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This article appears in the December 19, 2008 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

Shut Anglo-Saudi Global Terror Apparatus Behind Mumbai Attack

by Jeffrey Steinberg

[PDF version of this article]

Dec. 13—For the first time in living memory, an international spotlight has been focussed on the British Empire's guiding hand behind global terrorism. It took the stunning 72-hour attack on the Indian port city and financial capital of Mumbai, from Nov. 26-29, to focus world attention on "Londonistan," the capital of international narcoterrorism.

In league with a network of Saudi Arabian based "charities," Great Britain has been singled out for its role in harboring, recruiting, and financing an alphabet soup of religious, ethnic, racial, and tribal irregular warfare fronts, capable of launching destabilizations-on-warning in every part of the globe.

This irregular warfare apparatus, in turn, is dependent on a global underground economy of illegal drug and weapon traffickers, money launderers, and other criminals. The seeming paradox of religious fundamentalist organizations of all stripes being in bed with some of the world's most violent criminal organizations, is no paradox at all, when considered from the standpoint of London's imperial divide-and-conquer methods.

It is this broad apparatus, above and beyond the subsidiary MI6-created Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), and its terrorist fronts such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, which was behind the Mumbai attack, and which is now feeling the heat of a growing international investigation.

Furthermore, with London growing increasingly uncomfortable with the incoming Barack Obama Administration in Washington—as more and more Cabinet and White House posts go to veterans of the Clinton Administration and key figures in the patriotic American military/intelligence institutions—the specter of more such asymmetric warfare attacks as the Nov. 26-29 assault on Mumbai must be anticipated and pre-empted.

Lyndon LaRouche has repeatedly warned of the danger of a London-ordered assassination of the U.S. President-elect, particularly during the period before his Jan. 20, 2009 inauguration—while George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are still in charge.

The threat to Obama is not at all unrelated to the fact that U.S. institutions, as distinct from the Bush-Cheney White House, are moving directly against this British-Saudi nexus of terrorist support. These moves, immediately aimed at preventing a London-orchestrated new war on the Indian subcontinent, between the two regional nuclear weapon states, pit certain U.S. circles directly against British intelligence and the City of London financiers, who stand behind the international drug trade, long ago labeled by EIR as Britain's Dope, Inc.

The current drive to shut down the Anglo-Saudi hub of world terror, and the role of U.S. institutions in abetting this fight, has dramatic implications for the larger battle over who will define the new international financial system, which will certainly be erected atop the corpse of the present, hopelessly bankrupt post-Bretton Woods "globalized" financial arrangements.

The Anglo-Dutch forces would sooner plunge the entire planet into a "new dark age" of permanent warfare and genocide, rather than permit a revival of the kind of post-imperial world envisioned by the late American President Franklin Roosevelt—a world of collaboration among perfectly sovereign nation-states. Thus, the ongoing fight to get to the bottom of the Mumbai attacks takes on the highest strategic significance.

The Mumbai Probe

According to senior U.S. intelligence sources, the first warnings to Indian security services about a pending terrorist attack on Mumbai—months prior to the Nov. 26 seaborne assault—came from Washington. U.S. intelligence agencies, as part of their ongoing focus on the Pakistan/Afghanistan theater of operations, intercepted communications about a planned attack on Mumbai, transmitted through a satellite communications network housed in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), used by a wide range of "jihadi" organizations and networks. U.S. intelligence passed the information to New Delhi.

The U.A.E. communications link, according to the U.S. sources, is part of a global network, centered in the Persian Gulf, that provides a range of services, including large amounts of cash, to organizations based in the no-man's-land along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, including the Pakistani North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), as well as in Pakistani Kashmir.

The same apparatus provides similar support to Salafi networks operating in the Balkans, Chechnya, Somalia, Kenya, Iraq—and even the United States.

Evidence of the pivotal Anglo-Saudi role in this global apparatus was already being compiled by U.S. intelligence services long before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

For example, on Aug. 21, 1997, U.S. agents of the CIA and FBI, accompanied by Kenyan police, raided the Nairobi home of Wadih el-Hage, the personal secretary to Osama bin Laden, and a subsequent mastermind of the Aug. 7, 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. Among the documents and computer files confiscated in the raid were lists of prominent Saudi bankers, including Salah al-Rajhi, the co-director of the $26 billion al-Rajhi Banking and Investment Corp.

The Saudi Arabia-based al-Rajhi Bank has been identified by U.S. investigations as a major source of funding for al-Qaeda and related Salafi networks worldwide. The chairman of the bank. Sulaiman Abdul Aziz al-Rajhi, was identified in March 2002 as a member of the Golden Chain, a network of al-Qaeda funders, whose names were discovered in a raid on the Sarajevo, Bosnia offices of the Benevolence International Foundation (BIF), a Saudi charity.

Al-Rajhi was also the financier and sponsor of a network of Islamist fronts in the United States, referred to as SAAR (the initials for "Sulaiman Abdul Aziz al-Rajhi"), which was shut down by U.S. authorities on March 20, 2002, in a series of raids in Northern Virginia. A CIA report the next year warned, "Islamic extremists have used al-Rahji Banking and Investment Corporation since at least the mid-1990s as a conduit for terrorist transactions.... Senior al-Rajhi family members have long supported Islamist extremists and probably know that terrorists use their bank."

Some of the terrorist funds laundered through the al-Rajhi Bank disappeared into what was described by one of the investigators as a "black hole" of non-existent "charities" located on the British Isle of Man—the scene of "offshore"—unregulated—banking activities.

The British links to al-Rajhi Bank and scores of other jihadi fronts with Saudi ties, run very deep—beginning with the fact that half of the 2 million Muslims living in Great Britain are from Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh, including leaders and top financiers of nearly all of the organizations now under investigation for the Mumbai attacks. Dating back to the late 1990s, particularly following the 1999 Air India hijacking by Kashmiri separatists, the Indian and Pakistani governments have both filed formal diplomatic protests to the British Foreign Office, charging that the British government has been harboring and financing known terrorists.

In some cases—like the al-Rashid Trust—the British hand behind the very terror networks that staged the Mumbai attack, is blatantly out in the open.

On Sept. 23, 2001, just days after the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. Treasury Department designated al-Rashid Trust as a "financial facilitator of terrorism." The Treasury Department cited the London-based website "Global Jihad Fund" as a major source of financing of al-Qaeda, along with Pakistan's Lashkar-e-Taiba, with the funds passing through the al-Rashid Trust. An Oct. 26, 2001 report on al-Rashid Trust, published in Asia Times, noted that the Trust raises money in the Middle East and "everywhere Pakistanis can be found, especially in Britain."

At the time of the Treasury listing, al-Rashid Trust was headed by Maulana Masood Azhar, one of the terrorists released by the Indian government in exchange for the 180 hostages aboard Air India flight 814, which was hijacked in 1999 and brought to Kandahar, Afghanistan. Azhar was arrested by Pakistani authorities on Dec. 8, 2008, as part of the post-Mumbai crackdown. He was identified as the head of the Jaish-e-Mohammad.

Air India Hijacking, Revisited

The 1999 Air India hijacking also resulted in the freeing of British terrorist Ahmed Omar Sheikh, a London School of Economics student-turned-jihadi, who would later murder kidnapped Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl at the offices of al-Rashid Trust in Karachi, Pakistan. After the Air India hostages were freed, the British government offered to give asylum to the British-born Sheikh, on the grounds that he had never been charged with a crime on British soil. The Indian government filed a formal diplomatic protest.

The Pearl murder, for which Sheikh has been convicted and is awaiting execution in Pakistan, also involved Khaled Sheikh Mohammad, the man identified as the actual author of the 9/11 attacks. Thus, the Air India hijacking brings the London-Saudi roots of the present Mumbai probe back, full circle.

That 1999 hijacking was masterminded by Dawood Ibrahim, a Mumbai-based gold smuggler, and boss of the Mumbai underworld, who fled to the British offshore banking haven of Dubai, following another major terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001. Ibrahim later surfaced in Karachi, where he is currently based, but he maintains an active presence in the Indian underworld, laundering gold through "Bollywood" movie productions, and running smuggling operations through the Mumbai port. Dawood Ibrahim's apparatus has been identified as the key on-the-ground facilitators of the Nov. 26-29 Mumbai onslaught.

From London-based and British government-protected Pakistani and Saudi fundraising networks, to a vast circuit of fundamentalist mosques and madrasas (schools) all over Britain, to the parallel networks in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Kashmir, this global narcoterrorist structure is now being spotlighted, as never before.

As more and more details surface of the buildup of this British intelligence-sponsored jihadi apparatus, over the decade of the 1990s, EIR will revive our January 2000 push for the U.S. State Department to consider whether Great Britain should be put on the official list of state sponsors of terrorism (see EIR, Dec. 12, 2008 for excerpts from our memorandum). Such action, even at this late date, may prove to be the most effective deterrent against an otherwise imminent eruption of global asymmetric warfare, in which the Mumbai attacks may prove to be the Sarajevo of the 21st Century.

For More Information

  • EIR three-part report on "The New International Terrorisism," including "London's Afghansi" and "A Case Study: South Asia," Oct. 13, 1995; "London's Irregular Warfare vs. Nations of the Americas," Nov. 10, 1995; and "RIM: London's Narcoterrorist International," Nov. 17, 1995.

  • "Levy Sanctions on Britain for Harboring Terrorists!" EIR, April 4, 1997.

  • Ramtanu Maitra, "Tracking the British Role in 2006 Mumbai Bombings," EIR, Aug. 4, 2006, reprinted in EIR, Dec. 12, 2008.

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