Terrorists and Organized Crime

Date: Sun, 28 Jul 2002 22:35:49 -0700
To: [email protected]
From: Stefan Lemieszewski [ [email protected] ]
Subject: Terrorists and Organized Crime
Cc: [email protected],[email protected],[email protected], [email protected]


The Hon. Lawrence MacAulay
Solicitor General of Canada
13th Floor, Sir Wilfrid Laurier Building
340 Laurier Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0P8
Fax: 613-952-2240

Dear Mr. Minister:

Re: Terrorists and Organized Crime

On 25Jul02, the CKNW radio station in Vancouver aired an interview with Kevin Sorenson, MP on a program hosted by Rafe Mair, discussing your government's new list of terrorist organizations. A discussion of terrorists and terrorist organizations missing from the government list followed during the listener phone-in section.

One terrorist organization not on your recent government list of seven terrorist organizations is the Jewish Defense League (JDL). Respected author Robert I. Friedman has exposed the terrorist acts by the JDL in his book "The False Prophet: Rabbi Meir Kahane; From FBI Informant To Knesset Member� (1990). Rabbi Kahane, was the leader of the JDL terrorist organization. One of Friedman's examples includes the JDL pipe bombs that exploded outside the Polish Consulate in New York and the shots fired into the Ukrainian section of the Soviet Mission to the United Nations in New York (see Note #1 below). There are many other examples.

Mr. Minister, perhaps you may have read about some of the more recent terrorists linked to the JDL such as the case of Irv Rubin, the boss of the JDL, who was selected by Kahane in Aug85 to be the JDL's national director, and who was arrested less than a year ago for trying to bomb both a mosque in Culver City, California, and the California offices of Congressman Darrell Issa. Rubin has been arrested more than 40 times. Details were provided by the Village Voice (19-25Dec01) in its article by Jason Vest titled "From the Irv Rubin Bust To The Stern Gang - The Rich History Of Jewish Terrorism".
[ http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0151/vest.php ]

Another terrorist linked to Rabbi Meir Kahane (through his Kach movement in Israel) was Dr. Baruch Goldstein, a devout Orthodox Jew and father of four, who was responsible for the Hebron Massacre of 25Feb94. Details of Goldstein's massacre are provided by Ehud Sprinzak in his book: "Brother Against Brother: Violence and Extremism in Israeli Politics from Altalena to the Rabin Assassination" (1999). According to his Kach colleagues, Dr. Goldstein's massacre was "a religious act and a sacred mission". In the killing of Muslims, Dr. Goldstein was engaged in kiddush hashem ("sanctification of the name of God") according to their view. Mr. Minister, you may recall that in the Hebron Massacre, Dr. Baruch Goldstein, dressed as a captain of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and armed with an automatic Glilon rifle, broke into the great Isaac Hall of the Cave of the Patriarchs in the Israeli illegally occupied West Bank town of Hebron, where some 500 Muslims were kneeling in a Ramadan prayer. The praying Muslims were unarmed and unprepared. They never had a chance as Dr. Baruch Goldstein unloaded four magazines containing over a hundred bullets killing 29 Muslims and wounding over a hundred other Muslims. A clog in Dr. Goldstein's gun, prevented a fifth magazine from killing dozens more. Author Ehud Sprinzak points out that Dr. Goldstein was not a deranged madman as put forth by Israel's prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in his "deranged single-man theory".

Furthermore, Mr. Minister, for your reference, Robert I. Friedman has written several articles about the Jewish Defense League, including the following three in the Village Voice:

1. Oy vey, make my day: Fear and loathing in the Jewish underground, Village Voice, 22Aug89, pp. 15-18.

2. Nice Jewish boys with bombs: The return of the JDL, Village Voice, 06May86, pp. 21-26.

3. Did this man kill Alex Odeh? On the trail of the JDL terrorists, Village Voice, 12Jul88, pp. 19-21.

In his "False Prophet" book, Friedman identifies Steven Rombom as the person handling the East Coast security for Rabbi Kahane and the JDL. Friedman writes that:

"Steven Rombom was a particularly tragic example of the sort of psychopaths Kahane attracted to the JDL. The violence-prone youth, who, according to court records spent eight years in psychiatric institutions from the age of six, joined the JDL when he was twelve years old over the frantic objections of his doctors and social workers who called JDL officials, begging them not to allow Rombom to get involved in the militant organization."

Elsewhere in his book, Friedman identifies Steven Rombom as a "convicted JDL terrorist". In the 1990s it seems that Steven Rombom changed his name to Steven Rambam. What is particularly troubling is that a former "convicted JDL terrorist" was invited into Canada in the late 1990s on the basis of being a Nazi hunter amid accusations that Canada was a haven for Nazi war criminals. Recall that Mike Wallace broadcast the CBS 60 Minutes program called "Canada's Dark Secret" on 2Feb97 and 20Jul97. It was claimed that Steven Rambam had tape-recorded confessions of Nazi war criminals living in Canada.

Of more concern is to read that the Canadian Jewish Congress was involved in working with this "convicted JDL terrorist" in Canada. Apparently, Rambam appeared on television programs which were broadcast into Canada such as CBS�s �60 Minutes� and PBS�s �The Editors� as part of a panel which included representatives from the Canadian Jewish Congress (Professor Irving Abella and Bernie Farber). The press has reported that while in Canada, Steven Rambam transferred taped confessions allegedly from some 50 Nazi war criminals directly to the RCMP. The Canadian Jewish Congress had a photo on its website showing Steven Rambam and Irving Abella. The caption read:

"CJC facilitated the exchange of information dealing with suspected Nazi war criminals in Canada between private investigator, Steven Rambam, who gathered the material, and officials from the RCMP."

The third person in the photo was unnamed but identified as an official from the RCMP. Mr. Minister, please confirm whether an RCMP official did indeed make a public appearance with Steven Rambam, whom others have identified as a "convicted JDL terrorist."

Reports quote Irving Abella as saying: "Steven Rambam found more war criminals in a few months than the RCMP did in 50 years." To my knowledge, none of these alleged tape confessions from Steven Rambam have led to even one charge by the RCMP. Please confirm if that indeed is the case, or if not, how many charges the RCMP made based on Steven Rambam's tapes.

Mr. Minister, I have difficulty understanding why Canada would allow Steven Rambam, "a convicted JDL terrorist", into this country at all. Please provide an explanation. Furthermore, since you have publicly expressed a concern about terrorists in Canada, what steps have you taken to prevent both past and present JDL terrorists from entering Canada? Media reports indicate that the JDL has operations in Canada (eg. Downsview, Ontario). Do you not think it appropriate that a terrorist organization such as the JDL should be prevented from having any operations in Canada? If so, has your government undertaken any steps to shut down the JDL's operations in Canada?

Furthermore, one reads in the Washington Post (22Mar97) that Steven Rambam established a phone "snitch line" that he was going to monitor out of an extension at the Canadian Jewish Congress in Montreal. The plan was condemned by B'nai Brith Canada as being "morally reprehensible." Why did Canada allow a convicted terrorist to enter this country and set up any kind of an operation in Canada, regardless of any possible merits that an operation may have?

Next, Mr. Minister, the media has reported your personal concerns about the links between terrorist groups and organized crime -- a subject deemed so significant that it was on the agenda of the recent G-8 meeting. Please note that the Jewish Defense League has also been linked to organized crime. According to Robert Friedman's book "The False Prophet", in New York City, Rabbi Kahane was both an FBI informer and friends with Mafia boss Joseph Colombo, Sr., the head of one of the Big Five New York mafia crime families. Kahane was also arrested in a conspiracy to manufacture explosives and pleaded guilty to the charge. Mob boss Joseph Colombo, Sr. provided $25,000 for Kahane's bail (see Note #2 below). Both Kahane and Colombo shared the same lawyer named Barry Ivan Slotnick.

According to Friedman, Kahane and the JDL also had links with Murray Wilson, a "wealthy New York businessman and key JDL activist who had given him $50,000 for the school." The school was the subject of a scandal when "in 1972, allegations surfaced that Kahane was taking money meant for the JDL school at the Zion Hotel and using it to finance his campaign for the Knesset. 'When I got to Jerusalem . . . I found that the school was Kahane's campaign headquarters,' a distraught JDL official told The New York Post. 'Let's face it. The man is a fraud!' "

According to author William Bastone, Murray Wilson had close ties to the Russian Mafia (ie. the Organizatsiya) and acted as their liaison with the Cosa Nostra in New York. He describes Wilson's connection in his Village Voice article (23Apr96) titled, "The Last Jewish Gangster: Murray Wilson, the Brutal Financial Wizard Who Links the Mafia and the Russian Mafia, Has Prospered in Obscurity. Until Now." Bastone also linked Murray Wilson to deals with fugitive Marc Rich. Bastone writes that:

"In a city teeming with ethnic gangs, Wilson quietly sits at the crossroads between Howard Beach and Brighton Beach, perhaps the only man to be identified by law enforcement officials as a high-level associate of both the Russian Organizatsiya and the Italian La Cosa Nostra. A twice convicted felon, Wilson--described in one confidential law enforcement report as a ''sophisticated fraud man''--is suspected by federal and state investigators of being involved in laundering and investing money for both crime groups.

Wilson's remarkable career--which began with hosiery sales in the Garment District when he was a teenager--has seen him traffic in diamonds, bauxite, trademarks, stolen checks, stock, aluminum, restaurants, letters of credit, and bootleg gasoline. During this span, Wilson has been the focus of at least eight criminal probes and has surrounded himself with Mafia bosses, Russian killers, captains of industry, corrupt lawyers, and, for good measure, an international art thief and one KGB agent. A former prosecutor who once unsuccessfully tried to ''flip'' Wilson against his criminal cohorts said enviously of the businessman: ''This is the guy who knows about the money.''
[ . . . ]
Records obtained by the Voice show that Wilson has served as Alex Zilber's financial adviser, co-owned a company with him, and was involved in one real estate transaction with the Russian gangster. Zilber, Wilson said, ''would only come to me for advice every now and then'' when business problems arose.

Wilson and Zilber were partners in a 1991 joint venture-- formed in conjunction with a large Ukraine-based manufacturer--to purchase bauxite for the production and sale of aluminum products across Europe and the former Soviet Union. The inclusion of Zilber in the deal could be attributed to his relationship with Russian gangsters in his native Odessa, where the manufacturing plant was located.

Before the arrangement collapsed in 1993 amid a flurry of lawsuits over the division of profits, the venture recorded about $500 million in sales--including many deals with fugitive financier Marc Rich. Bank records show that a Wilson firm, Bronx Investments, Ltd., received $7.2 million in wire transfers from the venture's New York bank account. Another $250,000 was paid in April 1993 to Merchants T&F, the Wilson firm that owns stock in Sloan's.

According to court documents, Wilson also lurked behind the scenes of the gasoline scheme that almost cost Victor Zilber his life. That illegal operation, federal prosecutors in New Jersey said, cost tax authorities more than $100 million in uncollected revenue and triggered more than $48 million in money laundering. The Newark probe resulted in convictions against a number of Wilson cronies, including Russian mobsters Arkady Seifer and Jacob Dobrer. Victor Zilber was also charged in the 1993 indictment but has been judged unfit to stand trial."

In addition, Meir Kahane (and his father) was a member of the Betar movement which smuggled weapons to the well-known Irgun terrorist group. According to Friedman:

"Betar's most urgent activity was smuggling weapons to the Irgun. In the 1940s, Irgun's leader Menachem Begin sent several deputies to America to procure arms. Eli Tavin, Irgun's overseas intelligence chief, supervised the operation, using his position as educational director of the World Zionist Organization as a cover. In all, Tavin set up weapons procurement networks in twenty-three countries, as well as a number of self-defense units, including one in Shanghai to protect Jews still in Chinese displaced persons' camps following the Second World War. Tavin also masterminded Irgun's terrorist campaign against the British in Europe. On October 31, 1946, for example, he engineered the bombing of the British Embassy in Rome."

Friedman goes to say that Tavin/World Zionist Organization was assisted in the weapons smuggling operations in the USA by Jewish gangsters such as "Meir Lansky--an impassioned right-wing Zionist, who, with other Jewish gangsters like Mickey Cohen in Los Angeles, contributed large sums of money to the Irgun" (see Note #3 below). Meir Kahane's father was also involved in the arms smuggling ring. "Between February and March 1948 alone, Tavin smuggled forty-three shipments of weapons from New York to Tel Aviv". Meir Kahane was also involved in a terrorist attack against the British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin.

Meyer [Meir] Lansky's bootlegging partner in Canada was Sam Bronfman who dealt with gangsters in the "Purple Gang." Crime historian Stephen Fox in his book "Blood and Power: Organized Crime in Twentieth-Century America", writes that the Purple Gang was brutal and in addition to bootlegging, was involved in "gambling, insurance frauds, narcotics, kidnappings, and contract murders." Stephen Fox writes that "Sam Bronfman came to New York and courted Lansky with fancy dinners, and Lansky in turn arranged tickets for Bronfman to the Dempsey-Firpo fight in New York in 1923. The two men embarked on a durable partnership." Bronfman may have been introduced to Lansky by Arnold Rothstein, the narcotics smuggler who reportedly fixed the 1919 World Series. Peter Newman writes in his book, "The Bronfman Dynasty: The Rothschilds of the New World", that Sam Bronfman, a Liberal, spent about $1.2 million "trying to buy a Canadian senateship" through various contributions to political parties, including the Liberal Party.

Stephen Fox also writes that the bootlegger Charlie Solomon also dealt with the Bronfmans in Canada. Solomon was also involved in "prostitution, fencing, and bail bonding" and was "notorious from smuggling narcotics, mainly cocaine and morphine."

Meyer Lansky also funded terrorist groups such as the Haganah. Mr. Minister, lest you think that the arms smuggling to the terrorist groups such as the Irgun and Haganah were limited to sources in USA, please refer to the book "The Secret Army" (1983) by David J. Bercuson. The writing of this book was generously funded by the Research Council of Canada and the author acknowledges the encouragement he was provided by his friends such as Irving Abella and Jack Granatstein. In his book, Bercuson describes how various individuals and organizations based in Canada illegally smuggled weapons to terrorist groups in Israel. Bercuson provides names of smugglers and places for their operations and even names the banks involved in money laundering.

One smuggler cited by Bercuson is Alex "Sandy" Skelton who was the son of the Canadian Deputy Minister of the Department of External Affairs, Dr. Oscar Douglas Skelton (who was also a senior policy advisor to the Liberal Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King), and was himself an Assistant Deputy Minister in the Department of Trade and Commerce. Alex Skelton was part of the Zionist arms smuggling ring in Canada supporting the terrorist organization Haganah, and linked to Zionists such as Joe Frank ( a vice- president of the Zionist Organization of Canada) and Samuel J. Zacks, a prominent Toronto businessman and Zionist leader. Bercuson writes that Canadian Zionists such as Joe Frank, Samuel Schwisberg and others established the smuggling front organization named Victory Equipment & Supply Company Limited with an office at 422 McGill Street in Montreal (see Note #4).

In light of your expressed concern, Mr. Minister, do you think that an RCMP investigation of this arms smuggling ring is appropriate, especially since it involved high-ranking Canadian Government officials? Could not such an investigation provide valuable information for learning about past mistakes? I notice that your colleague, the Honourable Denis Coderre, Minister for Citizenship and Immigration, is currently deliberating on deporting individuals such as Wasyl Odynsky, for very, very much less, and for actions undertaken during the same post-WWII time frame as the actions of this Zionist arms smuggling ring. With some $50 million spent by the War Crimes Unit with meager results, wouldn't taxpayer dollars be better spent in providing security for Canadians by investigating terrorists, arms smugglers and organized crime rather than deporting peaceful-living Canadians who have committed no crimes according to court trials but may have been the victims of a screwed-up immigration screening interview 50 years ago?

How is that David J. Bercuson is able to publish the details for the illegal operations of a Zionist arms smuggling ring and boast that not one of the smugglers was ever charged? Was the Canadian government secretly part of the arms smuggling to these terrorist groups, or did it just turn a blind eye? What is your current government policy when it comes to supporting or prosecuting such arms smuggling rings and terrorist groups as the Jewish Defense League? Is the JDL on your official list of terrorist organizations in Canada? Shouldn't any "war against terrorism" include the JDL on their terrorist list?

Mr. Minister, in my opinion, any current concern over national security in Canada involving terrorists and organized crime should take into account the Russian Mafia. In our neighbouring country south of the border, the Russian Mafia and its threat to their national security was highlighted by remarks made by Louis Freeh, former head of the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), who said: "the Russian Mafia was the greatest threat to US national security". That remark was made before the 9-11 tragedy. However, with reports that the Russian Mafia is providing arms to Al Qaeda and has access to nuclear weapons from the former USSR, there is no diminishment in need for concern. It has been estimated that the Russian Mafia has grown to more than 8,000 groups and has invaded North America displacing the Cosa Nostra as the most powerful criminal syndicate. It has not only made alliances with the Italian Mafia, but also with the Colombian drug cartels, the Chinese Triads and Japanese Yakuza, and the Israeli Mafia (eg. cornering the market on ecstasy drug smuggling). The Russian Mafia has been using its expertise through former KGB members who have joined the mob in great numbers after the breakup of the USSR. The Russian Mafia have also been corrupting governments around the world with proceeds from narcotics and arms smuggling.

For example, I wish to point out that the press has reported extensively about the Jewish gangsters in the Solntsevo criminal syndicate of the Russian Mafia. It has mentioned the names of Solntsevo members such as Semion "Brainy Don" Mogilevich, Grigori Loutchansky and Vadim Rabinovich. The New York Review of Books (16Nov00) reported that Grigori Loutchansky and Vadim Rabinovich were Mogilevich's "lieutenants". Mogilevich has been described as "The World's Most Dangerous Gangster" (Village Voice; 20May98). Crime Digest (produced by the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine) has reported that Mogilevich is a high-ranking members of the Solntsevo criminal syndicate. Other media has linked Mogilevich to arms smuggling (including the provision of Scud missiles to Iraq and arms to the Al Qaeda), drug trafficking, prostitution, extortion, and political corruption. According to Friedman, Mogilevich made huge sums of money smuggling heroin from Canada into Russia. He even bought an airline in Georgia to smuggle heroin from the Golden Triangle into Europe. Friedman writes that Mogilevich also sold millions of dollars of pilfered weapons. And your government has not prevented him from operating in Canada during the 1990s in stock fraud on the Toronto Stock Exchange through the YBM Magnex company.

You may recall, Mr. Minister, that Mogilevich was the founder of YBM Magnex, a front shell company for the money laundering of the Russian Mafia in Canada. YBM Magnex has since gone bankrupt in one of the largest stock scams in Canadian history involving almost $1 billion in capitalization. YBM Magnex is currently the subject of OSC hearings which have included testimony by David Peterson, the former Liberal Premier of Ontario and Board of Director member of YBM Magnex. Mogilevich has also been linked to the estimated $10-$15 billion in money laundering for the Russian Mafia through the Bank of New York.

The press has reported that Grigori Loutchansky is also involved in arms smuggling and nuclear materials smuggling. Apparently his background is with the KGB. He is associated with a company called Nordex which was set up to facilitate the flight capital transfer of the Communist Party out of the former USSR. Loutchansky has been dubbed as "the world's most investigated man" ("The Russia Connection"; TIME; 8Jul96) and has the distinction of being the sole subject of a two-day conference by Interpol, an organization where Canada has membership. Remarkably, despite his criminal record, Loutchansky was able to attend a fundraiser in the USA for President Bill Clinton and Al Gore. Recently, Loutchansky was wanted for questioning as part of "Operation Spiderweb" in Europe, a police investigation of organized crime, where some 50 people were arrested in a widespread sweep. The Observer (16Jun02) reported that the criminal ring laundered as much as $9 billion. Bank accounts in Europe and Canada were seized. The European money laundering ring was also linked to Mogilevich and the Bank of New York money laundering scheme for the Russian Mafia.

The press has also reported that Vadim Rabinovich, Grigori Loutchansky's Nordex partner, is also a member of the Solntsevo and has been linked to arms smuggling. Rabinovich is also the president of the All-Ukrainian Jewish Congress in Ukraine. Despite having a criminal record, Rabinovich also attended a fundraiser in USA for President Bill Clinton and Al Gore. Both the Mossad and FBI have accused Rabinovich of weapons smuggling and having ties to the Russian Mafia (Deutsche Presse-Agentur; 15May01). Rabinovich, Mogilevich, and Loutchansky have criminal records according to media reports.

It has also been reported that Loutchansky/Nordex were linked to Marc Rich, the fugitive on the FBI's "Most Wanted" list. Marc Rich was wanted for tax evasion and trading with some of the countries recently mentioned by President Bush as belonging to the "axis of evil" in the "war against terrorism." You may recall, Mr. Minister, that Marc Rich also had ties to the Russian Mafia (and even the Mossad according to the New York Post edition of 5Feb01) and was given a very controversial last minute pardon by President Clinton after Clinton received some $500,000 for his presidential library from Denise Rich (ex-wife of Marc Rich). Fugitive Rich was the subject of intense lobbying for a pardon by Jewish individuals and organizations such as Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, Marlene Post of Hadassah and Birthright Israel, Birthright Israel founder Michael Steinhardt, and Rabbi Irving �Yitz� Greenberg, chairman of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council and president of Steinhardt�s Jewish Life Network. Other media reports have also described Marc Rich's involvement with the Russian Mafia in the 1990s (ABC News, Newsday) and partnership with Grigori Loutchansky (Intelligence Newsletter; 8Mar01).

According to Robert I. Friedman's book, "The Red Mafiya: How The Russian Mob Has Invaded America", the Solntsevo criminal syndicate established a beachhead for the Russian Mafia in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, where the Russian Jewish Mafia was known as the Organizatsiya. The Organizatsiya was headed by Vyacheslav "Yaponchik" Ivankov, whose relative, Vyacheslav Sliva, was the boss in Canada, based in Toronto. The Canadian Jewish News of 23Aug01 has a book review of the Red Mafiya (though they misspell Mogilevich as Mogilovich).

Another Russian Mafia gangster based in Toronto was Joseph Sigalov. According to Friedman, Sigalov's legitimate business affairs "were little more than a cover for international heroin smuggling, arms trafficking, and extortion". Sigalov was linked to both Ivankov and Sliva. Friedman writes that Robert Kaplan, the former Liberal Member of Parliament, and "Canada's solicitor general in charge of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (the nation's CIA) from 1980 to 1984, and a member of Parliament for twenty-five years until he stepped down in 1993, was Sigalov's business adviser for thirteen months beginning sometime in 1994." Friedman goes on to say that "Sigalov was the publisher of Exodus, an influential Orthodox Jewish newspaper in Toronto sponsored by the Chabad movement, which was active in resettling Russian Jewish refugees."

Rabinovich is not the only Jewish Congress member linked to the mafia by the press. Vladimir Gusinsky was the former president of the Russian Jewish Congress and perhaps is still on the executive of the World Jewish Congress (see "Russia's Biggest 'Mafia' Is the KGB"; Wall Street Journal Europe; 22Jun94). Dmitri Simes even compared Gusinsky to Meyer Lansky (PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer; 16Jun00). Gusinsky's business partner was Mikhail Mirilashvili, who was the director of the St. Petersburg chapter of the Russian Jewish Congress. Mirilashvili is currently on trial for kidnapping (see "Top Russian Jew Arrested"; CBS News; 24Jan01). Gusinsky was replaced for the top job at the Russian Jewish Congress by Leonid Nevzlin, who was the co-founder and No. 2 executive at the Menatep Group. The Menatep Bank has been linked to the Russian Mafia money laundering scandal at the Bank of New York (see the "Russian Money Churning Has a Familiar Connection"; Washington Report on Middle East Affairs; Oct/Nov99; pp.64-65).

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has reported that Mikhail Fridman (aka Friedman), chairman of Alfa Group Consortium is the vice president of the Russian Jewish Congress. The Globe and Mail deputy editor Chrystia Freeland, in her book, "Sale of the Century: Russia's Wild Ride From Communism To Capitalism", has described Fridman as one of the key oligarchs involved in a plot hatched at World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to get Boris Yeltsin re-elected in 1996. Included with Fridman were such wealthy oligarchs as Pyotr Aven (Fridman's partner in Alfa Group), Vladimir Gusinsky, Boris Berezovsky (whose mafia ties are described by Forbes senior editor Paul Klebnikov in his book, "Godfather of the Kremlin: Boris Berezovsky and the Looting of Russia"), and Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The oligarchs made their wealth looting the Russian state through the corrupt and rigged "privatization" auctions of state assets. Mikhail Fridman, Pyotr Aven and Alfa's links to drug trafficking were described in an article by the Center for Public Integrity on 2Aug00 (see Note #5 below). There were reports in early 2001 that Alfa Group, through its Crown Resources, was trying to buy the assets of pardoned fugitive Marc Rich in Switzerland.

Further to reports that Joseph Sigalov was an alleged gangster with the Russian Mafia, there are also reports that the Liberal Party has accepted money from Sigalov. For example, the Ottawa Citizen ("Alleged Gangster's Widow Wants Money Back From MPs"; 9May00) reported that your colleagues, Paul Martin, Art Eggleton, Maurizio Bevilacqua, and Jean Augustine have accepted tens of thousands of dollars from Sigalov. [ http://www.ottawacitizen.com/national/000509/4069479.html ] Have any of these monies been returned to Sigalov's widow?

The concern over possible political corruption by organized crime is a serious one considering the many reports about ties between the mafia and politicians comprising a long list including Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Benjamin Netanyahu, Natan Sharansky, Ehud Barak, Charles Schumer, Rudolph Giuliani, Benjamin Gilman, Mario Cuomo, Frank Lautenberg, Jim Greenwood, Brian Mulroney, Michael Wilson, Monte Kwinter, Gerry Weiner, Barbara McDougall, David Peterson, Paul Martin, Art Eggleton, Maurizio Bevilacqua, Jean Augustine and others.

And the mafia ties go beyond the Russian Mafia. For example, in the book, "Bloodlines: The Rise & Fall of the Mafia�s Royal Family" (2001) by crime investigative reporters, Lee Lamothe and Antonio Nicaso, one reads the following about the former Liberal cabinet minister, Alfonso Gagliano:

"Another client of Gagliano's bookkeeping service was Dino Messina, who was later found to be the financial aide of the Rizzuto organization. And years later in June 1985, as police kept surveillance on a controlled delivery of 58 kilograms of heroin shipped from Britain, one of the traffickers, Filippo Vaccarello, and another man were seen entering Gagliano's office."

Authors Lamothe and Nicaso explained the Rizzuto organization as part of the drug empire of the Caruana and Cuntrera crime families going back for many decades and having one of the largest narcotics operations in Canadian history based in Montreal and involving billions of dollars. Furthermore, they point out that Pasquale Cuntrera had met the gangster Meyer Lansky who changed "the destiny of the Cuntreras and the Caruanas" and who for "years had laundered and invested organized crime profits for La Cosa Nostra" using techniques such as the "loan- back scheme, in which illegal profits could be smuggled offshore and loaned back to the original depositor. Others included the use of money orders, traveler's checks, cashier's checks, and bearer bonds" (see Note #6 below).

It appears to me that there is a similarity between the financial tactics used for money laundering through offshore accounts by Meyer Lanksy for the Cosa Nostra and those used by the Russian Mafia in recent cases involving Semion "Brainy Don" Mogilevich and the estimated $10 to $15 billion money laundered through the Bank of New York (whose chairman, Tomas Renyi, is facing a shareholder class action lawsuit), or the estimated $9 billion money laundered in Europe as uncovered by the "Operation Spiderweb."

Alfonso Gagliano, Meyer Lansky, the Cuntreras and the Caruanas have also been written up in the Transnational Organized Crime journal in the article, "The Rothschilds of the Mafia on Aruba", by Tom Blickman (see Note #7 below).

Mr. Minister, the Liberal Party has been portraying an image of having smart, honest politicians that not only avoid connections with the mafia, but also have enough smarts to avoid situations that might even hint at the appearance of corruption. Can you at least assure me that neither the Liberal Party nor you have any current connections to organized crime? In light of the various reports that I have cited, and having read about Liberal cabinet ministers alongside gangsters and drug traffickers in organized crime journals, I hope you understand my reason for asking and are not offended by my question.

Finally, in closing, Mr. Minister, what is your government's policy when it comes to terrorist organizations such as the Jewish Defense League, Zionist arms smuggling rings, and organized crime groups such as the Russian Mafia? Should the Canadian government prevent a "convicted JDL terrorist" such as Steven Rambam from ever entering this country again? Should politicians return any monies allegedly coming from organized crime figures?

Mr. Minister, I respect your concern over security, terrorism and organized crime. I look forward to your prompt reply on this issue and have copied this letter to other possibly interested parties, including my local Member of Parliament for follow up.

Thank you in advance.

Yours truly,

Stefan Lemieszewski
Coquitlam, BC

James Moore, MP ([email protected])
Kevin Sorenson, MP ([email protected])
Rafe Mair, CKNW ([email protected])
Paul Grod - UCC ([email protected])


Note #1

The False Prophet: Rabbi Meir Kahane;
From FBI Informant To Knesset Member

By Robert I. Friedman

Chapter: The Gerin Alperin Affair

For nine months in 1975 and 1976, JDL extremists calling themselves the Jewish Armed Resistance attempted to emulate past glories. In New York, pipe bombs exploded outside the Iraqi Mission to the UN, the Polish Consulate, and the Amtorg office. Shots were also fired into the Soviet residential complex in the Bronx; into the homes of two Soviet diplomats in suburban Maryland; and into the Soviet Mission to the UN, piercing two fifth-floor windows in the Ukrainian section. On May 2, 1976, in the early morning hours before a march for Soviet Jewry in Manhattan, five low-yield pipe bombs caused minor damage to the American Communist Party national headquarters, two midtown banks that did business with the Soviet Union, a Russian-language bookstore, and a subway exit near the United Nations Library. On June 23, 1976, vehicles belonging to Pan American Airlines were destroyed by incendiary bombs. In Washington, D.C., a bomb blew a hole in the retaining wall at the State Department, shattering several plate glass doors and windows, causing more than $15,000 in damage. A JDL spokesman announced that the explosion was to protest the "sellout of Israel to Sadat."

The flurry of activity stopped when the FBI arrested twenty-one- year-old Steven Ehrlich, seventeen-year-old Steven Rombom, and Thomas Macintosh, a thirty-six-year-old convert to Judaism, as they drove across the Goethals Bridge between New Jersey and Staten Island with four pounds of gunpowder. Macintosh, who turned state's witness, testified against his friends and also implicated thirty-five-year-old JDL leader Russel Kelner and one other person in the spate of Jewish Armed Resistance terror bombings. The JDL men were subsequently convicted and received prison sentences. According to government documents, at least two dozen people were investigated for their roles in the JAR bombings, including Kahane, who was named as an unindicted co-conspirator.

Steven Rombom was a particularly tragic example of the sort of psychopaths Kahane attracted to the JDL. The violence-prone youth, who, according to court records spent eight years in psychiatric institutions from the age of six, joined the JDL when he was twelve years old over the frantic objections of his doctors and social workers who called JDL officials, begging them not to allow Rombom to get involved in the militant organization. Following Rombom's conviction, his mother spun into a deep depression. His father, Abraham, wrote to the judge pleading for his son's early release from prison, saying that "my marriage has been completely ruined. There is no interest in marital relations on the part of my wife. I cannot talk to her about any subject but Steven." As late as 1985, Rombom, who now works in New York as a private investigator, was handling security on the East Coast for Rabbi Kahane.
[ . . . ]


Note #2

The False Prophet: Rabbi Meir Kahane;
From FBI Informant To Knesset Member

By Robert I. Friedman

Chapter: Every Jew a .22
(pp 121-123)

On May 12, 1971, Kahane and a dozen other JDL members were arrested by federal agents in New York for conspiracy to manufacture explosives. It was no accident that on the very next day Kahane publicly announced that the JDL was joining forces with another right-wing group, the Italian American Civil Rights League (IACRL). This unholy alliance was the first serious attempt to forge an ethnic fascist movement in modern American history.

The IACRL was founded by New York City Mob boss Joseph Colombo, Sr. to instill pride in Italian Americans and to counteract the notion that Italians in America were gangsters. It mattered little to Colombo's supporters that he had begun his career as a Mob hitman and worked his way up to control one of the five most powerful Mafia families in New York. For months at a time, Colombo and his followers, many of them burly teamsters and longshoremen, picketed FBI headquarters to demand among other things that the Bureau stop using the word "Mafia," which they declared was a myth created by overzealous federal prosecutors to justify their huge budgets. So powerful did the IACRL become that New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, New York Congresswoman Bella Abzug, and New York Democratic Leader Meade Esposito, among other influential politicians, were guests at its parades, banquets, and demonstrations. Soon, IACRL stickers appeared on store fronts on Italian-American-owned businesses across the city.

On November 20, 1970, the IACRL sponsored a star-studded benefit at Madison Square Garden. Headlined by Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. and hosted by "Tonight Show" emcee Ed McMahon, the event raised more than $600,000 for the IACRL. Ticket holders that night included Mafia heavyweights Carlo Gambino, Russell Bufalino, and Raymond Patriarca, as well as political luminaries such as New York Deputy Mayor Richard Aurelio and Paul O'Dwyer, former Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate.

Colombo even set up a political action committee through the IACRL, which endorsed and contributed to political candidates in New York. For example, Colombo's "Mob PAC" vigorously backed Edward T. Pulaski, a Democrat from Staten Island, in his 1970 effort to unseat New York State Senator John Marchi, an Italian-American who had repeatedly denounced Colombo as a "low-life thug."

Colombo's lawyer, Barry Ivan Slotnick, first told the Mob boss about Kahane. At a late night dinner in 1971, Slotnick mentioned to Colombo that he was representing Kahane at his arraignment on bomb-making charges. Slotnick said that the rabbi did not have much money and would probably have to fight his case from jail. Colombo, who according to Slotnick was attracted to Kahane's tough Jewish image, showed up in court the next morning with a bondsman to pay the rabbi's $25,000 bail.

Later, during an impromptu press conference with Colombo on the courthouse steps, Kahane told reporters that he welcomed the Mob boss�s support, and promised to �picket the offices of the FBI if Mr. Colombo asks our [JDL] help." Asked by a New York Times reporter to discuss the implications of an alliance between the JDL and the IACRL, Kahane replied: "It's human brotherhood. People of other faiths and backgrounds have come to help. It's the kind of thing which, had it been Blacks helping Jews, it would have drawn raves. The Italians are no worse than the Blacks."

As a lawyer for both Colombo and Kahane, Slotnick was pivotal in setting up a working relationship between the IACRL and the JDL. And as a spokesman for both groups, Slotnick unswervingly trumpeted the organizations' virtues on numerous radio and television talk shows, declaring that their leaders were victims of racial and religious persecution by the government. At the time, Colombo's legal problems were certainly severe. He was implicated in a $750,000 jewelry heist; indicted for contempt of court; convicted in March 1971 of perjury; arrested one month later for interstate gambling; indicted twenty days after that on charges of controlling a $10 million-a-year gambling syndicate; and finally, he was awaiting trial for income tax evasion. When I interviewed Slotnick in 1986, during a time when he was reaping enormous publicity for his defense of subway gunman Bernhard Goetz, the flashy, self-proclaimed "best defense attorney in America" was still promoting the divisive racial politics of Kahane and Colombo. "The major problem in this country," Slotnick told me, "is not Americans of Italian descent overrunning unions, but the one Goetz confronted in the subway. Goetz was surrounded by four people. That's organized crime too, and a much more important kind of organized crime to be battled than (former) U.S. Attorney [Rudolph] Giuliani's so-called [Mob] Commission. I'm more concerned about the [James! Ramseurs of this world than I am about the so-called Mob." * As for Kahane, Slotnick says historians will judge him as one of the great heroes of the Jewish people.

*James Ramseur was one of four Black youths who surrounded Goetz in the New York subway.


Note #3

The False Prophet: Rabbi Meir Kahane;
From FBI Informant To Knesset Member

By Robert I. Friedman

Chapter Three: Betar; Path to Militancy
(pp 35-38)

Meir Kahane's militancy eventually found an outlet in Betar, the youth wing of the Revisionist Movement, which he joined shortly after his Bar Mitzvah in 1946. With its emphasis on violent street demonstrations, paramilitary training camps, torchlight parades, and myths of Old Testament heroes, Betar would be the model for the JDL.

Ze'ev Jabotinsky had organized Betar in Riga, Latvia in 1923, in response to the spread of virulently anti-Semitic European nationalist movements. Its twofold purpose was to train Jewish youth in self-defense and to prepare them for the fire-and-blood struggle that would transform Palestine into a Jewish state.

The Betar youth movement in America was incorporated on June 10, 1940, in New York City. That same year it opened a paramilitary training camp in the Catskill Mountains near Hunter, New York in a run-down hotel that was donated by a supporter. Jabotinsky died on August 3rd during a visit to the camp shortly after it opened. By the early 1940s, Betar claimed several hundred members in the New York area. One of its first U.S. leaders was Moshe Arens, who in the 1980s became Israel's ambassador to America and Israel's foreign minister.

Betar's most urgent activity was smuggling weapons to the Irgun. In the 1940s, Irgun's leader Menachem Begin sent several deputies to America to procure arms. Eli Tavin, Irgun's overseas intelligence chief, supervised the operation, using his position as educational director of the World Zionist Organization as a cover. In all, Tavin set up weapons procurement networks in twenty-three countries, as well as a number of self-defense units, including one in Shanghai to protect Jews still in Chinese displaced persons' camps following the Second World War. Tavin also masterminded Irgun's terrorist campaign against the British in Europe. On October 31, 1946, for example, he engineered the bombing of the British Embassy in Rome.

Tavin obtained weapons in the United States from Jewish GIs returning from the Second World War as well as from the Mafia. "Jewish veterans would come in with packages wrapped in newspapers and say: 'I heard I could give this to you for Israel,' " said Sylvia Zweibon, the owner, along with her husband, of a floor-covering store in East New York, then a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, where they stored arms. "At one point we had so many weapons we had to rent another store," added Zweibon, who was a member in Poland before coming to America.

Israeli operatives trucked the weapons to docks in New York and New Jersey run by Mob boss Charles "Lucky" Luciano, a close associate of Meir Lanskyan impassioned right-wing Zionist, who, with other Jewish gangsters like Mickey Cohen in Los Angeles, contributed large sums of money to the Irgun. The Mob-dominated Longshoreman's Union helped the Revisionists sabotage weapons shipments en route from U.S. ports to Arab states as well.

Charles Kahane, himself deeply involved in the arms smuggling ring, encouraged his sons to join Betar. "Betar was my father's kind of ideology and I naturally gravitated toward it," said Meir Kahane, who made midnight trips to the Hoboken docks to crate arms destined for the Irgun in Israel. It was not without risk. In 1947, two of Meir's comrades were arrested in a Manhattan fur loft with 144 machine guns, 203 rifles, and 268 pistols. The young men were acquitted one month later thanks to their lawyer, Paul O'Dwyer. Despite this setback, between February and March 1948 alone, Tavin smuggled forty-three shipments of weapons from New York to Tel Aviv.

Meir and Nachman also raised money for the underground. The brothers rode up and down Brooklyn's Pitkin Avenue in a Betar sound truck that blared patriotic Hebrew songs and speeches by Jabotinsky, soliciting donations. "Ten big Jews would get out of the truck and put an Israeli flag down in the street," Nachman said. "People just pulled huge fistfuls of cash from their pockets and threw it on the flag. They were fighting with each other to throw the gelt [money]. You won't see something like that again until the Messiah comes!

"And I can remember dark moments, too, like when a cache of arms for the Irgun was discovered by the police on the roof of the Habad Synagogue [in Brooklyn]. At our house it was like Tisha B'Av [the commemoration of the destruction of the Second Temple] when that happened. My father's own Sha'arei Tefila congregation also raised money for an ambulance that people say went down on the Altalena [an Irgun arms ship that was sunk by the Haganah], although I haven't actually confirmed that."

(During the 1940s, the Haganah operated a separate, competing arms smuggling operation in America. Run by Teddy Kollek from Manhattan's McAlpin Hotel near Macy's department store in Herald Square, its key operatives included Hank Greenspun, the late publisher of The Las Vegas Sun, and Al Schwimmer, an Israeli arms merchant who would become involved in the Iran-contra arms-for-hostage negotiations.)

After Israel's creation on May 15, 1948, the Betar movement in America evolved into a right-wing, pro-Israel activist youth group, often holding noisy protest demonstrations at Arab UN missions in Manhattan. According to a high-ranking Justice Department official, these activities were coordinated by Moshe Rivlin, then Israel's vice-consul in New York. When contacted for comment, Rivlin said that he could not recall being involved in these demonstrations.

Kahane was usually at the forefront of Betar's militant actions. "He was a heck of a lot more radical in Betar than I was," said Allan's brother, Victor Mallenbaum, now a clinical psychologist in North Carolina who was part of Kahane's inner circle of childhood friends. "He was always ready to go and do some militant activity. He wanted to bomb a book store in Manhattan that sold pro-Nazi material."

In 1947, Kahane gained the notoriety he sought with his attack on the anti-Zionist British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin. "Allan and Victor Mallenbaum had run over to the market and bought a crate of vegetables," recalls Irwin Fleminger. "I remember the look on Bevin's face when we pelted him. He was absolutely shocked!"

After his arrest, Kahane was charged with assault. But Judge Morris Rothenberg gave him a suspended sentence. It was the first of what would be a long, unbroken string of light or suspended sentences that Kahane would receive from sympathetic Jewish judges in the United States and Israel. "The judge was very anti-British and sympathetic to Betar," Kahane later told me. It did not hurt that Kahane's father was then the politically well-connected president of the Flatbush Board of Rabbis, nor that Judge Rothenberg was the president of the Jewish National Fund in America, had an agricultural settlement in Palestine named in his honor, and had himself assailed Bevin in 1947 the same year that Kahane was brought before him in a speech to a national Zionist conference.


Note #4

The Secret Army (1983)
By David J. Bercuson

Chapter 4: A Matter of Great Importance

On a cold, snowy evening in Montreal, in early 1948, a party in a third-floor restaurant was interrupted by the ringing of the downstairs pay phone. Someone trudged up the stairs and called Joe Frank to the phone. Frank, a vice-president of the Zionist Organization of Canada, was worried. He had left instructions with his wife that he was not to be disturbed, and he knew that while he and the others were celebrating, a group of young men in a warehouse across the city were preparing a shipment of arms for Palestine. Something must be wrong. As Frank took the phone, he heard the voice of the local Haganah representative; the men had been discovered and the shipment had been seized. Frank listened, horrified thoughts of possible consequences racing through his mind. Who would be caught? How much did the government know? When would they come for him? He was more frightened than he had ever been before. (Frank's fears were groundless. Neither he nor any other Zionist leader was ever charged with the illegal export of arms.)

Canada, like the United States, had been a major supplier of arms for the Allies during World War II. When the fighting ended, it became a dumping ground for huge amounts of surplus weaponry. It was a natural target for Haganah arms- collection activities. Canadian war equipment was not easy pickings, however. Canadian arms-export policies were coordinated with those of the United States and the United Kingdom, and the Canadian government was anxious to help the British and the Americans keep a tight control on the flow of arms to the Middle East. Nevertheless, although Ottawa's attitude posed an obstacle for Canadian Jews determined to aid the Haganah, it did not stop them.

The Canadian supporters of the Haganah were a varied group. One of the men who had gathered in Sonneborn's office to meet Ben Gurion in the summer of 1945, and who was involved in the running of Aid to Palestine, the Canadian version of Materials for Palestine, was Samuel J. Zacks, a prominent Toronto businessman and Zionist leader. Several Toronto Jews had also been involved in early attempts to assemble and test a prototype submachine gun designed in the United States for the Haganah by Carl Ekdahl. The major Canadian effort to ship arms, aircraft, and other military equipment to Palestine was chanelled through the Victory Equipment &- Supply Company Limited, a shoestring operation run with one telephone out of a small, dusty office at 422 McGill Street in Montreal.

Victory Equipment had been established by several prominent Canadian Zionists including Samuel Schwisberg and Joe Frank. It worked side by side with Aid to Palestine (which collected non-military goods in Canada) and with the United Zionist Purchasing Commission, headed by Montreal lawyer Leon D. Crestohl.

The Purchasing Commission had been established by the United Zionist Council, the umbrella organization of Canadian Zionism. It was the ultimate source of funds for all purchases in Canada of both "white" and "black" supplies. It was vital, therefore, that there be a discreet connection between the Purchasing Commission and Victory Equipment. Walter Loewenson, secretary of the Purchasing Commission and secretary-treasurer of Victory Equipment, was the link.

Because Victory Equipment was ultimately responsible to Teddy Kollek's operation in New York, Loewenson laid down guidelines for Canadian purchasing and supply operations in consultation with Haganah headquarters at the Hotel Fourteen. Loewenson wanted Aid to Palestine to gather linen, food, clothing, and medical supplies; but what Loewenson referred to as "technical supplies and equipment" were to be reserved for the Purchasing Commission. He put the reason somewhat cryptically in a message to New York: "... this will give me better opportunities of mixing in, along with very harmless items, some things which it may be more difficult to get approval for, and for which we may not get [export] permits.... " What he did not add, because New York was no doubt already aware of it, was that Victory Equipment, not the Purchasing Commission, ultimately handled those "hot" items.

In the summer of 1948, Loewenson's place was taken by Joe Baumholz, an engineering student from McGill. Baumholz was a fast talker and good at making connections. He had volunteered to fight in Palestine, but his considerable organizational talents made him more valuable in Montreal. He too was the man in the central position--secretary-treasurer and sole employee of Victory Equipment and secretary to Crestohl's Purchasing Commission. Building on the foundation established by Loewenson, Baumholz worked out a foolproof method for financing Victory Equipment's purchases. The Purchasing Commission raised its funds openly from various Zionist organizations. However, Canadian currency-control regulations did not allow funds collected in Canada to be sent abroad, so with the funds Baumholz then bought supplies directly from different dealers and distributors. (Baumholz never dealt directly with the Canadian War Assets Corporation, which was responsible for selling war surplus equipment. He always bought through private dealers.)

Victory Equipment was one of the many companies the Purchasing Commission dealt with but it was a company with a vital difference. When Baumholz, acting for Victory Equipment, bought bandages or blankets from legitimate suppliers he did it with the sole purpose of selling those supplies to the Purchasing Commission. When he billed the Purchasing Commission, he inflated the invoices. In this way Baumholz covered his costs and had money left to buy whatever military equipment he came across. Like Loewenson, he kept in constant touch with the New York headquarters. From headquarters he got lists of specific requirements; in addition he continually checked with New York to see if the radio sets, radar equipment, flame throwers, and Link trainers he had come across were needed and if the asking price was right.

The Canadian Zionists were lucky to have a key friend in the government. Alex "Sandy" Skelton was the son of the late Dr. Oscar Douglas Skelton. O. D. Skelton had been Deputy Minister of the Department of External Affairs and a senior foreign policy advisor to Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King. His son, Alex, a brilliant economist who had studied at Queen's University in the mid-1920s, had served on the Wartime Prices and Trade Board, and in other government agencies, during World War II. In the spring of 1947 he was appointed Acting Director General of Research in the Department of Reconstruction and Supply. In the summer of 1948 he joined the Department of Trade and Commerce as an Assistant Deputy Minister. Skelton--a hard drinker who could outswear any army sergeant--was also well connected in Ottawa's political and bureaucratic circles.

Skelton's father, who had died in 1941, had never shown any particular interest in or sympathy towards Zionism. Apart from some anti-British feeling no doubt inherited from his father, Alex himself betrayed few political sentiments. However, he was a close personal friend of Sam Zacks, whom he had met at Queen's, and of Moe Appel, who was one of the few men in Ottawa who could match Skelton drink for drink. The friendship with Skelton was important because, particularly after Skelton went to Trade and Commerce, he was able to arrange export permits for all sorts of questionable items. As Zacks wrote of him in October 1948: "... we have few better friends or more generous liberals than Alex Skelton."

Moe Appel was another genuine character. He had worked as a newspaperman with the Ottawa Citizen. In 1942, he had left a city editor's job to join the Reuters News Agency as a war correspondent in Europe. After the war he was editor of Reuters' North American bureau in New York City. He left Reuters in 1946 to serve a brief stint with the American Jewish Congress, and then returned to Ottawa as Public Relations Director with the Zionist Organization of Canada. Appel was a short man with a rough manner of speech who easily saw behind facade and pretension. He had earned much respect in the newspaper business and had formed many valuable friendships in his numerous days--and nights--in Ottawa's favourite press haunts. He knew most of the key newspapermen, politicians, and top-level bureaucrats in the Canadian government. And, of course, he knew Alex Skelton.

When Baumholz needed an export permit for a particularly difficult cargo, he called a special number in Ottawa and relayed his request to a Jewish lawyer who worked closely with Appel and Skelton. One such cargo (which was eventually shipped in the summer of 1948) was a number of Harvard trainers purchased by an Ontario scrap dealer. These were single-engine monoplanes, built for a crew of two, that were easily convertible to military uses. The aircraft in question had been used to train pilots during the war. In autumn 1946, they had been routinely transferred from the Royal Canadian Air Force to the War Assets Corporation to be sold for scrap. Baumholz needed a way to get them out of the country and a call went out to Ottawa.

When Appel learned of the problem he set up a meeting with the lawyer and Skelton. The three met at night at Appel's office at 46 Elgin Street. Appel had just moved in and there were, as he put it, "just enough chairs and a desk for whiskey". They began to drink and had soon consumed the best part of a large bottle. Skelton said little; Appel and the lawyer did most of the talking. The lawyer, normally not a drinking man, was soon sick to his stomach. Skelton was "doodling and doodling and doodling", Appel remembered. In the midst of his doodling, Skelton suddenly exclaimed: "I've got it, goddamnit." He looked up: "Do you guys have a spring fair in Tel Aviv?" "No," Appel said, "but we can create one." Skelton seemed satisfied. "You draw a plan. We'll dismantle the goddamned things, put them in crates, and send them to the Tel Aviv Spring Fair." Not long after, several large crates painted red, white, and blue and addressed to the Tel Aviv Spring Fair left Canada. In Israel the contents of the crates were put back together, equipped with bomb racks, and pressed into service as dive bombers.

In Montreal, Baumholz was usually responsible for arranging warehousing, packing, and shipping of both legal and illegal goods. His favourite work place was Rappaport's Bottle and Supply Company on St. Lawrence Boulevard. There students, usually volunteers from Zionist youth groups, worked hard to crate the supplies and stencil destinations on the boxes. Only the military goods were mislabelled. "Technical equipment", "wire", "ingots", and so on were stencilled on crates containing radios, radar, and other military goods. Flame throwers became "insecticide sprayers".

From the warehouse the goods moved by rail or truck to the port-to Montreal harbour, if the St. Lawrence River was still ice-free; in the winter, to Halifax, Nova Scotia, St. John, New Brunswick, or even Portland, Maine. When the shipment was ready, Baumholz called New York. Elie Shalit, the man on Kollek's staff who coordinated shipping from North America, would then arrange to have a freighter pick up the cargo.

By the summer of 1948 a steady stream of supplies was leaving Baumholz's warehouses in Montreal. There were clothes and blankets and canned pears and canned meat. There were also machine guns, flame throwers, and thousands of Mark 19 radio sets that had been built in Canada for Canadian and Allied use during the war. Some, built for the Soviet Union, were shipped to Palestine with Russian markings and instructions still on them. Canadian Jews may have contributed only a handful of planes and guns to the Jewish war effort, but Canadian radio sets and other radio equipment became the backbone of Israel's military communications network.

Baumholz and Victory Equipment were only one small part of a world-wide Haganah operation.' similar activities were taking place from Brazil to Czechoslovakia, and from Burbank to Johannesburg. Some of the network's machinery had been set up in the closing years of World War II, some after Ben Gurion's visit with the Sonneborn group in 1945. But most of the operation had been hastily established in reaction to an obvious need in the months following the partition vote in the United Nations. In almost all countries where the Haganah sought help, the local Jewish communities responded selflessly. They had to. In Palestine the Haganah and the Yishuv were more hard pressed with each passing day.

Although arms from abroad were urgently needed for the battle to open the roads of Palestine, there were other equally vital requirements. Trained men with prior military experience, officers who had served with conventional armies, technical experts, army medical personnel, and maintenance specialists were also essential. The Haganah's war with the Palestine Arabs was only the beginning. When the British withdrew from Palestine leaving the way clear for an Arab League invasion, larger battles would follow. Thus, at Ben Gurion's urging, the Haganah had also embarked on a campaign to recruit foreign volunteers, mostly from among the hundreds of thousands of Jewish war veterans in the Allied countries, but also from among non-Jews who were willing to risk their lives to help the Jews of Palestine.


Note #5

The Center for Public Integrity
Investigative Report
Cheney Led Halliburton To Feast at Federal Trough
State Department Questioned Deal With Firm Linked to Russian Mob

By Knut Royce and Nathaniel Heller

[ . . . ]
The former KGB major, who with the fall of communism in the late 1980s had himself been involved in the plan by the KGB and Communist Party to loot state enterprises, said that Alfa Bank was founded with party and KGB funds, and quickly attracted rogue agents who had served in anti-organized-crime units. "They (the rogue agents on the bank�s payroll) quickly determined that dealing in drugs would bring the highest profits with literally no risk in Russia," according to the former KGB officer.

He claimed that a "large channel of heroin transit was established from Burma through Laos, Vietnam, to the Far East [Siberia]." From there the drugs were camouflaged as flour and sugar shipments and forwarded on to Germany. The drug operation was controlled by a Chechen mob family, he said.

The FSB report, too, claimed that the Alfa Group�s top executives, oligarchs Mikhail Fridman and Pyotr Aven, "allegedly participated in the transit of drugs from Southeast Asia through Russia and into Europe."


Note #6

BLOODLINES: The Rise & Fall of the Mafia�s Royal Family (p.34-39, 53-54)
By Lee Lamothe & Antonio Nicaso

[ . . . ]
In the late 1960s or early 1970s, Pasquale Cuntrera met the legendary American underworld financier Meyer Lansky. According to a story Pasquale Cuntrera told a fellow Mafioso, it was a fortuitous meeting that was soon to change the destiny of the Cuntreras and the Caruanas.

Lansky, who for years had laundered and invested organized crime profits for La Cosa Nostra, was widely regarded as the financial wizard who'd brought American gangsters into the modern age, putting them into legitimate businesses, unions, and politics.

Lansky told Pasquale Cuntrera to abandon any plans of returning to Sicily. Instead, he explained how business could be conducted at arm's length, from elsewhere in Italy. Lansky suggested he move to the Lazio region in central Italy where his old American mafia friend, Frank "Three Fingers Brown" Coppola, was living.

As it happened, in the early 1970s the Agrigento Court of Appeal lifted the decree that had forced the Cuntreras to leave Sicily. In their decision, the judges relied on documents that portrayed Pasquale Cuntrera as "a delightful person." Pasquale Cuntrera moved back to Italy and promptly met with Frank Coppola, bringing him greetings from Lansky.

"We're a great family," Cuntrera told the grand old godfather at his Ostia home. "We can attempt what has never been attempted before: laundering heroin money on a massive scale."

Coppola took little convincing. He was impressed with the reputation of the Caruana-Cuntrera and was aware of their expanding influence in the international underworld. He explained to Pasquale Cuntrera the techniques used by Lansky to clean the American La Cosa Nostra's profits. The most successful was the "loan-back scheme," in which illegal profits could be smuggled offshore and loaned back to the original depositor. Others included the use of money orders, traveler's checks, cashier's checks, and bearer bonds. Bulk currency could, if necessary, be body- carried out of the United States and deposited into Swiss banks, or in an Anstalt, a share company with a single secret shareholder, in Liechtenstein. Loans could be acquired through the offshore entities, and the borrower, who owned the money in the first place, would pay himself interest on the one hand, while declaring the loan a business expense.
[ . . . ]


Note #7

Transnational Organized Crime
Vol. 3, No. 2, Summer 1997, pp. 50-89
Tom Blickman
TNI Researcher

[ . . . ]
Some, like Alfonso Gagliano, representative in the Canadian Federal Parliament for Montreal's 'Little Italy' Saint Leonard, rose to prominent positions.

The accountant Gagliano is a loyal supporter of Canada's Prime-Minister Jean Chr�tien. Gagliano organized the Liberal Party's fund raising for the 1993 election-campaign. He was a candidate for a position in the new government of Mr Chr�tien. The RCMP is asked to screen every probable future minister, and Mr Gagliano didn't quite pass the test. (65) The Montreal daily La Presse revealed why: Gagliano's accountancy firm kept the books of Agostino Cuntrera, a nephew of Pasquale Cuntrera and implicated in the murder of Paolo Violi, boss of the local Cotroni-family, in 1978. The murder was a sign that the Sicilian clan had taken over control in Montreal. Agostino Cuntrera was never convicted; he struck a deal with the Canadian Justice Department.

Asked about his relationship with Agostino Cuntrera, Gagliano said: 'Mr Cuntrera is an acquaintance. We both come from Siculiana. I met him during a engagement in a church. He came to me in the 1970's when he wanted me as his bookkeeper for his restaurant.' Gagliano et Cie kept Agostino Cuntrera as a client after his complicity in the Violi-murder was revealed. Agostino Cuntrera and Gagliano saw each other occasionally during marriages and activities of the Association de Siculiana, a cultural association founded by Mr Gagliano, who was its first president. Some years after Mr Gagliano's chairmanship, Agostino Cuntrera became president of the association.

Nor was Agostino Cuntrera the only client of Gagliano. Another was Dima Messina, the financial aid of Montreal Mafia-boss Vito Rizzuto. An RCMP investigation showed that Messina laundered 22 million Canadian dollars for Rizzuto in 1986-88. Rizzuto's Ferrari Testarossa (a 250,000 dollar Italian sports car) was registered under Messina's name.

During the controlled delivery of 58 kilos of heroin to Montreal in 1985 - the RCMP and British Customs were aware of the traffic and closely watched the transactions - one of the traffickers, Filippo Vaccarello, and an unidentified person, were observed entering the office of Mr Gagliano before the heroin arrived. After leaving the office Vaccarello proceeded with a tour of notorious bars well-known as selling points for heroin.

Bookkeeping proves to be a sensitive business for a politician. When the matter was discussed in Parliament after La Presse disclosed the facts, Premier Chr�tien declared: 'This Parliament would be much better off if we had more Gagliano's.'(66)
[ . . . . ]