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Wednesday 1 March 2006

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March 1, 2006 — Dubai — the emirate has the smoking gun evidence tying the Bush criminal cartel to arms trafficking, Viktor Bout, the Taliban, and Al Qaeda.

Internal documents from the UAE Central Bank in Dubai detail huge money laundering operations in the UAE according to financial industry insiders. Moreover, the Sharjah branch of HSBC Holdings PLC was tied to international arms trafficker Victor Bout, indicted in Belgium for money laundering and named in various UN reports as a chief embargo buster in Africa and Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

American citizen Iqbal Hakim, a native of India, was the chief examiner for the UAE Central Bank. Hakim, yet another whistleblower who has been ignored and mistreated by the Bush administration and threatened by Bush’s Persian Gulf potentate friends, discovered a suspicious $343 million per year money flow through an HSBC personal account in Dubai. The transactions were investigated by the FBI and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement but no prosecutions resulted.

There are deep-seated ties between the Bush-Cheney criminal cartel, key GOP operatives, and the UAE. Significant questions about the oil industry’s ties to the U.S. military-intelligence complex were raised when Michael Trumpower, the owner of Prescott, Arizona-based company Matco, Inc. filed for bankruptcy shortly after George W. Bush’s inauguration. In questionable financial moves similar to those of Enron, Matco traded on a lucrative oil concession it was granted for all offshore exploration off the Emirate of Fujairah for unsecured loans for equipment and services. Fujairah, one of the poorest of the emirates, is led by Sheik Hamad bin Mohammed al Sharqi, one of the more fundamentalist Wahhabi Muslims in the UAE leadership. Al Sharqi patronizes the Fujairah Islamic Call and Guidance Center, which has recruited a number of foreign adherents of Wahhabi Islam. These include Filipinos, British, Americans, Russians, and Sri Lankans. Moreover, all their native countries are targets of Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda. In addition, a number of Pakistani nationals who worked at the National Bank of Fujairah were known by international law enforcement to be sympathetic to the Taliban.

Trumpower’s close ties to Sheikh Hamad are only rivaled by his close ties to the CIA. Although he became strapped for cash after his company tanked, Trumpower, like Enron’s Kenneth Lay, was a major contributor to the Bush campaign and those of other Republican candidates, including that of powerful House Rules Committee member, Representative Thomas Reynolds of New York. Reynolds was in a prime position to derail any House investigation of the GOP-CIA-oil industry ties.

In the mid-1980s, Trumpower was an associate of Iran-contra figure Oliver North. North claims Trumpower was instrumental in helping to free U.S. hostages in Lebanon. That affair was the heart of the Iran-contra scandal in which several current and former Bush administration officials took part. These include National Security Council Middle East adviser Elliot Abrams, former Defense Department Information Awareness Office chief Admiral (retired) John Poindexter, and Assistant Secretaries of State for Latin American Affairs Otto Reich and Roger Noriega. The old Iran-contra fraternity remains largely intact. In 2000, North and Trumpower jointly appeared at a Republican fundraising dinner in Arizona.

Trumpower was also close to the reigning Emir of Sharjah, who granted the shadowy ex-CIA agent of influence rights to drill in a strip of ocean bordering Fujairah. Sharjah was a major base of operations for Al Qaeda and the Taliban, which used the emirate to smuggle weapons and drugs using Ariana Afghan Airlines security credentials. Sharjah was a base of operations for Viktor Bout’s Air Cess operations, which was accused of running weapons to the Taliban and gun running activities in Africa, especially the Democratic Republic of Congo.

From his base in Sharjah in the Gulf, Bout was servicing Ariana Afghan Airline flights to Kandahar, Afghanistan. These flights were believed to be ferrying weapons and Al Qaeda and Taliban volunteers to Afghanistan and the Clinton National Security Council strongly believed Bout was aiding terrorism. Belgium issued an INTERPOL international arrest warrant for Bout for money laundering and diamond smuggling. Clinton White House counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke wanted an arrest warrant issued for Bout. Gayle Smith, Clinton’s National Security Council Africa bureau chief, along with CIA and British MI-6 agents, kept a wary eye on Bout’s activities in Africa’s conflicts.

At heart of Dubai scandal: Taliban and Al Qaeda weapons smuggler and U.S. contractor Viktor Bout

After Bush was inaugurated in 2001, Sharjah police sent a special police unit to Sharjah airport to capture Bout and hand him over to U.S. authorities, but the White House declined. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice told U.S. intelligence that when it came to Bout, "look but don’t touch.” After 911, Rice inexplicably called off all operations aimed at Bout. Law enforcement and intelligence agents considered such a move amazing, considering Bout’s direct links to smuggling arms to the Taliban and Al Qaeda, as well as to other areas of the world that were rife with Islamist terrorist groups.

Next door to Sharjah is Dubai, the center of CIA spying in the region, according to U.S. intelligence sources. Dubai’s Dolphin Energy Ltd. was a quarter-owned by Enron before the firm’s collapse. Dolphin’s CEO was UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahayan. Bout was reported by the UN to be using Flying Dolphin Airlines, which operated scheduled flights between Dubai and Kandahar between October 2000 and January 2001, to ship arms to the Taliban. Flying Dolphin was owned by Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Saqr al Nahayan, a former UAE ambassador to the U.S. and a relative of the President of the UAE, who is also the ruler of Abu Dhabi. Flying Dolphin was registered in Bout’s favorite home base of Liberia although its main office was in Dubai.

In addition, Bout’s Texas-based Air Bas had rights to refuel at U.S. bases in Iraq. One of Bout’s airfreight companies, Airbus, was subcontracted through another firm called Falcon Express of Dubai, by Kellogg, Brown and Root, the subsidiary of Halliburton. Air Bas also had links to Falcon Express.

In July 2001, Osama bin Laden was reported to have received kidney treatment at the American Hospital in Dubai with the blessing of the Dubai and UAE governments. At the time of his hospitalization, Osama Bin Laden was reported by the French newspaper Le Figaro and Radio France International to have been visited on July 12, 2001, by Larry Mitchell, the CIA chief in Dubai who was said to have had close contacts with all the Gulf royal families. Mitchell was reportedly called back to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia on July 15, 2001. The Carlyle Group, with George H. W. Bush, James Baker III, and the Bin Laden family as major principals, bought a 42 percent stake (from a previous 4.9 percent stake) in Le Figaro after the paper on October 31, 2001, reported on the Bin Laden meeting with the CIA station chief in Dubai.

The Bush criminal cartel: fingerprints all over Dubai ports deal

One of Neil Bush’s best friends and advocates in the Middle East is the Emir of Dubai, Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, an individual who often crossed paths with the Taliban and Al Qaeda on his frequent hunting and falconing trips to eastern Afghanistan. In the wake of 911, Rashid, who was the Defense Minister of the United Arab Emirates and then Dubai Crown Prince, said the following, “The United States must not to act in haste, it must give diplomacy and legal means every opportunity before launching a military strike on Afghanistan, it must not rush to accuse people without hard evidence.” The UAE was only one of three countries to recognize the Taliban, which acquiesced to the financing of Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. In October 2001, while visiting Dubai just weeks after 911, Neil Bush praised the Shaikh Rashid as a man with “foresight and vision.” In the same speech, Neil Bush said something that should chill the bones of every American—he said the following about his learning-disabled son Pierce, “My father was the 41st president and my brother is 43rd. I think that if Pierce finishes high school, he’ll be the 50th president of the United States." Rashid also just so happened to be in charge of a project to put computers in UAE schools and Neil Bush was hawking the services of his Ignite! Inc., an e-learning educational software company.

Carlyle has its fingerprints on the Dubai Ports world deal to assume control of six major U.S. ports from Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O). After Treasury Secretary John Snow left CSX Corporation as its chairman, CSX Lines was sold to Carlyle, which renamed it Horizon Lines. David Sanborn, who was a CSX executive under Snow, became director of European and Latin American operations for Dubai Ports World and arranged to sell the Dubai state-owned firm CSX port operations in South America and Asia. Sanborn was then appointed Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Maritime Administration (MARAD), the oversight agency for U.S. shipping and ports. The Dubai Ports World deal to take over U.S. port operations was signed off by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), chaired by Sanborn’s old CSX boss Snow. Perhaps not coincidental to the lucrative port deals, the Dubai Investment Corporation recently invested $100 million in The Carlyle Group. And Dubai Ports World’s deal involves taking over operations at more than just six U.S. ports — New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia/Camden, Baltimore, Miami, and New Orleans.

P&O’s web site states the Dubai Ports World deal involves stevedore operations at 21 U.S. ports: Portland, ME; Boston, Davisville, RI; New York; Newark; Philadelphia; Camden, NJ; Wilmington, DE; Baltimore; Newport News, VA; Norfolk, VA; Portsmouth, VA; Miami; Lake Charles, LA, New Orleans; Beaumont, TX; Port Arthur, TX; Galveston, TX; Houston; Corpus Christi; and Freeport, TX.

The magazine In These Times reported yet another former CIA officer who had ties to the Gulf and who was heavily involved with the oil industry. He is Stephen “Satch” Baumgart of Reston, Virginia. He reportedly helped funnel arms to Sadaam Hussein in the 1980s with the approval of the CIA, which had, at the time, tilted to Baghdad in its war with Iran. Baumgart was linked to another Republican contributor and oil mogul, Pierre Falcone of Scottsdale, Arizona. Falcone was implicated in a complex guns-for-oil scandal involving Angola and Vice President Dick Cheney’s old company, Halliburton, a major player with the Luanda regime. Another player in that scandal was Russian-Israeli mobster Arkady Gaydamak, who is tied into an international network of smugglers connected to Marc Rich, Scooter Libby’s one-time client. Falcone was also closely linked to Arizona Republican State Senator Scott Bundgaard, who ran for the House of Representatives’ Second District in Arizona.

There is also a connection between the scandal-plagued firm Custer Battles, which has been under investigation for fraud in Iraq security contracts, and Dubai. Custer Battles was formed in 2003 by Mike Battles, aged 33, a former U.S. Army and CIA officer and Scott Custer, also a former U.S. Army Ranger and employee of SAIC. Custer was Battles’s campaign assistant in a failed 2002 congressional race against Rhode Island Democratic Representative Patrick Kennedy. Custer Battles initial financing is sketchy but it is known that the company received $15 million in seed money from a Dubai venture capital firm. The venture capital firm hoped to raise an additional $100 million for Custer Battles ventures in Iraq. Battles refused to disclose the name of the Dubai firm.

A mercenary firm that supplies ex-South African counter-insurgency Koevoet commandos has links to Dubai. The firm, Erinys International, which established an Erinys Iraq branch, has its headquarters in London with offices in Johannesburg and Dubai.

Vice President Dick Cheney’s old company, Halliburton, has some interesting partners in its work in occupied Iraq. On Dec. 11, WMR reported on links between Halliburton/Kellogg, Brown & Root and a Viktor Bout-owned airline based in Moldova, Aerocom/Air Mero. Bout’s airlines have also reportedly been involved in flying low wage earners from East Asia to Dubai and on to Iraq where they work for paltry salaries in sub-standard living conditions. Halliburton/KBR has sub-contracted to a shadowy Dubai-based firm, Prime Projects International Trading LLC (PPI), which "trades" mainly in workers from Thailand, the Philippines, Nepal, India, Pakistan, and other poor Asian nations.

In 2004, after a Filipino PPI worker was killed in a mortar attack on Camp Anaconda in Iraq, the Philippines government of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered PPI, which is based at P.O. Box 42252, Dubai, UAE, to send overseas Filipino workers OFWs) home from Iraq and Kuwait and banned it from further recruiting in the Philippines. Some of PPI’s recruiting included running ads on the Internet. In addition to the other south Asian employees, the Philippine workers were employed by PPI under a Pentagon sweetheart umbrella contract let to KBR under the LOGCAP (Logistics Civil Augmentation Program) III program.

Although little is known about PPI, it reportedly has been linked to Halliburton/KBR for a number of years and has been associated with Halliburton contracts in the Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the Balkans during the time when Dick Cheney headed the firm. PPI has also been involved in operations at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where Filipino workers were involved in building the prison housing suspected "Al Qaeda" prisoners.

Inside sources report that PPI has some high level financial partners, including the al Nahayan royal family of the United Arab Emirates and Vice President Cheney

Forum posts

  • as soon as the dubai port story broke , my first thoughts were blackmail, it looks like i speculated right

  • Wayne Madsen’s site is the only true site on the net to get the REAL "behind the scenes" information. I make sure to read him every day. Just wish some of this stuff would be brought out more openly. But we know THAT will never happen................

  • I’m the attorney who prosecuted Custer Battles, and got the $10 million jury verdict this week. Just curious — what is the basis for your statements about Battles raising $100 million from a Dubai investment firm? I never heard that before, although it does explain a document that we have obtained.