Archive for September, 2010

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Another conviction against Islamic charity leader

September 22, 2010

The zakat defenders are still out there claiming that there have been “no convictions” of Islamic charities.  They ignore the Holy Land Foundation convictions, the racketeering conviction against the CEO of Benevolence International Foundation, the successful deportation hearing against the founder of Global Relief Foundation, and convictions of Islamic American Relief Agency leaders.

Earlier this month the leader of the Oregon branch of Al Haramain Islamic Foundation, one of the handful of charities designated by the U.S. Treasury Department, was convicted on charges related to smuggling cash out of the country to jihadists overseas.  “Peace activist” Pete Seda now joins the ranks of the other Islamic charity leaders living behind bars.

From the Register-Guard on Sept. 10:

An Oregon federal jury convicted an Ashland Islamic charity leader Thursday of conspiring with a Saudi associate to smuggle $130,000 out of the United States with the intent of funneling it to Muslim fighters battling Russian troops in Chechnya.

The panel also convicted Pete Seda of filing a falsified tax return for his Al-Haramain USA charity to hide that offense. The jurors deliberated for 1½ days before delivering their 6 p.m. decision.

Seda’s face grew grim, but he otherwise was stoic as a court bailiff read the verdict. There was quiet weeping among more than a dozen of Seda’s family members and other supporters in the Eugene courtroom.

U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan set a Nov. 23 sentencing date for the Iranian born, 16-year U.S. citizen. But he ordered Seda taken into immediate custody after prosecutor Charles Gorder, Jr. argued that he might flee the country, as he did in 2003 after learning he was under investigation.

Defense attorney Steve Wax had urged that Seda remain out on bail, noting that his client had voluntarily returned face his charges in 2007.

Seda was indicted in February 2005, along with co-founder Soliman Al-Buthe and Al-Haramain USA. Al-Buthe lives in Saudi Arabia, which has no extradition agreement with the United States.

Though the charity was branded a global terror organization by U.S. officials, charges against it were dismissed when it became defunct after Seda’s 2003 departure. Other former U.S. associates of the group are suing the government for wiretapping their phone conversations without a warrant. A federal appeals judge ruled this spring that those wiretaps broke the law.

Oregon U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton praised the verdict Thursday night.

“Money is the lifeblood of terrorism in these shady, violent, religious extremist groups,” he said. “If we can stop the flow of money, we can significantly reduce the threat here at home and abroad.”

He said the jury found that Seda lied to U.S. customs and IRS officials to duck reporting requirements “vital to our effort to make sure that money does not land in the hands of terrorists or other violent extremists.”

Read the rest of the story here.

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Getting the goods into Iran: the story of Amir Ardebili

September 21, 2010

Amir Ardebilli, an Iranian citizen and supplier for the Iranian military, wanted to secretly amass items for Iranian air defense.  In contradiction to U.S. export control laws, Ardebilli sought sensitive technologies like aircraft parts, communications equipment, and night vision devices. Now he’s serving a 60-month prison sentence.

In a speech to the Washington Institute on Sept. 2, John Morton, the director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under the Department of Homeland Security, outlined the role of ICE in export control.  Morton provided several examples of successful export control investigations such as the one into Ardebili’s activities.  This portion is 2½ minutes–take a listen: 

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Terrorists are minority of money launderers

September 20, 2010

According to an ABC Bank presentation in 2008 on anti-money laundering awareness, money laundering is perpetrated mostly in the areas of smuggling, drugs, and other criminal activity.  Terrorists make up only a small portion of laundering worldwide.

Money laundering by criminal sector

Slide from ABC Bank presentation

Agreed, terrorists make up a minority of money launderersThat’s the problem.  Terrorists don’t specialize in taking dirty money resulting from crime, make it “clean,” and reintegrate it into the normal economy. 

What the jihadists do is take relatively “clean” money—money from charitable contributions (some given honestly but much given with the intent of funding terror), money from Koranic mandated sources of zakat and khums—and redirect for jihad.  Although funding terrorism is illegal under Western laws, using zakat to fund the mujahideen is lawful activity within the context of Islam.

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Poor follow-through by FinCEN?

September 19, 2010

Over the past five years, the anti-money laundering staff of the IRS has referred 60 significant money laundering cases to FinCEN which has resulted in only four fines by FinCEN.  This embarrassing revelation comes from an Aug. 31 article by MoneyLaundering.com:

IRS AML Exam Violation Letters, Referrals Lead to Few FinCEN MSB Penalties

By Brian Monroe

The division of investigatory and enforcement powers between two U.S. Treasury Department agencies has resulted in few monetary penalties for anti-money laundering compliance lapses by money services businesses and tension between the two agencies, say current and former government officials.

While the IRS’s anti-money laundering (AML) examination division issued more than 10,000 letters to money services businesses (MSBs) and referred more than 60 cases of “significant noncompliance” to the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) over the past five years, only four have resulted in monetary penalties, according to government data.

It’s a system that undermines AML compliance, said Dave Tilzer, the former head of the New York IRS AML division. MSBs that deserve monetary penalties, including those who have shirked off several warning letters, are not being penalized, he said.

“We are the biggest paper tiger,” Tilzer said of the IRS’s AML examiners. The New York IRS division referred several cases to FinCEN the group believed were deserving of monetary penalties, “but the referrals didn’t go anywhere,” he said…

Some officials have argued that there were few penalties because the MSBs corrected their noncompliant behavior before the case progressed any further.  Nevertheless, one wonders why FinCEN can’t fine an MSB for prior noncompliant activity while acknowledging that it has taken the steps to correct it going forward.

It doesn’t look like MoneyLaundering.com could get a quote for this story from FinCEN Director James H. Freis, Jr. or Deputy Director Charles M. Steele, but I’d love to hear their reaction.

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FinCEN adds Somali language to its brochures

September 17, 2010

Gee, wonder why?  From FinCEN’s press office on July 28:

VIENNA, Va. – FinCEN today announced the availability of Somali language brochures to facilitate money services businesses’ (MSBs) ability to more easily comply with the requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). The materials made available today cover BSA compliance obligations, currency transaction reporting, and suspicious activity reporting.

The Somali language brochures are in addition to outreach materials for MSBs that are already available in English and the following seven foreign languages: Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Arabic, Farsi, and Russian. These new materials are intended to enhance FinCEN’s outreach efforts to communities with significant numbers of MSBs…

Just for “outreach.”  Couldn’t possibly have anything to do with illegal money transfers from Somalis in Minneapolis to the old country to support jihad in Somalia, right?  See here, here, and here.

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Muslim Brotherhood’s family ties to Mercy-USA

September 16, 2010

Ahmed & Iman Elkadi:  second generation Ikhwani

Ahmed Elkadi was the head of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood from 1984 to 1994.

As a young man, Ahmed Elkadi (also spelled Al-Qadi), studied medicine in Austria.  In 1963, Ahmad married a woman named Iman in Cairo.  The Chicago Tribune reported that, “Iman Elkadi’s father, Mahmoud Abu Saud, was particularly involved in the Brotherhood’s beginnings in Egypt and remains well-known in the Arab world. An accomplished economist, he is widely regarded as a pioneer in Islamic banking, which requires that interest not be charged for loans.”  Ahmed’s own father was also involved in the Brotherhood.

After their marriage, the Elkadis moved to the U.S. where “He was instrumental in helping the fledgling Muslim Students Association of the United States and Canada in the 1960s. He was a founding member of the Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMA) in 1967, which later became IMANA. He was its president from 1974-1975.”

Work in Florida

The couple moved to Florida, and Dr. Elkadi then established a clinic in Panama City.  Read the rest of this entry ?

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Weekly word: Khaybar

September 15, 2010

Defenders of the jizya love making false claims that jizya paid by non-Muslims is a smaller tax than zakat paid by Muslims.  That is a lie, but even if it were true, it still excludes the sinister kharaj tax that non-Muslims are supposed to pay on the harvests of their land.

The Jews of Khaybar were forced by Muhammad to pay a 50 percent tax on their harvests!  Some people refer to the taxes on the Khaybar Jews as jizya, although technically it was kharaj.  Either way, that level of taxation is extraordinary and punitive even in the contemporary world of high-tech income and VAT taxes.

To put it in context, The Qur’an: an Encyclopedia* offers this entry on by Colin Turner on Khaybar:

Traditionally populated by Jewish farmers, Khaybar was a fertile, well-irrigated tract of volcanic land, 90 miles north of Medina, which became a centre of dissent and focus of unrest, particularly after the Siege of Medina.  Gradually developing into an almost wholly Jewish colony, complete with citadels and fortresses, it became the headquarters of the Jewish garrison and the last and most formidable Jewish stronghold in the Arabian peninsula.  Most of the expelled members of the Banu Nadhir were domiciled in Khaybar, where they made tactical alliances with other Jewish tribes as part of a larger Jewish conspiracy to attack Medina.  It was during their preparations for this that the Prophet marched against Khaybar, assisted by 1,400 men, including 200 cavalry. Read the rest of this entry ?