h1

Central American gangs cash in from extortion

July 29, 2014

Guatemalan crooks net $61 million annually

Contributing to the exodus from the Northern Triangle to the U.S. border, gangs and copycat criminals are shaking down Central American businessmen for hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

Guatemalans alone are being hosed for $61 million a year according to that country’s interior ministry.  Shares of the extortion proceeds are sent up the chain of command to key regional gangs including Barrio 18, Mara Salvatrucha, and Los Paisas, which perpetuates the cycle of violence.

Previous attempts to bring the extortion rackets under control have been unsuccessful.

The violence and extortion problem contribute to the flight of illegal immigrants toward North America.  Human smuggling “coyotes” have successfully recruited children to make the trip, telling them that they would be granted legal status in the U.S. based on the Obama administration’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” policy.  Besides, there are few opportunities locally other than joining up with the gangsters and extortionists.

The U.S., Mexico, and Northern Triangle countries have to take the extortion developments very seriously.  It’s not just political and it’s not just about illegal immigration.  Unchecked extortion can be a key driver in spinning a society out of control.

The amount of money involved is a growing and significant factor.  The Central American gangs don’t have as much money yet as the FARC in Columbia, but they’re getting closer to that level.

h1

Warsame’s song about Dahabshiil’s blood money

July 28, 2014

Singer and Somali politician Saado Ali Warsame, slain by al-Shabaab gunmen last week, debuted a protest song in 2011 entitled, “Dhiigshiil ha dhigan” (“Don’t Deposit with Dahabshiil” or “Don’t send your money through Dahabshiil“). The song was a rebuke of the remittance company Dahabshiil, and asserted that the money Dahabshiil makes off of Somalis “is destroying our land” and “will kill our children.”  Unlike Warsame’s typically upbeat, jaunty numbers, “Diighshiil ha dhigan” opens with a world-weary, almost mournful tone that gives way to a Reggae sound throughout the rest of the song.

The 13-minute music video itself, apparently produced by Xildhiban Publications, shows scenes of armed Somali men and the victims of their violence spliced with scenes of Warsame performing and a graphic of a Kalashnikov firing across two blood-soaked words, “Dahabshiil” and “Dhiigshiil.” In Somali, “shiil” means “to smelt,” fry, or melt; “dahab” means “gold;” and “dhiig” means blood. The play on words suggests that rather than being a “gold-smelting” financial company, Dahabshiil is a actually blood-smelter.

Dubious money services business

Graphic from Warsame’s 2011 music video

Ahmed Yassin, a Somali in Canada, provided Money Jihad with a translation of the lyrics for “Dhiigshiil ha dhigan”:

They call him “Melting Blood” to manipulate the public,
He has lot of money to make sure Mogadishu will never be at peace,
He is the enemy of Somalia,
Somalis, do not deposit your money to his banks.
He is real tribalism; he is destroying our land,
The money he is making from us will kill our children,
Somalis, do not deposit your money to his banks.

Clearly, the lyrics pull no punches.  After the song first came out, the website Microkhan reviewed it here, editorializing that “If I was an executive at Dahabshiil, I would be very nervous right about now.” Additional descriptions of the song appear here and here.

Here is a written version of the (Latin alphabet) Somali lyrics according to Youtube video descriptions. Money Jihad is copying them here for the record because statements that put Dahabshiil in a negative light have a tendency to vanish or be suppressed in Internet searches.

“Dhiigshiil ha dhigan”

Candho iyo dhugatoow qabaa,
dhukaanbaa ku raagayoo,
dhilmaayaa daashatoo,
Cagaarshoow baa ku dhacay.
indha caseeyaa ku dhacay.
Ha dhigan Dhiigshiil ha dhigan
Dhiigshiil waxaa loo dhahaa,
Xaaraan buu ku dhisanyoo,
wuxuu dhagrayaa bulshada,
midnimaduu dhantaalayaa!!
Ha dhigan ,Dhiigshiil ha dhigan
Ibliisbaa dhaansadoo,
kolkuu dhergeybuu ka daray,
wuxuu kibirkii u dhalay,
inuu dhex fariisto qurun.

h1

Dahabshiil offices closed for skipping payment to al-Shabaab

July 26, 2014

Somali news outlets reported on July 12 that several Dahabshiil offices in southern Somalia were ordered to close after the money transfer company failed to make required “sako” [zakat] payments to the al-Shabaab terrorist organization.

According to Radio Kulmiye, Middle and Lower Juba offices in Bu’aale, Saakoow, Salagle, and Jilib have been ordered to close. The same development was also reported by Shiniile News, and the website Dayniile says that “feet dragging” by Dahabshiil on making the payments is what prompted the closures.

According to some Somali news outlets, Dahabshiil routinely gives money to al-Shabaab, which the remittance company denies. For whatever reason, payments are occasionally decreased or delayed, and al-Shabaab threatens Dahabshiil in order for payments to resume. The most noteworthy example of this was the April 2, 2013, bombing by al-Shabaab of Dahabshiil’s office in Mogadishu because of a short payment.

The reason you haven’t read about this elsewhere is because English-language media simply don’t report on Dahabshiil’s ongoing financial relationship with al-Shabaab. But the compliance division of Barclays bank is likely aware of such reports, which has why it has tried desperately and rightly to sever ties with Dahabshiil.

h1

Singer shot dead after saying Somali bank funds terror

July 25, 2014
Somali super star singer

MP Saado Ali Warsame

Saado Ali Warsame, a well-known singer and member of parliament in Somali, was assassinated Wednesday on the streets of Mogadishu near the Ambassador Hotel. The jihadist organization Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the murder.

The BBC reports that “a spokesman for the Islamist al-Shabab group, Abdulaziz Abu Musab, told the BBC that she was targeted for her politics.”

Warsame herself believed that a bounty was offered for her killing by Dahabshiil, a UAE-based money transfer business that operates primarily in Somalia. In 2013, the news website Suna Times reported that Warsame had “accused Dahabshiil of putting a two million dollar bounty for her death, shortly after she released a song called Dahabshiil ha dhigan (‘Don’t Deposit with Dahabshiil’).” Money Jihad has been one of the only other English-language websites to cover those allegations.  Dahabshiil’s attorneys have previously denied the allegations in correspondence with Money Jihad.

Warsame’s album warned fans about Dahabshiil’s ‘linkage to tribalism and extremism,’ and satirized the company’s name, which means “goldsmith” by calling it Dhiigshiil, which means “bloodsmith.” Dahabshiil makes regular payments to al-Shabaab.

A dual U.S. citizen, Warsame’s family should demand a full investigation by federal authorities, and the family should consider legal action against the perpetrators.

Despite all the warning signs, prominent charities and spokesmen such as Olympics medalist Mo Farah have insisted that Barclays bank continue offering remittance services in conjunction with Dahabshiil. Those advocates for partnership with Dahabshiil should review this tragic case of Ms. Warsame.

Speaking at her funeral, Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed said, “We will never stop to hunt the criminals and we will punish them.” Let’s hope that is the case. Another East African musician, Nimo Djama, has also sung out against Dahabshiil’s role in terrorist financing. Officials in the UK and U.S. need to wake up about the threat of Dahabshiil before this happens again.

h1

News roundup: recommended reading

July 24, 2014
  • Congressman appearing on Al Jazeera declares “The owners of this TV network help fund Hamas,” and the interviewer doesn’t dispute him… more>>
  • World Net Daily interviews Money Jihad blogger A.D. Kendall on the funding of al-Shabaab and other jihadist groups in Africa… more>>
  • ISIS is looting antiquities, liquidating the history of mankind, and funding its own operations from the profits… more>>
  • The Washington Post declares, “U.S. should aid those who fight terror, not abet human rights abuses.” Are you listening, Saudi Arabia?  More>>
  • You find what you think is a great new international partner for your growing business. Before signing that contract with a foreign firm, hire a professional investigator with a physical presence in that country to conduct due diligencemore>>

 

h1

Terror finance trio: Qatar, Kuwait, and KSA

July 22, 2014

They left out Turkey. It is great that more people are coming to this realization and that books are being written about it, but it doesn’t seem to be significantly changing the policies of the West (apart from a growing rift between the U.S. and the Sunni powers in the region over how we’re dealing with Iran). We have yet to designate the major institutional terror donors in Qatar Saudi Arabia as terrorist entities. Kuwait was never blacklisted by FATF even though it took it 10 years after 9/11 to outlaw terrorist financing. NATO has retained Turkey as a member even though it is partnering with Al Qaeda in Syria and helps Iran evade sanctions. And we mostly ignored attacks by Qatari-backed rebels in Mali fighting against our oldest ally, France. Instead of doing something significant, we just nod our heads and say, “yep, the Gulf is where the money for terrorism comes from,” and then we turn the page of the newspaper to something else.

From VOA on July 7 (h/t El Grillo):

Islamist Insurgency Fueled by Global Finance Web

Jeffrey Young

The little cans were at cash registers everywhere in Kuwait, where I lived during much of the 1990s. Covered with pictures of children in anguish amid burning rubble, these cans collected coins and cash for “Palestinian Relief” or the like. Sometimes, I put my change into these cans, causing the person behind the counter to often give me a puzzled look. Then, I learned from my Kuwaiti friends that these collection cans were not always helping those kids – many were funding Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and other violent groups.

Now, 20 years later, there is an international web of finance that leads to deadly insurgents such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Part of it runs through so-called “charities,” while another funding stream for terrorists is enabled by official complicity. And, these sources also intersect.

Colin Clarke, author of an upcoming book titled “Terrorism Inc: The Funding of Terrorism, Insurgency, and Irregular Warfare” says much of the cash now pouring into ISIL and other violent groups comes from three regional sources.

“A key component of support to Sunni extremist groups [including ISIL] comes from wealthy individuals in the Arab Gulf states of Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia,” Clarke told VOA, adding “The majority of donors likely know exactly where their money is going. Some are blatant about it, while others enjoy the plausible deniability of ambiguity.”

Clarke also contends these three states are using this funding stream as a means of achieving influence with insurgent groups. “The Saudis,” he said, “are reportedly fearful of the threat posed by ISIL, but certainly contribute to radical groups, battling for a leadership role with Qatar, another country active in this funding.”

Kuwait has also allegedly kept the flames of insurgency fueled with cash. Until recently, one of those streams reportedly ran through Kuwait’s Aqaf, its Ministry of Islamic Affairs. In May, Aqaf Minister Nayef al-Ajmi resigned in the wake of accusations by a senior U.S. official that he was enabling terrorists…

h1

CNN documents Qatari funding of terror

July 21, 2014

The jihad in Syria against the Alawites has been wholeheartedly funded by millionaires in Qatar. The Qatari ministry of culture oversees some of the volunteer operations to fund terrorism like this, and counter-terrorism expert Juan Zarate says the financial support for jihad comes “from the top.” This isn’t new information, but seeing video of the players involved may help some people to grow up and out of the old-fashioned 1990s view of Qatar as an ally in the Gulf.

CNN’s Erin Burnett reports:

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,104 other followers