The Axis Of Evil — The Safari Club, CIA & B.C.C.I Bank
“In 1976, after the Watergate matters took place here, your intelligence community was literally tied up by Congress. It could not do anything. It could not send spies, it could not write reports, and it could not pay money. In order to compensate for that, a group of countries got together in the hope of fighting Communism and established what was called the Safari Club. The Safari Club included France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Iran.” (Prince Turki al-Faisal, head of Saudi intelligence from 1977–2001)
The existence of a covert alliance of intelligence services formed in 1976 which ran clandestine operations around Africa was discovered by Egyptian journalist, Mohamed Hassanein Heikal, who was permitted to review documents confiscated during the Iranian Revolution. The clandestine agency he discovered was called“The Safari Club”. The covert group was created on September 1,1976 and it played a secret role in political intrigues involving many countries, mostly in Africa and the Middle East, while being primarily funded thru secret back door deals, government banks and independent operations. One of the primary functions of generating funds to satisfy their secret operations and tasks was thru the Pakistani merchant bank, Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). Saudi Intelligence Minister Kamal Adham was the director general of Saudi Arabia’s Al Mukhabarat Al A’amah or the general intelligence directorate. Known as a very gregarious man, he also served as a royal counselor to both King Faisal and King Khalid.
Just 3.5 years prior, The Bank Credit Commerce International (BCCI) was founded by a Pakistani named Agha Hasan Abedi in 1972. Abedi was an associate of Adham’s. Many countries aligned with the Safari Club would have closed door meetings with the bank’s leading managers. In time the Central Intelligence Agency would also shadow the Club, but would not become an official member. Instead it remained as a close partner of it’s formal members. George H.W. Bush, Director of the CIA, would open an account with BCCI, and have many dealings with important members within the banks account holders. In time, BCCI becomes the fastest growing bank in the world, as Time magazine will describe it as not just a bank, but also “a global intelligence operation and a Mafia-like enforcement squad. Operating primarily out of the bank’s offices in Karachi, Pakistan, the 1,500-employee black network has used sophisticated spy equipment and techniques, along with bribery, extortion, kidnapping, and even, by some accounts, murder. The black network — so named by its own members — stops at almost nothing to further the bank’s aims the world over.”
The Club’s purpose was therefore to oppose Soviet influence by supporting anti-Communists. John P. Miglietta’s book, American Alliance Policy In the Middle East 1945–1992, outlined the importance for the formation of the Safari Club:
“The Shah provided covert assistance to groups seeking to destabilize the governments of Soviet allies in the region such as Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as providing assistance to pro-Western governments such as Oman and South Vietnam. In an effort to further advance these goals, the Shah associated Iran with a group of conservative Middle Eastern and African states in an informal organization known as the Safari Club. This group was dedicated to blocking the spread of Soviet influence in the third world.”
As the Safari Club was beginning operations, former CIA Director Richard Helms and agent Theodore Shackley were under scrutiny from Congress and feared that new covert operations could be quickly exposed.. Peter Dale Scott has classified the Safari Club as part of the “second CIA” — an extension of the organization’s reach maintained by an autonomous group of key agents. Thus even as Carter’s new CIA director Stansfield Turner attempted to limit the scope of the agency’s operations, Shackley, his deputy Thomas Clines and agent Edwin P. Wilson secretly maintained their connections with the Safari Club and the BCCI.
The “Safari Club” which was formed thru covert means, was signed by five of each countries dignitaries:
Alexandre de Marenches, (le Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage, France’s external intelligence agency)
Kamal Adham (Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Directorate)
Kamal Hassan Ali (Egyptian Director Of Intelligence)
Ahmed Dlimi (Moroccan Director of Intelligence and commander of the Moroccan Army)
General Nematollah Nassiri (Iran’s SAVAK)
They would all sign to the charter, kept in a locked safe under the watchful eyes of Alexandre de Marenches. The goal was pretty straight forward, to stop the impending force of communism from the Soviet Union, by affiliating and financially supporting the “anti-communists”. Here the old adage, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” would come into play for certain countries of the Safari Club. Although the United States was itself not a member, the CIA led by William Colby (Director) was involved thru back-door deals, continued by it’s next director and even more “fiercely” loyal to the apparatus, George H.W. Bush in 1977. The name of the Safari Club was of course de Marenches idea after his trip with notable associates to a resort in Kenya in 1976 where they first met along with Adham, Ali and Nassiri. It’s headquarters would be in Cairo, Egypt. The Safari Club would begin opening accounts, made thru CIA Director Bush in 1977, using B.C.C.I Bank as its main conduit to funnel large sums of money, to the tune of tens of millions to Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi who was also close friends with Kamal Adham Saudi Director of the GID. Adham was also appointed by Saudi King Faisal to head the GID as well as begin to have closer affairs with Egypt and it’s State Security Investigations Service intelligence arm.
April 27,1978…Nur Muhammad Tarak and the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) otherwise known as the Khalq faction supported by the Marxist supporters in the former Soviet Union seize total power in Afghanistan, Afghanistan President Sardar Mohammed Daoud is overthrown and murdered in a coup led by pro-communist rebels. While the country implements better education and a more secular point of view, mass executions take place (including of many conservative religious leaders) and political oppression unprecedented in Afghan history, igniting a revolt by mujahedeen rebels. Following a general uprising in April 1979, Taraki was deposed by Khalq rival Hafizullah Amin in September.
Hafizullah Amin along with the Afghan communists were even more brutal against the Sunni farmers and Afghan population. Their tactics were capricious in it’s apathy which shocked even the Soviet handlers in the communist homeland of the Soviet Union. By December, Amin’s government had lost control of much of the country, prompting the Soviet Union to invade Afghanistan, execute Amin, and install Parcham leader Babrak Karmal as president. U.S. President Jimmy Carter was surprised to hear from his White House advisers that the Soviets had invaded Afghanistan, it was seen as a complete power move for global domination, and wrest away the power structure from the United States in the Middle East. As soon as the smoke cleared after the invasion, Carter was determined to respond vigorously to what he considered a dangerous provocation. In a televised speech, he announced sanctions on the Soviet Union, promised renewed aid to Pakistan, and committed the U.S. to the Persian Gulf’s defense.
Other countries began to follow suit. British prime minister Margaret Thatcher enthusiastically backed Carter’s tough stance, although British intelligence believed “the CIA was being too alarmist about the Soviet threat to Pakistan. By early 1980, Carter initiated a program to arm the mujahidin through Pakistan’s ISI and secured a pledge from Saudi Arabia to match U.S. funding for this purpose. U.S. support for the mujaheddin accelerated under Carter’s successor, Ronald Reagan.
The CIA began covertly assisting the Afghan rebels by providing them with arms and funding thru numerous faction led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of Hezb-e Islami, Abdul Rasul Sayyaf leader of the Islamic Union for Liberation of Afghanistan and Ahmad Shah Massoud leader of the Jamiat-e Islami. The main Afghan services office, or Maktab al-Khidamat, was led by three people who helped assist Islamic and Afghan fighters from around the world to inject the cause for Jihad, they were Abdullah Azzam, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama Bin Laden. This office would also benefit from funding from the CIA and Saudi elites in the kingdom.
The Pakistan ISI, CIA and British MI6 would begin funneling hundreds of millions as well as military grade weaponry to the Mujaheddin some of that funding even saw its way thru to the hands of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Abdul Rasul Sayyaf and even to the Maktab al-Khidamat in its main office in Peshawar, Pakistan. Although according to Ayman al-Zawahiri, none of that money from the CIA saw its way to Osama Bin Laden, who refused any American funding as he had used his assets from his father’s construction business to help build roads and have construction equipment brought in from the Saudi firm Saudi BinLadin Group. Stinger missiles, approved by U.S President Ronald Reagan and assisted by CIA Director George H.W.Bush, thru “Operation Cyclone” had helped turn the tide of the war to the benefit of the Mujaheddin, and the CIA was the primary benefactor. The CIA had also began funneling money to the Mujaheddin recruitment offices (Maktab al-Khidamat) inside the United States in major junctures like Arizona, Chicago, Oklahoma, New York & New Jersey.
With the Iranian Revolution in full tilt, the Safari Club ceased operations, but would continue to exist under more covert means. By this time William Casey was now the Director of the CIA and began solidifying the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia. They both would use the Soviet-Afghan War as the means to an end, to finally eliminate the Communist bloc from expanding any further, but the final result would have a more far-reaching and dangerous adversary in “Islamic Extremism” which would be supported by the Saudi Kingdom as a means to divert attention away from being itself a victim of said terrorism. Hundreds of millions would find its way to madrassas thru-ought Southeast Asia and in the United States, with the CIA either looking the other way or being completely ignorant of said funding.
These funds would help build and recruit Sunni extremists (Wahhabi) from all over the world, and some even made their way in the states outlined above, where the backlash wouldn’t be felt until the 1990’s. Near the end of the Soviet-Afghan war, the B.C.C.I Bank had now accesses to 4 billion dollars held in 145 branches in 46 countries. With hidden accounts and money laundering from some of the world’s most nefarious individuals including, Osama Bin Laden, Muammar Ghaddafi, Abu Nidal and even the Medellin Cartel. According to a Time Report by Richard Lacayo in 2001, when B.C.C.I had been brought unto the light by a British investigation code-named “Sandstrom” the CIA along with the National Security Agency (United States) had many accounts in the now suspect bank.
“Alan Fiers, head of the CIA’s Central America task force from 1984 to 1986, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to two counts of lying to Congress about when high- ranking intelligence officials first learned of the illegal diversion of funds to the contras. Fiers said he became aware of the diversions and informed Clair George, then the CIA’s deputy director for operations, in the summer of 1986. But, Fiers said, George ordered him to deny any knowledge of the transfers when he testified before the House intelligence committee that October. In exchange for being allowed to plead guilty to two misdemeanors instead of more serious felonies, Fiers is now assisting Walsh’s investigation. With his help, Walsh will probably seek a perjury indictment of George and perhaps other present and former government officials.”
The Sandstrom Report draft can be viewed here:
By 1989, the Soviets retreated under the mediation of Pakistan held by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. With a full withdrawal in plan, the U.S affinity with the war ended suddenly to the surprise of even other world agencies, it left the Mujaheddin without any plan for w future, as many of them returned back to their countries of origin, and left Afghanistan in a state of dismay and turmoil as two civil wars took place killing far more in just 9 years than ten years of war with the Soviets. This would anger some of the Sunni affiliates and their radical Islamists, this would come back to haunt the United States in the years to come.
The Iran-Contra scandal had saw itself come under “full swing” with the Reagan administration feigning full ignorance on the matter, but not from pentagon officials and even some within the State Department who had taken the fall for siphoning funds from under then general Oliver North who had been tasked to supervise the funds which was supposed to make it’s way to Iran in hopes of releasing American hostages (Iran was under an arms embargo at this time), but some of this funding went to the Contras in Nicaragua in their conflict with “anti-Sandinista” against the Socialist regime. However Defense Secretary, Caspar Weinberger, had taken down handwritten notes ensuing the full notice and compliance from U.S President Reagan, who had feigned innocence on this matter, was well aware of the transfer of funds and weapons to “moderate elements” within Iran.
By 1991, B.C.C.I Bank had been forced to close worldwide, the spectacle of the Iran-Contra affair had damaged the State Department, the Arab Nationalist states replaced by the “Wahhabi Ideology” and rise of it’s “ultra-orthodoxy”….with the CIA returning to full swing, by its former Director Bush by regrouping the Safari Club underground. The beginning of a more volatile world would begin to take place this time in the form of international-Islamic terrorism, which had begun back in 1979, with the seizure of the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia, the Egyptian Islamists assassinating President Anwar Sadat, the Iranian revolution under Ayatollah Khomeini and of course the CIA’s assistance, externally and internally, of the many Islamic charities and recruitment offices (Maktab al-Khidamat) offices in the United States.
A war was beginning to take place around the world, and more notably inside the United States, a “Frankenstein” monster would rise with the doctor being the Central Intelligence Agency.