The Global Bust-Out Series (Chapter 6): An Oligarchic-Organized Crime and Terrorism Syndicate (and Some Stock Promoters)

The Global Bust-Out Series (Chapter 6): An Oligarchic-Organized Crime and Terrorism Syndicate (and Some Stock Promoters)

This is Chapter 6 of a multi-chapter series. On your right is a Table of Contents to all chapters so far published.

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In this chapter of the Global Bust-Out Series, we learn still more about the Bank of Credit and Commerce and International (BCCI) and its business partners (the “larger BCCI enterprise”). Although this might seem like ancient history, it is history that we should not forget because the people who were involved with the BCCI enterprise did not simply disappear when BCCI collapsed in 1991. To the contrary, most of them remained in business. This despite the fact that Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau had described BCCI as “the largest banking fraud in world financial history.”

Recall, too, that the larger BCCI enterprise did more than operate “the largest banking fraud in world financial history.” It also deployed a variety of schemes to “bust-out” publicly listed companies, some of them among the largest savings and loan banks in the United States. This contributed to the savings and loan crisis that began in the late 1980s, and which ultimately cost American taxpayers upwards of $2 trillion in bail-outs—a portent of bigger and better things to come.

The larger BCCI enterprise also “busted out” (i.e. looted and destroyed) smaller public companies, and it “busted out” other national economies besides the one in the United States. When a few BCCI principals were brought to trial (they were sentenced to pay nothing more than fines that were a fraction of what they had looted), the sentencing judge correctly remarked that the BCCI enterprise had single-handedly “shattered the integrity of the global financial system.”  They had also shattered the integrity of Washington, where officials went to lengths to protect the larger BCCI enterprise from prosecution.

Because the BCCI enterprise was never seriously prosecuted (or exposed in the media), the people who had been involved with BCCI and the larger BCCI enterprise (some of them global terrorists) continued during the years that followed not only to remain in business, but also to operate an almost precisely similar enterprise, the only difference being that the enterprise came to include some new and younger players, while people involved with the enterprise innovated new and more destructive financial schemes. More specifically, they innovated new ways to “bust-out” publicly listed companies and national economies.

Indeed, as we will see, a number of them contributed to the great meltdown of 2008, and they are presently threatening to deliver a repeat performance.

It is no overstatement to say that miscreants (some of them operating big banks on Wall Street) who were formerly involved with BCCI and the larger BCCI enterprise presently pose the single biggest threat to the stability of the global financial system and our economic well-being. More than that, they pose a serious threat to the future of our democracy and to political stability in many other nations as well.  This is, in other words, the history that partly accounts for our present predicament, and it is the history that has (already to the great detriment of our democracy) been covered up by officials in Washington, and ignored by the major U.S. news organizations (many of them owned by people previously linked to the BCCI enterprise).

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During the 1980s, there existed a global network of brokerages linked to BCCI, and it is essential that we know more about these brokerages and their activities because some of their proprietors later established a similar global network of brokerages—and that network, we shall see, remains in business today.

The first fact to know about the brokerages linked to BCCI is that they looted many billions from the global financial system, and most of this looting was accomplished by the perpetration of so-called “pump and dump” schemes. See Chapter 1 of this series for a fuller description of “pump and dump” schemes, but I will repeat the essentials because these schemes have never been properly defined by the media, and rarely, if ever, has anyone been prosecuted for the most damaging component of these schemes. That is to say, American law enforcement officials sometimes prosecute the “pump” end of the schemes, charging miscreants for inflating (or “pumping”) stock prices, which is a relatively minor infraction, but law enforcement officials (and the media) routinely ignore the “dump” end of the schemes even though it is the “dump” that causes the most damage to the financial system.

In a typical “pump and dump” scheme, miscreants first gain a degree of control over a company and/or its stock, and then initially “pump” the shares, causing the stock price to soar in value. But as the name of the scheme suggests, the miscreants eventually  “dump” shares into the market, causing the stock price to decrease in value. And when the miscreants “dump” shares into the market, they always simultaneously attack the target stock with manipulative short selling that causes the stock price to go into a death spiral, thereby ensuring that the stock will hit zero before ordinary investors can realize what is happening and recoup some of their losses.

It is the manipulative short selling where the miscreants make much of their money, and obviously it is the manipulative short selling that wipes out ordinary investors and does the most damage to the markets, but it is this component of the scheme—the manipulative short selling—that is rarely prosecuted.

The manipulative short selling is rarely prosecuted partly because the targeted companies (especially in “pump and dump” schemes) are often fraudulent companies, and authorities apparently believe that the stock price of a fraudulent company ought, in any case, to be zero. But often, the targeted companies are legitimate, while others are not fraudulent until such time as miscreants gain a degree of control over them. And fraudulent or not, the result is always the same: the companies are “busted out” (i.e. destroyed), with the manipulative short selling triggering death spirals that ensure that ordinary investors have no chance whatsoever to exit the stock before it hits zero.

As Congressional investigators tasked to look into the BCCI scandal noted, the global network of BCCI-affiliated brokerages manipulated the U.S. markets and victimized countless investors in North America. However, the whitewashed report produced by the Congressional investigation into the BCCI scandal failed even to identify these brokerages by name, and failed also to identify the people who operated the brokerages. The major U.S. news organizations, meanwhile, reported almost nothing about these brokerages, and on the rare occasion when the brokerages were named, the media not only failed to note that the brokerages were affiliated with the BCCI enterprise, but also failed to report that the brokerages were involved in any criminal activity whatsoever.

The Wall Street Journal, for one, never mentioned any of these brokerages, but one of The Wall Street Journal’s award-winning journalists, Larry Gurwin, did publish a seminal book about the BCCI scandal, and this book (title: “False Profits”) contained much information that apparently could not appear in the newspaper that employed him. For example, Gurwin’s book noted that many of the BCCI-affiliated brokerages were operated by a man named Thomas Quinn, which was interesting because Quinn had been identified by the FBI (which never arrested him) as a major organized crime figure with ties to the Genovese Mafia family.

Quinn operated his brokerages—a global network of BCCI-linked brokerages with names like Equity Management Services, Kettler Investment, etc.—in partnership with other mobsters, including a man named Arnold Kimmes. The FBI identified Kimmes as a “major organized crime figure” in a classified report published in 1973, but the FBI did not arrest Kimmes in 1973, nor did the FBI  arrest Kimmes in any subsequent years, though Kimmes (being a “major organized crime figure”) committed  a lot of major organized crimes in league with BCCI and Quinn.

Quinn traveled often to the Middle East, where some of his brokerages were located, and spent part of every year in the United States, where he manipulated markets in league with a network of other brokerages with ties to organized crime. When he wasn’t traveling in the Middle East or the United States, Quinn was based in France, where he owned a pink villa overlooking the Mediterranean – a villa that he had named Farmhouse of the Roses, suggesting that major organized crime figures appreciate things that are cute and pretty.

In 1988, French police stormed Farmhouse of the Roses, kicking down doors, ransacking the place, hauling away evidence, and arresting Quinn, who was subsequently sentenced to four years in (French) prison on charges of securities fraud and market manipulation. When he was released, Quinn returned to the United States, where law enforcement officials and regulators never bothered him, though it was known that he was once again operating multiple criminal brokerages in this country. For example, Quinn co-founded an outfit called Sovereign Equity Management in partnership with an American criminal-oligarch named Phil Abramo, who was widely known as “The King of Wall Street.”

In addition to being known as “The King of Wall Street,” Abramo was a capo in the DeCalvacante Mafia family.

There were many other major organized crime figures involved with brokerages linked to the BCCI enterprise in the 1980s (and with similar brokerages in subsequent years). Among them were such Mafia luminaries as Canadian mob boss Vic Cotroni; and Antonio Commisso, a.k.a. L’avvocatu, or The Lawyer – the Toronto boss of the Ndrangheta Mafia organization, also known as the Siderno Group because it  has its origins in Siderno, Italy. Meanwhile, these mobsters and others–including Abramo, Quinn, and Kimmes–had extensive business with a famous Canadian stock promoter and organized crime figure named Irving Kott.

In 1979, a hit man named Cecil Kirby placed a bomb under Kott’s car. The bomb exploded, but Kott survived to co-found several brokerages in the global network linked to BCCI. For example, in 1983, Kott co-founded an outfit in Amsterdam called First Commerce Securities, which was the largest and most destructive of the BCCI-linked brokerages.

In 1984, Kott crossed paths with man named Ali Nazerali, who was then a senior employee of an outfit called the Gulf Group and also acted as a principal of a company called Ayla Holdings BV. This lead to Nazerali’s involvement with First Commerce Securities, which has been described as history’s largest-ever “boiler room” operation (“boiler room” being a common name for brokerages that “pump” stocks that are subsequently “dumped” to rip off investors). In 1986, a crack-down by Dutch authorities forced First Commerce to cease operations. The Dutch authorities requested a bankruptcy declaration against First Commerce in December 1996, which was granted in January 1987. Dutch authorities at one point estimated that First Commerce had scammed innocent investors of nearly $400 million (in 1986 dollars).

Nazerali later claimed in an affidavit filed in Canadian court proceedings that Ayla Holdings only had a “conditional” agreement to purchase First Commerce, but a number of sources allege that Nazerali was involved along with Kott in the operations of the brokerage during the period from 1984 to 1986. Neither Nazerali nor anyone else associated with First Commerce was charged with any crime related to operating First Commerce, although a First Commerce managing director was briefly arrested in November, 1986, and the Dutch authorities issued a warrant for Kott’s arrest in 1987. By this time, Kott had (in 1985) survived a second assassination attempt, and was traveling under a false name, reportedly because he feared for his life.

One of First Commerce’s top executives, meanwhile, had been a fellow named Joseph Gamal, who had transferred to First Commerce from BCCI headquarters in London, while another top executive of First Commerce had been a man named Simon Raouff, who had previously worked for Iraq’s foreign ministry, and who was, according to “False Profits” and others, involved with BCCI’s shipments of weapons to Iran and Iraq. Raouff also formerly worked for the Gulf Group, and Nazerali (the fellow who operated First Commerce from 1984 to 1986) was (as mentioned) formerly a top executive at the Gulf Group.

According to multiple sources, including “False Profits,” Nazerali was, like Raouff, also involved in the arms business, and it is likely that he began selling arms while working for the Gulf Group.

The Gulf Group was one of BCCI’s most important affiliates, involved in everything from container shipping to arms dealing and financial services. As Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau and many others later made clear, much of the cash that BCCI looted from the global financial system was delivered to the Gulf Group in the form of loans that were not expected to be paid back (and most of that money disappeared). The Gulf Group was controlled by a man named Abbas Gokal and his two brothers, Murtaza and Mustapha Gokal. The Gulf Group and the Gokal brothers themselves also had connections with First Commerce Securities and other brokerages linked to the BCCI enterprise.

Abbas Gokal subsequently became the only major BCCI figure to do jail time for his BCCI crimes, and after his release from jail, he moved to Tehran, where he and his brother, Mustapha, became financial advisors to the Iranian regime. Back in 1969, another Gokal brother, Hussein Gokal, was hanged by the Iraqi government, which had convicted him (albeit in the Iraqi courts, which had a low burden of proof) of being an Iranian spy. That was before the 1979 Islamic revolution, but after the revolution, the surviving Gokal brothers and the Gulf Group had (like their affiliate, BCCI) extensive and close working relationships with the Iranian regime.

The Gulf Group, like BCCI itself, also worked closely with the Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI, and Abbas Gokal, who was one of Pakistan’s most prominent oligarchs, served (as did many of Pakistan’s oligarchs) as an asset of Pakistan’s intelligence service. Among other ventures, the Gulf Group helped the Pakistani intelligence service deliver weapons to the mujahedeen in Afghanistan, and the Gulf Group was linked to the nuclear weapons proliferation network operated by Pakistan’s intelligence service and Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan, known as “The Father of the Islamic Bomb.”

One of the beneficiaries of that nuclear proliferation network was the regime in Iran, and the Gulf Group’s dealings with the Iranian regime were so extensive that the mullahs who ruled Iran considered the Gulf Group to be not just one of their most important business partners, but a key ally in furthering the Islamic revolution. The Iranians relied on the Gulf Group for financial and policy advice, and also for a steady supply of sophisticated weaponry. Rachel Ehrenfeld (now director of the Economic Warfare Institute) has written that the Gulf Group “was the major player in delivering strategic and nuclear weapons [components] from the West to Iran and other Muslim countries.”  Congressional investigators reached similar conclusions.

Abbas Gokal, the man who controlled the Gulf Group, was also an intermediary for American oligarchs looking to do business with BCCI and the Iranian regime. Among these American oligarchs was a financial operator named Ivan Boesky, who would later become best known as Michael Milken’s most important criminal coconspirator.

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During the 1980s, Boesky ran what was then one of the nation’s most powerful arbitrage funds (today it would be called a hedge fund), and he had a reputation on the Street as a mysterious character who liked to operate in the shadows – a guy known to deliver suitcases full of cash to gorillas with handguns holstered on their hips. According to Pulitzer Prize winning author James Stewart (see his book, “Den of Thieves”), Boesky often told people that he had spent an earlier period in Iran working as a CIA agent.

Prosecutors would later describe in colorful detail the armed gorillas and suitcases full of cash, but Boesky’s claims to have been working as a CIA agent in Iran were somewhat dubious. It is more than likely, as one of Boesky’s former business colleagues confirmed in an interview with DeepCapture, that Boesky had (and still does have) deep ties not to the CIA, but to the regime in Iran (though, of course, it is possible that he had ties to both).

In any event, it is certain that Boesky spent time in Iran. He was, for example, in Iran soon after the 1979 Islamic revolution that brought the current Iranian regime to power, and when he returned from that trip Boesky went into business with a trader and oligarch named Marc Rich, who, like Boesky, was transacting large volumes of trading with the Iranian regime. The intermediary for Rich’s trading with Iran was, of course, Abbas Gokal, and Rich relied on BCCI for much of his finance. Indeed, Congressional investigators would later identify Rich as being a key figure in the larger BCCI enterprise.

Throughout the 1980s, Rich and Boesky shared New York office space in a building (at 650 Fifth Avenue) that was owned by an outfit called the Assa Corporation, which was controlled by the Iranian regime. Much later, in 2009, the Department of Justice indicted the Assa Corporation, alleging that it was a front for Iranian espionage in the United States, and that it was funding Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The DOJ also presented evidence that the Assa Corporation had ties to organized crime, and it is likely that the Assa Corporation’s had been conducting business with organized crime since the 1980s. As we will see, Rich and Boesky also had extensive ties to organized crime and they continue to this day to do business with the Assa Corporation (which has dealings with numerous brokerages in the United States, its indictment for espionage and funding Iran’s nuclear program notwithstanding).

In 1983, Rich was indicted for illegally trading with the Iranian regime during the 1979-1980 Iran hostage crisis, which saw U.S. soldiers die in an unsuccessful attempt to rescue American diplomats who were being held hostage at the U.S. embassy in Tehran. After he was convicted, Rich fled to Switzerland and lived as a fugitive from the law, but U.S. President Bill Clinton, on his last day in office, granted Rich a pardon from his crimes, and by this time Rich was, perhaps, the world’s most powerful commodities trader, in addition to being a big player in other markets.

President Clinton’s decision to pardon Rich from his crimes was influenced by a hedge fund manager and oligarch named Michael Steinhardt, who had persistently lobbied Clinton on Rich’s behalf, and who was one of the largest funders of the Democratic Party. In addition, Steinhardt had co-founded an outfit called the New America Foundation, which played a key role in securing the presidency for Clinton, and was later credited with having authored much of the Clinton administration’s policy platform.

As Steinhardt has himself admitted (possibly because he worried that the information was going to become public anyway, and because he wished to deliver the news as if it were no big deal) the largest investors in his first hedge fund were the Genovese Mafia family. This was because Steinhardt’s father, Sol “Red” Steinhardt, was (in the words of a Manhattan district attorney) the “biggest Mafia fence in America.” More specifically, Steinhardt Sr. was the chief money manager for the Genovese and affiliated Mafia families.

According to Steinhardt, the second biggest investors in his hedge fund (after the Genovese Mafia) were Marc Rich and his office mate, Ivan Boesky. Steinhardt, meanwhile, had become one of the more prominent (and some say “notorious”) hedge fund managers on Wall Street. In 1991, Steinhardt was implicated in a scheme to corner the U.S. Treasuries market—a scheme that would have had disastrous consequences for the U.S.A. if had been successful. Two years earlier, in 1989, The Wall Street Journal described Steinhardt as being part of a “network” of financial operators who deployed manipulative short selling to attack publicly listed American companies. Indeed, though The Wall Street Journal did not report this, the same “network” had conspired with BCCI to “bust-out” (i.e. destroy) some of America’s largest financial institutions.

In addition, this “network” remains in business today, so there is more that we need to know about the “network,” beginning with the information that the “network” includes Ivan Boesky and Marc Rich, not to mention former BCCI figures like Abbas Gokal and some of the world’s leading organized crime bosses. Meanwhile, of course, a central figure in the “network” is Boesky’s most famous criminal coconspirator, Michael Milken, who was (in the 1980s) the most powerful man on Wall Street, and who remains to this day one of the most destructive financial operators in the nation.

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Although Milken spent two years in prison, and is, without doubt, one of history’s most destructive financial criminals, the major U.S. news organizations presently describe Milken as being not only a Wall Street hero, but also one of the most “prominent” fixtures of the American establishment. Even the usually reliable Economist magazine published an article in September 2010 that hailed Milken as an “innovator” whose junk bond finance in the 1980s helped build some of America’s greatest companies.

It is true that Milken’s finance contributed to the growth of a few major companies. For example, Milken financed Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. In addition, Milken finance helped Ted Turner build CNN into a media powerhouse. And it is perhaps no coincidence that CNN was, meanwhile, doing business with BCCI subsidiary Capcom Financial, which, during the 1980s, transacted $90 billion (a mighty sum in those days) in “wash” trades through Milken’s trading desk at Drexel Burnham Lambert.

As noted in earlier chapters, “wash” trades are usually accompanied by manipulative  short selling, and they cause extensive damage to the markets. In addition, “wash trades” usually involve money laundering (hence the term “wash”), so it is probably notable that Capcom Financial and its director, Ziauddin Ali Akbar, who also served as BCCI’s treasurer, were, in the 1980s, indicted for laundering money on behalf of Colombian drug cartels. And of course, the larger BCCI enterprise was laundering money for terrorist outfits and the world’s leading organized crime syndicates. (Congressional investigators determined that Capcom principals, one of whom was the chief of Saudi intelligence, might also have influenced CNN’s coverage of the Middle East and of BCCI itself).

In any event, while  Milken did finance a few successful companies, Milken and a close-knit cabal of criminal-oligarchs destroyed (i.e. “busted out”) far more companies than they built, and, often, they did so in league with the BCCI enterprise.

It would require another book-length blog to discuss all of the companies that the Milken cabal destroyed in the 1980s, and the subject has already been covered to some extent by other books, so I will leave it to the reader to consult, for example, Connie Bruck’s highly acclaimed book, “The Predators’ Ball,” which describes Milken’s  larger scheme in general terms. Perhaps the best book on the Milken cabal is Ben Stein’s “License to Steal,” in which Stein posited that the principal business model of Milken & Co. was to “bust out” (a term that Stein also used, which is to say I didn’t make it up) publicly listed companies, including many of the nation’s leading savings and loan banks. (Stein later became a columnist for The New York Times, which never publishes anything negative about Milken nor any other oligarch).

Although the major U.S. news organizations devoted little attention to the “bust-outs” of savings and loan banks, the “bust-outs” were noticed by others, including the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) and the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation (FSLIC), whose deputy director at the time was the crusading William Black, a rare example of an honest man in government who later (as a professor of economics) developed the concept of “control fraud,” in which financial executives (e.g. Michael Milken and his associates) deliberately use entities that they control as a “weapon” to commit fraud that undermines markets and the broader economy. Back in the 1980s, as the FDI noted, Milken and his closest associates “willfully, deliberately, and systematically plundered certain S&Ls.”

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The Milken variation of the “bust out” worked as follows: Milken issued junk bonds to finance about two dozen of his closest associates, who used the finance to take over good companies. Under the direction of Milken’s cronies, the companies took on ever greater amounts of Milken’s junk bond debt. But rather than use the finance to grow the companies, the Milken cronies simply looted the companies of their cash. To create the illusion that there was a liquid market for the junk bonds, the Milken cronies meanwhile traded their bonds amongst each other at stair-stepping prices.

As the government’s indictments of Milken made clear, this junk bond merry-go-round was conducted with Mafia-like secrecy – nobody other than Milken’s closest associates knew that the only buyers for the junk bonds were Milken’s other closest associates. Meanwhile, Milken was involved with a nationwide network of brokerages and investment funds (many featured in later chapters of this series, and many still in business today) that traded on inside information about these companies and manipulated their stock prices. When the Milken’s junk bond cronies were done looting their companies, Milken and his cronies, along with others in their network, would attack the companies with manipulative short selling, thereby triggering a death spiral in their stock prices and ensuring that the companies could not be saved.

One of the short sellers who regularly attacked companies that were “busted out” by Milken and his associates was, of course, Michael Steinhardt (the guy with the hedge fund whose biggest investors were Marc Rich, the Genovese Mafia, and Milken’s criminal co-conspirator Ivan Boesky). Others were among the short sellers who were part of the short selling “network” exposed by the 1989 Wall Street Journal story that identified Steinhardt as being a key figure in the network. Later chapters of this series will discuss the network in greater detail, but for now it is enough to know that the 1989 Wall Street Journal story reported that others in the network, including a fellow named Jim Chanos, were employed at the time by a brokerage called Gilford Securities.

By 2000, Chanos had left Gilford Securities and (with funding from Steinhardt, son of the biggest Mafia fence in America) started his own hedge fund, Kynikos Investments, one of the most powerful hedge funds in the nation. Chanos also headed up (and still does head up) a hedge fund lobbying organization and, by 2000, he had become a  favorite source of information for journalists at major U.S. news organizations, including The Wall Street Journal, which never again published a story exposing manipulative short selling. Meanwhile, in 2000, five former brokers at Gilford Securities were indicted as part of Operation Uptick, billed by the FBI as the largest Mafia bust in history. The FBI reported at the time that the Gilford brokers had manipulated stocks in league with a “network” that included ten of La Cosa Nostra’s leading lights and a corrupt New York cop.

When I called Chanos’ former boss, H. Robert Holmes, to ask about Operation Uptick and the Mafia’s infiltration of his brokerage, he said: “This is bullshit.” Indeed, almost none of the 120 people arrested in Operation Uptick (ostensibly the biggest Mafia bust in history) were ever sentenced to anything worse than small fines, and most of them remained in business, so maybe Holmes was right: it was bullshit.

Back in the 1980s, when Gilford and Chanos were part of Milken’s nationwide network, their manipulative short selling targeted numerous companies that had been financed with Milken’s junk bonds. Chanos presently tells reporters that he was Milken’s nemesis and that his short selling of Milken-financed companies was evidence that he had a keen nose for fraudulent companies, but this is pure spin. Milken financed those companies fully intending that they would be “busted out” (i.e. destroyed) with help from manipulative short selling perpetrated by others, including Chanos and Steinhardt, in his network. And the short selling attacks, of course, triggered the essential death spirals in the stock prices of the target companies so that even if the companies’ boards of directors were to remove the Milken cronies, the companies would be unable to raise finance from more reputable sources.

When the companies went bankrupt, Milken and his cronies, including the short sellers, would make a fortune. Other Milken cronies would make still more money by purchasing the companies’ assets at fire-sale prices in the bankruptcy proceedings. And then they would repeat the process all over again, assured that the junk bond merry-go-round would supply a constant stream of lootable finance.

But, of course, this scheme eventually collapsed – and it must be stressed, the vast majority of the companies that Milken financed ultimately were destroyed.

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As already indicated, many of the companies that were destroyed by Milken & Co. were savings and loan banks, and in the case of the savings and loan banks, there was another important component of the scheme that involved a small number of people who specialized in so-called “brokered deposits.” Indeed, “brokered deposits” were one of the more important contributors to the savings and loan crisis, and they have been similarly cited as a contributing factor (other factors being manipulative short selling and “control fraud”) in our more recent financial crisis.

The full story of brokered deposits is a long one, but the short version is that a brokered deposit is, as the term implies, a bank deposit that is acquired through a broker.

More specifically, the broker aggregates deposits from many sources, and is paid by a given bank to deliver his bundle of deposits to the bank in question. The hitch is that these brokered deposits, unlike, say, checking and savings accounts, are generally not a stable source of funding, and technically, undercapitalized banks are not allowed to accept them. However, in the 1980s, there were loopholes (and there remained loopholes in all the years that followed) that enabled some well-connected brokers to deliver huge bundles of deposits to the most dubious banks, and in the process those banks would take on costly liabilities. In the case of the savings and loans that were part of the Milken junk bond merry-go-round, the deposits were simply looted.

In the 1980s, the single most important deposit broker—and a central character in most accounts of the savings and loan crisis (see, especially, the book “Inside Job.”)—was an organized crime figure named Mario Renda. And Renda’s most important business partner was Adnan Khashoggi, who, of course, was a key figure in the larger BCCI enterprise. Khashoggi was also closely involved with the global network of brokerages linked to the BCCI enterprise, and he (along with others already mentioned) will prove extremely important to our later discussion of the financial crisis that began in 2007, and which continues to this day.

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It is not an understatement to say that the savings and loan crisis would not have happened if it were not for the work of Renda and his sponsor Khashoggi, who, along with Milken, was one of the masterminds of the scheme to “willfully, deliberately, and systematically plunder” not just a few banks, but more than a hundred savings and loan banks across the nation, some of them among the nation’s most important financial institutions. Also central to this scheme was an outfit called CenTrust, which was based in Miami, and was the largest savings and loan bank in the southeastern United States. As Congressional investigators would later reveal, CenTrust was controlled by BCCI, and financed by Milken.

CenTrust was also a key component of Milken’s junk bond merry-go-round—i.e. the merry-go-round that allowed a host of Milken-financed savings and loan banks, including CenTrust, to appear healthy, even though they were taking on ever greater liabilities in the form of brokered deposits, and even though they were being “systematically” plundered (i.e. “busted out”). Ultimately, of course, CenTrust was one bank that was “busted out,” and its inevitable collapse alone cost U.S. taxpayers more than $2 billion.

Another key participant in the Milken junk bond merry-go-round and the larger scheme to “bust-out” major savings and loan banks was a monumental criminal and prominent American oligarch named Charles Keating. With Milken’s finance, Keating seized control of an outfit called Lincoln Savings and Loan, which was then the largest savings and loan bank—and one of the most important financial institutions—in the nation. Ultimately, of course, Milken and Keating, along with others in their network, “systematically plundered” (i.e. “busted out”) Lincoln Savings and Loan, and they did so in cahoots with the BCCI enterprise.

A later Congressional investigation would reveal that one BCCI figure involved in the “bust-out” of Lincoln Savings and Loan was a shadowy Swiss financial operator named Alfred Hartman, who was a member of BCCI’s board of directors and the head of BCCI Swiss subsidiary, Banque de Commerce et de Placements, based in Geneva.  Also involved in the “bust-out” of Lincoln Savings and Loan, according to Congressional investigators, was Abbas Gokal, head of the Gulf Group. As we know, the Gulf Group was one of BCCI’s most important affiliates, closely tied to the Iranian regime and Pakistani intelligence.

When the Senate Foreign Relations Committee began investigating BCCI for its role in Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, the Committee announced that it intended to take a close look at Keating’s relationship with Gokal and the Gulf Group. It is not clear what, if anything, came of that investigation, but we would be justified in asking whether any serious investigation occurred at all given that Keating had successfully corrupted (or “captured”) at least five senators. Those captured senators would later become known, famously, or notoriously, as “The Keating Five,” at which point it was widely reported that the senators had, for many years, been intervening on Keating’s behalf, helping to derail law enforcement investigations into the goings-on at Lincoln Savings and Loan.

The same senators—and other senators besides—had given speeches on the Senate floor singing the praises of BCCI and ridiculing those who suggested that BCCI was a criminal enterprise. Presently, U.S. senators continue to sing the praises of billionaires who were formerly involved with the BCCI enterprise, and many of those billionaires continue to be given VIP treatment by other top officials in Washington.

Therefore, it is necessary for us to learn more about the billionaires who were formerly involved with the BCCI enterprise, beginning with the observation that all of these billionaires are, like Milken, also treated with reverence by the major U.S. news organizations, including The New York Times. And it is to one recent (and typical) New York Times article that we now turn, if only because it gives further credence to my contention that The New York Times is less reliable than People magazine, while the New York Times slogan—“All the News That’s Fit to Print”—is false and eminently fraudulent advertising that should be reported to the Better Business Bureau.

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In 2009, The New York Times published an obituary marking the death that year of Sheikh Khalid bin Mahfouz, the Saudi billionaire and Muslim Brotherhood oligarch who had, in the 1980s, been the largest shareholder of BCCI, and who had served as executive director of the bank. Sheikh Mahfouz was also one of history’s most destructive financial criminals, and when he and other BCCI principals were tried for their BCCI crimes, the presiding judge (who sentenced them to pay fines that were fraction of what they looted) named Sheikh Mahfouz as one among the people who had “shattered the integrity of the global financial system.” Aside from that, Sheikh Mahfouz was the most prominent banker in Saudi Arabia.

Not only was Sheikh Mahfouz the principal banker to the Saudi royal family, but he had also been the principal financier of numerous other Saudi oligarchs, including Adnan Khashoggi, who had been involved with the BCCI enterprise during the 1980s. In addition, Sheikh Mahfouz had been the proprietor of numerous other financial institutions, all of which had been affiliates of BCCI during the 1980s, and most of which remain in operation today. For example, Sheikh Mahfouz founded an outfit called National Commercial Bank, which is presently one of the largest and most powerful financial institutions on the planet, with extensive operations in the United States, and partnerships with some of Wall Street’s leading brokerages and investment houses.

If all that were not enough, Sheikh Mahfouz was also the most important business partner of a Saudi oligarch and terrorist named Osama bin Laden.

For these and other reasons to be discussed, Sheikh Mahfouz was, in fact, one of the most important people in the world. That alone is enough to cast doubt on The New York Times slogan—“All the News That’s Fit to Print”—for The New York Times rarely printed anything at all about Sheikh Mahfouz until his death in 2009, at which point The Times published an obituary for Sheikh Mahfouz that is worthy of our attention not because it was exceptional, but because it was entirely typical of the reporting by America’s most important newspaper, and this typical story was so ingratiating to power and so grossly propagandistic that it might not be an exaggeration to suggest that The New York Times itself poses a greater threat to the republic than do any of the terrorists who purportedly hate our freedoms.

For starters, The New York Times did not describe Sheikh Mahfouz as one of history’s most destructive financial criminals, and nor did the Times note that Sheikh Mahfouz and his BCCI associates had “single handedly shattered the integrity of the global financial system.” The Times did report that Sheikh Mahfouz had paid some money to settle fraud charges related to his involvement with BCCI, but the always “balanced” New York Times noted (and gave credence to) Sheikh Mahfouz’s claim that the payment (around $250 million, but the Times didn’t say how much) to settle fraud charges was just a “business decision,” and that he had not technically paid a “fine” because he denied all wrong-doing.

As for the nature of the BCCI enterprise, The New York Times reported only that BCCI had been shut down in 1991 after being accused of “financial chicanery and money laundering.” That was it. Just “chicanery,” as if it were nothing more than a slap-stick funny sort of mischief. Recall that this was a bank that helped “bust out” the American economy, meanwhile running a global network of criminal brokerages in partnership with transnational organized crime syndicates and providing a full package of services to the world’s leading terrorist outfits, with some terrorists themselves counted among the key figures in the larger BCCI enterprise. This is the same BCCI enterprise that thoroughly corrupted Washington and captured leading U.S. news organizations.

This was a bank (see “The Outlaw Bank,” by Johnathon Beaty, who was chief investigative reporter for Time Magazine until he reported the truth about this bank) that operated its own “Black Network” involved in everything from terrorism and coups de’ tat to weapons smuggling, narco-trafficking, nuclear weapons proliferation, prostitution, political assassinations, kidnappings, and murder for hire.

The New York Times has never reported any of that, and in its obituary for Sheikh Mahfouz (which was also the last time the Times mentioned BCCI), the Times literally had nothing more to say about BCCI other than those few words:  “financial chicanery and money laundering” (i.e. standard banking procedures), tempered with the assurance of Sheikh Mahfouz that neither he nor BCCI had committed any wrongdoing. Aside from that, this story in the Times demonstrated nothing short of admiration for Sheikh Mahfouz, noting that “Sheikh Mahfouz typified Saudi Arabia’s super-wealthy.” The Times gushed further that Sheikh Mahfouz “maintained opulent homes around the world and traveled in his own Boeing 767 with gold-plated bathroom fixtures.”

The Times also reported (approvingly) that Sheikh Mahfouz had, in 1977, joined a “Washington insider” named John Connally and unnamed “others” to buy an outfit called Main Bank of Houston. In addition, the Times reported that Connally introduced Sheikh Mahfouz to some Texas billionaires, namely the brothers William Herbert Hunt and Nelson Bunker Hunt, and the Times reported that these billionaires and Sheikh Mahfouz proceeded to collaborate in an effort to corner the silver market.

However, the Times did not seem to think there was anything wrong with American oligarchs and a Saudi sheikh trying to corner the silver market. In addition, the Times reported that the attempt was “unsuccessful” because Sheikh Mahfouz had (according to the Sheikh Mahfouz) “lost money” in the effort. Moreover, readers of this story in the Times were left to believe that this was the full extent of Sheikh Mahfouz’s business in the United States: the purchase, with a “Washington insider,” of Main Bank, and an “unsuccessful” attempt to corner the silver market.

But there was more to this story—news that the Times didn’t see “Fit to Print.”

For example, the Times did not report that Sheikh Mahfouz was (in the 1980s) a key player in a network of financial operators who were systematically plundering not just Main Bank, but also more than 100 other savings and loan banks. In addition, the Times failed to report that the “attempt” to corner the silver market was more than an attempt, and was, in fact, entirely successful in that Sheikh Mahfouz and his partners (for a time) fully controlled the price of silver. From the perspective of a Muslim Brotherhood oligarch like Sheikh Mahfouz (see earlier chapters of this series for more on what Muslim Brotherhood leaders call “The Financial Jihad”) the cornering of the silver market was all the more successful in that it wrought havoc in the broader markets, and nearly caused the collapse of  Bache & Co., which was then one of America’s largest investment banks.

As for that “Washington insider,” John Connally, the Times seemed to believe that it was par for the course and even commendable for Sheikh Mahfouz (who was then perpetrating the “biggest banking fraud in world financial history” in partnership with the chief of Saudi intelligence and other BCCI figures) to seek favor with a “Washington insider,” and the Times failed to report that this particular insider, Connally, had recently served as Secretary of Treasury, in which capacity he had convinced President Nixon to devalue the dollar and abandon the gold standard (which helped Sheikh Mahfouz corner the silver market).  Moreover, at the time when he went into business with Sheikh Mahfouz, Connally had announced his intention to run for president of the United States, though the Times didn’t mention that.

The Times also failed to report that Sheikh Mahfouz went into business with many other “Washington insiders” besides Connally. For example, Sheikh Mahfouz and BCCI purchased National Georgia Bank, the principal financiers of then President Jimmy Carter’s family peanut business, and Sheikh Mahfouz had extensive business with future President George Bush, Jr.  Indeed, Sheikh Mahfouz and other key figures in the BCCI enterprise effectively owned Washington, and they still owned Washington at the time of Sheikh Mahfouz’s death in 2009, but this was neither newsworthy nor problematic so far as The New York Times was concerned.

In addition, the Times failed to report that Main Bank, the outfit that Sheikh Mahfouz acquired with a Washington insider, was a key component of a larger scheme—namely, a scheme to “bust out” the U.S.A. and the global economy—that Sheikh Mahfouz and BCCI were perpetrating in league with other “Washington insiders” and American oligarchs, among them, of course, Michael Milken, who was, at the time, the most powerful man on Wall Street and one of history’s most destructive financial criminals (worthy of our respect and admiration,, according to The New York Times).

One of the few journalists who has reported extensively on the savings and loan scam is Pete Brewton, formerly of various of newspapers in Texas, and indeed Brewton (who has been scorned by others in the mainstream media for failing to toe the party line) is one of the world’s reigning experts on the savings and loan scandal. In addition, Brewton (see his book on the Mafia and savings and loans) has reported that Main Bank (owned by Sheikh Mahfouz and Washington insiders)  was part of a network of affiliated savings and loan banks that raised (with help from Khashoggi’s organized crime partner Mario Renda) a steady stream of brokered deposits, with the banks lending the cash back and forth to each other.

This daisy chain of lending served a purpose similar to Milken’s junk bond merry-go-round, temporarily creating the appearance that the banks were functioning and liquid financial institutions, but, of course, the goal of the people in the network was ultimately to “bust-out” (i.e. loot and destroy) all of the savings and loan banks in the network, including Main Bank. It might also be noted (though it is not “News That’s Fit to Print”) that Sheikh Mahfouz and other BCCI figures controlled or partially controlled numerous other banks in the network, among them an outfit called MBank and its parent, MCorp.

The two biggest clients of MBank (i.e. two people who helped loot the bank, as they were not expected to repay their loans) were major organized crime figure Herman Beebe and Carlos Marcello, who was then the top Mafia boss in the city of New Orleans (and the chief of La Cosa Nostra operations throughout Texas and other southern states). Another outfit in the network was Mainland Bank, which was “busted out” with help from Adnan Khashoggi, who, of course, was financed by Sheikh Mahfouz. Mainland’s top client, meanwhile, was Leonard Capaldi, whom the DOJ would later identify as a major organized crime figure and close associate of Detroit Mafia capo Tony Tocco.

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Yet another bank in the network was San Jacinto Savings and Loan, which was a subsidiary of an outfit called Southmark Corporation, operated by Gene Phillips, the single most important business partner of Michael Milken, and a central player in the Milken-BCCI scheme to “bust out” the national economy.

Southmark was the largest recipient of Milken junk bonds in the 1980s, and it was the lynchpin of the junk bond merry-go-round. Its subsidiary, San Jacinto, was one of the largest savings and loan banks in the nation, and, of course, it was “busted out” (i.e. looted and destroyed) with much of the loot going to a familiar cast of coconspirators, including Adnan Khashoggi; Sheikh Mahfouz; New Orleans Mafia boss Carlos Marcello; and the notorious mobster-oligarch Herman Beebe, who was linked to the “bust-outs” of no less than two dozen other saving and loan banks across the nation.

The man whom Gene Phillips appointed as the chief loan officer of San Jacinto Saving and Loan was named Joseph Grosz. Aside from being a banker, Grosz was a leading mobster, affiliated with the Chicago Syndicate. As Brewton reported, San Jacinto’s parent, Southmark, was  “used as a mob dumping ground to buy the investments of mobsters,” including not only Herman Beebe and Carlos Marcello, but also organized crime figure Harry Wood, and Morris Shenker, a former lieutenant of Meyer Lansky, who was the most powerful mobster in the nation until he was replaced by Alvin Malnik. Meanwhile, in the 1980s, Malnik (the nation’s most powerful mobster) managed investments in the United States for Saudi princes involved with the BCCI enterprise (as was reported by People magazine, but not by The New York Times).

The “bust out” of San Jacinto cost American taxpayers another two billion in bailouts, and a Department of Justice investigation determined that San Jacinto and its parent, Southmark, were key components of the nationwide network that coordinated the “bust outs” of many other savings and loan banks—namely the network that is the subject of this story, and which precipitated the savings and loan crisis that ultimately cost more than $2 trillion in taxpayer-funded bailouts. However, Lloyd Monroe, the man who led the DOJ investigation into Southmark and San Jacinto, was forced to resign from his job after complaining that top officials at the DOJ had thwarted his investigation, and neither Phillips nor any other Southmark executive was charged for their role in the savings and loan scandal.

Presently, Phillips is still the most important business partner of Michael Milken, and most major U.S. news organizations seem to regard Phillips in the same way they regard Milken—i.e. as something of a Wall Street hero and a “prominent” fixture of the American establishment. The only exceptions are a few journalists (including Brewton) who have covered Phillips closely, and who managed to report on his activities in prominent publications in Texas, where Phillips is based. For example, the Dallas Business Journal reported in 2000 that Phillips “allegedly met with two associates of New York’s legendary Bonanno organized crime family to discuss a plan to bilk a couple of ‘very friendly’ union pension funds through the sale of inflated stock.”

That same year, 2000, Phillips was arrested and charged with manipulating stock prices in league with other leading figures in La Cosa Nostra. More specifically, Phillips was arrested as part of Operation Uptick, which, of course, was described by FBI spokesmen as the largest Mafia bust in U.S. history. More than 120 people (including, recall, those five brokers who had worked for Gilford Securities), all with ties to organized crime, were arrested in Operation Uptick, and FBI officials described them as being part of a nationwide “network” of stock manipulators, some of whom had committed various other crimes, which included (according to an FBI statement):  “controlling and infiltrating broker-dealers…and employing tactics of violence, including threats, extortion, physical intimidation, and the solicitation of murder…”

Some of the 120 people arrested in Operation Uptick were members of Russian organized crime syndicates, while others were, variously, described by the FBI as having ties to each of La Cosa Nostra’s five major Mafia families—Genovese, Colombo, Gambino, Bonanno, and Lucchese.  Among the 120 defendants, aside from Phillips (and aside from the five former Gilford brokers), were:  Robert “Little Robert” Lino, a capo in the Bonanno crime family; Anthony Stropoli, a soldier in the Colombo crime family; Frank “Frankie” Persico, a Colombo Mafia capo; Sebastian “Sebbie” Rametta, an associate of the Colombo crime family; Robert Gallo, an associate of the Genovese crime family; and John Black, an associate of the Lucchese crime family.

The DOJ charged that Phillips, in league with various members of La Cosa Nostra, had manipulated the stock of one of his companies, an outfit called Transcontinental. Aside from Phillips, the largest shareholder in that company was Michael Milken, who, of course, was Phillips’ most important business partner, known to readers of The New York Times only as a “prominent” fixture of the American establishment who was (at this time in 2000, according to the Times) focused principally on “philanthropic” activities. (See my book “The Dendreon Effect” if you wish to learn how Milken uses his “philanthropy” to manipulate stocks of pharmaceutical companies and to suppress promising medical treatments developed by companies that he and others with ties to organized crime are trying to destroy for profit.)

The New York Times has yet to report that Phillips was arrested as part of the largest Mafia bust in FBI history, and nor has The New York Times ever reported that the Mafia has a large presence on Wall Street.

The Wall Street Journal did report that Phillips had been arrested, but The Journal provided nothing at all in the way of detail about the ties between Phillips and the Mafia, much less about his earlier central role, along with leading mobsters and BCCI, in the savings and loan scandal (i.e. in the “bust out” of the American economy). Instead, The Journal simply noted that Phillips had been arrested “in a sweeping case alleging organized crime influence on Wall Street,” and then described some Phillips businesses in relatively benign terms. However, the author of The Wall Street Journal article did note that when he tried to interview Phillips, he not only found Phillips uncooperative, but was told by Phillips: “You’re not supposed to be talking to me. You’re going to get buried.”

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A few weeks after the Wall Street Journal story was published, Phillips was acquitted on all counts. Most of the mobsters arrested in Operation Uptick also did not do jail time, and as I noted earlier, most of them remain in business today. More specifically, they are involved with a nationwide network of brokerages, and as we will see, this network of brokerages (though the brokerages have changed their names, and there are some new editions) is essentially the reincarnation of the network that BCCI and leading organized crime figures established in the 1980s.

As we know, the global network of brokerages linked to BCCI in the 1980s specialized in “busting out” small and medium-sized public companies. It should be added, though, that the establishment of this global network of brokerages was not unrelated to BCCI’s other ventures, including its involvement in the schemes to “bust out” savings and loan banks. Some of the brokerages in the global network were established as subsidiaries of the savings and loan banks that had been seized by BCCI and/or BCCI’s confederates, the most prominent confederate being, of course, Michael Milken (then the most powerful man on Wall Street).

Later chapters of this series will discuss the global network of brokerages in more detail, but to cite just one more example, a BCCI affiliate called the Saudi European Corp. and Michael Milken, among others, including Sheikh Mahfouz, gained control over a savings and loan operation called MDC Holdings. The ultimate goal, of course, was to “bust out” MDC Holdings, and, of course, that is ultimately what happened. But like the other savings loan banks in the network, MDC Holdings was, for a time, made to appear like a healthy and going concern, utilizing all of the methods that we have already discussed.

In other words, MDC Holding was a key component of Milken’s junk bond merry-go-round; it was a key recipient of the “brokered deposits” delivered by the organized crime figure and Khashoggi partner Mario Renda; and it was a key link in the “daisy chain” that saw all of the banks and miscreants in the network lending money back and forth to each other.

In addition, MDC Holdings counted among its subsidiaries a brokerage called Blinder Robinson, which was so notorious that it was known on the Street as “Blind’em and Rob’em.”

The eponymous head of Blinder Robinson was Meyer Blinder, whose diamond-encrusted pinky ring and thick, gold chains marked him as one among the new breed of financial operators who had descended upon Wall Street. Blinder was indicted in 1989, but he did only 39 months in prison, and was back in business upon his release. And, of course, Blinder was treated generously by the major U.S. news organizations, including our favorite, The New York Times, which published a 2004 obituary marking the death of Meyer Blinder—an obituary that we should briefly review because its omissions are related to the omissions in the Sheikh Mahfouz obituary, to which we will return momentarily.

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Upon the death of Meyer Blinder, The New York Times reported that Blinder had been the “King of Penny Stocks,” and the Times described Blinder’s “penny stock” business as follows:  “Keep pushing the stock up, moving it from hand to hand at higher prices until the ‘story’ behind the stock wears thin. Then just walk away from it.”  The Times added that Blinder had been charged with nothing worse than selling stock at “markups that were above the allowed 10 percent.” In addition, The Times reported that Blinder had always warned that “everybody who gambled on penny stocks knew the risk,” and The Times seemed to agree with that statement (the suggestion being that the investors in penny stocks were suckers who deserved what they got when Blinder and his confederates stole all their money).

It was not, of course, the case that Blinder’s outfit simply kept “pushing the stock up” until it came time to “just walk away from it.”  Nor was it the case that ordinary investors were fully aware of the risk. Blinder’s brokerage, like others in the network, perpetrated “pump and dump” frauds, the most important component of which was not the “pump,” but rather than “dump” and the accompanying manipulative short selling that sent stocks into death spirals, with the stocks hitting zero before ordinary investors could become even remotely aware that they were being fleeced. That is why the operation was called “Blind’em and Rob’em,” though The New York Times did not report that, and The Times did not report that the “Blind’em and Rob’em” schemes had “busted out” (i.e. destroyed) at least a hundred publicly listed companies over the course of its amazing crime spree.

Among the miscreants who manipulated stocks in league with Blinder Robinson were (according to various indictments) Thomas Quinn and Arnold Kimmes who (as we know) had operated a number of other BCCI-linked brokerages. Quinn, recall, was an associate of the Genovese Mafia family, while Kimmes had been identified in a 1973 FBI report as a “major organized crime figure.” When Kimmes was indicted, he escaped prison by ratting on Meyer Blinder. In 2000, Richard Walker, then the SEC’s director of enforcement (who had failed, for the most part, to take any enforcement actions in this regard), gave testimony to Congress in which he described Blinder Robinson as being part of a network of brokerages that were tied to organized crime. The New York Times, of course, reported none of this.

The Times, did, however, report (approvingly) that Blinder had “raised more than $200 million for starting and nurturing businesses.”  More specifically, he raised $200 million to seize control of businesses that he and others subsequently “busted out,” but the Times left that part out, and concluded its story by informing its readers that Blinder’s “generosity to charities like the Denver’s Children’s Hospital was well known.”  And that was it. All the news that was fit to print, according to the Times, which did not see fit to print anything close to quantifying the damage that Blinder Robinson had inflicted on the global financial system, much less the fact that it had done so in league with BCCI and a host of mobsters and terrorist financiers who were involved with the larger BCCI enterprise.

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One of Blinder Robinson’s key principals in the 1980s was a fellow named Amr Ibrahim Elgindy, and later chapters of this series will be devoted entirely to discussing Amr Ibrahim (a.k.a. Anthony) Elgindy because he later established a short selling syndicate that remains in operation today, though Elgindy himself was, in 2005, sentenced to 11 years in prison on charges of securities fraud and bribing FBI agents to provide him with confidential information about government investigations into companies that his short selling crew had targeted for destruction.

During his 2004-2005 trial, prosecutors stated that Anthony Elgindy had ties to Al Qaeda, and that he might have traded ahead of his advance knowledge of the September 11 conspiracy.

In support of their contention that Elgindy had ties to Al Qaeda, the prosecutors began by noting that Elgindy had delivered large sums of money to an outfit called Mercy International, but at this point the judge cut off the prosecutors and forbade them from any further discussion of Elgindy’s ties to terrorism. According to the judge, linking Elgindy to terrorists would bias the jury, which was a bit like saying that it would be unfair to discuss a criminal’s ties to the Mafia, but the major U.S. news organizations seemed to agree with the judge. The New York Times published a story casting doubt on the prosecution’s contention that Elgindy had ties to terrorism, and The Wall Street Journal not only reported that the prosecution had unfairly biased the jury by mentioning terrorism, but published a long story strongly suggesting that it would be unfortunate if Elgindy were to be sentenced to prison at all.

Again, later chapters of this series will be devoted entirely to the true story of Anthony Elgindy and his short selling syndicate, but for the purposes of this chapter it is enough to know that Elgindy did, in fact, have ties to terrorists, and it is possible that he developed these relationships while working for the BCCI-linked Blinder Robinson. It is also possible that prosecutors were cut off by the judge when they began to discuss Elgindy’s ties to Mercy International because at that time the Department of Justice and other U.S. government agencies were not keen for the public to know about Mercy International’s ties to terrorism. Indeed, officials in Washington were going to some lengths to cover-up Mercy International’s ties to terrorism, and though it is not clear why they were doing so, it is noteworthy that Mercy International was co-founded by people who had formerly been involved with the BCCI enterprise.

One of Mercy International’s co-founders was Sheikh Mahfouz, who, of course, was one of the most “prominent” bankers on the planet and a business partner of numerous “Washington insiders.” Another of Mercy International’s co-founders was a man named Abdurrahman Alamoudi, who was the scion of one of Saudi Arabia’s wealthiest families, a resident of the United States, and an honorary member of the American establishment. Mr. Alamoudi had contacts at the highest levels in Washington, and for a time during the 1990s, he worked in the White House as an advisor (on Middle Eastern affairs, terrorism, etc.) for President Bill Clinton.

In addition, Mr. Alamoudi (Elgindy’s close associate) was one of the most important figures in Osama bin Laden’s organized crime (and terrorism) syndicate. (Osama bin Laden’s outfit, of course, is usually referred to as “Al Qaeda,” and I will continue to use that term in contexts where it has been used by U.S. officials, but it should be recalled that Osama bin Laden himself never used the term “Al Qaeda” until long after U.S. officials invented the name and inserted it into the public lexicon. As we know from earlier chapters of this series, Osama bin Laden was, prior to September 11, 2001, better known as a leading figure in the Muslim Brotherhood and chairman of a Muslim Brotherhood outfit called the Islamist International).

In 2003, Mr. Alamoudi (co-founder of Mercy International, and one of Elgindy’s closest associates) was arrested at London’s Heathrow airport when customs officials found that he was carrying a suitcase with a secret compartment containing $350,000 in American cash. At this point, U.S. officials went to lengths to cover-up Mr. Alamoudi’s ties to Osama bin Laden, and in 2004 (the same year when the judge prohibited prosecutors in the Elgindy trial from elaborating on Mercy International and Elgindy’s ties to terrorism), the Department of Justice issued a press release stating that Mr. Alamoudi was a Saudi “dissident” who had been indicted for illegal financial transactions with the government of Libya, and who had been involved in a conspiracy to assassinate the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, described by the DOJ press release as “an important ally in the war on terror.”

Subsequently, many news organizations (citing U.S. officials who wished to remain anonymous, perhaps because no U.S. official wished for his name to be attached to this outlandish story) reported that the conspiracy to assassinate the crown prince of Saudi Arabia had been hatched by Moammar Qadaffi, then leader of Libya, and that it was Qadaffi himself who had delivered the suitcase full of cash to Mr. Alamoudi, who was to use the cash to finance the assassination plot. Like the DOJ, the major news organizations reported that Mr. Alamoudi was a Saudi “dissident,” and that other unnamed Saudi “dissidents” in London were involved in the conspiracy (hatched by Qadaffi) to assassinate the crown prince. Since the major U.S. news organizations had rarely reported on “dissidence” in the context of Saudi Arabia, the implication of this big story about Mr. Alamoudi and Qadaffi was that Saudi dissidents were, as general rule, undesirables who hatched assassination plots with tyrants.

Meanwhile, in 2004, the major U.S. news organization were reporting that the Qaddaffi regime was a leading state sponsor of terrorist organizations, including Al Qaeda, and that same year, 2004, The New York Times broke the big news that Qadaffi was developing a nuclear weapons program. Not long before, of course, the major U.S. news organizations (most notoriously, The New York Times) had reported that the regime of Saddam Hussein was a leading sponsor of Al Qaeda, and that Saddam was developing a nuclear weapons program, possibly with plans to deliver a nuke to Osama bin Laden.

Meanwhile, every major U.S. news organization, including the New York Times, reported that the war on terror was necessary to defend our freedoms and democracy, and that our important ally in the war on terror was the government of Saudi Arabia (i.e. the most totalitarian state on the planet).

It was soon learned that most everything reported by the major U.S. news organization concerning Saddam Hussein was patently false, but this did not result in much introspection on the part of the major U.S. news organizations, including The New York Times, whose star reporter, Judith Miller, it was revealed, had done nothing more than take dictation for the White House. And after the stories about Saddam Hussein were shown to be false, the major U.S. news organizations continued to report essentially the same party line, which was that U.S. troops in Iraq were fighting an alliance of Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein loyalists, and that this was a war in the name of freedom and democracy.

Some years later, in 2011, The New York Times and other major U.S. news organizations reported that President Barrack Obama had ordered the U.S. military to go to war in support of “Arab Spring” rebels who were fighting for freedom and democracy in Libya. At this time, one important story still circulating was the story that Qadaffi had hatched a conspiracy to assassinate the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, and had delivered a suitcase full of cash to Mr. Alamoudi, a Saudi “dissident” who was to carry out the plot. In addition, nobody had forgotten that the Qaddaffi regime was a state sponsor of terrorist organization, or that Saudi Arabia was American’s “important ally in the war in on terror.”

Moreover, it was reported that the Arab Spring rebels in Libya had received their sophisticated weaponry from Washington’s close allies, namely the governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar (i.e. totalitarian states that apparently supported freedom and democracy in Libya).

It is not the purpose of this story to provide all of the facts concerning the “Arab Spring” and the war on terror, but there are some facts that need to be clarified because, as we will see, these facts pertain to the present state of the global financial system. It is also necessary for us to come to terms with the fact that reporting by the major U.S. news organizations, and most notoriously The New York Times, has been not just false (as in containing errors) but precisely the opposite of the truth, and quite deliberately so. It has, indeed, become apparent that outfits like The New York Times have done nothing other than publish the eminently creepy sort of black is white, up is down, doublethink propaganda that was portrayed by Orwell in books that were, until now, presumed to be fiction. Therefore, we need to clarify the following:

1)       Saudi Arabia is not “an important ally in the war on terror.” Saudi Arabia is the leading state sponsor of terrorist organizations, including the one called Al Qaeda.

2)      Terrorists do not hate our freedoms. To the contrary, terrorists led the “Arab Spring” campaign for freedom and democracy. Nearly all of the “Arab Spring” rebels in Libya were members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which was the name of the Al Qaeda franchise in Libya.

3)      As of 2004, the Qadaffi regime, like Saddam’s regime, was not a sponsor of Al Qaeda. To the contrary, Al Qaeda (i.e. the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group) was preparing to overthrow the Qaddaffi regime (with support for the regime in Washington and its totalitarian allies).

4)      Court documents produced during the trial of Mr. Alamoudi make clear that Mr. Alamoudi did not receive his suitcase full of cash from Qadaffi, and that Qadaffi was not involved in any conspiracy to assassinate the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. Rather, Mr. Alamoudi received the suitcase full of cash from an outfit called the World Islamic Call Society. Previously, the World Islamic Call Society had been sponsored by Qadaffi, but as of 2004, when it was delivering suitcases full of cash to Mr. Alamoudi, the World Islamic Call Society was sponsored by the Saudi government, and it was (in partnership with Al Qaeda and the regime in Washington) leading the opposition to overthrow the Qadaffi regime.

5)      After Qadaffi was deposed, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton traveled to Libya, where she spent most of her time in the offices of the World Islamic Call Society. Clinton congratulated the World Islamic Call Society for leading the opposition against Qadaffi, but she did not repeat the fact that the World Islamic Call Society also delivered suitcases of full of cash to Mr. Alamoudi, an Al Qaeda operative who formerly worked in the White House for Clinton’s husband, then President Bill Clinton. In addition, Clinton said nothing more about the fabricated story about Mr. Alamoudi being a “dissident” but nor did she correct the fabricated story about Qaddafi’s supposed involvement in a conspiracy to assassinate the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.

6)      Mr. Alamoudi was not a Saudi “dissident.” To the contrary, he was among the co-founders of numerous financial institutions, Islamic organizations, and charities (including Mercy International) all of which were sponsored by the Saudi royal family, and some of which were also sponsored by the regime in Washington. In addition, of course, Mr. Alamoudi (who had, at various times, been employed not only by the White House, but also by other U.S. government agencies) was one of the most important figures in Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organization (whose leading sponsor was the Saudi royal family).

7)      U.S. officials had known that Mr. Alamoudi had ties to Osama bin Laden since at least 1993 (while Mr. Alamoudi was working in the White House), and U.S. officials covered up this information long after Mr. Alamoudi was caught at Heathrow with his suitcase full of cash. It was not until 2005, when earnest U.S. government whistleblowers had already gone public with the information, that the U.S. Treasury Department (quietly) issued a press release (ignored by the media) reporting that Mr. Alamoudi was, in fact, one of the most important funders of Al Qaeda. Even then, the DOJ declined to charge Mr. Alamoudi with any crime related to terrorism, and instead moved ahead with the false charge that Mr. Alamoudi had received his suitcase full of cash from the government of Libya. (Mr. Alamoudi is now serving a 29 year prison sentence, but some U.S. officials say that he will be released on short order, because, after all, he is innocent of the crime for which he was charged).

8)      Neither Qadaffi nor Saddam had any intention to provide Osama bin Laden with nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction. However, in 2001, earnest FBI agents announced that at outfit in Chicago called Benevolence International (described by the earnest FBI agents as an “Al Qaeda front”) had worked with a Chechen organized crime (and terrorism) syndicate to obtain a nuclear bomb for Osama bin Laden. One of the Chechens in that syndicate, Shamil Basaev, had once planted radioactive materials in a Moscow park and informed the Russian police that he had done so, promising that next time it would be exploded as a so-called “dirty” nuclear device.

9)      Benevolence International was co-founded by prominent Saudi billionaires, some of whom, including Sheikh Mahfouz and Mr. Alamoudi, had formerly been involved with the BCCI enterprise. Its overseas offices, including its office in Chechnya, were managed by top Al Qaeda operatives. However, neither Benevolence International nor any of its principals were ever charged with any crime related to terrorism or trying to obtain nukes for Osama bin Laden. Benevolence International remains open for business today. It is headquartered in Chicago, and partly funded by the U.S. government.

10)   The U.S. government also sponsored the leaders of that same Chechen organized crime syndicate, which was (in addition to being an organized crime syndicate) a terrorist organization trained by Osama bin Laden & Co, though the New York Times reported that those same Chechens were freedom fighters interested only in obtaining Chechen independence from Russia.

All of which brings us back to Anthony Elgindy.

* * * * * * * * *

As we know, Elgindy’s prosecutors began to argue that Elgindy had ties to terrorism and advance knowledge of the September 11 conspiracy, but the judge forbade the prosecutors from further discussion of Elgindy’s ties to terrorism soon after the prosecutors mentioned that Elgindy had delivered a large sum of money to an outfit called Mercy International. We also know that Mercy International was co-founded by prominent Saudi billionaires, among them Sheikh Mahfouz and Mr. Alamoudi, some of whom were previously involved with the BCCI enterprise. At the time of Elgindy’s trial in 2004, U.S. officials were not keen for the public to know much about Mercy International, and, of course, U.S. officials were covering up the fact that Mr. Alamoudi was a key figure in Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organization.

Meanwhile, earnest U.S. government investigators had learned that another of Mercy International’s co-founders had been none other than Osama bin Laden. In addition, earnest U.S. government investigators had linked Mercy International to the following: 1) Ramzi Yousef, said by U.S. officials to have been the “mastermind” of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; 2) the terrorists who carried out the simultaneous 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa; 3) Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, alleged “mastermind” of the September 11 conspiracy (and uncle of Ramzi Yousef).

The top official in Mercy International’s Pakistan office was Zaid Sheikh Mohammed (brother of Khalid and uncle of Ramzi). Back in 1998, meanwhile, earnest FBI agents also linked Mercy International (and the Chicago based Benevolence International) to a Chicago company called Global Chemical, which was (according to the earnest FBI agents) in the business of manufacturing explosives and chemical weapons for Osama bin Laden.

However, neither Mercy International nor any of its principals has ever been charged with any crime related to terrorism, and Mercy International remains in business to this day. In addition, Mercy International has tax-free status as a “charity.” But we, the people, do not have tax-free status. We pay taxes, and the regime in Washington uses some of our taxes to fund…Mercy International. I will repeat: the government of the United States has for many years been funding an outfit—Mercy International—that was co-founded by Osama bin Laden.

Global Chemical is still doing business in Chicago as well, though it is unclear whether it is still manufacturing chemical weapons for terrorists.

Anthony Elgindy, as I mentioned, is presently serving an 11 year sentence on charges of securities fraud and bribing FBI agents (he is expected to be released from prison this year, 2013, having served only eight years). However, Elgindy is in prison thanks only to the perseverance of a few honest FBI agents, his prosecutors (who were lambasted for linking Elgindy to terrorism), and most of all, a businessman whose company was destroyed by Elgindy’s short selling syndicate. After his company was destroyed, the businessman (who would later do work for DeepCapture, the website you are now reading) discovered that Elgindy operated a private internet chat site on which he, Elgindy, and other short sellers plotted and coordinated their short selling attacks on public companies.

Having made this discovery, the businessman secretly gained access to Elgindy’s private internet chat site and hired a secretary to work full-time printing out transcripts of the conversations that Elgindy and his short selling crew were having on that chat site. Soon enough, these transcripts were so numerous that they filled the businessman’s garage. In addition, the transcripts provided clear evidence of multiple crimes in progress, and so the businessman handed the transcripts over to some earnest FBI agents, who discovered not only that Elgindy had at least two FBI agents on his payroll, but also that Elgindy and his short selling crew had “busted out” (i.e. destroyed) at least two hundred publicly listed companies. If it were not for those transcripts, it is doubtful that Elgindy would ever have been indicted.

In addition, as I noted, few of the other people involved with Elgindy’s short selling syndicate were ever charged with any crime. It is unclear why they were not charged with any crime, but it is worth recalling that a few top FBI and DOJ officials were responsible for covering up the BCCI scandal and related scandals, such as Iran-Contra and the employment as U.S. government agents of various global terrorists (e.g. Abu Nidal and Monzer al-Kassar) who had involvement with the BCCI enterprise. As we will see, some of those same officials (including the FBI’s chief of counter-terrorism; the chief of the FBI’s organized crime task force; and the director of the FBI) subsequently became employed by people who were key figures in Anthony Elgindy’s short selling syndicate.

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It is also worth recalling that soon after BCCI collapsed in 1991, a Muslim Brotherhood leader (and Sudanese government official) named Hasan al Turabi established the Islamist International, appointing Osama bin Laden to serve as chairman. Recall also that Osama bin Laden’s first order of business as chairman of the Islamist International was to assist a Muslim Brotherhood initiative—known as “The Financial Jihad”—to replace the BCCI enterprise with a global financial network that would exceed the BCCI enterprise in scope and destructive power.

Yossef Bodansky, then director of the House Task Force on Terrorism, reported (in a 2000 book on Osama bin Laden): “The collapse of BCCI…could not have come at a worse time…. Turabi [and the Islamist International] urgently needed an expert to salvage whatever was possible and rebuild a global financial system [to replace the BCCI enterprise]. By then Osama bin Laden was the most qualified individual in Khartoum to untangle this financial mess. In late summer 1991, Turabi approached bin Laden and asked for help.”

Osama bin Laden agreed to help—and he pursued his task with enthusiasm. By 2000, he had successfully rebuilt “a global financial system,” and he had done more than merely replace the BCCI enterprise. He and other Muslim Brotherhood oligarchs more important than him had built what was, without doubt, one of the greatest financial empires the world had ever known. And it was not only one of the most powerful financial empires on the planet, but also one the world’s leading transnational organized crime syndicates, involved in all of the activities—from narco trafficking and the smuggling of radioactive materials, to terrorism and the perpetration of destructive financial crime—that characterized the BCCI enterprise of the 1980s.

Linked to this financial empire was Anthony Elgindy’s short selling syndicate.

Elgindy’s private internet chat site for short sellers was hosted by a company called Infocom, which had been founded by a man named Mousa Abu Marzook. Although Marzook was best known as the political chief of Hamas, responsible for the notorious Hamas death squads, he was also a key figure in the Islamist International, the chairman of which was, of course, Osama bin Laden. In 1993, earnest FBI agents had linked Marzook to the bombing that year of the World Trade Center, and in 2000, the director of the House Task Force on Terrorism reported that Marzook was among the terrorists who were, along with Osama bin Laden and other key figures in the Islamist International, planning to perpetrate a “spectacular” terrorist attack inside the United States.

However, Marzook remained a free man, traveling often to the United States.

In addition to being a global terrorist, Marzook was a prominent banker and the co-founder of numerous financial institutions. For example, Marzook co-founded an outfit called Al Aqsa Bank, which operated a joint venture in the United States with Citibank until 2011, when Al Aqsa Bank collapsed. Marzook was also a co-founder of a major financial institution in Geneva called Bank al Taqwa and its U.S. affiliate, an outfit called BMI, Inc., which was itself a sizeable financial institution (and an investor in Global Chemical, the outfit in Chicago that was manufacturing chemical weapons for Osama bin Laden).

Among the other co-founders of Bank al Taqwa and BMI, Inc. were Mr. Alamoudi (a key figure in Osama bin Laden’s organization), the Blind Sheikh (a global terrorist and banker who was linked to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and who also co-founded Faisal Islamic Bank, formerly the most important affiliate of BCCI), a Muslim Brotherhood oligarch and Islamist International banker named Yasin al Qadi (later described by the U.S. Treasury Dept. as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist”),  several of Osama bin Laden’s family members (all of them members of “Al Qaeda”), and multiple other  global terrorists.

In 1999, Bank al Taqwa established the Islamic Cultural Center, later said by the U.S. Treasury Department to be “Al Qaeda’s main operating base for the movement of men, weapons, and money around the world.” That same year, 1999, Bank al Taqwa was linked to the Bank of New York scandal, which saw the Bank of New York (and Bank al Taqwa) laundering upwards of $10 billion for (among others) Russian organized crime syndicates. Numerous people linked to the Bank of New York scandal (e.g. Marc Rich, Gene Phillips, Michael Milken, Abbas Gokal, Adnan Khashoggi, and several of Bank al Taqwa’s co-founders, among others to be discussed) were formerly involved with the BCCI enterprise. In addition, that money laundering involved pump and dump schemes, with much of the manipulative short selling on the “dump” end of the schemes perpetrated by Anthony Elgindy’s short selling syndicate.

See Chapter 1 of this series for a fuller description of how pump and dump schemes and manipulative short selling are deployed for the purpose of money laundering, but the short version is that dirty money is invested in target companies , and comes out partially clean in the form of short selling profits, which are delivered onwards to cooperative financial institutions (such as Bank al Taqwa and the Bank of New York). In a variation on the same theme, money is invested in a company as “death spiral” finance (see chapter 1 of this series), which causes the company’s stock price to fall, at which point affiliated short sellers attack the stock, triggering a “death spiral.”

In both scenarios, the target companies are destroyed (i.e. busted out), and again, Elgindy’s short selling crew “busted out” at least 200 publicly listed companies in the United States.

Lawyers for some of these victim companies have assembled evidence that Elgindy and his short selling syndicate perpetrated a number of “bust outs” in league not only with Bank al Taqwa, but also with a major investment fund called Faisal Finance, which provided the victim companies with death spiral finance. Faisal Finance was a subsidiary of a Muslim Brotherhood outfit in Geneva called Dar al Maal al-Islami, which was (and is) one of the largest financial institutions on the planet, boasting partnerships with some of Wall Street’s most notorious brokerages and investment houses.

One person who helped build Dar al Maal al-Islami into one of the largest financial institutions on the planet was none other than Osama bin Laden. In addition, Osama bin Laden founded at least one of Dar al Maal al-Islami’s subsidiaries, a bank in Sudan called al Shamal, and he had involvement with Faisal Finance, the outfit that was dealing with Elgindy’s short selling syndicate.

The most important of Faisal Finance’s principals (and a board member of both Faisal Finance and Dar al Maal al-Islami) was Yasin al Qadi, the Muslim Brotherhood (and Islamist International) figure who was among the co-founders of Bank al Taqwa. After the September 11 attacks of 2001, the U.S. Treasury Department reported that Yasin al Qadi had funded Osama bin Laden through Faisal Finance. In addition, Yasin al Qadi became one of only a few dozen people (another being Marzook, owner of the company that hosted Elgindy’s private internet chat site for short sellers) whom the Treasury Department labeled as “Specially Designated Global Terrorists.”

In explaining why Yasin al Qadi had been named a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist,” the Treasury Department noted not only that he had co-founded Bank al Taqwa (which established “Al Qaeda’s main operating base in Europe”), and not only that Osama bin Laden had dealings with Yasin al Qadi through Faisal Finance, but also that Yasin al Qadi had operated an “Al Qaeda front” called the Muwafaq Foundation. The man who founded the Muwafaq Foundation was Sheikh Mahfouz, who had been one of Yasin al Qadi’s most important business  partners since BCCI days. In addition, of course, Sheikh Mahfouz co-founded Mercy International and other “Al Qaeda fronts.”

However, Sheikh Mahfouz was never charged with any crime related to terrorism. Nor was Yasin al Qadi charged with any crime related to terrorism, and nor were any of three dozen or so other bankers labeled as “Specially Designated Global Terrorists” ever charged with any crime related to their banking or their status as “Global Terrorists.” Meanwhile, neither Faisal Finance nor Bank al Taqwa nor BMI Inc. nor Dar al Maal al-Islami nor any of their other principals nor any other bank has ever been charged for doing business with Osama bin Laden, and nobody has ever been charged for establishing an “Al Qaeda front” or establishing chemical weapons factories for terrorists, or establishing “Al Qaeda’s main operating base in Europe for the movement of men, weapons, and money around the world.” (that operating base is still in business, though most of the men are now Arab Spring freedom fighters).

In addition, with the exception of Anthony Elgindy, no terrorist financier has ever been charged with any crime related to their perpetration (in partnership with prominent American oligarchs) of destructive financial schemes that have wrought havoc on the American markets.

* * * * * * * * *

Earnest Treasury officials and FBI agents exposed numerous “Al Qaeda fronts” and named a select number of bankers as “Specially Designated Global Terrorists” as part of Operation Green Quest, which was billed by FBI Director Robert Mueller as the largest law enforcement effort ever undertaken by any nation or combination of nations in the entire history of the world. As of 2002, thousands of earnest U.S. government investigators were employed by Operation Green Quest, which was led by the Treasury Department, with important supporting roles played by the FBI and other government agencies.

Operation Green Quest was focused largely on what earnest government investigators described at the time (see Chapter 2 of this series) as the “Safa Group,” or sometimes the “SAAR Network”—a global network of interconnected Islamic organizations, “charities” (e.g. Mercy International, Benevolence International, and many others), investment funds, brokerages, and financial institutions, all of which were linked to Osama bin Laden and other terrorists. In fact, U.S. officials had been aware of this global network for many years, and information about some components of the global network had long been part of the public record.

In his 2000 book on Osama bin Laden, Bodansky (then director of the House Task Force on Terrorism) had, of course, noted that Osama bin Laden had played a key role in building global network—and the network described by Bodanksy was essentially the same thing as the “SAAR Network” that would later become a principal focus of Operation Green Quest. Bodansky also reported (in 2000) that the financial network organized by Osama bin Laden and his billionaire associates, along with other Muslim Brotherhood leaders and terrorists who were key figures in the Islamist International, stretched from the Middle East, Pakistan, and Sudan to Geneva, Antwerp, the Bahamas—and onwards to Wall Street.

Meanwhile, as noted by the director of the House Task Force on Terrorism in 2000, the Muslim Brotherhood, working with Osama bin Laden, had  “gained control and influence over several major Islamic financial institutions operating in the West, such as the Islamic Holding Company, the Jordanian Islamic Bank, the Dubai Islamic Bank, the Taqwa Bank (a.k.a. Bank al Taqwa, which had established “Al Qaeda’s main operating base Europe”), and Faysal Islamic Bank.”

Faysal [a.k.a. Faisal] Islamic Bank, we know, had formerly been the most important affiliate of the BCCI enterprise. It was, recall, co-founded by the Blind Sheikh (a key figure in the Islamist International, linked to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) and a Saudi prince named Mohammed bin al-Faisal. After BCCI collapsed in 1991, Faisal Islamic Bank was folded into Dar al Maal al-Islami, which, we know, soon became one of the largest financial institutions on the planet, and which counted among its subsidiaries a  bank that was founded by Osama bin Laden, and other financial firms that did extensive business with Osama bin Laden. Also involved with Dar al Maal al-Islami, of course, was Prince Mohammed and other members of the Saudi royal family, including Prince Mohammed’s brother, Prince Turki bin al-Faisal, who served as the chief of Saudi intelligence from 1977 until 2001, when he resigned just a few weeks before the September 11 attacks. (Prince Turki subsequently became Saudi ambassador to Washington).

The party line put forth by the New York Times and other major U.S. news organizations maintains that the Saudi government disowned Osama bin Laden and stripped the terrorist leader of his Saudi citizenship in the mid-1990s, which was when Osama bin Laden began issuing manifestos denouncing the corruption of the Saudi royal family. That might be true, so far as it goes, and it is certainly true that Osama bin Laden often railed against the corruption of the Saudi royal family, but it also true that Osama bin Laden had eminently close (and corrupt) relationships with at least one faction of the Saudi royal family, and more particularly with the faction of the royal family (including Prince Turki, chief of Saudi intelligence) that had previously been involved with the BCCI enterprise.

Moreover, the party line fails to take into account that while these Saudi princes denounced Osama bin Laden’s violent terrorism, they fully sponsored his more important mission—the mission to build a global financial network.  Indeed, these Saudi princes were, of course, business partners of Osama bin Laden. In addition, Prince Turki, chief of Saudi intelligence, was fully supportive of Osama bin Laden’s business dealings with a close knit group of Saudi billionaires, including Sheikh Mahfouz, who regarded themselves as servants of the Saudi royal family. We might also consider that Washington regarded these business relationships as being kosher, or so it would seem given that Osama bin Laden’s business partners continued to receive VIP treatment in Washington long after earnest U.S. government officials exposed the relationships.

Meanwhile, as the director of the House Task Force on Terrorism noted in 2000, the Pakistani government had “agreed to expand the use of Karachi as a center for the clandestine financing of the international Islamist movement. To be managed by Osama bin Laden, the new financial system would be based on a wide network…to conceal the flow of cash to the various terrorist networks in the West.” Towards this end, and with the endorsement of the Pakistani government, “the Karachi center linked up with numerous Pakistani landowners, financial companies, and business people close to narcotics circles to utilize their international financial relations and contacts…”

Most of those “business people close to narcotics circles” had previously been involved with the BCCI enterprise, and though we will meet all of them in due course, it is, for now, enough to know that the most important of them was a man named Dawood Ibrahim who was (and is) much more than just your average businessman close to narcotics circles. He has regularly featured on Forbes magazine’s list of the “50 Most Powerful” people in the world, and he is the single largest trader on the Karachi stock exchange. In addition, he is one of the biggest (and most destructive) traders on U.S.  stock exchanges, and we will see that he continues to this day to have extensive business with Wall Street brokerages and investment houses. In addition, Ibrahim is dangerous mobster, a global terrorist, and a Pakistani intelligence asset who operates an organized crime (and terrorism) syndicate called D-Company (which is, in turn, closely intertwined with others of the world’s organized crime and terrorism syndicates).

Dawood Ibrahim and D-Company have been linked to multiple terrorist atrocities, including the 2008 assault that saw terrorists storming luxury hotels and a synagogue in Mumbai, and then systematically murdering 175 people, seven of them Americans, one a girl only 13 years old. For a time in 2002, Dawood Ibrahim was the only person in the world listed by the U.S. government as both a “Global Narcotics Kingpin” and a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” though he was hardly the only person who deserved both those appellations, and the U.S. government no longer applies them to Dawood Ibrahim. Presently, Ibrahim resides quite openly in Karachi, with the protection of Pakistan’s intelligence service, and he travels often to the United States, where he conducts his business unmolested by the homeland security apparatus (which is apparently more interested in harassing law-abiding Americans).

In addition, of course, the U.S. government knew long before September 11, 2001, that Osama bin Laden had, with the help of Dawood Ibrahim and others, established the “Karachi center.” Meanwhile, Prince Turki and other Saudi royals were fully on board with the plan for Osama bin Laden and prominent narco-oligarchs to establish a financial network in Karachi. In addition, the chief of Saudi intelligence, though he publicly denounced violent terrorism, informed the Pakistani government that the Karachi financial network (which was, in turn, linked to the global network that had been established earlier) could use Saudi financial institutions to finance terrorist operations, including operations inside the United States.

Bodansky (then director of the House Task Force on Terrorism) wrote in 2000 that Prince Turki was not initially aware that Osama bin Laden had been assigned to run the Karachi-based financial network, but “when Riyadh was later informed of bin Laden’s role in the Karachi center, Prince Turki ignored the information and continued to allow the use of Saudi financial institutions [to support the Islamist International’s terror network].”

As the director of the House Task Force on Terrorism also reported in 2000, Osama bin Laden, in assembling a global financial network, collaborated closely with what he and others in the Islamist International referred to as “The Brotherhood Group,” a close-knit network of no less than 130 extremely wealthy financial operators in the Persian Gulf states. The director of the House Task Force reported further that: “The key members of the Brotherhood Group have a well-known and established financial presence in the West—sixty five of them have major companies and businesses in the United States.”

One of the most important people in “The Brotherhood Group” was Sheikh Mahfouz, who, of course, was also one of the billionaires (see Chapter 2 of this series for the names of others) whom Osama bin Laden referred to as his “Golden Chain.” Other people in the “Brotherhood Group” were prominent bankers who had, like Sheikh Mahfouz, previously been involved with the BCCI enterprise. Among them were key BCCI figures Adnan Khashoggi, Sheikh Abdullah Taha Baksh, Gaith Pharoan, Yasin al Qadi, Mr. Alamoudi and others who were, like Sheikh Mahfouz, important business partners of “Washington insiders.” It should be noted further that U.S. officials had been well aware that these billionaires were building a global financial network with Osama bin Laden since the 1980s, but they (with help from a cooperative media) sought to keep the information hidden from the American public (though the information can, with some effort, now be found in the public record).

* * * * * * * * *

To the extent that some of the facts have reached the public, the facts have been distorted by what seem to have been carefully orchestrated disinformation campaigns. Typically, these disinformation campaigns see prominent American pundits with ties to the regime in Washington coming forward with some pertinent facts, but presenting the facts in such as way as to distort the larger picture.

For example, there has been much discussion among American pundits about a report that French intelligence had monitored a meeting that Osama bin Laden’s chief financial officer held with Prince Turki (chief of Saudi intelligence) and leading Saudi billionaires at the Royal Manceau hotel in Paris. This meeting took place in 1996, two years after the Saudis had ostensibly requested Osama bin Laden’s extradition from London (yes, Osama bin Laden resided for a time in London), and the same year that the Saudis had ostensibly requested the government of Sudan to “expel” Osama bin Laden (with “expel” being something altogether different from “arrest” or “prosecute”).

One of the billionaires in attendance at this meeting was Sheikh Mahfouz. Other billionaires who attended the 1996 meeting with Osama bin Laden’s chief financial officer (according to the French intelligence report) were Adnan Khashoggi, Abdullah Taha Baksh, and Gaith Pharoan, all of whom, we know, had been key figures in the BCCI enterprise during the 1980s. Which is important information, except that the information was delivered in such a way as to obscure the truth.

In other words, it was widely reported that the meeting in Paris was monitored by French intelligence, and that a French intelligence report concluded that the Saudi billionaires and Prince Turki attended this meeting only “to determine who would pay how much to Osama bin Laden.”  In addition, the French intelligence report stated that the payments to Osama bin Laden were “not so much an act of support but protection—a payoff to keep the mad bomber away from Saudi Arabia.”  And thanks to this report, that has remained the official party line: any payments by Saudi billionaires to Osama bin Laden were nothing more than protection money paid by people worried that the “mad bomber” would attack them.

But, of course, the party line is pure nonsense.

All of the billionaires who attended that meeting (and no doubt many similar meetings besides) did not merely deliver protection money to Osama bin Laden. They were also important business partners of Osama bin Laden. And they were business partners of Osama bin Laden not because he was a “mad bomber,” but because he was sophisticated financial operator who was fully capable of helping those billionaires carry out the mission (i.e. “The Financial Jihad”) to replace the BCCI enterprise with something bigger and better. Former BCCI figure Adnan Khashoggi, for one, played a key role, along with Osama bin Laden, in establishing the “Karachi center.”

Former BCCI figure Abdullah Taha Baksh was a principal with multiple financial institutions (e.g. Middle East Capital Group, Beirut Ryad Bank) that had extensive business with Osama bin Laden, according to U.S. government investigators (though not official U.S. government spokesmen). Sheikh Baksh also had extensive involvement with Dar al Maal al-Islami, the major financial institution that was built with help from Osama bin Laden. Sheikh Mahfouz, meanwhile, operated numerous financial firms—e.g. Al Khaleejia, Saudi Sudanese Bank, and others to be discussed–that did business directly with companies that had been founded by Osama bin Laden, and which were operated by Osama bin Laden.

National Commercial Bank (one of the largest financial institutions on the planet, founded by Sheikh Mahfouz and his family) also had business with Osama bin Laden.

In addition, these billionaires and others were, of course, among the principal sponsors of the Islamic organizations, charities, and other financial entities that were part of the “SAAR Network.”  Sheikh Mahfouz, we know, founded the Muwafaq Foundation, said by the U.S. Treasury Department to be an “Al Qaeda” front. He was a co-founder of Benevolence International, said by earnest FBI agents to be an “Al Qaeda front.” And he was among the co-founders of Mercy International, which was an Al Qaeda front, albeit one that was also funded by the regime in Washington.

Sheikh Mahfouz and other billionaires (e.g. Khashoggi, Sheikh Baksh, Yasin al Qadi, Mr. Alamoudi, and others to discussed in Chapter 2 of this series) were also the principal sponsors of numerous other SAAR Network entities—i.e. the entities that were, as of 2002, the principal targets of Operation Green Quest, the largest law enforcement in history.

To cite just one more example, all of the above-mentioned billionaires were involved with an outfit called the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), a “SAAR Network” entity based in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.  Among the board members of the IIRO were Mr. Alamoudi (a key figure in Osama bin Laden’s organization) and Khalid Elgindy (brother of short seller Anthony Elgindy). Meanwhile, the IIRO’s offices in Macedonia, Kosovo, the Philippines, and Pakistan were all “Al Qaeda fronts” managed by top “Al Qaeda” operatives, according to earnest Operation Green Quest investigators and the United Nations officials, some of whom have reported that Osama bin Laden himself was an IIRO co-founder.

As of 1999, the IIRO office in Macedonia was operated by Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Aymen al Zawahiri, who were, at the time, training the Kosovo Liberation Army from bases in Macedonia. Also in Macedonia as of 1999, working with the Kosovo Liberation Army, was Anthony Elgindy, who had taken a break from his career as a destructive short seller. Upon his return from Macedonia, Elgindy posted a letter from a Kosovo Liberation Army leader thanking him, Elgindy, for sponsoring his travels to the United States.  At the time, of course, President Bill Clinton (who then employed multiple IIRO officials, including not only Mr. Alamoudi, but also Elgindy’s brother, Khalid, in the White House) had ordered the U.S. military to go to war in support of the Kosovo Liberation Army (a terrorist organization trained by Osama bin Laden), and the IIRO was sponsored not only by the Saudis, but also by Washington.

Two years later, of course, the September 11 attacks occurred, and Saudi Arabia became Washington’s “important ally in the war on terror.” That same year, 2001, we know, Robert Mueller (who had been appointed director of the FBI just weeks prior to the September 11 attacks) announced that Operation Green Quest was the largest law enforcement effort in history, and that its sole mission was to prosecute terrorists and the people who sponsor them. By 2002, Operation Green Quest investigators, we know,  were focused largely on the SAAR Network entities and associated billionaires, but that same year, 2002, there occurred several strange events that we should discuss because they have not been discussed by The New York Times or any other organ of state propaganda.

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In 2002, while the director of the FBI was still calling Operation Green Quest the largest law enforcement effort in the history of the world, an FBI special agent named Robert Wright held a press conference to announce the results of his investigations into terrorist organizations. There were not many journalists from the major U.S. news organizations at this press conference, as they were all busy writing whatever the director of the FBI had told them to write, but those who bothered to attend the press conference learned that Special Agent Wright had led some of the FBI’s most important investigations into terrorism, and concerning these investigations, Agent Wright had some important—and sad—news to report.

Indeed, agent Wright literally broke down in tears as he announced that he and his team of FBI investigators had, in all their year of investigating terrorism, failed to apprehend or secure the prosecution of even one of the people whom they had deemed to be key figures in Osama bin Laden’s organization. And in explaining why he and the others in his FBI team had failed to apprehend any terrorists or their sponsors, agent Wright stated (and others in his FBI team would later confirm it to be true) that FBI management and the Department of Justice had  “intentionally and repeatedly thwarted and obstructed my attempts to launch a comprehensive investigation to identify and neutralize terrorists.”

It might be worth recalling that Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau had previously alleged that FBI and DOJ management had intentionally and repeatedly “thwarted” his efforts to prosecute the BCCI enterprise. It might also be worth recalling that the DOJ official who had done most to thwart the DA’s investigation of BCCI was Robert Mueller. It was this same Robert Muller who had “intentionally and repeatedly thwarted” special agent Wright’s investigation, only to assume the directorship of the FBI just a few weeks prior to the September 11 attacks in 2001. And many of the terrorists whom Special Agent Wright and his FBI team were investigating had formerly been involved with the BCCI enterprise.

One person whom agent Wright investigated was “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” Yasin al Qadi, whom agent Wright described as “Al Qaeda’s banker.” As agent Wright knew, Yasin al Qadi was operating an “Al Qaeda front” (the Muwafaq Foundation) that had been founded by Sheikh Mahfouz. In addition, agent Wright had investigated Bank al Taqwa and BMI Inc., the financial institutions that had been co-founded by (among others) Yasin al Qadi, the Blind Sheikh, “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” Mousa Abu Marzook (host of Elgindy’s short selling chat site), and Mr. Alamoudi (formerly White House employee and key figure in Osama bin Laden’s organization).

As we know from earlier chapters of this series, earnest FBI agents learned in 1998 that BMI Inc. not only had partly funded the “Al Qaeda” terrorist attacks on two U.S. embassies in Africa, but also was financing Global Chemical, the outfit deemed to have ties to Osama bin Laden, and which was in the business of manufacturing explosives and chemical weapons. But, of course, neither BMI Inc. nor Bank al Taqwa (which established “Al Qaeda’s main operating base in Europe”) nor any of their principals were charged with any crime. To the contrary, FBI management deliberately “thwarted” efforts to investigate the bankers, many of whom were also terrorists.

Meanwhile, of course, both Bank al Taqwa and BMI Inc. perpetrated a host of financial schemes that did extensive damage to the U.S. economy. We will discuss the financial schemes in greater detail, but for the purposes of our present discussion it should first be noted that BMI, Inc. was also in the mortgage business, and it had provided mortgages (at steep discounts to market price) to some of the top officials at the FBI and other government agencies in Washington. Numerous politicians on Capitol Hill were also recipients of BMI, Inc.’s discount mortgages, as was Thomas Kean, then Governor of New Jersey, and later chairman of the September 11 Commission.

Governor Kean also sat on the boards of several companies (e.g. Hess Corp.) that had business with Sheikh Mahfouz and Mr. Alamoudi. When the September 11 Commission issued its report in 2004, the report (purportedly the product of a thorough investigation into Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organization) did not name BMI Inc. or any of its principals, including Mr. Alamoudi. In fact, the report did not identify any of Osama bin Laden’s banking partners or funders, and the report concluded that identifying the financiers of terrorism was “a matter of no importance.”

* * * * * * * * *

At his press conference, agent Wright, of course, noted that FBI management had deliberately “thwarted” his efforts to prosecute terrorists and their banking partners, but he also expressed some optimism. After all, Yasin al Qadi and Mousa Abu Marzook, among other banking oligarchs whom agent Wright had investigated, were, as of 2002, listed by the U.S. Treasury Department as “Specially Designated Global Terrorists” and agent Wright had reason to believe that FBI management would heed his advice to begin more vigorously to investigate the bankers/global terrorists who were key figures in Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organization. The day after agent Wright gave his press conference, however, the FBI management instead initiated a major investigation into…agent Wright.

More specifically, FBI management initiated a so-called “Office of Professional Responsibility Investigation” into Wright. FBI management did not inform Wright what rules of professional responsibility he had violated but this investigation effectively ended Wright’s career.  As Judicial Watch, a prominent public interest group, reported at the time: “FBI Special Agent Robert G. Wright, Jr., is facing retaliatory treatment from FBI management for telling the truth about dereliction of duty and negligence within the FBI.”

Meanwhile, a former FBI special agent named Nancy Floyd had come forward with a story about her own investigation into terrorists. Floyd, in the course of carrying out her duties as an FBI special agent, had, back in 1992, placed a mole inside the Blind Sheikh’s terrorist cell. The mole, a former Egyptian army officer name Ehud Salem, had, meanwhile, been instructed by FBI management to help the terrorists in the Blind Sheikh’s cell build a bomb. Ostensibly, this was part of a sting operation, and the FBI was to arrest the Blind Sheikh and the other terrorists before they could use the bomb. But when the mole and agent Nancy Floyd informed FBI management that the terrorists were preparing to explode the bomb under the World Trade Center, FBI management initiated a full-scale investigation into…agent Floyd.

More specifically, FBI management launched a so-called “Office of Professional Responsibility Investigation” into agent Floyd. Management did not inform Floyd what rules of professional responsibility she had violated, but the investigation effectively brought Floyd’s career as an earnest FBI agent to a grinding halt. FBI management also promptly fired the mole. Meanwhile, FBI management shut down all other investigations into the Blind Sheikh (co-founder of Faisal Islamic Finance, Bank al Taqwa, BMI, Inc., and other prominent financial institutions) and his terrorist cell.

A few weeks later, and on the day predicted by the mole, the conspiracy to bomb the World Trade Center was successfully carried out. Six people were killed, and more than 1,000 were injured. In addition, the heart of the New York financial district was paralyzed for a week, the stock market nosedived, and massive damage was inflicted on the U.S. economy. Of course, during the years immediately prior to the 1993 bombing of the WTC, the BCCI enterprise had inflicted massive damage on the U.S. economy, and there is more we need to know about the WTC bombing.

There is also more we need to learn about other strange occurrences in the weeks after the director of the FBI described Operation Green Quest as the largest law enforcement effort in history because, as we shall see, this is directly pertinent to the present and deteriorating state of the global financial system.

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After the 1993 bombing of the WTC was carried out, earnest FBI agents secretly monitored a meeting that was held at a Marriot Hotel in Philadelphia. All of the people at this meeting were leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, and many of them were prominent bankers. One person at the meeting, Omar Ahmad, was, at the time, providing housing to the Blind Sheikh. The man who was expected to chair the meeting, meanwhile, was Mousa Abu Marzook.

As we know, Marzook was also the co-founder of several financial institutions, including BMI Inc. and Bank al Taqwa, and he founded Infocom, the outfit that hosted Elgindy’s private internet chat site for short sellers. In addition, Marzook was a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, political chief of Hamas, and a key figure in the Islamist International, the chairman of which was, of course, Osama bin Laden.

As it happened, Marzook did not appear at the meeting in Philadelphia, but he was represented at the meeting by his deputy, Mohammad Saleh, and phone records showed that Saleh had been in regular contact with the terrorists who had parked the bomb under the World Trade Center. Naturally, the earnest FBI agents suspected Saleh and others at the meeting in Philadelphia of having been involved in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. They also suspected Marzook.

As the earnest FBI agents discovered, one purpose of the meeting at the Marriot in Philadelphia was to discuss ways in which to keep the terrorists who had perpetrated the bombing out of prison. Another purpose of the meeting was to discuss additional measures that could be undertaken to sabotage the United States. Abu Baker, one of the Muslim Brotherhood (and Hamas) operatives in attendance summarized the strategy as follows:  “War is deception…Deceive, camouflage…Deceive your enemy.”

Another purpose of the meeting of the 1993 meeting at the Marriot Hotel in Philadelphia was to discuss ways in which to undermine the Oslo Peace Accords that had been signed that year by the Israeli government and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). As we know from earlier chapters of this series, Israeli politicians were also hoping to undermine the Oslo Peace Accords because they, the Israelis, believed that the Accords granted too much legitimacy to the PLO. So, at the time, the Israeli government was sponsoring Marzook and other Hamas leaders reckoning (correctly as it would turn out) that Hamas would suck support away from the PLO.

For the same reasons, the Israelis were sponsoring a PLO splinter group called Fatah-Revolutionary Guard (or sometimes Black September), the leader  of which was a notorious terrorist named Abu Nidal, who was an avowed enemy of PLO leader Yassir Arafat. Abu Nidal and the leaders of other PLO splinter groups, recall, were formerly involved with the BCCI enterprise and aside from being terrorists, they were sophisticated financial operators and criminals whose operations were closely intertwined with  the organized crime (and terrorism) syndicate operated by prominent oligarch (and global terrorist) Monzer al Kassar, formerly a key figure in the larger BCCI enterprise. In addition, as of 1993, Abu Nidal and the other leaders of the PLO splinter groups were, like Marzook and other leaders of Hamas, key figures in the Islamist International, the chairman of which was, of course, Osama bin Laden.

After the September 11 attacks in 2001, anonymous U.S. officials fed to the media a story that Abu Nidal was running an Al Qaeda terrorist training camp in Iraq. This story maintained further that Abu Nidal was running the terrorist training camp in cahoots with Saddam Hussein, then leader of Iraq, and that Abu Nidal had personally overseen the training of Mohammad Atta, leader of the terrorist cell that  had allegedly carried out the September 11 attack. According to U.S. officials, Atta had been the pilot of the first airplane the crashed into the World Trade Center.

That story could not possibly have been true because at the time (see earlier chapters of this series) Abu Nidal was employed as an agent of not just the Israelis, but also the U.S. government, as was later reported by Robert Fisk of The Independent, a prominent newspaper in Britain, and by Janes, a prominent publication that covers national security issues. However, it was true that Abu Nidal had previously dispatched one of his deputies, Ahmed Ajaj, to help carry out the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

Ajaj flew to the United States with a Muslim Brotherhood terrorist named Ramzi Yousef.  Upon landing at JFK airport in New York, customs officials noticed that Ajaj’s passport was blatantly fake (his photograph was peeling off of the passport, and there was a photograph of another person easily visible below it). Customs officials also discovered that Ajaj had in his possession a terrorist training  manual and instructions on how to build a bomb. Ajaj was taken into custody and charged with illegally entering the country, but for some reason his traveling companion, Ramzi Yousef, was allowed to enter the country, and soon after, he was among the perpetrators of the WTC bombing.

Presently, U.S. officials describe Yousef as the “mastermind” of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and he is serving a life sentence at the SuperMax prison in Colorado. However, after carrying out the WTC bombing, Yousef was able easily to leave the country, and he operated for several years under the auspices of Mercy International and the IIRO, both of which were co-founded by Osama bin Laden and (for reasons that are not clear) funded by the U.S. government. That’s the same U.S. government, of course, that had (because, we must assume, the U.S. government is incompetent, supplied Yousef and his terrorist associates with the bomb that they had exploded under the World Trade Center).

Yousef’s traveling companion, Ajaj, meanwhile, was released from detention and it remains unclear what came of him.

In 1993, Robert Friedman, one of the nation’s best journalists, reported in the Village Voice that Ajaj had been employed as an agent of the Israeli government. Meanwhile, the FBI arrested a man named Mohammed Salameh, who had rented the Ryder truck that was used to park the bomb under the World Trade Center, and which, along with the bomb, had exploded. Salameh (who played just a bit part in the terrorist attack) was arrested when he returned to Ryder to report that the truck was stolen and to ask Ryder to return his $400 deposit. The International Herald Tribune reported that the telephone number and apartment address listed on the rental agreement for the truck belonged to man named Josie Hadas, who had been identified as an agent of the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency.

None of this is evidence that Israel had a hand in the 1993 WTC bombing, but it is notable that none of the people whom earnest FBI agents regarded as the masterminds of the WTC bombing were immediately arrested. Yousef was arrested only three years later. More specifically, he was arrested at a Mercy International guest house in Pakistan, and when he was arrested, his uncle, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was staying in the same guest house, emerged from his room and gave a speech protesting the arrest. Khalid also gave an interview to a Time magazine reporter who was on hand for the arrest.

However, Khalid himself was not arrested, though there was already at that time evidence (possibly  manufactured) that linked him to a conspiracy to fly airplanes into tall buildings, including the World Trade Center. In addition, Yousef was arrested not by the FBI, but by Pakistani police  working with U.S. embassy State officials who received considerable resistance from FBI management and from Pakistani intelligence. Neither Marzook nor any of the others who had attended that meeting at the Marriot Hotel in Philadelphia were ever arrested. In addition, FBI management went to great lengths to protect the Blind Sheikh from prosecution.

That the Blind Sheikh was protected was noted by Nancy Floyd (the FBI special agent who had planted the mole in the Blind Sheikh’s terrorist cell), and even after the 1993 WTC bombing had been successfully carried out, FBI management still refused to arrest the Blind Sheikh. As a result, Floyd and the mole threatened to go to the press with their story that they had provided FBI management advance warning about the Blind Sheik’s involvement in the conspiracy to bomb the WTC.

FBI management responded to this threat in two ways. First, FBI management paid the mole a lump sum of $1 million cash. And second, FBI management leaked to the press an outlandish story alleging that Nancy Floyd, the earnest FBI agent, had been having an illicit sexual affair with a man named Ehud Salem (who was, of course, the mole whom the FBI had just paid $1 million, probably as hush money, but in the story that FBI management told the media, Salem was a terrorist). Amazingly (or unsurprisingly), major U.S. news organizations, including the New York Post, published the salacious story about the seedy FBI agent, Floyd, who had been having a salacious affair with Salem.

Fortunately, the mole had tape recorded the conversations during which he had explicitly warned FBI management of the conspiracy to bomb the WTC. It was also apparent from these taped conversations that FBI management not only knew about the conspiracy, but had instructed Salem to help build the bomb for the terrorists who were plotting to blow up the WTC. And despite the $1 million he had received in hush money, the mole threatened to deliver the tapes to the press. At this point, FBI management paid the mole still more cash, and once again deployed him to investigate the Blind Sheikh.

By now, though, FBI management had already insisted that the Blind Sheikh was not involved in the WTC bombing, and at the same time, FBI management knew that it would be necessary to arrest the Blind Sheikh to prevent the mole from delivering his tapes to the media. So FBI management hatched a plan, instructing the mole to volunteer to the Blind Sheikh his help in carrying out a new plot (a plot hatched by FBI management) to blow up multiple New York landmarks, including FBI headquarters. The mole took the plan to the Blind Sheikh, and the Blind Sheikh said he had no interest.

Nonetheless, FBI management announced to the press that the Blind Sheikh had now been linked to a new terrorist plot—namely, the one (hatched by FBI management) to bomb multiple New York landmarks and FBI headquarters. FBI management gave this new terrorist plot a catchy name—“The Day of Terror”—and meanwhile assured the media that the Blind Sheikh had not been linked to the bombing of the World Trade Center. For the time being, the mole kept his tapes to himself, and the major U.S. news organizations reported extensively on FBI management’s heroics in not only apprehending all of the people linked to the World Trade Center, but also foiling the even worse “Day of Terror” plot.

But, of course, the “Day of Terror” plot was not a real plot, and most of the terrorists and bankers linked to the 1993 WTC bombing had not been arrested.

The Blind Sheikh, meanwhile, had been arrested only because FBI management was worried that the mole would go public with his tapes. As it turned out the mole went public with the tapes anyway, and the Blind Sheikh was eventually charged for his role in the World Trade Center bombing. Later, U.S. officials acknowledged that the Blind Sheikh was, as of 1993, on the payroll of the U.S. government, though U.S. officials say the Blind Sheikh was on the payroll only because he had helped America fight the Soviets in Afghanistan during the 1980s.  Meanwhile, Marzook and other terrorists linked to the 1993 WTC bombing continued to live openly in the United States.

In 1996, the FBI briefly arrested Marzook at his home in Texas (location also of Infocom, host of Elgindy’s private internet chat site for short sellers), but Marzook was immediately released at the request of the Israeli government, which issued a statement saying that Marzook was “important to the peace process.”  The truth, of course, was that Marzook and other Hamas leaders in the United States had undertaken a major initiative to sabotage the peace process, and more specifically to undermine the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords that the Israeli government had signed with the PLO.

Presently, Marzook resides in Qatar, where he has the full protection of the Qatari ruling family (one of Washington’s closest allies). That’s the same ruling family that formerly employed Ramzi Yousef’s uncle, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, now said to be the “mastermind” of the September 11 conspiracy. Marzook is also helping direct the  “Arab Spring” rebellion in Syria. The “Arab Spring” rebels in Syria, of course, have ties to not only Hamas (i.e. the Muslim Brotherhood) but also Al Qaeda (i.e. the Muslim Brotherhood) and other jihadi outfits (i.e. the Muslim Brotherhood), but they are now regarded as “freedom fighters,” sponsored by Washington and its totalitarian allies (e.g. Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, all of them the leading state sponsors of terrorism).

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Back in 2002, Marzook was a key target of Operation Green Quest, partly because he had co-founded BMI Inc. and Bank al Taqwa, both of which were considered to be key components of the SAAR Network. The other co-founders of those financial institutions, including Mr. Alamoudi and Yasin al Qadi, were, of course, also key targets of Operation Green Quest. Marzook (though he was most famous as political chief of Hamas) had, recall, been among those who, along with Osama bin Laden and other key figures in the Islamist International, were (as of 2000) planning to perpetrate a “spectacular” terrorist attack inside the United States. Naturally, Marzook was therefore suspected of involvement in the September 11 conspiracy, just as he had previously been suspected of involvement in the 1993 WTC bombing.

In the course of carrying out their Operation Green Quest duties, earnest U.S. Treasury officials named not only Marzook and Yasin al Qadi, but also several other co-founders of Bank al Taqwa and its U.S. affiliate, BMI, Inc., as “Specially Designated Global Terrorists.”  Meanwhile, we know, the Treasury Department  announced that Bank al Taqwa had established “Al Qaeda’s main operating base in Europe for the movement of men, weapons, and money around the world.” In addition, Operation Green Quest investigators targeted a major financial institution called Al Aqsa Bank.

The Operation Green Quest investigators determined that Al Aqsa Bank had extensive ties to  Osama bin Laden, and the Treasury Department noted that Al Aqsa Bank was controlled by prominent bankers who were also global terrorists. Al Aqsa Bank’s most important principal was Marzook, who was, of course, a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist.”

Al Aqsa Bank had a massive presence in the United States, and as mentioned earlier, it operated in this country as a joint venture with Citibank.  Earnest Treasury officials, in the course of carrying out their Operation Green Quest duties, informed Citibank executives that they were operating a joint venture with a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist,” and Treasury officials notified Citibank that Citibank’s joint venture partner had direct ties to Osama bin Laden himself. The earnest Treasury officials even advised Citibank that Citibank might like to disband its joint venture with a bank that was operated by a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” who was a suspect in both the 1993 WTC bombing and the September 11 conspiracy.

Citibank, however, ignored the advice.

Citibank maintained its joint venture with Al Aqsa Bank until 2011, when the bank was “busted out” (i.e. looted and destroyed) by its owners, including “Global Terrorist” Mousa Abu Marzook and others who had been linked to Osama bin Laden’s organization. This, incidentally, was the same Mousa Abu Marzook who, in his capacity as political chief of Hamas, had reacted with glee when the American financial system melted down in 2008, declaring that the economic cataclysm marked “The End of the American Empire.”  However, by that time, Marzook was no longer described as a “Global Terrorist.” He was working for the “Empire” and preparing for his new career as an “Arab Spring” freedom fighter.

Back in 2001, of course, Marzook’s company Infocom was hosting Anthony Elgindy’s private internet chat site for short sellers, and as earnest FBI agents knew, Elgindy’s short selling syndicate had been involved in a scheme that resulted in the September 18, 2001 collapse of MJK Clearing, then the largest clearing brokerage in America. A later chapter of this series will discuss this scheme in greater detail, but for now it is enough to know that the collapse of MJK Clearing necessitated the largest ever bailout by the Securities Investors Protection Corp. and contributed mightily to the damage that had been caused to the global financial system by the September 11 terrorist attack just a  few days prior.

Others linked to the collapse of MJK Clearing (according to the SEC, which leveled small fines) were former BCCI figure Adnan Khashoggi; a notorious financial operator named Rafi Khan (the son of a Pakistani intelligence official and a principal at a brokerage called J.B. Oxford, operated by former BCCI figure Irving Kott); a man named Rami al Betrawi (formerly involved, along with BCCI and Khashoggi in the Iran-Contra affair); Carl Icahn (who rose to prominence with finance from Michael Milken); a woman named Valerie Red Horse (formerly Milken’s office manager at Drexel Burnham Lambert); and multiple others with ties to organized crime.

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The Treasury Department no longer describes Marzook as a “Global Terrorist,” and all of the other people formerly identified as “Specially Designated Global Terrorists” are no longer called “Global Terrorists.” Most of them continue to have extensive business in the United States. Same goes for the “Golden Chain” billionaires and all of the other people who were targeted by Operation Green Quest, and who were (as of 2002) regarded as key figures in the SAAR Network. Most of those people were (and are) sophisticated financial operators, many of them are among history’s most destructive financial criminals (previously involved with the BCCI enterprise), and most of them not only continue to have involvement in the U.S. markets, but also presently boast partnership with some of Wall Street’s leading brokerages and investment houses.

This is owing to some other strange events that occurred in 2002, one year after the director of the FBI pronounced Operation Green Quest to be the largest law enforcement effort ever undertaken by any nation, or combination of nations, in the entire history of the world—a law enforcement effort whose only purpose was to prosecute terrorists and the people who sponsored them.

One of the other strange things that occurred in 2002 was that a United States congressional committee issued a report outlining the results of its investigation into Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organization. This investigation had, of course, been assisted by earnest U.S. government investigators tasked to Operation Green Quest, and so, of course, the report contained 28 pages containing the names of all the billionaires who were key figures in the SAAR Network, members of the “Golden Chain,” and “Specially Designated Global Terrorists.” However, those 28 pages were completely blacked out—censored, so that nobody could read them.

Fortunately, earnest Operation Green Quest investigators subsequently went public with the names of the billionaires, and so we are able now to report their names, though their names (see chapter 2 of this series for a fuller list of billionaires with ties to Osama bin Laden) have never been reported in connection with Osama bin Laden by The New York Times, which seems happy enough to censor itself, and we cannot hope that Operation Green Quest investigators will capture any of the sophisticated financial operators who were the key targets of Operation Green Quest. We cannot hope that they will be captured owing to some other strange events that occurred in 2002, not long after the FBI director described Operation Green Quest as the largest law enforcement effort in the history of the world.

One strange occurrence in 2002 was the decision of the FBI director and other top officials to call an end to Operation Green Quest.

That is to say, Operation Green Quest lasted for a total of one year before it was completely dismantled. It was completely shut down, and as a result of Operation Green Quest (the largest law enforcement effort ever undertaken, according to the director of the FBI, who stressed that the sole objective of this massive law enforcement effort was to prosecute terrorists and their sponsors) the number of terrorists and major terrorist financiers who were, in fact, prosecuted came to a grand total of…ZERO.

Since then, there have been no other major “Operations” aimed at prosecuting terrorists and their bankers (or bankers who are also terrorists).

* * * * * * * *

Soon after shutting down Operation Green Quest, the director of the FBI appeared as the guest of honor at the 2002 annual convention of an outfit called the American Muslim Council. In the speech that he gave at this annual convention, the FBI director described the American Muslim Council as “the most mainstream Muslim organization in America.” Which was a surprising way to describe an outfit founded by the terrorist organization that had (according to the director of the FBI) recently massacred close to 3,000 mainstream Americans by crashing airplanes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in rural Pennsylvania.

Indeed, earnest FBI agents had known about the American Muslim Council’s ties to Osama bin Laden since at least 1993, when they received information from an informant that Osama bin Laden was using the American Muslim Council to funnel money to the Blind Sheikh (the terrorist and banker who had co-founded numerous financial institutions, including BCCI’s most important affiliate). As of 2002, the director of the FBI was also aware that the American Muslim Council had been an important target of the aborted Operation Green Quest, partly because the founder of the American Muslim Council was Mr. Alamoudi (who was a top operative in Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organization).

In addition, the director of the FBI was aware that the American Muslim Council’s top officials included former White House official Khalid Elgindy (brother of Anthony Elgindy, the short seller who had advance knowledge of the September 11 conspiracy) and a terrorist named Sami al Arian, who had been settled in the United States by the Elgindy family. At the time in 2002 when the FBI director was Sami al Arian’s guest of honor at the 2002 annual convention of the American Muslim Council, it was widely known that Sami al Arian and a man named  Ramadan Shalleh (both Shalleh and Sami al Arian worked for a time as professors at the University of South Florida) were the top leaders of a terrorist organization called Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which was a key component of the Islamist International, the chairman of which was, of course, Osama bin Laden.

In 2000, the director of the House Task Force on Terrorism had reported (publicly) that Palestinian Islamic Jihad was a key component of the Islamist International, the chairman of which was, of course, Osama bin Laden. At that time in 2000 (and in the years that followed), Sami al Arian (widely known to  be co-leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad) was highly regarded in Washington and held regular meetings with top U.S. officials, including multiple FBI directors. Meanwhile, according to the director of the House Task Force on Terrorism, Ramadan Shalleh (the other co-leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad) was (in 2000) among the terrorists who were, along with Osama bin Laden and other key figures in the Islamist International, including Marzook (host of Elgindy’s private internet chat site for short sellers) planning to perpetrate a “spectacular” terrorist attack inside the United States.

After such a terrorist attack occurred on September 11, 2001, earnest U.S. government investigators learned that Sami al Arian (settled in the United States by the Elgindy family) had incorporated a financial firm called Baraka Exchange, which had funded some of the terrorist-hijackers who had (according to the director of the FBI) carried out the September 11 attack. In addition, Sami al Arian was involved with numerous other SAAR Network entities, and he had been a principal target of Operation Green Quest. However, Operation Green Quest had, of course, been shuttered with no prosecutions, and Sami al Arian was never charged with any crime related to the September 11 attacks or  ties to “Al Qaeda.” To the contrary, he was invited to the White House to meet with the president.

Some years later, after a former DOJ prosecutor named John Loftus had filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, accusing U.S. officials of thwarting investigations into Sami al Arian, the DOJ did indict Sami al Arian for funding a terrorist attack in Palestine, but he spent only a few months in prison, and he now resides in a mansion located in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, Judicial Watch, the public watchdog group, has filed a lawsuit seeking information on the continuing and apparently warm relationships between the director of the FBI (still Robert Mueller) and multiple people (including not only Sami al Arian, but also some of those who attended that meeting at a Marriot Hotel way back in 1993) with ties to terrorism.

In 2002, when the FBI director was the guest of honor of not only Sami al Arian, but also Mr. Alamoudi, at the 2002 annual convention of the American Muslim Council (“the most mainstream Muslim organization in America”), the FBI director was well aware that not only Sami al Arian, but also Mr. Alamoudi (founder of the American Muslim Council) were key figures in Osama bin Laden’s organization, and the FBI director knew that both Mr. Alamoudi and the American Muslim Council had been among the most important targets of Operation Green Quest (the largest law enforcement effort ever aborted without any prosecutions). In addition, the FBI director knew that Mr. Alamoudi had founded the American Muslim Council in partnership with Osama bin Laden.

Court documents also show that the FBI director knew that the vehicle which Mr. Alamoudi used to found the American Muslim Council was an important financial firm called SEDCO, which operated several  joint venture businesses in partnership with Osama bin Laden (a famous terrorist and fringe fanatic who was also a prominent banker, oligarch, and co-founder of “the most mainstream Muslim organization in America”). Perhaps more important, the FBI director knew that SEDCO was principally controlled by Sheikh Mahfouz, formerly the largest shareholder (and executive director) of BCCI.

Sheikh Mahfouz, of course, was one of history’s most destructive financial criminals, and he was Osama bin Laden’s most important business partner. In addition, we know, Sheikh Mahfouz was a prominent oligarch and an important business partner of Washington insiders. Indeed, he had captured many of America’s leading politicians, including every politician who served as president of the U.S.A. between the year of 1972, when BCCI was founded, and the year 2009, when Sheikh Mahfouz passed away.

* * * * * * * *

Which brings us back to The New York Times obituary commemorating the life of Sheikh Mahfouz. In that otherwise flattering obituary, the Times was obliged to report that Sheikh Mahfouz had faced a “barrage of accusations” that he had ties to terrorist organizations These accusations did not, however, conform to the party line that  Sheikh Mahfouz was nothing more than a prominent banker and a legitimate partner of “Washington insiders,” so the Times, of course, was quick to assure its readers that the accusations of Sheikh Mahfouz’s ties to terrorism had no merit whosoever.

The Times also noted with approval that Sheikh Mahfouz had filed lawsuits against journalists who had written of Sheikh Mahfouz’s ties to terrorism. The New York Times  gloated with further approval that Sheikh Mahfouz had filed his lawsuits in London to take “advantage of Britain’s pro-plaintiff libel laws.”  Those libel laws, for those who do not know, are the most repressive libel laws anywhere in the Western world. They not only make a mockery of the notion that Britain has a free press, but they amount to a regime of censorship that makes it difficult for British journalists to report stories that powerful people or the British government deem to be harmful to their interests. And, of course, the British government (like the regime in Washington) is not interested in exposing the ties between prominent billionaires and terrorism, because such billionaires also have ties to the Anglo-American establishment.

Some of the journalists whom Sheikh Mahfouz attacked with libel lawsuits, however, were not British—they were American citizens. Indeed, there has developed a disturbing trend (known to advocates for press freedoms as “libel tourism”) that sees powerful people (a surprising number of them actually former BCCI figures) filing lawsuits against American journalists in the British courts, which almost always rule in favor of the plaintiffs.

As for The New York Times—well, that newspaper is not exactly what the founding fathers had in mind when they made freedom of the press a cornerstone of the new republic. There are some excellent and honest journalists at The New York Times, but we might be justified in asking whether The Times as an institution considers it to be its mission to prevent the voting public from being fully educated. This, after all, is the essential meaning of the famous slogan—“All the News That’s Fit to Print”—with its implication that there cannot possibly be any other news that is fit to print, and that there must be no diversity of opinion, nor debate about the facts. It might be that there really is just one Truth, and one Truth only, but are we to believe that the one and only Truth is the party line of The New York Times?

The New York Times believes that is so, and a large segment of the population believes it, too. It is the segment of the population that is preternaturally inclined to trust authority—even to revere authority–and it is the segment of the population that is ever prepared to accept authoritative diktats as to what constitutes right-belief. It is the segment of the population, like so many of history’s tragic populations, that marches in lockstep with the party line–and in present day America, it is this segment of the population that defines polite society, while everyone else has been relegated to the fringes.

As a result, we now live in a nation where one must be careful with his words, for to deviate in any way from the party line is to be cast aside, scorned and ridiculed. Indeed, one must say nothing at all unless it has been approved by The New York Times.

If you doubt that this is true—if you doubt that it has a profound effect on our nation and our democracy—try this simple experiment: at your next dinner party, introduce an idea, a commentary, a story or a new set of facts. If what you have said did not come from The Times, or has been disputed by The Times, witness the reaction of your friends and interlocutors—your fellow citizens.

Try, for example, to discuss with a group of ten people the story of BCCI and Sheikh Mahfouz. Try to challenge the final word on Sheikh Mahfouz, as it was published in 2009 by The New York Times—which noted with approval bordering on glee that Sheikh Mahfouz had (as a result of one of his London lawsuits) won a default judgment ordering one American writer, a woman named Rachel Ehrenfeld, to apologize for linking Sheikh Mahfouz to terrorism. The Times did not mention this, but Rachel Ehrenfeld is no slouch. She is the director of the Economic Warfare Institute. She has also worked as a visiting scholar at the Columbia University Institute of War and Peace Studies; a research scholar at New York University School of Law; and as a fellow at John’s Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

In addition, Ehrenfeld (author of the book, “Funding Evil,” which provoked the lawsuit) is one of the world’s reigning experts on billionaires who have ties to terrorism, and who are themselves terrorists—financial terrorists who have, with much success (and in partnership with the American elite) waged economic warfare against the United States and other nations. But that is not a subject for polite society. In polite society, one must toe the party line, which is that all terrorists are “fringe” fanatics who occupy their every moment conceiving new and inventive ways to hide bombs in their underpants, desiring nothing more than to blow themselves to Kingdom Come and its harem of vestal virgins.

According to the party line, there are no billionaire terrorists. In polite society, all billionaires are, by definition, themselves members of polite society, deserving of our respect and admiration. Anyone who says otherwise must be expelled from polite society, and if the dissident has credentials that threaten to lend her credibility, she must be excoriated or at least subtly discredited by The New York Times.

So it was with Rachel Ehrenfeld, whom Sheikh Mahfouz  sued with the help of London’s oppressive libel laws. The New York Times reported: “Mrs. Ehrenfeld has called his [Sheikh Mahfouz’s] legal actions ‘financial jihad.’ But Sheikh Mahfouz’s criticisms were sometimes irrefutable. He was widely referred to as the brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden, which he was not. Sheikh Mahfouz did acknowledge contributing $270,000 to Mr. bin Laden’s forces when they were fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. At the time, the United States also supported the insurgents there.”

And that was the end of the story, so far as the Times was concerned. Clearly, we are left to conclude that Sheikh Mahfouz was innocent of all charges linking him to terrorism.

We are also left to conclude that people, including Ehrenfeld, who have linked Sheikh Mahfouz to terrorism are a little bit nutty. After all, these people, including Ehrenfeld (or so it was suggested by The New York Times) went so far as to report the outlandish falsehood that Sheikh Mahfouz was Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law. In fact, Ehrenfeld never reported any such thing. It was the director of the CIA, then George Tenet, who first stated that Sheikh Mahfouz was Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law, at which point official U.S. government spokesmen quickly issued a “correction,” saying that it had not yet been confirmed that Sheikh Mahfouz had married off his sister to Osama bin Laden.

The spokesmen did not explicitly deny that the CIA director’s information was correct, and since then, the official spokesmen have not been forthcoming with confirmation one way or another, so we do not know the truth of the matter. Either way, the former CIA director’s supposed error served the interests of Sheikh Mahfouz and his friends in Washington, as they and cooperative media outlets such as The New York Times seized upon this one supposed falsehood, suggesting that since this one fact has ostensibly been proven to be false, it must necessarily be the case that all of the other facts (see above) linking Sheikh Mahfouz to Osama bin Laden are equally false. This, of course, is twisted logic, made all the more twisted by the fact that the Times failed to address all of the other facts (see above) linking to Sheikh Mahfouz to terrorism.

We can see the twisted logic because we are examining it with care, but most readers of The New York Times conduct no such examination. And make no mistake: the twisted logic of The New York Times is not evidence merely of faulty thinking or lazy reporting. The New York Times was, without doubt, aware of the other facts linking Sheikh Mahfouz to terrorism. The omission of these facts—and the twisted logic suggesting that one supposed falsehood justifies the omission of all the other facts—was not accidental. It was twisted logic by design—and such twisted logic works as it is intended. Indeed, twisted logic is the most effective all propaganda. It is the essence of the twisted dystopia about which we have been warned by Orwell, Huxley, H.G. Wells, and so many others.

Consider further that while the New York Times reported that Sheikh Mahfouz had won (in a British kangaroo court) a “default” judgment ordering Ehrenfeld to apologize for linking Sheikh Mahfouz to terrorism, the Times failed to report that Ehrenfeld had made no such apology and indeed Ehrenfeld had refused to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the British court over her case, which is why the judgment was a “default” judgment. In addition, though there was not a word about this in The New York Times, Ehrenfeld had preemptively countersued Sheikh Mahfouz in New York to obtain a declaration that the British judgment would not be enforced in the United States.

Ehrenfeld also maintained that her book was not defamatory under United States defamation law. The New York courts ruled that they lacked jurisdiction over Sheikh Mahfouz, but immediately thereafter, the New York State legislature unanimously passed the Libel Terrorism Protection Act, and the legislature even named the new Act after Rachel Ehrenfeld herself.

It is called “Rachel’s Law.”

In 2008, when Rachel’s Law was enacted, New York Governor David Paterson stated that Rachel’s Law “offers New Yorkers greater protection against libel judgments in countries whose laws are inconsistent with the freedom of speech granted by the United States constitution.” In other words, this was a victory for both Ehrenfeld and free speech, but The New York Times (supposed guardian of our freedoms and “All The News That’s Fit to Print”) failed to mention a word about it in its story gloating that Ehrenfeld had been asked to apologize for linking Sheikh Mahfouz to terrorism.

Meanwhile, billionaires with ties to terrorist organizations continue to this day to wage a “Financial Jihad” in partnership with some of Wall Street’s most notorious (or “prominent,” in the vernacular of The New York Times) brokerages and investment houses–and with the apparent approval of officials in Washington, who have shown zero inclination to stop them. None of which, of course, is regarded by The New York Times as news that is “Fit to Print,” but there is, nonetheless, hope for the republic, for at least some among the citizenry have come to know that if it’s fit to print–then it probably isn’t true.

To be continued…Click here to read Chapter 7

Mark Mitchell is a journalist who spent most of his career working as a correspondent for mainstream media publications before joining DeepCapture.com. He is the author of the book entitled “The Dendreon Effect: How Felons, Con-Men and Wall Street Insiders Manipulate High-Tech Stocks”.

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The Global Bust-Out Series (Chapter 5): Monzer al-Kassar, Model Citizen

The Global Bust-Out Series (Chapter 5): Monzer al-Kassar, Model Citizen

This is Chapter 5 of a multi-chapter series. On your right is a Table of Contents to all chapters so far published.

* * * * * * * * *

In this chapter of the Global Bust-Out Series, we learn more about the Bank of Credit and Commerce and International (BCCI) and its business partners (the “larger BCCI enterprise”). Although this might seem like ancient history, it is history that we must not forget because the people who were involved with the BCCI enterprise did not simply disappear when BCCI collapsed in 1991. To the contrary, most of them remained in business and only one BCCI figure (Abbas Gokal) did any jail time. This despite the fact that Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau had described BCCI as “the largest banking fraud in world financial history.”

Recall, too, that the larger BCCI enterprise did more than operate “the largest banking fraud in world financial history.” It also deployed a variety of schemes to “bust-out” publicly listed companies, some of them among the largest savings and loan banks in the United States. This contributed to the savings and loan crisis that began in the late 1980s, and which ultimately cost American tax-payers upwards of $1 trillion in bail-outs—a portent of bigger and better things to come.

The larger BCCI enterprise “busted out” (i.e. looted and destroyed) other national economies as well, and when a few BCCI principals were brought to trial (they were sentenced to pay nothing more than fines that were fraction of what they had looted), the sentencing judge correctly remarked that the BCCI enterprise had single-handedly “shattered the integrity of the global financial system.”  They had also shattered the integrity of Washington, where officials went to lengths to protect them from prosecution.

Because the BCCI enterprise was never seriously prosecuted (or exposed in the media), the people who had been involved with BCCI and the larger BCCI enterprise continued during all the years that followed not only to remain in business, but also to operate an almost precisely similar enterprise, the only difference being that the enterprise came to include some new and younger players, while people involved with the enterprise innovated new and more destructive financial schemes. More specifically, they innovated new ways to “bust-out” publicly listed companies and national economies.

Indeed, as we will see, they contributed to the great meltdown of 2008, and they are presently threatening to deliver a repeat performance.

It is no overstatement to say that miscreants who were formerly involved with BCCI and the larger BCCI enterprise presently pose the single biggest threat to the stability of the global financial system and our economic well-being.  More than that, they pose a serious threat to the future of our democracy and to political stability in many other nations as well.  This is, in other words, the history that accounts for our present predicament, and it is the history that has (already to the great detriment of our democracy) been covered up by officials in Washington, and ignored by the major U.S. news organizations (some of them owned by people previously linked to the BCCI enterprise).

* * * * * * * * *

The BCCI enterprise, we know, had extensive business with a great many of the most prominent fixtures of the American establishment. That is to say, some of the world’s most destructive financial criminals (i.e. people formerly involved with BCCI and the larger BCCI enterprise) have had extensive business with not only some of the leading lights on Wall Street, but also with numerous politicians and officials in Washington, including nearly every U.S. politician who has ever so much as considered running for president, every politician who has ever served as president, and multiple people who have held cabinet-level positions in Washington.

In earlier chapters of this series, we discussed relationships between the BCCI enterprise and two sitting presidents, Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter. As has been well-documented elsewhere, the BCCI enterprise also had extensive dealings (the Iran-Contra affair being only one example) with the administration of President Ronald Reagan, and his vice president (later President) George Bush, Sr.

Meanwhile, in the 1980s, various BCCI figures had business with George Bush, Jr., who would, of course, later serve as president. For example, a businessman named James Bath fronted investments that a Saudi sheikh and billionaire named Khalid bin Mahfouz made in an oil company called Harken Energy, which was then controlled by George Bush, Jr. Sheikh Mahfouz was the largest shareholder in BCCI, and he served as executive director of the bank throughout the 1980s. In 1985, Sheikh Mahfouz also purchased (at a premium to the market price) the Texas Commerce Bank Tower, which was then Houston’s tallest skyscraper, from James Baker, who was then President Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of the Treasury, and later Secretary of State under President George Bush, Sr.

We have already seen that key figures in the larger BCCI enterprise later played a key role in delivering the presidency to Bill Clinton. One of those BCCI figures, we know, was an American oligarch named Jackson Stephens. Another was a man named Michael Steinhardt, known as one of the nation’s most prominent hedge fund managers, and also known as the son of Sol “Red” Steinhardt, said by a Manhattan district attorney to be the “biggest Mafia fence in America.” It was at Steinhardt’s urging that President Clinton pardoned a criminal oligarch named Marc Rich, who had previously had extensive involvement with the BCCI enterprise, and who had been sentenced to prison for doing business (through BCCI figures) with the Iranian regime during the 1979-1980 Iran hostage crisis.

We can add to this list of captured presidents our present leader, Barrack Obama, who has faced allegations of shady dealings with a man named Nadhmi Auchi, who is widely regarded as representing the interests of Adnan Khashoggi, formerly one of the most important figures in the larger BCCI enterprise (and one of history’s most destructive financial criminals). We will return to Auchi, but it suffices to say that his business (which continues to be conducted without interference from the Obama administration) has not been good for the country. Hedge fund manager George Soros, who played a key role in delivering the presidency to Obama, also previously had dealings with the BCCI enterprise.

Therefore, it is important for us to remember that the BCCI enterprise (which had extensive links to the Muslim Brotherhood) was notable for having waged a “Financial Jihad” against Western civilization (albeit a jihad waged in partnership with some of the self-anointed leaders of Western civilization). I will remind the reader that Yossef Bondansky, who served a director of the House Task Force on Terrorism from 1988 to 2005, described the BCCI mission as follows: “providing ‘special services’ in support of worthy causes—from laundering money for terrorists, Muslim intelligence services, and mujahedeen; to clandestinely funding deals for conventional weapons, weapons of mass destruction…to shipping around and laundering huge sums embezzled by corrupt leaders.”

As we also know, the BCCI enterprise’s larger mission (i.e. “The Financial Jihad”) was: 1) to build a global financial empire that could compete with Western financial institutions; and 2) to deploy financial weapons of mass destruction to undermine the global financial system that was perceived as being dominated by the West.

Recall that numerous global terrorists (also known as prominent bankers) were directly involved with the larger BCCI enterprise, and among them were Osama bin Laden and his associate, the Blind Sheikh. Osama bin Laden, of course, was later alleged to have perpetrated the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The Blind Sheikh was alleged to have been involved in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. In addition, we know, the Blind Sheikh (co-founder of Faisal Islamic Bank, which was the most important affiliate of BCCI during the 1980s) issued a famous fatwah suggesting that it would be a good idea for his fellow jihadis (and bankers?) to “tear down the edifices of capitalism” and to “destroy their (our) economies.”  Which, of course, the BCCI enterprise had already done.

In 1991, the same year that BCCI collapsed, we know, a Muslim Brotherhood leader named Hasan al-Turabi appointed Osama bin Laden to help lead a Muslim Brotherhood initiative to replace the BCCI enterprise with a global financial network that would exceed the BCCI enterprise in scope and destructive power. Bodansky (then director of the House Task Force on Terrorism) reported in 2000: “Turabi urgently needed an expert to salvage whatever was possible and rebuild a global financial system [to replace the BCCI enterprise]. By then Osama bin Laden was the most qualified individual in Khartoum to untangle this financial mess. In late summer 1991, Turabi approached bin Laden and asked for help.”

Osama bin Laden agreed to help—and he pursued his task with enthusiasm. By 2000, he had played a key role in helping the Muslim Brotherhood rebuild a global financial network and he had done more than merely replace the BCCI enterprise. He and other Muslim Brotherhood billionaires had built what was, without doubt, one of the greatest financial empires the world has ever known. That financial empire remains in business today—and it is not only one the most powerful financial empires on the planet, but also one the world’s leading transnational organized crime syndicates, involved in all of the activities—from narco trafficking and the smuggling of radioactive materials, to the perpetration of destructive financial crime—that characterized the BCCI enterprise of the 1980s.

In addition, the global financial network/organized crime syndicate that Osama bin Laden helped build, like the BCCI enterprise before it, was operated in partnership with some elements of the American establishment, and with the full connivance of officials in Washington.

* * * * * * * * *

The director of the House Task Force on Terrorism reported (in 2000) that Osama bin Laden built a global financial network in collaboration with what he referred to as “The Brotherhood Group,” a close-knit network of no less than 130 extremely wealthy financial operators in the Persian Gulf states. The director of the House Task Force on Terrorism reported further that: “The key members of the Brotherhood Group have a well-known and established financial presence in the West—sixty five of them have major companies and businesses in the United States.”

In Chapter 2 of this series, we met some of those billionaires, noting that some of them (e.g. Sheikh Mahfouz) had not only been involved with the BCCI enterprise in the 1980s, but had been among the founding fathers of Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organization. In later chapters of this series, we will learn more about the global financial network that Osama bin Laden helped build, but by way of introduction to that discussion, we should meet another former BCCI figure—a man named Monzer al-Kassar—because Monzer al-Kassar veritably epitomized both the BCCI enterprise and the global financial network that Osama bin Laden and other billionaires (including Monzer al-Kassar) built to replace the BCCI enterprise.

Monzer al-Kassar was not officially an executive of BCCI, but he brokered many of BCCI’s most important business relationships (including relationships with leading figures of the American establishment), and he played a key role in many of the initiatives (including the “Financial Jihad”) that made the BCCI enterprise so special. That is to say, Monzer al-Kassar was not only a global terrorist, but also the world’s leading narcotics kingpin, a dangerous mobster, a mercenary, a murderer, an arms dealer, an intelligence asset, a sophisticated financial operator, a billionaire several times over, and one of the world’s most prominent oligarchs, famous for the lavish cocktail parties that he held for the rich and famous.

Monzer al-Kassar was, indeed, one of the most important people in the world.

Therefore, the remainder of this chapter will be devoted to Monzer al-Kassar’s long and amazing career–his immense influence over the course of world events and his many assaults on the stability of the global financial system. And we can begin by examining the contents of every single article that was published about Monzer al-Kassar by the major U.S. news organizations during the years leading up to 2008, when Monzer al-Kassar’s career came to a strange and untimely end.

* * * * * * * * *

The major U.S. news organization did not publish any articles about Monzer al-Kassar.

One exception to this rule was my favorite publication, People magazine, which published fairly regular reports about the fabulous parties—attended by Hollywood celebrities, glamorous billionaires, European royalty, Saudi princes, sheikhs and emirs, not to mention Western diplomats and some of Wall Street’s leading lights–that Monzer al-Kassar hosted at his white, Parthenon-like mansion in the Spanish resort town of Marbella. People magazine described Monzer al-Kassar as “The Prince of Marbella,” and that is how he was known to his powerful and influential friends, all whom were, no doubt, avid readers of People magazine.

Another exception to the rule was Forbes Magazine, which regularly listed Monzer al-Kassar as one of the 50 “Most Powerful” people in the world. However, the Forbes list of “Most Powerful” people didn’t include much information about what, exactly, made those people so powerful. Indeed, Forbes Magazine didn’t even provide its readers with any information about Monzer al-Kassar’s parties in Marbella, and unlike People magazine, Forbes Magazine did not inform its readers as to the purchase prices of Monzer al-Kassar’s sports cars, beautiful lady friends, and cutlery.

To be fair, Forbes Magazine is, in fact, the best mainstream business publication in the United States. It is also the only major news publication to devote space (see, for example, ground-breaking stories by Forbes reporters Nathan Vardi and Liz Moyers) to some of the most important issues (e.g. manipulative short selling and the involvement of organized crime) affecting the markets. In addition, aside from its list of “Most Powerful” people, Forbes Magazine did publish one story that at least mentioned Monzer al Kassar’s name in passing, noting that he had ties to Osama bin Laden.

Aside from that, though, the major U.S. news organizations reported nothing about Monzer al-Kassar prior to 2008, when Monzer al-Kassar’s career came to a strange and untimely end, at which point the U.S. media published a few stories about him, most of those stories being false. Not just false, but false to the extent that the major U.S. news organizations completely covered up the true (and scandalous) story of Monzer al-Kassar. Indeed, this cover-up was a conspiracy of significant proportions, or at least it was a cover-up to rival the media’s cover ups of just about every other major scandal in recent history.

That is not to say that the media has been a witting accomplice to any conspiracy. To the contrary, the American media has no wits. It is also, of course, not to say that the media has ever investigated or published any story about a conspiracy. Most major media journalists simply have no time to do anything other than take dictation from official government spokesmen and other professionals in the fields of black propaganda and disinformation. (I confess, I was once a mainstream journalist, and in that capacity, I unwittingly authored plenty of disinformation and devious party lines, though I did, at least, manage to have myself permanently ousted from that profession, thereby saving myself, were it not for so many other sins, from the eternal fires of hell).

At any rate, it is inadvisable to rely on the major U.S. news outfits for stuff like…news.

Fortunately, there are other sources of information, and there is, indeed, a vast amount of information about Monzer al-Kassar contained in the following: 1) mainstream publications of just about every civilized nation other than the United States;  2) a variety of documents that can be found in the public record; 3) some excellent American blogs (see, for example, BoilingFrogsPost.com, whose authors include former U.S. national security officials turned whistleblowers, all of whom are known to rant about the abysmal state of the American media).

In addition, many of the more salient facts concerning Monzer al-Kassar can be found in books by (among others) the following people: former U.S. Department of Justice prosecutor John Loftus, former Defense Intelligence Agency employee Lester Coleman; former Israeli intelligence official Ari Ben Menashe; former Israeli intelligence official Victor Ostrovsky; and Patrick Seale, the most eminent biographer of a terrorist named Abu Nidal, who was sponsored by Monzer al-Kassar. In addition, former Israeli intelligence official turned private investigator named Juval Aviv has revealed some important information about Monzer al-Kassar.

The best book on Monzer al-Kassar is a book written in the German language, and aptly titled “Des Pates des Terrors” (translation: “The Godfather of Terror,” which is different from “The Prince of Marbella”). This book (available on Amazon to anyone who can read German) was authored under a pseudonym by a German intelligence official who quotes extensively from the files of the German intelligence services, Interpol, and other intelligence agencies that tracked (and, in some case, employed) Monzer al-Kassar. There exists an English-language translation of this book, but it has been acquired by the U.S. government, which seems disinclined to allow the translation to be published in the United States.

In other words, so far as the English-speaking citizens of the U.S.A. are concerned, this book has not yet been burned, but it has, effectively, been banned.

We will get to the story of Monzer al-Kassar in a moment (and this might seem like an overly long prelude to that story) but it is first necessary to stress that every one of the above sources has been smeared in one way or another by official U.S. government spokesmen and major U.S. news organizations. These smears are always ad hominem—the facts themselves are never addressed. And others who have attempted to relate some of the facts have been accused of weaving outlandish conspiracy theories. But because this is such an important story, it must be stressed: all of the above sources have (independently of each other) related many of the same facts, and I myself have been able to confirm certain facts to be true.

There is, moreover, a near consensus among just about everyone who has investigated Monzer al-Kassar (including many earnest employees of the U.S. government’s national security agencies, though not the official U.S. government spokesmen) as to the broad outlines of the Monzer al-Kassar story.

The story goes like this:

Monzer al Kassar was the son of a Syrian government official and a close confidant of both Hafez al-Assad, who served as president of Syria from 1971 to 2000, and Bashar al-Assad, who replaced his father as president in 2000. As of this writing in 2013, Bashar al Assad is still president, but his army is fighting “Arab Spring” rebels who are (with the support of the U.S. government and its allies) attempting to overthrow the government of Syria. The “Arab Spring” rebels have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and associated jihadi terrorist organizations, some of which were sponsored by the Syrian government until 2008, at which point the jihadi outfits (and Washington) turned on the Syrian government, and Monzer al Kassar’s career came to strange and untimely end—but we are getting ahead of ourselves.

In the beginning, Monzer al-Kassar and his family, in partnership with, and with the protection of the Syrian government, became involved in the heroin trade out of Syria and Lebanon. By the 1980s, Monzer al-Kassar was not only the world’s leading narcotics kingpin, but also a global terrorist and the proprietor of an organized crime syndicate that was closely intertwined with the operations of leading terrorist organizations (which is to say that the terrorists were also key figures in Monzer al-Kassar’s transnational organized crime syndicate).

Among the terrorist organizations intertwined with Monzer al-Kassar’s organized crime (and terrorism) syndicate were several that had been founded by people who had once been key figures in the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), but who had split with PLO leader Yasser Arafat to found their own, more radical, terrorist outfits. These included: the Palestinian Liberation Front; the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine–Special Command (PLFP-SC); the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine–General Command (PLFP-GC); and Fatah, Revolutionary Council (also known as Black September and the Arab Revolutionary Brigades), whose leader, Abu Nidal, was the world’s most notorious terrorist before Osama bin Laden achieved notoriety in the 1990s.

Monzer al Kassar’s closest friend (going back to their childhoods together) was Abu Abbas, leader of the Palestinian Liberation Front. Meanwhile, Monzer’s brother, Ghasshan, was a top official of the PLFP-SC, and various other members of Monzer’s family were members, at various times, of the PLFP-SC and the other PLO splinter outfits (i.e. all of the above). In addition, Monzer al-Kassar, in his capacity as a Syrian intelligence asset, played an important role in directing the operations of at least one faction of Hezbollah, the world’s largest terrorist organization, based in Lebanon, with operations in numerous nations across the globe, most notably in Latin America and Africa, though Hezbollah also operated (and still does operate) quite openly in a few major U.S. cities, such as Detroit and my hometown, Chicago.

All of the leaders of these terrorist organizations, and Monzer al-Kassar himself, had close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, and in 1991, they all became key figures in the Islamist International, the outfit that was founded that year by Muslim Brotherhood leader Hasan al-Turabi, and whose chairman, of course, was Osama bin Laden. This runs contrary to the official party line that Osama bin Laden’s organization and the Muslim Brotherhood were comprised entirely of Sunnis who could not tolerate other Muslim sects. The truth is that the Muslim Brotherhood membership includes Muslims of many different sects, and the Islamist International, which was founded by the Muslim Brotherhood, included some people who were not even Muslims. For example, the leader of the PLFP-SC, George Habash, was a Marxist and an atheist.

Some accounts suggest that Hezbollah, which is a Shiite outfit, may even have been founded as a Shiite wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, and it is certainly the case that Hezbollah was a key component of the Islamist International. In addition, Hezbollah has carried out at least one violent terrorist attack (in 1996, on a building housing U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia) on the orders of Osama bin Laden. Presently, Hezbollah claims to have sided with the Syrian government against the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda (i.e. Muslim Brotherhood) rebels in Syria, but for reasons to be discussed, there are excellent reasons to believe that Hezbollah and the rebels share a common interest in fomenting chaos in that country.

Monzer al-Kassar, meanwhile, ascribes to Marxist tenets, and he might properly be regarded as an atheist, though he was born a member of the Alawite sect. According to most accounts, Sunni Muslims regard the Alawites as heretics, which might be true, but such theological differences are largely academic. For the purposes of our discussion, it is enough to know that the heretics, atheists, Sunnis, Shiites, and other figures in the Islamist International (one of them being Monzer al-Kassar) were united behind what a famous Muslim Brotherhood document (authored upon the founding of the Islamist International in 1991) described as a “Grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the [sic] Western civilization from within…”  Perhaps more important, they were all businessmen and criminals who understood that there was money to be made by undermining not just Western civilization, but all civilization, as that concept is universally understood by law-abiding people in every nation of the world.

As for Monzer al-Kassar, he was a key figure in the jihad, as were the other terrorists in his organized crime syndicate. In addition, of course, he played a key role, along with Osama bin Laden and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders, in building a global financial network to replace the BCCI enterprise. And one purpose of that global financial network was to launder money that Osama bin Laden, Monzer al Kassar’s organized crime syndicate, and other key figures in the Islamist International, including a jihadi warlord named Gilbuddin Hekmatyar, were making from the trafficking of heroin and other narcotics.

As the director of the House Task Force on Terrorism (in 2000) reported in 2000: “Hekmatyar was getting ready to ship drugs from Afghanistan to the West and divert profits from this drug trade to support the fledgling terrorist networks [of the Islamist International]. Another system of money laundering was required for this. Bin Laden adopted a twin-track approach [using standard money laundering techniques through major banks and brokerages]…”

During the 1980s, Hekmatyar had received the greater share of the weapons and money that the U.S. government supplied for the mujahedeen’s war against the Soviets. The official party line from Washington has it that U.S. support for Hekmatyar was a basically innocent blunder, with naïve U.S. government officials unaware that Hekmatyar was not only the most virulent and anti-American warlord in Afghanistan, but also one of the world’s leading narcotics kingpins. However, many researchers (see, for example, the work of University of California-Berkley professor Peter Dale Scott) have provided ample evidence that U.S. officials were, in the 1980s, well aware that Hekmatyar and other jihadi warlords who received support from Washington were leading narco-traffickers.

By the end of the 1980s, more than 80 percent of the world’s heroin traffic originated (and still does originate) from just a few countries, namely Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, and Lebanon. In addition, most of that heroin was (and still is) supplied by a relatively few people, namely the leading jihadi warlords, terrorists, and organized crime bosses in those countries. Throughout the 1980s, most of these narco-traffickers were closely involved with the BCCI enterprise. And the role of BCCI was not merely to launder money for these narco-traffickers. During the 1980s, many of those narco-traffickers (e.g. Monzer al-Kassar) were themselves key figures in the larger BCCI enterprise.

Meanwhile these same narco-traffickers, along with other key BCCI figures, formed business relationships with many of the world’s leading transnational organized crime syndicates, including the Sicilian Mafia, La Cosa Nostra, and the Columbian drug cartels, all of which were themselves closely involved with the BCCI enterprise. In addition, as of the 1980s, there existed a global network of brokerages linked to the BCCI enterprise, and many of these brokerages were operated in partnership with leading organized crime figures. Later chapters of this series will examine these brokerages in greater detail (not least because their proprietors presently operate some of the biggest brokerages in the world), but for now it is enough to know that they specialized in perpetrating so-called “pump and dump” schemes.

See Chapter 1 of this series for fuller description of pump and dump schemes, but the short of it is that the objective is to first “pump” up the stock price of a public company, and then “dump” the stock into the market while attacking the stock with manipulative short selling. Sometimes the companies are fraudulent companies to begin with. Sometimes they are legitimate companies until such time as miscreants gain a degree of control over the company and/or its stock price. Either way, the end result is the same: the target company is “busted out” (i.e. destroyed), with the miscreants making most of their money on the “dump” end of the equation.

For reasons that are discussed in Chapter 1, the “bust-outs” of public companies not only undermine the financial system (one goal of the “Financial Jihad), but they have the added advantage of being a highly effective way in which to launder money for terrorists, drug traffickers, and other organized criminals.

Therefore, it is not surprising that some terrorist organizations, jihadi warlords, drug traffickers, and organized criminals were involved with the global network of brokerages that were linked to the BCCI enterprise in the 1980s. The terrorist organizations and jihadi warlords had grown immensely wealthy from the drug trade, and, of course, they used some of this money to fund their wars and violent terrorism. However, many terrorists and warlords were also businessmen involved not only in the trafficking of drugs, but also in the full panoply of crimes that we normally associate with transnational organized crime syndicates.

In addition, many of these terrorists were sophisticated financial operators who not only laundered money through BCCI, but also were among the BCCI figures who, along with the larger BCCI enterprise, perpetrated the various crimes that ultimately “shattered the integrity of the global financial system.”

And again: one of the most important of these BCCI figures was Monzer al-Kassar.

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As already mentioned, Monzer al-Kassar was, as of the 1980s, the world’s leading narco-trafficker. In the mid-1980s, Monzer al Kassar formally merged his drug trafficking cartel (which, of course, included leading terrorist organizations) with the operations of the Ochoa family, co-founders of the Medellin cartel in Colombia. Monzer-al Kassar had, to some extent, also integrated his narco-trafficking and associated banking operations with those of other leading syndicates, including the Sicilian Mafia, the Corsican Mafia, Turkish and Israeli syndicates, the leading syndicates and jihadi warlords in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the multiple crime families collectively known as La Cosa Nostra, and others to be discussed.

All of these syndicates operated independently of each other, and all of them, to some extent, competed with each other, but they also collaborated to such an extent that it is proper to describe them as having established what amounted to a global cartel that controlled much of the world supply of heroin, coke, crack, hashish, pot, pills, and other drugs, much as the big oil companies of the early 20th century were independent businesses that competed with each other to some extent, but also collaborated to establish a cartel that effectively controlled the global supply of oil.

Meanwhile, of course, Monzer al-Kassar, being a global terrorist, was, along with others in his syndicate, linked to multiple terrorist atrocities that killed hundreds of people, including many Americans.

Some of these terrorist attacks were perpetrated to advance political agendas (i.e. in the name of jihad, Karl Marx, the destruction of Israel, socialism, the destruction Lebanon, and various other agendas, depending on the occasion), but we will see that at least some of the terrorist attacks were perpetrated for money. That is to say, terrorism was another line of business, and the terrorists in Monzer al-Kassar’s syndicate were more than happy to rent themselves out as mercenaries to the highest bidder, whatever the bidder’s politics or religion might be.

At other times they perpetrated violent acts of terrorism to create conditions that were more conducive to their other criminal enterprises, especially the trafficking of drugs out of Afghanistan and Lebanon (where the narco-trade expanded exponentially as the nation descended into chaos during the 1980s, with much of the chaos caused by Monzer al-Kassar and his terrorist associates). Meanwhile, Monzer al-Kassar and his global crime syndicate (including those terrorist organizations), along with the syndicates that cooperated with Monzer al Kassar to control the drug trade, were involved together in other lines of business, including grand theft auto, sex slavery, murder for hire, and the trafficking of liquor, cigarettes, sophisticated weaponry, radioactive materials, and components for the manufacture of nuclear bombs.

In addition, of course, Monzer al Kassar and associated organized crime syndicates were involved together in the perpetration of destructive financial crime. Not only were Monzer al-Kassar involved with the global network of brokerages linked to BCCI, but Monzer al-Kassar (often in league with associated organized crime syndicates) perpetrated everything from securities fraud and market manipulation to mortgage fraud, Ponzi schemes, and sophisticated derivatives scams. All of which is to say: Monzer al-Kassar was precisely the sort of fellow one would expect to be employed by the government of the U.S.A.

And Monzer al-Kassar was employed by the regime in Washington. Or perhaps it is more correct to say that the regime in Washington was employed by Monzer al Kassar.

In any event, officials in Washington and Monzer al Kassar’s syndicate (including some of those terrorist organizations) had a profitable business relationship, going back to at least the late 1970s, when an American official named Edwin Wilson cut a deal with Monzer al Kassar that saw Monzer supplying American weapons to the regime of Moammar Qadaffi in Libya, while Wilson and other U.S. government officials (all of whom, notably, were also operating private businesses that profited from these deals) were supplying American troops (recruited from within the ranks of the American military) to help the Qadaffi regime train the PLFP-GC, one of the terrorist organizations in Monzer al-Kassar’s syndicate.

In 1981, Wilson was indicted for supplying explosives (indeed, he supplied almost the entire existing stockpile of C-4 military explosives then available in the United States) to the Qaddafi regime, at which point the regime in Washington denied that Wilson was an employee of the U.S. government, and also denied that Wilson had been acting in any official capacity, much less at the direction of Washington. The major U.S. news organizations, taking their cues from U.S. officials, reported that Wilson was a “former” U.S. government employee who had gone rogue, and that the U.S. government had nothing to do with Wilson’s dealings with Qaddaffi, terrorists, and Monzer al-Kassar.

It is important for us to specifically identify the U.S. officials who were most closely involved in the investigation of Wilson and the party line that was fed to the media, because these same officials have been the central players in numerous other events that will feature in later sections of the story that you are now reading, and these events will pertain to our later discussion of the global financial system in its present and deteriorating condition. There are, in fact, numerous officials whom we need to discuss in this context, but for now it will suffice for the reader to remember three names: Oliver “Buck” Revell, who was the FBI’s chief of counter-terrorism; a DOJ and FBI official named Robert Mueller (who is now director of the FBI); and Lindley Devecchio, who was chief of the FBI’s organized crime task force, and who led the FBI’s investigation of Wilson.

These were the officials who reported that Wilson was a “former” U.S. government employee who had gone rogue, and that the U.S. government had nothing to do with Wilson’s dealings with Libya and Monzer al-Kassar. And when Wilson attempted to correct the record, the FBI and the DOJ (at the direction of those same three officials) went to all lengths to discredit and destroy him. As a result, Wilson was sentenced to prison in 1982, and he remained in jail for the next 22 years, all the while protesting that his activities had been conducted in his capacity as an employee of the U.S. government, and all the while filing Freedom of Information Act requests for documents that, he said, would prove that he was telling the truth.

Ultimately, Wilson obtained enough documents to convince a judge that he was, in fact, telling the truth, and in 2004, the judge ordered his release from prison. Since then, it has been established that Wilson (who died in 2012) had, in fact, been employed as an agent of the U.S. government, and that many of his dealings—including his dealings with Monzer al-Kassar and associated terrorists—had been sanctioned by officials working at the highest levels of government in Washington. It has also been established that the Department of Justice and the FBI, among other U.S. government agencies, covered up the truth regarding Edwin Wilson and his dealings with Monzer al-Kassar.

In addition, it is now more than evident that other officials of the U.S. government continued to maintain increasingly profitable business relationships with Monzer al-Kassar in all the years following Wilson’s indictment in 1981. For example, not long after Wilson was sentenced to prison, the U.S. government hired Monzer al Kassar to work with a man named Bill Buckley, who was then the chief of the CIA station in Lebanon. Buckley seems to have been an honorable man, and it is possible that he was unaware of Monzer al-Kassar’s pedigree, but one day he found himself instructed by his superiors to work with Monzer al-Kassar to devise a scheme to kidnap militia leaders who were operating in Lebanon and Syria. As it happened, though, that plan was not carried out and Buckley himself was kidnapped by terrorists.

More specifically, Buckley was kidnapped by a Hezbollah faction that took its directions from none other than Monzer al-Kassar. And soon after kidnapping Buckley, the same terrorists kidnapped many other Americans. But that did not deter Washington from continuing to work with Monzer al-Kassar. To the contrary, Monzer al Kassar became the single most important partner of the U.S. government in the many business dealings and machinations that later culminated in what is now known as the Iran-Contra scandal. That scandal was, in fact, largely covered up by the major U.S. news organizations and by top officials in Washington—including the same DOJ and FBI officials who covered up the earlier Wilson scandal. However, much of the truth can be found elsewhere in the public record. We are especially indebted to a former DOJ prosecutor named John Loftus for some of the key facts that follow, though the facts come from a variety of sources (including those named above), and the reader is encouraged to seek out the dozens of books about the Iran-Contra scandal for a fuller picture.

In any event, it is not the purpose of this story to discuss the Iran-Contra scandal at length, but the short version is that somebody hatched a plan for the U.S. government to sell (through brokers) sophisticated American weaponry to the regime in Iran, ostensibly in exchange for the Iranian regime’s agreement to secure the release of the Americans (including Bill Buckley, the former CIA chief in Lebanon) who had been taken hostage by terrorists—namely Hezbollah terrorists, all presumed to be proxies of the Iranian government. Meanwhile, U.S. officials, having sold the weapons to the regime in Iran, used some of the proceeds to illegally fund and arm the so-called “Contras,” a collection of rebel armies that were fighting to overthrow an ostensibly Marxist regime in Nicaragua.

That, anyway, is the official story as it has been related by the major U.S. news organizations, which have provided little in the way of detail, and which have left the American public with only a vague awareness that the Iran-Contra scheme involved some mild skullduggery on the part of a few otherwise patriotic American officials who desired nothing more than to secure the release of American hostages and secretly lend support to rebels who were fighting the Communist menace in Latin America. There is, however, more to the story—and it is principally a business story. It is a story about a dubious cast of characters who made a boatload of money. That is to say, it is story about (what else?)—the famous and ever-present BCCI enterprise. Indeed, the Iran-Contra scheme was one of BCCI’s most successful initiatives.

* * * * * * * * *

It is difficult to discern through the haze of disinformation who, precisely, masterminded the Iran-Contra scheme, but most accounts cite the involvement of the Saudi billionaire and BCCI figure Adnan Khashoggi and an Iranian arms dealer named Manucher Gorbinafar. They were no doubt at the center of the Iran-Contra dealings, but so too was Monzer al-Kassar, and it was certainly Monzer al-Kassar who earned the greatest profits from the Iran-Contra dealings, though the larger BCCI enterprise (and multiple U.S. government officials who were also proprietors of private companies that were in business with Monzer al-Kassar and the larger BCCI enterprise) profited as well.

In addition, there is no doubt that U.S. officials regarded Monzer al-Kassar not only as their most important business partner, but also as their point man for the political machinations that were necessary for the proper effectuation of the Iran-Contra disaster.

Indeed, Monzer al-Kassar handled every end of the operation, and from every end of the operation, he earned a massive profit for himself and his partners. It was Monzer al-Kassar who sold most of the American weapons that U.S. officials supplied to the Iranian regime, and it was Monzer al-Kassar who sold most of the weapons that U.S. officials supplied to the Contras in Nicaragua. In supplying weapons to the Contras, Monzer al-Kassar also expanded his drug empire, with the Contras and associated drug cartels supplying him with ever greater quantities of cocaine, and the coke smuggled into the United States on the same airplanes that were transporting weapons to the Contras in Latin America. The planes would fly into Latin America with weapons, and return to the U.S. loaded with coke.

All of this business was transacted in partnership with other BCCI figures as well, and much of Monzer al-Kassar’s arms dealing was conducted in partnership with not only BCCI, but also with U.S. government agents who had established private companies as proprietaries of the U.S. government (though the government agents themselves, and not the taxpayers, pocketed the profits from these companies). Monzer al-Kassar was also the man who handled the vast money laundering operation associated with the Iran-Contra dealings, and most of that money laundering was transacted through BCCI.

Meanwhile, of course, BCCI was conspiring with a cast of criminal oligarchs and mobsters to “bust out” major savings and loan banks in the United States. Some of the loot from those “bust-outs” was used to finance the Iran-Contra dealings, and a lot of that loot ended up in the pockets of Monzer al-Kassar. Still greater sums of the money that BCCI looted from the global financial system was, of course, also delivered to the world’s leading terrorist organizations, including the terrorist outfits that were intertwined with Monzer al-Kassar’s organized crime syndicate.

At the center of all this activity, we know, was Adnan Khashoggi.

At Khashoggi’s urging, U.S. officials appointed Monzer al-Kassar as the point man in the supposed effort to secure the release of the U.S. hostages (i.e. the hostages whose capture by terrorists justified the massive Iran-Contra enterprise to begin with). And, naturally, the terrorists had originally taken the American hostages on the orders of…Monzer al-Kassar.

Unsurprisingly, most of those hostages were not released, and indeed, the more weapons that U.S. officials delivered (mostly through Monzer al-Kassar and his BCCI associates, though others arms dealers were involved) to the Iranian regime, the more hostages were taken. Ultimately, a few hostages were released, but the most important of them (including Buckley, the CIA chief) were tortured and killed.

There is, moreover, some doubt as to the sincerity (or at least, some doubt as to the wisdom) of the U.S. officials who believed that they would secure the release of the hostages by supplying the Iranian regime with weapons because the Iranian regime had no control over the Hezbollah terrorists who had taken the hostages. The terrorists who took the hostages all belonged to a Hezbollah faction that took its orders not from Iran, but rather from Syria, and more specifically, from one of Syria’s most important intelligence assets…Monzer al-Kassar.

Meanwhile, Monzer al-Kassar was employed by the Soviet intelligence service, the KGB, and he was, of course, keeping the KGB apprised of Washington’s dealings with the Iranian regime and the Contras. In addition, Monzer al-Kassar and others in the BCCI enterprise, including Adnan Khashoggi, were helping the Soviets in their efforts to prop up the ostensibly Marxist regime in Nicaragua (i.e. the regime whose existence ostensibly justified the massively profitable enterprise to support the Contras by selling them guns, and buying their cocaine for resale at marked up prices in the United States).

Some chroniclers of these machinations, including former U.S. prosecutor John Loftus and the author of the German-language biography of Monzer al-Kassar, suggest that Monzer al Kassar had also taken “deep capture” to new levels—i.e. that he not only had lucrative business relationships with U.S. officials, but had also blackmailed some top U.S. officials. That is, he threatened to expose everything from their early involvement in the Edwin Wilson affair and the illegal scheme to kidnap people in Lebanon, to the subsequent Iran-Contra adventure. And to avoid exposure, officials in Washington were obliged to not only provide full protection and immunity to Monzer al-Kassar and his organized crime syndicate, but to pursue policies that were favorable to the Palestinian terrorist movement.

It might or might not be true that U.S. officials were blackmailed, but there is a vast body of evidence to support the contention that the regime in Washington did, in fact, afford its protection to not only Monzer al-Kassar but also the terrorist outfits that were part of his organized crime syndicate. This first became apparent in 1985, at the height of the Iran-Contra dealings, when Monzer al-Kassar was linked to multiple terrorist atrocities, including the hijacking that year of a luxury cruise ship called the Achille Lauro. Multiple foreign governments and news organizations reported that Monzer al-Kassar had sponsored the hijacking, and that the hijacking was perpetrated by Abu Abbas, leader of the Palestinian Liberation Front (and Monzer al-Kassar’s closest friend since childhood).

After the Palestinian Liberation Front terrorists seized control of the ship, they killed an elderly and handicapped American passenger named Leon Klinghoffer, and dumped his body into the sea. Subsequently, the ship docked at Port Said, in Egypt, and from there the terrorists were able to negotiate safe passage for themselves on a flight that was scheduled to land in Tunisia. The flight was reportedly intercepted by U.S. fighter jets, which forced the plane to land at Sigonella, a NATO base in Italy. But for some reason, Abu Abbas, who had been on the plane, was not arrested when he landed at the NATO base. And for reasons that were never explained, the Italians permitted Abu Abbas to board another civilian passenger flight, and this flight reached its scheduled destination in Yugoslavia.

The regime in Washington publicly requested the extradition of Abbas from Yugoslavia, but U.S. officials did not pursue their request with any particular enthusiasm, and Abu Abbas remained a free man. Abbas later ended up in Iraq (then an American ally) but still he was not arrested.

Some years later, Ari Ben Menashe, a former top Israeli military intelligence official, among others, alleged that the Achille Lauro hijacking and other terrorist attacks had been paid for by Israeli intelligence as part of an ongoing propaganda campaign aimed at gaining sympathy for Israel’s sometimes brutal war against the Palestinians. Meanwhile, a large cast of Israeli officials and arms dealers were involved with Monzer al-Kassar in the Iran-Contra dealings.

* * * * * * * *

Some have cast doubt on Ari Ben Menashe’s claims regarding the Achille Lauro, but there is no doubt the Israeli government was at the time funding and even arming some of the terrorist outfits that were part of Monzer al-Kassar’s crime and terrorism syndicate. The Israelis sponsored these terrorist outfits (most of them PLO splinter groups) believing (correctly as it turned out) that the more radical terrorists would harass and suck support away from Yasser Arafat and the mainstream PLO, which the Israeli government regarded as Enemy Number One.

For the same reasons, the Israelis (and their allies in Washington) sponsored the Muslim Brotherhood, and in 1988, they began to sponsor Hamas, which had been founded that year by the Brotherhood. Both the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, of course, had stated that their most important mission was to eliminate the state of Israel, but Israel anticipated (correctly, as it turned out) that the Brotherhood and Hamas would not only steal support from the PLO, but also destabilize countries (e.g. Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Jordan) that Israel considered to be enemy states.

Presently, Israel is expressing concern that the Muslim Brotherhood has seized power in some of those countries, but Israel’s prior support for the Brotherhood and Hamas is not surprising, and many analysts suggest that there was more to it than just a desire to derail the PLO and enemy states. Indeed, there is much to give credence to reports that right-wing Israeli politicians and the more radical Palestinian terrorist organizations agree that maintaining the status quo of low-intensity conflict is not just politically advantageous, but also financially lucrative for both Israeli politicians and the Palestinian terrorists.

One reason to believe this might be the case is related to the emergence of powerful Russian organized crime syndicates that accompanied the collapse of the Soviet Union, beginning in the late 1980s. Many leaders of these Russian organized criminals set up shop in Israel and obtained Israeli citizenship, and as detailed in diplomatic cables made public by Wikileaks, the major Russian organized crime syndicates quickly became among the largest funders of the same Israeli politicians who have provoked conflicts in Palestine and Lebanon. Those Russian crime syndicates were (and are) also important partners (involved in all of the lines of business already discussed) of the Palestinian terrorist outfits, including those that were part of Monzer al-Kassar’s organized crime operation.

The Russian mobsters are, in addition, big players in Israel’s flourishing “homeland security” industry, which profits from selling services that purport to provide Israel with protection from those same terrorists. The homeland security businesses (and many other businesses, including narco-trafficking and financial crime), of course, benefit from the continuing state of low-intensity conflict and chaos in Palestine and neighboring Lebanon. They also benefit so long as the Israeli government remains focused on conflict, rather than cracking down on organized crime.

Beginning in the 1980s, Monzer al-Kassar himself had developed relationships with Israeli intelligence, and this relationship might similarly have been as much about business as politics. Among other ventures, Monzer al-Kassar brokered deals (financed by BCCI) that saw Israeli intelligence selling weapons to Iran at the same time when he was leading BCCI efforts to provide a full suite of services to Palestinian terrorist organizations that were ostensibly fighting Israel.

Owing to Monzer al-Kassar, BCCI had a particularly strong relationship with Abu Nidal, who was the most murderous of all the terrorists operating at that time. Over the course of few years in the 1980s, Abu Nidal’s terrorist organization killed more than 900 innocent people (some of them Americans) in more than 20 separate terrorist attacks. During some of that time, Abu Nidal was working out of an office at BCCI headquarters in London.

Abu Nidal’s most in-depth biographer, Patrick Seale, has written that Abu Nidal had, for a time, been employed by the Mossad (Israel’s intelligence service), and that some of his terrorist attacks had been paid for by the Israelis. Indeed, by all accounts, Abu Nidal was a mercenary willing to hire himself out to the highest bidder. During the 1980s, Abu Nidal was paid by Syrian intelligence to help the Syrian government crush a rebellion that was led by the Muslim Brotherhood, and a few years later, Abu Nidal, who had been mentored by leading Muslim Brotherhood clerics, was among the terrorists who had joined the Islamist International, the outfit that was founded by Muslim Brotherhood leader Hasan al-Turabi, and whose chairman was Osama bin laden.

In subsequent years, Syria’s government became a key sponsor of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas (which of course was founded by the Muslim Brotherhood), though, of course, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas are now once again (with the support of the U.S. government and its allies, including Israel) fighting to overthrow the Syrian government.

During the late 1980s, many of the top leaders of Hamas were involved with the BCCI enterprise, and during most of the 1980s and 1990s, many of them resided in the United States. For example, Mousa Abu Marzook, political chief of Hamas (and a key figure in the Islamist International) resided in Texas, and operated quite openly there even though earnest FBI agents had linked him to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. In 1996, the FBI briefly arrested Marzook, but he was immediately released at the request of the Israeli government, which issued a statement saying that Marzook was “important to the peace process.”

The truth was that those earnest FBI agents had learned in 1993 that Marzook and other Hamas leaders in the United States had undertaken a major initiative to sabotage the peace process, and more specifically to undermine the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords that the Israeli government had signed with the PLO. Many Israeli politicians were similarly displeased with the Oslo Accords because they believed the Accords granted too much legitimacy to Yasser Arafat, the PLO leader. In other words, many Israeli politicians shared the ambition to sabotage the peace process. Meanwhile, of course, the Israeli government, or at least one faction of the Israeli government, was providing support in the form of money and even weapons to Hamas, hoping that a stronger Hamas would undermine Arafat’s authority.

Presently, Marzook resides in Qatar (one of Washington’s closest allies), where he not only has the full protection of the Qatari ruling family, but is also helping the Qataris (and Washington) support the activities of the “Arab Spring” rebels in Syria. However, back in 1996, Marzook was more friendly with the Syrian government, and at that time, Washington also had friendly relations with Syria. After he was released by the FBI in 1996, Marzook moved to Syria, where (at the request of Washington) the Syrian government provided him with full protection.

As of 2000, the director of the House Task Force on Terrorism was reporting that Marzook was among those who, along with Osama bin Laden and other key figure in the Islamist International were plotting to perpetrate a “spectacular” terrorist attack inside the United States. At the time, of course, Marzook and other key figures in the Islamist International had already been linked to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. One of them was the Blind Sheikh (co-founder of Faisal Islamic Finance, formerly BCCI’s most important affiliate). Others were terrorists who were part of Monzer al-Kassar’s organized crime syndicate, the most notable among them being Abu Nidal.

Abu Nidal had dispatched one his deputies, Mohammed Ajaj, to participate in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, after which the distinguished journalist Robert Friedman reported in the Village Voice that Ajaj was, at that time, an agent of the Israeli intelligence service. Also linked to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing was a fellow named Mohammed Salameh, and the International Herald Tribune reported that the telephone number and apartment address used by Salameh were registered in the name of one Josie Hadas, who had been identified as an agent of the Mossad. This is not to say that Israel was necessarily involved in the 1993 WTC bombing, but it is to say that numerous terrorists were on the payroll of not only the Israeli government, but also the U.S. government (which was, at the time, funding not just Monzer al-Kassar, but also Abu Nidal and the Blind Sheikh).

Some years later, in 2000, Abu Nidal was reported to be among those who were, along with Osama bin Laden and others in the Islamist International, plotting to perpetrate a “spectacular” terrorist attack inside the United States. After a spectacular terrorist attack occurred on September 11, 2001, some major news organizations reported that Abu Nidal had been operating an Al Qaeda training camp in Iraq in cahoots with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. According to these reports, Abu Nidal had personally overseen the training of Mohammed Atta, identified by U.S. officials as the terrorist who piloted the first airplane that had crashed into the World Trade Center. We can, however, hope those reports were not true because it has since been revealed that Abu Nidal was, at the time, an employee of the United States government.

That Abu Nidal was an agent of the U.S. government was first reported by prominent British journalist Robert Fisk, whose reporting on terrorism and the Middle East should be required reading for all Americans because Fisk is one of several mainstream journalists (too few of them Americans) whose reporting is usually true. In 2009, Fisk, then writing for The Independent, a newspaper in England, reported that he, Fisk, had obtained a report from Iraq’s “Special Intelligence Unit M4” confirming that Saddam’s regime had killed Abu Nidal after discovering that Abu Nidal was employed by the U.S. government.

According to Fisk, the regime in Washington (using Kuwaiti and Egyptian intelligence as intermediaries) paid Abu Nidal to provide information to the American government about Iraq’s ties to Al Qaeda. Fisk did not specify as to the nature of the information provided by Abu Nidal, but we might assume that Abu Nidal either provided authentic information that Mohammed Atta received training in Iraq, or that he, Abu Nidal, helped fabricate this information, which U.S. officials proceeded to leak to the media in support of their contention that Saddam had ties to Al Qaeda.

A similar story was subsequently published by Janes, a respected national security journal, which revealed that Saddam Hussein’s regime sentenced Abu Nidal to death in 2002 after discovering that Abu Nidal had in his possession classified U.S. government documents outlining plans for the U.S. invasion of Iraq–leading Saddam to conclude that Abu Nidal was an American spy. Which was a reasonable assumption in light of all we know about the U.S. governments relationship with Monzer al-Kassar’s organized crime and terrorism operation, which, of course, included Abu Nidal.

* * * * * * * * *

Back in 1988, Monzer al-Kassar was linked to another terrorist atrocity—the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The fact that al-Kassar was linked to the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing was reported at the time by a collection of mainstream journalists, most of them in Britain, but those journalists were viciously smeared by some U.S. government officials and journalists who were bent on pinning the bombing on Libyan dictator Muammar Qadaffi.

To this day, the cowed U.S. media reports that only “conspiracy theorists” believe that anyone other than Qaddaffi was involved in the Flight 103 atrocity, but the evidence is overwhelming that terrorists who worked for Monzer al-Kassar’s organized crime syndicate were the perpetrators.

In fact, it was not just “conspiracy theorists” who believed that al-Kassar was involved in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing. It was, among others, numerous U.S. government officials, government investigators in Germany (where the bomb was loaded on to Flight 103), lawyers for Pan Am, members of Congress, a private investigator named Juval Aviv (formerly of the Mossad, with extensive experience tracking terrorist organizations) who was hired by Pan Am to investigate the bombing, and a former Defense Intelligence Agency asset named Lester Coleman.

When Coleman blew the whistle on the true story of Flight 103, he was indicted by the DOJ on trumped up charges that he had applied for a passport using false documents, and then he was smeared relentlessly by U.S. officials and journalists who described him as a con-man and a criminal. Meanwhile, U.S. officials denied that Coleman had anything to do with the U.S. intelligence community. As a result, he was forced to flee the United States, and he became the first American ever to receive political asylum in a foreign country (Sweden).

A reporter named Steve Emerson was among those who did the most to discredit Coleman, leading some to accuse Emerson of being a government stooge. Since then Emerson has done excellent research into terrorism (some of which I have borrowed for my own stories), so I don’t think he is a stooge, but he probably got the Flight 103 story wrong. Coleman has since proven that he did, in fact, work for the Defense Intelligence Agency (and that it was CIA officials who ordered him to apply for a passport using false documentation).

Coleman’s story about Pan Am Flight 103 (laid out in book called “Trail of the Octopus”) is more than plausible, and is, in fact, now widely acknowledged to be true. Meanwhile, the official story from the U.S. government has been thoroughly discredited–and notably, the official story emanated from many of the same officials—e.g. FBI counter-terrorism chief Oliver “Buck” Revell, Robert Mueller (now director of the FBI), top FBI official Lindsey Devecchio– who were involved in covering up the Edwin Wilson and Iran-Contra affairs.

The official story was that a Libyan intelligence officer named Abdelbaset al-Megrahi (on orders from Muammar Qaddafi) planned and carried out the bombing of Flight 103. This story was based almost entirely on the claims of the FBI and MI5 (Britain’s domestic spy service) that a shop-keeper in Malta had sold clothes that were found in the same suitcase that contained the bomb. The shop-keeper, Tony Gauci, was located by the FBI, and he fingered al-Megrahi as the man who had bought the clothes.

However, several documentaries have presented evidence that the U.S. Department of Justice paid Gauci, the shop keeper, at least $1 million in exchange for his agreement to name al-Megrahi. In 2009, lawyers for al-Megrahi (who was serving a life sentence in Scotland, owing largely to information provided by the FBI and DOJ) were about to present evidence of the pay-off and additional evidence pointing to the real perpetrators, but before they were able to do so, the Scottish released al Megrahi on compassionate grounds, saying that he had advanced cancer and only weeks left to live. (Three years later, al Megrahi died of cancer, in Libya).

In addition, it has since been widely acknowledged (as Pan Am’s lawyers, Coleman, German authorities, some CIA officers, Juval Aviv, and many others argued at the time) that the Pan Am 103 atrocity was the work of terrorists who were linked to Monzer al-Kassar, and who were also important figures in a heroin trafficking ring that was overseen by al-Kassar and protected by the U.S. government.

According to former Defense Intelligence Agency officer Coleman and others, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the FBI had made arrangements at the Frankfurt Airport that allowed al Kassar’s terrorist network to smuggle heroin on to airplanes (including Flight 103) without problems from airport security. There is no evidence that the DEA itself was (as some have said) dealing in heroin. These were so-called “controlled deliveries.” In other words, the DEA and other American government agencies (including the Defense Intelligence Agency) had recruited al-Kassar’s men as agents, allowing them to smuggle heroin into the United States in exchange for their cooperation in other investigations. Once the heroin was smuggled into the U.S., the DEA monitored its distribution to learn more drug dealers who were operating in the United States.

Meanwhile, of course, the U.S. government had employed Monzer al Kassar in many other capacities.

Unfortunately, according to Coleman and many others, one of the controlled deliveries contained not only the usual narcotics, but also a bomb—namely, the bomb that blew up Flight 103. That is, U.S. government agencies had created the conditions that allowed terrorists (who were, meanwhile, working as DEA informants and were employed by the U.S. government in other capacities ) to smuggle a bomb onto an airplane. In a frantic effort to cover up the U.S. government’s negligence, the FBI’s chief of counter-terrorism and the Department of Justice persecuted just about everyone who tried to reveal the truth.

Eventually, Coleman was convicted of perjury, at which point he publicly apologized and said that he had made up some elements of the story to get attention for himself. But his conviction was overturned on appeal, and Coleman recanted his apology. The court documents outlining the reasons why the conviction was overturned were sealed. Meanwhile, a general consensus emerged that Coleman was, at a minimum, correct to say that terrorists with links to Monzer al-Kassar were responsible for the bombing, and that top officials of the U.S. government covered up the involvement of Monzer al-Kassar and associated terrorists.

We might never know the full truth about the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing, but if we are to believe the majority opinion of former national security officials who investigated the bombing, and who have since come forth to challenge the official party line, Monzer al-Kassar was hired by either the Iranian regime or Syrian intelligence to organize the terrorist attack, and the terrorists who (on Monzer al-Kassar’s orders) carried out the attack were members of either Abu Nidal’s Black September or the PFLP-GC (the latter being the outfit that had, in the late 1970s, been trained by Edwin Wilson’s operation).

Whatever the truth, the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 and the resulting liabilities soon resulted in Pan Am declaring bankruptcy. And it might or might not be noteworthy that Monzer al-Kassar and some key figures in the larger BCCI enterprise (whom I will not name because I cannot say with certainty that they should be implicated in a terrorist atrocity, though it is perhaps a possibility worthy of further investigation by others more capable than I am) earned a handsome profit from the bankruptcy of Pan Am, and these same BCCI figures made money on the later bankruptcy of TWA airlines.

TWA was forced into bankruptcy as a result of liabilities that it accrued from a series of disasters between 1985, when a TWA airliner was hijacked (by the Hezbollah faction that took orders from Monzer al-Kassar) en route from Cairo to Athens, and 1996, when TWA Flight 800 exploded soon after taking off from New York’s JFK international airport, destination Paris. The FBI and DOJ ruled that the explosion of TWA Flight 800 was the result of mechanical failure, but the general consensus among former U.S. government investigators is that TWA Flight 800 was bombed by terrorists whose identities remain unknown.

* * * * * * * * *

In 1991, we know, Monzer al0Kassar and the other terrorists in his syndicate had joined the Islamist International, whose chairman was, of course, Osama bin Laden. The first order of business was to replace the BCCI enterprise with something even better, and, of course, Monzer al-Kassar played a key role in this effort—the effort known as “The Financial Jihad.” Monzer al-Kassar also lent his full support to the more general “Grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization,” meanwhile establishing new business relationships with major banks and hedge funds in the United States, and committing a host of destructive financial crimes with some of Western civilization’s leading oligarchs.

As Monzer al-Kassar continued to perpetrate eminently destructive financial crimes and operate his terrorism and organized crime syndicate, he apparently remained protected by the U.S. government, which certainly did nothing to stop him until 2008, when he was arrested in Spain and extradited to the U.S., where he presently faces trial for the one crime that he did not commit. That is to say, the DOJ has charged Monzer al-Kassar only with selling weapons to the FARC (a narco-terrorist paramilitary outfit in Colombia), but he did not actually sell weapons to the FARC. He merely agreed to sell weapons to undercover DEA agents who were posing as FARC representatives.

It is nice to know that Monzer al-Kassar has been arrested and that he is no longer described as the “Prince of Marbella,” but in charging him only with the one crime that he did not commit, the DOJ seems to be covering up (or at least neglecting to publicize, much less prosecute) the many crimes (from terrorist atrocities to narco-trafficking and destructive financial crime perpetrated against the American economy) that he did commit during his long and colorful career as one of the world’s most prominent oligarchs.

In addition, it is possible that Monzer al-Kassar was finally arrested in 2008 only because of his importance to the Syrian government (he was, indeed, one of Syrian President Assad’s most important associates), and because the U.S. government had decided at that point to lend its support to the jihadi guerrillas who were then already gearing up to overthrow the Syrian government. Those jihadis, of course, are now (with U.S. support) fighting the Syrian military under the banner of an “Arab Spring” campaign for freedom and democracy.

In any event, Monzer al-Kassar accomplished much over his career, and with few exceptions, the major U.S. news organizations have yet to give him any credit for these accomplishments. One exception, as I mentioned before, was Forbes Magazine. In 2004, Forbes (without otherwise providing the details of Monzer al-Kassar interesting biography) reported that Monzer al-Kassar not only had ties to Osama bin Laden, but was involved, along with two British citizens—Jared Brook and Lincoln Fraser—with a “high flying financial outfit” called Imperial Consolidated Group.

Imperial Consolidated was involved in multiple destructive financial crimes, most of them involving pump and dump schemes and the “bust-outs” of publicly listed companies in Europe and the United States. All told, Imperial Consolidated looted at least $300 million from the Western financial system. The British miscreants were charged for their involvement in this monumental criminal enterprise, and, meanwhile, they had sued Monzer al Kassar for slander, accusing him of telling people that Imperial Consolidated had fronted arms sales to Osama bin Laden. The merits of that lawsuit remain unclear, but it is clear that Monzer al-Kassar was himself involved with Imperial Consolidated (though he has never been charged on any count other then selling weapons to undercover DEA agents).

Meanwhile (to cite just one more accomplishment), Monzer al-Kassar had long been one of the world’s leading counterfeiters of American currency. His fake U.S. $100 bills were of such high quality that they were known as “Supernotes,” and he created such vast quantities of them that they had a negative impact on the value of the U.S. dollar. As early as 1996, Kenneth Timmerman, a reporter for Time magazine and The Wall Street Journal, prepared an official document for U.S. Congressman Spencer Bacchus outlining the details of Monzer al-Kassar’s counterfeiting operation. This report was promptly deposited in a trash can somewhere in Washington.

In addition, so far as I can tell, Timmerman’s employers at Time Magazine and The Wall Street Journal did not see fit to publish any stories about Timmerman’s important findings.

To be continued…Click here to read Chapter 6

Mark Mitchell is a journalist who spent most of his career working as a correspondent for mainstream media publications before joining DeepCapture.com. He is the author of the book entitled “The Dendreon Effect: How Felons, Con-Men and Wall Street Insiders Manipulate High-Tech Stocks”.

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There is More to the SAC Capital Story

There is More to the SAC Capital Story

Around 10 years ago a small number of citizen activists began identifying SAC Capital as being a central player in a “network” of hedge funds that engaged in all manner of dubious practices.

The media ignored the citizen activists.

In 2005, Patrick Byrne, then CEO of internet retailer Overstock.com (and future reporter for  DeepCapture.com) gave a famous conference call titled “The Miscreants Ball” in which he sought to expose a “network” of miscreant hedge funds. Soon after, Patrick identified SAC Capital as being the central player in that miscreant network.

The media ridiculed Patrick.

In 2007, DeepCapture was founded, and in May 2008, we published “The Story of Deep Capture” to tell the story of how DeepCapture came into being and to expose a pack of prominent journalists who seemed to be doing the bidding for (i.e. they were “captured” by) a “network” of miscreant hedge funds, including SAC Capital.

Since then, DeepCapture has published numerous stories exposing various misdeeds that have been perpetrated by these journalists and hedge funds, including SAC Capital. Some of the journalists ignored us. Some of them ridiculed us. Some of them, such as the eminently corrupt Gary Weiss, ridiculed us and fought us at the same time.

Gandhi said: “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.

Then the news broke (this week) that SAC founder Steve Cohen has received a subpoena to appear before a grand jury, possibly a prelude to an indictment of Cohen and/or his hedge fund. In addition, the media has reported that SAC Capital is the main target of the largest insider trading investigation in FBI history, and the media has even reported (at long last and accurately) that SAC Capital is part of a larger “network” of financial operators and hedge funds involved in insider trading. So, apparently, we win.

But we have not won.

We will not have won until the day when the media reports that SAC Capital and other hedge funds in its “network” are involved in activities that are more damaging to the markets than mere insider trading. For example, some of the creditors to Lehman Brothers have sued SAC Capital and two other hedge funds for allegedly perpetrating manipulative short selling that triggered the 2008 death spiral in the stock price of Lehman Brothers and the resulting collapse of that bank.

You will recall that the collapse of Lehman Brothers brought the global financial system to the brink of apocalyptic ruin.

It is not clear what the status of that lawsuit is, so we cannot yet say with certainty that SAC Capital was the culprit behind the manipulative short selling that contributed (as even the SEC noted in 2008 “Emergency Order”) to the collapse of Lehman, but there is little doubt that hedge funds in the “network” have schemed to destroy other important companies. Have a read, for example, of the following email.

= = = = =Begin Message= = = = =

Message # : 727

Message Sent: 02/22/2006 08:57:48

From: AHELLER3@bloomberg.net|ANDY HELLER|EXIS CAPITAL MANAGEM

To: JONKALIKOW@bloomberg.net|JONATHAN KALIKOW|STANFIELD CAPITAL

Subject: CNBC – FAIRFAX

Reply:

He did this one time before, and the stock went down 3 on the open, then closed up 1. the way to get this thing down is to get them where they eat, like the credit analysts and holders. we’re taking this baby down for the count. ads and I are going to toronto in 2 weeks for a group lunch. J

= = = = =End Message= = = = =

That email was authored by a top employee of Exis Capital, which is an offshoot of SAC Capital, and as you can see, it concerns a conspiracy to take “this baby down for the count.” The “ads” to attend the “group lunch” was former SAC trader Adam D. Sender, head of Exis. The “baby” to be taken “down for the count” (unsuccessfully, in the end) was Fairfax Financial, a major, publicly listed insurance and financial firm.

The emails were acquired through discovery in Fairfax’s lawsuit against a group of hedge funds, one of which was SAC Capital. Although SAC Capital was ultimately dropped from the lawsuit, SAC’s satellite funds (including Exis and an outfit called Sigma Capital) were not dropped from the suit, which is ongoing. And the discovery from that lawsuit has produced additional evidence of shenanigans at SAC Capital. See, for example, DeepCapture stories “Hedge Funds Reading Tomorrow’s Headlines Today,” and “Hedge Funds Scurry…”

It is important for the media to begin paying attention to SAC Capital’s more egregious behavior because far too many people believe that SAC has done no worse than engage in a bit of insider trading, and a lot of people regard insider trading as nothing worse than “good research.” In addition, failing to tell the full story ensures that history will repeat.

Back in 1991, when Michael Milken was sentenced to prison, the media reported that Milken’s principal crime was insider trading when, in fact, he and others in his “network” had also “busted out” (i.e. looted and destroyed) multiple savings and loan banks, some of them among the most important financial institutions in the nation. Those “bust-outs” contributed to the savings and loan crisis that began in the late 1980s, and which ultimately cost American tax-payers billions of dollars in bailouts—a portent of bigger and better things to come.

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Will the SEC Investigate What Matters About Milken?

Will the SEC Investigate What Matters About Milken?

For those who missed it, news broke this week that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is investigating Michael Milken for allegedly violating his life-time ban from working in any capacity as an investment advisor. The investigation reportedly is focused on Milken’s relationship with Guggenheim Partners, a big investment firm, but as readers of DeepCapture know, there is much else the SEC should be investigating so far as Michael Milken is concerned.

For starters, the SEC might want to read our story “Michael Milken and the Story of Dendreon” (or my book, “The Dendreon Effect: How Felons, Con-Men and Wall Street Insiders Manipulate High-Tech Stocks“) because that story (and the book) demonstrate that Milken has not only violated his ban from working as an investment advisor, but has also violated (but, of course, not been charged for) a host of other laws, from insider trading to influence peddling and scheming under the cloak of his cancer “charity” to manipulate the stocks of publicly listed pharmaceutical companies.

More specifically, Milken has used his Prostate Cancer Foundation to “capture” a few of the nation’s most prominent cancer doctors and to promote (with help from the doctors) pharmaceutical companies in which Milken and/or Milken cronies have large investments. Meanwhile, Milken and his associates have schemed to destroy at least one pharmaceutical company (i.e. Dendreon Corp.) that had a promising treatment for prostate cancer (and which was a competitor to companies promoted by Milken’s Prostate Cancer Foundation).

In addition, Milken and his associates have (with the help of those same doctors) “captured” the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so as to influence FDA decisions about treatments for prostate cancer. This influence peddling, of course, has involved convincing the FDA to endorse treatments that were developed by companies with ties to Milken, and it has involved convincing the captured FDA to delay approval of Dendreon’s promising prostate cancer treatment (one that could have extended the lives of 60,000 men during the three years while Milken’s cronies successfully schemed to keep it from coming to market).

Unfortunately, the (captured) SEC is not (so far as I  know) investigating the more egregious infractions. In addition, Milken has successfully captured most of the major U.S. news organizations, all of which have bought into the party line put forth by Milken’s impressive public relations machine that Milken was one of Wall Street’s all-time greatest “innovators” in the 1980s, when he ostensibly helped build some of America’s most successful companies, but has in more recent years devoted the greater portion of his efforts to “philanthropy.”

Actually, Milken deliberately destroyed far more companies than he built during the 1980s, but it is true that his finance helped grow the media empires of both Ted Turner and Rupert Murdoch, and neither of those media empires have ever shown any inclination to expose Milken’s miscreancy. Nor has Fortune Magazine, which was one of the first to report this week that the SEC was investigating Milken, but was quick to remind its readers that Milken was a prominent “philanthropist” who had featured in a Fortune Magazine cover-story (title: “The Man Who Changed Medicine”) that trumpeted Milken’s good-deeds in the field of prostate cancer.

Ack. So it goes…

 

 

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The Global Bust-Out Series (Chapter 4): The BCCI Enterprise: Prelude to Our Present Predicament

The Global Bust-Out Series (Chapter 4): The BCCI Enterprise: Prelude to Our Present Predicament

This is Chapter 4 of a multi-chapter series. On your right is a Table of Contents to all chapters so far published.

* * * * * * * * *

Henry Kissinger, who served the Nixon administration as national security advisor and secretary of state, has commented that the 1973 oil embargo was “one of the pivotal events in the history of the [twentieth] century.”

Kissinger did not refer specifically to the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) in that statement, but there is no doubt that one of the most important outcomes of the oil embargo was to fill the coffers of BCCI, making it one of the more powerful financial institutions in the world. There is also no doubt that the idea for the oil embargo was hatched by the ruler of Abu Dhabi (then one of BCCI’s controlling shareholders) in consultation with other BCCI principals, including BCCI founder Agha Hasan Abedi. Also playing a role in implementing the oil embargo was BCCI principal Sheikh Kamal Adham (who served concurrently as chief of Saudi intelligence) and the Saudi royal family, which had involvement with the BCCI enterprise.

Others who helped implement the oil embargo included Sheikh Ahmad Turki Yamani, then the Saudi minister of petroleum; and Sheikh Abdel Hadir Taher, then governor of the Saudi state oil company Petromin, both of whom we met in chapter 2 of this series, wherein it was noted that Sheikh Yamani and Sheikh Taher were among the select few billionaires (another being Sheikh Khalid bin Mahfouz, BCCI’s largest shareholder in the 1980s) whom Osama bin Laden referred to as his “Golden Chain.”

All of those sheikhs also had close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, and the ruler of Abu Dhabi (who masterminded the oil embargo) was one of the leading sponsors of the Muslim Brotherhood. In addition, we know, BCCI had close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, and we might consider the founding of BCCI in 1972 and the enforcement of the oil embargo a year later to have marked the beginning of what Muslim Brotherhood leaders now (see earlier chapters of this series) describe as “The Financial Jihad.”

As noted in an earlier chapter of this series, Muslim Brotherhood leaders say that the manipulation of oil prices are an important component of the “Financial Jihad.Muslim Brotherhood leader Yussuf al Qardawi, for one, has spoken often of the imperative to deploy  Silah al Naft – i.e. “the weapon of oil” – against the U.S. economy. This was precisely in line with the thinking of Osama bin Laden, who stressed  “the absolute necessity to use the oil weapon.”  And according to a report that was prepared for the Department of Defense, the oil weapon was deployed against the U.S. economy in the years leading up to the great meltdown of 2008.

Indeed, the report for the Defense Department (see chapter 1 of this series) concluded that while a variety of financial weapons have been deployed against the U.S. economy, much of the destruction of 2008 could be attributed to two particularly effective financial weapons: 1) the manipulation of the oil markets that caused oil prices to nearly quadruple in the five years leading to 2008; and 2) the manipulative short selling that was one (though not the only) component of the “bust-outs” (i.e. destruction) of some major financial institutions, including Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, and others.

Similarly, the oil embargo of the 1970s quadrupled the price oil, and a few years later, the BCCI enterprise helped “bust out” some of America’s largest savings and loan banks, contributing to the savings an loan crisis that began in the late 1980s, eventually costing U.S. tax-payers billions of dollars (a mighty sum at the time) in bailouts.

* * * * * * * * *

The 1973 oil embargo was an act of economic warfare against the United States, said to be retaliation for America’s support of Israel in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. Henry Kissinger was no doubt justified in describing this economic warfare as “one of the pivotal events in the history of the [twentieth] century,” but what Kissinger failed to mention was that he and then President Richard Nixon opted to do nothing in response to the economic warfare that was waged against our nation.

This might have been partly because higher oil prices benefited U.S. oil companies and partly because the Gulf states had agreed to use some of the new oil wealth that they were to acquire as a result of the oil embargo to support the U.S. dollar. Nixon would also have been aware that the oil embargo was transforming BCCI into a global powerhouse, and that BCCI and its owners would become important business partners for certain elements of the American establishment, including America’s leading weapons manufacturers, and some of the most powerful people on Wall Street.

In addition, BCCI and/or its partners effectively “captured” Washington. One famous story describes a BCCI partner named Adnan Khashoggi visiting Nixon in the Oval Office, and “accidentally” leaving behind his briefcase, which was found to contain $1 million in cash. The story might be apocryphal, but there is no question that Khashoggi was one of the largest financiers of Nixon’s political war chest. Khashoggi would also later establish himself as one of history’s most destructive financial criminals, but he would remain on close terms with officials in Washington, including multiple U.S. presidents.

Not long after Nixon left power, BCCI employed (as a consultant) a man named Bert Lance, who would soon be appointed director of the office of management and budget in the administration of President Jimmy Carter. Lance brokered BCCI’s secret acquisition of a prominent financial institution called National Georgia Bank, and that acquisition likely had something to do with the fact that National Georgia Bank was the principal financier to Carter’s family peanut business.

After Carter left office, the former president traveled the world with BCCI founder Aga Hasan Abedi. BCCI was also the largest donor to the Carter Presidential Library. The major U.S. news organizations, however, found nothing untoward about this relationship, and after BCCI was revealed to be (in the words of Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau) “the largest banking fraud in world financial history,” the major U.S. news organizations (and some books on the BCCI scandal) suggested that Carter was oblivious to the fact that BCCI was a criminal enterprise. Some reports also maintained the party line that one of BCCI’s missions was to end global poverty, and so it was natural that Carter, who also desired to help the poor, would join forces with BCCI in this philanthropic endeavor.

Anyone who believes this party line is either dangerously innocent, or guilty of the sort of apathy and lack of inquisitiveness that poses a threat to our democracy. It is possible that Carter genuinely believed that BCCI (which had helped kleptocratic government leaders  “bust out” the economies of poverty stricken nations in the non-developing world) was on a “philanthropic” mission to end global poverty, but that is beside the point. Or, rather, it is  precisely the point. Because if you genuinely believe that the perpetrators of the “largest banking fraud in world financial history” are engaged in a philanthropic mission, you are, by definition, so friendly with those perpetrators as to be wholly incapacitated.

This is the essence of what we call “deep capture.”

One of BCCI’s most important business partners in the 1980s was a leading oligarch named Jackson Stephens, who was one of the largest contributors to both the Democratic and Republican parties. Stephens was also one of Bill Clinton’s closest associates, and Stephens would later figure in some of the scandals that plagued the Clinton presidency. One of the more famous Clinton scandals saw a Chinese spy donating large sums to Clinton campaign coffers and stealing U.S. nuclear weapons secrets, all the while working in some capacity for a brokerage called Stephens, Inc., which had been founded by Jackson Stephens, and which, in the 1980s, had maintained a close business relationship with BCCI. Stephens had, in the 1980s, also been among those who brokered BCCI’s “secret” acquisition of a financial institution called First General Bankshares, later renamed First American Bankshares.

First American Bankshares was the most prominent financial institution in Washington, DC, and it counted among its clients a large number of America’s leading politicians. In addition, First American Bankshares had extensive ties to the U.S. national security community, and it was no accident that BCCI principals controlled First American in partnership with a man named Clark Clifford, whom BCCI also appointed to run the day-to-day operations of First American and its affiiliates. Clifford, a former Secretary of Defense, was, at the time, one of the most influential people in Washington, and he was the eminence gris of the Democratic Party.

After BCCI collapsed in 1991, the major U.S. news organizations focused almost exclusively on BCCI’s “secret” acquisition of First American Bankshares as being the most salient feature of the BCCI scandal, though the major U.S. news organizations seemed to find nothing more scandalous about it than the fact that the acquisition was “secret,” and therefore illegal. Many earnest U.S. government investigators (including Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau), meanwhile, had determined that there was nothing particularly “secret” about it. Top officials in Washington were aware that BCCI had acquired First American Bankshares, and it is likely they were also aware (as even the whitewashed Congressional report on the BCCI scandal would suggest) that BCCI principals (including the chief of Saudi intelligence) had acquired First Commerce as a way to peddle influence in Washington.

Meanwhile, of course, the BCCI enterprise was carrying out other missions, one of which was to provide a full package of services to leading jihadi terrorist organizations, another of which was to wage the “Financial Jihad” against the American economy. But, of course, captured regulators  in Washington allowed BCCI and its partners to “bust-out” the American economy, and the major U.S. news organizations published not a word about it.

Noteably, the Congressional report into the BCCI scandal also revealed that a BCCI subsidiary called Capcom Financial (whose principals included Saudi intelligence official Sheikh Kamal Adham) had formed business relationships with leading American telecommunications and media companies, including CNN, likely for the purposes of influencing (through the media organizations) American public opinion. Unsurprisingly, the major U.S. news organizations, including CNN, did not report on this aspect of the BCCI scandal. Nor, for some reason, did the major U.S. news organizations report the Congressional finding that Capcom Financial had meanwhile transacted around $90 billion (an astounding sum in those days) in illegal “wash” trades through the trading desk of Michael Milken, who was then the most prominent and powerful financial operator on Wall Street.

Such “wash trades” are usually accompanied by manipulative short selling, and they do extensive damage to the markets. In addition, “wash” trades are usually a component of larger money laundering schemes (hence the term “wash”), and it should be stressed that nearly every serious investigator of the BCCI scandal (including the Manhattan District Attorney; the director of the Senate committee tasked with investigating BCCI; the director of the House Task Force on Terorrism; and others) has reported that one of BCCI’s principal lines of business was to launder money not for the world’s leading terrorist organizations, but also for leading transnational organized crime syndicates. Some of BCCI’s executives, including  Ziuddin Ali Akbar, who served as BCCI’s treasurer and as director of Capcom Financial, were indicted for laundering money that belonged to Colombian drug cartels.

Aside from Milken, another of BCCI’s most important business partners in the 1980s was Bank of America, which was, in fact, among BCCI’s founding shareholders. According to the party line delivered to the public by the major U.S. news organizations (and by some books on BCCI), Bank of America sold its shares in BCCI in the 1970s because Bank of America had concluded at that early date that BCCI was a criminal enterprise. But this failed to explain why Bank of America did not report the criminality. And more recently, in 2007, Morgenthau (who was still district attorney) concluded that Bank of America had laundered huge sums for drug dealers in Latin America who had ties to Hezbollah and Al Qaeda. Most of the major U.S. news organizations failed to report this news.

Meanwhile, the major U.S. news organizations seemed to believe that people like Jackson Stephens and Michael Milken (i.e. one of history’s most destructive financial criminals) were prominent figures of the American establishment, deserving of our respect and admiration. Thus,we are left to contemplate the state of the republic.

To be continued…Click here to read Chapter 5

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The Global Bust-Out Series (Chapter 3): The BCCI Enterprise and The Financial Jihad

The Global Bust-Out Series (Chapter 3): The BCCI Enterprise and The Financial Jihad

This is Chapter 3 of a multi-chapter series. On your right is a Table of Contents to all chapters so far published.

* * * * * * * * * *

In Chapter 2 of this series, we began to discuss an outfit called the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI)  which collapsed in 1991, at which point the Manhattan district attorney called it “the biggest banking fraud in world financial history.”  It will be useful for us to further review the amazing history of BCCI because most of BCCI’s former principals and their former partners in crime remain in business today. Moreover, we will see, they have, along with some new and younger players, built a financial network that presently poses a significant threat to the stability of the global financial system.

Unfortunately, the public knows little about the BCCI scandal other than what was published by the major news organizations during the brief period after the scandal broke in 1991, and according to the major U.S. news organizations, BCCI’s most significant crime was to have secretly acquired  a financial institution called First American Bankshares in contravention of rules prohibiting foreign ownership of American financial institutions. The major U.S. news organizations also reported that a few BCCI executives were indicted for laundering money that belonged to Colombian drug cartels, but the media left the public to believe that this was not evidence of any larger conspiracy on the part of BCCI and its partners (which I will refer to as the “larger BCCI enterprise”).

The major U.S. news organizations did transcribe the Manhattan District Attorney’s statement that BCCI was the “largest banking fraud in world financial history,” but most U.S. media failed to properly quantify the magnitude of the fraud or the damage that had been done to the global financial system. So far as the fraud was concerned, the major U.S. news organizations reported only that BCCI’s executives had failed to properly account for a few billion dollars, while BCCI’s depositors had lost a total of around $20 billion when the bank collapsed.

Not only that, but some reports suggested that unlike other major financial institutions, BCCI had pursued a mission that was largely “philanthropic” in nature. According to this narrative, the founder of BCCI, a Pakistani businessman named Aga Hasan Abedi, ascribed to the same  “mystical” brand of Sufi Islam that was favored by some American hippies, and guided by these “mystical” religious beliefs, Abedi and other BCCI executives set out to eliminate global poverty and contribute to the economic advancement of the world’s disenfranchised nations, though a few billion dollars had apparently vanished into the ether of this ultimately misguided and “mystical” mission.

By contrast, Yossef Bondansky, who served as director of the House Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare during the years 1988-2005, reported (in his 2000 seminal book on Osama bin Laden) that BCCI’s “philanthropic” mission included the following:  “providing ‘special services’ in support of worthy causes—from laundering money for terrorists, Muslim intelligence services, and mujahedeen; to clandestinely funding deals for conventional weapons, weapons of mass destruction…to shipping around and laundering huge sums embezzled by corrupt leaders.” Bodansky continued: “In the process of sponsoring these Islamist ‘causes,’ the BCCI’s management not only did not keep any books…[but also] BCCI had become a hollow entity with a lot of unaccounted for and dirty money moving around the world…”

In fact, the mission was grander than all that, and to understand the larger mission, we must recall that leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood presently speak of a mission called “The Financial Jihad.”  To some extent, the “Financial Jihad” involves Muslim Brotherhood banks providing “special services” to jihadi terrorist organizations, but a report prepared for the Department of Defense (see chapter 1 of this series) suggests (as do other experts) that the “Financial Jihad” has two additional objectives: 1) to build a global financial empire that can serve as an alternative to the prevailing financial order dominated by the West; and 2) to deploy financial weapons of mass destruction to undermine the prevailing financial order dominated by the West.

The financial institution that spearheaded the “Financial Jihad” was BCCI. It was not known as the “Financial Jihad” back then, but there can be no doubt that BCCI’s mission had little to do with a “mystical” mission to eliminate global poverty. It was true that BCCI founder Aga Hassan Abedi ascribed to a “mystical” brand of Sufi Islam, but it was also true (contrary to the media reports that the Muslim Brotherhood was an entirely Sunni outfit) that some key Muslim Brotherhood figures, including several of the people who originally founded the Brotherhood, ascribed to the “mystical” brand of Sufi Islam. Although it is  not known whether Abedi himself was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, he and other BCCI executives had relationships with Muslim Brotherhood leaders, and it is clear that he and the Muslim Brotherhood had a common vision of what they referred to at the time as “Islamic finance.”

BCCI also counted among its founding shareholders and top executives current and former officials of governments that were among the Muslim Brotherhood’s principal state sponsors. One of the largest shareholders of BCCI was the ruler of Abu Dhabi (in the United Arab Emirates), and other key shareholders included the ruling families of Dubai (also in the UAE) and Oman. In addition, the Saudi royal family had close involvement with BCCI, and one of BCCI’s most important shareholders (and a key hands-on executive of the bank) was Sheikh Kamal Adahm, who was chief of the Saudi intelligence service at the time when BCCI was founded in 1972 until he retired from that position in 1977.

When Sheikh Adahm resigned as chief of Saudi intelligence, he was replaced by Prince Turki bin al-Faisal, who was also closely involved with some of BCCI’s important initiatives. Meanwhile, many of BCCI’s top executives were “former” top officials of Pakistan’s intelligence service, the ISI, which itself had extensive ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, while other BCCI executives were among the closest associates (including the son) of Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, who was the leader of Pakistan until his death in 1988. Some accounts of the BCCI enterprise described BCCI as being effectively an arm of both the Saudi intelligence service and the Pakistani intelligence service (with Pakistan’s government being, to some significant extent, a proxy of the Saudis).

All of these governments had been engaged in a program (a program that continues to this day) to grow the Muslim Brotherhood into a powerful and global political movement. An important component of this program was (and is) to help the Muslim Brotherhood build an impressive financial empire, and as of the 1980s, a centerpiece of this financial empire was an outfit called Faisal Islamic Bank, which was one of BCCI’s most important affiliates. BCCI itself might properly be regarded as having been an important component of the Muslim Brotherhood financial empire, and this was especially the case in the 1980s, when a Saudi billionaire named Sheikh Khalid bin Mahfouz became BCCI’s largest shareholder and an executive director of the bank.

As we know from Chapter 2 of this series, Sheikh Mahfouz had extensive ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, and he was later a key sponsor of the terrorist organization that we now know as “Al Qaeda.” He was, in fact, one of the select few billionaires whom Osama bin Laden referred to as his “Golden Chain.” And, of course, Osama bin Laden was himself a prominent Saudi billionaire, so it should surprise nobody to learn that Osama bin Laden himself was also involved with the BCCI enterprise.

It has been reported that Osama bin Laden was a mere client of BCCI, and perhaps he was nothing more, but it is important to understand that Osama bin Laden was not just the leader of a violent terrorist organization, but also a sophisticated financial operator. In addition,  as Yossef Bondansky (then director of the House Task Force on Terrorism) reported in his 2000 book on Osama bin Laden, soon after BCCI collapsed in 1991, a Muslim Brotherhood leader named Hasan al-Turabi assigned Osama bin Laden to help lead a Muslim Brotherhood initiative to replace the BCCI enterprise with a similar banking network that could serve the jihad. Also involved with this effort was Omar Abdul Rahman, otherwise known as the Blind Sheikh, and he was one of Osama bin Laden’s closest associates.

Presently, the media reports that the Blind Sheikh is a fringe fanatic and terrorist who was jailed for his involvement in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. However, the Blind Sheikh is also a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and he was (prior to his arrest on terrorism charges) an eminently prominent banker who co-founded several major  financial institutions, including an outfit called Faisal Islamic Bank, which (recall) was BCCI’s most important affiliate (delivering much of its depositors’ money to BCCI, with BCCI looting some significant portion of that money).

The Blind Sheikh and Osama bin Laden were not the only terrorists who had involvement with BCCI. Another was Abu Nidal, leader of a terrorist organization called Black September (among other names). Abu Nidal was the most notorious terrorist of his era, and according to numerous reports, including one in Time magazine, Abu Nidal worked for a while out of BCCI offices in London.

Abu Nidal, too, was reportedly a mere client of BCCI, but his terrorist organization was closely intertwined with a transnational organized crime (and terrorism) syndicate operated by a global terrorist and mobster named Monzer al Kassar, and al-Kassar played a role in brokering some of BCCI’s important business ventures. (Aside from being a global terrorist and mafia kingpin, Monzer al Kassar was a prominent businessman and oligarch often referred to as “The Prince of Marabella” because of the lavish parties he held at his mansion in Marabella, Spain).

Rachel Ehrenfeld, now director of the Economic Warfare Institute, has written that the  “religious convictions of the founders of BCCI coincided with those of the Muslim and Arab leaders who sponsored terrorism. It was also the extension of this belief that led [BCCI founder] Agha Hassan Abedi to immerse BCCI in terrorist activities.”  Ehrenfeld continued: “Funding revolutions, terrorism, and other subversive activities is expensive and difficult. An Iranian web of international financial institutions was created, with BCCI as one of the most prominent strands. The bank not only facilitated direct contact between terrorist networks, it also provided cover and deniability for the sponsoring states.”

All true, but more than that, the BCCI enterprise (contrary to the notion that its “mystical” mission was to eliminate global poverty) contributed to the further impoverishment of the world.  Not only did the BCCI enterprise steal billions from its depositors (many of whom were citizens of poverty-stricken nations), but BCCI also helped numerous kleptocratic government leaders “bust out” (i.e. loot and destroy) the economies of destitute nations in Africa and Latin America. In addition, the BCCI enterprise “busted out” a significant chunk of the American economy, which is to say that it achieved one objective of what is now known as the “Financial Jihad.”

However, it should be noted that the BCCI enterprise perpetrated much of its destructive crime in partnership with prominent figures of the American establishment.  And presently, Muslim Brotherhood financial institutions  (many with links to former BCCI principals, or operated by former BCCI principals) count among their important business partners some of Wall Street’s most notable (and notorious) brokerages and investment houses. In other words, Swiss author and political scientist Richard Labeviere (who is one of the world’s more astute observers of the jihad and the Muslim Brotherhood) was correct to report (in 2000) that the jihad and political Islam (led by the Muslim Brotherhood)  “is less likely to produce a ‘clash of civilizations’…than to consolidate mafia channels of organized crime and the far-reaching networks of businesses built under globalized capitalism.”

Another astute (and independent) observer of the jihad is Robert Dreyfuss, who has spent much of his long career in the Middle East, and who has served as national security correspondent for Rolling Stone magazine, which is mostly about hip music bands, but which is, unfortunately for civilization, the only major U.S. media outfit that consistently publishes in-depth stories (see also stories by Matt Taibbi and Greg Palast) that approximate the truth on important subjects such as Wall Street, Washington, the jihad, and other things that make the world the way it is. Dreyfuss, who has studied the Muslim Brotherhood since the 1970s, and is the author of two excellent books (one on Iran, the other on political Islam) has correctly observed that the “real Muslim Brothers are the secretive bankers and financiers…whose genealogy places them in the oligarchical elite…”

Dreyfuss has also reported (correctly) that: “the Muslim Brotherhood is money. Together, the Brotherhood probably controls several tens of billions of dollars in immediately liquid assets, and controls billions more in day-to-day business operations in everything from oil trade and banking to drug-running, illegal arms merchandising, and gold and diamond smuggling. By allying with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Anglo-Americans [i.e. the oligarchical elite of the West] are not merely buying into a terrorist-for-hire racket; they are partners in a powerful and worldwide financial empire that extends from numbered Swiss bank accounts to offshore financial havens….”

Dreyfuss continued: “Need a few hundred million dollars to bail out [a] bank? Try the Muslim Brotherhood. Is a major London conglomerate seeking partners to invest a few billion in an African raw materials extraction venture? Try the Muslim Brotherhood. Does an Anglo-American bloc of banking houses want to start a run on the French franc? Try the Muslim Brotherhood.”

* * * * * * * * *

While the major U.S. news organizations regularly cited $20 billion as being the extent of the BCCI fraud, that figure represented only the sum that BCCI’s depositors lost when BCCI collapsed. By perpetrating a host of other destructive financial crimes (i.e. financial terrorism), BCCI and its partners looted far more—at least two trillion dollars—from the global financial system. Some of this looting was accomplished by a global network of BCCI-affiliated brokerages that specialized in perpetrating so-called “pump and dump” schemes, and we will see in later chapters that  most of those brokerages were not only linked to BCCI, but also operated by prominent financial operators (e.g. a fellow named Thomas Quinn) with ties to La Cosa Nostra and other organized crime syndicates.

See Chapter 1 of this series for a fuller description of “pump and dump” schemes, but the basic idea is that miscreants gain control over the stock of a publicly listed company, and sometimes gain a degree of control of the company itself. The miscreants then “pump” the share price, and as the share price rises in value, the miscreants lure in ordinary investors. Once the share price reaches sufficient heights, the miscreants then “dump” shares into the market, meanwhile bombarding the stock with manipulative short selling that causes the stock to go into a death spiral from which the stock does not recover.

Sometimes the companies targeted in these schemes are fraudulent companies to begin with, at other times the companies are legitimate until such time when the miscreants seize control of the companies and begin manipulating their stock, meanwhile looting their cash. Either way, the end result is aways the same: the companies are “busted out” (i.e. destroyed) and the death spiral caused by the “dump” and the manipulative short selling ensures that the stock price hits zero before ordinary shareholders have the opportunity to exit the stock and recoup some of their losses.

The global network of BCCI-linked brokerages “busted out” mostly small to medium sized companies, but the larger BCCI enterprise used similar methods to “bust out” some important American savings and loan banks. In later chapters of this series, we will see that BCCI also played a key role in the operations of Michael Milken, then the most powerful man on Wall Street. In addition, we will see, BCCI helped Milken and some of his closest associates “bust out” Lincoln Savings and Loan, then one of the most important financial institutions in the nation. Indeed, BCCI and the Milken operation were major contributors to the savings and loan crisis that began in the late 1980s, and which ultimately cost U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars in bailouts—a portent of bigger and better things to come.

In 1993, when a few BCCI principals were brought to trial, the presiding judge correctly noted that the BCCI had singlehandedly “shattered the integrity of the global financial system.” And perhaps it is no coincidence that the Blind Sheikh (co-founder of a key BCCI’s affiliate, Faisal Islamic Bank, which had played an important role in shattering the integrity of the global financial system) not only was linked that same year to the bombing of the World Trade Center (i.e. the first attempt to topple the twin totems of the global financial system), but also subsequently issued one of the most famous of all fatwahs–a fatwah that was cited by Osama bin Laden in his declaration of war against the United States, and a fatwah that is quoted with admiration by Muslim Brotherhood leaders everywhere.

The Blind Sheikh’s fatwah (issued from his jail cell) was the first fatwah (or, at least, the first fatwah issued by a terrorist who was also a prominent banker) to publicly suggest that it would be good idea for his fellow jihadis (and fellow bankers?) to “tear down the edifices of capitalism.” And, to be sure, the Blind Sheikh was no friend of “capitalism” as that noble idea was formerly understood, with free and fair markets unfettered by a ruling oligarchy and governed by a minimal rule of law. To the contrary, the Blind Sheikh was a criminal oligarch.  And though the World Trade Center was no doubt one “edifice of capitalism” that the the Blind Sheikh wished to “tear down,” the Blind Sheikh made it clear in his fatwah that the objective was not merely to destroy a building in the heart of the New York financial district.

The Blind Sheikh stated that there was a larger objective. This is the objective we now know as “The Financial Jihad,” but back then, the Blind Sheikh did not mince his words. He stated it emphatically. He stated it bluntly. He stated it as a formal command:  “Destroy their [our] economies…”

To be continued…Click here to read Chapter 4

Mark Mitchell is a journalist who spent most of his career working for mainstream media publications before joining DeepCapture.com.

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The Global Bust-Out Series (Chapter 2): The “Money Weapon” and The Jihad Bigger than Bin Laden

The Global Bust-Out Series (Chapter 2): The “Money Weapon” and The Jihad Bigger than Bin Laden

This is Chapter 2 of a multi-chapter series. On your right is a Table of Contents to all chapters so far published.

* * * * * * * * *

Al Qaeda’s supporters are “aware of the cracks in the Western financial system as they are aware of the lines in their own hands.”

— Osama bin Laden, in a 2001 interview with a Pakistani Journalist

* * * * * * * *

In the summer of 2003, customs agents at London’s Heathrow airport inspected the luggage of a man named Abdurrahman Alamoudi and found hidden in a secret compartment of one of his suitcases a total of $350,000 in cash. Mr. Alamoudi failed to adequately explain why he was hauling large stacks of $100 bills in a secret compartment, so there was an investigation. This investigation yielded some interesting facts.

Mr. Alamoudi, a member of a wealthy family in Saudi Arabia, had been a long time resident of the United States, where he was among the most prominent members of the Muslim community. He was also a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, and an outspoken supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah. In addition, he counted among closest friends and business associates people like Sami al Arian, a leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Mousa Abu Marzook, political chief of Hamas.

Some people believe that groups like Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood are focused on faraway lands, but all of these groups (we will see) have ties to Al Qaeda, and all of them are united in their hostility to the United States. Moreover, they pay close attention to the U.S. markets – and they see the economy as key to undermining American power.

When the financial crisis hit in 2008, Hamas leaders reacted with glee and issued an official statement proclaiming that the economic cataclysm marked the “End of the American Empire.” Meanwhile, leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood regularly preach the glory of Al Jihad bi-al-Mal, or the “Financial Jihad.”

A report (see Chapter 1) commissioned by the Defense Department’s Irregular Warfare Support Program suggests that the “Financial Jihad” has two key objectives: 1) building a global financial network that can serve as an alternative to the prevailing financial order dominated by the West; 2) perpetrating destructive financial crimes that can be described as “financial terrorism” because the crimes are, to some extent, politically motivated and meant to undermine the global financial system, which is viewed by leaders of the Financial Jihad as being a product of the West.

Muslim Brotherhood leader Hamud bin Uqla al-Shuaibi implied as much when he stated in 2007 that jihadis must resist the West, but do not necessarily need to do so with violence. He suggested that “Financial Jihad” was a viable alternative to violence and was indeed “more important than self sacrificing [in armed battle].” He did not specify what he meant by “Financial Jihad” but he was certainly not talking about giving to charity. Rather, he said, “Money is a weapon of Jihad.”

Similarly, Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yussuf al Qardawi has spoken of the need for Muslims to deploy  Silah al Naft – i.e. “the weapon of oil” – against the U.S. economy. This was precisely in line with the thinking of Osama bin Laden, who stressed  “the absolute necessity to use the oil weapon.”

In another typical manifesto, Osama bin Laden and his deputy wrote that “it is very important to concentrate on hitting the U.S. economy through all possible means.” In 2007, bin Laden released a video on which he taunted the U.S. for having too much mortgage debt.

Although Osama bin Laden is dead, his words remain important. Indeed, among jihadis, the words of the fallen “martyr” might have more resonance than ever. And the jihad is bigger than bin Laden. It is a global movement that has clearly articulated its goals, and remains intent upon achieving them.

Al Qaeda and many other outfits have repeated over and over that jihadis should wage economic warfare any way they can. They don’t mean knocking down buildings – they mean wiping out the markets. As Al Qaeda operative Monin Khawaja wrote in 2003, “We have to come up with a way that we can drain their economy of all its resources, cripple their industries, and bankrupt their systems…”

Then there is the Muslim Brotherhood document, which is quoted all too frequently, and often to the wrong purposes. It says that Muslims “must understand that their work in America is a kind of Grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and `sabotaging’ its miserable house by the hands of the believers…”

When I say that the document is quoted to the wrong purposes, I am referring to those who point to it as evidence that radical Islamism is taking over America, which it is not. Certainly, we should not be hysterical about Muslims calling America a “miserable house”, which is an accurate description of our current state of affairs. However, it is possible that jihadis are, in fact, “sabotaging” our miserable house from within.

As early as 2003, the Department of Homeland Security warned that Al Qaeda  was interested in infiltrating American financial institutions, and that Al Qaeda operatives possibly had already obtained jobs at American brokerage houses and banks. Said DHS spokesman David Wray: “There is new intelligence that indicates specific interest [on the part of Al Qaeda] in financial services and indirect indication…that led us to believe that threats could come from within as well as without.”

Osama bin Laden, meanwhile, liked to brag (as he did in the statement with which I opened this chapter) that his supporters understand the weaknesses in the American financial system. In another statement, he was even more explicit, saying not only that his supporters knew how to “exploit” the “cracks inside the Western financial system”, but also that the “faults and weaknesses are like a sliding noose strangling the [American economy].”

Which brings us back to Mr. Alamoudi, the fellow caught with $350,000 stuffed in his suitcase. Mr. Alamoudi was a central figure in what FBI investigators used to call the SAAR Network, or sometimes the Safa Group, a complex web of companies, investment funds, banks and charities alleged to have funded a host of jihadist outfits, including Al Qaeda. Shortly after the 9-11 attacks in 2001, the SAAR Network became the principal target of Operation Green Quest, the U.S. government’s effort to shut down the flow of money to terrorists. (Operation Green Quest led to few indictments and was disbanded in 2003, but its findings remain relevant).

One SAAR Network outfit was called the Ficq Council, where Mr. Alamoudi served as a trustee. The founder of the Ficq Council, Taha Jaber Al-Alwani, was named as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the government’s case against Mr. Alamoudi’s friend, Sami al-Arian, who was himself a central figure in the SAAR Network until he was jailed for his activities as U.S. leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad. (Sami al-Arian was also suspected of providing support to the 9-11 hijackers, but he was never charged for doing so).

The secretary and board director of the Ficq Council was a man named Sheikh Yusuf Talal DeLorenzo, who is another one of Sami al Arian’s close associates. Sheikh DeLorenzo and Mr. Alamoudi (the fellow with the suitcase full of cash), meanwhile, co-founded a SAAR Network outfit called the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences (GSISS).

Sheikh DeLorenzo himself has not been implicated in the funding of terrorism, and for a time, GSISS had a contract from the U.S. Department of Defense to screen and hire Muslim Army chaplains, some of whom accompanied U.S. troops to Afghanistan. That, however, was before Mr. Alamoudi was caught at Heathrow with $350,000 in cash hidden in a secret compartment of his suitcase. The investigation that ensued revealed that Mr. Alamoudi had received the cash from Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi, and that he planned to use it to finance a plot that he had hatched to assassinate then Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. In 2004, the Treasury Department issued a press release stating that Mr. Alamoudi had ties to Al Qaeda and was one of Osama bin Laden’s most important funders.

After it became clear that Mr. Alamoudi (who is now serving a 23-year prison sentence) had ties to Al Qaeda, the U.S. Senate held a hearing to discuss how it came to be that GSISS (the outfit co-founded by Mr. Almoudi and Sheikh DeLorenzo) was hiring chaplains to accompany American troops to Afghanistan. Echoing the words of most everyone else at that hearing, Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona said that it was pretty “remarkable” that  “people who have known connections to terrorism are the only people to approve these chaplains.”

The Defense Department also concluded that it was remarkable, and ultimately concluded that the GSISS had probably been inserting Al Qaeda spies into the U.S. Army. At least one of the chaplains that GSISS hired for the Army was eventually charged and convicted for passing U.S. military secrets to Al Qaeda. Other GSISS clerics were suspected of espionage and merely fired.

Three years later, a lot of people still thought it was “remarkable GSISS (co-founded by Mr. Alamoudi, a key funder of Al Qaeda) had managed to insert spies into the U.S. military. but that didn’t stop GSISS’s other co-founder, Sheikh DeLorenzo (a sophisticated financier) from seeking permission from the Securities and Exchange Commission to set up a trading platform called Al Safi Trust, the ostensible purpose of which was to enable Muslim traders to engage in short selling without violating shariah law.

In 2007, the SEC granted permission, which is pretty “remarkable” because Al Safi Trust creates precisely the sort of “crack” in the financial system that would likely be exploited by people looking to crash the markets.

Traders who engage in legal short selling (as opposed to naked short selling) first borrow stock, then sell it, hoping the price will fall. This is a legitimate practice when it is not meant to intentionally manipulate the markets. The stock that is borrowed and then sold is real stock; it is not phantom stock that artificially increases supply and drives down prices. When Sheikh DeLorenzo set up Al Safi Trust, however, he explained that Muslim traders cannot borrow stock because shariah law prohibits paying interest.

This claim is, to begin with, not entirely true. Shariah law (by a strict reading of the Koran) does not ban interest. It merely warns against “excessive” interest, or usury. Nobody in modern times ever said that Muslims cannot pay interest until the Muslim Brotherhood’s “Financial Jihad” began to take off in the 1970s. This is about politics, not religion. Regardless, the interest problem could have been resolved in any number of ways. For example, Al Safi Trust could have worked out a fee structure whereby the prime broker, rather than the traders themselves, paid the interest on the borrowed stock.

Instead, Al Safi Trust provides an altogether novel service, known as Arboon, the amazing feature of which is that nobody locates or borrows any real stock. The clients of Al Safi Trust can simply sell as much stock as they like even if there is no stock available to sell.

Of course, if there is no stock available, they are not selling actual stock. They are simply hitting the “sell” buttons on their computers, indicating to the markets that stock has been sold, and creating phantom supply that drives down prices. According to Sheikh DeLorenzo, Al Safi Trust’s short sellers enter into an agreement to eventually buy stock so that they can deliver what they have sold.  But an agreement to buy stock  at some indeterminate point in the future is a far cry from having actual stock before selling it.

Presumably, Al Saft Trust’s clients do fulfill their agreements by eventually purchasing stock and delivering it to whomever bought it. But by that time, the phantom stock that was sold would have already done its damage to the markets. With the damage done, Al Safi Trust’s traders can buy shares at lower prices, deliver them, and then unleash another blast of phantom stock, further driving down prices.

In short, Al Safi Trust is nothing more than a cloak for another form of naked short selling, embroidered in Islamic jurisprudence so that regulators will not see through it. Because it is condoned by regulators, there is no evidence that Al Safi Trust itself has broken any laws. However, criminals  (or, for that matter, financial terrorists) looking to inflict damage on the markets now have a service, Al Safi Trust, that would enable them to conduct their mischief without fear that American regulators would pay even the least bit of attention to what they are doing.

I shudder to think who the clients of Al Safi Trust might be, but we should probably consider the possibilities. And towards that end, maybe we should know more about Sheikh DeLorenzo’s background.

* * * * * * * *

Sheikh DeLorenzo was born in Massachusetts as Anthony DeLorenzo, the son of upper-class parents, and the grandson of Italian immigrants from Sicily. At the age of twenty, he dropped out of Cornell University, and converted to Islam. Soon after, he moved to Pakistan, gradually making his way to Karachi, where he spent several years receiving religious training at Jamiah Ulum Islamia, a maddrassah led by scholars who, like the Taliban, subscribe to the strict Deobandi school of Islam.

According to the International Crisis Group, a well-known non-profit organization that studies war zones and political conflict, the Jamiah Islamia maddrassah has “carried the mantle of Jihadi leadership,” since the days of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and now serves as “the fountainhead of Deobandi militancy countrywide.”

The International Crisis Group notes further that the Jamiah Islamia “boasts close ties with the Taliban” and has played a “major role in helping to establish and sustain” Pakistan’s most violent jihadist outfits, including Harkat ul-Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Sipah-e-Sahaba. All of these groups have close ties to Al Qaeda, and Jaish-e-Mohammed, along with the intimately affiliated Lashkar-e-Tayiba, have become, for all intents and purposes, Al Qaeda subsidiaries.

As evidence of this, investigators note, as just one example, that Omar Sheikh, a leading member of Jaish-e-Mohammed, wired money to Mohammed Atta, the ring-leader of the Al Qaeda hijackers who carried out the 9-11 attacks. Omar Sheikh was also responsible for kidnapping Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was subsequently killed, his head sliced off with an ornate, Yemeni knife and held up to be filmed for a jihadi propaganda video. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the September 11 attacks, has said that he committed the murder himself.

This was a great tragedy because Daniel Pearl was one of the few journalists to understand the threat to the United States is not just Al Qaeda, but a much larger, complex web of interlinking jihadist groups, shady financiers, agents of rogue states, narcotics smugglers, nuclear weapons traffickers, and Mafia kingpins. We’ll dig into that web in future chapters, but I’ll note now that Jaish-e-Mohammed, one of the outfits spawned by Sheikh DeLorenzo’s madrassah, has been implicated in multiple terrorist plots, including one to fire Stinger missiles at passenger planes in New York.

This is not to suggest that Sheikh DeLorenzo himself is a terrorist.  But there is no question that Sheikh DeLorenzo — who is also known as Usama DeLorenzo, and Usama a-Ali, and Usama Ashraf Ali, and other names — is on familiar terms with jihadist groups. Indeed, in the 1980s, Sheikh DeLorenzo worked as a key advisor to Zia ul-Haq, who was then the leader of Pakistan, and Sheikh DeLorenzo’s job was to help implement the Pakistani government’s most pernicious program — the further development of the country’s network of madrassahs in order to strengthen relationships between the government and jihadist paramilitaries, including many that are now plotting the demise of the West.

As part of Sheikh DeLorenzo’s program, many of these jihadist groups became closely intertwined with Pakistan’s spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). It should be said that the madrassah program also received support from the U.S. government, which was then hoping that the jihadist movement would serve as bulwark against the Soviet Union. But nowadays, of course, the jihadist paramilitaries are enemies of the United States, and their entanglements with the ISI cause endless problems for U.S. government officials who rely on Pakistan as an American ally.

The nexus between the ISI, the jihadis, and also key Mafia figures (such as the Indian Mafia kingpin Dawood Ibrahim, who lives under the protection of the ISI and is a key money man for Al Qaeda, according to multiple U.S. government reports) is a genuine threat to global stability, and to the financial system that underlies the American economy. Ibrahim himself is a serious threat. Aside from being involved in multiple violent terrorist attacks, he is reportedly the biggest trader on the Karachi stock exchange. Forbes Magazine ranks Ibrahim as one of the 50 most powerful people in the world.

The extent to which Sheikh DeLorenzo remains part of the Pakistani nexus is unclear, but his experience in Pakistan might be less worrying than his time in America, where he came to be on close terms not only with Sami al-Arian (a leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad) and Mr. Alamoudi (his Al Qaeda-tied partner in  GSISS) but many other important jihadis, most of them key figures in the SAAR Network of alleged terrorist financiers. Indeed, though Sheikh DeLorenzo has never been charged with any crime, he held key positions with multiple SAAR Network organizations, and it should be stressed that all these organizations were operated by the Muslim Brotherhood, and all were said (by U.S. law enforcement agencies) to have ties to terrorist organizations (e.g. Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Al Qaeda, and others) that were spawned by the Brotherhood.

For example, in addition to his high-level positions with the Ficq Council, Sheikh DeLorenzo was a board member at the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), another outfit identified by FBI investigators as being part of the SAAR Network. Other top officials of IIIT have been linked directly to Al Qaeda and provided logistical support to at least two of Al Qaeda’s biggest achievements – the 1998 simultaneous attacks on the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya; and the bombing, in 2000, of the USS Cole, an American destroyer that was parked at the Yemeni port of Aden. One IIIT officer, Tarik Hamdi, hand delivered the satellite phone that Osama bin Laden used to order the assault on the USS Cole. The IIIT was also the largest “donor” to the World and Islam Studies Enterprise, which simply handed the money over to Sami al-Arian’s Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups.

After Sami al Arian’s arrest, the secretary general of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Ramadan Shallah (who was once a professor, along with Sami Al-Arian, at the University of South Florida, and is now based in Syria) identified IIIT as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s most important source of funding. In 2000, Youseff Bondansky, then director of the House Task Force on Terrorism, published a book reporting that Shallah and other terrorists had attended meetings with Osama bin Laden to plan a “spectacular” terrorist attack inside in the United States. (Again, Sheikh DeLorenzo himself has not been implicated in terrorism, but his relationships with some terrorists might be pertinent).

Sheikh DeLorenzo was also a top executive (and continues to serve as a consultant for) a large SAAR Network investment fund called the Amana Trust, which is interesting on several levels. For one, the Amana Trust was founded by a Muslim Brotherhood figure named Yaqub Mirza, who was the most important U.S.-based operative in the SAAR Network of terrorist financiers. In 2001, U.S. government agents raided the offices of not just Mr. Mirza, but also at least three other Amana Trust officials because they (and Amana Trust) were suspected of funding terrorism. (Neither Mr. Mirza nor any other Amana Trust officials were ever charged with any crime, and nor were most of the other key figures in the SAAR Network who were targeted by Operation Green Quest investigators).

After raiding Mr. Mirza’s offices, U.S. law enforcement officials said that Mr. Mirza was the incorporator or manager of more than a dozen SAAR Network hedge funds, charities, and financial entities, including Mar-Jac Investments, Mena Investments, Sterling Management Group, and Reston Investments. In addition, Mr. Mirza ran the SAAR Network’s centerpiece, an outfit called the SAAR Foundation, which advertised itself as a charity, but was allegedly an important vehicle for laundering money raised in the United States for jihadist groups. (Again, no convictions were forthcoming, and Mr. Mirza is innocent until proven guilty, but I will report the allegations of government investigators, and let readers make up their own minds).

In 1998, the SAAR Foundation reported that it had an astounding $1.8 billion in annual revenue. After the 9-11 attacks, when the authorities began investigating the foundation for alleged ties to jihadist terrorist groups, the foundation (as first reported by terrorism expert Steve Emerson) issued new books that stated that it had zero income. In other words, $1.8 billion simply vanished, and officials suspected (though never proved) that the money ended up in the hands of terrorist outfits. In another instance, the SAAR Foundation transferred $9 million to an off-shore account held in the name of Humana Charitable Trust, an entity that did not exist.

Mr. Mirza has also been named by FBI investigators and terrorism experts as the principal U.S.-based bagman for Yasin al-Qadi, a Saudi billionaire and Muslim Brotherhood leader who was one of a select number of people labeled (in 2001-2002) by the U.S. government as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist.” Yasin al Qadi ran an “Al Qaeda front” called the Muwafaw Foundation, which was, according to the U.S. Treasury Department, one of Osama bin Laden’s sources of funding.

However, the U.S. government has refused to hand over evidence to prosecutors and Yasin al Qadi has yet to be convicted of any crime. This has been lamented by some investigators, including former FBI special agent Robert Wright, who insists that Yasin al Qadi was “Al Qaeda’s banker” and that the U.S. government has failed to go after him and others in deference to the government of Saudi Arabia. The U.S. Treasury Department no longer refers to Yasin al Qadi as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist.” Instead, he and thousands of others are referred to as “Specially Designated Nationals” who are suspected of financing terrorism.

In the late 1990s, Yasin al-Qadi was a major investor, along with a man named Sulaiman al-Ali, in a Chicago company called Global Chemical, which was ostensibly involved in warehousing chemicals for the manufacturing of soap. But when Global Chemical was raided in 1997, government experts said that the chemicals were likely for use in manufacturing explosives or even chemical weapons. (Again, Yasin al Qadi was not charged).

The president of Global Chemical was Mohammed Mabrook, who used the alias Mohamed Elhazeri, and who was, in the 1990s, the director of an outfit called Mercy International. One of Mercy’s board members was Mr. Alamoudi (Sheikh DeLorenzo’s GSISS partner), and Mercy International has been linked to 1) the terrorists who carried out the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa); 2) the masterminds of both the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the September 11 conspiracy; and 3) Osama bin Laden himself.

Meanwhile, Global Chemical co-investor Sulaiman al-Ali incorporated, along with Yasin al-Qadi’s bagman, Mr. Mirza (Sheikh DeLorenzo’s partner in Amana Trust), a company called Sana-Bell Inc. Sana-Bell’s principal purpose, according to government investigators, was to generate and manage money for the U.S. arm of the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO). Mr. Alamoudi was one official of the IIRO in the U.S.

Among the principals of the IIRO’s overseas offices was Mohammed al-Zawahiri, the leader of the military wing of Egyptian Islamic Jihad (which has since merged with al Qaeda). Mr. al-Zawahiri is also the brother of Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was Osama bin Laden’s deputy, and is now the new leader of Al Qaeda. Ayman al-Zawahiri trained jihadi paramilitaries in the Balkans under the auspicies of the IIRO.

Given these connections, it should not be surprising to learn that IIRO  has been identified by authorities as an organization that funds terrorism. The United Nations, at one point, officially declared that the IIRO’s branch offices in the Philippines and Indonesia were Al Qaeda subsidiaries. For a long time, the Philippines office was directed by Mohammad Jamal Khalifa, a high-ranking Al Qaeda figure who was Osama bin Laden’s brother in law.

The IIRO, meanwhile, is a subsidiary of the Muslim World League, which Osama bin Laden identified (in a recorded conversation with Al Qaeda lieutenant Jamal Ahmed al-Fadl) as one of his primary sources of funding. The Muslim World League, which was (according to government investigators) also a big backer of Sami al Arian’s Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas and other jihadist outfits, was incorporated in the United States by Yasin al-Qadi’s bagman, Mr. Mirza. (Despite the official accusations, the IIRO and the Muslim World League have not been convicted of any crimes, and remain in operation today).

While Mr. Mirza handled affairs in the U.S., the Muslim World League’s Peshawar office was managed by Wael Jalaidan, one of Al Qaeda’s founding members. The Muslim World League’s vice president in the U.S., Hassan Bahfazallah, was a member, along with Mr. Mirza, of Sana-Bell’s board of directors.

Mr. Bahfazallah, meanwhile, was also the executive director of an outfit in Chicago called Benevolence International, which received considerable support from Yasin al-Qadi. Benevolence’s overseas offices, including its office in Chechnya, were reported by U.S. officials to be “Al Qaeda fronts” directed by top Al Qaeda operatives, and the DOJ accused the Benevolence office in Chicago (including Mr. Bahfazallah) of having contacts with a Chechen organized crime (and terrorism) syndicate that was trying to obtain nuclear bombs for Al Qaeda.

Nuclear bombs are weapons of mass destruction.

Sheikh DeLorenzo’s Al Safi Trust naked short selling platform is a financial weapon of mass destruction.

* * * * * * * * *

I do not know whether Yasin al-Qadi, Mr. Mirza and the other alleged terrorist financiers are clients of Al Safi Trust, but they have been in other lines of business with Sheikh DeLorenzo, and their relationships deserve scrutiny, just as we should scrutinize business relationships between gun dealers and the mentally disturbed. The difference here being that Yasin al Qadi (“Al Qaeda’s banker”) and Mr. Mirza (Yasin al Qadi’s bagman in the United States) are not mentally disturbed. They are sophisticated hedge fund managers with experience in the U.S. market, and they might be of service to the “Financial Jihad.”

Both Sheikh DeLorenzo and Mr. Mirza were also involved with an outfit called Saturna Capital, and tax returns show that Saturna Captital was a funder of the Holy Land Foundation, named by U.S. prosecutors as the principal U.S. front for Hamas. Prosecutors in the Holy Land Foundation trial were the first to unveil the document outlining a “grand jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization…”

Sheikh DeLorenzo also helped run (and continues to serve as a consultant to) the Saturna Brokerage, which, like Saturna Capital, was a unit of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a Saudi funded outfit tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.  Amana Trust also operates under the ISNA umbrella, as does the NAIT investment bank and (see chapter 1 of this series) trader Zuhair Karam’s Bridegview Mosque, whose directors help run the operations of all of these financial entities.(The mosque was also a contributor to the Holy Land Foundation, according to those tax returns).

As of 2010, the president of Saturna Brokerage was Monem Abdul Salam, who was formerly a principal at Dickinson & Co., a brokerage that was a unit of the Stotler Group, which received a pile of subpoenas in 1989 as part of Operation Sour Mash and Operation Hedge Clipper – two famous FBI investigations into financial firms suspected of laundering money for narcotics kingpins and organized crime.

Mr. Salam was not directly implicated in those investigations, but there is no doubt that Dickinson was a dubious brokerage. Several of its leading traders left to found MB Trading, which never bothered to register itself with the authorities until it became the first brokerage ever sanctioned by the U.S. government for catering to a customer in Iran in violation of laws that prohibit doing business with state sponsors of terrorism.

As of 2008, the president of ISNA (the outfit that controls NAIT, Saturna, and Amana Trust) was Muzammil Siddiqi, who also served as president of the Ficq Council, where Sheikh DeLorenzo served as secretary and as a director of the board.  Mr. Siddiqi has since been named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorist financing case.

There are many other reasons to be concerned about the brokerages and other financial outfits operating under the ISNA banner, one of which is that ISNA was co-founded by Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami al Arian, who (we know) has been accused of (though never charged for) providing support to the 9-11 hijackers, and was (according to court documents) taking directions from agents of the Iranian regime operating out of the UN headquarters in New York. This is one reason why NAIT, the multi-billion dollar investment outfit, was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the government’s case against Sami al-Arian.

ISNA, meanwhile, was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the government’s case against the Holy Land Foundation. According to United Press International, U.S. government investigators also believed that ISNA had transferred money directly to Al Qaeda, but ISNA has not been charged on that account and likely won’t be charged, perhaps in deference to the Saudi government, which is one of ISNA’s big donors and would be embarrassed by any association with Al Qaeda. The best the FBI can do, apparently, is occasionally mention ISNA officials as  “unindicted co-conspirators” in cases related to Al Qaeda.  As one example, former ISNA vice president Siraj Wahhaj was named by the U.S. government as an “unindicted person who may be alleged” to have participated in the 1993 “Day of Terror” plot, hatched by a diverse assortment of jihadis, all with ties to Al Qaeda.

The mastermind of both the “Day of Terror” plot and the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center was a religious scholar and Muslim Brotherhood cleric named Omar Abdel Rahman, otherwise known as the “Blind Sheikh” – and he is one of the most important people in the world because his words, more than those of any other Islamic clerics, have inspired the actions of Al Qaeda and other leaders of the grand jihad. He was, before his arrest, also a sophisticated financial operator, and he had co-founded several major financial institutions. For example, he was a co-founder (with Mr. Alamoudi, Mr. Mirza, Yasin al Qadi, among others) of an outfit in Geneva called Bank al Taqwa, which established the Milan Cultural Center said (in 2001) by the U.S. Treasury Department to have been “Al Qaeda’s main operating base in Europe for the movement of men, weapons, and money around the world.”

The Blind Sheikh was until his imprisonment the leader of Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, an Egyptian terrorist group. It was long assumed that Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya was a fierce rival of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, who merged his outfit with Al Qaeda (and is now leader of Al Qaeda). To be sure, al-Zawahiri and the Blind Sheikh had their differences when it came to tactics and strategy (especially with regard to Egypt), but they were nonetheless united in their hatred for the United States. Meanwhile, many jihadis (including Mr. Alamoudi, who often gave speeches calling for the Blind Sheikh’s release from prison) are united in their admiration for the Blind Sheikh because his PhD. from Egypt’s prestigious Al Azhar University, the fount of Muslim Brotherhood thought, gives his fatwahs legitimacy.

Moreover, his fatwahs are bolder than those of any cleric, and they have a particular ring to them. “Tear the Americans and Jews to pieces!  And kill them wherever you find them. Ambush them. Take them hostage…Kill these infidels! Until they witness your harshness. Fight them, and God will torture them…”

And so on…

In his most famous fatwah, the Blind Sheikh was the first to call for the use of airplanes as weapons. In this same fatwah (issued from his prison cell after the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center) the Blind Sheikh was also the first prominent jihadi to publicly declare that jihadis the world over should  join forces to attack the American economy.

The lengthy fatwah is worth a read, but one line can give you a general idea. The Blind Sheikh began with the usual command to “tear [the Americans and Jews] to pieces”. He then specified how this could be done: “destroy their economies, burn their corporations, destroy their peace, sink their ships, shoot down their planes and kill them on air, sea, and land.”

At the 1998 press conference where Osama bin Laden announced his declaration of war against the United States, the Al Qaeda leader gave the assembled journalists laminated cards printed with a photo of the Blind Sheikh and a few words of his famous fatwah – namely, the words that I quoted above. Meanwhile, many other polished jihadist financiers in the SAAR Network had advocated for the Blind Sheikh’s release from prison.

That was in the 1990s, and nobody paid much attention. Given what we now know, however, maybe the SEC or somebody should pay attention to jihadist financiers who might, indeed, be working to  “destroy [our] economies” and “burn [our] corporations” – not with fire, but with the weapons of high-finance.

Again, this is not to suggest that Sheikh DeLorenzo or others in this story are guilty by virtue of their relationships, some of which are once removed. The point is not that Sheikh DeLorenzo himself is a terrorist. It is that some terrorists would likely be aware of Sheikh DeLorenzo’s phantom stock machine, also known as Al Safi Trust, and all the financial entities under the ISNA umbrella. But to the extent that the SEC does pay attention to ISNA (or to the former ISNA officials who are alleged accomplices or associates of Al Qaeda and the Blind Sheikh), it is only to give the SEC stamp of approval to ISNA’s financial empire.

* * * * * * * *

The leaders of the jihad are often portrayed as primitive bumpkins who live in caves and are armed with nothing more dangerous than a few maniacs willing to blow themselves up. This is to ignore the power of the jihadist ideology, which is articulated with great eloquence by countless people who are eminently learned scholars of both Islam and global politics. It is also to ignore the jihad’s fighting capabilities. The jihadis have done much more than dispatch a few terrorists here and there. They have organized and commanded insurgent armies with thousands of soldiers. And these armies have fought, with considerable success, two all-out wars (Afghanistan and Iraq) against the world’s most powerful military.

Perhaps even more important, the notion that jihadis are backward thinkers right out of the seventh century grossly underestimates the jihad’s sophistication as a modern-day global financial operation. And it is not just sophisticated; it is a massive criminal undertaking that has, according the United Nations, laundered more than $1 trillion through the global banking system in the last five years alone.

As one report prepared for the French Directorate of Military Intelligence explains, “the financial network of [Osama] bin Laden, as well as his network of investments, is similar to the network put in place in the 1980s by BCCI [Bank of Credit and Commerce International] for its fraudulent operations, often with the same people…The dominant trait of bin Laden’s operations is that of a terrorist network backed up by a vast financial structure.” [Italics are mine.]

For those who do not know, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) was a massive and complex financial institution, founded by a Pakistani wheeler-dealer named Agha Hasan Abedi in partnership with Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, then leader of Abu Dhabi. Among the other key figures in BCCI and its satellites were the Gokal family of Pakistan; Kamal Adham, former head of Saudi intelligence; a close-knit network of Saudi billionaires (some later known to be funders of Al Qaeda); and the ruling family of Dubai, which is (like Abu Dhabi) part of the United Arab Emirates.

In 1991, BCCI was forced to close its doors after New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau declared that it was the “largest bank fraud in world financial history.” Eventually, prosecutors demonstrated that it had done illegal business with everyone from La Cosa Nostra and Colombian drug cartels to shady arms dealers, terrorist groups, and foreign intelligence agencies. BCCI, as we will see, was also a player, along with “legitimate” U.S. financiers, in the savings and loan “bust-outs” that wrought havoc on the U.S. economy in the late 1980s. Meanwhile, several of BCCI’s affiliates specialized in manipulating the U.S. markets.

We will discuss BCCI at greater length in later chapters of this series, but for now it is enough to know that it is a tenet off both Salafi Islam (the brand of Islam subscribed to by many of the sheikhs involved with both BCCI and the Muslim Brotherhood) and Shiite Islam (subscribed to by a number of BCCI’s key executives) that Muslims should fight their enemies by “plundering their money.” And regardless of  what the motives of BCCI’s founders were in the past, it is clear that most of them are, to this day, major players in the global financial system. They have more than enough firepower to inflict damage on the U.S. markets. And, as the report for French intelligence noted, “directors and cadres of the bank [BCCI] and its affiliates, arms merchants, oil merchants, Saudi investors” have been among the most important financial supporters of America’s Enemy Number One – Al Qaeda.

By way of introducing just a few former BCCI figures who have supported Al Qaeda, I need to relate a story about Benevolence International, the Al Qaeda front that was accused by the U.S.. government of having contacts with people trying to obtain nuclear weapons for Osama bin Laden.

* * * * * * * *

In 2002, U.S. soldiers stationed in Sarajevo raided the local offices of Benevolence International and found a document that referred to the “Golden Chain” – an elite club of twenty Saudi billionaires whom Osama bin Laden had identified as his most important financiers. These financiers not only delivered large sums of money to the prospective nuclear weapons proliferators at Benevolence International, but can correctly be understood to have been among Al Qaeda’s founding fathers.

Some highly regarded authors, such as Steve Coll, who is otherwise reliable, have suggested that the Golden Chain members funded Al Qaeda only in its early years. This is false. Most of them continued to support Al Qaeda after bin Laden declared war against the United States, and there is evidence that at least one of them was funding Al Qaeda as of this writing in 2013.

Regardless of the degree to which they continue to fund Al Qaeda today, it can be safely assumed that the Golden Chain billionaires remain hostile to the United States. It is possible that, for the time being, they no longer financially support violent terrorism against the United States, but there should be no question that they are entirely supportive of the arguably more important “Financial Jihad” and other components of the non-violent “grand jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization…”

The Golden Chain document has, meanwhile, received virtually no attention from the media, perhaps because it would seem a bit “crazy” to suggest that the jihad’s most important operatives are not rag-tag fringe fanatics living in caves, but rather the crème de la crème of Saudi society – the people who control much of the world’s oil wealth, the people who own the most powerful manufacturing conglomerates, and the biggest Saudi banks, and the biggest hedge funds, and the biggest stock brokerages, and the Saudi stock exchange itself.

There is something in the wiring of American brains that makes it impossible for even the smartest people in this nation to accept surprising or unpleasant realities. There are a few exceptions, such as Glenn Simpson, who was once The Wall Street Journal’s finest investigative reporter, and who did write about the Golden Chain. But Simpson has left The Journal, and the newspaper has since failed to investigate Saudi ties to terrorism. In fact, it has failed to investigate much of anything at all.

In any event, there is a vast body of additional evidence that most of the people identified as members of the Golden Chain have actively participated in the movement of radical jihad on multiple fronts. And the Golden Chain document has been confirmed to be authentic by, among others, American intelligence officials, multiple FBI agents, Al Qaeda’s most reliable defector Jamal al-Fadl, and the nation’s most learned terrorism experts, including Steve Emerson of the Investigative Project for Terrorism, which possesses the world’s largest non-governmental database of intelligence on Al Qaeda and other jihadist outfits. (Much of the information in this chapter about the “SAAR Network” can be found in various of Emerson’s excellent books).

So we must know more about Al Qaeda’s Golden Chain. For starters, we must understand that these extremely wealthy financiers are bound together by the sorts of relationships that many Americans do not understand. These are not mere business relationships. They are the bonds of brotherhood and blood. They are the bonds of fervor and ancient grievances. They are, moreover, the bonds between people who are united in their disdain for the prevailing order, and whose financial activities have, in many cases, helped subvert that order.

One billionaire member of the Golden Chain, according to the Benevolence International document, was Sheikh Khalid Bin Mahfouz, who had been among the key shareholders of BCCI, and had paid more than $200 million to settle charges for his role in that massive criminal enterprise. Sheikh Mahfouz, who passed away in 2009, had also founded National Commercial Bank, which is the single largest financial institution in the Middle East.

Some of Sheikh Mahfouz’s companies – such as Al Khaleejia, SEDCO, and the Saudi Sudanese Bank – have done business directly with companies that were founded by Osama bin Laden. And it was Sheikh Mahfouz who originally set up the Muwafaq Foundation, the outfit that was managed by Yasin al-Qadi until the U.S. government declared Muwafaq to be an “Al Qaeda front” and labeled Yasin al-Qadi as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist.”

While he was alive, Sheikh Mahfouz denied any involvement with Al Qaeda, and filed lawsuits against journalists and researchers (including the prominent Rachel Ehrenfeld, now director of the Economic Warfare Institute, and author of an excellent book, “Funding Evil”) who reported his ties to the Muwafaq Foundation, Benevolence International and other Al Qaeda fronts. After the lawsuits, Sheikh Mahfouz’s name rarely appeared in print.  Meanwhile, some American pundits claimed that Saudi billionaires like Sheikh Mahfouz had donated to Al Qaeda only to avoid being attacked, like frightened shop owners paying protection money to the local Mafia thug. These pundits misunderstand the nature of Saudi society, the two most important features of which are Salafi Islam (one of the foundations of the jihadist ideology) and the inviolability of personal relationships.

Sheikh Mahfouz  not only believed in the grand jihad, but his relationship with the bin Laden family went back decades. Osama bin Laden’s father, Mohammed, and Sheikh Mahfouz were best friends, and it was Sheikh Mahfouz who provided the original finance that allowed Mohammed to build Saudi Arabia’s largest construction company. When Sheikh Mahfouz filed lawsuits against the few journalists who sought to expose his ties to Al Qaeda, the families of the victims of the 9-11 attacks filed lawsuits against Sheikh Mahfouz for providing financial support to the people who killed their loved ones.

And I am thinking I might file a lawsuit against Sheikh Mahfouz’s estate seeking damages for all the stress that I have endured as a result of learning that Sheikh Mahfouz and his friends not only were (and, in most cases, still are) among the world’s destructive financial criminals, but also had billions of dollars, some of which ended up in the hands of people like  Mohamed Loay Bayazeed, who tried, according to the FBI, to “obtain uranium for Osama bin Laden for the purpose of developing a nuclear weapon.”

* * * * * * * *

Another member of the Golden Chain was Sheikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel, owner of Dallah Albaraka, a conglomerate involved in banking, stock trading, construction, and jihadist media. In addition, Sheikh Kamel, who is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and has financed Sami Al-Arian’s Palestinian Islamic Jihad, owns the powerful Saudi al-Baraka Bank, which, according to U.S. government investigators, provided much of Al Qaeda’s financial infrastructure in Sudan during the 1990s. Sheikh Kamel also gave Hamas, the jihadist outfit that controls the Gaza strip, more than $20 million so that Hamas could open a bank of its own.

The new Hamas financial institution, which is called al-Aqsa Bank, quickly formed a joint venture with Citibank. That joint venture was quite lucrative for Citibank, which may have been willing to turn a blind eye to illicit financial transactions. In 2001, the U.S. Treasury Department advised Citibank that it was operating a joint venture with a bank controlled by Hamas, and the U.S. Treasury Department advised Citibank that it might want to disband this joint venture. Citibank, however, ignored the advice. (Neither Sheikh Kamel nor any other Golden Chain billionaire has been charged with any crime related to the financing of terrorism).

U.S. authorities have taken no substantive action against Sheikh Ibrahim Muhammad Afandi, a Golden Chain billionaire who owns some of Saudi Arabia’s most influential businesses, including the Saudi Industrial Services Company, the Great Saudi Development & Investment Company, and the Arabian Company for Development and Investment Limited. Sheikh Afandi also controls BSA Investments, a big private equity fund active in the U.S.

Then there is Abdel Qader Faqeeh, a member of the Golden Chain club and chairman of major corporations and financial institutions, including Bank Al Jazeera and the Savola Group, which recently merged with Azizia Panda to become Saudi Arabia’s 13th largest company. A business partner of Sheikh Faqeeh is Golden Chain member Sheikh Saleh al-Din Abdel Jawad, who is the CEO of the blue chip General Machinery Agencies manufacturing company in Jeddah.

Sheikh Faqeeh also had a joint venture business with the above-mentioned Sheikh Mahfouz. Indeed, each Golden Chain member has some sort of business partnership with each of the other Golden Chain members – one reason why I say that these people need to be viewed as not just a club, but as a family. I will not bore the reader with a long recitation of every financial transaction that ties these jihadist financiers together, but I will mention a few, just to erase any question as to whether the relationships exist.

For example, National Commercial Bank, owned until recently by Sheikh Mahfouz, is a partner in a multi-billion dollar investment outfit called the Middle East Capital Group, which is partly controlled by Sheikh Rahman Hassan Sharbatly – who was another member of Golden Chain club. Sheik Sharbatly is also a partner, with Sheikh Faqeeh, in a unit of Sheikh Faqeeh’s Savola Group. In addition, Sheikh Sharbatly is a board member and major shareholder of Beirut Ryad Bank SAL, Egyptian Gulf Bank, and several other major financial institutions.

Meanwhile, Sheik Sharbatly and Sheikh Mahfouz were both board members of the Saudi Arabian Refinery Company, which refines much of the world’s oil supply. This brings to mind the report that I mentioned at the outset of this story – the one commissioned by the U.S. Defense Department’s Irregular Warfare Support Program.  That report speculates that one component of the possible financial attack on the U.S. economy in 2008 might have been the manipulation of oil prices to excruciating highs in the summer of that year.

That seems like a possibility that is worth considering, especially in light of Osama bin Laden’s proclamations about the “absolute necessity of using the oil weapon.” Another reason to ask whether oil prices might have been manipulated is that the membership of the elite Golden Chain club included Sheikh Abdel Hadir Taher and Sheikh Ahmad Turki Yamani – two former Saudi officials who were among the masterminds of the 1973 oil embargo that crippled the U.S. economy–retaliation for America’s support of  Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Sheikh Taher, in addition to being a Golden Chain member and the former governor of the Saudi state oil company Petromin, has also served as director of Saudi European Bank, a big financial institution that is important to the stability of global economic order.  Al Qaeda Golden Chain member Sheikh Yamani is a former Saudi minister of petroleum. He is also a former director of Saudi Aramco, which is the largest oil company in the world.

In addition, Sheikh Yamani presides over Investcorp, an investment firm that he founded. Actually, it’s not just an investment firm; it’s a market-moving behemoth – one of the largest hedge fund and private equity outfits in the world, with more than $50 billion under management. Investcorp has made a deep imprint in the American markets, and has been involved in everything from short selling to the trading of self-destruct CDOs. As for what sort of short selling Investcorp engages in, we need only know that Ivestcorp is a client of Sheikh DeLorenzo’s Al Safi Trust phantom stock machine.

Investcorp was also a pioneer, and continues to be one of the few major players in the world of so-called PIPEs deals, also known as “death spiral” finance. Investcorp has not been implicated in any crime related to its PIPEs deals, and I am not suggesting that Ivestcorp has done anything technically illegal, but PIPEs deals generally are considered to have been a major scourge on the American markets. PIPEs, or “Private Investments in Public Equity” are simply transactions that see the investors buying stock directly from companies rather than on the open markets. But PIPEs investors often end up destroying the company to which they are supposedly serving as benefactors.

Since PIPEs finance dilutes shareholder value, a company that does a PIPEs deal often sees its stock price decline. When this happens, short sellers (often naked short sellers who are colluding with the outfit that provided the PIPEs finance) attack the company, causing its stock price to drop. The more it drops, the greater the number of shares are owed to the PIPEs financier. The greater number  of shares, the greater that drop; and so on. Hence the term,  “death spiral” finance. Once the stock price of a PIPEs victim is mauled, the finance is cut off, and the company goes bankrupt, delivering big profits to the short sellers (i.e. profits that far exceed the cost of providing the PIPEs finance in the first place).

Again, this is not to suggest that Investcorp has necessarily done anything illegal, and we cannot say with certainty that its PIPEs business follows the same modus operandi of most other PIPEs dealers. But the emergence of the PIPEs industry has, without doubt, been a scourge on the markets. As numerous court cases attest, it has destroyed countless companies and countless jobs. Basically, it is a not-insignificant reason why America’s “miserable house” (as that Muslim Brotherhood document called it) is, in fact — miserable.

* * * * * * * * *

Sheikh Sulaiman Abdul Aziz al-Rajhi is not miserable. He’s the patriarch of the wealthiest family in Saudi Arabia, and thus one of the 100 richest people in the world. He is jolly and well. So, naturally, he was also a member of the Golden Chain, the elite club of Al Qaeda’s 20 most important financiers.

Maybe because the twenty members of the Golden Chain club are the most prominent people in Saudi Arabia, the U.S. government does not label them as financiers of the grand jihad.  It does not take steps to shut down their bank accounts or bar them from trading in the U.S. markets. It does not even dare utter their names, perhaps because to do so would embarrass the Saudi government, which is ostensibly a U.S. ally.

When Congress issued its final report on the Al Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington, it contained 28 pages that reportedly detailed Saudi ties to Al Qaeda. But when the report was released to the public, the 28 pages about the Saudis were censored, so ordinary people could not read them. A full 28 pages – with no words; nothing but big blocks of black ink. Thus, it is left to independent jihad experts to sort out many of the connections. Steve Emerson and his Investigative Project on Terrorism have done especially hard work in this regard. Some former top government officials have said that Emerson is better informed about the jihad than the government itself. But Emerson and other people who have done excellent research are largely ignored by the media, which will not report the facts unless they have been stated explicitly by some official spokesman. And the official spokesmen have nothing bad to say about Saudi billionaires, regardless of whether they fund terrorism.

Indeed, Saudi billionaires with ties to terrorism have deployed their wealth to “capture” some elements of Washington. This “deep capture” has been the state of affairs since at least the 1980s, when Sheikh Mahfouz (the future founder of what the U.S. Treasury Department called an “Al Qaeda front”) and other BCCI figures began investing in banks and other companies with prominent figures in both the Democratic and Republican parties. When the BCCI scandal broke, it was widely reported that Sheikh Mahfouz and other Saudis (some, such as Kamal Adham, with links to Saudi intelligence) had invested with prominent figures of the American political establishment in order to gain influence over American government policy. But nothing was done about it, and the influence increased exponentially in the years that followed.

Therefore, it is not an exaggeration to say that some elements of Washington have been “captured” by billionaires who are not only destructive financial criminals, and who are not merely casual financiers of terrorism, but who are also regarded as being among the leaders of “The Financial Jihad” and what that famous Muslim Brotherhood document described as the larger “Grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within…”

At any rate, you won’t read about it in the media, but it is clear that Sheikh al-Rajhi, the wealthiest man in Saudi Arabia (and an honorary member of the American establishment) is an important leader of the grand jihad. Aside from having been an Al Qaeda Golden Chain member, he was the principal force behind the U.S.-based SAAR Network of jihadist entities (many of which were named in that Muslim Brotherhood document as being precisely those entities that were meant to lead the “Grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within…”). In fact, the SAAR Network was named after Sheikh al-Rajhi himself. The initials, S.A.A.R., stand for Sulaiman Abdul Aziz al-Rajhi.

Most of the other Golden Chain members were also involved with the SAAR Network financiers operating in the United States. For example, Sheikh Afandi and Sheikh Kamel were board members of Sana-Bell, the outfit run by “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” Yasin al Qadi’s bagman, Mr. Mirza (who, as I mentioned, was the central U.S.-based figure in the SAAR Network). Also a board member of Sana-Bell, you will recall, was Mr. Bahfzallah, head of Benevolence International, the outfit that was dealing with people who were shopping for nukes.

Yasin al Qadi’s lawyer, Cherif Sedky also worked for Sheikh Mahfouz. And this same lawyer represented Sheikh Rajhi when the FBI began to ask how it came to be that $1.8 billion dollars from the SAAR Foundation disappeared, most likely into the hands of other jihadis.

Given his important role in the jihad, it is fair to assume that Sheikh al-Rajhi harbors some disdain for not just Western civilization, but also the prevailing economic order. At the same time, Sheikh al-Rajhi is one of the most important players in the global financial order, a person who is perfectly capable of transforming or even undermining it. Indeed, it is fair to say that few men have more sway over “the system” than Sheikh Sulaiman Abdul Aziz Rajhi.

Said to be a whiz with numbers, Sheikh Rajhi directs multiple hedge funds that manage many billions of dollars, several stock brokerages, and the massive Al Rajhi Bank, which is the most venerable of the elite financial institutions that control the Stock Exchange of Saudi Arabia, also known as the Tadawul. A 2013 report issued by a U.S. Senate investigative committee revealed that Al Rajhi Bank was still (as of 2013) dealing with Al Qaeda, and that it was laundering Al Qaeda money through HSBC, the prestigious British bank, but, of course, Al Rajhi has been charged with no crime on that account (HSBC paid a relatively small fine for this and other money laundering infractions).

Sheikh Rajhi’s companies have around $100 billion in cash at their disposal. All told, the financial fire power of the Golden Chain exceeds that of most mid-sized nations.

But, rest assured, jihadis are just bumpkins in caves.

* * * * * * * * *

Despite the death of Osama bin Laden, the jihad’s sophisticated financial operation remains entirely in place. Moreover, it is doubtful that the Securities and Exchange Commission is monitoring the activities of the billionaire financial wizards who were members of Al Qaeda’s Golden Chain. Certainly, it has never prevented any member of the Golden Chain from engaging in financial schemes (such as self-destruct CDOs and “death spiral” finance) that have done damage to the U.S. economy.

Indeed, as we know, the SEC has made it easier for these people to legally manipulate the markets by allowing people such as Sheikh DeLorenzo (who, as a prominent member of the SAAR Network, was certainly on good terms with the Golden Chain) to operate trading platforms, such as Al Safi Trust’s naked short selling operation, that damage the U.S. markets. Meanwhile, Wall Street’s largest brokerage and investment houses stumble over themselves to do business with the Golden Chain, and with other financial behemoths that might not be entirely committed to keeping the U.S. economy in good health.

One such behemoth is the financial empire of Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum — or “Sheikh Mo,” as he is affectionately called in the West.  Sheikh Al Maktoum, whose family members were among the controlling shareholders of BCCI’s criminal enterprise, now operates, among other entities, the Dubai International Finance Center, which houses Sheikh DeLorenzo’s Al Safi Trust (set up in partnership with Sheikh Mo) and countless hedge funds, many of them intertwined with Dubai’s sovereign wealth fund.

The Dubai International Finance Center’s stated mission is to advance shariah compliant finance (such “compliance” being defined by the Muslim Brotherhood), and it has at its disposal more than a trillion dollars. Frank Gaffney, former assistant secretary of defense for international security and one of the nation’s leading experts on the Muslim Brotherhood, correctly insists that shariah compliant financial products “threaten what is left of the integrity of our free market system. Worse yet, they – and the theo-political-legal doctrine, Shariah, from which they spring – pose a real threat to our society and form of government.”

On the surface, it seems that there is nothing wrong with people creating shariah compliant financial products, even if they cater to a radical interpretation of Islam. People have a right to be radical and to create radical financial products. Indeed, it took me a long time to believe that shariah finance posed any threat whatsoever. My instinct was to believe that it was merely an effort to cater to people who are devoutly religious, no more dangerous than Halal beefsteak.

However, it is prudent to consider whether there is more than religion behind the astounding growth of shariah compliant finance in recent years. Indeed, we must understand that the new and radical interpretation of shariah “compliance” is overtly anti-American, and has been developed by leaders of the jihad as a means to challenge the U.S. financial order. This was well-documented in a book called “Understanding Sharia Finance”, by Patrick Sookhdeo, then director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity.

Paul Bracken, professor of management and political science at Yale University, notes that shariah compliant finance has become a powerful force and raises “the prospect that Wall Street could be knocked out of action [with] strategic implications for the United States and for the entire global system of finance.”

As for Sheikh Al Maktoum, the eminence grise of shariah “compliant” finance, many in Washington consider him to be an important ally of the United States. But it is also true that Sheikh Al Maktoum considers one of his most important allies to be the regime in Iran, which would like to see the United States obliterated. Meanwhile, Sheikh Al Maktoum and his family have been among the biggest supporters of organizations that are carrying out the “Financial Jihad.”

For example, Sheikh Al Maktoum’s family, along with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Golden Chain Saudis, and some factions of the Saudi government are among the biggest contributors to ISNA, an organization whose depredations I have partially described. A charity founded by Sheikh Al Maktoum also donated $50 million to the Council on American Islamic Relations, an ISNA-tied outfit that grew out of the Islamic Association of Palestine, which was the U.S. propaganda arm of Hamas. Numerous CAIR officials have been alleged to have ties to the jihad, which might explain why CAIR has plotted ways to secure the release from prison of the Blind Sheikh.

In Europe, where Sheikh Al Maktoum is received warmly (the BBC recently called him an “enlightened dictator”), Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi (the cleric who has issued calls for “Financial Jihad”) runs the European Council for Fatwa and Research, which has played a key role in fostering the development of shariah “compliant” finance. That outfit was funded almost entirely by Sheikh Al Maktoum and his family until it was implicated by authorities for having ties to violent jihadists. (Despite their accusations, authorities did not file charges against the organization).

Meanwhile, Dubai, with Sheikh Al Maktoum’s acquiescence, has long served as an important operational hub for some the world’s most notorious organized crime figures, some with direct ties to jihadist groups. For example, Indian mafia kingpin Dawood Ibrahim was, until he moved to Karachi to live under the protection of the Pakistani intelligence service, one of Dubai’s most honored and ostentatious residents, regularly holding lavish parties at his landmark white mansion – parties attended by prominent figures in the world of high finance (some of whom I will introduce in upcoming chapters), and also by members of Dubai’s ruling family.

Mr. Ibrahim had the full protection of Sheikh Al Maktoum until Dubai was pressured by the international community to send him packing. And Mr. Ibrahim was no ordinary mobster. He was, as I mentioned, intimately intertwined with the operations of Al Qaeda and other jihadist groups – the only person in the world to be labeled by the United States government as both a “Global Narcotics Kingpin” and a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist.”

Former ABC News journalist Gretchen Peters, a friend and work colleague of mine when we both lived in Cambodia, has published an excellent book about the nexus between jihadists and the heroin trade. One CIA official whom Peters interviewed for the book noted that  “if you want to know what Osama bin Laden is up to, you have to understand what Dawood Ibrahim is up to.”

Another close friend of Sheikh Al Maktoum was Viktor Bout, a Russian organized crime figure who was, for a long time, flying cargo planes filled with weapons from Dubai to Taliban and Al Qaeda  redoubts in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Viktor Bout, like Dawood Ibrahim, operated with the full support and protection of the Dubai government until Interpol put out an arrest warrant for him. Then he moved to Moscow, where he enjoyed the protection of Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin until he was lured to Thailand and arrested by the FBI.

Viktor Bout was also closely tied to Abu Dhabi’s ruling family, whose leading members (like Dubai’s ruling family) probably first came into contact with the underworld while they were presiding over the criminal operations of BCCI. Some cargo planes that Bout used to smuggle weapons to Afghanistan were registered as belonging to a company called Flying Dolphin, which was owned by Sheikh Mansour Al Nayan, the present ruler of Abu Dhabi.

Then there is the famous story (widely reported by U.S. officials) of why President Bill Clinton failed to kill Osama bin Laden. Soon after Al Qaeda’s 1998 attacks on U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, the CIA located Osama bin Laden and reported that the Emir of Jihad was hosting some of his closest friends at a party in a remote corner of Afghanistan. The Al Qaeda leader and his friends were spending their days hiking in the mountains and hunting with falcons, then retreating to an Al Qaeda training camp to drink tea and (perhaps) talk of subversive notions.

Figuring that there would not be much time before Osama would vanish again, the U.S. military told President Clinton that this was the ideal moment to blow the Al Qaeda leader to smithereens with a precision-guided Hell-Fire cruise missile. The generals were ready to pull the trigger, but Clinton and his cabinet stopped them. They aborted the mission because Osama bin Laden and his friends were having a party.  And these friends were all from Dubai. In fact, they were among the most prominent members of Dubai’s ruling family.

Sheikh Al Maktoum’s family and the leaders of Al Qaeda had finished hunting and were relaxing in the tents that the Dubai royals had brought with them to Afghanistan – house-sized luxury tents equipped with giant electricity generators, and decorated with fine carpets, and fabrics laced in gold. No doubt, Osama bin Laden regaled the Dubai ruling family with stories of his exploits, and the Dubai ruling family members perhaps responded with praise for their host’s victories against the United States.

At any rate, the CIA watched the satellite images. The generals asked Bill Clinton if they should fire the missile. And Bill Clinton said, “No” — because, of course, Dubai’s royals were American allies. As George Tenent, who was then the director of the CIA, later put it, Clinton could not take this rare opportunity to kill Osama bin Laden because the missile strike “might have wiped out half the royal family of the UAE.”

Put differently, one might say that “half the royal family of [our ally] the UAE” was partying with Osama bin Laden.

That’s some ally.

Well, never mind, say America’s elite – if Sheikh Al Maktoum is supporting jihadis, it is only a matter of political expediency. Perhaps. But, in the end, it doesn’t matter whether the politics are expedient or not. What matters is the end result. And it is probably safe to assume that the Dubai royals who went on hunting expeditions in Afghanistan with Osama bin Laden may be (at least to some extent) sympathetic to the jihad. That is, they have, to a degree, been possessed by a subversive notion – that “the system”, as epitomized by the United States, can be undermined.

But the billionaire sheikhs of the Middle East – whether they be members of ruling families, funders of the SAAR Network, or members of Al Qaeda’s Golden Chain – are not the only potential threats to America’s economic well-being. As I mentioned at the outset of this story, the president’s national security staff has suggested that there is “nexus” between jihadist financiers, organized crime, agents of rogue states, and “legitimate” financial operators in the United States. This “nexus” has contributed to the great meltdown of 2008, and to the instability of the global financial system that continues to this day.

Before we discuss our present predicament, however, we need to understand more about the nexus. And to do that, we must first go back in history. We must, for starters, further examine the BCCI enterprise. We must, in addition, consider what occurred after BCCI collapsed in 1991.

One thing that occurred soon after BCCI collapsed in 1991, of course, was that BCCI was revealed to be the biggest banking fraud in the history of world finance. More important, that same year, 1991, a Muslim Brotherhood leader named Hasan al Turabi (then also a top official in the government of Sudan) founded an outfit called the Islamist International, appointing Osama bin Laden to serve as chairman. The purpose of the Islamist International was to unite the Muslim Brotherhood, affiliated terrorist organizations, and their state sponsors behind a common mission.

That mission was partly articulated in the famous Muslim Brotherhood document (published that same year, 1991) outlining plans to wage a “Grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within…” There were also numerous violent terrorist attacks planned at meetings of the Islamist International. However, Osama bin Laden’s most important mission as chairman of the Islamist International was not to plan acts of violent terrorism. His most important mission–“The Financial Jihad”–was to help lead a Muslim Brotherhood initiative to replace the BCCI enterprise with an enterprise that would be similar in every respect except that it would exceed BCCI in scope and destructive power.

Yossef Bondansky, then director of the House Task Force on Terrorism, reported in his seminal 2000 book on Osama bin Laden: “The collapse of the BCCI and the shock waves that were still reverberating throughout the Muslim world could not have come at a worse time. Turabi had always known the importance of a reliable financial system to support and sustain Islamist activities.”  The Islamist International “urgently needed an expert to salvage whatever was possible and rebuild a global financial system [to replace the BCCI enterprise]. By then Osama bin Laden was the most qualified individual in Khartoum to untangle this financial mess. In late summer 1991, Turabi approached bin Laden and asked for help.”

This, of course, raises some questions.

For example: What, exactly, was BCCI, and why was it so important? What, exactly, did Osama bin Laden do after he was appointed to deal with the collapse of BCCI? Precisely what sort of “global financial system” did Osama bin Laden and his associates build from the remains of BCCI, and what is the status of that global financial system today? The director of the House Task Force on Terrorism noted that this financial network—a global financial empire that was built by Osama bin Laden, among others more important than him—eventually extended all the way from Osama bin Laden’s cave in the Hindu Kush to the caverns of Wall Street, but what else do we know about it? And why has this story never appeared in The Wall Street Journal?

In fact, Osama bin Laden played a role in building what is not only one of the greatest financial empires the world has ever known, but also one of the world’s most destructive transnational organized crime (and terrorism) syndicates, so we really ought to ask: precisely what lines of business (aside from terrorism) did this amazing enterprise pursue? What lines of business is it pursuing today? And is this good news for the American economy?

Those are questions that will be answered in later chapters of his series.

To be continued…Click here to read Chapter 3 of this series

Mark Mitchell is a journalist who spent most of his career working as a correspondent for mainstream media publications before joining DeepCapture.com.

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UBS, in Theory, a Conspiracy to Naked Short “Tens of Millions” of Shares

UBS, in Theory, a Conspiracy to Naked Short “Tens of Millions” of Shares

It wasn’t long ago when they were saying that naked short selling never happened. They said it simply did not exist, that only wild-eyed conspiracy theorists believed in naked short selling. That was before 2008, when the CEOs of some big banks started hollering that naked short selling was causing the stock prices of their banks to nosedive. With the CEOs of the big banks hollering, the SEC, in June, 2008, issued an Emergency Order banning naked short selling (that previously did not exist) in the stocks of 19 big financial institutions (i.e. the financial institutions that were doing the naked short selling—to each other). But the SEC did nothing about the naked short selling of other stocks because, apparently, that naked short selling existed only in the fevered imaginations of people who believed that their savings were being wiped out by little green men.

Then, in August 2008,  the SEC lifted its Emergency Order banning naked short selling of stock in the 19 big financial institutions, and those financial institutions began naked short selling each other again. Their stocks (which had increased in value while the Emergency Order was in place) once again nosedived, and one of them, Lehman Brothers, saw its stock go into a classic death spiral (i.e. a spiral that caused death). Almost immediately after Lehman collapsed, the SEC issued another Emergency Order, this time banning all short selling in financial stocks, and in this new Emergency Order, the SEC stated in plain English that naked short selling can cause stocks to go into death spirals, making it difficult for the targeted companies to raise new capital, and thereby result in bankruptcy. Which, of course, was what had just happened to Lehman, as the SEC knew full well.

Some weeks later, the SEC lifted that Emergency Order and put into effect some new rules governing naked short selling. Ever since, the SEC has maintained that naked short selling rarely occurs, and it certainly has never sanctioned anyone for the naked short selling that (according to the SEC) created an “emergency” in 2008. So once again, the conventional wisdom is that only wild-eyed conspiracy theorists believe that naked short selling occurs, and only UFO abductees with tin foil hats believe that naked short selling occurs in massive volumes, causing damage to the markets.

It has long since been forgotten that CEOs of big banks were, back in 2008, hollering that naked short selling had caused their stock prices to nosedive, and it has long been forgotten that the SEC issued two Emergency Orders in 2008 to save the banks from naked short selling, suggesting in one of those Emergency Orders that naked short selling had contributed to the collapse of Lehman Brothers. And now we know why it has been forgotten. Now we know why the term “naked short selling” has once again been scrubbed entirely from the public discourse in quite Orwellian fashion. It is, of course, because the big banks are still perpetrating (with the full connivance of the SEC, whose data says it isn’t happening) massive volumes of naked short selling. This, anyway, is what we can conclude from a recent FINRA settlement.

FINRA, for those who don’t know, is the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which sounds like a government regulatory agency, though it is owned and operated by Wall Street, and its activities as a “Regulatory Authority” amount mostly to leveling small fines for massive crimes perpetrated by Wall Street, thereby relieving the SEC of any need to do its job. If  FINRA has issued a “settlement”  letter to a perpetrator, the issue is “settled” so far as the SEC is concerned, and such was the case when FINRA recently issued a “settlement” letter asking the big investment bank UBS to pay a small fine for violating the rules against naked short selling that the SEC isn’t enforcing.

More precisely, FINRA’s recent “settlement” letter (which you can read here) asked UBS to pay a fine for “not admitting or denying” having “entered tens of millions of proprietary and customer short sale orders without having reasonable grounds to believe that the securities could be borrowed and available for delivery.” When a brokerage sells stock short “without having reasonable grounds to believe that the securities could be borrowed for delivery” that means the brokerage has deliberately engaged in naked short selling (i.e. selling phantom stock that increases supply, driving down prices), and in this case it appears that UBS (between the years 2004 and 2010, according to FINRA) transacted naked short selling to the tune of “tens of millions”(emphasis added) of phantom shares in nobody knows how many companies were affected by this massive deluge.

In fact, UBS might have naked shorted far more than tens of millions of shares, though for some mysterious reason, FINRA reports that it doesn’t actually know how many additional shares were naked shorted. In its settlement letter, FINRA simply reported that aside from the “tens of millions” that were naked shorted, UBS “effected an additional significant but unquantifiable number of short sales without valid locates [i.e. naked short sales] during the Relevant Period.” Unquantifiable? As in too big a number for a calculator to handle? Or is it some smaller but still unpalatable number that FINRA’s ”regulators” dare not speak (or regulate)?

In any event, FINRA did report (or, rather, understate) the obvious fact that the “duration, scope and volume of the trading [i.e. a volume of naked short selling that is ‘unquantifiable’ but significantly more than “tens of millions’ of shares naked shorted] created a potential for harm to the integrity to the market.”

In fact, UBS at least “created a potential” to crash the markets by flagrantly violating the SEC’s supposed naked short selling regulations, and FINRA is asking UBS to pay a small fine (without admitting or denying what it did) so that the SEC can take no action whatsoever. Meanwhile, of course, the captured media continues to pretend that naked short selling (i.e. a criminal conspiracy) exists only in the minds of “conspiracy theorists” (i.e. people in our brave new world who are are crazy because they speak the truth).

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Jeffrey Sachs Joins the Revolution

Jeffrey Sachs Joins the Revolution

I remember not too long ago people who said that Wall Street is full of crooks were considered to be off-kilter. At the same time, it was commonly understood that they were saying the obvious, but for some reason they weren’t supposed to say it.

Things have changed.

Have a listen to a speech recorded in the video below. The speech begins at 2:08, after the intro by the off-kilter guy in a t-shirt (don’t know who he is), and the speech was given at (of all places) the Philadelphia Federal Reserve by (none other than) economist Jeffrey Sachs, named by Time magazine as one of the 100 “Most Influential” people in the world.

Sachs says that Wall Street is full of crooks.

Not just that. Sachs said that, “I meet a lot of these people on Wall Street on a regular basis. I’m going to put it very bluntly. I regard the moral environment as pathological. I’m talking about the human interactions I have. I have not seen anything like this, not felt it so palpably…they have  no responsibility to their clients, they have no responsibility to counterparties in transactions. They are tough, greedy, aggressive, and feel absolutely out of control, in a quite literal sense. And they have gamed the system to a remarkable extent, and they have a docile president, a docile White House, and a docile regulatory system that absolutely can’t find its voice….We have a corrupt politics to the core.”

Or in the DeepCapture vernacular, Washington has been “captured” by financial miscreants.

Sachs also rails against (among others) Goldman Sachs and short seller John Paulson for manufacturing synthetic CDOs (i.e mortgage derivatives deliberately designed by short sellers to self-destruct). Basically, he says what we’ve been saying for years, but what most prominent economic professors dared not say in speeches at the Federal Reserve—not, anyway, until now. And when prominent economists start talking like this (he even criticizes fractional reserve banking) in speeches at the Federal Reserve—well, that’s a revolution in the making. Wait and see.

Click here to listen to the speech.

 

 

 

 

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The SAC Capital Scandal–Made For TV

The SAC Capital Scandal–Made For TV

The SAC Capital Advisors insider-trading scandal has inspired an episode of the fictional television program “Person of Interest.” The show features a plotline that was probably taken from recent media headlines about SAC Capital, but we might humbly suggest that the show instead feature a plotline that DeepCapture published more than three years ago.

The CBS crime drama told the tale of insider-trading at a hedge fund called “VAC Capital,” a clear reference to SAC Capital, and just as the real SAC trader Mathew Martoma has been accused of earning for SAC Capital a massive sum ($276 million) from trading on tips about Alzheimer’s drug trials that he received from a University of Michigan professor, so too does the VAC trader turn a massive profit (inflated to $500 million for the purposes of television titillation) from an inside tip. However, readers of DeepCapture might recall that the full (true) story is a lot worse than just that.

In 2009, DeepCapture published a book-length story (“Michael Milken, 60,000 Deaths, and The Story of Dendreon”) demonstrating that Milken had worked with “captured” doctors to derail FDA approval for a promising cancer treatment while promoting less-than promising treatments from which they stood to profit. That story also demonstrated that there was a high probability that a small group of hedge funds, including SAC Capital, had not just traded on inside information about the FDA’s decisions, but had perpetrated manipulative short selling attacks on the stock of the company, Dendreon, that was manufacturing the promising cancer treatment.

I am no TV producer, but it seems to me that Wall Street miscreants trying to destroy companies with promising medical treatments (i.e. killing people, which is exactly what they are doing) is better television than miscreants merely “making a killing” on inside information. Or maybe not. It could be that the old narrative of Gordon Gecko, the greedy but charming rogue scoring the big bucks from his clever reading of inside information, is what people want to see on their TV screens—not the far uglier truth. Even the major U.S. news organizations seem intent upon portraying SAC Capital’s insider traders not as destructive miscreants, but as basically harmless rogues, perhaps even worthy of our respect and admiration.

During the three years while hedge funds were attacking Dendreon’s stock price and Milken was successfully scheming with FDA doctors to derail Dendreon’s cancer treatment (more specifically, a treatment for prostate cancer), more than 60,000 men who would have benefited from that treatment instead died before their time. In fact, Wall Street miscreants nearly destroyed Dendreon, but thanks largely to citizen activists (and not the media) who exposed the corruption that led to the FDA initially denying approval to Dendreon’s cancer treatment, the FDA did (albeit three years too late) finally approve the drug–so maybe it was a Hollywood ending, after all.

Either way, Wall Street miscreants are attacking many other companies with promising medical treatments…and nobody (aside from a few citizen activists) is watching.

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