muslim brotherhood and iran contra scandal

By Ben Barrack

This article is the first in a series.

Rezko (Center) and Othman (Right) in 1999.

Something… or someone… has kept the Republican Party establishment neutered on the issues of fighting Islamic infiltration and/or pushing back against the Barack Obama administration. There is one Muslim man who is connected to both Bush presidencies and at least two highly suspect Obama colleagues the John McCain campaign refused to go after in 2008. He provides the key to understanding why the Republican establishment protects the Muslim Brotherhood in America.

His name is Talat Othman and the two men he is connected to – besides George H.W. and George W. Bush – are Rashid Khalidi and Tony Rezko. Othman received an award from Khalidi’s boss, Yasser Arafat in 1997 for Othman’s contributions and support for the Palestinians. Othman is also credited with founding the Islamic Cultural Center (ICC) of Chicago.

In early 2015, the Center for Security Policy (CSP) published an exhaustive dossier of more than 100 pages that detailed Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) Founder, Grover Norquist’s embrace of Muslim Brotherhood-connected individuals and the subsequent influence these individuals gained inside America’s power centers, at great peril to national security. Conspicuously absent from the CSP dossier is even one mention of Othman.

In Chicago, Muslim American Othman served as Treasurer of the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) with former PLO member and Barack Obama friend Rashid Khalidi, who was the ATFP’s Vice President. Othman is also credited with introducing convicted Obama fundraiser Tony Rezko to Illinois state politics. Othman’s career involves a stint as chairman of the terrorist-tied Islamic Free Market Institute (Islamic Institute) founded by Grover Norquist. For approximately three years in the late 1980’s and 1990, Othman sat on the Board of Harken Energy with George W. Bush and began consulting with then President George H.W. Bush in the Oval Office on the issue of Iraq and larger Middle East policy beginning in August of 1990.

Years later, Othman delivered a Muslim prayer at the 2000 Republican National Convention. Note he is introduced as the Chairman of Norquist’s Islamic Institute:

Then, less than one year later, in April of 2001 Othman got access to another Bush White House according to a guest list obtained by Paul Sperry. Joining Othman was Norquist and Jamal Barzinji who has been credited with authorizing construction of the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, VA. This mosque is a hotbed of Islamic hate speech and has been acknowledged as a front for Hamas. (h/t Ryan Mauro at Clarion):

Othman on April 2001, White House guest list.

In fact, Dar al-Hijrah once hosted Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the international Muslim Brotherhood’s top spiritual leader, before he was banned from entering the U.S. in 1999. That’s right, the man at the top of the Sunni Muslim terrorist food chain was welcomed into the mosque that Barzinji helped create:

Harvard Connections
Any serious discussion about the Muslim infiltration of the U.S. must include Boston, Harvard University and the Harvard Business School (HBS). Perhaps the most influential and successful Muslim enabler in the U.S is and has been Norquist; he is a political bridge that has helped bring Muslim Brotherhood apparatchiks into the Republican Party fold. In addition to him being the intermediary between stealth Muslim jihadists and George W. Bush’s gubernatorial and presidential administrations, Norquist is also a graduate of both Harvard University and HBS (class of 1981).

Lynne Cheney bows head during Muslim prayer at 2000 Republican Convention.

When Norquist was enrolling in Harvard as an undergraduate student in 1974, George W. Bush was already attending Harvard Business School (class of 1975). Regardless of whether the two men crossed paths then or not, their paths certainly crossed in Texas when Bush was Governor and then in Washington, DC when he was president.

Othman and Saffuri at 2013 ATFP

As Lee Stranahan discovered, Norquist’s sister Loraine also graduated from HBS (class of 1985). More significantly, her husband – a Muslim man named Majed Tomeh – graduated from HBS sometime that same decade as well. It would one day be learned that in 1998, Tomeh co-founded the Islamic Free Market Institute (Islamic Institute) with Norquist and a man named Khaled Saffuri, whom close Bush adviser Karl Rove tapped to lead the Bush presidential campaign’s Muslim outreach in 2000.

According to a Townhall article by Larry Kelley…

In 1997, Norquist brokered a meeting with then-Texas Gov. Bush to develop a plan to bring in a previously untapped voting block, he called it the “Muslim Strategy.” The meeting featured AMC boss and top Brotherhood member Alamoudi, top AMC lieutenant Khaled Suffuri, Karl Rove, Norquist and Talat Othman, a Saudi friend of Bush and fellow member of Harken Oil.

Othman was a close business colleague of George W. Bush for several years at Harken Energy and got access to then President George H.W. Bush in the Oval Office just two months after George W. sold more than $800,000 in stock on June 22, 1990 according to the Wall Street Journal.


While Othman did not attend Harvard, he did serve on the Dean’s Council at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, according to an archived page of the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) website.

The timing and circumstances surrounding George W. Bush’s unloading of nearly $850,000 of Harken stock in June of 1990 was investigated by the SEC but the results of that investigation did not surface for more than a decade. Two months after Bush sold the stock, Harken reported more than $20 million in losses. The stock rebounded but then dropped even more significantly by the end of the year. In explaining why the investigation took more than a decade to come to light, the Guardian reported the information had been leaked to “embarrass” Bush.

Othman with Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.

During Bush’s tenure at Harken, the company landed a deal with the Government of Bahrain that many found curious. According to the Wall Street Journal, Amoco was all set to get the contract and the much smaller Harken landed the contract at the 11th hour. Harken’s team denied that it got the contract to curry favor with the Bush family or because the son of the President of the United States was on its Board. However, there was some acknowledgment by the company’s leadership that Bush’s presence on the Board was significant:

“You’d have to be an idiot not to say it’s impressive,” says Alan Quasha, former Harken chairman and its second-largest shareholder. (The largest, with 24.5%, is a Harvard University investment fund.)

Quasha is also a Harvard alum.

George W. Bush in his Harken days.

Again, speaking of Harvard, a 2002 Boston Globe article highlighted the details of misfortune that surrounded the university’s Management Company (HMC). For example, in 1991 HMC had a $200 million write-down, after risking 1% of its endowment on the energy company.

Several former Harvard Management officials said in interviews that they wanted to pull out of the Harken deal, but they said one man in particular – Harvard Management executive and Harken director Michael Eisenson – resolutely insisted he could turn around the investment by pumping more money into it.

The matter of Harvard’s heavy investment into Harken is one curious facet. Another involves the buyer of Bush’s stock. Harvard Management Co. president Jack Meyer was quoted in the Globe article:

“Harvard Management Company did not purchase Mr. Bush’s Harken shares. We do not know who did purchase the shares,” Meyer said when asked whether anyone connected to Harvard Management or Eisenson bought the shares.”

Ralph Smith, the man through whom Bush reportedly sold his shares was more than tight-lipped about who purchased them, according to a separate Boston Globe article:

…Bush sold his shares on June 22 via the broker, Smith. Smith could not be reached for comment, but has been quoted as saying the buy was an institution that he would never reveal.

It can therefore be concluded that said institution wished to remain anonymous after purchasing more than $800,000 in stock only to see that stock plummet in the weeks and months that followed. The buyer is still not known to this day.

Bank of Credit & Commerce International (BCCI)
According to the Journal at the time, the third-largest shareholder in Harken was Sheikh Abdullah Bakhsh, with a 17.6% stake. There was definitely a connection between Harken and BCCI, though the significance of that connection is not fully known. According to the Wall Street Journal in 1991, the year BCCI went defunct…

…Sheik Khalifa bin-Salman al-Khalifah, the prime minister of Bahrain and a brother of the country’s ruling emir, is identified on an October 1990 shareholder list as one of the 45 investors who own parent company BCCI Holdings (Luxembourg) S.A. The emir played a role in approving the Harken transaction.

Sheik Abdullah Bakhsh, a major Harken shareholder represented by Mr. Othman on the company’s board, has been a co-investor in Saudi Arabia with alleged BCCI front man Ghaith Pharaon, and used Khalid bin-Mahfouz, until recently a principal BCCI shareholder, as his banker.

1991 TIME Magazine Cover

In addition to Bakhsh being the third largest Harken shareholder at the time, the man with whom he dealt on matters relating to Harken was… Othman.

BCCI, founded in 1972 by a wealthy Pakistani financier, later figured into the Iran-Contra operations according to a 1991 TIME Magazine article. The bank was shut down in 1991 after its extensive and complex money laundering schemes came to light. There were guilty pleas and heavy fines levied against BCCI but accountability for the big players was in short supply.

Ghaith R. Pharaon, one such major player, was officially designated by the FBI as a fugitive, beginning in 1991. The UK Guardian reported in 2007:

The FBI accuses the Saudi millionaire of fraud “involving millions of dollars” in the case of the Bank of Commerce and Credit International.

BCCI collapsed in 1991 in one of the world’s worst financial scandals, embracing money laundering, arms dealing, bribery, tax evasion and much more.

The link to the FBI page identifying Pharaon as a wanted fugitive no longer works but Pharaon is presumably still a fugitive after 23 years; he has never been exonerated.

He must be doing a good job of hiding but where could he be?

Consider that Zoominfo has a profile of a Ghaith R. Pharaon updated in 1998 that lists him as having sat on the Board of Governors with the Bureau of National Affairs (BNA):


Over at Intelius, there is some information about what appears to be the same Ghaith R. Pharaon. Note that this person worked on the Board of Governors with BNA Susidiaries. Also take note that he is identified as having lived in Brookline, Massachusetts, just three miles away from Harvard University, where he earned a degree from Harvard Business School in 1965.


So why is Pharaon so difficult to find? He shouldn’t be. Today, he’s listed as the Chairman of Falcon Cement / Attock Cement Pakistan Limited and is prominently featured on the company’s website:


Attock is also in the oil business as well and Pharaon’s whereabouts were not that difficult to determine as far back as 2005. On an Arabic news site at the time, he was profiled as a “leading Saudi business tycoon” in a story about how National Refinery Limited (NRL) was being purchased by Attock Oil Group (AOG). This was more than a decade after Pharaon became a fugitive from the FBI:

Led by leading Saudi business tycoon, Dr Ghaith R. Pharaon, the Attock Oil Group consists of The Attock Oil Company Limited (AOC), Pakistan Oilfields Limited (POL), Attock Refinery Limited (ARL), Attock Petroleum Limited (APL), Attock Information Technology Services (Pvt) Limited and Attock Cement Pakistan Limited.

When BCCI collapsed and its nefarious dealings became known, Pharaon was publicly identified as a major culprit. His co-investor in Saudi Arabia (Sheik Abdullah Bakhsh) was represented on the Harken Board by Othman.

Pharaon (L) in 2005

Yet, today, Pharaon no longer seems to be a person of interest, let alone an FBI fugitive.

As for Harvard, it’s worth noting that both Barack Obama and his father Barack Obama Sr. attended Harvard. In fact, as George W. was serving on the Harken Board, the man who would succeed him as President of the U.S. began attending Harvard Law School in 1988.

At a time when Saudi Sheikhs and business tycoons were major shareholders, one of whom was dealing directly through Othman, another Saudi Prince is suspected of having aided in Obama’s efforts to attend Harvard Law School. In 2008, Percy Sutton named names. In this video, Sutton claims Khalid al-Mansour prompted him to write a letter of recommendation for Obama and that al-Mansour worked for “one of the richest” men in the world. The man Sutton was referring to is believed to have been Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal:

Othman and Obama’s PLO Friend
In addition to Othman being the Secretary/Treasurer of ATFP the year it was founded, the Vice President was none other than Rashid Khalidi, the close friend of Barack Obama who was at the center of controversy on the eve of the 2008 election when the Los Angeles Times refused to relinquish a videotape recording of Khalidi’s farewell dinner in Chicago in 2003. The video reportedly showed Obama heaping praise upon Khalidi, a former mouthpiece for the PLO’s Yasser Arafat; even domestic terrorist Bill Ayers was in attendance.

Screenshot from ATFP Website from 2003.

At that dinner, Khalidi sat at the same table with both Barack and Michelle Obama. It is not known if Othman was in attendance but it certainly would not have been surprising if he had been. Othman called Chicago home and shared a prominent post with Khalidi at the ATFP that year.

Khalidi with the Obamas at 2003 farewell dinner.

While it was perfectly justified for conservatives and Republicans to point out the egregious journalistic injustice committed by the L.A. Times, it’s equally right to point out that close George W. Bush business partner Othman and Khalidi helped lead the ATFP. Is this why the McCain campaign of 2008 didn’t hammer Obama over Khalidi as much as it could have? Sarah Palin – McCain’s running mate – wanted desperately to attack Obama and the L.A. Times over Khalidi but the McCain camp provided little more than lip service to that scandal.

Othman and Khalidi in 2002.

Khalidi and Othman appear to have been close. In addition to being business colleagues at ATFP, both men attended social functions and fundraisers together. In this photo, taken in Chicago in 2002, Othman – identified as a chief donor – is standing with Khalidi. Convicted Obama fundraiser Tony Rezko was identified as having been at this event but not in the photo:

How about Rezko? Do you remember that wealthy, corrupt Barack Obama fundraiser who was ultimately convicted of fraud? The shady land deal between the two men came as close to sinking Obama as any scandal has. Do you remember how conservatives clamored for the McCain campaign to hammer Obama over that deal? If you do, you likely also remember how little attention McCain’s campaign gave to it.

According to Arab American Media Services, it was George W. Bush’s friend and longtime business associate Talat Othman who launched Rezko’s political career in Chicago. The elevated stature of Othman courtesy of his Harken days likely helped him gain access to Chicago mayor Richard Daley.

Rezko (far left); Chicago Mayor Richard Daley (second from right) and Othman (far right) circa 1999.

Speaking of Daley, it’s known that he has a history of rubbing elbows with Muslim extremists as well. Consider that in 2006, Daley joined Othman and radical Muslim Imam Jamal Said – who has verifiable connections to Hamas, a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and the larger Muslim Brotherhood – in a dedication ceremony. The purpose of the ceremony was to celebrate Chicago Muslims donating a garden to the city of Chicago.

Othman (speaking), Mayor Daley, and Imam Jamal Said in 2006.

Also in attendance that day was Ahmed Rehab, the Executive Director for the Muslim Brotherhood’s Chicago branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago). Here is a photo of Rehab with Othman:

Rehab (far left) and Othman (next to him).

The ATFP Today
In October of 2001, Operation Green Quest (OGQ) was launched by the Bush administration to help target the sources of terror funding in the U.S. In March of 2002, several offices were raided as part of the operation. However, just two weeks later, Khaled Saffuri (the man who founded the Islamic Institute with Norquist and led Bush’s Muslim outreach)  and Talat Othman (the man who represented the interests of a wealthy Saudi Sheikh and with whom Bush served on the Harken Board) attended a luncheon and spoke on behalf of Muslim civil rights in an effort to get the Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill to back off.

By all accounts, the efforts of Saffuri and Othman worked. The two men also appear to remain friends. In fact, both men attended the 2013 ATFP Gala:

Khaled Saffuri (L) and Talat Othman (R) at 2013 ATFP event.

The Master of Ceremonies at the Gala was none other than Palestinian ‘comedian’ Dean Obeidallah. Obeidallah has defended Muslim Brotherhood spy Huma Abedin and frequently takes pro-Muslim Brotherhood positions. In 2012, Obeidallah was promoted by CAIR and performed at the Muslim Brotherhood front group’s event in Los Angeles. In 2015, Obeidallah was part of a group that consisted of several stealth Muslim Brotherhood jihadists who Obama welcomed into the White House and later mocked those with concerns about infiltration.

Othman (L) and Obeidallah (R) at 2013 Gala.

Sununu at 2013 ATFP Gala

Former George H.W. Bush Chief of Staff and one time New Hampshire Governor John Sununu – an Arab Orthodox Christian – was also in attendance at the gala. Sununu is widely regarded as a Republican establishment figure. He backed Mitt Romney in 2012. What does it say about Sununu that he would attend this ATFP event, which was attended by stealth Muslim jihadists?

To further illustrate just how effective the Muslim Brotherhood’s political efforts have been within not just the Republican Party but also among conservatives, consider Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI). Amash has an extremely conservative voting record and is a member of the House Freedom Caucus, led by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).

Rep. Jim Jordan (L) and Rep. Justin Amash (C).

Amash was at the 2013 ATFP event and sat at a table with none other than Muslim Brotherhood enabler Norquist and his Muslim wife Samah Alrayyes:

Norquist wife Alrayyes (far left), Norquist and Rep. Amash (far right)

This is not to impugn Amash. It is meant to demonstrate that one of the results of the Republican establishment’s protection of the Muslim Brotherhood is that so little is known about this very stealth and nefarious group. Unless young congressmen like Amash know the truth about Norquist, being exposed to such a man’s influence is dangerous business.

In addition, highly controversial figure and stealth Muslim Brotherhood jihadist Suhail Khan attended the 2013 Gala as well. In this photo, he can be seen standing in the background behind Norquist and Alrayyes. Based upon his position, he would have been seated next to Amash, though at an adjacent table:

Alrayyes (front), Norquist at her side and Suhail Khan (back left) at 2013 ATFP gala.

Elephant in the Room Ignored
In March of 2015, Glenn Beck showcased Norquist for one full hour on two consecutive days of his show. On the first day, Beck reviewed Norquist’s connections. On the second day, Beck interviewed Norquist. As was the case with CSP’s dossier, absent from the conversation on both days was any mention whatsoever of Othman.

The reason likely has to do with the fact that Beck’s research relied heavily upon the CSP document, Agent of Influence: Grover Norquist and the Assault on the Right. Othman’s name was completely absent in that dossier.

Why was he not even mentioned ONCE by either CSP or Beck?

A couple of weeks after CSP’s dossier was published and days after Beck’s two-day exploration of Norquist, the Clarion Project’s Ryan Mauro reported that six Islamists with connections to the Muslim Brotherhood had been scheduled to meet with President George W. Bush on September 11, 2001 at 3:05pm in Washington, DC.


Though the meeting never happened, one of those six men was none other than Othman, who was still the chairman of the Islamic Institute at the time. Mauro cites the CSP dossier as his source that identified Othman as one of the six but the dossier never mentioned Othman and the attention Mauro devoted to Othman was limited to a one sentence reference to Othman speaking at the 2000 Republican convention.

Under a heading which should detail Othman’s background, Mauro only devotes that lone sentence to Othman (the first one). There is no mention of Othman’s ties to either Bush 41 or Bush 43.

During his interview with Norquist, Beck pointed the finger at Obama Attorney General Eric Holder as being the one responsible for shutting down OGQ. That’s a curious claim when juxtaposed with a 2004 Harper’s magazine article which identified DHS head Tom Ridge and Bush Attorney General John Ashcroft as having been the ones who shut down the operation.

Beck Expose of Norquist (Before interview):

Here is Beck’s interview with Norquist the next day:

NOTE: This article can be seen as the first of a series.


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