Time for a break! Back in a week or two.
Archive for August, 2012
Not to be outdone by Hezbollah in Cuba, the Hamas-funding, Turkish-based “charity” known as IHH is operating in Havana and financing a new mosque there. This endeavor represents an unfortunate expansion of attempted Muslim Brotherhood and pro-terrorist influence on the Caribbean (including Venezuela, Guyana, Haiti, Trinidad, and Florida).
IHH delivers Ramadan relief in Cuba
IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, which delivers aid in different countries and regions of the world throughout the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, has delivered Ramadan food packages to 350 families in Cuba, one of the South American countries.
IHH aid teams also organized an iftar dinner for Muslims living in Havana, the capital city of Cuba.
IHH aid team arrived in Havana following a 17-hour-long flight. Members of the team were welcomed by Yahya Pedro, president of the Cuban Islamic Union, which is a partner of the IHH in the region.
Following talks in Havana, IHH aid team delivered Ramadan food packages to 350 families the list of which was set earlier. Speaking during the delivery of the packages, IHH Project Coordinator İhsan Özyürek said: “As the IHH, we are in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in different parts of the world who are exposed to tyranny and need help. We are here today to be with our Muslim sisters and brothers in Havana, have an iftar dinner with them and listen to their problems. We have brought the greetings and donations of their sisters and brothers in Turkey. We hope to come together in the masjid which will be constructed soon.
IHH sponsors masjid construction in Cuba
Özyürek noted that people in Cuba convert to Islam through reading Read the rest of this entry ?
Money laundering expert Kenneth Rijock has been on fire lately about the alleged banking violations by HSBC, ING, and Standard Chartered. Now he takes on MasterCard in a post entitled “Why are there 3 million MasterCard holders in Iran?” Good question. Rijock says he has reviewed a list of cardholders, and that the lists include senior Iranian leaders, which would indicate a significant loophole in the sanctions regime against Iran in addition to representing a major compliance failure on the part of the credit card company.
From Rijock’s blog on Aug. 2:
WHY ARE THERE 3m MASTERCARD HOLDERS IN IRAN ?Whilst we are on the subject of banks like HSBC banking Iranians, in violation of international sanctions, we should also examine the role of American credit card issuers. I will cover the financial obscenity of vanilla [plain, unmarked] cards in a later article, but today it is time to expose the fact that major American credit card issuers, like MasterCard, are happy to do business with more than three million Iranian nationals.Even the newest bank compliance officer knows that Politically Exposed Persons, or PEPs, from sanctioned countries like Iran, are off limits. So why are senior Iranian PEPs issued MasterCards ? I have seen some of the cardholder lists, and anyone with half a brain can determine, from both their occupations or professions, and email address categories, that a large number of the card-members appear to be PEPs, and in a country where many corporations are on the OFAC, EU, or UN sanctions lists, issuing them credit cards is compliance malpractise, plain and simple.
I am sure that MasterCard’s management (and lawyers) will respond that some obscure tax haven subsidiary, and not the USA parent, is involved, and that banks that process the cards are conveniently not from countries that subscribe to sanctions against Iran, are actually involved in the transactions, but know this: MasterCard’s American entities use proprietary software that shows each and every global transaction. They know damn well that their subsidiaries are dancing with the devil.
So, whilst the letter of the law is assuredly being followed, and there is no obvious OFAC violation under federal law, Iranian nationals apparently are free to use their MasterCards overseas. Who is charging the purchases of dual-purpose goods, that are thereafter used in Iran to advance the Weapons of Mass Destruction and Ballistic Missile programmes, I wonder.
It gets worse; If America attacks Iran, to destroy its illegal nuclear weapons programme, will some of the defensive systems employed by Iran to shoot down US warplanes have been obtained by Iranian purchasing officers, using their MasterCards ? This is where the pursuit of profit trumps patriotism; Some will call it Trading with the Enemy.
CAIR should be prosecuted under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which Money Jihad has indicated before. Frank Gaffney’s CAIR Observatory website is a great resource for explaining why. Readers should take a look.
Here are some key points from a 2010 letter from Gaffney spelling out the grounds for prosecuting CAIR under FARA that bear a second look:
- FARA requires entities that act as agents of foreign principals to disclose their foreign relationships.
- “CAIR has met and coordinated with representatives of foreign principals on more than 30 occasions and engaged in over 60 political influence operations on their behalf,” without reporting these activities.
- “FARA § 612 (a) (5) requires that a foreign agent report ‘the nature and amount of contributions, income, money, or thing of value’.”
- “CAIR has received more than $6.6 million in cash and loans and more than $50 million in pledges from foreign principals based in Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. CAIR has failed to report these payments.”
Foreign agents are supposed to register with an office within the Department of Justice. Under Attorney General Holder, CAIR will never register and will never be prosecuted for failing to register. We must see to it that Mr. Holder is replaced by somebody willing to enforce the law.
Our first story on the ongoing zakat street war in Pakistan comes from the Daily Times which reports that “the extortion mafia of Karachi generates billions of rupees in the Ramzan [Ramadan] season.” The Times further reports rampant grenade attacks this “holy month” by the bhatta extortion mafia on Karachi’s small businesses and chain stores:
Karachi extortion : Trend of grenade attacks on markets terrorises traders
The recent trend of grenade attacks of shops and markets that refuse extortion has terrorised local traders and businessmen, besides totally blackened the chances of further investment in Karachi.
All Pakistan Organization of Small Traders and Cottage Industries (APOSTCI) Karachi chapter president Mehmood Hamid said in past the extortionists backed by the ruling parties used to send bullets wrapped in extortion demand chits to Karachi traders, but embolden by covet backing from the corridors of power, now these mafia men are hurling grenades on shops and markets that refuse or delay Bhatta.
He said a famous chain store at NIPA Chowrangi was attacked with grenade. Last week shops at Yousuf Plaza and Water Pump were attacked with hand grenades and earlier grenades were hurled in bazaars of Hussainabad, Liaquatabad and Quaidabad by extortionists. He said the APOSTCI has record of more than one dozen such grenade attacks in Karachi.
He said extortion mafia is collecting forces Fitra and Zakat at the rate of Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 per shop in Karachi, but the police and administration are playing the role of silent spectator. He said small traders are the worst affected segment of society due to Karachi lawlessness and a lot of small trades and cottage industries have closed their doors for good due to lack of business. He demanded of the government to realise the gravity of the situation as the ongoing ‘Bhatta war’ in Karachi is hitting hard the economy of not only Karachi but also the whole country.
Syrian rebels have been funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar from the outset of the uprising against Bashar al-Assad. The U.S. and Britain have become financially committed in recent months as well. Note the recent developments:
- “Obama authorizes secret U.S. support for Syrian rebels”
- “US Authorizes Financial Support For the Free Syrian Army”
- “Syrian opposition group organizes to send funds to rebel army”
- “U.S. sets aside $25 million for non-lethal aid to Syria rebels”
- “UK offers more nonlethal aid to Syria’s opposition”
The Western aid fits the pattern of taxpayer money given as foreign aid to the foot soldiers of the Arab Spring. The first problem with the Syrian aid, as with the Egyptian and Libyan aid that preceded it, is that the cash winds up in the pockets of rebels who carry dual membership with Al Qaeda.
The second problem is that the Syria Accountability Act prohibits Americans from exporting goods to and doing business with Syria. The law permits federal aid to Syria if and only if Syria restores Lebanese sovereignty, renounces Hezbollah, and terminates its weapons of mass destruction programs. Those conditions haven’t been met.
Granted, the reported aid isn’t going to the Syrian regime, but the 2003 act does not make a distinction between the Syrian regime and Syrian dissidents.
Keep in mind that if you tried sending or selling supplies without a license to anybody in Syria, you would be arrested, put on trial, and convicted for export violations. Just ask Mazen Ghashim, who was convicted for export violations in 2008 for shipping computers to Syria.
Muslim beggars are migrating west from India to the United Arab Emirates to shake down wealthy Gulf residents this Ramadan. No word on how the alms seekers are paying for their airfare, but it sounds like it’s worth the investment.
At first we wondered if bulk cash smuggling were taking place as money is moved out of Dubai and back into India without being declared, but from the article it appears as though hawala is the primary mechanism for the capital flight. The article doesn’t mention it, but hawala is essentially illegal in India. Yet regulators and law enforcement seem to let this activity continue with impunity.
Indians pack bags for Dubai ‘begging fest’ during Ramzan
CHENNAI: Scores of Indians are flying to Dubai on a ‘business opportunity’ during Ramzan. Not all of them return soon enough though, as the business of begging is an offence in the Gulf country.
The Dubai police have arrested 131 people, including 16 from Tamil Nadu, for begging during the holy month. Devout Muslims are generous with alms (zakat) during Ramzan, though seeking alms in public can land one in trouble.
Diplomatic sources said a lot of Asians head for Dubai during the season. A beggar from Pakistan was caught with 18,000 Dirhams (around 2.45 lakh) during a recent raid. According to the Dubai police, this is an annual organised operation. “Even employed people come from different countries to seek alms in Dubai during Ramzan,” said a source. “After paying for their return tickets and the short stay, they still carry a handsome amount back home.”
A youth employed in a media organization in Dubai boasted that he made a cool 1,200 Dirhams (16,200) in a matter of ten minutes by seeking arms on the road a few days ago.
Though details of Indians arrested for begging in Dubai were not known, sources said that all of them had Indian passports and visit visas valid for 45 days. Diplomatic sources said they were from Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Assam. Those from Tamil Nadu hailed from Vellore, Ramanathapuram and Tirunelveli districts.
Those arrested are produced before courts and serve a jail term of up to three months. “Those who come to beg here know the penalty. Many think it is worth taking the risk,” said an Indian diplomat in the Gulf.
This year a number of police officials, some of who are women, have fanned out to mosques and shopping malls in the emirate to nab the beggars. A Dubai visit visa for example can be obtained for 75,000 through an agent and this investment is much less compared to the kind of money one could make from begging. The money obtained by begging cannot be transferred to India through official banking channels. Hawala operators help solve this problem with a 24 x 7 service to move money from Dubai to Tamil Nadu.
This is the system used by illegal Indian labourers in the Gulf as they cannot open a bank account or send money through exchange houses as they do not have a valid passport or a residential visa.
Bahrain, Muscat and Qatar are also preferred begging destinations during Ramzan.
When we post articles about financial crimes, corruption, graft, bribery, and theft in predominantly Muslim nations, we are sometimes told that we’re being biased, because corruption is a “global” or a “third world” problem.
Of course corruption is universal, but we shouldn’t just through our hands up in the air and say, “everybody does it,” and willfully ignore where it is the biggest problem. Any suggestion that there may be a correlation between such activity and religion or culture is immediately dismissed as “racist,” “Islamophobic,” etc.
But shouldn’t we at least look at the evidence? Transparency International’s annual corruption index provides some insight. Their list is based on “surveys and assessments [that] include questions related to the bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement, embezzlement of public funds, and the effectiveness of public sector anti-corruption efforts.”
Notice that of TI’s top 10 cleanest nations–those perceived to have the smallest levels of public corruption–nine are predominantly Christian while one, Singapore, is plurality Buddhist:
- New Zealand
Further notice that of the worst 10 countries, six are majority Muslim, with North Korea and Somalia coming in last out of 182 countries rated:
181. North Korea
The mainstream media and the Internet search engines have generally circled the wagons to suppress negative news coverage of Muhammad Yunus, a prominent Muslim banker. Search for his name and you’ll find only glowing, positive biographies and tributes to the man. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find an increasingly checkered record of financial and legal misdeeds despite the accolades for him from U.S. politicians, journalists, and academics.
Money Jihad remains watchful. From the Business Recorder earlier this month:
Bangladesh orders new probe into Yunus
August 03, 2012
Bangladesh’s cabinet Thursday ordered a new probe into Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus which will check for irregularities during his time as head of microfinance pioneer Grameen Bank, an official said. The 72-year-old “banker to the poor” was forced from the institution last year, due to what his supporters say is a government vendetta against him.
A separate review of the bank has been underway since May this year. Yunus, who fell out with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina after talking about going into politics, was officially fired for exceeding the mandatory retirement age of 60. He challenged the move in the Supreme Court, but lost.
“The investigation will cover the period of beyond that mandatory retirement age and see whether the facilities he enjoyed during that period were lawful,” the government”s cabinet secretary Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said. It will investigate in particular “if he enjoyed any tax exemption when he brought foreign currency home during his tenure as the managing director”, he said.
The findings of the investigation by the Bank and Financial Institution Department and the National Board of Revenue are to be handed to the cabinet within the shortest possible time, he added. Yunus, who won his 2006 Nobel Prize for pioneering the microfinance system in which small loans are made to poor entrepreneurs, is seen as one of the world”s leading anti-poverty activists and has many powerful foreign supporters.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a personal friend, heaped praise on Yunus during a visit to Dhaka in May and urged Hasina’s government to maintain “an environment where civil society groups operate freely”. The same month Yunus expressed fears that the bank he founded to put his concept of microfinance into practice would be taken over by the Bangladesh government.
Don’t forget that Yunus was the subject of an investigation by the government of Norway in 2010 for misappropriating Norwegian donations made to his bank. Last year, Yunus was released on bail over slander charges from officials in Bangladesh, who have also investigated Yunus for tax evasion.
Despite ample evidence of Saudi responsibility for the attacks of 9/11, a New York magistrate judge has recommended that Iran, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban pay $6 billion in damages to the families of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist assault, while Saudi Arabia owes nothing.
In fairness to Judge Frank Maas, he was bound by the ruling of Judge George Daniels who denied a motion to reinstate Saudi Arabia as a defendant in the 9/11 compensation trial earlier this year. But in fairness to Judge Daniels, there would have been a stronger legal justification for naming Saudi Arabia as a defendant if the executive branch of the U.S. government had ever designated Saudi Arabia as a state sponsor of terrorism, which it is.
From the Associated Press via Newsday:
NY judge tells Iran, al-Qaida, Taliban to pay $6B to 9/11 victims
Al-Qaida, the Taliban and Iran should pay $6 billion to relatives of Sept. 11 victims for aiding in the 2001 terrorist attacks, a federal magistrate judge recommended Monday in a largely symbolic decision.
Even though it will be nearly impossible to collect damages, plaintiff Ellen Saracini, whose husband, Victor, was the captain of one of the planes that struck the World Trade Center, told the Daily News (http://nydn.us/OgIS41 ) that she is happy about Manhattan Federal Magistrate Judge Frank Maas’ recommendation.
“It’s hard being happy, but I am happy about it,” said Saracini, of Yardley, Pa. “But it opens up old wounds. We were never in it for a lawsuit. I wanted to know what happened to my husband.”
Last year, Judge George Daniels signed a default judgment on the lawsuit brought by relatives of 47 victims. He found al-Qaida, the Taliban and Iran liable and asked the magistrate to determine damages. Maas’ ruling Monday is a recommendation to Daniels, who can accept it or amend it.
Maas calculated punitive and compensatory damages for each of the plaintiffs and their lost family members.
Daniels ruled last year that the plaintiffs had established that the 2001 attacks were caused by the support the defendants provided to al-Qaida. The findings said Iran continues to provide material support and resources to al-Qaida by providing a safe haven for al-Qaida leadership and rank-and-file members.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly denied any Iranian connection in the Sept. 11 attacks or with al-Qaida.
Al-Qaida and Iran are natural enemies but have had a relationship of convenience based on their shared adversary, the United States. Iran allowed several of the 9/11 hijackers to pass through the country, but the 9/11 Commission found no evidence that Iran was aware of the planned attack.