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For The Record  

FTR #360 Ties That Bind Pt 4

MP3 Side 1 | Side 2

1. The broad­cast begins with review of a ter­ri­fy­ing dis­clo­sure that was recent­ly revealed by British intel­li­gence ana­lysts. In the con­text of the dis­cus­sion that fol­lows, one should not lose sight of the alleged source of the new financ­ing for Al Qae­da-Sau­di Ara­bia. “The al-Qae­da ter­ror­ist net­work has been del­uged with funds from Osama Bin Laden’s Sau­di sup­port­ers since the start of the Mid­dle East cri­sis, a British intel­li­gence dossier has revealed. Intel­li­gence chiefs have also warned the gov­ern­ment that Mr. Bin Laden could be plot­ting anoth­er ter­ror­ist atroc­i­ty on the scale of the Sep­tem­ber 11 attack on the World Trade Cen­ter.  One senior min­is­ter said he was shocked by the scale of the threat out­lined in the ‘chill­ing’ intel­li­gence brief­ing pre­sent­ed to the gov­ern­ment recent­ly.  It sug­gest­ed the Sep­tem­ber 11 atroc­i­ties could be repeat­ed at any time. . .The min­is­ter said: ‘Bin Laden might be cor­nered in a cave, but that won’t nec­es­sar­i­ly pre­vent Al-Qae­da car­ry­ing out fur­ther attacks.  We were pret­ty shocked at what we heard.  “The Amer­i­can attacks were five years in the plan­ning: who knows what could also be in the pipeline?” (“Bin Laden Sup­port­ers ‘Still Fund­ing Al-Qae­da’ ” by Cathy New­man; The Finan­cial Times; 5/8/2002; p.8.)  In light of the recent (as of 5/19/2002) warn­ings of anoth­er dev­as­tat­ing attack, the con­tin­ued Sau­di fund­ing of Al Qae­da should be not­ed.  So should George W. Bush’s unwill­ing­ness to reproach the Saud­is and the utter cow­ardice of those who remain silent in light of what has been done, what is being done, and what is about to come.

2. Next, the pro­gram devel­ops some of the deep pol­i­tics under­ly­ing the Clearstream net­work, which appears to have been a major fund­ing con­duit for Al Qae­da. “By 1980, [Cedel exec­u­tive Ernest] Back­es had become Cedel’s No.3 offi­cial, in charge of rela­tions with clients.  But he was fired in May 1983.  Back­es says the rea­son giv­en for his sack­ing was an argu­ment with an Eng­lish banker, a friend of the CEO.  ‘I think I was fired was because I knew too much about the Abrosiano scan­dal,’ Back­es says.  Ban­co Ambrosiano was once the sec­ond most impor­tant pri­vate bank in Italy, with the Vat­i­can as a prin­ci­pal share­hold­er and loan recip­i­ent. The bank laun­dered drug-and-arms-traf­fick­ing mon­ey for the Ital­ian and Amer­i­can Mafias and, in the’80’s, chan­neled Vat­i­can mon­ey to the Con­tras in Nicaragua and Sol­i­dar­i­ty in Poland.  The cor­rupt man­agers also siphoned off funds via fic­ti­tious­banks to per­son­al shell com­pa­ny accounts in Switzer­land, the Bahamas, Pana­ma and oth­er off­shore havens.  Ban­co Abrosiano inspired a sub­plot of The God­fa­ther, Part III.  Sev­er­al of those behind the swin­dle have met untime­ly ends.  Bank chair­man Rober­to Calvi was found hanged under Black­fri­ars Bridge in Lon­don.  Michele Sin­dona, con­vict­ed in 1980 on 65 counts of fraud in the Unit­ed States, was extra­dit­ed to Italy in 1984 and sen­tenced to life in prison; in 1986, he was found dead in his cell, poi­soned by cyanide-laced cof­fee.  (Anoth­er sus­pect, Arch­bish­op Paul Marcinkus, the head of the Vat­i­can Bank, now lives in Sun City, Ari­zona with a Vat­i­can pas­port; U.S. author­i­ties have ignored a Milan arrest war­rant for him.)  Just two months after Back­es’ dis­missal in 1983, [Cedel gen­er­al man­ag­er Ger­ard] Sois­son, 48 and healthy, was found dead in Cor­si­ca, where he’d gone on vaca­tion.  Top Cedel offi­cials had the body returned imme­di­ate­ly and buried, with no autop­sy, announc­ing that he had died of a heart attack.  His fam­i­ly now sus­pects he was mur­dered.  ‘If Sois­son was mur­dered, it was also relat­ed to what he knew about Ambrosiano,’ Back­es says.  ‘When Sois­son died, the Ambrosiano affair was­n’t yet known as a scan­dal.  [After it was revealed] I real­ized that Sois­son and I had been at the cross­roads. We moved all those trans­ac­tions known lat­er in the scan­dal to Lima and oth­er branch­es.  Nobody even knew there was a Ban­co Ambrosiano branch in Lima and oth­er South Amer­i­can coun­tries.’ ” (“Explo­sive Rev­e­la­tion$” by Lucy Komis­ar; In These Times; 3/15/2002; pp.2–4.)  Accord­ing to the remark­able Ernest Back­es, the Clearstream net­work (run by Cedel) was the prin­ci­pal con­duit for the Ban­co Ambrosiano scan­dal.

3. Recent review of Back­es’ book by a for­mer invest­ment indus­try pro­fes­sion­al (who knew Back­es) lent sup­port to Mr. Back­es’ cred­i­bil­i­ty.  (“Rev­e­la­tion$: A Book by Denis Robert & Ernest Back­es;” by David Guy­att.)

4. Back­es has also alleged that the Clearstream net­work was a prin­ci­pal con­duit in what has come to be called the “Octo­ber Sur­prise.” “In Novem­ber 1979, the U.S. Embassy in Iran was seized, and 52 Amer­i­cans were held hostage.  Their cap­ture, and the Carter admin­is­tra­tion’s fail­ure to win their release, became a major issue in the 1980 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.  Carter had frozen bil­lions in Iran­ian assets in U.S. banks, mon­ey that was being claimed by Amer­i­can firms and indi­vid­u­als who had lost prop­er­ty in the Islam­ic rev­o­lu­tion.  Amer­i­can and Iran­ian offi­cials were nego­ti­at­ing the amount of funds to be released in return for free­ing the hostages.  The Ira­ni­ans also want­ed Carter to release arms that had been ordered and paid for by the deposed Shah.  Rea­gan cam­paign offi­cials alleged­ly met with Iran­ian rep­re­sen­ta­tives sev­er­al times dur­ing the 1980 cam­paign, promis­ing arms and mon­ey if Iran delayed release of the hostages until after the Novem­ber elec­tion.  This scan­dal would become known as the ‘Octo­ber Sur­prise.’  Rea­gan won the elec­tion, but Carter offi­cials con­tin­ued to nego­ti­ate with the Ira­ni­ans.  Final­ly, around the turn of the year, an accord was reached under which the Unit­ed States would release $4 bil­lion but no arms.  How­ev­er, the Ira­ni­ans did not release the hostages imme­di­ate­ly.  A few days before Rea­gan’s inau­gu­ra­tion, Ernest Back­es recalls, Cedel got an urgent joint instruc­tion from the U.S. Fed­er­al Reserve Bank and the Bank of Eng­land to trans­fer $7 mil­lion in bear­er bonds, $5 mil­lion from an account of Chase Man­hat­tan Bank and $2 mil­lion from an account of Citibank, both in off­shore secre­cy havens.  The mon­ey was to go to the Nation­al Bank of Alge­ria, and from there to an Iran­ian bank in Teheran.  Back­es was informed that the $7 mil­lion was a small frac­tion of sums being sent from around the world and con­cen­trat­ed in the Alger­ian bank.  He was told the trans­fers were linked to the fate of the hostages.  The Fed and the Bank of Eng­land were not mem­bers of Cedel, and by its rules had no right to order the trans­fers.  Back­es’ two supe­ri­ors were absent.  He informed the pres­i­dent of the Cedel admin­is­tra­tive coun­cil, Edmond Israel, then act­ed to exe­cute the order.  (Israel, now hon­orary chair­man, did not respond to phone and e‑mail mes­sages.)  On Jan­u­ary 20, 1981, about 15 min­utes after Rea­gan took the oath of office, the hostages were final­ly freed.  Rea­gan and then Vice Pres­i­dent George Bush have always denied the pay­off hap­pened.” (“Octo­ber Sur­pris­es;” [side­bar to “Explo­sive Rev­e­la­tion$” by Lucy K mil­lion from an account of Citibankomis­ar]; In These Times; 3/15/2002.)

5. Next, the broad­cast reviews the untime­ly death of Salem Bin Laden (anoth­er of Osama’s broth­ers), and the alle­ga­tion that Salem was involved with the “Octo­ber Sur­prise.” “Bin Laden’s son Salem was also very close to the kind [of Sau­di Ara­bia], and it is like­ly that he ren­dered sig­nif­i­cant ser­vices to the monar­chy, in par­tic­u­lar by car­ry­ing out secret mis­sions.  Accord­ing to sev­er­al wit­ness­es, his mys­te­ri­ous death is evi­dence of this.  In 1988, a BAC 111 plane pilot­ed by Salem crashed in Texas.  His death gave rise to spec­u­la­tions about the exact role he played for King Fahd and the Sau­di gov­ern­ment in secret oper­a­tions in the Mid­dle East and Cen­tral Amer­i­ca.  For instance, there was an indi­ca­tion from Amer­i­can sources that he was con­nect­ed to a secret meet­ing between Iran­ian and Amer­i­can emis­saries in Paris in Octo­ber 1980.  Some felt that his death was not an acci­dent.” (In the Name of Osama Bin Laden; by Roland Jacquard; Copy­right 2002 [SC]; Duke Uni­ver­si­ty Press; ISBN 0–8223-2991–3; p. 12.)

6. The pro­gram also reviews the fact that a key Bin Laden busi­ness exec­u­tive (Bau­doin Dunant) rep­re­sent­ed key Nazi banker Fran­cois Genoud in a case in 1983, in which Genoud was charged with ter­ror­ism.  “It [Gene­va Sico, the Sau­di Invest­ment Com­pa­ny] is head­ed by Yeslam bin Laden, and the board of direc­tors is made up almost exclu­sive­ly of mem­bers of the fam­i­ly clan, except for a Swiss cit­i­zen, Bau­doin Dunant.  This well-known lawyer from French-speak­ing Switzer­land, who is on the boards of sev­er­al dozen com­pa­nies, came to pub­lic notice in 1983 when he agreed to rep­re­sent the Swiss banker Fran­cois Genoud, a con­tro­ver­sial fig­ure who had been a dis­ci­ple of Hitler and sole heir of Goebbel­s’s copy­rights before becom­ing one of the financiers of the FLN dur­ing the Alger­ian War. The friend­ships of the Bin Ladens some­times seem sur­pris­ing, but they are log­i­cal:  Fran­cois Genoud has always been pro-Arab.” (Ibid.; pp. 17–18.)

7. For an under­stand­ing of how far back some of this “net­work­ing” goes, the pro­gram high­lights the tenure of the rela­tion­ship between Genoud and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.  Note that Genoud became the man­ag­er of the Grand Mufti’s funds.  “In 1934, back in Switzer­land, the 19-year-old Genoud joined the pro-Nazi Nation­al Front, and two years lat­er he began to forge the oth­er polit­i­cal links that would prove so valu­able.  He trav­eled to Pales­tine.  There he met the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, the pro-Nazi reli­gious and polit­i­cal leader of Pales­tin­ian Mus­lims, Amin el-Hus­sei­ni, who was to spend most of World War II in Ger­many, and who, accord­ing to British author Git­ta Sere­ny, ‘would con­sid­er [Genoud] a con­fi­dant until his death in 1974.’  Genoud trav­eled to Berlin fre­quent­ly dur­ing the war ‘to see his friend the Grand Mufti,’ and vis­it­ed him after­ward many times in Beirut, accord­ing to Le Monde cor­re­spon­dent Jean-Claude Buhrer.  The Grand Mufti ‘entrust­ed Genoud with the man­age­ment of his enor­mous finan­cial affairs,’ accord­ing to Sere­ny.” (“Hitler’s Swiss Con­nec­tion” by David Lee Pre­ston; The Philadel­phia Inquir­er; 1/5/1997; p. 2.)

8. In an inter­rog­a­tive mode, the pro­gram dis­cuss­es the fact that Robert F. Kennedy’s son Joseph was among the hostages in a hijack­ing in which Genoud assist­ed. “More is to be learned about Genoud’s con­tacts with the Amer­i­cans.  The State Depart­ment has yet to declas­si­fy 16 doc­u­ments relat­ing to Genoud; 29 oth­er doc­u­ments relat­ing to his appli­ca­tion for a visa or per­mit to enter the U.S. remain clas­si­fied.  The Lufthansa Boe­ing 747 bound for Frank­furt was ready for take­off in Bom­bay when the con­trol tow­er received a bizarre mes­sage: ‘Call us the Vic­to­ri­ous Jihad.  If you call us Lufthansa, we won’t answer you.’  It was the evening of Feb. 21, 1972, and Pales­tin­ian hijack­ers had tak­en the plane hostage.  Among the 188 pas­sen­gers was Joseph Kennedy, 19-year-old son of assas­si­nat­ed Sen­a­tor Robert F. Kennedy.  The next day, a let­ter from Cologne demand­ed $5 mil­lion for the ‘Orga­ni­za­tion for the Vic­tims of the Zion­ist Occu­pa­tion.’  In per­fect Eng­lish, the let­ter gave Lufthansa explic­it instruc­tions: A man car­ry­ing a suit­case with the mon­ey should wear a black jack­et and gray pants, dis­em­bark at the Beirut air­port hold­ing Newsweek mag­a­zine in his left hand and the suit­case in his right hand, and go the park­ing lot.  With the key sent in the enve­lope from Cologne, he was to open an old Volk­swa­gen parked under a sycamore tree and read the instruc­tions on the rear seat.  The jet flew to Yemen, where the crew and pas­sen­gers were freed, includ­ing the young Kennedy.  And $5 mil­lion in used bills went to the Pop­u­lar Front for the Lib­er­a­tion of Pales­tine, which has com­mit­ted numer­ous inter­na­tion­al ter­ror­ist attacks since.  The oper­a­tion was orches­trat­ed by the Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ist Wadi Hadad with the assis­tance of Fran­cois Genoud, who drove overnight to Cologne with his wife car­ry­ing the let­ter with the ran­som demand.  After send­ing the let­ter to Lufthansa and to news agen­cies, Genoud and Elis­a­beth took off for vaca­tion in the Bel­gian Ardennes.  ‘The amount of mon­ey demand­ed of Lufthansa was very high,’ Genoud told French jour­nal­ist Pierre Pean, reveal­ing his role in the hijack­ing in a biog­ra­phy pub­lished this year in Paris.  ‘Too low a num­ber would have made us lose cred­i­bil­i­ty.  Too high a num­ber might have made the oper­a­tion fall through, espe­cial­ly con­sid­er­ing how quick­ly the mon­ey had to be col­lect­ed.’ ” (Ibid.; p. 4.)  One won­ders just how deep the Genoud/RFK assas­si­na­tion entan­gle­ment goes.  How thick are these “ties that bind?”

9. In the con­text of the pre­vi­ous item, the broad­cast reviews a cou­ple of ele­ments of infor­ma­tion from FTR#350.  A remark made by Sheik Rah­man (con­vict­ed of con­spir­a­cy in 1993) is reviewed.  “‘Slow down; slow down a lit­tle bit,’ the sheik cau­tioned, whis­per­ing for fear the FBI was bug­ging his apart­ment-which it was.  ‘The one who killed Kennedy was trained for three years.’  It was nev­er made clear in lat­er court tes­ti­mo­ny which assas­si­na­tion the sheik was talk­ing about.” (Wall Street Jour­nal; 11/26/2001; p. A6.)  It is believ­able that the ref­er­ence is prob­a­bly to the assas­si­na­tion of Robert Kennedy, alleged­ly com­mit­ted by a Pales­tin­ian Arab, Sirhan Sirhan.  Sirhan sup­pos­ed­ly killed Kennedy because of his sup­port for Israel.  (The avail­able evi­dence sug­gests very strong­ly that Sirhan was a pat­sy and a prob­a­ble vic­tim of mind con­trol.)

10. An affi­davit sub­mit­ted by Robert Byron Wat­son alleged that an intel­li­gence-con­nect­ed guns and drug smug­gling oper­a­tion was heav­i­ly involved in the killing of King, and that the same orga­ni­za­tion was plan­ning to kill Robert Kennedy two months lat­er. Begin­ning with an excerpt from RFA#8, the sec­ond side of the pro­gram high­lights an arti­cle detail­ing key aspects of the Robert Byron Wat­son affi­davit. (“King Assas­si­na­tion Con­spir­a­cy Revealed” by David Wem­ple; Hud­son Val­ley Chron­i­cle; July 1977 [Vol. 1, #1].)

11. One of the alleged par­tic­i­pants in this net­work was PFLP king­pin George Habash’s broth­er, Fouad Habash.  Fouad Habash, in turn, was close to Antho­ny Malek, alleged by Wat­son to have been a key plan­ner in the RFK assas­si­na­tion.  (Idem.)

12. One of Genoud’s pro­teges was Klaus Bar­bie attor­ney Jacques Verges and one of the employ­ees in Verges’ law firm is rep­re­sent­ing “20th hijack­er” Zacarias Mous­saoui.  It appears that Mous­saoui’s activ­i­ties had attract­ed some rather pre­scient think­ing (trag­i­cal­ly ignored) on the part of some FBI ana­lysts.  An FBI mem­o­ran­dum is eerie to con­tem­plate.  “The mem­o­ran­dum may not be the only inter­nal doc­u­ment embar­rass­ing to the bureau.  In August, an agent spec­u­lat­ed in notes, made when inves­ti­ga­tors sought to explain why Zacarias Mous­saoui was enrolled in a fMin­neso­ta flight school, that Mr. Mous­saoui might be plan­ning to fly a plane into the World Trade Cen­ter.  Mr. Mous­saoui, a French cit­i­zen, who was soon arrest­ed on immi­gra­tion charges, was believed by the Unit­ed States gov­ern­ment to be the intend­ed 20th hijack­er on Sep­tem­ber.” (“Pre-Attack Memo Cit­ed Bin Laden;” by David John­ston; The New York Times; p. A16.)

13. It would appear that Hakim Murad’s activ­i­ties had attract­ed atten­tion for years and alert­ed some to the pos­si­bil­i­ties of 9/11.  “How­ev­er the Phoenix mem­o­ran­dum was not the first warn­ing that ter­ror­ists affil­i­at­ed with Al Qae­da had inter­est in learn­ing to fly.  In his 1996 con­fes­sion, a Pak­istani ter­ror­ist, Abdul Hakim Murad, said that he planned to use the train­ing he received at flight schools in the Unit­ed States to fly a plane into C.I.A. head­quar­ters in Lan­g­ley, Vir­ginia, or anoth­er fed­er­al build­ing.  Mr. Murad, who was cap­tured in the Philip­pines in 1995 and con­vict­ed in New York on charges of con­spir­ing to blow up 12 Amer­i­can jum­bo jets over the Pacif­ic simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, received flight train­ing at schools in New York, North Car­oli­na, Cal­i­for­nia and Texas.  Infor­ma­tion from Mr. Murad’s con­fes­sion formed a basis for an analy­sis pre­pared for Unit­ed States intel­li­gence agen­cies in 1999.  The analy­sis warned that Bin Laden ter­ror­ists could hijack a jet and fly it into gov­ern­ment build­ings like the Pen­ta­gon.  Addi­tion­al­ly, a flight school in Okla­homa that pro­vid­ed train­ing last year to Zacarias Mous­saoui, the so-called 20th hijack­er in the Sep­tem­ber 11 attacks, had been under scruti­ny by the F.B.I. in 1998 after the dis­cov­ery that anoth­er for­mer stu­dent had been linked to the bomb­ing that year of two Amer­i­can embassies in East Africa, attacks atributed to Al Qae­da.  The school, the Air­man Flight School in Nor­man, has coop­er­at­ed with the F.B.I.” (“F.B.I. Knew for Years About Ter­ror Pilot Train­ing” by Philip Shenon; The New York Times; 5/18/2002; p. A1.)

14. In con­clu­sion, and in light of the above infor­ma­tion about Mr. Murad, the broad­cast reviews some of Murad’s oth­er asso­ciates in the Philip­pines. Murad has “bind­ing ties” (appar­ent­ly) with peo­ple involved with the Okla­homa City Bomb­ing. “While mak­ing final prepa­ra­tions for Bojin­ka [a ter­ror­ist attack], the ter­ror­ists met with Ter­ry L. Nichols sev­er­al times in Cebu City.  Nichols, along with Tim­o­thy McVeigh, were charged with the bomb­ing of the Alfred P. Mur­rah Fed­er­al Build­ing in Okla­homa City on April 19, 1995, that killed 168 peo­ple and wound­ed anoth­er 600.  Some FBI offi­cials now believe that Nichols, who has ‘mail-order’ Fil­ipino wife from Cebu, obtained con­tact with Youssef through Mus­lim stu­dents at South­west Col­lege in Weath­er­ford, Okla­homa.  The offi­cials fur­ther believe that Youssef and [Abdul Hakim] Murad pro­vid­ed Nichols with train­ing in mak­ing and han­dling bombs. With­out such instruc­tion, Nichols and McVeigh would not have been able to assem­ble a 5,600-pound bomb made of ammo­ni­um nitrate and nitromethane.  Sev­er­al infor­mants recent­ly gave tes­ti­mo­ny that they met Nichols with Youssef in the Philip­pines and that the Amer­i­can was affec­tion­ate­ly known there as ‘the Farmer.’  After that Okla­homa bomb­ing, Murad told prison guards that Yousse­f’s ‘Lib­er­a­tion Army,’ a branch of Al Qae­da, was respon­si­ble for it.  He lat­er made this same claim in writ­ing.” (Al Qae­da: Broth­er­hood of Ter­ror; by Paul Williams; Copy­right 2002 [SC]; Alpha Books; ISBN 0–02-864352–6; pp. 145–146.)


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