Posts Tagged ‘Al Qaeda’

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Nefarious finance: recommended reading

April 3, 2014
  • Back in each other’s arms:  Iran’s financial relationship with Hamas “has returned to what it was,” says Iran’s shura council… more>>
  • The pro-Hamas Islamic charity IHH  is hinting that it will launch another Turkish-based, Mavi Marmara-style “peace flotilla”… more>>
  • Al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria has its own revenue sources and doesn’t feel the need to answer to Ayman al-Zawahiri… more>>
  • Smuggling gold to keep Iran in the black?  Prosecutors uncover a sanctions evasion crime ring in Turkey that may go all the way to Prime Minister Erdogan’s office… more>>
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Guantanamo detainees endorse crowdfunding

March 7, 2014

This piece by Money Jihad blogger A.D. Kendall has been published today at Terror Finance Blog:

Five detainees at Guantanamo Bay have drawn up a lengthy business plan for an agricultural venture in Yemen as part as an instructional exercise.  The document was approved for release last month by military officials.  Judicial Watch rightly observes that the level of detail in the plan shows that the detainees “had access to many research tools, likely on the internet.”  Although the business proposal appears to be only a classroom activity and not an actual, shovel-ready project, the language in the document indicates that terrorists would be comfortable with crowdfunding as a sharia-compliant platform to raise money.

In their business proposal, the self-described “Board of Directors of Yemen Milk & Honey Farms Ltd” specifically mentions Kickstarter, RocketHub, and other crowdfunding platforms as options for financing their project.  They also note that crowdfunding can be equity-based, lending-based, reward-based, or donation-based.  After reviewing their alternatives, the board concludes that they would like their financing be “equity based or reward based, as the board has observed [that the] interest-based economy is facing serious problems world wide, specifically in Europe and America.”

Using the recession has been a convenient target for Islamist criticism of the Western financial system since 2009, ignoring the fact that the West still leads the world across any recognized standard of economic development and standard of living, and ignoring the larger context of long-term economic success of the West compared to the economic failures of the interest-shunning Arab world over several centuries.  But regardless of current or historical economic conditions, the truth is that the “board members” would still oppose interest on religious grounds.  Riba, the word used in Islamic texts for interest, is the same Arabic word that applies to unnatural growth and swelling akin to pond scum and asthma.

Islamic law allows for profit and investments involving co-ownership and profit sharing.  One such sharia financial concept that shares similar traits with crowdfunding is mudarabah, which Islamic finance lawyer John Dewar defines as, “An investment fund arrangement under which the financiers act as the capital providers (rab al-mal) and the client acts as the mudareb (akin to an investment agent) to invest the capital provided by the rab al-mal and manage the partnership.”  For a sharia crowdfunding project, the donors would serve as the rab al-mal.

Analysts for McKinsey & Co. further note that “Islamic commercial law strongly favors equity over debt financing, which suggests that crowdfund investing platforms are especially well suited to Muslim-majority countries. In our view, crowdfund investing and Islamic financial services are inherently compatible and mutually reinforcing.”

Thus, the business school at Camp 6 of Guantanamo prison is well-aligned with contemporary sharia financial strictures.  The “students” also appear to be one step ahead of regulators, who are just now developing anti-money laundering rules for crowdfunded projects which are be vulnerable to financial crime and exploitation.  As AML attorney Christine Duhaime summed up crowdfunding risks last fall, “The combined effect of crowdfunded securities being low-priced, placed in offerings that are exempt from [SEC] registration and not subject to the filing review process of a registered offering, makes crowdfunding open to being used as a vehicle for money laundering and other financial crimes.”

In addition to crowdfunding regulations currently under review, stronger terms of service by the crowdfunding companies may be in order to prevent exploitation of their websites by users who promote violence, illicit activities, or otherwise serve the interests of criminals and terrorists.

Worrisome projects include a Kickstarter project in 2012 that billed itself as “your chance to become part of the Arab Spring.”  If the two men who proposed the project had received the $20,000 they sought, they pledged to “travel together to Syria and join the rebels on the front line against the dictator Bashar al-Assad.”  Late last year, Forbes reported that an anarchist launched a crowdfunded bitcoin-based “assassination market.”  Read the rest of this entry ?

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Al Qaeda debuts new currency

March 2, 2014

Osama Bin Laden bill

Reportedly, Al Qaeda in Iraq (ISIL) is circulating its own one hundred “Islamic” pound note in western Iraq with a picture of the Twin Towers burning on 9/11 and a portrait of Osama bin Laden.

The new bills are quite a curious development considering that Islamists normally regard paper currencies as unclean “infidel” currencies invented by non-Muslim imperialists.  Islamists prefer gold dinars and silver dirhams such as those used by Muhammad according to traditional Islamic texts.

ISIL may have chosen a denomination of 100 because of the popularity of U.S. $100 bills in Iraq, where they are nicknamed “ghosts” because of Iraqi perceptions of Benjamin Franklin’s sprectral appearance.

Presumably, the new currency is more of a publicity stunt than an actual, working currency that could be used to pay the wages of their fighters.  The money would seem to have limited usefulness to ISIL’s men and their families, because it cannot be exchanged or used to purchase goods beyond ISIL’s territorial control.

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The money jihad: recommended reading

February 13, 2014
  • A senior Al Qaeda facilitator/financier in Iran is “more active than ever”… more>>
  • Sharia-compliant finance was concocted by the Muslim Brotherhood to undermine the Western financial system and establish the banking backbone of a neo-Caliphate, says the American Center for Democracy… more>>
  • Al Qaeda affiliates have more money than Al Qaeda Central. Time to rethink who’s calling the shots… more>>
  • Sen. Warner says that he knows from the intelligence community that what happened to Target shoppers in its credit card breach “happens daily to financial institutions”… more>>
  • Banks and businessmen should keep an eye on Turkey because it’s still helping Iran evade sanctionsmore>>
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Radical finance: recommended reading

February 6, 2014

Thanks to tipsters Arun, “Mean Kitteh,” and Andrew Bowen for sending links about these items:

  • Reuters reports that Congress “secretly approves” arming the rebels in Syria… more>>
  • The president of a Muslim Brotherhood-linked mosque in Charleston has been indicted in a multimillion dollar cigarette smuggling scheme… more>>
  • Poaching wildlife has become the 4th most lucrative illicit activity in the world… more>>
  • Cuba has announced that it will freeze any assets of Al Qaeda in its banks. One analyst explains why the new sanctions are meaningless, and why terrorists deposit money in Cuba in the first place… more>>
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Al Qaeda extorts businessmen in Iraq

February 4, 2014

Al Qaeda shakes down businessmen as a form of zakat, the traditional Islamic tax on wealth.  Other jihadist groups, such as the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, have taken the same tack.  Years ago, Osama Bin Laden admonished businessmen to give their money to jihad, and Ayman al-Zawahiri has continued making similar statements since he took over Al Qaeda.  They use the money to pay salaries and to buy explosive devices.

Under classical sharia jurisprudence, zakat is not optional or voluntary in the sense of Western charity or alms.  Zakat is enforceable by the caliph under penalty of death, and Abu Bakr waged Islam’s first war against Muslims who refused to pay zakat.

It is little wonder then that Al Qaeda and the Taliban feel justified in taking money by force from Muslims for the furtherance of Islam.

Thanks to El Grillo for sending this in about Al Qaeda’s extortion of businessmen in Nineveh, Iraq, from Al-Shorfa on Jan. 27:

Al-Qaeda financiers arrested in Ninawa

Police have arrested four members of an armed group involved in collecting money for al-Qaeda by way of threats and extortion, Iraqi police in Ninawa province said Monday (January 27th).

“The police arrested four al-Qaeda-affiliated gunmen involved in collecting money for al-Qaeda by threatening citizens, so they could use it to finance terrorist operations,” Ninawa police spokesman Col. Khalid al-Hamdani told Al-Shorfa.

“The police arrested the group in an ambush set up in al-Sahel al-Aysar, southern Mosul, as they tried to extort a businessman, threatening him with death in order to take money from him,” he said.

“The gunmen admitted to belonging to al-Qaeda during the investigation, after being confronted with evidence collected by police,” al-Hamdani said. “They confirmed that the money was collected for al-Qaeda to buy cars and rig them with explosives.”

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Fastidious terrorists are no laughing matter

January 24, 2014

Recordkeeping for purchases as little as 60¢ by Al Qaeda in Mali engendered a lot of mirth and clever commentary in the blogosphere around Christmastime, but there’s a serious implication to the jihadist organization’s techniques.  Al Qaeda’s financial policies indicate that they may well still remain a disciplined and hierarchical group, despite perceived fragmentation and a proliferation of Al Qaeda offshoots over the last five to 10 years.

From the Associated Press on Dec. 29:

TIMBUKTU, Mali –  The convoy of cars bearing the black Al Qaeda flag came at high speed, and the manager of the modest grocery store thought he was about to get robbed.

Mohamed Djitteye rushed to lock his till and cowered behind the counter. He was dumbfounded when instead, the Al Qaeda commander gently opened the grocery’s glass door and asked for a pot of mustard. Then he asked for a receipt.

Confused and scared, Djitteye didn’t understand. So the jihadist repeated his request. Could he please have a receipt for the $1.60 purchase?

This transaction in northern Mali shows what might seem an unusual preoccupation for a terror group: Al Qaeda is obsessed with documenting the most minute expenses.

In more than 100 receipts left in a building occupied by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in Timbuktu earlier this year, the extremists assiduously tracked their cash flow, recording purchases as small as a single light bulb. The often tiny amounts are carefully written out in pencil and colored pen on scraps of paper and Post-it notes: The equivalent of $1.80 for a bar of soap; $8 for a packet of macaroni; $14 for a tube of super glue.

The accounting system on display in the documents found by The Associated Press is a mirror image of what researchers have discovered in other parts of the world where Al Qaeda operates, including Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq. The terror group’s documents around the world also include corporate workshop schedules, salary spreadsheets, philanthropy budgets, job applications, public relations advice and letters from the equivalent of a human resources division.

Taken together, the evidence suggests that far from being a fly-by-night, fragmented terror organization, Al Qaeda is attempting to behave like a multinational corporation, with what amounts to a company-wide financial policy across its different chapters.

“They have to have bookkeeping techniques because of the nature of the business they are in,” said Brookings Institution fellow William McCants, a former adviser to the U.S. State Department’s Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism. “They have so few ways to keep control of their operatives, to rein them in and make them do what they are supposed to do. They have to run it like a business.”

The picture that emerges from what is one of the largest stashes of Al Qaeda documents to be made public shows a rigid bureaucracy, replete with a chief executive, a board of directors and departments such as human resources and public relations. Experts say that each branch of the terror group replicates the same corporate structure, and that this strict blueprint has helped Al Qaeda not just to endure but also to spread…

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Money jihad news: recommended reading

January 9, 2014
  • Yasin al-Qadi, former financial associate of Al Qaeda, has been rubbing elbows with Turkish prime minister Recep Erdogan… more>>
  • A suicide bomber targets a bank in northern Mali, killing two UN soldiers in the process (h/t TROP)… more>>
  • Saudi Arabia’s financing of Al Qaeda is an open secret among American government officials, says the Executive Intelligence Reviewmore>>
  • Rijock calls for tougher penalties against money laundering in 2014… more>>
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Covert finance news: suggested reading

January 2, 2014
  • Considering that Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. fund al-Nusra Front, which other chapters of Al Qaeda are they financing?more>>
  • The U.S. and British pause in arming the rebels hasn’t deterred Turkey’s gunrunning program to Syria. They’ve just dropped off almost 50 tons of weapons across the border… more>>
  • How an Al Qaeda acolyte used a stun gun on the streets of London to mug and fund his personal jihad to Syria… more>>
  • The risks of banking and doing business deals in Turkey has grown too great… more>>

 

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Egypt arrests 50, says Muslim Brotherhood funds Al Qaeda

December 5, 2013

Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim says that Egypt has detained over 50 members of the Muslim Brotherhood including the brother of Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.  The detainees killed over 100 people in the last few months and their group is funding terrorists abroad, the minister said.

Part of the money that the Muslim Brotherhood collects is stolen or extorted from Coptic Christians after their loved ones have been kidnapped for exorbitant ransoms by the Brotherhood (see here and here).

The Muslim Brotherhood and its leaders claim to be non-violent, but they frequently turn around and fund violent, militant Sunni terrorist organizations.  Actions speak louder than words.

By Agence France Presse via News 24:

Muslim Brotherhood ‘financing terror’

2013-11-24

Cairo – Egypt’s interior minister on Saturday announced the arrest of dozens of “extremists” and accused the Muslim Brotherhood of deposed president Mohamed Morsi of financing radical Islamists linked to al-Qaeda.

Mohamed Ibrahim told reporters security forces had arrested more than 50 members of “extremist groups” with ties to the network founded by Osama bin Laden and now led by his Egyptian successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The minister said the suspects were connected with attacks on police and soldiers that have multiplied and killed more than 100 people since the army deposed Morsi on 3 July.

The Brotherhood “supports and massively finances from abroad numerous radical terrorists in several groups” that have since the summer “launched a series of terrorist acts seeking to sow terror”, Ibrahim said.

He said some of those held had been pardoned of offences during Morsi’s year-long rule, and that others were linked to jihadist groups Ansar Beit al-Maqdis in the Sinai and the Libya-based Ansar al-Sharia.

Ibrahim said that among them was Mohammed al-Zawahiri, brother of the al-Qaeda chief, who was detained in August after being freed in the 2011 revolt that ousted Hosni Mubarak.

Ibrahim said some of the arrests came after a failed attempt on his own life on September 5 when a suicide bomber attacked his convoy in Cairo.

He said others were detained after an 19 August attack killed 25 police in the Sinai – the deadliest in years in the arid desert peninsula.

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Qatar aids Al Qaeda and Hamas in Gaza

December 2, 2013

In order to obtain “billions of dollars” from Qatar, Hamas has agreed to ease restrictions in Gaza on its rival Al Qaeda.  Dozens of Al Qaeda fighters have already been released from prison by Hamas officials to meet Doha’s demands.

Qatar is probably emboldened by the influence and traction it has gained by backing Islamist fighters in Mali, Syria, and the Arab Spring countries.  Its monarchy senses that this is the perfect time to expand their influence in the Palestinian territories where old guard terrorist groups are short on cash.  Judging by the relative lack of media coverage of this development, they’re getting away with it.

From World Tribune (h/t Global MB Watch):

Hamas eases up on Al Qaida in hopes of securing Qatari cash

Special to WorldTribune.com

GAZA CITY — Hamas, desperate for new allies, has ended its crackdown on Al Qaida-aligned militias financed by Qatar.

Palestinian sources said the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip has released scores of Al Qaida-aligned militia members, known as Salafists.

The sources said the restrictions on the militias were eased amid Hamas’ crisis with neighboring Egypt over the revolt in the Sinai Peninsula.

“Qatar has promised billions of dollars to Hamas, but the money was held up until the policy against the Salafists changed,” a source said.

Al Qaida-aligned militias, including Army of Islam, Army of the Nation, Jaljalat and Swords of Righteousness, had long been regarded as a strategic threat by Hamas. In 2009, Hamas killed 22 Al Qaida fighters in a raid of their stronghold in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

Over the last two years, however, the Al Qaida militias were bolstered by tens of millions of dollars in cash and weapons supplied mostly by Qatar. In May 2013, a delegation of leading Sunni clerics from Kuwait and Qatar, including Yusef Qaradawi, arrived in the Gaza Strip and urged the Hamas leadership to release militia fighters.

Since then, the Salafists have sought to draft an agreement to define the activities of Al Qaida militias, most of them armed with rockets that could strike deep into Israel. The sources said Qatar signaled it would intensify aid once an agreement was signed.

The sources said Hamas has demanded that Al Qaida militias refrain from any attacks on Israel without permission from the Islamist regime. They said Hamas also wanted to control all weapons supplies to the militias and was refusing to return arms already confiscated.

So far, more than 40 Al Qaida-aligned operatives were released from Hamas prisons over the last two months, the sources said. They said Hamas was expected to keep most of the Salafists in prison until a full agreement was reached and Qatar relayed aid…

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