Archive for June, 2013

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Banker supports taxes for jihad

June 30, 2013

The former chairman of Islami Bank Bangladesh, Limited (IBBL), Shah Abdul Hannan, explained his support for collecting taxes beyond zakat for the purposes of waging jihad in an article posted online around 2003 (available here and here).  Hannan based this argument on the writings of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the notorious Muslim Brotherhood leader, Hamas charity front financier, and sharia finance proponent.

Referring to Qaradawi’s Fiqh al Zakah, Hannan wrote:

…Allah has made it obligatory to carry out Jihad (defence of Islam and Islamic territory and to put an end to oppression anywhere in this world) through employing one’s life and wealth. This is a duty beyond Zakat. To carry out a major Jihad in this age, if needed, there is no other way but to raise resources through taxes…

Hannan has also condemned peaceful Shahbag dissidents who are calling for justice against war criminals in Bangladesh.  Hannan calls the student demonstrators fascists.  Well, Mr. Hannan—it takes one to know one.

Money Jihad has been documenting the terrorist financing activities of IBBL, one of the biggest banks in Bangladesh and its largest sharia financial institution, ever since Bangladeshi authorities revealed in 2011 that Islami Bank has been diverting eight percent of its corporate zakat to jihadi militants.  A member of IBBL’s sharia advisory board was also detained and questioned for possible involvement in an attack against police.

IBBL fell under international scrutiny in 2012 after the U.S. Senate reported that HSBC continued to maintain a business relationship with IBBL despite evidence of its role in funding terrorism.

More recently, U.S. garment importers including Wal-mart and J.C. Penny have severed ties with IBBL due to the Islamic bank’s role in supporting militants.  Nonetheless, Western Union continues to do business with IBBL.

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Punjab province gives grant to terror camp

June 28, 2013

The government of Pakistan’s Punjab province has approved a line item in its budget to give 61 million rupees (approx. 600,000 U.S. dollars) to a terrorist base camp known as Markaz-e-Taiba in Muridkey (h/t msjri).

The Markaz-e-Taiba center falls nominally under the control of the Punjabi government, but is actually an encampment for Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which is itself a front charity for the terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba.

What’s so shocking is that this can occur in broad daylight.  Punjab isn’t even trying to hide it.  This is the point to which Pakistan’s “cooperation” in the war against terrorism has deteriorated.  If the U.S. and its allies are still unwilling to designate Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism, could it at least consider designating Punjab as a provincial sponsor?

From PTI via the Times of India:

Pak’s Punjab govt allocates millions of rupees for Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa

PTI Jun 18, 2013

LAHORE: Pakistan’s Punjab province government has allocated over Rs 61 million in its budget for fiscal 2013-14 for the largest centre of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the parent body of banned terror group LeT that carried out the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Besides a grant-in-aid of over Rs 61 million for the JuD’s centre known as ‘Markaz-e-Taiba’, the provincial government has allocated Rs 350 million for setting up a “Knowledge Park” at the centre and other development initiatives.

Details of the allocations were presented in budget documents tabled in the Punjab assembly on Monday by the PML-N government led by chief minister Shahbaz Sharif.

One document stated: “Grant-in-aid to chief administrator Muridkey Markaz (is) Rs 61.35 million”. The JuD’s centre is located at Muridkay on the outskirts of Lahore.

In his budget speech in the assembly, finance minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman announced that the provincial government “intends to establish a Knowledge Park in Muridkey”.

He said the government had allocated Rs 350 million for the park and several other initiatives in Punjab.

Shortly after the UN Security Council designated the JuD a front for the LeT in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, the Punjab government took over the centre in Muridkey.

At that time too, Punjab was ruled by the PML-N. Since then, the government has allocated money in its annual budget for the administration of the centre in Muridkey.

In 2009-10, the government provided more than Rs 82 million for the administration of JuD facilities.

In fiscal 2010-11, chief minister Sharif, using his discretionary powers, allocated two separate grants for JuD facilities.

The government granted Rs 79.77 million for six organisations at Markaz-e-Taiba and a special grant-in-aid of Rs 3 million for the JuD’s Al-Dawa School System in several districts of Punjab.

Officials have said in the past that the allocations were needed to continue “welfare services” provided by the JuD’s schools, dispensaries and hospitals across the province of 90 million.

In the past, the Punjab government defended its decision of allocating money to the JuD by saying the grants had been awarded for the administrator of the Markaz-e-Toiba.

There is no formal ban on the JuD and its chief, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, lives freely in Lahore despite a 10-million dollar bounty offered for him by the US.

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Feds disclose plot against stock exchange

June 27, 2013

It turns out that busted jihadist Khalid Ouazzani wasn’t just financing Al Qaeda.  He and his associates participated in a previously undisclosed, aborted scheme to bomb the New York Stock Exchange and send shock waves through global financial markets in the process.  This revelation came to light in the course of recent congressional testimony about the results of federal intelligence programs.

Kevin Freeman rightly says this case shows that “Our economy is the real target.  The motive is to destroy our economy. So, if our enemies have the means and opportunity to destroy our market, should we be surprised if they try?”

From The Blotter page of ABC News:

Al Qaeda’s Abandoned NY Stock Exchange Plot Revealed

Top U.S. security officials revealed today that the government’s recently exposed surveillance programs led them to an al Qaeda cell that plotted, scouted, but ultimately abandoned a plan to bomb the Wall Street in 2008.

“We found through electronic surveillance that they were actually in the initial stages of plotting to bomb the New York Stock Exchange,” FBI Assistant Director Sean Joyce told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Joyce was testifying alongside high-level U.S. officials, including National Security Agency head Gen. Keith Alexander, before the House Intelligence Committee to defend the NSA’s practice of collecting vast amounts of telephone and internet usage data – programs revealed last week by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden…

The NYSE plot, which had until today been unknown to the public, was centered around an auto parts dealer in Kansas City, Missouri, named Khalid Ouazzani, who pleaded guilty in 2010 for his role in a conspiracy to provide funding to al-Qaeda. At the time of his plea, the complex case against Ouazzani seemed to have little to do with the famous NYSE headquarters on Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, except for a vague reference in his plea agreement that said, “Over a period of years, [Ouazzani] and others discussed various ways they could support al Qaeda.”

The FBI now says Ouazzani was talking to an extremist in Yemen about a terror plot that would strike at the symbolic heart of America’s capitalist system – an attack on Wall Street.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Businessmen receive demands for ‘money for jihad’ from Pakistani Taliban

June 26, 2013

Osama bin Laden once said, “Your duty is to support the Mujahideen with money and men. I have experienced Jihad myself and I know how costly it can be. The Zakat (tithe) of one affluent Muslim merchant is enough to finance all the Jihadi front against our enemies.”

Now the Pakistani Taliban have recorded a video telling Rawalpindi entrepreneurs that they need money for jihad and to provide for their “protection.”  From Dawn, Pakistan’s biggest English language newspaper, on June 16:

TTP demands ‘protection money’

Mohammad Asghar

Updated 2013-06-17

RAWALPINDI, June 16: The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is reported to have asked two local businessmen to pay ‘protection money’ to them to help militants carry out ‘jihad’.

A senior police official told Dawn that the chief executive of an Islamabad-based business establishment had received four letters allegedly from the head of the TTP’s `finance wing’.

The businessman has been asked to pay $25 million. The letter, bearing the name of its sender, said the money was needed for jihad and it would be received abroad (in Dubai). “If you paid the money, we will protect you. Otherwise, there will be no guarantee.”

The TTP threatened that its ‘operational wing’ would come into action if the money was not paid.

When an official of the business establishment was contacted, he denied having received any letter from the TTP. “No such thing is either in my knowledge or of the chief executive,” he said.

But the police official said a complaint had been received from the business establishment and its security had been strengthened.

He said one of the businessmen contacted police, then a security audit of the business establishment was conducted and its chief executive was provided security.

“Another businessman (a property tycoon) has also been receiving extortion threats, but he has not informed police,” the official said.

Attempts to contact the property tycoon remained fruitless.

Last month, the TTP demanded Rs100m from a businessman belonging to Murree.

Police said a man delivered a letter and a Universal Serial Bus or USB (a data storage device) at the office of Raja Hanif.

Mr Hanif is father-in-law of Sadaqat Abbasi, who contested the recent general elections as a candidate of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf from Murree.

Mr Hanif said in a statement recorded by the police that the letter had been written on the TTP’s letterhead.

Police could not trace the two suspects seen on the USB video, saying they needed money for jihad.

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OPEC takes backseat to U.S. shale

June 25, 2013

Fracking continues to diminish the influence and domination of global energy markets by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries by increasing American production.  The weakening of OPEC means:  1) a smaller chance of price shocks and supply disruptions, 2) less dependence on hostile Middle Eastern countries, along with a reduced need for political and military entanglement with those countries, and 3) less petrodollars flowing toward terrorism.

This June 4 editorial from the Houston Chronicle explains how technological advances are causing major shifts in the balance of global power:

Move over, OPEC

Things are getting interesting vis a vis OPEC and the U.S. shale industry.

The once-omnipotent oil cartel is taking serious notice of the impact of the shale boom on global oil prices and markets.

As well it should. Increased shale oil production domestically is pushing the U.S. toward potential energy self-sufficiency by 2018, analysts predict. Boosts in shale oil production in this country already are cutting deeply into OPEC’s share of the U.S. oil market.

And that isn’t even to mention the potential impact of shale gas on the oil cartel. It’s turning out that natural gas from shale is the true bonanza wrought by hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, the two technologies that have given this country access to one hundred-plus year supplies of energy almost overnight.

Since 1992, expanded use of natural gas by the nation’s electric utilities has dropped greenhouse gas pollution by 20 percent.

Expansion of the use of environmentally friendly natural gas into this nation’s huge transportation sector is in its toddler stages. The possibilities here are enormous – and threatening if you are a global energy cartel beset by internal disagreements over where to set production levels.

For decades, OPEC enforced a “take no prisoners” position on oil prices that sent the global and U.S. economies on costly roller-coaster rides tied to price and availability of oil.

We wouldn’t go so far as to suggest that the U.S. take a formal position of tit for tat.

We’d simply say that the shale boom offers the country, and perhaps the world, the opportunity of slipping OPEC’s leash while stabilizing the U.S. and other economies.

Common sense tells us we should take it, and leave OPEC to deal with the consequences on its own…

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UN quietly lifts sanctions on Bin Laden accomplice

June 24, 2013

Saudi removed from UN sanctions list

The UN’s sanctions committee removed Adel Batterjee’s name from its Al Qaeda blacklist earlier this year.  News coverage of the removal appears to have been limited to Saudi media outlets.  The U.K. followed suit shortly thereafter by lifting sanctions on Batterjee as well.

The shocking development casts further doubt on the cryptic de-listing process spearheaded by Canadian lawyer and UN ombudswoman Kimberly Prost that also led to white-listing of Muhammad Atta associate Abdelghani Mzoudi, jihadist financier Yasin Al-Qadi, and Al Qaeda check smuggler Soliman al-Buthe.  Prost’s reports and recommendations to the UN committee are secret, and the decisions are made with no explanations, transparency, or opportunities for public comment.

Meanwhile, author J. Millard Burr has published a new book, The Terrorists’ Internationale, through the American Center for Democracy.  Burr’s book documents the growth of Islamist terror groups in the 1980s and 1990s and the role of Sudanese intriguer Hassan al-Turabi in their development.  In it, Burr describes Adel Batterjee as a “close friend” of Osama bin Laden who “‘had become an important figure in the jihad movement’ by the mid-nineteen eighties.”  Batterjee moved back and forth between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to obtain financing for Lajnat Al-Birr Al-Islamiya (The Islamic Benevolence Committee), a bin Laden front charity.

Contradicting Batterjee’s claims that he had no contact with Bin Laden after 1991, Burr writes:

…Bin Laden and Batterjee had re-created their [Lajnat] charity in the Sudan and in 1992 registered it under a new name, the Al-Birr al-Duwaliya–known in the West as the Benevolence International Foundation (BIF). Its official headquarters was listed as Saudi Arabia, and Batterjee was named its director. Although centered in Khartoum, the “charity” continued to operate in Pakistan; Batterjee reduced the Al-Birr operation at Peshawar, but the small staff located there was likely called on to support Bin Laden’s interests in the Dawa Al Irshad at Murdike, and with two mujahideen training camps located in the Afghanistan-Pakistan borderlands…

The CEO of the Benevolence International Foundation served 10 years in federal prison on racketeering charges stemming from the foundation’s “charitable” work.  In 2004, Treasury undersecretary Stuart Levy said that Batterjee “ranked as one of the world’s foremost terrorist financiers, and employed his private wealth and a network of charitable fronts to bankroll the murderous agenda of al-Qaeda.”

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No sanctions for Hezbollah’s Latin traffickers?

June 23, 2013

Ken Rijock insightfully points out what seems to be a bit of a double standard by the federal government—U.S. sanctions against Hezbollah agents in West Africa while Hezbollah agents in Venezuela are simply monitored quietly.  Some of the banks in Latin America don’t even know that they have Hezbollah customers because the operatives have not been named in public.  Shouldn’t the U.S. be a little more concerned about Hezbollah’s exploitation of New World neighbors?

US SANCTIONS HEZBOLLAH AGENTS IN AFRICA, BUT IGNORES THOSE IN LATIN AMERICA THAT POSE A GREATER THREAT

 

This week’s designation, of a number of Hezbollah agents working in West Africa, who are engaged in fundraising and recruiting, is a step in the right direction, but still leaves me asking: why aren’t the cadre of Hezbollah agents in Latin America also named and designated ?

Known as Hezbollah Latin America, as well as Hezbollah Venezuela, these terrorists traffic in narcotics, and other criminal pursuits, sending their illicit profits back to Beirut through cooperative financial institutions in the Republic of Panama. They are based in Venezuela, and operate openly, with the blessing of the regime in power there, whose leadership is believed to share in a portion of the the criminal profits, for assisting in the regular air transport of bulk cash into Panama, and allowing the trafficking to flourish.

Here’s the problem for financial institutions in the Western Hemisphere. The 92 Hezbollah agents in place in Latin America have all received valid Venezuelan passports, with new Spanish-sounding names created for them, thereby concealing their true Lebanese identities. I have seen some of those, and they are bona fide documents. These individuals now have clean identities, which allow them to open accounts, transact business, and assist in the material support of a specially designated global terrorist organisation. There are also approximately fifty other individuals who support their operation, cash cash couriers, front business operators, suppliers, and others activities; They also must be identified.

It is plain that law enforcement agencies of the United States have this information, but, with the exception of the leader of the group, none of these individuals has been designated by OFAC. The question is why not ? Neither Panamanian banks, nor for that matter American financial institutions, know who the Hezbollah agents are, and risk unwittingly providing material support to a designated terrorist group…

Read it all.