A Time magazine cover story on BCCI.From the beginning of the Afghan War, the CIA, partnered with Pakistani Intelligence, in organising the rebel Mujahideen fighters. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, was established in 1948, by Joseph Cawthorn, a British Intelligence agent of MI6, with whom it has continually maintained close ties. The power of the ISI increased for its first twenty years, until the emergence of Pakistan’s first popularly elected leader, the socialist Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1971. Bhutto fell out of favour with the British and was overthrown by General Zia Ul-Haq, who had been appointed Chief of the Army Staff by Bhutto in 1976, at the insistence of Gulam Jilani Khan, the Director General of the ISI.
In If I Am Assassinated, penned in prison, Bhutto relates how Henry Kissinger threatened him for pushing forward on Pakistan’s nuclear energy program, telling him, “We will make an example of you!”142 Bhutto was executed in 1979. A spokesman of the Muslim Brotherhood then boasted, “The Brotherhood has taken over in Iran and Pakistan. Bhutto stood for intrusion of the West into Islam. Bhutto was everything that Pakistan was not. That is why we killed him. And we will use his death as a warning to others.”143
The primary conduit for CIA funds to the Mujahideen fighting in Afghanistan would be the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, BCCI. BCCI, the first Third World multinational bank, which was created in 1972 by Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi, was initially funded by Sheikh Zayed of Abu Dhabi, in anticipation of the petrodollar bonanza of the oil crisis.
In The Outlaw Bank, Beatty and Gwynne describe that, “BCCI had been built from oil, from the enormous wealth that flowed into the Middle East after the huge OPEC oil price increases of the 1970s.” Of the coincidence, they further note, “though Abedi could not claim full credit for it, the timing of BCCI’s launch was nothing short of miraculous”, particularly since the American speaker at the 1973 Bilderberg meeting stated that, once oil prices would have increased, “serious problems would be caused by unprecedented foreign exchange accumulations of countries such as Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.”144
Though BCCI was created by a Pakistani, it was ultimately a British-based and British-controlled bank. BCCI was initially incorporated in Luxembourg, famous for its lax banking restrictions, and soon branches and holding companies sprouted up around the globe: in the Cayman Islands, the Netherlands Antilles, Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi, Washington DC and just about everywhere else.
In 1976, BCCI took over the Banque de Commerce et Placements of Geneva, Switzerland, and then installed Alfred Hartmann as manager. Hartmann then became the chief financial officer for BCC Holding, and thus one of BCCI’s most influential directors. Hartmann was also president of Rothschild Bank AG of Zurich, as well as vice-chairman of NY-InterMaritime Bank of Geneva, run by Mossad operative Bruce Rappaport, who was on the board of N.M. Rothschild and Sons in London. By 1980, when BCCI finally applied for and received a licence from the Bank of England, there were already more branches in the UK than in any other nation.
Casey had wanted to establish an offshore entity capable of conducting covert operations which was “stand-alone”, financially independent, and free from congressional oversight. BCCI was the solution. In the early eighties, Casey began meeting regularly with Abedi in Washington D.C. While he had until then been reticent, some secret deal seems to have been struck with Casey, because Abedi then moved aggressively to establish BCCI in the U.S.
CIA assistant director Robert Gates once referred to BCCI jokingly as the “Bank of Crooks and Criminals.” “Black funds” for the CIA travelled through BCCI for the Contra war, the Iranian-Israeli payoffs, and large covert wars in Afghanistan and Angola. BCCI became the favoured bank for Middle Eastern terrorists, and arms and drug runners, South American drug cartels, organised crime lords, and intelligence services such as the ISI, Mossad, MI6 and the CIA.
A branch was set up in Panama for the cash that Manuel Noriega was funneling out of his country. Noriega, who had been a long-standing U.S. intelligence asset, was also an informant for Mossad. He had undergone military and intelligence training in Israel, and, like Uganda’s dictator Idi Amin, wore his Israeli paratrooper wings on his uniform for years afterward.145
Noriega’s mentor was Michael Harari, a Mossad intelligence agent. When Harari finished directing Mossad death squads against the PLO in the early 1970s, he was transferred to Central and South America. Harari supervised what became known as the Harari Network, set up in 1982 by the Reagan administration and the Israeli government, to run a secret aid program for the Nicaraguan contras.
Operating out of Mexico, Panama, and Florida, the network integrated his operations with the emerging cocaine trade, particularly those of Colombia’s Medellin and Cali cocaine cartels, and shipped guns to the Contras and smuggled cocaine from Colombia to the US via Panama. It was the CIA who had set up the meetings in which various Colombian drug dealers organised into a drug trafficking Medellin cartel in 1981, permitting it to deal with a group rather than many independent drug dealers.146
In his book, Defrauding America: Encyclopedia of Secret Operations by the CIA, DEA and Other Covert Agencies, Rodney Stich reports a conversation recorded by one of his informants, Gene “Chip” Tatum, a helicopter pilot for the US Army and the CIA, where Harari explained:
What we do has nothing to do with preserving a country’s integrity. It’s just business and third world countries see their destiny as defeating borders and expanding. The more of this mentality we can produce, the greater our wealth. We train and we arm: that's our job. And in return we get a product far more valuable than the money for a gun. We’re paid with product and we credit top dollar for product [i.e., drugs]. Look, one gun and 3,000 rounds of ammo is $1,200. A kilo of product [cocaine] is about $1,000. We credit the Contras $1,500 for every kilo. That’s top dollar for a kilo of cocaine. It's equivalent to the American K-Mart special: buy four, get one free. On our side we spend $1,200 for a kilo and sell it for $12,000 to $15,000. Now that's a profit center. And the market is much greater for the product than for weapons. It’s just good business sense. Understand? 147
The more conventional departments of BCCI handled such services as laundering money for the drug trade and helping dictators loot their national treasuries. BCCI also operated a clandestine division of the bank called the “black network”, which functioned as a global intelligence operation and a Mafia-like enforcement squad.
The black network used sophisticated spy equipment and techniques, along with bribery, extortion, kidnapping, prostitution, and even, by some accounts, assassination. The black network operated a lucrative arms-trade business and transported drugs and gold. According to an international arms dealer, who frequently worked with the black network:
B.C.C.I. was a full-service bank. They not only financed arms deals that one government or another wanted to keep secret, they shipped the goods in their own ships, insured them with their own agency and provided manpower and security. They worked with intelligence agencies from all the Western countries and did a lot of business with East bloc countries. 148
It is evident that BCCI’s black network is an appendage of an original Illuminati body. To understand how so-called “Islamic terrorists” are deceptively recruited, it is revealing to consider an account reported by Beatty and Gwynne through their source, a Palestinian named Sami Masri, who had defected from the Pakistani branch of the operation:
They recruited me in 1984 when I was going to college in Pittsburgh... They called me on the phone, they knew me from home, they knew a lot about me, and it was easy to relate to them. When they showed up, they were just normal people, very humble, down to earth...
They were young white people, Persians, Armenians out of Jordan, Pakistanis living in the Emirates. They all spoke Arabic, most of them with a Palestinian accent.
It was all very friendly at the beginning. They gave me money, there were parties and women, and then they began to explain the power and connections they had and suggested that I join their organization. They told me I would learn later what the orgnization was really about. They were always there for you and they just sort of took control of everything. They taught me about leadership, gave me books to read – books on how to deal with people, on psychology. They talked about not showing your emotions. They were always saying “That’s what a leader does, and you should behave like a leader.
In 1985 I got my first operation: there were six people, and I was in charge; I had instructions, support, cash. We went out of Karachi to Bangladesh and then to India. We had documents, passports, and we flew to England. People were waiting for us there. They picked up the stuff and gave us new passports and travel documents. I got paid $50,000 and the others got $10,000 each. I found out later that this first operation was an easy one; it was meant to go like clockwork to give us confidence. We got into the really heavy things later....
All of a sudden they started talking to us differently; it was almost like boot camp. It wasn’t friendly anymore. We trained with arms, and there was other special training: breaking and entering, setting up bugs, and eavesdrop devices....
We were acting as couriers, delivering documents and gathering military and industrial information... government secrets. I was sent to interrogate people – people that were targeted. We would learn everything about them; we would do that ourselves or hire detective agencies. At times when there were people we wanted to recruit, or people who had information that we wanted, we would put hundreds of thousands of dollars in their bank accounts before we talked to them...
It is a very good technique if you can afford it, and we had unlimited money. If you look at your bank account and see that you have a million dollars that you didn’t think you had... it is much harder to return that money then it is to turn it down in the first place. And in some circumstances, you are already compromised just because the money is in your account and you can’t explain it....
[Those targeted were...] People we wanted to work with us. Generals, politicians, government officials, bank officers, it was in all countries...
We trained together [with the Mossad] in Karachi for covert operations. We gathered information for the Mossad, spying on the Gulf States because we were so close to the ruling families there that we were familiar with the foreign policies. The Israelis sold U.S. arms, technology, expertise to Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, and BCCI brokered the deals...
[BCCI] gave the Mossad, Israel, the use of their agents in the Emirates. BCCI was friends with everybody...
We did joint operations; BCCI was financing Israeli arms going into Afghanistan. There were Israeli arms, Israeli planes, and CIA pilots. 149
Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Kamal Adham, director of Saudi intelligence between 1963 and 79, brother-in-law of King Faisal and the CIA’s key liaison in the Arab world during the 1980’s, secretly acted as BCCI nominees in a hostile take-over of Washington D.C.’s largest bank, Financial General Bankshares, that soon became First American Bankshares.
From BCCI’s initial attempts to acquire First American, in 1978, until his forced resignation in 1991, former Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford, from his position as the top official at the bank, was one of the central figures in BCCI’s acquisitions and management of American banks. Clark Clifford, who had been Washington’s preeminent attorney, was referred to by the Financial Times as “the ultimate insider”. It was precisely his reputation and connections that led the Arab front men for BCCI to seek Clifford’s help in acquiring an American bank.
BCCI’s First American was set up in the U.S. with the assistance of Jackson Stephens, of Little Rock, Arkansas. The Stephens Group, a multibillion-dollar empire of companies, which is operated by Jackson Stephens and his family, dominates the Arkansas economy, where they own a large part of more than a dozen banks, the most exclusive hotel in Little Rock, and the building that houses Bill Clinton’s Arkansas office. Stephens is named in the court records as having brought Saudi billionaire Ghaith Pharaon, of BCCI, together with Stephens’ close friend Bert Lance, who had been a cabinet official under President Jimmy Carter. However, Stephens, and Lance, like Clark Clifford, all maintain they did not know the group of investors headed by Pharaon were actually fronting for BCCI.
142 Goodgame, Peter, The Globalists and the Islamists.
143 What Really Happened In Iran, Coleman, p.16, 1984, quoted from Goodgame, Peter, The Globalists and the Islamists.
144 Engdahl, Century of War, p. 131.
145 Curtiss, Richard H. “What You Won’t Read About Michael Harari, Noriega Is Israeli Adviser Who Got Away”. Washington Report. February 1990.
146 Stich, Rodney. Defrauding America: Encyclopedia of Secret Operations by the CIA, DEA and Other Covert Agencies. Quoted from Uri Dowbenko, “Book Review”, Conspiracy Digest.
147 Uri Dowbenko, Book Review.
148 Time magazine, “The Dirtiest Bank of All”, 7.29.91
149 Beatty and Gwynne, The Outlaw Bank. p. 78-79.

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