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

News & Supplemental  

Swiss probe anti-U.S. neo-Nazi Suspected financial ties to al Qaeda

by Jay Bushinsky
Chronicle Foreign Service

Bern, Switzerland — At the behest of President Bush, Swiss law authorities are investigating an alliance between Islamic militants and European neo-Nazis who have allegedly been providing financial support to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network.

Experts say Islamic militants and far-right movements — a coalition they call the Third Position — share common hatreds: the United States and Jews.

“Extremists manage to find ways to put aside their differences and find common cause,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center said recently.

The central figure in the probe is Ahmed Huber, a 74-year-old Swiss convert to Islam who says the “Zionist Israel lobby controls the U.S. government and mass media and shapes U.S. policy.”

Nada Management, the Bern company Huber helps direct, has been singled out publicly by President Bush.

Huber, a gregarious and outspoken former journalist who spent three decades covering the Swiss Parliament for a socialist newspaper, is a strong supporter of Germany’s neo-Nazi National Democratic Party (NPD) and such extreme-right politicians as France’s Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Huber serves on the board of directors of Nada Management. Founded by a Swiss Nazi and formerly known as al Taqwa Bank, the consulting and management firm is part of the international al Taqwa group, which the United States believes has long acted as a financial adviser to al Qaeda.

“Al Taqwa is an association of offshore banks and financial management firms that have helped al Qaeda shift money around the world,” Bush said on Nov. 7. The U.S. government has frozen Huber’s assets and is pressuring the Swiss government to arrest him for his alleged role in the al Qaeda money network.

Swiss investigators say Huber’s travels on the Muslim lecture circuit in Western Europe and North America brought him into contact with bin Laden’s followers. Huber has admitted to meeting with associates of the Saudi exile, describing them as “discreet, well-educated, very intelligent people.” But he denies that Nada Management underwrites al Qaeda activities.

During an interview in his study, lined with books and portraits and photographs of Adolf Hitler, Richard Wagner, Ayatollah Khomeini, Haj Amin al- Husseini (the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem) and Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, Huber expressed his views to a Chronicle correspondent.

“The U.S. is the ally of 15 million Jews against 1.3 billion Muslims; it is allied with 5 million Israelis against 200 million Arabs,” he said. “We will bring down the Israel lobby and change foreign policy. We’ll do it in America. When it happens, you’ll understand.”

Huber minimizes his role on Nada Management’s board of directors, saying he is a minor player who receives only $1,500 annually in compensation. He says the company’s sponsors are mostly wealthy Muslims from Malaysia and the Persian Gulf states who specialize in projects “beneficial to Third World countries — like new roads, clinics, agricultural development.”

But Hansjuerg Mark Wiedmer, a spokesman for the Swiss attorney general, disagrees. His office has been investigating Nada Management’s activities in Switzerland, Germany and the United States for the past six months.

“There have been indications that al Taqwa could have been financing al Qaeda,” he said. “Since Sept. 11, we have been seeking criminal connections. We had been on their trail before but did not have enough evidence to open criminal proceedings. This has changed.”

Wiedmer says the data he has gathered have been made available to U.S. authorities, but he specified that if charges are eventually filed, the “culprits” will be tried in a Swiss court.

Three other Nada Management board members have also been questioned by Swiss, Italian and U.S. authorities: Youssef Nada, an Egyptian expatriate who has Italian citizenship; Ali Himmat, a Syrian national; and Mohamed Mansour, a Zurich resident.

Nada lives in Campione d’Italia, a tiny Italian enclave and tax haven near the southern Swiss city of Lugano. Three months ago, Campione police raided Nada Management’s local office and confiscated records and documents.

The Nada Management board is assisted by a committee of Muslim scholars headed by Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian linked to his country’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. The committee’s purpose is to make sure Nada conforms to Islamic doctrine such as a ban on interest rates.

Huber’s longtime Swiss nemesis is Jean-Claude Buhrer, a correspondent for the prominent French daily Le Monde. Buhrer recently cited a column published in Morgenstern, a newspaper read by surviving former members of Germany’s wartime Waffen SS, in which Huber said Muslims and Nazis were involved in the same fight.

“This is tantamount to a marriage between the swastika and the (Islamic) crescent,” wrote Buhrer.

Buhrer also assailed Huber for denying the scope of the Nazi Holocaust and for being a faithful disciple of Francois Genoud, a Swiss lawyer who funded Hitler and served as a German agent during World War II.

After the war, Genoud underwrote the clandestine Odessa organization, which,

according to famed Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, enabled such notorious Nazi fugitives as Adolf Eichmann, Alois Brunner and Klaus Barbie to escape to South America and the Middle East.

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

Genoud committed suicide in 1996, shortly after Jewish leaders and Swiss banking officials announced an unprecedented agreement to set up a commission to examine secret bank and government files to search for funds deposited in Switzerland by Holocaust victims, according to Buhrer.

Over the years, Genoud paid French attorney Jacques Verges to defend Ramirez and Barbie and also covered the legal expenses of Eichmann before an Israeli court in 1961. He also subsidized Khomeini’s prolonged exile in France when Iran was governed by Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi.

Genoud’s admiration for Khomeini is shared by Huber. “‘He was a fantastic man,” Huber said.

Discussion

No comments for “Swiss probe anti-U.S. neo-Nazi Suspected financial ties to al Qaeda”

Post a comment