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

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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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