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FTR #687 Update on 9/11 and Related Matters

MP3 [1] (One 30-minute seg­ment)
NB: This Flash Audio stream con­tains both FTRs 686 and 687 in sequence. Each is a 30 minute seg­ment.

Intro­duc­tion: The pro­gram begins with with the Oba­ma Jus­tice Depart­men­t’s endorse­ment [2] of the dis­missal [3] [4]of a law­suit against mem­bers of the Sau­di Roy­al Fam­i­ly. The Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion is sup­port­ing efforts by the Sau­di roy­al fam­i­ly to defeat a long-run­ning law­suit seek­ing to hold it liable for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Despite evi­dence to the con­trary, lit­i­ga­tion against mem­bers of the House of Saud and oth­er Sau­di lumi­nar­ies has been neu­tral­ized. The mas­sive Sau­di invest­ment in U.S. cor­po­ra­tions, U.S. T‑bills; as well as the large num­ber of for­mer U.S. offi­cials in the pay of that benight­ed nation’s ser­vice have made it polit­i­cal­ly and eco­nom­i­cal­ly impos­si­ble for the U.S. to prop­er­ly pur­sue the Sau­di links to 9/11.

One of the Sau­di lumi­nar­ies tar­get­ed by 9/11 law­suits recent­ly passed away [5]. Khalid bin Mah­fouz [6] wield­ed [7]con­sum­mate influ­ence in the world of covert oper­a­tions, hav­ing been deeply involved with the BCCI [8] milieu and has been sub­stan­tive­ly linked to al-Qae­da financ­ing by cred­i­ble sources. (Bin Mah­fouz is pic­tured at right).

The  Cal­i­for­nia leg­is­la­ture has passed a bill [9] that will make the “libel tourism” uti­lized by Khalid bin Mah­fouz [10] impos­si­ble to enforce in that state. Libel tourism has usu­al­ly involved fil­ing a law­suit in the Unit­ed King­dom, where libel laws are much more favor­able to the plain­tiff than they are in the Unit­ed States. Bin Mah­fouz has used the tac­tic to defend him­self from inves­ti­ga­tion from his demon­stra­ble role in ter­ror financ­ing.

Next, the pro­gram updates Oper­a­tion Green Quest [11]. The March 20, 2002 Oper­a­tion Green Quest raids tar­get­ed a num­ber of insti­tu­tions and indi­vid­u­als alleged to have financed al-Qae­da, Hamas and Pales­tin­ian Islam­ic [12]Jihad. A recent appel­late court deci­sion [13] has upheld the legal­i­ty of those raids. These raids grew out of the [14]inves­ti­ga­tion into Sami al-Ari­an [15], one of the founders of Pales­tin­ian Islam­ic Jihad (pic­tured at right in a 2005 polit­i­cal ral­ly). In addi­tion to being a close polit­i­cal ally of George W. Bush [16], al-Ari­an has been lion­ized by the so-called “pro­gres­sive” polit­i­cal sec­tor, Paci­fi­ca Radio’s Amy Good­man [17] in par­tic­u­lar. (Bush and al-Ari­an are shown above, at left, at a 2000 cam­paign ral­ly.)

The pro­gram then high­lights the AMIA bomb­ing in Argenti­na. The tar­get of a war­rant post­ed by Inter­pol, the new­ly appoint­ed Iran­ian defense min­is­ter [18] is want­ed for com­plic­i­ty in that attack. Among the ele­ments fig­ur­ing in the con­spir­a­to­r­i­al milieu that exe­cut­ed the AMIA bomb­ing are: Argen­tine fas­cists (many with Syr­i­an links); main­stream Argen­tine politi­cians (many of them also hav­ing Syr­i­an links); weapons deal­er, ter­ror­ist sup­port­er and drug-deal­er Monz­er al-Kas­sar; Iran­ian and Hezbol­lah oper­a­tives and (by exten­sion) White Aryan Resis­tance (an Amer­i­can white-suprema­cist orga­ni­za­tion head­ed by Tom Met­zger).

The broad­cast then high­lights the unfold­ing sto­ry of a Syr­i­an facil­i­ty [19] alleged to be a nuclear instal­la­tion con­tin­ues to unfold. It appears that Syr­ia is stonewalling any type of seri­ous inves­ti­ga­tion by the Inter­na­tion­al Atom­ic Ener­gy Agency into the increas­ing­ly like­ly pos­si­bil­i­ty that the facility–bombed by the Israeli Air Force in 2007–was a nuclear reac­tor.

Con­clud­ing on a ter­ri­fy­ing and infu­ri­at­ing note, the pro­gram sets forth some por­ten­tous remarks [20] by Michael [21]Scheuer, pic­tured at right. Endors­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a nuclear ter­ror attack on the Unit­ed States, the for­mer head of the CIA’s unit charged with hunt­ing bin Laden may well be set­ting the stage for such an inci­dent.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Scheuer’s com­ment [22] that the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion favors anoth­er ter­ror­ist inci­dent; review of the evi­den­tiary trib­u­taries con­nect­ing many of the sup­pos­ed­ly unre­lat­ed ter­ror­ist inci­dents of the late 1980’s, 1990’s and the first decade of the 21st cen­tu­ry; review of the “bad­jack­et­ing” of Barack Oba­ma; review of the links between the GOP, the Bush admin­is­tra­tion, the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and the insti­tu­tions and indi­vid­u­als tar­get­ed by the Oper­a­tion Green Quest raids of 3/20/2002.

1. The pro­gram begins with with the Oba­ma Jus­tice Depart­men­t’s endorse­ment of the dis­missal of a law­suit against mem­bers of the Sau­di Roy­al Fam­i­ly. The Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion is sup­port­ing efforts by the Sau­di roy­al fam­i­ly to defeat a long-run­ning law­suit seek­ing to hold it liable for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Despite evi­dence to the con­trary, lit­i­ga­tion against mem­bers of the House of Saud and oth­er Sau­di lumi­nar­ies has been neu­tral­ized. The mas­sive Sau­di invest­ment in U.S. cor­po­ra­tions, U.S. T‑bills; as well as the large num­ber of for­mer U.S. offi­cials in the pay of that benight­ed nation’s ser­vice have made it polit­i­cal­ly and eco­nom­i­cal­ly impos­si­ble for the U.S. to prop­er­ly pur­sue the Sau­di links to 9/11.

The law firm of for­mer Bush (I) Sec­re­tary of State James Bak­er has rep­re­sent­ed many of the defen­dants in these law­suits.

The Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion is sup­port­ing efforts by the Sau­di roy­al fam­i­ly to defeat a long-run­ning law­suit seek­ing to hold it liable for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.The Jus­tice Depart­ment, in a brief filed Fri­day before the Supreme Court, said it did not believe the Saud­is could be sued in Amer­i­can court over accu­sa­tions brought by fam­i­lies of the Sept. 11 vic­tims that the roy­al fam­i­ly had helped finance Al Qae­da. The depart­ment said it saw no need for the court to review low­er court rul­ings that found in the Saud­is’ favor in throw­ing out the law­suit.

The government’s posi­tion comes less than a week before Pres­i­dent Oba­ma is sched­uled to meet in Sau­di Ara­bia with King Abdul­lah as part of a trip to the Mid­dle East and Europe intend­ed to reach out to the Mus­lim world.

Lawyers for the Sau­di fam­i­ly said that they were heart­ened by the department’s brief and that it served to strength­en their hand before the court, which has not decid­ed whether to hear the case.

But fam­i­ly mem­bers of sev­er­al Sept. 11 vic­tims said they were deeply dis­ap­point­ed and ques­tioned whether the deci­sion was made to appease an impor­tant ally in the Mid­dle East. The Saud­is have aggres­sive­ly lob­bied both the Bush and Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tions to have the law­suit dis­missed, gov­ern­ment offi­cials say.

“I find this rep­re­hen­si­ble,” said Kris­ten Bre­itweis­er, a leader of the Sept. 11 fam­i­lies, whose hus­band was killed in the attacks on the World Trade Cen­ter. “One would have hoped that the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion would have tak­en a dif­fer­ent stance than the Bush admin­is­tra­tion, and you won­der what mes­sage this sends to vic­tims of ter­ror­ism around the world.”

Bill Doyle, anoth­er leader of the Sept. 11 fam­i­lies whose son was killed in the attacks, said, “All we want is our day in court.”

The law­suit, brought by a num­ber of insur­ance com­pa­nies for the vic­tims and their fam­i­lies, accus­es mem­bers of the roy­al fam­i­ly in Sau­di Ara­bia of pro­vid­ing finan­cial back­ing to Al Qae­da — either direct­ly to Osama bin Laden and oth­er ter­ror­ist lead­ers, or indi­rect­ly through dona­tions to char­i­ta­ble orga­ni­za­tions that they knew were in turn divert­ing mon­ey to Al Qae­da.

A dis­trict court threw out the law­suit, find­ing that the For­eign Sov­er­eign Immu­ni­ty Act pro­vid­ed legal pro­tec­tion from lia­bil­i­ty for Sau­di Ara­bia and the mem­bers of the roy­al fam­i­ly for their offi­cial acts.

Solic­i­tor Gen­er­al Ele­na Kagan said in the brief to the Supreme Court that her office agreed with the Unit­ed States Court of Appeals for the Sec­ond Cir­cuit “that the princes are immune from peti­tion­ers’ claims,” although she point­ed to some­what dif­fer­ent legal ratio­nales in reach­ing that con­clu­sion.

Ms. Kagan not­ed that the Supreme Court had his­tor­i­cal­ly looked to the exec­u­tive branch to take the lead on such inter­na­tion­al mat­ters because of “the poten­tial­ly sig­nif­i­cant for­eign rela­tions con­se­quences of sub­ject­ing anoth­er sov­er­eign state to suit.”

The gov­ern­ment said in its brief that the vic­tims’ fam­i­lies nev­er alleged that the Sau­di gov­ern­ment or mem­bers of the roy­al fam­i­ly “per­son­al­ly com­mit­ted” the acts of ter­ror­ism against the Unit­ed States “or direct­ed oth­ers to do so.” And it said the claims that were made — that the Saud­is helped to finance the plots — fell “out­side the scope” of the legal para­me­ters for suing for­eign gov­ern­ments or lead­ers.

Jus­tice Depart­ment offi­cials declined to address the issue of whether the tim­ing of the brief was relat­ed to Mr. Obama’s trip to Riyadh, but oth­er lawyers involved in the case said the tim­ing appeared to be coin­ci­den­tal. They said as a prac­ti­cal mat­ter the depart­ment, which was invit­ed to state its views in the case in Feb­ru­ary, need­ed to do so by this week if it hoped to influ­ence the court’s deci­sion on whether to accept the case before it leaves for sum­mer recess in June.

William H. Jef­fress, a Wash­ing­ton lawyer who is rep­re­sent­ing Prince Tur­ki Al-Faisal, a for­mer Sau­di ambas­sador to the Unit­ed States who is one of the princes named in the law­suit, said the Jus­tice Depart­ment came down on the right side of the law in sup­port­ing immu­ni­ty.

Any sug­ges­tion that the tim­ing of the brief was influ­enced by Mr. Obama’s upcom­ing vis­it was “base­less,” Mr. Jef­fress said, as were the accu­sa­tions in the law­suit itself about the Sau­di ties to Al Qae­da. “Osama bin Laden is a sworn ene­my of the roy­al fam­i­ly of Sau­di Ara­bia, and the idea that they would be pro­vid­ing finan­cial sup­port to Bin Laden is a lit­tle absurd,” Mr. Jef­fress said.

“Jus­tice Depart­ment Backs Sau­di Roy­al Fam­i­ly on 9/11 Law­suit” by Eric Licht­blau; The New York Times; 5/30/2009. [2]

2. One of the Sau­di lumi­nar­ies tar­get­ed by 9/11 law­suits recent­ly passed away. Khalid bin Mah­fouz [6] wield­ed con­sum­mate influ­ence in the world of covert oper­a­tions, hav­ing been deeply involved with the BCCI [8] milieu and has been sub­stan­tive­ly linked to al-Qae­da financ­ing by cred­i­ble sources.

Khalid bin Mah­fouz, a bil­lion­aire Sau­di banker who paid $225 mil­lion to set­tle charges of bank fraud in 1993 and lat­er won a string of law­suits in Britain against writ­ers who had accused him of sup­port­ing ter­ror­ism, died Sun­day at his home in Jid­da. He was 60.

The cause was a heart attack, accord­ing to reports in the Arab news media.

In many ways, Sheik Mah­fouz typ­i­fied Sau­di Arabia’s super-wealthy. He main­tained opu­lent homes around the world and trav­eled in his own Boe­ing 767 with gold-plat­ed bath­room fix­tures. Last year, the mag­a­zine Ara­bi­an Busi­ness ranked him 24th in its list of the 50 rich­est Arabs, with a for­tune esti­mat­ed at $3.35 bil­lion.

He rose to promi­nence through his 30 per­cent own­er­ship in the Bank of Cred­it and Com­merce Inter­na­tion­al, which was shut down in 1991 after charges of finan­cial chi­canery and mon­ey laun­der­ing. Sheik Mah­fouz paid $225 mil­lion to set­tle fraud charges by the Man­hat­tan dis­trict attorney’s office and the Fed­er­al Reserve.

Dis­trict Attor­ney Robert M. Mor­gen­thau said $37 mil­lion of the set­tle­ment was a fine. But Sheik Mah­fouz denied that any of the set­tle­ment was a fine, point­ing out that he had not acknowl­edged any wrong­do­ing. He said he had agreed to the set­tle­ment “pure­ly as a busi­ness deci­sion.”

After the Sep­tem­ber 2001 ter­ror­ist attacks, con­sid­er­able sus­pi­cion fell on Sau­di financiers and char­i­ties as sources of financ­ing for ter­ror­ism. Part­ly because so much mon­ey passed through his bank and a char­i­ty he helped estab­lish, Sheik Mah­fouz faced a bar­rage of accu­sa­tions in books, news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines that he and his fam­i­ly had fun­neled mon­ey to Al Qae­da.

He vehe­ment­ly denied that and repeat­ed­ly and often suc­cess­ful­ly pressed pub­li­ca­tions for cor­rec­tions. He also took advan­tage of Britain’s pro-plain­tiff libel laws to sue pub­lish­ers, almost all of whom set­tled before tri­al.

One writer who fought back was Rachel Ehren­feld, author of “Fund­ing Evil: How Ter­ror­ism Is Financed — and How to Stop It” (2003). Sheik Mah­fouz won a default judg­ment in 2005 order­ing her to apol­o­gize, destroy all copies of the book and pay him rough­ly $230,000 in dam­ages. Ms. Ehren­feld has called his legal actions “finan­cial jihad.”

But Sheik Mahfouz’s crit­i­cisms were some­times irrefutable. He was wide­ly referred to as the broth­er-in-law of Osama bin Laden, which he was not. Sheik Mah­fouz did acknowl­edge con­tribut­ing $270,000 to Mr. bin Laden’s forces when they were fight­ing the Sovi­ets in Afghanistan. At the time, the Unit­ed States also sup­port­ed the insur­gents there.

Sheik Mahfouz’s father was Salem bin Mah­fouz, who was 6 when he and his broth­ers arrived in Mec­ca in 1912. Salem bin Mah­fouz was employed for many years exchang­ing cur­ren­cy for pil­grims to Mec­ca. In 1949, he became a part­ner in a lucra­tive cur­ren­cy busi­ness and quick­ly decid­ed that the enter­prise would be much more suc­cess­ful if it were con­sti­tut­ed as a bank.

Banks, how­ev­er, were ille­gal because the Koran con­demned the charg­ing of inter­est as usury. So the elder Sheik Mah­fouz, who was illit­er­ate, went to the Sau­di roy­al fam­i­ly and argued that Sau­di Ara­bia should be self-suf­fi­cient in bank­ing; at the time, the only two banks in the king­dom were for­eign. He proved per­sua­sive: the Nation­al Com­mer­cial Bank was estab­lished in 1953, and it became the bank of the roy­al fam­i­ly at a time when oil rev­enues soared. The bank laid the foun­da­tion for Sau­di Ara­bia to join the glob­al finan­cial com­mu­ni­ty.

Khalid bin Mah­fouz took over the bank after his father died, while his 11 sib­lings and his moth­er con­sol­i­dat­ed their inher­i­tance into a large hold­ing com­pa­ny. Sheik Mah­fouz is sur­vived by his wife, Na’elah Kaa­ki; his sons Abdul­rah­man and Sul­tan, and his daugh­ter, Eman.

Sheik Mah­fouz was born in 1949 and received his pri­ma­ry and sec­ondary edu­ca­tion in Jid­da. When he joined Nation­al Com­mer­cial Bank, he first worked as a cashier. Lat­er, as an exec­u­tive, he devel­oped secu­ri­ties trad­ing, invest­ment funds and cor­po­rate bank­ing.

In 1977, he joined John Con­nal­ly, a Wash­ing­ton insid­er, and oth­ers to buy the Main Bank of Hous­ton. Mr. Con­nal­ly intro­duced him to William Her­bert Hunt and Nel­son Bunker Hunt, Texas bil­lion­aires who recruit­ed him to join an ulti­mate­ly unsuc­cess­ful scheme to cor­ner the sil­ver mar­ket. Var­i­ous reports say that Sheik Mah­fouz and oth­er Saud­is lost mon­ey in the effort.

Dur­ing these years, Sheik Mah­fouz lived in Hous­ton. The Wash­ing­ton Post report­ed in 1981 that his neigh­bors sel­dom saw him, know­ing him only as “the Sau­di.” From their swim­ming pools, they would watch his heli­copter fly over the neigh­bor­hood.

“Khalid bin Mah­fouz, Sau­di Banker, Dies at 60” by Andrew Ross Sorkin; The New York Times; 8/28/2009. [5]

3. The Cal­i­for­nia leg­is­la­ture has passed a bill that will make the “libel tourism” uti­lized by Khalid bin Mah­fouz impos­si­ble to enforce in that state. Libel tourism has usu­al­ly involved fil­ing a law­suit in the Unit­ed King­dom, where libel laws are much more favor­able to the plain­tiff than they are in the Unit­ed States.

Leg­is­la­tion designed to thwart ‘libel tourism’–the prac­tice of try­ing to silence one’s crit­ics by suing them in Eng­land, where defama­tion is eas­i­er to prove than in the Unit­ed States–cleared the state Sen­ate with­out a dis­sent­ing vote Thurs­day. The bill, prompt­ed by the case of a Sau­di busi­ness­man who sued a U.S. author in a British court for accus­ing him of financ­ing ter­ror­ists, would pro­hib­it enforce­ment of most for­eign libel ver­dicts in Cal­i­for­nia. The Sen­ate’s 38–0 vote moved the leg­is­la­tion by Sen. Ellen Cor­bett, D‑San Lean­dro, to the Assem­bly.

“Britain has become a mec­ca for most­ly rich folks who can lit­i­gate there to obtain judg­ments for bad things peo­ple say about them in Cal­i­for­nia or any­where else,” said Thomas New­ton, lawyer for the Cal­i­for­nia News­pa­per Pub­lish­ers Asso­ci­a­tion, which is spon­sor­ing the bill.

One dif­fer­ence between British and U.S. libel law is that U.S. plain­tiff mst prove that the defam­a­to­ry state­ment was false. In Britain, once the plain­tiff shows that a state­ment would  harm his or her rep­u­ta­tion, the defen­dant must prove it was true.

The U.S. Supreme Court has also ruled that a pub­lic offi­cial or promi­nent per­son suing for libel must prove that a false­hood was know­ing or reck­less, a require­ment not imposed in Brit­ian or any oth­er nation.

Cor­bet­t’s bill SB320, would allow a Cal­i­for­nia court to enforce a for­eign award of dam­ages from libel only if it came from a nation that pro­vid­ed the same pro­tec­tions to defen­dants that U.S. and Cal­i­for­nia courts have rec­og­nized. A sim­i­lar law was signed last year in New York. Although there has been no orga­nized oppo­si­tion to Cor­bet­t’s bill, a lawyer for the Sau­di entre­pre­neur whose suit gave rise to the mea­sures in both Cal­i­for­nia and New York said Thurs­day that the leg­is­la­tion ‘address­es a prob­lem that actu­al­ly does­n’t exist.”

“in fact, no for­eign libel judg­ment has ever been enforced in the Unit­ed States,” said the attor­ney, Tim­o­thy Finn. With­out such laws, he said, U.S. courts refuse to enforce libel ver­dicts from nations that don’t pro­tect the free­dom to speak crit­i­cal­ly.

But even the threat of being sued for libel over­seas has a chill­ing effect on free speech, said Rachel Ehren­feld, the New York writer who was sued by Finn’s client.

“I am an Amer­i­can cit­i­zen. I felt I had very good pro­tec­tion from the First Amend­ment,” Ehren­feld said. She learned oth­er­wise after pub­lish­ing her 2003 book Fund­ing Evil, which doc­u­ment­ed the alleged role of Sau­di bil­lion­aire Khalid bin Mah­fouz in financ­ing ter­ror­ism [Ital­ics are Mr. Emory’s.]

Bin Mah­fouz, who has filed numer­ous suits dis­put­ing sim­i­lar alle­ga­tions, sued Ehren­feld in Eng­land, where he owns prop­er­ty and where 23 copies of her book were sold online. Unwill­ing to hire a British lawyer and defend her­self, she default­ed. Bin Mah­fouz was award­ed $15,000 in dam­ages plus $210,000 in legal fees and court costs.

Although Ehren­feld has­n’t had to pay any dam­ages, she said the ver­dict has made her reluc­tant to trav­el over­seas and has hurt her research.

“Over­whelm­ing Sup­port for ‘Libel Tourism’ Bill” by Bob Egelko; San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle; 5/15/2009. [9]

4. Next, the pro­gram updates Oper­a­tion Green Quest [11]. The March 20, 2002 Oper­a­tion Green Quest raids tar­get­ed a num­ber of insti­tu­tions and indi­vid­u­als alleged to have financed al-Qae­da, Hamas and Pales­tin­ian Islam­ic Jihad. In addi­tion, the tar­get­ed indi­vid­u­als and insti­tu­tions were deeply involved with both the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood [23], the Bush admin­is­tra­tion and the GOP. (FTR #‘s 454 [24], 462 [25], 464 [26], 468 [26], 515 [27] and 538 [16] are par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant for an under­stand­ing of the GOP, Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, ter­ror­ist links.)

A recent appel­late court deci­sion has upheld the legal­i­ty of those raids.

An appeals court yes­ter­day upheld the legal­i­ty of fed­er­al raids on a Hern­don-based net­work of Mus­lim char­i­ties, busi­ness­es and think tanks, a case that caused a firestorm in the Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Cir­cuit said the March 2002 raids on homes and busi­ness in Hern­don and else­where in North­ern Vir­ginia were “a har­row­ing expe­ri­ence” for the tar­gets but did not vio­late their con­sti­tu­tion­al rights. The court said agents exer­cised “law­ful force” in draw­ing their guns and hand­cuff­ing a fam­i­ly whose home was searched.

Fed­er­al agents cart­ed away hun­dreds of box­es of doc­u­ments dur­ing the search­es from some of the most estab­lished Islam­ic orga­ni­za­tions in the Unit­ed States. They were look­ing for evi­dence of an inter­na­tion­al net­work to finance ter­ror­ism, part of what fed­er­al offi­cials have called the nation’s largest ter­ror­ism-financ­ing inves­ti­ga­tion.

Mus­lim lead­ers denounced the raids as vio­la­tions of their civ­il rights and have strong­ly denied ter­ror­ist ties. A Hern­don fam­i­ly sued fed­er­al agents involved in the raids, assert­ing that the agents had fab­ri­cat­ed evi­dence to obtain a search war­rant, false­ly impris­oned fam­i­ly mem­bers by restrain­ing them in their home and vio­lat­ed their civ­il rights.

A fed­er­al judge in Alexan­dria dis­missed the law­suit in 2007, and a three-judge 4th Cir­cuit pan­el upheld that dis­missal yes­ter­day.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for the U.S. attor­ney’s office in Alexan­dria, said pros­e­cu­tors are pleased with the rul­ing. An attor­ney for Iqbal and Aysha Unus, who filed the law­suit along with their teenage daugh­ter, declined to com­ment.

The raids have led to sev­er­al indict­ments and the con­vic­tion of promi­nent Mus­lim activist Abdu­rah­man Alam­ou­di, who admit­ted that he plot­ted with Libya to assas­si­nate the ruler of Sau­di Ara­bia. No charges have been filed against the Hern­don-based clus­ter of com­pa­nies and char­i­ties that are at the cen­ter of the inves­ti­ga­tion, and their attor­neys and some Mus­lims have long labeled the raids a fish­ing expe­di­tion.

Sami al-Ari­an, a for­mer Flori­da pro­fes­sor who ear­li­er plead­ed guilty to aid­ing a ter­ror orga­ni­za­tion, is now charged with refus­ing to tes­ti­fy before a fed­er­al grand jury in the Hern­don probe. A fed­er­al judge has not ruled on a defense motion to dis­miss those charges.

“Court Upholds Search­es of Mus­lim Groups in Va.” by Jer­ry Markon; Wash­ing­ton Post; 5/7/2009; p. B04. [13]

5. Next, the pro­gram high­lights the AMIA bomb­ing in Argenti­na. The tar­get of a war­rant post­ed by Inter­pol, the new­ly appoint­ed Iran­ian defense min­is­ter is want­ed for com­plic­i­ty in that attack. Among the ele­ments fig­ur­ing in the con­spir­a­to­r­i­al milieu that exe­cut­ed the AMIA bomb­ing are: Argen­tine fas­cists (many with Syr­i­an links); main­stream Argen­tine politi­cians (many of them also hav­ing Syr­i­an links); weapons deal­er, ter­ror­ist sup­port­er and drug-deal­er Monz­er al-Kas­sar; Iran­ian and Hezbol­lah oper­a­tives and (by exten­sion) White Aryan Resis­tance (an Amer­i­can white-suprema­cist orga­ni­za­tion head­ed by Tom Met­zger).

As not­ed in, among oth­er pro­grams, FTR #456 [28], there are evi­den­tiary trib­u­taries con­nect­ing many of the sup­pos­ed­ly sep­a­rate and uncon­nect­ed ter­ror­ist inci­dents of the last sev­er­al decades includ­ing: the bomb­ing of Pan Am 103 [29], the first attack on the World Trade Cen­ter [30], the AMIA [31] bomb­ing, the Okla­homa City bomb­ing [32] and the 9/11 attacks [33]. inves­ti­gat­ing these links might well yield the find­ing that all were authored in part or in whole, by the Under­ground Reich [34].

The man nom­i­nat­ed to serve as Iran’s defense min­is­ter is want­ed by Inter­pol in con­nec­tion with the 1994 bomb­ing of a Jew­ish cul­tur­al cen­ter in Buenos Aires, con­fronting Iran with yet anoth­er chal­lenge to its inter­na­tion­al rep­u­ta­tion after an elec­toral dis­pute under­mined its legit­i­ma­cy at home and abroad.

Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ahmadine­jad nom­i­nat­ed Ahmad Vahi­di on Wednes­day to serve as defense min­is­ter when he sub­mit­ted his list of 21 nom­i­nees to Par­lia­ment. Mr. Vahi­di was the head of the secret Quds Force, an arm of the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guards that car­ries out oper­a­tions over­seas.

He was one of five Iran­ian offi­cials sought by Inter­pol on Argen­tine charges of “con­ceiv­ing, plan­ning, financ­ing and exe­cut­ing” the 1994 attack, which killed 85 peo­ple and wound­ed hun­dreds, said a state­ment issued by the Anti-Defama­tion League con­demn­ing the nom­i­na­tion.

The hand of Tehran was sus­pect­ed ear­ly in the inves­ti­ga­tion. How­ev­er, some crim­i­nal jus­tice experts have raised ques­tions recent­ly about Iran’s hav­ing had a direct role in the attack, say­ing it was more like­ly the work of an Iran­ian proxy group, Hezbol­lah, and oth­ers in South Amer­i­ca.

It was unclear Fri­day night how Iran­ian offi­cials might react to the com­plaints from abroad about Mr. Vahi­di, but the issue of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s cab­i­net choic­es was already a prob­lem for the pres­i­dent. Lead­ers in the con­ser­v­a­tive-dom­i­nat­ed Par­lia­ment, which must approve all cab­i­net appoint­ments, have said they expect to reject as many as five nom­i­nees as unqual­i­fied — anoth­er sign of the con­flict set off by the dis­put­ed pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in June.

Mr. Ahmadine­jad and his allies have failed to silence the crit­ics or even to present a veneer of polit­i­cal uni­ty since the elec­tion, and each week seems to bring a new chap­ter in the worst polit­i­cal cri­sis to con­front Iran since its rev­o­lu­tion in 1979. On Fri­day, the head of Iran’s pow­er­ful Guardian Coun­cil called for the arrest of the lead­ers of the protests that swept the nation after the elec­tion.

In a fiery and com­bat­ive speech at a Fri­day Prayer cer­e­mo­ny in Tehran, Aya­tol­lah Ahmad Jan­nati argued that jus­tice demand­ed the arrest of the lead­ers, not only the rank and file. He nev­er explic­it­ly named Mir Hus­sein Mous­savi or Meh­di Kar­roubi, the two pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates who have led the protests. But it was clear whom he meant.

“Imple­ment­ing jus­tice is not easy when you have to grab the throats of the big­wigs, and they should be con­front­ed first,” Aya­tol­lah Jan­nati said from the stage in a sta­di­um-size prayer hall at Tehran Uni­ver­si­ty. “Oth­er­wise, it is easy to con­front pet­ty thieves and nobod­ies.”

It was not the first time that a high-rank­ing offi­cial had called for the arrest of the two men, who have refused to back down from the charges that Mr. Ahmadine­jad and his allies stole the elec­tion through fraud and vote rig­ging. But by not nam­ing names, it was unclear if Aya­tol­lah Jan­nati was try­ing to pre­pare pub­lic opin­ion for the even­tu­al arrests, or if he was hold­ing back to avoid push­ing the coun­try deep­er into cri­sis.

“What is true is the unprece­dent­ed degree of inter­nal divi­sions,” said a West­ern diplo­mat who worked in Iran for years but asked not to be iden­ti­fied, in accor­dance with diplo­mat­ic pro­to­col. “Yet, because the regime itself has tak­en stock of the dan­ger, all the dif­fer­ent play­ers are refrain­ing from push­ing things toward a real cri­sis.”

In his speech, Aya­tol­lah Jan­nati, a close ally of the supreme leader, Aya­tol­lah Ali Khamenei, asked judi­cial offi­cials why so many peo­ple had been arrest­ed but not those who led them. Since the elec­tion, thou­sands of pro­test­ers and oppo­si­tion fig­ures have been tak­en into cus­tody. While most have been released, the state has begun three mass tri­als in which for­mer high-rank­ing offi­cials, jour­nal­ists and intel­lec­tu­als have been parad­ed into court­rooms in paja­mas and accused of help­ing to pro­mote the over­throw of the gov­ern­ment through a vel­vet rev­o­lu­tion.

“The recent riots and dis­tur­bances were an injus­tice against Islam and the rev­o­lu­tion and the nation and people’s regime was tar­get­ed,” Aya­tol­lah Jan­nati said. “Some were arrest­ed in these events, but those who were behind this calami­ty and had led it were not arrest­ed.”

In the days since the con­test­ed elec­tion and the ensu­ing gov­ern­ment crack­down, Mr. Mous­savi has kept a rel­a­tive­ly low pro­file, com­mu­ni­cat­ing most­ly through his Web site and sur­ro­gates. Mr. Kar­roubi, a cler­ic who was an ear­ly sup­port­er of Aya­tol­lah Ruhol­lah Khome­i­ni, the founder of the Islam­ic repub­lic, has emerged as the most aggres­sive crit­ic of the sys­tem. He made pub­lic charges that men and women arrest­ed dur­ing the protests were being raped in pris­ons — charges the state has noy yet ful­ly addressed or silenced.

At the same time, the lead­er­ship, includ­ing the polit­i­cal and cler­i­cal elite, finds itself increas­ing­ly divid­ed into com­pet­ing camps. Par­lia­ment is sched­uled to con­sid­er the cab­i­net nom­i­na­tions on Sun­day. But that mat­ter may prove to be more eas­i­ly han­dled than the charges of prison rape.

Address­ing the Islam­ic Soci­ety of Engi­neers this week, Ali Lar­i­jani, the speak­er of Par­lia­ment, eased off his ini­tial insis­tence that the rape charges were unfound­ed.

“I announced that they sub­mit evi­dence if any rel­e­vant doc­u­ments are avail­able,” Mr. Lar­i­jani told the engi­neers soci­ety. “If Mr. Kar­roubi is will­ing, we will lis­ten to him.”

“Ahmadine­jad Nom­i­nee Is Want­ed in ’94 Bomb­ing” by Michael Slack­man; New York Times; 8/22/2009. [18]

6. The sto­ry of a Syr­i­an facil­i­ty alleged to be a nuclear instal­la­tion con­tin­ues to unfold. It appears that Syr­ia is stonewalling any type of seri­ous inves­ti­ga­tion by the Inter­na­tion­al Atom­ic Ener­gy Agency into the increas­ing­ly like­ly pos­si­bil­i­ty that the facility–bombed by the Israeli Air Force in 2007–was a nuclear reac­tor.

U.N. inspec­tors are ana­lyz­ing fur­ther evi­dence tak­en from a nuclear research plant in Syr­i­a’s cap­i­tal Dam­as­cus where unex­plained ura­ni­um traces were found, the U.N.‘s nuclear watch­dog said on Fri­day.

But the Inter­na­tion­al Atom­ic Ener­gy Agency said Syr­ia was still block­ing fol­low-up access to the desert site of what U.S. intel­li­gence reports said was a nascent, North Kore­an-designed nuclear reac­tor meant to yield atom­ic bomb fuel, before Israel bombed it to pieces in 2007.

In June, the Vien­na-based IAEA said par­ti­cles of processed ura­ni­um showed up in swipe sam­ples tak­en by inspec­tors at the research reac­tor in Dam­as­cus and that it was check­ing for a link to traces retrieved from the bombed Dair Alzour site.

The IAEA said on Fri­day it car­ried out an inven­to­ry ver­i­fi­ca­tion check at the Dam­as­cus Minia­ture Neu­tron Source Reac­tor (MNSR) in July, col­lect­ing envi­ron­men­tal sam­ples of what Syr­ia said was the source of the ura­ni­um par­ti­cles.

The sam­ples were now being ana­lyzed with the results like­ly to be ready by Novem­ber.

U.S. ana­lysts have said the IAEA’s find­ings raised the ques­tion of whether Syr­ia used some nat­ur­al ura­ni­um intend­ed for the alleged reac­tor at Dair Alzour for exper­i­ments applic­a­ble to learn­ing how to sep­a­rate out plu­to­ni­um from spent nuclear fuel.

Syr­i­a’s only declared nuclear site is the Dam­as­cus research reac­tor and, unlike Iran, it has no known nuclear ener­gy-gen­er­at­ing capac­i­ty.

Syr­ia has said that the ura­ni­um traces at Dair Alzour came with Israeli muni­tions used in the strike and that Israel’s tar­get was a con­ven­tion­al mil­i­tary build­ing.

Dam­as­cus denies hid­ing any­thing from the IAEA. But the agency says Syr­ia is with­hold­ing doc­u­men­ta­tion and block­ing access that inspec­tors need to clar­i­fy the case.

Syr­ia, an ally of Iran which is under IAEA inves­ti­ga­tion over nuclear pro­lif­er­a­tion sus­pi­cions, has denied ever hav­ing an atom bomb pro­gram and said the intel­li­gence is fab­ri­cat­ed.

Dam­as­cus has com­plained that its case is being mis­han­dled and ques­tioned the IAEA’s grasp of physics.

“SIGNIFICANT” URANIUM DISCOVERY

But the IAEA said ear­li­er this year inspec­tors had found enough traces of ura­ni­um in soil sam­ples col­lect­ed in June 2008 at Dair Alzour to con­sti­tute a “sig­nif­i­cant” find.

They sub­se­quent­ly detect­ed sim­i­lar “man­made” ura­ni­um par­ti­cles in test swipes at the Dam­as­cus research site which the IAEA knew about and checked rou­tine­ly.

Fri­day’s report said Syr­ia, cit­ing nation­al secu­ri­ty grounds, was still refus­ing IAEA requests for return vis­its to Dair Alzour and a look at three mil­i­tary sites, whose appear­ance was altered by land­scap­ing after the IAEA asked to check them.

“How­ev­er, there is no lim­i­ta­tion in com­pre­hen­sive safe­guards agree­ments (between the IAEA and mem­ber states) on agency access to infor­ma­tion, activ­i­ties or loca­tions sim­ply because they may be mil­i­tary relat­ed,” the report said.

“The fact that the agency has found par­ti­cles of nuclear mate­r­i­al of a type which is not in the declared inven­to­ry of Syr­ia under­scores the need to pur­sue this mat­ter.”

IAEA Direc­tor-Gen­er­al Mohamed ElBa­radei has said the alle­ga­tions are seri­ous and must be clar­i­fied. But he has also rebuked the Unit­ed States and Israel for fail­ing to alert the U.N. watch­dog about the site before it was bombed to rub­ble, say­ing this had made the search for truth extreme­ly dif­fi­cult.

Fri­day’s report said ElBa­radei had urged states includ­ing Israel which “may pos­sess infor­ma­tion rel­e­vant to the agen­cy’s ver­i­fi­ca­tion, includ­ing infor­ma­tion which may have led them to con­clude that the instal­la­tion in ques­tion had been a nuclear reac­tor, to make such infor­ma­tion avail­able to the Agency.”

Above all, the IAEA wants to exam­ine equip­ment and rub­ble removed from Dair Alzour before inves­ti­ga­tors could get there.

But Syr­ia told the IAEA the debris had already been dis­posed of so it was impos­si­ble to ful­fill the agen­cy’s request, orig­i­nal­ly made over a year after the bomb­ing, the report said.

“IAEA Extends Probe of Alleged Secret Syr­ia Atom Site” by Mark Hein­rich; Reuters; 8/29/09. [19]

7. Con­clud­ing on a ter­ri­fy­ing and infu­ri­at­ing note, the pro­gram sets forth some por­ten­tous remarks by Michael Scheuer. Endors­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a nuclear ter­ror attack on the Unit­ed States, the for­mer head of the CIA’s unit charged with hunt­ing bin Laden may well be set­ting the stage for such an inci­dent.

In the con­text of this com­ment, as well as his state­ment that the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion favors anoth­er ter­ror­ist inci­dent, one should con­sid­er sev­er­al things. Fore­most among those is the “bad­jack­et­ing” of Oba­ma dis­cussed in FTR#‘s 654 [35], 655 [36], 656 [37], 663 [38], 666 [39]. Ele­ments asso­ci­at­ed with the GOP and the milieu tar­get­ed by the Oper­a­tion Green Quest raids of 3/20/2002 have also grouped them­selves around Oba­ma, leav­ing him vul­ner­a­ble to charges of being com­plic­it with ter­ror­ism.

In addi­tion, the deci­sion by Oba­ma Attor­ney Gen­er­al Eric Hold­er to pur­sue pos­si­ble indict­ments of CIA offi­cials for using tor­ture could alien­ate key intel­li­gence oper­a­tives involved with inter­dict­ing ter­ror­ist attacks. This might make the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a suc­cess­ful attack by al-Qae­da or relat­ed ele­ments more like­ly.

“Hate TV, that is what I am going to call Fox News from this point on. Every sin­gle day this ‘news’ out­let sells hate and incites vio­lence. The lat­est is just unre­al. Here is what Glenn Beck guest Michael Scheuer said: ‘The only chance we have as a coun­try right now is for Osama Bin Ladin to deploy and det­o­nate a major weapon in the Unit­ed States. . . only Osama can, can exe­cute an attack which can force Amer­i­cans to demand that their gov­ern­ment pro­tect them effec­tive­ly, con­sis­tent­ly and with as much vio­lence as nec­es­sary.’ . . ”

“Fox News: A Nuke Attack on US Soil Would Be Great for Amer­i­ca . . .”; Atlargely.com; 7/1/2009. [20]

8. Scheuer has had oth­er ripe things to say. Imply­ing that the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion is “pro-ter­ror­ist,” Scheuer has stat­ed that White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel would favor anoth­er attack. In light of the doc­u­ment­ed and pro­found links between the GOP and the George W. Bush admin­is­tra­tion to the ter­ror fund­ing milieu tar­get­ed by the Oper­a­tion Green Quest raids of 3/20/2002, it is grotesque and iron­ic to con­tem­plate Scheuer’s remarks.

Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion was mak­ing a mis­take by inves­ti­gat­ing abus­es by inter­roga­tors. Fox News’ Bri­an Kilmeade talked with for­mer CIA ana­lyst Michael Scheuer, for­mer deputy assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense Peter Brooks and for­mer FBI inves­ti­ga­tor William Daly.

Scheuer, a CIA employ­ee for 22 years, thinks that cur­rent CIA direc­tor Leon Panet­ta should quit the agency. “Clear­ly he should quit. He has no influ­ence at all with the pres­i­dent,” said Scheuer.

A recent ABC News report [40] claimed that Panet­ta had threat­ened to resign over poten­tial inves­ti­ga­tions into detainee abus­es. How­ev­er, a CIA spokesman called the rumor [41] “false, wrong and bogus.”

“He is just a use­less fel­low,” Scheuer said about Panet­ta.

The for­mer CIA ana­lyst wasn’t done with his crit­i­cism of the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion. “For the CIA now to be answer­ing to a pres­i­dent — for the first time, I think — a sit­ting pres­i­dent who has giv­en aid and com­fort both psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly and mate­ri­al­ly, it’s a very dis­tress­ing thing,” he said.

It’s not the first time Scheuer has made con­tro­ver­sial remarks. In July, Scheuer seemed to be wish­ing [42] Osama bin Laden would unleash new attacks on Amer­i­cans. “The only chance we have as a coun­try right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and det­o­nate a major weapon in the Unit­ed States,” he told Fox News’ Glenn Beck.

Scheuer didn’t men­tion bin Laden in his Fri­day com­ments but told Fox’s Bri­an Kilmeade that anoth­er attack was com­ing. “Oh sure, we’re going to be attacked, Bri­an,” Scheuer explained. “You know, Rahm Emanuel wants an attack. He loves cri­sis.”

“Fox Guest Claims Oba­ma Pro­vid­ing ‘Aid and Com­fort’ to Ter­ror­ists” by David Edwards; The Raw Sto­ry; 8/28/2009. [22]