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The Saudi Connection: How billions in oil money spawned a global terror network
The U.S. News & World Report ^ | December 15, 2003 | David E. Kaplan

Posted on 12/06/2003 6:42:12 PM PST by quidnunc

The CIA's Illicit Transactions Group isn't listed in any phone book. There are no entries for it on any news database or Internet site. The ITG is one of those tidy little Washington secrets, a group of unsung heroes whose job is to keep track of smugglers, terrorists, and money launderers. In late 1998, officials from the White House's National Security Council called on the ITG to help them answer a couple of questions: How much money did Osama bin Laden have, and how did he move it around? The queries had a certain urgency. A cadre of bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorists had just destroyed two of America's embassies in East Africa. The NSC was determined to find a way to break the organization's back. Working with the Illicit Transactions Group, the NSC formed a task force to look at al Qaeda's finances. For months, members scoured every piece of data the U.S. intelligence community had on al Qaeda's cash. The team soon realized that its most basic assumptions about the source of bin Laden's money — his personal fortune and businesses in Sudan — were wrong. Dead wrong. Al Qaeda, says William Wechsler, the task force director, was "a constant fundraising machine." And where did it raise most of those funds? The evidence was indisputable: Saudi Arabia.

America's longtime ally and the world's largest oil producer had somehow become, as a senior Treasury Department official put it, "the epicenter" of terrorist financing. This didn't come entirely as a surprise to intelligence specialists. But until the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, U.S. officials did painfully little to confront the Saudis not only on financing terror but on backing fundamentalists and jihadists overseas. Over the past 25 years, the desert kingdom has been the single greatest force in spreading Islamic fundamentalism, while its huge, unregulated charities funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to jihad groups and al Qaeda cells around the world. Those findings are the result of a five-month investigation by U.S. News. The magazine's inquiry is based on a review of thousands of pages of court records, U.S. and foreign intelligence reports, and other documents. In addition, the magazine spoke at length with more than three dozen current and former counterterrorism officers, as well as government officials and outside experts in Riyadh, the Saudi capital. Among the inquiry's principal findings:

Starting in the late 1980s — after the dual shocks of the Iranian revolution and the Soviet war in Afghanistan — Saudi Arabia's quasi-official charities became the primary source of funds for the fast-growing jihad movement. In some 20 countries, the money was used to run paramilitary training camps, purchase weapons, and recruit new members.

The charities were part of an extraordinary $70 billion Saudi campaign to spread their fundamentalist Wahhabi sect worldwide. The money helped lay the foundation for hundreds of radical mosques, schools, and Islamic centers that have acted as support networks for the jihad movement, officials say.

U.S. intelligence officials knew about Saudi Arabia's role in funding terrorism by 1996, yet for years Washington did almost nothing to stop it. Examining the Saudi role in terrorism, a senior intelligence analyst says, was "virtually taboo." Even after the embassy bombings in Africa, moves by counterterrorism officials to act against the Saudis were repeatedly rebuffed by senior staff at the State Department and elsewhere who felt that other foreign policy interests outweighed fighting terrorism.

Saudi largess encouraged U.S. officials to look the other way, some veteran intelligence officers say. Billions of dollars in contracts, grants, and salaries have gone to a broad range of former U.S. officials who had dealt with the Saudis: ambassadors, CIA station chiefs, even cabinet secretaries.

Washington's unwillingness to confront the Saudis over terrorism was part of a broader strategic failure to sound the alarm on the rise of the global jihad movement. During the 1990s, the U.S. intelligence community issued a series of National Intelligence Estimates — which report on America's global challenges — on ballistic missile threats, migration, infectious diseases; yet the government never issued a single NIE on the jihad movement or al Qaeda.

-snip-

(Excerpt) Read more at usnews.com ...


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: alqaeda; cia; itg; moneytrail; oil; prequel; saudiarabia; terror; wahhabi

1 posted on 12/06/2003 6:42:12 PM PST by quidnunc
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To: quidnunc

"DO NOT LOOK HERE BEHIND THE CURTAIN. I AM IN CONTROL."


2 posted on 12/06/2003 6:48:33 PM PST by Diogenesis (If you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us)
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To: quidnunc
So Carter gave up on Iran and is responsible for 'funding' bin Laden and Al Qaeda (indirectly through the Saudis).
3 posted on 12/06/2003 6:57:44 PM PST by Gothmog
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To: Diogenesis
Saudi Arabia is widely reported as the source of Al Qaeda's:

Funding
Leadership
Personnel
Ideology
Training
Recruiting
Escape Routes

When will the Administration (much less Colin Powell Al-Saud) do something?
4 posted on 12/06/2003 7:02:34 PM PST by Uncle Miltie (I used to think they were crazy when they said "Republicrats.")
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To: quidnunc

Hydrogen Fuel

The cure for the Saudi menace.


5 posted on 12/06/2003 7:17:03 PM PST by reg45
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To: quidnunc
"Saudi largess encouraged U.S. officials to look the other way, some veteran intelligence officers say. Billions of dollars in contracts, grants, and salaries have gone to a broad range of former U.S. officials who had dealt with the Saudis: ambassadors, CIA station chiefs, even cabinet secretaries."

It is time to call these people out, and make sure they cannot be quoted in public without noting that they receive money from the same source as Al-Qaida: Saudi Arabia. Imagine if Hitler had bought the services of virtually every retired State Department officer?

6 posted on 12/06/2003 7:23:50 PM PST by Uncle Miltie (I used to think they were crazy when they said "Republicrats.")
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To: quidnunc; mhking
The ubiquitous zakat boxes have been banned. Saudi officials liken the situation to U.S. funding of the Irish Republican Army. During the 1970s and '80s, IRA activists raised millions of dollars from Irish-Americans, despite British pleas that the funds were backing IRA terrorism. "The Saudis are not diligent donors," says Chas. Freeman, a former ambassador to Riyadh whose Middle East Policy Council receives Saudi funds. "They've never asked us what we're doing with their money." The Saudis' record, Freeman says, is not one of complicity but of "negligence and incompetence."

Getting serious.

Not everyone, obviously, agrees. A $1 trillion lawsuit names Saudi princes, businessmen, and charities for funding the terrorists behind the 9/11 attacks. Brought by more than 900 victims' family members, the suit is winding its way through the U.S. courts. The withholding of 27 pages in Congress's 9/11 report last June--detailing Saudi funding and ties to al Qaeda--has only fed suspicions.

Yeah, no kidding. Ironic, that the smoking gun the families of the victims need to prove their case, is "classified." WHY? Because the truth hurts.

Mr. King, I'd recommend you take a long look at this... It's a long read, but JUST DAMN.

7 posted on 12/06/2003 7:26:51 PM PST by Capitalist Eric (To be a liberal, one must be mentally deranged, or ignorant of reality.)
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To: quidnunc
Selective quote: "Wahhabism's more extreme preachings--mistrust of infidels, branding of rival sects as apostates, and emphasis on violent jihad--laid the groundwork for terrorist groups around the world."
8 posted on 12/06/2003 7:28:34 PM PST by Uncle Miltie (I used to think they were crazy when they said "Republicrats.")
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To: Diogenesis
One record, taken from a Saudi-backed charity in Bosnia, bears the handwritten minutes of a meeting between bin Laden and three men, scrawled beneath the letterhead of the IIRO and Muslim World League. The notes call for the opening of "league offices . . . for the Pakistanis," so that "attacks" can be made from them. A note on letterhead of the Saudi Red Crescent--Saudi Arabia's Red Cross--in Peshawar asks that "weapons" be inventoried. It is accompanied by a plea from bin Laden to Julaidan, citing "an extreme need for weapons."

Grrrrrrrrrrr.........

9 posted on 12/06/2003 7:31:41 PM PST by Uncle Miltie (I used to think they were crazy when they said "Republicrats.")
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To: Capitalist Eric
"the Saudi High Commission--are involved in illicit activities, including support for terrorists."

- CIA Report

10 posted on 12/06/2003 7:35:20 PM PST by Uncle Miltie (I used to think they were crazy when they said "Republicrats.")
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To: Brad Cloven
The CIA's Illicit Transactions Group isn't listed in any phone book. There are no entries for it on any news database or Internet site. The ITG is one of those tidy little Washington secrets, a group of unsung heroes whose job is to keep track of smugglers, terrorists, and money launderers.

They ought to take out ads with a 1-800 tip line -- and -- post rewards for "information leading to the conviction..."
11 posted on 12/06/2003 7:37:35 PM PST by Jackson Brown
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To: Diogenesis
Each time I see pictures of the WTC, my stomach just twists up with anger, and hatred.

Islam is not a religion of peace. They are a religion of death.

Any Muslim who doesn't speak out against such acts, doesn't act to prevent them, gives tacit approval to such tactics. And is no better than the terrorists themselves.

You are either with us, or against us."

Since every Muslim I've met since 9/11 has tried to justify or in some weasal-way rationalize the 9/11 attacks, I have no respect for any of them.

I don't give a crap what the Muslim apologists say- their actions speak very clearly, that they support terrorism.

Islam: The religion of DEATH.


12 posted on 12/06/2003 7:38:17 PM PST by Capitalist Eric (To be a liberal, one must be mentally deranged, or ignorant of reality.)
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To: Brad Cloven
"Electronic intercepts of conversations implicated members of the royal family in backing not only al Qaeda but also other terrorist groups, several intelligence sources confirmed to U.S. News."
13 posted on 12/06/2003 7:41:44 PM PST by Uncle Miltie (I used to think they were crazy when they said "Republicrats.")
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To: quidnunc
Freepers know all these details. But to have them persuasively put end-to-end in US Snooze will have an effect. One wonders if Karl Rove will wake up before Dean slams the Administration over this.
14 posted on 12/06/2003 7:47:47 PM PST by Uncle Miltie (I used to think they were crazy when they said "Republicrats.")
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To: quidnunc
Great article, thanks for posting, everyone, please click and read the complete U.S. News and World Report.

Contained within the U.S. News and World Report Article:

The Saudis didn't really get it," says Wechsler, the former NSC coordinator. "They didn't get it after the '98 embassy bombings, after the Cole bombing, after 9/11, after Bali. They got it after May 12."

We need to inform the U.S. State Department, President and Congress that business as usual, going along with the gag (looking the other way in the interests of political correctness) with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia WILL NOT be tolerated.

In God we trust, not Mohammed or allah.

15 posted on 12/06/2003 8:22:27 PM PST by Mel Gibson
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To: Capitalist Eric
every Muslim I've met since 9/11 has tried to justify or in some weasal-way rationalize the 9/11 attacks

You mean not one of them has claimed that the Israelis did it?

16 posted on 12/06/2003 8:25:09 PM PST by Alouette (My son, the Learned Youngster of Zion)
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To: Alouette
You mean not one of them has claimed that the Israelis did it?

Nope. All answers were along the lines of that we "deserved" it...

GRRRR.....


17 posted on 12/06/2003 8:37:52 PM PST by Capitalist Eric (To be a liberal, one must be mentally deranged, or ignorant of reality.)
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To: quidnunc
ALWAYS follow the money...
18 posted on 12/06/2003 8:38:40 PM PST by VOA
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To: reg45
Hydrogen Fuel. The cure for the Saudi menace.

But it takes power to make it. Presumably, nuclear power. Nothing else can provide it. I don't think we have it though. And we are not building either. It looks AlQueda is not going to be short of funding anytime soon.
19 posted on 12/06/2003 9:11:39 PM PST by singsong (Demoralization kils first the civilization and THEN the people.)
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To: singsong
The sooner we start, the sooner we get there!
20 posted on 12/06/2003 9:15:00 PM PST by reg45
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To: Gabrielle Reilly
Ping
21 posted on 12/07/2003 2:33:34 AM PST by knighthawk (And for the name of peace, we will prevail)
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To: reg45
We can also use thermal depolymerization:
Anything Into Oil
22 posted on 12/07/2003 7:49:06 AM PST by Mackey
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To: quidnunc
SO, THE BIRTHPLACE OF ISLAM, SAUDI ARABIA, IS THE EPICENTER OF ARAB, MUSLIM TERROR FUNDING. SHOCKING!!!! SHOCKING!!!
23 posted on 12/07/2003 12:35:53 PM PST by tubavil
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To: Capitalist Eric
Exactly correct.
24 posted on 12/07/2003 12:44:51 PM PST by tubavil
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To: quidnunc

Saudi Terrorist Lets Powell Know What Is Required of Him.

"Let me tell you more about islam."

25 posted on 12/07/2003 1:05:24 PM PST by tubavil
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To: Brad Cloven
"Wahhabism's more extreme preachings--mistrust of infidels, branding of rival sects as apostates, and emphasis on violent jihad--laid the groundwork for terrorist groups around the world."

Why is Wahhabism's extreme teachings any different from Shiite extreme teachings under the Ayatolla's(sp?) of Iran. They also preached terrorism and carried out those attacks and kidnappings,they also preach the rest are apostates worthy of death. It just depends on the year, which is making the bigger stink. Durring the 70's and 80's it was shiite islam, now it is sunni islam with the bigger plans.

26 posted on 12/07/2003 2:03:41 PM PST by Lady Heron
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To: Lady Heron
Why is Wahhabism's extreme teachings any different from Shiite extreme teachings under the Ayatolla's(sp?) of Iran.

More money/funding, better organization, and lareger operations outside of Saudi Arabia's borders. When you have the support of a rich nation behind you, that feeds its unemployed/underemployed into your schools, and that rich nation happens to be "friends" with what you consider to be your biggest enemy (the USA), you can do bigger things.

27 posted on 12/08/2003 6:36:34 AM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: af_vet_rr
Strangely enough I think that the 70's and 80's shiite sponsered terrorism (downing of planes, hijacking of planes and boats, shooting up and plowing up airports and disco's, all the kidnappings) were the same as what AQ is doing. AQ just thought bigger, and pulled it off.

Shiite and Sunni islam struggle for who is the big dog and the true representative of islam. With Saudi money gone Iran and Shiite money will once again get the attention. There is some article out today that said that Hammas was going to target Jews in NY. Whoever is seen as being the most effective will get outside support from 3rd parties. Right now it is AQ, but none of us had even heard of them 5 years ago. It is not about the organization or money (that comes with whoever is most effective) it is the religion, and who is using them to get what they want(3rd parties).

Islam is the perfect tool for enemy governments to stir up trouble for your opponent. We used it in Afghanistan against the Russians, and they used it against us in Iran. I would be supprised if Saudi Prince money is the only thing keeping AQ in the money, I would think most is comming from charity donations, and that money can easily go to the next terrorist group that springs up after AQ. I think that those who think only about Saudi Arabia as the big problem and once that is solved we are in the clear are missing the big picture. Saudi Arabia is just a hurdle in the race.

The Saudi Princes are toast, to stay in power they have had to support the spread of fundamentalist islam, that which will kill them in the end. Islam and all of their charities will still exist.

28 posted on 12/08/2003 2:08:44 PM PST by Lady Heron
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