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

For The Record  

FTR #498 & 499: 9/11 Update (The SICO File) & The SICO Spring of 2001

Listen to #498:
MP3 Side 1 | Side 2
RealAudio

Listen to #499:
MP3 Side 1 | Side 2
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Introduction: Both FTRs #489 and #499 deal in considerable measure with SICO—the European-based holding company for many of the Bin Laden family’s assets. One of the complicating factors in the 9/11 investigations is the fact that there are many different (and seemingly disparate) elements involved. Examination of the event yields information running in the direction of some of the Iran-Contra drug-smuggling networks, evidentiary tributaries involving white supremacist and neo-Nazi participants in the events, as well as Saudi and Islamist elements of Al Qaeda. It is Mr. Emory’s considered opinion that SICO may well hold the key to placing these participatory elements in their proper order and perspective.

Members of the board of directors of SICO participated in some of the Iran-Contra-connected drug smuggling operations of the 1980’s. Charles Rochat and Baudoin Dunand—two SICO directors—liquidated some financial entities in early 2001 (formed in partnership with Willard Zucker, one of Oliver North’s cronies in the Iran-Contra machinations).

SICO trained pilots for its aviation subsidiary at tiny Huffman Aviation in Venice Florida. (Huffman was the school through which Mohamed Atta and several of the 9/11 hijackers infiltrated the United States.) There are also numerous links between the milieu of Huffman Aviation and the Iran-Contra-connected drug networks.

SICO director Baudoin Dunand set up numerous offshore entities in the 1980’s, which were used for covert operations involving Afghan Mujahideen weapons acquisitions, as well as some of the Iran-Contra gambits. Dunand is also linked to the milieu of the Bank Al Taqwa, which itself brings together Islamists, “Old Guard” Nazi veterans of the Third Reich and German neo-Nazis. Al Taqwa director Ahmed Huber also maintains links with American white supremacist and neo-Nazi elements.

One of the central points of the program concerns 16 unpublished Clearstream accounts that SICO opened in the spring of 2001. Is there a relationship between the opening of these accounts and the closing of other financial entities by Rochat and Dunand? Is there a relationship between these maneuvers and the events of 9/11? Rudi Dekkers and company suddenly came into possession of a considerable amount of cash shortly before 9/11. Is there any connection between Dekkers’ sudden largesse and the Clearstream accounts? “Follow the Money” was what Watergate informant Deep Throat told Washington Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein. That advice holds well for the 9/11 investigation.

The program highlights Michael Chertoff—the new head of the Department of Homeland Security. Chertoff headed up Operation Green Quest, the task force charged with interdicting the flow of terrorist money worldwide. Chertoff himself had represented and protected Dr. Magdy El-Amir, an apparent financier of Al Qaeda.

Program Highlights Include: Details about Rudi Dekkers’ continuing infiltration of the United States; Chertoff’s role in attenuating the very Operation Green Quest task force he supervised; review of the FBI and CIA’s harassment of the investigators behind the 3/20/2002 Operation Green Quest raids; review of Baudoin Dunand’s relationship to Nazi financier Francois Genoud; Genoud’s connections to Bank Al Taqwa—a major financial vehicle for Al Qaeda; Al Taqwa director Achmed Huber’s links to German and American neo-Nazis; American neo-Nazi leader William Pierce’s 1998 foreshadowing of the 9/11 attacks; Saudi Arabia’s longstanding relationship to Nazis of various sorts.

1. One of the main elements of discussion in both FTR#498 and FTR#499 is the 9/11 money trail. In that regard, it is worth noting that the new head of the Department of Homeland Security—Michael Chertoff—was in charge of the Operation Green Quest task force. Later on in this description, we will review Chertoff’s role in attenuating the Green Quest investigation. The program reviewed and underscored a rather pronounced conflict of interest. Chertoff’s role as head of Operation Green Quest was severely compromised by his close association with Dr. Magdy El-Amir, accused of helping to finance Osama bin Laden. (For more about Chertoff’s relationship to Dr. Magdy El-Amir, see FTR#’s 495, 500.)

“Federal Appeals Court Judge Michael Chertoff’s ties to the financiers of the Sept. 11 attacks may prevent his confirmation as Homeland Security Chief. According to a June 20, 2000 article in The Record of Bergen County, New Jersey, Chertoff defended accused terrorist financier Dr. Magdy El-Amir. El-Amir’s HMO was sued by the State of New Jersey to recoup $16.7 million in losses. At least $5.7 million went ‘to unknown parties. . . . by means of wire transfers to bank accounts where the beneficial owner of the account is unknown,’ according to the article.”

(“Security Risk?” by Melissa Johnson and Sander Hicks; University Star; 1/20/2005; p. 1.)

2. “Foreign intelligence reports given to then chairman of the House International Relations Committee Ben Gilman, R-New York, in 1998 accused Magdy El-Amir of having ‘had financial ties with Osama bin Laden for years,’ according to an Aug. 2, 2002 ‘Dateline NBC’ broadcast. In 1999, Magdy El-Amir and brother Mohamed were named suspects in Operation Diamondback, an FBI/ATF undercover infiltration of Pakistani arms merchants who sought to arm Osama bin Laden with conventional and nuclear weapons, according to independent researcher and former New Jersey police officer Allan Duncan and taped transcripts with FBI informant Randy Glass.”

(Idem.)

3. “Mohamed El-Amir tried to purchase ‘small arms and ammunition’ in a recorded telephone conversation with Glass, according to ‘Dateline.’ ‘Dateline’ confirmed that El-Amir and his corporations had paid at least $5,000 to Egyptian arms dealer Diaa Mohsen, who El-Amir referred to on camera as a family friend. Mohsen was sentenced to 30 months for his involvement in Operation Diamondback. However, El-Amir was never convicted. Duncan, who was hired by family members of the Sept. 11 victims to research government ties to the attacks, said the reason Magdy El-Amir was never convicted was because he was never charged with a crime.”

(Idem.)

4. “ ‘By the time Operation Diamondback culminated in arrests in the summer of 2001, Michael Chertoff was the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the criminal division and Operation Diamondback would have fallen under his pervue since it was a criminal case and not a counterterrorism case,’ Duncan said. From 1990 to 1994, Chertoff was U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, during the period when the first attack on the World Trade Center took place.”

(Idem.)

5. “Omar Abdel-Rahman preached at the Al Salam mosque and was later arrested for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, according to ‘Dateline.’ Magdy El-Amir was one of the Al Salam mosques financial supporters. ‘The Jersey City area and particularly the Al Salam mosque were allowed to continue to be one of the major hubs of terrorist activity in the United States,’ Duncan said.”

(Idem.)

6. Chertoff’s stewardship of Operation Green Quest is highlighted in this paragraph:

“In October 2001, Chertoff was appointed head of Operation Green Quest, a multi-agency initiative to target sources of funding for terrorist organizations, according to a U.S. Customs Service press release. Chertoff told the Associated Press on Oct. 25, 2001 that, ‘The lifeblood of terrorism is money, and if we cut the money we cut the blood supply.’ Chertoff served in the capacity of Assistant Attorney General of the criminal division at the Department of Justice from 2001 to 2003. . . .”

(Idem.)

7. Green Quest investigators from the Department of Homeland Security charge that the FBI deliberately sabotaged their investigations. Michael Chertoff was apparently an architect of this, as well. (The text excerpt here is from FTR#462.)

“The FBI-Justice move, pushed by DOJ criminal Division chief Michael Chertoff and Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, has enraged Homeland Security officials, however. They accuse the bureau of sabotaging Green Quest investigations—by failing to turn over critical information to their agents—and trying to obscure a decades long record of lethargy in which FBI offices failed to aggressively pursue terror-finance cases.”

(“Whose War on Terror?”; Newsweek; 12/10/2003; p. 1 .)

8. With Chertoff in charge of the DHS, it seems probable that the investigation into Operation Green Quest will be sidetracked.

“ ‘They [The FBI] won’t share anything with us,’ said a Homeland Security official. ‘Then they go to the White House and they accuse us of not sharing . . . If they can’t take it over, they want to kill it.’ If nothing else, the battle over Green Quest illustrates the bureaucratic tensions that still plague the war on terror. The creation of the Homeland Security Department was supposed to put an end to such turf fights. The new department took over a diverse assortment of federal agencies that had various responsibilities for combating terrorism, including the Customs Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the U.S. Border Patrol.”

(Ibid.; pp. 1-2.)

9. Chertoff’s relationship with Magdy El-Amir and his apparent role in frustrating Operation Green Quest cast a new light on the harassment that Ritz Katz and other Green Quest investigators received following the 3/20/2002 Operation Green Quest raids. As noted, the milieu of the 3/20/2002-targeted SAAR network significantly overlaps the GOP’s ethnic outreach organization and the Bush administration. That fact 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.” Again, recall Michael Chertoff’s central role in this operation.

“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.)

10. Chertoff’s stewardship of Operation Green Quest also casts an interesting light on the treatment accorded Rita Katz and other investigators who helped launch the 3/20/2002 Operation Green Quest raids:

“ . . . 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.)

11. “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.)

12. In FTR#498, we examined another blockbuster article from Daniel Hopsicker. Rudi Dekkers continues to successfully infiltrate the United States. Recall that Dekkers was the operator whose flight school was one of the vehicles for the infiltration of some of the 9/11 hijackers into the United States. In particular, note that the milieu of Dekkers, Atta and company in Florida significantly overlapped some of the Iran-Contra-connected drug routes.

“Rudi Dekkers has been regularly entering the US illegally through the Bahamas, the MadCowMorningNews has learned. In an effort to evade U.S. Customs scrutiny, the infamous Dutch national running the Venice FL. Flight school which both terrorist pilots who crashed into the World Trade Center used as ‘cover’ is slipping into the U.S. from the Bahamas after exchanging clothes with one of the pilots on the charter flight which flew to pick him up. Then, wearing the charter pilot’s uniform, multiple sources confirm, Dekkers walks through U.S. Customs.”

(“Dekkers ‘Regularly’ Slips into U.S. Illegally from the Bahamas” by Daniel Hopsicker; Mad Cow Morning News; 1/31/2005; p. 1.)

13. “ ‘Rudi looked like the co-pilot when they landed in the U.S.,’ stated one source. ‘His bags were carried through Customs by a female who appeared to be the co-pilot, Christina Hewitt, who flew in with pilot Marcus Huber to pick him up, and who then posed as the customer for the charter flight when they went through Customs.’ Huber is a Swiss national; Hewitt is reportedly from Louisiana, and found employment at the Naples Airport with Dekkers several years ago ‘cleaning out the planes, which is quite obviously a job you wouldn’t want just ANYONE doing.’”

(Idem.)

14. “Despite his reputation as an international operator, Dekkers was anything but a cool customer. ‘He had beads of sweat popping out on his forehead,’ a pilot who picked him up in Nassau laughingly related to a friend. ‘He looked so guilty that we were all afraid we were going to get caught.’ Dekkers’ efforts to elude inspection may be partly the result of his notoriety after the 9/11 attacks. Officials looked on uneasily while his international jaunts continued without let-up, to destinations which include at least several recent trips to that narco-traffickers destination of choice, Colombia.”

(Ibid.; pp. 1-2.)

15. “At least several of the charter flights were reportedly operated by Rex Air, located at the Naples Airport, and owned by Rex Gasteiger, a German national who purchased a flight school there named Wolf Aero in the late 90’s from Wolfgang Bohringer, another German national, and a close friend of Mohamed Atta, according to Atta’s one-time American girlfriend, Amanda Keller. . . .”

(Ibid.; pp. 1-2.)

16. Next, the discussion turns to SICO, the European-based holding company for many of the wealthy Bin Laden family’s assets. A fascinating and important detail concerning the hijackers is the fact that Yeslam bin Laden’s SICO subsidiary trained its pilots at Rudi Dekkers’ 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. Note that there are numerous connections between the milieu of Huffman Aviation and the Iran-Contra-connected drug smuggling routes. Recall that SICO personnel were involved with some of these Iran-Contra drug routes.

“ . . . 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. Be sure to visit Daniel’s website for ordering information about this book.)

17. “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.)

18. 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.)

19. “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.)

20. 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.)

21. “ . . . 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.)

22. Suspicions concerning SICO and Yeslam bin Laden’s involvement with the activities of Al Qaeda were articulated in the book Dollars for Terror.

“ . . . Very little information is publicly available on the activities of the bin Laden Organization. Except for a luxurious brochure that gives an annual report. A Lebanese banker, very anxious to preserve his anonymity, indicated to us that the group does not publish an annual report. He also indicated to us that the group has a large subsidiary company, Saudi Investment Co. (SICO), whose head office is in Geneva, but which has branches in the other European countries, the United States, the Arab countries, and in several tax havens, including the Bahamas.”

(Dollars for Terror: The United States and Islam; by Richard Labeviere; Copyright 2000 [SC]; Algora Publishing; ISBN 1-892941-06-6; p. 110; visit the Algora Publishing website.)

23. Of particular note is the fact that SICO established a number of subsidiaries in off-shore tax havens. Note that these were created by Baudoin Dunand, a member of the SICO board of directors and, as we will see below, an intimate of Nazi operative Francois Genoud. Many of these off-shore SICO entities appear to have been used to fund the Afghan Mujahadeen, as well as figuring in some of the Iran-Contra drug-smuggling activities. (In AFA#38, we examined the Shakarchi A.G. case—one of the many drug-smuggling operations connected to the covert operations being undertaken by the Reagan and Bush administrations in the 1980’s and early 1990’s.)

“Created in May 1980 in Switzerland, SICO (whose stated activities are ‘wealth management and investment services’) is directed by Yeslam bin Laden, brother of Bakr bin Laden, the patriarch of the family. Its board of directors includes in particular a Swiss business lawyer, Baudoin Dunand, Esq., who also worked for the big Lebanese group William Kazan. A memo from a European intelligence agency specifies that since 1984 this lawyer has created for SICO numerous off-shore companies in tax havens. Frank Warren also sits on the board. He is president of an American sporting goods company and a shipping company, Proteus; [and serves] along with a Swede Kjell Carlsson and two Swiss, Bruny Wyss and Beatrice Dufour—ex-sister-in-law of Yeslam bin Laden, who divorced Carmen Dufour in May 1997.”

(Ibid.; pp. 110-111.)

24. “Two other branches of the bin Laden Empire developed as holding companies. The first, Falken Ltd, is based in the Cayman Islands, and the second, also baptized SICO, is registered in Curacao. Falken Ltd. Controls SICO-London, which was founded in 1984 and is directed by Beatrice Dufour, and SICO-Great Britain, created in 1985, under the direction of Baudoin Dunand, Esq., SICO-Curacao, whose director is Yeslam bin Laden, is a player on the real estate market worldwide. The board also comprises Saleh bin Laden, Beatrice Dufour and an American real estate developer, Charles Tickle.” (Ibid.; p. 111.)

25. “The bin Laden empire invested in a private airline that offered services between Great Britain, Switzerland and Saudi Arabia. It employed 175 pilots and had about fifty pieces of equipment between 1995 and 1997. At that time, its two principal shareholders were a Swiss businessman and Yeslam bin Laden, the president of SICO.”

(Idem.)

26. It appears that the off-shore subsidiaries may have been involved with the financing of Al Qaeda, after the end of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

“While there is nothing criminal in such an organizational chart, in itself, this is still an exemplary outline of the complexity of the ensembles of shell companies that can be used to disguise what the experts call the ‘legal financing’ of terrorism, a sort of ‘reverse laundering’ that takes full advantage of all the banking industry’s secrecy. Here, clean money becomes criminal as it flows through legal companies and ‘investments,’ leaving no hint to suggest that it might later be diverted. It is hard, then, to identify the chinks whereby this money might, nevertheless, leak out to become criminal. For example, the Thai intelligence agency affirms that bin Laden’s brother-in-law, Mohamed Jamel Khalife, regional manager of the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), is used as a screen for the financing of several Philippine Islamist organizations. Activists from these groups show up in the training camps in Pakistan and in Afghanistan, and at the Islamic International University of Islamabad (which is known to be used as a cover for students eager to acquire a paramilitary education).”

(Idem.)

27. “The zones of porosity are hard to identify precisely. Without leaving a paper trail, the funds are transferred directly into liquidities, and the actors are seldom caught with their hands in the bag. ‘That is the trouble with money,’ explains George Kardouche, the president of the Association of Arab Bankers in London. ‘If an honorable company decides to invest in another company, which gives funds to such and such humanitarian organization or charitable association, which itself may transfer the funds to extremist groups, there is nothing you can do about it. Money is like water, it seeks level ground, therefore it runs wherever it can. . .’”

(Ibid.; pp. 111-112.)

28. The discussion highlights speculation that Osama and Yeslam bin Laden may have been involved in the death of their brother Salem bin Laden.

“The same viewpoint can be heard in the Geneva business district, where the bin Laden Organization enjoys a solid banking reputation, just like SICO, an honorable and above-board organization installed in a patrician house in the center of the city of Calvin. While he does not spend most of his time among the financiers and business lawyers of Geneva, its boss, Yeslam bin Laden, fuels conversations—not only because he continues to maintain contact with his famous brother. But especially because of the war that raged at the top of the bin Laden empire.”

(Ibid.; p. 112.)

29. Salem’s death permitted to Yeslam to accede to the head of SICO, at a time when the off-shore subsidiaries were being used to send weapons to Afghanistan.

“ ‘In concert with Osama,’ relates a businessman who hails from one of the Gulf states, ‘Yeslam bin Laden is suspected by his own family of instigating the death of his elder brother Salem Mohamed bin Laden. The latter perished in a mysterious explosion of his private jet during takeoff at the airport of Riyadh in 1988. The cause of the explosion was never explained, and the Saudi police force abruptly marked the case as classified. In Riyadh, it is considered that this attack made it possible for Yeslam to be propelled to the head of SICO, at the very moment when it was building offshore companies specialized in the traffic of weapons bound for Afghanistan.’”

(Idem.)

30. “Other sources confirm this account and the frequent meetings between Osama and several of his brothers, in Khartoum and Yemen, starting in 1990. It is indeed, by tracking the parallel traffic in arms and drugs that one inevitably finds traces of the ‘Banker of the Jihad.’”

(Idem.)

31. Following analysis of SICO’s off-shore subsidiaries and their apparent role in covert operations and the (possible) financing of terrorism, the program turns to some financial maneuvers conducted by members of the SICO board of directors in early 2001. Note the presence of the aforementioned Shakarchi brothers on the board of SICO. The following passage makes a reference to the Shakarchi A.G. case, though not by name.

“The French Swiss Lucien Rouiller was until 2001 not only an advisor to the DMI in Cointrin but he was also an advisor to Faisal Finance SA and the Faisal Islamic Bank. At the same time Rouiller was linked to the Geneva-registered MKS Finance SA owned by the Shakarchi brothers. In the 1980s Shakarchi Trading sent $25 million of CIA money to Afghanistan and also was involved in drug money for the Turkish mafia. For a time a member of the family was represented on the advisory board of Russell-Wood in London as well. And this complicated and many-branched business was the British branch of the Geneva-registered Saudi Investment Company (SICO). SICO was founded in May 1980 as the Swiss investment center for the bin Laden family under the name Cygnet SA and later renamed SICO. It belongs to the Swiss-based Yeslam bin Laden, one of Osama’s many half brothers. Yeslam has been zealous in promoting the idea that the bin Laden family has nothing to do with Osama. Yet Osama’s [step] mother in the beginning of 2001 visited Afghanistan for an expensive marriage ceremony of her grandson (which was broadcast over al-Jazeera) and she speaks regularly on the phone to Osama. Another half brother of Osama’s, Sheik Ahmad, told CNN how much he admires Osama’s deep piety as well as his determination to achieve a goal. And more and more French and American experts are suspecting financial support from his family that has economic consequences. After 9/11 members of the Caryle Group (which includes George Bush Sr.) asked the bin Laden group to withdraw its investments. Also an investment of at least $20 million by the bin Laden group in a sister society of the Deutsche Bank in London was suddenly not welcomed.”

(“Report on Islamists, The Far Right, and Al Taqwa” by Kevin Coogan; p. 4.)

32. “The idea that there remained close ties between bin Laden and his family was most put forth about Yeslam bin Laden who has spent the past 20 years in Switzerland. It is the Swiss author Richard Labeviere in his 1999 book Dollars for Terror that challenged the official version that there was a clean break between Osama and the rest of the family in 1994. Labeviere says that SICO has played a key role in money laundering but Yeslam bin Laden refuses to respond to the charges and said that it would be a great mistake to respond, as it would only serve as further advertisement for the book. Yet after 9/11 a French report came out with the same information accusing SICO of ties to bin Laden. It essentially notes that SICO has so many offshore structures that it can elude financial supervision. Five months after investigators of the French toll unit Tracfin assembled evidence regarding illicit transactions. The director of the investigation, Renaud van Ruymbeke, discussed suspicious transactions between France, England and the British Virgin Islands. Almost on the exact day of this announcement two months later the homes and apartments as well as Yeslam bin Laden’s company were searched.”

(Idem.)

33. Among the mysterious goings-on in the SICO orbit were a series of short trips Yeslam bin Laden made to Milan:

“Yeslam bin Laden knows his life is now under the microscope. Why did he fly, for example, nine times to Milan? Each stop was so short, reports a member of the maintenance team at the private Forlanini airport that it couldn’t be for shopping. Six times bin Laden came to Milan from his domicile in Cannes and because of EU regulations these flights were considered domestic and no list of passengers was required to be filed. But three times he flew in from Zurich and Italian border police have copies of the passenger list. Here there is a puzzle as one name is “Carlos Rochat” but there is no Carlos Rochat known to investigators. However there is a Charles Rochat who is on the SICO advisory board. Is this a typo or is there someone else using a false passport? They can’t get an answer from Yeslam bin Laden who is silent on this matter.”

(Ibid.; pp. 4-5.)

34. Further exploring the mysterious happenings in and around SICO, the discussion highlights the liquidation of several financial entities by SICO directors Charles Rochat and Baudoin Dunand in early 2001. One of the people with whom Rochat and Dunand were operating was Willard Zucker, one of the players in Oliver North’s Iran-Contra machinations.

“It is equally possible that bin Laden’s silence about Rochat is meant to avoid other problems that might arise. Such as why Charles Rochat and Baudoin Dunand, two members of the SICO advisory board who are attorneys, on May 21, 2001 liquidated the business Tyndall Trust that had first been registered in Villars-sur-Glane near Fribourg in January 1986. They fulfilled the same function for a sister society of the Tyndall Trust that shared the same name and that was opened up in 1990 in Geneva and liquidated in January 2001. One of the top managers of the Tyndall Trust since its founding was the American tax attorney Willard Zucker who lives in Geneva. Zucker also controls the Lake Geneva-registered Compagnie de Service Fiduciaires (CSF). And CFS had, along with participation from Tyndall Trust, assumed financial management for a corporate group named Enterprise.”

(Ibid.; p. 5.)

35. “Enterprise, however, had nothing to do with the successor company to the 1983-founded successor to the Albert Hakim and U.S. General Richard Secord-founded Stanford Technologies Trading Group International (STTGI), which later changed its name to Enterprise and administered secret and illegal weapons shipments with Iran and the Contras. The same Willard Zucker arranged payments from the Enterprise account for Oliver North. In 1986 the Syrian Monzer al-Kassar was paid from an Enterprise account for a weapons deal with the Contras. But al-Kassar was not only one of the world’s great weapons dealers. He also had close ties with Islamic fundamentalist and terrorist groups in the Mid East. Al-Kassar also worked with an international group interested in sending toxic and atomic waste materials by ship to Mozambique.
As for Zucker, he has constantly denied that any of his activity on behalf of the Enterprise group from America infringed on Swiss or U.S. law.”

(Idem.)

36. Next, the broadcast reviews the Clearstream financial network. The connecting links between Clearstream, Al Taqwa, the Banco del Gottardo and Bin Laden were further described by one of Clearstream’s founders, Ernest Backes. Note the opening of 16 unregistered accounts by SICO in the spring of 2001. Is there a relationship between the liquidation of the financial entities in early 2001 by Rochat, Dunand and Zucker and the opening of the Clearstream accounts at approximately the same time?

Do the 16 unregistered SICO accounts with Clearstream have anything to do with the large amounts of cash that the seemingly perpetually cash-strapped Rudi Dekkers managed to obtain shortly before 9/11?

“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 company of the Saudi Binladen Group, which is run by Osama’s brother Yeslam Binladen (some family members spell the name differently.) Yeslam Binladen insists that he has nothing to do with his brother, but evidence suggests SICO is tied into Osama’s financial network. [Emphasis added.] 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.)

37. Again—is there a relationship between Rochat and Dunand’s liquidation of financial entities in early 2001, the opening of 16 unregistered Clearstream accounts by SICO at about the same time and Rudi Dekkers’ sudden acquisition of large amounts of cash?

“Because national reporters apparently had no clue about his shady local reputation, and his inability for six months straight to pay his rent on time, no one questioned how Dekkers had come to be so flush with cash just three weeks before the attack.”

(Welcome to Terrorland by Daniel Hopsicker; p. 207.)

38. “But it did strike some people as strange, like Bill Warner, a private investigator in Sarasota who made it his business to delve into Rudi Dekkers’ financial affairs to explain his sudden pre-9/11 change in liquidity.”

(Idem.)

39. “ ‘Rudi Dekkers somehow came up with $10,000 in late October (2001),’ he told us, ‘to finally pay off the woman’s (Nicole Antini) sexual harassment suit. He also came up with $56,000 in early November to pay off another law suit with FH1100 Manufacturing Corp.’”

(Idem.)

40. “ ‘But he had filed a UCC with M&I Bank Northeast for all inventory of Huffman Aviation way back in March of 2000. So he appears to have had no source of additional financing for this $65,000 cash outlay in late October and early November 2001.’”

(Idem.)

41. “ ‘There are enough judgments in his name and his companies name to paper his office walls,’ said Warner. ‘How do you obtain that much cash under such severe conditions?’”

(Idem.)

42. As noted in the introduction to this description, SICO’s Baudoin Dunand was a close friend of and attorney for Francois Genoud. Genoud was one of the Third Reich’s most important underground operators before, during and after World War II. (For more about Genoud, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 453, 456.)

“What is even more surprising than finding out the links between Rochat and Dunand with a representative of the Iran-Contra affair like Zucker is finding a connection point between Islamic terrorism and the far right. For it turns out that Baudoin Dunand was not only the attorney for Francois Genoud, the Swiss old Nazi who died in 1996, but also his close friend.”

(“Report on Islamists, The Far Right, and Al Taqwa” by Kevin Coogan; p. 5.)

43. Author Kevin Coogan ruminates on the significance of the Genoud milieu’s presence in the events of 9/11:

“My own belief is that it is less the apparently fantastic and ‘James Bond’-like quality of this analysis that is most difficult to understand. The real difficulty is the utter ignorance of most Westerners (Americans in particular) about the very existence of such people as Francois Genoud. Thus when Ernst Backes, one of Europe’s leading experts in money laundering, told the Luxemourg-based economic journal Plus Minus last year that he believed the financial source of funds for the 9/11 terrorists would ultimately be traced back to Swiss bank accounts established by Genoud, few Americans had any idea what Backes could possibly be talking about. For this same reason there has been virtually no independent investigation into SICO’s Baudoin Dunand’s relationship to Genoud or (for that matter) the role Syrian-born Muhammad Mardam Bay (believed to be related to a former Syrian foreign minister) has played both as a member of Magnin, Dunand & Associates as well as Bay’s possible links with Genoud. And what does it mean when we are told that [Al Taqwa founder] Youssef Nada, for example, is believed by Egyptian authorities to have worked for German intelligence in World War II?”

(Ibid.; p. 15)

44. The co-chairman of the board of directors of SICO is Baudoin Dunand, once again, a friend and professional associate of Francois Genoud. He also was Genoud’s counsel.

“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.)

45. Reprising an item of discussion from FTR#357, the program cites the opinion of Ernest Backes (one of Europe’s foremost experts on money laundering) concerning the role of Francois Genoud in the development of the events of 9/11. Genoud (who committed suicide in 1996) was very close to Al Taqwa personages, especially Achmed Huber. Bank Al Taqwa appears to have played a significant role in the financing of Al Qaeda’s activities, as well as those of Hamas. According to Backes, Genoud was also a financial adviser to the Bin Laden family.

“Financial expert Ernest Backes of Luxembourg has [studied] white-collar crime in the field of banking for many years. According to him, there are indications of unusual transactions with which the groups [associated with] bin Laden could have earned money. ‘You can, for example, examine whether, within a certain time period there’s been an attack against the securities of a given airline company. Since these securities are safe in a ‘clearing system,’ you can’t get an overall view, who the owner was at a given time.’ . . . According to Backes’ information, the trail leads to Switzerland, to the accounts of an organization that was founded by the late lawyer Francois Genoud and evidently still survives. Says Backes, ‘One of the grounds for accusation is that this Swiss attorney had the closest connections with the Bin Laden family, that he was an advisor to the family, one of its investment bankers. It’s known for certain, that he supported terrorism and was the estate executor for Hitler and part of the terror milieu.’ [Emphasis added.]”

(“Insidergeschäfte vor den Terroranschlägen in den USA? [Insider Trading Prior to the Terror Attacks in the US?]: Speculating on Terror—Who Profited from the Attacks?” by Rolf Bovier & Pierre Matthias; Bayerische Rundfunk Online (BR-Online); 9/25/2001.)

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

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

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

47. The broadcast sets forth some of the background of Nazi/Islamist Ahmed Huber. (Huber is a director of the Bank Al Taqwa—an alleged Al Qaeda funding conduit.) Note that Huber is a significant element in the SICO/Dunand/Genoud nexus. Huber was mentored by old-guard Third Reich veterans and helped foster operational links between neo-fascists and Islamists.

“After spending more time in the Middle East, Huber abandoned his earlier pro-Israeli views with a vengeance. He told the French investigative journalist Pierre Pean that in 1965 he began to accept the views of the Egyptian-based Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, who gave Huber ‘a totally different version of the history and nature of the Third Reich. The Grand Mufti knew Hitler personally and actively collaborated with the Axis powers in World War II. (The Mufti ws even responsible for creating the Bosnian-based 13th Waffen SS Division that was composed of Muslim recruits.) Huber further told Pean that, while he was in Egypt, he also grew close to Johann von Leers, a fanatical Jew hater, former Nazi Propaganda Ministry official, and the Grand Mufti’s good friend. Leers had relocated to Egypt in the mid 1950’s; where he converted to Islam and changed his name to Umar Amin von Leers. He remained in Cairo until his death in 1965, helping to direct Nasser’s propaganda apparatus, which regularly churned out Nazi-like anti-Semitic propaganda throughout the Arab world.”

(“The Mysterious Achmed Huber: Friend to Hitler, Allah and Ibn Ladin?” by Kevin Coogan; [originally published in Hit List; April/May 2002]; pp. 1-2. Be sure to check out Coogan’s other essay on Huber, “Achmed Huber, the Avalon Gemeinschaft and the Swiss ‘New Right’”.)

48. Next, the broadcast highlights Huber’s relationship with key Nazi banker and agent Francois Genoud.

“Back in Switzerland, Huber next became close friends with the Swiss banker Francois Genoud, whom Huber recalls first meeting in ‘pro-Arab associations.’ Best known for funding SS butcher Klaus Barbie’s legal defense team, Genoud held the legal copyright to writings by Hitler, Goebbels and Martin Bormann. Genoud, who committed suicide in 1996, is also believed to have played a key role in the postwar management of Nazi funds. In the late 1960’s, he also worked closely with radical Palestinian groups, particularly the ‘Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’ (PFLP). Along with organizing legal support for captured PFLP militants, he even helped coordinate the PFLP’s hijacking of a Lufthansa Boeing 747 en route from Delhi to Aden. Through his ties to the PFLP’s leader, Dr. Wadi Haddad (who affectionately dubbed him ‘Sheikh Francois’), Genoud befriended Ilyich Ramirez Sanchez, better known as ‘Carlos the Jackal.’ Both men remained in close contact right up to Genoud’s death.”

(Ibid.; p. 2.)

49. Neo-Nazi/Islamist Achmed Huber has apparently been active in forming working relationships between American far-right and Islamist elements as well—a subject that will be explored at greater length below.

“ . . . Recently, he went to Chicago for a discreet congress that brought together the ‘authentic Right and the fighters for Islam,’ and he says that ‘major decisions were taken . . . the reunification is under way.’”

(Dollars for Terror: The United States and Islam; by Richard Labeviere; Copyright 2000 [SC]; Algora Publishing; ISBN 1-892941-06-6; p. 110; visit the Algora Publishing website.)

50. Next, the program reviews a speech made by William Pierce 1998, the program sets forth the National Alliance leader’s eerie foreshadowing of the events of 9/11. (Pierce is the author of The Turner Diaries and Serpent’s Walk, and the series about “German Corporate Control of the American Media.”) Pierce spoke of Osama bin Laden attacking tall buildings, such as the World Trade Center, and the coming of bio-terrorism to the U.S. This is but one indication that the relationship between Islamists and neo-Nazis sought by Huber had become a reality—whether or not Huber was the one who cemented its genesis. Note that the National Alliance and the German NPD (with which Huber is affiliated) are very close.

“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.)

51. Pierce’s comments constitute something very close to the legal requirement for foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks:

“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. . . . [Emphasis added.]”

(Idem.)

52. Next, the discussion reviews some of the “networking” that has occurred among the house of Saud, the Third Reich, the Dulles brothers (principal operators in Sullivan & Cromwell) and British spy and Nazi agent Jack Philby. With the Saudis as well, we will see their affinity for both the “Old Guard” and neo-Nazis. These same elements are prominent in the SICO nexus as well.

“This period, stretching from the end of World War I to just after the end of World War II, was characterized by three very evil men: Jack Philby, a British spy; Ibn Saud, his Arab protégé; and Allen Dulles, an American spy and Wall Street lawyer specializing in international finance.”

(The Secret War Against the Jews: How Western Espionage Betrayed the Jewish People; John Loftus and Mark Aarons; Copyright 1994 [HC]; St. Martin’s Press; ISBN 0-312-15648-0; p. 21.)

53. “The racist nature of their secret war against Zionism does not appear in history books for a simple reason. Jack Philby later was paid by Western oil companies to write pro-Arab propaganda disguised as history. Ibn Saud is remembered as the glorious Arab leader who unified Saudi Arabia and led the richest oil region in the world into partnership with the West. Philby, if he is remembered at all, has the reputation of a scholarly British Arabist overshadowed by his son, Kim, the infamous Soviet double agent.”

(Idem.)

54. “Jack Philby has become an obscure footnote to the history of the Cold War. But his legacy was far from minor. He is one of the lesser-known but most influential persons in the modern history of the Middle East, the renegade British intelligence agent who plucked an obscure terrorist out of the desert and helped to make him the king of Saudi Arabia. Ibn Saud was very much his creation. Philby stole the information from British intelligence files that engineered Saudi control over the holiest shrines of the Moslem world.”

(Idem.)

55. “Jack Philby and Ibn Saud betrayed the British Empire and made the American oil companies economic masters of the region. The man who helped them do it was Allen Dulles, an American spy who had befriended Philby while he was coordinating American intelligence gathering in the Middle East in the first half of the 1920’s.”

(Idem.)

56. “Between them, these three men built the very foundations of the modern Middle East. They were the architects of the oil weapon, the instigators of war, the manipulators of history. More important, Philby’s and Ibn Saud’s political and philosophical allegiance was to Nazi Germany, while much of Dulles’s profits came from the same source.”

(Idem.)

57. Reviewing the history of the World Muslim Congress (founded by the Grand Mufti), the broadcast details some of its fascist history—a history that embodies the synthesis of Third Reich-related elements, neo-Nazis and Middle Eastern oil kingdom money. It is this synthesis that is at the foundation of the elements that we are examining in this description. (For more about this history, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 367, 369, 404.)

“Another favorite IHR speaker and collaborator was Issah Nakleh of the World Muslim Congress (WMC). Based in Pakistan, the WMC was initially headed by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who, like his friend H. Keith Thompson, stood by the Third Reich until his death in 1974. A few years later, the WMC, then headed by Pakistani Dr. Inamullah Kahn, mailed Holocaust-denial literature to every member of the U.S. Congress and the British Parliament. The WMC’s official mouthpiece, Muslim World, carried the ads for The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Henry Ford’s The International Jew. Dr. Khan’s congress also published Freemasonry, a book warning that Jews were using lodge members to extend secret control over religion and society—a paranoid theory that has long been popular among Liberty Lobby supporters and neo-Nazi groups around the world. Acknowledging their political kinship, WMC secretary-general Khan sent a letter to the Spotlight praising its ‘superb in-depth analysis’ and stating that the paper deserved ‘the thanks of all right-minded people.’ Dr. Khan also served as an advisor to the Saudi Arabian royal family, which lavished funds on the WMC.

In addition, the Saudi Arabian government retained the services of American neo-nazi William Grimstead as a Washington lobbyist. . . Soon, the World Muslim Congress began working closely with U.S. intelligence and Pakistani military officials, who were covertly supporting the Afghan mujahideen in their fight against the Soviet-installed regime in Kabul. This effort was strongly endorsed by Dr. Khan, who served for many years as the Pakistani representative of the Nazi-infested World Anti-Communist League, which played an important role in the Reagan administration’s ‘secret war’ in the Golden Crescent.”

(The Beast Reawakens; Martin A. Lee; Copyright 1997 [HC]; Little, Brown & Co.; ISBN 0-316-51959-6; pp. 225-226.)

Discussion

One comment for “FTR #498 & 499: 9/11 Update (The SICO File) & The SICO Spring of 2001”

  1. Magdy elAmir and his associates lived in and around the 2828 Kennedy Blvd, Jersey City area. It is almost certain that they knew the Blind Sheikhs cell members there.

    When they were attempting to acquire weapons for Osama bin Laden in arms dealer Robert De Niro’s Tribeca restaurant, they weren’t joking around.

    Posted by adam | August 19, 2016, 7:32 am

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