Posts Tagged ‘9/11’

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Checks link 9/11 hijacker to Anwar al-Awlaki

April 2, 2013

A newly released FBI report indicates that an unnamed male once received a check from radical imam Anwar al-Awlaki for $280 and gave a check for $175 to Nawaf Al-Hamzi, a hijacker on American Airlines Flight 77 that flew into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.  The transactions suggest that al-Awlaki funded Al-Hamzi through this unnamed intermediary.

This is the third report in the last two months of a U.S.-based imam having helped to finance terrorism.

Hat tip to El Grillo for tweeting this press release from Judicial Watch on Mar. 28:

JW Obtains FBI Records Detailing Banking Activity and Purchases Linking Anwar al-Aulaqi and 9/11 Hijackers

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it received documents on March 4, 2013 from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that raise new questions about close ties between Anwar al Aulaqi, the U.S.-born terrorist assassinated by a U.S. drone in Yemen on September 30, 2011, and Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al Mihdhar, two of the five hijackers who attacked the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. In the documents the FBI describes al Aulaqi as “The Spiritual Leader of the Hijackers.”

Judicial Watch received the documents in response to a June, 2012, Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the FBI and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State and Federal Bureau of Investigations (No. 1:12-cv-00893). They are part of Judicial Watch’s ongoing investigation of al Qaeda in the United States, including its current operations and support network.

Materials received by Judicial Watch reveal the following information the FBI regarded as worthy of investigation in its probe of ties between al Aulaqi and the 9/11 hijackers:

  • An undated FBI report indicates an individual received a check for $281.50 from al Aulaqi and wrote a check for $175 to al Hazmi on July 7, 2001.  There is no additional information about the transactions. The FBI apparently found the transaction to be of investigative interest because, depending on the identity of the intermediary party, it could indicate direct assistance from al Aulaqi to al Hazmi.
  • On 9/13/2001, FBI agents took possession of and searched the vehicle al Aulaqi rented in San Diego on 9/8/2001 (which he kept for one day and drove only 37 miles).  While there is no report regarding the results of the search, the action highlights the FBI’s interest in al Aulaqi and suspicions about his trip to San Diego, home to both al Hazmi and al Mihdhar leading up to the attacks.
  • An FBI report dated 10/24/2001 indicates that the Bureau became aware three days after the 9/11 attacks (9/14/2001) that al Aulaqi had rented a Mailboxes Etc. mail drop in Falls Church, VA.  The mail box was the subject of a federal grand jury subpoena.

“The more we learn about Anwar al Aulaqi, the more questions arise not only about his activities before and after 9/11, but also about the al Qaeda operational and support network still active in the United States,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It is now even more concerning that al Aulaqi was invited to the Pentagon after 9/11 and then let go by the FBI despite warrants for his arrest.”

An earlier release of FBI documents obtained by a Judicial Watch FOIA and reported by Fox News suggest that the FBI was aware on September 27, 2001, that al Aulaqi had purchased airplane tickets for three of the 9/11 terrorist hijackers, including mastermind Mohammed Atta. Subsequent to the FBI’s discovery, al Aulaqi was detained and released by authorities at least twice and had been invited to dine at the Pentagon…

Previous evidence showed that Al-Hamzi and fellow future hijacker Khalid al-Mihdhar regarded their San Diego neighbor Al-Awlaki as a spiritual adviser, but the extent of Awlaki’s concrete support for the duo had not been firmly established.

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UN lifts sanctions on Muhammad Atta associate

March 27, 2013
http://www.dw.de/image/0,,1623175_4,00.jpg

Abdelghani Mzoudi now free to roam about the cabin

Abdelghani Mzoudi, a pal of 9/11 hijacking leader Muhammad Atta, is free to access his accounts, travel internationally, and buy or sells arms if he so chooses.  The United Nations removed Mzoudi from their blacklist of Al Qaeda operatives on March 18.

A tip of the hat goes to Mr. Watchlist, one of the only websites to have reported the Mzoudi de-listing.

According to the 9/11 Commission report, Mzoudi was an associate of the Al Qaeda cell in Hamburg, Germany, and personally witnessed Muhammad Atta sign his last will and testament in 1996.  Mzoudi was previously acquitted of terrorism charges, “not because the court was convinced of his innocence,” but because of missing evidence.

The United Nations has been on a sanctions list removal spree lately, freeing Al Qaeda sympathizers and financiers such as Yasin al-Qadi and Soliman al-Buthe from blacklists with almost no explanation, transparency, or opportunity for public comment.

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Aramco employee suspected of 9/11 link

October 18, 2012

A millionaire employee of Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s state oil company, is suspected of connections to the 9/11 hijackers.  The employee, Abdulaziz al-Hijji, denies the allegation, but former Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fl.) says that a U.S. investigation into al-Hijji was not thorough.  The remarks from Sen. Graham were reported by the Mail Online in February:

Saudi Arabian millionaire ‘with links to 9/11 terror attacks’ living in luxury London home while working for state oil company

A Saudi Arabian accused of having links to some of the 9/11 terrorists is working for his country’s state oil company in London.

Abdulaziz al-Hijji, 38, works for the European branch of Saudi Aramco and lives in a posh central London flat, having left his US home in Florida just weeks before the horrific attacks on September 11, 2001.

Registration numbers of vehicles passing through a checkpoint at the Prestancia gated community in Sarasota, in the months before 9/11, and the identifications shown by drivers, suggest three of the terrorists had visited al-Hijji’s home.

Mohamed Atta, a ringleader of the atrocities and the hijacker pilot who smashed American Airlines Flight 11 into the World Trade Center’s North Tower, was named as one of the men.

Marwan Al-Shehhi, who flew United Airlines Flight 175 into the South Tower, and Ziad Jarrah, who crashed United Airlines Flight 93 in a Pennsylvanian field, are also thought to have visited.

All three men learned to fly at Venice Airport, less than 20 miles from the house at 4224 Escondito Circle.

A fourth man, Adnan Shukrijumah, an al-Qaeda operative on the FBI’s most wanted list, with a $5m bounty on his head, is also believed to have visited the property.

In an email to The Daily Telegraph, al-Hijji wrote: ‘I have neither relation nor association with any of those bad people/criminals and the awful crime they did. 9/11 is a crime against the USA and all humankind and I’m very saddened and oppressed by these false allegations.

‘I love the USA. My kids were born there, I went to college and university there, I spent a good portion of my life there and I love it.’

The FBI also ruled out a connection between al-Hijji and the hijackers or the 9/11 plot but former US senator, Bob Graham – who chaired the US Senate intelligence committee at the time – said he has seen two secret documents which cast doubt on the FBI’s claim.

He told The Daily Telegraph: ‘Both documents indicate that the investigation was not the robust inquiry claimed by the FBI.’

The al-Hijjis are said to have aroused suspicion because of the ‘manner and timing’ of their departure from the US, having left behind a number of personal possessions, including three cars.

They moved to Saudi Arabia before settling in a four-bedroom detached house in Totton, near Southampton, in 2003, but returned to America briefly in 2005.

Al-Hijjis works for the Aramco Overseas Company UK Limited, based in New Oxford Street, London.

The U.S. should re-open an investigation into al-Hijji case.  The British should question al-Hijji as well.

One would also think that if Saudi Aramco would like to clear itself from Mr. Al-Hijji’s stench, it would conduct a personnel review of their own.  After all, al-Hijji must hold some type of executive position within Saudi Aramco for him to be a millionaire with a posh London flat.

Saudi Aramco should be especially concerned about its image given a former Aramco director, Sheikh Ahmad Turki Zaki Yamani, was named in the infamous Golden Chain Al Qaeda document a primary financial sponsor of Osama bin Laden.

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Iran and Al Qaeda owe $6b; Saudi Arabia, zero

August 9, 2012

Despite ample evidence of Saudi responsibility for the attacks of 9/11, a New York magistrate judge has recommended that Iran, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban pay $6 billion in damages to the families of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist assault, while Saudi Arabia owes nothing.

In fairness to Judge Frank Maas, he was bound by the ruling of Judge George Daniels who denied a motion to reinstate Saudi Arabia as a defendant in the 9/11 compensation trial earlier this year.  But in fairness to Judge Daniels, there would have been a stronger legal justification for naming Saudi Arabia as a defendant if the executive branch of the U.S. government had ever designated Saudi Arabia as a state sponsor of terrorism, which it is.

From the Associated Press via Newsday:

NY judge tells Iran, al-Qaida, Taliban to pay $6B to 9/11 victims

Al-Qaida, the Taliban and Iran should pay $6 billion to relatives of Sept. 11 victims for aiding in the 2001 terrorist attacks, a federal magistrate judge recommended Monday in a largely symbolic decision.

Even though it will be nearly impossible to collect damages, plaintiff Ellen Saracini, whose husband, Victor, was the captain of one of the planes that struck the World Trade Center, told the Daily News (http://nydn.us/OgIS41 ) that she is happy about Manhattan Federal Magistrate Judge Frank Maas’ recommendation.

“It’s hard being happy, but I am happy about it,” said Saracini, of Yardley, Pa. “But it opens up old wounds. We were never in it for a lawsuit. I wanted to know what happened to my husband.”

Last year, Judge George Daniels signed a default judgment on the lawsuit brought by relatives of 47 victims. He found al-Qaida, the Taliban and Iran liable and asked the magistrate to determine damages. Maas’ ruling Monday is a recommendation to Daniels, who can accept it or amend it.

Maas calculated punitive and compensatory damages for each of the plaintiffs and their lost family members.

Daniels ruled last year that the plaintiffs had established that the 2001 attacks were caused by the support the defendants provided to al-Qaida. The findings said Iran continues to provide material support and resources to al-Qaida by providing a safe haven for al-Qaida leadership and rank-and-file members.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly denied any Iranian connection in the Sept. 11 attacks or with al-Qaida.

Al-Qaida and Iran are natural enemies but have had a relationship of convenience based on their shared adversary, the United States. Iran allowed several of the 9/11 hijackers to pass through the country, but the 9/11 Commission found no evidence that Iran was aware of the planned attack.

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Overlooked Saudi Arabia ruling: off the hook

August 8, 2012

This is what we get for reading the mainstream media.  Totally missed this report back on March 16 from The Jurist (internal hyperlinks omitted):

Federal judge dismisses motion to reinstate Saudi Arabia as 9/11 defendant

Sung Un Kim

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) on Thursday dismissed a motion to reinstate Saudi Arabia as a defendant in the civil compensation lawsuit by victims and commercial insurers against the perpetrators of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Judge George Daniels found no sufficient basis to grant the plaintiffs’ motion, noting that such a motion was already presented to SDNY and rejected in 2005 by Judge Richard Conway Casey, who dismissed Saudi Arabia as a defendant at that time. For grounds to reopen the case, the plaintiffs cited a November decision of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that allowed a similar claim to proceed against Afghanistan, but Daniels stated that decision does not allow the claim against Saudi Arabia to be reinstated because the case was closed years ago and the recent Second Circuit decision has no bearing. The plaintiffs nevertheless plan to appeal the dismissal. Lawyers for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia noted the claim has already lost on appeal of the 2005 rejection, and the US Supreme Court at that time reviewed but declined to hear the case. The plaintiffs originally sued over 200 entities and governments–about 100 are still listed as defendants, and active litigation concerns less than 10.

The claim against Saudi Arabia was dismissed in 2008 by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit because there was insufficient evidence that the Kingdom’s princes had actual knowledge that their money was going to be used in the 9/11 attacks. Even after 10 years, cases brought by victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack against other governmental entities did not come to an end. In December, Iran denied the allegations that it was actively involved in the terrorist attack after a default judgment in Havlish v. Bin Laden. In June Judge Daniels dismissed 49 other terrorism lawsuits based on lack of evidence.

If the U.S. had named Saudi Arabia as a state sponsor of terrorism, which in reality it is, that probably would have enabled the case against Saudi Arabia to proceed.

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Zawahiri emphasizes Bin Laden’s money jihad

June 18, 2012

Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current leader of Al Qaeda, has released a video playing up the “generous” side of Osama bin Laden.  Zawahiri claims that Bin Laden “spent all his money for jihad.”

Zawahiri uses this Bin Laden fairy tale in order to convince Islamist businessmen to ante up the same way Osama supposedly did.  What’s really happening is that Zawahiri is running into the same cash flow problems as his predecessor.

When he first took command of Al Qaeda, Zawahiri didn’t say much about money.  Now it’s one of his favorite themes.  Accumulating money is one of Zawahiri’s most important means of staying relevant.  In his last few messages, Zawahiri has encouraged Muslims to give their money to support the jihadists involved with Islamist uprisings of the Arab Spring.

In this latest message, Zawahiri claims that Bin Laden used his personal wealth to fund the 9/11 terror attacks—a claim discredited by the 9/11 Commission which found that Al Qaeda was funded “almost entirely” by zakat and sadaqa (donations beyond the 2½ zakat rate).  From the 9/11 Commission Report:

Bin Ladin did not fund al Qaeda through a personal fortune and a network of businesses in Sudan.  Instead, al Qaeda relied primarily on a fund-raising network developed over time.  The CIA now estimates that it cost al Qaeda about $30 million per year to sustain its activities before 9/11 and that this money was raised almost entirely through donations.

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Still searching for needles in haystacks

May 18, 2012

This video illustrates the problem of trying to detect terror finance transactions when the amounts involved are unremarkable compared to the millions of large volume transactions conducted every day throughout the international financial system.  It’s not the most exciting video, but you may want to pay special attention to the middle of the video which shows how the 9/11 hijackers were able to use Western banks (along with hawala transfers to their U.S. bank accounts from the UAE) without raising suspicions.  With apologies for the giant red bar across the bottom of the video:

It’s also worth noting that as much as regulations on the finance sector have increased to help detect terrorist financial transactions, the formula for detection has not.  We still assume that we can discern criminal intent through the size, structure, or frequency of financial transactions, as opposed to using a more common sense profile about the religion, national origin, gender, and age of the financial customer.

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Stating the obvious: Saudi Arabia funded 9/11

April 3, 2012

We’ve known it for years.  Nearly every piece of financial intelligence behind 9/11 and Al Qaeda points back to rich Arabs from the Gulf.  The New York Times seems to think this is “news.”  The only “news” is the prominence and reputation of the individuals making the allegations.  Maybe next time the New York Times will even report that Islam had something to do with 9/11.

Saudi Arabia May Be Tied to 9/11, 2 Ex-Senators Say

By ERIC LICHTBLAU

Published: February 29, 2012

WASHINGTON — For more than a decade, questions have lingered about the possible role of the Saudi government in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, even as the royal kingdom has made itself a crucial counterterrorism partner in the eyes of American diplomats.

Now, in sworn statements that seem likely to reignite the debate, two former senators who were privy to top secret information on the Saudis’ activities say they believe that the Saudi government might have played a direct role in the terrorist attacks.

“I am convinced that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the September 11th attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia,” former Senator Bob Graham, Democrat of Florida, said in an affidavit filed as part of a lawsuit brought against the Saudi government and dozens of institutions in the country by families of Sept. 11 victims and others. Mr. Graham led a joint 2002 Congressional inquiry into the attacks.

His former Senate colleague, Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, a Democrat who served on the separate 9/11 Commission, said in a sworn affidavit of his own in the case that “significant questions remain unanswered” about the role of Saudi institutions. “Evidence relating to the plausible involvement of possible Saudi government agents in the September 11th attacks has never been fully pursued,” Mr. Kerrey said.

Their affidavits, which were filed on Friday and have not previously been disclosed, are part of a multibillion-dollar lawsuit that has wound its way through federal courts since 2002. An appellate court, reversing an earlier decision, said in November that foreign nations were not immune to lawsuits under certain terrorism claims, clearing the way for parts of the Saudi case to be reheard in United States District Court in Manhattan.

Lawyers for the Saudis, who have already moved to have the affidavits thrown out of court, declined to comment on the assertions by Mr. Graham and Mr. Kerrey. “The case is in active litigation, and I can’t say anything,” said Michael K. Kellogg, a Washington lawyer for the Saudis.

Officials at the Saudi Embassy in Washington, who have emphatically denied any connection to the attacks in the past, did not respond Wednesday to requests for comment.

The Saudis are seeking to have the case dismissed in part because they say American inquiries — including those in which Mr. Graham and Mr. Kerrey took part — have essentially exonerated them. A recent court filing by the Saudis prominently cited the 9/11 Commission’s “exhaustive” final report, which “found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi individuals funded” Al Qaeda.

But Mr. Kerrey and Mr. Graham said that the findings should not be seen as an exoneration and that many important questions about the Saudis’ role had never been fully examined, partly because their panels simply did not have the time or resources given their wider scope.

Terry Strada of New Vernon, N.J., whose husband died in the World Trade Center, said it was “so absurd that it’s laughable” for the Saudis to claim that the federal inquiries had exonerated them.

Unanswered questions include the work of a number of Saudi-sponsored charities with financial links to Al Qaeda, as well as the role of a Saudi citizen living in San Diego at the time of the attacks, Omar al-Bayoumi, who had ties to two of the hijackers and to Saudi officials, Mr. Graham said in his affidavit.

Still, Washington has continued to stand behind Saudi Arabia publicly, with the Justice Department joining the kingdom in trying to have the lawsuits thrown out of court on the grounds that the Saudis are protected by international immunity.

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Saudis should be 9/11 defendants, say lawyers

December 27, 2011

Attorneys for the victims’ families and survivors of the Sept. 11 terror attacks filed documents on Dec. 22 in U.S. federal court for the Southern District of New York to have Saudi Arabia named again as a defendant in the case.

The Associated Press reported last week that “lawyers filed papers on Thursday to reinstate Saudi Arabia as a defendant.”

Saudi Arabia had been dismissed as a defendant in 2005 because Saudi Arabia had not been designated as a sponsor of terrorism by the executive branch.  Lawsuits continued going back and forth until 2009, when Pres. Obama’s Justice Department filed a brief in support of a final dismissal of Saudi Arabia as a defendant because of sovereign immunity.

Although Saudi Arabia has successfully been able to claim sovereign immunity, Iran has not received the same protection.  There is ample evidence that Iran was involved, but naming Iran and excluding Saudi Arabia demonstrates a double standard.

The government of Saudi Arabia and individual princes and princesses helped fund the 9/11 attacks through intermediaries, fronts, and charities including the Saudi Red Crescent Society.  Saudi Arabia also enabled the rise of radical Islam globally by using its oil-related wealth to fund Wahhabism around the world through entities such as the World Muslim League.

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10 years & Kuwait has no terror finance law

September 11, 2011

In 1991, the United States of America saved Kuwait from its invasion by Iraq.

Ten years later, an Islamic charity in Kuwait “returned the favor” leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the U.S. by playing a role in “anomalous” transactions by the reputed banking partner of Osama bin Laden as laid out by the 9/11 Commission’s monograph on terrorist financing.

After 9/11, the Somali-based al-Barakaat bank promptly fell under suspicion for helping fund al Qaeda’s operations.  Many members of the intelligence community perceived that Osama bin Laden was a “silent partner” in the founding of al-Barakaat with Ahmed Nur Ali Jumale.

U.S. intelligence agents had sources with personal knowledge of the situation who explained:

…at the direction of senior management, al-Barakaat funneled a percentage of its profits to terrorist groups and that UBL [Usama Bin Laden] had provided venture capital to al-Barakaat founder Ahmed Jumale to start the company. The agent believed these sources, because they had been vetted and the information they were providing was consistent with intelligence he had previously received.

Kuwait’s relations with al-Barakaat

A subsequent investigation by a U.S. team into Jumale’s records “revealed several suspicious transactions that Jumale could not adequately explain. Specifically, two NGOs made a number of unusually large deposits into the account of a Kuwaiti charity official over which Jumale had power of attorney. The funds were then moved out of the account in cash.”

The role of al-Barakaat and the nameless Kuwaiti charity have never been properly explained, although Kuwait’s al Qaeda-affiliated charity, the Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS), has been blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury Department.

Just last month, Spanish intelligence officials have disclosed that RIHS has funded radical, separatist mosques in Catalonia, and that RIHS seeks to establish an office in Spain.

No law against terrorist financing

What is the most nauseating is that Kuwait still has no law against terrorist financing.  The State Department’s report on global terrorism in 2010, which was published late just a month ago, provided a painful update:

The Kuwaiti government lacked comprehensive legislation that criminalizes terrorist financing. Draft comprehensive anti-money laundering/counterterrorist finance (AML/CTF) legislation was first submitted to the National Assembly in December 2009. Kuwait’s parliament rejected the combined bill in November 2010, sending it back to the Council of Ministers with a request to separate terrorist finance from the AML law. By separating terrorist financing from money laundering, Kuwait made measured progress over the past year on its draft AML legislation, which remained under consideration by the Parliament.

One wonders how the State Department can count Kuwait hosting a conference on money laundering and terrorist financing 10 years after 9/11 as “measured progress.”

Last week, the International Monetary Fund warned that Kuwait could be turning into a beehive of money laundering activity.

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9/11 hijacker cash came via Dubai

September 11, 2010

Al Qaeda’s coffers have long been filled mostly by zakat.  But how do they get it out of their accounts and into the hands of their sleeper cell members?

Looking back on this the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it bears revisiting the fact that the jihadist hijackers’ financing was made possible in part by “the anonymity provided by bustling financial center of Dubai,” according to the monograph on terrorist financing by the staff of the 9/11 Commission.  The total cost of the attack was about half a million dollars, but the hijackers themselves used about $300,000 of that.  The majority of that money came through wire transfers initiated by Khalid Sheikh Muhammed’s nephew in the United Arab Emirates.  Here are the details:

Upon their arrival in the United States, the hijackers received a total of approximately $130,000 from overseas facilitators via wire or bank-to-bank transfers. Most of the transfers originated from the Persian Gulf financial center of Dubai, UAE, and were sent by plot facilitator Ali. Ali is the nephew of KSM, the plot’s leader, and his sister is married to convicted terrorist Ramzi Yousef. He lived in the UAE for several years before the September 11 attacks, working for a computer wholesaler in a free trade zone in Dubai. According to Ali, KSM gave him the assignment and provided him with some of the necessary funds at a meeting in Pakistan in early 2000. KSM provided the bulk of the money later in 2000 via a courier.147 Although Ali had two bank accounts in the UAE, he kept most of the funds for the hijackers in a laundry bag at home. Read the rest of this entry ?