It was apparent that these two visions—these two cultures—could not coexist. After another dispute over the FBI agents’ carrying of arms and the turning over of second-level suspects to the American authorities, the American ambassador to Yemen, Barbara Bodine, forbade John O’Neill and his team (of ‘Rambos,’ as the Yemenite authorities called them) from entering Yemen. This despite the fact that, according to O’Neill, the FBI had in hand all of the evidence needed to implicate Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network in the attack.”
(Forbidden Truth; Jean-Charles Brisard & Guillaume Dasquie; Copyright 2002 [SC]; Thunder’s Mouth/Nation Books; ISBN 1-56025-414-9; p. XXVIII.)

12. “Sitting in the China Club at the top of a building overlooking Manhattan, John O’Neill recounted the heated exchange with the American ambassador, his disappointment in the State Department’s impotence—feigned or not—and above all the threat of Osama bin Laden. For him, everything originated in Saudi Arabia, and everything could be explained and solved through this prism. ‘All of the answers, all of the clues allowing us to dismantle Osama bin Laden’s organization, can be found in Saudi Arabia’, he told me, emphasizing ‘the inability of American diplomacy to get anything out of King Fahd’ concerning terrorist networks. The reason? There was only one: corporate oil interests. Could this single explanation keep the United States from investigating one of the principal terrorist networks in the world? Yes—for the simple reason that the American administration had refrained from using the investigation as a means of putting pressure on its Saudi friends.” (Ibid.; pp. XXVIII-XXIX.)

13. As will be seen in greater detail below, the restrictions on FBI investigation of Saudi complicity in terrorism increased dramatically after the ascension of George Bush to the presidency. “Since George Bush’s election, ‘the FBI was even more politically engaged,’ O’Neill said, and that could be felt ‘even on [his] own investigations’ regarding Osama bin Laden. ‘Saudi Arabia has much more pressure on us than we have toward the kingdom,’ he said, considering the United States’ dependency on its oil and thus the State Department’s need to have a ‘secure and stable’ Saudi Arabia.” (Ibid.; p. XXIX.)

14. “During investigations into the attack on a military installation in Dharan on June 25, 1996, which killed nineteen American soldiers, O’Neill went to Saudi Arabia himself to convince King Fahd to get the Saudi authorities to cooperate. But that was a lost cause, because Saudi officials interrogated the principal suspects themselves, while the FBI was relegated to collecting material evidence from the bomb site. As for the relations between Al Qaeda and Saudi Arabia, the conclusions of my report—which was commissioned by the French intelligence service—did not surprise O’Neill, and he confirmed that bin Laden had close ties with ‘high-ranking personalities and families of the Saudi kingdom’ in July 2001, contrary to their public statements. He believed, however, that the chances of getting the Saudis to cooperate were slim, and he called into question the FBI’s extremely ‘political’ stance in this area, as well as that at the interior level.” (Ibid.; p. XXX.)

15. British journalist Greg Palast investigated Bush administration suppression of investigation of the Saudi links to the Bin Ladens and Al Qaeda. ” . . . What we did discover was serious enough. To begin with, from less-than-happy FBI agents we obtained an interesting document, some 30 pages long, marked ‘SECRET.’ I’ve reproduced a couple of pages here (figure 2.1). Note the designation ‘1991’—that’s FBI-speak for ‘national security matter.’ According to insiders, FBI agents had wanted to check into two members of the bin Laden family, Abdullah and Omar, but were told to stay away by superiors—until September 13, 2001. By then, Abdullah and Omar were long gone from the United States.”
(“See No Evil: What Bush Didn’t (Want To) Know About 9/11” by Greg Palast.) [5]

16. “Why no investigation of the brothers bin Laden? The Bush administration’s line is the Binladdins (a more common spelling of the Arabic name) are good folk. Osama’s the Black Sheep, supposedly cut off from his Saudi kin. But the official line notwithstanding, some FBI agents believed the family had some gray sheep worth questioning—especially these two working with the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), which the file labels ‘a suspected terrorist organization.’ . . .” (Idem.)

17. “No matter how vile WAMY’s indoctrination chats, they are none of the FBI’s business. Recruitment for terror, however, is. Before 9/11, the governments of India and the Philippines tied WAMY to groups staging murderous attacks on civilians. Following our broadcast on BBC, the Dutch secret service stated that WAMY, ‘support(ed) violent activity.’ In 2002, The Wall Street Journal’s Glenn Simpson made public a report by Bosnia’s government that a charity with Abdullah bin Laden on its board had channeled money to Chechen guerillas. Two of the 9/11 hijackers used an address on the same street as WAMY’s office in Falls Church, Virginia.” (Idem.)

18. “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 strictest 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. Osams was the exception; he remained a wanted man, but agents could not look too closely at how he filled his piggy bank. They key rule of any investigation, ‘follow the money,’ was now violated, and investigations—at least before 9/11—began to die.” (Idem.)

19. “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 payoff to keep the mad bomber away from Saudi Arabia. . . .” (Idem.)

20. Next, the program turns to 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 the Saudis, who were helping to finance the creation of the so-called “Islamic Bomb.” “On November 7, 2001, BBC TV and The Guardian of London reported that the Bush administration thwarted investigations of Dr. A.Q. Khan, who this week confessed 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.) [6]

21. ” . . . 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.)

22. Among the potentially explosive investigations relating to the GOP/Bush relationship with the Saudis concerns Al Qaeda’s awareness of (and probable exploitation of) the Enron-brokered negotiations between the Taliban and the UNOCAL consortium over a Caspian Basin pipeline through Afghanistan. It appears that these negotiations were an enabling factor in facilitating the 9/11 attacks. The Bin Laden family construction firm was to have done the construction work. Dick Cheney engineered the deal on behalf of Enron, which was in terrible trouble at that point, though not yet bankrupt. “A highly reliable confidential source who wishes to remain anonymous has promised to send me an FBI copy of a high-level Al Qaeda report dating back to the embassy bombings in Africa several years ago. The email report was captured in Africa from the computer file of a senior aid to Osama Bin Laden. My client has obtained this document through lawful means. The email report written by Al Qaeda’s head of military operations, Mohammed Atef, describes Al Qaeda’s view of ongoing secret pipeline negotiations between the US oil companies and the Taliban to build a pipeline through Afghanistan
(“The Enron Pipeline Connection to 9/11” by John Loftus.) [7]

23. “This Atef report was almost certainly reviewed by the late John O’Neill at the time of the Embassy bombing, shortly after the Al Qaeda report was written. At the time, O’Neill was the FBI agent in charge of the Embassy bombing investigation. The shocking pipeline information may explain why O’Neill became fixated about the Saudi-Taliban-Al Qaeda relationship for the remaining years of his life. After O’Neill’s investigations were repeatedly shut down by his superiors, O’Neill allegedly began making discreet inquiries to French intelligence using two reporters as cut-outs. Both reporters were known consultants for French intelligence and are specialists on both the oil industry and terrorism.” (Idem.)

24. “It is plausible that the French Government was upset at being shut out of the Caspian Basin deal, and may have been helping O’Neill behind the backs of his superiors in Washington. It does seem that the more that O’Neill learned, the less he was allowed to do with it. The last straw was Cheney’s refusal to follow up on O’Neill’s request to pursue the leads in the Phoenix memo in April 2001. After resigning from the FBI in disgust, John O’Neill spoke candidly to several people, including the two French authors, whom he met again in July.” (Idem.)

25. “They have now written about the pipeline deal in The Forbidden Truth. The book, not yet translated into English, quotes O’Neill as saying that his Al Qaeda investigations were blocked to protect the Saudis. The Caspian Basin pipeline issue is discussed at length as the motive for the coverup. I do not think that the French authors have the Atef document or they would have released it in their book. The Atef memo may indeed be a smoking gun, but I need to see the exact text to be sure before I release it to Congress. This Al Qaeda document may be the first hard evidence to break the Enron pipeline cover-up apart. I need your advice and confidential assistance in making a discreet collection of all Afghan pipeline research for a memo to present to Congress.” (Idem.)

26. The Saudis—political and commercial allies of the Bush family and administration were at the epicenter of the pipeline negotiations with the Taliban. “Here is my investigative hypothesis which needs to be greatly fleshed out and footnoted before I go to Congress. I have presented my thoughts by topic, rather than in chronological order. Back in the 1970’s and 80’s, Saudi intelligence (not the CIA as has been reported) funded the early Taliban faction and later Al Qaeda as part of the insurgency to throw the Russians out of Afghanistan. A few years afterwards, US energy companies (Enron, as the Afghan pipeline consultant for UNOCAL) used the Saudi intelligence connection to the Taliban to begin negotiations for a pipeline across Afghanistan.” (Idem.)

27. “Prince Turki, chief of Saudi intelligence, has publicly admitted making several trips into Afghanistan to negotiate a peace mission with the Taliban. My sources say he was the pipeline mediator for Enron. Prince Turki was fired as head of Saudi intelligence immediately after the pipeline across Afghanistan. Prince Turki is allegedly close to the Bin Laden family, which was allegedly promised the construction contract in return for a percentage to the Saudi Royal family. This is a common business practice initiated by the Carlyle Group’s contracts in Saudi Arabia. . . .” (Idem.)

28. ” . . . But, if the Taliban pipeline had been built, Enron might have owned some of the most valuable oil exploration sites in the world, and rescued itself from insolvency. Any White House insider who helped Enron would have gotten rich, filthy rich. When Bush’s son came into office, Enron allegedly approached Cheney in late January and told him vaguely about the secret Saudi-Taliban investigations for a while. For the sake of the Caspian Basin pipeline, Cheney passed the word inside the beltway not to allow anyone in the Government to connect the dots.” (Idem.)

29. “All across America, ongoing Saudi-Taliban investigations were hindered, obstructed, or closed down, just as the Clinton administration had done before them. What no one did was check Enron’s accounting. The pipeline deal made little economic sense in view of Russian cooperation. To Enron’s horror, the pipeline deal collapsed in August. Then came 9/11. Then came the Enron collapse. Then came the Cheney coverup.” (Idem.)

30. “Cheney’s biggest problem is the two fairly senior intelligence officials who rebelled and became whistleblowers: Robert Baer of CIA and John O’Neill of FBI. The rest of the FBI and CIA higher- ups have kept their mouths shut, although a lot of lower level people are now coming forward to question their superior’s strange behavior. The two rebels, Baer of CIA and O’Neill of FBI, were of course, driven into retirement. . . .” (Idem.)

31. Author Loftus’ sources feel that Cheney may well have kept both Condoleeza Rice and Bush in the dark about much of this. As Loftus, says, if Congress ever connects the 9/11 investigation with that of Enron, the results are likely to be dramatic. ” . . . Cheney was not the first to block the investigations, but he is probably the last to be involved with the coverup. That could explain why he is resisting Congress on both the Enron and the pre-9/11 intelligence documents. If Congress ever connects the two investigations, the whole house of cards will collapse. Most of my sources say that Bush and Rice may have been deliberately kept out of the loop by Cheney. For example, it was Cheney, not Rice, who saw the Phoenix memo before 9/11. It is, however, theoretically possible that the President may have known about the pipeline deal from his own sources.” (Idem.)

32. “President Bush’s father was the leading lobbyist for the Saudis and may have been told everything by his Carlyle Group partners, the Bin Laden family, who were supposedly in line to get the Taliban pipeline construction contract. But it is doubtful we will ever know what Bush senior told his son while the pipeline negotiations were underway. In terms of the upcoming Congressional investigation, the Al Qaeda document is the first direct written evidence to confirm the existence of secret pipeline negotiations with the Taliban. Moreover, it confirms that Al Qaeda was informed of these negotiations from the earliest stages.” (Idem.)

33. Al Qaeda’s knowledge of the pipeline negotiations and the apparent lack of reaction to the capture of the Atef document may well have convinced the planners of the 9/11 attack to proceed, in confidence that they would not experience too much interference. “This raises an interesting question. The Al Qaeda author, Mohammed Atef, must have known that his report had fallen into American hands when his operative’s computer was captured by the FBI. Atef may have been surprised that his pipeline report was never made public to embarrass the Taliban. Atef may have suspected merely from the surprising silence that the CIA and FBI were not being allowed to pursue or reveal their Afghanistan investigations while the pipeline negotiations were under way. The Saudis could certainly have tipped off the Taliban that the fix was in. It is hard to believe that the Bin Laden construction company did not learn anything from their Carlyle group partners about the pipeline.” (Idem.)

34. “Whatever the source, the early date of the Atef report shows that the highest levels of Al Qaeda certainly knew about the pipeline secret from the beginning. The pipeline coverup could have convinced Atef that Al Qaeda could exploit the lack of coordinated intelligence against them.” (Idem.)

35. “In addition to the usual inter-agency bungling, the Enron cover-up was the real reason for the black hole in US intelligence about events in Afghanistan, and plausibly explains why no US agency was allowed to connect the dots. Moreover it explains why honest officials like Baer and O’Neill were driven into retirement. Bottom line: Baer and O’Neill were right. There was a pipeline coverup and it very likely contributed to 9/11. The Atef report raises the founded suspicion, based on specific articulable facts, that Al Qaeda might have piggy backed on the Enron secrecy blackout to launch their surprise attack, confident in their knowledge that US intelligence had been deliberately blinded by Enron’s cronies in Washington.” (Idem.)

36. Recapitulating information from FTR#423, the program documents the Al Qaeda/terror connections of Abdullah, Omar and Khalil Bin Laden, two members of the family among the powerful Saudis flown out of the country by the Bush administration a few days after 9/11. These Saudis were the only civilians able to fly in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. They were flown out of the country before the FBI could adequately investigate them. Note that Abdullah and the World Assembly of Youth had been among the areas deemed “off-limits” by the Bush administration. (See the first of the two Greg Palast articles highlighted above.) “In fact, the F.B.I. had been keeping an eye on some of the bin Ladens. A classified F.B.I. file examined by Vanity Fair and marked ‘Secret’ shows that as early as 1996, the bureau had spent nearly nine months investigating Abdullah and Omar bin Laden, who were involved with the American branch of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a charity that has published writings by Islamic scholar Sayyid Qutb, one of Osama bin Laden’s intellectual influences.”
(“Saving the Saudis” by Craig Unger; Vanity Fair; October/2003; p. 175.)

37. In addition, Khalil bin Laden has interests in the tri-border area. “Khalil bin Laden, who boarded a plane in Orlando that eventually took him back to Saudi Arabia, won the attention of Brazilian investigators for possible terrorist connections. According to a Brazilian paper, he had business connections in the Brazilian province of Minas Gerais, not far from the tri-border region, an alleged center for training terrorists. . . .” (Ibid.; p. 176.)

38. “F.B.I. officials declined to comment on the investigation, which was reported in Britain’s The Guardian, but the documents show that the file on Abdullah and Omar was reopened on September, 19, 2001, while the Saudi repatriation was still under way. ‘These documents show there was an open F.B.I. investigation into these guys at the time of their departure,’ says David Armstrong, an investigator for the Public Education Center, the Washington, D.C., foundation that obtained the documents.”
(Idem.)

39. Next, the program reviews information from FTR#415 [8] concerning Karl Rove’s role in helping to coalesce the Islamist element in the Republican Party. It should be noted that the Islamist, Al Qaeda and Al Taqwa elements that were raided on 3/20/2002 were linked directly to the Republican party’s ethnic outreach organization. As will be seen below, people connected to the GOP/Islamic Institute milieu were part of the WAMY operation discussed above. Bush business partner and business partner Talat Othman interceded on behalf of the institutions and individuals targeted by the Operation Green Quest raids. (See ” ‘Countdown with Keith Olberman’ for Oct. 23″; MSNBC News; 10/23/2003 [9].) ” . . . That brief conversation [between Norquist and Karl Rove] in Austin, Texas, helped start a new chapter in Mr. Norquist’s career—and in the political lives of Muslims in this country. The following year, Mr. Norquist started the nonprofit Islamic Free Market Institute. In collaboration with Mr. Rove, now Mr. Bush’s chief political adviser, he and other institute leaders courted Muslim voters for the Bush 2000 presidential campaign. Mr. Norquist even credits gains among Muslims with putting Mr. Bush in a position to win the critical Florida contest . . . To run the nonprofit’s day-to-day operations, Mr. Norquist turned to Khalid Saffuri, a Palestinian-American raised in Kuwait who had been an official of the American Muslim Council, a political group in Washington. The institute’s founding chairman was a Palestinian American, Talat Othman, who had served with Mr. Bush on the board of Harken Energy Corp. and later visited the president in the White House, according to records obtained by the National Security News Service.”
(“In Difficult Times, Muslims Count On Unlikely Advocate” by Tom Hamburger and Glenn R. Simpson; The Wall Street Journal; 6/11/2003; pp. A1-A8.)

40. On April 4, Treasury Secretary O’Neill met with powerful Islamist Republicans whose spheres of interest overlap those of the institutions and individuals targeted on March 20, 2002.
(“O’Neill Met Muslim Activists Tied to Charities” by Glenn R. Simpson [with Roger Thurow]; Wall Street Journal; 4/18/2002; p. A4.)

41. A principal figure in the group that interceded on behalf of the (alleged) Al Qaeda/Al Taqwa-connected targets of the Operation Green Quest raids was Talat Othman, a close business and political associate of President Bush. “Among the Muslim leaders attending [the meeting with O’Neill] was Talat Othman, a longtime associate and supporter of President Bush’s family, who gave a benediction at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia in August 2000 . . . But he also serves [with Barzinji] on the board of Amana Mutual Funds Trust, an investment firm founded by M. Yacqub Mirza, the Northern Virginia businessman who set up most of the entities targeted by the Treasury and whose tax records were sought in the raid.” (Idem.)

42. As Mr. Emory hypothesized in FTR#353 [10], the Norquist/GOP/Islamist links are part of the Republican Party’s ethnic outreach program. Again, one should note that these elements are directly connected to Al Qaeda and exemplify the Saudi/petroleum/GOP/Bush structural economic and political relationships at the core of the corruption of investigations into Al Qaeda and 9/11. “The case also highlights conflicts between the Bush administration’s domestic political goals and its war on terror. GOP officials began courting the U.S. Muslim community intensely in the late 1990’s, seeking to add that ethnic bloc to the party’s political base.” (Idem.)

43. The Amana organization (on the board of which Othman serves) has numerous areas of overlap with organizations described as being implicated in terrorism and the milieu of Al Queda. “Two nonprofits affiliated with Mr. Mirza and named in the search warrant, the SAAR Foundation Inc. and the Heritage Education Trust Inc., held large blocks of shares in Amana’s mutual funds in 1997, according to SEC records. The SEC documents and other records detailing connections between Mr. Othman and the Islamic Institute [on the board of which Mr. Othman serves] and the raided groups were compiled by the National Security News Service, a Washington based nonprofit research group.” (Idem.)

44. Further details have emerged about the links between Al Taqwa and the GOP/Bush administration. “Mr. Othman also is on the board of Mr. Saffuri’s [and Norquist’s] Islamic Institute, the GOP-leaning group that received $20,000.00 from the Safa Trust, one of the raid’s targets. The president of the Safa Trust, Jamal Barzinji, is a former business associate of Switzerland based investor Youssef Nada, whose assets were frozen last fall after the Treasury designated him a person suspected of giving aid to terrorists. [Italics are Mr. Emory’s.]” (Idem.)

45. Othman’s links to Bush are profound. “Mr. Othman has ties to the Bush family going back to the 1980’s, when he served with George W. Bush on the board of a Texas petroleum firm, Harken Oil & Gas Inc. Mr. Othman has visited the White House during the administrations of both President Bush and his father George H.W. Bush.” (Idem.)

46. Next, the program reviews other areas of intersection between the labyrinthine network attacked in the 3/20 raids, the Al Taqwa milieu, and the Republican Party. A recent Wall Street Journal article described some of the organizations targeted in the raids: “These include Al-Taqwa Management, a recently liquidated Swiss company the U.S. government believes acted as a banker for Osama bin Laden’s al Queda terrorist network . . . Two people affiliated with the companies and charities are linked by records to entities already designated as terrorist by the U.S. government. Hisham Al-Talib, who served as an officer of SAAR, the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Safa Trust Inc., another Mirza charity, during the 1970’s was an officer of firms run by Youssef M. Nada, records show. Mr. Nada is a Switzerland-based businessman whose assets have been frozen by the U.S. for alleged involvement in terrorist financing, and is alleged by U.S. officials to be a key figure in the Taqwa network. . .Jamal Barzinji, an officer of[Emphasis added.]”
(“Funds Under Terror Probe Flowed From Offshore” by Glenn R. Simpson [with Michael M. Phillips]; Wall Street Journal; 3/22/2002; p. A4.)

Mr. Mirza’s company Mar-Jac and other entities, also was involved with Mr. Nada’s companies in the 1970’s, according to bank documents from Liechtenstein. A message was left yesterday for Mr. Barzinji at his address in Herndon. Mr. Barzinji and Mr. Talib live across the street from each other. A third business associate of Mr. Nada, Ali Ghaleb Himmat (who also has been designated by the Treasury as aiding terrorism), is listed as an official of the Geneva branch of another charity operated by Mr. Mirza, the International Islamic Charitable Organization.

47. Reviewing information from FTR#343 [11], we note that Nada himself is alleged to have been agent of the Abwehr, the military intelligence service of the Third Reich. “But Yussef Nada is even better-known to the Egyptian [intelligence] services, who have evidence of his membership in the armed branch of the fraternity of the Muslim Brothers in the 1940’s. At that time, according to the same sources, he was working for the Abwehr under Admiral Canaris and took part in a plot against King Farouk. [Italics are Mr. Emory’s.] This was not the first time that the path of the Muslim Brothers crossed that of the servants of the Third Reich.”
(Dollars for Terror: The United States and Islam; by Richard Labeviere; Copyright 2000 [SC]; Algora Publishing; ISBN 1-892941-06-6; pp. 140-141.) [12]

48. Next, the program reviews information first presented in FTR#432. This part of the broadcast highlights the administration’s frustration of Operation Green Quest–the law enforcement/intelligence community operation aimed at interdicting funding for Islamist terrorists, including Al Qaeda. 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.)

49. Among the many concrete efforts by the Bush administration on behalf of Saudi-related elements implicated in Al Qaeda activities was the administration’s redaction of 28 pages of a congressional report on 9/11. Those pages related to Saudi charities and individuals believed to be financing Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. “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.)

50. ” . . . 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.)

51. Among the fish netted by Operation Green Quest is Abdurahman Alamoudi, himself very close to the GOP. 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. This has largely neutralized the Operation Green Quest investigation. Note that Robert Mueller, head of the FBI, is compromised by his past (and less than vigorous) investigations into the Saudi/Bush/intelligence connection. “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 Homelan

d 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.)

52. In the context of the frustration of Operation Green Quest, the program notes again the connections between the institutions and individuals targeted in the 3/20/2002 raids and the GOP. ” . . . 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.)

53. As discussed above, Talat Othman (a close associate of Both Georges Bush) interceded on behalf of the targets of Operation Green Quest. “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.)

54. “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.)

55. The milieu of the 3/20-targeted 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 inconvenient 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.) [13]

56. ” . . . 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.)

57. “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.)

58. Recently, Richard Clarke has been highly visible because of his criticism of the Bush administration’s 9/11 investigation. He also discussed the counterproductive effect of turning the Operation Green Quest investigation over to the FBI. “The US effort to shut down financial support for terrorist networks is being seriously hampered by a government reorganization that has left the most experienced agencies without any real power, the US government’s former top counter-terrorism official said yesterday. Richard Clarke, who headed counter-terrorism at the White House for the Clinton and Bush administrations before leaving government earlier this year, said the decision to put the Federal Bureau of Investigation in charge of terror finance investigations, and to give new powers to the Department of Homeland Security, had set the campaign back.”
(“Shake-Up Amid War on Terror ‘Has Hit Campaign'” by Edward Alden; Financial Times; 10/23/2003; p. 2.)

59. Of paramount importance in the context of the program is Clarke’s analysis that the Bush administration’s reorganization of the government has actually hampered the fight against terror financing. He specifically cites the shifting of responsibility for Operation Green Quest to the FBI as a reason to fear what is taking place. Recall
that the Operation Green Quest milieu is inextricably linked to the GOP/Bush administration/Bush business nexus. Recall that Bush (Senior) Justice Department official Robert Mueller was placed in charge of the FBI in July of 2001. His “oversight” of the BCCI investigation compromises his ability to investigate Green Quest and the vitally important links between Bush and the Saudis. ” ‘Reorganizing the federal government in the middle of the war on terrorism was perhaps not the brightest thing we could have done,’ he told the committee. The administration agreed earlier this year to designate the FBI as the lead organization for investigating terror finance networks, moving a separate investigative team, known as Operation Green Quest from the Customs Service to the FBI. In addition, Customs was moved to the new Homeland Security department, breaking it away from other agencies in the Treasury department that play a key role in terror finance investigations and enforcement. The move came at a sensitive time when the Treasury was leading a series of actions, including the investigation into a broad network of Saudi-backed charities based in northern Virginia.” (Idem.)

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

61. The broadcast closes with discussion of the Iraq war. Reviewing information from FTR#404, the program highlights disturbing indications of Saddam Hussein’s possible recruitment of Al Qaeda as a “backup unit” in the event of an American invasion. Is this part of the Underground Reich’s conspiracy against the United States? Have we walked into a trap? “It appears, however, that this version is only the publicly admissible one, the one that can pass political muster. According to the same sources, there was another scenario more in keeping with the calculating mentality of Saddam Hussein and his secret services. In 1998, after declining all offers that had to them through official diplomatic channels, those services are reported to have established a secret operational ‘connection’ with bin Laden in Manila and in Kashmir. It was indeed difficult for Iraq to ignore an Arab like Osama bin Laden who ‘so effectively humiliated the Americans.’ Colonel Khairallah al Takiriti, brother of the head of Mukkhabarat, the intelligence services, is reported to have been named case officer for the connection. The arrest of two Morroccan associates of bin Laden in Rabat on November 11, 1998, made it possible to establish to establish the link with certainty. According to Western sources, the Iraqi services have sought to secure the assistance of bin Laden’s networks, in case Iraq were again to be attacked by the United States, in order to carry out attacks against American targets in Arab countries.”
(In the Name of Osama Bin Laden; by Roland Jacquard; Copyright 2002 [SC]; Duke University Press; ISBN 0-8223-2991-3; pp. 112-113.) [14]

62. “According to Arab sources, in anticipation of a foreseeable reversal of alliances in Kabul, bin Laden had been in discreet contact since September 2000 with associates of Oudai Hussein, another of Saddam’s sons; the ground for agreement was the anti-Israeli and anti-American battle. Bin Laden and the Iraqis are said to have exchanged information about chemical and biological weapons, despite the opposition of some of the Baghdad leadership, including Tarik Aziz.” (Ibid.; p. 113.)

63. U.S. intelligence analysts have noted that the US invasion of Iraq accelerated the recruitment of Islamists to the Al Qaeda cause. “The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq has accelerated the spread of Osama bin Laden’s anti-Americanism among once local Islamic militant movements, increasing danger to the United States as the al Qaeda network is becoming less able to mount attacks, according to senior intelligence officials at the CIA and State Department. At the same time, the Sunni Triangle has become a training ground for foreign Islamic jihadists who are slipping into Iraq to join former Saddam Hussein loyalists to test themselves against U.S. and coalition forces, these officials say.”
(“Spread of Bin Laden Ideology Cited” by Walter Pincus; Washington Post; 4/4/2004; p. 1.)

64. That this would be part of the outcome of the US invasion was predicted by Rand Beers, a NSC counter-terror expert. He has noted that the Bush administration has made this country less safe, not more safe. ” ‘The administration wasn’t matching its deeds to its words in the war on terrorism. They’re making us less secure, not more secure,’ said Beers, who until now has remained largely silent about leaving his National Security Council job as special assistant to the president for combating terrorism. ‘As an insider, I saw the things that weren’t being done. And the longer I sat and watched, the more concerned I became, until I got up and walked out . . .'”
(“Former Aide Takes Aim at War on Terror” by Laura Blumenfeld; The Washington Post; 6/16/2003; p. 1.) [15]

65. ” . . . Much of what he knows is classified and cannot be discussed. Nevertheless, Beers will say that the administration is ‘underestimating the enemy.’ It has failed to address the root causes of terror, he said, ‘The difficult, long-term issues both at home and abroad have been avoided, neglected or shortchanged and generally underfunded.’ The focus on Iraq has robbed domestic security of manpower, brain power and money, he said. The Iraq war created fissures in the United States’ counterterrorism alliances, he said, and could breed a new generation of Al Qaeda recruits. Many of his government colleagues, he said, thought Iraq was an ‘ill-conceived and poorly executed strategy.'” (Idem.)