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For The Record  

FTR #373 The Ties That Bind, Part VI

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Fur­ther devel­op­ing con­nec­tions between a num­ber of dif­fer­ent ter­ror­ist inci­dents and ele­ments, this pro­gram focus­es on Islam­o­fas­cist links to attacks out­side of the Mid­dle East, as well as evi­den­tiary trib­u­taries con­nect­ing these attacks to the milieu of the 9/11 attacks.

1. The pro­gram begins with dis­cus­sion of Dawud Salahud­din (nee David Belfield), an Afro-Amer­i­can Islamist, who mur­dered a sup­port­er of Iran­ian Shah Reza Palavi (Ali Akbar Tabatabai). Salahud­din was heav­i­ly influ­enced by Said Ramadan, the head of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. Sig­nif­i­cant­ly, Salahud­din’s con­tact with Ramadan came in the Unit­ed States. “In May of 1975, Salahud­din met Said Ramadan, an Egypt­ian lawyer and Islam­ic schol­ar, who was the guest speak­er at a prayer ser­vice at the Islam­ic Cen­ter, a large mosque on Mass­a­chu­setts Avenue in Wash­ing­ton. Ramadan, the founder and head of the Cen­tre Islamique, in Gene­va, had been liv­ing in exile in Switzer­land since the nine­teen-fifties. Salahud­din describes Ramadan, who was his advis­er and spir­i­tu­al guide until his death, in 1995, as “the inter­na­tion­al point man for the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood.’ (The Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, found­ed in Egypt in 1928, was, accord­ing to Salahud­din, the inspi­ra­tion for almost every mil­i­tant group in the Mus­lim world. Ramadan’s father-in-law [Has­san Al Ban­na] was its founder.” (“Annals of Crime: An Amer­i­can Ter­ror­ist;” by Ira Sil­ver­man; The New York­er; 8/5/2002; p. 29.)

2. “Dur­ing the sum­mer of 1975, Ramadan stayed with Salahud­din in a house in Wash­ing­ton about a mile from the Howard Uni­ver­si­ty cam­pus. They often talked through the night. ‘I don’t think anoth­er human being, includ­ing my bio­log­i­cal par­ents, knew me any bet­ter,’ Salahud­din said. One sub­ject they dis­cussed was Salahud­din’s per­son­al­i­ty, par­tic­u­lar­ly his capac­i­ty for vio­lent action. Ramadan, he said, assured him that if he were to com­mit such an act he would­n’t be emo­tion­al­ly scarred by it-it would ‘be accom­plished and sim­ply for­got­ten.’ ” (Idem.)

3. “In Decem­ber of 1979, Salahud­din called Ramadan in Gene­va to seek his advice about work­ing for the Ira­ni­ans as a secu­ri­ty guard. It was ten months after the over­throw of the Shah, and Aya­tol­lah Khome­i­ni, now in pow­er in Iran, was on guard against a counter-rev­o­lu­tion. Salahud­din said he remem­bers Ramadan telling him to do every­thing he pos­si­bly could on Khome­ini’s behalf. ‘His tone was emphat­ic,’ Salahud­din said, ‘and for me it was tak­en as a com­mand.’ ” (Idem.)

4. “Salahud­din told me that Ramadan had­n’t known about his plans to kill Tabatabai, but an arti­cle in the Wash­ing­ton Post on August 8/1980, report­ed that there were three calls around the time of the mur­der to Ramadan’s Gene­va home from pay phones near the Iran­ian diplo­mat­ic office. A law-enforce­ment source involved in the Tabatabai case told me that inves­ti­ga­tors believed the calls were made by a Salahud­din ‘han­dler,’ a Khome­i­ni oper­a­tive in the Unit­ed States who was not charged in the mur­der.’ ” (Idem.)

5. “The man who recruit­ed him to kill Tabatabai, Salahud­din told me, was ‘some­one in Wash­ing­ton’ who was ‘pass­ing along instruc­tions’ from the Iran­ian gov­ern­ment. He would not divulge the iden­ti­ty of his ‘con­tact,’ and would say only that he believes he met him at the Iran­ian stu­dent cen­ter: ‘At no point did I adver­tise myself as a hit man, though it was clear to peo­ple who knew me that I had no pro­found fear of vio­lence or of the author­i­ties.’ Salahud­din said that he was giv­en ‘a chunk of cash’ (actu­al­ly, five thou­sand dol­lars) and five weeks to get the job done.’ ” (Idem.)

6. In the years fol­low­ing the killing of Tab­batabai, Salahud­din worked as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Ramadan. “Salahud­din also trav­eled in the mil­i­tant Mus­lim world as a kind of diplo­mat for Said Ramadan: ‘I pre­sent­ed myself as Ramadan’s envoy, and that was with his encour­age­ment.’ Salahud­din wrote that in 1986 he made ‘cer­tain rep­re­sen­ta­tions on behalf of Ramadan to Muam­mar Qadafi’ through one of Qaddafi’s cousins, and in 1995 he said he deliv­ered a mes­sage from Ramadan to Pres­i­dent Burhanud­din Rab­bani, in Afghanistan, warn­ing him that the Tal­iban had ties to the C.I.A. From Decem­ber of 1986 to May of 1988, Salahud­din said, he served in Afghanistan as a sol­dier with the mujahideen.’ ” (Ibid.; p. 30.)

7. The pro­gram then reviews Ramadan’s relo­ca­tion to Munich (Ger­many), alleged­ly under­tak­en because of the his­tor­i­cal and oper­a­tional con­nec­tions between the Broth­er­hood and the Third Reich. ” ‘Why Munich, why Ger­many?’ I asked Rifaat Said. ‘Because there, one finds old com­plic­i­ties that go back to the late 1930’s, when the Mus­lim Broth­ers col­lab­o­rat­ed with the agents of Nazi Ger­many. . . By soak­ing up the sav­ings of these Mus­lim work­ers, Yussef Nada, like Said Ramadan, took advan­tage of an extreme­ly favor­able con­text and used it as a spring­board for the Mus­lim Broth­ers’ eco­nom­ic activ­i­ties.’ ” (Dol­lars for Ter­ror: The Unit­ed States and Islam; by Richard Labeviere; Copy­right 2000 [SC]; Algo­ra Pub­lish­ing; ISBN 1–892941-06–6; p. 153.)

8. The pro­gram then high­lights Ramadan’s relo­ca­tion of the Broth­er­hood’s base of oper­a­tions from Munich to Gene­va, in order to coor­di­nate activ­i­ties with those of the Alger­ian FLN and its Nazi banker Fran­cois Genoud. “Let us men­tion only the inci­dent of the trea­sure of the FLN, at the cen­ter of which the banker Fran­cois Genoud may be found. Ramadan and the Mus­lim Broth­ers thought that they could play a part in the Alger­ian process as they had done in Pales­tine in 1947. Said Ramadan thus left Munich to set­tle in the city of Calvin.” (Ibid.; p. 154.)

9. Next, the pro­gram focus­es on the Okla­homa City bomb­ing and a pos­si­ble link between that attack and some of the hijack­ers impli­cat­ed in the 9/11 attacks. A motel locat­ed at some dis­tance from Nor­man, Okla­homa (where some of the alleged hijack­ers appar­ent­ly took flight train­ing) may pro­vide doc­u­men­ta­tion of con­nec­tions between Atta and accused 20th hijack­er Zac­carias Mous­saoui. Atta alleged­ly tried to book rooms at this motel with Mous­saoui and anoth­er of the sus­pect­ed hijack­ers. This is sig­nif­i­cant for sev­er­al rea­sons. For one thing, the motel was far­ther away than oth­er, rea­son­ably-priced motels. Atta, for what­ev­er rea­son, want­ed this motel. The fol­low­ing account may estab­lish a hard link between Atta and Mous­saoui. This same motel was appar­ent­ly fre­quent­ed by Mujahid Menep­ta, an asso­ciate of Mouss­saoui, who vis­it­ed the motel in the time before the 1995 Okla­homa City bomb­ing. This same motel was also report­ed to have been host to Tim McVeigh and alleged Mid­dle East­ern and/or Iraqi nation­als, with whom he may have been con­spir­ing. It is also worth not­ing that legal author­i­ties in this coun­try do not appear to have been over­ly eager to pur­sue these leads, per­haps out of a desire to avoid hav­ing to reopen the inves­ti­ga­tion into the Okla­homa City bomb­ing. “What hap­pened at the non­de­script road­side motel out­side Okla­homa City was just fleet­ing encounter dur­ing the twist­ed cross-coun­try odyssey of the ter­ror­ists who would car­ry out the Sep­tem­ber 11 attacks. Mohammed Atta, alleged leader of the plot, and two com­pan­ions want­ed to rent a room, but could­n’t get the deal they want­ed, so they left.” (“The Ter­ror­ist Motel” by Jim Cro­gan; L.A. Week­ly; 7/26/–8/1/2002.)

10. “It was an inci­dent of no par­tic­u­lar impor­tance, except for one thing. The own­er of the motel remem­bers Atta being in the com­pa­ny of Zacara­ias Mous­saoui, the so-called “20th hijack­er,’ who was arrest­ed pri­or to “Sep­tem­ber 11 and now faces con­spir­a­cy charges in con­nec­tion with the ter­ror assaults.’ ” (Ibid,; p. 1.)

11. “If this rec­ol­lec­tion is cor­rect, the entire inci­dent, and its absence from the pub­lic record, rais­es new ques­tions about the FBI inves­ti­ga­tion of Mousaoui and even the 1995 destruc­tion of the Fed­er­al Build­ing in Okla­homa City. Already the FBI has endured a with­er­ing polit­i­cal and media cri­tique for fail­ing to aggres­sive­ly inves­ti­gate Mous­saoui and his con­tacts dur­ing his four weeks in cus­tody pri­or to the attacks on the World Trade Cen­ter and the Pen­ta­gon. Some FBI offi­cials have respond­ed by char­ac­ter­iz­ing Mous­saoui as only a minor play­er. But the report from the motel own­er, if proven, could change that. And it also could force the FBI to reopen its inves­ti­ga­tion of Mid­dle East­ern con­nec­tions to the 1995 Okla­homa City blast, because con­vict­ed bombers Tim­o­thy McVeigh and Ter­ry Nichols report­ed­ly stayed at the same motel, inter­act­ing with a group of Iraqis dur­ing the weeks before the bomb­ing. (Ibid.; p.1)

12. “At press time, the errat­ic Mous­saoui, who is rep­re­sent­ing him­self, was attempt­ing to plead guilty and bring his tri­al to a close. The 34-year-old French cit­i­zen of Moroc­can descent had pre­vi­ous­ly filed some 94 hand-scrawled, ram­bling motions attack­ing the gov­ern­men­t’s case and its right to pros­e­cute him.” (Idem.)

13. “But that cir­cus obscures a conun­drum of a dif­fer­ent sort. The gov­ern­men­t’s case, out­lined in its new six-count con­spir­a­cy indict­ment, is large­ly cir­cum­stan­tial, lack­ing any defin­i­tive link between Mous­saoui and the 19 hijack­ers iden­ti­fied by fed­er­al author­i­ties. All of which makes the appar­ent shelv­ing of the Mous­saoui-Atta sight­ing all the stranger. In fact, even though mul­ti­ple sources con­tend that the FBI inter­viewed the motel own­er, there’s no indi­ca­tion that pros­e­cu­tors were told. It’s pos­si­ble that the FBI found the motel own­er’s iden­ti­fi­ca­tions wrong or his sto­ry unre­li­able. But it’s still odd that, in inter­views with the Week­ly, Jus­tice Depart­ment pros­e­cu­tors seemed to know noth­ing about the motel encounter, espe­cial­ly because agents report­ed­ly told the motel own­er they would pass the infor­ma­tion on to Mous­saoui’s defense time.” (Ibid.; pp. 1–2.)

14. “The motel co-own­er, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty, said the inci­dent occurred around August 1, 2001, just six weeks before 9/11. ‘They came in around 10 or 11a.m. and start­ed talk­ing to my desk clerk,’ he said. Even though he was work­ing about 10 feet away from the trio, the own­er did­n’t real­ly pay any atten­tion at first. ‘They were ask­ing my clerk, who no longer works here, about a week­ly rate for our rooms.’ (The for­mer clerk could not be reached for com­ment.)” (Ibid.; p. 2.)

15. “The motel, explained the own­er, sets aside some rooms with small kitch­enettes to rent on a week­ly basis. ‘But they were all tak­en.’ He said the clerk explained the sit­u­a­tion, but the vis­i­tors were per­sis­tent. ‘Final­ly, my clerk asked me to talk to them.’ ” (Idem.)

16. “The motel own­er said that Mous­saoui and a man who appeared to be Mar­wan al-She­hhi-who helped crash a jet­lin­er into the south tow­er of the World trade Cen­ter-were friend­ly and said a few things, but Atta was clear­ly the leader. ‘He did most of the talk­ing and seemed very seri­ous,’ said the own­er, adding, ‘I was stand­ing face to face, about two feet away from Atta, and talked to the three of them for about 10 min­utes. Atta asked if he could rent one of the oth­er rooms at a week­ly rate, and I told him no.” (Idem.)

17. ” ‘I asked him what they were doing here in the area. And Atta told me they were going to flight school. I thought he meant [Fed­er­al Avi­a­tion Admin­is­tra­tion] train­ing in Okla­homa City. But Atta told me no, they were tak­ing flight train­ing in Nor­man.” (Idem.)

18. ” ‘I said I did­n’t under­stand why they want­ed to rent one of my rooms, since we were about 28 miles from Nor­man and there are a lot of rea­son­ably priced motels a lot clos­er. But he said they had heard good things about my place and want­ed to stay there. I told them I was sor­ry, but we could­n’t accom­mo­date them. Atta final­ly said okay. Then they all thanked me for my time and left.’ ” (Idem.)

19. “After the attacks, said the motel own­er, he rec­og­nized his vis­i­tors in pho­tos from tele­vi­sion reports. ‘I was real­ly stunned,’ he said. Then he decid­ed to call the FBI hot line. The motel own­er said he did­n’t hear right back from the FBI. In the inter­im, he also spoke to a for­mer law-enforce­ment offi­cer who was inves­ti­gat­ing report­ed sight­ings of Mujahid Abdulquaadir Menep­ta at the same motel dur­ing the mid-1990’s. Menep­ta, report­ed­ly a friend of Mous­saoui’s, was arrest­ed 30 years ago in Col­orado for aggra­vat­ed rob­bery and served more than three years in prison.” (Idem.)

20. “After Sep­tem­ber 11, Menep­ta pub­licly defend­ed Mous­saoui, call­ing him a ‘scape­goat.’ The FBI arrest­ed him as a mate­r­i­al wit­ness and sub­se­quent­ly charged Menep­ta with a fed­er­al gun vio­la­tion. He plead­ed guilty and in April 2002 was sen­tenced to 15 months in fed­er­al prison. He was nev­er charged with any ter­ror­ism-relat­ed crime. But dur­ing the pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing on the gun charge, Alco­hol, Tobac­co and firearms Agent Jef­frey Whit­ney tes­ti­fied that a con­fi­den­tial source placed Menep­ta at a meet­ing of a rad­i­cal Islam­ic group in St. Louis where he alleged­ly threat­ened to shoot any police offi­cer who entered the mosque. Menep­ta’s attor­ney chal­lenged the cred­i­bil­i­ty of this report in court.” (Ibid.; pp. 2–3.)

21. “A for­mer desk clerk at the motel‑a dif­fer­ent clerk from the one who pur­port­ed­ly dealt with Atta and Mous­saoui-told the Week­ly that he remem­bered Menep­ta because in 1994 and 1995-pri­or to the Okla­homa City attack-Menep­ta fre­quent­ly vis­it­ed the motel office. There, he bought cof­fee and talked for hours to this clerk.” (Ibid.; p. 3.)

22. “The clerk and his wife, who both for­mer­ly worked at the motel, said they picked Menep­ta’s pic­ture out of a pho­to line­up pre­pared by a law-enforce­ment offi­cer who had inter­viewed the motel own­er. This offi­cer, who also spoke to the Week­ly on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty, said that after the motel own­er told him about the Mous­saoui sight­ing, he con­tact­ed a mem­ber of Okla­homa’s Joint Ter­ror­ism Task Force, which includes the FBI. The FBI final­ly act­ed on the tip. The motel own­er said that on Decem­ber 19, 2001, he went to FBI offices in Okla­homa City for a for­mal inter­view, where he was debriefed by an FBI agent and by Okla­homa City Police Sergeant Jer­ry Flow­ers. ‘We talked for sev­er­al hours, and I told them every­thing I knew.’ The motel own­er said he would have tak­en a poly­graph exam but was not asked to do so. The Week­ly’s law-enforce­ment source cor­rob­o­rates the Decem­ber 19 inter­view.” (Idem.)

23. “The motel own­er nev­er heard from pros­e­cu­tors in Mous­saoui’s case but got one more call from the FBI sev­er­al weeks lat­er. ‘The agent told me they had passed on a copy of my state­ment to Mous­saoui’s defense team, and I might be get­ting a call from them. But I was under no oblig­a­tion to talk to them. How­ev­er, I don’t know if that was the truth. Since then, I have nev­er heard from any­one con­nect­ed to Mous­saoui’s case.’ ” (Idem.)

24. “One rea­son for the FBI’s appar­ent lack of inter­est might be this motel’s alleged con­nec­tion to Tim­o­thy McVeigh and a group of Iraqis who worked in Okla­homa City. Accord­ing to the motel own­er and oth­er wit­ness­es and inves­ti­ga­tors inter­viewed by the Week­ly, McVeigh and sev­er­al of these Iraqis were motel guests in the months pre­ced­ing the 1995 bomb­ing. Wit­ness­es also claimed they saw sev­er­al of the Iraqis mov­ing bar­rels of mate­r­i­al around on the bed of a truck. The motel own­er said the mate­r­i­al smelled of diesel fuel and he had to clean up a spill. Diesel fuel was a key com­po­nent of the truck bomb that blew up the Fed­er­al Build­ing.” (Idem.)

25. “The motel own­er said he and his staff report­ed this infor­ma­tion to the FBI in 1995. ‘We did have an ATF agent come out and col­lect the orig­i­nals of the room reg­is­tra­tions for that peri­od, but we nev­er heard back from them. And I nev­er could get the reg­is­tra­tions returned.’ He added that his pre­vi­ous expe­ri­ence with the FBI made him reluc­tant to con­tact them about Mous­saoui. ‘But I decid­ed it was my duty to tell them what had hap­pened. So I did.’ ” (Idem.)

26. “For­mer Okla­homa City TV reporter Jay­na Davis also inter­viewed motel staff and for­mer guests. In the process, she col­lect­ed signed affi­davits about their con­tacts with McVeigh and the Iraqis. She tried twice to give the Bureau this infor­ma­tion, but the FBI refused to accept her mate­ri­als. (The Week­ly first report­ed on her inves­ti­ga­tion in an arti­cle pub­lished in Sep­tem­ber 2001.)” (Idem.)

27. “The Week­ly’s law-enforce­ment source said he has reviewed Davis’ mate­r­i­al and con­sid­ers it cred­i­ble. ‘Last Decem­ber I per­son­al­ly took the doc­u­ments to the Joint Ter­ror­ism Task Force,’ he said. ‘I told them they should do their own inves­ti­ga­tion.’ The response was not encour­ag­ing. He said he was lat­er informed that the Bureau brought in an ana­lyst, ‘but I was told it would prob­a­bly go nowhere. They were afraid the whole Okla­homa City bomb­ing can of worms would be opened up and the FBI would have to explain why they did­n’t inves­ti­gate this mate­r­i­al before.’ ” (Ibid.; pp. 4–5.)

28. “The Week­ly con­tact­ed numer­ous local and fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tors and agen­cies, includ­ing the Okla­homa task force, the U.S. Attor­ney’s Office, the FBI and the Jus­tice Depart­ment. All declined to com­ment. Pros­e­cu­tors on the Mous­saoui case also declined offi­cial com­ment, but their reac­tions sug­gest­ed they knew noth­ing of the motel encounter.” (Ibid.; p. 5.)

29. “After being told about the motel own­er’s inter­view and alle­ga­tions, Assis­tant U.S. Attor­ney Robert Spencer respond­ed with a one-word ques­tion about the sight­ing: ‘When?’ Spencer then declined fur­ther com­ment. Anoth­er Mous­saoui pros­e­cu­tor, David Novak, also declined com­ment. But Novak want­ed to know the name of the motel own­er.” (Idem.)

30. “Oth­er sub­stan­tial con­nec­tions already tie the Soon­er State to Mous­saoui and, sep­a­rate­ly, sev­er­al 9/11 hijack­ers.” (Idem.)

31. “Accord­ing to the Mous­saoui indict­ment, on Sep­tem­ber 29, 2000, Mous­saoui made e‑mail con­tact with Air­man Flight School in Nor­man. Then, on Feb­ru­ary 23, 2001, he flew from Lon­don to Chica­go and then to Okla­homa City. What he did in the next few days is unknown or at least not account­ed for in the indict­ment. But on Feb­ru­ary 26, Mous­saoui opened a bank account in Nor­man, deposit­ing $32,000. From Feb­ru­ary 26 to May 29, he attend­ed flight school in Nor­man. Then he sud­den­ly quit the school. Between July 29 and August 4, Mous­saoui made calls from pub­lic pay phones in Nor­man to Ger­many. On August 1 and 3, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh wired Mous­saoui a total of about $14,000 from two train stops in Ger­many to some­where in Okla­homa. This wire trans­fer does imply a con­nec­tion to ter­ror­ist plot­ters because al-Shibh, an alleged al Qae­da mem­ber, wired mon­ey to oth­er hijack­ers. On August 3, Mous­saoui pur­chased two knives in Okla­homa City. And on August 10 or 11, an acquain­tance drove Mous­saoui from Okla­homa to Min­neso­ta for enroll­ment in a new flight school. Author­i­ties arrest­ed Mous­saoui in Min­neso­ta on August 17 on an immi­gra­tion vio­la­tion. As has been wide­ly report­ed, Mous­saoui attract­ed atten­tion because he said he was inter­est­ed in fly­ing a plane but not learn­ing how to take off or land. He was in fed­er­al cus­tody when the 9/11 attacks occurred.” (Idem.)

32. “As for the ter­ror­ists who took part in 9/11, Atta and Mar­wan al-She­hhi vis­it­ed the Air­man Flight School in Nor­man in July 2000, accord­ing to the Mous­saoui indict­ment. (The motel own­er iden­ti­fies al-She­hhi as the third per­son with Atta and Mous­saoui when they alleged­ly inquired about a room.) And on April 1, 2001, Nawaf al-Haz­mi, who helped hijack Amer­i­can Air­lines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pen­ta­gon, was stopped for speed­ing in Okla­homa and giv­en two tick­ets. The Okla­homa State troop­er found no out­stand­ing war­rants and turned al-Naz­mi loose. The media has since report­ed that the CIA had been track­ing al-Haz­mi, but nev­er told the immi­gra­tion ser­vice or the FBI that he was a sus­pect­ed ter­ror­ist dur­ing his 21-month U.S. stay. Author­i­ties have nev­er pub­licly account­ed for Atta and al-She­hhi’s where­abouts dur­ing the time of the alleged motel encounter.” (Idem.)

33. “The Mous­saoui indict­ment lays out a tan­ta­liz­ing pos­si­ble asso­ci­a­tion between Atta and Mous­saoui, but nev­er puts the two in the same place at the same time. The link could exist, how­ev­er, along a dusty Okla­homa road­side, off Inter­state 40, at a small motel that is indis­tin­guish­able from hun­dreds of oth­ers, except for its pos­si­ble con­nec­tion to ter­ror­ists.” (Idem.)

34. Fol­low­ing dis­cus­sion of the “ter­ror­ist motel” in Okla­homa, the pro­gram high­lights asser­tions in a recent book that French intel­li­gence had alert­ed U.S. author­i­ties of Mous­saoui’s Al Qae­da links well before 9/11. “One sin­gle but strik­ing exam­ple can illus­trate this cul­tur­al dif­fer­ence: the case of Zacarias Mous­saoui, the French cit­i­zen arrest­ed in the Unit­ed States on August 17, 2001-less than a month before the attacks-for visa vio­la­tions, who turned out to have been enrolled since Feb­ru­ary 2001 in a flight school in Okla­homa fre­quent­ed by sev­er­al of the sui­cide pilots of Sep­tem­ber 11. The so-called twen­ti­eth sui­cide bomber, whom the world dis­cov­ered after the attacks on the World trade Cen­ter, was not unknown to the West­ern intel­li­gence ser­vices. It is even cer­tain that offi­cials of these ser­vices, among them the direc­tor of the CIA, had him in mind when these mur­der­ous attacks occurred. Indeed, the direc­tor of the CIA admit­ted hav­ing a thick file on the sus­pect one month before the attacks.” (For­bid­den Truth; Jean-Charles Bris­ard & Guil­laume Dasquie; Copy­right 2002 [SC]; Thun­der’s Mouth/Nation Books; ISBN 1–56025-414–9; p. 53.)

35. “Offi­cial­ly, how­ev­er, nei­ther the FBI nor the CIA had seri­ous evi­dence that would allow Mous­saoui to be inter­ro­gat­ed before the attacks. As proof of this, a request for spe­cial sur­veil­lance s part of an antiter­ror­ist pro­ce­dure had been refused to the FBI on the grounds that evi­dence for his involve­ment in ter­ror­ism was insuf­fi­cient. Mousaoui was there­fore held at an Immi­gra­tion and Nat­u­ral­iza­tion Ser­vice (INS) loca­tion in Min­neapo­lis and was­n’t trans­ferred to FBI cus­tody until after Sep­tem­ber 11. The Euro­pean intel­li­gence ser­vices, notably the French had already alert­ed the FBI to the Mous­saoui case, at least once in August 2001-but the infor­ma­tion sent, accord­ing to the Amer­i­cans was insuf­fi­cient to put him under sur­veil­lance. This offi­cial ver­sion is acknowl­edged freely. The FBI did not hes­i­tate in cer­tain cas­es to con­tact inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ists bout the mat­ter in order to assure them, with­out mate­r­i­al proof, that the infor­ma­tion I their pos­ses­sion was if not insuf­fi­cient, at least inad­mis­si­ble.” (Ibid.; pp.53–54.)

36. “We can reveal, how­ev­er, that one month before the attacks on Sep­tem­ber 11, French coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence ser­vices relayed evi­dence, the ‘insuf­fi­cien­cy’ of which remains to be proven. His­to­ry will judge. Indeed, accord­ing to cor­re­spond­ing ac counts tak­en from high­ly placed sources who have seen the rel­e­vant files, the French alert­ed the Amer­i­cans about Mous­saoui at this stage-“and not for the first time:–and passed on unam­bigu­ous intel­li­gence, leav­ing no doubt as to the sus­pects ter­ror­ist links. It was shown to the Amer­i­can via the usu­al chan­nels that that Mous­saoui had made his way to Afghanistan that he was trained in 1998 in a camp con­trolled by Al Qae­da and that a strong pos­si­bil­i­ty exist­ed that he had been in con­tact with mem­bers of its net­work in Europe. Anoth­er twen­ty-page doc­u­ment that includes an inter­ro­ga­tion o his broth­er which con­firms the infor­ma­tion, was also sent to the Amer­i­can ser­vices.” (Idem.)

37. “So near­ly one month before the Sepem­ber 11 attacks, or at least since the arrest of Mous­saoui on August 17, the U. S. author­i­ties had two fun­da­men­tal pieces of evi­dence before them: They knew that the sus­pect appre­hend­ed on Amer­i­can soil was linked to the Al Qae­da net­work, which in itself should have been cause enough for prompt seri­ous inves­ti­ga­tions and they knew that he tak­en part in fly­ing lessons for civ­il air­craft.” (Ibid.; pp. 54–55.)

38. FTR#88 high­light­ed an alleged link between the Okla­homa City bomb­ing and the AMIA bomb­ing in Argenti­na, through Argen­tine mem­bers of the secu­ri­ty ser­vices belong­ing to the Amer­i­can white suprema­cist Tom Met­zger’s White Aryan resis­tance. (“AMIA Bomb Plot­ters’ Con­nec­tion;” La Nacion; 7/27/97.)

39. FTR#328 set forth alle­ga­tions of involve­ment of Imad Muganiyeh in the AMIA bomb­ing, a sim­i­lar attack on the Israeli Embassy to Argenti­na in 1992 and Al Qae­da. Monz­er Al-Kas­sar (a key oper­a­tive in the Iran-Con­tra scan­dal who worked for oper­a­tions run by the elder George Bush) is anoth­er indi­vid­ual whose name has cropped up in con­nec­tion with both of the Argen­tine bomb­ings. FTR#‘s 109, 328, 341 dis­cuss the links between the milieu of Al Kas­sar and the Syr­i­an born for­mer Pres­i­dent of Argenti­na, Car­los Men­em. A for­mer Iran­ian intel­li­gence oper­a­tive claims that the AMIA bomb­ing was per­pe­trat­ed by Argenti­na and that the Men­em gov­ern­ment was bribed to cov­er it up. It may well be the Al Kas­sar was oper­at­ing on con­tract for the Ira­ni­ans on either or both of the attacks. “The Iran­ian gov­ern­ment orga­nized and car­ried out the bomb­ing of a Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty cen­ter here eight years ago that killed 85 peo­ple and then paid Argenti­na’s pres­i­dent at the time, Car­los Saul Men­em, $10 mil­lion to cov­er it up, a wit­ness in the case has said in sealed tes­ti­mo­ny.” (“Iran Blew Up Jew­ish Cen­ter in Argenti­na, Defec­tor Says” by Lar­ry Rohter; The New York Times; 7/22/2002; p. 1.)

40. “A 100-page tran­script of a secret depo­si­tion, pro­vid­ed to The New York Times by Argen­tine offi­cials frus­trat­ed that the case remains unsolved, sup­ports long-held sus­pi­cions of Iran­ian involve­ment and adds to the ques­tions sur­round­ing the con­duct of an inquiry that has been rife with irreg­u­lar­i­ties from the start.” (Idem.)

41. “Evi­dence has dis­ap­peared, leads have been ignored and wit­ness­es have been threat­ened and appar­ent­ly bribed. Accord­ing to the wit­ness, a high-lev­el defec­tor from Iran’s intel­li­gence agency who gave his name as Abdol­ghas­sem Mes­bahi, Mr. Men­em, who was pres­i­dent from 1989 to 1999, ben­e­fit­ed for years from his ties to Iran­ian intel­li­gence offi­cials.” (Ibid.; pp. 1–2.)

42. “They court­ed him as a valu­able con­tact, Mr. Mes­bahi said, for his com­bi­na­tion of ris­ing polit­i­cal pow­er, Mus­lim ances­try and con­nec­tions to Argenti­na’s small but influ­en­tial Syr­i­an-Lebanese com­mu­ni­ty. Mr. Men­em, who is once again a lead­ing can­di­date for pres­i­dent, has already been taint­ed by polit­i­cal cor­rup­tion scan­dals and spent six months under house arrest last year on charges that he had over­seen an ille­gal arms smug­gling oper­a­tion while in office.” (Ibid.; p. 2.)

43. “But the bomb­ing of the Argen­tine Jew­ish Mutu­al Aid Asso­ci­a­tion on July 18, 1994, the worst ter­ror attack ever car­ried out here, con­tin­ues to haunt him and all lev­els of the Argen­tine gov­ern­ment as a sym­bol of the absence of account­abil­i­ty that in recent months has brought this coun­try to the brink of col­lapse.” (Idem.)

44. “Argen­tine and Ger­man offi­cials describe him [Mes­bahi] as a senior oper­a­tive who has pro­vid­ed valu­able infor­ma­tion about Iran­ian ter­ror­ist oper­a­tions in Europe and Asia through the mid-1990’s. He defect­ed to Ger­many in 1996, report­ed­ly because he was upset at his agen­cy’s involve­ment in the killing of dis­si­dent intel­lec­tu­als in Iran and abroad.” (Ibid.; pp. 2–3.)

45. “Mr. Mes­bahi said the plan­ning for the attack in Buenos Aires began in 1992, led by Mohsen Rab­bani, cul­tur­al attache at the Iran­ian Embassy at the time, and super­vised by Hamid Maghashan, a senior offi­cial of the Iran­ian intel­li­gence agency. One cell focused on ‘coop­er­at­ing with mem­bers of the Argen­tine police, cor­rupt­ing them or threat­en­ing them to col­lab­o­rate with the attack,’ Mr. Mes­bahi said, accord­ing to the tran­script. ‘Anoth­er devot­ed itself to obtain­ing the explo­sives’ in Brazil, he said.” (Ibid.; p. 3.)

46. “Nil­da Garre, who led the Argen­tine gov­ern­men­t’s antiter­ror­ism unit in 2000 and 2001, and oth­er Argen­tine offi­cials said Mr. Mes­bahi’s account had been con­firmed by anoth­er Iran­ian who had vis­it­ed the Argen­tine Embassy in Tehran twice. Immi­gra­tion and For­eign Min­istry records here con­firm, the offi­cials said, that sev­er­al Ira­ni­ans who were said to have been involved in the plot vis­it­ed Argenti­na in the months pre­ced­ing the bomb attack.” (Idem.)

47. “Mr. Mes­bahi said that after the attack, nego­ti­a­tions took place in Tehran with an emis­sary, a beard­ed man of about 50, sent by Mr. Men­em. The result was that ‘$10 mil­lion was deposit­ed into a num­bered account that Men­em had indi­cat­ed,’ Mr. Mes­bahi said, paid from a $200 mil­lion Swiss account con­trolled by Hashe­mi Raf­san­jani, who was Iran’s pres­i­dent at the time, and by a son of Aya­tol­lah Ruhol­lah Khome­i­ni.” (Idem.)

48. “Ear­ly this year the Swiss gov­ern­ment acknowl­edged that it had been asked to look into infor­ma­tion sup­plied by the Iran­ian infor­mant. Eamon Mullen, the Argen­tine gov­ern­men­t’s chief pros­e­cu­tor in the case, said in an inter­view that inves­ti­ga­tors had con­firmed that a deposit had been made into an account con­trolled by Mr. Men­em at the bank by Mr. Mes­bahi and in the amount he had spec­i­fied.” (Idem.)

49. “In his tes­ti­mo­ny, Mr. Mes­bahi said Iran’s con­tacts with Mr. Men­em began in the mid-1980’s when he was the gov­er­nor of La Rio­ja Province. Because Mr. Men­em was of Arab descent and they believed him to share their anti-Jew­ish sen­ti­ments, the Ira­ni­ans covert­ly fun­neled mon­ey to Mr. Men­em in hopes that he would be elect­ed pres­i­dent and pur­sue poli­cies favor­able to Iran, Mr. Mes­bahi said.” (Ibid.; p. 4.)

50. “Argen­tine offi­cials say the bomb­ing at the Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty cen­ter was strik­ing­ly sim­i­lar to an attack on the Israeli Embassy here in 1992, in which 28 peo­ple died. In both cas­es a car bomb was used, the tar­get­ed build­ing was under­go­ing repairs and police offi­cers on a secu­ri­ty detail inex­plic­a­bly van­ished just before the explo­sion.” (Idem.)

51. There are sub­stan­tive indi­ca­tions that in fact, a vig­or­ous cov­er-up of the crime has occurred. ” ‘From the start the Argen­tine gov­ern­ment, espe­cial­ly in the per­son of Judge Galeano, has nev­er shown a will to inves­ti­gate and clear up this mat­ter,’ said Alber­to Zup­pi, a lawyer and for­mer Jus­tice Min­is­ter who now rep­re­sents Memo­ria Acti­va, an asso­ci­a­tion of the fam­i­lies of bomb­ing vic­tims. ‘Every­thing has been done so as not to get to the bot­tom of this mat­ter,’ Mr. Zup­pi said, ‘and the result is that much time and evi­dence have been lost.’ ” (Ibid.; p. 5.)

52. “Ques­tions have been raised in par­tic­u­lar about an unusu­al video­tape of a meet­ing between Judge Galeano [who over­saw the case] and Car­los Alber­to Telledin, a car thief who was jailed short­ly after the com­mu­ni­ty cen­ter attack because he had briefly owned the van used in the bomb­ing. The video­tape, stolen from Judge Galeano’s office and lat­er broad­cast on tele­vi­sion, shows the two men dis­cussing a $400,000 pay­ment that Mr. Telledin says he received.” (Idem.)

53. “Judge Galeano declined numer­ous requests for an inter­view. But Clau­dio Lif­schitz, for­mer­ly Judge Galeano’s chief inves­ti­ga­tor, said the judge Galeano had been act­ing to pro­tect his patrons in the intel­li­gence ser­vice, who report­ed to Mr. Men­em, par­tic­u­lar­ly from the tes­ti­mo­ny of the Iran­ian defec­tor, Mr. Mes­bahi, who was known as Wit­ness C.” (Idem.)

54. “Accord­ing to Ms. Garre, a for­mer deputy inte­ri­or min­is­ter who is now a mem­ber of Con­gress, 66 cas­settes of inter­cept­ed tele­phone con­ver­sa­tions dis­ap­peared simul­ta­ne­ous­ly from the offices of the Fed­er­al Police and intel­li­gence ser­vices. She also said police log­books had been altered and elec­tron­ic address books and plan­ners of var­i­ous sus­pects erased as part of an offi­cial cov­er-up.” (Ibid.; p. 6.)

55. The involve­ment of the Argen­tine intel­li­gence ser­vices and fed­er­al police in the AMIA bomb­ing was among the alleged motives for the coverup. ” ‘Not only has there been no sup­port for get­ting to the bot­tom of this case, you can also say that some gov­ern­ment organs have active­ly sab­o­taged the inves­ti­ga­tion,’ Ms. Garre said. ‘State intel­li­gence and the fed­er­al police are clear­ly involved,’ she added, ‘but there is also evi­dence point­ing to the involve­ment of agen­cies rang­ing from Immi­gra­tion to the For­eign Min­istry.’ ” (Idem.)

56. One should bear in mind the links of Men­em, his ex-wife Ami­ra Yoma, Men­em aide Alfre­do Yabran (also impli­cat­ed in the 1992 and 1994 bomb­ings), Monz­er Al-Kas­sar and Al Kas­sar asso­ciate (and Syr­i­an intel­li­gence agent) Ibrahim Al-Ibrahim (for­mer­ly a broth­er-in-law of Men­em) to the tiny town of Yabrud, Syr­ia. All of these per­son­ages are from that town. “In addi­tion, Judge Galeano appears to have steered away from some areas of inquiry that oth­er inves­ti­ga­tors think might have yield­ed use­ful infor­ma­tion. ‘If the Iran­ian track has hard­ly been looked at, said Ariel Said, the lead inves­ti­ga­tor of a con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tee look­ing into irreg­u­lar­i­ties in the case, ‘the local Islam­ic com­mu­ni­ty, which is pre­dom­i­nant­ly Syr­i­an-Lebanese and direct­ly linked to Men­em, has been looked at even less.’ ” (Idem.)

57. Argen­tine inves­ti­ga­tors have alleged­ly linked Monz­er Al-Kas­sar to both bomb­ings. (“Gov­ern­ment Wor­ried About Vis­it of Al-Kas­sar;” Clar­in; 8/2/98.)

58. As not­ed above and in FTR#‘s 109, 328, Al-Kas­sar, a Syr­i­an intel­li­gence offi­cer close to him, for­mer Argen­tine pres­i­dent Car­los Men­em’s first wife and Men­em asso­ciate Alfre­do Yabran are all from the same city in Syr­ia. (Idem.)

59. The recent dis­cov­ery of a Swiss bank account opened in Mr. Men­em’s name lends cred­i­bil­i­ty to the alle­ga­tions about Men­em’s alleged com­plic­i­ty in the AMIA bomb­ing. The account is an insti­tu­tion absorbed into the Bank of Gothard (Ban­co del Got­tar­do), itself an insti­tu­tion uti­lized by ter­ror­ist net­works, includ­ing Al Qae­da. “A scan­dal over the Swiss bank accounts of Argenti­na’s flam­boy­ant for­mer pres­i­dent, Car­los Men­em, flared again yes­ter­day, cast­ing doubt on his bid to recap­ture the pres­i­den­cy. Eduar­do Duhalde, the inter­im Pres­i­dent, has request­ed a meet­ing with his Swiss coun­ter­part Kas­par Vil­liger, at the Unit­ed Nations Gen­er­al Assem­bly next month to dis­cuss two accounts linked to the for­mer pres­i­dent.” (“Doubt Over Men­em’s Elec­tion Bid as Bank-Account Scan­dal Flares” by Thomas Catan and Frances Williams; Finan­cial Times; 8/17–8/18/2002; p. 2.)

60. “The sec­ond account report­ed to have been opened while Mr. Men­em was pres­i­dent, was at a Zurich insti­tu­tion since absorbed by Gothard bank. Swiss inves­ti­ga­tors are under­stood to have linked the account to a Liecht­en­stein foun­da­tion con­trolled by Ramon Her­nan­dez, Mr. Men­em’s per­son­al sec­re­tary. It is said to con­tain about $6m.” (Idem.)

61. “The inves­ti­ga­tions in Switzer­land and Argenti­na broad­ly cen­ter on two sets of alle­ga­tions the first is that Mr. Men­em received mil­lions of dol­lars in pay­offs for car­ry­ing out ille­gal arms ship­ments to Ecuador and Croa­t­ia. The sec­ond is that he received a $10m bribe to cov­er up alleged Iran­ian involve­ment in the 1994 bomb­ing of a Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty cen­ter in Buenos Aires that claimed 85 lives. Both Mr. Men­em and Iran vehe­ment­ly deny the alle­ga­tion, which was made sev­er­al years ago by a high-lev­el Iran­ian defec­tor.” (Idem.)

62. Not­ing the evi­den­tiary trib­u­taries between these dif­fer­ent ter­ror­ist inci­dents and some of the links between these dis­parate events and the over­lap­ping milieux of Nazis/white suprema­cists and Islam­o­fas­cists, one should not lose sight of the pos­si­bil­i­ty that some or all may have been orches­trat­ed by what Mr. Emory calls the Under­ground Reich.


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