Archive for August, 2011

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House GOP against aid to Hamas

August 23, 2011

…Putting them squarely at odds against the Democratic administration…

Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen

Not to mention that America is going broke.  What a novel proposal that the U.S. must certify that foreign aid doesn’t go to terrorist organizations before it is distributed!  From the Washington Post on Jul. 21:

House moves to restrict U.S. foreign aid

By Mary Beth Sheridan

House Republicans sought to put their stamp on U.S. foreign policy Wednesday by advancing a bill that would slash federal payments to the United Nations and other international bodies and slap restrictions on aid to Pakistan, Egypt and others.

With the bill, the House Foreign Affairs Committee sought to rein in some of President Obama’s policies and to slice $6.4 billion from his $51 billion request for 2012 for the State Department and foreign operations.

The measure’s passage was a foregone conclusion because of the panel’s Republican majority. Even if it passes the full House, though, the bill is expected to be dead on arrival in the Senate, where the Democratic majority is preparing a State Department authorization bill of its own.

Still, the bill could signal to lawmakers how to shape the appropriations bill, a separate piece of legislation that determines where the money actually goes.

The committee’s measure mandates that security assistance be provided to Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority only if the Obama adminstration certified that no members of terrorist organizations or their sympathizers were serving in their governments. That was aimed at Islamist groups such as the Palestinian organization Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah — which have political power but are on the U.S. terrorism list — and the Muslim Brotherhood, which is expected to do well in Egypt’s upcoming elections. It is not considered a terrorist group.

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Experts mock the whole AML/CTF model

August 22, 2011

If the IMF’s skepticism about the effectiveness of the Financial Action Task Force and the contemporary anti-money laundering (AML) system weren’t damning enough…

A separate report from the U.K.’s Financial Services Authority has shaken the very faith that AML and combating of terror finance (CTF) experts once held in the foundations of the modern system of international financial controls.

It’s about time.

It is a system that over-regulated banks, passed the expenses along to share holders who’ve endured lower returns; account holders in terms of more paperwork, intrusive data mining, lower interest rates; and to financial service employees who have had to make sense of the whole unprofitable mess.  And it’s all been in an effort to find needle-size transactions among giant haystacks of financial exchanges.

The modern AML system is very similar to contemporary airport security.  It treats everybody like a terrorist, and creates a vast bureaucracy that has never quite proved its worth.  It focuses on suspicious transactions rather than suspicious people.  It fails to profile.

The specific findings in this report are that Britain’s banks aren’t doing anything different now than they were doing 20 years ago with regard to opening accounts for corrupt foreign dictators who stole the wealth of their countries and deposited it in British banks.  All this has happened despite extensive regulations, oversight, and requirements for the British financial sector.

If one of the most advanced countries in the world with a first-class banking system cannot achieve what seems a relatively straightforward task of screening their customers and verifying their source of income, what hope can we possibly have that the banks will be able to identify and report a $10,000 transaction from Habib to Farouk so he can buy explosive materials?

The implications of the FSA report reach beyond Great Britain.  Editor Joy Geary of the Australia-based AML Magazine asked, “Does it mean that the AML/CTF framework, as currently in operation globally, is doomed always to fail?” and urged that “The damning contents of the FSA report should lead to a long and hard look at the underlying causes.”

Enough from me.  Here’s an extremely useful article from the above mentioned AML Magazine laying out what makes the FSA report so troublesome:

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IMF report damns useless FATF standards

August 21, 2011

The most important international anti-terror financing organization in the world, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), has been ridiculed by a report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Of course, all these people are members of the global power establishment, so they use a lot of polite words, but it pretty much boils down to a comment from IMF employee Jody Myers that the modern FATF style anti-money laundering (AML) system “isn’t helping” and “why are we doing it.”

Indeed, the international system is cumbersome, anti-business, anti-bank, anti-investor, anti-consumer, and only anti-terrorist on rare, almost coincidental occasions.  Everybody who uses a bank gets treated like a terrorist, and the real terrorists escape notice through the sheer volume of bank data being transferred around the world.  Nobody wants to discuss a possible solution which involves profiling bank customers.

From MoneyLaundering.com on Aug. 2:

AML Standards Should Be Revised to Better Root Out Crime, Says IMF

By Brian Monroe

Intergovernmental evaluations of how nations fight money laundering and terrorist financing often do not accurately reflect whether those efforts are effective, the International Monetary Fund said in a report Wednesday.

The jurisdictional examinations conducted by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and other groups that follow its 49 standards “do not correlate” with whether a country is involved with narcotics trafficking, the organization said in a 97-page report. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Jizya and the Armenian Genocide

August 19, 2011

Remember the caliphate that Islamist thinkers (and even Western elites) would like to restore to the world?  Some would even still like to see it be a Turkish-based caliphate like the last one, which worked out so well for the Christians (see here for earlier coverage) in that neck of the woods–at least if you like massacres, rapes, and taxation.  From the American Thinker on Aug. 7:

The “Armenian Genocide”

Most historians regard 1912 to 1925 as a time of massive Christian annihilation and relocation by the Muslim Ottoman Empire. Although commonly given the misnomer “Armenian Genocide,” the atrocity was a carefully planned ethnic cleansing to rid Asia Minor of Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks and other minorities in order to establish an exclusively Muslim Turkish state. Some scholars date the first phase of the Christian genocide from the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid and his Hamidian Massacres of 1895-1897 through the Istanbul Pogrom of 1955.

The Hamidian massacres attempted to assert Muslim supremacy and advance the cause of Turkification. French ambassador Pierre Paul Cambon described Turkey at the time as “literally in flames” with “massacres everywhere” and Christians murdered “without distinction.” Marauding Kurdish chieftains in the region were encouraged to join in and channel their aggression into the killing, pillaging and raping of non-Muslim populations. Estimates of the number of Christians who perished during the reign of Sultan Hamid range from 100,000 to 300,000.

From the 1900’s to 1922, the Christian population declined from 25% to less than 5% within Anatolia. Under Islam, Christians had few rights, paid exorbitantly high taxes – the jizya – and enjoyed limited political representation and access to government services. Their testimony was inadmissible, no provision existed for their legal protection, they were prohibited from owning firearms, and their property, wives and children were vulnerable to spontaneous attacks.

Approximately 2.5 million Armenians, Assyrians and Greek Christians were massacred during this period. Kurds were encouraged to settle in Christian territory, demand the payment of tributes and illegally seize land. They were given free rein against local Christians in exchange for their loyal service to the Ottoman government.

Read the full article here.

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Pakistan: Beggars belong “behind bars”

August 18, 2011

Take note, dear readers, of the marvelous social justice of Islam.  The Pakistan Observer is calling for professional beggars in Islamabad and Rawalpindi to be imprisoned.  Meanwhile, Western newspapers tell us that Ramadan is a time of “peace and generosity.”  OK, enjoy Ramadan in jail, beggars!

The Observer also editorializes that the “growing number of beggars, in fact, makes mockery of schemes like Zakat and Ushr system, Pakistan Baitul Maal, Benazir Income Support Programme and Waseela-e-Haq.”  At least that part is a true statement.  With as many purported welfare and zakat programs as Pakistan operates, both officially run by the government and informally conducted by “charitable” organizations, one would expect fewer, not more beggars.

But as we’ve noted before, more zakat = more poverty.

Menace of beggary

A latest report has brought into sharp focus the menace of beggary in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi especially in the context of the holy month of Ramazan, as professional beggars are swarming every nook and corner of the two cities but the police and administration are least bothered to take any action against them.

The report points out that the situation has become so much worrisome that attractive business locations are covertly auctioned allegedly by corrupt elements in police and other concerned departments for large sums of money called ‘Bhatta’ (extortion). Their activities at road-crossings have also become a hazard for smooth flow of traffic and sometime lead to mess and even fatal accidents. Though the report speaks about the twin cities but similar scenes are also common in other towns and cities where professional beggars have made lives of the people miserable. There are also reports that some of these professional beggars are also part of the networks of thieves and dacoits as they gather information about possible victims and targets and either pass on to these networks or indulge in criminal activities themselves. There are two aspects of the problems of beggary — professionals whose only mission is to mint money and many of them earn more than hardworking businessmen; and those who are forced to beg because of abysmal poverty and lack of economic or employment opportunities. As for the first category, the authorities should show no flexibility and send them behind the bars while data of others should be collected and necessary financial assistance provided to them to start their own businesses or receive cash assistance in cases where no family member of the beggar is in a position to do any business. Growing number of beggars, in fact, makes mockery of schemes like Zakat and Ushr system, Pakistan Baitul Maal, Benazir Income Support Programme and Waseela-e-Haq.

See Money Jihad‘s prior coverage here of Karachi’s anti-beggar crackdown.

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Al Qaeda to France: your money or their lives

August 17, 2011

More on the great ransom boomerang hurled by the French to the jihadists of the world after France gave the Taliban $15 to $20 million

Al Qaeda in Yemen (AQAP) is demanding $12 million in fida’ (Koran-based Islamic ransom) for three French aid workers that they abducted in May.  Their abductors had been quiet about their asking price until now.  Perhaps they’ve discovered in the meantime what the French market will bear?  From Agence France Presse via France 24 on July 27:

Abducted French aid workers in al Qaeda hands

Three French aid workers abducted in Yemen are being held by men linked to the country’s al-Qaida offshoot who are demanding $12 million in ransom, security officials and local tribesmen said Wednesday.

The two women and one man were abducted three months ago while working for the aid group Triangle Generation Humanitaire, which is based in Lyon, France. They were seized in eastern Yemen’s Hadramawt province, which is home to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

Intelligence chief Ghaleb al-Qamish and other senior government officials have asked prominent figures in the town of Sayoun to try to mediate their release, the security officials and tribesmen said.

They said the three were being held by al-Qaida members or by people affiliated with the militants. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

After the aid workers’ disappearance on May 28, Yemeni officials initially said they feared the group had been taken by tribesmen, who frequently use abductions – including of foreigners – to press the government for concessions, such as the release of fellow tribesmen in prison.

In most of those cases, the captives are freed unharmed. In the past few years, however, al-Qaida has begun kidnapping foreigners as well, sometimes with lethal results.

The director of the French aid group, Patrick Verbruggen, said it has had no contact with the kidnappers since the abduction in May.

He said he had no information on whether the aid workers were being held by al-Qaida or if a ransom had been demanded.

French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said Wednesday that the ministry also had not heard that the group is being held by al-Qaida and that they are demanding a ransom.

“We have been fully mobilized since the beginning to obtain the release of our compatriots, and in their interest, we should observe the greatest discretion to preserve the effectiveness of our actions,” he told an online briefing.

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Al Shabaab: “economic powerhouse”

August 16, 2011

“Al-Shabaab reportedly generates between $70 million and $100 million per year”

Al-Shabaab has become a top-tier terrorist organization from its extensive revenues.  Their wealth is largely based on Islamic taxes that al-Shabaab imposes in accordance with the Koran.  It is following the same broad-based sharia revenue model that launched the Taliban from being an obscure students’ movement into an multinational financial hegemon.  From CNN (h/t to Un:dhimmi via a RoP newslink) on Aug. 5:

Washington — The once ragtag Somalia-based al Qaeda affiliate group known as Al-Shabaab has grown into an economic powerhouse, raising tens of millions of dollars in cash every year from a variety of schemes involving extortion, illegal taxation and other “fees,” according to a United Nations report.

The United States believes the group is closely coordinating with al Qaeda groups in Yemen and may be plotting attacks in the region and abroad.

The terrorist group now “generates between $70 million and $100 million per year, from duties and fees levied at airports and seaports, taxes on goods and services, taxes in kind on domestic produce, ‘jihad contributions,’ checkpoints and various forms of extortion justified in terms of religious obligation,” according to the July 18 report from the U.N. Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea.

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