Saudi Arabia: The Golden Chain and The Missing 28 Pages

Golden Chain

There are a lot of voices on both the Left and Right side of aisle calling for Obama to declassify the infamous 28 pages of a report that may link Saudi Arabia in some fashion or another to the al Qaeda attack on American soil on September 11, 2001. The Saudis are now saying they either don’t want the declassification or at the very least not allow the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) Bill to become law. JASTA would allow surviving victims of the 9/11 attack to sue Saudi Arabia in civil court for any culpability in financing the al Qaeda attack.


Authors Millard Burr and Rachel Ehrenfeld of the American Center for Democracy (ACD) have posed further incrimination against Saudi Arabia that beyond the 28 pages. Evidently a Bosnian police raid on a Muslim charity group in Sarajevo turned up some evidence of fund raising for Usama (or Osama – depending who you read) bin Laden’s al Qaeda. That Burr and Ehrenfeld suggest that evidence points to numerous Saudi families of wealth that were sugar-daddies to al Qaeda. Al Qaeda called these sugar-daddies the Golden Chain. The problem: The U.S. Government has made much of that evidence classified just as the 28 pages. Here is a teaser paragraph from the Burr-Ehrenfeld essay:


How much of the Sarajevo material remains classified and unpublished is debatable. However, like the missing Congressional report, substantial material that covers the genesis and expansion of al Qaeda in the 1990s has never been released. What we do know is that one note taken from the Sarajevo hoard that surfaced at the trial is a bin Laden note saying: “we took very huge gains from the country’s people in Saudi. We were able to give political power to the Mujahideen, gathering donations in very large amounts…”


Just think if there are some names on the 28 classified pages that are also on the Golden Chain. That could finally reveal just how involved the Saudi government or policies that can be associated with wealthy Saudis that are today considered legitimate global business partners. A civil trial could then open some cans of worms that the Intelligence communities of both the USA and Saudi Arabia that might lead to some criminal investigations. AND there you have it – My guess is neither the U.S. Government nor the Saudis want those cans of worms opened. What do you think?


Bosnia-Herzegovina map 1-1995


Just a brief aside: I heard on Fox News that Obama might declassify some of those 28 pages today. However, Google is fairly silent on the today thing. Google searches do point to former Senator Bob Graham reporting that a partial declassification of the 28 pages (e.g. AP, Fox News and Esquire) Hmm … Do you think the U.S. Intelligence community might be pressing Obama on what the public can see?


JRH 4/24/16

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Saudi Arabia: The Golden Chain and The Missing 28 Pages


By Millard Burr and Rachel Ehrenfeld

April 23, 2016 6:32PM

American Center for Democracy


Bin Laden Golden Chain al Qaeda list - Arabic

Arabic UBL-al Qaeda writing discovered at Bosnia-BIN office


The American media, which continues to concentrate on a bill making its way through Congress that would allow American citizens to sue the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for losses suffered as a result of the 9/11 attacks, paid no attention to the Golden Chain.


The victims claim that the release of the 28 pages missing from the 9/11 Commission Report is of crucial importance to their case. Those pages, they say, would show the interrelationship that ties the hijackers to the Saudi regime itself and therefore would offer a damning indictment of the Kingdom. But President Obama, like President Bush before him, refuses to make it public. And the Saudi Royal Family that vehemently denies funding al Qaeda threatened that if the 28 pages are released, they would sell more than $750 billion of Saudi investments in the U.S.


Of equal if not of greater importance than the missing 28 pages, is the forgotten investigation of the Bosnia-BIF office. Crucially, among the boxes and files was found a note ostensibly written by Osama Bin Laden that lists a “Golden Chain” of twenty Arab plutocrats who were and remain suspected of financing international terrorism, including the funding of al Qaeda.




The Golden Chain was established about the time of al Qaeda’s founding in 1988. Bin Laden’s notes on efforts to recruit wealthy Saudi Arabian families who could fund his group were also found at Sarajevo. Much of the information derived from the Sarajevo came to light during the 2003 trial of an al Qaeda financier, Enaam Arnaout, in Chicago.


In March 2002, a search of the Benevolence International Foundation (the Bosanska Idealna Futura, or BIF) in Sarajevo, Bosnia, would provide the West with the most significant trove of information ever to be found on the Genesis and growth of the al Qaeda organization.


In fact, Bosnian investigators unearthed an intelligence mother lode: Not only did they seize weapons, false passports, plans for making bombs, jihadist videos and literature, their search also yielded material of great historic value. On a computer file titled “Tareekh Osama” (Osama’s History), there were found documents, letters, and photos relating to the birth and early days of al Qaeda, some of it in bin Laden’s handwriting. Included in the haul was an organizational chart, and notes on al Qaeda activity reportedly prepared by bin Laden, and his mentor Sheikh Abdallah Azzam. The file had been kept by Bin Ladin confidant Enaam Arnaout, who clearly obviously thought the BIF office in Bosnia was safe from intrusion. Ironically, before 9/11 Arnaout and the BIF were under investigation in the United States for operating the charity as a racketeering enterprise. One that provided material support to al Qaeda. Following 9/11, it seemed only a matter of time before Arnaout would be indicted.


Why the raid took place when it did, and who sponsored the raid (in Sarajevo and Washington), remains something of a mystery. As a result of the Dayton Accords, Bosnia-Herzegovina had been governed by a unique tripartite power-sharing arrangement since 1996; a rotating presidency allowed Muslim Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats to share power. Importantly, in 2002 Alija Izetbegović, the powerful Islamist Muslim Brother, was no longer first among equals. The West’s bete-noire had stepped down after serving as Chairman of the Presidency from October 1996 through October 2000. Thus, given the power structure that existed in Sarajevo in early 2002 (and in the aftermath of 9/11 2001), it is posited that the CIA either took part in or at least was instrumental in, the raid on the BIF location.


Incredibly, the trove of information discovered in that raid was given publicity in Bosnia itself. No effort was made by the Bosnia intelligence agency to tailor, redact, or eliminate information found in the Bosanska, and thus, the information itself proved to be a bombshell both inside and out of Bosnia. Unlike Washington where the most astounding intelligence is immediately classified secret and squirreled down some intelligence rat hole, the Bosnian services shared their find with the world. And in an order issued on 6 March 2003 by the Supreme Court of Bosnia, the computer files that had been seized were delivered to the U.S. Embassy. The documents were then translated into English. Later, some appeared in a trial of a BIF official Enaam Arnaout.


Included in the files were “scanned letters” between Arnaout and bin Laden (using their nom de guerre) and letters concerning other al Qaeda principals. The letters revealed that al Qaeda leaders were paid, and weapons for the group were purchased from funds provided by Muslim charities. There were also letters authorizing the purchase, and purchase orders for rifles, RPGs, mortars, and other weaponry, with instructions to distribute the weapons to camps operated by al Qaeda.


Other memoranda provided a chronology of events from the founding of al Qaeda in Khost to the movement’s activity in Peshawar, Pakistan, during its first months of existence. There were reports on al Qaeda activity in the various jihad on-going in Bosnia, the Sudan, and Chechnya. An article published in 1988 in Arab News outlined bin Laden’s activity and included a photo of Arnaout and Bin Laden walking together at “Masada”, an Arab-Afghan camp for mujahideen.


In the search of the BIF’s Sarajevo offices, “law enforcement authorities” discovered conclusive evidence that tied the BIF Chief Executive Officer Enaam Arnaout to al Qaeda, and to its leader Osama Bin Laden. One letter even allowed Arnaout to sign an authorization on bin Laden’s behalf. Though the Sarajevo documents remained secret for months, they included the minutes of an 11 August 1988 meeting during which bin Laden discussed the creation of what would then be known as the al Qaeda. It is recalled that in the decade following the founding of al Qaeda 1988 only a few hundred jihadists had been permitted to take the oath of allegiance (the baya’t) to Osama bin Laden. Arnaout was thus a member of a very select body of mujahideen.


The evidence unearthed in Sarajevo was sufficient to charge Arnaout with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. Arnaout, who was born and raised in Syria and was a member of a Saudi family of Albanian heritage, was also an American citizen and had been a resident of the U.S. since 1992. Thus, in the end, there would be no escaping U.S. justice.


Concerning the BIF, a “charity” incorporated in the State of Illinois in March 1992, the arrest of Arnaout was soon followed by the closure of BIF operation in Canada and Bosnia, and then by most of its offices located overseas; namely, in Pakistan, Bosnia, Yemen, Sudan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Bangladesh, Turkey, Dagestan, Soviet Georgia, China, and Ingushetia (moved from Chechnya).


In December 2001, and shortly after 9/11 but before the indictment of Arnaout himself, BIF funds had been blocked in the USA, Canada, and Bosnia. At that time, it was reported that the US government had in its possession substantial evidence proving that the Arnaout-bin Laden intimate relationship dated from the mid-1980s. The relationship was in fact fixed well before the creation of the al-Qaeda organization in August 1988 in Khost, Afghanistan.


Given the evidence uncovered at the BIF office in Sarajevo (and, reportedly additional evidence of BIF’s terrorist ties discovered by Bosnian police in a later raid on local charities on 3 June), it was not surprising that Arnaout was soon indicated in the United States.


See UNITED STATES of America v. Enaam M. ARNAOUT, a/k/a “Abu Mahmoud”, a/k/a “Abu Mahmoud al Suri”, a/k/a “Abu Mahmoud al Hamawi”, a/k/a “Abdel Samia”, U.S. v. ARNAOUT, No. 02 CR 892, 231 F.Supp.2d 797 (2002), U.S. District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division. November 22, 2002, Patrick J. Fitzgerald,, United States Attorneys.


The Trial


On March 2003 the Chicago trail [sic] of Enaam Arnaout was truncated just before it began == much to the dissatisfaction of most observers. Arnaout had been charged with racketeering conspiracy, providing material support to organizations engaged in violent activities, money laundering, mail fraud and wire fraud. He faced a possible 90-year sentence. However, before the charges could be tried Arnaout pleaded guilty in federal court to a single count of illegally funding and supplying military assistance to mujahideen in Bosnia and Chechnya.


The federal case, which focused on the Arnaout-Bin Laden relationship, was blown to smithereens when a federal judge ruled that evidence was spotty at best. Prosecutors dropped all charges after Arnaout pled guilty to a single felony count. For reasons still not clear, the government settled for a penalty less than the twenty years that Arnaout could have received. As an editorial in the New York Sun put it, “The government’s decision to accept a plea to a single, and relatively minor, count [transpired] so as to avoid a risky trial.” Nonetheless, federal prosecutors were “unwilling to credit [Arnaout] for cooperating.”


True or false, and despite the congressional testimony of then-FBI Director Robert Mueller before a U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on 14 September 2006, the Arnaout imbroglio was not one of the FBI’s finest hours.


Indeed, in February 2006, a federal judge had reduced the Enaam Arnaout sentence from 11 years and four months to 10 years, after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that his original sentence was improperly enhanced.


The Golden Chain


The Golden Chain was established about the time of al Qaeda’s founding in 1988. Bin Laden’s notes on efforts to recruit wealthy Saudi Arabian families who could fund his group were also found at Sarajevo. Much of the information derived from the Sarajevo came to light during the 2003 trial of an al Qaeda financier, Enaam Arnaout, in Chicago.


How much of the Sarajevo material remains classified and unpublished is debatable. However, like the missing Congressional report, substantial material that covers the genesis and expansion of al Qaeda in the 1990s has never been released. What we do know is that one note taken from the Sarajevo hoard that surfaced at the trial is a bin Laden note saying: “we took very huge gains from the country’s people in Saudi. We were able to give political power to the Mujahideen, gathering donations in very large amounts…”


Within the Sarajevo trove, there was found the essential minutes of a meeting held on 11 August 1988 during which Bin Laden initiated actions that established a jihadist movement loyal to himself. A week later the organization was officially established, and a copy of the oath of allegiance taken by some 40 participants was included in the file. The minutes of that seminal conclave end on 20 August.


Also recorded were bin Laden’s “own statements on the efforts to recruit members from Saudi Arabia for his network and to raise money.” Also included in the Bosnia find was a letter on Saudi Red Crescent/Peshawar letterhead and with it a note added by Osama Bin Laden to his money-manager Wael Jalaidan citing “an extreme need for weapons.” (John Solomon, “Bosnia Raid Yields al-Qaida Donor List,” Miami Herald via AP, Feb. 19, 2003.)


Many questioned why bin Laden, a member of one of Saudi Arabia’s wealthiest family, searched for funds outside his fortune to fund al Qaeda. But Osama was not rich enough to fund the expensive jihad he had in mind. Though the bin Laden family was wealthy, Osama could not easily access the $300 million that some analysts felt he had squirreled away. His accounts were blocked in the United States and Saudi Arabia, and his family was watched closely and warned not to assist him financially. Still, during his stay in the Sudan (1991-1996) he probably invested more than $50 million (including $30 million deposited in the al-Shamal Bank). But when bin Laden departed the Sudan in 1996, he had little to show for his investments. By the admission of those al Qaeda members who knew him best, his personal wealth had been squandered. To carry out his jihadist agenda he had to continue to call on wealthy Gulf plutocrats, viz., the Golden Chain, to finance al Qaeda.


Included in the US government indictment of Enaam Arnaout on 9 October 2002 (02 CR 892) was an interesting memorandum, “Clarifying the Mujahideen’s situation to the world and keeping the spirit of Jihad alive.” (Exhibit 17, Department of Justice, “Government’s Evidentiary Proffer Supporting the Admissibility of Coconspirator Statements” in the case of USA v. Arnaout, USDC, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, filed 29 January 2003.) Of even more explosive power, however, was a memorandum that appeared as Exhibit 5: With regard to that piece of evidence the Justice Department noted: “Among the recovered files was a copy of a 1988 handwritten draft listing wealthy financiers of UBL’s mujahideen operation in Afghanistan, referred to within al Qaeda as the ‘Golden Chain.’” The information presented on lined paper and translated from the Arabic by the U.S. Department of Justice was headed by a verse in Arabic from the Koran: “And spend for God’s cause.” (“Government’s Evidentiary Proffer Supporting the Admissibility of Coconspirator Statements” in the case of USA v. Arnaout, USDC, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division) filed on January 29, 2003.)


The Golden Chain memorandum, it included twenty-five names, including twenty very wealthy Saudis. (N.B: at the time of the discovery only two names on the list remained unidentified.) Of the twenty Saudis, six were bankers, and they were tied to the big three of Saudi banking: the National Commerical [sic] Bank of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh Bank, and Al Rajhi Banking and Investment Corp. Ther[e] twelve Saudi businessmen on the list, and the bankers owned or controlled sixteen of the top 100 Saudi companies. The list included eight individuals charged by the families of victims of 9/11 with being complicit in aiding and assisting al Qaeda. Also included were the names of two former government Ministers.


After each name, there was a second name, in parenthesis, of the al Qaeda operative who received money from the donor. “Osama” appeared after seven entries. The donors [sic] names included Saudi Arabia’s most prominent citizens including the bin Laden family, the al Rajhi, Sharbatly, al Naghi, bin Mahfouz, and Adel Faqih. The corporate net worth of the Golden Chain, as calculated more than a decade later accounted for more than $85 billion, or approximately 42% of Saudi Arabia’s GDP.


Whether or not bin Laden personally wrote the Golden Chaim memo, it is indisputable that he was in a position to know the family fortunes of the individuals named. In some cases, they were allied directly or tangentially with his family. They included Saleh Kamel, head of third largest Saudi company, and Suleiman Abdulaziz al Rajhi, head of 4th largest Saudi commercial bank. The “bin Mahfouz” family was in charge of Saudi Arabia’s most important bank. Also on the list, Abdel Qader Faqeeh (Adel Faqh) head of Savola Group, the 13th largest Saudi company. Mohammed al-Issa was head of the powerful al-Issa group, itself the 20th largest Saudi Company. Issa himself was a board member of the Saudi Research & Marketing Company (along with Mohammed Hussein al-Amoudi, Saleh Abdullah Kamel, Abdullah Bin Khaled bin Mahfouz, among others.) He was also Deputy Chairman of the Arab Cement Company whose shareholders included the Binladin Group, the bin Mahfouz and the al Rajhi, and whose chairman was Turki Bin Abdulaziz al Saud. That the individuals listed would be asked to assist Osama bin Laden in his jihadist mission is not surprising. It was all one big happy family.


Wael Julaidan, the al Qaeda moneyman and former Secretary-General of the Muslim World League, and of the well-funded Rabita Trust of Pakistan, was charged with collecting donations from four wealthy individuals. Mohammad al-Amin Khalifa, Osama’s wealthy brother-in-law, was another collection agent, who was known to have close ties to bin Laden’s two money men, Julaidan, and Yasin al-Qadi.


As could be imagined, the list which included such luminaries as “bin Mahfouz,” created a furor in Saudi Arabia, where the memorandum appeared to implicate a score of the Kingdom’s wealthiest citizens. Nearly all were either indirectly or directly involved in the Royal Family’s charity organizations as founders or board members.


Years later, following the September 2001 attacks on the U.S., the “9/11 Commission” issued a report in which a chapter devoted to “The Foundation of the New Terrorism, acknowledged that Osama bin Laden sought financial assistance from wealthy Muslims in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, and that “the eventual success of the jihad in Afghanistan depended on an increasingly complex, almost worldwide organization.” Unfortunately, the report was long on implication and short on names.


The Golden Chain list included names of persons who were friendly to the Afghan-Arab movement and later to bin Laden himself. The Golden Chain gained importance after 1990 — when Osama bin Laden escaped house arrest in Saudi Arabia and a year later emerged in the Sudan. Indeed, the name al Qaeda came into vogue and the need for funding expanded after Osama move to the Sudan and al Qaeda’s expanding activities first in Somalia, and later in the Balkans.


Why then should anyone believe that any individual whose name appears on the Golden Chain memorandum, and who, like Khalid bin Mahfouz, claims he “never knowingly made any donation to al Qaeda or any organization or person acting on al Qaeda’s behalf or to any other terrorist organization,” is telling the truth?


It is unknown if any of those whose names appeared on the Golden Chain memo has ever been interrogated, charged with a crime, or chastised by the Saudis. It is safe to assume that In the Dessert Kingdom, where jihad is paramount and ‘silence is golden,” the Golden Chain members have little to worry about.


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The Bin Laden Operation: Tapping Human Intelligence

STRATFOR analysts have pieced together a speculated scenario on the capture and killing of public enemy number one. STRATFOR used a combination of publically released data and private (if not also anonymous)  sources to piece together how Osama bin Laden was more than likely sent to the fires of hell.


JRH 5/26/11


If the STRATFOR link does not work or STRATFOR requires a subscription, you can read the article in its entirity at SlantRight 2.0.

Hirsi Ali Writes about MB Strategy of Transformation

John R. Houk

© May 14, 2011


Have you ever heard of Antonio Gramsci? Essentially Gramsci was a Marxist that stuck more to the original Karl Marx dialectical more than the Lenin/Stalin determinism. Gramsci added another wrinkle to Marxist thought that diverged from both Karl Marx and Lenin/Stalin. Gramsci determined that open revolution was not a successful path to transform the thought patterns of the global working class and the global poor. Rather Gramsci felt that the hearts and minds of those who live for gratification even if that gratification was distributed by the rules of the wealthy elite should be gradually won over by the illusion of caring about the gratification of the working class and poor.


So what is the reason for the micro-Gramsci lesson? The Gramsci method is amazingly similar to the Alinsky method. And the Alinsky method is one of the hugest influences on President Barack Hussein Obama’s ideas for American transformation.


There is another nefarious organization that has nothing politically in common with Marxism and yet seems to have studied Gramsci’s methods of infiltration to gain the trust of non-elitist people and yet move up the chain of command of elitist ruling structures.


What is that organization? That organization is the radical Islamic organization known as the Muslim Brotherhood (aka Ikhwan often abbreviated as MB).


Former Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali fled her land of birth Somalia because her father was persona non grata to Somalia’s dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. From Somalia she moved around the Muslim Middle East of which one stop was Saudi Arabia. Ayaan’s family ultimately settled in Kenya. Somewhere between leaving Kenya and facing an arranged Muslim marriage in Canada she landed in Netherlands. She became a citizen and an actual Parliamentarian PM. In her apostasy from Islam she joined Theo Van Gogh (a descendant of legendary artist Vincent Van Gogh) to make the film Submission about female oppression in Islam. Both Theo and Hirsi Ali received death threats from Muslims about the exposé of Islam. For Theo Van Gogh the death threat became a reality – he was murdered in the streets of Amsterdam with a letter written blood directing the same death would await Hirsi Ali.


At this point the PM Hirsi Ali came under guard from Dutch authorities. Hirsi Ali’s spirited condemnation of the Van Gogh murder in the name of Islam evidently irked the Muslims of Netherlands to the point that Hirsi Ali resigned her PM position which shortly followed by the Netherlands stripping her of her Dutch citizenship in an act of dhimmitude to resident Muslims in the Netherlands. I know Hirsi Ali came to America but as of 2011 I have had a difficult time with search engines if she is still here. Wherever she is living (America or Netherlands) she still needs to lay low to avoid an assassination attempt from a psycho Muslim. There has been a bit of a row because Hirsi Ali lied about her name when she arrived to the Netherlands that at one time had given her citizenship status (stripped and renewed). Evident Ayaan Hirsi Ali was originally Ayaan Ali Magan. For someone fleeing oppressive Islam it understandable as to the reason she changed her name. And yet Muslim apologists and Muslims who abhor Hirsi Ali’s apostasy are crawling out of the woodwork to call her a liar and therefore an unbelievable person.


I say those accusers are the kind of morons that Hirsi Ali fled from in the first place!


At any rate thanks to the Jewish World Review I found a Hirsi Ali article on the Muslim Brotherhood in which she explains that organization is a greater threat to Western Society than actively violent terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda. Read that Jewish World Review posting of Hirsi Ali’s article, “Will Muslim Brotherhood succeed where Osama bin Laden failed?” She does not allude to my thoughts about Gramsci Marxism; however the Muslim Brotherhood tactics she illustrates sounds allot like the Gramsci method to transform a nation or a culture.


JRH 5/14/11