Recorded June 11, 2006
Introduction: This program supplements previous programs about the 9/11 investigations. Of primary significance is the failure of the United States to provide Swiss authorities with information about the A.Q. Khan nuclear smuggling network, as well as the failure of the international community to successfully interdict the Muslim Brotherhood’s network of offshore companies—companies apparently involved in terrorist financing. One of the possible reasons for the failure of the U.S. to provide the Swiss authorities with information about the Khan network may be the fact that the Safari Club—an “outsourced” U.S. intelligence network financed by the Saudis—helped provide the network with some of its hardware and much of its funding. Thus, the U.S. is implicated in the A.Q. Khan network’s operations! The program also notes that the complex network of offshore companies set up by the Muslim Brotherhood has gone largely untouched, due to a variety of factors. (As was the case with the A.Q. Khan network, the United States failed to provide the Swiss authorities with critical information necessary to prosecute Youssef Nada and the Bank Al Taqwa. That information is reviewed in this program.)
Program Highlights Include: Review of the strange death of Ali bin Mussalim (who maintained the Bank Al Taqwa account used to fund Al Qaeda); bin Mussalim’s criminal networking with the Hunt family of Texas; the international fascist networking engaged in by bin Mussalim associate Nelson Bunker Hunt.
1. The program begins with analysis of the United States’ failure to provide Swiss authorities with critical information for prosecution of participants in the A.Q. Khan nuclear smuggling ring. As will be seen below, a possible reason for that is the fact that the Safari Club is implicated in the genesis of the A.Q. Khan smuggling ring and the Islamic bomb. The Safari Club was (is?) a Saudi-financed outsourcing of key U.S. intelligence functions during the 1970’s and 1980’s. Evidence suggests that the political and national security relationships developed under the auspices of the Safari Club have continued in the years since it was formed. (For more about the Safari Club, see FTR#522 . For more about the Safari Club and the A.Q. Khan network, see FTR#524 .)
“Two years after the United States helped disrupt a notorious nuclear smuggling ring, the Bush administration has hobbled a Swiss effort to prosecute three of the alleged leaders by failing to share critical information, an American nuclear expert and Swiss law enforcement officials said yesterday. Switzerland’s federal prosecutor made at least four separate appeals for U.S. help over the past year, asking for access to documents and other evidence linked to the nuclear black market run by the Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan. In that time, the Swiss have received no assistance, or even a reply, a spokesman for the prosecutor said. ‘Swiss authorities are asking for additional assistance from U.S. authorities, but we haven’t gotten an answer so far,’ Mark Wiedmer, press secretary for the Swiss attorney general’s office, said in response to a reporter’s inquiry. ‘We are confident the American authorities will provide the information we need.’”
2. “The appeals were directed to the Justice Department, which has a bilateral agreement with Switzerland on sharing information in international criminal cases, and to the State Department’s undersecretary for arms control and international security, according to officials knowledgeable about the requests. Calls to both agencies yesterday were not returned. The problem was brought to light yesterday by a U.S. weapons expert who is advising Swiss prosecutors on the technical aspects of the Khan case. In testimony before a subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee, David Albright said the U.S. government had ‘ignored multiple requests for cooperation’ in prosecuting members of the Khan network. ‘The prosecutors have not received a reply, or even a confirmation that the U.S. government received the requests,’ Albright, a nuclear expert and president of the Institute for Science and International Security, told the panel. He said the lack of assistance ‘needlessly complicates’ an investigation of great importance to both countries.” (Idem.)
3. “Swiss officials are seeking to bring charges against three businessmen who allegedly played pivotal roles in Khan’s smuggling scheme. Swiss authorities have arrested Friedrich Tinner, a Swiss mechanical engineer, and his two sons, Urs and Marco, who are suspected of supplying the network with technology and equipment used in enriching uranium. Urs Tinner is also suspected of helping Khan set up a secret Malaysian factory that made thousands of components for gas centrifuges, machines used in uranium enrichment. Formal charges have not yet been brought against them. Some of the components were en route to Libya by ship in December 2003 when they were intercepted by German and Italian officials in a raid that brought the smuggling ring to light. The United States, which provided key intelligence that led to the intercept, heralded the breakup of the Khan network as a major blow against nuclear proliferation. In July 2004, President Bush viewed some of the components supplied by the Tinners during a visit to the Energy Department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in eastern Tennessee. Bush called the Khan network ‘one of the most dangerous sources of proliferation in the world’ and attributed the successful breakup to the efforts of ‘allies, working together.’ Albright, in his testimony to the subcommittee on international terrorism and nonproliferation, said, ‘I find this lack of cooperation frankly embarrassing to the United States and to those of us who believe that the United States should take the lead in bringing members of the Khan network to justice for arming our enemies with nuclear weapons.’” (Idem.)
4. Next, the program reviews some of the information about the Safari Club and the A.Q. Khan network. This information was originally presented in FTR#524 . Underwritten by Saudi Arabia, the Safari Club entailed the outsourcing of U.S. intelligence operations to the Saudis and other countries. It is in the context of the Safari Club that the Saudi-funded Islamic Development Bank undertook much of the financing of the A.Q. Khan network and its development of the Islamic bomb. For more about the A.Q. Khan network, use the search function.
“The same leadership that promulgated the Safari Club—the Saudi royals—also strongly funded and supported the Islamic Development Bank. Begun in 1973, the IDB now has 55 member states, with Saudi Arabia dominating, with 27.33 percent of the bank’s funding. As a comparison, Egypt contributes 9.48% and Pakistan just 3.41% of the bank’s total capital. It was through the bank’s scientific and economic development efforts that huge amounts were funneled into Pakistan, which ended up in the hands of A.Q. Khan and his now-infamous nuclear bomb-building syndicate.”
(Prelude to Terror; by Joseph Trento; Copyright 2005 by Joseph J. Trento; Carroll & Graf [HC]; ISBN 0–7867-1464–6; p. 313.) 
5. U.S. involvement with the A.Q. Khan network’s development of the Islamic bomb was a quid pro quo for Pakistani cooperation with the covert war against the Soviets in Afghanistan—the same war that spawned Osama bin Laden.
“The effort that began prior to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan—and that President Carter’s National Security Adviser warned was a serious effort to build the first Islamic bomb—was deliberately ignored by Carter in order to secure Saudi and Pakistani cooperation for the anti-Soviet effort in Afghanistan. Like almost everything about the anti-Soviet effort, the Reagan administration expanded on it; and the CIA directly assisted the Pakistani nuclear effort by allowing Pakistani nationals to procure hardware for the program in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.”
6. Out of the enormous amounts of money the Saudis and the Safari Club channeled to the Afghan mujahideen support effort, the Pakistanis diverted a large sum in order to underwrite the cost of their nuclear network.
“What many people do not know was that the Safari Club had made a deal with Pakistan at the expense of the Afghan people. The Safari Club was run by the Saudis. It was a club to serve their purposes through the CIA. Shackley and Wilson were not members; only nations could belong. Shackley and Wilson were men who served the club in exchange for power, influence, and money. Pakistani Intelligence would handle all the money going to facilitate the proxy war against the Soviets. That meant that hundreds of millions of dollars from the United States and Saudi Arabia were being run through Pakistan with no accountability. ‘Unfortunately,’ said Robert Crowley, ‘the Pakistanis knew exactly where their cut of the money was to go.’ Where the money went was into an Islamic nuclear-weapons program supported by Saudi Arabia and accepted by the United States.”
(Ibid.; p. 314.)
7. Despite U.S. claims to the contrary, this country did not interdict the A.Q. Khan network. On the contrary, the U.S. blocked British attempts at interdicting A.Q. Khan’s operations.
“During the early 1990’s, British Customs began looking closely at the United States—Pakistan nuclear network. One of their top agents was an Arabic-speaking Muslim who traveled the world tracking down A.Q. Khan’s network. The British soon learned that the United States had no interest in shutting down the network, which had been operating for years. The Muslim customs agent, whose identity must be protected for his own safety, was actually confronted by Khan in Dubai, where the agent had traced a number of Khan’s front companies. The agent testified in a trial involving associates of Khan’s that the father of the Pakistani bomb confronted the Muslim customs agent and called him ‘a traitor to Muslim people’ for uncovering the nuclear network that was supplying weapons equipment to Libya, Iran, Malaysia, and North Korea. ‘A top French Intelligence official, who asked that his name be withheld from publication, described the U.S.—Pakistani cover-up of the Khan network as having ‘an important precedent. Just as the U.S. allowed Israel to develop nuclear weapons, under pressure from the Saudis, the U.S. allowed Pakistan to be Saudi Arabia’s proxy as the first Islamic nuclear state. The Saudis put up the cash and have clean hands as Pakistan builds the bomb for its supposed defense against India over Kashmir . . . but my country and the British received no cooperation starting in the 1980’s when we discovered traces of Khan’s network. The U.S. did not want to discuss it.’’”
(Ibid.; pp. 314–315.)
8. The U.S. actually shipped some of the hardware to A.Q. Khan’s operation!
“A senior source in the British government, who asks not to be named, confirms that Khan ran the network and that parts for the nuclear-weapons program came from the United States. Khan’s daughter, attending school in England, was being tutored, and at the ends of faxes dealing with logistics for her education, Khan would sometimes write, in his own hand, items he needed for the nuclear program.”
(Ibid.; p. 315.)
9. Next, the program details some of the history and background of the Pakistani nuclear effort:
“Pakistan’s quest for nuclear weapons had begun some fifteen years earlier. Shortly after taking office in 1972, Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfiker Ali Bhutto expressed his determination to develop a nuclear capability. His purpose was two fold: to offset the inherent threat posed by Pakistan’s much larger neighbor and avowed enemy, India; and to make his country a leader of the Islamic world. After India detonated its first atomic weapon on the Pakistani border in 1974, Bhutto pushed his nuclear program into high gear. To lead the effort, he tapped Abdul Qadeer Khan, an accomplished metallurgist and businessman with a strong desire for wealth. To finance his ambitious program, Bhutto turned to his country’s oil-rich ally, Saudi Arabia, and to Libya. China also pledged assistance. By 1976, when George Bush served as CIA Director, U.S. intelligence estimates reported, in a secret CIA report on Pakistan, that Pakistan was engaged in ‘a crash program to develop nuclear weapons.”
10. As mentioned above, the U.S. ‘signed on’ with the Pakistani nuke program after the start of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
“In 1979, while awaiting execution following his overthrow, Bhutto wrote in his memoirs that his goal as prime minister had been to put the ‘Islamic Civilization’ on an even footing with ‘Christian, Jewish and Hindu Civilizations’ by creating a ‘full nuclear capability’ for the Islamic world. The man who overthrew Bhutto, General Muhammad Zia ul Haq, carried on that effort. In April 1979, when President Zia refused to halt work on the ‘Islamic Bomb,’ President Jimmy Carter cut off American economic and military aid to Pakistan. Just eight months later, however, following the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan, Carter struck the ultimate Faustian bargain in order to win Zia’s approval for using Pakistan as a base of operations for the mujahideen. Zia’s fortunes further improved following the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.”
(Ibid.; pp. 315–316.)
11. “With the covert U.S. war in Afghanistan intensifying, the Pakistani dictator gained significant advantage and used it. In addition to winning large economic and military-aid packages for his country, he extracted a promise from the Reagan-Bush administration that there would be no U.S. interference in Pakistan’s ‘internal affairs.’ That meant no complaints about Zia’s dictatorial rule and no obstruction of his efforts to build an Islamic Bomb. To keep up appearances, Zia publicly maintained that he was not developing nuclear weapons. However, in 1983, a secret State Department briefing memo revealed that there was ‘unambiguous evidence’ that Pakistan was ‘actively pursuing a nuclear weapons development program’ and that China was providing technological assistance. At the time, U.S. law prohibited providing assistance to any country that was importing certain nuclear-weapons technology. The Reagan-Bush administration simply ignored the legislation, arguing that cutting off aid to Pakistan would harm U.S. national interests.”
(Ibid.; p. 316.)
12. American complicity with the program was assisted by Pakistani president Zia’s equivocation about the goals of their nuclear program, which he maintained were peaceful.
“Zia continued to deceive the United States about his nuclear-weapons ambitions. In the mid-1980’s, he flatly told the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Vernon Walters, that Pakistan was not building a bomb. When senior State Department officials later confronted him about the misrepresentation, Zia told them, ‘It is permissible to lie for Islam.’ He eventually gave up the pretense, telling Time magazine in 1987 that ‘Pakistan has the capability of building the bomb.’’
(Ibid.; p. 317.)
13. “By 1985, the Saudi royal family had succeeded in drawing the United States into an Islamic morass. Over the years, the Wahhabi sect, a radical form of anti-Western Islam, had increasingly caused the high-living royal family political problems at home. To deal with this, the royal family gave the Wahhabi leaders free rein and paid lip service to their diatribes against the West and Israel. But after the fall of the Peacock Throne in Iran, religious divisions surfaced within the royal family, contributing to a schizophrenia in Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy: with one hand the Saudis supported the secular Saddam Hussein against the Islamic regime in Iran, and with the other they dispatched Osama bin Laden and others as members of Saudi Intelligence to work with the most radical Islamic elements fighting to secure control of Afghanistan. The anti-Communist Reagan-Bush policy makers focused only on the goal of weakening the Soviet Union, ignoring the threat of radical Islam.”
14. The Pakistani nuclear effort was subsidized through the BCCI—a vehicle for much of the covert operating of the 1980’s. For more about the BCCI and its profound connections to the milieu of both the elder and younger George Bush, use the search function. Current FBI director Robert Mueller led the official ‘investigation’ into BCCI, and covered up much of what was there. (For more about Mueller and BCCI, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 310 , 424 , 462 , 464 .)
“The efforts by the Saudis, Reagan, Casey, and Bush to destabilize the Soviet Union through the war in Afghanistan carried a huge price in terms of both money and the number of Afghan lives lost. Hundreds of millions of dollars poured into Pakistani Intelligence from the United States, with almost no control on how the funds were spent. The same BCCI bank accounts being used to fund the Afghan resistance were also used to fund the Pakistani nuclear-bomb program, according to a Senate report on BCCI.”
15. “The Reagan-Bush policy violated both American law and international nonproliferation treaties. But this type of violation was not unprecedented: the United States had allowed covert aid to Israel to help with their nuclear-weapons program in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. In 1964, Lyndon Johnson had given James Angleton permission to assist Israel in further developing its nuclear-weapons program. Now the Reagan administration was leveling the playing field. The Saudis claimed that Israel had directly aided India in developing its program and had thus created a dangerous imbalance in the region. Allowing Pakistan to develop a weapon, but not to deploy it, seemed like a workable compromise and, the Saudis argued, the only solution. The 1979 memo from Zbigniew Brzezinski to President Carter—had warned that the price of luring the Soviets might include abandoning efforts to stop nuclear proliferation in Pakistan. Just six years later, the Reagan-Bush team played a huge role in making the first Islamic nuclear weapon possible.”
(Ibid.; pp. 317–318.)
16. CIA Soviet analyst Melvin Goodman was among those few American intelligence analysts who noted that we were backing the wrong Islamic groups in Afghanistan. Arms dealer Sarkis Soghanlian (deeply involved with the Bush-Reagan-Safari Club clandestine operations of the 1980’s) maintains that the A.Q. Khan network was at all times directed by the Saudis.
“By the mid-1980’s, so much money was flowing through the Pakistani ISI that the CIA did not have a handle on where it was going, according to Melvin Goodman, a former CIA analyst on the Soviet Union. ‘They were funding the wrong Islamic groups . . . ‚’ said Goodman, ‘and had little idea where the money was going or how it was being spent.’ Sarkis Soghanalian, who profited from providing arms for the secret-aid program, put it bluntly: ‘As in Iraq, the U.S. did not want to get its hands dirty. So the Saudis’ money and the U.S. money was handled by ISI. I can tell you that more than three quarters of the money was skimmed off the top. What went to buy weapons for the Afghan fighters was peanuts.’ According to Soghanalian, the funds were first laundered through various BCCI accounts before being disbursed to ISI and into an elaborate network run by A.Q. Khan. ‘Khan’s network was controlled by the Saudis, not Khan and not Pakistan,’ Soghanalian said. [Emphasis added.] ‘the Saudis were in on every major deal including Iran, Libya, North Korea, and Malaysia.’”
(Ibid.; p. 318.)
17. Next, the program revisits the terrorist financing structure of the Muslim Brotherhood and its primary financial organ—the Bank Al Taqwa. (For more about the Muslim Brotherhood, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 454 , 455 , 456 , 473 , 537 , 540 . For more about the interdiction of the terrorist money flow, see—among other programs—FTR#462 , 464 , 495 , 500 , 513 , 514 . For information about the links between the Bank Al Taqwa, the Muslim Brotherhood, the GOP, and the Bush administration, see FTR#’s 454 , 495 , 500 , 515 .) The Brotherhood has benefited from the “offshore” phenomenon that Lucy Komisar has discussed at great length. For more about the brilliant research of Ms. Komisar, utilize the search function.)
“Almost from the inception of the modern Islamic banking structure (early 1980s), the international Muslim Brotherhood set up a parallel and far-flung offshore structure that has become an integral part of its ability to hide and move money around the world. This network is little understood and has, so far, garnered little attention from the intelligence and law enforcement communities tracking terrorist financial structures. The fundamental premise of the Brotherhood in setting up this structure was that it is necessary to build a clandestine structure that was hidden from non-Muslims and even Muslims who do not share the Brotherhood’s fundamental objective of recreating the Islamic caliphate and spreading Islam, by force and persuasion, across the globe.”
18. “To this end, the Brotherhood’s strategy, including the construction of its financial network, is built on the pillars of ‘clandestinity, duplicity, exclusion, violence, pragmatism and opportunism.’ Among the leaders of the Brotherhood’s financial efforts, based on early Brotherhood documents and public records, are Ibrahim Kamel a founder of Dar al Maal al Islami Bank (DMI ) and its offshore structure in Nassau, Bahamas; Yousef Nada, Ghalib Himmat and Yusuf al-Qaradawi and the Bank al Taqwa structure, in Nassau; and Idriss Nasreddin, with Akida Bank International in Nassau. Mapping the network of bank, insurance (takofol) companies and offshore corporations — which are often used as covers to open bank accounts and move money in difficult-to-trace paths protected by bank secrecy laws — should be the focus of far more attention because the network provides a mechanism for funding the Brotherhood’s licit and illicit activities around the globe.”
19. The discussion highlights the role of the Brotherhood in generating Islamist terrorism.
“This is of fundamental importance because the Brotherhood has played a central role in ‘providing both the ideological and technical capacities for supporting terrorist finance on a global basis… the Brotherhood has spread both the ideology of militant pan-Islamicism and become the spine upon which the funding operations for militant pan-Islamicism was built, taking funds largely generated from wealthy Gulf state elites and distributing them for terrorist education, recruitment and operations widely dispersed throughout the world, especially in areas where Muslims hoped to displace non-Muslim or secular governments.’ Almost every major Islamist group can trace its roots to the Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1928 by the Hassan al-Banna, a pan-Islamicist who opposed the secular tendencies in Islamic nations. Hamas is a direct offshoot of the Brotherhood. Hassan al-Turabi, who offered sanctuary in Sudan to Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda allies, is a leader of the Brotherhood. He also sat on the boards of several of the most important Islamic financial institutions, such as DMI. Bin Laden’s mentor Abdullah Azzam was a stalwart of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood. Ayman Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s chief strategist, was arrested at age 15 in Egypt for belonging to the Brotherhood. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Ayman al-Zawahiri, ‘Blind Sheikh’ Omar Abdul-Rahman, and chief 9–11 hijacker Mohamed Atta, were members of the Brotherhood.”
20. In the passage that follows, former counterterror expert Richard Clarke notes the shared funding base in the United States of three offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood—Al Qaeda, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas. The Operation Green Quest raids of 3/20/2002 revealed the SAAR network and overlapping Safa Trust—a primary example of this domestic overlap. Do not fail to take stock of the fact that the SAAR network/Safa Trust network is inextricably linked with the Bush administration and the GOP! The program descriptions cited in paragraph 17 delineate that relationship at considerable length.
“There has been some understanding of the Brotherhood’s relationship to Islamist groups, and of those ties even in the United States. In 2003 Richard Clarke said ‘the issue of terrorist financing in the United States is a fundamental example of the shared infrastructure levered by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and al Qaeda, all of which enjoy a significant degree of cooperation and coordination within our borders. The common link here is the extremist Muslim Brotherhood—all these organizations are descendants of the membership and ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood.’ [Italics are Mr. Emory’s]. However, this understanding has not taken root in the intelligence, law enforcement and policy communities, nor has the financial network of the Brotherhood come under intense scrutiny. Public records show the Brotherhood’s financial network of holding companies, subsidiaries, shell banks and real financial institutions stretches to Panama, Liberia, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Switzerland, Cyprus, Nigeria, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and beyond. Many of the entities are in the names of individuals who, like Nada, Nasreddin, al-Qaradawi and Himmat, have publicly identified themselves as Brotherhood leaders.”
21. Note the complex interlacing and overlapping of individuals and institutions that characterizes the Brotherhood’s financial institutions. This structural configuration is central to the Brotherhood’s ability to evade scrutiny and interdiction. This characteristic is present in the SAAR network and Safa Trust. (For more about the Safa Trust and the SAAR network, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 356 , 357 , as well as the programs about the subversion of Operation Green Quest noted in paragraph #17.)
“A senior U.S. government official estimates the total assets of the international Brotherhood to be between $5 billion and $10 billion. It is a difficult thing to assess because some individual members, such as Nada and Nasreddin, have great individual wealth. They also jointly own dozens of enterprises, both real and offshore, with Ghalib Himmat and other Brotherhood leaders. Discerning what is personal wealth, legitimate business operations, and Brotherhood wealth is difficult if not impossible. It is clear not all the money is intended to finance terror or even radical Islam. But it is equally clear that this network provides the ways and means to move significant sums of cash for those operations. One indication of a company or corporation being a Brotherhood activity, rather than part of individual assets and wealth, is the overlap of the same people on the directorships of the financial institutions and companies. For example, the Brotherhood network entities established in Nassau, Bahamas, all registered their address as that of the law firm –Arthur Hanna and Sons — which incorporated their businesses and banking institutions. Members of the Hanna family served on the boards of the banks and companies, handled legal correspondence and represented the companies in legal cases. Many of the directors of the myriad companies served as directors of several companies simultaneously. In turn, many of those same people served simultaneously on the governing boards or sharia boards of DMI and other important Brotherhood-dominated financial institutions. The overlap of directorships and shareholders strongly indicates the tight-knit nature of the organization and the inter-connectedness of the financial network.”
22. A principal element of the Al Taqwa offshore network is its operations in the Bahamas. And once again, one should not lose sight of the relationship between the Brotherhood, the Safa network and the GOP.
“The most visible part of the network, offshore shell banks in the Bahamas, did merit some investigation immediately after 9–11. The Treasury Department publicly stated that Bank al Taqwa and Akida Bank International were ‘involved in financing radical groups such as the Palestinian Hamas, Algeria’s Islamic Salvation Front and Armed Islamic Group, Tunisia’s An-Nahda, and Usama bin Laden and his al-Qaida organization.’ The primary shareholders in al Taqwa Bank were Nada, Nasreddin, members of the Binladen family and dozens of other Brotherhood leaders, including Yousef al-Qaradawi, the grand mufti of the United Arab Emirates. A cluster of charities based in Herndon, Va., where many leaders had ties to Nada and his banking activities, is under active investigation by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. Two of the leaders of the cluster, called the ‘Safa Group,’ incorporated the al Taqwa Bank in Nassau, and other leaders worked for Nada’s banks and had extensive financial dealing with him. Many of the Safa Group’s leaders are also members of the Brotherhood.”
23. The discussion highlights the various activities in which Al Taqwa engaged on behalf of Al Qaeda.
“Unfortunately, while the Treasury Department designated Bank al Taqwa and Akida Bank with great fanfare in the immediate aftermath of 9–11, it was largely theater. The government of the Bahamas had already shut both banks down in April 2001. The investigations subsequent to 9–11 revealed the terrorist ties that had been suspected, but never acted on. Earlier intelligence operations by the CIA found Bank al-Taqwa and other structures of the business empire were used not only to funnel money to al Qaeda, but also provided the terrorist organization with access to Internet services and encrypted telephones, and helped arrange arms shipments. The Treasury Department, citing intelligence sources, said that ‘As of October 2000, Bank Al Taqwa appeared to be providing a clandestine line of credit to a close associate of Usama bin Laden and as of late September 2001, Usama bin Laden and his al-Qaida organization received financial assistance from Youssef M. Nada.’”
24. The passage that follows sets forth Al Taqwa’s “offshore” operations and how—like the corporate operations discussed by Lucy Komisar—that structure has frustrated attempts at interdicting its operational activities.
“The structure of Bank al Taqwa and Akida Bank in Nassau follow the pattern of other offshore endeavors. The bank was a virtual bank, with only a handful of employees in Nassau manning computers and telephones. The bank was affiliated with the al Taqwa Management Organization, owned by another Nada entity in Switzerland. Nada owned a controlling interest in the bank, and Nasreddin was a director. At the same address, Nasreddin’s Akida Bank Private Ltd, operated as a subsidiary of the Nasreddin Foundation. Nasreddin was the president, and Nada served on the board. The real banking activity, however, was carried out through correspondent relationships with European banks. Nada and Nasreddin, along with their banks, were designated by the U.S. and the U.N. as terrorist financiers in November 2001. In August 2002, the United States and Italy jointly designated 14 more joint Nada/Nasreddin entities for supporting terrorism. But that was not the end of the use of shell companies and off-shore havens by the Nada/Nasreddin group. An examination of these activities point to serious shortfalls in the efforts to combat terrorist financing.”
25. The sophisticated offshore network of the Brotherhood’s financial activities has successfully frustrated attempts at shutting down its operations. The fact that the Brotherhood’s financial networks utilize the same devices used by major corporations to evade scrutiny has helped to perpetuate its operational continuity. Until or unless the international community act decisively to shut down the illegal offshore structure, it appears unlikely that the Brotherhood’s financial network will be neutralized.
“Despite the clear and compelling evidence that the offshore network of the Brotherhood provided vital financial and logistical support to a variety of Islamic terrorist operations, the only action taken so far has been to freeze a few more of the companies owned by Nada and Nasreddin. There has been little or no coordinated, concerted effort to map out, identify and understand the rest of the Brotherhood structure. One possible exception is the NATO project on the Muslim Brotherhood, which focused on the Brotherhood’s activities in Europe and has sought to identify the different Brotherhood entities.”
26. As discussed in FTR#536 , Liechtenstein is a major epicenter of Brotherhood financial activity. The following passage notes the relative lack of success in neutralizing Nada and Al Taqwa. Note, also, that many of the 272 individuals named as terrorist financiers by the U.N. remain untouched.
“Many Brotherhood businesses were registered as offshore companies through local trusts in Liechtenstein, where there is no requirement to identify companies’ owners, and no record is kept regarding activities or transactions. On Jan. 28, 2002, Nada, in violation of the U.N. travel ban he is subject to, traveled from his home in Campione d’Italia, Switzerland, to Vaduz, Liechtenstein. While in Vaduz, he sought to change the names of several of the designated companies. At the same time, he applied to put the new companies in liquidation, and had himself appointed as liquidator. As offshore entities, the newly-named companies maintained no records in Liechtenstein. Attempts by designated terrorist financiers to switch company registrations, or establish new companies without their visible participation, is a pattern discovered by U.N. and European investigators. While some entities have been detected, many others are believed to have transpired without being detected or blocked. The United Nations Monitoring Group, which wrote a series of well-documented reports based on months of investigations around the world by a team of financial experts, uncovered the Nada movements in Liechtenstein. The group concluded that ‘The Nada and Nasreddin examples reflect continued serious weaknesses regarding the control of business activities and assets other than bank accounts.’ The group cited the difficulties in identifying beneficial ownerships and shared assets, and the weakness of the travel ban. In fact, the panel found the whereabouts of the vast majority of the 272 individuals named as terrorist financiers by the United Nations, remained unknown.”
27. The shifting offshore corporate landscape of the Brotherhood’s front companies continues to elude the efforts of investigators.
“The modus operandi of Nada and Nasreddin is visible elsewhere. Dozens of companies of designated individuals remain active despite the ostensible international commitment to shutting them down. In some cases, such as Panama, companies under the names of designated individuals remain untouched. This does not include the many dozens of companies and other corporate entities belonging to designated individuals, either outright or through nominee shareholders, registered in the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands and elsewhere in the Caribbean. While the Brotherhood registered dozens of companies in the 1980’s and 1990’s using Brotherhood leaders as identified directors, this changed over time, making it more difficult to trace the ownership of the entities. Beginning in the late 1990’s, perhaps in response to the few intelligence probes that were carried out, many offshore companies have been shut down. Many appear to be re-opened under the direction of nominee shareholders, making the direct tie to the Brotherhood more difficult to detect.”
28. It is worth noting that the sanctions designed to interdict terrorist financing have been openly flaunted by some countries, further impeding attempts at interrupting the flow of terrorist monies.
“However, it is often not necessary to take any precautions at all because the international sanctions regime aimed at designated terrorist financiers is so weak. For example, Nigeria is in flagrant violation of the UN sanctions regime by refusing to freeze the functioning businesses of Nasreddin. Nasreddin has done nothing to hide his ownership of the enterprises. The primary company is Nasco Investment & Property Ltd., owned by Amana Holdings and Management Inc., a still-functioning offshore company registered in Panama. The company lists Nasreddin as its president. These issues — offshore and shell companies, front companies and the inability to account for the vast majority of the designated al Qaeda financiers or their billions — make it difficult to ascertain how much of al Qaeda’s financial flow has been impaired in the 4 1/2 years since 9–11. . . .”
29. Next, the program reviews information from FTR#513 . One of the most important developments in the cover-up of the 9/11 investigative trail is the suspension of the Swiss investigation into Youssef Nada and the Bank al-Taqwa. (For more about Bank al-Taqwa and its connections to the Third Reich, elements of the US intelligence community and the GOP, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 343 , 354 , 416, 454 , 455 , 456 , 462 , 464 , 473 , 514 , 515 .)
“Swiss prosecutors suspended one of the most celebrated investigations into alleged terrorist financing, saying there is insufficient evidence to bring the case to trial. Although the investigation wasn’t dropped and the suspects’ names weren’t cleared, it is a partial vindication for Youssef Nada and Ghaleb Himmat, who were accused by Washington of using Nada Management Organization and their Bank al-Taqwa to support al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. Shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the U.S., the two men and three of their associates were placed on a terrorist-financing list that was adopted by the United Nations, effectively freezing their assets and making it impossible for them to travel. Those restrictions remain in place. . . .”
30. The investigation was hampered by the failure of the Bahamas Bank al-Taqwa to cooperate with this investigation. The Saudis also withheld critical evidence. As we saw in FTR#514 , the U.S. authorities also withheld critical information deemed essential to the al-Taqwa investigation.
“ . . . Mr. Wiedmer said financial authorities in the Bahamas, where Bank al-Taqwa was registered, refused to answer numerous requests for help. In addition, the bank’s books were stashed at an undisclosed private address in Saudi Arabia, he said, and without them, prosecutors were stymied. He said Messrs. Nada and Himmat weren’t obliged to hand over the books. ‘This was the essential gap in the chain of evidence,’ Mr. Wiedmer said. Officials in the Bahamas attorney general’s office didn’t return phone calls requesting comment. . . .”
31. Mr. bin Mussalim was found dead, a month after the Wolfe letter became public! A forthcoming book by Guillaume Dasquie  (the co-author, along with Jean Charles Brisard, of Forbidden Truth ) charges that bin Mussalim had a Saudi passport.
“A Swiss-based businessman accused by the US Treasury of providing financial help to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda carried a Saudi diplomatic passport, according to copies of documents contained in a book published on Thursday in Paris. The documents include a letter from the US Treasury to the Swiss authorities, which says that al-Qaeda and its leader received financial assistance from the businessman Ali bin Mussalim ‘as of late September 2001’. They also include a copy of Mr. bin Mussalim’s diplomatic passport. The disclosures, contained in Al-Qaeda Will Conquer (Al-Qa’ida Vaincra ), by the author Guillaume Dasquie, will be uncomfortable reading for the Saudi government, which has disputed any suggestions of official complicity in the attacks of September 11 2001.”
32. Could Mr. bin Mussalim’s death been the result of foul play?
“The January 2002 letter from George Wolfe, then the US Treasury’s deputy general counsel, says Mr. bin Mussalim ‘has been providing indirect investment services for al-Qaeda, investing funds for bin Laden, and making cash deliveries on request to the al-Qaeda organization.’ The letter links him to the now defunct Bank al-Taqwa and its founder, Youssef Nada. Both have been named by the US and United Nations as providers of terrorist finance. The existence of the letter has been previously reported by some news organizations, but Mr. bin Mussalim’s diplomatic status was not emphasized. According to the book, Mr. bin Mussalim was found dead in his residence in Lausanne last June, a month after reports of the US Treasury letter first emerged. . . . [Emphasis added.]”
33. An intriguing aspect of the late, unfortunate Mr. bin Mussalim’s career concerns his illegal activities in the U.S. Those activities involved collaboration in the attempted cornering of the silver market. Principal figures in that were the Saudis and Nelson Bunker Hunt, son and heir to the late H.L. Hunt. Bunker Hunt has been a prominent far-right activist for many years, most recently recognized for his role in Oliver North’s off-the-shelf operation to support the Contra guerillas in Nicaragua. Bank Al Taqwa and the Muslim Brotherhood are networked with fascists and reactionaries from many other cultures—part of the Underground Reich “virtual state” highlighted in FTR#’s 547, 548, 549, 550. (For more about the international fascist networking in which Nada, Bank Al Taqwa and the Muslim Brotherhood are engaged, see—among other programs—FTR#456.)
“ . . . Mr. bin Mussalim’s role in controversial financial dealings goes back to the early 1980s, when US prosecutors accused him and others of attempts to corner the silver market. . . .”
(Ibid.; p. 2.)
34. More about the Hunt/Saudi collaboration in the attempted cornering of the silver market.
“. . . DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s sources in Washington learn that before he left, Abdullah met the heads of the Dallas-based Hunt Private Equity Group to discuss private investments in the company. More than 20 years ago, Abdullah and other Saudi princes were heavily invested with the group and suffered major losses when the price of silver collapsed. [Emphasis added.] His conference with Hunt’s directors aimed at displacing some of these bad memories with advantageous Saudi investments in the United States. . . .”
35. Author Dick Russell discussed the Hunt family’s attempt at cornering the silver market:
“ . . .The Hunts then pretty much dropped from notoriety—until 1988, when a federal jury in New York ruled that Bunker and Herbert had conspired in a racketeering scheme to corner the world silver market in 1979–80. . . .”
36. The latter part of the program sets forth some of the international networking in which Nelson Bunker Hunt has engaged. Founded by General Charles Willoughby, the German-born, fascist ideologue who served as Douglas MacArthur’s chief of intelligence throughout World War II, the ICDCC brought together American reactionaries such as Hunt, Third Reich intelligence veterans such as Hermann Punder and SS war criminal Theodor Oberlander and fascists from around the world. One of the figures in the ICDCC (but not mentioned here) is key Nazi banker Hermann Abs. (For more about Abs and the ICDCC, see AFA#’s 15 , 37 , available from Spitfire.) Again, the information about Hunt and the ICDCC should be considered in the wider context of the international networking in which Al Taqwa, Nada and the Muslim Brotherhood are involved. (For more about the international fascist networking in which Nada, Bank Al Taqwa and the Muslim Brotherhood are engaged, see—among other programs—FTR#456 .)
“His [Willoughby’s] International Committee for the Defense of Christian Culture (ICDCC) had two branches in Bonn, where its founder was an ex-Nazi turned anti-Communist. The organization’s avowed purpose was ‘resistance against regimes and political concepts contrary to its own.’ In this context in linked extremists in Spain and Portugal together with Germany, and across the Atlantic to the United States. One of the IDCC’s leading lights was Walker’s early 1963 traveling companion segregationist preacher [Billy James] Hargis, on whose Christian Crusade National Advisory Committee Willoughby likewise presided. A major ICDCC funder was Nelson Bunker Hunt, son of the oil billionaire. Willoughby’s friendship with H.L. Hunt dated back at least to the early 1950’s, when the oilman met regularly with Willoughby and other generals in New York in seeking to push a presidential bid by General MacArthur. . . . Willoughby’s ICDCC, about which little is known, preferred behind-the-scenes maneuvering.”
(Ibid.; p. 322.)
37. More about the ICDCC—the international fascist network to which Nelson Bunker Hunt belonged. Note the presence in this milieu of people associated with the fascist Opus Dei Catholic organization and Theodor Oberlander. Oberlander is an SS officer and war criminal. His operations in conjunction with the Nightingale organization are discussed in AFA# 14 . (To learn more about Oberlander, Opus Dei, or any other element discussed in these broadcasts, use the search function.)
“ . . . It was the annual congress of Charles Willoughby’s International Committee for the Defense of Christian Culture (ICDCC), and MacArthur’s former intelligence chief was speaking on what he called ‘an ‘old theme’: the Sorge espionage case.’ Presiding at the October 14–16 affair was Jose Solis Ruiz, a minister in the Spanish cabinet of dictator Franco and a leading order of a secret Catholic order called Opus Dei. Among the speakers was Dr. Theodor Oberlander, a former German officer who had led the Ukrainian Nightingales in World War II (See Chapter Ten). Oberlander had served as West Germany’s minister of refugee affairs until 1960, when details of his wartime role became public and he was forced to resign. He was also a delegate to the Asian people’s Anti-Communist League. Herman Punder, the ICDCC’s outgoing international president, was an ex-Nazi Abwehr agent. Both Punder and Oberlander had direct connections into the Munich-based newspaper that, the day after the assassination, would contact General Walker—and then somehow ‘scoop’ the world on the previously unknown news that Oswald had fired on Walker in April.”
(Ibid.; p. 528.)