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For The Record  

FTR #507 Knock, Knock, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Gate

Recorded April 17, 2005
MP3 Side 1 | Side 2

Highlighting more investigative reporting from the remarkable Daniel Hopsicker, this broadcast presents information about a network of bogus universities run by military and intelligence-connected elements. These universities served as vehicles for the illegal importation of Middle Eastern aliens under fraudulent academic credentials, and apparently served as vehicles for the 9/11 hijackers to infiltrate into the United States. Particular emphasis is on Abdusattar Shaikh and Sam Koutchesfahani, both FBI informants and both involved with shady dealings in the San Diego area. Shaikh housed several of the 9/11 hijackers and Koutchesfahani was importing Middle Eastern immigrants illegally, while boasting academic credentials from a university that didn’t exist. The one subpoena issued by the Congressional Committee investigating 9/11 was for Mr. Shaikh. The White House quashed it. A major point of discussion concerns overlapping relationships between elements of the military and intelligence community and the New Age, the events of 9/11, and the so-called “9/11 Truth Movement.”

Program Highlights Include: The background of Brigadier General William Lyon (a patriarch of the phony academic institutions discussed here); the background of Dr. Richard Crews (also a major player in the nexus of phony universities); Crews’ possible connection to mind-control related activities; Kouthchesfahani’s connections to the Heaven’s Gate suicide cult; the links between New Age guru John Gray and Adnan Khashoggi (Iran-Contra weapons dealer and alleged Al Qaeda financier); Gray’s role in financing the 9/11 “Truth” movement; Gray’s links to the Heaven’s Gate milieu; Gray’s links to the phony universities; Shaikh’s phony academic credentials and his links to many of the elements cited above; Koutchesfahani’s role as a weapons dealer for the Shah; a comparison of the network of phony universities to the network of bogus airlines discussed in FTR#’s 482, 483, 484; the links between former California Pete Wilson’s administration and the bogus universities/intelligence fronts; Abdusattar Shaikh’s real identity—he was Indian, not Middle Eastern. Be sure to visit Daniel Hopsicker’s website.

1. Beginning with the first of the two FBI informants linked to 9/11 hijackers in the San Diego area, the program begins with discussion of Abdusattar Shaikh. Operating under a false name and using phony academic credentials from bogus institutions of higher learning, Shaikh was frequently seen in the company of Mohamed Atta. He also housed other 9/11 hijackers. The one subpoena issued by the Congressional 9/11 Committee was for Mr. Shaikh. The White House quashed the subpoena. “Crucial details in the biography of ‘Professor’ Abdussattar Shaikh, the San Diego man called the ‘best chance to uncover the Sept. 11 plot before it happened’ by the Joint Congressional 9/11 Intelligence Committee, are untrue, misleading, or false, a MadcowMorningNews investigation has discovered. . . .”
(“The Secret World of 9/11: Terrorists, Arms Dealers & Ghosts in Malawi” by Daniel Hopsicker; MadCowMorningNews; 4/11/2005; p. 1.)

2. The show begins analysis of the bogus universities that appear to have been used as a cover for intelligence-related activities. ” . . . The practice of using Universities to provide cover for foreign nationals in the U.S.—either as terrorists or as U.S. intel assets, or both—appears to have been widespread; so widespread in San Diego, at least, that the San Diego FBI’s own confidential informants were engaged in it.” (Idem.)

3. “The man who had two hijackers living in his house in San Diego while operating at the same time as a confidential informant for the FBI was identified in wire reports as ‘a retired professor of English at San Diego State,’ and ‘Vice President for International Projects at American Commonwealth University.’ Yet a visit to the various locations around San Diego where he was said to have worked reveals that Abdussattar Shaikh never taught at San Diego State, has never been a Professor of English, and possesses a phony PhD from a bogus diploma mill run by people with U.S. military and intelligence connections. The ‘University’ for which he was said to be Vice President for International Projects does not, in fact, exist. Also: ‘Abdusattar Shaikh’ is not his real name.” (Ibid.; pp. 1-2.)

4. “In the gap between what happens and what gets reported lies the secret history. In sunny San Diego, we discovered it was visible almost everywhere you looked. Just as a handful of highly-suspect flight schools in Florida provided ‘cover’ for Mohamed Atta and his terrorist cadre, a handful of bogus ‘Universities’ in San Diego provided a cloak of legitimacy to a number of suspected terrorists.” (Ibid.; p. 2.)

5. American Commonwealth University—Shaikh’s academic cover—was part of a nexus of phony academic institutions. “The ‘University’ for which Shaikh was supposed to have handled ‘international projects,’ American Commonwealth University, no longer existed at the time in question. It had been forced out of business by state regulators. But even during its brief life it existed only as a mail drop, one of a number of interlocking diploma mills. Its old address in a non-descript office building alongside the 805 freeway in San Diego also ‘housed’ a clutch of other faux citadels of learning: Golden Gate University, Huron International University, and the American Institute of Hypnotherapy, all presumably carrying on the murky legacy of Amer-Comm U.” (Idem.)

6. American Commonwealth University began as a school named after a prominent Orange County Republican and former Air Force Brigadier General. “The scam schools are run by a cast of characters, many of who play reoccurring roles as what might be called ‘serial scammers.’ Yet they can’t be totally dismissed as scam artists: some of them have U.S. military and intelligence connections. Shaikh’s supposed ’employer,’ American Commonwealth University, for example, began life as William Lyon University, named for and founded by retired Air Force General William Lyon, a big wheel in California Republican circles as Chairman of the GOP’s ‘Team California Victory 2004’ and a member of a group of wealthy, high-powered Orange County’s Republicans called ‘The New Majority.'” (Idem.)

7. “So Shaikh, was an FBI informant, housing at least three suspected terrorists. When the post-9/11 media spotlight swung his way he was said to work for a non-existent University with Republican and mil-intel connections. Until now, this sham cover story has gone unquestioned in America’s no-longer-very-damn free press. . . .” (Ibid.; pp. 2-3.)

8. ” . . . Consider how Shaikh was presented to the American people in the media: The Associated Press labeled Shaikh ‘a retired San Diego State University English teacher.’ The Los Angeles Times said he was ‘a retired professor in suburban San Diego.'” (Ibid.; p. 3.)

9. Shaikh wasn’t even his real name and he wasn’t Middle-Eastern, he was Indian. ” . . . What no U.S. media outlet has reported (until now) is that Abdusattar Shaikh is nothing of the kind. The American people weren’t even told his real name, we discovered. A profile on Indian-born Shaikh in his hometown Indian newspaper India-West reported Shaikh’s real name is ‘Abdusattar Chhipa.’ When people change their names, its nearly always for a reason.” (Idem.)

10. Both of the phony universities on Shaikh’s resume were run (at one time) by Dr. Richard Crews, a Harvard-educated psychiatrist with a national security-connected resume. A careful study of Crews’ resume suggests the possibility that he may have been involved in mind control activities. “We contacted the California Bureau of Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education inquiring about Abdusattar Shaikh’s PhD. Deborah Godfrey asked us to hold while she checked, then came back and said there was nobody by that name in her records. ‘There is no definitive source for records from that ‘school,’ she stated. ‘The transcripts I have came from someone’s garage.’ At one time, both ‘schools’ cited in Shaikh’s resume—American Commonwealth and United States International University—had been run by Dr. Richard Crews, an M.D. from Harvard, whose pedigree includes stints as Chief of Psychiatry at Womack military hospital and ‘Chief of Mental Hygiene Consulatation Services’ at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, home of America’s Special Forces.” (Idem.)

11. Crews also helmed Columbia Pacific University, the alma mater of another shady character—John Gray. Gray is one of the financial gurus of the so-called 9/11 “Truth” movement. This is the disinformation effort that alleges that the WTC was destroyed by a controlled demolition and the Pentagon was hit by a cruise missile. Gray is a business partner of Iran-Contra weapons dealer and alleged Al Qaeda financier Adnan Khashoggi. Gray is also a “New Age” guru, author and former personal secretary to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. (The latter is the kingpin of the Transcendental Meditation movement.) “Being ‘President’ of bogus Universities must have suited him: in addition to the two already mentioned, he helmed Columbia Pacific University, which awarded Mars & Venus’s John Gray his doctorate in snake-oil, which the California Attorney General denounced as a fraudulent ‘diploma mill’ when he shut it down in the late ’90’s.” (Idem.)

12. Oddly enough, these interlocking, intelligence-connected diploma mills were closely linked to former Governor Pete Wilson of California, whose administration fought bitterly against the closing of these fraudulent institutions. The committee formed to investigate these academic Potemkin villages was chaired by—Dr. Richard Crews!! “But not without a fight. ‘At one time there was no law in this field at all,’ he explained California’s Deborah Godfrey. ‘When we first tried to take action against Columbia Pacific, all the way back in 1989, we immediately encountered the wrath of then-Governor Pete Wilson. There was an atmosphere full of reprisals. We were attacked just for doing our jobs, accused of being vindictive.’ When Governor Wilson appointed a task force to investigate the industry, we learned, it was packed with owners of the bogus schools. Dr. Richard Crews was the chairman of the committee.” (Ibid.; pp. 3-4.)

13. Former Governor Wilson flew around on private jets provided by American Commonwealth University—nee William Lyon University. “Helping to explain this laissez-faire Republican attitude toward crime might have been a story we found detailing Gov. Wilson’s flying around on private jet which had been paid for by special interest groups. All but one of the biggest contributors seemed predictable: the California Winegrape Growers, the California Independent Oil Producers, Merchants and Manufacturers Assn. Of California. Named right along with these traditionally big-spending lobbyists, however, was tiny (read: non-existent) William Lyon University, which soon thereafter changed its name to American Commonwealth University, the moniker trotted out by Shaikh’s FBI handlers to provide their boy Abdu with a plausible legend, or ‘cover.'” (Ibid.; p. 4.)

14. Daniel Hopsicker compared this bogus network of phony colleges with the maze of bogus airlines through which the 9/11 hijackers infiltrated. “Why did clean-cut Pete Wilson go to bat for a bunch of scam schools ten years ago? Was it just for the cash? A free ride on one of General Lyon’s jets? (Lyon owns Martin Aviation, the FBO and biggest charter operator at John Wayne Airport.) Might Wilson and Orange County GOP big-wig Gen. William Lyon be playing parts in some larger operation, one which necessitated having a few ‘diploma mills’ on hand? Despite bad publicity, the cluster of phony universities in San Diego soldiered on, staying one step ahead of flat-footed state bureaucrats by scattering to places like Montana and Wyoming, and changing their names faster than you can say ‘CIA front.’ They seem rather like the hundreds of tiny ‘airlines’ through which the CIA once concealed the biggest airline in the world. For example, Columbia Pacific, John Gray’s alma mater, has also been ‘Columbia Commonwealth University,’ and ‘Commonwealth Pacific University,’ and is still in operation, as best we can tell, under a charter from Malawi, a country in Africa tucked in between Mozambique, Zambia, and Tanzania. . . .” (Idem.)

15. Another interesting figure in the San Diego area is Sam Koutchesfahani, an Iranian exile involved in an operation that Middle Eastern “students” into the United States under phony academic credentials. ” . . . If Abdusattar Shaikh isn’t who authorities claimed he is . . . who is he? The answer to that question remains unknown., And we’re only just learning of Shaikh’s curious association with another shadowy Middle-eastern man living in San Diego . . . Sam Koutchesfahani, an Iranian exile and arms dealer for the Shah. When the Peacock Throne went pfft Koutchesfahani moved to San Diego, where as one of a large number of Iranians-in-exile, many with former CIA ties, he turned his attentions to a variety of enterprises. Sam’s included infiltrating Middle Eastern men into the U.S. illegally . . . for the better part of a decade.” (Idem.)

16. Koutchesfahani’s network may have been used to smuggle terrorists into the United States. Koutchesfahani rented a house to the Heaven’s Gate Cult, whose members engaged in a mass suicide. The Heaven’s Gate cult’s guru, Marshall Applewhite, taught at the same Texas college at which the aforementioned John Gray was enrolled. Gray’s mother also knew Applewhite.
(For more about this, see: “Cointelpro 9.11: John Gray and Saudi Genesis” by Daniel Hopsicker; 10/6/2004. See also: “Cointelpro 9.11 pt. III: Khashoggi, Cults, Cover-ups & Mars & Venus Doing Lunch” by Daniel Hopsicker; 10/13/2004.
Additional background information about this in: “Cointelpro 9.11: Peak Oil & The Level Above Saudi” by Daniel Hopsicker; 10/28/2004.)

” ‘For more than six years in the 1990’s, people from the Middle East came to San Diego County on bogus student visas,’ reported a September 21, 2001 San Diego Union-Tribune story headlined ‘Terrorists May Have Exploited Student Visas.’ ‘Through an underground network led by a Rancho Santa Fe man, nearly 100 Middle Easterners paid local community college teachers and administrators for counterfeit admission papers and grades, which allowed them to get student visas.’ (The final figure was ‘more than 200,’ according to Sam’s plea bargain.) ‘At the center of the scam was a Rancho Santa Fe man, Sam Koutchesfahani, whose family roots and wealth were deep in Iran. He pleaded guilty to tax evasion and fraud and was sentenced to a year in prison. Koutchesfahani was the owner of a rented house in Rancho Santa Fe where 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult took their lives in 1997.'” (Ibid.; p. 5.)

17. “Koutchesfahani, according to court documents, bribed college and university instructors in the San Diego area to procure phony student visas for Middle Eastern men he was helping insert into the U.S. Could that have been part of Abdusattar Shaikh’s job description too? If not, we are forced to believe the government’s story, which portrays him as just the unluckiest sumbitch in recent American history. ‘Unwittingly’ housing two of the 19 terrorist hijackers . . . how unlucky is that?” (Idem.)

18. There may be a link between Shaikh and Koutchesfahani: “We learned of a link between Shaikh and Koutchesfahani from a man who worked at a motel in Encinitas during the mid-90’s. While he worked there it had been sold to a group which included Koutchesfahani, led by a Lebanese man who apparently has so far completely escaped scrutiny, Tamer Tamer Salomah.” (Idem.)

19. “Here we recalled the convenience store in Venice where Mohamed Atta and Marwan hung out, abandoned the day after the 9/11 attack by its owner, who was also Lebanese. . . .” (Idem.)

20. ” . . . If neither Tamer nor Sam knew anything about motels, why did they buy it? ‘I heard them talking about using it to house some students,’ [Joe] Cicchese explained. ‘Tamer taught at some international University in San Diego with a lot of foreign students, and they were going to use the motel to house them.’ We asked, ‘United States International University?’ Cicchese said, ‘Yeah. That’s the one.’ So one link between Sam Koutchesfahani and Abdussattar Shaikh is participation in some kind of covert operation involving bogus universities in San Diego.” (Ibid.; p. 6.)

21. Both Shaikh and Kouthcesfahani were confidential informants for the FBI. ” . . . But there is yet another, even more incredible link between the two men: Both worked for the San Diego FBI as confidential informants. In court documents in his bribery case we learned to our astonishment that at exactly the same time he was renting a mansion in rancho Santa Fe to the Heaven’s Gate cultists. Sam Koutchesfahani worked as a confidential informant for the San Diego FBI.” (Idem.)

22. Shaikh’s status as an FBI informant is particularly embarrassing in light of Shaikh’s proximity to the 9/11 hijackers. ” . . . The San Diego FBI office has endured much embarrassment since the 9/11 attack. They admitted they had been searching for Al-Midhar and Alhazmi since August because of suspected connections to Osama bin Laden. Three other suspected terrorists who rented rooms in his home—Omar Bakarbashat, Ramez T. Noaman and Yazed Al-Salmi—were arrested as material witnesses in the ongoing terror investigation. . . .” (Ibid.; p. 7.)

23. ” ‘Little is known about the 65-year-old, Indian-born Shaikh, who has declined several interview requests by The Associated Press, other than to deny his neighbors’ reports that suspected hijacker Mohamed Atta visited his home.’ But at least three of his neighbors stepped forward to say they’d seen Mohamed Atta at his home on several occasions. So it was soon clear that the Indian-born Shaikh was lying about his meetings with Atta, just as he’d lied (and vociferously) about working for the FBI as a confidential informant.” (Idem.)

24. “Neighbor Marna Adair told the FBI that the polite, clean-shaven Atta was frequently at the home of Abdusattar Shaikh between August and early December of 2000. Adair said she identified a photograph of Atta on Sept. 17 to FBI agents who visited her home and showed her three pages of photos. Adair, a homemaker whose door is about 50 feet from Shaikh’s house and gives a clear view of the driveway, said she is ‘positive’ she saw Atta. Another neighbor, Deborah Fortner, remembered seeing Atta as well. ‘He was the one that was scary. He’s got these piercing eyes. That’s something you never forget about him.'” (Idem.)

25. NOTE: The relationship between Gray, Adnan Khahsoggi, elements of the intelligence community, elements of the New Age movement, the so-called “9/11 Truth Movement,” and elements of the 9/11 conspiracy will be explored in future broadcasts. Be sure to visit Daniel Hopsicker’s website.


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