Posts Tagged ‘Anwar al-Awlaki’

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Kouachi: AQAP funded Charlie Hebdo attack

January 11, 2015

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) bankrolled the terrorist attack against Charlie Hebdo according to Cherif Kouachi, one of the principal attackers. Before his death, Kouachi told French television channel BFM-TV, “I was sent, me, Cherif Kouachi, by Al Qaeda of Yemen. I went over there and it was Anwar al Awlaki who financed me.” This would help explain how a group of underemployed ex-cons were able to buy AK-47s and pay for Said Kouachi’s travel to Yemen for training.

Thanks to Sal for sending in this report from Reuters:

Charlie Hebdo shooter says financed by Qaeda preacher in Yemen

PARIS, France (Reuters) – One of the two brothers who killed 12 in a massacre at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo this week has said he received financing by al Qaeda preacher Anwar al Awlaki in Yemen.

Cherif Kouachi, who was killed along with his older brother by police on Friday after a siege at a printing works in north France following a three-day manhunt, made the assertion to BFM-TV before his death while holed up inside the building.

“I was sent, me, Cherif Kouachi, by Al Qaeda of Yemen. I went over there and it was Anwar al Awlaki who financed me,” he told BFM-TV by telephone, according to a recording aired by the television channel after the siege was over.

Al Awlaki, an influential international recruiter for al Qaeda, was killed in September 2011 in a drone strike.

A senior Yemeni intelligence source earlier told Reuters that Kouachi’s brother Said had also met al Awlaki during a stay in Yemen in 2011.

Another hostage-taker linked to Kouachi, Amedy Coulibaly, who died after a police siege of a kosher market in Paris on Friday, separately called BFM-TV, saying he wanted to defend Palestinians and target Jews…

The operation appears to be a good investment for AQAP, which is poised to cash in from their new notoriety from the attack by increasing their fundraising from wealthy Arabs and smaller dollar donors on the Internet.

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Time for due diligence on welfare recipients?

March 19, 2014

This piece also appears at Terror Finance Blog:

The family of Boston marathon bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev received over $100,000 in public benefits from 2002 to 2012 according to documents compiled a year ago from state agencies by the Massachusetts House Committee on Post Audit and Oversight.

The aid included food stamps and welfare benefits to the Tsarnaevs’ parents and to Katherine Russell, Tamerlan’s wife.  Dzhokhar Tsarnaev also received student financial aid and forbearance (although he probably omitted income from drug sales and auto repair referral kickbacks on his student aid application).

Public benefits, being somewhat fungible, free up money for the recipient to put toward purposes separate from what was intended.  During the period of time that Katherine Russell received food stamps and welfare payments (2011 through 2012), Tamerlan was able to fly to Russia in early 2012 to seek out radical connections.  In effect, the benefits that Tamerlan and Katherine received through her name may have enabled the purchase of Tamerlan’s plane ticket to the jihadi rat’s nest of the North Caucasus.

The question of public benefits funding terrorists in Boston comes after years of ongoing scandals documented in Great Britain, where dangerous Islamists like Abu Yahya, Anjem Choudary, Emdadur Choudhury, and Abu Qatada have had their homes, welfare benefits, and legal expenses paid from taxpayer money.  “Twentieth” 9/11 hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui also received welfare benefits in England, along with the family of Abu Hamza.  Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia have also dealt with the same exploitation of their generous public benefit programs by Islamists.

Several of these abuses probably occurred because of guidance that individual benefit recipients received from radical imams in their communities. Deceased terrorist imam Anwar al-Awlaki once wrote in Inspire magazine that, “All of our [Islamic] scholars agree on the permissibility of taking away the wealth of the disbelievers in dār al-ĥarb [the non-Muslim world] whether by means of force or by means of theft or deception,” for the purposes of carrying out jihad.  And the same Anjem Choudary mentioned above once encouraged Muslims living in the U.K. to collect public benefits as “jihad seeker’s allowance” instead of getting a job.

In light of this problem, it may be time to contemplate whether government agencies that issue public benefits should be required to adhere to the same know-your-customer provisions and due diligence requirements under which private sector financial institutions already operate.

Banks are required to conduct due diligence on account holders by carrying out activities like cross-checking their names against databases of sanctioned individuals or politically-exposed persons to help ensure that the bank is not assisting the customer in carrying out financial crimes such as money laundering, sanctions evasion, terrorist financing, graft, or other offenses.  Bank employees also have mechanisms and the responsibility to file reports when suspicious activity is observed.

However, there appears to be no equivalent legal requirement for government agencies that provide public benefits such as welfare payments, food stamps, or tuition assistance to undertake these due diligence and reporting functions.  Agencies screen applicant eligibility for a variety of public benefits (such as proof of financial need for student aid, and proof that you are actively seeking employment to obtain jobless benefits, etc.), but this screening tends to focus on the applicant’s legal eligibility for the benefit rather than on the risk that the benefit may be diverted by the recipient toward criminal or terrorist enterprises.

Neither is there a uniform standard for government agencies to report criminal misuse of public benefits to a central authority.  Rather, suspicions of fraudulent claims are handled differently by every agency awarding benefits, with different mechanisms for investigating and denying claims.  And again, the benefit fraud cases are focused on false claims by recipients who never should have received the benefit, and rarely target individuals who receive a benefit lawfully but misappropriate that benefit toward unauthorized purposes.

Should an assessment of high risk or an OFAC database name match be grounds for the denial of the benefit?  Perhaps not, but at least the filing of a suspicious activity report by a government compliance officer would provide additional data points for regulators to review and share with law enforcement as needed.

If due diligence requirements are worthwhile enough for the federal government to impose on the private sector, the private sector financial institutions have a right to ask the government to eat its own cooking.  This expansion of know-your-customer provisions to the government sector would seem especially important considering statements by radical imams and actions by terrorists like the Tsarnaev brothers to use public benefits to finance their planning and terrorist operations.

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Checks link 9/11 hijacker to Anwar al-Awlaki

April 2, 2013

A newly released FBI report indicates that an unnamed male once received a check from radical imam Anwar al-Awlaki for $280 and gave a check for $175 to Nawaf Al-Hamzi, a hijacker on American Airlines Flight 77 that flew into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.  The transactions suggest that al-Awlaki funded Al-Hamzi through this unnamed intermediary.

This is the third report in the last two months of a U.S.-based imam having helped to finance terrorism.

Hat tip to El Grillo for tweeting this press release from Judicial Watch on Mar. 28:

JW Obtains FBI Records Detailing Banking Activity and Purchases Linking Anwar al-Aulaqi and 9/11 Hijackers

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it received documents on March 4, 2013 from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that raise new questions about close ties between Anwar al Aulaqi, the U.S.-born terrorist assassinated by a U.S. drone in Yemen on September 30, 2011, and Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al Mihdhar, two of the five hijackers who attacked the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. In the documents the FBI describes al Aulaqi as “The Spiritual Leader of the Hijackers.”

Judicial Watch received the documents in response to a June, 2012, Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the FBI and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State and Federal Bureau of Investigations (No. 1:12-cv-00893). They are part of Judicial Watch’s ongoing investigation of al Qaeda in the United States, including its current operations and support network.

Materials received by Judicial Watch reveal the following information the FBI regarded as worthy of investigation in its probe of ties between al Aulaqi and the 9/11 hijackers:

  • An undated FBI report indicates an individual received a check for $281.50 from al Aulaqi and wrote a check for $175 to al Hazmi on July 7, 2001.  There is no additional information about the transactions. The FBI apparently found the transaction to be of investigative interest because, depending on the identity of the intermediary party, it could indicate direct assistance from al Aulaqi to al Hazmi.
  • On 9/13/2001, FBI agents took possession of and searched the vehicle al Aulaqi rented in San Diego on 9/8/2001 (which he kept for one day and drove only 37 miles).  While there is no report regarding the results of the search, the action highlights the FBI’s interest in al Aulaqi and suspicions about his trip to San Diego, home to both al Hazmi and al Mihdhar leading up to the attacks.
  • An FBI report dated 10/24/2001 indicates that the Bureau became aware three days after the 9/11 attacks (9/14/2001) that al Aulaqi had rented a Mailboxes Etc. mail drop in Falls Church, VA.  The mail box was the subject of a federal grand jury subpoena.

“The more we learn about Anwar al Aulaqi, the more questions arise not only about his activities before and after 9/11, but also about the al Qaeda operational and support network still active in the United States,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It is now even more concerning that al Aulaqi was invited to the Pentagon after 9/11 and then let go by the FBI despite warrants for his arrest.”

An earlier release of FBI documents obtained by a Judicial Watch FOIA and reported by Fox News suggest that the FBI was aware on September 27, 2001, that al Aulaqi had purchased airplane tickets for three of the 9/11 terrorist hijackers, including mastermind Mohammed Atta. Subsequent to the FBI’s discovery, al Aulaqi was detained and released by authorities at least twice and had been invited to dine at the Pentagon…

Previous evidence showed that Al-Hamzi and fellow future hijacker Khalid al-Mihdhar regarded their San Diego neighbor Al-Awlaki as a spiritual adviser, but the extent of Awlaki’s concrete support for the duo had not been firmly established.

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Virginia halal grocer sells terror propaganda

April 19, 2012

This time it isn’t shops selling radical merchandise in Afghanistan or the West Bank—it’s Virginia.

What does it tell you about the halal food industry?  That it’s just another back-to-basics food movement like organic foods or locally grown foods?  Not so—it is an agenda-driven movement that embraces jihad.  The halal grocery store owner is perfectly willing to profit from Anwar al-Awlaki’s violent CDs and sharia books about wife-beating.

From CBN’s intrepid Erick Stakelbeck on Apr. 13:

D.C. Area Islamic Store Still Selling Radical Materials

In June 2010, my exclusive report on the radical materials being sold at Halalco–the Washington, D.C. area’s largest Islamic supermarket–first aired on CBN. I recounted my investigation into Halalco, which is located in Falls Church, Va., just minutes from the nation’s capital, in Chapter 5 of my book, The Terrorist Next Door.

In addition to tons of hate-filled books by leading Muslim Brotherhood ideologues like Yusuf al-Qaradawi and convicted terrorists such as “The Hook,” Abu Hamza al-Masri, Halalco also featured notorious anti-Semitic tracts, like The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, not to mention a large library of CDs and DVDs by Khalid Yasin and other assorted radical Islamist mouthpieces.

In short, Halalco sells the kind of materials that have served to radicalize many young American Muslims. But the coup de grace and focus of my report was my discovery that Halalco was featuring a large display of CDs and DVDs by the not-so-dearly-departed Al Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awalaki—just one day after Awlaki had released a videotape calling for the killing of American civilians. I confronted the owner of Halalco about it on camera (click on the viewer below to watch the report) and the Awlaki display—magically—disappeared.

But being caught red-handed peddling the works of one of the world’s most wanted terrorists apparently had little effect on Halalco’s choice in inventory. Intrepid journalist Patrick Poole, a good friend of the Stakelbeck on Terror show, recently paid a visit to Halalco and came up with a very interesting find.

Here’s more, from Poole, courtesy of PJMedia:

A book by a senior Indian Islamic scholar that recently prompted international outrage for directing Muslim husbands on how to properly beat and control their wives is on sale at the largest Islamic bookstore in the Washington D.C. area, just a 20-minute drive from the White House, all while the Obama campaign proclaims that Republicans are waging a “war on women” and continues to attack Ann Romney for her decision to stay at home and raise her five sons by promoting pro-life, pro-family policies, and as DCCC media strategist Hilary Rosen

The book in question is A Gift For the Muslim Couple by Ashraf Ali Thanvi that directs a Muslim husband “it might be necessary to restrain her [wife] with strength or even threaten her,” adding that he may scold his wife, “beat by hand or stick,” withhold money from her or “pull (her) by the ears,” but should “refrain from beating her excessively.”

Thanvi’s book was recently in the news when the Toronto Sun discovered the book being sold at a prominent Islamic bookstore in Toronto, prompting criticism from all corners of Canadian politics and society. The story was picked up elsewhere by the international press.

So will the Obama administration ask its Muslim “interfaith outreach partners” why such a vile volume is being sold across the Potomac River at the Halalco Bookstore and Supermarket in Falls Church, Va. – just eight miles from the White House? I purchased a copy in the family section of Halalco on a trip to DC two weeks ago, and the book can be found available for purchase on the Halalco website.

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2011: al-Awlaki’s message of theft lives on

January 2, 2012

Continuing our look back at the major terror finance stories of 2011, one cannot ignore the impact made by the late Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

In the January 2011 edition of Inspire magazine, al-Awlaki declared that Muslims living in the Dar al-Harb should poach, steal, and embezzle just as if they were living off the land by hunting and gathering wood—an activity permitted under Hanafi rulings.  That behavior is even more blessed if it is done with the intent to fund jihad.

A year earlier, Awlaki released tips on financing terror among his 44 ways of supporting jihad.

These messages made their way around the world in Internet forums, newspapers, and through personal emails from Awlaki to jihadists seeking his guidance.

Awlaki was killed in a Sept. 30 bombing, but his message of the money jihad lives on and grows through those who took his message to heart.  Each week we seem to be greeted with the latest news of welfare fraud or tax cheating by a Muslim living in the U.K., Canada, or the U.S.  In India, counterfeiting by radical Muslims against the “infidel” “Hindu” currency has hit record highs.  Al-Awlaki would approve.

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Muslim credit card fraud raises $7K for al Qaeda

December 16, 2011

Before his death, cleric Anwar al-Awlaki explained that financial crimes by Muslims against non-Muslims are permissible under Islamic law.  This position is supported in part by Muhammad’s statement in the Sahih Bukhari that taking the enemy’s money is clean: “the spoils of war are made halal for me” (see Volume 1, Book 7, Number 331), and the Hanafi ruling that stealing from a non-Muslim land “is considered mubah (permitted) just like hunting or wood gathering.”

It is little wonder then why “German-born” Halil S., who was in contact with al-Awlaki, determined that an online credit card fraud scheme was a perfectly legitimate and Islamic method of raising money for jihad.  From UPI yesterday:

DUSSELDORF, Germany, Dec. 15 (UPI) — The arrest of a German man shows the “Dusseldorf Cell” of suspected al-Qaida-linked terrorists remains active, authorities said this week.

The German weekly Der Spiegel reported Tuesday that the arrest last Thursday of an unnamed 22-year-old man demonstrated the German federal police are still looking for members of the al-Qaida linked group.

The Germany-born man, whose name wasn’t released due to Germany’s privacy laws, was arrested in Bochum, Germany, where he was allegedly living under an assumed name, the weekly said.

Prosecutors allege “Halil S.,” who had been under surveillance for months, was seen at the apartment of the Dusseldorf Cell’s accused ringleader, Moroccan Abdeladim el-K. The latter was arrested in April, allegedly after communicating with Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, the since-killed former al-Qaida chief of operations.

Authorities allege “Halil S.” had used an online credit card fraud scheme to raise nearly $7,000 to finance terror activities and had been in contact with Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen and al-Qaida propagandist who was killed in Yemen in a CIA drone attack this year.

Anti-terror police say they believe the cell has been tasked with carrying out a major attack in Germany and is still dangerous despite the deaths of Rahman and Awlaki.

Der Spiegel said “Halil S.” was considered Germany’s top terror target but added GSG-9 — the federal police’s elite counter-terrorism squad — was seeking other cell members and prosecutors were moving forward with investigations of five men thought to have ties to the Dusseldorf Cell…

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The global influence of al-Awlaki’s money jihad

October 4, 2011

Before he died, Anwar al-Awlaki influenced the 9/11 hijackers and the Ft. Hood jihadist to perpetrate their attacks on America.  Al-Awlaki had maintained or gained sway throughout the Arab world from his hideout in Yemen and his English-language jihadist magazine, Inspire.

In addition to his traditional jihadist message, al-Awlaki, like Osama bin Laden before him, had specifically been a key proponent of the jihad bi-al-mal, the money jihad, against the West.  He encouraged theft, trickery, and whatever means are necessary for Muslims in the West to financially sap their hosts and fund the mujahideen in the process.

His message reached as far as Africa.  Documentary evidence from the U.N. monitoring group on Somalia and Eritrea’s July report showed that al-Awlaki’s list of 44 ways to support jihad, seven of which involve direct financial support to jihad, had made its way into Al-Misbah, the newspaper of the Muslim Youth Centre, an al-Shabaab jihadist affiliate in Kenya.  Al-Awlaki’s way #6—giving money to jihadists’ families—is re-printed in one of Al-Misbah’s editions here:

Kenya newsletter highlights al-Awlaki's money jihad

The newsletter reminds readers of the Islamic text stating “Whoever does not fight, sponsor a fighter, or take care of the family of a fighter, will be afflicted with a disaster before he dies.”