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|The Kingdom and the Towers
Was there a foreign government behind the 9/11 attacks? A decade later, Americans still haven’t been given the whole story, while a key 28-page section of Congress’s Joint Inquiry report remains censored. Gathering years of leaks and leads, in an adaptation from their new book, Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan examine the connections between Saudi Arabia and the hijackers (15 of whom were Saudi), the Bush White House’s decision to ignore or bury evidence, and the frustration of lead investigators—including 9/11-commission staffers, counterterrorism officials, and senators on both sides of the aisle.
By Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan
TROUBLING LINKS From left: King Abdullah, Prince Naif, Osama bin Laden, Prince Bandar, and Prince Turki—Saudis all, as were 15 of the 19 hijackers of 9/11. Large photograph by Allan Tannenbaum/Polaris; bottom, from left, by Ludovic/REA/Redux, by Li Zhen/Xinhua/Landov, from Getty Images, by Hassan Ammar/AFP/Getty Images, by Hasan Jamali/A.P. Images.
Adapted from The Eleventh Day by Anthony Summers and Robynn Swan to be published this month by Ballantine Books; © 2011 by the authors.
For 10 years now, a major question about 9/11 has remained unresolved. It was, as 9/11-commission chairmen Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton recalled, “Had the hijackers received any support from foreign governments?” There was information that pointed to the answer, but the commissioners apparently deemed it too disquieting to share in full with the public.
The idea that al-Qaeda had not acted alone was there from the start. “The terrorists do not function in a vacuum,” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told reporters the week after 9/11. “I know a lot, and what I have said, as clearly as I know how, is that states are supporting these people.” Pressed to elaborate, Rumsfeld was silent for a long moment. Then, saying it was a sensitive matter, he changed the subject.
Three years later, the commission would consider whether any of three foreign countries in particular might have had a role in the attacks. Two were avowed foes of the United States: Iraq and Iran. The third had long been billed as a close friend: Saudi Arabia.
• The Bushes and the Saudis (Craig Unger, October 2003)
• An oral history of Osama bin Laden (Peter Bergen, January 2006)
• Inside bin Laden’s terror operation (Peter Bergen, December 2001)
• How bin Laden lost (Peter Bergen, January 2011)
In its report, the commission stated that it had seen no “evidence indicating that Iraq cooperated with al-Qaeda in developing or carrying out any attacks against the United States.”
Iran, the commission found, had long had contacts with al-Qaeda and had allowed its operatives—including a number of the future hijackers—to travel freely through its airports. Though there was no evidence that Iran “was aware of the planning for what later became the 9/11 attack,” the commissioners called on the government to investigate further.
This year, in late May, attorneys for bereaved 9/11 family members said there was revealing new testimony from three Iranian defectors. Former senior commission counsel Dietrich Snell was quoted as saying in an affidavit that there was now “convincing evidence the government of Iran provided material support to al-Qaeda in the planning and execution of the 9/11 attack.” That evidence, however, has yet to surface.
As for Saudi Arabia, America’s purported friend, you would have thought from the reaction of the Saudi ambassador, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, that the commission had found nothing dubious in his country’s role. “The clear statements by this independent, bipartisan commission,” he declared, “have debunked the myths that have cast fear and doubt over Saudi Arabia.” Yet no finding in the report categorically exonerated Saudi Arabia.
The commission’s decision as to what to say on the subject had been made amid discord and tension. Late one night in 2004, as last-minute changes to the report were being made, investigators who had worked on the Saudi angle received alarming news. Their team leader, Dietrich Snell, was at the office, closeted with executive director Philip Zelikow, making major changes to their material and removing key elements.
The investigators, Michael Jacobson and Rajesh De, hurried to the office to confront Snell. With lawyerly caution, he said he thought there was insufficient substance to their case against the Saudis. They considered the possibility of resigning, then settled for a compromise. Much of the telling information they had collected would survive in the report, but only in tiny print, hidden in the endnotes.
The commissioners did say in the body of the report that the long official friendship of the United States and Saudi Arabia could not be unconditional. The relationship had to be about more than oil, had to include—and this in bold type—“a commitment to fight the violent extremists who foment hatred.”
It had been far from clear, and for the longest time, that the Saudis were thus committed. More than seven years before 9/11, the first secretary at the Saudi mission to the United Nations, Mohammed al-Khilewi, had defected to the United States, bringing with him thousands of pages of documents that, he said, showed the regime’s corruption, abuse of human rights, and support for terrorism. At the same time, he addressed a letter to then crown prince Abdullah, calling for “a move towards democracy.” The Saudi royals, Khilewi said, responded by threatening his life. The U.S. government, for its part, offered him little protection. F.B.I. officials, moreover, declined to accept the documents the defecting diplomat had brought with him.
In support of his claim that Saudi Arabia supported terrorism, Khilewi spoke of an episode relevant to the first, 1993, attempt to bring down the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers. “A Saudi citizen carrying a Saudi diplomatic passport,” he said, “gave money to Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind behind the World Trade Center bombing,” when the al-Qaeda terrorist was in the Philippines. The Saudi relationship with Yousef, the defector claimed, “is secret and goes through Saudi intelligence.”
The reference to a Saudi citizen having funded Yousef closely fit the part played by Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law Jamal Khalifa. He was active in the Philippines, fronted as a charity organizer at the relevant time, and founded a charity that gave money to Yousef and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the chief al-Qaeda planner of 9/11, during the initial plotting to destroy U.S. airliners.
When Khalifa returned to Saudi Arabia, in 1995—following detention in the United States and subsequent acquittal on terrorism charges in Jordan—he was, according to C.I.A. bin Laden chief Michael Scheuer, met by a limousine and a welcome home from “a high-ranking official.” A Philippine newspaper would suggest that the official had been Prince Sultan, then a deputy prime minister and minister of defense and aviation, today the heir to the Saudi throne.
In June 1996, according to published reports, while in Paris for the biennial international weapons bazaar, a group including a Saudi prince and Saudi financiers gathered at the Royal Monceau hotel, near the Saudi Embassy. The subject was bin Laden and what to do about him. After two recent bombings of American targets in Saudi Arabia, one of them just that month, the fear was that the Saudi elite itself would soon be targeted. At the meeting at the Monceau, French intelligence reportedly learned, it was decided that bin Laden was to be kept at bay by payment of huge sums in protection money.
In sworn statements after 9/11, former Taliban intelligence chief Mohammed Khaksar said that in 1998 Prince Turki, chief of Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Department (G.I.D.), sealed a deal under which bin Laden agreed not to attack Saudi targets. In return, Saudi Arabia would provide funds and material assistance to the Taliban, not demand bin Laden’s extradition, and not bring pressure to close down al-Qaeda training camps. Saudi businesses, meanwhile, would ensure that money also flowed directly to bin Laden.
After 9/11, Prince Turki would deny that any such deal was done with bin Laden. Other Saudi royals, however, may have been involved in payoff arrangements. A former Clinton administration official has claimed—and U.S. intelligence sources concurred—that at least two Saudi princes had been paying, on behalf of the kingdom, what amounted to protection money since 1995. The former official added, “The deal was, they would turn a blind eye to what he was doing elsewhere. ‘You don’t conduct operations here, and we won’t disrupt them elsewhere.’ ”
American and British official sources, speaking later with Simon Henderson, Baker Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, named the two princes in question. They were, Henderson told the authors, Prince Naif, the interior minister, and Prince Sultan. The money involved in the alleged payments, according to Henderson’s sources, had amounted to “hundreds of millions of dollars.” It had been “Saudi official money—not their own.”
Before 9/11, American officials visiting Riyadh usually discovered that it was futile to ask the Saudis for help in fighting terrorism. George Tenet, who became C.I.A. director during Bill Clinton’s second term, vividly recalled an audience he was granted by Prince Naif, the crown prince’s brother. Naif, who oversaw domestic intelligence, began the exchange with “an interminable soliloquy recounting the history of the U.S.-Saudi ‘special’ relationship, including how the Saudis would never, ever keep security-related information from their U.S. allies.”
There came a moment when Tenet had had enough. Breaching royal etiquette, he placed his hand on the prince’s knee and said, “Your Royal Highness, what do you think it will look like if someday I have to tell the Washington Post that you held out data that might have helped us track down al-Qaeda murderers?” Naif’s reaction, Tenet thought, was what looked “like a prolonged state of shock.”
On a flight home from Saudi Arabia in the late 1990s, F.B.I. director Louis Freeh told counterterrorism chief John O’Neill that he thought the Saudi officials they had met during the trip had been helpful. “You’ve got to be kidding,” retorted O’Neill, a New Jersey native who never minced his words. “They didn’t give us anything. They were just shining sunshine up your ass.”
Several years later, in two long conversations with Jean-Charles Brisard, author of a study on terrorist financing for a French intelligence agency, O’Neill was still venting his frustration. “All the answers, all the clues that could enable us to dismantle Osama bin Laden’s organization,” he said, “are in Saudi Arabia.” The answers and the clues, however, remained out of reach, in part, O’Neill told Brisard, because U.S. dependence on Saudi oil meant that Saudi Arabia had “much more leverage on us than we have on the kingdom.” And, he added, because “high-ranking personalities and families in the Saudi kingdom” had close ties to bin Laden.
These conversations took place in June and late July of 2001.
At his residence outside Washington on the morning of September 11, Prince Bandar rushed out an embassy statement. The kingdom, it read, “condemned the regrettable and inhuman bombings and acts which took place today. . . . Saudi Arabia strongly condemns such acts, which contravene all religious values and human civilized concepts; and extends sincere condolences.”
Behind the political scenery, and on the festering subject of Israel, relations between Riyadh and Washington had recently become unprecedentedly shaky. Crown Prince Abdullah had long fumed about America’s apparent complacency over the plight of the Palestinians. That spring he had pointedly declined an invitation to the White House. Three weeks before 9/11, enraged by television footage of an Israeli soldier putting his boot on the head of a Palestinian woman, he had snapped. Bandar, the crown prince’s nephew, was told to deliver an uncompromising message to President Bush.
“I reject this extraordinary, un-American bias whereby the blood of an Israeli child is more expensive and holy than the blood of a Palestinian child. . . . A time comes when peoples and nations part. . . . Starting today, you go your way and we will go our way. From now on, we will protect our national interests, regardless of where America’s interests lie in the region.” There was more, much more, and it rocked the Bush administration. The president responded with a placatory letter that seemed to go far toward the Saudi position of endorsing the creation of a viable Palestinian state.
Then came the shattering events of Tuesday the 11th. In Riyadh within 24 hours—himself now in turn placatory—Abdullah pulled the lever that gave his nation its only real power, the economic sword it could draw or sheathe at will. He ordered that nine million barrels of oil be dispatched to the United States over the next two weeks. The certainty of supply had the effect, it is said, of averting what had otherwise been a possibility at that time—an oil shortage that would have pushed prices through the roof and caused, on top of the economic effects of the 9/11 calamity, a major financial crisis.
Into the mix, on Wednesday the 12th, came troubling news. In a phone call that night, a C.I.A. official told Ambassador Bandar that 15 of the hijackers had been Saudis. As Bandar recalled it, he felt the world collapsing around him. “That was a disaster,” Crown Prince Abdullah’s foreign-affairs adviser Adel al-Jubeir has said, “because bin Laden, at that moment, had made in the minds of Americans Saudi Arabia into an enemy.”
Royal and rich Saudis scrambled to get out of the United States and return home. Seventy-five royals and their entourage, ensconced at Caesars Palace hotel and casino in Las Vegas, decamped within hours of the attacks to the Four Seasons. They felt “extremely concerned for their personal safety,” they explained to the local F.B.I. field office, and bodyguards apparently deemed the Four Seasons more secure.
In Washington, Saudis who wished to leave included members of the bin Laden family. One of Osama’s brothers, never named publicly, had hastily called the Saudi Embassy wanting to know where he could best go to be safe. He was installed in a room at the Watergate Hotel and told to stay there until advised that transportation was available. Across the country, more than 20 bin Laden family members and staff were getting ready to leave.
In Lexington, Kentucky, the mecca of Thoroughbred racing in America, Prince Ahmed bin Salman, a nephew of King Fahd’s, had been attending the annual yearling sales. After the attacks, Ahmed quickly began to round up members of his family for a return to Saudi Arabia. He ordered his son and a couple of friends, who were in Florida, to charter a plane and get themselves to Lexington to connect with the plane he was taking home. They managed it, one of them told the security man hired for the flight, because “his father or his uncle was good friends with George Bush Sr.”
Late on the night of the 13th, Prince Bandar’s assistant called the F.B.I.’s assistant director for counterterrorism, Dale Watson. He needed help, the assistant said, in getting bin Laden “family members” out of the country. Watson said Saudi officials should call the White House or the State Department. The request found its way to counterterrorism coordinator Richard Clarke, who has acknowledged that he gave the go-ahead for the flights. He has said he has “no recollection” of having cleared it with anyone more senior in the administration.
An F.B.I. memo written two years after the exodus appears to acknowledge that some of the departing Saudis may have had information pertinent to the investigation. Asked on CNN the same year whether he could say unequivocally that no one on the evacuation flights had been involved in 9/11, Saudi Embassy information officer Nail al-Jubeir responded by saying he was sure of only two things, that “there is the existence of God, and then we will die at the end of the world. Everything else, we don’t know.”
Saudis in Denial
In spite of the fact that it had almost immediately become known that 15 of those implicated in the attacks had been Saudis, President George W. Bush did not hold Saudi Arabia’s official representative in Washington at arm’s length. As early as the evening of September 13, he kept a scheduled appointment to receive Prince Bandar at the White House. The two men had known each other for years. They reportedly greeted each other with a friendly embrace, smoked cigars on the Truman Balcony, and conversed with Vice President Dick Cheney and National-Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.
There is a photograph of the meeting, which has been published in the past. This year, however, when the authors asked the George W. Bush presidential library for a copy, the library responded in an e-mail that the former president’s office was “not inclined to release the image from the balcony at this time.”
It would soon become evident that, far from confronting the Saudis, the Bush administration wanted rapprochement. The president would invite Crown Prince Abdullah to visit the United States, press him to come when he hesitated, and—when he accepted—welcome him to his Texas ranch in early 2002. Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice were there, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell and First Lady Laura Bush.
It seems that 9/11 barely came up during the discussions. Speaking with the press afterward, the president cut off one reporter when he began to raise the subject.
Official Saudi Arabia was tortoise-slow in acknowledging even the fact that almost all of the hijackers had been Saudi citizens. Two days after Bandar was given that information, his spokesman said the terrorists had probably used stolen identities.
“There is no proof or evidence,” claimed Sheikh Saleh al-Sheikh, minister of Islamic affairs, “that Saudis carried out these attacks.” Prince Sultan doubted whether only bin Laden and his followers were responsible, and hinted that “another power with advanced technical expertise” must have been behind 9/11. As of December 2001, Prince Naif was saying he still did not believe 15 hijackers had been Saudis.
Not until February 2002 did Naif acknowledge the truth. “The names we have got confirmed [it],” he then conceded. “Their families have been notified. . . . I believe they were taken advantage of in the name of religion, and regarding certain issues pertaining to the Arab nation, especially the issue of Palestine.”
Even after that admission, Sultan and Naif were not done. They began pointing to a familiar enemy. “It is enough to see a number of [U.S.] congressmen wearing Jewish yarmulkes,” Sultan said, “to explain the allegations against us.” In late 2002, Naif blamed the “Zionists,” saying, “We put big question marks and ask who committed the events of September 11 and who benefited from them I think [the Zionists] are behind these events.”
As the months passed, leading Saudis would suggest publicly that their nation had been entirely open with the United States on the security front all along—even claim that they had alerted Washington in advance to possible calamity.
A year after 9/11, Prince Turki expounded at length on the relationship the G.I.D. had had with the C.I.A. From about 1996, he wrote, “at the instruction of the senior Saudi leadership, I shared all the intelligence we had collected on bin Laden and al-Qaeda with the C.I.A. And in 1997 the Saudi minister of defense, Prince Sultan, established a joint intelligence committee with the United States to share information on terrorism in general and on bin Laden (and al-Qaeda) in particular.”
There was a core of truth to this. The G.I.D. and U.S. services had had a long, if uneasy, understanding on sharing intelligence. Other Saudi claims were far more startling.
Bandar had hinted right after 9/11 that both the U.S. and Saudi intelligence services had known more about the hijackers in advance than they were publicly admitting. In 2007, however, by which time he had risen to become national-security adviser to former crown prince—now king—Abdullah, Bandar produced a bombshell. “Saudi security,” he asserted, “had been actively following the movements of most of the terrorists with precision. . . . If U.S. security authorities had engaged their Saudi counterparts in a serious and credible manner, in my opinion, we would have avoided what happened.”
Though there was no official U.S. reaction to that claim, Michael Scheuer, the former chief of the C.I.A.’s bin Laden unit, later dismissed it in his book Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam After Iraq as a “fabrication.”
Prince Turki had long since come out with an allegation similar to Bandar’s, but far more specific. He said that in late 1999 and early 2000—just before the first two future 9/11 hijackers reached the United States—his staff had informed the C.I.A. that both men were terrorists. “What we told them,” he said, “was these people were on our watch list from previous activities of al-Qaeda, in both the [East Africa] embassy bombings and attempts to smuggle arms into the Kingdom in 1997.”
C.I.A. spokesman Bill Harlow dismissed Turki’s claim as being supported by “not a shred of evidence.” Harlow said information on the two hijackers-to-be had been passed on only a month after the attacks. What the 9/11 commission thought of Turki’s assertion has not been made public. The National Archives told the authors that it was not permissible even to say whether commission files contain a record of an interview with the former head of the G.I.D. Information on the intelligence background to 9/11 apparently remains highly sensitive.
The Hijackers’ Helpers
Saudi Arabia long remained a black hole for American official investigators probing 9/11. They were not, for example, allowed access to the families of those believed to have carried out the attacks. “We’re getting zero cooperation,” former C.I.A. counterterrorism chief Vincent Cannistraro said a month after the attacks.
Within the United States, however, the probe proceeded intensively and over several years. And some of the most significant information gleaned, it turned out, concerned the same two terrorists to whom Prince Turki had alluded. They are said to have been handpicked by Osama bin Laden to be first to enter the United States, and they would eventually be part of the group that seized American Airlines flight 77, the plane used in the strike against the Pentagon.
They were Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, both Saudis, both experienced jihadis—holy warriors—though still in their mid-20s. They entered the country through Los Angeles International Airport as early as January 15, 2000, with scant knowledge of the English language and zero experience of life in the West. The 9/11-commission report declared it “unlikely” that the pair “would have come to the United States without arranging to receive assistance from one or more individuals informed in advance of their arrival.”
The investigation identified individuals who helped or may have helped Mihdhar and Hazmi following their arrival in California—whether by happenstance or because of foreknowledge.
An imam named Fahad al-Thumairy, an accredited diplomat appointed by the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs to liaise with the huge nearby mosque, served at the time at the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles. According to one witness, Thumairy had at the relevant time arranged for two men—whom the witness first identified from photographs as having been the two terrorists—to be given a tour of the area by car.
A fellow Saudi, a San Diego resident named Omar al-Bayoumi, said by individuals interviewed to have had frequent contact with Thumairy, acknowledged that he met Mihdhar and Hazmi during a visit to Los Angeles on February 1, two weeks after their arrival.
According to a person interviewed by the F.B.I., Bayoumi said before the trip that he was going to “pick up visitors.” What is agreed by all is that he made the journey by car, accompanied by an American Muslim named Caysan bin Don. On the way, bin Don said, Bayoumi mentioned that he was accustomed to going to the consulate to obtain religious materials. They did stop at the consulate, where, according to bin Don, a man in a Western business suit, with a full beard, greeted Bayoumi and took him off to talk in an office. Bayoumi emerged some time later, carrying a box of Korans. He would describe the encounter differently, saying he was “uncertain” with whom he had met and “didn’t really know people in [the Saudi ministry of] Islamic Affairs.”
Both men agreed, however, that they proceeded to a restaurant and while there—this is the crucial moment in their story—met and talked with future hijackers Mihdhar and Hazmi, who had just arrived in the country. Bayoumi and bin Don were to tell the F.B.I. the encounter occurred merely by chance.
Bayoumi urged Mihdhar and Hazmi to come south to San Diego, assisted them in finding accommodations, and stayed in touch. On the day the two terrorists moved into the apartment they first used, next door to Bayoumi’s, there were four calls between his phone and that of the local imam, New Mexico-born Anwar Aulaqi—later to be characterized in the congressional report on 9/11 as having served as “spiritual adviser” to Mihdhar and Hazmi.
Bayoumi’s income, which was paid by Ercan, a subsidiary of a contractor for the Saudi Civil Aviation Administration—though, according to a fellow employee, he did no known work—reportedly increased hugely following the future hijackers’ arrival. Another Saudi living in San Diego, Osama Basnan, was also of interest to 9/11 investigators probing the money flow.
A three-page section of Congress’s Joint Inquiry report (the product of joint hearings on the 9/11 attacks by the House and Senate intelligence committees), containing more lines withheld than released, tells us only that Basnan was a close associate of Bayoumi in San Diego. According to former U.S. senator Bob Graham, co-chair of the inquiry, and to press reports, regular checks flowed in 2000 from Basnan to Bayoumi’s wife. The payments, ostensibly made to help cover medical treatment, had originated with the Saudi Embassy in Washington.
There are separate reasons to question the activity of Thumairy, Bayoumi, and Basnan. Thumairy, who had a reputation as a fundamentalist, was later refused re-entry into the United States—well after 9/11—on the ground that he “might be connected with terrorist activity.” Bayoumi had first attracted the interest of the F.B.I. years earlier, and the bureau later learned he had “connections to terrorist elements.” He left the country two months before the attacks.
As for Basnan, his name had come up in a counterterrorism inquiry a decade earlier. He had reportedly hosted a party for Omar Abdel Rahman—today notorious as the “Blind Sheikh,” serving life for his part in plotting to blow up the World Trade Center and other New York City landmarks in 1993—when he visited the United States, and had once claimed he did more for Islam than Bayoumi ever did. A partially censored commission document suggests that—after Mihdhar, Hazmi, and fellow future 9/11 terrorists arrived in the United States to learn to fly—a Basnan associate was in e-mail and phone contact with accused key 9/11 conspirator Ramzi Binalshibh. A year after 9/11, Basnan was arrested for visa fraud and deported.
Available information suggests that two of the trio were employed by or had links to the Saudi regime—Thumairy through his accreditation by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and Bayoumi through his employment by the company linked to the Saudi Civil Aviation Authority. At least five people told the F.B.I. they considered Bayoumi to be some sort of government agent. The C.I.A., Bob Graham has said, thought Basnan was also an agent. Graham also cited an agency memo that referred to “incontrovertible evidence” of support for the terrorists within the Saudi government.
In 2003 and 2004, but only following a high-level request from the White House, 9/11-commission staff were able to make two visits to Saudi Arabia to interview Thumairy, Bayoumi, and Basnan.
The questioners, a recently released commission memo notes, believed Thumairy “was deceptive during both interviews. . . . His answers were either inconsistent or at times in direct conflict with information we have from other sources.” Most significantly, he denied knowing Bayoumi, let alone Mihdhar and Hazmi. Shown a photograph of Bayoumi, he did not budge. He knew no one of that name, he said. Then, prompted by a whispered interjection from one of the Saudi officials present, he said he had heard of Bayoumi—but only from 9/11 news coverage.
At a second interview, told by commission staff that witnesses had spoken of seeing him with Bayoumi, Thumairy said perhaps they had taken someone else for him. Told that telephone records showed numerous calls between his phones and Bayoumi’s phones, just before the arrival of Mihdhar and Hazmi in the United States, Thumairy was stumped. Perhaps, he ventured, his phone number had been assigned to somebody else after he had it? Perhaps the calls had been made by someone else using Bayoumi’s phone? Everything Thumairy came up with, his questioners noted, was “implausible.”
Bayoumi, interviewed earlier, made a more favorable impression. He stuck to his story about having met Mihdhar and Hazmi by chance. He said that he had rarely seen them after they came to San Diego, that they had been his neighbors for only a few days. Bayoumi said he had then decided he did not want to have much to do with them. Philip Zelikow, who was present during the interview, did not think Bayoumi had been a Saudi agent.
The commission report, however, was to note that Bayoumi’s passport contained a distinguishing mark that may be acquired by “especially devout Muslims”—or be associated with “adherence to al-Qaeda.” Investigators had also turned up something else. Bayoumi’s salary had been approved by a Saudi official whose son’s photograph was later found on a computer disk in Pakistan that also contained photographs of three of the hijackers. The son, Saud al-Rashid, was produced for an interview in Saudi Arabia. He admitted having been in Afghanistan and having “cleansed” his passport of the evidence that he had traveled there. He said, though, that he had known nothing of the 9/11 plot. Commission staff who questioned Rashid thought he had been “deceptive.”
Finally, there was Basnan. The commission’s interview with him, Dietrich Snell wrote afterward, established only “the witness’ utter lack of credibility on virtually every material subject.” His demeanor “engendered a combination of confrontation, evasiveness, and speechmaking … his repudiation of statements made by him on prior occasions,” and the “inherent incredibility of many of his assertions when viewed in light of the totality of the available evidence.”
Two men did not face questioning by commission investigators. One of them, a Saudi religious official named Saleh al-Hussayen, certainly should have, although his name does not appear in the commission report. Hussayen, who was involved in the administration of the holy mosques in Mecca and Medina, had been in the States for some three weeks before 9/11. For four days before the attacks, he had stayed at a hotel in Virginia.
Then, on September 10, he had made an unexplained move. With his wife, he checked into the Marriott Residence Inn in Herndon, Virginia—the hotel at which 9/11 hijackers Mihdhar and Hazmi were spending their last night alive.
Commission memos state that F.B.I. agents arrived at Hussayen’s room at the Marriott after midnight on the 11th. The Saudi official began “muttering and drooping his head,” sweating and drooling. Then he fell out of his chair and appeared to lose consciousness for a few moments. Paramedics summoned to the room were puzzled. Could the patient be “faking”?, they asked the agents. Doctors who examined Hussayen at a local hospital, moreover, found nothing wrong with him. An F.B.I. agent said later that the interview had been cut short because—the agent suggested—Hussayen “feigned a seizure.”
Asked by an F.B.I. agent why they had moved to the Marriott, Hussayen’s wife said it was because they had wanted a room with a kitchenette. There was no sign, however, that the kitchenette in the room had been used. Asked whether she thought her husband could have been involved in the 9/11 attacks in any way, she replied, “I don’t know.” Agents never did obtain an adequate interview with Saleh al-Hussayen. Instead of continuing with his tour of the United States, he flew back to Saudi Arabia—and went on to head the administration of the two holy mosques. It remains unknown whether he had contact with Mihdhar and Hazmi on the eve of 9/11, or whether his presence at the Marriott that night was, as Bayoumi claimed of his meeting with the two terrorists, just a matter of chance.
As Hussayen left Virginia for home, other F.B.I. agents in the state were interviewing former San Diego-area imam Anwar Aulaqi. He did not deny having had contact with Mihdhar and Hazmi in California and later—with Hazmi—in Virginia. He could not deny that he had transferred from San Diego to the East Coast in a time frame that paralleled theirs. He made nothing of it, however, and U.S. authorities apparently pursued the matter no further.
Aulaqi had reportedly preached in the precincts of the U.S. Capitol shortly before 9/11. Not long afterward, he lunched at the Pentagon—in an area undamaged by the strike in which his acquaintances Mihdhar and Hazmi had played such a leading role. The reason for the lunch? An outreach effort to ease tensions between Muslim Americans and non-Muslims.
Though American-born, Aulaqi is the son of a former minister of agriculture in Yemen. He remained on and off in the United States after 9/11, apparently unimpeded, before departing first for Britain and eventually for Yemen. Suspicion that he may have had foreknowledge of the 9/11 plot is fueled by the fact that the phone number of his Virginia mosque turned up among items found in an apartment used by accused conspirator Ramzi Binalshibh, who now languishes in Guantánamo.
Only seven years later, starting in 2009, did Aulaqi begin to gain world notoriety. His name has been associated with: the multiple shootings by a U.S. Army major at Fort Hood, the almost successful attempt to explode a bomb on an airliner en route to Detroit, the major car-bomb scare in Times Square, and the last-minute discovery of concealed explosives aboard cargo planes destined for the United States.
When Aulaqi’s name began to feature in the Western press, Yemen’s foreign minister cautioned that, pending real evidence, he should be considered not a terrorist but a preacher. President Obama took a different view. By early 2010 he had authorized the C.I.A. and the U.S. military to seek out, capture, or kill the Yemeni—assigning Aulaqi essentially the same status as that assigned at the time to Osama bin Laden. Aulaqi remains, as Zelikow noted when his name finally hit the headlines, “a 9/11 loose end.”
Taken together, the roles and activities of Thumairy, Bayoumi, Basnan, Hussayen, and Aulaqi—and the dubious accounts some of them have given of themselves—heightened suspicion that the perpetrators of 9/11 had support and sponsorship from backers never clearly identified.
Trouble on the Home Front
Congress’s Joint Inquiry, its co-chair Bob Graham told the authors, had found evidence “that the Saudis were facilitating, assisting, some of the hijackers. And my suspicion is that they were providing some assistance to most if not all of the hijackers. . . . It’s my opinion that 9/11 could not have occurred but for the existence of an infrastructure of support within the United States. By ‘the Saudis,’ I mean the Saudi government and individual Saudis who are for some purposes dependent on the government—which includes all of the elite in the country.”
Those involved, in Graham’s view, “included the royal family” and “some groups that were close to the royal family.” Was it credible that members of the Saudi royal family would knowingly have facilitated the 9/11 operation? “I think,” the former senator said, “that they did in fact take actions that were complicit with the hijackers.”
At page 396 of the Joint Inquiry’s report, in the final section of the body of the report, a yawning gap appears. All 28 pages of Part Four, entitled “Finding, Discussion and Narrative Regarding Certain Sensitive National Security Matters,” have been redacted. The pages are there, but—with the rare exception of an occasional surviving word or fragmentary, meaningless clause—they are entirely blank. The decision to censor that entire section caused a furor in 2003.
Inquiries established that, while the withholdings were technically the responsibility of the C.I.A., the agency would not have obstructed release of most of the pages. The order that they must remain secret had come from President Bush.
Bob Graham and his Republican co-chairman, former senator Richard Shelby, felt strongly that the bulk of the withheld material could and should have been made public. So did Representative Nancy Pelosi, the ranking Democrat in the House. Shelby said, “My judgment is that 95 percent of that information should be declassified, become uncensored, so the American people would know.”
Know what? “I can’t tell you what’s in those pages,” the Joint Inquiry’s staff director, Eleanor Hill, said. “I can tell you that the chapter deals with information that our committee found in the F.B.I. and C.I.A. files that was very disturbing. It had to do with sources of foreign support for the hijackers.” The focus of the material, leaks to the press soon established, had been Saudi Arabia.
There were, sources said, additional details about Bayoumi, who had helped Mihdhar and Hazmi in California, and about his associate Basnan. The censored portion of the report had stated that Anwar Aulaqi, the San Diego imam, had been a “central figure” in a support network for the future hijackers.
A U.S. official who had read the censored section told the Los Angeles Times that it described “very direct, very specific links” with Saudi officials, links that “cannot be passed off as rogue, isolated or coincidental.” The New York Times journalist Philip Shenon has written that Senator Graham and his investigators became “convinced that a number of sympathetic Saudi officials, possibly within the sprawling Islamic Affairs Ministry, had known that al-Qaeda terrorists were entering the United States beginning in 2000 in preparation for some sort of attack. Graham believed the Saudi officials had directed spies operating in the United States to assist them.”
Most serious of all, Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff reported that the information uncovered by the investigation had drawn “apparent connections between high-level Saudi princes and associates of the hijackers.” Absent release of the censored pages, one can only surmise what the connections may have been.
There may be a clue, however, in the first corroboration—arising from the authors’ interview with a former C.I.A. officer—of an allegation relating to the capture in Pakistan, while the Joint Inquiry was at work, of senior bin Laden aide Abu Zubaydah. Many months of interrogation followed, including, from about June or July 2002, no fewer than 83 sessions of waterboarding. Zubaydah was the first al-Qaeda prisoner on whom that controversial “enhanced technique” was used.
John Kiriakou, then a C.I.A. operative serving in Pakistan, had played a leading part in the operation that led to the capture of Zubaydah—gravely wounded—in late March that year. Back in Washington early that fall, Kiriakou informed the authors, he was told by colleagues that cables on the interrogation reported that Zubaydah had come up with the names of several Saudi princes. He “raised their names in sort of a mocking fashion, [indicating] he had the support of the Saudi government.” The C.I.A. followed up by running name traces, Kiriakou said.
Zubaydah had named three princes, but by late July all three had died—within a week of one another. First to go was Prince Ahmed bin Salman, the leading figure in the international horse-racing community who was mentioned earlier, in our account of Saudis hastening to get out of the United States after 9/11. Ahmed, a nephew of both King Fahd’s and Prince Sultan’s, died of a heart attack following abdominal surgery at the age of 43, according to the Saudis.
Prince Sultan bin Faisal bin Turki bin Abdullah al-Saud, also a nephew of King Fahd’s and Prince Sultan’s, reportedly died in a car accident. A third prince, Fahd bin Turki bin Saud al-Kabir, whose father was a cousin of Fahd’s and Sultan’s, was said to have died “of thirst.”
Former C.I.A. officer Kiriakou later said his colleagues had told him they believed that what Zubaydah had told them about the princes was true. “We had known for years,” he told the authors, “that Saudi royals—I should say elements of the royal family—were funding al-Qaeda.”
In 2003, during the brouhaha about the redacted chapter in the Joint Inquiry report, Crown Prince Abdullah’s spokesman, Adel al-Jubeir, made a cryptic comment that has never been further explained. The Saudi regime’s own probe, he said, had uncovered “wrongdoing by some.” He noted, though, that the royal family had thousands of members, and insisted that the regime itself had no connection to the 9/11 plot.
More than 40 U.S. senators clamored for the release of the censored section of the report. They included John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, Charles Schumer, Sam Brownback, Olympia Snowe, and Pat Roberts.
Bob Graham, with his long experience in the field as a member and chair not only of the Joint Inquiry but also of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has continued to voice his anger over the censorship even in retirement. President Bush, he wrote in his book Intelligence Matters in 2004, had “engaged in a cover-up . . . to protect not only the agencies that failed but also America’s relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. . . . He has done so by misclassifying information on national security data. While the information may be embarrassing or politically damaging, its revelation would not damage national security.” Richard Shelby concluded independently that virtually all the censored pages were “being kept secret for reasons other than national security.”
“It was,” Graham wrote, “as if the president’s loyalty lay more with Saudi Arabia than with America’s safety.” In Graham’s view, Bush’s role in suppressing important information about 9/11, along with other transgressions, should have led to his impeachment and removal from office.
Within weeks of his inauguration, in 2009, Bush’s successor, Barack Obama, made a point of receiving relatives of those bereaved on 9/11. The widow of one of those who died at the World Trade Center, Kristen Breitweiser, has said that she brought the new president’s attention to the infamous censored section of the Joint Inquiry report. Obama told her, she said afterward, that he was willing to get the suppressed material released. Two years later, the chapter remains classified—and the White House will not say why. “If the 28 pages were to be made public,” said one of the officials who was privy to them before President Bush ordered their removal, “I have no question that the entire relationship with Saudi Arabia would change overnight.”
Blame It on Iraq
The 9/11-commission report certainly blurred the truth about the Saudi role. By the time it was published, in July 2004, more than a year had passed since the invasion of Iraq, a country that—the report said—had nothing to do with 9/11.
In the 18 months before the invasion, however, the Bush administration had persistently seeded the notion that there was an Iraqi connection to 9/11. While never alleging a direct Iraqi role, President Bush had linked Saddam Hussein’s name to that of Osama bin Laden. Vice President Cheney had gone further, suggesting repeatedly that there had been Iraqi involvement in the attacks.
Polls suggest that the publicity about Iraq’s supposed involvement affected the degree to which the U.S. public came to view Iraq as an enemy deserving retribution. Before the invasion, a Pew Research poll found that 57 percent of those polled believed Hussein had helped the 9/11 terrorists. Forty-four percent of respondents to a Knight-Ridder poll had gained the impression that “most” or “some” of the hijackers had been Iraqi. In fact, none were. In the wake of the invasion, a Washington Post poll found that 69 percent of Americans believed it likely that Saddam Hussein had been personally involved in 9/11.
None of the speculative leads suggesting an Iraqi link to the attacks proved out. “We went back 10 years,” said Michael Scheuer, who looked into the matter at the request of director Tenet. “We examined about 20,000 documents, probably something along the lines of 75,000 pages of information, and there was no connection between [al-Qaeda] and Saddam.”
What About Pakistan?
In the years during which the conflict in Iraq had the world’s attention, the real evidence that linked other nations to Osama bin Laden and 9/11 faded from the public consciousness. This was in part the fault of the 9/11 commission, which failed to highlight and fully detail the evidence. It was, ironically, a former deputy homeland-security adviser to President Bush, Richard Falkenrath, who loudly expressed that uncomfortable truth. The commission’s report, Falkenrath wrote, had produced only superficial coverage of the fact that al-Qaeda was “led and financed largely by Saudis, with extensive support from Pakistani intelligence.”
Pakistan has a strong Islamic-fundamentalist movement. It was, with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, one of only three nations that recognized the Taliban. Osama bin Laden had operated there as early as 1979, with the blessing of Saudi intelligence, in the first phase of the struggle to oust the Soviets from neighboring Afghanistan. The contacts he made were durable.
What bin Laden himself had said about Pakistan two years before 9/11 seemed to speak volumes. “Pakistani people have great love for Islam,” he observed in 1998 after the late-summer U.S. missile attack on his camps, in which seven Pakistanis were killed. “And they always have offered sacrifices for the cause of religion.” Later, in another interview, he explained how he himself had managed to avoid the attack. “We found a sympathetic and generous people in Pakistan … receive[d] information from our beloved ones and helpers of jihad.”
Pakistan sees Afghanistan as strategically crucial, not least on account of an issue of which many members of the public in the West have minimal knowledge or none at all. Pakistan and India have fought three wars in the past half-century over Kashmir, a large, disputed territory over which each nation has claims and which each partially controls, and where there is also a homegrown insurgency. Having leverage over Afghanistan, given its geographical position, enabled Pakistan to recruit Afghan and Arab volunteers to join the Kashmir insurgency—and tie down a large part of the Indian army.
The insurgents inserted into Kashmir have been by and large mujahideen, committed to a cause they see as holy. Lieutenant General Hamid Gul, who in 1989 headed the ISI—the Pakistani equivalent of the C.I.A.—himself saw the conflict as jihad. Bin Laden, for his part, made common cause with Gul and, in the years that followed, with like-minded figures in the ISI. Many ISI recruits for the fight in Kashmir were trained in bin Laden camps. He would still be saying, as late as 2000, “Whatever Pakistan does in the matter of Kashmir, we support it.”
So powerful was the ISI in Afghanistan, former U.S. special envoy Peter Tomsen told the 9/11 commission, that the Taliban “actually were the junior partners in an unholy alliance” of ISI, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban. As it grew in influence, the ISI liaised closely with Saudi intelligence, and the Saudis reportedly lined the pockets of senior Pakistani officers with cash. The ISI over the years achieved not only military muscle but massive political influence within Pakistan, so much so that some came to characterize it as “the most influential body in Pakistan,” a “shadow government.”
While no hard evidence would emerge that Pakistan had any foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks, two days later Washington issued a blunt warning as it prepared to retaliate against the bin Laden organization and its hosts in Afghanistan. It was then—according to ISI director Mahmoud Ahmed, who was visiting Washington at the time—that U.S. deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage said the U.S. would bomb Pakistan “back to the Stone Age” should it fail to go along with American demands for assistance. (Armitage has denied having used that extreme language.)
The former C.I.A. station chief in Islamabad Robert Grenier recently confirmed that Pakistani cooperation against al-Qaeda did improve vastly after 9/11. The arrests of three of the best-known top al-Qaeda operatives—Abu Zubaydah, Ramzi Binalshibh, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed—were, it seems, made by Pakistani intelligence agents and police, in some if not all cases working in collaboration with the C.I.A.
From the time America routed al-Qaeda, however, incoming information indicated that the ISI continued to remain in touch with bin Laden or was aware of his location. ISI officials, Peter Tomsen told the 9/11 commission, were “still visiting [bin Laden] as late as December 2001”—and continued to know his location thereafter. In 2007, Kathleen McFarland, a former senior Defense Department official, spoke of bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan as a fact. “I’m convinced,” military historian Stephen Tanner told CNN in 2010, “that he is protected by the ISI. I just think it’s impossible after all this time to not know where he is.”
Obama had vowed during his campaign for the presidency, “We will kill bin Laden. . . . That has to be our biggest national-security priority.” In office, he made no such public statements. The hunt for bin Laden, meanwhile, seemed to be getting nowhere—and not to be a high priority. Looking back, though, there was a trickle of fresh information that suggested otherwise.
General David Petraeus, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, was asked on Meet the Press in 2010 whether it was now less necessary to capture bin Laden. “I think,” he replied, “capturing or killing Osama bin Laden is still a very, very important task for all of those who are engaged in counterterrorism around the world.”
For those who doubted that bin Laden was still alive, late fall 2010 brought two new bin Laden audio messages. There had been intercepts of al-Qaeda communications, U.S. officials told The New York Times, indicating that he still shaped strategy. Then, within weeks, CNN quoted a “senior NATO official” as saying bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, were believed to be hiding not far from each other in northwestern Pakistan, and not “in a cave.” The same day, the New York Daily News cited a source with “access to all reporting on bin Laden” as having spoken of two “sightings considered credible” in recent years—even “a grainy photo of bin Laden inside a truck.”
The End of bin Laden
Then, at 11:35 p.m. on the night of Sunday, May 1, President Obama appeared on television screens across the globe to say: “Tonight I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.”
Killed he was, and in Pakistan. It looked to many as though Pakistan had been knowingly harboring him. For the world’s most wanted terrorist had been living—by all accounts for years, comfortably housed and well protected—in not just any Pakistani city, but in the pleasant town of Abbottabad, where many serving and retired military officers live, and within shouting distance of the nation’s most prestigious military academy, the equivalent of America’s West Point. The ISI also has a presence there.
Officials in Washington were scathingly critical when these facts became public. The Pakistanis, C.I.A. director Leon Panetta reportedly told lawmakers, had been either “involved or incompetent.” The president’s counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, thought it “inconceivable” that bin Laden had not had a “support system” in Abbottabad. On 60 Minutes, Obama himself speculated “whether there might have been some people inside of government, people outside of government [supporting bin Laden], and that’s something we have to investigate, and more importantly the Pakistani government has to investigate.”
Bin Laden had been tracked to Abbottabad, U.S. sources later revealed, thanks to information on his use of couriers to hand-carry messages to his fellow terrorists. Unmentioned were facts about the link between Abbottabad and al-Qaeda that former president Pervez Musharraf had made public in his 2006 memoir. Pakistan’s 2005 capture and transfer to U.S. custody of another very senior bin Laden aide—Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s successor, Abu Faraj al-Libbi—Musharraf had written, had been achieved after a prolonged pursuit by Pakistani investigators. In the course of the hunt, according to Musharraf, the investigators discovered that Libbi used no less than three safe houses—all in Abbottabad. Far from being a place where one would not expect to find a top terrorist hiding, it turns out, Abbottabad has a track record for being exactly that.
A week after the strike against bin Laden, the correspondent for The Guardian in Islamabad reported that a decade ago—after 9/11—President Bush struck a deal with Musharraf: should bin Laden be located inside Pakistan’s borders, the U.S. would be permitted unilaterally to conduct a raid. “There was an agreement,” a former senior U.S. official was quoted as saying, “that if we knew where Osama was, we were going to come and get him. The Pakistanis would put up a hue and cry, but they wouldn’t stop us.” Musharraf has denied that such a deal was made. According to The Guardian, however, an unnamed Pakistani official offered corroboration for the story. “As far as our American friends are concerned,” he said, “they have just implemented the agreement.”
We cannot yet know the full background to how the U.S. tracked down bin Laden. We do have a better sense, a decade on, as to whether powerful players in foreign nations had a hand in 9/1
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|ARAB REVOLT, from GoldSeek and, By: Jim Willie CB, GoldenJackass.com|
|The Western press seems to have attributed almost no
importance to the death of King Fahd, the long ailing monarch from Saudi
Arabia. Not me. It marked a sea change in the Persian Gulf. The newly
anointed King Abdullah is much more a friend to Europe than to the United
States, and maintains a quiet deep distrust for USGovt leaders and
American culture generally. Abdullah has a stronger backbone, more willing
to oppose the West. Within weeks he announced a desire to balance favor
between Europe and the US, in commerce and in currency reserves
management. The OPEC nations surrounding the Persian Gulf have been the
beneficiary of doubled income since 2003 when crude oil sold for half the
price. They have not materially changed in production output, hence
revenues. They have gone nuts with a construction boom, have gone nuts
with a boom and (in progress) mini-bust with their stock markets. As Saudi
Arabia goes, so will many nations follow, like Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab
Emirates, Bahrain, Oman. These guys are close friends. Since the EuroBond
offers 1% less in yield versus the USTBond, money is directed toward gold
Arabs have a longstanding love of and trust in gold. The United States, England, and Europe have not acted like saints toward Arabs over the past century. Arab royals don’t exactly trust the paper they are given in exchange for all the wonderful oil, lifeblood to our economies. Arabs take two steps to avert the long arm of the Western dominance. They purchase gold in Turkey. This eludes some detection, some formal accounting, and the clear snub to London and New York. They also handle brokered purchases of USTBond in London. This sidesteps any politically awkward gestures and reactions from neighbors Arab states. They can support the USTBond or not, with some measure of privacy. The London USTreasury data becomes thoroughly mixed with hedge funds and illicit USFed agency operations. If and when the permanent war spreads in the Persian Gulf region, if and when the Iraqi Civil War intensifies, if and when the Iran nation is attacked pre-emptively, if and when the Saudi gigantic oil operation facilities are attacked, look for gold to be purchased by Arabs, and their USTBonds to be sold, and even some of their EuroBonds to be sold. Gold held in the secure confines of Turkish bullion banks is far safer than London or New York in their eyes. War favors gold.
Whether you do or don’t believe the war against radical Islam is for real and justified and managed with a deft hand in a capable manner, gold is an excellent hedge in an uncertain time of growing conflict. Whether you do or don’t believe the USGovt leaders resemble the Three Stooges, incapable of wiring or plumbing your 2-bedroom home, gold is an excellent hedge in a time of unprecedented waste, record deficits, and horrendous management.
|April 21, 2006 -- SPECIAL REPORT. Porter Goss's Cocaine Import Agency
(CIA) has links to "Al Qaeda" and Saudis. Last year, WMR
reported on links between the Saudi Royal Family and CIA proprietary
airline companies involved in cocaine smuggling. On April 10, Mexican
police, acting on a tip from INTERPOL, seized a DC-9 aircraft carrying 5.5
tons of cocaine with an estimated street value of $100 million. The
U.S.-registered plane was en route from Caracas, Venezuela, which,
according to French intelligence, is a known hub for cocaine shipments
from Colombia to Saudi Arabia (see article below). The DC-9 (registration
number N900SA) made an emergency landing at Ciudad del Carmen in Campeche
state. A Falcon aircraft that arrived at Ciudad del Carmen from Toluca
airport in Mexico state in advance of the arrival of the DC-9 was also
seized. The cocaine was contained in 128 suitcases. The Mexican police
later claimed the unidentified DC-9's pilot managed to escape. However,
the police did arrest the co-pilot.
The DC-9 was painted in the familiar blue and white colors of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration with am official-looking seal with an American eagle bearing the inscription: "Sky Way Aircraft - Protection of America's Skies." The registered owner of the aircraft is: Royal Sons Inc., 15875 Fairchild Drive, Clearwater, Florida. On April 5, 2006, the plane flew from St. Petersburg/Clearwater International to Simon Bolivar International in Caracas. "Sky Ways" (see article below) has also been linked to the Saudi government and Bush family/CIA activities. Royal Sons, the name of which may indicate the involvement of Saudi princes, such as the cocaine-transporting Prince Nayif, cited below, also maintained an office at 224 East Airport Ave., Venice, Florida, at the same time lead hijacker Mohammad Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi were training at Huffman Aviation, which was located near by at 400 East Airport Avenue. Two years before 911, Venice was also the subject of intensive intelligence operations by Israeli intelligence agents masquerading as "art students." Not surprisingly in light of Saudi involvement with cocaine smuggling, the activities of the Israelis drew the particular attention of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which had Venice airport under surveillance and later prepared a lengthy report on the activities of the Israelis. Atta and al Shehhi also used Clearwater airport for practice take-off and landings during off-peak hours.
Official-looking TSA plane busted for hauling cocaine in Mexico.
In 2004 a Sky Way Aircraft Beechcraft BE-200, registration N391SA, flying under the false registration of N168D, was confiscated by the Venezuelan government after flying from Caracas Charallave airport to Santiago Marino airport on Margarita island. FAA records indicate that Sky Way's office of record was 341 8th Ave. SE # 3C, St. Petersburg, Florida. The FAA registration database also states, "N391SA has multiple records" in addition to its status as being "exported" to Venezuela and, thus, "de-registered" with the FAA. After the revelations about CIA rendition flights and proprietary companies, it was discovered that N168D was the tail number for a Casa CN-235-300 registered to Devon Holding and Leasing of Lexington, North Carolina.
Sky Way Beechcraft that was held by Venezuela after it used a false registration number N168D, the same tail number used by one of the CIA's rendition planes.
The DC-9 seized by Mexico was previously owned by a partnership of Royal Sons and Skyway Communications Holding Corp. (Symbol: SWYCQ) of 6021, 142nd Avenue North Clearwater, Florida. SWYCQ's web site states, "SWYC was founded in 2000 by Mr. Brent Kovar. SWYC’s focus includes in-flight wireless Homeland Security and In-flight Entertainment (IFE) service." In 2003, then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay appointed Kovar as Honorary Chairman of the Business Advisory Council of the National Republican Congressional Committee. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission's EDGAR database, "Kovar has been President and Director of Sky Way Aircraft since inception. In addition, as president and director of research and development and engineering, Mr. Kovar founded Sky Way Global in 2000, a high speed broadband wireless service company. From 1996 to 2000, Mr. Kovar served as the executive vice president and director of research and development for Satellite Access Systems, a satellite services company. In 1990, Mr. Kovar founded PC, Ltd., a company that produced specialty-designed remote controlled arm and RF/communications related products, and until 1996, he served as president and director of new product engineering. From 1987 to 1989, he was associated with Jacobs Engineering, an national engineering company in Pasadena, California. From 1986 to 1987, Mr. Kovar worked with Falcon Communications as a wireless communications engineer.
Also, EDGAR provides details on SWYCQ's CEO and CFO Jim Kent, "Mr. Kent has been CEO and Director of Sky Way Aircraft since July 2002 and its CFO since February 2003. He has been director of business operations for Sky Way Global since 2000. From 1998 to 1999, Mr. Kent served as director of operations for Satellite Access Systems, Inc., a satellite services company where he was responsible for the day-to-day operations. From 1997 to 1998 he served as a senior management consultant for Booz, Allen & Hamilton, a government contractor and national/international business consulting firm providing program and financial management services to the U. S. Government. From 1980 to 1997, Mr. Kent served in various government contract management positions providing financial and program management services supporting national communications and intelligence projects for the Department of Defense, National Security Agency, and Department of the Navy." Also, according to the SEC, Kovar is affiliated with Net Command Tech Inc. (a St. Petersburg, Florida-based corporation formerly known as Acunet Corporation and Corsaire, Inc.). The company primarily markets video surveillance systems. According to SEC records, Banque Francaise De L'Orient has a significant financial stake in Net Command Tech. According to SEC filings, one of the significant shareholders is Fever Holdings Limited, c/o Banque Francaise de L'Orient, with an office listed at50 Curzon Street, London, England. Satellite Access Systems of Nevada is a Net Command Tech subsidiary.
Banque Francaise de l'Orient was originally Banque Al Saoudi, which was under the financial control of the Bin Laden family and other top Saudi royals and businessmen. In 1989, Banque Indosuez partly assumed control of the near bankrupt Bank Al Saoudi and it became Banque Francaise de l'Orient. The bank then merged with the late Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri's Mediterranee Group. Banque Francaise de L'Orient maintains an office in Geneva. Bank Indosuez (now Credit Agricole Suez) maintains an address in Sana'a, Yemen. Bank Indosuez was used by the CIA for the establishment of secret accounts held by top Kazakhstan officials in return for lucrative Tengiz oil field contracts for Amoco, Mobil, Phillips Petroleum, Texaco, and Halliburton (scandal that became known as "Kazakhgate"). Previously, WMR also reported on the use of Christian missionary aircraft linked to the CIA to smuggle high-grade heroin out of Afghanistan.
Intelligence insiders report that CIA Director Porter Goss has authorized the CIA to resume Iran-contra-era networks that is permitting former agency contractors to renew their illicit trade in drugs.
The sudden in flow of cocaine and heroin into the United States is an early warning sign that covert operators are attempting to earn large amounts of cash for one or more "special projects." On April 20, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that security guards at the Beaver Valley Power Station in Pennsylvania stopped a truck containing $504,230 in cash wrapped in ten bundles with clear plastic and duct tape. The bundles were locked in a duffel bag. A drug sniffing dog reacted positively to the bag. The driver of the truck and a passenger came from Texas and said they were en route from Chicago and were to deliver tools from the power plant to Youngstown, Ohio. Police in Shippingport, Beaver County stopped the truck after the power plant security guards notified them. The guards grew suspicious when they cut the lock off the duffel bag and saw the cash. The truck occupants said the cash belonged to their boss in Houston. The trucking company was reportedly a contractor for San Francisco-based Bechtel Corporation, which was doing construction work at the power plant. When the guards called the boss in Houston he denied the cash was his. The truck quickly left the power plant, which is owned by First Energy Nuclear Operating Company. Shippingport Police and Pennsylvania state troopers later stopped the truck near the Shippingport Bridge and confiscated the cash. The passenger in the truck claimed his identification had been stolen from the truck the previous night. Shippingport Police Sgt. R. N. Davis, Jr., scoffed at that explanation in remarks to the Post-Gazette. "Your ID is stolen but not that bag of cash? Red flags were popping up all over," Davis said. The incident is highly reminiscent of cases involving Israeli "movers" picked up around the United States after 9-11 who had similarly unconvincing stories. The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force was notified about the Pennsylvania incident and are said to be "investigating."
In 1999, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) broke open a major conspiracy involving a Saudi prince’s Colombian cocaine smuggling from Venezuela to support some “future intention” involving Koranic prophecy. The DEA operations were contained in a “Declassification of a Secret DEA 6 Paris Country Office” memorandum dated June 26, 2000, a date which coincided with the height of Israeli art student and 911 hijacker activity in the United States. In June 1999, 808 kilograms of cocaine were seized in Paris. At the same time, the DEA was conducting a major investigation of the Medellin drug cartel called Operation Millennium.
Through an intercepted fax, the Bogota Country Office of the DEA learned of the Paris cocaine seizure and linked the drug smuggling operation to the Saudis. The DEA investigation centered around Saudi Prince Nayif al Saud, whose alias was El Principe (the Prince). Nayif's full name is Nayif (or Nayef) bin Fawwaz al-Shaalan al-Saud. In pursuit of his international drug deals, Nayif traveled in his own Boeing 727 and used his diplomatic status to avoid customs checks. The DEA report stated Nayif studied at the University of Miami, Florida, owned a bank in Switzerland, speaks eight languages, was heavily invested in Venezuela’s petroleum industry, regularly visited the United States, and traveled with millions of dollars of U.S. currency. Nayif is also invested in Colombia's petroleum industry.
Nayif was also reported to have met with drug cartel members in Marbella, Spain, where the late Saudi King Fahd and the Saudi royal family maintained a huge palatial residence. The report states that when a group of cartel members traveled to Riyadh to meet Nayif, “they were picked up in a Rolls Royce automobile belonging to Nayif, and driven to the Riyadh Holiday Inn hotel. The next day they were met by Nayif and his brother [believed to be named Saul [sic] [His twin brother is Prince Saud. Nayif's older brother, Prince Nawaf, is married to King Abdullah's daughter].)… The second day they all traveled to the desert in terrain vehicles [hummers]. During this desert trip they discussed narcotics trafficking. UN [The DEA informant] and Nayif agreed to conduct the 2,000 kilogram cocaine shipment, which would be delivered to Caracas, VZ, by UN’s people, where Nayif would facilitate the cocaine’s transport to Paris, France. Nayif explained he would utilize his 727 jet airliner, under Diplomatic cover, to transport the cocaine. The Boeing 727 was operated by Skyways International,a Saudi-owned airline with past connections to the mysterious James Bath, George W. Bush's Texas Air National Guard friend and later Arbusto and Harken Energy investment pass-through between the Saudis and Bush. These investors included Salem Bin Laden, Osama Bin Laden's late older brother who was killed in a 1988 plane crash in Texas. Bath was the registered agent for Salem Bin Laden.
Nayif told "UN" that he could transport up to 20,000 kilograms of cocaine in his jet airliner, and propositioned "UN" “to conduct 10-20,000 kilogram shipments in the future.” "UN" wondered why Nayif, supposedly a devout Muslim, would be involved with drugs. Nayif’s response in light of what is now known about Saudi funding of terrorism, is worth a close perusal. During the Riyadh meeting, Nayif responded to "UN’s" question by stating that “he is a strict advocate of the Muslim Corran [sic].” "UN" stated, “Nayif does not drink, smoke, or violate any of the Corran’s [sic] teachings. "UN" asked Nayif why he [Nayif] wanted to sell cocaine and Nayif stated that the world is already doomed and that he has been authorized by God to sell drugs. Nayif stated that "UN" would later learn of Nayif’s true intentions for trafficking narcotics although Nayif would not comment further.” The Saudi prince’s drug smuggling operation was smashed by the DEA and French police in October 1999.
On May 16, 1999, Prince Nayif's Skyways Boeing 727 touched down at LeBourget Airport outside of Paris ( this is the same airport that received the Bin Laden family flight from the United States following the 911 attacks). Also on board the plane were a number of Saudi princes and princesses. Two tons of cocaine, smuggled on to the aircraft in Caracas, were transported as one large diplomatic pouch by two waiting Saudi vans. The cocaine was transported to Noissy-le-Sec, a Paris suburb. A French-US law enforcement case against Nayif and his entourage, complete with evidence and confidential informants soon collapsed.
Wayne Madsen Report.com has come into possession of a "Confidential Diplomatic" cable from the French embassy in Saudi Arabia to Paris warning that Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef had warned that if France pursued the case against the Saudi prince, a lucrative $7 billion radar defense contract, Project SBGDP (Garde Frontiere), with the French firm Thales would be canceled. The embassy cable sought pressure against the French Interior Ministry to drop its investigation of Nayif. The cable also indicated that Saudi Interior Minister Nayef's irritation at the French investigation was shared by his brothers Abdullah (then-Crown Prince) and Sultan (Defense Minister) as well as the Governor of Riyadh Province Prince Salman. Saudi informers have revealed that Al Qaeda members routinely traveled through Riyadh on their way to Pakistan and then to Taliban Afghanistan. These insiders report that Salman's office arranged for cash payments, hotels, and air fares for the Al Qaeda members.
The French cable also states that the Saudis reiterated that it was merciless to drug traffickers for which Saudi youth were often the victims. The Saudis also told the French that unlike Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon, Saudi Arabia was not a base for drug trafficking. The reaction by the Saudi government's key principals to the French drug investigation indicates they had something to hide. Perhaps similar to the Bush family, they had an off-the-books operation to generate hundreds of millions of dollars for their Wahhabi compatriots in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The French cable draws attention to intelligence rumors that the cocaine transported by Nayif from Venezuela originated in Colombia -- the same country where George H. W. Bush and his Iran-contra co-conspirators arranged for cocaine-for-cash-for-weapons transfers involving Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega as a middleman. CIA sources have recently reported that lead hijacker Mohammed Atta was known to U.S., British, and Saudi intelligence as a heroin courier from Mujaheddin-controlled Afghanistan as early as 1991. Atta was also identified as a cocaine user. Hence, what the French and U.S. law enforcement investigators discovered in 1999 may have been a major financial source for Al Qaeda's terrorist attacks. Recent revelations that a Top Secret U.S. Special Operations Command/Defense Intelligence Agency unit code named Able Danger was shadowing Al Qaeda operatives in 1999, the same year that Nayif and his courier activities were discovered, indicates high level collusion inside the United States Defense and Justice Departments with elements that did not want to embarrass the Saudis. As with the DEA investigation of Nayif, Able Danger was shut down on orders by Pentagon lawyers.
It is quite possible that the massive amounts of Able Danger data reported to have been destroyed on the Atta team may have included gigabytes of financial data on Prince Nayif's drug money laundering activities. Wayne Madsen Report.com has obtained a European intelligence agency flow chart titled "Operation Palme," illustrating the connections of Nayif's brother Nawwaf's financial operations to a myriad of other entities, a large number of them based in Geneva, a city where Wayne Madsen Report.com has previously reported the presence of a number of Bush-connected entities tied to the 911 attacks, including a money transfer to at least one of the hijackers.
According to the Operation Palme chart, Nawwaf bin Fawwaz al-Shaalan is Vice President of Kanz Bank located at 65 rue du Rhone in Geneva. This bank is linked to Bammer Financial Trade Organization at 7 rue Versonnex in Geneva, Virgin Corporation LLC in Vessy (Geneva Canton), Maison Virgin Corporation also in Vessy, Degroof Luxembourg SA of Genf, Geneva Canton, and Capital Trust SA, 640 Avenida Diagonal, Barcelona, Spain.
The most interesting document passed to Wayne Madsen Report is a business card that shows a clear link between Skyways International, the firm tied to the Bush family and the Saudis, and the National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia. The business card for a flight engineer named Keith Monroe indicates that Skyways International is a subsidiary of the National Commercial Bank.
In 1992, according to The Houston Chronicle, George W. Bush's friend James Bath was investigated by the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) and the FBI. Investigators suspected Saudi investors who worked with Bath of illegally trying to influence U.S. policy during the Reagan and Bush I administrations. Bath invested Saudi money in Arbusto '70 Ltd., Arbusto '80 Ltd., and Bush Exploration Co. (which later morphed into Harken Energy Corp., which included George W. Bush as its director). After Desert Storm, Harken was granted lucrative off-shore drilling rights by Bahrain, a Desert Storm coalition partner. One of the other shareholders of Harken, along with Bush, was Saudi businessman Abdullah Taha Bakhsh. According to the Chronicle, Bath, who was a sole agent of Salem Bin Laden, was also the sole director of Skyway Aircraft Leasing Corp., one of the affiliates of Skyways International. Bath established four corporate entities with the name "Skyway" and the firm that incorporated the corporate contrivances in the Cayman Islands for Bath was the same one that established a Cayman-based money laundering front company for Oliver North in the Iran-contra scandal. In 1977, Bath bought Houston Gulf Airport on behalf of Salem Bin Laden. Skyway Aircraft Leasing Corporation was, according to the Chronicle, owned by Khalid Bin Mahfouz, a major shareholder in the defunct Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), a major money laundering activity for George H. W. Bush's Iran-contra caper. Bin Mahfouz was also the owner of the National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia.
There has never been any explanation by the Saudis of what Prince Nayif’s ultimate intentions were and what he was planning to do with the cash from the illegal cocaine shipments. In light of the funding for 911 and other terrorist incidents, the DEA report on Operation Millenium takes on greater significance. Did Saudi drug smuggling proceeds help pay for the 911 attack? Why was this possible connection overlooked by the 911 Commission? What did the Able Danger team stumble across while Nayif was smuggling drugs? Was Atta a part of this Saudi drug network? If so, why was Atta, a drug courier, permitted to enter the United States on numerous occasions?
It would appear that the Saudis, in connection with people closely associated with George W. Bush (perhaps including Bush himself as well as his father), have been giving a "wink and a nod" to illicit airline smuggling businesses involving drugs and money laundering for a number of years. There are American citizens currently sitting in prisons under mandatory harsh drug-related sentences for doing much less than what the Bush crime family, their Saudi partners, and their network of drug mules and couriers (including Mohammed Atta and Saudi Prince Nayif) have been getting away with for decades. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) statutes cry out for an accounting by these individuals before a court of law.
 Drug Enforcement Administration, Memorandum, Declassification of Secret DEA 6 for Paris Country Office, June 26, 2000.
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The Wahhabi Taliban in Afghanistan had the blessings of the Saudi royal family and of The Big Three--the bin Laden family, the al Ahmoudi family, and the Mahfouz family--the richest clans in that medieval kingdom. (Khalid bin Mahfouz is bin Laden’s brother-in-law, according to the C.I.A.). The desert oligarchs profited from world-wide investments as well as sleazy banking schemes such as the infamous Bank of Credit and Commerce International.
Salem bin Laden, Osama’s brother, has conducted all his American affairs through James Bath, a Houston crony of the Bush family. Bath’s former business partner Bill White testified in court that Bath had been a liaison for the C.I.A. In 1979 Bath invested $50,000 in Arbusto, George W. Bush’s first business venture. Rumor had it that Bath was acting as Salem bin Laden’s representative. "In conflicting statements, Bush at first denied ever knowing Bath, then acknowledged his stake in Arbusto and that he was aware Bath represented Saudi interests." (4)
In addition to doing aviation business with Saudi sheiks, Bath was part owner of a Houston bank whose chief stockholder was Ghaith Pharaon, who represented the Bank of Commerce and Credit International (BCCI), a criminal global bank with branches in 73 countries. BCCI proceeded to defraud depositors of $10 billion during the ‘80s, while providing a money laundry conduit for the Medellin drug cartel, Asia’s major heroin cartel, Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein, the C.I.A., and Islamist terrorist organizations worldwide. (5)
Big Three wheeler-dealer Khalid bin Mahfouz, one of the largest stockholders in the criminal bank, was indicted when the massive BCCI banking scandal blew apart in the early 1990s. The Saudi royal family placed him under house arrest after discovering that Mahfouz had used the royal bank to channel millions of dollars through fake charities into bin Laden’s organizations, but Mahfouz was not so much punished as inconvenienced. (6)
Members of the Wahhabist Saudi oligarchy are driven by the sometimes conflicting emotions of power lust and religious fervor. Their support of radical Islamists follows from their ambition to dominate the Muslim world, but their fear that radical Islamists might overthrow the Saudi regime at home motivates them to fund and encourage holy warriors in countries other than their own.
As Daniel Pipes points out, jihad (holy war) is a central tenet of Muslim belief . "According to one calculation, Muhammad himself engaged in 78 battles, of which just one (the Battle of the Ditch) was defensive. Within a century after the prophet's death in 632, Muslim armies had reached as far as India in the east and Spain in the west. " (7)
Pipes traces the bloody advance of fundamentalist jihadists against their twentieth century co-religionists. "Islamists, besides adhering to the primary conception of jihad as armed warfare against infidels, have also adopted as their own Ibn Taymiya's call to target impious Muslims. This approach acquired increased salience through the 20th century as Islamist thinkers . . . promoted jihad against putatively Muslim rulers who failed to live up to or apply the laws of Islam. The revolutionaries who overthrew the Shah of Iran in 1979 and the assassins who gunned down President Anwar Sadat of Egypt two years later overtly held to this doctrine. So does Osama bin Laden."
In 1989, bin Laden established al Qaeda (the Base) in Afghanistan to organize extremist Wahhabis and disperse their networks throughout the country. A year later, he returned to Saudi Arabia and founded a welfare agency for Arab-Afghan veterans. Bin Laden hoped to mobilize the veterans as a kind of religious-military army, but King Faud discouraged the venture. When King Faud invited 540,000 American troops to the kingdom to fight in the Gulf War, bin Laden lambasted the royal family and urged religious authorities to issue fatwahs (religious rulings) condemning the American infidels.
In 1991, Osama bin Laden and a band of Afghan veterans agitated in Sudan for a holy war against the enemies of Islam. In 1992, he claimed responsibility for the attack on American soldiers in Yemen, and again for attacks in Somalia in 1993. He was mum about the terrorist truck bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, the explosion that killed six people and injured more than a thousand, but investigators knew bin Laden had donated heavily to the religious "charity" that financed the bombing operation.
In February 1995, when he was appointed chief of the F.B.I.'s counter-terrorism section in Washington, John O’Neill immediately assembled and coordinated a team to capture Ramzi Yousef, who was en route from Pakistan to Afghanistan. Yousef was strongly suspected of planning and directing the World Trade Center bombing in 1993.
In three days, the kingpin of the World Trade Center bombing was in custody, and O’Neill went on to accumulate damning evidence against the 1993 World Trade bombers that led to their conviction in American courts. For the next six years, John O’Neill tirelessly investigated terrorist strikes against Americans and American interests in Saudi Arabia, East Africa, and Yemen, often encountering American officials’ roadblocks on the way. Even in 1996, after Jamal Ahmed al-Fadl turned himself in at the American Embassy in Eritrea and divulged details of bin Laden’s and al Qaeda’s organization and operations, the State Department refused to list al Qaeda as a terrorist organization.
In February 1998, bin Laden assembled a number of terrorist groups, including Islamic Jihad, and issued a fierce fatwa calling for the deaths of all Americans. On August 7, 1998, 226 people died in the simultaneous bombing of American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. Investigators blamed bin Laden for the attacks. On August 20, 1998, President Clinton amended Executive Order 12947 to add Osama bin Laden and his key associates to the list of terrorists, thus blocking their US assets--including property and bank accounts--and prohibiting all U.S. financial transactions with them. The United States conducted a missile attack against bin Laden's facilities in Afghanistan.
On October 12, 2000, two suicide bombers ignited their boatload of explosives next to the USS Cole, an American destroyer refueling in Aden, off the coast of Yemen. The blast killed seventeen sailors and wounded thirty-nine others. O’Neill and his crack investigating team were dispatched to Yemen and hit a stone wall. He had hoped satellite intercepts of phone calls between an al Qaeda operative in Aden and Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan would lead him to the mastermind of the Cole attack, but the American ambassador and the Yemeni officials blocked the investigation at every turn.
O’Neill resigned from the F.B.I. in July 2001 and signed on as security chief for the World Trade Center in September. He died in the WTC attack on September 11, 2001.
In Forbidden Truth: U.S.-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy and the Failed Hunt for bin Laden, two French intelligence analysts, Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie, claim that the Clinton and Bush administrations impeded investigations of bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist group in order to maintain good relations with Saudi Arabia and to maintain the stability of the oil market. "As the late John O’Neill told one of the authors [Brisard] of this book, ‘All of the answers, all of the clues allowing us to dismantle Osama bin Laden’s organization, can be found in Saudi Arabia.'" (8)
In articles and interviews, Brisard has expanded on this statement, pronouncing the official story about bin Laden’s exile from his native Saudi Arabia in 1994 and his frozen assets to be a canard. Not only did O’Neill and the F.B.I. have extensive information concerning the finances of bin Laden and al Qaeda, but the business connections between the bin Ladens, the Mahfouzes, the al Ahmoudis, the Saudi royal family, and the Bush family kept turning up in their investigations.
Mahfouz, who owns Nimir Petroleum, has conducted joint ventures with the al Amoudi family, which owns Delta Oil. Delta Oil and Unocal planned to build a pipeline through Afghanistan before the Taliban backed away. These Saudi companies are still partnered with bigger oil companies (such as Texaco and Unocal) in developing Central Asian oil projects.
Although Brisard’s interpretation of events has been disputed, the documentation of Forbidden Truth is impeccable. Clearly, the finances and fortunes of the Saudi oligarchs and the Bush family have been intertwined for many years, and oil has been the lubricant of choice, even non-existent oil.
In The Conspirators, Al Martin describes an instance of the latter. He says that the Gulf Oil Drilling Supply, of New York, Miami, and Bahrain, was Jeb Bush’s favorite artifice for oil and gas frauds:
"The fraud was rather simple. Richard Secord arranged through then Vice President George Bush Sr.’s old friend, Ghaith Pharaon, the then retired head of Saudi intelligence, for Gulf Oil and Drilling to purchase from the Saudi government oil and gas leases in the Gulf which were effectively worthless."
The leases would be embellished to appear extremely valuable and then used as loan collateral. Great American Bank and Trust of West Palm Beach subsequently failed under the weight of unpaid Iran-Contra loans.
"Also, in the case of Gulf Oil Drilling Supply, there was some moderately large international lending to that company. As you would suspect, it was principally out of the old George Bush friendly banks--Credit Lyonnais and Banque Paribas, which, combined lent $60 million dollars to Gulf Oil Drilling Supply, which, of course, was defaulted on later." (9)
Michael Springmann, formerly chief of the visa section at the US Embassy in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, claims that he rejected hundreds of suspicious visa applications, but the C.I.A. officer overruled him and ordered the visas to be issued. Springmann protested to the State Department, the Office of Diplomatic Security, the F.B.I., the Justice Department and congressional committees, but in vain. (10)
Springmann observed that 15 of the 19 people who allegedly flew airplanes into buildings in the United States got their visas from the same CIA-dominated consulate in Jeddah. As a special favor to residents of Saudi Arabia (including non-Saudi citizens), applicants for non-immigrant visas can apply at private travel agencies and receive their visa through the mail. During the months following the 9-11 attack, 102 applicants received their visas by mail, 2 more were interviewed, and none were rejected.
The Saudis always got special treatment. In a November 6, 2001 BBC broadcast Greg Palast revealed just how special that treatment was. Even after Pakistan expelled the World Association of Muslim Youth (WAMY) and India claimed that the organization was linked to terrorist bombings in Kashmir and the Philippines military accused WAMY of funding Muslim insurgency, the F.B.I. got orders to leave the "charitable association" alone.
After 9/11, investigators of the Islamic charities discovered overwhelming evidence that Saudis at all levels worked in tandem with the terrorists. David Kaplin reports, “At the Saudi High Commission in Bosnia, which coordinated local aid among Saudi charities, police found before-and-after photos of the World Trade Center, files on pesticides and crop dusters, and information on how to counterfeit State Department badges. At Manila's international airport, authorities stopped Agus Dwikarna, an al Haramain representative based in Indonesia. In his suitcase were C4 explosives.” The interlocking charities make it difficult to follow the money trail. “Many share directors, office space, and cash flow. For two years, investigators have followed the money to offshore trusts and obscure charities which, according to court records, they believe are tied to Hamas, al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups.” (US News and World Report, December 15, 2003).
"The White House official line is that the Bin Ladens are above suspicion --apart from Osama, the black sheep, who they say hijacked the family name. That's fortunate for the Bush family and the Saudi royal household, whose links with the Bin Ladens could otherwise prove embarrassing. But Newsnight has obtained evidence that the FBI was on the trail of other members of the Bin Laden family for links to terrorist organisations before and after September 11th." (11)
In the Boston Globe, March 11, 20004, Carl Unger, author of House of Bush, House of Saud: The Secret Relationship Between the World’s Two Most Powerful Dynasties, states that the 9/11 commission should ask who authorized the evacuation of 140 Saudi nationals on at least 8 aircraft making stops in 12 cities immediately following the attacks. “Many of the passengers were high-ranking members of the royal House of Saud. About 24 of them were members of the bin Laden family, which owned the Saudi Binladin Group, a multibillion-dollar construction conglomerate.” Unger obtained passenger lists for 4 of the flights, which are posted on his website: www.houseofbush.com and includes the name of Prince Ahmed bin Salman.
“As reported last year by Gerald Posner in 'Why America Slept,' Prince Ahmed not only had alleged ties to Al Qaeda, but may also have known in advance that there would be attacks on 9/11. According to Posner, Abu Zubaydah, an Al Qaeda operative who was part of Osama bin Laden's inner circle and was captured in 2002, made these assertions when he was interrogated by the CIA. The commission should ask Mueller about Zubaydah's interrogation. They should also ask whether the FBI interrogated Prince Ahmed before his departure.
"But Prince Ahmed will never be able to answer any questions because not long after the CIA interrogation, he died of a heart attack at the age of 43. Yet we do know that he was on one of the flights.”
Unger believes that this episode “raises particularly sensitive questions for the administration. Never before in history has a president of the United States had such a close relationship with another foreign power as President Bush and his father have had with the Saudi royal family, the House of Saud. I have traced more than $1.4 billion in investments and contracts that went from the House of Saud over the past 20 years to companies in which the Bushes and their allies have had prominent positions -- Harken Energy, Halliburton, and the Carlyle Group among them. Is it possible that President Bush himself played a role in authorizing the evacuation of the Saudis after 9/11? What did he know and when did he know it?”
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The 9/11 commission should ask who authorized the evacuation of Saudi nationals in the days following the attacks
By Craig Unger, 4/11/2004
IN ITS TOUGH QUESTIONING of Richard Clarke and Condoleezza Rice, the 9/11 commission has already shown itself to be more resolute than some skeptics predicted. Many Americans now realize that multiple warnings of an Al Qaeda attack on American soil crossed the desks of Bush administration officials in the months leading up to 9/11. The administration's previously unchallenged narrative has begun to unravel.
But when hearings resume on Tuesday, we may learn exactly how tough the commission is prepared to be. This time the stars will be Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI director Robert S. Mueller III, among others. When they testify -- especially Mueller -- we will see whether or not the commission has the stomach to address what may be the single most egregious security lapse related to the attacks: the evacuation of approximately 140 Saudis just two days after 9/11.
This episode raises particularly sensitive questions for the administration. Never before in history has a president of the United States had such a close relationship with another foreign power as President Bush and his father have had with the Saudi royal family, the House of Saud. I have traced more than $1.4 billion in investments and contracts that went from the House of Saud over the past 20 years to companies in which the Bushes and their allies have had prominent positions -- Harken Energy, Halliburton, and the Carlyle Group among them. Is it possible that President Bush himself played a role in authorizing the evacuation of the Saudis after 9/11? What did he know and when did he know it?
Let's go back to Sept. 13, 2001, and look at several scenes that were taking place simultaneously. Three thousand people had just been killed. The toxic rubble of the World Trade Center was still ablaze. American airspace was locked down. Not even Bill Clinton and Al Gore, who were out of the country, were allowed to fly home. And a plane bearing a replacement heart for a desperately ill Seattle man was forced down short of its destination by military aircraft. Not since the days of the Wright Brothers had American skies been so empty.
But some people desperately wanted to fly out of the country. That same day, Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States and a long-time friend of the Bush family, dropped by the White House. He and President George W. Bush went out to the Truman Balcony for a private conversation. We do not know everything they discussed, but the Saudis themselves say that Prince Bandar was trying to orchestrate the evacuation of scores of Saudis from the United States despite the lockdown on air travel.
Meanwhile, a small plane in Tampa, Fla. took off for Lexington, Ky. According to former Tampa cop Dan Grossi and former FBI agent Manny Perez, who were on the flight to provide security, the passengers included three young Saudis. Given the national security crisis, both Grossi and Perez were astonished that they were allowed to take off. The flight could not have taken place without White House approval.
The plane taking off from Tampa was the first of at least eight aircraft that began flying across the country, stopping in at least 12 American cities and carrying at least 140 passengers out of the country over the next week or so. The planes included a lavishly customized Boeing 727 airliner that was equipped with a master bedroom suite, huge flat-screen TVs, and a bathroom with gold-plated fixtures. Many of the passengers were high-ranking members of the royal House of Saud. About 24 of them were members of the bin Laden family, which owned the Saudi Binladin Group, a multibillion-dollar construction conglomerate.
All this occurred at a time when intelligence analysts knew that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi, that Saudi money was one of the major forces behind Al Qaeda, and that the prime suspect -- Osama bin Laden -- was Saudi as well.
For its part, the Bush administration has erected the proverbial stone wall on the topic of the Saudi evacuation. The White House told me that it is "absolutely confident" the Sept. 13 flight from Tampa did not take place. The FBI said "unequivocally" it played no role in facilitating any flights. The Federal Aviation Administration said that the Tampa-to-Lexington flight was not in the logs and did not take place.
But they are all wrong.. . .
How can I be sure? I have interviewed not only Dan Grossi and Manny Perez, but also sources who helped orchestrate the flights. I tracked down photos of the interior of one of the planes. Former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke told me, and later the 9/11 commission, about discussions in the White House that allowed the flights to begin.
Clarke says his advice was that the Saudis should be able to leave only after they had been vetted by the FBI. A basic procedure in any crime investigation is to interview friends and relatives of the primary suspect. When I talked to FBI special agents who participated in the Saudi evacuation, however, they said that they identified the passengers boarding the flights but did not have lengthy interviews with them.
"Here you have an attack with substantial links to Saudi Arabia," says John L. Martin, a former Justice Department official who supervised investigation and prosecution of national security offenses for 18 years. "You would want to talk to people in the Saudi royal family and the Saudi government, particularly since they have pledged cooperation."
Robert Mueller had taken over at the FBI just one week before 9/11 and cannot be held responsible for the bureau's shortcomings before the attacks. But he should be asked about the departure of the Saudis. How is it possible that this could have happened? Did the White House order the evacuation -- and thereby interfere in an investigation into the murder of nearly 3,000 people?
If such interviews had taken place, investigators might have uncovered a trove of intelligence. During the summer of 2001, just a few months before 9/11, several of the bin Ladens attended the wedding of Osama's son in Afghanistan, where Osama himself was present. Carmen bin Laden, an estranged sister-in-law of the Al Qaeda leader, has said she suspects many family members have continued to aid and abet him. Could the bin Ladens have shed light on these assertions? Two relatives, Abdullah and Omar bin Laden, had been investigated by the FBI as recently as September 2001 for their ties to the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, which has allegedly funded terrorism. The 9/11 commission should ask Mueller if they were on board. I have also obtained documents showing that Abdullah and Omar were being investigated by the FBI in September 2001. Mueller should be asked about the status of that investigation.
The Clinton administration had attempted to crack down on the Saudi funding of Islamic charities that funneled money to terrorists. More recently we have since had one revelation after another about Saudi royals who "inadvertently" funded terrorists. The Commission should ask Mueller if the Saudis who were allowed to leave were involved in financing terrorism. How could the FBI be sure without seriously interrogating them?
In addition, I have obtained passenger lists for four of the Saudi evacuation flights. (The documents can be seen at my website, www.houseofbush.com.) Out of several dozen names on those lists, the most astonishing is that of the late Prince Ahmed bin Salman.
A prominent figure in the Saudi royal family, Prince Ahmed is best known in this country as the owner of War Emblem, winner of the 2002 Kentucky Derby. But his name is of interest for another reason. As reported last year by Gerald Posner in "Why America Slept," Prince Ahmed not only had alleged ties to Al Qaeda, but may also have known in advance that there would be attacks on 9/11. According to Posner, Abu Zubaydah, an Al Qaeda operative who was part of Osama bin Laden's inner circle and was captured in 2002, made these assertions when he was interrogated by the CIA. The commission should ask Mueller about Zubaydah's interrogation. They should also ask whether the FBI interrogated Prince Ahmed before his departure.
But Prince Ahmed will never be able to answer any questions because not long after the CIA interrogation, he died of a heart attack at the age of 43. Yet we do know that he was on one of the flights.. . .That leaves the question of the White House's participation in expediting the departure of so many Saudis who may have been able to shed light on the greatest crime in American history.
Is it possible that the long relationship between President Bush's family and the House of Saud led Bush to turn a blind eye to the Saudi role in Islamic fundamentalist terrorism? Rather than aggressively seeking justice for the victims of 9/11, did the president instead authorize the departure of rich Saudi royals without even subjecting them to interrogation?
That may be the most difficult question of all for the commission to tackle. If the commission dares to confront this issue, it will undoubtedly be accused of politicizing the most important national security investigations in American history -- in an election year, no less. If it does not, it risks something far worse -- the betrayal of the thousands who lost their lives that day, and of the living who want answers.
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|June 20, 2007 -- Mystery U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia raises suspicions ... WMR has been told by informed sources that there is plenty of suspicions concerning the Bush administration's new ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Ford M. Fraker. ... As the BAE Systems bribery scandal continues to circle around top Saudi officials, including the last two Saudi ambassadors to Washington, Princes Bandar and Turki bin Faisal, the Tony Blair government, and possibly, Bush administration officials aware of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations by BAE Systems, a major Pentagon contractor but failing to take action, the selection of Fraker, who has spent much of his career in London, the focal point of the BAE scandal, has taken on greater significance. ... There is a widespread suspicion in the U.S. State Department and intelligence community that Fraker, a fluent Arabic speaker, is in Riyadh as a "clean up man" to stifle an expanding investigation of BAE and its "payments" to Saudi officials and also possibly to assist in covering up Saudi financing of terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda. ... Saudi Arabia's new ambassador in Washington is the suave Adel Al Jubeir, the Saudi embassy's information officr during the time of the 9/11 attacks. ... Fraker was confirmed by a compliant and unquestioning Democratic U.S. Senate on March 29, 2007, and sworn in as ambassador on April 11, 2007. Fraker had been serving as the Chairman of Trinity Group, Ltd., a private investment banking firm in London. From 1972 to 1979, Fraker served as a representative for Chemical Bank in the Middle East, specifically, in Lebanon, and the then-newly independent United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. ... Bush's new ambassador to Saudi Arabia once worked for -- Saudi Arabia. Conflict of interests? Not for Team Bush. ... From 1979 to 1991, Fraker worked for the London-based Saudi Investment Bank (SIB), a J P Moran affiliate, and eventually was promoted to the bank's Management Committee. This was at the same time that Saudi Arabia was providing funding for the Afghan Mujaheddin, most notably the unit led by Saudi citizen Osama Bin Laden, which later became known as "Al Qaeda." ... In 1991, Fraker founded Fraker & Co. and in 1993, he joined MeesPierson Investment Finance as Managing Director. MeesPierson is also headquartered in London. Fraker also served as Managing Director of Flagship Ventures, a Cambridge, Massachusetts investment firm and a consultant for Intercontinental Real Estate Corporation in Boston. The firm is referred to as "International Real Estate Corporation" on the web site of the U.S. embassy in Riyadh. One of the firm's advisory board members is Rana el-Essa, the Assistant Deputy Director for Investment Accounting & Treasury at the Kuwait Fund for Arabic Development. Another is Thomas P. O'Neill III, former Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts and son of the late House Speaker "Tip" O'Neill.|
|WMR The Dönmeh: The Middle East’s Most Whispered Secret (Part I) Wayne MADSEN | 25.10.2011 | 20:39|
|There is a historical “eight hundred pound gorilla” lurking in the
background of almost every serious military and diplomatic incident
involving Israel, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Greece, Armenia, the
Kurds, the Assyrians, and some other players in the Middle East and
southeastern Europe. It is a factor that is generally only whispered
about at diplomatic receptions, news conferences, and think tank
sessions due to the explosiveness and controversial nature of the
subject. And it is the secretiveness attached to the subject that has
been the reason for so much misunderstanding about the current breakdown
in relations between Israel and Turkey, a growing warming of relations
between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and increasing enmity between Saudi
Arabia and Iran…
Although known to historians and religious experts, the centuries-old political and economic influence of a group known in Turkish as the “Dönmeh” is only beginning to cross the lips of Turks, Arabs, and Israelis who have been reluctant to discuss the presence in Turkey and elsewhere of a sect of Turks descended from a group of Sephardic Jews who were expelled from Spain during the Spanish Inquisition in the 16th and 17th centuries. These Jewish refugees from Spain were welcomed to settle in the Ottoman Empire and over the years they converted to a mystical sect of Islam that eventually mixed Jewish Kabbala and Islamic Sufi semi-mystical beliefs into a sect that eventually championed secularism in post-Ottoman Turkey. It is interesting that “Dönmeh” not only refers to the Jewish “untrustworthy converts” to Islam in Turkey but it is also a derogatory Turkish word for a transvestite, or someone who is claiming to be someone they are not.
The Donmeh sect of Judaism was founded in the 17th century by Rabbi Sabbatai Zevi, a Kabbalist who believed he was the Messiah but was forced to convert to Islam by Sultan Mehmet IV, the Ottoman ruler. Many of the rabbi’s followers, known as Sabbateans, but also “crypto-Jews,” publicly proclaimed their Islamic faith but secretly practiced their hybrid form of Judaism, which was unrecognized by mainstream Jewish rabbinical authorities. Because it was against their beliefs to marry outside their sect, the Dönmeh created a rather secretive sub-societal clan.
The Dönmeh rise to power in Turkey
Many Dönmeh, along with traditional Jews, became powerful political and business leaders in Salonica. It was this core group of Dönmeh, which organized the secret Young Turks, also known as the Committee of Union and Progress, the secularists who deposed Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II in the 1908 revolution, proclaimed the post-Ottoman Republic of Turkey after World War I, and who instituted a campaign that stripped Turkey of much of its Islamic identity after the fall of the Ottomans. Abdulhamid II was vilified by the Young Turks as a tyrant, but his only real crime appears to have been to refuse to meet Zionist leader Theodore Herzl during a visit to Constantinople in 1901 and reject Zionist and Dönmeh offers of money in return for the Zionists to be granted control of Jerusalem.
Like other leaders who have crossed the Zionists, Sultan Adulhamid II appears to have sealed his fate with the Dönmeh with this statement to his Ottoman court: “Advise Dr. Herzl not to take any further steps in his project. I cannot give away even a handful of the soil of this land for it is not my own, it belongs to the entire Islamic nation. The Islamic nation fought jihad for the sake of this land and had watered it with their blood. The Jews may keep their money and millions. If the Islamic Khalifate state is one day destroyed then they will be able to take Palestine without a price! But while I am alive, I would rather push a sword into my body than see the land of Palestine cut and given away from the Islamic state.” After his ouster by Ataturk’s Young Turk Dönmeh in 1908, Abdulhamid II was jailed in the Donmeh citadel of Salonica. He died in Constantinople in 1918, three years after Ibn Saud agreed to a Jewish homeland in Palestine and one year after Lord Balfour deeded Palestine away to the Zionists in his letter to Baron Rothschild.
One of the Young Turk leaders in Salonica was Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey. When Greece achieved sovereignty over Salonica in 1913, many Dönmeh, unsuccessful at being re-classified Jewish, moved to Constantinople, later re-named Istanbul. Others moved to Izmir, Bursa, and Ataturk’s newly-proclaimed capital and future seat of Ergenekon power, Ankara.
Some texts suggest that the Dönmeh numbered no more than 150,000 and were mainly found in the army, government, and business. However, other experts suggest that the Dönmeh may have represented 1.5 million Turks and were even more powerful than believed by many and extended to every facet of Turkish life. One influential Donmeh, Tevfik Rustu Arak, was a close friend and adviser to Ataturk and served as Turkey’s Foreign Minister from 1925 to 1938.
Ataturk, who was reportedly himself a Dönmeh, ordered that Turks abandon their own Muslim-Arabic names. The name of the first Christian emperor of Rome, Constantine, was erased from the largest Turkish city, Constantinople. The city became Istanbul, after the Ataturk government in 1923 objected to the traditional name. There have been many questions about Ataturk’s own name, since “Mustapha Kemal Ataturk” was a pseudonym. Some historians have suggested that Ataturk adopted his name because he was a descendant of none other than Rabbi Zevi, the self-proclaimed Messiah of the Dönmeh! Ataturk also abolished Turkey’s use of the Arabic script and forced the country to adopt the western alphabet.
Modern Turkey: a secret Zionist state controlled by the Dönmeh
Ataturk’s suspected strong Jewish roots, information about which was suppressed for decades by a Turkish government that forbade anything critical of the founder of modern Turkey, began bubbling to the surface, first, mostly outside of Turkey and in publications written by Jewish authors. The 1973 book, The Secret Jews, by Rabbi Joachim Prinz, maintains that Ataturk and his finance minister, Djavid Bey, were both committed Dönmeh and that they were in good company because “too many of the Young Turks in the newly formed revolutionary Cabinet prayed to Allah, but had their real prophet [Sabbatai Zevi, the Messiah of Smyrna].” In The Forward of January 28, 1994, Hillel Halkin wrote in The New York Sun that Ataturk recited the Jewish Shema Yisrael (“Hear O Israel”), saying that it was “my prayer too.” The information is recounted from an autobiography by journalist Itamar Ben-Avi, who claims Ataturk, then a young Turkish army captain, revealed he was Jewish in a Jerusalem hotel bar one rainy night during the winter of 1911. In addition, Ataturk attended the Semsi Effendi grade school in Salonica, run by a Dönmeh named Simon Zevi. Halkin wrote in the New York Sun article about an email he received from a Turkish colleague: “I now know – know (and I haven’t a shred of doubt) – that Ataturk’s father’s family was indeed of Jewish stock.”
It was Ataturk’s and the Young Turks’ support for Zionism, the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, after World War I and during Nazi rule in Europe that endeared Turkey to Israel and vice versa. An article in The Forward of May 8, 2007, revealed that Dönmeh dominated Turkish leadership “from the president down, as well as key diplomats . . . and a great part of Turkey’s military, cultural, academic, economic, and professional elites” kept Turkey out of a World War II alliance with Germany, and deprived Hitler of a Turkish route to the Baku oilfields.” In his book, The Donme: Jewish Converts, Muslim Revolutionaries and Secular Turks, Professor Marc David Baer wrote that many advanced to exalted positions in the Sufi religious orders.
Israel has always been reluctant to describe the Turkish massacre of the Armenians by the Turks in 1915 as “genocide.” It has always been believed that the reason for Israel’s reticence was not to upset Israel’s close military and diplomatic ties with Turkey. However, more evidence is being uncovered that the Armenian genocide was largely the work of the Dönmeh leadership of the Young Turks. Historians like Ahmed Refik, who served as an intelligence officer in the Ottoman army, averred that it was the aim of the Young Turks to destroy the Armenians, who were mostly Christian. The Young Turks, under Ataturk’s direction, also expelled Greek Christians from Turkish cities and attempted to commit a smaller-scale genocide of the Assyrians, who were also mainly Christian.
One Young Turk from Salonica, Mehmet Talat, was the official who carried out the genocide of the Armenians and Assyrians. A Venezuelan mercenary who served in the Ottoman army, Rafael de Nogales Mendez, noted in his annals of the Armenian genocide that Talat was known as the “renegade Hebrew of Salonica.” Talat was assassinated in Germany in 1921 by an Armenian whose entire family was lost in the genocide ordered by the “renegade Hebrew.” It is believed by some historians of the Armenian genocide that the Armenians, known as good businessmen, were targeted by the business-savvy Dönmeh because they were considered to be commercial competitors.
It is not, therefore, the desire to protect the Israeli-Turkish alliance that has caused Israel to eschew any interest in pursuing the reasons behind the Armenian genocide, but Israel’s and the Dönmeh’s knowledge that it was the Dönmeh leadership of the Young Turks that not only murdered hundreds of thousands of Armenians and Assyrians but who also stamped out Turkey’s traditional Muslim customs and ways. Knowledge that it was Dönmeh, in a natural alliance with the Zionists of Europe, who were responsible for the deaths of Armenian and Assyrian Christians, expulsion from Turkey of Greek Orthodox Christians, and the cultural and religious eradication of Turkish Islamic traditions, would issue forth in the region a new reality. Rather than Greek and Turkish Cypriots living on a divided island, Armenians holding a vendetta against the Turks, and Greeks and Turks feuding over territory, all the peoples attacked by the Dönmeh would realize that they had a common foe that was their actual persecutor.
Challenging Dönmeh rule: Turkey’s battle against the Ergenekon
It is the purging of the Kemalist adherents of Ataturk and his secular Dönmeh regime that is behind the investigation of the Ergenekon conspiracy in Turkey. Ergenekon’s description matches up completely with the Dönmeh presence in Turkey’s diplomatic, military, judicial, religious, political, academic, business, and journalist hierarchy. Ergenekon attempted to stop the reforms instituted by successive non-Dönmeh Turkish leaders, including the re-introduction of traditional Turkish Islamic customs and rituals, by planning a series of coups, some successful like that which deposed Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan’s Refah (Welfare) Islamist government in 1996 and some unsuccessful, like OPERATION SLEDGEHEMMER, which was aimed at deposing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2003. Some Islamist-leaning reformists, including Turkish President Turgut Ozal and Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, died under suspicious circumstances. Deposed democratically-elected Prime Minister Adnan Menderes was hanged in 1961, following a military coup.
American politicians and journalists, whose knowledge of the history of countries like Turkey and the preceding Ottoman Empire, is often severely lacking, have painted the friction between Israel’s government and the Turkish government of Prime Minister Erdogan as based on Turkey’s drift to Islamism and the Arab world. Far from it, Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) seem to have finally seen a way to break free from the domination and cruelty of the Dönmeh, whether in the form of Kemalist followers of Ataturk or nationalist schemers and plotters in Ergenekon. But with Turkey’s “Independence Day” has come vitriol from the Dönmeh and their natural allies in Israel and the Israel Lobby in the United States and Europe. Turkey as a member of the European Union was fine for Europe as long as the Dönmeh remained in charge and permitted Turkey’s wealth to be looted by central bankers like has occurred in Greece.
When Israel launched its bloody attack on the Turkish Gaza aid vessel, the Mavi Marmara, on May 31, 2010, the reason was not so much the ship’s running of the Israeli blockade of Gaza. The brutality of the Israelis in shooting unarmed Turks and one Turkish-American, some at point blank range, according to a UN report, indicated that Israel was motivated by something else: vengeance and retaliation for the Turkish government’s crackdown on Ergenekon, the purging of the Turkish military and intelligence senior ranks of Dönmeh, and reversing the anti-Muslim religious and cultural policies set down by the Dönmeh’s favorite son, Ataturk, some ninety years before. In effect, the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara was in retaliation for Turkey’s jailing of several top Turkish military officers, journalists, and academics, all accused of being part of the Ergenekon plot to overthrow the AKP government in 2003. Hidden in the Ergenekon coup plot is that the Dönmeh and Ergenekon are connected through their history of being Kemalists, ardent secularists, pro-Israeli, and pro-Zionist.
With tempers now flaring between Iran on one side and Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United States on the other, as the result of a dubious claim by U.S. law enforcement that Iran was planning to carry out the assassination of the Saudi ambassador to the United States on American soil, the long-standing close, but secretive relationship between Israel and Saudi Arabia is coming to the forefront. The Israeli-Saudi connection had flourished during OPERATION DESERT STORM, when both countries were on the receiving end of Saddam Hussein’s Scud missiles.
What will surprise those who may already be surprised about the Dönmeh connection to Turkey, is the Dönmeh connection to the House of Saud in Saudi Arabia.
An Iraqi Mukhabarat (General Military Intelligence Directorate) Top Secret report, “The Emergence of Wahhabism and its Historical Roots,” dated September 2002 and released on March 13, 2008, by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency in translated English form, points to the Dönmeh roots of the founder of the Saudi Wahhabi sect of Islam, Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab. Much of the information is gleaned from the memoirs of a “Mr. Humfer,” (as spelled in the DIA report, “Mr. Hempher” as spelled the historical record) a British spy who used the name “Mohammad,” claimed to be an Azeri who spoke Turkish, Persian, and Arabic and who made contact with Wahhab in the mid-18th century with a view of creating a sect of Islam that would eventually bring about an Arab revolt against the Ottomans and pave the way for the introduction of a Jewish state in Palestine. Humfer’s memoirs are recounted by the Ottoman writer and admiral Ayyub Sabri Pasha in his 1888 work, “The Beginning and Spreading of Wahhabism.”
In his book, The Dönmeh Jews, D. Mustafa Turan writes that Wahhab’s grandfather, Tjen Sulayman, was actually Tjen Shulman, a member of the Jewish community of Basra, Iraq. The Iraqi intelligence report also states that in his book, The Dönmeh Jews and the Origin of the Saudi Wahhabis, Rifat Salim Kabar reveals that Shulman eventually settled in the Hejaz, in the village of al-Ayniyah what is now Saudi Arabia, where his grandson founded the Wahhabi sect of Islam. The Iraqi intelligence report states that Shulman had been banished from Damascus, Cairo, and Mecca for his “quackery.” In the village, Shulman sired Abdul Wahhab. Abdel Wahhab’s son, Muhammad, founded modern Wahhabism.
The Iraqi report also makes some astounding claims about the Saud family. It cites Abdul Wahhab Ibrahim al-Shammari’s book, The Wahhabi Movement: The Truth and Roots, which states that King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, the first Kingdom of Saudi Arabia monarch, was descended from Mordechai bin Ibrahim bin Moishe, a Jewish merchant also from Basra. In Nejd, Moishe joined the Aniza tribe and changed his name to Markhan bin Ibrahim bin Musa. Eventually, Mordechai married off his son, Jack Dan, who became Al-Qarn, to a woman from the Anzah tribe of the Nejd. From this union, the future Saud family was born.
The Iraqi intelligence document reveals that the researcher Mohammad Sakher was the subject of a Saudi contract murder hit for his examination into the Sauds’ Jewish roots. In Said Nasir’s book, The History of the Saud Family, it is maintained that in 1943, the Saudi ambassador to Egypt, Abdullah bin Ibrahim al Muffadal, paid Muhammad al Tamami to forge a family tree showing that the Sauds and Wahhabs were one family that descended directly from the Prophet Mohammed.
At the outset of World War I, a Jewish British officer from India, David Shakespeare, met with Ibn Saud in Riyadh and later led a Saudi army that defeated a tribe opposed to Ibn Saud. In 1915, Ibn Saud met with the British envoy to the Gulf region, Bracey Cocas. Cocas made the following offer to Ibn Saud: “I think this is a guarantee for your endurance as it is in the interest of Britain that the Jews have a homeland and existence, and Britain’s interests are, by all means, in your interest.” Ibn Saud, the descendant of Dönmeh from Basra, responded: “Yes, if my acknowledgement means so much to you, I acknowledge thousand times granting a homeland to the Jews in Palestine or other than Palestine.” Two years later, British Foreign Secretary Lord Balfour, in a letter to Baron Walter Rothschild, a leader of the British Zionists, stated: “His Majesty’s government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people . . .” The deal had the tacit backing of two of the major players in the region, both descendant from Dönmeh Jews who supported the Zionist cause, Kemal Ataturk and Ibn Saud. The present situation in the Middle East should be seen in this light but the history of the region has been purged by certain religious and political interests for obvious reasons.
After World War I, the British facilitated the coming to power of the Saud regime in the former Hejaz and Nejd provinces of the Ottoman Empire. The Sauds established Wahhabism as the state religion of the new Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and, like the Kemalist Dönmeh in Turkey, began to move against other Islamic beliefs and sects, including the Sunnis and Shi’as. The Wahhabi Sauds accomplished what the Kemalist Dönmeh were able to achieve in Turkey: a fractured Middle East that was ripe for Western imperialistic designs and laid the groundwork for the creation of the Zionist state of Israel.
Deep states and Dönmeh
During two visits to Turkey in 2010, I had the opportunity of discussing the Ergenekon “deep state” with leading Turkish officials. It was more than evident that discussions about the Ergenekon network and its “foreign” connections are a highly-sensitive subject. However, it was also whispered by one high-ranking Turkish foreign policy official that there were other “deep states” in surrounding nations and Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria were mentioned by name. Considering the links between Ergenekon and the Dönmeh in Turkey and the close intelligence and military links between the Dönmeh-descendent Sauds and Wahhabis in Arabia, the reports of close links between ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his intelligence chief Omar Suleiman and the Binyamin Netanyahu government in Israel may be seen in an entirely new light… And it would explain Erdogan’s support for Egypt’s revolution: in Turkey, it was a democratic revolution that curbed the influence of the Dönmeh. The influence of Wahhabi Salafists in Libya’s new government also explains why Erdogan was keen on establishing relations with the Benghazi-based rebels to help supplant the influence of the Wahhabis, the natural allies of his enemies, the Dönmeh (Ergenekon) of Turkey.
Erdogan’s desire to set the historical record straight by restoring history purged by the Kemalists and Dönmeh has earned him vitriolic statements from Israel’s government that he is a neo-Ottomanist who is intent on forming an alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab countries. Clearly, the Dönmeh and their Zionist brethren in Israel and elsewhere are worried about Dönmeh and Zionist historical revisionism, including their role in the Armenian and Assyrian genocide, and their genocide denial being exposed.
In Egypt, which was once an Ottoman realm, it was a popular revolution that tossed out what may have amounted to the Dönmeh with regard to the Mubarak regime. The Egyptian “Arab Spring” also explains why the Israelis were quick to kill six Egyptian border police so soon after nine Turkish passengers were killed aboard the Mavi Marmara, some in execution style, by Israeli troops. Dönmeh doctrine is rife with references to the Old Testament Amalekites, a nomadic tribe ordered attacked by the Hebrews from Egypt by the Jewish God to make room for Moses’s followers in the southern region of Palestine. In the Book of Judges, God unsuccessfully commands Saul: “Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, and infant, ox, and sheep, camel and donkey.” The Dönmeh, whose doctrine is also present in Hasidic and other orthodox sects of Judaism, appear to have no problem substituting the Armenians, Assyrians, Turks, Kurds, Egyptians, Iraqis, Lebanese, Iranians, and Palestinians for the Amalekites in carrying out their military assaults and pogroms.
With reformist governments in Turkey and Egypt much more willing to look into the background of those who have split the Islamic world, Ataturk in Turkey and Mubarak in Egypt, the Sauds are likely very much aware that it is only a matter of time before their links, both modern and historical, to Israel will be fully exposed. It makes sense that the Sauds have been successful in engineering a dubious plot involving Iranian government agents trying to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington in an unnamed Washington, DC restaurant. The Iraqi intelligence report could have been referring to the Zionists and Dönmeh when it stated, “it strives to . . . [the] killing of Muslims, destructing, and promoting the turmoil.” In fact, the Iraqi intelligence report was referring to the Wahhabis.
With new freedom in Turkey and Egypt to examine their pasts, there is more reason for Israel and its supporters, as well as the Sauds, to suppress the true histories of the Ottoman Empire, secular Turkey, the origins of Israel, and the House of Saud. With various players now angling for war with Iran, the true history of the Dönmeh and their influence on past and current events in the Middle East becomes more important.
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