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Iran sanctions relief can fund “bad behavior”

August 7, 2015

Obama administration official Susan Rice says that we should expect that some assets unfrozen in the Iranian nuclear deal will fund Iran’s “bad behavior.”  This behavior includes bomb attacks by Hezbollah against Israel.

This acknowledgment is an illustration that it’s okay for the federal government to allow piles of money to flow to Iran.  But if you as a private citizen sent just enough money to Iran to buy a Persian rug or a can of pistachio nuts, you could be prosecuted or fined.

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Money and fundamentalism: suggested reading

August 6, 2015
  • The Department of Justice considers protecting the Palestinian Authority from a civil suit verdict for the victims of terrorism… more>>
  • Lobbyists peddle influence on behalf of an alleged Hamas-financing charity from Qatar… more>>
  • Senators propose to declassify the report on Saudi sponsorship of 9/11 hijackers… more>>
  • The rebels of the Free Syrian Army have used their Western funding and support to… kidnap Westerners… more>>
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Lebanese gun smuggler busted in Michigan

August 4, 2015

He hid guns and gun parts in Porsches. From Fox 17 in West Michigan:

Grand Rapids man arrested, suspected of smuggling guns to Lebanon

Posted 2:19 PM, July 29, 2015, by Bob Brenzing

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A Grand Rapids man has been charged in federal court for smuggling handguns overseas to Lebanon, some of which were hidden in parts of disassembled Porsches.

Gilbert Oscar Elian, who also has a residence in Lebanon, purchased 93 handguns between January of 2012 and May of 2014 at local retailers, including Cabela’s and Silver Bullet, according to court documents.

Elian told a Grand Rapids Police detective and an officer from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in an interview that he had taken about 65 of the guns to his residence in Lebanon.  Each of the guns was properly checked in with TSA on flights that Elian made to Lebanon.

Elian did not have an export license for the firearms, but he told agents that he was unaware that he needed one.  Elian told agents earlier that he was an owner of Prestige Imports in Grand Rapids and that he imports and exports auto parts, specifically Porsche parts.  The owner of Prestige Imports tells FOX 17 that Elian had no association with Prestige.

In June of 2015, U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Chesapeake, Virginia inspected a shipping container heading to Lebanon, which was listed as being shipped by Elian.  Because of the earlier investigation into Elian’s activities with guns and Lebanon, agents searched the container.  The officers reported that in the oil pans of the Porsche engines that were inside the shipping container, they found disassembled handguns packed in felt and plastic.

Investigators say they found 20 disassembled handguns and 23 gun magazines in the Porsche engines.  One of the guns allegedly was registered to Elian and another was unregistered…

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Terror tycoon sheltered by our “partner”

August 3, 2015

Pakistan, an alleged “partner” of the U.S., is sheltering yet another international terrorist.  This time it’s not Osama Bin Laden or Mullah Omar, but underworld kingpin and terrorist financier Dawood Ibrahim.

France often serves as a waiting area for revolutionaries before they go back to their home countries.  Saudi Arabia is often a flophouse for deposed Arab dictators.  Now we know who Pakistan likes hosting the most–fundamentalist Islamic madmen who murder civilians at will.

From the Sunday Guardian (h/t El Grillo):

Dawood hiding in plain sight with new identity: US experts

MADHAV NALAPAT New York | 25th Jul 2015

Experts in counter-terrorism activities say that there is “credible information that India’s most wanted person”, Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, aka Sheikh Dawood Hassan, who, ironically, was the son of a Mumbai police constable of known integrity, “was in March 2003 given a new identity and accompanying papers by the ISI, in order to reduce the chances of detection and to facilitate his travel to multiple locations across the globe, including South Africa, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Portugal and Dubai”. They say that this identity change was carried out once it was confirmed that the United States (responding to repeated requests by the A.B. Vajpayee government at the level of Home Minister L.K. Advani and National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra) would declare Dawood a Specially Designated International Terrorist. This was done in October 2003, or six months after Dawood’s identity makeover. According to these sources, “such a step had no effect on Dawood’s international operations, both business and terror-related”, in view of the fact that he was thereby enabled to travel safely to multiple locations through use of the documents prepared for him by the ISI. They claim that Dawood was made aware in advance — presumably by the Pakistan authorities — that he would be labelled an international terrorist by the US. Responding to this, towards the close of 2002 itself, the canny fugitive had transferred properties which were in his name to nominees and benamis, so that nothing of any value was seized anywhere in the world, including in India, where he has substantial assets, especially in Mumbai and Hyderabad.

Terrorism, hawala and narcotics go hand in hand in Dawood’s business empire, which at its peak had an estimated annual turnover of $4 billion in value before beginning a decline around 2007, because of increased US tracking of his assets and the financial networks operating on his behalf in Hong Kong and Singapore. The heightened interest was because of the expansion of operations of the LeT to Europe. “During 2006-2011, (Dawood) sold much of his international businesses and relocated some assets to India and most to Pakistan”, these US-based sources claimed, adding that there was little effective countering of Dawood’s operations in India during the period in office of both Prime Ministers Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh. But they added that “the heat has increased after (Prime Minister) Modi took over in 2014”. During Narendra Modi’s visit to the US in September 2014, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval stayed an extra two days in Washington “mainly to work out ways of capturing or otherwise incapacitating Dawood”. They add that Doval told his US interlocutors that he had been on the fugitive’s trail for two decades, and that he wanted to ensure success in the hunt during his tenure in office as the NSA.

However, the problem facing the sleuths in India is that the mastermind of the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts has been travelling under a new legal identity since 2003, and has adopted a very low profile, shunning the high-profile events he was earlier seen in, “although he retains his contacts with Bollywood and is working to ensure through his contacts that favourites of his be given meaty roles”. They say that sports and movies are his favourite hobbies, as well as being money-spinners, mainly through match-fixing in the case of the first and influence over distribution networks in the subcontinent in the case of the second.

These sources claim that “the 26/11 attack could not have succeeded the way it did but for longstanding contacts within the Mumbai police and state political network of Dawood and his close associates”. They claim that “high-level politicians, afraid of being implicated through Dawood ensured that the domestic angle was never seriously probed by the police following the blasts”, with the bulk of attention being focused on captured operative Ajmal Kasab and his contacts in Pakistan…

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EU to delist IRGC subsidiary in Iran deal

July 28, 2015

One of several poison pills in the pages of the nuclear agreement with Iran is an offer to lift sanctions on an Iranian construction company controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).  The maneuver would enrich the IRGC front company and strengthen the IRGC’s political and economic stranglehold over public life in Iran.  Money made by the construction company will also be funneled into terrorism by the IRGC.  From Ali Alfoneh of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (h/t @skinroller):

EU Delisting of IRGC Construction Giant Will Boost Terror Financing

Ali Alfoneh
27th July 2015 – FDD Policy Brief

The Iran nuclear deal signed July 14 stipulates that eight years after its implementation, the European Union will delist a construction conglomerate owned by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). In so doing, the EU will inject a massive cash flow into one of the IRGC’s other primary industries: terrorism.

Khatam al-Anbia (literally, “Seal of the Prophets”) was born as an IRGC engineering corps during the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), building trenches and fortifications. Since then, it has developed into the largest contracting company in Iran – potentially even the country’s largest firm outright – benefitting from government contracts on a no-bid basis.  Its projects now include developing Iran’s massive South Pars gas field, building a pipeline to Pakistan, and a Tehran metro line, to name a few.

In 2010, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned the conglomerate, citing declassified intelligence that the profits from its activities “support the full range of the IRGC’s illicit activities, including WMD proliferation and support for terrorism.”

The demise of Hassan Shateri, the head of Khatam al-Anbia’s Lebanon branch, is a case in point. On February 12, 2013, Shateri was killed while accompanying an arms convoy en route from Syria to Lebanon – allegedly in an airstrike by Israeli jets. Details soon emerged that he was heading efforts to replenish Hezbollah’s missile arsenal and its launch sites along the Israeli border. Shateri, reports revealed, was actually a commander of the Quds Force, the IRGC external arm responsible for “exporting the revolution” worldwide…

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Update: oil grosses ISIS $8-10m monthly

July 27, 2015

U.S. officials say new figures on oil revenues of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are more accurate than previous estimates.  The new figures suggest ISIS receives about $100 million a year.  NBC reports that the revenues are “three times as much” as previously thought, but that’s not really true.  A 2014 estimate from a Turkish opposition official was of $800 million a year.  So the headline could have been changed to “eight times less,” but it’s still good to have updated information.  From NBC News (h/t Mia):

ISIS Makes Three Times as Much from Oil Smuggling as Previously Thought: Officials

Two U.S. counter-terrorism officials tell NBC News that intelligence gathered from a U.S. raid in Syria details ISIS finances, revealing millions of dollars in oil wealth.

“The more time on target, the better the estimate,” a senior U.S. official told NBC News. U.S. intelligence agencies have spent a lot of “time on target” since the target, ISIS, emerged just over a year ago. As a result, their understanding of the group’s workings is becoming more intimate.

Oil smuggling, much of it to Turkey, is a key source of income for ISIS. The group uses the money in part to pay its fighters monthly salaries and provide stipends to their families. Foreign fighters tend to be the highest paid of the ISIS recruits, earning as much as a $1,000 a month, according to two Syrian sources.

ISIS, unlike al-Qaeda, sees itself as a state, providing an education and welfare system, which means the group has high running costs. Two U.S. counter-terrorism officials now tell NBC News that the amount of money ISIS can earn from selling and smuggling oil and gas is roughly to $8 to $10 million a month. The officials said this is the most accurate information they have had so far, calling previous estimates speculation.

“We have learned more about the internal market. ISIS sells oil and gas everywhere. It sells within Syria, and to the Syrian regime. It sells in Iraq. It is a more extensive and complex market than we assumed,” a senior counter-terrorism official said.

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Terror financier deported

July 24, 2015

This individual supported Qoqaz.net, a flagship jihadi website of the early 2000s (see here and here).  He also supported Azzam Publications, a website which instructed readers how to send money to the Taliban in 2001.  His prison sentence in the U.S. is up, and he’s heading back to Britain.  The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a press release about the deportation last week (h/t to @skinroller):

ICE deports prolific terrorist fundraiser to UK

PHILADELPHIA — A British national who was sentenced in federal court for multiple crimes supporting terrorism fundraising efforts was deported late Monday. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) led the investigation into the terrorist supporter’s activities, and ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) handed him over to British authorities.

Babar Ahmad, 41, was extradited to the United States in 2012 to face charges for operating a family of websites collectively known as Azzam Publications, which an HSI investigation determined was established to “incite the believers” and also to raise money for known terrorist groups, including the Taliban.

Ahmad admitted to the crime in 2013 and received a 150-month prison sentence by a federal judge in July 2014. He was deported once he completed the prison term, which included time served in Britain and the United States leading up to his sentencing…

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