Skip to comments.HOW TERRORISTS HAVE INFILTRATED AMERICA
Posted on 01/07/2003 1:55:40 AM PST by Uncle Bill
HOW TERRORISTS HAVE INFILTRATED AMERICA
Recruiting, fundraising, money laundering and planning Jihad in the land of the free
The Free Press,
A division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., New York
By Steven Emerson
The following article was published in the December 2002 Volume 11, No. 12 Whistleblower publication of Worldnetdaily, in their Terrorists Among Us edition.
Journalist Steven Emerson, since leaving CNN in 1993, has come to be regarded by many as the nations leading expert on Islamist terror networks. He works full-time on tracking the spread of terrorist networks to American shores, at great personal risk. In 1995, not long after the release of his PBS documentary "Jihad in America," he was informed by federal officials that an Islamist death squad had been dispatched to kill him, and that he should leave his home immediately. Ever since then he has not maintained a home address, varies his routine, takes a different route to work each day and practices other "living-underground" techniques, although he continues to write and testify under his own name, and is a frequent expert on TV news reports.
With the help of a staff of researchers he has followed the terrorists monetary sources, monitored their attacks and plans, exposed their ties to charitable foundations, and assisted a variety of government agencies in the battle against them.
"What we discovered," says Emerson of his research group, The Investigative Project, "is that, indeed, international terrorist organizations of all sorts had set up shop here in America. They often took advantage of religious, civic, or charitable organizations. Usually this was more than enough to fool the public, the police, and especially naïve leaders of religious or educational institutions, who were more than willing to encourage and sponsor these groups in the name of "multiculturalism" and "diversity." Meanwhile, U.S.-based terrorists have been able to use these organizations to ferry equipment to Middle Eastern terror groups, to offer financial support to the families of suicide bombers, to coordinate efforts with other terrorist networks around the world, and ultimately to plan and support terrorist acts in the United States."
Following is an exclusive excerpt from Emersons 2002 book, "American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us."
Only by knowing how the terrorists networks operate, and what they have accomplished in the past decade, can we be vigilant in detecting any new activity. Unfortunately, the terrorists world is complex and shadowy, full of unfamiliar names and half-known or hidden activities.
In 1987, FBI informants reported seeing weapons in the Al-Farooq Mosque in Brooklyn.
An application for a wiretap was nonetheless turned down by the Justice Department since there was no evidence of criminal conspiracy. As it turned out, however, the Alkhifa Refugee Center, then based at the mosque had become a center for counterfeiting tens of thousands of dollars, shipping explosives to Hamas in the Middle East, reconfiguring passports to enable Muslim volunteers to visit the United States, and enlisting new recruits for Jihad in Bosnia, the Philippines, Egypt, Algeria, Kashmir, Palestine, and elsewhere. But at the time, none of this was known.
Two years later, on Aug. 29, 1989, a Connecticut state trooper stopped a suspicious vehicle carrying six "Middle Eastern persons" near the High Rock Shooting Range in Naugatuck. According to FBI reports, the trooper found a small arsenal of semi-automatic weapons and several out-of-state license plates in the trunk. The guns were legally licensed to the driver, a local gun dealer and former Waterbury policeman of Albanian origin. He told police he was training volunteers to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. A computer check found that the extra license plates were registered to El-Sayeed Nosair, a name that meant little at the time.
A year later, on Nov. 5, 1990, Nosair leapt onto the front pages of newspapers when he murdered Rabbi Meir Kahane, the founder of the Jewish Defense League and leader of a militant anti-Arab movement in Israel, at a hotel in New York. By then, several foreign militant movements had moved into the liberal environment of the United States of America. By 1990, Hamas (of Palestine) and al-Gamaat al=Islamiyya (of Egypt) were here, as was the precursor to the now-infamous al-Qaida (of Afghanistan and Sudan) run by Osama bin Laden.
In the following decade, a shifting cast of characters attempted a series of attacks on American targets:
These acts all aimed at Americans at home. But terrorists have also used the country as a base for mayhem committed against other nations and against American targets abroad. Osama bin Laden, for example, used agents in the United States to purchase a satellite telephone and carry it to him, for use in planning the 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Hamas is known to have sent promising Middle Eastern recruits to the United States for training; here they were taught how to build car bombs and other explosives for use in the Middle East.
Above all, the United States has proven a fertile ground for fund-raising. Nonprofit foundations have helped raise untold sums supporting terrorist activities in the Middle East and elsewhere. Overall, the terrorists activities can be divided into four categories: recruitment, fund-raising and /or money-laundering, networking, and direct organizing.
Foreign terrorist organizations have utilized solo operators in America as well as groups. Some of their representatives and supporters have entered the country illegally, using visa fraud; they have also actively recruited individuals who are able to use American passports to travel freely around the world.
A few examples will give the general idea. For just one example of visa fraud, consider the case of Ghazi Ibrahim abu Mezer. In 1997, he was arrested by New York police acting on a tip, foiling his plan to bomb the city subway system. Abu Mezer had no business being in this country; he had been apprehended on three separate occasions by the Immigration and Naturalization Service within little more than a year prior to his arrest, each time for illegally entering the country from Canada.
The INS had begun deportation proceedings, a lengthy process during which abu Mezer was free on bail. He had complicated the matter by applying for political asylum on the grounds that he was in danger of arrest by Israeli law enforcement thanks to his membership in the Hamas organization.
As abu Mezers example demonstrates, visa fraud is a messy business for terrorists. It is possible, and sometimes even easy, to avoid detention and INS proceedings for months and even years, but if your real name is on a list of suspected terrorists, you must operate clandestinely. Even if the wheels of justice grind slowly, they do grind. Far better, then, for the terrorist organization is to recruit members who hold American passports.
For example, Hamas used Mohammed Salah, an American naturalized citizen, to travel to Israel using his American passport in order to enter Palestinian territories carrying hundreds of thousands of dollarsprimarily from the head of the Hamas Political Bureau in the United States, Musa abu Marzook - to be distributed to Hamas military leaders in the Palestinian territories to help build the military/terrorist infrastructure there.
Salah, also known as Abu Ahmed, is a Chicago-based car dealer who was arrested by the Israelis in 1993 while funneling these monies to Hamas terrorists and who was subsequently released in 1997 ultimately to return to Chicago. While he was detained in Israel, he was declared a Specially Designated Terrorist by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and his assets were frozen in 1995. On June 8, 1998, his assets, and those of the Quranic Literacy Institute in Chicago, were seized in a civil forfeiture action by the U.S. government as proceeds of a Hamas money- laundering operation.
Another example is that of Wadih el-Hage, a 40-year-old naturalized American citizen from Lebanon who worked for al_Qaida and who was convicted in 2001 for the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. FBI Special Agent Roberts Miranda testified in 2001 at the trial of Wadih el-Hage and others for their roles in the bombings regarding an interview he conducted with el-Hage on Aug. 20, 1998:
MIRANDA: Yes. He said that because he had an American passport, Usama bin Laden wanted him to work for him because he could travel more freely and buy things for bin Laden.
One of Wadih el-Hages attorneys, Sam Schmidt, emphasized this point even further at the same trial by stating:
Wadih el-Hage served as Osama bin Ladens personal secretary in the early 1990s. In 1994, el-Hage moved to Kenya to set up businesses for bin Laden to be used as terrorist fronts. Mr. Hages business card shows him as a director of Anhar Trading, a company with addresses in Hamburg, Germany, and Arlington, Texas.
One last example of al-Qaidas use of a U.S. passport holder shows how American residents can use their mobility and access to technology to promote evil. On Dec. 29, 1999, Jordanian authorities arrested "Khalil Ziyad," identified by the FBI as a Florida-based "procurement agent" for Osama bin Laden. His arrest was not publicly revealed by Jordanian authorities and he was later released. But according to U.S. government sources, "Khalil Ziyad" is most likely cooperating with the FBI and providing crucial evidence about the U.S. network of militant Muslims. "Ziyad" was to "procure computers, satellite telephone and covert surveillance equipment" for the leadership of bin Ladens organization.
"Khalil Ziyad" is actually known in the United States as Ziyad Khaleel (a.k.a. Ziyad Sadaqa, a.k.a Ziyad Abdulrahman). Public records reveal that he was associated with a variety of addresses in Orlando, Detroit, Columbia (Missouri), and Denver. Khaleel was also responsible for administering a variety of the most radical Islamic Web sites on the Internet.
At various points in the late 1990s, according to Internic/Network Solutions database records, Khaleel was the administrative and billing contact of the official Hamas Web site (http://www.palestine-info.net), the Algerian Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) Web site (http://www.fisalgeria.org), the Web site of Liberty for the Muslim World (http://www.lmw.org), and the Palestine Times Web site (http://www.ptimes.com).
Liberty for the Muslim World, a London-based group, vigorously promotes and defends Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other terror groups, and republishes much of their propaganda. The Palestine Times is a monthly newspaper of the Palestine Information Center, the sponsor of the official Hamas Web site. The official Hamas Web site is regularly updated to maintain a photographic record of Hamas terrorists who have been killed, or martyred, as a result of their terrorist actions.
In addition, the Web site contains a section entitled "Hamas Operations - The Glory Record" which details many of the significant terrorist attacks carried out by the Hamas movement since its beginning. Khaleel has given at least one lecture to students at the University of Missouri (Columbia campus) representing the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP).
Until recently, the FBI would not have been allowed to investigate Khaleel. He did not have to tell anyone about his whereabouts. He couldnt be stopped from giving a lecture even if there were suspicions about him. Our freedoms of speech, assembly, and religion are among our most cherished rights, and the Bill of Rights, where these freedoms are enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution, is one of the documents that makes America a beacon to the world.
What we must understand, however, is that these same freedoms are especially attractive to religious terrorists. We cannot stop anyone from preaching violence short of the "clear and present danger" standard, because we punish deeds, not words. We cannot stop groups from gathering to share their political views, even if one of those views is that the U.S. must be destroyed.
Fundraising and Money Laundering
Much of the terrorists fundraising has been the old-fashioned kind: grassroots drives, featuring conferences at which leaders exhort attendees to dig down deep. Representatives of charities dedicated to serving "widows and orphans" of the Middle East conflict make pious appeals; they generally dont admit that they are sending money to the widows of suicide bombers. For example, an organization called the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development has been suspected of funneling millions per year to Hamas activists.
Sometimes, according to authorities, the terrorists get more creative. On July 21, 2000, agents from the FBI in Charlotte, N.C., charged 18 people with smuggling contraband cigarettes to Michigan from North Carolina and money-Laundering, among other things. What they were really doing, according to authorities, was providing "currency, financial services, training, false documentation and identification, communications equipment, explosives, and other physical assets to Hizballah, in order to facilitate its violent attacks."
The media quickly dubbed the group the "Charlotte Hizballah cell." The groups lawyers say that providing aid to Hizballah shouldnt be illegal, since it is primarily a political and religious group. They also say that the case should be limited to a routine cigarette-smuggling claim rather than anything related to counter-terrorism statutes.
The suspects were initially accused of fraudulently obtaining visas and of setting up sham marriages. Their main economic activity allegedly consisted of buying cigarettes in large quantities from outlets in North Carolina and smuggling them to Michigan. Later, authorities charged eight men and one woman with providing assistance to Hizballah. These individuals are accused of planning to purchase night-vision goggles and cameras, stun guns. Blasting equipment, binoculars, radars, laser range-finders, mine detection equipment and advanced aircraft-analysis and design software; they also had wired money between accounts controlled by Hizballah operatives and even arranged life-insurance policies for operatives who might be killed in action. The government, unable to resist the pun, dubbed its sting "Operation Smokescreen."
I myself can testify to how widespread grassroots fundraising efforts are here in the United States. I have been at multiple conferences at which money has been raised for jihad, with passionate speeches that spare few details about the ultimate objectives of the fund-raisers.
By far the most important tactic utilized by terrorist groups in America has been to use nonprofit organizations to establish a zone of legitimacy within which fund-raising, recruitment, and even outright planning can occur. The use of charitable organizations by jihad warriors and their supporters is a complicated subject. Often, the organizations are perfectly legitimate, but they unwittingly provide a forum for evil. Many of these organizations react strongly when accused of collaborating with or facilitating the work of terrorists, for understandable reasons. If their official policy is to oppose and denounce terrorism, how much responsibility must they bear for the contrary behaviors of individual members or guest speakers?
At the meeting of the Muslim Arab Youth Association that I happened upon in 1992, for example, I was at a conference of a group that does very little, at least on the surface. MAYA runs conferences which other groups attend, and where speakers make speeches; it produces and sells an Arabic magazine, Almujtamaa, and it helps Muslim youths meet one another. At its Web site, you can download a "marriage application" in English or in Arabic. The organization does not issue many press releases, and those that it does are perfectly respectable.
After Sept. 11, 2001, MAYA promptly issued a condemnation of "these apparently senseless acts of terrorism against innocent civilians, which will only be counterproductive to any agenda the perpetrators may have had in mind." The release added the observation that "No political cause could ever be assisted by such immoral acts."
Yet, as I have witnessed firsthand, MAYAs conferences bring together many promoters of hate and violence, and serve as fund-raising opportunities for groups that funnel money to the families of terrorists, perhaps even to the terrorists themselves. I have been accused of anti-Muslim bias for charging MAYA and similar organizations with supporting terrorism. I do not mean to suggest that all members of MAYA are sympathizers. Much less collaborators. But I do believe that the organization must take responsibility for what happens at its conferences.
I should note here, however, that there are also far more purposively sinister organizations in this country. These include a Tampa and Chicago- based organization run in part by known terrorists of Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Osama bin Ladens al-Qaida network took control of a network of offices dedicated to supporting Afghan mujahideen and refugees, located in over 30 American cities including such major urban centers as New York, Boston and Tucson.
In some cases, the terror networks have been operated under their own names. One good example is the Advice and Reformation Committee, also known as ARC, set up by a man names Khalid al-Fawwaz. Al-Fawwaz has been indicted by the United States in association with the bombing of the United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and the United States is currently seeking his extradition from the United Kingdom in order to put him on trial. Al-Fawwaz was tasked directly by bin Laden to create the Advice and Reformation Committee (ARC) in London to facilitate the propaganda efforts of bin Laden against Saudi Arabia for permitting American troops to be based on its soil. As bin Laden has made clear repeatedly, the American "occupation" of the country in which are located the two holiest sites in Islam, Mecca and Medina, is one of the reasons why he declared jihad against all American citizens. Bin Laden himself is listed on the British articles of incorporation for the ARC.
On Dec. 2, 1998, U.S. prosecutors unsealed documents seeking the extradition of Khalid-al-Fawwaz. Among the unsealed documents were two invoices for telephone services billed to the Advice and Reformation Committee that were seized when authorities investigating the bin Laden organization searched al-Fawwazs London apartment. These invoices bore post office box addresses in Denver, Colo., and Kansas City, Mo Despite having at least two United States addresses, the ARC was never incorporated in the United States. If there are other branches of the Advice and Reformation Committee here, they are under no obligation to announce themselves.
A number of known organizations are closely linked to infamous international terrorist organizations. For example, the brother of the head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and one of his top deputies (and eventual successor) came to America to help form and run an organization in Tampa and Chicago. On the other hand, the ties between terrorists and many of the mainstream Muslim groups are far more tenuous. The leaders of the Muslim Arab Youth Association are not suspected to be terroristsbut they are clearly proponents of militant Islam, and their group serves an important function as a venue for radical ideology to be disseminated in the American terrorist infrastructure. To paraphrase Mao, MAYA provides the sea in which the fish swim. But MAYA itself is not likely guilty of any criminal behavior.
I cannot overemphasize that the total number of terrorists in the U.S. is but a fraction of the total number of Islamic extremists, which itself is but a tiny fraction of the total number of American Muslims. There are peaceful and genuinely moderate Muslim-American leaders and organizations here, such as the Islamic Supreme Council of America and the Ibn Khaldun Society. If anything, it is precisely because extremism exists within otherwise legitimate, nonviolent organizations that it must be exposed. Some of these organizations, even as they pursue "civil right" and "humanitarian" causes, champion Islamic extremism.
One final bit of perspective: There are over 1,200 mosques in the United States, and anywhere from three to eight million Muslims (the figure is heavily disputed, although new studies clearly indicate the number at the lower end of the range). The vast majority of all American Muslims subscribe to the strong Islamic tradition of tolerance and human dignity. Yet for one key reason, the extremists have disproportionate influence. One prominent cleric argued in 1999 that "because they are active they took over more than 80 percent of the mosques that have been established in the U.S."
Although our pluralist ideals tend to view this statement as an automatic exaggeration, the reality is far more sobering. The vast majority of American mosques are funded with Saudi Arabian money, and most of the funders subscribe to the Saudi doctrine of Wahhabism, an 18th-century ideology of extreme purity that supports the spread of Islam through violence. Local imams can be appointed by anyone who chooses to fund and/or found a mosque; hence, the influence of this minority ideology is well entrenched among American clerics.
Long before Sept. 11, 2001, investigative journalist and terror expert Steven Emerson was warning the U.S. government about the imminent threat radical islamists posed to this country. In his Jan. 25, 2000, testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims, Emerson highlighted the stunning array of terrorist kingpins who had set up shop in the United States.
"The list of major international terrorists and militants allowed to enter the United States in recent years or actually granted green cards and citizenship," he told the congressional committee, "is nothing less than staggering." They included:
Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, head of the Egyptian Al Gamat Al Islamiya, and convicted leader of an interdicted plot to bomb U.S. landmarks, bridges, and tunnels in New York.
Musa Abu Marzook, one of the top three officials of Hamas (who founded and operated a "think tank" in Chicago and Virginia)
Ali Mohammed, a top lieutenant to Osama bin Laden (and not insignificantly, enrolled as a Special Forces sergeant at Fort Bragg)
Wadih el Hage, secretary to Osama bin Laden.
Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (who served as a professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa).
Sheikh Abdel Aziz Odeh, spiritual leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing (who visited the United States multiple times for fundraising and political recruitment without any knowledge of the INS)
Ayman Zawahiri, leader of the Egyptian Al-Gihad organization, lieutenant to Osama bin Laden and conspirator in the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.
Rashhid Ghannoushi, head of the Tunisian Al-nahdah.
Anwar Haddam, a leader of the Algerian Islamic Salvation Front (FIS)
Leith Shbeilat, a militant Islamic leader implicated in assassination plot against Jordans King Hussein.
Khalid Mishal, a top leader of Hamas, who, in his speeches in the United States, has called for stabbings.
Kamal Hilbawi, a spokesperson for the Muslim Brotherhood, who has called for attacks on American targets and who has encouraged carrying out of suicide bombings.
Yusef Al Qaradawi, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and active supporter of Hamas and other violent groups, who has called for suicide bombings and taking over the United States.
Qazi Hussein Ahmed, leader of Pakistani Jamaat-e-Islami, a militant group that supports violent "jihad" or holy war.
Ramzi Yousef, the top organizer of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Sheikh Abdulmunem Abu Zant, a militant Jordanian Islamic cleric, who has routinely called for violence.
Ishaq Al-Farhan, a leader of the militant Islamic Jordan Action Front who has issued numerous exhortations to carry out violence.
Wagdi Ghunium, a militant Islamic cleric from Egypt, who has called for jihad against Jews and other "enemies of Islam."
Jihad In America - Interview With Author Steven Emerson
Are Jihadists Infiltrating U.S. Military? - Worldnetdaily
US Has Given 50,00 Visas Since 9-11 To New Visitors From The Middle East
U.S. Encourages Immigration From Terror-Sponsor States
State Department granted visas to 7,000 Illegal Alien men from countries in which al Qaeda is active
Why would George W. Bush and his wife pose for a photograph with a man who stated the following?
"Let us damn America. Let us damn their allies until death. Why do we stop?"
Professor Sami Al-Arian - Source
What is going On At The University of South Florida - Bill OReilly
Bush's Terrorist Buddy
Laura and George W. Bush (3rd and 4th from left) with Islamic
Jihad frontman Sami Al-Arian (third from right) and family
(son, Abdullah "Big Dude" Al-Arian, is on far left).
Bush's Terrorist Buddy - Part 2
Bush, Powell, Wrong On Islam
Police State USA
What The Government Knew
How the West Was Won and How It Will Be Lost
Islam Is A Religion Of Peace
"Were not looking for individuals of any particular religion or from any particular country."
FBI Director Robert Mueller - SOURCE
FBI Chief Mueller Expresses Support For Muslim Group
"Freeh placed his trusted associate Robert Hanssen into his last position with the FBI as counter-intelligence director in New York City. The same Robert Hannsen later confessed to being a Russian spy."
Blinded Vigilance - "While the terrorists and their sponsors were plotting to hijack airliners and crash them into Manhattan skyscrapers and the Pentagon, senior CIA officials were compelling analysts and operations officers to attend sensitivity-training classes and sew diversity quilts. That is a fact." - Insight Magazine
Hope all is well with you.
Heck yes, they need more money. That's the problem. LOL!
"Crave death....Make sure that nobody is following you...Bring knives, your will, ID's, your passport....Pray: 'Oh God, you who open all doors, please open all doors for me, open all venues for me, open all avenues for me.'
These were some of the handwritten instructions found in September 11 ringleader Mohamad Atta's abandoned luggage. If he could send a message from hell--where he surely went after he piloted American Airlines Flight 11 into the World Trade Center--Atta would have good news for his band of homicidal brothers around the world. The doors to America are still wide open."
Invasion - Chapter 1, page 3.
Excellent post..I expect to find in the smokey back room shortly..must not disturb the sheeple people
Remember this from November 2002:
Statement Warns of More Attacks (Stop support for Israel, Russia, and convert to Islam or else) Yahoo! ^ | Nov. 16, 2002 | ALAA SHAHINE
Posted on 11/16/2002 9:15 PM CST by Michael2001
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - A statement attributed to al-Qaida threatened more attacks in New York and Washington unless America stops supporting Israel and converts to Islam, an Arab TV reporter who received the unsigned document said Saturday.
Yosri Fouda, correspondent for the satellite station Al-Jazeera, told The Associated Press he received the six-page document on Wednesday. That was a day after the TV station broadcast an audiotape purportedly made by Osama bin Laden (news - web sites).
Fouda, who is known for good contacts within al-Qaida, would only say that the statement came from his sources with the group. But he insisted he was certain it came from the terrorist movement's leadership.
Fouda, speaking by telephone from London, said the statement called on Americans to stop supporting Israel and other governments that "oppress" Muslims or face more attacks. The statement also called on Americans to convert to Islam, he said.
Fouda quoted the statement as saying: "Stop your support for Israel against the Palestinians, for Russians against the Chechens ... for corrupt leaders in our countries ... (and) leave us alone or expect us in Washington and New York."
He added the statement demanded U.S. troops leave the Arabian Peninsula, and justified the killings of American civilians because they pay taxes that finance military operations.
WE MUST NEVER FORGET!!!!!
Here is a lengthy but important document which should be read by all!
JIHAD IN AMERICA:
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Testimony on S.277 before Congressman Spencer Bachus Chairman, Subcommittee on General Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Banking and Financial Services - Feb. 27, 1996 - by Kenneth R. Timmerman, publisher of The Iran Brief.
The Iran Brief is an independent monthly newsletter devoted to strategy and trade, established in December 1994 as a tool for policy-makers and business leaders in their dealings with Iran. Prior to launching The Iran Brief, Kenneth Timmerman served on the professional staff of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and was the editor of Middle East Defense News (Mednews) in Paris from 1987-1993.
My name is Kenneth Timmerman, and I publish a monthly investigative newsletter called The Iran Brief. I have written extensively on Iranian foreign terrorist networks in Time Magazine, the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere, and have done in-depth research on Iranian programs of weapons of mass destruction, including a study that was published by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in 1992. I have also traveled widely in the Middle East and Europe, where in fact I was posted until 1993 when I returned to Washington to work on proliferation and arms control issues for the House Foreign Affairs Committee during the previous Congress.
The U.S. dollar has long been the most widely accepted currency in the Middle East. Israel came close to adopting it as official tender during its hyper-inflation crisis in the mid-1980s; Lebanon and Syria use it as unofficial tender for government to government transactions. I can't tell you with any certainty whether I have ever handled a supernote. But I can say this: the moneychangers in the Old City of Jerusalem, on Hamra Street in Beirut, and in the Damascus souk scrutinized the $100 bills I presented them on trips last year with an attention I had never experienced before. Either I have become more suspicious-looking in middle-age, or else we are talking about a problem which has become so widespread that even these non-institutional currency traders are aware of it, and are attempting to take their own precautions against losing money to fraud.
When an independent television producer whose investigation into the supernotes will be airing on the A&E network on March 2, called contacts in Beirut to see whether they could obtain samples of counterfeit $100 bills, their only question was: "Do you want one, or a thousand?"
In this light, the fears we have been hearing in recent months from Russia are symptomatic. In an unclassified cable which I have appended to my testimony, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow relates a Sept. 13, 1995 meeting with Viktor Melnikov, the director of foreign currency regulation for the Russian Central Bank, during which Melnikov "expressed great concern about the Russian banking system, citing estimates that anywhere from 50 to 80 percent of Russian banks were under the control of organized crime." Melnikov also warned that of the "15-20 billion dollars of U.S. currency in Russia (more, he added, than the entire value of ruble notes in circulation), 15-20 percent is counterfeit."
I have no way of authenticating the figures presented by Mr. Melnikov. Indeed, one European intelligence source recently told me that the amount of counterfeits in Russia could be fully one-third of the U.S. bills in circulation. I certainly don't believe, however, that we can dismiss these reports as lightly as the Secret Service might want us to do. Evidence gathered by independent researchers and journalists suggests that the supernotes are in fact widely present in the Middle East and in Europe, and may be causing harm to U.S. credibility in subtle ways.
Trail to Tehran
The most credible theory currently circulating about the origin of the supernotes leads to Tehran. As other witnesses have explained today, the Shah purchased intaglio printing presses that were identical to those used by the U.S. Treasury in the late 1970s, and with U.S. approval installed them in the Tehran mint. These presses are far too large and heavy for them to have been transported without detection to Lebanon's Bekaa Valley or even to Syria, as some have maintained. The Shah initially intended to build a special currency paper mill as well, but sources at the British company he contacted, Portals-Delarue, say they never got beyond the earliest phases of a feasibility study for the project.
Some sources in the highly secretive currency paper industry have discreetly been pointing fingers at a West German firm, although there is no independent corroboration that this company has completed contracts in Iran, either directly or through their Swiss subsidiary. This is clearly a matter for the intelligence agencies to pursue. However, I would simply point out that Germany has consistently topped the list of Iran's trading partners over the past fifteen years, with sales to Iran averaging in the $2 billion range per year. It is certainly not inconceivable that Iran would have used its outstanding relationship with the German government - or its contacts within other European governments - to purchase currency paper illicitly
A European intelligence official I contacted recently waved off my inquiries about other possible sources of the supernotes. "Everybody knows it's Iran," he said. "Interpol has set up a special unit in Lyons (France) devoted to tracking the supernotes. Langley knows it's Iran. The U.S. government knows it's Iran. They just don't want to admit it publicly." This official said he had seen evidence to indicate that Iran was getting currency paper from Russia.
Another key element investigators need to establish is how Iran gained the expertise to engrave the plates for the supernotes. Some of the intelligence sources I have queried on this subject believe the plates were etched by Iranian engravers trained by the U.S. Treasury in the 1970s. Others speculate that the Islamic Republic used its extensive intelligence relationship with the East German STASI in the mid and late 1980s to recruit master engravers from Germany.
While I cannot tell you today what evidence the United States government may have in classified form to corroborate this theory, my own examination of STASI documents, which I conducted two years ago with assistance from German government researchers in Bonn, establishes that from the first days of its existence the Islamic Republic had forged an intimate working relationship with the East German intelligence services, making this type of cooperation entirely feasible. The East German government sold the Islamic Republic millions of rounds of conventional munitions for everything from Kalashnikov assault rifles to 122 mm field guns all during the Iran-Iraq war. They procured electronics equipment, advanced machine-tools, and other military production gear for Iran through the extensive network of relationships they had established with large West German industrial concerns and from Toshiba in Japan, STASI documents show. One of the most ironic arms deals was the sale to Iran of 12 MiG-23 fighter bombers in 1988 or 1989, just as East Germany was collapsing . STASI may also have played an intermediary role in some of the Iran-contra contacts between the Iranian government and Reagan administration officials. A German parliamentary investigator who has personally examined more than 1 million pages of previously classified STASI documents has told me in confidence he is convinced that STASI was involved in the still unexplained death of former German political leader Uwe Barschel, who was found drugged in a hotel bathtub in Geneva on the night of Nov. 12-13, 1987, just after he had met with Iranian Revolutionary Guards Minister Mohsen Rafiq Doust and a mysterious intelligence contact identified only as ROLOF.
I must emphasize again that this entire presentation is hypothetical at this point. As far as I am aware, the U.S. government has never accused Iran of state-sponsored counterfeiting, at least not in public. Such an accusation would be tantamount to a declaration of war. Because this is such a sensitive issue, I am afraid we will have to content ourselves for the moment with intelligent speculation.
We might start by turning the question around: What if the Iranian government did not have access to the super-notes? Would Iran find it so easy to allocate $20 million out of a tight budget, as they recently have done, to counter "covert" operations against Iran by the U.S. government? Would Iran find it so easy to allocate, as they have since the mid-1980s, nearly $100 million per year to support Hezbollah in Lebanon, and a variety of Palestinian groups (Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command of Ahmed Jibril) which indulge in terrorist attacks against Israel and against American citizens in the Middle East?
If Iran were compelled to rely on the $15.5 billion per year it earns from exporting its oil, and the additional $2 billion to $4 billion it earns from carpets, pistachios, and light industrial exports, would it find it so easy to maintain its current arms procurement program?
In 1989, Iran embarked on a $10 billion program over five years to renew the major weapons systems in its armed forces. It signed three successive arms protocols with the Soviet Union, worth an estimated $8.6 billion, to purchase Su-24 and Su-25 fighters, T-72 tanks, Kilo-class submarines, SA-10 missiles, MiG-29s, and a vast array of military production equipment (including an assembly plant for the MiG-29) . By 1992, however, collapsing oil prices led Iran to cancel most of these purchases, and most estimates now put its arms imports at around $500 million per year during this period - and not $2 to $3 billion initially planned.
And then, something happened. Last year, despite U.S. sanctions which have taken a real hit on the Iranian economy, Iran suddenly had money to reopen the arms pipeline with Russia. They revisited those earlier protocols - which Russia considers as "existing" contracts and therefore unaffected by Boris Yeltsin's commitment to President Clinton at the Moscow summit in May 1995; in some cases they even expanded them. And late last year, Iran and Russia finally resolved the dispute over how Iran would pay the $800 million Busheir nuclear power plant project.
Also late last year, Iran announced that it would henceforth conduct all trade with the Central Asian republics in U.S. dollars, and in cash. This announcement, which was carried by Iran's official state news agency, IRNA, went unreported here in the West. But I feel it is significant, since it indicates a surplus of cash which Iran cannot use in other state-to-state transactions.
One more example of the same type: North Korea. Iran appears to have been paid North Korea as much as $2.4 billion in cash for SCUD-B missiles at the end of the Iran-Iraq war, but for reasons that were never explained, in 1993 North Korea suddenly reversed its long-standing refusal to take payment in oil and in fact refused to take any more cash from Iran. This became apparent when a Member of the Iranian Majlis complained about the cash payments in an open session of the Iranian Majlis . One can only speculate that perhaps the North Koreans feared they had been getting bilked.
We should not confuse the Islamic Republic with a thuggish regime such as that of Saddam Hussein. The mullahs ruling Tehran are relatively sophisticated. They have a love of intrigue, and a penchant for conspiracies. They have a horror of laying their cards face-up on the table, but love to exchange them behind their backs.
Iran knows that if it floods the market with counterfeit U.S. currency, no matter how good the fakes are, sooner or later the U.S. will react. In the current case, clear evidence that Iran was engaged in state-sponsored counterfeiting would justify a vigorous response - perhaps starting with a Tomahawk missile attack on the Tehran mint. While I am sure Iran's ruling clerics are gleeful at the thought of tweaking the Great Satan's nose by almost perfectly imitating the imperialist lucre, I do not believe they are actively seeking martyrdom at the hands of the U.S. Navy or the Marines. If past practice is any guide, they will seek the limits of what they can do with impunity, and carefully stay behind those red lines in the hopes they don't get caught.
If what I have been hearing from various intelligence sources is right and Iran is behind the supernotes, then I see three direct benefits motivating their behavior:
printing supernotes alleviates pressure on the Iranian treasury, at a time when Iran's export earnings are dwindling and its thirst for weapons of all sorts is growing;
having a supply of ready cash gives the regime greater flexibility in supporting terrorist and intelligence operations abroad. The supernotes give them the possibility to finance such operations without having to dip into official government budgets which are subject to some form of monitoring by the Iranian parliament;
large amounts of supernotes allow Iranian agents to bribe their way into Russian and Central Asian nuclear facilities, to purchase material and equipment for their nuclear weapons program.
The most dramatic instance of this that has come out on the public record was an apparent Iranian attempt to purchase 600 kilograms of weapons-grade uranium from the Ulbinskiy Metallurgy plant outside of Ust-Kamenogorsk in Kazakhstan. Alerted by Kazakh officials of the Iranian interest, the Department of Energy airlifted the material to the United States in November 1994 - only to discover in the room next to where the HEU was being stored a number of empty canisters with Tehran addresses. The CIA had learned of visits to the Ulbinskiy plant by Iranian procurement teams in August 1992, and apparent purchases of a nuclear weapons triggering element - beryllium - in 1992 and 1993. Several months after the airlift, U.S. intelligence sources reported that up to 300 kilograms of HEU remained behind at the facility, although Kazakh officials insisted it had already been diluted into civilian reactor fuel and would not be transferred to Iran.
Secret Service reluctance to cooperate with Interpol
Several European judicial and intelligence sources have complained privately to me of their efforts to elicit help from the U.S. Secret Service in tracking down the laundering networks for the supernotes in Europe.
One network several intelligence services were tracking was apparently set up by the Syrian businessman Monzer al Qassar, who has been called "the godfather of terrorism" because of his links to Abu Nidal and other Palestinian terrorist groups.
The Spanish authorities arrested Monzer al Qassar on June 2, 1992 on charges relating to the Achille Lauro terrorist attack, jailing him for two years. As they were preparing to release him for lack of evidence, the Spanish judge was called to Washington. The Secret Service was seeking his cooperation in a new investigation tying Monzer al Qassar to the supernotes. Monzer's brother Ghassan al Qassar, who was expelled from Argentina on a variety of charges including drug smuggling and money-laundering, was believed to be one of the main contacts for obtaining the counterfeit notes. Ghassan, in turn, was in contact with an Iraqi Consul in Vienna, Austria, who was also believed to be passing the supernotes to procure technology on the black market for Iraq's weapons programs. The bills have turned up all over Europe, but especially in Spain and Austria; and I am told that Interpol is increasingly frustrated at the lack of cooperation they have received from the Secret Service.
After an initial meeting in Washington with the Spanish judge in July 1994, the Secret Service went to Spain to pursue its own leads. According to my sources, the Spanish judge has complained that he is "still waiting" for the Secret Service to inform him of the result of its investigation tying Monzer al Qassar to the supernotes. His investigation into supernote laundering networks - which Spanish intelligence sources say are widespread in Spain - has been shelved because of the lack of cooperation from the Secret Service.
ROBERT LEUVER: Ninety percent of the presses that are used to print security paper come from one company, De la rue Giori in Switzerland. And, Iran has these presses. They obtained them in the 1970s, as many other countries throughout the world. Anybody that has this equipment has the same equipment the United States has, so it's not unthinkable that another country has these presses and is capable of using them if they want to subvert the US economy. Whether that's Iran or some other Middle Eastern country, I don't know. But the possibility exists.
STACY KEACH: The Secret Service has confiscated nearly $10 million of the notes circulating in the Middle East, but the source of the Superbill remains elusive. Without definitive proof, the Secret Service will neither confirm nor refute the allegations of state support.
RICHARD ROHDE: There is a number of high-quality counterfeits that circulate around the world. There are high-quality notes that do come out of the Middle East."
PAT ROBERTSON: I hold in my hand the book called Invasion by Michelle Malkin, and Rush Limbaugh says you will be shocked and outraged when you read what she has to say. She is a second generation Filipino and she is saying the systems broken. Michelle, its so good to have you with us on "The 700 Club."
MICHELLE MALKIN: Thanks for having me, Pat.
ROBERTSON: Please tell us whats wrong with it. You do say the system is broken.
MALKIN: The system is absolutely broken. And wherever you look, at the front door and how we issue visas to people from around the world, the back door, our open and loose borders, and the revolving door, the system by which INS processes illegal aliens and then allows them to be released and disappear into the country every single passageway remains open to people who want to do us harm.
ROBERTSON: Lets assume somebody comes into this country and somehow or other hes got a visa, or he gets through the immigration one way or the other. How do they track him if hes one of the millions of people who are here? Do they know where he is or what hes doing?
MALKIN: No. To this day there is no central-tracking database for the millions of people who come here, who have obtained temporary visas like the September 11th hijackers did. If you are a foreign student, a foreign businessman, a foreign tourist, you can pretty much bet that you can overstay your visa and then disappear and then do goodness knows what. And thats part of the problem, is that, to this day, we have not shut off the valve that allows people to come into this country who are coming from terrorist-sponsoring and terrorist-friendly nations And in many cases the INS continues to issue visas to people that it knows are terrorists.
ROBERTSON: Come on, they know theyre terrorists and yet the INS gives them visas?
MALKIN: Yes. And in fact, the State Department asks, "Are you a member of a terrorist organization?" And if you answer "yes," it does not automatically disqualify you.
ROBERTSON: Oh, Michelle! Come on! Are you serious?
MALKIN: I am not joking.
ROBERTSON: "Are you going to blow America up?" "Yes, I am." And that doesnt disqualify you?
MALKIN: I am not making this stuff up. And I think that the bottom line is that our country is not serious about enforcing the principle that entry into this country is a privilege, it is a blessing. It is not some sort of unfettered right or entitlement. My family knows that more than anything else that it is a blessing to be here, and we have to reiterate that principle in our immigration policies.
ROBERTSON: You think those that are here illegally and the numbers are, good grief, what, eight million, ten million?
MALKIN: An estimated nine to eleven million.
ROBERTSON: Alright, nine to eleven million. Should we give them amnesty? Should we round them up and send them back home? What should we do with them?
MALKIN: We should absolutely not grant any more amnesties, because when you do that, every time the federal government has done that in the past, what kind of message does it send? "Come on over." More people will come. Its a magnet. It allows people to come here and cross the borders illegally, overstay their visas illegally, evade deportations illegally, and it undermines the pillars of our society because, after all, shouldnt we expect new Americans that they show that they respect the rule of law?
ROBERTSON: Will the Homeland Security bill do anything to fix the problem do you think?
MALKIN: I think that putting the INS and the Customs Service, for example, under one umbrella is a good idea. But you can rearrange all the offices, you can rename everyone, you can give people new titles, but if theyre not committed to enforcing the law and making sure that immigration is treated as a national security issue first, not a political cash cow, not an economic cash cow, were not going to be any safer than we were a year ago.
ROBERTSON: Does somebody profit from this? Is it like the vegetable growers in California or somebody else? Who is theres always money somewhere, who gets the money?
MALKIN: There are many, many different special interest groups that profit. Not only big businesses, agriculture, high-tech, the university system, but also the political profits of it, a lot of the illegal alien lobbyists and the Democrat Party, which sees millions of illegal aliens as potential new voters. Theres a lot of blame to go around in both parties for the situation we have today, which is, essentially, open borders.
ROBERTSON: Do the Democrats run out and register these people as soon as they can get them on the roll?
MALKIN: Oh, we know it. Remember under the Clinton/Gore administration there was something called Citizenship USA where they knocked down all the procedural safeguards to becoming a citizen in this country and allowed 6,300 criminal felons to gain U.S. citizenship. And to this day, heres the punch line: Those criminal felons retain the American citizenship that was illegally gotten in the first place.
ROBERTSON: Michelle, stop it. I mean this is no wonder Rush says this makes his blood boil. You mean to tell me, you said 6,300 criminals, felons with records of crime and they were given citizenship without the proper procedures and that has never been revoked.
MALKIN: That is correct.
ROBERTSON: Thats horrible!
MALKIN: It is horrible. It undermines, again, the principles of citizenship in this country. You know, my parents took an oath of citizenship and they took it in English. And they swore to uphold the laws and Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies foreign and domestic, so help me God. And there are many millions of naturalized Americans who have followed the rules and obeyed our laws. And what an affront it is to every single one of them to see how our government continues to reward people who flout the law.
ROBERTSON: What got you on to this quest? Youve obviously done a tremendous amount of research on it. Where did all that start?
MALKIN: I think there were three sources: Personal, because of my own family history. Second, because Ive worked in California and Washington state, places along the borders where theyve seen the negative cultural, economic and public safety consequences of unrestricted illegal immigration. And then obviously September 11th was a galvanizing event. And I dont think we can forget the lessons, and Im afraid that we have abandoned them.
ROBERTSON: Is anything going to fix it? Is it irreparably broken, or is there some magic wand that can be waved or some law? What can they do to fix the system?
MALKIN: I think we need to see more leadership from the top. We need to see a strong voice from President Bush articulating the need for clear and consistent enforcement of our laws. And you cannot do that when you support things like amnesty and drivers licenses and discounted college tuition for law-breakers.
ROBERTSON: Michelle, you are a wonderful advocate for strengthening this position. Ladies and gentlemen, you ought to get this book. Weve got it on our website right now. Invasion, Michelle Malkins excellent book on How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores, and what we might be able to do about it, and its time we do. We cannot, as she said, give them drivers licenses, give them IRS protections, even tax refunds, and here theyre in this country illegally. Michelle, youve done a great service to this country and I hope somebody listens to your book.
MALKIN: Thank you, sir.
ROBERTSON: Thank you very much.
Yep. They're hard to find in this age of compassionate conservatism.
National GOP scurries from Tancredo's stance - "The national Republican Party moved rapidly Thursday to distance itself from Rep. Tom Tancredo on immigration issues, fearing that controversies swirling around his views may spoil efforts to woo Hispanic voters."
Vote Bush, facilitate terrorism
"In 1970, Ayers was said to have summed up the Weatherman philosophy as: 'Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, kill your parents, that's where it's really at.' Today Ayers is a "distinguished professor of education" at the University of Illinois at Chicago."
The worms are safe, we aren't