Archive for the ‘News commentary’ Category

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4 “Swedes” used 6 front companies to fund ISIS

February 22, 2015

And these are just among the handful that we know about. Not many details are available, but what sounds unusual about this case is that the suspects appear to have somehow used businesses to channel funds to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (rather than using more conventional terrorist methods of hawala, wire transfers, cash smuggling, or charities).

From Agence France-Presse on Feb. 17 (h/t El Grillo):

Swedish police detained four people Tuesday on suspicion of having used six companies to help fund the Islamic State group, the Dagens Nyheter daily reported.

Police said a “large raid” took place in Stockholm as part of a probe into money laundering and undeclared work but declined to comment further.

Sources close to the investigation told Dagens Nyheter the suspects had ties to Syria and IS.

The paper said Tuesday’s arrests targeted three men and a woman aged between 31 and 50.

Swedish government agencies estimate that up to 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.19 million, 1.05 million euros) are sent to violent extremist groups every year…

AFP goes on to mention that over a hundred “Swedes” have joined terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria since 2012. These are, more precisely, mostly Muslim immigrants, refugees, and their young adult sons who have become residents of Sweden.

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IRA surviving on tobacco fumes

February 15, 2015

Two ex-IRA members have been arrested in the Canary Islands for a money laundering scheme involving at least 10 million euros. Like other IRA has-beens, the culprits seem to have shifted from crimes for a cause to crimes for profit. Or is the IRA’s “next generation” building a nest egg for a comeback?

Hat tip to El Grillo from Agence France-Presse last month:

Two ex-IRA members arrested in Spain for smuggling

Madrid (AFP) – Two former members of the Irish Republican Army were arrested in Spain during a sweep on an alleged tobacco and alcohol smuggling racket, police said Monday.

A Spanish police spokesman told AFP the ex-IRA members arrested for heading the network were Leonard Hardy, 53, and his wife Donna Maria Elizabeth Hardy, 48, both of whom were convicted of a 1989 bombing of a British army barracks in Germany.

The couple was arrested in Lanzarote on the Canary Islands on December 29 with five accomplices as part of coordinated sweeps in Las Palmas, Alicante, Malaga and Murcia, a police statement said.

“They led an organisation smuggling tobacco and alcohol, and laundered money through the acquisition of buildings,” the statement said, adding that an estimated 10.5 million euros ($12.5 million) worth of real estate had been involved.

High Court judge Pablo Ruz charged the couple with money laundering, smuggling and the funding of terrorism linked to the IRA, a judicial source said.

He ordered that Leonard Hardy be jailed while the investigation continued while the wife was released under judicial supervision so she could look after the couple’s children in Britain, the source added.

Spanish officials froze additional property assets worth more than 5.5 million euros ($6.5 million), and 90 bank accounts and investment portfolios in Spain…

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Senator calls for halal financial transparency

February 13, 2015

Questioning whether the halal industry in Australia may be financing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Sen. Jacqui Lambie is introducing a bill mandating disclosure of halal certification fees and creating a formal reporting mechanism for misuse of halal certification money. Given the documented intersections between halal certification boards and the financing of Muslim Brotherhood affiliates, this bill would be an important step in the right direction for all Western democracies, including individual American state legislatures, to consider adopting.

From the Australian Associated Press (AAP) on Feb. 10 (h/t El Grillo):

‘Halal money’ funds terrorism: Lambie

Independent Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie has questioned whether halal certification funds militants in Syria and Iraq.

Jacqui Lambie is threatening to introduce a private senator’s bill to stop what she believes is “halal money” funding terrorist group Islamic State.

In a late-night address to the upper house on Tuesday, the outspoken independent senator questioned whether halal certification funds militants in Syria and Iraq.

She said she was prompted to look into the issue after receiving hundreds of emails from concerned residents.

A study the Tasmanian senator commissioned the parliamentary library to examine exposed some “surprising facts” that alarmed her.

Certifiers are not legally required to disclose their fees, nor is there a formal reporting or auditing system to ascertain whether funds are being misused, she says.

“Given that our enemies in Islamic State are receiving a steady cashflow to control their caliphate in Syria and Iraq, why isn’t there a legal requirement in Australia for halal certification fees to be disclosed?” Senator Lambie said.

“And given that our nation is on high terrorism alert, while hundreds of Australian Islamic State sympathisers are fighting our ADF forces in Iraq, why is there is no formal reporting or auditing mechanism in Australia to ascertain whether monies paid for halal certification are misused?”…

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Official funded terrorists from Pakistan’s embassy

February 10, 2015

A Pakistani visa official with a list of Hizb ut-Tahrir militants in his possession was detained by Bangladeshi authorities last month. The official, Mohammad Mazahar Khan, tried to destroy the list before his arrest, according to the Daily Sun. Mazahar was detained along with an accomplice, Mojibur Rahman. Mojibur subsequently confessed that he has circulated counterfeit Bangladeshi rupees on behalf of Mazahar and Mazahar’s predecessor before him. Bangladeshi authorities suspect that Pakistan is funding militant groups and undermining Bangladesh’s currency through Pakistan’s high commission (embassy) in Dhaka.

This “visa” official was actually a Pakistani intelligence agent (h/t Munazir) working at the embassy who got caught.  Bangladesh News 24 notes that, “It is not unusual for Pakistani nationals — and officials under diplomatic cover — to be engaged in criminal activities particularly in militants in Bangladesh.”

And we all just have to put up with these ongoing abuses by Pakistan in the interests of “diplomacy”?

From the Daily Sun on Feb. 2 (h/t CyberGroupBD):

An official of Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka is alleged to have been associated with financing the militants, money laundering and supplying counterfeit currencies. The official named Mohammad Mazahar Khan was detained red-handed by police last month but later released from Banani thana at the intervention of the High Commission. The connection of this assistant visa officer of Pakistan High Commission with the militants and his other misdeeds alongside have been revealed in intelligence investigation. Consequently an intelligence report has recommended for expulsion of visa officer Mazahar from Bangladesh at the earliest. Side by side, the report has suggested for enhancing surveillance on Pakistani nationals in Dhaka.

Intelligence officials have informed, the matters are being reviewed with caution because of diplomatic relations. It is difficult to verify any suspicion about High Commission officials. Even questioning can not be done due to the intervention of diplomats of the county concerned. The report has been submitted to the government last month mentioning about the alarming situation. According to police and intelligence sources two people named Mohammad Mazhar Khan and Mojibur Rahman were detained in a drive in the Moytri Market area of Banani on January 12 evening. Just at the time of being detained Mazhar tore down some papers. Joining the pieces of paper together later police found that the papers contained some Bangladeshi passport numbers and names. Even before those papers could be scrutinized Pakisani High Commission first secretary Samina Mahtab came to Banani thana and took away Mazahar Khan under her custody. Subsequently the intelligence people came to know through investigation that three of the people who’s passport numbers were written in the paper are directly linked with Hizbut Tahrir. Mujibur Rahman detained with Mazahar disclosed during interrogation that he was acquainted with Mazahar Khan through his predecessor. During the one decade Mujibor travel 20 times to Pakistan, 11 times to India and 22 times to Thailand. On the latest occasion Mazahar had given Mujibor 1.80 lakh Indian fake rupees to circulate those at different places. Mujibor made a confession before the court that Mazahar has used Zahid, Imran and some others in this business of fake rupees. Intelligence officials feel that this Pakistan High Commission official has a direct role in destroying the Bangladesh money market. The officials stated that Mazahar has contact with retired army and police officials, university teachers, businessmen and various others people. Sources said customs intelligence department detained Pakistan citizen Mohammad Imran from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on 15 January. 80 thousand Indian rupees were also found from him. Information revealed that Imran entered into Bangladesh through fake passport and visa.

Information is available that some officials of the Pakistan High Commission are involved in money laundering and making counterfeit notes. They are reportedly patronizing Hizb-ut-Tahrir, Ansarullah Bangla Team, Jamaat and its student organisation Shibir. The members of various militant outfits are getting foreign trips at the behest of the above officials’ help. Roles of the officials are dubious. Sources at the intelligence agencies claimed to have found evidence of involvement of some officials in trading counterfeit Indian currency. The name of Mazhar Khan can be mentioned in this regard. This diplomat has been financing the militants and arranging training for them. He is implementing various agendas of Pakistani intelligence ISI here. He has reportedly created a network in the host country. Abusing the diplomatic identity, he has resorted to masterminding sabotage and criminal activities. The intelligence report recommended for expulsion of Mazhar from this country. It also underscored the need for keeping a close eye on the people coming from Pakistan.

Asked about the matter, several intelligence sources said the officials of Pakistan High Commission were found to be involved in the rise of JMB and other militant network during the BNP-Jamaat regime. Such investigation could not be proceeded perhaps for the interest of bilateral relations between two countries…

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Feds foil 6 Bosnians funding ISIS from U.S.

February 9, 2015

Ramiz Zijad Hodzic collected $8,000 in Missouri. Then he used the U.S. postal service, Western Union, and PayPal to send $10,000 worth of cash and military gear to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria through intermediaries in Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Ramiz had at least five co-conspirators that we’re aware of. Their cause is not Bosnian political reform. They are not trying to send a signal to Serbia or Russia. They are answering the siren call of the caliphate. Their cause is jihad.

From USA Today:

U.S. accuses 6 immigrants of helping Islamic State

An indictment has been unsealed charging Ramiz Zijad Hodzic, 40, his wife, Sedina Unkic Hodzic, 35, and Armin Harcevic, 37, all of St. Louis County. Nihad Rosic, 26, of Utica, N.Y., Mediha Medy Salkicevic, 34, of Schiller Park, Ill., and Jasminka Ramic, 42, of Rockford, Ill., were also named in the indictment.

The United States attorney’s office says all six suspects are natives of Bosnia who immigrated to the United States and are either naturalized citizens or have refugee or legal resident status.

Federal investigators were working for two years between 2013 and 2014 to track the suspects. They say Ramiz and Sedina Hodzic were the point people for funneling money, guns and military equipment to Islamic State fighters in the Middle East. The husband and wife made their initial appearance in federal court Friday evening.

On Saturday, Salkicevic appeared in federal court in Chicago, speaking only to confirm she understood the charges against her.

Investigators say Ramiz set up an account in St. Louis to collect close to $8,000. He used his own money and got cash from the other suspects and third parties. Then, the feds say, Ramiz bought more than $2,400 in military equipment from St. Louis businesses. He bought military uniforms, combat boots, tactical gear and firearms accessories then shipped them through the U.S. Postal Service to Turkey.

Ramiz wired more than $7,700 cash between 2013 and 2014 through Western Union to Islamic State fighters, funneling it through Turkey, Bosnia and Saudi Arabia.

Ramiz Zijad Hodzic and Nihad Rosic are charged with conspiring to kill and maim persons in a foreign country…

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ISIS sells Christian loot at jihad bazaar

February 8, 2015

ISIS is funded in part from sales of illegally seized “Nazarene” (Christian) belongings. ISIS refers to the stolen merchandise as “spoils”—terminology chosen to reinforce the legitimacy under sharia law of dispossessing infidels of their property as described in the Koran, Sura 8, “The Spoils of War.” It has been estimated earlier that 12 percent of ISIS’s revenues come from concepts of taxation such as jizya and khums that are permitted by Islamic law.

From AINA on Feb. 2:

ISIS Opens Market in Mosul for Stolen Assyrian Property

Mosul (AINA) — ISIS has opened a special market to sell property it looted from Assyrian homes and churches in Mosul. The market, called “Spoils Of The Nazarenes,” sells televisions, refrigerators, microwave ovens and other electronic devices, as well as furniture and artwork. Prices range from 50,000 to 75,000 Iraqi Dinars ($42 to $63).

ISIS captured the city of Mosul on June 10. Almost immediately thereafter it began to drive Assyrians out of Mosul and destroy Christian and non-Sunni institutions. It imposed a poll tax (jizya) on Assyrians, ordered unmarried women to ‘Jihad by sex’, destroyed the statue of the Virgin Mary at the Immaculate Church of the Highest in the neighborhood of AlShafa in Mosul, as well as the statue of Mullah Osman Al-Musali…

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Lashkar-e-Taiba front charity expands footprint

February 6, 2015

Just as the terrorist group Hamas provides some social services in order to retain the loyalty of Palestinian Arabs, the jihadist group Lashkar-e-Taiba is expanding medical services to residents of Pakistan through its Jamaat-ud-Dawa front charity. (And the government of Pakistan is okay with that.)  The move also dovetails with one of Osama Bin Laden’s final wishes, which was for Al Qaeda to provide humanitarian services in order to win the hearts and minds of middle-of-the-road Muslims.

From NYT News Service:

In Pakistan, a charity project points to official tolerance of militants

KARACHI: Violence and mayhem are the hallmarks of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistani group that waged the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks. But this week, the group publicly expanded its operations in an entirely different domain: health care.

On Monday, Lashkar’s founder, Hafiz Saeed, inaugurated an ambulance service run by the group’s charity wing, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, in the bustling port city of Karachi. Two days later a fleet of gleaming new vans, emblazoned with the charity’s distinctive flag and loaded with stretchers still wrapped in plastic, were parked outside the group’s Karachi headquarters, waiting to make their first runs to hospitals on this city’s often chaotic streets.

The group already operates a similar service in 100 towns and cities across Pakistan, a spokesman for the charity said, and was seeking donations to help fund the new service in Karachi.

Even as Pakistan is experiencing a wave of anti-militant sentiment after the Pakistani Taliban’s massacre of schoolchildren in Peshawar last month, the aggressively public profile of Lashkar-e-Taiba, particularly through its Jamaat-ud-Dawa affiliate, suggests that some militant groups still enjoy official tolerance.

In fact, some analysts saw the unveiling of the ambulance service this week as a calculated rebuke to speculation that the Pakistani authorities were finally going to enforce international sanctions against Jamaat-ud-Dawa…

Hat tip to Rushette.

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