14 April 1997, Chicago: A suspicious machine sale to Yemen, at a printing trade show in the USA

Executives from a London based company called Longulf Trading went on a remarkable shopping spree at the Converting Machinery Manufacturer’s (printing & packaging) international trade show being held in Chicago’s McCormick Place exhibition centre. Longulf Trading is the London office of a Yemeni owned multi-billion dollar global conglomerate called the Hayel Saeed Anam GroupThe Longulf executives ordered about $3-million worth of top-end graphics, printing and packaging equipment from various suppliers at the trade show, their main purchase being a $1-million Italian Bielloni flexographic printing press. The destination for all of it was an ill-defined end-customer in Yemen whose company name they made-up on the spot and whose address they refused to divulge. 

I now know the 'end customer’ in Yemen was 9/11 terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s front company called YemPak (Yemen-Pakistan abbreviation), located inside the headquarters compound of Longulf Trading’s parent company, the Hayel Saeed Anam (HSA) Group at PO Box 5302 Taiz Yemen. 

How do I know this? I was at the trade show, demonstrating machinery on the family company's sales stand when the Longulf executives enquired about purchasing one. I was the technician sent to install the $100,000 machine they purchased from us; that’s where I met Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (introduced to me as ‘the Engineer’), just before been taken to another unscheduled meeting, in a secluded valley 1-mile from Al Qa’idah town

There were four people working for my Father at the Chicago trade show: me (Anthony Heaford), my brother Nigel Heaford, Jerry Stevens (a British military veteran of counter piracy operations in the South China Sea), and Dave Dean (a US military veteran of Vietnam and owner of Dean Printing Systems of Chicago specializing in printing machinery, electronics and associated chemicals). In November 2019 I discovered evidence that Dean had served with the highly secretive special forces ‘Studies and Observations Group’ (MACV-SOG) in Vietnam, trained by the infamous CIA contractor Billy Waugh. Billy Waugh freely admits training Al Qaeda fighters in 1990s Yemen. I’ve been told Dave Dean died in early 2020, around the same time I published my report saying he was ex-MACV-SOG and had been trained by Billy Waugh. He will have been about seventy years old.

Back in Chicago on 14 April 1997 and about twenty minutes before the Longulf Trading executives arrived at our sales stand, Dave Dean called my Father away saying he had something to show him. My Father said later they’d gone to a cafe overlooking the exhibition hall, effectively watching events unfold from above. The Longulf executives’ visit to our sales stand was remarkably quick; I demonstrated the machinery to them before my brother Nigel and Jerry Stevens completed the sale. The Longulf Trading executives did not negotiate the price and very unusually agreed payment up front and in full. As they left our sales stand we noticed they were being watched and followed by a group of about half a dozen men - staff from other exhibition stands enthrawled by Longulf Trading’s remarkable shopping spree I assumed. Jerry Stevens immediately referred to the sale as suspicious but my brother Nigel Heaford responded:

“Don’t ask any questions, they just paid list price for our top machine!"

The Longulf executives had an exhibition guide, with the stands they had to visit marked on a schematic map and with a corresponding ‘shopping list’ of what machinery they were buying from whom. That guide and list was very likely written for them, by someone with a knowledge of printing setups and equipment suppliers, someone like Dave Dean. 

Upon Dave Dean & my Father’s return, not long after the Longulf Trading executives had left, my father didn’t appear surprised by the $100,000 sale we’d made during their absence. And very unusually Dean declined the sales commission he was due - several thousand dollars - a deliberate effort to avoid documented links between him and this sale I now think. The day after Longulf Trading's shopping spree in Chicago a senior British government representative (a diplomat or ambassador I think) visited our sales stand, apparently basking in the prestige of a British company (Longulf Trading) having created so much business in Chicago. 

Longulf Trading was listed as a new customer for this sale although it later transpired that we'd sold a gravure proofing press to the HSA Group in Yemen in 1993, a machine installed by my other brother Paul Heaford. Paul lived in America in the 1990s, working directly for Dave Dean. My Father won his second Queen’s Award for Export Achievement in 1995, something very likely influenced by their machine sale to Yemen, a sale I believe was used to furnish another al Qaeda front company run by the HSA Group near Taiz.

Link to image of my diary entries and photos for April 1997, covering various machine installations, the exhibition in Chicago and visiting the ‘Skybox’ - Dave Dean’s very curious bar setup in a warehouse in the cargo handling area of Chicago’s O’Hare airport.

Truly, for some of us nothing is written, unless we write it