portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting global

government | imperialism & war

Boston-area convicts linked to CIA nexus

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the CIA used al-Kifah to support covert operations overseas. With the full backing of the U.S. government, the organization set up branches in more than thirty American cities to raise funds and recruit fighters for the CIA's anti-Soviet Afghan jihad. In the early 90s, once again with U.S. support and encouragement, al-Kifah shifted its focus to the Balkans, helping to instigate a civil war in Bosnia in 1992. This case, like so many others, proves the government's so-called "war on terror" is really a chase for its own tail. As long as the truth is buried and the media remains silent, the hopeless pursuit will continue.
January 24, 2008 -- "Three leaders of a defunct Islamic charity were convicted Friday of defrauding the federal government by winning tax-exempt status for their organization while concealing the fact that it supported militant fighters in Afghanistan and elsewhere," The New York Times reports, telling only a fraction of the story.

Not mentioned by The Times, or for that matter any mainstream news organization to cover this case, is the fact that the three convicted men, as well as the Boston-area Islamic charity they once headed, Care International, were part of a much larger financial network that was supported and protected by our own government for years.

Care International, prior to being shut down, served as the successor organization of the al-Kifah Refugee Center in Brooklyn. The center's parent organization, Makhtab al Khidamat (MAK), also known simply as al-Kifah, is considered by the Treasury Department to be the "pre-cursor organization to al Qaida and the basis for its infrastructure."

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the CIA used al-Kifah to support covert operations overseas. With the full backing of the U.S. government, the organization set up branches in more than thirty American cities to raise funds and recruit fighters for the CIA's anti-Soviet Afghan jihad. In the early 90s, once again with U.S. support and encouragement, al-Kifah shifted its focus to the Balkans, helping to instigate a civil war in Bosnia in 1992.

Then in 1993 a few of the CIA's holy warriors bombed the World Trade Center.

At that point al-Kifah's headquarters in Brooklyn — from where the bombing plot originated — closed up shop, moved to Boston, and changed its name to Care International.

Members of the U.S. intelligence community, given their close relationship to the suspects, should have been fully aware of Care International's background, yet the charity was allowed to freely operate out of Boston for more than a decade. It was not officially shut down until 2003.

The government was, and remains, both unable and unwilling to prosecute suspected terrorist financers with past links to U.S. intelligence. Even worse, it appears the CIA continued to use Care International and other offshoots of al-Kifah through the end of the 1990s, perhaps even longer.

Although you wouldn't know it from reading The New York Times or watching CNN, nearly every major terrorism-financing case since 9/11 has been linked to the same overarching network, but almost every case has collapsed because the government refuses to release all the evidence. After all, fully documenting the suspects' support of terrorism would mean exposing the government's own clandestine network, not to mention its complicity in the purported crimes.

Not surprisingly, when charges were finally against Care International they were limited to fraud and tax violations, greatly narrowing the scope of the trial. Still, the truth came awfully close to slipping out.

As The New York Times reports:

"The charity, Care International, which has no relationship to the worldwide organization of the same name, raised $1.7 million for the 10 years that it was active, from 1993 and 2003, according to government documents.

Much of the money was funneled through the Global Relief Foundation, said Dean Boyd, a spokesman for the Justice Department, with Care International also directly supporting militant fighters in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya." [Emphasis added]

The origin of the above-mentioned charity, the Global Relief Foundation, like Care International and numerous other shady affiliated groups, can be traced back to al-Kifah, an organization, as mentioned earlier, with documented ties to the CIA.

It is also worth noting that the Global Relief Foundation, again just like Care International, was heavily involved in areas where the CIA conducted operations of mutual interest, including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, as well as Kosovo.

This could, of course, just be a coincidence. But if one digs deeper and begins to examine the leadership structure behind these organizations, further suspicious links to the U.S. government are not hard to find.

Take, for instance, Care International's recently convicted treasurer Muhammed Mubayyid and Care's former President Suheil Laher. Both men, in addition to their jobs at Care International, held positions at a shadowy government-contracted software firm formally known as Ptech.

Ptech changed its name and disappeared from public sight in 2004 after reports surfaced linking it to terror financing, drug trafficking, and perhaps most interestingly, the CIA.

At its peak, Ptech listed countless U.S. government agencies as clients, including the FAA, the Air Force, the FBI, Customs, the IRS, the Department of Energy, the White House, and the list goes on.

Indira Singh, formally a software specialist with JP Morgan, first became suspicious of Ptech in May of 2002 following a firsthand encounter with some of the company's employees. After learning of Ptech's alleged ties to terrorism, she immediately alerted federal authorities.

Several months later, in December of 2002, the government raided Ptech's facilities. The company, however, was never shut down and never charged with a crime. In fact, Ptech was still doing business with the government more than a year after the raid.

According to Singh, several intelligence officials flat out told her Ptech was a protected CIA front.

As already mentioned, two Ptech employees, Muhammed Mubayyid and Suheil Laher, were leaders at Care International, an organization with historical ties to the CIA.

Then there was Ptech manager Aldurahman Alamoudi. During the 1990s he headed the American Task Force for Bosnia, which successfully lobbied the U.S. government to support the Bosnian Muslims against the Serbs—an effort, as mentioned earlier, backed by the CIA via al-Kifah, and supported later on by al-Kifah's offshoots, Care International and the Global Relief Foundation.

The government now claims Aldurahman Alamoudi "had a close relationship with al Qaida and had raised money for al Qaida in the United States." In 2004 he was sentenced to 23 years in jail after pleading guilty to charges related to tax violations and illegal dealings with Libya.

Shockingly, this same alleged al-Qaeda moneyman was invited to Austin, Texas in 2000 to meet with then Presidential candidate George W. Bush. At the time, Alamoudi was leading a new lobbying campaign with friends of Jack Abramoff... a story for another time.

Getting back on track, Ptech's primary investor was a wealthy Saudi named Yasin al-Qadi. Al-Qadi is said to have assisted CIA efforts in Bosnia and Kosovo. He also accompanied U.S. officials during their visits to Saudi Arabia and even claims to have become friends with Vice President Dick Cheney.

Al-Qadi headed the Saudi-based Muwafaq Foundation, named by the Treasury Department as an "al-Qaeda front that receives funding from wealthy Saudi businessmen."

Khalid bin Mahfouz, one of the wealthy Saudis that backed President George W. Bush's first failed oil company, Arbusto, reportedly established and funded the Muwafaq Foundation.

Mahfouz is perhaps best known for being a principal shareholder and director of BCCI, a criminal enterprise exploited by the CIA during the 1970s and 1980s for numerous covert operations, including the financing of the anti-Soviet Afghan jihad.

Mahfouz is allegedly listed on the "Golden Chain" of al-Qaeda financers, reportedly discovered at the Bosnian office of the Benevolence International Foundation in 2002. Benevolence International just happens to be one of the charity fronts the government accuses Care International of illegally supporting.

As if all this was not enough to raise eyebrows, it was revealed at the Care International trial that the Boston charity maintained links to a group of cabbies that received military training together in Afghanistan, apparently with U.S. support.

One of the cabbies, Nabil al-Marabh, traveled to the Middle East at the request of his roommate who he claimed both worked for the FBI and fought in Afghanistan. Later on, while in jail, al-Marabh boasted of his "special" relationship with the FBI.

Al-Marabh worked for the Muslim World League, yet another charity with interlocking connections to the aforementioned charities and to past CIA operations.

Yaqub Mirza, a former Ptech board member, established the U.S. branch of the Muslim World League. Mirza is said to have contacts high within the FBI.

Adding to the intrigue, al-Marabh's Boston roommate, Raed Hijazi, another former driver with the same cab company, was an FBI informant during the 1990s, supplying the bureau with information regarding heroin coming into Boston from Afghanistan.

This angle of the story, as well as several others, will be explored in further detail in the future. For now, just a glimpse of this network should be enough to change one's perspective of the war on terror.

The government created, supported, and to a certain extent still protects, the very same network of terrorists it claims to be at war with.

Care International's former leaders are being sent to jail for doing exactly what the government encouraged them to do. Meanwhile many of the key figures behind this financial nexus remain free.

This case, like so many others, proves the government's so-called "war on terror" is really a chase for its own tail. As long as the truth is buried and the media remains silent, the hopeless pursuit will continue.

 http://www.theamericanmonitor.com/articles/tail_of_terror.html