Archive for June, 2011

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Cohen adds Iran sanctions to get promoted

June 30, 2011

According to The Cable, David Cohen’s nomination to become Treasury’s new undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence is “back on track.”

Cohen’s nomination had been delayed because of concerns about the Obama administration’s lack of tenacity in enforcing anti-Iran sanctions laws.  Cohen, a former Clinton lawyer with little understanding of terrorist financing methods, responded to the delay by jumping through whatever hoops the Senate created in order to get confirmed.

This included the recent addition of sanctions against ten companies tied to Iran’s nefarious state shipping firm (IRISL) and a designation against Venezuela’s state oil company for selling gasoline to Iran.

But going after IRISL and Chavez wasn’t enough. 

It took sanctions against Iran Air and Tidewater Middle East, Iran’s major airline and port operator, to make Cohen’s final sale to the Senate.  Once those designations were announced, Sen. Ron Kirk wrote:

I applaud Acting Under Secretary David Cohen for moving decisively to designate Iran Air and a major Iranian port operator responsible for facilitating Iran’s illicit transfer of weapons and other proliferation activities. Both designations will significantly restrict shipping to and from Iran and put even more pressure on the Iranian economy.  Under Secretary Cohen has proven himself to be a worthy successor to former Under Secretary Levey. He has my confidence.

Political horse trading is what it is, but Mr. Cohen is still an unwise selection for the post for reasons discussed here.  A positive outcome of the whole seedy transaction is that the sanctions regime, which even Democrat Senator Bob Menendez called a “paper tiger,” has become stronger.

However, the enterprising Avi Jorisch recently noted that the sanctions “are not working” partly because of the large number of loopholes in the sanctions regime against Iranian banks that are involved with funding Iran’s nuclear program.  Specifically, Europe allows pre-existing bank relationships to continue, and only prohibits new ones.  Jorisch explains:

Unfortunately, many banks continue to do business with Tehran’s illicit financial industry, and this undermines the sanctions effort. Many of Iran’s designated banks, including those named by the United Nations and the European Union, have a number of branches in countries such as China, Russia, Italy, South Korea, France, Iraq, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, among others. Indeed, some of America’s closest allies have publicly claimed their support for sanctions, while at the same time, allowed the Iranian regime free access to hard currency and the international financial sector.

Quietly, European policymakers have said that designated branches can continue to operate in their jurisdictions as long as the transactions relate to contracts signed prior to the UN designation. No new business is allowed, not even “getting new phone lines.” Yet in practice, this loophole allows Iranian banks to maintain their business licenses in Europe, and continue to operate as they did before. In other words, as long as Iran signed a contract with a European company the day before UN sanctions were enacted, European officials are willing to look the other way.

Perhaps the Senate should have held out until these loopholes were shored up as well.

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Link teases

June 29, 2011

• To ease Taliban peace talks, the U.N. will split its list of terrorists in two:  the irreconcilables & those to slip under the sheets with… more>>

• Congressional staffers aren’t happy about a growing “a culture of aid dependency” in Afghanistan.  But what do the Republicans think?  more>>

• We’ll just need a few of your British tax dollars to fund a lawsuit that my cocooned wife and I have against the French burqa ban… more>>

• “What’s wrong?” she asked. “Oh nothing,” said the dismayed inspector looking up from his ledger, “just the largest theft of funds in national history”… more>>

• “Engaging in riba, or the charging of interest? Haram! Blowing up the bank and making off with the cash? Halal!” writes Marisolmore>>

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IRS revokes CAIR’s tax-exempt status

June 28, 2011

The IRS has revoked the tax-exempt status of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.  CAIR hasn’t filed a single 990, a fairly simple tax form required for most nonprofit organizations to submit, in over three years!  (See our related coverage here from last year.)  This is in line with a pattern of slipshod accounting, misappropriation, unknown overheads, missing money, mysterious spending, and unacceptable financial controls by Islamic entities throughout the world.

The Investigative Project on Terrorism hints that CAIR did not file the required paperwork because it would reveal their reliance on foreign funding sources.  That is plausible because, if you were the attorney for CAIR, you too would probably make the decision that it’s better to lose your tax-exempt status than it would be to be prosecuted in federal court for violating FARA, the Foreign Agents Registration Act.  (CAIR’s FARA problem is documented here, which was exacerbated by CAIR’s servile request to Libyan looney-toon Muamar Qaddafi.)  Violations of FARA carry up to a five year prison sentence.

But as a co-conspirator with the Holy Land Foundation in its scheme to fund Hamas, CAIR could be concealing far worse truths than its Gulf revenue stream.  Missing 990s not only means that we don’t know CAIR’s funding sources, but we don’t know much about their expenditures either.  CAIR’s historic involvement in terror finance schemes is chilling.

From the Politico (which notes that CAIR lied to their own reporter for this story) on June 23:

CAIR loses nonprofit status

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has lost its nonprofit status, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

The civil rights group, long accused of ties to radical Islam, is on a list of 275,000 organizations who have not filed the requisite paperwork with the IRS to maintain nonprofit status. Tax law requires annual disclosure of assets, expenditures and salaries for 501(c) nonprofits. Both CAIR and sister organization CAIR Foundation have lost their status.

A CAIR attorney initially told POLITICO that its appearance on the IRS list referred to a defunct arm of the nonprofit, and that CAIR and CAIR foundation were unaffected — a claim that a review of the IRS documents did not support. CAIR then told POLITICO the IRS was to blame, citing a number of other errors that have occurred on the IRS list. However, CAIR could not produce their IRS disclosure forms for 2007 through 2010 — which are required to be open for public inspection.

“We are looking into all of these issues and are working with the IRS to clear things up,” CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper told POLITICO. “CAIR was clearly not targeted or singled in any way by the IRS.”

CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in a landmark terrorism financing trial in Texas. Some Islamic charities facing federal investigations have been advised by attorneys not to file IRS paperwork for legal reasons, but there is no evidence that CAIR is currently the target of a federal probe.

Incidentally, the move helps IRS catch up with its Canadian counterpart, Canada Revenue Agency, which has so far been more agressive on revoking the tax-exempt status of nefarious Islamic charities.

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Nine banks hoodwinked by IRISL

June 27, 2011

Iran, the grand Shia deceiver, managed to trick nine New York bank houses into making transactions on behalf of their shipping industry in violation of U.S. sanctions laws.  Iran is known to use its own banks and international banks to funnel money back into its nuclear programs.  At least this time they were eventually discovered, $60 million later…

From MoneyLaundering.com on June 21:

Banks Receive Praise and a Warning in Press Conference Announcing Indictments Tied to Iranian Shipper

By Brian Monroe and Kieran Beer

Banks were the subject of praise and a warning at a press conference on Monday unveiling a 317 count indictment against 11 corporations and five individuals for their alleged participation in a conspiracy involving an Iranian shipping company.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance characterized nine banks as victims of deception when they processed more than $60 million of payments for the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) in violation of U.S. sanctions.

The banks “were not complicit in any way, but on the contrary have been very helpful” during the 14-month investigation that culminated in the indictments, said Adam Kaufmann, who is chief of the investigative division in the district attorney’s office.

And, the efforts of the nine large clearing banks to aid the district attorney’s investigation were “very aggressive and very sophisticated,” according to Adam Szubin, director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the U.S. Treasury Department agency tasked with managing U.S. economic sanctions, who also took part in the press conference.

But Vance added that “to the extent there are banks that are banking sanctioned entities or not paying enough attention, this indictment is a continuing indication that our office and OFAC are watching carefully and will take action when we see intentional, pervasive efforts to violate federal and state law.”

IRISL and 15 others set up shell companies in Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates in order to fool major New York-based dollar clearing banks into processing about $63 million in transactions, according to the indictment.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Lloyds assures it insures no terror

June 26, 2011

English whorehouse Lloyds of London will fight the assertion that their insurance claim payouts fund terrorism.  However, it is difficult to understand how paying a ransom to a terrorist on behalf of a insured client who has been abducted does not fund said terrorist.

Insuring against the ransoms of the sea jihad has turned out to be quite lucrative for the insurance salesmen and pirates.  Piracy insurance also enables governments to relieve themselves from the unseemly public spectacle of negotiating with or paying terrorists with tax dollars.

The piracy insurance boom is a logical outcome of the sea jihad, and the blame should fall mostly on the jihadists themselves.  But lets not kid ourselves about who is being enriched when ransoms are paid.

From Bloomberg on June 17 (h/t The Terror Finance Blog):

Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London, the world’s oldest insurance market, are reviewing the assertion of a U.S. lawmaker that ransoms paid to Somali pirates may fund a terror group, which would stop insurers covering the costs.

Kenya’s government estimates 30 percent of the ransoms are channeled to al-Shabaab, Representative Ed Royce said at a meeting of a subcommittee of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on June 15, according to a transcript on Bloomberg. Al- Shabaab is described as a terror group with links to al-Qaeda by the U.S.’s National Counterterrorism Center.

“We would not necessarily be able to indemnify ship owners if they paid a ransom to a terrorist group, if that turns out to be the case,” said Neil Roberts, the senior executive for underwriting at the Lloyd’s Market Association in London. “If they can’t get their ship or crew out they may have to decide on re-routing, with implications for costs that would be passed on to the wider economy.”

Somali pirates attacked 154 ships this year and hijacked 26 vessels as of June 13, according to data from the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Report Centre. Ransoms rose 36-fold in five years, averaging $5.4 million a ship, and hijackings reached a record last year, according to One Earth Future Foundation, a non-profit group based in Louisville, Colorado.

Al-Shabaab commanders have spoken of a “sea jihad” and opened an office to coordinate with pirates, Royce told the hearing this week, according to the transcript. Royce, a California Republican, is chairman of the Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade Subcommittee.

Piracy costs ship owners an estimated $160 million a year in additional insurance expenses, Roberts said. The U.S. bans ransom payments to pirates, while the U.K. bars giving money to terror groups, he said. There have been an estimated 130 ransoms paid to pirates since 2005, Roberts said. The association represents underwriters managing gross premium income of 23 billion pounds ($37 billion).

Pirates increased attacks seven-fold between 2007 and 2010 and doubled their area of operation to cover 2.5 million square nautical miles, according to Royce.

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Taliban tax men stopped dead in tracks

June 24, 2011

In the early days of Islam, Muhammad sent one of his ten favorite people, Abu ‘Ubaida bin Al-Jarrah, on a tax expedition to Bahrain.  The money Ubaida collected there became the bedrock of treasury of the burgeoning caliphate.  Thus began an Islamic tradition of tax plundering that would last fourteen centuries and counting.

Earlier this month, a Taliban group would attempt repeat the tradition established by Muhammad and Ubaida by setting forth into Qadis District of Badghis Province in northwest Afghanistan.  But it didn’t work out quite so well as they had planned.

Could you use a little good news today?  From Tolo News on June 13 (h/t Rantburg):

32 Taliban Militants Killed in Badghis Province

At least 32 Taliban militants and 4 Afghan National Army were killed in a joint Afghan and foreign forces’ operation in Badghis province on Sunday night, local officials said.

The operation was launched in Qades district of Badghis province yesterday during which 25 other militants were wounded, Gen. Shahzada, the commander of 207 Zafar military corps, told TOLOnews reporter.

There were no civilian casualties during the operation, he added.

Some militants had come to Qades district to collect money from the residents, but Afghan and Nato forces targeted them, Mr Shahzada said.

He said some Taliban local commanders have been killed in the operation as Nato targeted them by air.

The Taliban have not yet commented about the operation.

Militants have recently become active in some provinces targeting Afghan forces in the country.

Afghan and foreign forces have also launched many military operations in the country to wipe out the insurgents.

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Pak Taliban taxes miners per the Hadith

June 23, 2011

The Hadith (Sahih Bukhari 2.24.575) says, “Khumus is compulsory on Rikaz.”  Khumus, or khums, means one-fifth–here referring to a one-fifth tax.  Whether it’s a pirate’s chest or oil & minerals, rikaz means buried treasure.

This is why Islamists love to see 20 percent oil royalties or 20 percent taxes on mineral discoveries (see here and here for related coverage).

Consequently, the news that the Pakistani Taliban has been levying a tax on coal miners, and abducting or killing them if they don’t pay it, comes as little surprise.  The “experts” in Washington, D.C., will continue telling us that we need to worry about “criminal activity” used to fund terrorism.  The real concern should be about “Koranic activity” which is used to fund terrorism on a far wider basis.

From Dawn (h/t Rantburg) on June 12:

Militants kidnap 18 miners from Darra

KOHAT, June 11: About 100 armed militants belonging to Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) attacked heavily-guarded Darra Adamkhel and kidnapped 18 coalminers from Akhorwal area late on Friday night.

0fficials said that the TTP of Tariq Afridi group, which supports Hakeemullah Mehsud, penetrated into the area in the night from Tora Chinna area, which connects Darra Adamkhel with Khyber Agency.

They abducted 26 miners some of whom were also armed. Some people showed resistance and fired at the militants and escaped from their custody, but 18 men were taken away to Khyber Agency.

The security forces and political administration learnt about the incident on Saturday morning and conducted a search operation for the recovery of the kidnapped miners, who were taken across the tribal borders by that time.

The coalmines were taken over by the armed lashkar of the area when the TTP started collecting monthly tax from the miners and asked them to stop providing any kind of assistance to the army or the political administration. The sources said that the TTP had been killing and kidnapping people of those tribes in the past, who ferried food and water to the security forces trenched in the high mountains.

They said that lashkar men had refused to fulfill their demands and challenged their atrocities in Darra Adamkhel. They said that the opponent Momin Khan Afridi group, which leads the lashkar, had been asking the TTP to end their terror in Darra and threats to the local parliamentarians and businessmen because they were innocent and could not afford to support any side.

The sources said that the TTP of Tariq Afridi tried to kill his opponent, Momin Afridi, and his commanders in a suicide attack at a mosque during Friday prayers in Atariwal area. But Momin Afridi was not present in the area on that day.

Later, the TTP in a telephonic message warned the tribesmen of Atariwal to stop supporting Momin Afridi otherwise more attacks would be conducted against his tribe. The Atariwal sub-tribe of Momin Afridi group lives in the main Akhorwal area of Darra Adamkhel from where 18 miners had been kidnapped.

Momin Khan Afridi group formed a parallel Islami Taliban Momin Afridi Group in 2008 to flush out the TTP.

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