Part 13:

It’s a jungle in here, and it doesn’t have to be that way

What’s more depressing: the totality of everything we’ve seen in this series of essays, or the fact that so much it is still taking place? Either way, it’s a horror show. It’s horrifying that the world-wide web of underground economies that feed the beasts of war and terror appear to be politically protected networks. It’s horrifying that the beastmasters are often political paymasters with plenty of influence and connections. It’s horrifying how incredibly profitable chaos is for actors like warlords, drug lords, money-laundering banks, and Military Industrial Complexes across the world. It’s horrifying that we live in a world where money translates to political power. And it’s horrifying how those gaining the most from war, terror, and other horrific actions are often those with the most power to prevent it.

Beyond being a horrific terrorist act, 9/11 was a historically consistent act. Al-Qaeda’s history is rooted in the strange, dark, hidden histories of the 20th century. It’s a history of quasi-state-sponsored Islamists networks like the Muslim Brotherhood. It’s a history intertwined with the pre and postwar fascist movements, both above ground and underground. It’s a history that cannot be separated from the evolution of clandestine conflict. And it’s a history that begs deeply difficult questions about how our world works in the shadowy halls of power.

Those difficult and disturbing questions are a big reason why al-Qaeda’s history is a history largely ignored. Those questions are also big reasons why we cannot continue ignoring it. We need a better understanding of how our world works if we’re going to have any hope of healing it, because continuing down our path of continuous conflict isn’t just a death sentence for us today. It’s a path towards hell on earth tomorrow and your children are unlikely to be spared.

So in the interest of attaining a better understanding of how our world works, let’s return to our look at the SAAR investigation with this excellent April 2002 article from the Wall Street Journal:

O'Neill Met Muslim Activists Tied to Charities

By Glenn R. Simpson

The Wall Street Journal
Apr 18, 2002

WASHINGTON -- Two weeks after his agents raided the offices of several Islamic charities and businesses suspected of financing terrorism, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill met with two politically connected Muslim activists, one a longtime Bush family associate, who each had a tie to the targeted groups.

The April 4 luncheon with Mr. O'Neill was convened to allow Muslim-Americans to voice complaints about the March 20 raid on the International Institute for Islamic Thought and 19 related entities that operate out of offices at 555 Grove St. in Herndon, Va., a Washington suburb.

Among the Muslim leaders attending was Talat Othman, a longtime associate and supporter of President Bush's family who gave a benediction at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia in August 2000. Mr. Othman went to the Treasury representing the Arab-American Business and Professional Association. But he also serves on the board of Amana Mutual Funds Trust, an investment firm founded by M. Yacqub Mirza, the Northern Virginia businessman who set up most of the entities targeted by the Treasury and whose tax records were sought in the raid.

Yacqub Mirza may have set up most of the entities targeted by the Operation Greenquest raids of March 20, 2002, but he set them up with the al-Rajhi’s money, including the SAAR network.


Also at the meeting was Khaled Saffuri, head of the Islamic Institute, a group he co-founded with GOP activist Grover Norquist to organize conservative Muslims. The institute has accepted $20,000 in contributions from another Grove Street entity suspected of terrorist connections, the Safa Trust, as earlier reported by Newsweek. Asked for comment, Mr. Norquist, a board member of the institute, confirmed the donation. Mr. Saffuri couldn't be reached.

Grover Norquist, we’ll recall, has been called the most powerful unelected official in DC and the “Field Marshal” of the Bush Agenda.


Messrs. Othman and Saffuri weren't targeted in the raid. Nancy Luque, a lawyer for Mr. Mirza and his enterprises and partners, said her client and his partners and enterprises have no connection to terrorists. Mr. Mirza didn't attend the Treasury meeting.

The meeting reflects the increasing complexity of the Bush administration's crackdown on terror financing. As the global investigation broadens, the labyrinthine money trail is leading to more and more seemingly mainstream entities, generating political controversy. Some of the people targeted in the March 20 raids in Virginia are well-established figures in the U.S. Muslim community, and their treatment has generated an intense backlash against the Bush administration. Similar controversies have erupted in both the Arab world and in Europe as governments have frozen assets at the behest of the U.S. without disclosing detailed evidence to support the moves.

The case also highlights conflicts between the Bush administration's domestic political goals and its war on terror. GOP officials began courting the U.S. Muslim community intensely in the late 1990s, seeking to add that ethnic bloc to the party's political base. But when the war on terror was launched in September, the Bush administration retreated from some positions Republicans had taken to gain the Muslim support, including opposition to the use of secret evidence in immigration cases, and began mass immigration-violator roundups within Muslim communities.

As we’ve already seen, one of Soliman Biheiri’s convictions was for an immigration violation. In December of 2005, Abdullah Alnoshan, the head of the Virginia office of the Muslim World League (MWL), was deported to Saudi Arabia on immigration charges. That office, which was a target of the Operation Greenquest raids of March 20, 2002, was re-raided in July of 2005.


Rob Nichols, a Treasury spokesman, said the April 4 meeting was initiated by Treasury officials in response to the harsh criticism it has received in the U.S. Muslim community in the raid's aftermath. About a dozen Muslim leaders were asked to attend, including representatives of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the American Muslim Council, and the Arab American Institute.

"We invited to meet with senior Treasury officials those who were most critical of our effort," Mr. Nichols said. "We wanted some honest feedback." Mr. Nichols said he didn't know whether Mr. O'Neill or his aides knew of any connections Messrs. Othman and Saffuri might have with the groups under scrutiny. Another Treasury official added: "There are many well-intentioned, credible people who become unknowingly associated with groups being investigated for terrorist financing activities. It would be unfair to shun such people."

Recall that the American Muslim Council was co-founded by the rather controversial, Abdurahman Alamoudi. Mr. Alamoudi was also Khalid Saffuri’s former boss.


The Islamic Institute declared itself pleased with the encounter. "The meeting was constructive, and the leaders expressed their concerns to Secretary O'Neill regarding the insensitive actions of Treasury agents during the raids against the Muslim American organizations, and concerns of the community that civil-rights violations occurred," the Islamic Institute said on its Web site. "Secretary O'Neill promised that these concerns would be investigated."

Bruce Zagaris, an asset-forfeiture lawyer who represents clients in similar cases, said a meeting between Treasury officials and anyone who might be associated with an entity under investigation is very unusual. "It's virtually impossible [to arrange such a meeting], especially with the Treasury secretary," Mr. Zagaris said. "It's very difficult to even get phone calls returned."

In December of 2002, Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill became the first member of President Bush’s cabinet to resign along with President Bush’s economic advisor Lawrence Lindsey, and a new economic team was chosen ( in part to sell the public on additional tax cuts). O’Neill’s and Lindsey’s resignations followed a wave of corporate scandals that year, most notably the evolving Enron scandal. In the years leading up to Enron’s implosion it had been orchestrating a lobbying campaign to stop an international crackdown on offshore tax havens. Mr. Lindsey, one of the many Enron-connected folks in the administration, was a particularly outspoken opponent of anti-money-laundering practices.

In January of 2004, Mr. O’Neill wrote The Price of Loyalty, which asserted that finding a way to invade Iraq was “Topic A” from the start of President Bush’s term in office.


According to a search warrant justifying the raid -- which was approved by a federal judge -- Treasury agents were looking for "any and all information referencing in any way" numerous terrorist groups and individuals. Among them were Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda organization and two anti-Israeli groups, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Hamas.

Mr. Othman says he knows Mr. Mirza only slightly and agreed to serve on the board of Amana last summer after the two men met at a conference. He said he doesn't believe Amana is part of the federal probe. He added that trustees such as himself "have nothing really to do with the fund," which makes investments according to Islamic principles and is managed on a daily basis by another investment firm. Though neither the investment firm nor Mr. Othman is named in the search warrant, it does demand all records related to "any other entity sharing officers, directors, trustees, or employees with the listed entities."

Two nonprofits affiliated with Mr. Mirza and named in the search warrant, the SAAR Foundation Inc. and the Heritage Education Trust Inc., held large blocks of shares in Amana's mutual funds in 1997, according to SEC records. The SEC documents and other records detailing connections between Mr. Othman and the Islamic Institute and the raided groups were compiled by the National Security News Service, a Washington based nonprofit research group.

Amana Mutual Fund Trust, which is managed by Saturna Capitol, has done quite well in recent years. Saturna’s director of Islamic Investing is Monem Salam. Monem Salam also happens to sit on the board of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a Saudi financed umbrella group for organizations dedicated to spreading a Wahhabism. The ISNA’s former president, Muzammil Siddiqi, presided over an interfaith prayer service in the National Cathedral three days after 9/11.


Mr. Othman has ties to the Bush family going back to the 1980s, when he served with George W. Bush on the board of a Texas petroleum firm, Harken Oil & Gas Inc. Mr. Othman has visited the White House during the administrations of both President Bush and his father George H.W. Bush. Mr. Othman also is a longtime campaign donor who gives to both parties but tends to favor Republicans, giving more than $10,000 during the past decade to GOP groups and supporting the presidential bids of both Bushes.

Mr. Othman also is on the board of Mr. Saffuri's Islamic Institute, the GOP-leaning group that received $20,000 from the Safa Trust, one of the raid's targets. The president of the Safa Trust, Jamal Barzinji, is a former business associate of Switzerland-based investor Youssef Nada, whose assets were frozen last fall after the Treasury designated him a person suspected of giving aid to terrorists. A naturalized American, Mr. Barzinji serves as an officer of at least three other Virginia groups listed in the search warrant. Ms. Luque, who also represents Mr. Barzinji, denied that he supports terrorists.

Yes, along with George W. Bush, Talaat Othman served on the board of Harken Energy where he was representing the interests of Abdullah Taha Baksh (1). It was Harken Energy and Abdullah Taha Baksh that effectively bailed out George W. Bush’s earlier oil company, Spectrum 7. Right around the time of this merger in 1986, Mr. Bush also joined a drilling venture with an Enron subsidiary.

Mr. Baksh, we’ll recall, sits on the board of the SICO, the bin Laden family’s Swiss-based investment firm. He represented the bin Laden family’s US investments from 1976-1982, and was the Middle East representative of Khalid bin Mahfouz (2). Mr Othman also sits on the board of the influential Middle East Policy Council, alongside former Secretary of Defense, and Caryle Group chairman, Frank Carlucci (3). It’s all just another reminder that business is the tie that binds many with wealth and influence.

An interesting fun fact regarding Mr. bin Mahfouz and the SAAR foundation is that SAAR’s treasurer, Charif Sedky, was both a lawyer for the al-Rahji family and also the representative and business part of Mr. bin Mahfouz (4). We should also, once again, remind ourselves that Khalid bin Mahfouz has no ties to terror (maybe).


Mr. Barzinji and his Herndon business partners also are active political givers, donating about $40,000 to federal candidates since 1990. He also is listed in federal records as a client of the lobbying firm Janus-Merritt Strategies LLC, which formerly employed Mr. Norquist, the GOP activist who co-founded the Islamic Institute. The firm received $40,000 in 2000 lobbying for human rights and foreign-policy issues, records show. Mr. Norquist didn't work on the account, according to Ms. Luque and Janus-Merrit.

There’s a bit more to Mr. Barzinji and his relationship to Janus-Merritt: Grover Norquist, we’ll recall, was a long-time friend of criminal uber-lobbyist Jack “Mr. Republican” Abramoff. It’s a relationship going back to the early 80’s when Norquist, Abramoff, and future Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed all worked together as leaders of the College Republicans. In the late 90’s Norquist and David Safavian, a close friend and lobbying associate of Jack Abramoff, founded the lobbying firm Janus-Merritt Strategies. David Safavian was also a co-founder of Norquist’s Islamic Institute (also known as the “Islamic Free Market Institute”). One of his lobbying clients included the government of Pakistan regarding military sales.

In 2002, David Safavian was appointed by President Bush to head up the General Services Administration (GSA), a little-know government agency that handles some $300 billion in annual expenditures. In November of 2004 Mr. Savafian became the director of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), a year after his initial nomination. One of the primary responsibilities of the OFPP in recent years is establishing the rules and guidelines for the outsourcing of federal work. Mr. Safavian’s wife, Jennifer Safavian, is the chief investigative lawyer for the House Government Reform Committee, which oversees federal procurement.

In September of 2005, Mr. Safavian was arrested and charged with obstructing justice by making false statements to investigators regarding his business ties to Jack Abramoff. It was the first trial of the many Abramoff associates that have become entangle in the corruption scandal. In June of 2006, Mr. Safavian was convicted of three accounts of lying.

One of the interesting lies told by Mr. Safavian and his Janus-Merritt lobbying firm is that Jamal Barzinji was the client of Janus-Merritt. It was, instead, Abdurahman Alamoudi. Janus-Merritt has initially put Mr. Alamoudi’s name on its lobby disclosure forms, but resubmitted later those forms with Mr. Barzinji’s name instead. Even though he was questioned extensively by the Senate during his 2002 nomination hearing regarding his alleged lobbying for Mr. Alamoudi, Mr. Safavian claimed in a 2004 letter to investigators that he and his firm had never done any work for Mr. Alamoudi. Such is our times when a top government official hides the fact that he lobbied for a client like Abdurahman Alamoudi by claiming it was instead someone like Mr. Barzinji, who, we’ll recall, is one of the central figures in setting up the SAAR network and a longtime associate of al-Taqwa director Youssef Nada (5).

And finishing our look at the Wall Street Journal Article…

In a speech last fall to the Organization of Islamic Conference in Doha, Qatar, Mr. Barzinji boasted of the U.S. Muslim community's rising political influence. "At this time, the president and his administration are continually seeking the counsel and input of American Muslim leaders," Mr. Barzinji said. "At no other time has the Muslim community in America been more effective in relation to the processes of American government."


Roger Thurow contributed to this article.

Yes, it does appear that the individuals running the Saudi/Muslim Brotherhood web of entities in this country that is directly tied into the larger militant Islamist infrastructure hasn’t been lacking too much in terms of high-level US government influence. Given the relatively low number of high-level convictions within this network, one might almost say the Saudi/Muslim Brotherhood gang has done even better than the Abramoff gang at escaping prosecution. That is, until we note that the Abramoff gang is essentially the Bush/Rove/Norquist/Abramoff/dominant-factions-of-the-GOP gang, which has fared pretty well all things considered, and that gang is intimately tied in to the Saudi/Muslim Brotherhood gang. So really, kudos to both for escaping prosecution and the heavens help us all.

Ptech: and you only thought things were messed up

So now, what has become of Operation Greenquest? Is it still ongoing? Who’s in charge of continuing these investigations at this point? And what about all that bureaucratic infighting, is that still taking place? To get an idea, let’s take a look at this excellent December 2003 article in Newsweek:

Whose War on Terror?

The FBI says it should have full authority over investigations into terrorist financing. Not so fast, says Homeland Security. Plus, why some Muslims are furious over a Bush nominee to rebuild Iraq

Newsweek Web Exclusive

Updated: 3:57 p.m. ET Dec 10, 2003

April 9 - While the U.S. military wages war in Iraq, the FBI and the new Department of Homeland Security are fighting their own fierce battle—against each other.

THE CASUS BELLI of this conflict is Operation Greenquest—the high-profile federal task force set up to target the financiers of Al Qaeda and other international terrorist groups. Ever since Greenquest was created by former U.S. Customs chief Robert Bonner just after the September 11 terror attacks, Greenquest agents have conducted some of the Bush administration’s best-publicized and most controversial terrorist-finance cases—including a series of raids against the offices of Islamic charities in the Washington area last year that drew strong protests from American Muslim and civil-rights groups.

But as the Greenquest team made headlines, its investigations triggered a bitter dispute within the government. Internally, FBI officials have derided Greenquest agents as a bunch of “cowboys” whose actions have undermined more important, long-range FBI investigations into terrorist financing. Greenquest sources in turn accuse the FBI of jealousy.

Now that the Customs-led Greenquest operation has been folded into the new Homeland Security Department, NEWSWEEK has learned, the FBI and its parent agency, the Justice Department, have demanded that the White House instead give the FBI total control over Greenquest.

On May 13, 2003 a Memorandum of Agreement between the Attorney General Ashcroft and Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge was signed giving the FBI the unilateral control over all terrorist-financing investigations and operations. Let’s really hope that none of the terror-related investigations require, like, a modern database of case files, because that’s sort of a problem for the FBI right now.


One senior law-enforcement official called the lack of coordination between the FBI and Greenquest “an intolerable situation” and noted that the bureau—not Homeland Security—has been formally designated by President Bush as the “lead agency” for terrorism investigations. “You can’t have two lead agencies” conducting terror cases, the official said.

The FBI-Justice move, pushed by DOJ Criminal Division chief Michael Chertoff and Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, has enraged Homeland Security officials, however. They accuse the bureau of sabotaging Greenquest investigations—by failing to turn over critical information to their agents—and trying to obscure a decade long record of lethargy in which FBI offices failed to aggressively pursue terror-finance cases.

“They [the FBI] won’t share anything with us,” said a Homeland Security official. “Then they go to the White House and they accuse us of not sharing … If they can’t take it over, they want to kill it.”

Not sharing information on terror investigation…now where have we heard that before?

Oh, and don’t forget that Michael Chertoff, former head of the DOJ’s criminal division that pushed for FBI control over Greenquest, is now the head of the Department of Homeland Security.


If nothing else, the battle over Greenquest illustrates the bureaucratic tensions that still plague the war on terror. The creation of the Homeland Security Department was supposed to put an end to such turf fights. The new department took over a diverse assortment of federal agencies that had various responsibilities for combating terrorism, including the Customs Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the U.S. Border Patrol.

But even while the White House was preaching cooperation, the various agencies that were being folded into Homeland Security were squabbling with the FBI—the behemoth in the domestic war on terror. One prime example of the tension is the investigation into Ptech, the Boston-area computer software firm that had millions of dollars in sensitive government contracts with the Air Force, the Energy Department and, ironically enough, the FBI. In what turned into a minor embarrassment for the bureau, the firm’s main investors included Yasin Al-Qadi, a wealthy Saudi businessman whom the Bush administration had formally designated a terrorist financier under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. Al-Qadi has vigorously denied any connection to terrorism.



The Ptech case turned into an ugly dispute last year when company whistleblowers told Greenquest agents about their own suspicions about the firm’s owners. Sources close to the case say those same whistleblowers had first approached FBI agents, but the bureau apparently did little or nothing in response. With backing from the National Security Council, Greenquest agents then mounted a full-scale investigation that culminated in a raid on the company’s office last December. After getting wind of the Greenquest probe, the FBI stepped in and unsuccessfully tried to take control of the case.


And finishing our look at this Newsweek article…

The result, sources say, has been something of a train wreck. Privately, FBI officials say Greenquest agents botched the probe and jeopardized other more promising inquiries into Al-Qadi. Greenquest agents dismiss the charges and say the problem is that the bureau was slow to respond to legitimate allegations that an outside contractor with terrorist ties may have infiltrated government computers.

Whatever the truth, there is no dispute that the case has so far produced no charges and indictments against Al-Qadi or anyone else connected with Ptech. The company has denied wrongdoing.

Ok, sooo, uh, let’s get this straight: There was a Boston area software firm, Ptech, that had millions of dollars in sensitive government contracts with Air Force, the Energy Department and the FBI, and it was owned by Yassin al-Qadi, THE SAUDI BUSINESSMAN THAT WAS A TARGET OF THE OPERATION VULGAR BETRAYAL PROBE, A BUSINESS PARTNER OF A TOP HAMAS LEADER, AND AN ACCUSED AL-QAEDA FINANCIER, AND THE FBI DIDN’T SEEM TO CARE?

Yes, and it gets worse. To see how much worse let’s take a look at this excellent December 2002 article in eWeek:

Feds Raid Software Firm
December 6, 2002

By Renee Boucher Ferguson, Dennis Fisher and Chris Gonsalves

Federal agents who raided a Quincy, Mass., software firm Thursday night continue to look for monetary connections to the al-Qaeda terrorist network, but sources say the firm's software appears safe.

Ptech Inc., a developer of business-process modeling software, was raided late Thursday night by U.S. Customs Service agents, according to law enforcement officials. But initial concerns that the company's technology may have compromised the security of its customers, which include the FBI, the Department of Energy, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Navy, the Air Force, the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. House of Representatives, now appear unfounded, according to authorities.

"The products that were supplied by this company to the government all fell in the nonclassified area," White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said early Friday. "None of it involved any classified products used by the government. The material has been reviewed by the appropriate government agencies, and they have detected absolutely nothing in their reports to the White House that would lead to any concern about any of the products purchased from this company."

Ok, wow, so in addition to the FBI, the Department of Energy, and the Air Force, Ptech’s software was also being used by NATO, the Navy, the FAA, and the US House of Representatives.

Still, surely our government wouldn’t be crazy enough to hire a company owned by a potential al-Qaeda financier for anything but the most trivial software needs.


Fleischer confirmed that White House officials were involved in the discussions that led to the midnight raid of PTech, but "the White House didn't orchestrate this; this is a law enforcement matter."

"It was a Customs Service operation involving the potential for terrorist connections in this company and, beyond that, it's law-enforcement sensitive," Fleischer said.

U.S. Customs officials in Washington had no comment on the raid and referred inquiries to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston. U.S. Attorney Michael J. Sullivan late Friday issued a terse statement saying the raid on PTech was part of an "an ongoing financial crime investigation," and that media reports linking the event to terrorism were "premature."

Due to P-Tech's status as a provider of software to agencies of the U.S. Government, there have been questions raised concerning their products. All of the products provided to the Government were of a non-classified nature," Sullivan said in the statement. "However, out of an abundance of caution, the affected government agencies, including the FBI, conducted a review of their computer systems. There is no reason to believe that the software has any secondary purpose or malicious code, or that there has been a breach of any kind. There have been no vulnerabilities identified in connection with any of the products provided by P-Tech. There is also no evidence to suggest that the system is susceptible to compromise or poses any security risk."

Ok, phew!!! No wonder the FBI wasn’t interested in investigating Ptech (also spelled “P Tech” or “P-Tech”) when its employees approach them with concerns. For a minute there it was looking like we were descending into a really bizarro world kind of scenario. And at least it sounds like the potentially affected government agencies were conducting a review of their computer systems. Well, ok, maybe the National Nuclear Safety Administration at the Department of Energy hadn’t heard about the threat until the press reports and weren’t reviewing their computer systems for vulnerabilities. That’s extra good to hear that Ptech’s software isn’t any sort of threat since its portfolio includes the Department of Energy’s plutonium cleanup effort at the Rocky Flats facility, a facility that was once used to develop nuclear weapons.


Joseph Johnson, vice president for professional services at Ptech, scoffed at the speculation that a so-called hacker "back door" may have been built into the company's modeling software, which maps an organization's technology and business assets. Talking with reporters outside Ptech's headquarters this morning, Johnson said the company's products would not offer spies or terrorists any great insight into a user's operation.

"It just graphically portrays the business," Johnson said. "It doesn't go down to the next level to allow someone to look at what is in a document, for instance."

So all Ptech’s software did was provide to a potential al-Qaeda financier with a graphical display of a the technology and business assets of the FBI, the Department of Energy, and the Air Force, NATO, the Navy, the FAA, and the US House of Representatives. No biggie. It’s really hard to see what that kind of information would provide a potential terrorist. It pretty much just sounds like a very promising piece of software that creates abstract maps of organizations and databases or whatever.


However, Bob Parker, an analyst with AMR Research Inc., in Boston, said that because Ptech's software is used in setting up work flow it could point a terrorist to the specific database they would need to hack to get valuable information.

"If you think of Rational or Visio, how they graphically lay out a process and generate code from there, if I had a product that did that and if I could capture what the workflow is, and what database to get into, certainly there are some ramifications to that," said Parker.

He proposed a scenario wherein the Naval Air Systems Command uses Ptech software to set up workflow to perform routine maintenance on a missile store. The Ptech-generated workflow could include the entity relationship models that say where missile-location data is stored. For a terrorist to take advantage of that, Ptech would have had to put in a secret back-door that gave access to those entity relationship models, and the terrorist would have to hack into the Navy's network and into the specific databases to find out where missiles are stored.

"Conceivably, it's opening up data to all those government agencies. That's pretty scary," Parker said.


Ok, Ptech appears to be a little more promising than one might have hope for. It kind of makes the security concerns surrounding the Dubai Ports World controversy of early 2006 seem almost petty.

And finishing off our look at this excellent and jaw-dropping eWeek article …

On the other hand, contracting with the government is a pretty rigorous process, according to Parker.

PTech sales vice president Blake Bisson met with reporters Friday and said the company "categorically denies" any connection to terrorists.

Johnson said a half dozen of Ptech's employees were at work on Friday and were cooperating with investigators.

Ptech was founded in 1994 by Ousamma Ziade and James Cerrato, the chief product officer. Also at the helm from the company's inception is Hussein Ibrahim, Ptech's vice president and chief scientist. There was no answer at a number listed for Ziade Friday.

The focus now for investigators is to determine if there is a link between PTech and some of it's notable financial backers -- specifically Saudi Yassin Qadi and Pakistani M. Yaqub Mirza, a member of PTech's board, according to sources. Both have been investigated by federal law enforcement for suspected ties to al-Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden.

The company's object-oriented enterprise architecture, business modeling and integration software is used to model an enterprise's operations to enable it to quickly change business processes in response to changing market conditions.

The company has partnerships with IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. and KPMG.

(Editor's Note: This story has been updated since its original posting to include comments from law enforcement officials and from PTech's Joseph Johnson.)

Oh wow, so in addition to Yassin al-Qadi financially backing Ptech, we also find Yacqub Mirza on the board of Ptech. Mr. Mirza, we’ll recall, used money from the al-Rajhi dynasty to help start the SAAR foundation. And in addition to company partnerships with companies like KPMG, and IBM, it also has ties to our BMI, the friendly New Jersey-based company run by Soliman Biheiri. Let’s take a closer look Ptech’s interesting history with this excellent article January 2003 article in the Boston Globe:

Software company tries to survive terrorism investigation

By Justin Pope, Associated Press, 01/03/03

QUINCY, Mass. -- Life has quieted down at Ptech Inc. in the month since the software firm's offices were searched by federal agents with television news crews and a wave of devastating publicity hard on their heels.

But it's a bad kind of quiet. Business has slowed, and 17 of 27 workers have been let go.

The period following the Ptech raids was also a bad, and chaotic, kind of quiet for the family members of the Ptech employees. If we ever, as a people, plan to thoroughly reinvestigate these many strange anomalies, we’re going to almost certainly traumatize (and nowadays possibly torture) innocent people, their families, friends, and relatives. Mockery and derision based on seemingly outrageous stories just might be misplaced and destroy innocent lives (as is possibly the case with the stories we looked at in this series). That’s something to keep in mind if this country ever plans on truly investigating our history and 9/11.


The remainder are confronting hateful voice message and e-mails. The bank accounts of four employees of Middle Eastern descent have been canceled, without explanation.

"I feel like I'm not allowed to dream," chief executive and co-founder Oussama Ziade said in a recent interview.

Ptech is similar to a thousand other software startups, but its fortunes turned on a distinction: It has connections to Middle Eastern people and groups that have attracted attention from federal authorities investigating the funding of terrorist groups like al-Qaida.

Ptech calls itself an injured bystander in the war on terrorism. Ziade says the company has been assured neither it nor any employees are the target of government investigations, and the government has said use of Ptech's software poses no threat to clients like the FBI and Pentagon.

Ptech says its connections simply reflect how networking takes place at small companies. Investors introduce other investors. Employees refer other employees. It's hardly surprising, the company maintains, that expatriate Middle Easterners should have their own network.

Still, some anti-terrorism experts remain troubled by the variety of the company's ties to groups under suspicion by the U.S. government.

Ptech was born in 1994 when Ziade, who had come to the U.S. from Lebanon to study at Harvard, and co-founder James Cerrato teamed up to develop software that visually represents large amounts of information. The idea was to help complicated organizations like the military and large companies create a picture of how their assets -- people and technology -- work together. Then the software could show how little changes, like combining two departments, might affect the whole. Ptech even thought it might help the new Department of Homeland Security.

Oh wow, so Ptech’s software would help whoever is using it learn how a small change somewhere in an agency’s infrastructure could affect its larger performance. How could that possibly come in handy?


Ziade did what any entrepreneur would do: he made calls, milked connections, hoped for a break.

One came from BMI, a New Jersey company that had leased computer equipment to the pair and that introduced Ptech to Sarmany Ltd., an investment company backed by Saudi financier Yasin al-Qadi. Sarmany invested $5 million in Ptech, a quarter of the $20 million Ptech raised from about 50 "angel" investors.

BMI, we’ll recall, was also at the center of the Vulgar Betrayal investigation during the mid-to-late 90’s, along with Yassin al-Qadi and top Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook.

Keep in mind too, that the Ptech raid took place about a year after 9/11, so it was continuing its operations with sensitive government agencies, including the FBI, during that time.


Al-Qadi visited Ptech in 1994, and he and Ziade met several times in Saudi Arabia.

"What we tried to do is keep him interested, because he's connected to a lot of VCs (venture capitalists) in Saudi Arabia," Ziade said. "He's known as an international businessman that has connections."

But al-Qadi wouldn't bite on another round of funding. By all accounts he took little interest in the company, and Ptech figured it had seen the last of him, or at least his money.

A month after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, however, al-Qadi's name surfaced on a U.S. government list of individuals and groups suspected of funding terrorism. Authorities accused him of funneling millions of dollars to al-Qaida through a relief foundation.

Ptech officials say they debated whether to volunteer to authorities that al-Qadi, who remains on the U.S. Treasury Department's list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists, was a long-ago investor.

"The management knew about it and we talked to the lawyers about it and said, 'What should we do?"' Ziade said. Because al-Qadi was never a shareholder of record, "the lawyers suggested there is nothing that needs to be done."

Yes, Mr. al-Qadi’s investment firm merely put up a quarter of the $20 million startup capital, one of his associates, Mr. Mirza, sits on the board, and Mr. al-Qadi told investigators that he sold his stake in Ptech all the way back in 1999 while he was under investigation in Operation Vulgar Betrayal (6).

Ptech's attention was focused on surviving the post-Sept. 11 slump, which hit it hard. Customers and potential investors closed up their checkbooks. Ptech got a Small Business Administration disaster loan but still had to lay off workers.

It was a troubling time for Muslim employees, who numbered about 25 out of the 200 who have worked there.

"Their religion was being hijacked and they were troubled by that," former chief financial officer George Peterson said. "The employees who had to travel were concerned about being profiled."

Last August, the company's problems suddenly escalated. According to Peterson, a Dubai-based investor who had committed $7 million to the company pulled out of the deal. He apparently feared that a lawsuit filed by victims of the terrorist attacks could freeze the U.S. assets of Middle Eastern investors.

That same month, another former chief financial officer called to say she had been questioned by federal authorities about al-Qadi. Ptech called the FBI and offered full cooperation, but got no response. Over Thanksgiving weekend, Treasury and FBI agents called Peterson, who was CFO for a year in 2001 and 2002.

"They asked questions about, did I know anything unscrupulous going on at Ptech, and I told them I was not aware of any," he said. "They asked me if I was aware of any money laundering that was going on. I said absolutely not."

Again, Ptech contacted the FBI, but heard nothing until agents from the Customs service and other agencies said they wanted to take a look around on Dec. 6.

Ok, so apparently Ptech calls the FBI to offer full cooperation in August of 2002 gets no response. Then, over Thanksgiving weekend, the Treasury and FBI agents contact Ptech’s former CFO and ask about money-laundering?! Granted, money-laundering is an important issue in general, but was that the most appropriate question to be asking in this case? And really, even if money-laundering was that was suspected, is it typical procedure to call up and kindly ask a suspect a week before a raid?


As Ptech executives let the agents in and helped them find the paperwork they were looking for, reporters got wind of the search, surrounded Ptech's offices and went door-to-door in executives' neighborhoods to ask about the people who worked there. The media frenzy prompted the U.S. Attorney's office to issue an unusual statement saying it was premature to suggest the investigation was terrorism related.

Ptech's lawyer, Mark Berthiaume, stressed that Ptech had no reason to be alarmed by al-Qadi, who has denied funding terrorism.

"Throughout this period in the 1990s, until Qadi was put on the list in 2001, he was a very well-respected businessman in the Saudi community," Berthiaume said. He claimed Al-Qadi had met with former President Jimmy Carter and with Dick Cheney before the latter became vice president. A spokeswoman for Cheney, Jennifer Miller Wise, said Friday she had no reason to believe the vice president had met with al-Qadi before he assumed the office.

The claims by Yassin al-Qadi of having met Jimmy Carter and Dick Cheney are certainly plausible. Carter was actually quite connected with a number of Middle Eastern financiers through his contacts with the BCCI. And Dick Cheney is, well, Dick Cheney.

And finishing our look at the Associate Press article…

Ziade said Ptech had no business dealings with al-Qadi after he appeared on the list, though Ziade "ran into him" recently in Saudi Arabia.

Al-Qadi's appearance on the list was not the first time his name surfaced in connection with terrorism funding, however. Nor was al-Qadi the only link between Ptech and groups that have attracted authorities' attention.

-- In a 1998 FBI affidavit, al-Qadi was said to have provided a loan related to a complex land deal in Chicago that was used to fund Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group.

The loan was instructed to be repaid to Qadi International, care of BMI, the company that introduced Ptech to Sarmany, and "Attn: Gamel Ahmed." Ahmed was Ptech's comptroller for about a year-and-a-half in the mid 1990s.

Both BMI and Ptech also employed Hussein Ibrahim, an adjunct professor at Columbia. Ziade said BMI had no other connection with the company than the lease and the introduction to Sarmany.

The 1991 loan that Ptech’s future comptroller Gamel Ahmed was involved in was the loan that Mr. al-Qadi claims intended to “open a peaceful dialogue between civilizations”.

Hussein Ibrahim, you’ll recall, was Ptech’s chief scientist and vice president. Mr. Ibrahim was also the vice president of BMI from 1989-1995 (7). So BMI was merely one of Ptech’s primary sources of financing, the source of its chief scientist, and its comptroller. And Ptech had Yaqub Mirza, a central figure in the SAAR network with apparent high-level FBI contacts, also sitting on its board.

While there are many bewildering questions raised by the Ptech situation, one of the most basic questions is how would a company offering Ptech’s services go about getting a contract with the government. To fine out about that, let’s take a look at this excellent December 2002 article CBS 4 Boston:

Dec 9, 2002 2:51 pm US/Eastern

How Much did the FBI know about P Tech?

P Tech is being investigated for ties to several individuals suspected of financing terrorist’s -including al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden.

Our I Team investigation began in mid-June of this year.

By late August--federal agents got wind of our investigation and launched their own.

Blessed are the investigative journalists and their bosses that fund their work. Seriously, without these guys we would be in so much more trouble. The investigative journalists at www.consortiumnews.com, led by Iran Contra trailblazer Robert Parry, rely heavily on the public to fund their work. It’s money well spent.


The focus: who is behind P Tech? -- A company that specializes in something called enterprise architecture--essentially the blueprints of the information contained on computer networks.

The client list of this software firm called P Tech reads like a who's who of federal departments involved in national security.

P Tech customers include the Army, the Air Force, the Naval Air Command, the Congress, the Department of Energy, the FAA, the IRS, NATO, the FBI the Secret Service and even the White House.

Oh goodie, we can add the IRS, Army, and Secret Service to the list of Ptech infected agencies.


P Tech's specialty --something called enterprise architecture, blue printing what's inside an agency or business's computer system.

In a five month investigation, the I Team has uncovered a web of connections linking P Tech to individuals and organizations that federal authorities believe have been financing terrorists, including Osama Bin Laden and because of those links, security experts are now concerned that terrorists might have gotten access to key government data that could be used to launch an attack.

In late August, when investigators here at the US Treasury department learned that the I Team was investigating P Tech, they launched their own investigation.

But the I Team has learned that another federal agency, specifically the Boston office of the FBI, learned about P Tech's questionable ties more than a year ago but failed to act.

An Email sent to the FBI's Boston office in October 2001 and obtained by the I Team.

It was sent by a former executive at P Tech alerting the FBI that Yassin Al Qadi was an investor in the company and that President Bush had just named Al Qadi as a financier of Osama Bin Laden.

Did the FBI convey that information to the treasury department which was investigating Al Qadi?

A high level government source tells the I Team the answer is no.

Yes, the FBI apparently didn’t even share its knowledge of the Ptech whistleblower. Hmm…it must have been that pesky bureaucratic “Wall”. That doesn’t sound very nice.

And it gets worse. According to Rita Katz’s investigations:

In desperation, the vice president of sales at Ptech contacted the FBI and pleaded with them to look into the organization, as he saw in the news that Qadi was allegedly connected to funding al Qaeda. After repeated meetings with increasingly higher-ranking FBI officials where the employees beseeched the agency to look into the company, the bureau did nothing, despite knowing that Qadi was a primary financier of Ptech.

Furthermore, the FBI was aware that Ptech provided computer software for several government agencies, including the FBI itself, the FAA, the U.S. Treasury, the Department of Defense, the IRS, and the White House, proving a visible and viable threat to national security. The FBI ignored the repeated requests of concerned employees. Frighteningly, when an employee told the President of Ptech he felt he had to contact the FBI regarding Qadi's involvement in the company, the president allegedly told him not to worry because Yaqub Mirza, who was on the board of directors of the company and was himself a target of a terrorist financing raid in March 2002, had contacts high within the FBI.

So Yaqub Mirza allegedly had contacts high within the FBI. That’s interesting, because just weeks before the December 2002 Ptech raids, FBI deputy director Bruce Gebhardt, sent out a memo to FBI field offices that excoriated them for not devoting enough attention to terrorism cases. But for those concerned that the FBI isn’t doing enough domestic intelligence gathering, fear not, for in the Pentagon has recently latched its talons onto the job of surveiling US citizens. Not only that, but counter-intelligence operations in the CIA are now being outsourced at unprecedented levels.


And consider Indira Singh's experience.

She is a consultant specializing in enterprise architechture and learned --through associates--about P Tech's ties to Yassin Al qadi.

She called the FBI Boston office in early June.

Joe Begantino
Did you inform them of how serious a threat you thought this was?

Absolutelly, on no uncertain terms."

Over the next several weeks, Singh learned that the FBI had not even alerted a single government agency where P Tech had done work.

Joe Begantino
What was your reaction?

”Disbelief, shock, frustration, deep alarm."

Indira Singh is another whistleblower most worthy of our gratitude and further interviews. Mrs. Singh is often compared to Sibel Edmonds, the FBI translator who blew the whistle on what appeared to be the infiltration of the FBI by Turkish drug-smugglers engaged in a large-scale trafficking. You may have heard of her lawsuit, but there’s a good chance you haven’t. It was dismissed using the “state secrets privilege” and any mention of it by the government agencies is forbidden since it was also retroactively reclassified.


Another question, despite the FBI's lack of action why didn't anyone else here in Washington know that a man on the President's list of terrorist supporters was financing a company doing sensitive computer work in key government agencies?

Steve Emerson, Terrorism Expert
"It's absolutely amazing that the US Government was not aware of this for years. The fact that a Bin Laden-invested company could be providing data and business to the highest levels of the us government is quite frankly outrageous."

The FBI's Boston office issued a response to our story saying, “this investigation has been going on for quite some time. The FBI and customs, based on the facts of the case, decided it should be led by customs.”

So how did a company financed by Yassin al Qadi an alleged financier for Osama bin Laden end up doing business with the government?

The US general services administration or GSA screens contractors.

It asks a number of questions but one thing it does not ask of privately held companies is --who are your financial backers?

Oh my, so it seems the GSA screens contractors like Ptech. David Safavian, we’ll recall, was made the head of the GSA in the summer of 2002. As a former lobbyist for Abdurahman Alamoudi and founding member of Grover Norquist’s Islamic Institute, one must wonder how much enthusiasm Mr. Safavian would have had for any sort of investigative action he might have been able to undertake regarding Ptech’s questionable ownership.

And finishing our look at this CBS 4 Boston story…

Sources at the National Security Agency in Washington say they are certain that the software installed by P Tech is safe.

But what no one knows at this point is how much sensitive government information P Tech gained access to while it worked in several high level government agencies.

The attorney for Virginia businessman Yaqub Mirza told me that Mirza claims he was not actively involved in P Tech.

That’s nice that they’re confident that the software is safe, and that Ptech had access to merely “sensitive” information as opposed to “classified” information. And how confident are they? Well, as of May of 2004 Ptech had lost almost all of its clients and was forced to sells its software through a third party. And yet, according to its CEO Oussama Ziade, Ptech’s customers continued to include government agencies and the White House. Yes, that’s right, a company that could very well be the high-tech IT workshop of the Muslim Brotherhood still has contracts with the White House. And that’s after the investigation into it was killed by our current head of Homeland Security.

Ptech + NORAD + FAA = an extra very bad day

Given the possibility that Ptech provided individuals with al-Qaeda connections the knowledge about possible weak links in the chain of computers and databases and all the other exploitable system in our military and government agencies, could that have played a role in the 9/11 attack? Well, given the anomalous performance of NORAD and the FAA on 9/11 that resulted In a belated air response to the hijacked airliners, that’s an important question to ask. It’s difficult to say, in part because there is remains much that is not known about what was taking place the morning of 9/11, and what is known is that it was a rather chaotic situation. To get an idea of the kind of ambiguity involved, let’s take a look at this excellent June 2004 article from GovExec.com:

June 21, 2004

9/11 communication failures still baffle FAA, Defense officials

By Chris Strohm

Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and Defense Department last week told the federal commission investigating the Sept. 11 terrorist plot that they are still trying to understand how communications broke down between them on the day of the attacks.

An interim report from the commission's staff revealed a communication failure between FAA headquarters and the Pentagon's National Military Command Center as the attacks unfolded. Poor communication meant the military mistakenly thought American Airlines Flight 11, which crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center, was headed to Washington, and NMCC was not notified that United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania, was hijacked until almost 40 minutes after the FAA confirmed the hijacking, according to a new timeline of the attacks compiled by commission staff.

"The most frustrating after-the-fact scenario for me to understand and to explain is the communication link on that morning between the FAA operations center and the NMCC," said Monte Belger, who was the acting FAA deputy administrator when the attacks occurred. "I know how it's supposed to work, but I have to tell you it's still a little frustrating for me to understand how it actually did work on that day."

FAA and Defense officials testified during the final public hearing of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States on Thursday.

Belger said the FAA initiated a "hijacking net" at 9:20 a.m. that he thought included the NMCC.

"The hijacking net is an open communication net run by the FAA hijack coordinator, who is a senior person from the FAA security organization, for the purpose of getting the affected federal agencies together to hear information at the same time," he said.

Is this “hijacking net” communication network, which coordinates the communications of all of the various affected agencies, something that Ptech might have worked on? Would it have known about an exploitable vulnerability?

And finishing our look at the GovExec.com article…

"It was my assumption that morning, as it had been for my 30 years of experience with the FAA, that the NMCC was on that net and hearing everything real time," he added. "And I can tell you I've lived through dozens of hijackings in my 30-year FAA career, as a very low entry-level inspector up through to the headquarters, and they were always there."

Belger added that after initiating the hijacking net, he turned his attention to getting airplanes that were still in the air to land safely.

Additionally, the FAA had military liaisons at its command center, said Ben Sliney, who was the operations manager for the agency's Air Traffic Control System Command Center in Herndon, Va., when the attacks occurred.

"They were present at all of the events that occurred on 9/11," he said. "In my mind, everyone who needed to be notified about the events transpiring was notified, including the military."

He added, however, that the military has its own "communication web," which might have delayed notification about the hijacking.

Defense officials, for their part, said they do not know why NMCC missed out on the hijack net.

Air Force Gen. Ralph Eberhart, commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, told the commission that the military has evaluated scenarios since the attacks and determined that it could have intercepted and shot down all four planes if the "FAA told us as soon as they knew" the planes had been hijacked.

At one point, the NMCC set up an unsecure conference call to communicate with FAA headquarters, but even that link kept failing, said Adm.-Select Charles Leidig, who served as the NMCC's deputy director of operations on 9/11.

"If FAA had been in the same conference that was being directed by the National Military Command Center, the information flow would have went directly to NORAD because they're in that conference," Leidig said.

The staff report, however, stopped short of placing blame, and instead praised the response of federal workers who immediately had to respond to the attacks.

"We do not believe that an accurate understanding of the events of this morning reflects discredit on the operational personnel from [NORAD's Northeast Air Defense Sector] or FAA facilities. The NEADS commanders and floor officers were proactive in seeking information, and made the best judgments they could based on the information they received," the report states. "Individual FAA controllers, facility managers, and command center managers thought outside the box in recommending a nationwide alert, in ground-stopping local traffic, and ultimately in deciding to land all aircraft, and executing that unprecedented order flawlessly."

Ok, so it would appear that the inability of the FAA and NMCC’s to communicate that day was due, at least in part, to anomalous technological problems taking place with systems that involve coordinating the communications between a number of different agency’s and their technological systems. And Ptech’s specialty just happens to involve designing, analyzing, and finding the weak links in different types of systems that communicate and interact, including the FAA’s airtraffic controller system’s networks.

And, of course, the more you look the murkier things get. In May of 2004, it was acknowledged that six air traffic controllers who had tracked or communicated with two of the hijacked planes were interviewed for an hour not long after the attacks. The audio tapes of those interviews were destroyed by an FAA manager and no on had listened to, transcribed, or duplicated the content six hours of tape and the existence of the tapes were not revealed to federal officials investigating the attacks.

In August of 2006, it was revealed that members of the 9/11 Commission panel concluded the Pentagon had deliberately misled them with the information provided to the 9/11 Commission on NORAD’s and the FAA’s response. This revelation coincided with a lengthy Vanity Fair article demonstrating an enormous amount of confusion and chaos amongst that day. Let’s take a close look at that chaos with this excellent August 2006 ABC News article:

New 9/11 Audiotapes Reveal U.S. Military's Information Breakdown

Time-Stamped Recordings Contradict Testimony Given at 9/11 Commission


Aug. 2, 2006 — - At 8:37 a.m. on the morning of September 11, 2001, communications officers at the Air Force center responsible for defending a region of the United States that ranges from Memphis to Maine were discussing sofas and slip covers.

The Northeast Air Defense Sector, or NEADS, is located in an unlikely bunker in upstate New York. Seconds into the mundane conversation, a phone call came in from a civilian air traffic control center in Boston alerting NEADS to the hijacking of American Airlines Flight 11. The next 100 minutes of that fateful day were recorded on more than 30 hours of audiotapes, later obtained by Vanity Fair writer Michael Bronner.

You can hear the tapes or read the Vanity Fair article here.

ABC News was permitted full access to these recordings, which tell the story of the military's complete lack of preparedness for the incoming terrorist attack.

The tapes also lay to rest the lingering conspiracy theory that the U.S. military shot down United Airlines Flight 93.

The day began with the expectation of a military exercise, which ironically included a hijacking simulation. Several minutes after the hijackings began, that expectation was hard to shake as reality intruded on the NEADS staffers.

That’s right, there was, ironically, a hijacking simulation military exercise schedules for that day. Funny how little that’s been mentioned in the five years following 9/11. Perhaps that could have led to a bit of the confusion with the air response.


"When the initial call came in ... we had to ask if it was real world or if it was an exercise, and they said, no, it was real world," said senior airman Stacia Rountree, one of the technicians fielding calls that morning at NEADS.

The tapes also reveal that the military could not keep up with the unfolding scenario of planes being used as weapons. This was partly because the hijackers took key steps to remain undetectable on radar scopes.

It’s worth noting that NORAD had been running drills of planes being used as weapons in the two years leading up to 9/11. Two of the simulated targets were the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Another exercise involve a mock shootdown of a jet over the Atlanic Ocean.

And in what was described as a “bizarre” coincidence, there actually was an exercise planned for that day that involved planes crashing into buildings. In August of 2002, it was revealed that the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) had scheduled an exercise for 9AM on the morning of 9/11 in which a small corporate jet would crash into one of the four towers at the NRO’s headquarters, which is not too far from the Pentagon (8)

And finishing our look at the ABC News article…

Every commercial plane is equipped with a beacon that broadcasts the name and type of the airplane -- information which would have been up on civilian air traffic controllers radar scopes. The 9/11 hijackers turned those beacons off, ditching the civilian air traffic controllers, who were the crucial informational link to the military.

"It was almost impossible for the military controllers looking at their scopes, [which were] literally like a sea of green dots, to figure out which planes the civilian controllers were telling them were hijacked," Bronner said. "That was the biggest problem all day."

Making matters worse, the NEADS scopes were all focused out to sea, anticipating Russian bombers flying in from the Atlantic, as a vestige of the Cold War era strategy.

One of the possible reasons the NEADS radar scopes were all focused out to sea could have due to the fact that Operation Vigilant Guardian, a drill involving a simulated Soviet bomber attack, was also being conducted that morning. Unlike the rest of drills, Operation Vigilant Guardian is mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report (see footnote 116). According to the 9/11 Commission Report, the scheduled drill actually enhanced the response timing.


Bronner also said that he was amazed to learn that the United States had only four armed fighter jets in the entire Northeast to protect it -- two at Otis Air Force Base in Cape Cod, Mass., and two at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.

"We got the scramble order itself at 8:46. ...We were just given an altitude and a heading to fly, which happened to have been toward New York City," said Maj. Dan Nash, who was the pilot of one of the jets at Cape Cod. "So, we were assigned to intercept American 11, but there was no way that was going to happen."

By the time Maj. Nash began taxiing down the runway, only two minutes after he was authorized to take off, Flight 11 had already crashed into the World Trade Center.

Seventeen minutes after that collision, Rountree received another call saying that a second plane had been hijacked. At the exact moment, she received that call, United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center.

It was only after the second tower was hit that Master Sgt. Maureen Dooley realized these crashes were no accidents.

"When I actually felt that this was not an accident and that it was going to be an attack on the United States, was when the second aircraft hit the World Trade Center," she said. "Then I went, 'Oh, my God,' and it was like a pit in your stomach."

Faulty information continued to flow into NEADS, which was now operating under the impression that American Airlines 11, the first plane to hit the tower, was still in the air and on its way to Washington, D.C.

Over the next several hours, NEADS undertook a frantic chase for this so-called phantom plane, AA 11.

According to the Vanity Fair article, the two Langley fighters were initially heading out east over the Atlantic to a military training airspace Whiskey 386 before being turned around to intercept the phantom American Airlines 11 flight. The pilots reportedly had never been told why they had been scrambled and ended up following their normal training manual involving the “Russian threat”.


At 9:34 a.m., a call came in to NEADS about yet another suspected hijacking -- this one was American Flight 77, just miles from the White House.

Col. Kevin Nasypany, the NEADS mission control commander, scrambled to get fighters in position, ordering jets to intercept the planes as soon as possible. Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon just two minutes after he gave that command.

But the tapes' biggest revelation may revolve around United Flight 93, which passengers forced down near Shanksville, Pa.

Tech Sgt. Shelley Watson first received a call about United 93 at 10:07 from the Cleveland Air Traffic Control Center, which claimed that the plane was hijacked and carrying a bomb. By that time, the flight had already been burning on the ground for three minutes. The timing of the call, which is beyond dispute, as the tapes are stamped with time codes, means it was impossible for the military to have had any chance of shooting down United 93.

Also according to the August 2006 Vanity Fair article:

But by the time NEADS gets the report of a bomb on United 93, everyone on board is already dead. Following the passengers' counterattack, the plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania at 10:03 a.m., 4 minutes before Cleveland Center notified NEADS, and a full 35 minutes after a Cleveland Center controller, a veteran named John Werth, first suspected something was wrong with the flight. At 9:28, Werth actually heard the guttural sounds of the cockpit struggle over the radio as the hijackers attacked the pilots.

Werth's suspicions about United 93 were passed quickly up the F.A.A.'s chain of command, so how is it that no one from the agency alerted NEADS for more than half an hour?

A former senior executive at the F.A.A., speaking to me on the condition that I not identify him by name, tried to explain. "Our whole procedures prior to 9/11 were that you turned everything [regarding a hijacking] over to the F.B.I.," he said, reiterating that hijackers had never actually flown airplanes; it was expected that they'd land and make demands. "There were absolutely no shootdown protocols at all. The F.A.A. had nothing to do with whether they were going to shoot anybody down. We had no protocols or rules of engagement.”

If that’s an accurate statement by the anonymous senior FAA official, then one must wonder if the FBI was involved in the decision-making process regarding the mysterious air response on 9/11. And given everything we’ve seen regarding the FBI’s schizophrenic attitude towards terrorism, if the FBI was involved in the 9/11 air response, than 9/11 just got a lot more mysterious. Then again, who knows? We don’t, at least not with a degree of certainty, which is unfortunate.


This new timeline contradicts certain statements given by administration and military officials in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, made both publicly and before the 9/11 Commission.

"I was extremely troubled, and so were the other members of the commission," Thomas Kean., chairman of the 9/11 Commission. "This was one of the most troubling facts in the whole 9/11 investigation -- how our military failed to get the information and then, in testifying before us, didn't really give the truth.

"What's strange to me about these statements to the press on the ABC News special [which aired on September 11, 2002] and many other places is, you know, a year later and beyond, you have Cheney, Rove, Andrew Card, and you have military people continuing to talk about the fact that they were watching United 93 -- they were deliberating," Bronner said.

"The reality is, even though the military tried its best to get going and tried its best to intercept these plans, they had information late every time and there was no real play on any of the hijacked planes."

"The air defense that morning came from the passengers themselves," Kean said. "That day, they were more effective then the whole of the United States military."

Copyright © 2006 ABC News Internet Ventures

What are we to make of all this? Changing timelines, a paucity of jets chasing simulated drills and phantom planes, information arriving far too late to make a difference, and general chaos all taking place across computer networks analyzed by a company apparently owned by the possible financiers of the people that attacked us. It’s not a very positive situation. Then again, what have we seen in this series of essays that is positive? Quite a bit, actually: whether you’re looking at the FAA, the FBI, the military, the CIA, or pretty much any other organization we’ve examined, you will find no shortage of individuals doing their best to do the right thing in an environment that often makes that quite difficult. That’s part of what makes this an amazingly difficult situation.

It’s a Jungle in here

So is there a way we can make more sense of not only Ptech but the entirety of what we’ve seen? Yes, by going on a safari. And how do we go on a safari? By joining the Safari Club. Let’s joing this club by taking a look at an excerpt from Joseph Trento’s excellent 2004 book Prelude to Terror: the Rogue CIA, The Legacy of America's Private Intelligence Network the Compromising of American Intelligence (page 100):

During George Bush’s Zapata-Offshore years, he had met most of the Gulf region’s royals and had developed close personal relationships with several of them. When Saudi money began flowing into Texas in the 1970’s, Bush and his family became very friendly with the most influential Saudis living in the United States.

The most important friendship Bush had was with a quiet, dignified man named Sheikh Kamal Adham, Director of Saudi Intelligence, whom Bush had met through his father. Bush has told reporters, ‘I never met Kamal Adham personally.’ But according to lawyers for the late Saudi intelligence head and several officials at the CIA who served under Bush, there were several official meetings inside and outside the United States, both before and after Bush was the DCI. ‘Bush and Kamal were old friends. I was present when they met in New York when Bush was still United Nations Ambassador,’ Sarkis Soghanalian said. Bush and Adham shared a fascination with intelligence. Bush also took a deep interest in the sheikh’s American-educated nephew, HRH Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Sa’ud.

An interesting fun fact: Zapata oil is one of the original companies that merged to form Pennzoil.


Prince Tuki had been a subject of CIA interest ever since his father had sent him to prep school at the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey. Agency talent spotters on the faculty at Georgetown University kept close track of Turki until he dropped out of Georgetown University to return home at the outbreak of the 1967 war with Israel. After later completing his education in England, Turki again returned home to prepare himself to eventually succeed his uncle-Kamal Adham as Director of Saudi intelligence.

Prince Turki, you’ll recall, is the longtime Saudi intelligence chief that stepped down just a few weeks before 9/11.

Skipping down to page 101 in Prelude to Terror

Both Prince Turki and Sheikh Kamal Adham would play enormous roles in servicing a spy network designed to replace the official CIA while it was under Congressional scrutiny between the time of Watergate and the end of the Carter administration. The idea of using the Saudi royal family to bypass the American Constitution did not originate in the Kingdom. Adham was initially approached by one of the most respected and powerful men in Washington, Clark Clifford, who rose to power under Harry Truman and had enjoyed a relationship with the intelligence community for years. ‘Clark Clifford approached Kamal Adham and asked that the Saudis consider setting up an informal intelligence network outside the United States during the investigations,’ Robert Crowley said. Crowley, in his role as the CIA’s liaison to the corporate world, was privy to the plan, in which worldwide covert operations for the Agency were funded through a host of Saudi banking and charity enterprises. Several top U.S. military and intelligence officials directed the operations from positions they held overseas, notably former CIA director Richard Helms, at this time Ambassador to Iran.

Clark Clifford, we’ll recall, was an integral player in the BCCI affair. And what’s that? He approached the Saudis with a plan to create an informal intelligence network during the congressional investigations following Watergate? How very BCCI-ish

And this network would included worldwide covert operations for the CIA being funded through a host of Saudi banking and charity enterprises? That doesn’t sound familiar at all!


Ed Wilson and his associates supported the network. According to Wilson, Prince Turki was used to finance several of his intelligence operations during this time period. According to Wilson, the amounts were in the millions of dollars. According to Tom Clines, the relationship between the Saudis and the private U.S. intelligence network that grew out of the activities of Clines and his colleagues was ‘vital . . . these operations were so sensitive, they could not be revealed.’ Mike Pilgrim, who also played a role in the operations of the private network during the 1980’s said, ‘It got to the point where we were used to support GID operations when the CIA could not.’ According to those involved, there was no line drawn between what was official and what became personal business.

Ed Wilson, another international man of mystery, was once branded “the most dangerous man in America” for his involvement in the sale of 20 tons of C-4 plastic explosives to Libya in the 70’s. His private CIA-approved arms trafficking network was a kind of predecessor to the behemoth we have today. When Mr. Wilson was claimed he was working with the consent of CIA, the US government denied it, fabricated and withheld evidence, and sent him to prison for quite a long time. Although the Ed Wilson’s story is a murky one, he does appear to have been a scapegoat for something bigger and highly illegal that was going on. There are a lot of scapegoats these days, and if we ever seriously investigate all this stuff, there’s going to be a lot more. That’s something to keep in mind.

Continuing on to page 102 in Prelude to Terror

Prince Turki himself acknowledged the private network for the first time in an uncharacteristically candid speech given to Georgetown University alumni in February 2002: ‘And now I will go back to the secret that I promised to tell you. In 1976, after the Watergate matters took place here, your intelligence community was literally tied up by Congress. It could not do anything. It could not send spies, it could not write reports, and it could not pay money. In order to compensate for that, a group of countries got together in the hope of fighting Communism and established what was called the Safari Club. The Safari Club included France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Iran. The principal aim of this club was that we would share information with each other and help each other in countering Soviet influence worldwide, and especially in Africa. In the 1970’s, there were still some countries in Africa that were coming out of colonialism, among them Mozambique, Angola, and I think Djibouti. The main concern of everybody was that the spread of Communism was tied up. Congress had literally paralyzed the work not only of the U.S. intelligence community but of its foreign service as well. And so the Kingdom, with these countries, helped in some way, I believe, to keep the world safe at the time when the United States was not able to do that. That, I think, is a secret that many of you don’t know. I am not saying it because I look to tell secrets, but because the time has gone and many of the actors are gone as well.’

Recall that George H.W. Bush was director of the CIA from January 30, 1976 to January 20, 1977. You can’t say the guy didn’t get a lot done that year.

It is also somewhat ironic and tragic that during a time when we were investigating the previous misdeeds of our leaders and some elements of the intelligence community, there were figures creating an extra-governmental private covert network intertwined with the criminal underground that appears to have spun out of control wreaked much havoc on our world.

And keep in mind that if we ever actually investigate this stuff, and really look into all of the badness going on in our halls of power, that really could hamper our intelligence capabilities for a period of time.

And also keep in mind that we need those capabilities in this dangerous world of ours because the rest of the world is largely run by very clever and capable thugs. They might be thugs with close ties to our own thugs here in the US, and they might be thus in suits or uniforms or religious garments or whatever other mask is necessary to assist their elevation, but in the end, when you look around the world, the thugs have risen to the top. And they’re thugs that are willing to use whatever are means are available to hold on to power and exploit vulnerable situations. That’s part of what makes this a horribly difficult and tragic situation.

Continuing to page 102 and 103…

Turki’s ‘secret’ was that the Saudi royal family had taken over intelligence financing for the United States. It was during this period that the Saudis opened up a series of covert accounts at Riggs Bank in Washington. Starting in the mid-1970’s, bank investigators say, these accounts show that tens of millions of dollars were being transferred between CIA operational accounts and accounts controlled by Saudi companies and the Saudi embassy itself. Turki worked directly with agency operatives like Sarkis Soghanalian and Ed Wilson, ‘If I needed money for an operation, Prince Turki made it available,’ Wilson said. Clifford’s request for Saudi help came at a very critical time for the royal family. Although the House of Saud had long placated domestic conservative clerics by allowing an education system that targeted the West—especially the United States—as evil, they were still deathly afraid of the establishment of any Muslim fundamentalist regime in the region. Their interests included keeping the shah in charge in Teheran and keeping an eye on an increasingly militant Libya. Although normally Israeli and Saudi interests were in conflict, in this case they converged. It was in the interest of Albert Hakim, Frank Terpil’s sometime employer, to serve as a bridge between the two.

Sarkis Soghanalian was close to Sheikh Kamal Adham during this period. Adham frequently asked Soghanalian ‘about what kind of shape the shah was in. he complained the CIA was not giving him the full picture of how the shah was losing control.’ Adham believed that that binding Saudi Arabia with the United States would increase the House of Saud’s chances of surviving an Islamic resurgence. ‘Believe me,’ Soghanalian said, ‘Kamal did not do these things out of charity, but survival.’

Albert Hakim, we’ll recall from the Walsh Report, was a key player in Iran Contra arms trafficking network set up by Oliver North along with Richard Secord and Willard Zucker. And Sarkis Soghanalian, we’ll also recall, was the point man on the secret US program to arm Saddam Hussein in the 80’s.

Note too that in addition to the role played by Wahhabi clerics in promoting the Islamic insurgence that was taking place throughout much of the Muslim world in the 70’s, the Muslim Brotherhood was also a key player in promoting and exporting the Islamist agenda. And, as we’ve already seen, the US and Saudis had developed close and supportive relationships with the Muslim Brotherhood decades before. So this “Islamic resurgent” that was so feared by the Saudis was, in part, being championed by a group both the Saudis and the CIA had an ongoing relationship with.


Adham worked closely with George Bush on the plan to provide covert banking services for CIA operations. Like most things the Saudis do, there were benefits for the royal family. The arrangement would give the Saudis a comprehensive knowledge of U.S. intelligence operations. In 1976, when the CIA needed an influx of cash for operations, Adham agreed to allow Nugan Hand Bank’s Bernie Houghton to open a branch in Saudi Arabia.

On the surface, the GID was organized along the same lines as a miniature version of the CIA, but the hiring of case officers was very different. Part of Prince Turki’s job was to reach out to mullahs to provide religious officers for the GID. Turki, perhaps the most savvy politician in the royal family, tried to recruit those who practiced the reform version of Islam fathered by Ibn Abd al-Wahhab. From an intelligence viewpoint, bringing the extreme Wahhabis into the GID would make them loyal to the royal family and help ensure the survival of the state.

So in return for secret financing, this secret network outsourced our intelligence to a country that was recruiting religious fundamentalists that hated the West. What a great idea.

Continuing to page 103 and 104…

In 1975, the royal family was approached by Pakistan’s government for help in financing a pan-Islamic nuclear weapon. Adham and his advisers had simultaneously reached the conclusion that the royal family could not survive if they let the Israeli nuclear-weapons program stand unchallenged.

One of Adham’s closest American advisers said, ‘A decision was taken to pursue a two-track policy: placate religious Muslims by starting a covert effort to develop a pan-Islamic military capability. The second policy would be to operate in conjunction with the United States on undermining extreme Islamic movements that might lead to the installation of an Islamic state.’ The Saudis were adamant, however, that the funding for the Pakistani program be for research only and that no bomb be tested.

Ok, so we decided to build up a proxy Muslim fundamentalist, populate the new Saudi intelligence service with fundamentalists, and then also have a policy of undermining extreme fundamentalist movements. Does anyone else feel that is fundamentally insane?

Continuing to page 104 and 105…

Adham understood that creating a single worldwide clandestine bank was not enough to assure the kind of resources necessary to stave off the coming Islamic revolutions that threatened Saudi Arabia and the entire region. The Safari Club needed a network of banks to finance its intelligence operations. With the official blessing of George Bush as the head of the CIA, Adham transformed a small Pakistani merchant bank, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), into a worldwide money-laundering machine, buying banks around the world in order to create the biggest clandestine money network in history. Bush had an account with BCCI established at the time he was at the CIA. The account was set up at the Paris branch of the bank. Subsequent senate and other investigations concluded that the CIA, beginning with Bush, had protected the bank while it took part in illicit activities. One source who investigated the bank and provided information about the Bush account in Paris was Jacques Bardu, who, as a French customs official, raided the BCCI Paris branch and discovered the account in Bush’s name.

Recall how in Part 10 we described BCCI as a kind of meta-bank, with real banks - secretly being owned by BCCI - forming a global network. Well, now it appears that the model was planned by the head of Saudi intelligence back in the 70’s and approved by George H. W. Bush.


Time magazine reported that the bank had its own spies, hit men, and enforcers. What no one reported at the time was that the bank was being used by the United States and Saudi Arabia as an intelligence front.

There had never been anything like it. Paul Helliwell may have made the mold, but Adham and BCCI founder Sheikh Agha Hasan Abedi smashed it. They contrived, with Bush and other intelligence-service heads, a plan that seemed too good to be true. The bank would solicit the business of every major terrorist, rebel, and underground organization in the world. The invaluable intelligence thus gained would be discreetly distributed to ‘friends’ of BCCI. According to Wilson and Crowley, Bush ordered Raymond Close, the CIA’s top man in Saudi Arabia, to work closely with Adham.

Yes, BCCI did give enormous intelligence on every major terrorist, rebel, and underground organization in the world. And as we’ve seen, many of them were on government payrolls in one way or another or just allowed to go about their business.


Adham had other important roles too. He arranged through DCI Bush to put Egypt’s Vice President Anwar Sadat on an intelligence-agency payroll for the first time. This made Adham, in effect, Sadat’s case officer. This relationship gave Adham leverage when the time came to persuade Sadat to sign the Camp David Accords.

So the head of the Saudi intelligence service put Egyptian President Anwar Sadat on its payroll with the help of the head of the CIA!?! Well, it isn’t any more surprising than everything else we’ve seen.


Adham and Abedi believed the United States needed monitoring. After Adham left the GID in 1977, he and Abedi, using Clark Clifford, began infiltrating the American banking system with surreptitious purchases of major regional banks. Because Adham, through his relationships with Shackley and Bush, had intimate knowledge of just how desperate U.S. intelligence was for the services of a convenient, Washington, D.C.-based bank, acquiring one became one of his main goals. Meanwhile, as Clifford was making the connection between the CIA and Adham, he was also calling on Attorney General Edward Levi to kill the probe—of the perjury investigation of Helms’s lying to the Senate about Chile—that was threatening the future of Shackley and Helms, as well as the use of the Safari Club.

Yes, that perjury investigation of former CIA director Richard Helms was due to his lying to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee regarding US involvement in the 1973 military coup in Chile. More specifically, on September 11, 1973, a military coup carried overthrew a democratically elected government, ushering in a period of mass jailings and death squads. And our government supported it, like in so many other places (and like so many other governments have done). And even more specifically, the US assistance was overseen by Henry Kissinger, who, you may recall, was President Bush’s first choice to oversee the 9/11 investigation. You also might recall that it was an investigation President Bush didn’t want in the first place. Are you enjoying your safari?

And finishing our look at Prelude to Terror

Adham did not rely simply on money to carry out the plan. Adham and Abedi understood that they would also need muscle. They tapped into the CIA’s stockpile of misfits and malcontents to help man a 1,500-strong group of assassins and enforcers. Time magazine called this group a ‘black network.’ It combined intelligence with an effort to control a large portion of the world’s economy.

Okaaaay, let’s review some of what we just read: So the Safari Club was set up in 70’s, which was a time of Congressional investigations into the US intelligence community with the Church Committee, the Rockefeller Commission, and, in the late 70’s, the House Select Committee on Assassinations. During this period of Congressional scrutiny, figures deep within the US intelligence community, like legendary Washington insider Clark Clifford and George H. W. Bush, arranged to have the Saudis secretly finance US intelligence operations. And to do this they arranged to allow the BCCI criminal bank, which was then emerging as a clandestine financial powerhouse, to secretly buy up some major US banks via Clark Clifford’s maneuverings. This Safari Club arrangement also involved US intelligence operations being financed through a host of Saudi charities. Oh, and the Saudis were also actively recruiting Muslim fundamentalists into their intelligence service around this same time.

We’re going to go out on a limb here, but when we keep finding all these major Saudi charities being accused of assisting Muslim fundamentalist terrorist groups, and then find a strange unwillingness on the part of elements of the US law enforcement and intelligence community to do something about it or just look the other way entirely, maybe, just maybe, that has something to do with this parallel quasi-private US-Saudi-and-who-know-what-else intelligence network. And maybe, just maybe, this same network is the reason we have companies like Ptech - which was set up and run by the same network of Muslim Brotherhood run/Saudi funded charities – are given rather amazing access to our national security secrets. And the fact that we have this kind of arrangement with groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, that themselves have an extensive relationship with the web of terrorist groups we are fighting in this so-called “War on Terror” - then maybe, just maybe, this whole “War on Terror” thing is a lot more complicated than “al-Qaeda attacked us and now we’re going to get them and their terrorist allies” and involves some high-level, and deep, duplicity on all the sides involved.

Now, we’re going to go farther out on a limb here and propose that maybe, just maybe, this strange arrangement between US intelligence, Saudi intelligence, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Muslim fundamentalist groups – an arrangement that doesn’t appear to be an officially sanctioned policy and is so secret that even agents with the FBI and CIA are constantly running into unexpected bureaucratic obstacles when they try investigate Middle Eastern groups – maybe this arrangement is not in our best interests. And since the Safari Club was bankrolled and organized by a faction of the Muslim world with extensive fascist ties, and was set up a time when Nazis and other far-Right extremists formed an important component of what was a rather extensive covert military and intelligence network then maybe, just maybe¸ this parallel intelligence network has fascistic tendencies.

And since one of the key individuals that set up this network, George H. W. Bush, not only has an interesting familial history of dealing with the Nazis, but he and his political party also have a history of directly utilizing ex-fascists for political purposes then maybe, just maybe, there is a fascistic element today in American politics. And since we now appear to be in an endless “War on Terror” being led by the son of George H. W. Bush, and it involves a Congress that is controlled by this same party with a strange fascistic past, and this Congress recently passed a law essentially giving the President unlimited power during a time of war then, maybe, just maybe, We, the People, are in serious trouble.

Could we be a country run by folks that wouldn’t mind if America permanently traded in some of its civic freedom for a little more “security” against an enemy that was cultivated by some of fascism’s longstanding allies? It’s an incredibly chilling thought to imagine that a fascistic 5th column could be in a position, today, to declare “Mission Accomplished!!!!!!!!!!!!!” on a decades-long power grab in this country. Is this too much of a reach to be concerned about such a possibility given what we’ve seen?

Let’s review

In Part 1, we began our little safari through the jungles of terror financing by taking a brief examination of the muddle world of bureaucratic mishap and the start of the Operation Greenquest investigation into terrorist financing. We also saw the eyes wide shut nature of a terror financing status before 9/11.

In Part 2, we took a look at how the Muslim Brotherhood’s al-Taqwa financial network was quickly fingered as a potential culprit in the financing of terrorist groups. We also made note that the investigation into al-Taqwa eventually languished and collapsed, in part because of the lack of cooperation by foreign nations that happen to be international financial havens and the fact that it is just really really easy to launder money and get away with it.

In Part 3, we delved deeper into the figures behind al-Taqwa. We saw how it was set up in the late 80’s, and noted that its financial backers included many powerful wealthy people in the Middle East. We also saw how politically connected the figures running al-Taqwa were. And quite chillingly, we discovered that one of al-Taqwa’s directors, Ahmed Huber, appears to play a leading role in maintaining an alliance between Islamist extremists, the far-Right, Nazis, and other authoritarian figures.

In Part 4, we shifted our examination to the Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi establishment inside the US and discovered that a number of figures quite close to al-Taqwa were also running the SAAR network, which consisted of a web of foundations and charities designed to influence the Islamic community here in the US, and also launder gobs of money. We discovered that this same network of people have incredibly close ties to some of the most powerful people in DC through the Islamic Institute. The Islamic Institute was set up by uber-conservative uber-lobbyist Grover Norquist. It was also set up to get Muslim community votes for the GOP. Oh, and we discovered that the March 20, 2002, Operation Greenquest raids on this network of charities appeared to have been triggered by a lawsuit filed by ex-Department of Justice Nazi-hunter John Loftus. John Loftus, we noted, was given above-top-secret access to the National Archives by the Department of Justice in 1979 in order to see what information he could find on WWII war criminals that tried to settle in the United States. And that led to the discovery of the extensive use of these war criminals by factions of the early OSS and CIA. He also discovered that most of the documents detailing this secret policy has been hidden within the massive archives and were, therefore, not known by the intelligence and law enforcement community at large. It remains a touchy topic.

In Part 5, we jumped back in time to the early alliance between the Muslim Brotherhood and the fascist movements of the 20th century. We also saw how the US’s relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood began back in the 50’s, including a relationship with one of the figures, Ghaleb Himmat, that set up al-Taqwa decades later. That relationship was partly in response to Egyptian dictator, Gamel Abdel Nasser, cozying up to the Soviets and cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood. We also made a note of the presence of this same fascist diaspora within the GOP’s New Right movement and how the New Right movement is pretty much the current dominant faction of the GOP.

In Part 6, we saw how Nasser also had quite a cozy relationship with the postwar Nazi underground, and how that relationship was facilitated by the CIA. We learned how the Nazi diaspora was involved in arms trafficking, drug running, money-laundering, and providing scientific, military, and propaganda expertise. In the case of figures like Francois Genoud, these activities included the development and financing of Islamist terrorist groups. We also saw how this same Nazi diaspora was used as kinds of mercenary force to help inflict a very dark and dirty set of wars in South America, including the Nicaraguan Contra support effort. Other private forces at work in South America at that time included the Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s commercial empire. The Reverend Sun Myung Moon is closely affiliate with the New Right in US politics.

In Part 7, we delved deeper into the history of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the many splinter groups that emerged from it starting in the 70’s. We saw how the two main militant groups, Gama’a al-Islamiya and Egyptian Islamic Jihad, had a deeply intertwined relationship with al-Qaeda. We also saw how the CIA, FBI, and military had a strangely complicated relationship with these same groups (which was especially the case with Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman’s outfit and Ali Mohamed) based partly on their involvement with the Afghan support effort, and partly ummm …”bureaucratic errors”. London too had its own “interesting” relationship with the radical Islamists that seemed to involve a “look but don’t touch no matter what” attitude.

In Part 8, we saw how the holy war in Afghanistan was exported to places like Bosnia and the Phillipines with a hefty dose of Saudi money and Muslim Brotherhood organizing. This covert support included a number of the same Saudi-backed charities, many of which were set up in the late 80’s around the same time al-Taqwa was set up. And they were, in many cases, the same charities investigated in Operation Greenquest. The Bosnian Muslim fighters support also included a number of other countries, including Iran and the United States. We also saw how the “Golden Chain” list of early al-Qaeda sponsors included a number prominent, very wealthy backers, such as members from the al-Rajhi and bin Mahfouz Saudi financial dynasties. The al-Rajhis also happened to be fianciers of the SAAR foundation. We then explored the way in which the Bosnian Jihadists were supposedly kicked out by the international community (but not really kicked out), and replaced with private US corporations, ushering in an age of increasingly privatized warfare. We now have the proxy Muslim fighters combating the increasingly privatized US military.

In Part 9, we got took a look at what’s going on over in the former Soviet Union with regard to . This included a brutal war in Chechnya that was successfully turned into another front in the global Jihad by the Muslim Brotherhood and Saudis. It also included the possibility that the terrorist attacks perpetrated in the fall of 1999 that turned an unknown Vladimir Putin into a national hero, were carried out by the Russian intelligence services. And, finally, we took a look at Victor Bout, arms-trafficker extraordinaire. Victor Bout, we learned, was not only a supplier of weapons to al-Qaeda, but also the UN, the US military, and pretty much anyone that could pay. And Victor Bout, we also learned, was utilizing many of the same trafficking techniques set up during the Iran Contra years, and that many of the arms he moves come from the former Soviet military-industrial complex, which is alive and well and selling to anyone that can afford it, much like the military-industrial complexes elsewhere in the world.

In Part 10, we looked at the nightmare better known the international financial system. It’s a system where trillions of dollars generated in the underground economy freely flows through financial black boxes better known as tax havens. Virtually every major bank is also diligently not disallowing big flows of dirty money to blindly move through their accounts. We also saw how Banca del Gottardo, the bank used by the al-Taqwa group for its financial footwork, has a number of very interesting historic connections. Not only was it utilized in the Russian money-laundering scandals of the Yeltsin years, and not only did it take part in Saddam Hussein’s money-laundering operations, but it was also the Swiss subsidiary of Banca Ambrosiano, which was at the heart of the Vatican Bank scandal of the early 80’s. And the Vatican Bank scandal, as we saw, was merely one component of a much larger scandal involving the P-2 fascist masonic lodge that was revealed to have infiltrated all level of Italian government, media, and industry. The leader of that P-2 lodge, Licio Gelli, was at Ronald Reagan’s 1981 inauguration as a guest of fellow named Paul Guarino, who happened to be one of the fascists found to be working on George H. W. Bush’s 1988 campaign. Italian far-Rightists, we’ll also note, have quite a few ties to the al-Taqwa group, including Pier Felice Barchi, who we saw in Part 3 was both al-Taqwa’s lawyer and Silvio Berlusconi’s swiss-based investment advisor.

In Part 11, we examined the twin Clearstream affairs that revealed the possible existence of a massive asset laundering operation in one of the biggest stock and bond clearinghouses in Europe using a secret system of unpublished accounts. Bank al-Taqwa had access to this system, and so did SICO, the bin Laden family’s Switzerland-based international investment company. We also took a look at how the French political scandal surrounding the second Clearstream affair merely played into the far-Right’s hands, which is something for us to watch out for (not that Lefist extremists wouldn’t be scary either). We saw how SICO, which took part in the Iran Contra affair, had on its board of directors a number of interesting characters, including a friend of Francois Genoud. We also saw how SICO apparently opened up unpublished accounts with Clearstream just weeks before SICO’s lawyers liquidated a financial trust managed by one of the main players in a money-laundering network set up by Oliver North. We then examined the bin Laden family, and specifically whether powerful members of the clan maintain ties to Osama, and it appears some of the family members do indeed maintain such ties.

In Part 12, we took a closer look at the pre and post 9/11 investigations into the figures affiliated with the SAAR network and the Muslim Brotherhood in the US. We saw how many of the very wealthy and powerful Middle Eastern figures that were fingered as financiers of terrorism were given the best legal defense money can buy, in part because the their incredible political connections. We also saw how a “look but don’t touch” policy was the rule of the day within the FBI’s pre-9/11 counter-terrorism efforts regarding Saudi and Muslim Brotherhood operations. In the case of the Operation Vulgar Betrayal investigation, the policy was more like “don’t look, but if you look don’t touch, but if you touch just touch with a nice interview, and don’t record that interview”. Operation Vulgar Betrayal involved a number of notable characters including Yassin al-Qadi and Soliman Biheiri, who were both prominent officials or financiers in the BMI. And BMI happens to be a central investment company for the larger SAAR network and related entities.

And then we got here, to Part 13, the last disturbing segment of our most troubling walk through a dark aspect of our history. First we saw how the officials at the SAAR network and Islamic Institute have even deeper connections to the Bush family than we first realized. We also saw how David Safavian, a prominent figure in the Jack Abramoff scandal, was both closely affiliated with this same crowd while heading up federal government offices in charge of establishing contracts for increasingly outsourced governmental functions. Then we got to examine how the Operation Greenquest raids were killed off by the Department of Justice, in particular by Michael Chertoff who now heads of the Department of Homeland security. After that we took a look at Ptech, the risk-assessment software company with direct ties to the BMI crowd. And, in the spirit of outsourcing pretty much everything, including National Security functions, it turns out that Ptech has been given detailed access to the computer networks of virtually every federal government agency and who knows what else. We noted how the FBI seemed to want nothing to do with investigating Ptech, and we questioned whether Ptech could have had anything to do with the anomalous air response on the morning of 9/11. And finally, we got to see how the outsourcing of state secrets goes far beyond Ptech, and appears to include a giant privatized covert network set up between factions within the US, Saudi Arabia and other countries in the 1970’s. This network appears to involve the private financing of CIA operations (and presumably other intelligence agencies) using a web of Saudi charities and banks. This network also appears to be, more or less, the totality of everything we’ve seen (and more) in terms of modern arms and drugs trafficking, massive money-laundering, and an explosion in private military and intelligence capabilities. Oh, and George H. W. Bush, who was heading up the CIA in 1976, appears to have played a major role in setting this network up.

And upon review

Mission Accomplished!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Are you terrified yet? You should be. Because We, the People, have got some serious problems. What we’ve seen implies that 9/11 was carried out by a of terrorist network that is, itself, just one branch of a much larger global network and movement of extremist groups that are, themselves, fueled by a much larger international covert network of quasi-governmental and quasi-private intelligence and commercial organizations that are, themselves, working at the behest of an international network of some of the richest and most powerful people on the planet that are, themselves, authoritarian thugs. Granted, that’s an oversimplification, but it does appear to be the case that there just might be a powerful international fascistic 5th column (or two or three) that’s been gaining power and influence in the world for quite some time now and wreaking extra amounts of havoc across the globe. And it’s not like humanity ever needed help in the havoc-wreaking department before.

And if what we’ve seen means that an International Brotherhood of Covert Power has led our country into an endless War on Terror and Clash of Civilizations, then a most treacherous kind of treason has taken place at the highest and deepest levels of our government and governments around the world, which would be quite unpleasant.

We’re going to need Mr. Emory’s memory and archives

So now that we’ve seen it, what are we to do about this most terrifying situation? How about turning that terror into hope. And how might we do that? First, by recognizing that if indeed there is some sort of clandestine criminal force out there in the world, they can’t quite declare Mission Accomplished. Their Mission is not Entirely Accomplished because they’ve left quite a paper trail. There has been a steady flood of quiet scandals, investigations, news reports, books, and just a general well-spring of information that something has gone horribly, horribly wrong in DC. And those are all signs that something is still going right, namely that there are folks within government and the private sector that are fighting back and have been for quite some time.

Still, while we have folks fighting back they are outgunned in and need of the public’s help in a massive way because otherwise they will have risked their lives and destroyed their careers to give us the information we need all for nothing. Alarms bells of deep, endemic corruption have been blaring for decades, and there’s quite a bit of information out there on this not-so-hidden history to help us start putting the pieces together. And there is one source, in particular, that you should be sure to check out. It’s the work of anti-fascist researcher Dave Emory. For more than a quarter of the century Mr. Emory has been hosting radio shows discussing the ongoing threat of international fascism on the WFMU radio station in New Jersey (and it’s not even his day job). You can access an archive of over 500 of his radio shows here (and that’s just the shows he’s been doing in the past 10 years). He also has made available, for free download, a number of old, long forgotten books on the nature and structure of international fascism. This particular 13 part series of essays you’re reading right now is based heavily on Mr. Emory’s research into the roots of 9/11. And this series is also just the tip of the iceberg. There is much more information available in the public record at our disposal to makes sense out of the much larger topic of fascism, its roots, and its post-WWII incarnations. Much of that publicly available information is in Mr. Emory’s archives.

Please go talk to Dave Emory. As someone that has been studying the evolution of international fascism for decades Dave Emory a guy that should become a household name if we would like save this republic of ours. There are many other incredibly useful resources too for topics related to 9/11 (www.cooperativeresearch.org is quite excellent) but Dave Emory’s site stands out as particularly necessary in connecting the past to the present.

And please also go talk to Robert Parry, John Loftus, Lucy Komisar, Douglas Farah, and the many other folks out there that are investigating the vital and seemingly untouchable topics of our day.

A few final ramblings

We’re not going to end this series of essays so much as plea for people to improve upon and correct this hastily made jumble of information and speculation. But here are a few suggestions going forward:

First off, if something, say, havoc-causing should take place in our future, there are a few questions we should keep asking ourselves: WWHD and WWHHD? That’s right, if we find our leaders doing something that just doesn’t seem very American, just ask What Would Hitler Do? And if our leaders’ actions seem to be in line with what Hitler would do, let’s find a nice non-violent civil way to reverse it. Along those same lines, if we find ourselves being asked to do things by our leaders that just doesn’t very American, let’s ask ourselves What Would Hitler’s Henchmen Do? Do you want to do what Hitler’s Henchmen did? Hopefully not. This is potentially important because one of the observations of Mr. Emory is that, given the longstanding hatred by far-Rightists of the United States’ traditions of democracy and multiculturalism, we may not be heading towards a fascist take over, so much as a take down. And we’ve done an excellent job increasing anti-American sentiments recently. In fact, when you look back at what has taken place since 9/11, which has included two badly mismanaged wars that are depleting our military strength, spiraling debt, a loss of civil liberties, and a sharp increase in the loathing of America throughout the world, our leaders can definitely say “Mission Accomplished” if their intent was the destroy this country’s economic, military, and political power. That’s part of the nature of an international fascistic threat: not all countries are there to be quietly taken over...some are meant to be rally cry to unite the rest of the world and be destroyed in the process. The US could very well be set up for that kind of fall. So keep in the possibility that we aren’t in for a take over so much as a take down when you’re trying to make sense of our leaders’ bewildering behavior because there are plenty of other powers on the planet that can take our place as a leading nation and they aren’t necessarily interested in being a beacon of freedom and diversity. And if we should experience a take down kind of scenario that involves, say, economic hardship and general mayhem (covert and otherwise), we have be sure to not play Follow the Fascists, because Fascists prey on those praying for some sort of salvation out of hardship and Follow the Fascists is a game everyone loses. Everyone, that is, except the fascists.

A second general meme worth putting out there is that should we ever have any serious attempt at investigating this topic, which involves many of the wealthiest and most powerful governmental figures, corporations, and private empires on the planet, then those investigations and the responses to those investigations could trigger a bit of, uh, economic distress and general hardship. Everywhere. That’s one of the repercussions of a globalized world economy and the increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of the world’s elite uber-rich class. So, if we find that there does, indeed, exist a large-scale fascistic international covert criminal enterprise then perhaps the grand adventure of attempting to unravel that beast from our lives should include a call for a cease-fire of hostilities. On all sides. Everywhere. Literally a call for a global cease-fire. The odds of it working are pretty slim, but it’s worth a try and we could really use a global cease-fire considering we’re living in a world awash in weapons and primed for even greater conflict. Not that we couldn’t use a global cease-fire regardless of such a scenario (we have, you know, like broken the weather patterns and pillage the environment n’ stuff), but it would just be a really good excuse to implement something that probably hasn’t been tried too many times before. Sure, we can resume our conflicts after a period because conflicts need resolution, just hopefully in a non-violent manner. And hopefully, at that point, we’ll be so shocked by everything we’ve learned that we won’t even be thinking about resorting to violent means of resolving conflicts because, in the end, it’s kind of psycho and there’s no point in going down that road.

But, of course, that’s just happy talk, and what we really need happy action, and few actions would be more happy than the hidden power brokers of the world stepping forward, dropping the mask, and just leveling with us as to what is going on. To quote arms dealer extraordinaire Victor Bout, ''It's easy to make war, to play the political game . . . But to be at peace within yourself. . . .''. Yeah, let’s hope that it’s hard these guys to sleep at night. At least some of them. There are no doubt a few twisted souls that enjoy all the death and destruction or just don’t care (and the piles and piles of money probably help). But there have got to be plenty more that know, at least on some level, that this game they are playing is of a most dark and soul-crushing nature. Not all of them, but some of them. So in the interest of ridding ourselves of these immensely powerful shadow forces in the world, how about we, the people, offer folks like Victor Bout a path towards inner peace. And that’s by making a nice generous offer: if you, the fascist/war mafioso insider voluntarily come forward and assist us, we will do our best to recognize the risk you took and humanize you instead of demonizing you in our public assessment of the life you lived. Sound like a decent deal? It should, because it’s a great deal and a wonderful down payment on a karmic debt that can’t be laundered away.

And in the mean time, while we’re trying to make sense of a Constitution undone, and a dictatorial powers handed over to an Endless-Wartime President, how about the rest of us become Radical Crusaders of Much Kindness to Strangers and Civic Responsibility and lead a Jihad against Extremism ( excluding, of course, Extreme Kindness, Generosity, Tolerance, Understanding, and all the other good stuff that religions tend to forget unite them). In the end that’s what we’re going to need no matter what happens. And here’s a great way to start: How about by giving to some nice charities for US war vets and folks in war torn Muslim nations. They could really use it these days.

Offline References

(1) House of Bush/House of Saud; by Craig Unger; Scribner [HC]; Copyright 2004 by Craig Unger; ISBN 0-7432-5337-X; p209

(2) Forbidden Truth; Jean-Charles Brisard & Guillaume Dasquie; Copyright 2002 [SC]; Thunder’s Mouth/Nation Books; ISBN 1-56025-414-9; p. 136.

(3) ibid p. 133

(4) Blood from Stones: The Secret Financial Network of Terror; by Douglas Farah; Broadway Books [HC] {subsidiary of Random House}; Copyright 2004 by Douglas Farah; ISBN 0-7679-15262-3; p156-157

(5) Terrorist Hunter by “Anonymous” [Rita Katz]; CCC [imprint of Harper Collins]; Copyright 2003 by Harper Collins [HC]; ISBN 0-06-052819-2; p310-311

(6) Wall Street Journal December 6, 2002 U.S. probes terror ties to Boston software firm” by Jerry Guidera and Glenn R. Simpson

(7) ibid

(8) Associated Press August 22, 2002 “Agency planned exercise on Sept. 11 built around a plan crashing into a building” by John J. Lumpkin