Posts Tagged ‘terrorist financing’

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Terror finance trio: Qatar, Kuwait, and KSA

July 22, 2014

They left out Turkey. It is great that more people are coming to this realization and that books are being written about it, but it doesn’t seem to be significantly changing the policies of the West (apart from a growing rift between the U.S. and the Sunni powers in the region over how we’re dealing with Iran). We have yet to designate the major institutional terror donors in Qatar Saudi Arabia as terrorist entities. Kuwait was never blacklisted by FATF even though it took it 10 years after 9/11 to outlaw terrorist financing. NATO has retained Turkey as a member even though it is partnering with Al Qaeda in Syria and helps Iran evade sanctions. And we mostly ignored attacks by Qatari-backed rebels in Mali fighting against our oldest ally, France. Instead of doing something significant, we just nod our heads and say, “yep, the Gulf is where the money for terrorism comes from,” and then we turn the page of the newspaper to something else.

From VOA on July 7 (h/t El Grillo):

Islamist Insurgency Fueled by Global Finance Web

Jeffrey Young

The little cans were at cash registers everywhere in Kuwait, where I lived during much of the 1990s. Covered with pictures of children in anguish amid burning rubble, these cans collected coins and cash for “Palestinian Relief” or the like. Sometimes, I put my change into these cans, causing the person behind the counter to often give me a puzzled look. Then, I learned from my Kuwaiti friends that these collection cans were not always helping those kids – many were funding Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and other violent groups.

Now, 20 years later, there is an international web of finance that leads to deadly insurgents such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Part of it runs through so-called “charities,” while another funding stream for terrorists is enabled by official complicity. And, these sources also intersect.

Colin Clarke, author of an upcoming book titled “Terrorism Inc: The Funding of Terrorism, Insurgency, and Irregular Warfare” says much of the cash now pouring into ISIL and other violent groups comes from three regional sources.

“A key component of support to Sunni extremist groups [including ISIL] comes from wealthy individuals in the Arab Gulf states of Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia,” Clarke told VOA, adding “The majority of donors likely know exactly where their money is going. Some are blatant about it, while others enjoy the plausible deniability of ambiguity.”

Clarke also contends these three states are using this funding stream as a means of achieving influence with insurgent groups. “The Saudis,” he said, “are reportedly fearful of the threat posed by ISIL, but certainly contribute to radical groups, battling for a leadership role with Qatar, another country active in this funding.”

Kuwait has also allegedly kept the flames of insurgency fueled with cash. Until recently, one of those streams reportedly ran through Kuwait’s Aqaf, its Ministry of Islamic Affairs. In May, Aqaf Minister Nayef al-Ajmi resigned in the wake of accusations by a senior U.S. official that he was enabling terrorists…

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CNN documents Qatari funding of terror

July 21, 2014

The jihad in Syria against the Alawites has been wholeheartedly funded by millionaires in Qatar. The Qatari ministry of culture oversees some of the volunteer operations to fund terrorism like this, and counter-terrorism expert Juan Zarate says the financial support for jihad comes “from the top.” This isn’t new information, but seeing video of the players involved may help some people to grow up and out of the old-fashioned 1990s view of Qatar as an ally in the Gulf.

CNN’s Erin Burnett reports:

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A million a day for ISIS and a grain of salt

July 20, 2014

Is a million dollars a day enough to sustain ISIS’s operations without dipping into its own reserves? Perhaps. There may be about 10,000 ISIS foot soldiers. Paying, feeding, clothing, and transporting that many men is expensive. But if each jihadist were getting a proportionate share of $100 a day, that still well exceeds the median Iraqi income of $15 a day, which probably helps with recruitment efforts.

That being said, such a rapid influx of money does not automatically translate into the ability to spend the money—either wisely or at all. Remember the movie “Brewster’s Millions” where Richard Pryor was challenged to spend $30 million in 30 days? It’s harder than it looks.

But it’s still ominous. From the Telegraph on July 11:

Iraq oil bonanza reaps $1 million a day for Islamic State

Exclusive: Islamic State strengthens grip on northern Iraq by raising millions from sale of oil through Kurdistan to Turkey and Iran

Islamic State jihadists are raising as much as $1 million a day from the sale of crude oil recovered from conquered oilfields in Iraq that is then smuggled on to Turkey and Iran.

Oil industry experts believe the group formerly known as Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (Isis) is able to command $25 a barrel for crude its fighters are moving in tankers from the oil plains south of Mosul.

Middlemen based in the Kurdistan region of Iraq are able to turn a handsome profit on the supplies by selling its abroad for refining into the more valuable petroleum and diesel products.

The specialist Iraqi Oil Report said the centre of the $1million trade was the town of Tuz Khurmatu on the fringes of the Kurdish region. Traders there are buying convoys of tankers supplied by Islamic State…

The swift advance of Islamic State after last month’s conquest of Mosul gave it control over the path of the Kirkuk/Ceyhan oil pipeline, the country’s biggest, and the Baiji oil refinery, again the most important refinery in Iraq…

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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?

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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.

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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…

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Antiquities smuggling funds terrorism

July 6, 2014

Haqqani network leader describes $3,000 cut from smuggler

Not only does the theft of artifacts from Middle Eastern tombs, museums, and archeological sites rob the world of its history, but it funds jihadists across the globe including militants in Afghanistan and sleeper cell operatives in the West.

This is an excerpt from a National Geographic article (h/t El Grillo) last month:

…In 1999, Mohamed Atta, the al Qaeda member who hijacked and flew an American Airlines plane into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York, tried to sell Afghan antiquities to a German university professor. Atta, according to information released by the German intelligence agency, claimed that he was selling artifacts in order to purchase an airplane.

More recently, an American expert on Afghan trafficking networks has uncovered a direct link between Afghan insurgents and the antiquities trade. In a report published by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, Gretchen Peters, a senior fellow on transnational crime at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, describes how a terrorist organization known as the Haqqani Network—which is allied with al Qaeda—collects protection money from traffickers moving looted artifacts into Pakistan.

In an interview conducted by Peters’s research assistant, a Haqqani commander described receiving a $3,000 payment from a trader, and noted that many “businessmen who smuggle precious stone, sculptures, and other historic artifacts … pay dues to the Taliban to avoid trouble on the road.” These funds can then be used to purchase weapons.

Violent factions in Iraq also appear to be cashing in on the illicit antiquities trade. In 2007, Colonel Matthew Bogdanos of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, head of the investigation into the 2003 looting of the Iraq Museum in Baghdad, reported that insurgents turned to artifact smuggling to generate funds after the world banking community froze assets belonging to their supporters…

Shariah Finance Watch has some related information funding terrorism through smuggling in Iraq and Syria here.

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Dialing for terror dollars: recommended reading

July 3, 2014
  • The disembowling of Iraq by Al Qaeda (ISIS) is being funded by Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia… more>>
  • ISIS’s annual report is more than a balance sheet or summary of operations.  It’s actually an appeal to potential investorsmore>>
  • The Taliban taxes poppies and blackmails businessmen.  But the dirty little secret behind most of the Taliban’s wealth lies with Arab sheikhs, say Afghan reporters… ground truth>>
  • An Arab interest group in New York opposed to NYPD tactics turns out to be funded by Qatar, the de facto sponsor of the global Muslim Brotherhood… more>>
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ISIS raises cash in Indonesia for Iraqi jihad

July 1, 2014

Time reports that it’s legal to raise money for terrorism in Indonesia. Al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is taking advantage of this by fundraising openly around the capital. It seems that loyalties and the center of gravity is shifting internationally away from “traditional” Al Qaeda core leaders like Zawahiri toward the ascendant ISIS. From (h/t El Grillo and Terrorism Watch):

…Indonesia has a different approach to jihadism than its neighbors. Though terrorist attacks are punishable by death, it is not illegal to raise money for or join a foreign jihadist group. In contrast, in late April, Malaysia arrested 10 militants — eight men and two women — who planned to travel to Syria to take part in the war. In March, Singapore said it was investigating the departure of a national to join the Syrian jihad.

Emboldened by Indonesia’s more tolerant attitude, ISIS supporters there have become more visible and openly solicit funds. Theyheld a collection in February at an Islamic state university on the outskirts of Jakarta and held a rally in the capital’s central business district in March. On June 15, a Sunday morning when one of the main streets in the Central Javanese city of Solo is transformed into a weekly car-free zone for strolling families, militants from Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid, a JI splinter cell, paraded in ISIS insignia, waved ISIS flags and wreaked havoc on a music performance.

They are also quite active on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Iqbal Kholidi, who tracks and observes Indonesian ISIS supporters on social media, has culled photos of them training and posing with the signature black flags from across the country — in Jakarta, Central Java, South Kalimantan and Poso, Central Sulawesi…

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5 Qataris who fund Al Qaeda

June 30, 2014

In addition to institutional and charitable support by Qatar, Al Qaeda and its offshoots (including jihadists in Syria and Iraq) receive substantial financial support from private Qatari donors and bundlers. Here’s a quick who’s who:

Qatari fundraiser for ISIS

Abd al-Rahman al-Nuaymi

Abd al-Rahman al-Nuaymi
The U.S. Treasury Department describes al-Nuaymi as “a Qatar-based terrorist financier and facilitator who has provided money and material support and conveyed communications to al-Qa’ida and its affiliates in Syria, Iraq, Somalia and Yemen for more than a decade. He was considered among the most prominent Qatar-based supporters of Iraqi Sunni extremists.” Al-Nuaymi transferred $600K to Al Qaeda in Syria in 2013, and sent $2 million monthly to Al Qaeda in Iraq for an undisclosed period of time. He is also described as an interlocutor between Qatari nationals and Al Qaeda in Iraq leaders.

Salim Hasan Khalifa Rashid al-Kuwari
Treasury says al-Kuwari “provides financial and logistical support to al-Qa’ida, primarily through al-Qa’ida facilitators in Iran. Based in Qatar, Kuwari has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial support to al-Qa’ida and has provided funding for al-Qa’ida operations, as well as to secure the release of al-Qa’ida detainees in Iran and elsewhere.”

Abdallah Ghanim Mafuz Muslim al-Khawar
According to U.S. officials, “Al-Khawar has worked with Kuwari to deliver money, messages and other material support to al-Qa’ida elements in Iran. Like Kuwari, Khawar is based in Qatar and has helped to facilitate travel for extremists interested in traveling to Afghanistan for jihad.

Khalifa Muhammad Turki al-Subaiy
The UN describes al-Subaiy as “a Qatar-based terrorist financier and facilitator who has provided financial support to, and acted on behalf of, the senior leadership of Al-Qaida (QE.A.4.01). He provided assistance to senior Al-Qaida leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed prior to Sheikh Mohammed’s capture in March 2003. Since that time, he has provided financial support to Al-Qaida senior leadership in South Asia.” Al-Subaiy served a brief prison sentence in 2008 before being released by Qatar.

Yusuf Qaradawi
The Egyptian-born, Qatar-based spiritual father of the international Muslim Brotherhood sits atop a massive terrorist funding network including the “Union of Good” umbrella network of charities that funds Hamas. Qaradawi was also a sharia adviser for Al Taqwa which provided banking services to Al Qaeda.

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Sentence commuted for suicide bomb money man

June 27, 2014

A court in Scotland has reduced the sentence of Nasserdine Menni, a serial liar who funded a botched suicide bomb attack in Sweden, essentially to 3 years of time already served. If the crimes had been committed in the U.S. Menni probably would have received a 15 year prison sentence for supporting terrorism, separate from whatever sentence he would have received for the welfare fraud that he also committed.

Menni also gave money to the bomber’s wife who destroyed evidence in the case but was never charged.

The disappointing news of the early release comes from the Herald Scotland, with thanks to El Grillo, who notes that the reporting doesn’t indicate to where Menni will be deported. Menni has previously claimed to be from Kuwait but is actually from Algeria.

Terrorist funder to be deported as jail term cut

GRANT McCABE

Wednesday 11 June 2014

AN asylum seeker convicted of funding terrorism is now likely to be deported after appeal judges cut his jail term.

Nasserdine Menni was found guilty of supporting suicide bomber Taimour Abdulwahab, who blew himself up in a blast in Stockholm in December 2010.

A worldwide investigation uncovered Menni’s links to Muslim extremist Abdulwahab.

Menni, believed to be in his early 30s, had previously claimed asylum while in Glasgow and it was money earned in the city from benefits and low-paid jobs that was intended to help carry out a mission to kill innocent citizens.

He was locked up for seven years in August 2012 for providing £6725 in the knowledge it could be used for terrorism.

His legal team, led by the same QC who defended the Lockerbie bomber, yesterday challenged the jail term at a Court of Appeal hearing in Glasgow.

Lord Gill, the Lord Justice General, sitting with Lords Menzies and Brodie, reduced the sentence to three years and backdated it to March 2011 when Menni was taken into custody.

It meant Menni had effectively served his sentence.

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