Posts Tagged ‘foreign aid’

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News roundup: recommended reading

July 24, 2014
  • Congressman appearing on Al Jazeera declares “The owners of this TV network help fund Hamas,” and the interviewer doesn’t dispute him… more>>
  • World Net Daily interviews Money Jihad blogger A.D. Kendall on the funding of al-Shabaab and other jihadist groups in Africa… more>>
  • ISIS is looting antiquities, liquidating the history of mankind, and funding its own operations from the profits… more>>
  • The Washington Post declares, “U.S. should aid those who fight terror, not abet human rights abuses.” Are you listening, Saudi Arabia?  More>>
  • You find what you think is a great new international partner for your growing business. Before signing that contract with a foreign firm, hire a professional investigator with a physical presence in that country to conduct due diligencemore>>

 

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Donor nations appear clueless about Palestinian Authority stipends to terrorists

January 5, 2014

In November, The Guardian’s Edwin Black wrote about the phenomenon of Palestinian Authority providing stipends to terrorists imprisoned in Israel.  Money Jihad did not blog about his piece at the time, because this phenomenon is already familiar to our readers (see here, here, and here), and it didn’t seem to break any news or provide any new information.

But upon rereading his write-up, Black’s explanation is so clear and striking that this is definitely worth a second look.  He makes the observation that many officials in the U.K. and U.S. are still stunningly unaware of how much of their donor aid to the PA is skimmed off for the purposes of these stipends.

Hat tip to Dr. Mia Bloom, professor of security studies at UMass Lowell, for sending this over:

How British and American aid subsidises Palestinian terrorism

US and UK taxpayers fund the Palestinian Authority, which in turn funds prisoners in Israeli jails. It’s dangerously dysfunctional

On both sides of the pond, in London and Washington, policymakers are struggling to weather their budget crises. Therefore, it may astound American and British taxpayers that the precious dollars and pounds they deploy in Israel and the Occupied Territories fungibly funds terrorism.

The instrument of this funding is US and UK programs of aid paid to the Palestinian Authority. This astonishing financial dynamic is known to most Israeli leaders and western journalists in Israel. But it is still a shock to most in Congress and many in Britain’s Parliament, who are unaware that money going to the Palestinian Authority is regularly diverted to a program that systematically rewards convicted prisoners with generous salaries. These transactions in fact violate American and British laws that prohibit US funding from benefiting terrorists. More than that, they could be seen as incentivizing murder and terror against innocent civilians.

Here’s how the system works. When a Palestinian is convicted of an act of terror against the Israeli government or innocent civilians, such as a bombing or a murder, that convicted terrorist automatically receives a generous salary from the Palestinian Authority. The salary is specified by the Palestinian “law of the prisoner” and administered by the PA’s Ministry of Prisoner Affairs. A Palestinian watchdog group, the Prisoners Club, ensures the PA’s compliance with the law and pushes for payments as a prioritized expenditure. This means that even during frequent budget shortfalls and financial crisis, the PA PA pays the prisoners’ salaries first and foremost – before other fiscal obligations.

The law of the prisoner narrowly delineates just who is entitled to receive an official salary. In a recent interview, Ministry of Prisoners spokesman Amr Nasser read aloud that definition:

A detainee is each and every person who is in an Occupation prison based on his or her participation in the resistance to Occupation.

This means crimes against Israel or Israelis. Nasser was careful to explain:

It does not include common-law thieves and burglars. They are not included and are not part of the mandate of the ministry.

Under a sliding scale, carefully articulated in the law of the prisoner, the more serious the act of terrorism, the longer the prison sentence, and consequently, the higher the salary. Incarceration for up to three years fetches a salary of almost $400 per month. Prisoners behind bars for between three and five years will be paid about $560 monthly – a compensation level already higher than that for many ordinary West Bank jobs. Sentences of ten to 15 years fetch salaries of about $1,690 per month. Still worse acts of terrorism against civilians, punished with sentences between 15 and 20 years, earn almost $2,000 per month.

These are the best salaries in the Palestinian territories. The Arabic word ratib, meaning “salary”, is the official term for this compensation. The law ensures the greatest financial reward for the most egregious acts of terrorism.

In the Palestinian community, the salaries are no secret; they are publicly hailed in public speeches and special TV reports. The New York Times and the Times of Israel have both mentioned the mechanism in passing. Only British and American legislators seem to be uninformed about the payments…

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Terror finance news: recommended reading

December 19, 2013
  • Jihad Watch:  Australia: Muslim radicals tried robbing an ATM to fund jihad in Syria
  • Kenneth Rijock:  “How extensive was Hezbollah’s Canadian shopping spree?
  • Israel Matzav:  “Your taxes at work: ‘Cash strapped’ Palestinian Authority gives freed terrorist murderers $50,000 each”

 

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Dutch parliament urges Palestinian Authority to stop rewarding terrorists

December 15, 2013

About 40 percent of European Union aid to the Palestinian Authority is diverted as stipends to convicted Palestinian terrorists and their families.  Countries including Norway and the Netherlands are getting a bit tired of this state of affairs.  The Dutch have been irritated enough to pass a motion urging Holland’s government to compel the Palestinian Authority to cease payments to terrorist convicts.

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) endorses the parliamentary measure, and offers this report:

AJC Welcomes Dutch Parliament Call to End Financial Rewarding of Palestinian Terrorists

4 December 2013 – Brussels – The AJC Transatlantic Institute welcomed the passing of a motion in the Dutch Parliament calling on the government to pressure the Palestinian Authority (PA) to end its use of aid to reward terrorism.

“The Dutch Parliament’s motion is an important recognition of an utterly shameful practice,” said Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute in Brussels. “Aid from EU member states must be used for constructive, peace-building purposes, not to help fuel the conflict.”

The motion, passed by an overwhelming majority, notes that PA payments to convicted terrorists increase based on the length of sentence, thus encouraging future crimes. It references how monthly payments to Palestinians in prison can range from €282 for someone jailed for less than three years to €2,419 for a sentence of 30 years or more.

The EU is the single largest donor to the Palestinians. The Sunday Times (UK) cited in October an unpublished report by the European Court of Auditors detailing how EU aid to the Palestinians has been “misspent, squandered or lost to corruption,” to the tune of £1.95bn between 2008 and 2012.

“The time has come for a full inquiry into the how and when the PA has been using EU aid to encourage terrorism,” said Schwammenthal…

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Money jihad news: recommended reading

October 10, 2013
  • Al-Awlaki paid him $9,000 to do English-language outreach for Al Qaeda. Now that his paymaster is dead and he’s been indicted, Lawal Babafemi may be having second thoughts… more>>
  • Norway is cutting its aid to Afghanistan by 7 percent over concerns about corruption, while Norwegian aid to the equally corrupt Palestinian Authority remains undiminished… more>>
  • Pakistan’s ISI and Frontier Corps commit extortion through a “kill and dump” mafia operation, reports Sarjau… more>>
  • Al-Madinah received £1.4 million in taxpayer funds to open an interfaith school. Somewhere along the way it became 100 percent Muslim, sent girls to the back of the classroom, and banned haram cooking from the cafeteria… more>>
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Al-Shabaab steals British foreign aid

September 25, 2013

As if we needed another reason to discontinue aid to such countries, al-Shabaab has given us another demonstration.  It is almost impossible to ensure that aid such as this gets to the right people who actually need it.

There are enough supply chain risks in war-torn countries like Somalia that most private sector companies wouldn’t invest in them or touch them with a ten-foot pole.  But Western governments swoop in without regard to the regulatory risks. The standards of compliance that apply to banks and multinational corporations, who are routinely excoriated for the slightest export control or anti-money laundering program deficiencies, don’t seem to apply to our governmental aid agencies.

From Channel 4 last month:

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Pakistan scrambles to get off FATF’s gray list

September 16, 2013

The world’s leading financial standards body, FATF, alerted the international community earlier this summer that Pakistan and 11 other countries have failed to make sufficient progress in preventing money laundering and terrorist financing.

The newspaper Pakistan Today notes that if Pakistan fails in “coming up with proper and combating the financing of terrorism and anti-money laundering legislations the country may face severe financial sanctions that may affect its financial deals with the World bank, the Asian Development Bank and other top financial institutions” (h/t Zia Ur Rehman).  Pakistan should make reforms prior to FATF’s next meeting in October to avoid such sanctions.

Not so coincidentally, Pakistan’s central bank has rolled out a new requirement for Pakistani financial institutions to adopt nationwide software by Sept. 30 that will facilitate the filing of suspicious activity reports by bank employees.  When a certain customer or transaction is regarded as suspicious, the financial institutions would use this software to report their observations back to the central bank.

Anybody familiar with new software deployments, even under the best circumstances in well-developed high-tech nations, will recognize that this is an overly ambitious timetable to for implementation.  Widespread training and adoption of the software is unlikely to be complete by FATF’s deadline, but the stated goal may be enough to persuade FATF that Pakistan is moving in the right direction.

Pakistan has been cited before by the Financial Action Task Force for its financial regulatory deficiencies.  Despite the history of shortcomings, Western nations have continued to saturate Pakistan with foreign aid.  Without adequate money laundering an CFT controls in place, there is a high risk of any such military and development aid being abused by malicious actors without fear of detection or prosecution.

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Lashkar-e-Taiba’s upper income recruits

May 30, 2013

Pakistani militants

Far from being impoverished orphans, the young men recruited by Pakistani terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) tend to be among “the best and brightest” of Pakistani society, according to a study released last month by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point based on biographies of 917 LeT members.

The findings severely undercut British Prime Minister David Cameroon’s position that Western development aid to Pakistan improves education and reduces poverty which in turn prevents extremism.

The foreign aid is not preventing terrorist recruitment, some of the aid is stolen by Pakistani elites, and some of the aid is given to terrorist groups through Pakistan’s ISI spy service.  There is no longer any justifiable reason to continue transferring taxpayer money from the West to Pakistan.

From ProPublica:

Terror Group Recruits From Pakistan’s ‘Best and Brightest’

by Sebastian Rotella
ProPublica, April 4, 2013

Imagine a terrorist group that recruits tens of thousands of young men from the same neighborhoods and social networks as the Pakistani military. A group whose well-educated recruits defy the idea that poverty and ignorance breed extremism. A group whose fighters include relatives of a politician, a senior Army officer and a director of Pakistan’s Atomic Energy Commission.

That is the disconcerting reality of Lashkar-e-Taiba, one of the world’s most dangerous militant organizations, according to a study released today by the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. The report helps explain why Pakistan has resisted international pressure to crack down on Lashkar after it killed 166 people in Mumbai — six U.S. citizens included — and came close to sparking conflict between nuclear-armed Pakistan and India.

The findings, which draw on 917 biographies of Lashkar fighters killed in combat, illuminate “Lashkar’s integration into Pakistani society, how embedded they are,” said co-author Don Rassler, the director of a research program at the center that studies primary source materials. “They have become an institution.”

The three-day slaughter in 2008 drew global attention because it targeted Westerners as well as Indians and implicated Pakistan’s spy agency. The Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) continues to protect the masterminds, according to Western and Indian counterterror officials. U.S. prosecutors indicted an ISI major in the deaths of the Americans: He allegedly provided funds, training and direction and served as the handler of David Coleman Headley, an U.S. reconnaissance operative now serving 35 years in a federal prison.

The 56-page West Point report is titled “The Fighters of Lashkar-e-Taiba: Recruitment, Training, Deployment and Death.” Though it refrains from policy suggestions, there are implications for U.S. counterterror strategy. Lashkar’s popularity and clout defy conventional approaches to fighting extremism, said co-author Christine Fair, a Pakistan expert at Georgetown University.

“When you have an organization that enjoys such a degree of open support, there are no options for U.S. policy other than counterintelligence, law enforcement and counter-terrorism targeting,” Fair said in an interview.

Lashkar was founded in 1989 by Hafiz Saeed, its spiritual chief today, and other ideologues. The ISI deployed Lashkar as a proxy force against India, especially in the disputed Kashmir region. Although banned by Pakistan in 2002, the group still functions unmolested, the ISI provides funds, military training and arms, and ISI officers serve as handlers for Lashkar chiefs, according to Western and Indian investigations. The U.S. officially declared Laskhar a terror group in 2001.

The West Point researchers said they used “massive amounts of material that the group produces about itself” to analyze the trajectories of Lashkar fighters who were killed between 1989 and 2008. The researchers translated from Urdu the 917 biographies that appeared in four extremist publications, including one written by mothers of fallen militants.

Recruits often become holy warriors with the help of their families, which admire Lashkar’s military exploits in India and Afghanistan and its nationalism and social service activities at home, the study says. Unlike other terrorist groups, Lashkar does not attack the Pakistani state.

The group’s vast training camps have churned out fighters at an alarming rate. The study gives an estimate of between 100,000 and 300,000 total trainees. By comparison, a U.S. counterterror official told ProPublica he has seen figures as high as 200,000, though he put the number in the tens of thousands.

Most recruits examined in the study joined at about age 17 and died at about 21, generally in India or Afghanistan. Their backgrounds contradict “a lingering belief in the policy community that Islamist terrorists are the product of low or no education or are produced in Pakistan’s madrassas,” the report says.

In fact, the fighters had higher levels of secular education compared to the generally low average for Pakistani men, the report says. Relatively few studied at religious schools known as madrasas. They joined Lashkar — which spews anti-Western, anti-Semitic and anti-Indian rhetoric — because they wanted more meaningful lives, admired its anticorruption image and felt an obligation to help fellow Muslims, the study says.

“These are some of Pakistan’s best and brightest and they are not being used in the labor market, they are being deployed in the militant market,” Fair said. “It’s a myth that poverty and madrasas create terrorism, and that we can buy our way out of it with U.S. aid.”

Lashkar’s publications downplay its longtime links to the security forces, the authors said. But connections emerge nonetheless. Lashkar recruits aggressively in the districts of the Punjab region that produce the bulk of Pakistan’s officer corps — “a dynamic that raises a number of questions about potentially overlapping social networks between the army and (Lashkar),” the report says.

“It looks like based on what we have as if there’s a considerable degree of overlap,” Fair said. “The military and Lashkar are competing for guys with the same skill set.”

At least 18 fallen fighters had immediate family members who served in Pakistan’s armed forces. Although most recruits were working or lower middle-class, some “had connections to elite Pakistani institutions and Pakistani religious leaders and politicians.” The study cites Abdul Qasim Muhammad Asghar, son of the president of the Pakistan Muslim Leagueʹs labor wing in Islamabad and Rawalpindi…

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Ottawa to Syrian rebels: fund yourselves

May 1, 2013

John Kerry believes it’s a good idea to fund Syrian rebels despite the blurry lines among Syrian reformers, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Al Qaeda fighters.  Canada disagrees.  Overlooked this insightful piece from the Globe & Mail last month, which lays out the reasons for Canada’s position.

Hat tip to Vlad Tepes, who is rightfully proud of Canada’s approach, and notes that Canada’s decision “should be obvious to everyone.”  True.

Too risky to fund Syrian rebels, Canada says

By CAMPBELL CLARK

The Globe and Mail

OTTAWA – The United States has shifted course to provide aid directly to Syria’s rebels, but Canada doesn’t have enough confidence in them to follow suit.

It is a rare international question where the two allies are taking different views: Canada, which was gung-ho about helping rebels in Libya, thinks it’s too risky to fund those in Syria.

On Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States will for the first time send so-called non-lethal aid such as food and medical supplies directly to the Free Syrian Army, as well as provide $60-million to the political wing of the coalition seeking to unseat President Bashar al-Assad.

While that fell short of the pledges of arms and equipment that Syrian rebels really want, it marks a shift in U.S. policy to directly support rebels fighting the Assad regime.

“We do this because we need to stand on the side of those in this fight who want to see Syria rise again in unity and see a democracy and human rights and justice,” Mr. Kerry said after a meeting in Rome of countries supporting the opposition.

But Canada – unlike the United States, most of Europe and much of the Arab world – has never recognized the opposition’s umbrella organization, the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, as the “legitimate representative” of Syrians. And it’s not about to follow the U.S. allies in sending aid to the Free Syrian Army, either.

“After 23 months of violence and 70,000 deaths, the answer to the crisis in Syria is not more violence,” said Rick Roth, a spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. “Canada is working to address the humanitarian crisis the conflict in Syria has produced.”

Ottawa has long expressed worries about the fractious nature of the Syrian opposition and about Islamist extremists in their midst. In December, when dozens of countries recognized the coalition, Mr. Baird said he was waiting for the opposition to be more inclusive to minorities and women, and denounce extremism.

The Harper government has not changed its stand – essentially, it still doesn’t trust the opposition, or feel confident it can send money to rebels without some of it ending up in the hands of Islamist fighters whom it views as a danger that could live on past the anti-Assad rebellion. Ottawa will still try to work with the Syrian opposition and fund efforts to aid refugees, government sources said, but hasn’t changed its mind on sending aid to rebels.

It’s a stand that has baffled Syrian-Canadian groups. “We don’t really understand the Canadian position,” said Khaled Sawaf, president of the Syrian Canadian Council. It’s one thing to decide not to send weapons to the Free Syrian Army, but there’s no reason to withhold aid like food and medical supplies, he said.

Mr. Kerry said one reason for sending money to the Syrian coalition is to try to counter the influence of extremists. “The stakes are really high. And we can’t risk letting this country, in the heart of the Middle East, be destroyed by vicious autocrats or hijacked by the extremists,” he said…

Now if we could just get Canada to do something about unfortunate investment activities in the Sudan…

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Cash for Karzai in suitcases, backpacks, and grocery bags

April 30, 2013

Good old Uncle Moneybags is back, but this time his sacks are filled with American money for distribution to cronies and warlords.  From the Wall Street Journal yesterday:

Men in dark coats with facial hair and millions of dollars

Karzai Confirms Accepting CIA Cash Monthly for 10 Years

By JUHANA ROSSI in Helsinki and YAROSLAV TROFIMOV in Kabul

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Monday acknowledged that his office has been receiving money from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency over the past 10 years, dismissing the monthly cash payments as a “small amount.”

Mr. Karzai addressed the issue after the New York Times reported on Sunday that the CIA has made tens of millions of dollars in secret payments, often cash packed in shopping bags, as it sought to maintain influence over Afghanistan’s mercurial leader.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, here in Brussels last week, Monday confirmed that his government has been receiving CIA money for a decade, but dismissed it as a ‘small amount.’

“Yes, the office of the national security has been receiving support from the United States for the past 10 years,” Mr. Karzai told reporters at a news briefing in Helsinki, Finland, responding to a question about whether he has received CIA cash. “Monthly. Not a big amount. A small amount which has been used for various purposes.”

The CIA declined to comment on the matter.

Mr. Karzai, who is touring Northern Europe, made the remarks following his meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.

The U.S. isn’t the only country to supply the Afghan presidential palace with secret money. In 2010, Mr. Karzai acknowledged receiving bags full of euros from the government of Iran.

Afghan officials have said that these secret funds have been used by the president to reward supporters and buy loyalty from tribal leaders…

Time to take a second look at the proposal to cease foreign aid in Afghanistan?  Or is that still considered “a bit dramatic“?

By the way, if a U.S. company did what a federal agency has done by transferring money to Karzai, that company would be prosecuted under the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Money Jihad has previously covered the money that Hamid Karzai received from Iran here.

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Terror deaths and Pakistan aid correlated

January 2, 2013

The number of civilian fatalities from terrorist attacks in Pakistan is rising on a similar trend line with U.S. foreign aid to Pakistan over the past 10 years.

The foreign aid isn’t working. It actually appears to be backfiring. More aid = more terror.

Although American financial aid to Pakistan has begun declining, there is no appetite in Washington, D.C., to stop spending taxpayer dollars to fund the de facto terrorist state of Pakistan.  Sen. Rand Paul was right to push for at least making aid to Pakistan conditional.  Although Sen. Paul’s latest effort was defeated, these findings should give some reason for reconsideration:

Data from 2003 to 2012 show a general increase in American foreign aid to Pakistan measured in tens of millions of U.S. dollars and an increase in the number of civilian fatalities from terrorist attacks measured in tens.

Sources: Congressional Research Service and SATP.org, graph by MoneyJihad

The possible correlation resembles the relationship between aid to the Palestinian territories and the number of Palestinian terrorist attacks.

Data for this graph were compiled from CRS and SATP reports.

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