Al Qaeda financiers use Qatar for international activities

The Terror Finance Blog, by A. D. Kendall:

In addition to institutional and charitable support by Qatar, Al Qaeda and its offshoots (including jihadists in Syria and Iraq) receive substantial financial support from private Qatari donors and bundlers. Here’s a quick who’s who:

Abd al-Rahman al-Nuaymi

Abd al-Rahman al-Nuaymi

Abd al-Rahman al-Nuaymi:  The U.S. Treasury Department describes al-Nuaymi as “a Qatar-based terrorist financier and facilitator who has provided money and material support and conveyed communications to al-Qa’ida and its affiliates in Syria, Iraq, Somalia and Yemen for more than a decade. He was considered among the most prominent Qatar-based supporters of Iraqi Sunni extremists.” Al-Nuaymi transferred $600K to Al Qaeda in Syria in 2013, and sent $2 million monthly to Al Qaeda in Iraq for an undisclosed period of time. He is also described as an interlocutor between Qatari nationals and Al Qaeda in Iraq leaders.

Salim Hasan Khalifa Rashid al-Kuwari:  Treasury says al-Kuwari “provides financial and logistical support to al-Qa’ida, primarily through al-Qa’ida facilitators in Iran. Based in Qatar, Kuwari has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial support to al-Qa’ida and has provided funding for al-Qa’ida operations, as well as to secure the release of al-Qa’ida detainees in Iran and elsewhere.”

Abdallah Ghanim Mafuz Muslim al-Khawar:  According to U.S. officials, “Al-Khawar has worked with Kuwari to deliver money, messages and other material support to al-Qa’ida elements in Iran. Like Kuwari, Khawar is based in Qatar and has helped to facilitate travel for extremists interested in traveling to Afghanistan for jihad.

Khalifa Muhammad Turki al-Subaiy:  The UN describes al-Subaiy as “a Qatar-based terrorist financier and facilitator who has provided financial support to, and acted on behalf of, the senior leadership of Al-Qaida (QE.A.4.01). He provided assistance to senior Al-Qaida leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed prior to Sheikh Mohammed’s capture in March 2003. Since that time, he has provided financial support to Al-Qaida senior leadership in South Asia.” Al-Subaiy served a brief prison sentence in 2008 before being released by Qatar.

Yusuf Qaradawi:  The Egyptian-born, Qatar-based spiritual father of the international Muslim Brotherhood sits atop a massive terrorist funding network including the “Union of Good” umbrella network of charities that funds Hamas. Qaradawi was also a sharia adviser for Al Taqwa which provided banking services to Al Qaeda.

Four Ways to Fight Extremism in Britain

by Samuel Westrop:

If British politicians are serious about putting a stop to the misuse of charity for pro-terror purposes, lawmakers could propose legislation that removes the effective immunity of charitable trusts from liability when their trustees are found to have used funds for terrorist or other unlawful activities.

Two British Cabinet Ministers are “at war” over the growth of Islamist extremism in public institutions, The Timesreported this month.

Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has blamed the Home Office, according to The Times, for the increasing influence of extremist groups, citing recent attempts by “hardline Islamists” to infiltrate British schools.

A source at the Department for Education stated that the failure to tackle extremism has resulted in schools being targeted by “a group of people who are ideologically Islamist” and “extreme without being violent.” Gove, The Times reported, believes that the Home Office displays a “reluctance…to confront extremism unless it develops into terrorism,” and that “a robust response is needed to ‘drain the swamp’.”

Gove has a point. While thousands of hours of Parliamentary debate and countless pieces of new legislation have introduced extraordinary powers for the government, the police and the security services to tackle acts of terrorism, little work has been done either to define “extremism” or curb its influence. Previous attempts to combat extremism have mostly entailed throwing taxpayers’ money at self-proclaimed “moderate” groups, some of which were later revealed to be run by Islamist agitators – as Prime Minister David Cameron acknowledged during his 2011 Munich speech.

Although “non-violent” Islamists play a central role in the radicalization of those who later become convicted terrorists, as repeatedly discussed, their influence over sections of the public sector is rarely challenged or even properly scrutinized.

The authorities’ attempts to battle terrorism are often framed as a struggle for balance between liberty and security. Similarly, politicians attempting to tackle the spread of extremist ideology understandably need to be mindful of threats to free speech. There is, however, legislation the government could easily introduce to promote accountability and curb extremist activity without compromising freedom of expression or other liberties.

1) Stopping Terror Subsidy

A considerable number of Islamist groups, such as the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood or Hamas in Gaza, operate a system of da’wah [outreach, proselytizing; literally, a call to God] – providing various social services, such as education, healthcare and welfare payments, which are designed, as Stanford academic Eva Milgrom notes, “to reshape the political consciousness of educated youth.”

As counter-terrorism expert Matthew Levitt writes, the social infrastructure produced by da’wah activities “are crucial to Hamas’ terrorist activity: they provide cover for raising, laundering, and transferring funds, facilitate the group’s propaganda and recruitment efforts, provide employment to its operatives, and serve as a logistical support network for its terrorist operations.” [1]

By providing these social services, Islamist groups such as Hamas gain political and moral legitimacy among their constituents, which extends to the terror group’s patrons in the West.

Even if British charities do not provide money directly to Hamas’s terrorist activities, the contributions are fungible: they enable the release of funds, originally allocated for other services, instead to be used for terrorism. In turn, funding social programs in Gaza serves to legitimize and strengthen Hamas’s rule.

The problem is not limited just to terror groups in Gaza – groups which are offshoots of al-Qaeda are also instituting similar da’wah programs. In 2012, for instance, al-Qaeda terrorists in Mali provided various forms of welfare in areas under their control. “[Al Qaeda] and their affiliates, Ansar Dine (Defenders of the Faith) and the Movement for Jihad and Unity in West Africa,” The Times reported, “have subsidised state utilities, capped food prices and made welfare payments to the needy.”

Similarly, in 2014, reports revealed that British charity workers, praised by leading media outlets, were, in fact, building schools in Syria that bore the flag of the most extreme terror group in Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), now tearing through Iraq.

British lawmakers might look to a precedent set by a June 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, in which the court asserted that the U.S. government has the right to “prohibit providing material support in the form of training, expert advice, personnel and services to foreign terrorist groups, even if the supporters meant to promote only the groups’ non-violent ends.” Elena Kagan, the lawyer who argued the U.S. government’s case and now a member of the U.S. Supreme Court, told the court: “Hezbollah builds bombs. Hezbollah also builds homes. What Congress decided was when you help Hezbollah build homes, you are also helping Hezbollah build bombs.”

2) Removing the Immunity of Charitable Trusts

A number of commentators have noted how fundamentalists exploit organizations’ charitable status to promoteextremism and fund groups with ties to terrorism.

Interpal, for instance, a large British Islamic charity, supported by countless politicians, is, under U.S law, adesignated terrorist organization.

Interpal’s trustees openly work with senior leaders of the terrorist group, Hamas, and Interpal officials organize regular “convoys” to Gaza. The convoys, named “Miles of Smiles,” support many of the Hamas government’s welfare programs mentioned earlier. The convoys are financed by the Union of Good, a coalition of charities that works to obtain the financial support for Hamas’s political and terrorist activities.

 

Interpal trustee Essam Yusuf exchanges warm greetings with Hamas terror leader Ismail Haniyeh, in Gaza.

Victims of Hamas terror might well have sued Interpal if were there any actual chance of obtaining redress. It is impossible, however, for individuals to bring claims through the courts against charities such as Interpal because, like many other British charities, it is an unincorporated charitable trust. That is, under English law, it does not exist as a legal entity — it has no legal structure and therefore cannot be sued.

The only people who can face legal charges are a charity’s trustees, who are responsible for all actions attributed to the charity. These trustees, however, are not, under British law, actual employees of the charity; moreover, they rarely hold any assets in their own names, so there is little or no prospect of recovering any damages or legal costs.

If British politicians are serious about putting a stop to the misuse of charities for pro-terror purposes, they could propose legislation that removes the effective immunity of charitable trusts from liability when their trustees are found to have used funds for terrorist or other unlawful purposes. This could be achieved through a statutory provision that would provide the courts, once liability was determined, with the option of requiring a charitable trust to underwrite its trustees in order to pay claimants’ damages and costs in cases where there is evidence that the trustees were not acting independently of the charity. The trust would not be solely responsible, but would make up the deficit once the trustee’s assets had been recovered.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

Rahim Sabadia: Portrait of a Disgraced Defense Contractor

Rahim Sabadia, founder of Sabtech.

Rahim Sabadia, founder of Sabtech.

By DAVID J. RUSIN

Four years after the Pentagon suspended the security clearance of Rahim Sabadia — a South African-born, California-based defense contractor who has bankrolled the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) — new discoveries raise questions about how he had been permitted to hold one in the first place. Documents analyzed by Islamist Watch show that Sabadia’s foundation donated to an infamous Hamas-funding charity and other radicals, that in 1985 he pleaded guilty to the sale of illegal listening devices, and that immigration officials had ordered him out of the country a decade earlier. Topping off this troubling record, Sabadia recently pleaded guilty to providing false information to a Navy procurement officer in a scheme to recapture an old contract. The Sabadia saga is a warning that Islamists and their sympathizers must be kept away from the sensitive technologies and institutions that protect America.

Concerns about Sabadia initially came to light in a 2011 article by Matt Pearce and Brooke Williams for the Orange County Register. While researching the millions of taxpayer dollars that had been flowing to Sabadia’s Sabtech Industries — thanks, in part, to earmarks from Gary Miller, a Republican congressman whose campaign chest was regularly filled by Sabadia and his wife — the journalists learned that Sabadia had lost his secret-level clearance in 2010. As a result, his company had to stop work on a lucrative contract to upgrade the Navy’s Aegis combat system, a key component of ballistic missile defense. Federal agencies did not disclose the reason for the suspension, but Pearce and Williams located an internal email citing worries about “charitable contributions.”

The authors note that Sabadia, via the Sabadia Family Foundation (SFF), distributes money to “many Islamic education, relief, and humanitarian organizations,” and “one of the foundation’s large beneficiaries — receiving at least $1.2 million since 2002 — is the Council on American-Islamic Relations.” CAIR has been on the outs in Washington due to its designation as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case against the Holy Land Foundation, a charity convicted in 2008 of funneling millions to Hamas. In another interesting CAIR–Sabadia link, Omar Zaki, Sabtech’s onetime vice president, is CAIR’s current national chairman.

Sabadia’s massive financing of CAIR, which has reached $1.296 million for its Los Angeles chapter based on available SFFtax filings (2001–12), as well as lesser support for similar Islamist pressure groups, certainly should have grabbed the Defense Department’s attention. However, there have been far more disturbing recipients of the Sabadia family’s largesse.

The most notorious SFF grantee was the Holy Land Foundation itself, which collected $3,300 in 2001, the year that federal authorities finally shut it down. Also enjoying Sabadia’s generosity in 2001 was the American Muslim Foundation, which pocketed $700. That organization was led by the high-profile Islamist Abdurahman Alamoudi, who is now serving a long prison term following his role in an international assassination plot. Additionally, the SFF has gifted $1.177 million (2001–12) to Islamic Relief USA, which is a subsidiary and funder of Islamic Relief Worldwide, a charity that, according to an Americans for Peace and Tolerance report, “has multiple associations with Hamas fundraising and with the Muslim Brotherhood leadership in the U.S., Europe, and Sudan.”

*****

Three things, however, are certain: First, it is distressing that a person with Rahim Sabadia’s baggage was able to acquire a clearance and maintain it for as long as he did. Second, other than interactions needed to monitor his probation or investigate any further lawbreaking, the government should keep its distance from Sabadia in the future. Third, an Islamist-aligned individual with classified access has the potential to do far greater damage than the chicanery and quest “for personal gain” witnessed above. The nightmare scenario will come to pass unless Washington more robustly recognizes and acts on the dangers posed by Islamist penetration of the security apparatus, both military and civilian, that protects our country from the resurgent jihad.

Read more at PJ Media

Telling the Truth about Terrorism and Islamic Charities

download (78)By Michael Curtis:

The link between “charity” groups and terrorist organizations is frequently not recognized or is ignored. The chairman of the British Charity Commission, William Shawcross, on April 20, 2014 expressed his concern about charities being used as vehicles for such groups. He warns that the “problem of Islamist extremism… is not the most widespread problem we face in terms of abuse of charities but is potentially the most deadly… and it is growing.”

The growth is evident from the analysis in the British list of terrorist organizations proscribed under the Terrorism Act 2000. Of the 55 organizations, 33 are Islamist, alphabetically, from the Abu Nidal Organization, whose declared aim is the destruction of Israel, to Saved Sect or Savior Sect, a group that has disguised its name on a number of occasions and which seeks to establish an Islamic Caliphate ruled by Sharia law.

Shawcross’s rightful concern was that some charities in the UK as elsewhere in Western democracies purportedly raise funds to provide aid for desirable objectives, and do so to some extent, but that they are also engaged in money laundering to organizations that are involved, directly or indirectly, with terrorist groups. More specifically, Shawcross found that some people accused of terrorist offenses serve as charity trustees.

Oxfam International, which showed such courage in trying to prevent the powerful Scarlett Johansson from taking a job with the Israeli company SodaStream, appears naïve and politically inept in not grasping this link. In January 2014 Oxfam was about to cosponsor an exhibit on Gaza in the East London Mosque together with Ibrahim Hewitt, a trustee of Interpal, officially the Palestine Relief and Development Fund, a so-called charity organization.

Oxfam, though now universally famous for its acute knowledge of the precise conditions in Israeli settlements, did not know, as every schoolboy in London does, that the East London Mosque is a notorious cauldron of anti-Western and anti-Semitic hatred. One of the individuals, Sakeel Begg, due to speak at another event at the Mosque, describes jihad as “the greatest of deeds.” The Mosque has also entertained other speakers such as Saad al-Beraik who refers to Jews as “monkeys,” and calls on Palestinians not to “have mercy or compassion on the Jews,” and to wage jihad against them.

It is also well known that the Mosque is an organization close to the Bangladeshi wing in the UK of Jamaat-e-Islami, a violent Islamic terrorist group, responsible for mass murder in 1971, and linked to the Global Muslim Brotherhood.

Oxfam understood that Hewitt was due to speak at the Mosque in conjunction with the Gaza exhibition it was cosponsoring. But then it cancelled the event not because of the hatred expressed in Hewitt’s remarks about Israel but because of his comments about homosexuality about which Oxfam had been previously unaware. Hewitt is reported as wanting homosexuals to suffer “severe punishments” for their “great sin.” He is not clear, at least officially, whether gays should be executed or whether they should simply be subjected to stoning. In spite of the cancellation, the irrepressibly naive Oxfam still “looks forward” to working with the Mosque to “highlight the plight of children of Gaza.”

Read more at American Thinker

CAIR-Canada Directors Praise Muslim Brotherhood

CAIR-CanadaBY RYAN MAURO:

The Point de Bascule blog has discovered that three directors of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, formerly known as the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Canada (CAIR-Canada), have endorsed the Muslim Brotherhood and its ideology.

Current NCCM director Khadija Haffajee has held official positions with the Islamic Society of North America, which the U.S. Justice Department says is a Muslim Brotherhood entity. The Canadian chapter of ISNA lost its charitable status last year because of evidence that it is funding Pakistani terrorists and major accounting issues.

Haffajee joined ISNA’s board of directors in 1997 and won additional terms in 2001 and 2004. During that time, she was on the editorial advisory board of ISNA’s Islamic Horizons magazine. As Point de Bascule found out, a 1999 issue put Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna on the cover with the heading, “A Martyr of Our Times.”

The article, published under Haffajee’s supervision, described him as a “true guide” and “martyr of da’wah who offered the Eternal Message.” The author, Osman Abdel-Magid Ahmed, recalls meeting al-Banna when he was 13 years old and being “mesmerized” with his “describing the gallantry of the mujahideen in Palestine and their martyrdom.”

It portrays al-Banna as pro-democratic but, while he approved of elections, he wanted democracy to be within the limited confines ofsharia. The article says he “chided the government, the parliamentarians and the ulema [Muslim legal scholars] to implement Islamic laws in the country.”

He preached that “it was unjustified that laws governing the Muslim people should contradict the teachings of Islam and the rules enshrined in these two sources,” specifically sharia’s standards on penal, civil and commercial law.

The ISNA piece implied that it wants to assume al-Banna’s mantle, stating: “It is hard to imagine that we will easily find someone to fill al-Banna’s place, but at least a collective leadership should emerge to take on that task.”

Read more at Clarion Project

Longtime U.S. ‘Allies’ Qatar, Kuwait Prime Terror Financiers

al-Thani and Haniyeh

The message the West is delivering is that once you’re an ally, you’re always an ally — even if you help our enemies.

BY RYAN MAURO:

David Cohen, the Treasury Department Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, has stated for the record what no other U.S. official would: Qatar and Kuwait, two supposed “allies” of the U.S., are facilitating Islamist terrorism and extremism.

Last month, Cohen spoke at a think tank and immediately turned to Qatar after discussing Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism.

“Qatar, a longtime U.S. ally, has for many years openly financed Hamas, a group that continues to undermine regional stability. Press reports indicate that the Qatari government is also supporting extremist groups operating in Syria,” he said.

Qatar’s staunch backing of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas hasalienated its Arab neighbors that view them as terrorist organizations. The leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad traveled to Qatar to meet with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. Qatar appears to have helped heal the relationship between Iran and Hamas.

In August, 24 members of Congress confronted Qatar over its relationship with Hamas. The Qatari government subsidizes the spread of Islamism around the world, even in downtown Washington D.C.

The Qatari government is also guilty of helping Al Qaeda’s regional affiliates. Cohen pointed out that the Treasury Department sanctioned a terrorist in December named Abd al-Rahman bin Umayr al-Nu’aymi, who raises money in Qatar and channels it to Al Qaeda elements in Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Iraq.

He managed the movement of over $2 million every single month to Al Qaeda in Iraq at one point and delivered the terrorists’ messages to media outlets from 2003-2004. This means that Qatar, a U.S. “ally,” has the blood of American soldiers in Iraq on its hands.

Read more at Clarion Project

Time for due diligence on welfare recipients?

bomberwelfare

Deceased terrorist imam Anwar al-Awlaki once wrote in Inspire magazine that, “All of our [Islamic] scholars agree on the permissibility of taking away the wealth of the disbelievers in dār al-ĥarb [the non-Muslim world] whether by means of force or by means of theft or deception,” for the purposes of carrying out jihad.

By A. D. Kendall:

The family of Boston marathon bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev received over $100,000 in public benefits from 2002 to 2012 according to documents compiled a year ago from state agencies by the Massachusetts House Committee on Post Audit and Oversight.

The aid included food stamps and welfare benefits to the Tsarnaevs’ parents and to Katherine Russell, Tamerlan’s wife.  Dzhokhar Tsarnaev also received student financial aid and forbearance (although he probably omitted income from drug sales and auto repair referral kickbacks on his student aid application).

Public benefits, being somewhat fungible, free up money for the recipient to put toward purposes separate from what was intended.  During the period of time that Katherine Russell received food stamps and welfare payments (2011 through 2012), Tamerlan was able to fly to Russia in early 2012 to seek out radical connections.  In effect, the benefits that Tamerlan and Katherine received through her name may have enabled the purchase of Tamerlan’s plane ticket to the jihadi rat’s nest of the North Caucasus.

The question of public benefits funding terrorists in Boston comes after years of ongoing scandals documented in Great Britain, where dangerous Islamists like Abu YahyaAnjem ChoudaryEmdadur Choudhury, and Abu Qatada have had their homeswelfare benefits, and legal expenses paid from taxpayer money.  “Twentieth” 9/11 hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui also received welfare benefits in England, along with the family of Abu Hamza.  Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia have also dealt with the same exploitation of their generous public benefit programs by Islamists.

Several of these abuses probably occurred because of guidance that individual benefit recipients received from radical imams in their communities. Deceased terrorist imam Anwar al-Awlaki once wrote in Inspire magazine that, “All of our [Islamic] scholars agree on the permissibility of taking away the wealth of the disbelievers in dār al-ĥarb [the non-Muslim world] whether by means of force or by means of theft or deception,” for the purposes of carrying out jihad.  And the same Anjem Choudary mentioned above once encouraged Muslims living in the U.K. to collect public benefits as “jihad seeker’s allowance” instead of getting a job.

In light of this problem, it may be time to contemplate whether government agencies that issue public benefits should be required to adhere to the same know-your-customer provisions and due diligence requirements under which private sector financial institutions already operate.

Read more at The Terror Finance Blog

Two Americans Arrested for Plans to Join Syrian Jihadists

Syrian rebel fighters

By Ryan Mauro:

Two Americans were arrested in the past few days as the Syrian civil war attracts Western recruits. One sought to join Hezbollah and the other took the side of an Al-Qaeda affiliate, but both believed they were fulfilling a commandment to wage jihad against the infidel.

************

Syrian jihadists have a sophisticated network in America, including those favorable to Al-Qaeda-linked groups. One opposition group linked to the Muslim Brotherhood has received over $12 million in U.S. government assistance.

Another Islamist named Sheikh Osama al-Rifai has used the Syrian Sunrise Foundation to raise over $3.6 million in one tour, bringing him to Florida, Illinois, Texas, Indiana, California and Michigan. His fundraising pitch was that any donor qualifies as a “jihadist for Allah.” One event was held at the influential Mosque Foundation that is part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood network.

In January, a terrorism-supporting imam named Sheikh Mohammad Rateb al-Nabulsi came to the U.S. to fundraise for Syrian “rebels” in 11 cities with help from a group called the Syrian American Council. One of the fundraisers was held at the Islamic Center of Passaic County in N.J. Other events took place in Florida, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Virginia.

In the 1980s, Afghanistan acted as the incubator for a generation of terrorists. It was the one spot where aspiring jihadists could go to get everything they needed, especially fighting experience. Other Muslims, innocently hoping to stop oppression, became radicalized on the battlefield.

Syria is modern-day equivalent. The civil war could end tomorrow, but the jihad it intensified will go on.

Read more at Clarion Project

Also see:

Recognizing the risks of Somali remittances

Somali HawalaBy  A.D. Kendall:

Last week, Bell State Bank in North Dakota announced that it would stop doing business with companies that remit money to Somalia.  The move follows decisions by Minnesota banks in 2011 to stop providing Somali remittance services, and an attempt by Barclays last year to cut off its partnership with Dahabshiil, a money transfer company with primary operations in Somalia.  The banks have been challenged in courts on both sides of the Atlantic, and advocacy groups have heavily criticized the banks’ decisions on humanitarian grounds.

Indeed, humanitarian considerations are of the utmost importance.  Unfortunately, money transferred to Somalia, particularly through Dahabshiil, all too often falls into the wrong hands and perpetuates the cycle of violence in Somalia.  Banks should stand fast in their original decisions, and here are five reasons why:

1.  The risks are real.  The frequency of cases involving Somalis in the West transferring funds to al-Shabaab over the last few years presents genuine concerns to financial institutions.  For instance, four men in California were found guilty last year of transferring money to al-Shabaab through Shidaal Express, a Somali hawala business.  Two Somali women in Minnesota were sentenced in 2013 for sending money to al-Shabaab through several remittance channels including local hawala dealers and Dahabshiil.  A Saudi-American was also indicted last year for wiring money to al-Shabaab.  In 2012, a man in London admitting transferring £8,900 to fighters in Somalia.  Danish intelligence revealed in 2012 that the equivalent of thousands of dollars a day is sent to terrorist organizations outside of Denmark—mostly to Somalia, and often unwittingly.

Apart from the risks on the ground in Somalia, Western banks have real reasons for concern that if they continue relationships with Dahabshiil, they could subsequently be fined by regulators at a future date if political winds change.  U.S. banks are surely aware, for example, that decisions on whether to fine, settle with, or prosecute banks with lax compliance programs have a great deal to do with the shifting political and prosecutorial priorities of whoever happens to be in charge at the Department of Justice and the financial regulatory agencies.  One official may take a very friendly view toward facilitating Somali remittances this year, but a different person will be calling the shots two years from now.

2. The risks are not decreasing.  Gone are the days of 2012 when al-Shabaab appeared to be on the ropes in 2012 both financially and militarily.  Al-Shabaab was able to turn around its financial situation after the fall of Kismayo by cutting deals with occupying forces.  Al-Shabaab continues to profit from imposing taxes on commodities such as charcoal and sugar, and their role as ivory trade middlemen between poachers and buyers appears to be growing.  Al-Shabaab is still capable of carrying out devastating strikes such as the Westgate Mall attack and the recent assault against Somalia’s presidential palace that left 11 dead.

Read more at The Terror Finance Blog

A.D. Kendall has been blogging about terrorist financing since 2009 at moneyjihad.wordpress.com Follow him on twitter @MoneyJihad

Experts: Iran Exerting Troubling Influence in Latin America

Guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC / AP

Guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC / AP

By :

Iran and its terrorist proxy groups’ influence in Latin America remains a troubling security threat to the region and world, experts said at a congressional hearing on Tuesday.

Hezbollah, a Shiite terrorist group based in Lebanon and sponsored by Iran, has established illicit networks in Latin America in the last few decades to provide millions annually for its global operations, experts on the region told the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade.

Those networks involve money laundering, counterfeiting, piracy, and drug trafficking in cooperation with local criminal groups like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Celina Realuyo, assistant professor of national security affairs at the National Defense University, said the “convergence” of terror and crime networks in Latin America presents a significant threat to regional and global security.

“These types of illicit actors, terror providers, and criminals, a lot of them are offering and brokering services but may not espouse the ideological fervor that other groups have,” she said. “But they’re offering a lot of special services—a terror pipeline—where you see this very unholy alliance between terror groups and criminal groups who have a win-win.”

The witnesses’ testimony on Tuesday appeared to contradict a State Departmentreport issued last year that downplayed the threat of Iran and Hezbollah in the Western Hemisphere and was sharply criticized by some lawmakers and terrorism experts.

Realuyo said a lot of fundraising for Hezbollah in the region cannot be “separated out” from the illicit operations of local criminal groups.

Douglas Farah, senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Americas Program, added that just because ties between Hezbollah and groups like FARC seem opaque does not mean they are nonexistent.

“It’s hard to get through the policy perception that [they’re] not there,” he said.

Realuyo pointed to three recent cases as evidence of the links between Hezbollah and criminal groups in Latin America.

Read more at Free Beacon

More on Hezbollah activities in Latin America: http://counterjihadreport.com/category/latin-america/

South Carolina Smuggling Ring Linked to Muslim Brotherhood

cig smuggling

A similar case occurred in the 1990s where the Hezbollah terrorist group was financed through the illegal sale of cigarettes.

By Ryan Mauro:

A mosque in South Carolina that is linked to a cigarette smuggling ring has links to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Clarion Project has found.

Authorities have unsealed an indictment charging the president of the Central Mosque of Charleston, Nasser Alquza, with illegally selling cigarettes after being caught in a sting operation. Ten other individuals were also charged.

The investigation began in 2009 when the government learned that one of the defendants was trying to buy cigarettes in the Carolinas below their regular price. The suspected objective was to sell them for profit at other states with higher sales taxes without paying the government as required.

According to the indictment, Alquza paid $7.5 million to undercover government agents for almost 7,000 boxes of cigarettes. The conspirators used businesses to hide the money they earned from the illegal sales. If it would have been a legitimate sale, the defendants would have received over $15 million.

The Investigative Project on Terrorism points out that there was a very similar case in Charlotte, N.C. in the 1990s where the Hezbollah terrorist group was financed through the illegal sale of cigarettes.

The website of Nasser Alquza’s Central Mosque of Charleston shows it has linkages to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Article XVII of its published bylaws states that if the mosque is dissolved then “all remaining assets of the mosque shall be turned over to the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) or such other Islamic Center…”

The North American Islamic Trust describes itself a “historical Islamic equivalent of an American trust or endowment.” The organization says it holds the titles of over 325 properties in 42 states.

NAIT was identified as a Muslim Brotherhood entity by the FBI as early as 1987. A 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood memo confirmed that NAIT is one of “our organizations and the organizations of our friends” and stated that the network’s goal is to wage a “kind of grand jihad in America … by eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within …”

Read more at Clarion Project

Global Terrorism and Saudi Arabia: Bandar’s Terror Network

Saudi spymaster Bandar bin Sultan

Saudi spymaster Bandar bin Sultan

By Prof. James Petras, h/t @El_Grillo1

Saudi Arabia has all the vices and none of the virtues of an oil rich state like Venezuela.  The country is governed by a family dictatorship which tolerates no opposition and severely punishes human rights advocates and political dissidents.  Hundreds of billions in oil revenues are controlled by the royal despotism and fuel speculative investments the world over.  The ruling elite relies on the purchase of Western arms and US military bases for protection.  The wealth of productive nations is syphoned to enrich the conspicuous consumption of the Saudi ruling family.  The ruling elite finances the most fanatical, retrograde, misogynist version of Islam, “Wahhabi” a sect of Sunni Islam.

Faced with internal dissent from repressed subjects and religious minorities, the Saudi dictatorship perceives threats and dangers from all sides:  overseas, secular, nationalists and Shia ruling governments; internally, moderate Sunni nationalists, democrats and feminists; within the royalist cliques, traditionalists and modernizers.  In response it has turned toward financing, training and arming an international network of Islamic terrorists who are directed toward attacking, invading and destroying regimes opposed to the Saudi clerical-dictatorial regime.

The mastermind of the Saudi terror network is Bandar bin Sultan, who has longstanding and deep ties to high level US political, military and intelligence officials.  Bandar was trained and indoctrinated at Maxwell Air Force Base and Johns Hopkins University and served as Saudi Ambassador to the US for over two decades (1983 – 2005).  Between 2005 – 2011 he was Secretary of the National Security Council and in 2012 he was appointed as Director General of the Saudi Intelligence Agency.  Early on Bandar became deeply immersed in clandestine terror operations working in liaison with the CIA.  Among his numerous “dirty operations” with the CIA during the 1980s, Bandar channeled $32 million dollars to the Nicaragua Contra’s engaged in a terror campaign to overthrow the revolutionary Sandinista government in Nicaragua.  During his tenure as ambassador he was actively engaged in protecting Saudi royalty with ties to the 9/11/01 bombing of the Triple Towers and the Pentagon.  Suspicion that Bandar and his allies in the Royal family had prior knowledge of the bombings by Saudi terrorists (11 of the 19), is suggested by the sudden flight of Saudi Royalty following the terrorist act.  US intelligence documents regarding the Saudi-Bandar connection are under Congressional review.

With a wealth of experience and training in running clandestine terrorist operations, derived from his two decades of collaboration with the US intelligence agencies, Bandar was in a position to organize his own global terror network in defense of the isolated retrograde and vulnerable Saudi despotic monarchy.

Read more at Global Research

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From Saudi Arabia with Terror: Controversy Highlights Saudi Ties to Chechen Jihad

Exclusive to the Religious Freedom Coalition
Andrew E. Harrod, PHD explores the feud between Vladimir Putin and Prince Bandar bin Sultan

Given that the “Chechen groups that threaten…the games are controlled by us,” Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan allegedly promised to “guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics” to Russian President Vladimir Putin during an August 2013 Moscow visit.  Even if untrue, this story surrounding Bandar’s visit raises disturbing questions about ongoing Saudi ties to Chechen jihadists.

Prince of terror?

Prince of terror?

According to reported leaks, Bandar’s comments came in the context of various offers designed to induce Russian abandonment of its Syrian client Bashar al-Assad, currently embattled by Saudi-supported rebels.  The Bandar controversy from August remains ominous given ongoing attacks by Chechen jihadists across Russia.  A December 29, 2013, Volgograd train station suicide bombing, for example, killed 18, only to be followed the next day in the city by a trolleybus suicide bombing claiming an additional 16 lives.

Volgograd is a key transportation hub on the way to Russia’s volatile Caucasus region including Chechnya and the Black Sea city of Sochi, where the 2014 Winter Olympics will open on February 7. Doku Umarov, Chechen “emir” of the terrorist Imarat Kavkaz (IK or Caucasus Emirate), called in a July 3, 2013, online videofor the games’ disruption. Umarov condemned the Olympics as “satanic dances on the bones of our ancestors.”

Past evidence suggests that Bandar could have made a veiled threat concerning Chechen jihadists to Putin.  Chechens seeking independence from Russia following the Soviet Union’s 1991 dissolution were initially largely secular.  Yet jihadist groups through the years such as those from Al Qaeda “have increasingly sought to co-opt the Chechen movement as their own,” Islamism scholar Lorenzo Vidino has noted.  As a result, the Russian military estimated in 2003 that Arabs were about one-fifth of Chechnya’s some 1,000 active fighters, providing the Chechens with most of their expertise in communications in mine laying.

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Do the Saudis really control the terrorists they court? by Paul Sperry

Group Run by al Qaeda Terrorist Invited to Brief Dems on Drone Policy

Yemenis protest against U.S. drone strikes targeting al Qaeda militants / AP

Yemenis protest against U.S. drone strikes targeting al Qaeda militants / AP

By :

The representative of a human rights group headed by a designated al Qaeda terrorist was denied a visa by the State Department after being invited by congressional Democrats to discuss drone strikes.

Mohammad Al Ahmady, the Yemen director for Geneva-based NGO Al Karama, was expected to brief Reps. Alan Grayson (D., Fla.), Barbara Lee (D., Calif.), and Jan Schakowsky (D., Ill.) the morning of the Nov. 19, according to press release from Grayson’s office.

Ahmady, who also serves as a top official in an al Qaeda-linked Yemeni political party, did not attend because of visa issues. The State Department said it could not comment on visa matters.

Several Al Karama officials have faced terrorism allegations. Al Karama’s founder and current president Abdul Rahman Naimi was designated as a terrorist and al Qaeda supporter by the U.S. Treasury Department in December, along with the group’s Yemen representative Abdulwahab Al-Humayqani. Al Karama’s legal director, Rachid Mesli, is currently wanted for terrorism charges in Algeria.

Schakowsky’s office referred questions to Grayson and Lee, saying the other offices led the briefing.

“She is listed as a member attending the briefing, the briefing was led by the other 2 offices,” said a spokesperson in an email.

A spokesperson for Grayson said Ahmady did not actually attend the briefing and that the terrorist designation of Al Karama’s president was “not in place at the time of the briefing, so again, we had no reason to suspect any wrongdoing on the part of Mohammad [Al Ahmady].”

Lee’s office did not respond to request for comment.

Al Karama executive director Mourad Dhina said he was unsurprised the State Department turned down Ahmady’s visa request.

“To be frank, it was not a big surprise to us, because obviously the report [that Al Karama had recently published on U.S. drone strikes in Yemen and that Ahmady was going to present] was not something to be welcomed by the U.S. government,” Dhina said. “We hoped that Mr. Ahmady would have been able to come and present the thing and debate things with whoever would be interested in debating that.”

National security hawks blasted the Democrats for seeking advice on U.S. policy from a group run by an apparent al Qaeda supporter.

“More than a decade into this war, people serious about American national security need to look at how our leaders can be so consistently fooled by groups like Al Karama, who warn about empowering al Qaeda in public but fund the jihadist group in private,” said the Center for Security Policy’s David Reaboi.

Read more at Free Beacon

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