News and opinions on the situation in Venezuela
CIA links to ‘Venezuelan’ plane seized in Mexico with 5.5 tonnes of cocaine
Published: Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Bylined to: Wayne Madsen
The Wayne Madsen Report: Porter Goss’s Cocaine Import Agency (CIA) has links to “Al Qaeda” and Saudis. Last year, WMR reported on links between the Saudi Royal Family and CIA proprietary airline companies involved in cocaine smuggling.
On April 10, Mexican police, acting on a tip from INTERPOL, seized a DC-9 aircraft carrying 5.5 tonnes of cocaine with an estimated street value of $100 million.
The DC-9 (registration number N900SA) made an emergency landing at Ciudad del Carmen in Campeche state. A Falcon aircraft that arrived at Ciudad del Carmen from Toluca airport in Mexico state in advance of the arrival of the DC-9 was also seized. The cocaine was contained in 128 suitcases. The Mexican police later claimed the unidentified DC-9's pilot managed to escape … however, the police did arrest the co-pilot.
The DC-9 was painted in the familiar blue and white colors of the US Transportation Security Administration with am official-looking seal with an American eagle bearing the inscription: “Sky Way Aircraft — Protection of America’s Skies.”
On April 5, 2006, the plane flew from St. Petersburg/Clearwater International to Simon Bolivar International in Caracas. “Sky Ways” has also been linked to the Saudi government and Bush family/CIA activities. Royal Sons, the name of which may indicate the involvement of Saudi princes, such as the cocaine-transporting Prince Nayif, also maintained an office at 224 East Airport Ave., Venice (Florida), at the same time lead hijacker Mohammad Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi were training at Huffman Aviation, which was located near by at 400 East Airport Avenue.
Not surprisingly in light of Saudi involvement with cocaine smuggling, the activities of the Israelis drew the particular attention of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which had Venice airport under surveillance and later prepared a lengthy report on the activities of the Israelis.
Official-looking TSA plane busted for hauling cocaine in Mexico.
In 2004, a Sky Way Aircraft Beechcraft BE-200, registration N391SA, flying under the false registration of N168D, was confiscated by the Venezuelan government after flying from Caracas Charallave airport to Santiago Marino airport on Margarita island.
FAA records indicate that Sky Way’s office of record was 341 8th Ave. SE # 3C, St. Petersburg, Florida. The FAA registration database also states, “N391SA has multiple records” in addition to its status as being “exported” to Venezuela and, thus, “de-registered” with the FAA.
After the revelations about CIA rendition flights and proprietary companies, it was discovered that N168D was the tail number for a Casa CN-235-300 registered to Devon Holding and Leasing of Lexington, North Carolina.
Sky Way Beechcraft that was held by Venezuela after it used a false registration
number N168D, the same tail number used by one of the CIA’s rendition planes.
The DC-9 seized by Mexico was previously owned by a partnership of Royal Sons and Skyway Communications Holding Corp. (Symbol: SWYCQ) of 6021, 142nd Avenue North Clearwater, Florida. SWYCQ’s web site states, “SWYC was founded in 2000 by Mr. Brent Kovar. SWYC’s focus includes in-flight wireless Homeland Security and In-flight Entertainment (IFE) service.”
In 2003, then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay appointed Kovar as Honorary Chairman of the Business Advisory Council of the National Republican Congressional Committee. According to the Securities & Exchange Commission’s EDGAR database, “Kovar has been President and Director of Sky Way Aircraft since inception.
In addition, as president and director of research and development and engineering, Mr. Kovar founded Sky Way Global in 2000, a high speed broadband wireless service company. From 1996 to 2000, Mr. Kovar served as the executive vice president and director of research and development for Satellite Access Systems, a satellite services company. In 1990, Mr. Kovar founded PC, Ltd., a company that produced specialty-designed remote controlled arm and RF/communications related products, and until 1996, he served as president and director of new product engineering.
From 1987 to 1989, he was associated with Jacobs Engineering, an national engineering company in Pasadena, California. From 1986 to 1987, Mr. Kovar worked with Falcon Communications as a wireless communications engineer.
Also, EDGAR provides details on SWYCQ’s CEO and CFO Jim Kent, “Mr. Kent has been CEO and Director of Sky Way Aircraft since July 2002 and its CFO since February 2003. He has been director of business operations for Sky Way Global since 2000.
From 1998 to 1999, Mr. Kent served as director of operations for Satellite Access Systems, Inc., a satellite services company where he was responsible for the day-to-day operations. From 1997 to 1998 he served as a senior management consultant for Booz, Allen & Hamilton, a government contractor and national/international business consulting firm providing program and financial management services to the US Government.
From 1980 to 1997, Mr. Kent served in various government contract management positions providing financial and program management services supporting national communications and intelligence projects for the Department of Defense, National Security Agency, and Department of the Navy.” Also, according to the SEC, Kovar is affiliated with Net Command Tech Inc. (a St. Petersburg, Florida-based corporation formerly known as Acunet Corporation and Corsaire, Inc.). The company primarily markets video surveillance systems. According to SEC records, Banque Francaise De L’Orient has a significant financial stake in Net Command Tech.
According to SEC filings, one of the significant shareholders is Fever Holdings Limited, c/o Banque Francaise de L’Orient, with an office listed at 50 Curzon Street, London (England). Satellite Access Systems of Nevada is a Net Command Tech subsidiary.
Banque Francaise de l’Orient was originally Banque Al Saoudi, which was under the financial control of the Bin Laden family and other top Saudi royals and businessmen. In 1989, Banque Indosuez partly assumed control of the near bankrupt Bank Al Saoudi and it became Banque Francaise de l’Orient. The bank then merged with the late Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s Mediterranee Group. Banque Francaise de L’Orient maintains an office in Geneva. Bank Indosuez (now Credit Agricole Suez) maintains an address in Sana’a, Yemen.
Bank Indosuez was used by the CIA for the establishment of secret accounts held by top Kazakhstan officials in return for lucrative Tengiz oil field contracts for Amoco, Mobil, Phillips Petroleum, Texaco, and Halliburton (scandal that became known as “Kazakhgate”).
Intelligence insiders report that CIA Director Porter Goss has authorized the CIA to resume Iran-contra-era networks that is permitting former agency contractors to renew their illicit trade in drugs.
The sudden inflow of cocaine and heroin into the United States is an early warning sign that covert operators are attempting to earn large amounts of cash for one or more “special projects.”
On April 20, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that security guards at the Beaver Valley Power Station in Pennsylvania stopped a truck containing $504,230 in cash wrapped in ten bundles with clear plastic and duct tape. The bundles were locked in a duffel bag. A drug-sniffing dog reacted positively to the bag. The driver of the truck and a passenger came from Texas and said they were en route from Chicago and were to deliver tools from the power plant to Youngstown, Ohio.
Police in Shippingport, Beaver County stopped the truck after the power plant security guards notified them. The guards grew suspicious when they cut the lock off the duffel bag and saw the cash. The truck occupants said the cash belonged to their boss in Houston. The trucking company was reportedly a contractor for San Francisco-based Bechtel Corporation, which was doing construction work at the power plant. When the guards called the boss in Houston he denied the cash was his.
The truck quickly left the power plant, which is owned by First Energy Nuclear Operating Company. Shippingport Police and Pennsylvania state troopers later stopped the truck near the Shippingport Bridge and confiscated the cash. The passenger in the truck claimed his identification had been stolen from the truck the previous night.
Shippingport Police Sgt. R. N. Davis, Jr., scoffed at that explanation in remarks to the Post-Gazette. “Your ID is stolen but not that bag of cash? Red flags were popping up all over,” Davis said. The incident is highly reminiscent of cases involving Israeli “movers” picked up around the United States after 9/11 who had similarly unconvincing stories. The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force was notified about the Pennsylvania incident and are said to be “investigating.”
In 1999, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) broke open a major conspiracy involving a Saudi prince’s Colombian cocaine smuggling from Venezuela to support some “future intention” involving Koranic prophecy.
The DEA operations were contained in a “Declassification of a Secret DEA 6 Paris Country Office” memorandum dated June 26, 2000, a date which coincided with the height of Israeli art student and 9/11 hijacker activity in the United States.
Through an intercepted fax, the Bogota Country Office of the DEA learned of the Paris cocaine seizure and linked the drug smuggling operation to the Saudis. The DEA investigation centered around Saudi Prince Nayif al Saud, whose alias was El Principe (the Prince). Nayif’s full name is Nayif (or Nayef) bin Fawwaz al-Shaalan al-Saud. In pursuit of his international drug deals, Nayif traveled in his own Boeing 727 and used his diplomatic status to avoid customs checks. The DEA report stated Nayif studied at the University of Miami, Florida, owned a bank in Switzerland, speaks eight languages, was heavily invested in Venezuela’s petroleum industry, regularly visited the United States, and traveled with millions of dollars of US currency. Nayif is also invested in Colombia’s petroleum industry.
Nayif was also reported to have met with drug cartel members in Marbella (Spain), where the late Saudi King Fahd and the Saudi royal family maintained a huge palatial residence.
The report states that when a group of cartel members traveled to Riyadh to meet Nayif, “they were picked up in a Rolls Royce automobile belonging to Nayif, and driven to the Riyadh Holiday Inn hotel. The next day they were met by Nayif and his brother [believed to be named Saul [sic] [His twin brother is Prince Saud. Nayif’s older brother, Prince Nawaf, is married to King Abdullah’s daughter].)… The second day they all traveled to the desert in terrain vehicles [hummers]. During this desert trip they discussed narcotics trafficking.
The DEA informant (named only as UN) and Nayif agreed to conduct the 2,000 kilogram cocaine shipment, which would be delivered to Caracas, by UN’s people, where Nayif would facilitate the cocaine’s transport to Paris, France. Nayif explained he would utilize his 727 jet airliner, under Diplomatic cover, to transport the cocaine. The Boeing 727 was operated by Skyways International, a Saudi-owned airline with past connections to the mysterious James Bath, George W. Bush’s Texas Air National Guard friend and later Arbusto and Harken Energy investment pass-through between the Saudis and Bush.
Nayif told UN that he could transport up to 20,000 kilograms of cocaine in his jet airliner, and propositioned UN “to conduct 10-20,000 kilogram shipments in the future.” UN wondered why Nayif, supposedly a devout Muslim, would be involved with drugs. Nayif’s response in light of what is now known about Saudi funding of terrorism, is worth a close perusal. During the Riyadh meeting, Nayif responded to UN’s question by stating that “he is a strict advocate of the Muslim Corran.” UN stated, “Nayif does not drink, smoke, or violate any of the Corran’s teachings. UN asked Nayif why he [Nayif] wanted to sell cocaine and Nayif stated that the world is already doomed and that he has been authorized by God to sell drugs. Nayif stated that UN would later learn of Nayif’s true intentions for trafficking narcotics although Nayif would not comment further.”
The Saudi prince’s drug smuggling operation was smashed by the DEA and French police in October 1999 (Drug Enforcement Administration, Memorandum, Declassification of Secret DEA 6 for Paris Country Office, June 26, 2000).
On May 16, 1999, Prince Nayif’s Skyways Boeing 727 touched down at LeBourget Airport outside of Paris ( this is the same airport that received the Bin Laden family flight from the United States following the 9/11 attacks).
Also on board the plane were a number of Saudi princes and princesses. Two tons of cocaine, smuggled on to the aircraft in Caracas, were transported as one large diplomatic pouch by two waiting Saudi vans. The cocaine was transported to Noissy-le-Sec, a Paris suburb. A French-US law enforcement case against Nayif and his entourage, complete with evidence and confidential informants soon collapsed.
Wayne Madsen Report.com has come into possession of a “Confidential Diplomatic” cable from the French embassy in Saudi Arabia to Paris warning that Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef had warned that if France pursued the case against the Saudi prince, a lucrative $7 billion radar defense contract, Project SBGDP (Garde Frontiere), with the French firm Thales would be canceled.
The embassy cable sought pressure against the French Interior Ministry
to drop its investigation of Nayif.
The cable also indicated that Saudi Interior Minister Nayef’s irritation at the French investigation was shared by his brothers Abdullah (then-Crown Prince) and Sultan (Defense Minister) as well as the Governor of Riyadh Province Prince Salman. Saudi informers have revealed that Al Qaeda members routinely traveled through Riyadh on their way to Pakistan and then to Taliban Afghanistan.
These insiders report that Salman’s office arranged for cash payments, hotels, and air fares for the Al Qaeda members.
The French cable also states that the Saudis reiterated that it was merciless to drug traffickers for which Saudi youth were often the victims. The Saudis also told the French that unlike Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon, Saudi Arabia was not a base for drug trafficking. The reaction by the Saudi government’s key principals to the French drug investigation indicates they had something to hide. Perhaps similar to the Bush family, they had an off-the-books operation to generate hundreds of millions of dollars for their Wahhabi compatriots in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
The French cable draws attention to intelligence rumors that the cocaine transported by Nayif from Venezuela originated in Colombia … the same country where George H. W. Bush and his Iran-contra co-conspirators arranged for cocaine-for-cash-for-weapons transfers involving Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega as a middleman.
CIA sources have recently reported that lead hijacker Mohammed Atta was known to US, British, and Saudi intelligence as a heroin courier from Mujaheddin-controlled Afghanistan as early as 1991. Atta was also identified as a cocaine user. Hence, what the French and US law enforcement investigators discovered in 1999 may have been a major financial source for Al Qaeda’s terrorist attacks.
Recent revelations that a Top Secret US Special Operations Command/Defense Intelligence Agency unit code named Able Danger was shadowing Al Qaeda operatives in 1999, the same year that Nayif and his courier activities were discovered, indicates high level collusion inside the United States Defense and Justice Departments with elements that did not want to embarrass the Saudis.
It is quite possible that the massive amounts of Able Danger data reported to have been destroyed on the Atta team may have included gigabytes of financial data on Prince Nayif’s drug money laundering activities.
Wayne Madsen Report.com has obtained a European intelligence agency flow chart titled “Operation Palme,” illustrating the connections of Nayif’s brother Nawwaf’s financial operations to a myriad of other entities, a large number of them based in Geneva, a city where Wayne Madsen Report.com has previously reported the presence of a number of Bush-connected entities tied to the 9/11 attacks, including a money transfer to at least one of the hijackers.
According to the Operation Palme chart, Nawwaf bin Fawwaz al-Shaalan is Vice President of Kanz Bank located at 65 rue du Rhone in Geneva. This bank is linked to Bammer Financial Trade Organization at 7 rue Versonnex in Geneva, Virgin Corporation LLC in Vessy (Geneva Canton), Maison Virgin Corporation also in Vessy, Degroof Luxembourg SA of Genf, Geneva Canton, and Capital Trust SA, 640 Avenida Diagonal, Barcelona, Spain.
The most interesting document passed to Wayne Madsen Report is a business card that shows a clear link between Skyways International, the firm tied to the Bush family and the Saudis, and the National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia.
The business card for a flight engineer named Keith Monroe indicates that Skyways
International is a subsidiary of the National Commercial Bank
In 1992, according to The Houston Chronicle, George W. Bush’s friend James Bath was investigated by the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) and the FBI. Investigators suspected Saudi investors who worked with Bath of illegally trying to influence US policy during the Reagan and Bush I administrations. Bath invested Saudi money in Arbusto ‘70 Ltd., Arbusto ‘80 Ltd., and Bush Exploration Co. (which later morphed into Harken Energy Corp., which included George W. Bush as its director).
After Desert Storm, Harken was granted lucrative off-shore drilling rights by Bahrain, a Desert Storm coalition partner. One of the other shareholders of Harken, along with Bush, was Saudi businessman Abdullah Taha Bakhsh. According to the Chronicle, Bath, who was a sole agent of Salem Bin Laden, was also the sole director of Skyway Aircraft Leasing Corp., one of the affiliates of Skyways International. Bath established four corporate entities with the name “Skyway” and the firm that incorporated the corporate contrivances in the Cayman Islands for Bath was the same one that established a Cayman-based money laundering front company for Oliver North in the Iran-contra scandal.
In 1977, Bath bought Houston Gulf Airport on behalf of Salem Bin Laden. Skyway Aircraft Leasing Corporation was, according to the Chronicle, owned by Khalid Bin Mahfouz, a major shareholder in the defunct Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), a major money laundering activity for George H. W. Bush’s Iran-contra caper. Bin Mahfouz was also the owner of the National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia.
In light of the funding for 9/11 and other terrorist incidents, the DEA report on Operation Millenium takes on greater significance.
It would appear that the Saudis, in connection with people closely associated with George W. Bush (perhaps including Bush himself as well as his father), have been giving a “wink and a nod” to illicit airline smuggling businesses involving drugs and money laundering for a number of years.
There are American citizens currently sitting in prisons under mandatory harsh drug-related sentences for doing much less than what the Bush crime family, their Saudi partners, and their network of drug mules and couriers (including Mohammed Atta and Saudi Prince Nayif) have been getting away with for decades.
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) statutes cry out for an accounting by these individuals before a court of law.