Posts Tagged ‘Boston Marathon bombings’

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Tsarnaev friend sent $70K to 15 people overseas

June 16, 2014

The Associated Press is reporting that Khairullozhon Matanov, a friend of Boston marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, used aliases to transfer over $70,000 overseas in the years leading up to the Apr. 15, 2013, attack. The source of the money has not been disclosed, but we know that the Tsarnaev brothers were the recipients of over $100,000 in public benefits from 2002 to 2012. The AP reports that one of the overseas transfers was made while Tsarnaev was travelling in Russia—the intimation being that the transfer may have been for or on behalf of Tsarnaev.

Were Matanov and Tsarnaev scratching each other’s backs?

…Agent Timothy McElroy said that between 2010 and 2013, Matanov sent more than $71,000 to 15 people in six countries. McElroy said agents determined that most of the money — about $56,590 — was sent to Matanov’s family, while the rest — about $14,800 — went to non-family.

Matanov’s lawyer, Edward Hayden, said the money transfers ‘had nothing to do with terrorism.’

‘He was uncomfortable sending all the money in his own name,’ he said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Garland said Matanov had repeatedly deceived authorities when questioned about his relationship with Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the days after the bombings. Garland said his “pattern of deceit” was also shown through Matanov’s use of aliases when sending money….

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Top terror finance stories of 2013

December 30, 2013

From massacres on the streets of Syria to the streets of Boston, 2013 has offered far too many illustrations of how terror-borne bloodshed is financed:

  1. Sunni and Western powers risk funding Syrian rebels despite their Al Qaeda allegiance
    Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, the U.S., U.K., and France have provided money and supplies to the enemies of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad despite the risk of the materiel falling into the wrong hands.  Gulf-based support has gone directly toward Salafist fighters; Western aid has been targeted toward the supposedly moderate Free Syrian Army, but entire brigades of the FSA have pledged allegiance to al-Nusra Front—Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria—during 2013.  Reports this month of a “suspension” of U.S. aid have been somewhat exaggerated; as one official conceded, “the suspension of aid only applies to the opposition in northern Syria, adding that supply lines from Jordan in the south would continue.”  Foreign support has prolonged the conflict in Syria and increased the chances for Al Qaeda to take over the country.
  2. Boston marathon bombing made possible by Saudi money
    North Caucuses militants have been funded for decades by Saudi Arabia.  The Saudis and their wealthy expatriate terrorists like Ibn al-Khattab  and Osama Bin Laden and invested millions of dollars into the training and recruitment of fighters, the construction of radical mosques, and the creation of jihadist websites in Slavic languages.  Tamerlan Tsarnaev read and engaged with these websites and pursued support from these Saudi-sponsored sources when he traveled to Russia in 2012.  Tsarnaev and his brother Dzhokhar also learned from Inspire magazine by deceased terror imam Anwar al-Awlaki, who presided over Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.In effect, Saudi money created the breeding environment both online and on the ground in the North Caucuses in which the Tsarnaevs’ plot was hatched.

    Sadly, the media and public officials have been slow to recognize and expose the connections between the Saudis, the North Caucasus militants, and their followers living in North America.  Two Democrat-appointed federal judges inexplicably reversed the conviction this year of Pete Seda, a Muslim “peace activist” who sent money through a Saudi-based charity from Oregon to Chechen terrorists in the early 2000s.

  3. The U.S. became the world’s #1 energy producer in 2013.  This development reduces our dependence on Arab oil and the flow of petrodollars that fund terrorism.
  4. The compensation of victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism was ignored during negotiations in Geneva on Iran’s nuclear program.
  5. The Somali Islamic terrorist group al-Shabaab’s finances rebounded in 2013 despite their loss of control in 2012 of the key harbor in Kismayo to Kenyan, African Union, and allied forces.  The main ingredients in their financial resurgence included an expansion al-Shabaab’s lucrative charcoal smuggling operation, the resumption of payments from the Dahabshiil money service to al-Shabaab, and indirect support from the Gulf.  The funding has allowed operations such as killing sprees in Mogadishu and the September terrorist attack on Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya.  Nevertheless, a British court injunction has forced Barclays to continue partnering with Dahabshiil to facilitate remittances to Somalia.
  6. Read the rest of this entry ?
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The indirect expenses of jihad

October 1, 2013

Ernst & Young and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) have issued a report on emerging trends in the financing of terrorism.  The central argument of the study is that piracy, smuggling, and counterfeiting have been growth sectors for funding terror, and that India and the world need to establish more mechanisms to combat these methods.

The full report is available here, and a news article about it is here (h/t El Grillo).

There is a lot of value to the report, but one component that readers should take special note of is Ernst & Young’s distinction between the direct expenses for terrorism on things like bombs, materials, and attack plans versus indirect expenses for the bigger picture infrastructure of terrorism:  recruitment, gathering intelligence, and public relations.  This chart comes from their report:

Two broad classes of terrorist expenditures

This is the distinction that Money Jihad has tried to make over the last several months about the Tsarnaev brothers and the Boston marathon bombing.  (See here and here.)  The attack wasn’t just about the costs of the explosives purchased by Tamerlan, or even his travel expense s to Russia, although that certainly still needs to be explained more thoroughly.

The larger question is the indirect expenses that were made toward jihad in the North Caucasus long before the Tsarnaevs hatched their plot.  These were expenditures made over several decades by the Saudis and Western-based Islamic front charities in spreading Salafism through the Caucasus.  It took millions of dollars to create and support radical new mosques, fake “relief” programs, to pay and provision Chechen militants and their leaders, to buy loyalties and pay-off ambivalent politicians, and to create a mushroom patch of jihadist websites in the mother tongue of the Tsarnaev family.

It doesn’t do much good for the federal government and banks to scrutinize and report on every single financial transaction that we undertake if, at the same time, we ignore the millions of petrodollars and zakat donations that go toward paying the indirect expenses of terrorism and inculcating the next generation of jihadists.

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Kazakh jihadists sent money abroad

May 3, 2013

The Kazakh terrorist group Jund al-Khilafah, or the Soldiers of the Caliphate, has the financial means to support militants beyond Kazakhstan’s borders, according to a think tank report earlier this year.  Jund al-Khilafah has sent money to fellow fighters in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and possibly even to Mohamed Merah, the North African terrorist who killed seven people in France last year.

The Jamestown Foundation offered this analysis in January:

…Jund al-Khilafah is based in the North Caucasus and the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, and it carried out three separate attacks in Atyrau, Taraz and Almaty in late 2011 (Tengrinews, September 28, 2012). As evidenced by slain Tunisian-born Jund al-Khilafah amir Moez Garsallaoui’s connections to Mohammed Merah, who killed three Jews and four French paratroopers in southwest France in March 2012, Jund al-Khilafah also has international operational capabilities. There are an estimated 200 to 300 Kazakhstani militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan, many of whom have financial relationships with Jund al-Khilafah supporters in Kazakhstan (September 9, 2011). This became apparent with the sentencing of Aidos Kusanov on October 8, 2012, who transferred 380,000 tenge (approximately $2,500) to Jund al-Khilafah in Pakistan through the Aqtobe-based [Kazakh] militant group Ansar al-Din. Ansar al-Din has not claimed any attacks in Kazakhstan, but has issued numerous video statements condemning the Kazakhstani government on jihadist websites, such as hunafa.com and Kavkaz Center, and seeks to “establish links of material support” to “assist the families of the mujahideen,” according to its own propaganda (http://hunafa.com/?p=3839)…

Despite Jund al-Khilafa and Ansar al-Din’s operational links to Kazakhstan, the flow of militants and funds still appears to be from Kazakhstan to Afghanistan and Pakistan or elsewhere—not the other way around. This could soon change, however. In a November 2011 Islamic Jihad Union video statement, a Kazakhstani fighter said that that after victory in Afghanistan, their “goal” is Central Asia, while another fighter, who claimed to be the “amir,” said their “sphere of interest” is Central Asia, in particular Kazakhstan (Kavkazcenter.com, December 2011). Other experts in the region argue that the IMU and other militants are already in Kazakhstan, using the country effectively as a “terminal” linking Europe, Central Asia and Afghanistan, and therefore the militants do not want to destabilize Kazakhstan, yet (Tengrinews, September 6, 2011)…

How Jund al-Khilafah acquired the money that it was able to transfer to Afghanistan and Pakistan is unclear, although the Saudi-backed Wahhabi foundation known as the Muslim World League is active in Kazakhstan.  The MWL has financed the Muslim Brotherhood and terrorist groups globally, particularly in countries at the fringes of the Islamic world.

A case in late-2011 revealed a Jund al-Khilafah suicide bomber who “was part of a group that planned to rob a number of stores, banks and currency exchanges and to attack law enforcement personnel,” and whose leader wanted operatives “to commit both jihad and economic crimes.”  Reliance on theft can sometimes be an indicator of a terrorist group with limited funds, but the ability to send surplus funds outside their home base undercuts that possibility.

Kazakhstan, with its population of young, male, ethnic Kazakhs who are increasingly falling under the spell of jihad, has come under renewed scrutiny following the arrest of two Kazakh associates of Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev who once launched fireworks with Tsarnaev on the banks of the Charles River, helped Tsarnaev dispose of evidence after the bombing, and subsequently lied to investigators about their activities.

How one of the two Kazakhs, Dias Kadyrbayev, who drove a BMW, obtained money for travel, rent, and tuition in Massachusetts has yet to be determined.

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Kickbacks for Tsarnaev on luxury car repairs?

April 28, 2013

During an interview with CNN last week, auto mechanic Gilberto Junior discussed Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s behavior between the time of the Boston Marathon bombing and before his capture.  The interview offered some clues on Dhokhar Tsarnaev’s financial situation.  H/t Lea Savoy:

The reference to the $900 Louis Vuitton shoes, which Junior repeated in interviews with other news outlets, raised a lot of eyebrows, but the bigger question—about why Dzhokhar was shuttling friends back and forth for repair work at Junior’s shop in the first place—has received scant attention.

One of the websites that did pick up on it, The Slate, ran the headline, “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev May Have Had Two Shady Side Businesses. Only One Involves Pot,” elaborating:

… But perhaps the more puzzling nugget in the [Boston] Globe piece is what the paper calls his “mysterious side enterprise involving repairing damaged cars”:

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev regularly brought cars to Junior’s Auto Body, a well-worn shop on the Cambridge-Somerville line, on a road lined with scrap metal and auto repair garages.

Why a 19-year-old college student was bringing cars in for work for people he said were friends remains unclear, though his father had worked as a garage mechanic before he returned to the family’s native Russia. The shop owner, Gilberto Junior, said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sometimes accompanied friends to the shop, riding in the passenger’s seat. Often, the friends told Junior they were students at MIT, he said…

It is legal for Junior to have paid possible commission fees to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for legitimate referrals.  But Dzhokhar Tsarnaev may have been skirting the law if he received cash for the referrals and failed to report it on income tax returns or student financial aid applications.  (It may be worth noting that encouraging unnecessary repairs is common scam reported by consumer advocates.)

But no large amounts of money appear to have changed hands.  Junior told the Boston Globe that “I don’t think he ever brought any friends in here that spent more than $500.”  These were minor repairs like removing dents after fender benders.  Tsarnaev’s final visit to Junior’s auto body shop provides an example of the type of work involved:

Two weeks ago, said 44-year-old Gilberto Junior, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had brought in a white Mercedes 1967 station wagon to have the damaged rear bumper repaired. He said it belonged to his girlfriend.

That was not unusual: Tsarnaev often brought in cars for wealthy friends from Boston University and MIT, Junior said, and always paid in cash.

The bigger question involves the identity of Tsaranaev’s cash-paying “friends.”  Read the rest of this entry ?

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Welfare and drug money aided Tsarnaevs

April 25, 2013

The Tsarnaev brothers’ portfolio included proceeds from drug sales, and at least in the case of Tamerlan and Katherine Russell Tsarnaev, state welfare benefits.

CBS News reported yesterday that “Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the brothers and suspects in last week’s Boston Marathon bombing attack, may have financed their plot through drug sales, investigators believe.”

Yesterday’s Boston Herald detailed the public assistance that Tamerlan received up until 2012:

Marathon bombings mastermind Tamerlan Tsarnaev was living on taxpayer-funded state welfare benefits even as he was delving deep into the world of radical anti-American Islamism, the Herald has learned.

State officials confirmed last night that Tsarnaev, slain in a raging gun battle with police last Friday, was receiving benefits along with his wife, Katherine Russell Tsarnaev, and their 3-year-old daughter. The state’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services said those benefits ended in 2012 when the couple stopped meeting income eligibility limits. Russell Tsarnaev’s attorney has claimed Katherine — who had converted to Islam — was working up to 80 hours a week as a home health aide while Tsarnaev stayed at home.

In addition, both of Tsarnaev’s parents received benefits, and accused brother bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan were recipients through their parents when they were younger, according to the state.

The news raises questions over whether Tsarnaev financed his radicalization on taxpayer money…

Some news accounts portrayed the welfare benefits as a simple failure to make ends meet—an unfortunate result of a difficult economy.  But the possibility of intentional exploitation of public benefits by Tamerlan Tsarnaev should not be cast aside as a fringe theory.

The Associated Press recently reported that “Tsarnaev became an ardent reader of jihadist websites and extremist propaganda, two U.S. officials said. He read Inspire magazine, an English-language online publication produced by al-Qaida’s Yemen affiliate.”

Observers have naturally focused on the infamous Inspire article, “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom,” for giving instructions on constructing a pressure cooker bomb.

They should also look back at an article in the January 2011 edition of Inspire entitled “The Ruling on Dispossessing the Disbelievers’ Wealth in Dar Al-Harb,” in which al-Awlaki declared that Muslims living in the non-Muslim world 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.

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The financial affairs of the Tsarnaev brothers

April 23, 2013

Here’s a rundown of information available so far about Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s financial situations:

Revenues

  • U.S. News reports that “The larger Tsarnaev family ended up living on public assistance in Cambridge, Mass,” which in context of the article was probably around 2010.
  • Dzhokhar Tsarnaev received a $2,500 scholarship from the city of Cambridge in May 2011 to pursue higher education.
  • Tamerlan Tsarnaev was unemployed, but his wife, Katherine Russell, was working long hours as a home health care aide.  During their last conversation, Tamerlan told his uncle that he fixes cars, but he did not say whether he was earning wages.
  • Patimat Suleimanova, the Tsarnaev brothers’ aunt, said that “the brothers had stumbled upon money problems” in 2012, and that their father Anzor Tsarnaev “would send money from here when he could.”
  • Dzhokhar Tsarnaev withdrew $800 from Bank of America an ATM card stolen from the Tsarnaev’s carjacking victim on the night of April 18.

Expenses

  • Tamerlan Tsarnaev studied accounting part-time from 2006 to 2008, incurring probable tuition expenses.  U.S. News says he dropped out for financial reasons.
  • Tamerlan and Katherine Tsarnaev’s daughter was born in 2010, incurring probable medical expenses.
  • Dzhokhar was a student at UMass Dartmouth, where annual tuition, room, board, and fees cost approximately $22,255 for Massachusetts residents.
  • Tamerlan Tsarnaev travelled to Russia from January to June 2012 (where airfare normally runs at least several hundred dollars).
  • During his Russia trip, a neighbor described Tamerlan Tsarnaev as a “dandy” and that he “he dressed in a very refined way.”
  • Bombs like the ones used at the Boston marathon may have cost about $100 apiece to make.
  • During an interview with CNN, Cambridge auto mechanic Gilberto Junior said that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was wearing $900 shoes while visiting his repair shop just days after the bombings.  Junior also described Dzhokhar’s friends, who describe themselves as being Turkish, as the owners of “high-end cars.”  Junior told the New York Times that the brothers themselves also had a taste for expensive cars.

Indirect information

  • The Tsarnaevs’ mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva quit her job working at a spa within the last few years.
  • Investigators have been reexamining the 2011 murder of a former roommate of Tamerlan Tsarnaev.  Thousands of dollars in cash were left at the crime scene.
  • Dhzokar Tsarnaev once described his personal priority in life as “career and money.”
  • In June 2012, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva was arrested for shoplifting $1,600 worth of clothes from Lord & Taylor.
  • During his good-bye call to his uncle Alvi Tsarnaev, Tamerlan asked “Did you pay your mortgage?”
  • Katherine Russell Tsarnaev’s parents are selling their home, and have listed it for $467K.
  • In his initial court appearance on Apr. 22, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was asked “Can you afford a lawyer?” He answered, “No.”