h1

10 companies that make money from terror ties

July 15, 2014

Longtime Money Jihad readers already know that sharia banks are conduits for funding jihadist groups, but may not be aware of some of the other corporations and businesses that are in financial cahoots with terrorists.

  1. Tajco Ltd.—A Lebanese-based company that uses supermarkets to launder South American drug money through grocery stores in Gambia back to Lebanon for dispersal to Hezbollah. According to former Treasury official Stuart Levey, Tajco and its subsidiaries constitute a “multinational network [that] generates millions of dollars in funding and secures strategic geographical strongholds for Hizballah.”
  2. Dahabshiil—A money services business (technically a remittance company, not a bank) that pays a $500K stipend twice a year to al-Shabaab. Somali journalists and musicians have alleged that the payments aren’t just for “protection,” (ie, the freedom to operate in Somalia without being bombed) but that Dahabshiil shares tribal links and policy goals with the terrorist group.
  3. Al-Aqsa TV—The U.S. describes the media outlet as “a television station in Gaza financed and controlled by Hamas.” Hamas raised the initial capital to create Al-Aqsa TV, negotiated for a satellite provider, and allocates money for its budget. Its programming seeks to prepare children to join and fight for Hamas as they age.
  4. Crescent Foods—the “caterers of the Muslim Brotherhood.” Crescent Foods is routinely selected to provide food at conferences and functions held by a variety of North American Muslim Brotherhood front groups and affiliates including the radical American Muslims for Palestine and organizational co-conspirators of the Holy Land Foundation, a defunct Hamas front charity. Crescent Foods also markets halal foods to the constituencies of these Islamist groups.
  5. Sniper Africa—A South African hunting gear company which is majority owned by a dentist who raised $120,000 for Al Qaeda. OFAC has listed Sniper Africa under its specially designated global terrorist category.
  6. Zurmat Group—A company operating in Afghanistan that sells components that wind up in roadside bombs against our troops. Additionally, the Army Times found that “approximately $1-2 million per month — flow to [the Haqqani network] to finance its activities” from Zurmat Group profits. CENTCOM describes the company as actively supporting the insurgency.
  7. Darkazanli Export-Import Sonderposten—Owned and operated by Imam Mamoun Darkazanli, a longtime Al-Qaeda financier and manager. Darkazanli supports al Qaeda from Hamburg, Germany, and behaved as a type of godfather figure to the Muhammad Atta cell as it prepared for the 9/11 attacks. Darkazanli’s company has provided “cover, business collaboration and communications” for Al Qaeda figures visiting Germany.
  8. The Bank of China—The Chinese bank funded Hamas and Islamic Jihad when it “carried out dozens of wire transfers for the two terror organizations, totaling several million dollars,” from 2003 to 2007 according to a lawsuit by victims of terrorist attacks in Israel. The bank knowingly continued making such transfers even after being warned against it by the Israeli government in 2005.
  9. Jihad al-Bina—Hezbollah’s construction company in Lebanon. Its relationship with Hezbollah apparently transformed it from a $1.8 million business in the 1990s into a $450 million operation by 2006. It has been able to cash in on public contracts to rebuild Lebanese infrastructure through international development aid even though the firm is basically controlled by Hezbollah leaders and Iran.
  10. Al Manar/Lebanese Media Group—This Hezbollah news outlet serves as a “Beacon of Hatred” that runs advertisements encouraging donations to Hezbollah and airs commercials for Hezbollah. The television channel’s programming includes vitriolic anti-Semitic messages and glorification of suicide bombing operations.

In addition to the companies above, there are conventional Western corporations like Chiquita and Echo Bay that have have paid bribes or protection money to rebels or terrorists to prevent their employees and facilities from being attacked, and banks such as HSBC that have dropped the ball on anti-money laundering, sanctions compliance, and counter-terror finance programs. This is totally unacceptable behavior which ultimately helps finance terrorism and increases the odds that more corporations will be exploited by terrorists. At the same time, it should be recognized that these abysmal compliance programs resulted from a combination of mismanagement, lousy judgments, and long-term business motives, but not because of ideological alignment with the terrorists themselves.

A final note: there was an extremely popular article within the past year circulating the Internet about corporations making money off of the global war against terrorism (which itself was only the latest in a decade-long stream of Internet tirades and social media screeds against “war profiteering” in Afghanistan and Iraq). It should just be remembered that for every company allegedly making ungodly profits from providing basic security services that there are companies like those above that are actually funding or making money directly from terrorism. So when you run across articles like that, ask yourself a question: which seems worse to you—a greedy corporation that fights terrorism, or a greedy corporation that funds terrorism?

h1

Who finances Hamas’s rockets?

July 14, 2014

Short answer: Iran.

Iran manufactures missiles, loads them up at its Bandar Abbas port, ships them to Sudan, where they are transported by ground to the Sinai for final transfer through smuggling tunnels to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

Smuggling was rampant particularly when the Muslim Brotherhood controlled Egypt under Muhammad Morsi, making a significant contribution to Hamas’s 10,000 missile stockpile. “Under Morsi it was almost a highway,” said one observer.

Shorter-range missiles are built in Gaza itself. Technical expertise lent by Iran is helping develop Hamas’s homegrown rocket program, although even as recently as two years ago one analyst observed that Hamas lacks the capacity within Gaza to build a banana plantation, much less a missile factory.

Some missiles, such as the M-302, are manufactured by Syria “under license” from China, which designed it. Assad would not be able to produce these weapons or remain in power without Iranian backing in the first place.

h1

ISIS finds taxing more durable than looting

July 13, 2014

Taking a cut from oil refineries and water works is more lucrative and enduring than demolishing infrastructure and selling the spare parts, argues Prof. Ariel Ahram in an incisive piece about Al Qaeda in Iraq from the Washington Post’s “Monkey Cage” blog (hat tip to El Grillo):

…Most researchers point particularly to the “lootability” of resources – whether they are easily seized and can be sold on the international market at a significant mark up – to explain the onset and intensity of resource wars. Control over these goods motivates people to take up arms while the revenue from selling them fund the fight. Jeremy Weinstein shows how resource “rich” rebel movements are prone to attracting opportunists and thugs, who are ill-disciplined and prone to manhandling civilians. Rebel groups with access to lootable resources are liable to splinter and metastasize, becoming more like criminal operations than political movements.

But not all resources are lootable and not all lootable resources have the same centrifugal effects on rebel behavior. As Philippe Le Billon and Eric Nicholls have shown, unlike diamonds or drugs, dams and oil rigs are better targets for extortion than physical appropriation. After all, these structures are far more valuable assembled and operational than broken down for spare parts. Moreover, dams and rigs require a cadre of experts, technicians and engineers to run effectively. And, as Mancur Olson famously pointed out, opportunities for extortion create incentives for building sustainable, long-term rule, which are distinctly different from simply predation. According to New York Times reporter Thanassis Cambanis, IS  left the staff at the Tabqa Dam unharmed and in place, allowing the facility to continue operations and even selling electricity back to the Syrian government. Similarly, oil fields under IS  control continue to pump. Indeed, IS  has shrewdly managed these resources to help ensure a steady and sustainable stream of revenue. As one IS fighter told the New York Times, while Assad’s loyalists chant “Assad or burn the country,” IS retorts “We will burn Assad and keep the country.” Beside revenue from oil and water, IS  collects a variety of commercial taxes, including on trucks and cellphone towers. It has also imposed the jizya (poll tax) on Christian communities under its control…

It sounds as though ISIS has matured beyond the traditional jihadist outlook of a spurned lover (“If I can’t have you, no one will”). It has realized that nine-tenths of the battle is in “staying power,” and that it will be far easier to govern if there is infrastructure in place to keep the economy and society operating after all the dust settles. This strategic thoughtfulness suggests, once again, that state sponsors such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar are coaching ISIS’s leaders, or that Saddam’s old flag officers are mixed in ISIS’s shura council, or both.

h1

Islamic charity funded Mumbai terror attacks

July 11, 2014

Many of us will long remember the images of smoke billowing up from the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai on Nov. 26, 2008, as a result of the wider operation that would become known in India as the 26/11 terrorist attacks that left 160 dead.

It has been presumed since then that hawala, the traditional Islamic money transfer system, was involved in the financing of the attack, which Money Jihad also believed helped the perpetrators. However, it is now beginning to appear, based on accounts from India’s Intelligence Bureau, that the Islamic charity known as Jamaat-ud-Dawa and its imams were actually behind the equivalent of $200,000 in payments, and that the money was transferred in small increments outside of the hawala system.

Rediff.com reports (h/t Geuzen):

‘JuD used charity money to fund Mumbai 26/11 attacks’

An Intelligence Bureau dossier has revealed that an amount of around Rs 1,17,37,820 was spent to carry out the Mumbai 26/11 terror attack by Pakistan sponsored Lashkar-e-Tayiba. The dossier is significant considering the recent ban on the Jamaat-ud-Dawa — Lashkar’s financial wing — imposed by the United States of America.

The JuD has been raising funds under the garb of charity and diverting it for terror activities particularly against India. The IB dossier details the manner in which the JuD raised funds for the 26/11 attack and diverted it to the Lashkar coffers.

The JuD has 50,000 members and each one is assigned a specific task of raising money under the pretext of charity, says the dossier. Until the year 2002, the Lashkar enjoyed the open backing of the Pakistan government. But after they chose to be more discreet, the JuD was floated to channelise funds.

The IB has said that its dossier was prepared based on statements made by Pakistani-American Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorist David Headley and intelligence collected from various sources. The dossier states the expenditure for the 26/11 Mumbai attacks were divided into four parts.

The money spent on the ten terrorists, including the pay off to their families and their training, was around 130,000 US dollars. The Lashkar spent 25,000 US dollars on weapons and 500 dollars for the VOIP accounts through which communication was maintained through the operation.

Headley had said that he received an amount of 40,000 US dollars from the Lashkar to carry out surveillance and other expenditure during his visits to India.

The dossier also states that funding for the JuD comes from sympathisers based out of Saudi Arabia. People who subscribe to the Wahabi school of thought contribute the most. Till date many donors contribute money for the Lashkar’s fight in Kashmir.

JuD members travel across the world to collect funds. When planning for the 26/11 attacks commenced a core team was constituted to collect funds. The Lashkar ensured that majority of the funds were collected through donations and every JuD office had a box that read charity on it. While 60 per cent of the funds came from Pakistanis settled in Saudi Arabia and Britain the rest was collected through open donations in Pakistan, the dossier states. It was around this time that the Islamic Society in the Gulf was revived and contributions began to pour in.

Since 2002, the Lashkar has devised several methods to raise funds but according to the Intelligence Bureau, JuD has been most effective in fund collection. What worked in JuD’s favour was that it was considered a legitimate outfit and none of the money was accounted by the international community as it was considered to be a charity organisation.

The JuD not only collected funds for charity and diverted it to the Lashkar, but also helped the outfit legitimise the money collected by extortion, counterfeiting, smuggling and animal skin trade.

The JuD has also set up hospitals, fish farms and a carpet business. The outfit made it compulsory for every agriculturist in Pakistan to contribute 10 per cent of their annual earnings to charity, known as ushr.

But for the Lashkar, its biggest source of income is from the drug trade. While on one hand the Inter-Services Intelligence collects money from Dawood Ibrahim, who is the leader of this trade, the Lashkar has its own set of men who undertake the same business. The Lashkar alone smuggles out 5000 tons of opium every year, which approximately accounts to 2.5 billion dollars. This money is equally shared with the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, which aides Lashkar operatives smuggle opium out of Afghanistan where it is produced.

The dossier also states that most of the money is sent to different parts of the world where the Lashkar operatives are present. It is also distributed among Al-Qaeda members present in Syria, Iraq, US and other countries. A significant amount is also sent to Jammu and Kashmir. At least 2 banks in the Valley are directly under the control of the Lashkar, which means they do not rely on the hawala network.

Money sent to different parts of the world is often carried by JuD preachers. Until now these persons were not checked, as the JuD was considered to be a legitimate organisation…

h1

Terror finance news: recommended reading

July 10, 2014
  • Babar Ahmad to be sentenced for managing websites that raised money for Chechen jihadists, the Taliban and Al Qaeda… more>>
  • Victims of Iran-backed terrorism could seize Iranian Internet domain names to satisfy $1.2 billion in judgments they’ve won in court… more>>
  • Businesses engaged in commerce in Panama and Venezuela should take note of a bill before Congress to prevent the financing of Hezbollahmore>>
  • A Muslim Brotherhood figure accepts a $140,000 check from a Hamas-linked Kuwaiti charity to build a new mosque in Switzerland… more>>
h1

ISIS gets men and $800 million from Turkey

July 8, 2014

Jihadist recruits and millions of dollars have slipped through the sieve-like border between Turkey and Iraq, says Middle East expert Daniel Pipes. This is purposeful not negligent. Pipes argues that this is because Prime Minister Recep Erdogan’s twin interests in toppling Assad in Syria and fighting the Kurds in Iraq are both served by an ascendant Al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Again, ISIS didn’t wake up one day and seize Mosul by chance. The combination of funding, number of foot soldiers, and strategy leaves almost no doubt that state sponsorship is involved.

Via Algemeiner on Jun. 22:

…Ankara may deny helping ISIS, but the evidence for this is overwhelming. “As we have the longest border with Syria,” writes Orhan Kemal Cengiz, a Turkish newspaper columnist, “Turkey’s support was vital for the jihadists in getting in and out of the country.” Indeed, the ISIS strongholds not coincidentally cluster close to Turkey’s frontiers.

Kurds, academic experts and the Syrian opposition agree that Syrians, Turks (estimated to number 3,000), and foreign fighters (especially Saudis but also a fair number of Westerners) have crossed the Turkish-Syrian border at will, often to join ISIS. What Turkish journalist Kadri Gursel calls a “two-way jihadist highway,” has no bothersome border checks and sometimes involves the active assistance of Turkish intelligence services. CNN even broadcast a video on “The secret jihadi smuggling route through Turkey.”

Actually, the Turks offered far more than an easy border crossing: they provided the bulk of ISIS’ funds, logistics, training and arms. Turkish residents near the Syrian border tell of Turkish ambulances going to Kurdish-ISIS battle zones and then evacuating ISIS casualties to Turkish hospitals. Indeed, a sensational photograph has surfaced showing ISIS commander Abu Muhammad in a hospital bed receiving treatment for battle wounds in Hatay State Hospital in April 2014.

One Turkish opposition politician estimates that Turkey has paid $800 million to ISIS for oil shipments. Another politician released information about active duty Turkish soldiers training ISIS members. Critics note that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has met three times with someone, Yasin al-Qadi, who has close ties to ISIS and has funded it.

Why the Turkish support for wild-eyed extremists? Because Ankara wants to eliminate two Syrian polities, the Assad regime in Damascus and Rojava (the emerging Kurdish state) in the northeast.

Regarding the Assad regime: “Thinking that jihadists would ensure a quick fall for the Assad regime in Syria, Turkey, no matter how vehemently officials deny it, supported the jihadists,” writes Cengiz, “at first along with Western and some Arab countries and later in spite of their warnings.”

Regarding Rojava: Rojava’s leadership being aligned with the PKK, the (formerly) terrorist Kurdish group based in Turkey, the authoritative Turkish journalist Amberin Zaman has little doubt “that until recently, Turkey was allowing jihadist fighters to move unhindered across its borders” to fight the Kurds…

h1

Gulf charcoal purchases prop up al-Shabaab

July 7, 2014

Money Jihad has long reported on how al-Shabaab profits from Somalia’s charcoal smuggling business, particularly by charging a checkpoint tax authorized by Islamic law. A new report from the United Nations Environmental Programme and Interpol confirms that this activity is ongoing despite a UN ban against Somali charcoal exports, saying that “Al Shabaab retains about one third of the [charcoal] income, which alone constitutes about USD 38–56 million” annually.

A map in the report shows a key al-Shabaab tax checkpoint at Buulo Xaaji, main points of embarkation from Kismayo and Barawe, major delivery locations at Jizan (Saudi Arabia), Dubai and Sharjah (UAE), and Khasab (Oman), with additional deliveries in Egypt, Yemen, and Kuwait.

Somali charcoal exports

In addition to “normal” smuggling of charcoal from Somalia to the Gulf states, it is Money Jihad’s belief that rampant trade-based money laundering is occurring between al-Shabaab and these states in which wealthy Arabs are transferring funds to al-Shabaab through over-invoicing for charcoal purchased. In other words, terror financiers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia are intentionally overpaying for Somali charcoal as a means of funding al-Shabaab without simple detection. The Gulf states are doing this to pursue larger strategic interests in Africa.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,095 other followers