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For The Record  

FTR #457 Three’s a Crowd—Terrorism and the Triple Border Area

Recorded April 25, 2004

Listen: MP3

Side 1  Side 2

Introduction: Exposing a truly terrifying political reality, this program details the development of the Triple Border area of Latin America as an operational epicenter for terrorist groups. In addition to Islamist groups such as Al Qaeda and Hezbollah, the region has become a base for neo-Nazi operatives, as well as groups from European countries. The area is formed by the junction of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay and the proximity of these three enormously corrupt countries has made the region a hotbed of criminal activity of all kinds. Among the most alarming aspects of this investigation is the apparent operational liaison between Al Qaeda and neo-Nazi elements. This broadcast presents frightening allegations concerning the participation of a former Green Beret and member of the Aryan Nations in the 9/11 attacks. In addition, the discussion highlights allegations of two prior warnings of the 9/11 attacks. Both warnings allegedly originated from the Triple Border area and both were apparently ignored.

Program Highlights Include: The role of weapons dealer Monzer Al-Kassar in the Condor missile project being developed by Argentina; Al-Kassar’s role in the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Argentina in 1992; the Triple Border’s significance in the planning of both of the above attacks; allegations that a joint CIA/Argentinean intelligence infiltration of the Triple Border area was ignored by US authorities; a report that Aryan Nations elements have been operating in the Triple Border area since 1985; the presence of IRA splinter elements and Spanish ETA terrorists in the Triple Border area; indications that US authorities remain lethargic about investigating the Triple Border area; review of the connections between American neo-Nazi organization White Aryan Resistance (to which Timothy McVeigh allegedly belonged) and people involved with the AMIA bombing; review of National Alliance leader William Pierce’s foreshadowing of the 9/11 attacks.

1. Introducing the topic of the Triple Border area as a major epicenter of terrorism—Islamic terrorism in particular—the broadcast begins with discussion of the possibility that 9/11 conspirator Ramzi bin al-Shibh may have spent time in that region in connection with his Al Qaeda activities. “ . . . The 30-year-old bin al-Shibh ws a major catch. He was from a remote region of Yemen and had gone to Germany in 1995, pleading for political asylum from persecutions in Sudan. He was denied, but managed to re-enter the country with a student visa, and by 1998 he had moved into an apartment at 54 Marienstrasse in Hamburg with Mohammed Atta, the man thought to be the leader of the September 11 hijackers, and two other al-Qaeda operatives. Bin al-Shibh neither worked nor regularly attended classes at the school where he had enrolled; instead, he spent his time going to the Al-Quds mosque, where the virulent anti-Western sermons seem to have inspired him to dedicate his life to what he understood to be jihad.”
(“Terrorism’s New Geography” by Sebastian Junger; Vanity Fair; December/2002; p. 192.)

2. “Bin al-Shibh applied to a flight school I the United States, was accepted, and applied for U.S. entry visas at least four times, but was rejected. As a Yemeni, he was considered a high risk to overstay his visa. Apparently unable to join Atta and the others for the hijackings, he instead became a logistics coordinator. He wired money, ran errands, and maintained a base of operations in Hamburg. In January 2000 in Kuala Lumpur, he attended a meeting believed to have been related to the upcoming attack on the U.S.S. Cole, and in July 2001 he met Atta and four others in Tarragona, Spain, to make arrangements for September 11.” (Idem.)

3. “On September 5, 2001, he went back to Spain with a return ticket to Germany for two weeks later, but the ticket was never used. Investigators believe he went to Afghanistan and then to Pakistan—he certainly wound up there—but there is another possibility. According to sources in Argentinean intelligence, bin al-Shibh has known, confirmed contacts with a Lebanese businessman working in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, and in Foz do Iguacu, Brazil, where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay converge. Triple Border has a large Lebanese expatriate population, a thriving black market in cheap electronics, and a 10-year history of Islamic extremism.” (Idem.)

4. “It is possible that bin al-Shibh—instead of going to Afghanistan to fight and die in a hopeless struggle against the United States—went to Triple border. If not, he almost certainly had associates who did. Brazilian authorities have intercepted numerous phone calls from clandestine telephone exchanges in Triple Border and Afghanistan, and last year a CNN reporter in Kabul found a large tourist poster from Triple Border at an al-Qaeda safe house.” (Idem.)

5. Next, the program delineates the circumstances of the CIA’s failure to adequately monitor Al Qaeda activity in the region. Initial efforts at coordinating infiltration of the Triple Border area in conjunction with Argentinean intelligence broke down—accounts of just why the breakdown occurred differ. “ ‘The day after September 11, the C.I.A. dispatched a team down there,’ says Magnus Ranstorp, director of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the university of St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland. ‘For me the Tri-Border area is the Hilton of Islamic extremism. It’s one of the most lucrative safe havens in the world. It’s been on the radar since the early 90’s, and no one has done anything about it.’” (Idem.)

6. “The remarkable lapse of American efforts to monitor al-Qaeda in Triple Border can be traced back to 1999, when relations between the C.I.A. and Argentina’s Secretariat of State Intelligence (SIDE) suffered a complete breakdown. Several years earlier, the C.I.A. had asked its counterparts at SIDE to infiltrate the Triple Border area in order to obtain information on Islamic extremist groups there, particularly on Hezbollah. The operation was called ‘Centauro.’” (Idem.)

7. “The report, which was handed over in 1999, contained information that the C.I.A. rejected as implausible, according to SIDE. (An intelligence insider believes that the C.I.A. did pursue the information, but encountered resistance higher up. ‘I was personally involved in tracking terrorists to Triple Border,’ says ex-C.I.A. officer Robert Baer. ‘We were aware it was a platform for them to go after the U.S.’)” (Idem.)

8. “SIDE agents had identified al-Qaeda operatives in Triple Border, recorded meetings of Islamic extremists in the mosques in Ciudad del Este and in Foz do Iguacu, infiltrated moles into terrorist groups, detailed al-Qaeda indoctrination and fund-raising efforts, and provided evidence of terrorist training camps on the Paraguay-Brazil border. According to Argentinean news sources, the C.I.A. accused SIDE of retaliating by leaking a photograph of then C.I.A. Buenos Aires station chief Ross Newland to a local newspaper in January 2001. Several months later, Newland returned to the United States, and the C.I.A. severed almost all ties with SIDE, dumping it instead into the hands of the F.B.I., which also failed to exploit the information. The Centauro operation languished until the September 11 attacks, when the C.I.A. re-discovered its interest in Triple Border.” (Ibid.; pp. 192-198.)

9. More about Bin al-Shibh’s presence in the Triple Border area in connection with his Al Qaeda activities. “Bin al-Shibh’s capture was announced the night of September 12, but I didn’t hear about it until the next morning, because I was on a flight to Buenos Aires. I was going there to meet with a former Argentinean intelligence agent named Mario Aguilar Risi, who claimed to know a lot about bin al-Shibh. I knew Risi through a mutual contact. All summer, Risi had been telling me that he had tracked bin al-Shibh and other top al-Qaeda and Hezbollah operatives to Brazil and Paraguay, and he had surveillance photos to prove it. It was a dramatic story—maybe overly so—and the 55-year-old Risi himself was already a rather dramatic story in his own right. He had spent several years in jail, two of them for extortion, but was known in Argentina for having had foreknowledge of two deadly Buenos Aires car bombings, suspected to have been the work of Hezbollah. Now he claimed that he had hard intelligence on al-Qaeda activity in Triple Border.” (Ibid.; p. 198.)

10. Among the terrorist elements with which Bin al-Shibh allegedly networked was Imad Mughniyah—a Hezbollah operative who has apparently operated in conjunction with Bin Laden’s organization. (For more about Mughniyah, see FTR#328.) “Specifically, he said, he had recently tracked Ramzi bin al-Shibh to Sao Paulo, Brazil, before the terrorist left the country using a false passport. In Brazil, bin al-Shibh had supposedly met with a top Hezbollah terrorist named Imad Mughniyah, at the Maskoud Plaza hotel. The Maksoud Plaza is one of the fanciest hotels in Sao Paulo, and when the terrorists left by the front door, according to Risi, a former Argentinean police officer snapped a photo of them. The photographer was named ‘Alejandro’ and worked for Risi gathering counterterrorism intelligence. Risi claimed that the photo of bin al-Shibh ws in a secure location in Triple Border, along with surveillance photos and tapes of other terrorists. And if I didn’t believe him, I was welcome to come down and see for myself.” (Idem.)

11. Next, the broadcast revisits the subject of the AMIA bombing—one of the first Islamist terrorist incidents in Latin America and apparently connected to the bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires two years earlier. (For more about the AMIA bombing, see FTR#’s 5, 29, 109, 328, 330, 341.) “Terrorism established itself beyond a doubt in Argentina in the early 1990’s. Around 10 o’clock on the morning of July 18, 1994, a white Renault Traffic packed with 600 pounds of ammonium nitrate—a fertilizer—and fuel exploded next to the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association in downtown Buenos Aires. The explosion was so powerful that it brought down most of the seven-story building. The driver—no one knows who he was—disappeared. Eighty-six of the 100 or so people then I the building died in the blast. A woman who happened to be crossing the street just before the explosion had nearly been hit by the Renault van as it took the turn onto Calle Pasteur, and recalled glaring at it, but did not get a good look at the driver. She could not say whether he was old or young, Arab-looking or not; all she could say was that he had seemed to be alone.” (Idem.)

12. Among the principal players in the bombings was Monzer al-Kassar. (For more about Al-Kassar, see—among other programs—RFA#’s 32, 35, 38—available from Spitfire—as well as FTR#’s 109, 341.) Material discussed in this program alleges an Al-Kassar role in the Condor missile project, discussed in FTR#’s 155, 384.) “Terrorists had struck once before. Two years earlier, a Ford F-100 truck loaded with the high explosive Semtex had blown up in front of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires and killed 29 people. The truck had been bought in Ciudad del Este with hundred-dollar bills reportedly traced to a currency-exchange house in Lebanon that belonged to Monzer al-Kassar, an infamous arms dealer. Al-Kassar had extensive ties to the Syrian government and its intelligence apparatus and was suspected of a laundry list of illegal arms deals and terrorist acts, including the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship. He was also suspected of brokering a deal in 1989 between Argentinean president Carlos Menem and Syria, whereby the Syrians would make a $100 million ‘campaign contribution’ to Menem in exchange for the sale of a nuclear reactor and an Argentinean missile system called Condor II. A bilateral pact between Syria and Iran tied both countries to the purchases.” (Idem.)

13. “The Condor missile had a range of 1,000 kilometers and was widely considered to be superior to the Russian Scud missiles that were already available to Syria. Under heavy pressure from the United States, Menem—a close friend of the first President George Bush, who forced through a $300 million deal for Enron in Argentina, in which the company received huge tax breaks—made a goodwill visit to Israel and reneged on both the missile-system and nuclear-reactor sales. Critics accused him of pursuing a ‘carnal’ relationship with the United States, and within months terrorists had carried out the first of their two attacks.” (Idem.)

14. The article discusses the Syrian background of Menem and his entourage, as well as some of the scandals surrounding his wife. (For more about this subject, see FTR#’s 109, 341, 373.) The program then proceeds to discuss the cover-up of the AMIA bombing—set forth in considerable detail in FTR#109. “To no one’s surprise, the investigation into the bombing of the Argentine—Israeli Mutual Association—known by its Spanish acronym, AMIA—was bungled from the start. The crime scene was trampled by the police, rescuers, and the simply curious, and nearly all the physical evidence—including body parts of the victims—was collected in plastic bags and dropped off at an open-air dump. Three years later the bags were dug up and thrown into the Rio de la Plata. Nevertheless, some progress was made in the case, though in the hall of mirrors that is Argentinean politics it was hard to tell who was a villain and who was a scapegoat. Investigators traced the white van used in the attack to Police Commissioner Juan Jose Ribelli, who for years had been suspected of using his position to run an extremely lucrative side business trafficking stolen cars to Paraguay. Investigators soon discovered that Ribelli had received a $2.5 million payment from an unknown source—possibly as a payoff for the crime, or for taking the fall. (Ribelli claims it was an inheritance.) And 66 recordings from police wiretaps of a Ribelli associate mysteriously disappeared during the investigation. In the end, 14 more policemen and four of their associates were arrested for the bombing.” (Idem.)

15. An informant attempted to alert the Argentinean authorities to the impending AMIA bombing—to no avail. “And it got even stranger. Fifteen days before the AMIA bombing, it turned out, a shadowy Brazilian named Wilson Dos Santos had visited the Argentinean Consulate in Milan and tried to warn officials of the upcoming attack. His girlfriend was part of the terror cell that had carried out the embassy attack in ’92, he said, and they had another attck planned, for a building in Buenos Aires that was ‘under construction’—the AMIA building. The Argentinean diplomats dismissed him out of hand, but after the attack he was quickly found in Brazil by none other than Mario Aguilar Risi, who had also had advance warming of the attack from his own sources.” (Idem.)

16. “Risi had just been cleared of kidnapping charges and been released from prison. While in jail, Risi says, he wrote numerous letters to Argentina’s then interior minister, Carlos Corach, as well as to a federal judge, explaining that he had deep sources in terrorist cells in Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil, and that these cells were planning a devastating attack on the AMIA building. He was ignored, the attack occurred, and as soon as Risi was released from prison he tracked down Dos Santos. In Brazil he videotaped himself with Dos Santos, who made a brief statement that he was returning to Buenos Aires to tell the truth.” (Idem.)

17. “According to Risi, dos Santos had agreed to testify as long as his identity was not revealed, but in Buenos Aires, as soon as he made his statement to the presiding judge, Juan Jose Galeano, his name and photograph were leaked to he press. Dos Santos immediately recanted everything, explaining that the AMIA warning had simply been a lucky guess. Judge Claudio Bonadio threw him in jail to await trial for perjury charges.” (Idem.)

18. More about the failed investigation: “The investigation—or cover-up—blundered along for years. Its most vocal critic was the number-two investigator in the case, Claudio Lifschitz. Two and a half years into the investigation, Lifschitz quit in disgust and wrote a book called AMIA: Why the Investigation Was Made to Fail. It alleged that the entire probe had been compromised in an effort by President Menem to cover up his ties to Syria and Iran. The two bombings went unsolved for years, but support for Lifschitz’s accusations emerged suddenly last July, when The New York Times and The Washington Post reported that a former Iranian intelligence officer, using the name Abdolhassem Mesbahi and other wise known as ‘Witness C,’ had testified to Argentinean investigators that the 1992 embassy bombing was planned by a diplomat at the Iranian Embassy in Buenos Aires and supervised by a senior Iranian intelligence officer. Months after the bombing, Mesbahi said, an emissary from Menem flew to Teheran to accept a $10 million payoff to cover up the first bombing as well as any ‘future’ acts of terrorism. The money, according to Mesbahi, was deposited in a numbered Swiss bank account controlled by Menem—a fact later confirmed by Swiss investigators.” (Idem.)

19. The evidentiary pathway followed in the AMIA bombing led to the Triple Border area. “Over and over again the AMIA investigators had come upon references to Triple Border. It is the perfect place for the Hezbollah: deep in the mato grosso (outback), near the enormous Iguacu Falls, surrounded on three sides by corrupt governments, a community of 30,000 Muslims has established itself to take advantage of the booming cross-border trade. Most are Lebanese who fled the civil war in their country, and most are decent, hard-working people, but the opportunities for illegal activities are almost infinite, and the money to be made is immense. . . .” (Idem.)

20. After discussing the failed policies that led to the genesis of a large-scale criminal/underground economy in the Triple Border area, the broadcast discusses how the Muslim emigres took advantage of the situation. These circumstances led to the development of the Triple Border area as a terrorist epicenter, fully utilized by the Islamists. Among the principal Islamist operatives in the Triple Border are appears to have been Assad Ahmad Mohamad Barakat, who worked with Hezbollah and Al Qaeda. “ . . . Hezbollah and Hamas cells easily integrated themselves into this tightly knit Muslim community. Not only is it an ideal place to blend in, but a huge amount of money is funneled back to Lebanon to support the cause. Bank records show that a Lebanese businessman named Assad Ahmad Mohamad Barakat—who owns one of the largest shopping malls in Ciudad del Este—has transferred thousands of dollars to Hezbollah over the years. A month after the September 11 attacks, Paraguayan police, under intense pressure from the United States, swept Ciudad del Este and arrested a dozen or so suspected money-launderers. Barakat himself managed to escape the raid, but in his office the police found scores of copies of an al-Qaeda promotional video. He had been making them, apparently, to distribute to extremists in Triple Border. Carlos Calcena, the Paraguayan prosecutor in charge of the case, has tracked tens of thousands of dollars in money transfers from the port town of Iquique, Chile, to Ciudad del Este, to a Chase Manhattan bank account in the name of “Mr. Barakat’ in Long Island City, New York.” (Ibid.; p. 200.)

21. “Barakat was eventually arrested in Brazil last summer, but his financial empire is enormous and relatively intact. The Bank of England Financial Sanctions Related to Terrorism list includes 28 entries under the name Barakat or Al-Barakat, including companies in Boston, Minneapolis, and Seattle (It’s unknown how many belong to the same family.) there was even a Barakat Trading Company in the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul before the Taliban fell.” (Idem.)

22. “Since the September 11 attacks, the United States has sent a team of 40 F.B.I. agents to Ciudad del Este to help local authorities tackle the terrorism and money problem, but it may be too late. According to Calcena, as much as $50 million is believed to have flowed from Triple Border to Hezbollah accounts in the past seven years. It is enough to finance almost any kind of attack—or cover-up—imaginable.” (Idem.)

23. One of two apparent warnings of the 9/11 attacks originating from the Triple Border area came from a Moroccan Al Qaeda recruit who “rolled over” after being arrested for robbing a taxi. His warning went for naught. “If there was any doubt among U.S. officials before September 11 that Triple Border was a haven for al-Qaeda, it should have been erased by the case of a young Moroccan named Gueddan Abdel Fatah. In January 2001, Fatah was detained for allegedly having a false passport in Sao Paulo after trying to rob a taxi. Eight months later—just days prior to September 11—Fatah handed a typed letter to attorney Edith Espinosa at the prison where he was incarcerated and begged her to give it to the Federal Police in Brazil in the presence of U.S. embassy and Israeli diplomatic officials. In the letter, he said that he urgently needed to talk with the authorities because there were going to be ‘two explosions’ in the United States in the near future. The lawyer neglected to pass the letter along, and six days later al-Qaeda agents flew planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.” (Idem.)

24. “Just hours after the attack, Sao Paulo police commissioner Cesar Toselli went to the Carandiru prison to interrogate Fatah. The young Moroccan had a chilling story to tell. He said he had gone to Triple Border the year before and for several months attended meetings at a mosque in Foz do Iguacu where Shiite and Sunni Muslims—ordinarily enemies—talked openly about ‘blowing up’ the United States. Fatah said he maintained contact with eight foreigners from these meetings, including four Pakistanis, a Costa Rican, and an Indian. The Indian supposedly had coded phone conversations from a pay phone with someone in the United States. Disillusioned and frightened by the violence of their plans, Fatah said, he fled the area and contacted the American and Israeli Embassies in Brazil and the American Consulates in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro to warn them. He was ignored. Out of money and desperate, he allegedly tried to rob a taxi for plane fare home and ws caught; he remained in prison as a ‘privileged informer,’ under police protection

.” (Idem.)

25. Among the Islamist terror incidents with evidentiary tributaries leading toward the Triple Border area is the 1997 massacre at Luxor, Egypt by Al Qaeda-related elements. “Fatah’s story jibes with what is already known about Triple Border. Said Mohkles, alleged mastermind of the 1997 massacre in Luxor, Egypt, in which 58 western tourists were killed in a machine-gun attack while they admired an ancient temple, lived quietly in Triple Border for years. He was arrested in January 1999 by Uruguayan police after British intelligence picked up coded phone conversations in which he discussed starting a terrorist cell in London. Mohkles was alleged to have received help from Mohammed Kassem Jomaa, the mayor of Chui, a small town in Brazil. Jomaa was questioned by authorities after the September 11 attacks because of his association with Mohkles, as well as for suspected links to Osama bin Laden. And Imad Mughniyah, the Hezbollah foreign-operations chief who might rival Osama bin Laden as the most wanted man in the world, has been indicted in Argentina for organizing the AMIA and Israeli Embassy attacks; Mughniyah has a $25 million bounty on his head for a long list of terrorist acts, including the 1983 Marine-barracks and U.S. Embassy bombings in Lebanon.” (Idem.)

26. More about the connection between Osama bin Laden and Imad Mughniyah: “The association between bin Laden and Mughniyah dates back to the early 1990’s, when a former American Green Beret named Ali Mohamed—who recently pleaded guilty to conspiring with al-Qaeda to bomb U.S. embassies in Africa—arranged security for the two men when they met in Sudan. Mughniyah’s alleged use of bomb attacks to drive American forces out of Beirut in the 1980’s was likely a model for bin Laden’s attempts to rive American forces from Saudi Arabia. Three years after the Sudan meeting, a terrorist group thought to be associated with bin Laden detonated a truck bomb at the Khobar Towers complex, near a U.S. military base in Saudi Arabia, killing 19 servicemen. Mughniyah was implicated by U.S. authorities in that attack. He has also been implicated in carrying out or directing at least three hijackings, including that of an Air India flight, in which terrorists armed with knives and scissors took over the cockpit and successfully landed the plane on their own. They knifed a passenger and forced others to watch him bleed to death, presumably to encourage cooperation. That same tactic was used by Atta and the other hijackers on September 11.” (Ibid.; pp. 200-202.)

27. The program sets forth more information about Sebastian Junger’s contact Mario Aguilar Risi. “I met Mario Aguilar Risi in the lobby of the Buenos Aires Sheraton on an afternoon last September. He was short and well dressed in a suit and tie, and had deep circles under his eyes and an exhausted, basset-hound expression that suggested an enormously stressful life. His beard, stained by cigarette smoke above his mouth, had turned mostly white, and his hair was thin. He talked fast and almost without pause, slowing only to draw out the names of terrorists—Mughniyah, bin al-Shibh, for instance—and he apparently could talk about terrorism non-stop for hours.” (Ibid.; p. 202.)

28. “He said he was a former Argentinean intelligence officer who had worked in counter-espionage, counterinsurgency, and criminal investigations. He claimed he had also worked—along with 30 or so other Argentinean agents—for the C.I.A. on the Nicaraguan border, training the contras to infiltrate and destabilize the Sandinista government in the 1980’s. He served in intelligence in the Falklands War—called the Malvinas War in Argentina—and several years later was chosen by Argentinean president Raul Alfonsin to investigate the 1985 kidnapping of a Jewish businessman named Osvaldo Sivak. It was the Sivak affair that got him into trouble, he said through his covert sources he found out that Sivak was dead, but the political climate was too unstable for the government to admit that. When Sivak’s family lent the investigation a large sum of money, several top government ministers—knowing Sivak was dead—simply divided up the money as well—‘Frankly, it came in useful,’ he said—and then took the fall for it, even being charged with the kidnapping itself. He was eventually released from jail and others were charged with the crime.” (Idem.)

29. One of Risi’s informants in the Triple Border area was a man named Alejandro, who infiltrated the Islamist milieu in the area. (Alejandro is discussed at greater length later on in the broadcast.) “Risi had stories to tell about Triple Border as well. His partner, Alejandro, he said, succeeded in infiltrating the world of terrorist cells and was trained at one of their camps on the Brazilian-Paraguayan border. There they used cutouts of ‘American soldiers and Jews’ for target practice. Alejandro was now a foot soldier in a Hezbollah—al-Qaeda cell, Risi said, and was used to provide security whenever a really big name came to town. In 1998, according to Alejandro, two imams from African countries had come in to help plan the U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. Risi said he contacted the U.S. authorities in Buenos Aires to warn them, but he was ignored. Two months later, truck bombs destroyed both embassies, killing 224 people.” (Idem.)

30. Risi allegedly warned U.S. authorities about the (then) upcoming 9/11 attacks. “Risi came prepared for the meeting with a locking briefcase filled with documents and photographs. Shuffling through material as he talked, he pulled out letters that he claimed to have submitted to Argentinean and American authorities over the years. They were written in a painfully precise script, and some are stamped at the bottom with the date and ‘AM Embassy,’ or ‘Embassy of the United States.’ One, dated February 2001, but not bearing an embassy stamp, purports to warn Ambassador James Walsh of the upcoming attacks on September 11. ‘Mr. Ambassador,’ the letter begins, ‘as a citizen of Argentina I, Mario Aguilar, am writing you to make you aware of very serious and urgent information. . . .Within the next six months there will be four large-scale attacks in the United States by al-Qaeda.’ In the letter Risi listed the White House, Congress, the Pentagon, and the Twin Towers as possible targets for planes loaded with explosives flown by suicide pilots. ‘I can expand on this,’ he finishes, ‘if this is of interest to your government. I am at your disposal as an uninterested party.’” (Idem.)

31. More about Risi’s information about Islamist operations in the Triple Border area: “And he had photos—dozens of them. One showed a man known as Ahad in front of some street vendors in Ciudad del Este. Ahad, Risi said is wanted in connection with the AMIA bombing and is thought to be connected to al-Qaeda. The photo was supposedly taken by a camera hidden in a shoe box. Another photo showed a man Risi described as a Hezbollah agent named Said, walking down a street in Ciudad del Este. According to Risi, Said is closely associated with Mughniyah as well as al-Qaeda, and served as an instructor at one of its training camps. There were photos of what Risi says are al-Qaeda bodyguards with machine guns, of al-Qaeda safe houses, of illegal businesses owned by Hezbollah agents; there was even a photo of a C.I.A. informant in Foz do Iguacu.” (Idem.)

32. “ ‘Do you know who this man is also working for?’ Risi asked in disgust. ‘Hezbollah. And who do you think pays him more?’” (Idem.)

33. In addition to a major Al Qaeda presence in Triple Border, there appear to be other terrorist groups operating in the area. It is interesting to note alleged networking between the Basque ETA group and Spanish Al Qaeda elements. One wonders if this liaison may have led to some of the confusion concerning the authorship of the March 11 train bombing in Madrid—initially attributed to ETA but ultimately demonstrated to be the work of Al Qaeda. “Triple Border, Risi said, was a major logistical and planning base for al-Qaeda, a place where its members could get money, fake passports, and easy access to every country in South America. It was also a place where they could relax—they could drink, they could have girls, they could do whatever they wanted, without some scowling imam looking over their shoulder, The terrorists weren’t just Islamic radicals, either. They were from the Irish Republican Army, the Basque separatist group ETA, and Colombia’s FARC. According to Risi, a cousin of the Lebanese businessman Barakat, now in prison in Brazil, was the main al-Qaeda contact in Spain. A Spaniard, whose name won’t be divulged here so as not to hinder counterterrorism efforts, was ETA’s contact in Triple Border and had trained Alejandro in one of the camps.” (Ibid.; pp. 202-205.)

34. Next, the broadcast presents information about alleged Aryan Nations participation in the events of 9/11. Risi alleges that a former Green Beret with Vietnam combat experience and operating on behalf of Aryan Nations works as a trainer in the Triple Border area and that this same individual allegedly assisted Mohammed Atta in the 9/11 attacks. “ . . . And there were Americans at the camp as well. Risi learned about one of them and on January 12, 1996, he says, he took a polygraph test and made a statement to the Federal Court in Buenos Aires testifying to everything he knew about this American. The man—whose name also won’t be divulged—is an ex-Special Forces soldier who had been a communications expert in Vietnam and had seen combat there. He returned home to join the Michigan Militia, then converted to Islam, worked in Jordan, and became associated with another American, who had been investigated by the D.E.A. for activities in Central America. Now, according to Risi, the Vietnam vet, who speaks Spanish, is in Triple Border with two other American extremists, acting as an instructor at one of the terrorist training camps. He is also responsible for security operations and provided armed guards when top al-Qaeda and Hezbollah associates—in particular, Muganiyah—were in town.” (Ibid.; p. 205.)

35. Risi alleges that Aryan Nations elements had people in Triple Border as early as 1985, and he says they are working with Islamist terrorists in the U.S. (For more about neo-Nazi connections to the 9/11 attacks, see FTR#443.) “According to Risi, the man had also been in the United States on September 11 and had provided logistical support to Atta before the attacks.” (Idem.)

36. Junger notes that white supremacists would not face the tactical limitations that Islamic extremists face with regard to operations in the United States. “The lack of public discourse about collaboration between white supremacists and Islamic extremists may simply be due to the fact that it is almost too alarming to contemplate. Everything that Arabs now have a hard time doing in this country—going to flight school, buying weapons and explosives, driving tractor-trailers into Manhattan—could easily be done by a white supremacist from Idaho. (For the record, if he drove a tractor-trailer carrying 80,000 pounds of high explosives, it could level two square blocks in Manhattan.)” (Idem.)

37. “There is reason to believe that white supremacists see the U.S. government and its Israeli ally as a far greater threat to their freedom than the one posed by Islamic extremists. Shortly after the September 11 attacks, Billy Roper, a former member of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, based in West Virginia, said in an Internet posting obtained by the Southern Poverty Law Center, ‘We may not want them marrying our daughters, just as they would not want us marrying theirs. . . . But anyone who is willing to drive a plane into a building to kill Jews is alright by me. I wish our members had half as much testicular fortitude.’” (Idem.)

38. “According to Risi, Aryan Nations had people in Triple Border as early as 1985, and they were cooperating with Islamic extremists in the United States. (Stephen Jones, the chief defense lawyer for Timothy McVeigh, suspects that convicted Kuwaiti terrorist Ramzi Yousef supplied technical expertise in the 1995 Oklahoma City Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing.). . .” (Idem.)

39. More about Risi’s man Alejandro, who successfully infiltrated the Islamists in the Triple Border area: “ . . . He had been transported to the terrorist world, he said, in a white Mercedes that stopped in front of a bar in Ciudad del Este where he had been told to wait. He was given a pair of blacked-out glasses and driven around for a few hours, asked some questions—including whether he wanted to be paid, to which he said yes—and then dropped off again. A few days later he went through the same routine, except this time it was in a four-by-four, and they drove him out to a training camp.” (Ibid.; p. 206.)

40. Alejandro notes that after completing training, some operatives are given missions, while others “go dormant.” “The camp was a clearing in the jungle with a temporary wooden barracks where the men slept on benches and cots. There were 25 to 30 recruits, mostly from other countries in South America. They were trained to break into houses, blow up buildings, and disassemble cars for placement of car bombs. They practiced shooting every kind of weapon—Uzis, AK-47’s, grenade launchers—and were also taught to kill with a knife. Their training was with live ammunition, and Alejandro was shot twice. He survived, though, he said, another man at the camp died of his wounds. ‘You’re trained to kill Americans and Jews,’ Alejandro said. ‘At the end you’re given a mission or go dormant.’” (Idem.)

41. “The instructors were aloof and unfriendly and did not bother to talk politics or ideology; they just taught how to kill. Occasionally they showed videos of terrorist attacks—car bombings in Spain, for example—and commented on whether they had been done well or not. Alejandro claimed that one of the camps is on 17,000 acres of jungle owned by Assad Barakat. I asked him what areas they were in. ‘Pedro Juan Cabanarello . . . Miranda . . . Boa Vista.’ He said, running his finger along a map, tracing the border between Brazil and Paraguay. ‘Guaira.’ Through a contact in Washington, I’d gotten hold of a list, from U.S. intelligence sources, of names of suspected training camps in Triple Border—and Guaira was on the list. ‘What was your mission when you got out?’ I asked. ‘I was sent to Buenos Aires,’ Alejandro said, ‘ to see if I could recruit people who looked Argentinean.’” (Idem.)

42. Apparently, Risi’s contacts with Junger did not go unnoticed by Argentinean intelligence, who were less than thrilled with the event. “When I met with Risi in my hotel room. I was leaving the country that evening, and when he walked in he embraced me and sat down in a chair and lit a cigarette. People were looking for us, he said. A friend in Argentinean intelligence had called to tell him that they knew he was meeting with an American and that they were concerned.” (Idem.)

43. “He had more bad news. He would not be able to get the photograph of bin al-Shibh and Mughniyah, because all the best material was hidden in Triple Border and would take a while to retrieve. Furthermore, he wanted money. Such photos were worth a fortune, he said, and he would be stupid to just let them go. The money would be used to continue surveillance work in Triple Border. Eventually he wanted to work with someone he could trust in America intelligence, someone who would not just try to steal his sources or tell him to go away. The photos he had already shown me and the letters he said he had sent to the U.S. Embassy and to Argentinean authorities were mine to have. . . .” (Idem.)

44. A Paraguayan prosecutor alleges that his efforts at informing the FBI of 400 members of sleeper cells in Triple Border were turned away by the bureau. “ . . . The idea that Risi had been ignored by both American and Argentinean intelligence is unfortunately all too believable. Examples of apathy and incompetence abound. I spoke with a Paraguayan prosecutor—who refused to allow his name to be used in this article—who told me that in 2000 he had offered the F.B.I. names of more than 400 members of ‘sleeper cells’ in Triple Border. He claims he was rebuffed and found himself the object of a vicious smear campaign.” (Idem.)

45. “Furthermore, we are talking about a country where the president was allegedly paid off by Iran to quash an investigation into a terrorist attck in his own country. In a place where that could happen, what couldn’t? ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if bin al-Shibh had been down there,’ says Ranstorp, who acts as a terrorism consultant for the U.S. government. ‘It’s the perfect area to generate money, first and foremost, and to sell transferrable skills. It’s the ultimate embodiment of terrorism and organized crime fusing together.’” (Idem.)

46. “Several days before I left Argentina, Miguel Angel Toma, the head of SIDE, flew to Washington to meet with George Tenet, head of the C.I.A. According to Robert Baer, they discussed an indictment the U.S. was preparing against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who had been with bin al-Shibh in Karachi last June, although he had managed to elude capture. Mohammed was thought to have been Qatar in 1996. Around the time that Imad Mughniyah had sneaked into the country by freighter, and was then thought to have gone to Triple Border. . . .” (Idem.)

47. The program recaps National Alliance chief William Pierce’s foreshadowing of the 9/11 attacks. (Recall that, as discussed in FTR#335—among other programs—Pierce’s National Alliance has operational connections with the NPD of Germany. Al Taqwa director Ahmed Huber is active with the NPD.) “Upon perusing his speeches from 1998-99, I discovered that Pierce, who heads the so-called ‘National Alliance,’ did indeed utter some most interesting (pre-Sept. 11th–if not prophetic—remarks about Osama bin Laden and bio-terrorism. The running theme in Pierce’s commentaries is—to paraphrase his hero Hitler—that Osama Bin Laden’s warning to America is ‘I Am Coming.’ And so is bio-terrorism.”
(“Neo-Nazis and 9/11” by Jack McCarthy; Counterpunch; 10/29/2001.)

48. “In one chilling commentary Pierce, (after noting that Bin Laden and the rest of the lost generation of angry Moslem youth had it with their parents’ compromises and were hell bent on revenge against infidel America) issued this stark, prophetic warning in a 1998 radio address titled, ‘Stay Out of Tall Buildings.’ ‘New Yorkers who work in tall office buildings anything close to the size of the World Trade Center might consider wearing hard hats . . .’ Pierce warned. . . . [Italics are Mr. Emory’s].” (Idem.)

49. The program concludes by highlighting an alleged link between the Oklahoma City bombing and the AMIA bombing, through Argentine members of the security services belonging the American white supremacist Tom Metzger’s White Aryan resistance. For more about this subject, see FTR#109.
(“AMIA Bomb Plotters’ Connection;” La Nacion; 7/27/97.)


3 comments for “FTR #457 Three’s a Crowd—Terrorism and the Triple Border Area”

  1. A very important show.
    Unfortunately, The original article by Junger in Vanity Fair is nowhere to be found on the internet for some reason. It is referenced in many other similar articles however.

    I wanted to get the original because it appears to be the only source that links Aryan groups with the Islamists in the TBA.

    There is a detailed white-paper prepared for the Library of Congress Federal Research Division. At first glance it does not reference the Aryan Nations-type groups either, but it does list Junger’s article in the bibliography.
    The PDF is over 70 pages:


    A Report Prepared by the Federal Research Division,
    Library of Congress
    under an Interagency Agreement with the
    Crime and Narcotics Center
    Director of Central Intelligence
    July 2003
    (Revised December 2010)
    Author: Rex Hudson
    Project Manager: Glenn Curtis
    Federal Research Division
    Library of Congress
    Washington, D.C. 205404840

    Posted by Swamp | May 26, 2013, 12:28 pm
  2. […] one reads this post and Pterrafractyl’s arti­cle, remem­ber that theThree Bor­ders area of Brazil is a hotbed of over­lap­ping crim­i­nal, Nazi and Islamist ter­ror­ist […]

    Posted by Is the Underground Reich Beginning a Terrorist and Economic World War III against the U.S. and Britain? - The Freedom Report | The Freedom Report | February 25, 2014, 4:58 pm
  3. There must be a secret history to the whole Triborder region that I don’t know about. That the world doesn’t know about.

    Anyway. Is it worth mentioning that Makram Chams incorporated a wholesale company at an address in Florida also used by a company registered in the tri border region. And that the address used was next door to the Hezbollah command base there, Galeria Page.

    But what I really wanted to say was – Atta went to Spain. ETA are in Spain. Atta happened to go to Catalonia of all places. Rudi Dekkers father was murdered by ETA. Hilliard went to Cuba and Cuba must have solidarity with ETA. Atta went to Salou. Three different hotels there. One month after Atta left, a large car bomb detonated outside of a hotel in Slaou. It was part of a mass terror campaign that year by ETA. I can’t help wondering whether Atta had anything to do with it. Or with ETA in Spain. I mean, it makes sense. To me.

    Posted by Adam | July 20, 2016, 10:04 am

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