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Hearing on Financing Terrorism
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) chairs a hearing on the origins, organization & prevention of terrorism financing, with a focus on the role of Saudi Arabia.

Financing Terror?
The Saudi government says it has cracked down on Islamic extremists. But new allegations suggest Riyadh has increased its support for Hamas. Plus, American efforts to shut down a source of funding for terrorists may be faltering
http://www.msnbc.com/news/946237.asp?0cv=CA00&cp1=1 page down
July 30 — Even as the White House tries to tamp down the furor over alleged Saudi links to the September 11 terror attacks, a U.S. Senate panel is poised to stoke the fire even further. At a hearing this Thursday, NEWSWEEK has learned, it will unveil new allegations that the Saudis are continuing to funnel millions of dollars through Islamic charities that are winding up in the coffers of organized terror groups

U.S. AND Israeli intelligence officials have assembled fresh data showing that Saudi government-sponsored charities have actually stepped up their financial support of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas—even while the Saudis insist they have dramatically intensified their own internal crackdown of Islamic extremists, according to sources familiar with evidence that is to be presented at a Senate Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on terrorism financing.

“Unfortunately, while the Saudis appear to be taking their own domestic threat seriously, there is no indication that they have scaled back their support for Hamas,” according to an internal 11-page Senate staff memo obtained by NEWSWEEK. “The Israeli national assessment is that Saudi Arabia today funds more than 50 percent of the needs of Hamas and the Saudi percentage in the total foreign aid to Hamas is actually growing. U.S. assessments [of Saudi funding of Hamas] are even higher.”

The intelligence estimates on the level of Saudi support for Hamas—which is on the official State Department terror list—are based in part on recent documents seized by the Israeli military, sources said. At least some of the documents will be presented at the hearing by Dore Gold, the former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, and could prove highly embarrassing for the Saudis. One shows that, as recently as Oct. 29, 2002, Khaled Mishal, a top leader of Hamas, was the guest of a Saudi government-backed charity, the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, at a convention in Riyadh that was sponsored by Crown Prince Abdullah, the de facto ruler of the country. The captured Palestinian document shows that Saudi officials reassured Hamas of continued funding, according to the Senate memo.

Saudi officials have given various and sometimes contradictory accounts of their dealings with Hamas. Adel Al-Jubeir, Crown Prince Abdullah’s foreign-policy adviser and the Saudi government’s chief spokesman inside the United States, last year insisted in one television interview that “we do not allow funding to go from Saudi Arabia to Hamas.” In a Washington news conference last June, Al-Jubeir gave a slightly different account, acknowledging that the Saudi government did provide some funding for the “political wing of Hamas” (a distinction U.S. officials don’t recognize).

Reconciling those statements are among a range of issues on terrorist financing that the committee, overseen by Republican chairman Sen. Susan M. Collins of Maine and Democratic vice chairman Sen. Joseph Lieberman, sought to explore with Al-Jubeir. But Al-Jubeir last week rebuffed a panel invitation to testify at the hearing, telling Collins in a July 25 letter that “it is the policy of my government not to have Saudi officials formally testify before foreign legislative bodies.” Al-Jubeir did offer to provide a private briefing for senators only just before the hearing began, but members rejected the idea.

Sources tell NEWSWEEK that the hearing is intended to provide a broader and more historical context for the allegations over Saudi Arabian terror links. That issue hit the front pages again in recent days after the release last week of the 900-page congressional report on the September 11 attacks in which a section presumably on Saudi Arabia had been withheld for security reasons. Another key witness scheduled to testify is R. Richard Newcomb, director of the Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control. According to the Senate memo, he will describe two high-level meetings with Saudi officials in 1999 and again in January 2000 in which Vice President Al Gore threatened the Saudis with economic sanctions if they did not cease their “blind eye” to Saudi financial support for terrorism.

But according to the staff memo, Newcomb has apparently told staffers that virtually every attempt by the Treasury Department to impose sanctions on wealthy Saudi businessmen or entities that have been linked to terror financing has been “blocked” on foreign-policy and national-security grounds—usually invoked by the State Department but on some occasions by the FBI and CIA. In other words, other agencies of the government were worried sanctions would upset Saudi-American relations or disrupt ongoing investigations in other areas.

Just how sensitive the issue has become was underscored last week when FBI officials contacted the Governmental Affairs Committee to say that Larry Mefford, the bureau’s new top counterterrorism chief, wanted a meeting with senior members of the panel to argue that the hearing should be canceled. But the FBI apparently backed down. Mefford chose not to pursue the matter and the bureau is now sending his chief deputy, John Pistole, to testify instead.

Ironically, the FBI and other U.S. agencies have been increasingly insistent that Saudi officials are stepping up their cooperation in the war on terror—in large part because of the backlash inside the kingdom after the May bombing of a housing complex in Riyadh was linked to Al Qaeda. Ever since, U.S. officials say, the Saudis have “gotten religion” on the terror issue. Among other steps, they have recently begun to impose new policies that will require that all charitable funds sent out of the country be first vetted by Saudi government officials to make sure that none are likely to wind up in the hands of terrorists. One senior administration official told NEWSWEEK that if the Saudis carry through on their promises, the kingdom will soon be operating one of the tightest control systems in the world governing the export of charitable funds.

But even these internal administration boosters concede that whether these and other steps initiated by the Saudis prove genuine in the long run remains to be seen.

Evidence is now emerging that some key post-9/11 efforts launched by the Bush administration against terrorism financiers elsewhere in the world may not be as effective as Washington had hoped.

At a congressional hearing several weeks ago, David Aufhauser—who as general counsel of the U.S. Treasury has played a key role in directing American efforts to shut down terrorism finance channels—touted U.S. Treasury antiterrorist sanction orders against the operators of the Al-Taqwa financial network, based in Switzerland, as a major blow against Al Qaeda financial backers.

But NEWSWEEK has learned that investigators in the United States and Europe have raised serious questions about whether the Al-Taqwa financial network really has been shut down.

The most pointed inquiries about the effectiveness of U.S.—and corresponding United Nations—sanctions against Al-Taqwa and its principal operators have come from the U.N. Security Council. According to a little-noticed U.N. report published in early July, the head of the al-Taqwa network, Egyptian banker Youssef Nada, has continued to own or control financial resources in European tax havens, even though his name and many of his companies are prominently listed on terrorist-financier-sanctions lists maintained by both the U.N. and the United States.

According to the U.N. document, among the assets that Nada continues to control are “investment funds and real estate in Liechtenstein and Campione d’Italia, Switzerland.” The reports also says the Swiss government is “looking into the situation.” But U.N. experts recommend “such assets should be frozen without delay.”

NEWSWEEK has learned that Nada apparently has renamed two of his Liechtenstein-based companies, both of which had Al-Taqwa in their original registration papers, to less incendiary names. One Al-Taqwa company had its name change to Hochburg and the other to Waldenberg. Investigators say that while both companies are officially in liquidation, they continue to hold assets and, apparently, engage in some financial activity.

Investigators say that in order to conduct what they believe are business activities, Nada has traveled from his residence in Campione d’Italia, an Italian enclave inside the boundaries of the Swiss canton of Ticino, to both Switzerland and Liechtenstein. But according to U.S. and U.N. officials, U.N. sanctions prohibit officially designated terrorist financiers like Nada from traveling outside their country of residence.

Nada told NEWSWEEK that he had asked the Swiss to unfreeze assets and property taxes for humanitarian reasons on several occasions and that they had refused. He said Waldenberg and Hochburg used to be his companies but aren’t anymore.

U.S. officials have alleged that Al-Taqwa handled money for both Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, such as Hamas, and that Nada himself allegedly provided finance to the bin Laden terror organization both before and after 9/11—a claim that Nada has denied.

A senior official involved in the operation of the U.S. campaign against terrorist financiers insisted that while Al-Taqwa figures may still be active and continue to have access to assets, the remnants of Al-Taqwa are “in a box” because they are being carefully watched and subject to a criminal investigation by Swiss authorities. The U.S. official conceded that both the U.S. and foreign governments sometimes have trouble keeping up when terrorist financial operators “morph” their operations into new forms using name changes or other legal strategies.

2003 Newsweek, Inc.

Sen. Susan Collians
Sen. Arlen Spector

9/11 Report - The real Saudi Ties are U.S.
Thu Jul 31 19:10:14 2003

9/11 Report - The real Saudi Ties are U.S.
Ties What if the "Saudi ties" are in reality homegrown?
On Monday, President Bush acted against the wishes of Saudi Arabia and a number of U.S. lawmakers, deciding not to declassify the now notorious missing 28 pages in the 9/11 Report.

"It would reveal sources and methods" (President Bush)

It is believed these pages might point to specific foreign sponsorship of the September 11th, 2001 attacks.

Bush seems to be less concerned with national security--the only legitimate reason for censorship--and more concerned with not providing lawmakers and journalists information that might lead them to a sobering question: What if the "Saudi ties" are in reality homegrown?

If Saudi ties find their knot in the U.S. then all current questions must be changed. No longer do we ask why the Saudi information is still classified, but which Saudi ties can be traced back to the United States? And who forced the classification? Who are these suspects President Bush is so scared to have mentioned?

Maybe they haven't been blacked out in the 9/11 Report, but "somewhere" else?

Here are some suggestions of which "Saudi" suspects should be asked first....

"It is important for us to hold this information close so that those who are being investigated aren’t alerted." (President Bush)

Vinnell, owned by the Carlyle Group (which has long-time ties to the Bush Family), this Virginia-based private military firm trains and advises the Saudi National Guard. Many of the 1,400 employees are ex-US Special Forces.

Vinell is working as a consultant with Advisory and Training.

The Saudi National Guard is connected with Vinnell since 1975..

In May 2003, the WP reported, said that Saudi authorities are investigating, "suspected illegal arms sales by members of the country's national guard to al Qaeda operatives in the country".

Vinnell is a subsidiary of TRW/Northrop Grumman. In 1992, Vinnell was taken over by the Carlyle Group, whose chairman was Ronald Reagan's former Defence Secretary, Frank Carlucci.

The question to the US President should be, How much does Vinnell know about these problems within the Saudi National Guard?
http://new.globalfreepress.com/article.pl?sid=03/07/30/229223  site down

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Full Text: House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Report: PDF format.


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Liberty can not be preserved without general knowledge among people."

August 1765) John Adams


Thu Jul 31 20:38:15 2003

Senator Bob Graham Says Israel Funded 9-11 Terrorists
Congressional Transcript Buried, Ignored By Jewish Owned Press

3/3/03 1:35:32 AM
Discuss this story in the forum
PBS NewsHour

TV Transcript http://web.archive.org/web/20050213135657/http://www.overthrow.com/lsn/news.asp?articleID=3833
Senator: At Least One Foreign Country Assisted the 9/11 Terrorists

Senator Graham knows...

On 11 December 2002, the Senate and House Intelligence Committees released portions of their joint report on intelligence failures regarding the September 11 terrorist attacks. The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, on PBS, reported on the release that day. After asking her guests a bunch of predictable questions, and receiving predictable answers, guest host Gwen Ifill asked Senator Bob Graham, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, a good question and got an amazing answer.

GWEN IFILL: Senator Graham, are there elements in this report, which are classified that Americans should know about but can't?

SEN. BOB GRAHAM: Yes, going back to your question about what was the greatest surprise. I agree with what Senator Shelby said the degree to which agencies were not communicating was certainly a surprise but also I was surprised at the evidence that there were foreign governments involved in facilitating the activities of at least some of the terrorists in the United States.

I am stunned that we have not done a better job of pursuing that to determine if other terrorists received similar support and, even more important, if the infrastructure of a foreign government assisting terrorists still exists for the current generation of terrorists who are here planning the next plots.

To me that is an extremely significant issue and most of that information is classified, I think overly-classified. I believe the American people should know the extent of the challenge that we face in terms of foreign government involvement. That would motivate the government to take action.

GWEN IFILL: Are you suggesting that you are convinced that there was a state sponsor behind 9/11?

SEN. BOB GRAHAM: I think there is very compelling evidence that at least some of the terrorists were assisted not just in financing -- although that was part of it -- by a sovereign foreign government and that we have been derelict in our duty to track that down, make the further case, or find the evidence that would indicate that that is not true and we can look for other reasons why the terrorists were able to function so effectively in the United States.

GWEN IFILL: Do you think that will ever become public, which countries you're talking about?

SEN. BOB GRAHAM: It will become public at some point when it's turned over to the archives, but that's 20 or 30 years from now. And, we need to have this information now because it's relevant to the threat that the people of the United States are facing today.

United States Senator Bob Graham, Florida
... Senator Graham on Iraq... Senator Graham's Statement on Situation in ... 03 Senator Graham's Statement on Start of War ...

... ASK SENATOR BOB GRAHAM ... SEN. BOB GRAHAM: "Yes, going back ... agree with what Senator Shelby said the ... about?" GRAHAM: "It will become ... clear if the good Senator knows which countries ...

The 9/11 Files: Statement of Senator Bob Graham, September 18, 2002
... arrested men was received from reporter Bob Woodward at the Washington Post ... Statement of Senator Bob Graham Joint Select Committees on ... friend. He will be followed by Senator Richard Shelby, vice chairman ...

GOP senator joins declassification push on 9/11 report
CNN.com - 38 KB - Found: 2003-07-30, 21:22 GMT
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Putting pressure on the White House, an influential Republican senator has joined Democrats in pushing for the release of a 28-page section of the congressional report on the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks allegedly dealing with Saudi Arabia's ties to the hijackers

White House won't declassify Saudi material in 9/11 report
International Herald Tribune - 16 KB - Found: 2003-07-30, 15:22 GMT
WASHINGTON President George W. Bush has refused to declassify a 28-page chapter of a congressional report on the Sept. 11 attacks

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