CON MAN TO THE WORLD
By Rachel Ehrenfeld, author of “Evil Money & Narco-Terrorism”
January 17, 2000
On the eve of the famous “hand shake” on the White House lawn which
rewarded Rabin and Arafat with the Nobel Prize for Peace, the PLO made
Britain’s most dangerous terrorist/criminal organizations list. The British National
Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) also reported that the PLO had world-wide
assets approaching $10 billion and an additional annual income of about $1.5
to 2 billion, generated from illegal activities.
Surprisingly, the report was not picked up by the media. Instead, it was
Arafat’s claim that the PLO was broke, in need of massive financial aid, that
made the headlines. Yet, it was no secret that Arafat and the PLO had money.
Already in 1990, the CIA estimated that the PLO had between eight and
fourteen billion dollars worth of assets.
Instead of donors demanding that the PLO account for the hundreds of millions
of dollars they extorted, were given, or otherwise acquired, legally or
illegally, throughout the years, Arafat and his organizations were given
more, which they have spent: at least one billion dollars since signing the
Even now, the PLO’s unwillingness to account for the money
and the available documentation of their widespread corruption and
misappropriation of funds, does not deter the donor countries and
organizations. In an inexplicable manner, they keep throwing money at the PLO.
It is not as if there have been no warnings that the protestations of lack
of funds should not be believed (for example the Saxton Report, the Wall
Street Journal Europe, December 2, 1993).
Off the record law enforcement sources in Britain have stated that since
1993 PLO illegal activities have all but increased. Following the 1993 Wall
Street Journal Op-ed, the Chairman of the Committee on International Relations
at the House of Representatives requested a review of the PLOâs finances by
the General Accounting Office (GAO). The GAO, despite very little help from
the CIA and the State Department, and the British suddenly refusing to meet
with their investigator while he was in London, completed their report which
was submitted in November, 1995.
It is, for secret reasons, secret. There has been a serious cover-up,
despite the appalling criminality of the PLO – and its documentation. The sums
involved from illegal activities are clearly vast.
Historically, the PLO has had eight principal sources of income:
- Official contributions from Arab states;
- The Palestinian Liberation Tax Fund — a 3.5 -to-7% tax on Palestinian
workers in Arab states;
- Income from investments;
- Donations from wealthy Palestinians and
various philanthropic organizations;
- Extortion (“protection” charges for companies or states from terrorist
- Illegal arms deals;
- Drug trafficking;
- Fraud and other criminal activities.
The PLO has a long, sordid, and continuing involvement in narco-terrorism.
Its official decision to use the drug trade to its advantage was made six
months after its expulsion from Beirut. Faced with a growing financial
crisis stemming from the Lebanon war, the PLO convened its Finance
Committee in a secret emergency session in Algiers on February 20, 1983.
Under the chairmanship of Yasir Arafat, the committee decided to broaden the
PLO’s activities in international drug trafficking in order to raise badly needed
funds. As stated by Sallah Dabbagh, then PLO treasury chief, “…the entire
future of the PLO operation for liberation, may hinge on our exporting more
drugs throughout the world”.
The PLO’s drug connection was documented especially by British
reporters like Brian Freemantle (former Foreign Editor of the Daily Mail in ‘Inside
the World Drug Trade’ (1985), and James Adams (Sunday Times) in ‘The
Financing of Terror’ (1986).
The traffic in arms and drugs has been assisted by airport investments. The
PLO owned duty-free stores at the Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi and the
infamous Murtala Mohammad International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria. It
purchased interests in airlines from the Maldives to Nicaragua. These
holdings gave it a base for forged travel documents and airline tickets as
was documented in the Task Force and Unconventional Warfare, US House of
Representatives’ Republican Resource Committee (October 4, 1991).
Whatever measures the World Bank and IMF have undertaken to ensure
transparency, proper accounting and auditing (through PECDAR for example),
they have failed to break the pre 1993 modus operandi which has been
maintained by Arafat for his gain at the expense of relieving the poverty of ‘his’
people. His own accounts are subject to no scrutiny.
Opportunities for personal enrichment have actually increased. According
to a World Bank source, requesting anonymity, “Arafat wants the world to pick
up the tab for whatever he claims the expense to be, yet refuses to submit a
Yet he controls personally the PA funds. A letter dated November 23,
1996, from Dr. Ahmad Yazagi, the Executive Director of Youth and Sports
Activities for the PA, to Arafat, requested $10,000 for his offices ongoing
activities. On the letter, Arafat scribbled “Treasury, pay $7,000 (Dec. 13,
This letter is an example of how the PLO is running the PA. Neither the
World Bank nor the IMF dictates the fiscal activities of the Palestinian
authorities. The World bank was side-stepped by the opening of an unaudited
Fund B. It is Arafat who makes the decisions.
Huge commissions often topping 50% are raised for Arafat on Palestinian
orders for goods. The monopoly system has been well documented in the
Israeli press. The civil and military elites are bribed to preserve Arafat’s control
over the territories.
A company called “Behar,” run by his “Economic Advisor,” Muhammad
Rashid, controls over 65% of the charitable organizations, including the biggest
in Gaza. A further unscrutinized account has been found in Bank Leumi in Tel
Aviv. NGO’s receipts have declined since the PA has taken over.
The international media, organizations, and donor governments all seem to
have been struck by “wilful blindness.” The silence around it appears to
emanate from some irrational anxiety that cleaning house will signify the end of
the PA and Arafat’s leadership, which in turn will cause a breakdown in the
“peace talks” in the Middle East.
Instead of helping the Palestinian people to build democratic institutions
and develop a free market system, the West continues to promote Arafat’s
Kleptocracy which continuously extorts money and violates agreements.
Thus the world has continued to shower Arafat and his corrupt
leadership with money to the detriment of his people (at least a billion Dollars
out of a projected $2.4 have already been donated) and so the question that
looms large is: why does it do so, despite the condemning evidence?