I damn well hope its his fall, anyway... prefer to see him locked up at Gitmo, but he has played his cards rather well throughout life and I expect him to do the same now.
Who the hell am I talking about?
Why, my favorite individual to point to about the connectivity of transnational terrorism, international organized crime and money laundering: Monzer al-Kassar.
Ok, my background articles contain the details, so you get a listing of those, now:
- A dot to connect dots with: Monzer al-Kassar
- More on dots heading outwards with Monzer al-Kassar
- Monzer al-Kassar and Transnational Terrorism
- A dot listing for those in need of reference
- At least they weren't professional terrorists
- Internetworking and the role it plays
- But making it legal was supposed to solve it!
- It is Four Degrees of Monzer al-Kassar time!
- The killers ask for a better chance to kill
- An easy terror incident to pin on... astoundingly *not* Monzer al-Kassar!
- What don't you know, and why won't they tell you?
- Red Mafia and its connectivity - The Brainy Don of Marbella
- And now the view on the other side - Yeah, I gots problems with R and D folks in power
- Of Clinton and Kosovo
- Syria's credible threats - Syria threatening the US and Spain, did it go too far?
- Ending Mugniyah and missing the point
- After the fall of Trans World Commodities and its fallout
- The Pattern of Pursuit
- The madness in my method
- Same old hope and change
- From FARC to Venezuela to...
- The FARC Contacts
Yeah, a couple of articles either directly or tangentially about one man, Monzer al-Kassar. Who is he, then? That one is hard to define, as he has been involved in so much over the decades that no single phrase describes it. Take his background, as a reliable source or two points out, his family has been involved in the Bekaa valley drug trade since the late 1950's, at minimum. While not necessarily the 'movers and shakers' of it, their support has been necessary to the Assad family having a steady source of income for Syria. That trade, only in the few billions of dollars at source, has allowed Syria to take the 'middleman's cut' and parlay that into a decent, steady and small income stream as these things go for Nations. Still, per weight, it is beating inflation rather handily while ramping up in market size.
So Monzer al-Kassar, eldest son of his generation, started getting involved in the late 1960's to 1970's with drug dealings across the UK, France, Italy and Spain. Actually convicted in the UK for a few months and in Algeria (by one account), Monzer shifted into the next phase of his work in the late 1970's: arms dealing. Starting with the Italian/Sicilian Mafia groups, he expanded very quickly to become someone of note for the French to approach in the early 1980's once Hezbollah came into being...
Now if *that* isn't a coincidence, having Hezbollah well supplied with arms and munitions and using the Bekaa valley for training, I don't know what *is*. The deal with the French, however, is surprising as he had a murder charge in France pending against him, and yet he skated *that* by gaining diplomatic status with another Nation. He was the 'go to guy', walking the streets of Paris after charged with murder there and, yes, got the hostages taken by Hezbollah freed. You can make up your mind if *that* is pure coincidence or having a lot of good connections, but my feelings tend towards the latter as he is soon to be the most well connected man in that dark realm of narcotics, arms trafficking, money laundering and terrorism. He started out that way early, and it went on from there.
After working with the French he got tapped by someone in the know to help out a trio of guys from the US: Ollie North, Albert Hakim and Richard Secord. Remember Iran/Contra? Monzer al-Kassar worked one of the arms deals in that, which would include Polish arms transiting through the Netherlands, meeting up with a couple of the principles of Iran/Contra, and then trans-shipped via Portugal to central America. There are indications that he was also involved with a Chinese arms shipment routed through another venue. This would lead to the Reagan Administration being confronted with the fact that arms made their way *back* to Iran for US hostages in Lebanon. That is *why* Monzer al-Kassar becomes important in the deal: he had done the same for France. The man who apparently connected the North group to al-Kassar was Jackson Stephens, who would show up in that, BCCI and as an early employer of Johnny Hwang for the Clintons.
Getting the idea here?
The way that the money was worked in the deal was through BCCI, making Monzer al-Kassar one of the large group of nefarious characters, like Saddam Hussein, Bert Lance, and Nadhmi Auchi... along with just about every crook and arms dealer in the world... who did business through BCCI. Like John Keating. What is interesting, and missed by most, is that Saddam Hussein and Nadhmi Auchi had already set up one of the largest money launding and illegal arms trade systems on the planet, the Al Mahdi, to supply Saddam with weapons in his war with Iran. That system used BCCI, but was not a part *of* BCCI, just using it as a funds transfer system. The question is: did Monzer al-Kassar know about and utilize the Al Mahdi system? Considering that this system had ties to PLO, HAMAS, Hezbollah and the Italian/Sicilian Mafias, it is hard to see how he *didn't* know. And as al-Kassar's speciality was spiriting Eastern European arms out to Bosnia, Kozovo and Yemen... there are only some few indicators that he may have used an exterior system, like the Audi Bank of Switzerland (Source: PBS Frontline documentary on al-Kassar), to move funds. Actually, that is most likely the Audi Bank of Lebanon, Geneva office. Also involved in all of this is Die Erste Bank of Austria (with some background on that organization here) and Arab Bank in Geneva which was Yasser Arafat's bank of choice as his widow would use that and BNP Bank (Source: BBC, 11 FEB 2004), and that ties Auchi to Arafat directly. About the only other major figure he is tied to is that of Abu Nidal, as part of the BCCI-London Office work and moving arms via that with his brother, Ghassan, past various arms embargos and to terror organizations. Plus his connection to the supernote trade in the Bekaa valley, which most point to Iran as an early starter, but the quality of the bills point to North Korea as the expected source, with Iran being an intermediary.
The Audi Bank would also show up in the next large scale move by Monzer al-Kassar, and that would be into Argentina. Here the question is not so much *why* al-Kassar, but as to *who* made the connections. The man to make connections with in the late 1980's was Carlos Menem, Argentine politician whose parents were from Syria. With that original connection, be it from al-Kassar's deals via Iran/Contra or via Menem's connections via Syria or (most likely) needing connections and al-Kassar already had the contacts, it doesn't really matter as Hafez Assad and Carlos Menem came to an agreement whereby Assad would fund Menem's Presidential bid in return for nuclear and missile technology that Argentina had been previously working on with Egypt and Iraq - Condor II. From that Monzer al-Kassar would get many benefits, like an exchange deal with the Colombian drug cartels of heroin for cocaine, introduce Hezbollah to the Tri-Border Area of South America, work Arms shipments from Argentina to Croatia, Bosnia and Yemen, put his own network of agents into place (even into the head spot of the Buenos Aires international airport inspections department), set up his own trade bank, and punish Argentina with the help of Imad Mugniyah and Iran for Menem bowing to US pressure *not* to give advanced missile and nuclear technology to Syria.
From approximately 1988 to 1994, Monzer al-Kassar was a very busy man, bribing his way into oblivion by having Carlos Menem destroy all records of him and his transactions there, and undermine the court system via bribery. We know that as a judge sitting on the case admitted to being bribed by him. Still the Audi Bank proved a real boon in the money laundering, bribery and general mayhem that was going on around Monzer al-Kassar. Even to the point where the Swiss would freeze his account and investigate him for a few years. Of interest is it is that Swiss judge (not the bribed Argentine judge) that would start investigating the Bank of NY scandal way back on 10 JUN 2000. So, while direct connections with Auchi cannot be confirmed, the confluence of events before the BoNY scandal hit, and how money was transferred for arms deals is of a lot of interest.
Outside of the Israeli Embassy and AMIA Center bombings, Hezbollah had a couple of preparatory bombings going on before that, in 1991, and was setting up their own 'charity' in the area, as part of Mugniyah's External Security Operations. This was not Monzer al-Kassar's first dabblings in terrorism, as seen by his previous work in the early 1980's getting Hezbollah to release hostages via Iran for France and the US (Iran/Contra). He was also involved with the Achille Lauro hijacking by PLF leader Abu Abbas, and would be tried on that in Spain... only to have one witness get drunk and fall off his apartment balcony to his death, another witness have his family kidnapped by a Colombian drug cartel and a third witness in jail in Italy recant his testimony. And that is how a man charged with Piracy walks in the modern world. Strange how that happens, isn't it? The upshot of that, having cover credentials from Yemen and other Nations and, generally being well connected, is that his bank accounts in Switzerland were unfrozen and he walked free of the Piracy charges.
If you include the death tolls by Hezbollah against the US Embassy and Marine Barracks, along with French military, the Israeli Embassy bombing, AMIA cultural center bombing, Achille Lauro hijacking and such you are coming up with a man sponsoring or taking part in the deaths of hundreds, piracy and general terrorism above and beyond his ability to launder money, get arms to places under UN interdiction and somehow transform fruit into military hardware at sea. And that is *before* we get to the 21st century! Just look at that list and the backers behind it: Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, PLO, Red Mafia, Iraq, China. Not to mention the individuals involved, like Imad Mugniyah or Semion Mogilevich the 'Brainy Don' of the Red Mafia. Tying Arafat to Auchi and the same banks starts to tie al-Kassar into that entire system of funds transfers that would start to smell very rotten due to the BoNY penetration by the Red Mafia... with the judge just a few months before discovering *that* working on al-Kassar's case.
Heading into 2001 he would try to work out his deal with Menem for a gold mine in Tucuman, Argentina via Imperial Consolidated, but that deal would face problems and he would put forward charges that Imperial was working with Osama bin Laden... that *before* 9/11. The status of the gold mine is not clear at this point in time, but the fall of Imperial (already having financial problems) and their counter-assertion that it was al-Kassar bringing bin Laden to *them* makes for an interesting case as bin Laden had an agent die on the way to Marbella, Spain in a plane crash. It is speculated that the agent was to meet with either with al-Kassar or Mogilevich (who kept a residence there) or *both*. Fascinating stuff happening just before 9/11!
After 9/11 we come to the Madrid Bombings of 3/11 as looked at by Joe Aguilar at Winds of Change and Barcepundit who translated an article about an undercover officer who was working on al-Kassar's case and, actually, *for* him and traces the phones used in the bombings to a company owned by Kassar. That and a number of connections to Algerian terror organizations, which look to be the perpetrators of the plot... but someone supplied the technology and know-how for them to pull it off. That gets us up to Monzer al-Kassar's arrest in Spain in 2007 as the US was looking to extradite him on a FARC sting operation and his finally arriving in the US a few days ago.
The above is the 'bare-bones' sketch of what Monzer al-Kassar has been dealing in, and does not look at a number of suppositions put out by others on things like the Pan Am 103 Lockerbie bombing or some of Kassar's other work in Iraq, where he was (at least up until last year) the #1 wanted man there for getting arms to insurgents. That without having set foot inside of Iraq, mind you.
While the charges on the DEA case are pertinent, they also point to the unraveling of FARC and the penetration of the FARC arms network. That is the integrated drug/arms/money exchange system by FARC and reaches pretty much worldwide to Russia, Central Asia, Oceania, Middle East, Africa and Europe, as well as to drug cartels in Mexico. As more comes out from that, the deeper connections with past goings-on are coming to the forefront, and the opportunity to clear up some long-standing problems of the late Cold War and post-Cold War period.
One of the central figures in that is Monzer al-Kassar.
This then puts the question of his ties to those in power in various Nations in question - the Four Degrees of Monzer al-Kassar game is no joke as he is one of the most highly connected individuals between the dark world of crime and terrorism and the gray world of political expediency. The central charges of conspiracy to terrorism and such ignore the greater problem that such corrupting influences that he represents have spread far and wide. You do not get Colombian drug Cartels kidnapping people to help out such an individual by *chance*. That points to a deep connection to the criminal world, reaching into jails across the globe. Not only does he have those connections and the higher ones to politicians, but the lateral ones to banking and finance: his work to launder money from the Bekaa valley drug trade, arms deals and various other black world projects points to a deep and long term problem uncovered by the BoNY scandal.
At heart Monzer al-Kassar is one of the prime movers in the realm of illegal war and private war, seeking to undermine the US, in particular, and the West in general. He is skilled enough to have been untouchable for decades, not only was it hard to pin anything on him, but once in court cases tended to evaporate out from under prosecutors. By using that organized crime and terrorism *reach* he could *touch* nearly anyone with threats or simple death. And that brings up a very troubling part of the DEA work: beyond the agents involved in the 'sting'... no, hold on a second... *including* them, just who does this case depend upon? Anyone with connections to arms dealing, narcotics trafficking or having contacts with the Red Mafia or the combined Kassar/Auchi contacts group may have a hard time staying alive.
Even in a supermax.
Having seen a couple of Spanish, Argentine, and Swiss cases just fall to pieces around him, there is no guarantee that even with iron-clad proof of wrong-doing that he will not walk away from the charges. He is the master of technicality, and knows how to operate so as to have ample fall-backs and back-ups in the legal realm. Two or three charges might not be enough to do it, and even those that gain a conviction have tended to be overturned on further review. Given a year of preparation, which he has *had*, getting any case to stand up against him in Federal Court is going to be a problem. If he was hit with every possible sanction, starting from the Hezbollah bombings and Iran/Contra all the way to the present, including at least one episode of piracy and another of aiding and abetting it, there might be a possibility to get *something* to stick.
The best possible world would have the Piracy charges with Abu Abbas be confirmed, they are damned simple and need to show simple collusion. With that the entire network of Kassar contacts could be brought in on the aiding, abetting, working with, giving material aid to Pirates. Those are, by far, the simplest federal charges in the world to make stick as they were aimed directly at those waging private war against any Nation. Absent that, you are stuck in the mush of the terrorism laws, RICO and various other conspiracy laws highly limited by the US territorially.
And then there is the final problem: the next President.
That Four Degrees game?
He is connected to Obama (via Auchi and Alsammarae), Clinton (via Marc Rich or Jackson Stephens) and McCain (via Deriposka if not Keating or Stephens), and there will be heavy pressure on each of them to *not* keep Monzer al-Kassar in jail due to *his* knowledge of various US Presidential Administrations and Congressmen. He is a bi-partisan threat, and one of the nastiest to have been seen in decades if not longer. I don't expect that even a supermax will hinder al-Kassar's operations and that of his family: they have been in the business far longer than the current crop of politicians have.
I expect him to walk unless he actually can exploit federal hospitality, of course...
To the Candidates for President: If you want my vote you will appoint a fully independent investigation inside the FBI, CIA, Treasury, and DoD to gather evidence of ALL wrongdoing by this guy and then follow each and every one of them up and if it leads to *you* step down from the Office of President.
Everyone who has bitched, moaned, complained about the war, FISA, 'civil liberties' and 'terrorism is just a tactic': this is the Civil side of going after terrorism and it will lead to your favorite policial party, backers, organizers, and possibly some of your friends.
If Monzer al-Kassar has Piracy charges *stick* against him, then every contact, supplier, friend, confidante... EVERYONE who knows him and has helped him can be brought up on federal charges of showing that help to a Pirate and be slammed away for a decade. Everyone that al-Kassar reaches out *to* can be brought *in* and put out of circulation.
None for political party.
None for office.
None for Nation of origin.
None for who they back.
That will lead to the organizations of al Qaeda, HAMAS, PLO, Hezbollah, FARC - everyone in those organizations can be brought in as they support that ORGANIZATION. And a few of them, like Hezbollah and al Qaeda, should really be brought up on Piracy charges for their attacks on the USS Cole and the unarmed merchant vessel attacked by Hezbollah in 2006. Plus parts of the PLO have done sea born attacks and invasions of Israel, which is, yes, Piracy when done by non Nations.
You want the Civil side of confronting terrorism?
Now it the time to start.
That is if you *care* about curbing this form of private war and making it very unattractive to those doing it or those looking to do it.
These people have cast all civil rights aside and put themselves above all Nations as final arbiter of life and death.
They chose this path to go down.
Now we can show them the error of their ways... if we have the guts to stand for anything and demonstrate that there is a place for the rule of law amongst men and Nations. It is nasty, it is rough, it is hard, it is not nice.
No one said being civilized was any of those things.
It is, however, necessary to uphold it so you can treat those who abide by being civilized in a civil fashion.
And those who don't?
Outside the law of civilization and adhering to the Law of Nature.
They want that.
And it is what they should get in full and complete measure.