Decades before burning skyscrapers, codified torture, secret trials and mass detentions, there was Barrick Gold, a mining concern in Canada with roots in the American intelligence establishment. It is fitting that gold, the seductive but dead heart of world finance, should christen a story about the most unconscionable act in Wall Street history: 911.
Barrick’s incorporation is obscure. Most accounts claim that the firm was founded by Peter Munk, a former radio manufacturer who made a splash in the Canadian press when he disposed of his shares in the company shortly before it was declared insolvent, a golden parachute paid for by investors and the Canadian taxpayer. His name was instantly mud in the investment community, but fortunately for Munk, no indictment was filed against him.
Today, his overall worth is estimated at 0 million.1 Munk’s redemption was the work of Saudi entrepeneur Adnan Khashoggi, who would go on to notoriety as an Ollie North intermediary in the Iran-Contra affair. Khashoggi and Munk kicked off their partnership with a series of hotel investments. In 1983, the Saudi entrepeneur raided his cash reserves to purchase Barrick. Munk was installed as chairman.
Khashoggi distanced himself from Barrick shortly after the Iran-Contra scandal broke (but held on to his stock, tied up as collateral for North’s arms transfers to Iran in 1985), notes Observer reporter Gregg Palast in a book on the 2000 presidential election, well before Bush was invited in. That was in 1993, according to SEC records: “Munk's reputation was restored, at least in his own mind, in part by massive donations to the University of Toronto. Following this act of philanthropy, the university awarded Munk adviser Bush an honorary degree. Several students were arrested protesting what appeared to them as a cash-for-honors deal.”2
The bonds were positively Sicilian. in 1986, Khashoggi was arrested for fraud and held in a New York prison. Munk paid his -million bail.3
Financial researcher Lois Battuello was Palast’s key source of information concerning Barrick. It was Battuello who gave Palast a file on Barrick Resources International (BRI), the nascent firm founded two years before Barrick Gold, a spin-off, by the Central Intelligence Agency’s Kermit Roosevelt to serve as a business front.
This was roughly the same time that Roosevelt cemented relations with Khashoggi, who brought Munk along, on behalf of the CIA. In 1983, Battuello says, the disgraced entrepeneur “picked up the mantle of this clandestine front (read looted taxpayer dollars) in Toronto as though it was his operation. It was simply put together with ‘evil money,’ and it gave Adnan Khashoggi an excuse to be visible in Toronto, where he established yet more businesses and outposts.”4 The offshore division of Khashoggi's Barrick Resources, for instance, controlled Jetborne, Inc., a company in Toronto used by Khashoggi to ship arms to Iran under the direction of Reagan’s NSC.5
Khashoggi’s empire, raised on a bed of gold, metastasized rapidly. In 1973, he dropped in his burgeoning folio a company in possession of nearly two million acres of prime real estate, the Arizona-Colorado Land & Cattle Company -- not far from the 100,000 acre Paloma Ranch near Gila Bend, deeded to the CIA’s Kermit Roosevelt and John B. Anderson.6
Two years later, in cahoots with Sheik Kamal Adham -- then director of Saudi intelligence (1963-79), brother-in-law of King Faisal and the CIA’s key liaison in the Arab world -- Khashoggi founded Oryx.
But the Saudi Sheik’s thieving bonds with Khashoggi and the CIA were forged decades earlier, with the incorporation of Barrick. The company’s seed investors were Saudis with Agency ties, including Shiek Kamal Adham, Adnan Khashoggi, and Prince Nawaf bin Abdul Aziz (a major investor in Barrick, code-named “Tumbleweed” by his CIA contacts).7 By 1978, Adham was worth roughly 4 million.
It was but two years earlier that the son of Prescott Bush, a well-heeled CIA director, struck up an alliance with Saudi Arabia and Iran under the Shah. George H.W. Bush’s left-hand man at Langley was Kamal Adham. After leaving the CIA in January, 1977, Bush was appointed to the executive committee chair of First International Bancshares (FIB). (In the 1980s, the Shiek and Abdul Khalil ((Adham’s successor as Saudi intelligence director)), then officers of BCCI, were implicated in a hostile bid for FIB, by this time transmorgrified into a front for its scandal-infested parent, BCCI.)
Raymond Close, another covert revolving-door dervish, CIA station chief in Saudi Arabia, took arms from the Saudis and gave them to Pakistan, and in ‘70s left the Agency and went to work for BCCI director Kamal Adham.
Majority shares in Capcom, a BCCI susidiary, were held by Saudi spooks Adham and Khalil. Capcom sidelines included money laundering and drug trafficking.8 Adham was eventually prosecuted for fraud in the BCCI case and paid a 0 million fine.
Oryx, the demonic corporate brat of Khashoggi and Adham, has recently been linked by investigative reporter Daniel Hopsicker (Welcome to Terrorland) to Wallace Hilliard, proprietor of Huffman Aviation in Florida, where Mohammed Atta’s suicide-cult cell trained.
Of the 220 flight schools in Florida, Atta had to pick Huffman.
Wallace Hilliard, Khashoggi lackey, bought Huffman Aviation in 1999, and hired Rudi Dekkers, a Dutchman, to run it. The following year, Hilliard’s LearJet was stopped on the runway at Orlando Executive Airport by armed DEA agents.
At Huffman, too, the CIA was a silent partner. Sander Hickes, a reporter for the Long Island Press, found that Hilliard “did business with Myron Du Bain, who worked alongside late ex-CIA director John McCone on the boards of several banks. Du Bain was chairman of the Fireman's Fund Insurance Company in 1981 when the company announced plans to acquire Employers Health, an insurance company co-founded by Hilliard.”9
Daniel Hopsicker offers the suggestion that Mohammed Atta had engaged “in a lucrative drug trafficking operation which linked Osama bin Laden's thugs and drug lieutenants to their equally-thuggish American counterparts. This places the two terrorists in the same aviation loop” -- Hilliard titled the jet in the name of Plane One Leasing Co., of Naples, FL, and leased the plane to American Jet Charters, LLC, co-managed by Hilliard and pilot Diego Levine-Texar -- “where DEA agents brandishing submachine guns seized a Lear jet belonging to the owner of the flight school [Hilliard] in Venice, Florida, where Atta and Al-shehhi were just settling in ... at that very moment.”
DEA agents, Hopsicker writes, “discovered 43 pounds of heroin aboard Hilliard’s Lear. The Orlando Sentinel hailed the bust as ‘the largest seizure in Central Florida's history.’ After we'd learned the whole story, we discovered the bust had been an accident, carried out by low-level DEA operatives not clued-in to the protected nature of the trade. Nor was this the only time Hilliard's name came up in connection with narcotics trafficking.”10
Likewise, Hilliard’s Saudi boss would soon be immersed in criminal activity of his own -- with direct ties to terrorism -- in Armenia. Banking fraud was rampant there, Global News Wire reported in August, 2004, “thanks to the Arab millionaire Adnan Khashoggi -- an active partner of Armenian businessmen in the illicit drug and arms trades.” Khashoggi’s initial bucket-shop banking operation was a branch of the Caucasus Investment Bank in Susa. In quick succession, he opened the Hamaz and Beit ul-Muqaddas banks with the assistance of Abu Muslum, an Arab businessman.
Rovsan Novruzoglu, a political scientist and director of the International Strategic Research Center in Azerbaijan, discovered that Adnan Khashoggi’s banks “played a big part in the formation of terrorist camps and in the opening of laboratories for developing chemical and bacteriological weapons in Nagornyy Karabakh.”11
Back home, Hilliard's flight school, as Hopsicker reported, “was training dozens of terrorists to fly -- including both pilots crashing into the World
Trade Center.” ...
1) Greg Palast, “Poppy Strikes Gold,” excerpt from The Best Democracy Money Can Buy,” http://www.democraticunderground.com/articles/03/07/09_gold.html.
3) Gregg Palast, “Best democracy money can buy: Gregory Palast examines the sources of the 0m that boosted Bush's bid for the White House,” Observer, November 26, 2000.
4) Lois Ann Battuello, e-mail exchange with author, October 1, 2004.
5) Ibid. Today, Khashoggi has interests in some 1,500 companies, and indirect involvement in others. The second largest shareholder in Ruppert Murdoch’s News Corp., for instance, is Prince Walid bin Talal bin Abdulaziz as Saud (Prince Alwaleed), a Khashoggi colleague.
7) Jay Taylor, “Jay Taylor: J. Taylor's Gold and Technology Stocks” (Volume 22 No. 15), January 3 2004.
8) Martin J. Rivers, “A Wolf in Sheikh’s Clothing: Bush Business Deals with 9 Partners of bin Laden’s Banker,” Geocities, March 15, 2004.
9) Sander Hicks, “No Easy Answer - Heroin, Al Qaeda And The Florida Flight School,” Long Island Press, February 19, 2004.
10) Daniel Hopsicker, interview, also “9/11's Big Dirty Secret,” MadCowMorningNews, July 19 2004, http://www.madcowprod.com.
11) M. Macidli, “Azerbaijani Daily Outlines Activities of International Armenian Haybun Organization,” Global News Wire, August 27, 2003.