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FTR #495 Follow the Money, an Update on 9/11

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MP3 Side 1 [1] | Side 2 [2]
RealAu­dio [3]

When Wash­ing­ton Post reporters Wood­ward and Bern­stein con­sult­ed with their anony­mous infor­mant “Deep Throat,” he advised them to “fol­low the mon­ey.” This pro­gram high­lights the sig­nif­i­cance of the 9/11 mon­ey trail in under­stand­ing the fun­da­men­tals of that mon­u­men­tal inci­dent. Begin­ning with dis­cus­sion of Michael Chertoff—nominated to head up the Depart­ment of Home­land Security—the show sets forth Chertof­f’s legal rep­re­sen­ta­tion of a New Jer­sey doc­tor (Dr. Magdy el-Amir) who appears to have active­ly fund­ed bin Laden’s activ­i­ties. When Chertoff was over­see­ing the day-to-day oper­a­tions of the 9/11 inves­ti­ga­tions, he did not inves­ti­gate his for­mer client, rais­ing seri­ous ques­tions about con­flict of inter­est and his fit­ness to hold such a sen­si­tive posi­tion. The sec­ond half of the pro­gram updates var­i­ous aspects of the inves­ti­ga­tions into ter­ror­ist funding—Operation Green Quest, in par­tic­u­lar.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Inves­ti­ga­tions into the rela­tion­ship of the Rig­gs Bank to the CIA and Prince Ban­dar of Sau­di Ara­bia; the expan­sion of an inves­ti­ga­tion into Yeslam bin Laden’s rela­tion­ship to Al Qae­da; the sen­tenc­ing of two asso­ciates of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood to prison terms; the rela­tion­ship of Abdu­rah­man Alam­ou­di to GOP king­pin Grover Norquist; dis­clo­sure that stock trad­er Antho­ny Elgindy had been receiv­ing inside infor­ma­tion about the FBI’s inves­ti­ga­tion into 9/11; the fact that Elgindy had donat­ed a con­sid­er­able amount of mon­ey to Mer­cy Inter­na­tion­al, an Islam­ic char­i­ty that is an off­shoot of Al Qae­da finan­cial repos­i­to­ry Bank Al Taqwa.

1. The first half of the pro­gram is devot­ed to the sub­ject of Michael Chertoff, the man who over­saw the most crit­i­cal aspects of the legal inves­ti­ga­tion of 9/11. Chertoff is the Bush admin­is­tra­tion nom­i­nee to head the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty. Chertoff rep­re­sent­ed an appar­ent Al Qae­da fund­ing source—Dr. Magdy el-Amir. His suc­cess­ful defense of Dr. el-Amir and his appar­ent con­tin­ued cov­er-up of his clien­t’s activ­i­ties raise seri­ous ques­tions about Chertof­f’s qual­i­fi­ca­tions for the job. It appears that Chertoff is anoth­er of the Bush admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials with pro­fes­sion­al con­nec­tions to the peo­ple involved with Al Qae­da and/or the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. “Michael Chertoff, appoint­ed by Pres­i­dent Bush to head the Home­land Secu­ri­ty Depart­ment, may have shield­ed from crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion a for­mer client sus­pect­ed by law enforce­ment of hav­ing fun­neled mil­lions of dol­lars direct­ly to Osama bin Laden while in charge of the U.S. Gov­ern­men­t’s 9/11 inves­ti­ga­tion. [Ital­ics are Mr. Emory’s.] Egypt­ian-born Dr. Magdy el-Amir, a promi­nent New Jer­sey neu­rol­o­gist, was at the cen­ter of ter­ror­ist intrigue in Jer­sey City.”
(“Did Bush’s New Home­land Chief Shield Ter­ror Ring in New Jer­sey?” by Daniel Hop­sick­er; Mad­Cow­Morn­ingNews; 1/12/2005; p. 1.) [4]

2. Chertoff rep­re­sent­ed Dr. Magdy el-Amir, who has a num­ber of con­nec­tions to the milieu of Al Qae­da: “El-Amir gave mon­ey to a con­spir­a­tor in the 1993 World Trade Cen­ter Bombing–Sheik Omar Abdel Rah­man. His broth­er in Cairo was caught on tape attempt­ing to buy weapons from an Amer­i­can under­cov­er agent for Islam­ic mil­i­tant groups. Before being arrest­ed in a ter­ror­ist deal involv­ing oil and hero­in for guns and train­ing, arms smug­gler Diaa Mohsen was paid at least $5,000 by one of Dr. el Amir’s com­pa­nies, NBC’s Date­line report­ed. And his HMO was sus­pect­ed by law enforce­ment of being used to fun­nel mon­ey direct­ly to Osama bin Laden.” (Idem.)

3. “Chertof­f’s client ’caused more than $507 mil­lion to be paid by wire trans­fers to be paid by wire trans­fers to unknown par­ties,’ said the law­suit filed short­ly before the state took over his fail­ing HMO. News accounts about el-Amir’s legal dif­fi­cul­ties con­tain unan­swered ques­tions about undue polit­i­cal influ­ence and its effect on nation­al secu­ri­ty. For exam­ple, how did el-Amir who only the month before had been grant­ed a state license to oper­ate an HMO, fina­gle a lucra­tive con­tract from the state of New Jer­sey in 1995?” (Ibid.; pp. 1–2.)

4. ” ‘Why was this doc­tor allowed to start a health plan?’ asked the Octo­ber 25, 1999 issue of the med­ical trade jour­nal Med­ical Eco­nom­ics. ‘How could this med­ical entre­pre­neur, who had no expe­ri­ence run­ning a man­aged-care or health insur­ance com­pa­ny, receive a license for an HMO that now pro­vides care to 44,000 of New Jer­sey’s most vul­ner­a­ble cit­i­zens?’ asked The Bergen Record. ‘More­over, how could the state pay such a novice $6 mil­lion a month in tax­pay­ers mon­ey to take on such a respon­si­bil­i­ty?’ Why did Michael Chertoff even take the case?” (Ibid.; p. 2.)

5. Like Grover Norquist’s asso­ciates in the Islam­ic Insti­tute (see the pro­gram descrip­tions not­ed above), Dr. el-Amir appears to have bought his extra­or­di­nary sta­tus with a gen­er­ous dona­tion to the Repub­li­can Par­ty. His HMO may have been fund­ed by Osama bin Laden, and funds skimmed from the HMO appar­ent­ly went to sup­port Al Qae­da. “Answers were slow in com­ing, until it was revealed that at the same time el-Amir was pitch­ing state busi­ness he had begun mak­ing gen­er­ous con­tri­bu­tions to the gov­ern­ing Repub­li­can par­ty, donat­ing near­ly $18,000 to var­i­ous GOP can­di­dates in 1996. And a for­eign intel­li­gence report made avail­able to the Chair­man of the House Inter­na­tion­al Com­mit­tee alleged that an HMO owned by Dr. el-Amir in New Jer­sey was ‘fund­ed by bin Laden,’ and that in turn Dr. el-Amir was skim­ming mon­ey from the HMO to fund ‘ter­ror­ist activ­i­ties.’ . . .” (Idem.)

6. “Stuff like that does­n’t hap­pen, does it? In New Jer­sey? Bare­ly three years after enrolling its first patient, APPP lay in finan­cial ruins, its net­work doc­tors and hos­pi­tals were sad­dled with mil­lions of dol­lars in unpaid claims, and its founder had retained the ser­vices of Michael Chertoff. Did Chertoff know where the stolen mon­ey was going?” (Idem.)

7. ” ‘Frankly, we can’t dif­fer­en­ti­ate between ter­ror­ism and orga­nized crime and drug deal­ing,’ then-Asst. Attor­ney Gen­er­al Michael Chertoff told the Sen­ate Bank­ing Com­mit­tee look­ing into the ter­ror­ists’ mon­ey trail in the after­math of 9/11. ‘These groups don’t hold them­selves inde­pen­dent­ly: They work with one anoth­er. Ter­ror­ists get engaged in drug activ­i­ty. They have rela­tion­ships with orga­nized crime,’ Chertoff said.” (Idem.)

8. Note that Chertoff was in charge of the day-to-day oper­a­tions of the 9/11 inves­ti­ga­tion, even after suc­cess­ful­ly shield­ing his for­mer client from inves­ti­ga­tion. “Chertoff was undoubt­ed­ly worth every pen­ny Dr. Magdy paid him: though doc­tors and hos­pi­tals cal­cu­lat­ed they were owed more than $45 mil­lion, Dr. el-Amir faced no crim­i­nal charges. When the Mad­Cow Morn­ing News first report­ed on Mob and ter­ror­ist con­nec­tions to “Mag­ic Dutch Boy’ Rudi Dekkers and the covert oper­a­tions con­duct­ed at the Venice Air­port, Michael Chertoff was run­ning the offi­cial U.S. inves­ti­ga­tion. [Ital­ics are Mr. Emory’s.] Dekkers remains free. Magdy el-Amir con­tin­ues to live and prac­tice in New Jer­sey.” (Ibid.; pp. 2–3.)

9. “Now that Chertoff has been tapped to keep Amer­i­ca safe, ques­tions are sure to resur­face about whether he had­n’t him­self been instru­men­tal in help­ing to make Amer­i­ca dan­ger­ous. Doc­u­ments in the el-Amir case remain under seal. For­tu­nate­ly, the fol­low­ing infor­ma­tion does not. From the Bergen Coun­ty Record (New Jer­sey) on Jan­u­ary 24, 1999: ‘For a while, Magdy el-Amir looked like the Hor­a­tio Alger of man­aged care in New Jer­sey. An Egypt­ian immi­grant who par­layed a store­front med­ical prac­tice in Jer­sey City into a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar health-care empire that served thou­sands of the state’s poor­est cit­i­zens, he lived in a Sad­dle Riv­er man­sion and con­tributed gen­er­ous­ly to can­di­dates for polit­i­cal office’ . . .” (Ibid.; p. 3.)

10. ” ‘His health main­te­nance orga­ni­za­tion, Amer­i­can Pre­ferred Provider Plan Inc., is about to be sold by state reg­u­la­tors to sal­vage some mon­ey for doc­tors and hos­pi­tals who cal­cu­late they’re owed more than $45 mil­lion.’ In August 2002, NBC’s ‘Date­line’ report­ed on the el-Amir case: ‘Last fall, DATELINE obtained infor­ma­tion about this man, Magdy el-Amir, he’s a promi­nent doc­tor, a neu­rol­o­gist with a prac­tice in Jer­sey City. Born and edu­cat­ed in Egypt, he moved to this coun­try about 20 years ago and since then has built a for­tune’ . . .” (Idem.)

11. ” ‘Well, take a look at this doc­u­ment obtained by DATELINE last fall. A for­eign intel­li­gence report that makes a star­tling alle­ga­tion about the doc­tor, that he has had finan­cial ties with Osama bin Laden for years. The report was giv­en to a senior mem­ber of Con­gress, Ben Gilman, back in 1998 when he was chair­man of the House Inter­na­tion­al Rela­tions Com­mit­tee’ . . . The report alleges that an HMO owned by Dr. el-Amir in New Jer­sey was ‘fund­ed by bin Laden,’ and that in turn, Dr. el-Amir was skim­ming mon­ey from the HMO to fund ‘ter­ror­ist activ­i­ties.’. . .” (Idem.)

12. ” ‘Less than a year after the con­gress­man says the FBI received the report, Dr. el-Amir’s HMO was tak­en over by the state of New Jer­sey. . . accord­ing to sources close to the inves­ti­ga­tion, more than $15 mil­lion is unac­count­ed for. Where did that mon­ey go? DATELINE has reviewed doc­u­ments that show at least some of it went into hard-to-trace off­shore bank accounts’ . . . But the intel­li­gence report sug­gests one thing that he does­n’t deny, that he has donat­ed mon­ey to the mosque where the blind sheik once preached, Omar Abdel-Rah­man, who is now in prison for his role in the 1993 World Trade Cen­ter bomb­ing’ . . .” (Idem.)

13. ” ‘DATELINE has found anoth­er rea­son why fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tors might want to pay close atten­tion to Dr. el-Amir and his fam­i­ly. It’s some­thing we learned when we inter­viewed Randy Glass, the con man-turned-under­cov­er oper­a­tive who helped the gov­ern­ment break up an ille­gal weapons ring alleged­ly tied to ter­ror­ist groups. It turns out that one of the peo­ple record­ed try­ing to arrange an arms deal with Randy Glass was Dr. el-Amir’s own broth­er, Mohamed, an engi­neer, also a US cit­i­zen now liv­ing in Egypt. And just lis­ten to what he was inter­est­ed in’ . . .” (Idem.)

14. ” ‘Mr. GLASS: (From tape) OK. They want to ship things like tanks, cor­rect?’ ‘Mr. EL AMIR: (From tape), Un-huh. . . No, no, no, no, just ammu­ni­tion, not tanks.’ ‘Glass says fed­er­al agents told him to drop the mat­ter’ . . . ‘That same intel­li­gence report that talks about Dr. [Magdy] el-Amir also names his broth­er Mohamed as hav­ing ties to Osama bin Laden.’ ” (Idem.)

15. “The el-Amirs appear to be inti­mate­ly linked with Osama bin Laden, mak­ing the fol­low­ing report from The Bergen Record quite puz­zling, dat­ed Decem­ber 11, 1998: ‘A Supe­ri­or judge on Thurs­day ordered state Insur­ance Com­mis­sion­er . . . to take con­trol of Amer­i­can Pre­ferred Provider Plan, Inc., a health-main­te­nance orga­ni­za­tion for Med­ic­aid patients alleged­ly bled dry by its Sad­dle Riv­er own­er, neu­rol­o­gist Magdy el-Amir. . .’ ” (Ibid.; p. 4.)

16. ” ‘But in a hint of the grav­i­ty of his legal predica­ment, he was rep­re­sent­ed in court by Michael Chertoff, the for­mer U.S. attor­ney in Newark and coun­sel to U.S. Sen. Alfonse D’Am­a­to’s White­wa­ter Inves­ti­ga­tion.’ Yes, the soon-to-be Home­land Secu­ri­ty Chief Michael Chertoff rep­re­sent­ed a known bin Laden oper­a­tive. Per­haps more trou­bling, Chertoff also head­ed the U.S.‘s inves­ti­ga­tion into the Sep­tem­ber 11th attack. From the New Jer­sey Law Jour­nal, August 4, 2003: ‘The Sept. 11th inves­ti­ga­tion was super­vised by Assis­tant Attor­ney Gen­er­al Michael Chertoff, head of the U.S. Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Divi­sion, who is now a Third Cir­cuit judge.” (Idem.)

17. “More on Chertoff from the New York­er, Novem­ber 5, 2001: ‘Since the Sep­tem­ber 11th ter­ror­ist attacks, Chertof­f’s office has become the fun­nel for what is prob­a­bly the most impor­tant crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion in Amer­i­can his­to­ry, as pros­e­cu­tors and F.B.I. inves­ti­ga­tors pour in to seek the boss’s approval. What leads can we use from the search of a hijack­er’s car in Port­land, Maine? Where do the hijack­ers’ cred­it-card records lead? . . . For day-to-day deci­sions, Chertoff has the last word’.” (Idem.)

18. “Though el-Amir’s HMO was known to be affil­i­at­ed with bin Laden since the mid-1990’s, Chertoff offers an alter­nate view of the HMO’s finan­cial state­ments. From The Record, Decem­ber 18, 1998: ‘El-Amir’s attor­ney, Michael Chertoff, the for­mer U.S. attor­ney in Newark, offered the doc­tor’s first in-depth defense to the state charges Thurs­day, insist­ing that el-Amir had not mis­ap­pro­pri­at­ed any funds from APPP [el-Amir’s HMO].’ ” (Idem.)

19. “Also from The Record, Decem­ber 16, 1998: ‘Michael Chertoff, a for­mer U.S. attor­ney, who is el-Amir’s attor­ney, said the state’s papers don’t give the com­plete pic­ture of the com­pa­ny’s finances. ‘It’s a one-sided pic­ture of what’s going on,’ he said. It would be unfor­tu­nate if the state’s approach is to find some­one to pun­ish, rather than solve the prob­lem.’ Chertoff said el-Amir would like to work with the state in its effort to reha­bil­i­tate the HMO.’ ” (Idem.)

20. “Chertof­f’s com­ments on the case made the New York Times on Decem­ber 18, 1998: ‘Dr. el-Amir’s lawyer, Michael Chertoff, said that all trans­ac­tions were approved by state agen­cies and that his client has done noth­ing improp­er.’ ” (Idem.)

21. “The Bergen Record print­ed a post-tri­al wrap-up of the case on Feb­ru­ary 22, 2000: ‘A year after a Med­ic­aid HMO accused of mis­us­ing state and fed­er­al funds was dis­solved by the state, its founder is still enjoy­ing a mil­lion­aire’s income while the hos­pi­tals and doc­tors who alleged­ly were defraud­ed delay pro­grams for the poor and fight for resti­tu­tion’ . . .APP’s founder, Sad­dle Riv­er neu­rol­o­gist Magdy el-Amir, con­tin­ues to prac­tice med­i­cine in a Jer­sey City store­front office and lives in a $ 1.8 mil­lion man­sion in one of Bergen Coun­ty’s toni­est sub­urbs, court records show. His car leas­es alone total $65,000 per year, the records show. The Egypt­ian immi­grant also oper­ates a chain of MRI facil­i­ties in Newark, Irv­ing­ton, and Pater­son, a lim­ou­sine com­pa­ny, and a med­ical man­age­ment com­pa­ny. Com­bined with his med­ical prac­tice, his income totals more than $18,000 week­ly, near­ly $1 mil­lion a year, records show.’ ” (Ibid.; pp. 4–5.)

22. ” ‘He’s still in good spir­its,’ said Michael Chertoff, the for­mer U.S. attor­ney in Newark whom el-Amir hired as his defense lawyer. Pub­lic records in the civ­il case con­tain no ref­er­ence to a crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion but court offi­cials said some doc­u­ments in the case were under seal. The state Attor­ney Gen­er­al’s Office would nei­ther con­firm nor deny an inves­ti­ga­tion. The state’s Med­ic­aid fraud divi­sion is not involved in the case, a Med­ic­aid spokesman said’ . . .” (Idem.)

23. Be sure to read Daniel’s orig­i­nal arti­cle in its entire­ty. [4]

24. Repris­ing infor­ma­tion pre­sent­ed in FTR#391 [5], the pro­gram high­lights the sig­nif­i­cance of Osama bin Laden’s fund-rais­ing capa­bil­i­ties for his rise in the Jihadist hier­ar­chy dur­ing, and after, the Mujahideen war against the Sovi­ets in Afghanistan. It was his abil­i­ty to use his fam­i­ly con­nec­tions to raise mon­ey that was the key to his ascen­dan­cy with­in the Muhahideen. “Years before the Sep­tem­ber 11 attacks on New York and Wash­ing­ton, Osama bin Laden’s al Qae­da orga­ni­za­tion and oth­er ter­ror­ist groups had sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly built finan­cial net­works capa­ble of sus­tain­ing their aim of bring­ing their war to the Unit­ed States on its own soil. Indeed, bin Laden ini­tial­ly rose to promi­nence not as a fight­er but as the most influ­en­tial financier of the mujahideen fight­ing to dri­ve the Sovi­et army out of Afghanistan. ‘It is this finan­cial archi­tec­ture that con­tin­ued with him when he turned to ter­ror­ism, and it’s this finan­cial archi­tec­ture that is at the heart of how al Qae­da today gets its finances,’ said William F. Wech­sler, who spe­cial­ized in track­ing ter­ror­ist fund­ing while at the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil dur­ing the last two years of the Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tion.”
(Blood From Stones; by Dou­glas Farah; Broad­way Books [HC]; Copy­right 2004 by Dou­glas Farah; ISBN 0–7679-1562–3; p. 1.) [6]

25. “When bin Laden was giv­en sanc­tu­ary by the Tal­iban in Afghanistan in 1996, he was able to use his rolodex to solic­it funds while build­ing a sta­ble base of oper­a­tions. With­in a few years the al Qae­da mon­ey trail stretched from the trop­i­cal dia­mond fields of West Africa to the gold mar­kets of the Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates, from the mon­ey mer­chants of Pak­istan to the sub­urbs of Wash­ing­ton, D.C. the meld­ing of the finan­cial resources with the con­trol of a coun­try made al Qae­da a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion with­out peer.” (Idem.)

26. Among the aspects of the 9/11 mon­ey trail that have been under inves­ti­ga­tion is the Rig­gs Bank. Hold­ing accounts used by the Sau­di Embassy, the bank has been sus­pect­ed of being a source for monies used in the exe­cu­tion of the 9/11 attacks. (The pres­i­den­t’s uncle—Jonathan Bush—is a direc­tor of the bank.) One pow­er­ful obsta­cle to an open, trans­par­ent inves­ti­ga­tion of Rig­gs con­cerns the oper­a­tions con­duct­ed through that bank by Prince Bandar—Saudi Ambas­sador to the U.S., close friend and ally of the Bush fam­i­ly, and a long­time CIA asset. ” . . . Prince Ban­dar’s con­nec­tions to the CIA have long been a sig­nif­i­cant, albeit lit­tle-dis­cussed, aspect of the Rig­gs affair. Dur­ing the ini­tial phase of the con­tro­ver­sy over Sau­di accounts at Rig­gs in ear­ly 2003. Prince Ban­dar detailed his work for the CIA in a meet­ing with Trea­sury Sec­re­tary John Snow, accord­ing to cur­rent and for­mer U.S. intel­li­gence offi­cials who inter­pret­ed the dis­clo­sure as an expla­na­tion for the prince’s large unex­plained cash trans­ac­tions at Rig­gs. [Ital­ics are Mr. Emory’s]”
(“Rig­gs Bank Had Long­stand­ing Link to the CIA” by Glenn R. Simp­son; The Wall Street Jour­nal; 12/31/2004; p. A4.) [7]

27. Notice that some of the covert oper­a­tions with which Ban­dar was involved include the Iran-Con­tra affair and the Afghan mujahideen sup­port effort—both oper­a­tions with evi­den­tiary trib­u­taries run­ning for­ward to the events in and around 9/11.) “The meet­ing took place at the Trea­sury Depart­men­t’s head­quar­ters on Penn­syl­va­nia Avenue, which is across the street from Rig­gs head­quar­ters. A spokesman for Prince Ban­dar declined to com­ment on the specifics of the dis­cus­sions with Mr. Snow, as did the Trea­sury Depart­ment. Dur­ing the 1980’s, Prince Ban­dar helped fund the anti­com­mu­nist Nicaraguan Con­tra rebels at the request of the White House and CIA, and lat­er helped sup­port Afghan rebels fight­ing the Sovi­et Union. More recent­ly, he helped bro­ker a diplo­mat­ic rap­proche­ment between the U.S. and Libyan dic­ta­tor Moam­mar Gad­hafi.” (Idem.)

28. Next, the pro­gram revis­its the sub­ject of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and the Oper­a­tion Green Quest raids of 3/20/2002. One of the prin­ci­pal fig­ures in the SAAR net­work milieu—Abdurahman Alamoudi—has been sen­tenced to prison with­out coop­er­at­ing with fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors. Alam­ou­di is very close to the GOP/Islamist net­work con­struct­ed by Grover Norquist, as well as to the Islam­o­fas­cist Mus­lim Broth­er­hood net­work that spawned Al Qae­da. Anoth­er Broth­er­hood fig­ure who was (like Alam­ou­di) con­nect­ed to Youssef Nada was Soli­man Biheiri is also look­ing at some seri­ous time.

Two key fig­ures in a gov­ern­ment probe of alleged ter­ror financ­ing in the U.S. like­ly face long prison stints after last week. Mus­lim leader Abdu­rah­man Alam­ou­di, once a promi­nent lob­by­ist for Islam­ic caus­es, received a 23-year sen­tence for vio­lat­ing ter­ror­ism sanc­tions against Libya. Soli­man Biheiri, who man­aged mon­ey for a top Hamas leader as well as Mr. Alam­ou­di, was con­vict­ed of immi­gra­tion fraud and lying about his ties to the Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ist group. . . .”
(“Ter­ror Finance Sus­pects Face Prison” by Glenn R. Simp­son; The Wall Street Jour­nal; 10/18/2004; p. A10.) [8]

29. ” . . . With his guilty plea, Mr. Alam­ou­di promised to coop­er­ate with the Jus­tice Depart­ment, but the deci­sion by pros­e­cu­tors to pro­ceed with sen­tenc­ing indi­cates he has yet to give any­thing they con­sid­er use­ful. If that changes. Mr. Alam­ou­di can apply for a reduc­tion in his sen­tence. . . .” (Idem.)

30. ” . . . The founder of BMI Inc., an Islam­ic invest­ment firm that went bank­rupt four years ago amid alle­ga­tions of fraud, Mr. Biheiri has acknowl­edged exten­sive deal­ings with numer­ous top Mus­lim Broth­er­hood fig­ures, offi­cials say. His con­vic­tions car­ry a sen­tence of as long as 15 years, and pros­e­cu­tors want to add a so-called ter­ror­ism enhance­ment that could boost it by an addi­tion­al 10 years. The gov­ern­ment wants the two men to coop­er­ate in a con­tin­u­ing probe of a net­work of Islam­ic orga­ni­za­tions cen­tered in a con­tin­u­ing probe of a net­work of Islam­ic orga­ni­za­tions cen­tered in Hern­don, Va., and found­ed by top U.S. lead­ers of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. The group, which received its orig­i­nal fund­ing from wealthy Islamists in the Mid­dle East and has mil­lions of dol­lars in assets, is under inves­ti­ga­tion for tax fraud and rack­e­teer­ing as well as pos­si­ble ties to ter­ror­ism.” (Idem.)

31. Fol­low­ing the update on Alam­ou­di, Biheiri and the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, the pro­gram high­lights the con­tin­u­ing probe into the oper­a­tions of Osama’s half-broth­er Yeslam bin Laden and Yeslam’s SICO firm. Dis­claimers to the con­trary notwith­stand­ing, there are a num­ber of indi­ca­tions that SICO has been involved in Al Qaeda’s activ­i­ties. “A French judge has widened a probe into the finan­cial net­work sur­round­ing the fam­i­ly of Osama bin Laden after ques­tion­ing his half-broth­er and learn­ing of a 241 mil­lion euro trans­fer to Pak­istan, Le Monde dai­ly said. Inves­ti­gat­ing mag­is­trate Renaud Van Ruym­beke received court autho­riza­tion to extend his inves­ti­ga­tion after Yeslam bin Laden was ques­tioned on Sept. 27 over alle­ga­tions of links with the orga­niz­ers of attacks in 2001 in the Unit­ed States, the paper said in its Sat­ur­day edi­tion.”
(“French Mag­is­trate Widens Bin Laden Finance Probe” [Reuters]; 12/25/2004; p. 1.) [9]

32. “As a result, Van Ruym­beke was adding ‘oth­er instances of mon­ey laun­der­ing’ to the probe already under way, Le Monde said. The court was unreach­able for com­ment on Sat­ur­day. On Dec. 5, 2001, French author­i­ties opened an inves­ti­ga­tion into finan­cial trans­fers car­ried out through Paris between firms grouped with­in the Sau­di Invest­ment Com­pa­ny (SICO) run by Yeslam bin Laden, who also man­ages some assets of the fam­i­ly’s Sau­di Bin­ladin Group (SBG). Yeslam bin Laden was ques­tioned by the French judge in 2002, and has hand­ed over a copy of doc­u­ments detail­ing the dis­tri­b­u­tion of the bin Laden fam­i­ly wealth to 54 broth­ers and sis­ters after the death of their father in 1967, the paper said.” (Idem.)

33. It appears that, his dis­claimer to the con­trary notwith­stand­ing, Yeslam has had con­tact with Osama in the past 20 years. “Although he denied hav­ing had any con­tact with his half-broth­er for the past 20 years, the paper said, doc­u­ments held by Swiss bank­ing author­i­ties sug­gest that Yeslam and Osama bin Laden held a joint account in Switzer­land between 1990 and 1997, accord­ing to Jean-Charles Brisard—a pri­vate inves­ti­ga­tor hired by fam­i­lies of the vic­tims of the Sept. 11 attacks. Yeslam told French inves­ti­ga­tors in Sep­tem­ber that he had omit­ted to men­tion the exis­tence of that account, while still insist­ing he had not had mixed with his half-broth­er, Le Monde said. Yeslam bin Laden’s Swiss-based lawyer, Pierre de Preux, could not imme­di­ate­ly be reached by Reuters for com­ment. . . .” (Idem.)

34. ” . . . The French author­i­ties, how­ev­er, say the facts require fur­ther check­ing. Bris­ard noti­fied Van Ruym­beke on Sept. 6 this year of sev­er­al sus­pi­cious funds trans­fers, Le Monde said. The inves­ti­ga­tor not­ed a 241 mil­lion euro trans­fer made to Pak­istan in 2000 from an account belong­ing to a com­pa­ny called Cam­bridge, a SBG sub­sidiary that was opened at Deutsche Bank in Gene­va, the paper added. U.S. author­i­ties are aware of the exis­tence of those funds, which they believe were trans­ferred into an account belong­ing joint­ly to Osama bin Laden and some­one of Pak­istani nation­al­i­ty, it said. The French author­i­ties say the pres­ence of SICO with­in the Sau­di Bin­ladin Group’s orbit in Gene­va jus­ti­fies its probe, Le Monde added.” (Idem.)

35. A fas­ci­nat­ing and impor­tant detail con­cern­ing the hijack­ers is the fact that Yeslam bin Laden’s SICO sub­sidiary trained its pilots at Huff­man Avi­a­tion in Venice, Flori­da!! Huff­man is the school at which Atta and com­pa­ny were “trained.” Although he denies it, there are pro­found indi­ca­tions that Yeslam and SICO are involved with the activ­i­ties of Al Qae­da. This sub­ject will be dealt with at greater length below. ” . . . Swiss police ques­tioned Yeslam [bin Laden] because one of his com­pa­nies, Avcon Air Char­ter, had offered flight train­ing to clients at the Venice flight school attend­ed by some of the hijack­ers. As a result of what Le Monde called ‘a still unex­plained coin­ci­dence,’ the pilots of Yeslam bin Laden’s com­pa­ny trained at Huff­man Avi­a­tion in Flori­da, the paper stat­ed. ‘I did­n’t chose that flight school,’ Yeslam protest­ed. ‘I don’t have con­tact with my half-broth­er since over 20 years ago.’ ”
(Wel­come to Ter­ror­land: Mohamed Atta & the 9–11 Cov­er-Up in Flori­da; by Daniel Hop­sick­er; Mad­cow Press [HC]; Copy­right 2004 by Daniel Hop­sick­er; ISBN 0–9706591‑6–4; p. 178.) [10]

36. “Swiss mag­a­zine L’Heb­do report­ed that Swiss fed­er­al inspec­tors were seek­ing infor­ma­tion on the activ­i­ties of sev­er­al bin Laden fam­i­ly com­pa­nies, includ­ing Gene­va-based Sau­di Invest­ment Com­pa­ny, a finan­cial clear­ing­house for the fam­i­ly’s inter­na­tion­al invest­ments, and Avcon Busi­ness Jets SA, which owned a fleet of pri­vate jets which it leased to clients. . . .” (Idem.)

37. Review­ing infor­ma­tion pre­sent­ed in FTR#356 [5], the pro­gram notes that SICO opened 16 unpub­lished accounts with the Clearstream net­work in ear­ly 2001. The pos­si­bil­i­ty that these accounts were used to finance the activ­i­ties of 9/11, includ­ing (per­haps) the enor­mous amounts of cash avail­able to Rudi Dekkers, Atta and com­pa­ny is one to be SERIOUSLY INVESTIGATED. Note in this con­text that Clearstream is owned by the Deutsche Borse, which in turn is owned by the major Ger­man com­mer­cial banks and they are con­trolled by the Bor­mann group. Note also that the BCCI heav­i­ly uti­lized the Clearstream net­work, as (appar­ent­ly) did the 9/11 con­spir­a­tors. Robert Mueller cov­ered up the BCCI inves­ti­ga­tion and his FBI is now cov­er­ing up Oper­a­tion Green Quest—the inves­ti­ga­tion into the 9/11 mon­ey trail. “In Novem­ber, U.S. author­i­ties named some banks that had bin Laden accounts, and it put them on a black­list. One was Al Taqwa, ‘Fear of God,’ reg­is­tered in the Bahamas with offices in Lugano, Switzer­land. Al Taqwa had access to the Clearstream sys­tem through its cor­re­spon­dent account with the Ban­ca del Got­tar­do in Lugano, which has a pub­lished Clearstream account (No. 74381). But Bin Laden may have oth­er access to the unpub­lished sys­tem. In what he calls a ‘spec­tac­u­lar dis­cov­ery,’ Ernest Back­es reports that in the weeks before CEO Andre Lus­si was forced to leave Clearstream last May, a series of 16 unpub­lished accounts were opened under the name of the Sau­di Invest­ment Com­pa­ny, or SICO, the Gene­va hold­ing of the Sau­di Bin­laden Group, which is run by Osama’s broth­er Yeslam Bin­laden (some fam­i­ly mem­bers spell the name dif­fer­ent­ly.) Yeslam Bin­laden insists hat he has noth­ing to do with his broth­er, but evi­dence sug­gests SICO is tied into Osama’s finan­cial net­work. SICO is asso­ci­at­ed with Dar Al-Maal-Al-Isla­mi (DMI), an Islam­ic finan­cial insti­tu­tion also based in Gene­va and presided over by Prince Muhammed Al Faisal Al Saoud, a cousin of Sau­di King Fahd, that directs mil­lions a year to fun­da­men­tal­ist move­ments. DMI holds a share of the Al Shamal Islam­ic Bank of Sudan, which was set up in 1991 and part­ly financed by $50 mil­lion from Osama bin Laden. Fur­ther­more, one of SICO’s admin­is­tra­tors, Gene­va attor­ney Bau­doin Dunand, is a part­ner in a law firm, Magnin Dunand & Part­ners, that set up the Swiss finan­cial ser­vices com­pa­ny SBA, a sub­sidiary of the SBA Bank in Paris, which is con­trolled by the bin Mah­fouz Fam­i­ly.”
(“Bank­ing with Bin Laden” by Lucy Komis­ar [side­bar to “Explo­sive Rev­e­la­tion$”]; In These Times; 3/15/2002.) [11]

38. A for­mer co-chair­man of the board of direc­tors of SICO (the hold­ing com­pa­ny that man­ages the Bin Laden busi­ness inter­ests in Europe) is Bau­doin Dunand, a friend and pro­fes­sion­al asso­ciate of Fran­cois Genoud, one of the most impor­tant post­war oper­a­tives of the Under­ground Reich. Dunand is a direc­tor of SICO at present. Dunand’s involve­ment with the Bin Mah­fouz inter­ests is dis­cussed above. “This com­pa­ny, estab­lished by the bin Ladens in 1980, is the flag­ship for the group’s activ­i­ties in Europe. It is head­ed by Yeslam bin Laden, and the board of direc­tors is made up almost exclu­sive­ly of mem­bers of the fam­i­ly clan, except for a Swiss cit­i­zen, Bau­doin Dunand. This well-known lawyer from French-speak­ing Switzer­land, who is on the boards of sev­er­al dozen com­pa­nies, came to pub­lic notice in 1983 when he agreed to rep­re­sent the Swiss banker Fran­cois Genoud, a con­tro­ver­sial fig­ure who had been a dis­ci­ple of Hitler and sole heir of Goebbel­s’s copy­rights before becom­ing one of the financiers of the FLN dur­ing the Alger­ian War. The friend­ships of the bin Ladens some­times seem sur­pris­ing, but they are log­i­cal: Fran­cois Genoud has always been pro-Arab.”
(In the Name of Osama Bin Laden; by Roland Jacquard; Copy­right 2002 [SC]; Duke Uni­ver­si­ty Press; ISBN 0–8223-2991–3; pp. 17–18.) [12]

39. The pro­gram con­cludes with dis­cus­sion of Antho­ny Elgindy [13], sus­pect­ed by some of hav­ing fore­knowl­edge of the 9/11 attacks. Elgindy was receiv­ing inside infor­ma­tion from a for­mer FBI agent, who was keep­ing him apprised of devel­op­ments in the FBI’s inves­ti­ga­tion of 9/11. “A for­mer FBI agent admit­ted that he gave online stock traders con­fi­den­tial details of fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tions, includ­ing a probe of the Sept. 11 ter­ror­ist attacks. One of the recip­i­ents was San Diego pen­ny-stock pick­er Antho­ny Elgindy. Elgindy was inves­ti­gat­ed by a Jus­tice Depart­ment task force exam­in­ing whether any­one might have known of the ter­ror­ists’ plans and prof­it­ed by sell­ing vul­ner­a­ble stocks just before the attacks, Jef­frey Roy­er said. . . .”
(“Ex-FBI Agent Admits He Gave Tips” [AP]; Los Ange­les Times; 1/5/2005) [14]

40. “For five days, jurors have seen dozens of e‑mail mes­sages, a litany of Inter­net chat room logs and count­less com­pa­ny reports as fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors pre­sent­ed their con­spir­a­cy case against Antho­ny Elgindy, the San Diego stock advis­er accused of obtain­ing ille­gal infor­ma­tion from an F.B.I. agent to manip­u­late the stock mar­ket. But they will not hear evi­dence sup­port­ing an asser­tion that pros­e­cu­tors once made sug­gest­ing that Mr. Elgindy might have had advance knowl­edge of the Sept. 11 ter­ror­ist attacks, a judge said yes­ter­day.”
(“Judge in Stock Advis­er’s Tri­al Bars Tes­ti­mo­ny on Ter­ror­ism” by Eric Dash; New York Times; 11/9/2004.) [15]

41. “The mat­ter came up in the fourth full day of tes­ti­mo­ny in Unit­ed States Dis­trict Court in Brook­lyn. Der­rick Cleve­land, a for­mer busi­ness asso­ciate of Mr. Elgindy who is now a gov­ern­ment wit­ness, was asked by an assis­tant Unit­ed States attor­ney, Ken­neth Breen, about a mid-Sep­tem­ber 2001 F.B.I. inves­ti­ga­tion into Mr. Elgindy. When Mr. Cleve­land respond­ed that the inves­ti­ga­tion was relat­ed to ‘ter­ror­ism,’ Judge Ray­mond J. Dearie brought the hear­ing to a halt. . . .” (Idem.)

42. It is note­wor­thy that Elgindy had con­tributed to Mer­cy Inter­na­tion­al, an off­shoot of the Bank Al Taqwa—the finan­cial arm of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. ” . . . Mr. Cleve­land was allowed to con­tin­ue with his tes­ti­mo­ny, recount­ing how he learned that Mr. Elgindy was a sub­ject in a crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion. Mr. Cleve­land said that Jef­frey A. Roy­er, an F.B.I. agent who was the source of that infor­ma­tion and a defen­dant in the case, told him that inves­ti­ga­tors were look­ing into $6 mil­lion that Mr. Elgindy had liq­ui­dat­ed from two bro­ker­age com­pa­nies, Charles Schwab and Salomon Smith Bar­ney, short­ly before Sept. 11. Mr. Roy­er also relayed infor­ma­tion that the gov­ern­ment was exam­in­ing the mon­ey Mr. Elgindy gave to Mer­cy Inter­na­tion­al, which Mr. Breen described as a Mid­dle East­ern char­i­ty.” (Idem.)

43. Illus­trat­ing the con­nec­tions between Mer­cy Inter­na­tion­al, Al Taqwa, Gulf Office and the Embassy bomb­ings in 1998, the pro­gram reviews infor­ma­tion pre­sent­ed in—among oth­er pro­grams—FTR#‘s 349, 351, 361, 377 [5]. “The Milanese con­nec­tion orig­i­nates in the Bahamas. Since leav­ing its first head office in Nas­sau, Al Taqwa estab­lished itself at NIGH (Nasred­din Inter­na­tion­al Group Holdings)—10, Dewaux Street in Nas­sau. The NIGH hold­ing com­pa­ny deserves close atten­tion. Yussef Nada’s assis­tant Ali Ghaleb Him­mat works there. The Bank of Gothard is NIGH’s bank, through account CC/B No. 313656, through the agency of Chi­as­so, in the name of a Char­i­ty foun­da­tion. The Bank of Gothard also appears, in a con­fi­den­tial report on Al Taqwa’s activ­i­ty, under the head­ing of busi­ness con­nec­tions. The bank man­ag­er at Gothard, Clau­dio Gen­erale, told me, how­ev­er, that he does not know either Al Taqwa or its direc­tor, much less the hold­ing com­pa­ny NIGH.”
(Dol­lars for Ter­ror: The Unit­ed States and Islam; by Richard Labeviere; Copy­right 2000 [SC]; Algo­ra Pub­lish­ing; ISBN 1–892941-06–6; p. 150.) [16]

44. “The pres­i­dent and cre­ator of NIGH, Nasred­din Ahmed Idris, who also appears on the list of the first share­hold­ers in Al Taqwa, is hon­orary con­sul of Kuwait in Milan. Liv­ing in Italy, Switzer­land and Moroc­co, this busi­ness­man directs a mul­ti­tude of finan­cial com­pa­nies, most of which end up lead­ing again to the neb­u­la of Al Taqwa. One of them, Gulf Office (Asso­ci­a­tion for Com­mer­cial, Indus­tri­al and Tourist Devel­op­ment between the Gulf States and Switzer­land), cur­rent­ly dor­mant, had been housed in the same build­ing as the mosque of Lugano. In 1994, the Ital­ian judi­cial sys­tem had its sights on Gulf Office and con­duct­ed an inquiry into its activ­i­ties in the con­text of the oper­a­tion ‘clean hands’. . . .” (Idem.)

45. “But Nasred­din Ahmed Idris’s real rep­re­sen­ta­tive at the head of Gulf Office is anoth­er mem­ber of the Mus­lim Broth­ers, Khal­doun Dia Eddine, who belongs to the Syr­i­an branch of the orga­ni­za­tion. He too was ’employed’ by the bank Al Taqwa, which he rep­re­sent­ed in Lugano, before he took on the coor­di­na­tion of the activ­i­ties of ‘Mer­cy Inter­na­tion­al,’ an Islam­ic human­i­tar­i­an orga­ni­za­tion. The human­i­tar­i­an orga­ni­za­tions, Islam­ic non­govern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tions (NGO’s), rep­re­sent one of the oth­er ‘deriv­a­tive prod­ucts’ from Al Taqwa bank.” (Ibid.; p. 151.)

46. On the Thanks­giv­ing hol­i­day in the Unit­ed States, an Israeli-owned resort was bombed in Mom­basa, Kenya. Mer­cy Inter­na­tion­al’s sit­u­a­tion is inter­est­ing to con­tem­plate in the con­text of that bomb­ing. “Last­ly, in the spring of 1997, the Kenyan police also dis­man­tled sev­er­al Islam­ic NGO’s in Mom­basa and the Sudan bor­der area, includ­ing an office of ‘Mer­cy Inter­na­tion­al.’ ” (Ibid.; p. 353.)

47. It is worth not­ing where Mer­cy Inter­na­tion­al relo­cat­ed to: “Today, [1999] Mer­cy Inter­na­tion­al has moved its head­quar­ters to the Unit­ed States: it declares a gross bud­get of $2 mil­lion.” (Ibid.; pp. 151–152.) Have Mer­cy!