Archive for August, 2011

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Abbas stole $1.3 billion, says Dahlan

August 31, 2011

Mahmoud Abbas (code name: Abu Mazen) stole $1.3 billion from Yasser Arafat’s old rainy day fund of looted tax money according to a political opponent, Muhammad Dahlan.  The once $2 billion Palestinian Investment Fund (PIF) slush fund has long been under a well-deserved cloud of suspicion for corruption, cronyism, and nepotism.  (See here and here.)  This only reinforces our understanding of the horrible corruption and fathomless accounting of the Palestinian Authority.

(And yes, Hillary Clinton still wants unfettered access to U.S. tax dollars to continue transfers to the entities like the Palestinian Authority.)

From the Jerusalem Post:

Abbas ‘feels he’s above the law,’ charges Dahlan
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
07/31/2011

Ousted Fatah official Muhammad Dahlan over the weekend launched a scathing attack on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, accusing him of dictatorship and financial corruption.

He said that more than $1 billion have gone missing from a fund that was handed over to Abbas after he was elected president in 2005.

Dahlan’s attack on Abbas came after PA security forces raided the former Fatah commander’s home in Ramallah on Thursday, arresting his bodyguards and confiscating weapons and armored vehicles.

Dahlan was at home during the raid, which was carried out by dozens of security officers, but was not detained thanks to his parliamentary immunity.

Shortly thereafter, Dahlan left for Jordan through the Allenby Bridge, where he gave a series of interviews to Arab media outlets in which he strongly condemned Abbas, 76, and accused him of financial corruption and seeking to destroy Fatah.

“Abbas does not recognize any law, morals or values,” Dahlan said, referring to the raid on his home and last month’s decision to expel him from the Fatah Central Committee.

“Abbas feels that he’s above the law.”

Dahlan said that the dispute between Fatah and Hamas, and Israel’s presence in the West Bank, gave Abbas a “free hand to practice dictatorship against the Palestinian people, silence people and deny them their salaries.”

Dahlan said that the dispute with the PA president erupted after he demanded to know what had happened to $1.3b. that was in the account of the Palestinian Investment Fund.

The PIF was established in 2000 as an independent Palestinian investment company “committed to maximizing the assets’ value for its shareholder: the Palestinian people.”

According to its website, PIF’s chief objective is “to safeguard and consolidate the Palestinian people’s investments and property, both in Palestine and abroad.”

Dahlan said that after the death of Yasser Arafat, the responsibility for the fund was transferred to Abbas in 2005.

“This is money that Yasser Arafat had collected from Palestinian taxpayers for the day that we would need it,” Dahlan explained. “There aren’t more black days than today, where our employees are not receiving salaries. Why doesn’t he pay from this fund, which he controls personally? The PLO does not know about this sum.

This is documented money that was delivered to him [Abbas] from an international accounting company.”

Dahlan said that when he exposed the issue of the PIF last April, Abbas got furious. “He thinks that the sun can be covered with a sieve,” he added.

“Yasser Arafat worked strenuously to save this money for the ‘black day.’ Mahmoud Abbas thinks that the people don’t know where this money is and who received it. Now he’s admitting that there is only $700 million in the fund.

But the real sum should be about $2b.”

Read the rest of this entry ?

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GZM financier charged with insurance fraud

August 30, 2011

Anwar al-Awlaki has urged Muslims living in the West to participate in the money jihad by stealing, scamming, and taking advantage of whatever financial benefits they could extract from their host nations.  Specifcally, Al-Awlaki says that taking money from disbelievers is the “best and purest form of income” and quoting a Hanafi scholar, that stealing from people in the dar al-harb “is considered mubah (permitted) just like hunting or wood gathering.”

A primary financier behind the Ground Zero Mosque turns out to have done something like what al-Awlaki recommends.  Hisham Elzanaty apparently raked in $5 million by orchestrating a network of fake companies and clinics to submit bogus car insurance claims.

Many thanks to Sadie for sending this in:

Allstate has become the latest insurance company to accuse Hisham Elzanaty, one of the money men behind the so-called Ground Zero mosque development, of orchestrating a “highly developed and sophisticated kickback scheme” that allegedly reaped more than $5 million for Elzanaty and others. State Farm and Geico have also lodged similar allegations against Elzanaty.

According to Allstate’s complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Elzanaty and several others allegedly conspired with a licensed medical doctor to incorporate four professional service corporations and set up a scheme that took advantage of New York’s no-fault automobile insurance laws.

The complaint said the bills generated by the doctor, Jadwiga Pawlowski, were submitted to and paid by Allstate. However, Allstate argues the “lion’s share” of the funds collected were siphoned to a management company owned and controlled by Elzanaty.

The complaint also accuses Elzanaty of setting up a corporate entity that allowed him to open up several more medical professional service facilities and to “serve as the corporate veil behind which Elzanaty perpetrated the other aspects of his multimillion-dollar enterprise of fraud.”

In addition to Elzanaty, the complaint names Pawlowski, and others and several of the medical services facilities. The complaint accuses Elzanaty and the rest of the defendants of violating federal laws covering interstate commerce, racketeering, unjust enrichment and mail fraud. The complaint also alleges the defendants violated New York’s common law fraud and no-fault laws.

Can anybody still seriously believe the GZM-backers claims that they would raise the money for the mosque through donations “from Muslims in the neighborhood“??

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The world’s 5 richest terrorist groups

August 29, 2011

In terms of their annual operating budgets to the best of our knowledge at this time, the Taliban, Hezbollah, the FARC, Hamas, and al-Shabaab may be the wealthiest terrorist organizations in the world today.  Al Qaeda trails, but if all its affiliated organizations are included, Al Qaeda remains in the upper echelon of the world’s terror budgets.

1.  Taliban

Taliban nets between $70 and $400 million from drug activity (of which at least $15 to $25 million is collected as ushr, Islam’s 10 percent tax on harvests) annually.  In addition, the Taliban collects an estimated $150 to $200 million per year in zakat and sadaqa donations, mostly from the Arab nations of the Persian Gulf.  These figures exclude extensive Taliban revenues from ransoms, extortion, and improperly diverted money from Western aid, U.N. contributions, defense contractors, and the Afghanistan government itself.  My own estimate would place that subtotal of an additional $50 million per year.

Splitting the difference for the estimated range of revenues, that would bring the Taliban’s total budget to an estimate of approximately $560 million annually.

2.  Hezbollah

Rachel Ehrenfeld’s Funding Evil documented that Hezbollah’s annual operating budget is between $200 and $500 million.  Iran provides at least $120 million of that, with the rest coming from khums, drug trafficking, and other criminal activity.

3.  FARC

Columbia’s Marxist guerrillas, the FARC, enjoy annual revenues that range from estimates of $80 to $350 million.

4.  Hamas

For 2010, Gaza’s budget adopted by Hamas was $540 million, but that’s a larger amount than Hamas’s own budget.   The Council on Foreign Relations lists Hamas’s budget as $70 million.  However, the recent news that Iran is cutting or ending its aid to Hamas which would  substantially diminish Hamas’s treasury.  Hamas receives significant funding through charitable front groups and from Saudi Arabia.

5.  Al Shabaab

A recent report from the U.N. revealed that al-Shabaab’s revenues are between $70 and $100 million per year, propelling it into the top tier of global jihadist funding.

DISHONORABLE MENTIONS

Al Qaeda

The CIA estimated that before 9/11, al Qaeda’s annual budget was $30 million, which was almost exclusively from “donations” (zakat and sadaqa).  By almost all accounts, al Qaeda’s financial situation has deteriorated since then.  Other estimates place their budget from $16 to $50 million, which still puts al Qaeda itself toward the bottom of the list.  However, there are indications that revenue collections of al Qaeda offshoots such as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and al-Shabaab are flush with funds.  With AQIM in particular, the evidence shows that funds are being transferred from the regional organization back to the parent al Qaeda organization itself.

Lashkar-e-Taiba

Reuters calls Lashkar-e-Taiba (whose revenues include hawala, the Gulf, and Pakistan’s ISI) “one of the largest and best-funded Islamic militant organizations” in South Asia.

It bears repeating that much of the revenue listed above, with the exception of the FARC’s drug money, originate from traditional Islamic revenue sources such as zakat, sadaqa, khums, and ushr, rather than from “secular,” criminal activity.

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Terror operatives afoot in Venezuela

August 26, 2011

Roger Noriega, former U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States, has presented chilling congressional testimony on the role of Venezuela in sponsoring Hezbollah in Latin America.  Roll tape:

The testimony before the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence took place in July, which snuck by us until now (h/t Eju! TV) Here are some additional key excerpts from Amb. Noriega’s written testimony:

  • Hezbollah and the Quds Force “cooperate to carry out fundraising, money-laundering schemes, narcotics smuggling, proselytization, recruitment, and training. We can identify more than 80 operatives in at least 12 countries throughout the region…”
  • Hezbollah is “is raising funds through various criminal and commercial operations, recruiting converts from among disaffected youth and others, and developing its operational capabilities in our own Hemisphere.”
  • “Hezbollah’s presence in Latin America is growing significantly with the support of the Chávez regime in Venezuela. Chávez, who has a track record of supporting Colombian narcoterrorists, has cooperated with Iran to provide political support, financing, or arms to Hezbollah, Hamas, or Palestinian Islamic Jihad in this Hemisphere and elsewhere. For example, Venezuela’s Margarita Island has eclipsed the infamous “Tri-Border Area” – the region where Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay come together in South America – as a principal safe haven and center of Hezbollah operations in the Americas.”
  • “A key operative in the Hezbollah network in Latin America is Ghazi Atef Salameh Nassereddine Abu Ali, a man who was born in Lebanon, became a Venezuelan citizen about 10 years ago, and now is Venezuela’s No. 2 diplomat in Syria. Along with at least two of his brothers, he manages a network that raises and launders money and recruits and trains operatives to expand Hezbollah’s influence in Venezuela and throughout Latin America. Nassereddine was black-listed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury in June 2008 for his fundraising and logistical support on behalf of Hezbollah.”
  • “As recently as two weeks ago, a U.S. State Department official told this Congress that Hezbollah activity in the Western Hemisphere was confined to ‘fundraising’ – as if that were comforting. The fact is, that assertion grossly understates the growing Hezbollah threat in our Hemisphere, as my foregoing testimony indicates.”
  • “The cocaine kingpin Walid Makled, several of whose companies did business with the Hezbollah operative and Venezuelan diplomat Ghazi Nassereddine, confirmed in a televised interview on April 3 that Hezbollah conducts fundraising and operates cocaine labs in Venezuela with the protection of that government.”
  • “Hugo Chávez hosted a terror summit of senior leaders of Hamas (‘supreme leader’ Khaled Meshal), Hezbollah (unnamed “chief of operations”), and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (Secretary General Ramadan Abdullah Mohammad Shallah) in Caracas on August 22, 2010. That extraordinary meeting was organized at the suggestion of Iran, and the logistical arrangements were made by Nassereddine.”

Chavez & Hezbo leader Nasrallah

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Hillary begs Obama to keep funding Hamas

August 25, 2011

Hillary asks Obama for a favor

Responding to the foreign aid spending reductions proposed by Republicans in the House of Representatives, Hillary Clinton has written a letter demanding that Pres. Obama veto any legislation that would limit her multi-billion dollar State Department budget.

In other words, not only does Sec. Clinton want to keep spending money during a time of national financial calamity, but it also means that she is rejecting the Republican proposal that the U.S. first certify that money will not go to Hamas, Hezbollah, or the Muslim Brotherhood before it distributes foreign aid.

From the Washington Post (h/t Israel Matzav) on July 27:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is blasting a House bill that would impose strict new requirements on U.S. aid  to countries including Egypt, Lebanon, Pakistan and Yemen, warning that she will urge a veto if the measure reaches President Obama’s desk.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Mack: Venezuela is state sponsor of terror

August 24, 2011

Chavez aims, but Mack hits the target

U.S. Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL) says what we should do is declare “Venezuela as a state sponsor of terrorism due to its continued material and financial support of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Hezbollah, the National Liberation Army (ELN), and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).”

The allegation from a sitting congressman that Venezuela is funding Hezbollah and the IRGC has scarcely been covered by the media, but it should be.  From Rep. Mack’s press release (with a hat tip to La Gaceta):

WASHINGTON – Chairman of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee Connie Mack (Fl-14) today pushed five amendments in a full committee mark up of The Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2012 to bring fiscal discipline to the nation’s foreign policy and cease aid to those countries which harm America’s freedom and security.

Mack’s five amendments would:

  • Eliminate foreign aid funds for Argentina, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Boliviia
  • Cease U.S. contributions to the Organization of American States.
  • Eliminate U.S. funding for Global Climate Change Initiative Activities.
  • Establish a Congressional recorded vote which states “The delay in the authorization of the Presidential Permit is threatening the economic and national security benefits of the Keystone XL Pipeline.”
  • Name Venezuela as a state sponsor of terrorism due to its continued material and financial support of the Revolutionary ArmedForces of Colombia (FARC), Hezbollah, the National Liberation Army (ELN), and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Mack stated:  “Let’s engage our allies and friends, but let’s not continue to support organizations and countries that perpetuate destruction of freedom and democracy,” Mack said.

“With our financial house in disarray in our homeland, the least the Congress and the President can do is streamline our foreign dollars to our allies and engage in efforts to improve our economy at home; such as, the immediate passage of the pending Free Trade Agreements with Colombia and Panama.  Additionally, with American businesses saddled with environmental protections already, other countries should do their part to improve the global climate, not just the U.S.” Mack added.

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House GOP against aid to Hamas

August 23, 2011

…Putting them squarely at odds against the Democratic administration…

Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen

Not to mention that America is going broke.  What a novel proposal that the U.S. must certify that foreign aid doesn’t go to terrorist organizations before it is distributed!  From the Washington Post on Jul. 21:

House moves to restrict U.S. foreign aid

By Mary Beth Sheridan

House Republicans sought to put their stamp on U.S. foreign policy Wednesday by advancing a bill that would slash federal payments to the United Nations and other international bodies and slap restrictions on aid to Pakistan, Egypt and others.

With the bill, the House Foreign Affairs Committee sought to rein in some of President Obama’s policies and to slice $6.4 billion from his $51 billion request for 2012 for the State Department and foreign operations.

The measure’s passage was a foregone conclusion because of the panel’s Republican majority. Even if it passes the full House, though, the bill is expected to be dead on arrival in the Senate, where the Democratic majority is preparing a State Department authorization bill of its own.

Still, the bill could signal to lawmakers how to shape the appropriations bill, a separate piece of legislation that determines where the money actually goes.

The committee’s measure mandates that security assistance be provided to Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority only if the Obama adminstration certified that no members of terrorist organizations or their sympathizers were serving in their governments. That was aimed at Islamist groups such as the Palestinian organization Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah — which have political power but are on the U.S. terrorism list — and the Muslim Brotherhood, which is expected to do well in Egypt’s upcoming elections. It is not considered a terrorist group.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Experts mock the whole AML/CTF model

August 22, 2011

If the IMF’s skepticism about the effectiveness of the Financial Action Task Force and the contemporary anti-money laundering (AML) system weren’t damning enough…

A separate report from the U.K.’s Financial Services Authority has shaken the very faith that AML and combating of terror finance (CTF) experts once held in the foundations of the modern system of international financial controls.

It’s about time.

It is a system that over-regulated banks, passed the expenses along to share holders who’ve endured lower returns; account holders in terms of more paperwork, intrusive data mining, lower interest rates; and to financial service employees who have had to make sense of the whole unprofitable mess.  And it’s all been in an effort to find needle-size transactions among giant haystacks of financial exchanges.

The modern AML system is very similar to contemporary airport security.  It treats everybody like a terrorist, and creates a vast bureaucracy that has never quite proved its worth.  It focuses on suspicious transactions rather than suspicious people.  It fails to profile.

The specific findings in this report are that Britain’s banks aren’t doing anything different now than they were doing 20 years ago with regard to opening accounts for corrupt foreign dictators who stole the wealth of their countries and deposited it in British banks.  All this has happened despite extensive regulations, oversight, and requirements for the British financial sector.

If one of the most advanced countries in the world with a first-class banking system cannot achieve what seems a relatively straightforward task of screening their customers and verifying their source of income, what hope can we possibly have that the banks will be able to identify and report a $10,000 transaction from Habib to Farouk so he can buy explosive materials?

The implications of the FSA report reach beyond Great Britain.  Editor Joy Geary of the Australia-based AML Magazine asked, “Does it mean that the AML/CTF framework, as currently in operation globally, is doomed always to fail?” and urged that “The damning contents of the FSA report should lead to a long and hard look at the underlying causes.”

Enough from me.  Here’s an extremely useful article from the above mentioned AML Magazine laying out what makes the FSA report so troublesome:

Read the rest of this entry ?

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IMF report damns useless FATF standards

August 21, 2011

The most important international anti-terror financing organization in the world, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), has been ridiculed by a report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Of course, all these people are members of the global power establishment, so they use a lot of polite words, but it pretty much boils down to a comment from IMF employee Jody Myers that the modern FATF style anti-money laundering (AML) system “isn’t helping” and “why are we doing it.”

Indeed, the international system is cumbersome, anti-business, anti-bank, anti-investor, anti-consumer, and only anti-terrorist on rare, almost coincidental occasions.  Everybody who uses a bank gets treated like a terrorist, and the real terrorists escape notice through the sheer volume of bank data being transferred around the world.  Nobody wants to discuss a possible solution which involves profiling bank customers.

From MoneyLaundering.com on Aug. 2:

AML Standards Should Be Revised to Better Root Out Crime, Says IMF

By Brian Monroe

Intergovernmental evaluations of how nations fight money laundering and terrorist financing often do not accurately reflect whether those efforts are effective, the International Monetary Fund said in a report Wednesday.

The jurisdictional examinations conducted by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and other groups that follow its 49 standards “do not correlate” with whether a country is involved with narcotics trafficking, the organization said in a 97-page report. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Jizya and the Armenian Genocide

August 19, 2011

Remember the caliphate that Islamist thinkers (and even Western elites) would like to restore to the world?  Some would even still like to see it be a Turkish-based caliphate like the last one, which worked out so well for the Christians (see here for earlier coverage) in that neck of the woods–at least if you like massacres, rapes, and taxation.  From the American Thinker on Aug. 7:

The “Armenian Genocide”

Most historians regard 1912 to 1925 as a time of massive Christian annihilation and relocation by the Muslim Ottoman Empire. Although commonly given the misnomer “Armenian Genocide,” the atrocity was a carefully planned ethnic cleansing to rid Asia Minor of Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks and other minorities in order to establish an exclusively Muslim Turkish state. Some scholars date the first phase of the Christian genocide from the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid and his Hamidian Massacres of 1895-1897 through the Istanbul Pogrom of 1955.

The Hamidian massacres attempted to assert Muslim supremacy and advance the cause of Turkification. French ambassador Pierre Paul Cambon described Turkey at the time as “literally in flames” with “massacres everywhere” and Christians murdered “without distinction.” Marauding Kurdish chieftains in the region were encouraged to join in and channel their aggression into the killing, pillaging and raping of non-Muslim populations. Estimates of the number of Christians who perished during the reign of Sultan Hamid range from 100,000 to 300,000.

From the 1900′s to 1922, the Christian population declined from 25% to less than 5% within Anatolia. Under Islam, Christians had few rights, paid exorbitantly high taxes – the jizya – and enjoyed limited political representation and access to government services. Their testimony was inadmissible, no provision existed for their legal protection, they were prohibited from owning firearms, and their property, wives and children were vulnerable to spontaneous attacks.

Approximately 2.5 million Armenians, Assyrians and Greek Christians were massacred during this period. Kurds were encouraged to settle in Christian territory, demand the payment of tributes and illegally seize land. They were given free rein against local Christians in exchange for their loyal service to the Ottoman government.

Read the full article here.

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