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Connecting Faisal’s financial dots

September 26, 2010

When it comes to following the financial clues behind Faisal Shahzad’s failed bombing of Times Square, all the connections seem to run through Pakistan.

From the Los Angeles Times on Sept. 9:

Pakistani authorities have charged three men with terrorism-related offenses for allegedly helping failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad prepare for the attempted May 1 attack by arranging meetings with top Pakistani Taliban leaders and sending him money, a senior police official in Islamabad said Wednesday.

The three men, Shahid Hussain, Shoaib Mughal and Humbal Akhtar, are relatively young, middle-class Pakistanis who have been close friends with Shahzad for several years, said Deputy Inspector Gen. Bin Yamin. They allegedly facilitated Shahzad’s training at Taliban boot camps in Pakistan’s largely ungoverned tribal areas and arranged for him to meet with Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mahsud.

When Shahzad ran short of money in the U.S. as he prepared for the bombing attempt, the three men sent him $13,000, Yamin said.

Say, where did three young Pakistani males get $13,000 in spare change in the first place?  They must have had a larger benefactor.

Next, on Sept. 17, we have this article entitled “US man of Pak-origin accused of funding Times Square bomber,” from the Indian Express:

Mohammad Younis, an immigrant from Pakistan living in the US, has been charged for providing money to Faisal Shahzad who has pleaded guilty for trying to blow up part of Times Square in May this year.

Younis, who lives in Long Island, allegedly gave thousands of dollars to Shahzad as part of a “hawala” money transfer from Pakistan, which has come under the spotlight in recent years for being used to funnel money to extremist groups.

However, 44-year-old Younis was unaware that money would be used in a terror plot, which had been hatched while Shahzad was training with the Taliban in Pakistan, according to the prosecution.

Younis, who has been charged for operating an unlicensed money transfer business and conspiracy, pleaded not guilty and could be sentenced up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

With legal prosecutions of Faisal’s financiers pointing back to Pakistan, one suspects that Pakistan’s intelligence service, the ISI, was aware of these financial transactions.  Or was the ISI the source of the $13,000 that Shahzad’s “friends” transferred to him?

Earlier this summer, L.A. writer Karen Fish argued that U.S. tax dollars ultimately funded Faisal Shahzad’s failed Time Square bombing through Pakistan and the ISI.  We don’t have rock solid proof, but it’s a perfectly plausible argument.

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