20170518

Chiquita Papers Are Key Evidence in International Criminal Court Filing


Washington, D.C., May 18, 2017 – The National Security Archive’s Chiquita Papers collection represents key evidence behind a “communication” calling on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate officials from Chiquita Brands International for facilitating crimes against humanity committed by armed groups the company paid in Colombia.

The petition to the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor was brought by the International Human Rights Clinic of Harvard Law School, the International Federation for Human Rights, and the Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo, a Colombian human rights organization, and was made public today at a press conference in Bogotá, Colombia.

The Archive provided more than 48,000 pages of internal Chiquita records to the ICC as part of the communication, including financial records, legal memoranda, handwritten notes, and the secret, sworn testimony of company officials that help to identify individuals at Chiquita who steered millions of dollars in “sensitive payments” to Colombian insurgent groups, government security forces, and right-wing paramilitary militias.

The ICC action comes at an important moment, just as Colombia begins to implement a historic peace agreement ending more than 50 years of conflict with rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). In February, the Colombian prosecutor general ruled that the “voluntary financing” of paramilitary and insurgent groups by corporations like Chiquita should be investigated as crimes against humanity by a special tribunal established by the accord.

The communication asks the ICC “to monitor local Colombian proceedings to ensure they meet ICC standards, particularly with regards to private sector support for the paramilitaries and business’ accountability,” according to today’s press release...

http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB593-chiquita-papers-evidence-in-icc-filing/

20170216

Wiki: Bayrock Group


Bayrock Group is an international real estate development and investment company based in New York. It was founded by Kazakh businessman Tevfik Arif in 2001.

The Bayrock Group was founded in 2001 by Tevfik Arif, a former Soviet official from Kazakhstan who became an international businessman. He founded Bayrock after he moved some of his businesses to the United States.[1]

Arif hired Russian businessman Felix Sater as managing director of Bayrock in 2003.[2]Sater became Bayrock's Chief Operating Officer,[3] and assisted with several projects, including management of the Trump SoHo project.[2] Sater left Bayrock in 2008[4] after a New York Times article revealed his criminal past.[5][6] In 1998, Sater had pled guilty to stock racketeering and fraud as part of a US and Russian mafia-connected $40 million stock pump and dump scheme.[4] He worked with the CIA and the FBI, allegedly offering information on a black market for Stinger missiles.[4][7] Sater later worked as a senior advisor to Trump.[4]

Projects and properties[edit source]

After moving the Bayrock Group to the 24th floor of Trump Tower,[9] Arif developed a relationship with billionaire businessman Donald Trump. Bayrock went on to collaborate with The Trump Organization on projects in Turkey, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Arizona, Colorado, New York, and Florida.[2]

Loehmann's Seaport Plaza[edit source]

Arif began developing property in Brooklyn, initially redeveloping Loehmann's Seaport Plaza, a three-story, 280,000-square-foot (26,000 m2) waterfront shopping center on Emmons Avenue in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.[10] The property's tenants include Loehmann's and Nine West Shoes.
Trump International Hotel & Residence[edit source]

In 2003, Bayrock purchased a site out of bankruptcy in the Camelback Corridor of Phoenix, Arizona. Bayrock announced plans for the Trump International Hotel & Residence, a $200 million, 190-foot Trump International Hotel. Plans for the project included 97 private residential units starting at $950,000 and 188 hotel/condo rooms. While the site was approved by the Phoenix City Council and the Planning Commission in 2005, the project was curbed by public opposition[11] and never finished.[12]

Bayrock subsequently defaulted on a $36 million loan from Hypo Real Estate Capital Group, who sold the site in 2010.

Moscow high-rise[edit source]
See also: Business projects of Donald Trump in Russia

In 2005, Donald Trump extended the Bayrock Group a one-year deal to develop a project in Moscow. Sater located Russian investors and a potential site for the high-rise, a closed pencil factory named for Sacco and Vanzetti.[9] Sater said, "We looked at some very, very large properties in Russia," on the scale of "...a large Vegas high-rise."[13] Bayrock organized a potential deal in Moscow between Trump International Hotel and Russian investors in 2007,[14] but the deal never came to fruition.[9]

Trump SoHo[edit source]

The Trump SoHo is a $450 million, 46-story, 39-unit hotel condominium located at 246 Spring Street in SoHo, New York City. The hotel was a joint venture between Bayrock, The Trump Organization, and the Sapir Organisation, a company owned by Georgian real estate developer Tamir Sapir. Trump provided a licensing deal for the hotel in exchange for a 18% equity stake in the project.[15][4] The project was funded by Kazakh businessman Alexander Mashkevitch.[16]

In 2007, Bayrock traded future profits from Trump SoHo and other projects in exchange for $50 million in financing from Icelandic company FL Group. The arrangement led Bayrock's finance director to file racketeering lawsuits, alleging that money was diverted to people outside the company, including Salvatore Lauria, an associate of Sater's.[2]

Sater was a managing director of Bayrock and a senior advisor to Trump when construction of Trump SoHo began in 2006. Sater played a major role throughout the process of the building's construction.[17]

Trump International Hotel and Tower (Fort Lauderdale)[edit source]

Bayrock worked with Trump to develop the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.[15]

Europe projects[edit source]

Bayrock Group developed seven waterfront hotel resorts in Europe. The hotels are managed by the Turkish luxury hotel chain Rixos Hotels.[18] The resorts in Turkey on the Mediterranean Sea include Rixos Hotel Tekirova near Tekirova; Rixos Hotel Belek in Belek; Rixos Hotel Labada near Çamyuva; and Rixos Hotel Beldibi in Beldibi.

Lawsuits involving Bayrock[edit source]

Arizona suit (2007)[edit source]

Trump International Hotel & Residence investor Ernest Mennes filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Arizona in 2007. The suit alleged that Bayrock had skimmed money its planned Trump development in Phoenix.[5] It further alleged that Sater had called Mennes in 2006, threatening that if he revealed Sater's criminal past, that his cousin would "electrically shock Mr. Mennes' testicles, cut off Mr. Mennes' legs, and leave Mr. Mennes dead in the trunk of his car."[9] The case was settled by Bayrock[5] and Mennes was barred from discussing the matter.[9]

Kriss v. Bayrock[edit source]

In the federal case Kriss et al. vs. Bayrock Group LLC et al., two former Bayrock employees, former director of finance Jody Kriss and Michael Chudi Ejekam, filed a suit in the U.S. District Court in New York in 2010.[19] The suit alleged that Sater's role in the company was hidden and that the company was "substantially and covertly mob-owned and operated."[5][20]

Trump SoHo lawsuits[edit source]

In 2011, the Rockwell Group, an interior design firm, sued Bayrock and Sapir Organization for over $1.5 million in damages after Bayrock failed to pay for interior design work at Trump SoHo. Bayrock countersued two days later, filing a complaint with the New York Supreme Court.[21]

Qui tam case (2015)[edit source]

Attorneys Frederick Oberlander and Richard Lerner brought a qui tam case against Bayrock in 2015.[22][23] The suit alleged that Arif, Satter, and Julius Schwarz had been in control of Bayrock for nearly a decade[3] and had "engaged in a series of tax frauds and then took steps to hide the fraud."[3]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayrock_Group

20170213

I Was the Voice-Over for Bin Laden

By NIHAR PATEL APRIL 30, 2016

IT’S rare when we find ourselves as the right person in the right place at the right time. More often, it’s an unsatisfying mix of those and other variables: The place is right, the timing is spot on — only you were off.

I was 22 years old, and one day into an internship at the ABC program “Nightline,” when the Sept. 11 attacks happened. They woke this country up from the slumber of the 1990s, and in my case, from a jet-lagged coma in a corporate housing unit down the street from the Pentagon. In a week, I went from a sheltered college existence to having ash on the balcony from the smoldering crash site nearby.

My fellow interns and I soon realized we weren’t ready for the real world to introduce itself so cataclysmically. A White House intern friend, exhausted by the unending hours of TV coverage, marched to the video store one night, bought a VHS copy of the movie “Notting Hill” and proceeded to wear it out with almost nightly viewings. I went in the other direction and consumed hours of news coverage, studying what occurred from every angle, as if I were still cramming for a final exam I needed to ace.

It will forever be a dark time for this country. It was also a terrible time in American history to look or appear even remotely Muslim. A Pakistani-American colleague stopped wearing a prayer ring — given to her by her grandmother — that had Arabic script on it because she got suspicious looks on the subway.

My friend and roommate, who like me is Indian-American, waited up for me that first week after I’d stumble out of the office at 3 a.m. He did this partly to get the latest news, but also to make sure I was safe from the kind of random retaliation Muslims and even non-Muslims like myself were enduring.

As the country was putting the pieces back together, we were suddenly forced to construct our identities in a post-Sept. 11 world. And I had it easy; no turban, no beard, and a tendency to overcompensate with niceness.

We had a villain back then: Osama bin Laden, the man who caused all that pain, anger and anxiety. Monday is the fifth anniversary of his death. News outlets will most likely focus on what has replaced him, the fragmented, nihilistic terrorism of groups like the Islamic State. But I’ve been thinking back to the months after Sept. 11, when Bin Laden spoke to us through video and audio messages — and I voiced them on screen...

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/01/opinion/sunday/i-was-the-voice-over-for-bin-laden.html?_r=0

20170212

The Spy Revolt Against Trump Begins

In a recent column, I explained how the still-forming Trump administration is already doing serious harm to America’s longstanding global intelligence partnerships. In particular, fears that the White House is too friendly to Moscow are causing close allies to curtail some of their espionage relationships with Washington—a development with grave implications for international security, particularly in the all-important realm of counterterrorism.

Now those concerns are causing problems much closer to home—in fact, inside the Beltway itself. Our Intelligence Community is so worried by the unprecedented problems of the Trump administration—not only do senior officials possess troubling ties to the Kremlin, there are nagging questions about basic competence regarding Team Trump—that it is beginning to withhold intelligence from a White House which our spies do not trust.

That the IC has ample grounds for concern is demonstrated by almost daily revelations of major problems inside the White House, a mere three weeks after the inauguration. The president has repeatedly gone out of his way to antagonize our spies, mocking them and demeaning their work, and Trump’s personal national security guru can’t seem to keep his story straight on vital issues.

That’s Mike Flynn, the retired Army three-star general who now heads the National Security Council. Widely disliked in Washington for his brash personality and preference for conspiracy-theorizing over intelligence facts, Flynn was fired as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency for managerial incompetence and poor judgment—flaws he has brought to the far more powerful and political NSC...

http://observer.com/2017/02/donald-trump-administration-mike-flynn-russian-embassy/

20170211

Wiki: Adnan Khashoggi


Adnan Khashoggi (Arabic: عدنان خاشقجي‎‎; born 25 July 1935) is a Saudi Arabian businessman. At a peak net worth of up to 10 billion USD in the early 1980s, he was considered one of the richest men in the world.[1][2]

Khashoggi was born in Mecca, the son of Muhammad Khashoggi, who was King Abdul Aziz Al Saud's personal doctor.[3] His family is of Turkish origin. Adnan Khashoggi's sister Samira Khashoggi Fayed married Mohammed Al-Fayed and was the mother of Dodi Fayed.[4] Another sister, Soheir Khashoggi, is a well-known Arab writer (Mirage, Nadia's Song, Mosaic).[5]

Khashoggi was educated at Victoria College in Alexandria, Egypt,[3] and the Americanuniversities California State University, Chico, Ohio State, and Stanford. Khashoggi left his studies in order to seek his fortune in business...

Khashoggi headed a company called Triad Holding Company, which among other things built the Triad Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, which later went bankrupt. He was famed as an arms dealer, brokering deals between US firms and the Saudi government, most actively in the 1960s and 1970s....

Among his overseas clients were defense contractorsLockheed Corporation (now Lockheed Martin Corporation), Raytheon, Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation and Northrop Corporation (which have now merged into Northrop Grumman)....

A shrewd businessman, he established companies in Switzerland and Liechtenstein to handle his commissions as well as developing contacts with notables such as CIAofficers James H. Critchfield and Kim Roosevelt and US businessman Bebe Rebozo, a close associate of former US President Richard Nixon. His yacht, the Nabila, was the largest in the world at the time and was used in the James Bond film Never Say Never Again. After Khashoggi ran into financial problems he sold the yacht to the Sultan of Brunei, who in turn sold it to Donald Trump for $29 million, who sold it for $20 million[7]to Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal as part of a deal to keep his Taj Mahal casino out of bankruptcy.[8]...

Iran–Contra affair[edit source]
He was implicated in the Iran–Contra affair as a key middleman in the arms-for-hostages exchange along with Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar and, in a complex series of events, was found to have borrowed money for these arms purchases from the now-bankrupt financial institution the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) with Saudi and US backing...

Imelda Marcos affair[edit source]
In 1988, Khashoggi was arrested in Switzerland, accused of concealing funds, and held for three months. Khashoggi stopped fighting extradition when the US prosecutors reduced the charges to obstruction of justice and mail fraud and dropped the more serious charges of racketeering and conspiracy. In 1990, a United States federal jury in Manhattan acquitted Khashoggi and Imelda Marcos, widow of the exiled Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, of racketeering and fraud.[9][10]...

Genesis Intermedia[edit source]
Khashoggi, along with Ramy El-Batrawi, was the principal financier behind Genesis Intermedia, Inc. (formerly NASDAQ: GENI), a publicly traded Internet company based in the US. In 2006, El-Batrawi and Kashoggi were sued by the SEC for securities fraud.[11] The case was settled in 2008; both men did not admit or deny the allegations;.[12]...

Seymour Hersh report[edit source]
In January 2003, Seymour Hersh reported in The New Yorker magazine that former US Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle had a meeting with Khashoggi in Marseille in order to use him as a conduit between Trireme Partners, a private venture capital company of which he was one of three principals, and the Saudi government. At the time, Perle was chair of the Defense Policy Board, a Defense Department advisory group, which provided him with access to classified information and a position to influence defense policy. An advocate of the overthrow of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, Perle had served as an adviser to 2000 Republican US Presidential nominee George W. Bush.

Khashoggi told Hersh that Perle talked to him about the economic costs regarding a proposed invasion of Iraq. "'If there is no war,' he told me, 'why is there a need for security? If there is a war, of course, billions of dollars will have to be spent.'"[13]...

2011 money laundering case[edit source]
Khashoggi was implicated in a money laundering case involving the use of an Indian citizen. In 2011, Hasan Ali Khan, owner of a Pune stud farm, was arrested by India's Enforcement Directorate and charged. Khan and Kolkata businessman Kashinath Tapuriah were charged under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. Allegedly, in 2003, Khan helped launder US$300 million of money through the Zurich branch of Swiss bank UBS.[14][15]

Khan and Tapuriah admitted to knowing Kashoggi, and Khan described him as a friend. Introduced to UBS by Khashoggi in 1982, Khan held funds in American accounts through UBS Geneva.[16] One of Khan's accounts was eventually blocked.[17]...

'I thought I was smarter than almost everybody': my double life as a KGB agent

On a chilly morning in December 1988, computer analyst Jack Barsky embarked on his usual morning commute to his office on Madison Avenue in Manhattan, leaving his wife and baby daughter at home in Queens. As he entered the subway, he caught sight of something startling: a daub of red paint on a metal beam. Barsky had looked for it every morning for years; it meant he had a life-changing decision to make, and fast.

Barsky knew the drill. The red paint was a warning that he was in immediate danger, that he should hurry to collect cash and emergency documents from a prearranged drop site. From there, he would cross the border into Canada and contact the Soviet consulate in Toronto. Arrangements would be made for him to leave the country. He would cease to be Jack Barsky. The American identity he had inhabited for a decade would evaporate and he would return to his former life: that of Albrecht Dittrich, a chemist and KGB agent, with a wife and seven-year-old son waiting patiently for him in East Germany.

Barsky thought of his American daughter, Chelsea: could he really leave her? And, if he didn’t, how long could he evade both the KGB and US counterintelligence?

***

On an unseasonably warm January afternoon in Atlanta, Georgia, Barsky strides into my hotel and gives me a firm handshake. Now 67, he has lived a more or less ordinary life for the past three decades. But the years spent undercover were hard on him and the people close to him. Only recently has he been able to come clean about his past. His late coming out has provided an overwhelming sense of release, Barsky says. “All those years, I had a little man up here,” he says, pointing to the sandy hair swept across his scalp in a side parting. “He would constantly watch what I was saying, and stop me from going into certain territory. And then the little man got killed off, and it was like an explosion.” These days, he is a garrulous conversationalist who requires little prodding.

Barsky’s story is a timely reminder of the immense resources the Russians were willing to expend during the cold war in their bid to embed agents in enemy territory. Hacking was not an option, and casual travel between Moscow and the west was much harder. “As I’m talking about this stuff, it feels unreal,” he says of his convoluted journey from East Germany to the US. “It feels as if it wasn’t me. But it was.”

Albrecht Dittrich was born in 1949, in a small East German town close to the Polish border. His father was a schoolteacher and a devoted Marxist-Leninist, his mother he describes as an intelligent woman who did not hug him enough. “She sent me away to boarding school when I was 14, and I never missed her.” Soon after, his parents divorced and he lost touch with his father...

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/11/thought-smarter-everybody-kgb-spy-jack-barsky

20170205

Wiki: Jose Rodriguez



Jose A. Rodriguez, Jr. (born October 21, 1948) is a former director of the National Clandestine Service (D/NCS) of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He was the final CIA deputy director for operations (DDO) before that position was expanded to D/NCS in December 2004.[1][2]

Born in Puerto Rico in 1948, Rodriguez attended the University of Florida, earning both a bachelor's degree and a law degree. He joined the CIA in 1976 and served for 31 years. According to Gen. (ret.) Michael Hayden, "Jose built a reputation for leadership in the field and here at headquarters, and he guided some of the agency's greatest counterterror victories. He has done much to protect our country by strengthening its Clandestine Service." Other colleagues cite him as "one of the best" field operatives in his time at the CIA.[3]...

In the aftermath of 9/11, this was the focal point within the Agency to orchestrate the global campaign against Al Qaeda. In this capacity, Rodriguez was responsible for driving the CIA operations and the targeting analysis necessary to uncover terrorists in the Al Qaeda network.[10] In the time period that Rodriguez stepped in, the Counterterrorism Center grew sharply. The number of analysts quadrupled, and the number of operations officers doubled.[11] In 2004 Rodriguez advised the organizers of the 2004 Olympics in Athens, including the chief organizer, Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, on security matters and counterterrorism. "The actions we took in the aftermath of 9/11 were harsh but necessary and effective. These steps were fully sanctioned and carefully followed. The detention and interrogation of top terrorists like Abu Zubaydah, Khalid Sheikh Muhammed, and Abu Faraj al-Libbi yielded breakthroughs which have kept this country safe," Rodriguez said in a press release.[12]...

Like many officers in the Latin American Division, during the Iran–Contra affair, Rodriguez was questioned by the FBI about his role in the scandal after allegations of CIA involvement emerged.[15] No charges or actions were brought against him in connection with Iran–Contra.

Much later, in 1997, Rodriguez interceded in the drug-related arrest of a friend in the Dominican Republic, trying to get the Dominican government to drop the charges.[16] According to the New York Times, the CIA's inspector general criticized Rodriguez for a "remarkable lack of judgment."[17]...

In 2005, while head of the Clandestine Service, Rodriguez ordered that videotape recordings of two 2002 CIA interrogations be destroyed.[18] CIA officials initially stated that the recordings were destroyed to protect the identity of the interrogators, after they were no longer of intelligence value to any investigations.[19] "He would always say, 'I'm not going to let my people get nailed for something they were ordered to do,'" said Robert Richer, Rodriguez's deputy recalling conversations with his boss about the tapes.[20] It was later revealed that the deputy to Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, then executive director of the CIA, wrote in an e-mail that Rodriguez thought "the heat from destroying is nothing compared with what it would be if the tapes ever got into public domain—he said that out of context they would make us look terrible; it would be 'devastating' to us."[21]...

After an exhaustive three-year investigation into the destruction of the videotapes of the interrogations (including pictures of the interrogators), the Justice Department announced in November 2010 it would not pursue any charges against Jose Rodriguez.[27...

After reportedly being heavily recruited to join the international security firm Blackwater, Rodriguez instead joined the privately owned National Interest Security Company in Fairfax, Virginia, which combined several formerly independent companies.[33][34][35] In NISC, Rodriguez was made a senior vice president in Edge Consulting, an intelligence assessment and strategy consulting group.[36][37]Edge Consulting (now a part of IBM) was founded by Chris Whitlock and Frank Strickland to assess intelligence performance with special emphasis on Iraq and Afghanistan, while also working issues in the broader intelligence community.[38][39] NISC was purchased by IBM in March 2010.[40] ...

In 2012, Rodriguez's book "Hard Measures" was published....