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Flying Dolphins
Quote:In the late 1990’s UAE Sheik Zayed was back to his old tricks, founding an air freight company known as Flying Dolphin.
Sheik Zayed was UAE Ambassador to the US from 1989-1992, just after the BCCI failure.  A decade later the UAE was becoming an al Qaeda haven.  In the emirate of Sharjah, al Qaeda operatives linked up with Russian arms dealer Victor Bout, a former Soviet fighter pilot.  Bout owned a Sharjah company appropriately named Air Cess.  Both Air Cess and Flying Dolphin were cited in a UN report on gun-running in Africa as consistent violators of UN arms embargoes in places like Sierre Leone, Angola and Liberia.  Bout and Zayed were described as “business partners”.  Both companies began ferrying Eastern European weapons to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan following a 1996 meeting with Taliban officials at a Sharjah hotel.  The UAE was one of only three countries to recognize the Taliban government, along with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
Air Cess and Flying Dolphin also supplied al Qaeda operatives with cyanide and other dangerous chemicals from Germany, the Czech Republic and Ukraine. [250]  The US State Department says Bout has a fleet of 60 cargo planes based at Sharjah’s duty-free airport.  The UN demanded an end to Flying Dolphin’s Afghan shuttles on January 21, 2001, stating that the flights were carrying contraband.  When a UN team tried to inspect Air Cess planes on the runway at Sharjah, they were told by UAE officials to leave the country.  Those who persisted had their movements severely restricted by the UAE government, according to Belgian team member Johan Peleman.  In 2004 NPR reported that Victor Bout was supplying US contractors in Iraq.  His clients included Halliburton’s Kellogg Brown & Root subsidiary. [251]
The US finally applied pressure to the UAE after the 1998 African embassy bombings carried out by al Qaeda.  Both President Clinton and Defense Secretary William Cohen wrote their UAE counterparts urging them to clamp down on al Qaeda funding networks.  A senior UAE sheik responded that it was difficult to separate criminal money from that which was going to fight US proxy wars in Bosnia and Chechnya.
While Sharjah’s free-trade airport handled contraband, the neighboring UAE emirate of Dubai handled the money laundering.  Dubai is a duty-free port and gold bullion landing strip where US Naval vessels often berth.  Suitcases full of cash often show up at branches of British and US mega-banks that preside over this unregulated offshore banking haven.  The Financial Action Task Force, a conglomeration of Treasury officials from 29 nations which was formed after the 911 tragedy, concluded that money laundering was rife in Dubai.
The Taliban had accounts at the Dubai Islamic Bank, whose chairman is Mohammed Khalfan bin Karbash. bin Karbash is Minister for Financial & Industrial Affairs in the UAE government. Al Qaeda operatives often used the howala banking house known as al Barakaat, whose global headquarters is in the UAE.  Al Barakaat was founded by Somali warlord Ahmed Nur Ali Jim’ale and serves as a quasi-central bank in Somalia.  In November 2001 the US cut off al Barakaat’s channels to international money center banks, effectively wiping out the savings of middle class Somalis who kept their money at al Barakaat. [252]
Just before the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on America, a wave of gold couriers began showing up in Dubai with massive amounts of bullion taken from Afghanistan.  The gold belonged to al Qaeda and the Taliban and was most likely derived from opium smuggling.  In Dubai the couriers exchanged their gold for the US dollars they needed to pull off the coming attacks on the US.  Alleged hijacker ringleader Mohammed Atta received $120,000 to plan and carry out the terror attacks from accounts in Dubai controlled by operation paymaster Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi on orders from Pakistan’s ISI Chief Mahmud Ahmad.  Another alleged hijacker and al-Hawsawi himself used accounts at the Dubai branch of the British Cecil Rhodes-founded Standard Chartered Bank to finance the 911 operation. According to the June 19, 2007 Financial Times, the government of Dubai now owns a 2.7% stake in Standard Chartered via its Istithmar Corporation, which recently paid $100 million to Cunards for the QE2 luxury liner.

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