Archive for May, 2012

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You paid for it

May 31, 2012

Old Aden Minaret

The old minaret in the historic Crater district of Aden, Yemen, benefited from a $44,120 award for a restoration project from the U.S. State Department in 2011.  The project was part of the rightly maligned U.S. “Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation” which has diverted millions of dollars to mosque refurbishment abroad over the last several years.

As Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan once said, “minarets are our bayonets.”  The U.S. has no business entangling itself in a project such as the Aden Minaret restoration.  America is indirectly subsidizing five daily calls to prayer by the muezzin from the sixth story of this white, octagonal-walled tower.

Even though you paid for it, can you even visit the Aden Minaret?  Not really.  According to Lonely Planet, only Muslims can go inside this minaret.  Moreover, in a Mar. 27 advisory, the U.S. State Department announced that it “urges U.S. citizens not to travel to Yemen.”

But perhaps it’s all okay in light of our warm relations and vibrant alliance with Yemen, right?  And Al Qaeda will back down and play nice now knowing that we’ve forfeited precious taxpayer dollars to fix a drab old Sunni minaret to make it easier for the muezzin to wail at people to submit to Allah, right?  Wrong.

The USS Cole was attacked in Yemen, and Yemen is the base of operations for AQAP, the branch of Al Qaeda that American politicians and national security reporters say they’re most concerned about.  Funding Islamic buildings in that country is an act of extreme government mismanagement and folly.

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Habib Bank throws caution to the wind

May 30, 2012

Habib Bank and its former compliance officer Syed Itrat Hussain have been fined over a half million pounds by the British for downplaying the risks of dealing with customers in jurisdictions prone to money laundering and terror finance.

Banks, and especially their compliance divisions and officers, have a responsibility to adhere to anti-money laundering regulations and know-your-customer standards.  When opening an account or conducting business with citizens from corrupt, unstable, or rogue regimes, those customers represent a greater risk to the bank and to the international financial system.

But Syed Itrat Hussain saw things a little bit differently.  He and the Swiss-based (but Islamic-oriented) Habib Bank regarded customers from the notoriously corrupt and jihadi financial swamp of Pakistan as no different from bank clients in New Zealand or Norway.

From MoneyLaundering.com on May 22:

U.K.’s FSA Singles Out AML Officer for Fine, Penalizes Swiss Bank

By Brian Monroe

The United Kingdom’s banking regulator Tuesday penalized a Zurich-based financial institution and its former anti-money laundering officer a combined 540,000 pounds for broad failures in risk-ranking and enhanced due diligence procedures.

The U.K.’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) said that Habib Bank Zurich AG underestimated the risk of approximately 67 percent of the accounts the agency had reviewed. In doing so, the Swiss bank removed Pakistan and Kenya from its list of high-risk jurisdictions because it believed it had “specialist knowledge” of the countries that mitigated its vulnerabilities to financial crime, the agency said.

As a result, nationals of those countries “were treated as having the same risk profile as those from a country with a lower perceived risk of corruption, such as customers based in Norway or New Zealand,” said the FSA, which fined the bank 525,000 pounds. When regulatory officials properly adjusted the rankings for the jurisdictions, they found that Habib Bank officials had mistakenly rated 170 high-risk clients as posing “normal” risks.

As part of the enforcement action, which focused on violations between December 2007 and November 2010, the FSA also penalized former Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO) Syed Itrat Hussain 17,500 pounds for not ensuring that adequate anti-money laundering (AML) controls were in place at the institution.

“The failings were quite serious, particularly because so many of the bank’s customers are from high-risk countries,” said FSA spokeswoman Clare Murphy-McGreevey. “Part of the problem is that the bank relied on [Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index] in isolation,” without the context of data provided by the Financial Action Task Force and other organizations, she said.

The FSA singled out Hussain because, “in that role, you should really be responsible for ensuring everything is up-to-date and focusing on the ever evolving landscape of financial crime,” said Murphy-McGreevey. “It changes quite a bit and compliance officers have to keep on top of it.”

“AML is a big area of focus for us, particularly the responsibilities of the MLRO,” she said.

In Tuesday’s enforcement action, the regulator also cited inadequate AML audits, training and recordkeeping related to its employees and individual accounts. The bank did not properly assess whether the beneficial owners of its accounts were residents of high-risk jurisdictions, the FSA said.

The latter resulted in the bank risk-ranking corporate clients with operations in Zimbabwe or Sudan, for example, no differently from a British company with exclusively U.K. operations, the regulator said.

The compliance missteps overall reflect a basic misunderstanding of risk-ranking, said Simon Dilloway, a principal with Norfolk, England-based Lopham Consultancy.

“Just because a bank knows an area or has operations in a high-risk country doesn’t stop the area from being high-risk,” he said, adding that FSA examiners have more closely examined how financial institutions gauge risk in the past year.

In a thematic review of depository institutions published in June, the agency said that three out of four U.K. banks failed to properly manage accounts maintained for high-risk clients, including politically exposed persons (PEPs). The review found that some banks had no formal procedures for PEPs at all.

“The problem is that, for a lot of these higher risk customers, they also have a lot of money and banks don’t want to ask the difficult questions and put them off,” said Dilloway. “Even when the bank identified a higher risk customer, they didn’t follow their own policy and get the proper documentation,” he said, adding that the monetary penalty is “quite small for something so serious. The bank must have cooperated hugely.”

The bank had initially faced a penalty of 750,000 pounds, but agreed to settle at an early stage, earning itself a 30 percent discount, the FSA said in a statement.

The agency, which is scheduled to close its doors in April 2013 as part of a regulatory overhaul, has been increasingly willing to fine banks for AML violations.

In 2010, the FSA more than doubled the number of AML penalties it levied in 2009, with the total related fines rising from 7.7 million pounds in 2009 to 9.7 million pounds the next year. In August 2010, the agency fined RBS 5.6 million pounds for AML violations, an enforcement penalty exceeded by March’s 8.75 million pound fine against Coutts & Co. The FSA had no AML-related fines in 2011.

The FSA’s oversight duties will be assumed by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority next year.

Formed in 1967, Habib Bank Zurich AG has 25 branches in the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Isle of Man, South Africa and Canada.

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Cop attacker suspect serves on sharia board

May 29, 2012

Money Jihad readers will recall Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL), a large sharia bank that diverts 8 percent of its profits as zakat toward jihadist militants according to the Bangladesh home ministry.

What you don’t know is that the secretary of IBBL’s sharia advisory board is Abu Bakr Rafique, who was arrested last September on suspicion of his involvement in an attack against Bangladeshi police by Jamaat-e-Islami “activists” who seriously injured three officers.

Rafique remains a member in good standing on the sharia board of IBBL, and attended the board’s May 7 meeting.

Rafique is also the pro-vice provost of the International Islamic University in Chittagong (IIUC).  The government of Bangladesh has detected $15 million that is suspected to have been funneled from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait through the IIUC to terrorist leaders in the form of “honorariums,” grants, and bogus allowances.  Let’s look back to the Blitz last September 2011:

Bangladesh government has detected an annual inflow of US$ 15 million suspected terror funding from dubious sources in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, which came to International Islamic University [IIU] situated in Chittagong in the country as “grant”. Pro-Vice Chancellor of IIU, Abu Bakar Rafique has been arrested on his way to Kuwait from Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong. It is alleged that, IIU was connected with a number of leaders of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami and some of the leaders of the party were receiving monthly honorarium or allowances from it. Chittagong city leader of Jamaat, Shamsul Islam, who is the secretary of the “Trustee Board” of IIU, was receiving US$ 2,000 each month as “meeting allowance”. A number of Jamaat leaders continued to draw fund from the International Islamic University as “meeting allowance”.

International Islamic University obtained approval in 1995 from the Ministry of Education in Bangladesh to start its activities.

It may be mentioned here that, dubious Afro-Arab sources are continuing to fund various madrassas and Islamic education institutes in Bangladesh for years. Earlier, Kuwait-based Islamic Heritage Revival Society and Saudi-based Al-Haramine Institutes were outlawed in Bangladesh on suspected terror involvement. Both the organizations were funding few hundred millions of dollars every year in Koranic madrassas as well as various Islamic institutions in Bangladesh. Both were banned by the previous government led by Bangladesh Nationalist Party [BNP].

There are three campuses of International Islamic University in the world. These are located in Malaysia, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is believed that IIU are product of Jamaat-e-Islami and Muslim Brotherhood. The late Abdullah Azzam, Bin Laden’s mentor, was a teacher at the International Islamic University in Islamabad [IIUI]. Since 2001, there have been numerous reports of IIU students and lecturers being connected to al-Qaeda.

On January 28, 2010 two Nigerians who were pursuing their Doctor of Philosophy [PhD] degrees at the Islamic University of Malaysia were arrested by the Malaysian government on suspicion of belonging to a terrorist group. Australian newspaper Sydney Morning Herald) reported that the terrorism suspects detained in Malaysia were believed to be linked to the Nigerian student responsible for the botched Christmas Day plane bombing near Detroit. It quoted Malaysian officials as saying they arrested the 10, including nine foreigners, for “acts of terrorism” and that they were members of an international terror outfit tracked down in cooperation with foreign intelligence groups.

British newspaper The Telegraph said, The 10 suspects were from Malaysia, Syria, Nigeria, Jordan and Yemen. Abdul Mutallab – who studied mechanical engineering at University College, London from 2005 – 2008, was arrested after he attempted to detonate explosives sewn into his underwear on-board Northwest Airlines flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit.

However in Bangladesh, leading news agency BDNEWS24 removed a news item titled ‘IIUC Chancellor questioned for dubious meetings’ which was released in 2010, while News From Bangladesh deleted a news titled ‘Militant Camp found behind International Islamic University Chittagong’ for reasons not mentioned by either of the news sites.

The controversy in the Arab world over funding and promoting Islamic extremism and ultimately exporting this form of jihadist education is alive and well in an age in which terrorism is proliferating. Islamic universities have found themselves under siege as a result of the inquiry into their promotion of jihadist teachings. The controversy though stretches beyond the Arab world. There are Islamic universities all over the world, including in the United States, for example Michigan’s Islamic American University. In addition, Russia opened its first Islamic university in 1998 in Kazan, the capital of predominantly Muslim Republic of Tatar Stan.

This issue has been brought into focus with the attempted Christmas Day bombing by the 23-year old Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab. Mutallab allegedly received training and education in Yemen months prior to his attempted attack on a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day 2009. Further controversy has ensued since it has been revealed that the radical, American-born, Internet preacher Anwar al-Awlaki took classes and gave lectures at Al Eman University in Sana, where Mutallab was studying Arabic.

Al Eman University in Sana, Yemen has been in the media spotlight as a result of its connection to the Christmas Day attempted bombing and terrorist plot. There is viable fear among Americans and other international counterparts that violent extremism is brewing in the halls of Al Elman and other Islamic universities. Sheik Abdul Majid al-Zindani, who was also a theological adviser to Osama bin Laden, founded Al Elman University in 1993. The United States eventually put Zindani on a list of “specially designated global terrorists” for suspected fundraising for al-Qaeda operatives. The university has approximately 4,000 students and teaches courses in Islam and Western disciplines, publicly asserting that it seeks to blend the two and not promote jihadism. The university administration denied that Sheik Zindani was ever involved in a terrorist plot against the United States. The university vehemently opposes any claim that its form of education embraces violent, conservative Islam.

It is claimed by the counter-terrorism specialist that universities are an ideal setting for indoctrinating the young to radical, fundamental Islam. The case of Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab and his connection to Al Eman University has reinvigorated the debate about whether universities are being used as breeding grounds for radical Islam. British universities in particular have been questioned since Abdul Mutallab studied in London in a mechanical engineering program before his connection to al-Qaeda was revealed. Before him, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who was convicted of the murder of a Wall Street Journal reporter, attended the London School of Economics. Likewise, notorious British citizens Asif Mohammed Hanif and Omar Sharif were enrolled in King’s College London before launching a suicide attack in Tel Aviv, Israel in 2003. Experts fear that during the very formative years of the college experience, extremists are influencing the youth and planting radical ideas. The British Department of Education has recently said to have prepared advice for colleges on how to look for Islamic fundamentalist activity on campuses. The fear for some becomes that overseas students are sought after to fill spaces and subsequently able to move freely around campus clandestinely recruiting other young people for radical, violent jihad. The argument goes that a university setting automatically provides radicals with access to thousands of young people for recruitment. It is an environment undeniably conducive to rallying a group of prospective followers.

Clandestine jihadists in Bangladeshi universities:

There are currently above eight hundred foreign students studying at Dhaka University, various medical colleges as well as Islamic universities in Bangladesh. It is alleged that, in most cases, students in particular from Afghanistan, Iran, Yemen, Palestine, Syria and African countries are actively involved in Jihadist indoctrination to fellow students by generating anti-West and anti-Semitic sentiments with the tactics of telling fake stories of “American, Western and Israeli brutalities on Muslims and anti-Islam conspiracies”. Such stories generally are cooked by top-graded pro-jihadist scholars. None of the intelligence agencies in Bangladesh are yet monitoring the activities in clandestine of the foreign students in various campuses in the country.

What does it tell you about Prof. Rafique when he maintains his positions with the IBBL sharia board and the IIUC, and both entities have been implicated by his own government in terror finance schemes?  And what does it tell you about IBBL that they keep a man on their sharia board who was arrested for his involvement in a failed cop killer plot?

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The 10 largest sharia banks in the world

May 28, 2012

The Lebanese-based Union of Arab Banks published a report last year naming the world’s ten biggest Islamic financial institutions:

Bank Country Assets
Al-Rajhi Saudi Arabia $49.2 billion
Kuwait Finance House Kuwait $43.7 billion
Dubai Islamic Bank U.A.E. $24.5 billion
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank U.A.E. $20.5 billion
Al-Baraka Group Bahrain $15.8 billion
Qatar Islamic Bank Qatar $14.2 billion
Al-Rayyan Qatar $9.5 billion
Emirates Islamic Bank U.A.E. $8.9 billion
Al-Jazirah Saudi Arabia $8.8 billion
Al-Ahli United Bank Kuwait $8.5 billion

A few comments on the top three sharia banks:  1)  Al Rajhi Bank has been sued for financing the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and was highlighted for its facilitation of terrorist financial transactions in the book Funding Evil by Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld; 2) The Kuwait Finance House was a shareholder of Tadamon Bank, a financial institution that helped transfer funds for Osama bin Laden; and 3) BusinessWeek reported that “In 1999, U.S. intelligence agents reported that Dubai Islamic Bank in the United Arab Emirates was a conduit for bin Laden funds.”

Quite the group.

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Publishers, editors profit from Taliban poems

May 27, 2012

London’s C. Hurst & Co. Publishers Ltd. and co-editors Felix Kuehn, Faisal Devji, and Alex Strick van Linschoten are profiting from the publication of a new anthology of poetry by the Taliban.  Kuehn says the poems provide “a different window” to “understand the Taliban better,” van Linschoten says “the poetry shows that the Taliban are people just like we are,” and the co-editors say that the poems “provide a fascinating insight into the minds and hearts of these deeply emotional people.”

True, it’s worth examining all the statements of Taliban members, but their poems should not be embraced for showing the supposed humanity of the Taliban.  The Taliban are not people just like we are—they are people very far different from what we are.

Here’s one of the great “human” poems from a Taliban soldier, as read aloud during a BBC 4 broadcast:


The editors and publishers should do nothing less than donate 100 percent of the profits to British war veterans.

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Video: Marx inspired by Shia Islam

May 25, 2012

“When Karl Marx read these [Islamic texts], he liked it, it caught his fancy, so what did he do?”

We cannot vouch for the accuracy of this claim, but it’s noteworthy that both communists and Shia Muslims look forward to the equal and complete distribution of wealth to the people of the world, along with the destruction of the Western capitalist system as we know it.

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Afghan drug lord convicted

May 24, 2012

Narcotrafficker from Afghanistan

 

Catching up on some news from earlier this year.  Recall that Islam mandates a 10 percent ushr tax on harvests, and that the Taliban has collected revenues from poppy harvests accordingly.  From the Washington Post in March:

Afghan man convicted of drug, narco-terrorism charges in U.S. court

An Afghan citizen U.S. prosecutors alleged was once one of the world’s biggest heroin suppliers was convicted of drug distribution and narco-terrorism charges Tuesday in the District’s federal court.

Haji Bagcho, who is in his 60s and faces a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison at his sentencing in June, said nothing as jurors found him guilty of three of four charges related to heroin trafficking and support of the Taliban. He was acquitted of one heroin distribution charge.

It was Bagcho’s second trial on the charges; in November, jurors deadlocked on all counts.

Federal prosecutors Matthew Stiglitz and Marlon Cobar, who declined to comment after the verdict, alleged that Bagcho ran his organization from a palatial compound in Afghanistan’s Nangahar province, near the border with Pakistan.

During a 2007 raid of his chemist’s neighboring house, Afghan and U.S. authorities recovered a ledger that documented $250 million in sales of 137 tons of heroin the previous year. An agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration testified that the sales represented nearly 20 percent of the world’s 2006 heroin supply.

Afghan informants purchased drugs from Bagcho’s organization and recorded incriminating calls with the dealer. One testified that Bagcho provided the Taliban with cash, supplies and weapons.

Bagcho was arrested in 2009 in Pakistan, turned over to Afghan authorities and then extradited to the United States. His son, Sucha Gul, has also been indicted in the case…

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Treasury says Bari serves as “Taliban’s bank”

May 23, 2012

Abdul Baqi Bari is six or seven years older than Taliban leader Mullah Omar and a year or two younger than current Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.  He’s a native Afghan, and he’s laundered money for the Taliban at least as early as 2001.

According to the Treasury Department’s press release accompanying the recent designation of Bari as a terrorist, “Bari kept the [Taliban’s] money in bank accounts outside of Afghanistan” after the initial invasion of Afghanistan out of concern that the new government would freeze his bank accounts.  Bari closed a European bank account for the same reason, and had several bank accounts frozen in Pakistan.

The Treasury Department does not name which other countries Bari banks with, but I suspect that he holds accounts in the United Arab Emirates.

It’s also noteworthy that Bari has conducted a major hawala transaction for the Taliban.  The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has falsely claimed that the 9/11 Commission “exonerated” hawala from being used by terrorists.  The 9/11 Commission never “exonerated” hawala, and the designation of Bari provides further evidence that jihadists use hawala—an Islamic system devised by Muhammad and laid out in the Hadith to facilitate transfers of debt via third parties.

Here’s the section about Bari from Treasury’s press release on May 17:

Abdul Baqi Bari has served as a Taliban money launderer and financial manager since at least 2001. He has used Pakistani banks to secure money given to him by Taliban sources and in 2002 gave an individual $2.6 million in Taliban money to deposit in separate bank accounts.

Bari has also used a company to funnel funds to support Taliban and al-Qa’ida activity in Afghanistan. In 2002, al-Qa’ida senior leader Usama Bin Laden provided Bari and an associate $500,000 to purchase a factory for the company, and Taliban personnel subsequently established satellite offices throughout Afghanistan.

The same month, Afghanistan’s Pajhwok news service reported that, in the twilight of the Taliban government, Mullah Omar had ordered the payment of $168 million from Afghanistan’s national bank to a number of individuals, among whom Bari was at the top of the list, according to the chief of Interpol in Afghanistan. Recipients of the money allegedly launched businesses inside and outside Afghanistan and were funding “terrorists” in the region. Pakistani authorities froze more than $5 million in funds belonging to two of Bari’s companies.

Mullah Omar directed Bari in 2001 to allocate money from his businesses to pay al-Qa’ida and Taliban supporters. Bari used money exchange businesses in Pakistan to funnel financial support to the Taliban and al-Qa’ida and, in one instance, conducted a $400,000 hawala transfer for Mullah Omar. During the Taliban regime, the Taliban transferred $2.8 million from an account in Europe to Bari for fear that their accounts would be frozen. The Taliban would get money from Bari as they needed it, essentially using him as the Taliban’s bank. Bari kept the money in bank accounts outside of Afghanistan so that the accounts would not be frozen by the new Afghan Government. Bari has also served as an intermediary in procuring weapons for the Taliban.

In addition to the reasons for which he is being designated, in March 2006, Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported that Bari was wanted by Interpol in Kabul in connection to cases regarding funding the Taliban and that Pakistan had frozen 31 bank accounts belonging to Bari, his brother, and their sons on charges of funneling money to the Taliban. Additionally, according to Pakistani media reporting in January 2006, Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency Special Investigation Group (SIG) froze 15 bank accounts of two companies owned by Bari and his family members at Interpol’s request. Taliban leader Mullah Omar reportedly had a share in both companies. SIG seized documents indicating one of the companies’ involvement in transferring money to the Taliban, and Interpol said the companies were established during Taliban rule.

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Muslim crook from West coast circumvents Sudan sanctions, absconds to Sweden

May 22, 2012

Before Pakistan and Afghanistan gave safe harbor to Osama bin Laden, Sudan did.  For this and other reasons, Sudan was designated as a state sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. in 1993.  Sanctions have not been lifted since then.  U.S. persons and businesses have been prohibited from doing business with any Sudanese banks controlled or owned by the government.

But for some reason (perhaps to help fund the jihadist Sudanese Popular Defense Forces or the Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood), Portland resident Yonas Fikre decided it would be a great idea to wire $75,000 into Sudan.  Fikre attempted to launder the $75,000 by structuring it into smaller amounts via separate transactions that would attract less attention and by funneling it from an Oregon hawala company called Red Sea Finance to a United Arab Emirates bank before final transfer to Sudan.

From Creeping Sharia on May 11:

A Portland man who recently accused the FBI of having him tortured while overseas has been indicted on allegations that he conspired to smuggle money to Sudan, as has a Seattle man alleged to have helped in the effort.

Federal prosecutors contend Portland resident Yonas Fikre conspired with his brother Dawit Woldehawariat, of San Diego, Calif., and Seattle resident Abrehaile Haile to illegally wire $75,000 to United Arab Emirates and Sudan.

The indictment, handed down Tuesday by a federal grand jury in San Diego, alleges Haile, manager at Red Sea Finance, used the money transmitting business to wire the funds. The men are accused of structuring a series of transfers to avoid reporting the full scope of the transaction to financial regulators, as required by federal law.

The allegations came two weeks after Fikre, 33, and Portland attorney Thomas Nelson held a news conference in Sweden – Fikre has been living there since his release from a United Arab Emirates prison – where they alleged Fikre had been tortured by police acting at the behest of the FBI.

Speaking with… the Associated Press, Nelson and Fikre said Fikre was first contacted by FBI agents in April 2009 while he was traveling in Sudan. A native of Eritrea, Fikre lived in Sudan as a youth before moving to Southern California with his family and ultimately settling in Portland.

Firke told The Associated Press the agents questioned him about Portland’s Masjid as-Sabr mosque, a large mosque which has seen several attendees face terrorism-related charges in the past decade.

In the indictment, federal prosecutors claim Fikre contacted his brother on April 13, 2010, and asked that he send money to an account in Dubai. The brother, Woldehawariatm is alleged to have contacted Haile the following day and asked that he wire $75,000 to the account without identifying Woldehawariat or Fikre as the sender.

Prosecutors contend Haile directed Woldehawariat to deposit smaller amounts of money into a Bank of America account he would then use to wire the money to an account in Dubai.

“Firke and Woldehawariat agreed to transfer tens of thousands of dollars from the United States to the United Arab Emirates to have the money available for use in Sudan or elsewhere,” prosecutors contended in the indictment. “Woldehawariat and Fikre wanted to conceal from the United States their connection to the money transfers.”

In the week that followed, Woldehawariat deposited at least $21,000 into the account, according to the indictment. Prosecutors contend the system was meant to avoid federal reporting requirements.

Fikre, Haile and Woldehawariat have been charged with unlawfully structuring a financial transaction and conspiring to do the same. Prosecutors go on to allege Woldehawariat failed to file tax returns in 2009 and 2010.

Haile appeared in U.S. District Court at Seattle on Wednesday. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said he is expected to return Monday for arraignment.

Firke is not currently in custody.

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3 trillion barrels of oil in your own backyard

May 21, 2012

There is a phenomenal amount of oil available in the western Rockies according to recent testimony before Congress.  The Green River supply and greater U.S. energy potential overall means:

  • Less reliance by the U.S. on OPEC energy sources—particularly Saudi Arabia’s oil, the purchase of which increases revenues that are funneled towards Wahhabi endeavors throughout the world which increases terrorist acts against the West and non-Muslims.
  • A larger quantity of energy supplied on the world market which reduces energy prices.  This helps cripple the buying power of Iran, and slows its ability to acquire nuclear weapons.  It also helps reduce gas prices for ordinary consumers.
  • Greater freedom in diplomacy to pursue and support Western style values as opposed to having to compromise with the sharia values of the Gulf states.

Not to mention that it helps with job growth and economic growth for the world’s most pivotal economy.

From Carpe Diem on May 12:

Rocky Mountain oil and shale

The Green River Formation, the world’s largest oil shale deposit, is located in a largely vacant region of mostly federal land on the western edge of the Rocky Mountains that includes portions of Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado (see map above).

Here’s an excerpt from testimony about the Green River Formation that was provided on Thursday by Anu K. Mittal, Government Accountability Office (GAO) Director of Natural Resources and Environment, to the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology titled “Unconventional Oil and Gas Production: Opportunities and Challenges of Oil Shale Development“:

“The Green River Formation—an assemblage of over 1,000 feet of sedimentary rocks that lie beneath parts of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming—contains the world’s largest deposits of oil shale. USGS estimates that the Green River Formation contains about 3 trillion barrels of oil, and about half of this may be recoverable, depending on available technology and economic conditions. The Rand Corporation, a nonprofit research organization, estimates that 30 to 60 percent of the oil shale in the Green River Formation can be recovered. At the midpoint of this estimate, almost half of the 3 trillion barrels of oil would be recoverable. This is an amount about equal to the entire world’s proven oil reserves.”

MP [Mark Perry]: Surprisingly, this testimony got almost no press coverage, here’s one exception from CNS News.  Shouldn’t it be newsworthy that the U.S. has 1.5 trillion barrels of recoverable oil in  the Green River Formation, an amount even greater than this estimate of 1.392 trillion barrels of proven oil reserves in the entire world?  The GAO did issue a study in October 2010 that may have already identified the vast resources in the Green River area, so maybe this is old news and not worth reporting.

But with current U.S. daily oil consumption running at about 19.5 million barrels, the staggering amount of Green River reserves would by itself supply domestic oil consumption for more than 200 years! The testimony also mentioned that industry experts estimate future development of Green River to be 15-20 years away, but it’s not clear if that’s due to federal regulatory issues or limitations of current drilling technology.

Even if development is 15-20 years away, the vast untapped energy resources of Green River, the largest oil shale deposit in the world, provide additional support for the idea that “peak oil” is “peak idiocy” (Mike Munger explains here).

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Sharia money man hates owing the West

May 20, 2012

One of the two best known sharia finance advocates, Taqi Usmani, has written a column proposing a post-Communist alternative to the “inequitable” nature of capitalism.  The alternative would be an Islamic economic system.

Such as system wouldn’t be nearly so equitable as Usmani leads the reader to believe.  Pakistan has had state-mandated zakat for decades, which has only caused more dependence and squalor among its citizens.

Under Islamic tax law, not even the poorest Christians, Sikhs, or other religious minorities are entitled to receive zakat; in fact, they are required to pay the jizya from which there is no waiver due to poverty.

But leaving that aside, it’s worth noting how deeply humiliating it is for Usmani and for Islamic countries to owe money to the West for development aid loans.  Not only do they detest being dependent on the Great Satan (and dependent on the Jews who they regard as the masters of world banking and lending in the world), but they resent paying loan interest that they believe is haram.

We should do Usmani and the Islamic world a favor and discontinue any such loan programs.

Here’s Usmani’s column as reprinted in the Pakistan Herald:

It is common knowledge that Ummah’s basic economic problem is the dependence of the Muslim countries on others. Most of the them areborrowing huge amounts from the rich Western countries. Some countries are incurring these heavy interest-bearing loans not only for the development projects, but also for their day-to-day expenses, and what is more serious, for the payment of interest accrued on their previous loans which keeps the size of their indebtedness ever-increasing through a vicious circle.

Dependency on foreign loans is the basic disease of our economy that has not only shattered our economic life, but has also devastated our self-determination and has forced us to submit to the demands of our creditors Read the rest of this entry ?

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