Zacarias Moussaoui was the bookkeeper and bagman (money-collector) for Al Qaeda, but the U.S. intelligence services have been keeping this fact secret as much as they can, because what he knows about the crucial financial backers of Al Qaeda can be very damaging to the U.S. aristocracy, which is heavily oil-based and closely allied with the Saudi royal family, which created Al Qaeda in order to please the Saudi clerics, who are Wahhabist Muslims who constantly threaten the royals with exposure of their economic and sexual corruption unless the royals finance the spread of the Wahhabist sect (such as by Al Qaeda), and thereby finance the spread of those clerics’ own international influence and power.
Or, so says the former bookkeeper of Al Qaeda, who was selected by Al Qaeda’s military chief, Abu Hafs (also known as “Mohammed Atef”), to serve Osama bin Laden in that capacity: Zacarias Moussaoui. This is his testimony, in brief.
If you will look at the wikipedia article on Moussaoui, it says nothing whatsoever about his having graduated with a Masters in International Export Business degree from the Institute of Export in France, the French affiliate of the UK’s Institute of Export. That’s how he described himself on the very first day of his testimony. Then, on the second day of his testimony, he was asked what qualifications he had presented to Osama bin Laden, and he answered in more detail, and listed several:
I had the Master degree in International Business from the University — University of South Bank in London, and also a — a diploma of the Institute of Export in London, and also a business degree of Commerce Technology from French — a French degree, okay, and — so that’s the main credential I think for the education, okay. And, of course, I speak English and French, and colloquial Arabic.
Q: Were there many other members of al-Qaeda at that time who had that kind of business education?
A: Absolutely no one.
So, that’s what had prepared him to become the person whom Abu Hafs specifically selected to be the organization’s bookkeeper.
The financial donations were crucial; and, in Arabic as well as most other cultures, any organization that fails to serve its donors is considered bad — a donation buys an obligation, and any organization that fails to fulfill on an obligation is taking that donation like mere theft from the donor. Therefore: the financial backers were everything, they were all of the actual motivation behind the organization. The organization exists to do the donors’ will.
So: wikipedia’s article (perhaps in order to veil the real individuals who are behind Al Qaeda, etc.) ignores Moussaui’s role of bookkeeper, and presents him instead as having just been a regular fighter for Al Qaeda — though he was hardly just that (to the extent that he was that at all, which is actually debatable, but it certainly wasn’t his main function, especially not during the key years, 1998-1999). He said that he also received from Al Qaeda training in explosives, and he described, in the final fourth day of his testimony, various aborted terrorist plans for which he had been assigned a role, but that was the least interesting of his four days of testimony.
Inasmuch as those roles came to nothing, his only real role was as the bookkeeper; and, then (in his third day of testimony), he also describes trips that he took as a direct financial courier between bin Laden and the Saudi royals.
Wikipedia reluctantly admits and then says nothing about the CIA’s editing wikipedia articles, but almost all agencies of the U.S. aristocracy (and this includes all large international U.S.-based corporations) also do that as a routine part of their PR. In fact, on 16 August 2007, Reuters even had an article, “CIA, FBI Computers Used for Wikipedia Edits.” And this CIA editing of wikipedia continues.
So, Moussaoui’s crucial knowledge of whom the key funders of Al Qaeda were, is ignored in the general press, which relies heavily on wikipedia, which in turn relies on the CIA and other editing/censorship organizations, which in turn rely on their controlling stockholders and (when the organization happens to be a newspaper or other medium) also relies on their advertisers (which might be connected to the given ‘news’ medium’s owners, so that an advertisement in it becomes part of mutual backscratching between aristocrats — the owner of the medium, and the owner of the company that’s being advertised — and not merely a buy-and-sell of an individual ad, such as the case will be whenever a typical smaller business places an ad).
Moussaoui has been held incommunicado by the U.S. Government between 2001 and late 2014, and so you probably don’t know that he had been Osama bin Laden’s bookkeeper, and, later, his financial courier, but that’s what he was, and that’s also why he has been held incommunicado, because both roles connect the Saudi royals crucially with Osama bin Laden.
However, evidently, President Barack Obama and the American Establishment that he represents, are now trying to put pressure on the Saudi royals. (The Senate Democrats who had wanted the 28 pages of damning evidence against the Saudi royals to be included in the published report by Senator Feinstein’s Committee report on the CIA’s role in torture, are leading there.) This has nothing to do with the recent death, on 23 January 2015, of the Saudi King and ‘U.S. ally’ (after King Fahd died in 2005) Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud, because the first interview with Moussaoui occurred on 20 October 2014 and none of the four interviews was made public (uploaded to the Internet) until 3 February 2015. These interviews were in process before the king’s death.
For whatever reason, Moussaoui was now being allowed, for the very first time, to testify, under oath (and he’s a fanatical Muslim who swore upon the Quran, so truthfulness was binding upon him as a Muslim, which he devoutly is), in a long-running U.S. court case where his testimony had been sought, over which the Bush Administration and then the Obama Administration have exercised control. Until recently, this case, which had been brought by some 9/11 families who were wanting to find out whom the individuals behind the deaths of their loved-ones had been, was simply squelched, first by Bush, and then by Obama.
The first part of the four-part transcript of Moussaoui’s testimony under oath contains the most-basic information. This reporter has spot-checked the individuals that he names there and throughout his testimony, and I have not found any that, on the basis of previously released reliable information about those named individuals, any of them was other than as Moussaoui has described them.
When asked “Do you remember any of the individual donors?”, Moussaoui answered: “I remember — I — I would rather have a — I remember many of them, because some of them that are — were known within the circle of the mujahideen, some of them extremely famous, like Waleed — Waleed bin Talal, Prince — Prince Turki Al Faisal Al Saud, Prince — Prince Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud, Prince Mohammed Al Faisal Al Saud. I know there was another — a woman. It will come back to me.” Then, apparently a few more names did come to him: “But [also] Yassin Adbullah al Kadi [that name should be spelled with an ‘Abdullah’ instead; he’s also known as Yasin al-Qadi], Sharif Sedky, Mohammed Al Hussein al Almoudi, Ibrahim bin Mahfouz, Khalid bin Mahfouz. That’s all that come to mind on the top of my head now.”
(Perhaps some of those he had forgotten to mention were on a list of 119 individual persons, all in Sunni countries, alleged to have been “Private sponsors of international terrorism” that Voltairenet posted, introducing it there with: “The Arab press is abuzz over a list of the major private donors to terrorist organizations in Syria and Iraq. It was reportedly gleaned from an internal U.S. Department of State document.” No link to any presumed source was provided, however.)
Here are more highlights from what Moussaoui said. I have boldfaced what I consider to be the most important parts.
First, as taken from that first day’s testimony:
Q: What — what was bin Laden’s attitude towards the Saudi ulema [the religious scholars]?
A: It was of complete reverence and obedience. [It was like a Roman Catholic’s attitude] toward the Pope. …
Q: Did bin Laden believe that what he was doing with his organization was consistent with the teachings of the ulema?
A: He was doing it with the express advice and consent and directors of the ulema. …
Q: Did you receive any information indicating that the [bin Laden] family in general was continuing to send money to Osama bin Laden?
A: Yes, I receive — I used to — to enter into [the] database [of donations] a financial document of money of — of account of the bin Laden group within Saudi Arabia; al — also when we wanted to buy spare parts of — okay, the — the spare part were bought by the Saudi bin Laden group, and was sending to — to Jeddah, and then after to Karachi. …
Q: You told us a little bit ago that members of the Saudi royal family were contributing to bin Laden’s organization during this time , the royal family and government of the Kingdom have said that that’s an illogical idea because bin Laden was the enemy of the — of Saudi Arabia. How do you respond to that?
A: This is a complete misleading explanation for assumption of people who are not familiar with the way the Saudi government is established, because the Saudi government is — they have two heads of the snake, they have the Saudi, like Al Saud, and the Wahhabi [clerics] were in charge of the Islamic Code of the Islam — or Islamic power in Saudi Arabia, okay, and that’s why they have the name ‘Wahhabi,’ okay, okay. So the Saudi cannot keep power in Saudi Arabia without having the agreement, okay, of the Wahhab, the Wahhabi, the scholar, okay. …
So … father of Osama bin Laden was best friend, he was known, okay, of — of — of Fahd Al Saud, the ruler, the King of Saudi Arabia, and he’s the one — Al Saud — okay, who give to bin Laden [money] to rebuild the Holy Mosque in Mecca and to rebuild the Holy Mosque in Medina and also to rebuild the Holy Mosque in Jerusalem, okay. So the three mosques … the three holy sites in Islam was built by the father of Osama bin Laden, okay. So bin Laden was pure — a pure Wahhabi and will obey the Wahhabi scholar to the letter. … If you were being branded an apostate Osama bin Laden most likely 100 percent will not have any busines with you and wage war, but at the fath he will not be — will not be allowed to wage war unless he was guaranteed success, and, so, the ulema told him not to wage war against Al Saud because Fahd was going to die and, therefore, that Al — Abdullah Al Saud — will take power and he will reestablish a true power [total Islam], okay. You have to see that on — after the seizure of Mecca, okay, you — after the seizure of Mecca by Juhaiman, okay, the — the Saudi Kingdom reverted to a more autotic(phonetic) or more drastic Draconion Islam 100 percent in the hand of the ulema, the scholar of Saudi Arabia, so Bin Baz, Uthaimeen, who used to be the mentor, the scholar of Juhaiman, the person who make the city of Mecca, okay. So bin Laden was the child of Wahhabi, the child of the — of the — of the scholar. …
Q: What would be the specific benefit to the Saudi royal family in this 1998, ’99 period to giving money to bin Laden’s organization?
A: There is — there — there is many benefit. First of all it was a — a matter of survival for them, okay, because all of the mujahideen, okay — I believe — I believe all of them, okay, the hard core believe that Za — Al Fahd was an apostate, so they would have wanted jihad against Saudi Arabia, so it was the policy for the Saudi government to finance jihad in the first Af — Afghanistan — the first jihad in Afghanistan, then in Bosnia, then before that in Tajikistan, and Saudi used to send people, and you could travel and you could — as long as you don’t do stuff in your back — back — backyard.
Q: Okay, in your view was the ule — ulema demanding that the royal family support bin Laden’s organization?
A: If — it was a — it was a credential to the proof that they were emphatic in an apostate.
Q: It was a proof for whom?
A: For — for — for — to give to — money to bin Laden could be used by the Saudi to say to the ulema, “Look, see, we are not against Islam or the jihad, we finance bin Laden.”
Q: And that would assist them in their relationship with the ulema?
A: It — it will guarantee that the ulema will not raise their — their voice and their concern about many thing wrong with Saudi Arabia, like, you know, widespread homosexuality, it’s endemic, okay; usury, you know, interest rate in bank; American troop on the ground, you — I think — I don’t remember exactly the date, but you stay long time in Saudi Arabia after the Gulf War, okay, and Shaykh Hudhaify even make a speech and say that you — you are to — you are to leave, and he’s — he’s a — he was a — Hudhaify was the — the Imam of the second holy site in Islam, Medina. So he — bin Laden was also — was proof that — because when — bin Laden, al-Qaeda and the people that come to him was the proof that these people were not apostate, ’cause they say, “You don’t finance jihad if you don’t believe in Allah.”
Q: The money that was coming from the Saudi donors, how important was it to bin Laden’s ability to maintain the organization?
A: It was crucial. I mean, without the money of the — of the Saudi you will have nothing.
All of that is from the first of the four days of testimony from him. It’s at:
The second day is at
In it is this:
Q: Do you remember the amounts of any of the donations reflected on the database you built?
A: I do, ye — yes. I mean, you talk about million of dollar, that’s — million of dollar. You had — for example, they — depending — the — the — the Saudi, okay — the Saudi prince, you know, Abdullah — and he was a new prince at the time, you know — they will give 2, $3 million, okay, and it was — each time they will have interaction with somebody from there, because most of the — the top-ranking close to Osama bin Laden were also from the biggest family in Saudi Arabia.
A: So when I say each time for country that you have these people going to Saudi Arabia, or Bin Baz or Uthaimeen or Shehri, or Hammoud al-Uqlaa, they will come back and say to Sakaf, okay, he gave X amount of money for this, okay. Initially I heard it and initially I — I wrote for — for — for Shaykh Abu Hafs and Shaykh Saeed, and I will only know that he brought 1 million [dollars], 2 million and 3 million, and it was something that was not a big deal for — for them, you know, they are — it was something that very common in the inner circle of the Saudi, because they all are from the richest family in Saudi Arabia.
Q: And all of this money was used to sustain al-Qaeda’s operations, correct?
A: Absolutely. I mean, all this.
Q: To clarify, you’re saying that the al-Qaeda members received salaries?
A: They do, absolutely.
The third day is at
Q: At a certain point in time did you receive an additional assignment from Osama bin Laden to deliver letters on his behalf?
A: I did receive — Osama bin Laden ask me to — to — to take a pack of letter to Saudi Arabia. …
I went to — by private plane to Riyadh, and that’s the first time I made to meet with the Prince — what you — what he call himself — Emir, Prince Turki Al Faisal Al Saud, okay. And the — the day after, okay, I — I — I went and toured — toured a big palace, okay, okay, and I spent one night there, overnight, the morning — I believe it was in the morning — I — I went to a — with Turki, he came to get me, and we went to a — to a — a meeting room, or big room, okay, where there was Abdullah and Bandar [called ‘Bandar Bush’ in Washington, because he’s so close to the Bush family] — Prince Abdullah, Prince Bandar, okay — and I give Prince — I remember Prince — to give letter to Prince Abdullah, Prince Bandar, Prince Salman, and Waleed bin Talal, okay. And there was other letter that Prince Turki told me that the people were not available, okay, and I say he wanted me — he wanted me to give it to him, I say no, that Shaykh Osama said to give them by hand.
Q: During your first trip do you recall approximately how many letters Shaykh Osama gave you?
A: I think seven or eight.
Q: Do you recall whom they were addressed to?
A: Only the people — I recall the people that I believe I was familiar, the name I heard before, okay, Abdullah, Fahd, okay, Salman, Waleed bin Talal, Bandar, Turki of course, and Shaykh — Shaykh Bin Baz, Shaykh Uthaimeen, Shaykh Shehri, and Shaykh Hammoud al-Uqlaa, but Shaykh Osama told me that the — the letter for the — for — for the ulema I could give it — give it to Turki, but the letter for the — for the prince, no, he didn’t want it.
Q: Did Osama bin Laden at that time identify Prince Turki as your principal point of contact for this trip?
A: He told me, yes, he said that you will — you will go and you see Prince Turki.
Q: Do you know what the letters were about?
A: No, I don’t know what the letter were about — because Osama bin Laden didn’t tell me, but I know that it — at the time the — the — the — the talk inside the — the circle of Osama bin Laden was about the fact that King Fahd was very sick, he was going to die, and it was to — to know about who was going to take the succession, and there was competing between Nawaf, who was Chief of the National Guard, or — okay, one who had the — Sultan who — another bro — brother — they have seven brother to — who — who are taking power, that was what it was about, that’s the general idea I had, but I don’t — I never saw the written letter or never — never Osama bin Laden told me specifically what it was about, no.
Q Do you have any understanding why in that context Osama bin Laden would have been sending letters to both members of the royal family and the senior ulema [the scholars]?
A: My understanding from talking with people like Abu Basir al-Wahishi who become the — the head of al-Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula, who I used to be close to, okay, or Halad or Shaykh Abu Hasan, Shayk Mujahideen, Shaykh Aman, and Shaykh Abul Sef — my understanding that they — they want to know who they should support, because — and they supported Abdullah, who become the King, okay, and that’s what it was about. Because for them the — the Prince Abdullah was the lesser of all the evil, because Nawaf was known as a extremely anti-Islamic person, okay, Sul — Sultan was being seen as a sodomite, okay, okay, and — and — and the Abdullah was seen as a traditional Arab most — mostly be — be fasiq and touching in — in criminal activity. When I say “criminal activity,” fornication, homosexuality, drinking, but still a Muslim, so — but Nawaf was branded an apostate, Fahd was an apostate, so for — at the time the — the — my understanding is that Osama bin Laden, and be — in talking with Abu Hafs — Commander Abu Hafs al Mauritani and the people of — of Saeed and the people of — of — of al-Qaeda ash-Shura, they were seeing that it’s better for ul — for al-Qaeda to — to — to accept Sul — what’s his name — Abdullah — Prince Abdullah than to have — to declare an apostate and to be against him, that will give him more chance to — Nawaf and Sultan — to take power.
Q Why would the ulema have a say in that process?
A: Ulema, essentially they are the king maker. If — if the ulema say that you should not take power, you are not going to take power. And the ulema were important because they are the people who — who — who certify the Islamic legality of the jihad of Osama bin Laden. So Nawaf, Sultan, all the prince, they were giving money, helping Osama bin Laden so he know the — to get, let’s say, favor, or especially not to get the — the wrath of the ulema — the Wahhabi ulema and to declare apostate, because they could — they could, let’s say, put forward their — their donation and activity for Osama bin Laden to counteract or to contradict anybody who said that people are apostate because, look, he is drinking, he is doing fornication, he is now engaging in homosexuality, so he is not a Muslim, okay, the bad news anymore he is not a Muslim, or he is a friend of the America, but it’s okay for — he is doing all this, but, look, he is giving money to Osama bin Laden, he is sending people, material, blah, blah, blah, and — and everything, all this charity work.
9/11 was basically a regular, aristocratically and clerically backed, charity operation. People who don’t know a lot about history might find that idea difficult to wrap their heads around, but, to anyone who has studied the history of many cultures and many religions, it actually seems quite normal, almost as normal as war itself — the ultimate authoritarian expression. If anything is abnormal, it is democracy: the lack of authoritarianism, the concern for the public instead of for the kings and preachers.
PS: At the time when I wrote this report, I was unaware that Marcy Wheeler at emptywheel had already uploaded all the documents on it at
and I therefore now recommend that anyone who wishes to explore deeper into the legal case should go there.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.