The BCCI Black Network

(Excerpted from Chapter 6: BCCI: Big Oil & Their Bankers…) 

BCCI’s most notorious acts were hatched out of its Karachi branch, where the bank’s Black Network (BN) operated.  BN was a global intelligence and enforcement unit that specialized in transporting arms, drugs and gold.

BN operations overlapped with the operations of CIA, Israeli Mossad, the Pakistani ISI and Saudi intelligence, all of whom had accounts at BCCI.  BN served as middleman for Saudi aid to both the Nicaraguan contras and the Afghan mujahadeen, aid which was being solicited by Richard Secord. [241]

BN worked extensively with the Israeli Mossad to coordinate Israeli arms deals, especially to Arab countries.  Saudi billionaire Adnan Khashoggi was often at the middle of these deals, along with Manucher Gorbanifar, the former SAVAK agent for the Shah of Iran, whose prowess in the fine arts of torture had landed him a job at Mossad.

BN had close ties to Lieutenant Colonel Amatzia Shuali, an Israeli who split time training Nicaraguan contras and Guatemalan death squads.  BCCI was banker to Colombian drug kingpin Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha and had numerous branches in that country.  In 1984, at the height of the contra war, BCCI founder Abedi bought Banco Mercantil in Colombia.  In 1989 when Colombian officials raided Gacha’s farm they found Galil assault rifles in crates marked “Israeli Military Industries”.  The guns had been used in Mossad’s training of Gacha’s paramilitary army, which was instructed to assassinate Colombian union leaders.  Another Israeli with close ties to BN was Ari Ben-Menashe, who helped the Reagan Administration arm Iran.

BN helped Iraqi President Saddam Hussein stash $30 million in skimmed oil revenues from his country’s Treasury, while simultaneously brokering Iraqi Scud missile purchases.  The bank brokered nuclear weapons deals for Iraq, Libya, Argentina and Pakistan.  It financed Italian tank sales to Abu Dhabi, North Korean artillery sales to Dubai, Chinese Silkworm missile sales to Saudi Arabia, Brazilian rocket launcher sales to Iran and Iraq, Argentine tank sales to Iraq and French Mirage fighter plane sales to Pakistan, India, Peru, Libya and the GCC Gulf States.  They even supplied the tanks to the Kuwaitis for the victory march following Operation Desert Storm, along with Eastern European personnel to drive the tanks while the inept Kuwaitis rode on top waving flags.

In 1985 following the bombing of the US Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, Lebanon which killed nearly 300 Marines, CIA Director Bill Casey ordered retaliation.  BCCI financed the CIA assassination units who hunted Hezbollah operatives.  One of those units killed 80 civilians and injured 200 more in a botched attempt to kill Hezbollah leader Sheik Fadlallah. [242]

BN intelligence operations were set up with help from Refaat Assad, brother of Syria’s President Hafez Assad.  Both were friends of Manzer al-Kassar, whose heroin ring was sending arms from Secord to Noriega for the contras and whose operations were protected in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.  It is possible that Refaat Assad was himself part of the super secret CIA COREA unit to which al-Kassar belonged.

BN bought F-15 escorts for Pakistani drug smugglers connected to the Afghan mujahadeen, and wrote paychecks to contra pilots like Eugene Hasenfus.  BCCI was the oil for guns for drugs quid pro quo.  It had its GCC-funded predecessors, including the World Finance Corporation (WFC).

Abdullah Darwaish headed the UAE branch of the WFC.  Darwaish received $100 million from Abu Dhabi’s al-Nahiyan monarchy to purchase Financial General Bancshares, a major drug money laundry.  WFC was run by Bay of Pigs veteran Guillermo Hernandez Cartaya, who scammed $30 million through a Saudi “loan” at Ajman Arab Bank in 1978.  It’s main line of business was financing and arranging CIA arms for drugs swaps.  One prominent agent was Ed Wilson, the jailed TF-157 veteran who ran EATSCO.

WFC’s founding directors included Walter Sterling Surrey, an OSS veteran, and Juan Romanach, a close associate of Miami mob boss Santos Trafficante.  A WFC affiliate called Dominican Mortgage helped Trafficante supply drugs to the Las Vegas market and once tried to buy Caesar’s Palace.  WFC had ties to the wealthy Venezuelan Cisneros family through Oswaldo Cisneros Fajardo.  A WFC subsidiary in Panama known as Unibank controlled outlets in London, the UAE, the Netherland Antilles and the Cayman Islands.  BCCI later bought the distressed bank. [243] Hernandez-Cartaya and Saudi billionaire Lockheed arms peddler Adnan Khoshoggi, are old friends.

Hernandez-Cartaya also worked with former Nugan Hand sanitation expert Donald Beazley who ran the Great American Bank in Miami.  Columbian CIA associate Fernando Birbragher was busted in 1982 for laundering Medellin Cartel drug money through Beazley’s bank, which was actually owned by Marvin Warner, who served as US Ambassador to Switzerland under President Carter.  Warner’s good friend Hugh Culverhouse Sr. sat on the board of Cincinnati financial mogul Carl Lindner’s American Financial Corporation, whose United Brands subsidiary is a major conduit for US-bound Columbian cocaine. [244]  Donald Beazley also ran Miami’s City National Bank for Alberto Duque, son of a wealthy Columbian coffee magnate whose start-up funds for the bank had come from a Bahraini oil sheik.

Florida Governor Jeb Bush flew on Duque’s private jet when he attended a Presidential inauguration in Costa Rica.  Jeb also built a 30-story Miami office building for Duque’s General Coffee Corporation.  Duque was later convicted on fraud charges.  Marvin Warner is tight with Denver oil man Marvin Davis, who owned Silverado S&L in partnership with Neil Bush.  In 1981 Davis bought 20th Century Fox with help from the Apex Law Firm.  Apex represents the Chicago Gouletas mob family, shady San Francisco 49ers ex-owner and shopping mall king Edward DeBartolo, and S&L looter extraordinaire Charles Keating.  When the Davis/Bush-owned Silverado folded most of the money mysteriously ended up in the hands of the Canadian Bronfman family. [245]

One of the most incredible examples of BCCI’s global reach was the case of BCCI China.  Henry Kissinger had gotten BCCI into China.  Pakistani Sultan Mohammed Khan had been that country’s ambassador to China before becoming Pakistani Ambassador to the US.  There he met Kissinger, then Nixon Secretary of State.  Kissinger used Khan to gain access to China, where in 1971 he began meeting with Premier Zhou En-lai in a series of visits that would culminate in detente between China and the US.  Soon after Kissinger’s first trip, BCCI was granted a banking license in China, the first such license ever granted to a foreign bank.  Khan went to China to run the bank’s operations.  Later he oversaw BCCI operations in the US.

BCCI had close relations with Chinese Premier Deng Xiaoping’s family. Reagan CIA Director Bill Casey used BCCI China to spy on its host government.  Shortly after Casey’s appointment as DCI, he set up an off-the-shelf spy network of personal friends known as the Hardy Boys.  One Hardy Boys, John Shaheen, set up two Hong Kong banks, Tetra Finance and Hong Kong Deposit & Guaranty.  A director at both was Ghanim al-Mazrui, top lieutenant to Sheik Zayed, the Abu Dhabi emir and largest stockholder in BCCI.  Another director was Hassan Yassin, a former Saudi official who Saudi intelligence chief Sheik Kamal Adham claimed brought him into the First American Bank buyout.  Both banks eventually went under BCCI-style, bilking scores of middle-class Hong Kong depositors.  Shortly after the two banks failed, Hardy Boy John Shaheen received a top intelligence medal. [246]

Dean Henderson is the author of five books:Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families & Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics & Terror Network, The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries, Das Kartell der Federal Reserve, Stickin’ it to the Matrix & The Federal Reserve Cartel.  You can subscribe free to his weekly Left Hook column

2 responses to “The BCCI Black Network

  1. Dean, as usual very informative. Argentina has never sold any tank to any nation otherwise, a delightful reading.

  2. A French journalist has done some fieldwork on Montepaschi di Sienna: it’s a mafia bank breaking out banks all over Europe

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s