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Report On Islamists, The Far Right, And Al Taqwa

by Kevin Coogan

The first part of this report will pri­mar­i­ly sum­ma­rize infor­ma­tion from an impor­tant book by Johannes and Ger­mana von Dohnanyi enti­tled Schmutzige Geschäfte und Heiliger Krieg: Al-Qai­da in Europa (Dirty Busi­ness and Holy War: Al-Qai­da in Europe) pub­lished by Pen­do Ver­lag (Zurich, 2002). The von Dohnanyis are long­time inves­tiga­tive reporters based in Milan. I will con­cen­trate on part of Chap­ter 4 (“The Financ­ing of Jihad”) and all of chap­ter 5 (“A Fatal Mix­ture”), which sum­ma­rizes pages 216–264.

The sec­ond part of this report will focus more on al-Taqwa mem­ber Achmed Huber and his pos­si­ble links to Said Ramadan, one of the most impor­tant Islamists in Europe but whose 1995 death has made him almost invis­i­ble in con­tem­po­rary accounts.


Prince Moham­mad al Faisal al Saud is not only a pious Mus­lim but he belongs to the inner­most cir­cle of the Sau­di dynasty as the son of the for­mer King al Saud, cousin of the first rank to King Fahd and broth­er to the long­time head of the Sau­di secret ser­vice, Prince Tur­ki al-Faisal who stepped down in August 2001.

Since 1983 the Prince became in charge of the trust com­pa­ny Dar al-Mal al-Isla­mi (DMI), found­ed two years ear­li­er and which is based in Coin­trin near Gene­va. It has an esti­mat­ed $3.5 bil­lion dol­lars, the great­est part (accord­ing to the for­mer DMI man­ag­er Ziad Keilaney) com­ing either from the pri­vate hold­ings of the King’s fam­i­ly or oth­er wealthy Saud­is. The DMI, along with the Sau­di bank­ing con­cern Dal­lah al-Bara­ka, is one of the most impor­tant sources for the spread­ing of Wah­habi ideas in Islam.

The DMI also con­trols the Islam­ic Invest­ment Com­pa­ny of the Gulf, the Bahrain based Faisal Islam­ic Bank and the Gene­va-reg­is­tered Faisal Finance. The vice-pres­i­dent of Faisal Finance SA is a Soma­li named Omar Abdi Ali who is also to be found in the top man­age­ment of DMI. DMI direct­ly financed two “human­i­tar­i­an” orga­ni­za­tions, the Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment Foun­da­tion (IDF) and the Inter­na­tion­al Islam­ic Relief Orga­ni­za­tion (IIRO).

In June 2000 the DMI com­plet­ed the fusion of Faisal Islam­ic Bank and the Inter­na­tion­al Invest­ment Com­pa­ny to the Bahrain-reg­is­tered Shamil Bank. A few months lat­er the Shamil Bank opened its first for­eign affil­i­ate in Yemen. The Shamil Bank was 60% con­trolled by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of DMI in Nas­sau while the rest was from unknown pri­vate investors. The Shamil Bank held in turn 20% of the shares of the Arab Alban­ian Islam­ic Bank in Tirana. The bank employed at least one mem­ber of Al Qai­da, an Egypt­ian named Ibrahim al-Jaj­jar, who in 1998 was involved in a planned assault on the Amer­i­can Embassy in Tirana.

Prince Mohammed al-Faisal al-Saud and his Soma­li top deputy Omar Abdi Ali are also rep­re­sent­ed in the high­est man­age­ment of the Shamil Bank. Anoth­er mem­ber is Hay­dar bin Laden, one of the many half broth­ers of Osama.

(At the begin­ning of 2001 the sis­ter com­pa­ny of Faisal Finance was hit by the eco­nom­ic cur­ren­cy cri­sis and the col­lapse of the Turk­ish econ­o­my. In Gene­va Prince Mohammed and his friends decid­ed to get rid of the Turk­ish com­pa­ny. In May 2001 Faisal Finance was tak­en over by the Turk­ish big busi­ness­man Sabri Ulk­er and his USA-reg­is­tered Islam­ic Finance group, Amer­i­can Finance House—Lariba and renamed Fam­i­ly Finance.)

The DMI and its sis­ter cor­po­ra­tions fol­low Islam­ic bank­ing law and pay “Zakat,” the reli­gious tax, on all their trans­ac­tions. West­ern inves­ti­ga­tors believe that Zakat mon­ey is crit­i­cal in financ­ing extrem­ist Islam­ic groups and Amer­i­can inves­ti­ga­tors sus­pect mon­ey trans­fers from the DMI to a group like the Islam­ic Inter­na­tion­al Relief Orga­ni­za­tion which, in turn, is sus­pect­ed of financ­ing bin-Laden’s world­wide “Jihad against Jews and Cru­saders.”

Besides Saud­is who give mon­ey to Mus­lim insti­tu­tions out of piety there are those who have been enticed by West­ern life and are sub­ject to black­mail so they feel it is eas­i­er to make pay­offs to Mus­lim extrem­ists out of their own “freewill.”

As for the West it has for years hushed up the mis­use of human­i­tar­i­an funds on the grounds of polit­i­cal expe­di­en­cy while the Saud­is act out­raged at any attack. In Octo­ber 2001 influ­en­tial Sau­di Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Prince Nayef bin Abdu­laz­iz bit­ter­ly com­plained after Amer­i­can spe­cial units involved in the SFOR peace keep­ing forces in Bosnia got crates of doc­u­ments and mon­ey removed for illic­it activ­i­ty by branch­es of many Islam­ic aid groups as well as the Sau­di “High Com­mis­sion for Relief” in Sara­je­vo and in the cen­tral Bosn­ian small city of Zeni­ca. Mean­while the Sau­di busi­ness­man Yas­sim al-Qadi, who Amer­i­can and Israeli secret ser­vices had iden­ti­fied as a top spon­sor of Hamas and who, along with his Muwafaq Foun­da­tion, was put on Washington’s list of ter­ror spon­sors, denounced attacks on him in an inter­view with the Wall Street Jour­nal, say­ing these charges would lead to Amer­i­ca los­ing “more and more of its true friends.”

Instead of com­plain­ing, Yas­sim al-Qadi should spend more time bet­ter con­trol­ling his Muwafaq Foun­da­tion. As doc­u­ments in a Lon­don court case show, the Muwafaq Foun­da­tion is active in Afghanistan, Alba­nia, Ethiopia, Bosnia, Eng­land, Aus­tria, Pak­istan, Sau­di Ara­bia and the USA. All these activ­i­ties were financed by a branch of the foun­da­tion, the Tamaam Trustees, based in the tax haven of the Isle of Jer­sey where there is min­i­mal super­vi­sion and which is essen­tial­ly a post office box for the Muwafaq Foun­da­tion.

The direc­tor of the Bosn­ian Muwafaq oper­a­tion was the Tunisian-born busi­ness­man Shafiq Aya­di who car­ries a Bosn­ian pass­port. Shafiq Aya­di was placed on the U.S. ter­ror­ism list after 9/11. Islam­ic NGOs in the war years were fre­quent­ly searched and again and again weapons and oth­er mate­ri­als were dis­cov­ered meant for the Muja­hadin in Bosnia. It is cer­tain that both the Croat buro of both the Muwafaq Foun­da­tion and the Sau­di High Com­mis­sion for Relief served as a step on the way to the Bosn­ian front for many Muja­hadin. Many of them were from the non-Bosn­ian Islamist El Mudza­hid Brigade who treat­ed Ser­bian POW’s hor­ri­bly. It also turned out that a Sau­di cit­i­zen named Abdul Hadi al-Gah­tani, who in the city of Zeni­ca in 1994 killed the British aid work­er Paul Goodall because he had shown too much inter­est in the activ­i­ties of the Islamists, had iden­ti­ty papers (ein Ausweis) from the Sau­di High Relief Com­mis­sion. A Bosn­ian court that had sen­tenced al-Gath­ani in absten­tia to a long jail term described him as “direc­tor of the Sau­di High Com­mis­sion in Zeni­ca.” Al-Gath­ani, how­ev­er, nev­er served his sen­tence because he escaped from deten­tion.

The Sau­di High Com­mis­sion was direct­ed by King Fahd’s broth­er Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz. In a bit of spin con­trol a deputy rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the High Com­mis­sion, Fahd al-Zakari, in Octo­ber 2001 told the press in Sara­je­vo that the Com­mis­sion only employed men with a “moral­ly clean back­ground” but it can’t judge what is con­cealed from it. Muwafaq Foun­da­tion founder Yas­sim al-Qadi advances sim­i­lar argu­ments. In the Wall Street Jour­nal, al-Qadi cit­ed a report on the foun­da­tion from the Dutch secret ser­vice that described it as an “impor­tant instru­ment of rad­i­cal Mus­lims” but also said that it was unclear to what extent the Saud­is were them­selves aware of the dan­ger.

In the begin­ning of 1990s orig­i­nat­ing from Sudan there was reg­is­tered in Vien­na the Third World Relief Agency (TWRA) with Sau­di mon­ey and sup­port from the Iran­ian secret police, the Vevak, which sup­plied mon­ey and weapons to the Mus­lim fac­tions in the Bosnia war. There was also estab­lished al-Hara­mayne that sup­plied weapons to Muja­hadin in Afghanistan.

The “human­i­tar­i­an” orga­ni­za­tion al-Hara­mayne was found­ed in 1992 by the Sau­di Reli­gion Min­is­ter Saleh bin Addu­laz­iz al Sheikh as the spear­head for the ag
gres­sive expan­sion of Wah­habi beliefs. In the views of Russ­ian and Amer­i­can inves­ti­ga­tors, the al-Hara­mayne Foun­da­tion was linked with the Sau­di finan­cial con­cern Dal­lah al-Bara­ka whose founder and major­i­ty hold­er, Saleh Abdul­lah Kamel, ear­li­er served among oth­er things as the Gen­er­al Inspec­tor of Finance for the Sau­di monar­chy. Kamel’s name sur­faced after 9/11 in con­nec­tion with the role the Sudanese finan­cial world played in con­nec­tion with the activ­i­ties of Osama bin-Laden.

In 1999 al Hara­mayne opened in Azer­bai­jan an office of the – until then unknown – “Foun­da­tion for Chech­nya.” A year before the Russ­ian secret ser­vice FIS dis­cov­ered that the lead­ing man­age­ment of the Al-Bara­ka Group includ­ing Hafez Abu Bakr Mohammed of “Al Bara­ka Invest­ment and Devel­op­ment” had financed trips by Chech­nya rebel lead­ers to the USA. In Decem­ber 1999 a mem­ber of a Euro­pean secret ser­vice based in Karachi over­heard Sheik Abu Omar, who rep­re­sent­ed al-Hara­mayne in Chech­nya, being greet­ed by the Taliban’s coun­sel who praised Sheik Abu Omar for his aid in help­ing out in the war against the Rus­sians in Chech­nya. An elite Russ­ian unit mon­i­tor­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions in the war heard a con­ver­sa­tion from Geor­gia say­ing that al-Hara­mayne must avoid being iden­ti­fied as the “inciter of Jihad.” The Russ­ian FIS esti­mates that al-Hara­mayne con­tributed $50 mil­lion to the cause and also helped send fight­ers with oper­a­tional expe­ri­ence in Bosnia and Koso­vo to Chech­nya.

Nor did al-Hara­mayne neglect Afghanistan. The Afghan office, head­ed by Nass­er bin Mohammed al Gilale, was actu­al­ly based in the Sau­di Embassy. When the North­ern Alliance took Kab­ul he was detained by the North­ern Alliance. Exam­i­na­tions of records show that the group had instruc­tions from Riyadh to aid Sau­di cit­i­zens. But all Sau­di diplo­mats and civil­ians had left Afghanistan when the war broke out and the only remain­ing groups of Sau­di cit­i­zens were Al Qai­da mem­bers. Accord­ing to one of the detained Tal­iban pris­on­ers, the Sau­di Al Qai­da mem­bers always got inter­ven­tions on their behalf from al-Hara­mayne.

Oth­er “Human­i­tar­i­an” Fronts
Anoth­er key group sus­pect­ed of aid­ing Al Qai­da by pass­ing on “Zakat” funds is the Inter­na­tion­al Islam­ic Relief Orga­ni­za­tion (IIRO) which until Sep­tem­ber 1999 shared the same Oxford address as the Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment Foun­da­tion (IDF) of the Sau­di mil­lion­aire Khalid bin Mah­fouz. Also at the same address is the Oxford Trust for Islam­ic Stud­ies to which the bin Laden fam­i­ly year­ly con­tributes a great deal of mon­ey. The IDF, like its sis­ter com­pa­ny Sed­co Ser­vices Ltd. (part of Khalid bin Mahfouz’s Sau­di Eco­nom­ic and Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion – Sed­co), is now in Lon­don, and is direct­ed by Khalid’s broth­er Mohammed Sal­im bin Mah­fouz and the British weapons deal­er Mohammed Saleh Affara who is of Yemeni ori­gin. Affara helped bro­ker a series of weapons con­tracts (code­named “Sawari‑2”) between Sau­di Ara­bia and France. Con­tact to Osama bin Laden, it is said, also comes via the Sudan-based part of the orga­ni­za­tion “Blessed Relief” that is direct­ed by Khalid’s son Abdul Rah­man bin Mah­fouz. The orga­ni­za­tion was sus­pect­ed by the Amer­i­can and Egypt­ian secret ser­vices of being involved in plan­ning an assas­si­na­tion attempt on Hos­ni Mubarak when he was mak­ing a state vis­it to Ethiopia. In the cof­fers of the Inter­na­tion­al Islam­ic Relief Orga­ni­za­tion one finds Zakat mon­ey from the Gene­va-based DMI and relief aid from the Lugano-based Al Taqwa group.

Of course these groups vig­or­ous­ly protest against charges that they are a 5th col­umn of ter­ror­ism. So where is there an answer for the charge that $7 mil­lion was sent from the Com­mit­tee for Char­i­ty and the Sheik Eid-ben-Mohammed al-Thani Foun­da­tion (both based in Qatar) that sent this mon­ey in Decem­ber 1999 to the Muja­hadin in Chech­nya. Only the mer­ci­less exam­i­na­tion of their books and the books of oth­er such groups can answer the fol­low­ing accu­sa­tions regard­ing

1) The charge that the Blessed Relief group in Birm­ing­ham, Eng­land – a key part of the Mus­lim broth­er­hood and also reg­is­tered as a UN NGO – was used by bin Laden and has oper­a­tions in Chech­nya, Azer­bai­jan, and Kash­mir where it runs weapons under the cov­er of human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance.

2) The Kuwait-based Islam­ic Revival Move­ment rep­re­sent­ed in Alba­nia where it is linked to the for­mer head of Egypt­ian Jihad, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and that this group also finances the Alger­ian GIA.

3) The Alban­ian Mus­lim Moham­mad Abdel Karim, direc­tor of the Islam­ic Revival Move­ment in Tirana, is respon­si­ble for the entry of dona­tions espe­cial­ly from emi­grants from Koso­vo who are in Ger­many and Switzer­land and are then sent to finance a Kuwait-based anony­mous Aid Com­mit­tee for Kuwait.

As this infor­ma­tion came out (espe­cial­ly after the Deux­ieme Bureau had assem­bled infor­ma­tion in the months before and after 9/11 as well as infor­ma­tion from many dif­fer­ent sources) the debate real­ly began about the aid groups and their ties to the Islam­ic bank­ing com­mu­ni­ty and ter­ror­ism. West­ern banks are also involved. For exam­ple, the Giro Cred­it Bank in Vien­na had no prob­lem admin­is­ter­ing the $350 mil­lion account of Islam­ic fun­da­men­tal­ists for the war in Bosnia. The al-Shamal Islam­ic Bank in Khar­toum uses a cor­re­spon­dent bank, the British Arab Com­mer­cial Bank, and the al-Shamal bank is seen by secret ser­vices to have admin­is­tered a great part of bin Laden’s busi­ness inter­ests in the sec­ond half of the 1990s. The British Arab Com­mer­cial Bank is 25% owned by the Libyan Cen­tral Bank-con­trolled Libyan Arab For­eign Bank while anoth­er main hold­er is Hong Kong-Shang­hai Bank­ing Cor­po­ra­tion (HSBC). Dur­ing tes­ti­mo­ny in court regard­ing the 1998 attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tan­za­nia, the State wit­ness Jamal Mohammed al-Fadl said that Al Qai­da mem­bers had accounts at al-Shamal. Anoth­er account was in the Bank Faisal Isla­mi, a sec­ond Sudanese bank that the Gene­va-based DMI has part own­er­ship in as well. In the same court case anoth­er Al Qai­da defec­tor, Essam al-Ridi, said bin Laden took $230,000 and trans­ferred it from al-Shamal Bank to Ari­zona to acquire a plane which was sup­posed to fly Stinger mis­siles from Pak­istan to Sudan.

Al-Shamal’s top man­ag­er Mohammed S. Mohammed vehe­ment­ly protests these alle­ga­tions. But bin-Laden’s name sur­faced as a name of one of the bank’s founders which already in 1983 had start­ing cap­i­tal of about $20 mil­lion. As late as 1996 bin-Laden was list­ed with 13 oth­er Sau­di and Sudanese as bank share­hold­ers. Accord­ing to Mohammed S. Mohammed, bin Laden only used the bank for two accounts for the Wadi Al Aqiq and the Al-Hijrah for Con­struc­tion and Devel­op­ment com­pa­nies. In 1997 these accounts were closed. The Wadi Al Aqiq, whose account was inac­tive since 1995 accord­ing to Mohammed, was not only a busi­ness fol­low­ing Sau­di law but was even reg­is­tered in Sau­di Ara­bia. Riyadh hasn’t answered the puz­zle of how bin-Laden could still be the reg­is­tered own­er of a Sau­di busi­ness when a year before the King­dom had revoked his cit­i­zen­ship rights and had frozen all the funds it could locate. As for the DMI, it also denies any links at all to ter­ror­ist groups.

[Although not cit­ed in the Dohnanyi book, the Son­ntagszeitung of Zurich in Decem­ber 2001 came out with a sto­ry con­cern­ing a 50 page report by the pri­vate Gene­va Organ­i­sa­tion du Crime Organ­ise (OCO) that also links al-Taqwa to pri­vate “human­i­tar­i­an” net­works. Accord­ing to the report, a Zurich-based Syr­i­an mem­ber of al-Taqwa (iden­ti­fied only as “K”) was also active in the now-liq­ui­dat­ed Mer­cy Inter­na­tion­al, which was used to over­come the UN weapons embar­go against Bosnia. K was also involved with the UCK in Alba­nia. While part of al-Taqwa, K also worked with the Firm Gulf Office in Lugano that was direct­ed by al-Taqwa share­hold­er Nasred­din. The report lists as part­ners of the al-Taqwa group the Gulf Office in Lugano, Spacetron­ic Sahal Int., and Nada Man­age­ment.]

Yeslam Bin Laden
The French
Swiss Lucien Rouiller was until 2001 not only an advi­sor to the DMI in Coin­trin but he was also an advi­sor to Faisal Finance SA and the Faisal Islam­ic Bank. At the same time Rouiller was linked to the Gene­va-reg­is­tered MKS Finance SA owned by the Shakarchi broth­ers. In the 1980s Shakarchi Trad­ing sent not just $25 mil­lion of CIA mon­ey to Afghanistan but also was involved in drug mon­ey for the Turk­ish mafia. For a time a mem­ber of the fam­i­ly was rep­re­sent­ed on the advi­so­ry board of Rus­sell-Wood in Lon­don as well. And this com­pli­cat­ed and many-branched busi­ness was the British branch of the Gene­va-reg­is­tered Sau­di Invest­ment Com­pa­ny (SICO). SICO was found­ed in May 1980 as the Swiss invest­ment cen­ter for the bin Laden fam­i­ly under the name Cygnet SA and lat­er renamed SICO. It belongs to the Swiss-based Yeslam bin Laden, one of Osama’s many half broth­ers. Yeslam has been zeal­ous in pro­mot­ing the idea that the bin Laden fam­i­ly has noth­ing to do with Osama. Yet Osama’s [step] moth­er in the begin­ning of 2001 vis­it­ed Afghanistan for an expen­sive mar­riage cer­e­mo­ny of her grand­son (which was broad­cast over al-Jazeera) and she speaks reg­u­lar­ly on the phone to Osama. Anoth­er half broth­er of Osama’s, Sheik Ahmad, told CNN how much he admires Osama’s deep piety as well as his deter­mi­na­tion to achieve a goal. And more and more French and Amer­i­can experts are sus­pect­ing finan­cial sup­port from his fam­i­ly that has eco­nom­ic con­se­quences. After 9/11 mem­bers of the Caryle Group (which includes George Bush Sr.) asked the bin Laden group to with­draw its invest­ments. Also an invest­ment of at least $20 mil­lion by the bin Laden group in a sis­ter soci­ety of the Deutsche Bank in Lon­don was sud­den­ly not wel­comed.

The idea that there remained close ties between bin Laden and his fam­i­ly was most put forth about Yeslam bin Laden who has spent the past 20 years in Switzer­land. It is the Swiss author Richard Labeviere in his 1999 book Dol­lars for Ter­ror that chal­lenged the offi­cial ver­sion that there was a clean break between Osama and the rest of the fam­i­ly in 1994. Labeviere says that SICO has played a key role in mon­ey laun­der­ing but Yeslam bin Laden refus­es to respond to the charges and said that it would be a great mis­take to respond, as it would only serve as fur­ther adver­tise­ment for the book. Yet after 9/11 a French report came out with the same infor­ma­tion accus­ing SICO of ties to bin Laden. It essen­tial­ly notes that SICO has so many off­shore struc­tures that it can elude finan­cial super­vi­sion. Five months after inves­ti­ga­tors of the French toll unit Tracfin assem­bled evi­dence regard­ing illic­it trans­ac­tions. The direc­tor of the inves­ti­ga­tion, Renaud van Ruym­beke, dis­cussed sus­pi­cious trans­ac­tions between France, Eng­land and the British Vir­gin Islands. Almost on the exact day of this announce­ment two months lat­er the homes and apart­ments as well as Yeslam bin Laden’s com­pa­ny were searched.

Yeslim bin Laden knows his life is now under the micro­scope. Why did he fly, for exam­ple, nine times to Milan? Each stop was so short, reports a mem­ber of the main­te­nance team at the pri­vate For­lani­ni air­port that it couldn’t be for shop­ping. Six times bin Laden came to Milan from his domi­cile in Cannes and because of EU reg­u­la­tions these flights were con­sid­ered domes­tic and no list of pas­sen­gers was required to be filed. But three times he flew in from Zurich and Ital­ian bor­der police have copies of the pas­sen­ger list. Here there is a puz­zle as one name is “Car­los Rochat” but there is no Car­los Rochat known to inves­ti­ga­tors. How­ev­er there is a Charles Rochat who is on the SICO advi­so­ry board. Is this a typo or is there some­one else using a false pass­port? They can’t get an answer from Yeslam bin Laden who is silent on this mat­ter.

It is equal­ly pos­si­ble that bin Laden’s silence about Rochat is meant to avoid oth­er prob­lems that might arise. Such as why Charles Rochat and Bau­doin Dunand, two mem­bers of the SICO advi­so­ry board who are attor­neys, on May 21, 2001 liq­ui­dat­ed the busi­ness Tyn­dall Trust that had first been reg­is­tered in Vil­lars-sur-Glane near Fri­bourg in Jan­u­ary 1986. They ful­filled the same func­tion for a sis­ter soci­ety of the Tyn­dall Trust that shared the same name and that was opened up in 1990 in Gene­va and liq­ui­dat­ed in Jan­u­ary 2001. One of the top man­agers of the Tyn­dall Trust since its found­ing was the Amer­i­can tax attor­ney Willard Zuck­er who lives in Gene­va. Zuck­er also con­trols the Lake Gene­va-reg­is­tered Com­pag­nie de Ser­vice Fidu­ci­aires (CSF). And CFS had, along with par­tic­i­pa­tion from Tyn­dall Trust, assumed finan­cial man­age­ment for a cor­po­rate group named Enter­prise.

Enter­prise, how­ev­er, had noth­ing to do with suc­ces­sor com­pa­ny to the 1983-found­ed suc­ces­sor to the Albert Hakim and U.S. Gen­er­al Richard Sec­ord-found­ed Stan­ford Tech­nolo­gies Trad­ing Group Inter­na­tion­al (STTGI), which lat­er changed its name to Enter­prise and admin­is­tered secret and ille­gal weapons ship­ments with Iran and the Con­tras. The same Willard Zuck­er arranged pay­ments from the Enter­prise account for Oliv­er North. In 1986 the Syr­i­an Mon­sar al-Kas­sar was paid from an Enter­prise account for a weapons deal with the Con­tras. But al-Kas­sar was not only one of the world’s great weapons deal­ers. He also had close ties with Islam­ic fun­da­men­tal­ist and ter­ror­ist groups in the Mid East. Al-Kas­sar also worked with an inter­na­tion­al group inter­est­ed in send­ing tox­ic and atom­ic waste mate­ri­als by ship to Mozam­bique.
As for Zuck­er, he has con­stant­ly denied that any of his activ­i­ty on behalf of the Enter­prise group from Amer­i­ca infringed on Swiss or U.S. law.

Genoud, Huber and Islam­ic Ter­ror­ism
What is even more sur­pris­ing than find­ing out the links between Rochat and Dunand with a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Iran-Con­tra affair like Zuck­er is find­ing a con­nec­tion point between Islam­ic ter­ror­ism and the far right. For it turns out that Bau­doin Dunand was not only the attor­ney for Fran­cois Genoud, the Swiss old Nazi who died in 1996, but also his close friend.

[Note: For the pur­pose of brevi­ty I will not sum­ma­rize infor­ma­tion on the old Swiss Nazi banker Genoud men­tioned in the Dohnanyi book that is con­tained in my Hit List arti­cle enti­tled “The Mys­te­ri­ous Achmed Huber: Friend to Hitler, Allah ... and bin Laden?” now avail­able on the web or the appen­dix devot­ed to Genoud in my book Dream­er of the Day: Fran­cis Park­er Yock­ey and the Post­war Fas­cist Inter­na­tion­al. Also note: There are many dif­fer­ent vari­a­tions giv­en for the spelling of Huber’s adapt­ed Mus­lim first name includ­ing “Achmed,” “Ahmed,” “Ahmet,” and “Ahmad “(the one tech­ni­cal­ly cor­rect).]

Return­ing to the Dohnanyi book: On July 21, 1988, at the bureau of a Lugano-based notary named Gian­lu­ca Boscaro gath­ered Huber, the Swiss pro­fes­sor (Hochschulle­her) Mohammed Man­sour and his wife Zeinab Man­sour Fat­touh as well as the Tunisian Youssef Nada and Ali Ghaleb Him­mat, who both live in the Ital­ian enclave of Cam­pi­one d’Italia in Switzer­land. Him­mat had come from Dam­as­cus in 1958 and first set­tled down in Ger­many and then in Aus­tria. The Alexan­dri­an-born Egypt­ian Nada two years lat­er came first to Aus­tria and then to Ger­many. Nada’s old­est daugh­ter mar­ried the son of the direc­tor of the Islamist cen­ter in Aachen, al-Attar Issam, who is con­sid­ered by the Ger­man Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion (Ver­fas­sungschutz) one of the most dan­ger­ous Islamists in Ger­many. Nada lat­er set­tled down in Tici­no (Tessin). Both Nada and Him­mat are mem­bers of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and in the 1990s both took Ital­ian cit­i­zen­ship.

The goal of the meet­ing with the notary was the found­ing of “al-Taqwa Man­age­ment Orga­ni­za­tion SA” that said it would be con­cerned with import­ing and export­ing var­i­ous goods around the world. 333 of the 1000 shares (at 100 Swiss Francs a share) went to Mohammed Man­sour and his wife. 332 went to Huber. Nada and Him­met took the rest. Man­sour was named the pres­i­dent but rarely was it men­tioned the clause in the con­tract papers that each deci­sion must be co-signed by the minor­i­ty hold­ers N
ada and Him­mat. Mean­while Nada became asso­ci­at­ed with such pres­ti­gious groups as the Pio Manzu think tank, which is locat­ed on the Adri­at­ic Coast and includes the likes of Gian­ni Agnel­li and Hen­ry Kissinger.

When Nada was ques­tioned in Octo­ber 2001 first by the Ital­ian and lat­er by the Swiss pub­lic pros­e­cu­tors he said he was inno­cent of any involve­ment in ter­ror­ism. Nor could he remem­ber where all the “Zakat” mon­ey went. This got a friend­ly laugh from the offi­cials who could fill his mem­o­ry lapse with a huge amount of doc­u­men­ta­tion. Youssef Nada and his friends had also found­ed al-Taqwa Bank in Nas­sau in the Bahamas. As the “pur­pose of the enter­prise” they list­ed the care of pri­vate invest­ments of the share­hold­ers as well as expect­ed clients in the car­ry­ing out of Scharia Law giv­en in the Islam­ic bank­ing world. Among the 500 share­hold­ers besides Huber, Him­mat and Nada were “also a noto­ri­ous right extrem­ist from Italy” [not fur­ther iden­ti­fied but this is Alessan­dro Karim Abdul Ghe — KC] and three mem­bers of the bin Laden fam­i­ly. [For the most detailed dis­cus­sion of the list of al-Taqwa Bank share­hold­ers in Eng­lish see Lucy Komis­ar, “Share­hold­ers in the Bank of Ter­ror” pub­lished in Salon and on the web.]

The al-Taqwa Group also spread out to firms in Liecht­en­stein and Great Britain and it soon devel­oped con­tacts in many lands. It fol­lowed the teach­ing of the Koran and gave 2.5845% of its prof­its as Zakat that came to $300,000 in 1992 and two years lat­er was around $1.6 mil­lion. The mon­ey went into accounts in the Aki­da Bank in Nas­sau, Cred­i­tanstalt Bankvere­in in Vien­na, the Al Rajht Bank­ing and Invest­ment Cor­po­ra­tion in Sau­di Ara­bia and the Finance House of Safat in Kuwait. A great part went to the Inter­na­tion­al Islam­ic Relief Orga­ni­za­tion (IIRO). From there inves­ti­ga­tors can fol­low the trail again to groups from al-Qai­da. Oth­er Zakat mon­ey went to Tunisian fun­da­men­tal­ist groups that like­wise had ties to bin Laden. Accord­ing to Ital­ian inves­ti­ga­tion reports from the police, the Al-Taqwa Group financed Islam­ic extrem­ist in Egypt, Tunisia, Alge­ria, Yemen, Sudan and Afghanistan. Also it sup­port­ed the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, the Alger­ian GIA and even the Abu Nidal Group.

Ahmed Idris Nasred­din
Inves­ti­ga­tors were espe­cial­ly inter­est­ed in Youssef Nada’s ties to Aki­ta Bank, which shared the same address as al Taqwa at Devaux Street, Nr. 10 in Nas­sau. The Aki­ta Bank belongs to the finan­cial Imperi­um of the Milan-based Kuwaiti named Ahmed Idris Nasred­din and his sons. And Nasred­din was not only an impor­tant share­own­er in Al Taqwa Bank. His con­nec­tions to Al Taqwa were so close that their employ­ees worked at the same time in the busi­ness affairs of both oper­a­tions. Nasred­din is a mem­ber of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood as well. And just as Nada has con­nec­tions to think tanks so Nasred­din has ties to high cir­cles in Ital­ian pol­i­tics.

Gus­ta­vo Sel­va belongs to Nasreddin’s wider cir­cle. The for­mer jour­nal­ist and today par­lia­men­tary mem­ber of the post fas­cist Partei Allen­za Nationale, Sel­va was until April 19, 1999, involved in the Roman-based busi­ness, the Arab-Ital­ian Con­sult­ing House. Six months before it went under, on Sep­tem­ber 18, 1998, a cer­tain Ser­gio Mari­ni was named the firm’s offi­cial receiv­er. Mari­ni was, togeth­er with the Nasred­din Inter­na­tion­al Group Lim­it­ed Hold­ings, also part of the Milan-reg­is­tered Line Invest­ment srl. Since 1988 Mari­ni was CEO of “L.I.N.E. Devel­op­ment Light Indus­try and Envi­ron­ment Devel­op­ment srl” in Rome whose admin­is­tra­tive direc­tor was Abduhrahim Nasred­din along with his deputy Ghaleb Him­mat, him­self a founder of al-Taqwa Group.

On Sep­tem­ber 12, 1977 Ahmed Idris Nasred­din – in the bureau of the Liecht­en­stein Rech­ta Treu­hand-Anstalt in Vaduz – also found­ed the Nasred­din Inter­na­tion­al Group Lim­it­ed Hold­ing (Nasco). The found­ing cap­i­tal of 100,000 Swiss francs came from an account that had been includ­ed a week before in a branch of Ban­co di Roma in Chi­as­so.

Only in the sec­ond half of the 1990s did any­one begin to pay atten­tion to any of these devel­op­ments when the role the Milan-based Islam­ic Cen­ter on Viale Jen­ner 50 played in the recruit­ment of Mujahid­din dur­ing the Bosn­ian war caught atten­tion. The center’s Imam had been “liq­ui­diert” by the Croa­t­ian secret ser­vice in 1995 in an oper­a­tion against Islam­ic fight­ers in Bosnia. After the war the back house of the mosque served as a meet­ing point for al-Qai­da fight­ers from around the world. From here again and again there were calls to the cen­tral al-Qai­da group in Afghanistan. And it was Ahmed Idris Nasred­din who paid the rent for the Cen­ter. A series of busi­ness­es of the Nasred­din Group, as well as con­struc­tion work­er coop­er­a­tive “Par­a­di­sio,” also had direct con­tact with the mosque.

The Ital­ian inves­ti­ga­tors of all this not always under­stood Nasreddin’s invest­ments in an eco­nom­ic sense. There was a ship that was sup­posed to car­ry dates that spent five months going back and forth between the Ital­ian and Adri­at­ic Coast. Or the more than 100 kilos of oranges that were flown into Italy. The inves­ti­ga­tors even found that the devout Mus­lim Nasred­din had ordered an entire car­go of pig’s meat. The inves­ti­ga­tors believed Nasred­din was con­ceal­ing his real oper­a­tions via appar­ent­ly sense­less busi­ness activ­i­ties.

The deep­er inves­ti­ga­tors dug the more sense­less it seemed. For exam­ple: The Liecht­en­stein-reg­is­tered Nasred­din Inter­na­tion­al Lim­it­ed Hold­ings on Octo­ber 20, 1994, decid­ed to change its name to Mid­dle East and Turkey Invest­ment Hold­ing Ltd. And then eight days lat­er it returned to its orig­i­nal name. There is also the fact that Nasred­din at the found­ing of the Nasred­din Inter­na­tion­al Group Lim­it­ed Hold­ing in Jan­u­ary 1977 appoint­ed – next to Dr. Enri­co Walser as trustee– of all peo­ple the Tici­no lawyer Dr. Ercole Doninel­li to the admin­is­tra­tive board. Doninel­li until his death was seen as the “soul” of the Lugano finance soci­ety Fimo that was wide­ly involved in the finan­cial scan­dals of the 1990s. Fimo helped Ital­ians to send up to 250 mil­lion Swiss francs year­ly in cap­i­tal flight. Even more defin­i­tive is the role Fimo has played since 1968 in the financ­ing into the mil­lions the first projects of the (at the time utter­ly unknown) con­struc­tion builder from Milan, Sil­vio Berlus­coni. The knowl­edge of how cap­i­tal from the mar­ried pair of Ercole and Ste­fa­nia Doninel­li went from Eti Hold­ings in Chi­as­so to more stops in the Inter­change Bank and from there to Ital­cantieri, a com­pa­ny head­ed by two Berlus­coni straw men, final­ly end­ed with the mass bank­rupt­cy of Fimo.

Yet the inves­ti­ga­tion of finan­cial ille­gal fund­ing by Fimo of Ital­ian par­ties which was begun in the begin­ning of 1992 was noth­ing in com­par­i­son to the dis­cov­ery that Fimo also washed mon­ey for the Ital­ian mafia as well as South African drug car­tels. Fimo mem­ber Giuseppe Lot­tusi had no prob­lem trans­fer­ring $12 mil­lion from the Sicil­ian mafia fam­i­ly Mado­nia to the Columbian Medellin car­tel, as the Ita­lo-Amer­i­can mafia mem­ber Joe Cuf­faro told Palmero inves­ti­ga­tor Gio­van­ni Fal­cone in his con­fes­sion. The scan­dal affect­ed the pres­i­dent of Fimo, Gian­fran­co Cot­ti, who was also a mem­ber of the Swiss Nation­al assem­bly, of the Bern regime. (His cousin Flavio Cot­ti was a mem­ber of the Swiss Fed­er­al Coun­cil where he was Min­is­ter for the Depart­ment of For­eign Affairs.) Gian­fran­co Cot­ti fled Fimo’s admin­is­tra­tive coun­cil in great haste and avoid­ed inves­ti­ga­tion.

But Ercole Doninel­li wasn’t the only dirty part­ner involved with Nasred­din Inter­na­tion­al Group Hold­ing Lim­it­ed. On Octo­ber 21, 1993, Ercole Doninel­li was replaced in the admin­is­tra­tive coun­cil by his wife Ste­fa­nia. At the same time the trustee was changed. Instead of Enri­co Walser, Nasred­din replaced him with Engel­bert Schreiber Sr. Lat­er Engel­bert Schreiber Jr. took over his father’s man­date. On March 3, 1997, the Press and Infor­ma­tion Bureau of Liecht­en­stein received an anony­mous let­ter send­ing infor­ma­tion about Engel­bert Schreiber Sr. and his involve­ment in mon­ey laun­der­ing. The let­ter (about the principality’s involve­ment with crim
inal groups like the Ital­ian mafia and the Columbian drug car­tel) claimed that the police chief of Liecht­en­stein was since 1985 in the pay of Medellin Boss Pablo Esco­bar. The let­ter said the con­tact came about through Engel­bert Schreiber via the Caracas/Venezuela mafia fam­i­lies Cun­tr­era, Caru­a­na, and Cal­darel­la with whom Schreiber stands in a close rela­tion­ship.

Then there was the report from the Ger­man BND that cit­ed Schreiber and oth­ers who were involved in mon­ey laun­der­ing with­out any pun­ish­ment from Liecht­en­stein. The prin­ci­pal­i­ty was upset that the Ger­man secret ser­vice inter­cept­ed tele­phone calls and siphoned off elec­tron­ic data from the banks. But after the pub­li­ca­tion of the BND papers out­spo­ken threat to have the Finan­cial Action Task Force (FATF) of the OECD to put Liecht­en­stein on the black list of mon­ey laun­der­ing states worked won­ders. Schreiber and some oth­ers had a peri­od of shame where they had to dis­tance them­selves as trustees in busi­ness groups. Was it an acci­dent, the inves­ti­ga­tors won­dered, why the Mus­lim Broth­er Ahmed Idris Nasred­din – out of the count­less num­ber of Liecht­en­stein trustees – would choose a man of Engel­bert Schreiber’s cal­iber?

The Aki­da Bank of Nasred­din was also sup­posed to be con­cerned with the spread­ing of Islam­ic bank­ing prac­tices. The Lugano-reg­is­tered affil­i­ate of the bank list­ed along with its founder Nasred­din, the Tessi­no-based Pier Felice Barchi. This attor­ney had great expe­ri­ence with rich and influ­en­tial for­eign cus­tomers. Barchi was also con­cerned with the Tessi­no finan­cial inter­ests of Ital­ian Prime Min­is­ter Berlus­coni and the Sau­di minor­i­ty part­ner in Berlusconi’s media group Medi­aset, Prince al-Waleed al Talal.

Huber and Gun Run­ning
Dur­ing the inves­ti­ga­tion of Nasred­din and Nada’s cir­cle, Milan inves­ti­ga­tors were no more amazed when on Sep­tem­ber 30, 2000, a Tunisian named Habib Wad­dani sur­faced with the infor­ma­tion about Ahmet Huber and his cen­tral role with his Islam­ic friends. Habib Wad­dani in the spring of 1996 had gone with Rodol­fo M., a Zurich-liv­ing attor­ney from Sici­ly, and met a busi­ness­man from the Baltic who made a tempt­ing offer, name­ly access to the weapons sur­plus of the for­mer Red Army. There was even talk of pos­si­bil­i­ty of widen­ing the deal to nuclear mate­r­i­al from the for­mer USSR. What was lack­ing was a buy­er. The Sicil­ian brought in an Islam­ic attor­ney Kamil B. liv­ing in Zurich for advice and he, in turn, called in his good friend Huber. And there was not only an inter­est in Russ­ian weapons but also a quick solu­tion ready for the logis­tics part.

In the small town of Lenzburg between Zurich and Olten, accord­ing to Wad­dani, Huber knew two Islam­ic fun­da­men­tal­ist immi­grants from Afghanistan, Shoayb Shar­i­fi and Haji K. Agha Moham­mad. They both found­ed togeth­er with two oth­er Afghans, Zemaray Haki­mi and Gulam Sakhi on June 30, 1998, the HSS Han­del­szen­trum GmbH. The fifth mem­ber of the busi­ness was Sharifi’s Zurich-born son Ahmad.

Wad­dani next gave the police doc­u­ments that showed that Huber arranged a meet­ing of the head of HSS with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the aid orga­ni­za­tion “Moth­er Tere­sa Cen­ter” in Lucerne. In real­i­ty con­cealed behind the name of the beat­i­fied Catholic was a clan­des­tine oper­a­tion of the Koso­vo UCH. The UCH gueril­las used the name of the pious nun as cam­ou­flage for mil­i­tary sup­plies in the war in Ser­bia. Next Huber acti­vat­ed his Mus­lim broth­ers in the Nasred­din-financed Milan mosque. They took over the Russ­ian weapons on the Swiss-Ital­ian bor­der in Chi­as­so and then took them to a port to trans­port the weapons from Ancona to Alba­nia. So in the sum­mer of 1998 lead­ing Islamists Afgha­nis took “mechan­i­cal sub­sti­tute parts” from the Red Army from the Baltic to Switzer­land and sent it to an appar­ent­ly Catholic aid orga­ni­za­tion in Lucerne and then with help from Islam­ic extrem­ists and the Koso­vo drug mafia sent the weapons through Italy to the sup­ply camp of the UCK in Alba­nia. After the end of the war in Koso­vo the weapons sup­ply con­tin­ued. Excess Sovi­et weapons were also sent on the way to Pak­istan and over the bor­der to Al Qai­da train­ing camps.

The Ital­ian inves­ti­ga­tors were able to ver­i­fy the great­est part of Waddani’s state­ments. His state­ments cleared up the mys­tery of at least two great ship­ments of Russ­ian weapons to the UCK that dur­ing the war in Koso­vo were dis­cov­ered in a truck in the port of Ancona. But there was no indi­ca­tion that HSS took up the offer for nuclear mate­r­i­al. But the Swiss, who were informed of the con­tent of Waddani’s state­ments, con­duct­ed a super­fi­cial inves­ti­ga­tion and said there was no valid rea­son to take action against the Moth­er Tere­sa Foun­da­tion or to take action against Islam­ic sub­ver­sive activ­i­ties in Switzer­land. The HSS went bank­rupt three years after the end of the Koso­vo war.

In spite of the evi­dence, Youssef Nada and his friends have been left alone. The Euro­peans feel that the U.S. has refused to share infor­ma­tion with them. Also the Swiss inves­ti­ga­tors made no progress against al-Taqwa because they got no infor­ma­tion from Amer­i­ca. There is a final ele­ment in this. In the begin­ning of May 2002 Sau­di Arabia’s Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter vis­it­ed Switzer­land. Offi­cial­ly Prince Nayif bin Abdu­laz­iz al-Saud went to Switzer­land for health rea­sons. On one evening the Prince vis­it­ed Bern. Report­ed­ly the Prince and anoth­er lead­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tive of a dif­fer­ent Arab state sent the Swiss a warn­ing that any show­ing of the books and activ­i­ties of Arab finance con­cerns and Islam­ic orga­ni­za­tions would be inju­ri­ous for the Swiss because deposit­ed cap­i­tal can be moved to anoth­er coun­try. The vis­it appar­ent­ly brought results. After the vis­it the Swiss have said that there is no infor­ma­tion or sug­ges­tion that either al-Taqwa or the Nasred­din Group was finan­cial­ly involved with 9/11.

How accu­rate is Schmutzige Geschafte und Heiliger Krieg? To answer this ques­tion it should first be not­ed that both Johannes von Dohnanyi and his wife are long­time jour­nal­ists with exten­sive expe­ri­ence in cov­er­ing for­eign affairs. Johannes has worked since 1985 as the Mid­dle East and Balka­ns cor­re­spon­dent for Welt­woche and cur­rent­ly cov­ers Ital­ian and EU affairs for the paper. His wife Ger­mana (who was born in Milan) has served as the Asia cor­re­spon­dent for Il Giornale/L’Indipendente and as a free­lance cor­re­spon­dent in the Balka­ns. Her work on envi­ron­men­tal issues has appeared in Green­peace mag­a­zine.

That duly not­ed, their book is a work of jour­nal­ists and not his­to­ri­ans. They will often cite a foot­note as “an investigator’s report in the pos­ses­sion of the authors” and oth­er such cites that make inde­pen­dent ver­i­fi­ca­tion almost impos­si­ble. Yet giv­en that much of this sto­ry remains opaque this is to be expect­ed to some degree. My feel­ing is that the Dohnanyis have cul­ti­vat­ed con­tacts with pro­fes­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tors from dif­fer­ent Euro­pean police agen­cies who are using them to cir­cu­late infor­ma­tion that they have not been able to ful­ly estab­lish as fact them­selves. There­fore while much of the above needs to be tak­en with a grain of salt, it can’t be sim­ply dis­missed. The pur­pose of my sum­ma­ry is to let informed stu­dents of these mat­ters be aware of the alle­ga­tions con­tained in Schmutzige Geschafte so they may form their own inde­pen­dent eval­u­a­tion of the evi­dence just as they would with sim­i­lar books such as Ben Laden: La Verite Inter­dite.


Any­one who exam­ines the al-Taqwa affair rapid­ly comes across the pres­ence of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood (MB) as al-Taqwa served as one of the Mus­lim Brotherhood’s key bank­ing insti­tu­tions in the West. In order to under­stand the MB’s pres­ence in the West in gen­er­al – and Switzer­land in par­tic­u­lar – it is absolute­ly nec­es­sary to grasp the vital role played by the late Said Ramadan, an extreme­ly famous fig­ure inside the Arab world but vir­tu­al­ly unknown in the West.

In his book Dol­lars for Ter­ror, Richard Lebeviere gives us a crit­i­cal pro­file of Said Ramadan. Ramadan mar­ried Wafa
Has­san al-Bana and thus became the son-in-law of Has­san al-Bana, the founder of the MB. Ramadan next led a famous brigade of Arab vol­un­teers to fight against Israel in the 1948 war. When Nass­er cracked down on the MB in Egypt in 1954, Ramadan relo­cat­ed first to Sau­di Ara­bia and then to Pak­istan. He then moved to Europe after get­ting Sau­di back­ing for the prop­a­ga­tion of Islam in Europe in par­tic­u­lar. At first, Ramadan opened a MB-backed Islam­ic cen­ter in Munich, in part in a reflec­tion of the MB’s col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Nazis dat­ing back to the late 1930s. [Lebeviere in this regard also cites Egypt­ian reports that Youssef Nada worked for the Abwehr (Ger­man mil­i­tary intel­li­gence) in the 1930s and 1940s. It should also be recalled that Fran­cois Genoud, the Swiss Nazi banker, began devel­op­ing con­tacts in the Arab world on behalf of Ger­man intel­li­gence begin­ning in the 1930sl.]

While in Ger­many Ramadan defend­ed his doc­tor­al the­sis on Islam­ic law at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cologne. How­ev­er the Saud­is advised Ramadan to make Switzer­land his main base of oper­a­tions and at the height of the Alger­ian war Ramadan opened up what is now a famous Islam­ic Cen­ter in Eaux-Vives near Gene­va in 1961. [It was at this cen­ter that Achmed Huber first con­vert­ed to Islam. – KC] Said Ramadan remained a top Euro­pean leader of the MB until his death in August 1995. This, in effect, means that Nada, Him­mat, Nasred­din, and all the oth­er MB lead­ers asso­ci­at­ed with al-Taqwa, were essen­tial­ly in Ramadan’s orbit. As Lebeviere writes, after being con­demned in absen­tia to forced labor for life by the Egypt­ian gov­ern­ment, Ramadan first “set­tled in Munich, then in Switzer­land, where he man­ages the movement’s fund.” (Ital­ics mine)

Ramadan and Iran­ian Ter­ror­ism
In a May 6, 2002 arti­cle in Le Monde, author Piotr Smo­lar quotes Achmed Huber as say­ing that he first met Youssef Nada only dur­ing the course of a con­fer­ence orga­nized in Iran in 1988. It was here that Nada approached Huber about par­tic­i­pa­tion in the found­ing of al-Taqwa. The rel­a­tive­ly brief time between Huber’s meet­ing Nada and his par­tic­i­pa­tion with al-Taqwa sug­gests that both men may have been oper­at­ing for the same larg­er con­cern, name­ly Ramadan’s MB oper­a­tion in Switzer­land.
Equal­ly inter­est­ing is that Huber and Nada met in Iran. In the late 1970s it has been report­ed that the Saud­is were said to have decid­ed to stop back­ing Ramadan’s Swiss cen­ter and in 1978 they opened their own group (l’Association Cul­turelle Islamique de Gen­eve) because the Sau­di monar­chy dis­agreed with Ramadan’s embrace of the Iran­ian Rev­o­lu­tion. [It should be recalled that Huber also became one of the Iran­ian revolution’s lead­ing West­ern sup­port­ers in the late 1970s.]

Incred­i­bly, in the mid­dle 1970s Said Ramadan actu­al­ly recruit­ed an Amer­i­can named David Theodore Belfield who lat­er changed his name to Dawud Salahud­din. Salahud­din was a black Amer­i­can who became rad­i­cal­ized and adopt­ed a mix­ture of third wordlist rad­i­cal­ism and Mus­lim beliefs. He lat­er served as an assas­sin for the Iran­ian gov­ern­ment and on July 21, 1980, Salahud­din mur­dered Ali Akbar Tabatabai, a for­mer press attaché at the Iran­ian Embassy under the Shah who was liv­ing in Bethes­da, Mary­land, where he helped direct a pro-Shah exile group, the Iran Free­dom Foun­da­tion. After the assas­si­na­tion, Salahud­din first fled to Gene­va and then to Iran.

Salahud­din first encoun­tered anti-Shah and pro-Khome­ni Iran­ian exiles in Wash­ing­ton. How­ev­er his life real­ly began to change in May 1975 when he met Said Ramadan who was the guest speak­er at the Islam­ic Cen­ter, a large mosque on Mass­a­chu­setts Avenue. [On Ramadan and Salahud­din, see David Ott­away, “The Lone Assas­sin” pub­lished in the Wash­ing­ton Post mag­a­zine on August 25, 1996 as well as Ira Sil­ver­man, “An Amer­i­can Ter­ror­ist” pub­lished in The New York­er, August 5, 2002. Both are avail­able on the web.] Salahud­din and Ramadan then lived togeth­er through the sum­mer of 1975 in a house in Wash­ing­ton near Howard Uni­ver­si­ty. Salahud­din to this day describes Ramadan as his advi­sor and spir­i­tu­al guide. There is also strong evi­dence that Ramadan was involved with hook­ing Salahud­din up to the Ira­ni­ans for the assas­si­na­tion of Tabatabai. Once in Iran, Salahud­din told The New York­er that he had exten­sive­ly trav­eled through the Mus­lim world as a kind of diplo­mat for Ramadan and that in 1986 he made “cer­tain rep­re­sen­ta­tions on behalf of Ramadan to Mua­mar Qaddafi” through one of Qaddafi’s cousins and in 1995 he “deliv­ered a mes­sage from Ramadan to Pres­i­dent Burhanud­din Rab­bain, in Afghanistan, warn­ing him that the Tal­iban had ties to the CIA.”

The sto­ry of Ramadan and Salahud­din is also remark­able giv­en that (as I doc­u­ment in my arti­cle on Huber now on the web), Huber to this day main­tains close ties to rad­i­cal black Islamist fanat­ics based in Wash­ing­ton, DC., such as Imam Abdul Alim Musa and Sheikh Mohammed al-Asi, both of whom are asso­ci­at­ed with the pro-Khome­i­ni Insti­tute of Con­tem­po­rary Islam­ic Thought (ICIT). Both man also main­tain good ties to the New Black Pan­ther Par­ty, an orga­ni­za­tion found­ed by the late Khal­lid Moham­mad after he split from the Nation of Islam.

Huber and the Mount Pelerin Meet­ing
Per­haps the most recent remark­able sto­ry con­cern­ing Huber comes from a brief item in the Swiss tabloid Blick that in an April 26, 2002 arti­cle by Alexan­der Saut­ter that Huber was involved in a meet­ing of far-right lead­ers from Europe. A pho­to show­ing Huber with Jean Marie Le Pen accom­pa­nies the arti­cle. The Blick sto­ry (avail­able on the web) is as fol­lows:

Mont Pelerin VD: Chris­t­ian Cam­buzat, the pro­mot­er (Scharf­mach­er) of the right extrem­ist Jean-Marie Le Pen (73): The guru assem­bles togeth­er some of the top lead­ers of the Euro­pean right. On the idyl­lic Mont Pelerin, they debate their crude ideas.

At his secret vis­it to a spa in Switzer­land Le Pen hard­ly remained alone. Right­ist lead­ers from all over Europe trav­eled to meet the extrem­ist pres­i­den­tial can­di­date who was host­ed by Cam­buzat. Franz Schon­hu­ber (79). Founder of the Repub­li­can Par­ty in Ger­many and a for­mer mem­ber of the SS. He talked with Le Pen who con­sti­tutes togeth­er with Schon­hu­ber the “Front Nation­al” Frac­tion in the Euro­pean par­lia­ment.

Gian­fran­co Fini (50). Ital­ian post-fas­cist, Mus­soli­ni admir­er, and founder of the Allen­za Nation­al. He also was at the meet­ing with Le Pen and Schon­hu­ber.

Ahmed Huber (74). The Swiss is on the Bush Admin­is­tra­tion black­list... “I met le Pen at Mont Pelerin as he went to Chris­t­ian Cambuzat’s spa,” Huber told Blick yes­ter­day. At the extrem­ist ren­dezvous an Amer­i­can far right politi­cian was also sup­posed to have tak­en part. [Note: The Amer­i­can is not fur­ther iden­ti­fied. – KC] Chris­t­ian Cam­buzat said that Le Pen (after the elec­tions) had again become the sharpest weapon of the “Front Nation­al” because Le Pen changed his image from a ven­omous old man to a “kind­ly U.S. TV evan­ge­list.” Proud­ly Cam­buzat brags, “With me Le Pen can relax well” [from his polit­i­cal endeav­ors – KC]. And open­ly link up with new con­tacts.

[Although the Blick sto­ry does not give details, Cam­buzat runs a spa for very rich, the Lemanique de Revi­tal­i­sa­tion, inside a hotel on the famous Mont Pelerin.]


The over­whelm­ing thrust of this report has been to give the read­er a great deal of empir­i­cal infor­ma­tion that he or she may not have easy access to in order that they may eval­u­ate the claims for them­selves. I have avoid­ed draw­ing any con­clu­sions because I do not feel qual­i­fied to draw con­clu­sions about the Islamist finan­cial machi­na­tions this report dis­cuss­es. How­ev­er I find it impos­si­ble not to put out a call for fur­ther research involv­ing the over­lap between Nazi and Islamist net­works that seem to have been in con­tin­u­al con­tact from the 1930s until today. In the case of Genoud, Huber, and Ramadan this is becom­ing more and more impos­si­ble to avoid.

My own belief is that it is less the appar­ent­ly fan­tas­tic and “James Bond”-like qu
ali­ty of this analy­sis that is most dif­fi­cult to under­stand. The real dif­fi­cul­ty is the utter igno­rance of most West­ern­ers (Amer­i­cans in par­tic­u­lar) about the very exis­tence of such peo­ple as Fran­cois Genoud. Thus when Ernst Back­es, one of Europe’s lead­ing experts in mon­ey laun­der­ing, told the Lux­em­burg-based eco­nom­ic jour­nal Plus Minus last year that he believed the finan­cial source of funds for the 9/11 ter­ror­ists would ulti­mate­ly be traced back to Swiss bank accounts estab­lished by Genoud, few Amer­i­cans had any idea what Back­es could pos­si­bly be talk­ing about. For this same rea­son there has been vir­tu­al­ly no inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tion into SICO’s Bau­doin Dunand’s rela­tion­ship to Genoud or (for that mat­ter) the role that the Syr­i­an-born Muham­mad Mar­dam Bay (believed to be relat­ed to a for­mer Syr­i­an for­eign min­is­ter) has played both as a mem­ber of Magnin, Dunand & Asso­cies as well as Bay’s pos­si­ble links with Genoud. And what does it mean when we are told that Youssef Nada, for exam­ple, is believed by Egypt­ian author­i­ties to have worked for Ger­man intel­li­gence in World War II?

It is not at all impos­si­ble that net­works first devel­oped in the 1930s and who saw their eco­nom­ic pow­er fan­tas­ti­cal­ly mul­ti­plied in the wake of the enor­mous hike in oil prices in 1973 are now engaged in try­ing to enact a major finan­cial shift away from the dol­lar and Anglo-Amer­i­can finan­cial net­works and to shift the vast wealth of the Mus­lim oil states into a new Euro-based finan­cial net­work that would vast­ly increase the pow­er of those banks and finan­cial inter­ests in Europe asso­ci­at­ed with ele­ments of far right elites that sur­vived World War II rel­a­tive­ly intact.

If this were at all the case, it would not be a new devel­op­ment. The very same attempt to devel­op an inde­pen­dent Sau­di-Ger­man hookup to sub­vert the U.S. and British dom­i­na­tion of the Sau­di oil mar­kets was actu­al­ly attempt­ed in the mid-1950s. At that time the Sau­di roy­al fam­i­ly – using the advise of the famous Ger­man banker Hjal­mar Schacht – attempt­ed to employ Aris­to­tle Onas­sis to trans­port Sau­di oil on new oil tankers that would be con­struct­ed in the ship­yards of Ger­many. This attempt to break the West­ern oil con­trol over Sau­di Ara­bia was final­ly blocked by the Unit­ed States, a sto­ry well doc­u­ment­ed in Jim Hougan’s book Spooks (New York: William Mor­row, 1978).

The doc­u­men­ta­tion regard­ing this com­plex ques­tion is there for any­one who wants to exam­ine it. Of course I am NOT attempt­ing to sug­gest a sim­ple mono-causal expla­na­tion for the cur­rent cri­sis. What I am sug­gest­ing is that soon­er or lat­er these con­nec­tions between the far right and groups like the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood that began in the 1930s and con­tin­ue today will have to become the sub­ject of seri­ous and sober research in order to help us shed new light on the extra­or­di­nary cir­cum­stances we are liv­ing under today.


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