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Related Categories: International | Drug War
Royal Inquest: Princely Trafficking
by Edward Schillinger & Mike Dang
Monday Nov 16th, 2009 5:42 PM
Documentary about Saudi Prince Nayef Al-Shaalan, who was sentenced in absentia to 10 years in jail on charges of involvement in a cocaine smuggling gang [46mins]
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The 53-year-old prince was one of 10 people handed jail terms of four to 10 years in connection with an operation which landed two tonnes of cocaine at an airfield outside Paris in 1999. The judge ruled to uphold international arrest warrants against Prince Nayef and the nine other defendants, who include three former Colombian drugs barons.

Prince Nayef was convicted of illegally importing drugs, of complicity in the transport, detention and provision of drugs and of criminal conspiracy. He is accused of using his diplomatic immunity to smuggle drugs to France on board a private jet. A grandson of Saudi Arabia's founding monarch Abdulaziz and son-in-law to the Saudi deputy defence minister, the prince denies any involvement in drug trafficking. A Saudi representative at the hearing said he intended to appeal.

The investigation leading to his prince's conviction began in June 1999, when police acting on a tip-off seized 800 kilos of cocaine with a street value of $30 million a raid near Paris. Prince Nayef - who is alleged to have made contacts with Colombia's Medellin cartel while studying at the University of Miami in the early 1980s - is accused of providing a jet to transport the drugs from Colombia to Paris.
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by PrentissMcCabe
Monday Nov 16th, 2009 6:46 PM :

"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.

These investors included Salem Bin Laden, Osama Bin Laden’s late older brother who was killed in a 1988 plane crash in Texas. Bath was the registered agent for Salem Bin Laden.
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 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.

As with the DEA investigation of Nayif, Able Danger was shut down on orders by Pentagon lawyers.
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."

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