Posts Tagged ‘U.N.’

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Link teases

June 29, 2011

• To ease Taliban peace talks, the U.N. will split its list of terrorists in two:  the irreconcilables & those to slip under the sheets with… more>>

• Congressional staffers aren’t happy about a growing “a culture of aid dependency” in Afghanistan.  But what do the Republicans think?  more>>

• We’ll just need a few of your British tax dollars to fund a lawsuit that my cocooned wife and I have against the French burqa ban… more>>

• “What’s wrong?” she asked. “Oh nothing,” said the dismayed inspector looking up from his ledger, “just the largest theft of funds in national history”… more>>

• “Engaging in riba, or the charging of interest? Haram! Blowing up the bank and making off with the cash? Halal!” writes Marisolmore>>

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Recap of sanctions against Iran

May 31, 2011

Attorney Barbara Linney has provided readers with a good summary of sanctions laws against Iran that have expanded over the past year.  From Lexology on Apr. 28:

U.S. Developments. On July 1, 2010, long sought amendments to the Iran Sanctions Act (“ISA”) became law. As amended by the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Accountability & Divestment Act (“CISADA”), the ISA targets persons determined to have invested $20 million or more in Iran’s ability to develop or obtain petroleum resources. CISADA expanded the definition of petroleum resources to include petroleum, refined petroleum products, oil or liquefied natural gas, natural gas resources, oil or liquefied natural gas tankers, and products used to construct or maintain pipelines used to transport oil or liquefied natural gas. Also targeted are persons contributing to Iran’s conventional and nuclear weapons proliferation activities, persons supplying refined petroleum products to Iran, and those who supply goods, services, and technology that could facilitate or contribute to Iran’s ability to produce or import refined petroleum products (subject to certain materiality and value thresholds). Provision of ships or shipping services to deliver refined petroleum products to Iran is a sanctionable service. CISADA also imposed or required adoption of other measures designed to tighten the blockade of Iran, including increased penalties for violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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UN funds rogue nuclear ambitions

April 7, 2011

First we pay the Taliban to “reintegrate” with the government of Afghanistan.  Then we consider arming Libyan rebels who include Al Qaeda.  Meanwhile, we fund “technical” and “peaceful” nuclear aspirations of rogue regimes.  Will the news of Western governments and international organizations supporting our enemies never cease?  From the Daily Beast on Mar. 22:

Iran, Sudan, Syria, and other countries the U.S. has named state sponsors of terrorism have received millions of dollars in U.N. nuclear technology aid—and Hillary Clinton won’t stop the flow of cash. Laurel Adams of the Center for Public Integrity reports.

The State Department is refusing to block U.N. nuclear technology aid to countries that are on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, including Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s regime.

The reason, says Hillary Clinton’s department, is that such a clampdown would hinder other countries that have nothing to do with terrorism.

The U.S. provides $20 million a year to help finance the International Atomic Energy Agency, which promotes peaceful use of nuclear energy. But some IAEA funds have gone to countries that could potentially use nuclear technology to build weapons, the Government Accountability Office warns in a new report.

Neither the State Department nor the IAEA have sought to limit the so-called technical cooperation aid to terror-linked nations such as Iran, Sudan, Syria, and Cuba, or countries that are not party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, such as India, Israel, and Pakistan, the congressional watchdog says.

The former head of the program told investigators that requests for technical assistance are evaluated strictly on technical merits, thwarting efforts to assess national-security concerns.

“State officials told us that the U.S. did not systematically try to limit TC projects in Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria—which the department designated as sponsors of terrorism,” the report says. “These four countries received more than $55 million in TC assistance from 1997 through 2007.”

During the same time frame, India, Israel, and Pakistan received $24.6 million in technical assistance, even though none is a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Nuclear equipment and technology, even if geared toward peaceful purposes, also can be used to develop nuclear weapons. Yet the former head of the TC program told the investigators that requests for technical assistance are evaluated strictly on technical merits, thereby thwarting efforts to assess national-security concerns.

The GAO has suggested repeatedly that the State Department withhold the U.S. contribution to IAEA that would go to countries accused of aiding terrorists.

“The United States has applied several types of sanctions limiting foreign assistance and trade to states it has designated as sponsors of terrorism and to other countries. To avoid the appearance of an inconsistent approach and to foster greater cohesion in U.S. policy toward such nations, we believe that it is fair for Congress to consider requiring State to withhold a share of the U.S. contribution,” the GAO says.

Withholding funds would undermine the Obama administration’s ability to convince other member countries to contribute to the fund, and since the funding is not traced to specific projects, it would punish all recipients in the program, the State Department said in response.

The IAEA provides minimal information on project proposals, usually just project titles, which further hinders efforts by the Energy Department to assess the risk of proliferation in countries requesting assistance.

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Weekly term: CFT

December 15, 2010

CFT is the acronym for combating the financing of terrorism.  Although the concept is fairly self-explanatory, let’s give it a little more definition for the record.

The UN’s International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism refers to:

[S]teps to prevent and counteract, through appropriate domestic measures, the financing of terrorists and terrorist organizations, whether such financing is direct or indirect through organizations which also have or claim to have charitable, social or cultural goals or which are also engaged in unlawful activities such as illicit arms trafficking, drug dealing and racketeering, including the exploitation of persons for purposes of funding terrorist activities, and in particular to consider, where appropriate, adopting regulatory measures to prevent and counteract movements of funds suspected to be intended for terrorist purposes without impeding in any way the freedom of legitimate capital movements and to intensify the exchange of information concerning international movements of such funds.

The key here is that CFT is not just a state of mind or general opposition to terrorist financing.  It is a complex regulatory compliance regime enacted by different degrees of toughness by each nation.  Banks often bear the burdens of anti-money laundering and CFT compliance by filing copious reports with their country’s financial intelligence agencies.

Businesses have a hand in CFT by ensuring that they do not engage in transactions with sanctioned countries, companies, or people.  CFT laws are often top-down government mandates which are expensive for businesses to comply with.  Those businesses pass their costs along to the rest of us through lower wages to employees or higher prices for customers.  CFT doesn’t come cheap.

*United Nations, “International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism,” (New York:  UN, 1999).

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U.N. role in security contractor scandal ignored

November 2, 2010

In the wake of a Sept. 28 Senate report on Afghan security firms, salacious headlines about money for contractors ending up the hands of the Taliban routinely impugned the wicked Americans for the failure to vet firms properly.  The Washington Post ran the headline, “Mismanaged U.S. contractor money aids enemy in Afghanistan;” the Huffington Post said, “U.S. Bases In Afghanistan Employed Taliban-Linked Mercenaries,” the Los Angeles Times blamed “DOD security contracts,” and USA Today fingered “U.S. spending on Afghan security contractors.”

Completely lost in all the headlines were the failures of the contracting standards of United Nations.  A conclusion of “American” contractors supporting the Taliban is not supported by the facts presented in the text of the Senate report itself.  The most electric allegation in the report is that subcontractors fought against U.S. forces during a raid on Azizabad resulting in the injury of one U.S. soldier and the injury of several civilians. 

And who were those subcontractors in the Azizabad raid working for?  The United Nations.  That’s right—the most flagrant breach in oversight of Afghan security firms occurred under a United Nations contract not a United States contract.  And the most nefarious Afghan warlord implicated in the report, “Mr. White II,” was primarily a benefactor of the UN hired after White II’s Taliban connections became clear.  From the report’s executive summary:

In summer 2008, the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) awarded ArmorGroup Mine Action (AGMA), one of the ArmorGroup family of companies, a contract to conduct mine clearance in Herat Province, including in areas around Shindand. AGMA hired White II [the name ArmorGroup used for a local Afghan warlord] paying him thousands of dollars a month to provide security guards and vehicles.

As to what White II did with that money, an Army Sergeant operating out of the FOB in the area said that he was advised that White II “was a supporter of Taliban operations” and that he would “help [the Taliban] with money.” According to the Army Sergeant, he was informed that White “would provide money because of his contracting jobs with ArmorGroup.  He had a lot of money from that and he would give that money to Taliban commanders, and they in turn would buy weapons and ammo, whatever they need”…

Notwithstanding those reports, AGMA officials said that White II was able to retrieve his confiscated weapons and he continued as AGMA’s security provider until August 2008, when he was killed in a U.S. Military raid on a Taliban meeting.

On August 21, 2008, U.S. and Afghan Forces conducted an operation in the village of Azizabad in the Shindand District to capture or kill Mullah Sadeq, a high value Taliban commander who U.S. Forces said “coordinate[d] LED attacks in Herat and Farah Provinces.”

The raid was based on intelligence reporting that Sadeq and a number of anti-coalition fighters would be attending a meeting that night in Azizabad. The meeting, it turns out, was being held at the home ofMr. White II. The raid met with intense resistance and one U.S. soldier was injured in the battle. The number of Afghan casualties was significant and included anti-Coalition militia and many civilians. A post-raid U.S. Army investigation found that some of the anti-Coalition militia “may have been security contractors or subcontractors for ArmorGroup.”

In fact, Mr. White and seven men employed as security guards for either ArmorGroup or AGMA were killed in the operation. In addition, a search of the raid site revealed “extensive stores or weapons, explosives, [and] intelligence materials.”

No company, country, or person should be funding the Taliban.  Let’s just be consistent in identifying who is actually responsible for it.

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Treasury mysteriously de-lists Faraj Farj Hassan al Saadi

October 20, 2010

Yesterday, lumped in with a laundry list of Columbian drug dealers designated under the Kingpin Act, the Treasury Department quietly deleted Faraj Faraj Hussein al-Sa’idi (also known by five aliases) from their terror listing of specially designated nationals.

The reasons for the de-listing are unclear, and few if any media outlets have published any further detail, much less a proper justification for the removal.

According to Kufr Akbar’s Notes on Sunni Terrorists blog, Faraj al-Sa’idi was convicted by a court in Milan, Italy, in 2006 to a five year prison sentence, a conviction which was upheld on appeal, for membership in the terrorist organization known as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.  Nevertheless, al-Sa’idi was never extradited from Britain where he has lived since 2002.

The U.N. Security Council Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee conducted a review of Mr. al-Sa’idi’s case and apparently decided NOT to de-list him.  The U.N.’s review was completed in January 2010.

The Brits give him safe haven, the U.S. removes him from its terror list, but Italy and the UN stick to their guns on this slug.  Here’s the question for Adam Szubin, the director of the agency within Treasury that removed Sa’idi from Treasury’s list:  what gives?

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Algeria clamors to Europe to stop funding terror

October 19, 2010
Algerian minister for African Affairs, Abdelkader Messahel

Enough, says Abdelkader Messahel

But will the West listen?  Abdelkader Messahel, Algeria’s African affairs minister, says ransoms paid by Europe account for 95 percent of terrorist revenues in the region.

U.N. Resolution 1904 prohibits payments of ransoms, but imposes no penalties for entities that pay ransoms anyway.  Algeria announced at the end of September that it would introduce amendments to give teeth to 1904.

US HRC Ambassador Eileen Donahoe

Slow down, says Ambassador Donahoe

U.S. Human Rights Commission Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe objected to the African proposal during deliberations on Oct. 1 saying that the U.S. “does not consider the Human Rights Council to be the appropriate forum for such counterterrorism issues,” and that the wording of the text “could have been improved with further consultation.”

Regardless of Amb. Donahoe’s objections, the resolution was adopted without a vote.  The resolution itself includes no harsher sanctions for the payment of ransoms, but instead tables the issue for further study during the 16th session of the Human Rights Council.

Algeria is up on the rooftop crying out for help.  They’re not asking for perpetual bailouts like Pakistan.  They’re just asking for wealthy European nations like Spain to stop funding their mutual enemy of Al Qaeda. 

If it’s wrong for terrorists to fund Al Qaeda and the Taliban, and if it’s wrong for U.S. contractors to pay the Taliban, isn’t it also wrong for Western governments to pay ransoms demanded by Al Qaeda?

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Biggest Islamic Relief revenues from “secular” government agencies

October 18, 2010

Islamic Relief Worldwide, a major conglomerate of Muslim charities, receives funding from affiliated Muslim charities and by individual zakat donations.  But a review of their annual report shows that the largest single donors are actually government agencies.  Apart from one Qatari institution, the top five donors are mostly funded by Western tax dollars.

  1. Reach out to Asia – Qatar:  £2.7 million
  2. European Commission for Humanitarian Operations:  £2.3 million
  3. Department for International Development (U.K.):  £1.6 million
  4. United Nations Development Program:  £1.6 million
  5. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees:  £0.9 million

The largest donations from Islamic Relief partner organizations are Islamic Relief USA, Islamic Relief Deutschland, Islamic Relief Association Switzerland, Secour Islamique France, and Islamic Relief Nederland.  Malaysia was the only Islamic nation with a partner organization that came close to match the giving power of the West.

Certainly U.K. and European taxpayers must be delighted that their money is being used to propagate Islam around the world.  When churches or Christian charities in the U.S. receive any taxpayer money, it’s extremely controversial.  But Islamic Relief gets pats on the back from Prince Charles for their remarkable “generosity” and fundraising abilities.  It’s just that he forgot to tell us that it’s easy to be generous with somebody else’s money.

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Weekly word: blacklist

August 26, 2010

Random House defines a blacklist as “a list of persons under suspicion, disfavor, censure, etc.”

We often apply the term “blacklist” to any terrorist designations by the U.S. State Department, Treasury Department, the United Nations, and FATF.  But each organization’s blacklisting carries its own specific meaning.

The State Department designates foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  Designation serves as a stigma and a sign of American disapproval, and members of designated FTOs are “inadmissible and removable” from the United States.

Treasury designates and sanctions countries and individuals under a mix of executive and Congressional authorities, usually within the context of identifying people, companies, or countries that have some role in financing terrorism, not just espousing terrorist views or even engaging in terrorist acts.  Treasury designations require American banks to freeze any accounts held by the designee and prevent Americans from doing business with the terrorists.

Designations by the United Nations, for example, blacklisting by the UN’s Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee, result in asset freezes, bans on international travel, and arms embargos in accordance with Security Council Resolution 1267.

FATF identifies countries that are sponsors of or have such weak controls that they are high risks for money laundering.  Officially FATF calls them “non-cooperative countries,” but it’s a blacklist.  Corporations in FATF member countries should avoid doing business with blacklisted countries or be at risk of indirectly helping those countries launder money for terror.

By the way, FATF is based in Paris, and they should probably blacklist France itself for its steadfast business relationships with Iran, itself a blacklisted country.

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“A gift to the Islamists”

August 14, 2010

On August 5, Radio Free Europe broadcaster Daud Khattak predicted that the floods in Pakistan would become “a gift to the Islamists”—a golden opportunity for the militants to surge to help flood victims where the Pakistani government falls short.

Hands reach out for charity

Charity gives out wheat in Sindh province

Unfortunately, but predictably, the evidence is bearing out Mr. Khattak’s foresight: 

This problem will only be compounded as zakat donations increase during Ramadan.  More coverage on that score later this week…

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U.N. lifts sanctions on 45 Taliban & Al Qaeda, Russia hesitates

August 3, 2010

Yesterday the United Nations Al-Qaida & Taliban Sanctions Committee announced the de-listing of ten Taliban members and 35 Al Qaeda members or affiliated companies from their sanctions list.  Names of five of the Taliban members had been announced last week. 

Eight of the individuals are thought to be dead, although the U.N. is opaque on how it verified the deaths of the individuals delisted.  Presumably, the de-listing of dead jihadists would free the assets of terrorists to be released to their heirs, although none of the wire reporters has looked into this question yet.

Any de-listing requires the unanimous vote of the sanctions committee.  The committee is made up of all 15 members of the Security Council, of which the U.S. is a member.  Naturally, this means that the United States, Amb. Susan Rice, and the Obama administration support the removal of names. 

Meanwhile, according to Reuters, “Russia, which sits on the committee along with the other 14 Security Council members, had been cautious about deleting names, U.N. diplomats said. Russia is concerned about Islamic fundamentalism and Taliban-linked drug-trafficking in its region, they said.”

What the de-listing by the U.N. means for the affected individuals and companies is:

  • no more frozen assets
  • no travel restrictions
  • no longer being subject to an arms embargo

Several money transfer agencies, including al-Barakaat Wiring Service which operated in Minnesota, were included in the de-listing.  This means that sanctioned Somali hawaladars in Minneapolis can go back in business.

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