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.
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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.
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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).
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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.”
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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).
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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.
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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.
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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