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

For The Record  

FTR #523 Catching Up With Daniel Hopsicker

Record­ed August 21, 2005

Bring­ing up to date the hero­ic work of Daniel Hop­sick­er, this pro­gram sets forth more attempts to dis­cred­it Hopsicker’s hero­ic inves­ti­ga­tion in Flori­da, as well as infor­ma­tion that cor­rob­o­rates Hopsicker’s research into 9/11 hijack­er Mohamed Atta’s activ­i­ties there. In addi­tion, the broad­cast updates Daniel’s on-the ‑ground work in the Sun­shine State. It appears that Mohamed Atta’s father was in charge of the hijack­ers in Flori­da. Much of the pro­gram is devot­ed to Mr. Emory’s pon­tif­i­ca­tion about the Carl Dusi­berg Gesellschaft (CDS)—the orga­ni­za­tion that was traf­fick­ing Atta around in Ger­many and (pos­si­bly) Flori­da. Specif­i­cal­ly, the pro­gram focus­es on the CDS’s links to the Alfa Group, a Russ­ian con­glom­er­ate with strong links to crim­i­nal activ­i­ty on a glob­al scale.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: The FBI’s splic­ing of a video sur­veil­lance tape to elim­i­nate the footage of Atta’s father in Flori­da; the Ger­man indus­tri­al fig­ures on the board of direc­tors of the CDS; the Alfa Group’s links to Cheney’s Hal­libur­ton Oil com­pa­ny; the Alfa Group’s links to Iraq­gate arms traf­fick­ing; the Alfa Group’s links to the oil-for-food scan­dal in Iraq; Alfa’s links to the Cali cocaine car­tel of Colom­bia; Alfa’s links to hero­in traf­fick­ing.

1. Fol­low­ing on the heels of nui­sance law­suits and the float­ing of bogus sto­ries about a “sec­ond Mohamed” in Flori­da [not 9/11 hijack­er Mohamed Atta], Daniel Hop­sick­er has been the focal point of a “hit piece” in The Sara­so­ta Her­ald Tri­bune. The arti­cle mis­rep­re­sent­ed Hopsicker’s work and was clear­ly aimed at dis­cred­it­ing the impor­tant research in his book Wel­come to Ter­ror­land. (For more about Daniel’s book, see—among oth­er programs—FTR#’s 477, 482, 483, 484. For more about attempts at dis­cred­it­ing Daniel’s work, see FTR#516.) “The news­pa­per in Flori­da cov­er­ing the town where Mohamed Atta’s cadre of ter­ror­ist hijack­ers cavort­ed unmo­lest­ed before the 9/11 attack made an effort recent­ly to hitch a ride aboard the clue­train and inves­ti­gate some­thing about the sto­ry which played out before them almost unno­ticed. But if you weren’t aware of the Sara­so­ta Her­ald Tribune’s sin­gu­lar­ly lack­lus­ter cov­er­age of the biggest sto­ry of the nascent 21st cen­tu­ry, much of which tran­spired in their own back­yard, the tar­get of their inves­tiga­tive scruti­ny might seem a lit­tle odd . . . in a snarky, mis­take-filled (they even got the cor­rec­tion wrong) hit piece long on noth­ing but atti­tude, they decid­ed to (sigh) inves­ti­gate me. Imag­ine my sur­prise. . . .”
(“Ter­ror­ists’ Home­town Paper Dis­cov­ers 9/11” by Daniel Hop­sick­er; Mad­Cow­Morn­ingNews; 8/28/2005.)

2. “ . . . But what we did find sur­pris­ing in an arti­cle in a news­pa­per owned by the pres­ti­gious New York Times were the appar­ent­ly freely made-up quotes. We thought they’d decid­ed, after Jayson Blair, that that was a jour­nal­is­tic no-no. We may have been mis­in­formed. The July 11, 2005 sto­ry by Her­ald Tri­bune reporter Lau­ren Glenn, head­lined ‘Venice Author Ques­tions 9/11 Find­ings in Con­tro­ver­sial Book,’ began this way: ‘Don’t ques­tion him too hard. In fact, try to elim­i­nate any tones of doubt from your voice. He doesn’t have to explain him­self if he doesn’t want to. Daniel Hop­sick­er is sit­ting in a cof­fee shop in Venice, talk­ing to a reporter and drink­ing a lat­te because that is exact­ly what he wants to be doing.’” (Idem.)

3. “ ‘I’m not here to give you my resume, hon­ey,’ said Hop­sick­er, his voice loud enough that oth­er peo­ple in the Bel­la Luna Cof­fee Shop in Mia­mi Avenue turn and stare for a moment.’ Ques­tion: What kind of churl­ish boor calls a female reporter ‘hon­ey?’ Answer: Any­one the Sara­so­ta Her­ald Tri­bune doesn’t like. ‘Report­ing’ doesn’t get any more cheesy—or dishonest—than this. The dis­like itself is under­stand­able (tra­di­tion­al media jeal­ousy guard­ing their monop­oly on what becomes ‘news.’) But if we’d called a female reporter ‘hon­ey’ you can bet that we would also be describ­ing her arti­cle as ‘bitchy.’ But we’re not like that. So we used ‘snarky’ instead. . . .” (Idem.)

4. “ . . . The real ques­tion is: what was the point of doing a snarky hit piece on an obscure writer who couldn’t get on ‘Hard­ball’ with pic­tures of our cur­rent Pres­i­dent alone in a room doing some­thing inap­pro­pri­ate with a bat and a ele­phant? I mean, if you’re too lazy to deliv­er any hit: For an answer, we turned to some­one not per­son­al­ly involved. . . ‘Espe­cial­ly fun­ny was her por­trait of flight school oper­a­tor Rudi Dekkers as a vic­tim, and Hop­sick­er as an evil man out to crush the ‘Naples busi­ness­man,’ chor­tled local polit­i­cal writer John Pat­ten. Call­ing the arti­cle ‘an inter­est­ing rib job,’ he wrote, ‘Locals will long remem­ber Dekkers’ face get­ting plas­tered all over out tele­vi­sion sets when it was revealed that he had taught Mohamed Atta how to fly right here in Venice. Vene­tians were hor­ri­fied, but Dekkers, thrilled with all of the atten­tion, turned his Warho­lian 15 min­utes (that stretched out to an ungod­ly four or five days) into an ad for his flight school.’ That image alone, that of Dekkers as vic­tim, made me throw down the arti­cle in dis­gust.’” (Idem.)

5. In addi­tion to dis­parag­ing Hop­sick­er, the hit piece cod­dled Rudi Dekkers whose flight school/intelligence front was the vehi­cle through which Atta and oth­er 9/11 hijack­ers infil­trat­ed. “ . . . . ‘Rudi Dekkers . . . said Hopsicker’s accu­sa­tions have tak­en a toll on his busi­ness and caused for­mer cus­tomers to stop asso­ci­at­ing with him. ‘This S.O.B., he doesn’t real­ize he destroys fam­i­lies and peo­ple,’ Dekkers said in a tele­phone inter­view Thurs­day. ‘I have seen noth­ing that’s the truth. He fan­ta­sizes. He fan­ta­sizes sto­ries, and names,’ report­ed the Her­ald Tri­bune. ‘If I had the mon­ey, would I sue him? Into hell,’ added Dekkers, a Dutch immi­grant who now char­ters air­planes from Naples. ‘I would sue him into hell.’ Well now. I’d con­tribute $20: Should we take up a col­lec­tion so poor Mr. Dekkers can have his day in court? What are the odds he’d make it to a depo­si­tion with­out expe­ri­enc­ing the ‘old David Fer­rie ‘night before tes­ti­fy­ing heart attack?’ . . . .” (Idem.)

6. Next, the pro­gram turns to the sub­ject of the Able Dan­ger intel­li­gence oper­a­tion, which alleged­ly detect­ed the pres­ence of Atta and com­pa­ny in the Unit­ed States before Bush became pres­i­dent. Repub­li­can Curt Wel­don has attempt­ed to paint the Clin­ton Admin­is­tra­tion as respon­si­ble for the 9/11 attacks—a man­i­fest absur­di­ty in, and of, itself. As we have seen in the pro­grams cit­ed above, sup­port for the Hilliard/Dekkers flight schools through which Atta and com­pa­ny infil­trat­ed the Unit­ed States came from Jeb Bush and Kather­ine Har­ris. Mil­i­tary intel­li­gence was inves­ti­gat­ing Ham­burg-based hero­in traf­fick­ing linked to Al Qae­da as far back as 1991, when the elder Bush was Pres­i­dent. “Mohamed Atta was pro­tect­ed from offi­cial scruti­ny as part of an offi­cial­ly-pro­tect­ed cocaine and hero­in traf­fick­ing net­work with ties to top polit­i­cal fig­ures, includ­ing Repub­li­can offi­cials Jeb Bush and Kather­ine Har­ris, and it was this fact-and not the ‘ter­ri­ble laps­es’ of ‘weak on ter­ror’ Clin­ton Admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials cit­ed by Repub­li­can Con­gress­man Curt Weldon—which shield­ed him from being appre­hend­ed before the 9/11 attack. Wel­don alleges that Pen­ta­gon lawyers reject­ed the mil­i­tary intel­li­gence unit’s rec­om­men­da­tion to appre­hend Atta because he was in the coun­try legal­ly, and there­fore infor­ma­tion on him could not be shared with law enforce­ment.”
(“Able Dan­ger Intel Expos­es Pro­tect­ed Hero­in Traf­fick­ing” by Daniel Hop­sick­er; Mad­Cow­Morn­ingNews; 8/17/2005.)

7. “But the ‘ter­ri­ble laps­es’ cit­ed by Wel­don do not stem from the non­sen­si­cal asser­tion that Atta had a green card (he did not) which ren­dered him immune from mil­i­tary inves­ti­ga­tion but were the result of an offi­cial­ly-pro­tect­ed hero­in traf­fick­ing oper­a­tion being con­duct­ed on planes like those of Wal­ly Hilliard, whose Lear jet flew ‘milk runs’ down and back to Venezuela every week for 39 weeks in a row before final­ly run­ning afoul of local DEA agents not clued-in on the ‘joke.’ More­over the secret mil­i­tary intel­li­gence oper­a­tion which iden­ti­fied Mohamed Atta and three oth­er hijack­ers as a threat a year before the 9/11 attack, called Able Dan­ger, was by no means the first mil­i­tary intel­li­gence inves­ti­ga­tion into the activ­i­ties of the Ham­burg cadre.” (Idem.)

8. Hop­sick­er notes that Ham­burg (Ger­many) based hero­in traf­fick­ing had been the focal point of mil­i­tary intel­li­gence inves­ti­ga­tors as far back as 1991. At the core of this traf­fic was Al Qae­da. “As far back as 1991, mil­i­tary inves­ti­ga­tors had been detailed to Ham­burg Ger­many, track­ing what one mil­i­tary inves­ti­ga­tor who was there told us were ‘Al Qae­da hero­in flows’ from Afghanistan to the West. A two-year inves­ti­ga­tion in Venice, Fl. Into the flight school attend­ed by Atta and his body­guard Mar­wan Al-She­hhi and which pro­vid­ed them with their ‘cov­er’ while in the U.S. unearthed the amaz­ing fact that dur­ing the same month the two men began fly­ing lessons at Huff­man Avi­a­tion, July of 2000, the flight school’s owner’s Lear jet was seized on the run­way of Orlan­do Exec­u­tive Air­port by Fed­er­al Agents who found 43 pounds of hero­in onboard. 43 pounds of hero­in is known in the drug trade as ‘heavy weight.’ . . .”

9. A block­buster item con­cludes dis­cus­sion on the first side of the pro­gram. A sur­veil­lance video from a Venice (Flori­da) phar­ma­cy indi­cates that Mohamed Atta’s father was in Flori­da and appeared to be lead­ing the ter­ror­ist cadre. The video­tape appears to have been edit­ed by the FBI to elim­i­nate the footage of Atta, Sr. In FTR#521, we saw that Atta’s father endorsed the Lon­don tran­sit bomb­ings of July of 2001. “In the sec­ond major blow in as many weeks to the cred­i­bil­i­ty of the 9/11 Com­mis­sion report, the Mad­Cow­Morn­ingNews has learned exclu­sive­ly that dur­ing final prepa­ra­tions for the Sept. 11 attack, Mohamed Atta’s father was ‘vis­it­ing’ his ter­ror­ist ring­leader son in Venice, Flori­da. More­over, the FBI knew about the U.S. vis­it of Cairo attor­ney Mohammed El-Amir almost imme­di­ate­ly after the attack, when, after see­ing him on tele­vi­sion deny­ing that his son had any­thing to do with the ter­ror­ist hijack­ings, a num­ber of cred­i­ble wit­ness­es called the Sara­so­ta office of the FBI to report they had seen Atta’s father in Venice with his son ten days to two weeks before the attack. In addi­tion closed cir­cuit video­tape pro­vid­ed to the FBI as evi­dence of Atta Senior’s pres­ence appears to have been inten­tion­al­ly erased. . . .”
(“Mohamed Atta Senior in U.S. Two Weeks Before 9/11 Attack” by Daniel Hop­sick­er; Mad­Cow­Morn­ingNews; 8/23/2005.)

10. “ . . . When a phar­ma­cy in Venice pro­vid­ed the Bureau with video­tapes from the store’s closed cir­cuit cam­eras as proof of the vis­it of Atta, his father, and Mar­wan Al-She­hhi to the store, it was returned 10 days lat­er, minus ‘exci­sions’ in the tape from the after­noon of August 28, 2001, the date of the three men’s vis­it to the store. We first learned of Atta Senior’s pres­ence in Venice in a casu­al con­ver­sa­tion with a Venice phar­ma­cist who has been known to us for over 25 years, since my par­ents bought a retire­ment home here after my father suf­fered a series of heart attacks. Accom­pa­nied by Mohamed Atta and his body­guard Mar­wan Al-She­hhi, the phar­ma­cist stat­ed that Mohamed Atta Senior had been in his phar­ma­cy sev­er­al weeks before the attack, to send a fax. ‘We have just about the only pub­lic fax in town,’ the phar­ma­cist stat­ed. ‘The fax went to a num­ber in New Jer­sey.’ . . . .” (Idem.)

11. For much of the rest of the pro­gram, Mr. Emory pon­tif­i­cat­ed about evi­den­tiary trib­u­taries run­ning between a num­ber of ele­ments, which—taken together—appear to form parts of a net­work that involves ele­ments of Ger­man heavy indus­try and finance, mas­sive drug traf­fick­ing, arms traf­fick­ing and Russ­ian crim­i­nal ele­ments. The net­work will be explored in greater detail in broad­casts to come. The point of depar­ture for this part of the dis­cus­sion is the Carl Duis­berg Gesellschaft, the orga­ni­za­tion that traf­ficked Atta around in Ger­many and pos­si­bly the Unit­ed States. As not­ed in FTR#477, Atta was asso­ci­at­ed with Ger­mans, Swiss and Aus­tri­ans in Flori­da. As not­ed in—among oth­er programs—FTR#492, the Ger­man BKA (the fed­er­al police of that coun­try) iden­ti­fied many of Atta’s asso­ciates as sons and daugh­ters of promi­nent Ger­man indus­tri­al­ists. In the past, Mr. Emory has spec­u­lat­ed about whether the Carl Duis­berg Gesellschaft might be an ele­ment of the Under­ground Reich. “ . . . ‘In the 1920’s, Carl Duis­berg, Gen­er­al Direc­tor of Bay­er AG in Ger­many, envi­sioned send­ing Ger­man stu­dents to the Unit­ed States on work-study pro­grams. Duis­berg was con­vinced that inter­na­tion­al prac­ti­cal train­ing was crit­i­cal to the growth of Ger­man indus­try. Many of the return­ing trainees lat­er rose to promi­nent posi­tions at AEG, Bay­er, Bosch, Daim­ler Benz, and Siemens, bring­ing with them new meth­ods for mass pro­duc­tion, new ideas, and new busi­ness prac­tices. Fol­low­ing World War II, alum­ni from the first exchanges found­ed the Carl Duis­berg Gesellschaft (CDG) in 1949 to help engi­neers, busi­ness­men and farm­ers gain inter­na­tion­al work expe­ri­ence nec­es­sary for the rebuild­ing of Ger­many . . . .”
(“His­to­ry of the Carl Duis­berg Soci­ety”)

12. Note the promi­nent Ger­man indus­tri­al­ists on the board of direc­tors of the Duis­berg Soci­ety: “Board of Direc­tors Carl Duis­berg Soci­ety: . . . Gerd D. Mueller (retired) [mem­ber of Bun­destag on CSU tick­et) Chair­man of the Board; Exec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent and CFO Bay­er Cor­po­ra­tion . . . . Dr. Hans W. Deck­er; Trea­sur­er of the Board; Professor—Columbia Uni­ver­si­ty . . . Robert Fen­ster­ma­ch­er; Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of CDS Inter­na­tion­al, Inc. (ex offi­cio) . . . Carl Geer­ck­en; Part­ner Alston & Bird LLP . . . Dr. Olaf J. Groth; Exec­u­tive Direc­tor, Strate­gic Analy­sis & Integration—Boeing Inter­na­tion­al Cor­po­ra­tion . . . Dr. H. Friedrich Holzapfel; Man­ag­ing Director—The Burling­ton Group . . . Dr. Gudrun Kochen­do­er­fer-Lucius; Man­ag­ing Director—InWEnt (Capac­i­ty Build­ing Inter­na­tion­al, Ger­many) . . . Fritz E. Kropatscheck; Mang­ing Director—Deutsche Bank, A.G. (retired) . . . Wolf­gang Linz (retired) Exec­u­tive Direc­tor CDS Inter­na­tion­al, Inc. . . . Dr. Karl M. May­er-Wittmann (retired); President—WEFA, Inc. . . . Frances McCaf­frey; Man­ag­er, Cen­ter Development—BMW of North Amer­i­ca . . . Dr. Horst K. Saal­bach Vice Chair­man of the Board–Festo Cor­po­ra­tion . . . Dr. Nor­bert Schnei­der; Chief Exec­u­tive Officer—Carl Duis­berg Cen­tren GmbH . . . .”
(“Board of Direc­tors: Carl Duis­berg Soci­ety”)

13. Anoth­er of the fel­low­ship pro­grams that oper­ates under the aus­pices of the CDS is the Alfa Fel­low­ship, that func­tions on behalf of the Alfa com­pa­ny, a Russ­ian oil com­pa­ny with more links than a switch­board. Among the con­nec­tions of the Alfa group are pro­found links to cocaine and hero­in traf­fick­ing, Hal­libur­ton Oil (Dick Cheney’s for­mer firm), and the oil-for-food scam in Iraq. The Iraqi oil scam, in turn, appears to be linked to Car­los Car­doen, one of the prin­ci­pal arms traf­fick­ers involved in the Iraq­gate scan­dal presided over by the elder George Bush. (For more about the elder George Bush’s involve­ment in the Iraq­gate scan­dal, see—among oth­er programs—FTR#384.) Is this Russ­ian part of the net­work con­nect­ed to the net­work that was traf­fick­ing Atta around in Flori­da? “ALFA FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM: Near­ly fif­teen years after the fall of the Sovi­et Union, Cold War-era poli­cies and con­cepts con­tin­ue to affect U.S. rela­tions with Rus­sia. . . . The Alfa Fel­low­ship Pro­gram is designed to address this prob­lem . . . .”
(“ALFA FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM”; Page on the Carl Duis­berg Soci­ety web site.)

14. Dick Cheney’s for­mer firm—Halliburton—is con­nect­ed to the Alfa com­pa­ny. “Under the guid­ance of Richard Cheney, a get-the-gov­ern­ment-out-of-my-face con­ser­v­a­tive, Hal­libur­ton Com­pa­ny over the past five years has emerged as a cor­po­rate wel­fare hog, ben­e­fit­ing from at least $3.8 bil­lion in fed­er­al con­tracts and tax­pay­er-insured loans. One of these loans was approved in April by the U.S. Export-Import Bank. It guar­an­teed $489 mil­lion in cred­its to a Russ­ian oil com­pa­ny whose roots are imbed­ded in a lega­cy of KGB and Com­mu­nist Par­ty cor­rup­tion, as well as drug traf­fick­ing and orga­nized crime funds, accord­ing to Russ­ian and U.S. sources and doc­u­ments.”
(“Cheney Led Hal­libur­ton to Feast at Fed­er­al Trough: State Depart­ment Ques­tioned Deal with Firm Linked to Russ­ian Mob” by Knut Royce and Nathaniel Heller [Cen­ter for Pub­lic Integri­ty]; 8/2/2000.)

15. “Those claims are hot­ly dis­put­ed by the Russ­ian oil firm’s hold­ing com­pa­ny. Hal­libur­ton, which lob­bied for the Ex-Im loan after the State Depart­ment ini­tial­ly assert­ed that the deal would run counter to the ‘nation­al inter­est,’ will receive $292 mil­lion of those funds to refur­bish a mas­sive Siber­ian oil field owned by the Russ­ian com­pa­ny, the Tyu­men Oil Co., which is con­trolled by a con­glom­er­ate called the Alfa Group. . . .” (Idem.)

16. Note that a Russ­ian intel­li­gence offi­cer iden­ti­fies Chechens as behind the Alfa Group-con­nect­ed hero­in traf­fic. Al Qae­da and the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood are strong­ly con­nect­ed to the groups active in Chech­nya. Again, is this oper­a­tion con­nect­ed to Atta’s activ­i­ties in Flori­da? “ . . . That doc­u­ment and the FSB report claim that Alfa Bank, one of Russia’s largest and most prof­itable, as well as Alfa Eko, a trad­ing com­pa­ny, had been deeply involved in the ear­ly 1990’s in laun­der­ing of Russ­ian and Colom­bian drug mon­ey and in traf­fick­ing drugs from the Far East to Europe. The for­mer KGB major, who with the fall of com­mu­nism in the late 1980’s had him­self been involved in the plan by the KGB and Com­mu­nist Par­ty to loot state enter­pris­es, said that Alfa Bank was found­ed with par­ty and KGB funds, and quick­ly attract­ed rogue agents who had served in anti-orga­nized-crime units. ‘They (the rogue agents on the bank’s pay­roll) quick­ly deter­mined that deal­ing in drugs would bring the high­est prof­its with lit­er­al­ly no risk in Rus­sia,’ accord­ing to the for­mer KGB offi­cer. He claimed that a ‘large chan­nel of hero­in tran­sit was estab­lished from Bur­ma through Laos, Viet­nam, to the Far East [Siberia].’ From there the drugs were cam­ou­flaged as flour and sug­ar ship­ments and for­ward­ed on to Ger­many. The drug oper­a­tion was con­trolled by a Chechen mob fam­i­ly, he said. [Ital­ics are Mr. Emory’s] . . .”

17. The Cali cartel—connected to the Iran-Con­tra drug traf­fick­ing net­works that were linked to Atta’s oper­a­tions in Florida—is linked to the Alfa Group’s crim­i­nal activ­i­ties. “ . . . The FSB doc­u­ment claims that at the end of 1993, a top Alfa offi­cial met with Gilber­to Rodriguez Ore­juela, the now-impris­oned finan­cial mas­ter­mind of Columbia’s noto­ri­ous Cali car­tel, ‘to include an agree­ment about the trans­fer of mon­ey into Alfa Bank from off­shore zones such as the Bahamas, Gibral­tar and oth­ers, The plan was to insert it back into the Russ­ian econ­o­my through the pur­chase of stock in Russ­ian com­pa­nies.’ The account from the for­mer KGB offi­cer is unclear about Alfa’s alleged role with Rodriguez, but appar­ent­ly con­firms that ‘in 1993–94 there were attempts of the so-called Chess Play­er [Rodriguez’s nick­name] to laun­der and legal­ize large amounts of crim­i­nal mon­ey in Rus­sia. He report­ed that there was evi­dence ‘regard­ing [Alfa Bank’s] involve­ment with the mon­ey laun­der­ing of . . . Latin Amer­i­can drug car­tels.’ . . .” (Idem.)

18. The pro­gram high­lights links between Alfa and peo­ple linked to the lead­er­ship of the Repub­li­can Par­ty: “ . . . Tyu­men could have sig­nif­i­cant access to the White House should the Bush-Cheney tick­et win in the Novem­ber pres­i­den­tial elec­tions. Tyumen’s lead attor­ney at Akin Gump is James C. Lang­don Jr., a man­ag­ing part­ner at the firm. He is also one of George W. Bush’s ‘Pio­neers,’ one of the elite fund rais­ers who have brought in at least $100,0000 for the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial hope­ful. . . .” (Idem.)

19. The dis­cus­sion con­cludes with the links of Alfa Group to the Iraqi oil-for-food scam and the Iraq­gate weapons traf­fick­ing of the 1980’s. “ . . . One out­fit that par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Iraqi oil trade is the Alfa Group, a Moscow firm with hold­ings in bank­ing, tele­com, oil and com­modi­ties trad­ing, run by bil­lion­aire Mikhail Frid­man. Alfa quite legal­ly pumped the price of its cheap Iraqi crude by trad­ing it to a suc­ces­sion of affil­i­ates and friends with ques­tion­able pasts. [includ­ing Alfa sub­sidiary Crown Trade & Finance] The daisy chain, known inter­nal­ly as a ‘ron­do,’ boost­ed Alfa’s pro­ceeds and also made the mon­ey hard­er to trace. Alfa deposit­ed funds in a Gibral­tar tax haven. . . .”
(“The Sad­dam Shuf­fle” by Michael Maiel­lo; Forbes; 11/15/2004.)

20. “ . . . A favorite ron­do customer—and a point of entry to the U.S. market—was a Hous­ton com­pa­ny, Bay­oil. It par­tic­i­pat­ed in 32 Iraqi oil trades with Alfa com­pa­nies between August 1999 and Decem­ber 2000. Bay­oil also bought direct­ly from Sad­dam. Sad­dam had been deal­ing with Bay­oil own­er David Bay Chalmers Jr. before. Dur­ing the 1980’s Iran-Iraq war Bay­oil appar­ent­ly got a fee of $2 a bar­rel for bro­ker­ing 20 mil­lion bar­rels of Iraqi oil to the Chilean arms deal­er Car­los Car­doen. . . .” (Idem.)


5 comments for “FTR #523 Catching Up With Daniel Hopsicker”

  1. Add one more to the list of pre-911 “intel­li­gence fail­ures”: Oper­a­tion Fox­den:

    US act­ed to con­ceal evi­dence of intel­li­gence fail­ure before 9/11

    Oper­a­tion Fox­den, delayed by turf war between the FBI and the CIA, giv­en green light three days before the al-Qai­da attacks

    Ian Cobain
    guardian.co.uk, Tues­day 27 March 2012 15.26 EDT

    The US gov­ern­ment shut down a series of court cas­es aris­ing from a mul­ti­mil­lion pound busi­ness dis­pute in order to con­ceal evi­dence of a damn­ing intel­li­gence fail­ure short­ly before the 9/11 attacks, MPs were told.

    More­over, the UK gov­ern­ment is now seek­ing sim­i­lar pow­ers that could be used to pre­vent evi­dence of ille­gal acts and embar­rass­ing fail­ures from emerg­ing in court, David Davis, the for­mer shad­ow home sec­re­tary, told the Com­mons.

    The Jus­tice and Secu­ri­ty green paper being put for­ward by Ken Clarke’s jus­tice min­istry has already faced wide­spread crit­i­cism from civ­il rights groups, media rep­re­sen­ta­tives and lawyers work­ing with­in the secret tri­bunal sys­tem that hears ter­ror­ism-relat­ed immi­gra­tion cas­es.

    Davis demand­ed to know how its pro­pos­als could be pre­vent­ed from being used to cov­er up crimes and errors. “In light of pre­vi­ous rev­e­la­tions about the UK gov­ern­men­t’s com­plic­i­ty in tor­ture and ren­di­tion of detainees to loca­tions like of Libya, Afghanistan, or ille­gal­ly into Amer­i­can hands ” how will the Gov­ern­ment pre­vent the Jus­tice and Secu­ri­ty green paper pro­pos­als being mis­used in a sim­i­lar way to cov­er up ille­gal acts and embar­rass­ments rather than pro­tect nation­al secu­ri­ty?”

    Davis said that in 1998 the FBI seized upon an oppor­tu­ni­ty to eaves­drop on every land­line and tele­phone call into and out of Afghanistan in a bid to build intel­li­gence on the Tal­iban. The Bureau dis­cov­ered that the Tal­iban regime had award­ed a major tele­phone net­work con­tract to a joint US-UK ven­ture, run by an Amer­i­can entre­pre­neur, Ehsanol­lah Bay­at and two British busi­ness­men, Stu­art Ben­tham and Lord Michael Cecil.

    “The plan was sim­ple” Davis said. “Because the Tal­iban want­ed Amer­i­can equip­ment for their new phone net­work, this would allow the FBI and NSA, the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency, to build extra cir­cuits into all the equip­ment before it was flown out to Afghanistan for use. Once installed, these extra cir­cuits would allow the FBI and NSA to record or lis­ten live to every sin­gle land­line and mobile phone call in Afghanistan. The FBI would know the time the call was made and its dura­tion. They would know the caller’s name, the num­ber dialled, and even the caller’s PIN.”

    But the plan, Oper­a­tion Fox­den, was delayed by a turf war, dur­ing which “the FBI and the CIA spent more than a year fight­ing over who should be in charge”, he said.

    The oper­a­tion was even­tu­al­ly giv­en the green light on 8 Sep­tem­ber 2001 — three days before the al-Qai­da attacks. “A huge oppor­tu­ni­ty was missed,” Davis said.

    He added that when Ben­tham and Cecil sued Bay­at in the New York courts, and Bay­at lodged a legal claim against the two Britons, the case was struck out and all records removed from the courts pub­lic data­base on the grounds of State Secrets Priv­i­lege, a legal doc­trine that per­mits the US gov­ern­ment to shut down lit­i­ga­tion on the grounds of nation­al secu­ri­ty. The Britons attempt­ed to sue in Lon­don, Davis said, but the case failed because “so long is the reach of the Amer­i­can State Secrets Priv­i­lege” that they were pre­vent­ed from dis­cussing key details of the US case.


    Reprieve’s Exec­u­tive Direc­tor, Clare Algar, direc­tor of the legal char­i­ty Reprieve, said: “This demon­strates just how ready the intel­li­gence ser­vices are to cry nation­al secu­ri­ty in order to cov­er up their own embar­rass­ment. It is yet anoth­er com­pelling exam­ple — if one were need­ed — of why we can­not let the UK Gov­ern­men­t’s plans for secret jus­tice go ahead.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 29, 2012, 6:24 pm
  2. Note that Oper­a­tion Fox­den was first pub­licly revealed in this Van­i­ty Fair peice last year and it sounds like the CIA was the pri­ma­ry oppo­nent of the plan due to con­cerns over the MI6’s involve­ment. It also sounds like the CIA may have been the even­tu­al win­ner of the turf war when they got to set up a telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions net­work in Afghanistan very sim­i­lar to the one pro­posed in Oper­a­tion Fox­den, post-911...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 29, 2012, 6:31 pm
  3. @Pterrafractyl: Thanks for the info. I’d sus­pect that there may have been some delib­er­ate sub­terfuge going on there, and not just incom­pe­tence. Yes, a huge oppro­tu­ni­ty was indeed missed.....=(

    Posted by Steven L. | March 30, 2012, 11:03 am
  4. http://www.browardbulldog.org/2013/06/mystery-of-sarasota-saudis-deepens-as-justice-moves-end-foi-lawsuit-citing-national-security/

    June 3, 2013 at 5:59 am
    Mys­tery of Sara­so­ta Saud­is deep­ens as Jus­tice moves to end FOI law­suit cit­ing nation­al secu­ri­ty
    Filed under 9/11, A1 Top Sto­ry {5 com­ments}

    By Dan Chris­tensen and Antho­ny Sum­mers, BrowardBulldog.org

    A senior FBI offi­cial has told a Fort Laud­erdale fed­er­al judge that dis­clo­sure of cer­tain clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion about Saud­is who hur­ried­ly left their Sara­so­ta area home short­ly before 9/11 “would reveal cur­rent spe­cif­ic tar­gets of the FBI’s nation­al secu­ri­ty inves­ti­ga­tions.”

    Records Sec­tion Chief David M. Hardy’s asser­tion is con­tained in a sworn 33-page dec­la­ra­tion filed in sup­port of a Jus­tice Depart­ment motion that seeks to end a Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion law­suit filed last year by BrowardBulldog.org.

    The government’s lat­est court fil­ings, thick with veiled ref­er­ences to for­eign coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence oper­a­tions and tar­gets, deep­en the mys­tery about a once-secret FBI inves­ti­ga­tion of Esam and Deb­o­rah Ghaz­za­wi and their ten­ants, son-in-law and daugh­ter, Abdu­laz­iz and Anoud al-Hijji.

    The fil­ings by Mia­mi Assis­tant U.S. Attor­ney Car­ole M. Fer­nan­dez also seek to jus­ti­fy in the name of nation­al secu­ri­ty numer­ous dele­tions of infor­ma­tion from FBI records about the decade-old inves­ti­ga­tion that were released recent­ly amid the ongo­ing lit­i­ga­tion.

    They do not, how­ev­er, explain why an inves­ti­ga­tion the FBI has said found no con­nec­tion between those Saud­is and the Sept. 11th attacks that killed near­ly 3,000 peo­ple involves infor­ma­tion so secret its dis­clo­sure “could be expect­ed to cause seri­ous dam­age to nation­al secu­ri­ty.”

    The inves­ti­ga­tion, which the FBI did not dis­close to Con­gress or the 9/11 Com­mis­sion, was first report­ed in a Sep­tem­ber 2011 sto­ry pub­lished simul­ta­ne­ous­ly by BrowardBulldog.org and The Mia­mi Her­ald.

    It began after neigh­bors in the gat­ed com­mu­ni­ty of Prestancia report­ed the al-Hijjis had sud­den­ly depart­ed their home at 4224 Escon­di­to Cir­cle about two weeks before the attacks. They left per­son­al belong­ings and fur­ni­ture, includ­ing three new­ly reg­is­tered cars – one of them brand new.

    Accord­ing to a coun­tert­er­ror­ism offi­cer and Prestancia’s for­mer admin­is­tra­tor Lar­ry Berberich, gate­house log books and pho­tographs of license tags were lat­er used by the FBI to deter­mine that vehi­cles used by the hijack­ers had vis­it­ed the al-Hijji home.

    The FBI lat­er con­firmed the exis­tence of the probe, but said it found no evi­dence con­nect­ing the Ghaz­za­w­is or the al-Hijjis to the hijack­ers or the 9/11 plot.


    The new­ly released FBI records con­tra­dict the FBI’s pub­lic denials. One dat­ed April 4, 2002 says the inves­ti­ga­tion “revealed many con­nec­tions” between the Saud­is who fled Sara­so­ta and “indi­vid­u­als asso­ci­at­ed with the ter­ror­ist attacks on 9/11/2001.”

    The report goes on to list three of those indi­vid­u­als and con­nect them to the Venice, Flori­da flight school where sui­cide hijack­ers Mohamed Atta and Mar­wan al-She­hhi trained. The names of those indi­vid­u­als were not made pub­lic.

    The FBI removed addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion in the report, cit­ing a pair of nation­al secu­ri­ty exemp­tions to the Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act.

    In his dec­la­ra­tion to U.S. Dis­trict Judge William J. Zloch, the FBI’s Hardy sought to explain those dele­tions and oth­ers. He said infor­ma­tion was with­held “to pro­tect an intel­li­gence method uti­lized by the FBI for gath­er­ing intel­li­gence data.” Such meth­ods include con­fi­den­tial infor­mants.

    Hardy, who stat­ed that he has been des­ig­nat­ed a “declas­si­fi­ca­tion author­i­ty” by Attor­ney Gen­er­al Eric Hold­er, said redac­tions regard­ing the Sara­so­ta inves­ti­ga­tion were also made to pro­tect “actu­al intel­li­gence activ­i­ties and meth­ods used by the FBI against spe­cif­ic tar­gets of for­eign coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence inves­ti­ga­tions or oper­a­tions.”

    “The infor­ma­tion obtained from the intel­li­gence activ­i­ties or meth­ods is very spe­cif­ic in nature, pro­vid­ed dur­ing a spe­cif­ic time peri­od and known to very few indi­vid­u­als,” Hardy said.


    No details were pro­vid­ed, but Hardy said the infor­ma­tion was “com­piled regard­ing a spe­cif­ic indi­vid­ual or orga­ni­za­tion of nation­al secu­ri­ty inter­est.” He added that its dis­clo­sure “rea­son­ably could be expect­ed to cause seri­ous dam­age to the nation­al secu­ri­ty.”

    Dis­clo­sure would reveal the FBI’s “cur­rent spe­cif­ic tar­gets” and “allow hos­tile enti­ties to dis­cov­er the cur­rent intel­li­gence gath­er­ing meth­ods used and reveal the cri­te­ria and pri­or­i­ties assigned to cur­rent intel­li­gence or coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence inves­ti­ga­tions,” Hardy said.

    “With the aid of this detailed infor­ma­tion, hos­tile enti­ties could devel­op coun­ter­mea­sures which would, in turn, severe­ly dis­rupt the FBI’s intel­li­gence gath­er­ing capa­bil­i­ties” and dam­age efforts “to detect and appre­hend vio­la­tors of the Unit­ed States’ nation­al secu­ri­ty and crim­i­nal laws.”

    For months, the FBI claimed it had no respon­sive doc­u­ments regard­ing its Sara­so­ta inves­ti­ga­tion. But on March 28, Hardy unex­pect­ed­ly announced the Bureau had locat­ed and reviewed 35 pages of records. It released 31 of them.

    Pros­e­cu­tor Fer­nan­dez now con­tends the FBI con­duct­ed a “rea­son­able search” and that “no agency records are being improp­er­ly with­held.”

    Her motion asks the court to grant sum­ma­ry judg­ment in the government’s favor.

    Dan Chris­tensen is the edi­tor of Broward Bull­dog. Antho­ny Sum­mers is co-author with Rob­byn Swan of “The Eleventh Day: The Full Sto­ry of 9/11 and Osama bin Laden,”published by Bal­lan­tine Books, which was a Final­ist for the Pulitzer Prize for His­to­ry in 2012.

    Posted by Vanfield | June 8, 2013, 11:13 pm
  5. @Vanfield–

    Note the stat­ed pre-occu­pa­tion of pro­tect­ing cur­rent tar­gets of inves­ti­ga­tions and con­fi­den­tial infor­mants.

    That, cou­pled with the ref­er­ence to Huff­man Avi­a­tion which you high­light­ed, makes me won­der of Rudi Dekkers may be pro­vid­ing infor­ma­tion on the folks in Venice.

    We’ll explore this more in a future post.



    Posted by Dave Emory | June 9, 2013, 5:40 pm

Post a comment