A former US Army psyops officer named Scott Bennett has published a report titled "Shell Game" alleging that data on al-Qaeda's finances are hidden from US intelligence and military by US government officials at the highest levels. It opens with an executive summary alleging that:
- unnamed members of the intelligence community are committing treason.
- unnamed people responsible for "intentional" intelligence failures.
- Union Bank of Switzerland banker Brad Birkenfeld was jailed for reporting terrorist funding to US intelligence agencies.
- Booz Allen Hamilton fired Bennett for reporting terrorist finance issues up the chain of command.
- Edward Snowden turned traitor after seeing what happened to Birkenfeld.
- Bennett predicted the Benghazi attack.
- The Department of Justice attempted to assassinate a whistleblower.
Bennett ties together so many big claims that the report is difficult to believe. I almost stopped reading at this point. The report opens like a crime novel, not a report. The facts are buried under layers of rhetoric. Stripping that away, Bennett makes a number of notable specific claims. These claims include:
- Booz Allen Hamilton ran the terrorist finance investigation unit
of the US Central Command. It was called the Optimus Foundation and
stationed in Fort MacDill. Bennett worked there.
- BAH antiterrorist officials include Mike Maravilla, William Lubliner, Troy Hensely, and Bob Thompson.
- Bennett worked counterterrorism and psyops at the State Department before
he joined the Army, and was given a "VIP" flight to Florida on the executive
jet of Eric Olson, head of US Special Operations Command.
- Shortly after arriving in Florida, Bennett was arrested off-base by MPs,
interrogated for 12 hours, and beaten by Detective Edward Garcia and
Lt. Col. Martin Mitchell. The supposed justification for the arrest was
a failure to properly register privately owned firearms that he had declared.
- Mitchell distributed "BOLO" wanted posters of Bennett to every US military post
showing his picture and describing him as an Army intelligence officer investigating
al-Qaeda's money supply. Bennett describes this as an attempt to have him killed
by supposing that the information would reach al-Qaeda through a spy.
- The Army made some kind of policy change "due to negative stigma given to
Psychological Operations by another defense contractor named Mike Furlong",
a former coworker of Bennet.
- Bennett forecasted the Benghazi attack in report written
two years before the incident on the subject of the Furlong-inspired psych policy
change and a prediction of its strategic impact.
- After writing the psych report, Bennett was prosecuted by the Department of Justice
for the earlier gun incident. Bennett claims that this is the first time in US
history that the military has surrendered its jurisdiction to civilian authorities.
- Assistant US Attorney Sara Sweeney "invented all kinds of
exaggerations, had me followed by Secret Service, and engaged in the same illegal
harassment which the Justice Dept. had employed against Senator Ted Stevens",
and Special Assistant US Attorney Timothy Goins dressed in a US Air Force uniform
to give the jury the impression that the military supported the prosecution.
- Bennett is selling a book titled
Conspiracy, Torture, and Betrayal
at US Central Command. It is self-published on Lulu and the single review is
About the DoJ:
- Attorney General Eric Holder and Assistant AG Lanny Breuer formerly worked
for UBS and suppressed attempts to prosecute the company.
- The DoJ "assassination attempt" against Birkenfeld was in the form of
writing a letter to UBS claiming that Birkenfeld was giving away
proprietary banking information. The letter was forged in the name of
an Islamic "international banking friend" in London. The letter came from
the CIA substation in Bern.
- Bennett suspects DoJ attorneys Kevin O'Connor and Kevin Downing of being
behind the forgery against Birkenfeld, and alleges that the two have connections
to Rudy Giuliani and an Abdullah Azziz named as an al-Qaeda financier in
Matt Taibbi's article
Too Big To Jail.
There is no one by that name in Taibbi's article, but it does mention
Sulaiman bin Abdul Aziz Al Rajhi of the SAAR Foundation. Bennett also calls
the Golden Chain the "Golden Triangle".
- Edward Snowden personally observed CIA communications regarding the operation
against Birkenfeld and turned traitor because of it.
- In 2009, Hillary Clinton agreed to jail Birkenfeld and release two Uighur
terrorists from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for "the US being given preferential
status on a Swiss financial treaty." This treaty is likely the
US-Switzerland tax information exchange treaty of 2009
The detainees are likely Arkin Mahmud and Bahtiyar Mahnut who were transferred
to Switzerland in February 2010 (according to Wikipedia).
- Birkenfeld's information was not known to the Optimus Foundation,
the National Counterterrorism Center, Treasury's Office of Terrorism and Financial intelligence,
the Defense Intelligence Operations Coordination Center,
the office of the Director of National Intelligence,
SOCOM, JSOC, CENTCOM, CAPOC, or EUCOM.
- Senator Carl Levin personally suppressed Birkenfeld's report on al-Qaeda's
finances from reaching Army intelligence. The evidence is that Birkenfeld
claims to have given Levin this information, and it did not spread any further.
- President Obama personally suppressed Birkenfeld's information as repayment
for campaign contributions from Robert Wolf. No evidence is presented.
Bennett does not seem like a reliable source. The report is written like a work of fiction. The most sweeping stuff is most likely bullshit.
The most serious allegations, in the sense of being able to take them seriously, hinge on the presumption of Birkenfeld having this information about al-Qaeda financing.
[Edit Feb 11] Regarding the naming of "Fort MacDill", from a comment to WaPo in 2009:
FYI, yello, if you Google "Fort MacDill" with quotes around it, you get 160 hits, the gist of which are that Fort MacDill is the informal nickname of the two Army headquarters based inside the larger MacDill AFB complex. One is CENTCOM, Central Command, Gen. Petraus's outfit, the unit with jurisdiction over the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters. The other is SOCOM, Special Operations Command, one of Clancy's great loves.
... It would appear that Clancy did his homework so well he knew the special "insider" nickname of CENTCOM and SOCOM.
Posted by: Curmudgeon- | May 29, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse
A bunch of financial data from HSBC was leaked to a consortium of journalists. What they have released so far includes this scrap of information about Abdul-Karim Dan Azoumi which is small enough that I will copy it in full:
Abdoul-Karim Dan-Azoumi is the owner of Badica, the largest diamond exporter in the Central African Republic (CAR). An October 2014 United Nations report by a panel of experts branded Dan-Azoumi’s company a key financial backer of the rebel Seleka group which has been fighting government forces in the CAR conflict that has resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians. The United Nations alleged that fees paid by Dan-Azoumi’s companies to Séléka rebels in order to illegally export diamonds allowed the rebels to remain armed. Dan-Azoumi lives in Antwerp, Belgium’s diamond capital.
Dan-Azoumi became an HSBC client in 2000. He was linked to five bank accounts. Two of them were associated with a client account under the name of “Kampala Holdings S.A.,” which lists Dan-Azoumi as beneficial owner. The maximum amount in the account in 2006/2007 was $467,592. The other three bank accounts belonged to a numbered client account, which was closed in 2006. He was linked to “32618 BG” alongside another individual. HSBC bank communications explain that the bank closed the account for the benefit of an offshore account that was going to have Dan-Azoumi as beneficial owner.
So according to this report, this guy was a key financier of al-Qaeda's invasion of the Central African Republic (mentioned earlier and earlier). Neither this guy or his company appear in a web search, and I cannot find this supposed United Nations report. Al-Qaeda had been involved in the West African diamond trade in the 1990s, as described in Douglas Farah's book Blood From Stones.