First: A BCCI Primer
Maybe nothing happened in the White/Bath/Bush affair because no one did anything wrong? Well, soon after Bush 41 took office, one of the Saudis that Bath had been fronting for cropped up as a central figure in som very criminal financial hanky-panky.
In addition to funnelling money to the Bush family for no apparent reason (bribery was just the alleged reason), one of the guys also had a major stake in the Bank of Credit and Commerce International.
The BCCI bank scandal broke in the elder Bush's term, and implicated a veritable Who's Who of political names, not just Republicans, but politicians of all stripes — unfortunately, not the kind of stripes that come on prison uniforms.
BCCI was a criminal enterprise, disguised as a bank, — how is that different from any other bank — that offered "financial services" for high-dollar bad guys. These included money laundering, investment scams and no-fee ATMs at any CIA field office, worldwide.
BCCI had quite the client list, including such infamous bad guys as the Medellin drug cartel, Pamama dictator Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein, terrorist mastermind Abu Nidal, and Khun Sa, the heroin kingpin in Asia's Golden Triangle — fuck, all they needed was Adolph Hitler and Henry Kissinger and they'd have a monopoly on Banking for Pure Evil. You usually don't see that list of names in one place unless you're talking about CIA involvement in criminal activity. Actually we probably are talking about CIA criminal activity, at least some, but let's just pretend it's just a startling coincidence that each and every bad guy or group I just listed also has a known CIA connection. Who saw that coming?
The head of the Justice Department's criminal division under the elder Bush, was Robert Mueller. His prosecution resulted in a tepid round of wrist-slapping and everyone thought he sucked. Obviously, George W. Bush thought that Mueller did exactly what he was told… er… I mean… morally obligated to do. I'm guessing that, because now Mueller heads Dubya's FBI, so he must think Mueller the exact kind of law enforcer this country needs with a Bush in the office: an ineffective one.
The Many Crimes Mahfouz Swears He Didn't Do
The names Bin Laden and Bin Mahfouz have been coming up in discussions of terrorism for many years. In November 2001, two French defense and intelligence analysts, Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquié, published a book entitled Bin Laden, The Forbidden Truth detailing connections between the larger — beyond Osama — Bin Laden family, the Bin Mahfouz banking empire and Al Qaeda.
On the basis of these claims, a collection of the families of 9/11 victims files a $1 trillion lawsuit against a slew of defendants including Khalid bin Mahfouz and his son, Abdulrahman. In February of this year, the Bin Mahfouz family fired back with a libel suit against Brisard who is serving as a consultant to the 9/11 plaintiffs.
So, legally the truth of the claims against Mahfouz are up in the air. Hopefully, the lawsuit will settle some of the disputes.
In a 1998 Congressional hearing, former CIA director, James Woolsey, made a few remarks regarding Khalid bin Mahfouz. One of these comments was that Bin Mahfouz's sister is married to Osama bin Laden. Osama bin Laden has three or four wives, so there are possibly 3 or 4 people with this honor.
What's Woolsey saying now?
Other comment Woolsey made during his testimony strongly suggest that he was referring to Bin Mahfouz, but he now disputes the remarks attributed to him … "I don't know what to say other than there was some confusion, but I never meant to refer to Bin Mahfouz's sister," Woolsey said.
Los Angeles Times, 26 February, 2003
Hmm. I have to say this: not really convincing. Still, you would think that Khalid knows who his sister is married to — she's not Elizabeth Taylor.
In 1991, the BCCI scandal was in full force. BCCI was connected to quite a bit of evil, and — naturally — the Bush family. Among other thing BCCI was connected to the Iran/Contra scandal and Harken Energy corp. The principal shareholder was Khalid bin Mahfouz with a 30% stake.
On of the BCCI indictments named Khalid bin Mahfouz. Mahfouz was charged with fraud relating to obfuscation of BCCI's criminal financing. Facing a $10 billion criminal liability, Mahfouz managed to forge a plea-bargain agreement that got his out with $225 million in fines and a dismissal of the charges.
In 1987, a subsidiary of Mahfouz's National Commerce Bank (NCB) provided a suspicious loan of $25 million to Harken Energy. It is likely that Mahfouz would have had to approve this loan.
In the absence of any proof, however, Khalid bin Mahfouz is maintaining that he had nothing to do with the Harken loan. He'd also like people to take note of the fact that he was not accused of actual drug smuggling, arms dealing or money laundering.
True enough. He was just accused of supporting these activities. That's a huge difference. Sort of. Well, technically.
During the 1990's an oil industry consortium called CentGas tried to create a project to build a gas pipeline across Afghanistan. Brisard and Dasquié build a rather detailed case that this project, an Bush administration efforts to support it helped create the conditions for the 9/11 attacks.
While this theory has been largely ignored in the mainstream American press, everyone associated with CentGas has been frantically distancing themselves from it since 9/11.
One of the members of the CentGas consortium was Delta Oil, a Saudi company. For some time, Khalid's sons Abdulrahman and Sultan were involved in a venture called Delta Nimir Khazar Limited; This joint venture between the Bin Mahfouz sons' Nimir and Delta Oil involved oil interest in Azerbaijan and not the CentGas project.
Nothing to this, then? Well, nothing solid against the Mahfouz's, but there is some intrigue left in this angle.
In 1998, Nimir sold its interest in the project the a company called Amerada Hess. One of the directors of Hess is Thomas Keane. In December 2002, President Bush named Keane to head the commission investigating 9/11. Suspicious? Well, it might be less suspicious if Hess hadn't severed its relationship with Delta three weeks before the appointment. [ref]
The October 29, 1999 issue of USA Today contained an article claiming that "senior US intelligence officials" had informed the paper of links between "prominent businessmen in Saudi Arabia" and the Al Qaeda terrorist organization. On of these prominent businessmen was Khalid bin Mahfouz.
According to the article, NCB &mdash the bank founded by Khalid's father &mdash had been auditted in April that year by the Saudi government. The audit reportedly uncovered a $3 wire transfer to organizations known to be part of Osama bin Laden's terrorist funding network.
One of the organizations cited was the Islamic charity The Muwaffaq (Blessed Relief) Foundation; Abdulrahman bin Mahfouz was on the board of The Muwaffaq Foundation, which was originally founded by his father Khalid bin Mahfouz.
The article claimed that this audit had resulted in Khalid bin Mahfouz being placed under "house arrest." At the time, these claims were being found by attorney Venon Jordon, personal friend of the President.
In their libel suit, the Bin Mahfouz family denies that the NCB audit ever took place or that Khalid bin Mahfouz had ever been under any kind of arrest. While they don't deny family involvement in The Muwaffaq Foundation, they do deny that that they had any knowledge or control of its association with terrorism. This includes the claim:
Anyway, the family has hired the law firm Fulbright & Jaworski to investigate the charity. That seems rather responsible, although anything found by the law firm will be protected by attorney/client privilege — there's nothing preventing the Bin Mahfouz family from witholding anything embarassing.
No one in the Bin Mahfouz family has been accused of terrorist links since 9/11 and none of their assets have been frozen. Others associated with The Muwaffaq Foundation have not been so lucky.
The Mahfouz's are currently represented by Akin Gump, a lawfirm with close ties to the Bush Whitehouse.
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