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For The Record  

FTR #387 Interview with Lucy Komisar on The Financial War on Terror

MP3 Side 1 | Side 2

The pro­gram explores the finan­cial aspects of the “War on Ter­ror” and some of the rea­sons that it has gone poor­ly, with inter­view guest, the remark­able Lucy Komis­ar.

1. The broad­cast opens with dis­cus­sion of the inter­na­tion­al “mon­ey-mov­ing sys­tem,” the use of tax-havens by cor­po­ra­tions and oth­er finan­cial enti­ties, and vehi­cles for mov­ing assets around in a clan­des­tine fash­ion.

2. One of the most impor­tant (and rel­a­tive­ly unknown) vehi­cles for the inter­na­tion­al trans­fer of finan­cial assets is the Clearstream net­work, a focal point of much of the dis­cus­sion in this broad­cast.
(“Explo­sive Rev­e­la­tion$” by Lucy Komis­ar, In These Times, March 15, 2002.)

3. Orig­i­nal­ly called “Cedel,” the Clearstream net­work was set up by, among oth­ers, Ernest Back­es, the co-author of Rev­e­la­tion$, co-authored by Denis Robert. Clearstream is now com­plete­ly owned by the Deutsche Borse, the Ger­man Stock Exchange.

4. Termed by knowl­edge­able insid­ers “the Riv­er that Wash­es” (a ref­er­ence to its pro­found role in mon­ey laun­der­ing) the Clearstream net­work has been involved in many high­ly ques­tion­able affairs over the years.

5. One of the imbroglios in which the Clearstream net­work fig­ured was the “Octo­ber Surprise”-the deal between the Reagan/Bush cam­paign and the Khome­i­ni forces in Iran to with­hold the hostages tak­en from the US embassy in 1979 until Jim­my Carter’s humil­i­a­tion and con­se­quent elec­tion defeat were assured. Ms. Komis­ar relates Mr. Back­es’ dis­cov­ery of the move­ment of monies in con­nec­tion with the Octo­ber Sur­prise.

6. An essen­tial and lit­tle-known aspect of inter­na­tion­al finance con­cerns “Euro-Dol­lars.” As Ms. Komis­ar explains, Euro-Dol­lars were invent­ed by the Chi­nese and Rus­sians dur­ing the Cold War. Because of the dol­lar’s sta­tus as an inter­na­tion­al medi­um of exchange, both of the Com­mu­nist giants stashed con­sid­er­able quan­ti­ties of dol­lars in accounts in Euro­pean banks that were not sub­ject to scruti­ny by the Unit­ed States. Today, it is esti­mat­ed that two-thirds of all dol­lars in cir­cu­la­tion are “Euro-Dol­lars.” (For more dis­cus­sion on the con­cept of Euro-Dol­lars, see Lucy’s arti­cle from In These Times of 3/15/2002.)

7. Revis­it­ing a sub­ject well-known to vet­er­an lis­ten­ers to the pro­gram, the dis­cus­sion high­lights Ms. Komis­ar’s dis­clo­sures con­cern­ing Ernest Back­es’ dis­cov­ery of the role of Clearstream in the Ban­co Ambrosiano affair. The col­lapse of the Ban­co Ambrosiano, with deposits insured by the Vat­i­can Bank, led to the sus­pi­cious “sui­cide” of Rober­to Calvi, a mem­ber of the P‑2 lodge and the suc­ces­sor to fel­low P‑2 mem­ber Michele Sin­dona as advis­er to the Vat­i­can Bank.

8. As set forth in FTR#360, Back­es iden­ti­fied the Clearstream net­work as the vehi­cle for the trans­fer of the funds which ulti­mate­ly brought about the col­lapse of the bank. Ms. Komis­ar relates that the Calvi fam­i­ly have suc­cess­ful­ly pushed for the reopen­ing of the inves­ti­ga­tion into his alleged sui­cide in Lon­don. It is now, final­ly, being inves­ti­gat­ed as a mur­der.

9. One of the most riv­et­ing of Ms. Komis­ar’s dis­clo­sures con­cerns the Ban­ca del Got­tar­do. (See espe­cial­ly “Share­hold­ers in the Bank of Ter­ror” by Lucy Komis­ar, Salon, March 15, 2002.) Ban­ca del Got­tar­do is a Swiss sub­sidiary of the Ban­co Ambrosiano! Got­tar­do was bought out by Ambrosiano. Recall the notable over­lap between Sil­vio Berlus­coni’s milieu and that of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood in the Bank Al Taqwa.

10. One of the major play­ers in the Clearstream was the BCCI, an insti­tu­tion that pro­found­ly over­laps the Al Qaeda/Al Taqwa milieu. Alleged to be a major backer of his broth­er-in-law Osama bin Laden, Khalid bin Mah­fouz was a cen­tral fig­ure in the BCCI scan­dal. The BCCI affair was one of the major intel­li­gence-relat­ed scan­dals of the 1990s, and over­laps the Iran-Con­tra scan­dal, the “Iraq­gate” scan­dal, drug-traf­fick­ing and the fund­ing of ter­ror­ism.

11. The dis­cus­sion high­lights Bin Mah­fouz’s con­nec­tion to Islam­ic char­i­ties alleged to be Al Qae­da fund­ing con­duits; his fam­i­ly’s role with the Nation­al Cen­tral Bank of Sau­di Ara­bia; the fact that the US Attor­neys “inves­ti­gat­ing” the BCCI case were Robert Mueller (now head of the FBI) and Rudolph Giu­lani! His (Bin Mah­fouz’s) alleged con­nec­tions to Al Qae­da have moved him to retain the law firm of the late Water­gate and Kore­a­gate Spe­cial Pros­e­cu­tor Leon Jawors­ki.

12. Reca­pit­u­lat­ing infor­ma­tion cov­ered in the dis­cus­sion of the Al Taqwa milieu, the pro­gram cov­ers the rela­tion­ship between Al Taqwa head Youssef Nada, his attor­ney Pier Felice Barchi and Clau­dio Gen­erale of Ban­ca del Got­tar­do.

13. One of Barchi’s law part­ners was Car­la Del Ponte — now over­see­ing the war crimes tri­al of Slo­bo­dan Milo­se­vic. As relat­ed by Ms. Komis­ar, Milo­se­vic had secret­ed much mon­ey in Switzer­land. Ms. Del Ponte has appar­ent­ly proved alto­geth­er reluc­tant to pur­sue the Milo­se­vic mon­ey trail.

14. Along, with Ban­co Ambrosiano, BCCI and the Octo­ber Sur­prise, Al Taqwa and Del Got­tar­do have accounts with Clearstream. Al Taqwa, in turn, has a cor­re­spon­dent account with Citibank.

15. Clearstream had 16 unreg­is­tered accounts on behalf of SICO, the Euro­pean-based hold­ing com­pa­ny that con­trols the Sau­di Bin Laden Group (SBG). Only banks, NOT com­pa­nies, are sup­posed to hold Clearstream accounts.

16. The role of the law firm Magnin, Dunand & Part­ners in aid­ing the machi­na­tions of Khalid Bin Mah­fouz and SICO is high­light­ed dur­ing the course of the dis­cus­sion.

17. In con­nec­tion with Al Taqwa, Ms. Komis­ar reviews the promi­nent Arab financiers con­nect­ed with the insti­tu­tion, the Nazi ori­en­ta­tion of Al Taqwa direc­tor Achmed Huber, and the insti­tu­ion’s con­nec­tion with the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood.

18. Con­tin­u­ing with the sub­ject of Al Taqwa, Ms. Komis­ar reviews the alleged role of Achmed Huber in bro­ker­ing weapons deals between the Al Qae­da milieu and the Russ­ian army.

19. A chill­ing aspect of the Ban­ca del Gottardo/Al Taqwa/Al Qae­da link con­cerns the fact that a sub­sidiary firm of Bio­preparat-the for­mer Sovi­et bio­log­i­cal war­fare depart­ment-is linked to accounts held at Got­tar­do.

20. An aspect of the dis­cus­sion that is only touched on in the treat­ment of Ms. Komis­ar’s arti­cles con­cerns the lav­ish use of these inter­na­tion­al finan­cial con­duits by Russ­ian orga­nized crime ele­ments with links to pow­er­ful fig­ures inside the for­mer Sovi­et Union.

21. As Ms. Komis­ar elo­quent­ly notes in both the intro­duc­tion to, and the con­clu­sion of, the inter­view, the prin­ci­pal obsta­cle to the suc­cess­ful inter­dic­tion of the fund­ing con­duits that sup­port Al Qae­da and oth­er, relat­ed ter­ror net­works is the fact that the off­shore finan­cial safe­havens are piv­otal to the inter­na­tion­al oper­a­tions of pow­er­ful ele­ments of the busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty. Dis­turb­ing these net­works would be inim­i­cal to the con­tin­ued oper­a­tions of some of the most pow­er­ful ele­ments in Amer­i­can, Euro­pean and Mid­dle East­ern soci­ety. It does not appear that this will be suc­cess­ful­ly accom­plished any time soon.

22. Ms. Komis­ar endors­es the book Dol­lars for Ter­ror: The Unit­ed States and Islam by Richard Labeviere.


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