Posts Tagged ‘Chechnya’

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Terror money news: suggested reading

March 5, 2015
  • France arrests 6 Chechens for raising funds and recruiting jihadists… more>>
  • Only military force, not conventional counter-terror finance techniques, can bankrupt ISIS… more>>
  • Saudi Arabia is building a neo-Maginot Line to defend against the same jihadist forces that they bankrolledmore>>
  • Hamas is doubling its stockpile of missiles and rockets for no reason in particular… more>>
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Islamic charity pleads guilty to tax fraud

August 17, 2014

Al Haramain, a Saudi-based international charity which once maintained its U.S. branch in Oregon, has pleaded guilty to tax fraud 14 years after filing a false return designed to conceal a $150,000 check issued to Chechen jihadists.

The Associated Press reported on July 29:

…On Tuesday, the charity pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Eugene to one count of filing a false tax return with the Internal Revenue Service. The group was placed on probation for three years, and it agreed during that time not to resume operating as a tax-exempt charity in the U.S., prosecutors said.

The charity failed to report to the Internal Revenue Service that a $150,000 donation in 2000 went overseas to Saudi Arabia and was meant to be sent to Chechnya, prosecutors said. The charity falsely reported on its tax return that the money was used partly to buy a building in the U.S.

The foundation was disbanded after the U.S. government declared it was a terrorist organization and froze its assets…

Far from being a lawless series of raids in the early- to mid-2000s against innocent Islamic charities that CAIR and the ACLU have depicted, the successful convictions against the Holy Land Foundation and guilty pleas such a this illustrate that the Bush-era crackdowns on front charities was legitimate.

As part of the plea deal, Al Haramain’s former U.S. director, Pete Seda, who was previously convicted for his involvement in the case, is getting charges dropped against him.

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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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Liberal judges toss Chechen financier’s conviction

September 8, 2013

Just four months after the Boston marathon bombing, two federal judges on a three-judge panel have overturned the conviction of the Oregon-based Islamic “charity leader” and terrorist fundraiser Pete Seda, who helped facilitate the transfer of $130,000 to Chechen terrorists in the early 2000s.

Activists like Seda have served as key conduits for funneling zakat donations from Western countries through Islamic front charities to jihadist causes around the world.  The revenues supported the creation of websites and recruitment tools that helped radicalize North Caucasus diaspora like Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Seda’s conviction was overturned by Judge Mary Schroeder, who was appointed by Jimmy Carter, and Judge Margaret McKeown, who was appointed by Bill Clinton and considered for a Supreme Court appointment by Barack Obama, on the grounds of alleged unfairness during the Seda investigation and trial.

The two judges claim that the Seda trial began as a white collar crime case but ended as a terrorism case, that some information about a witness named Barbara Cabral was not shared with defense attorneys, and that the scope of a warrant served against Seda before the trial was exceeded by law enforcement.

Meanwhile, Judge Robert Tallman, a Republican who was appointed by Bill Clinton, delivered a vigorous dissent from the liberal judges’ opinion.  Oregon’s Daily Tidings summarizes Judge Tallman’s reasoning:

…In his dissenting opinion, Judge Richard Tallman wrote that the majority judges in the appeal improperly failed to take into consideration that [trial court judge] Hogan held a separate hearing on the Cabral issues before ruling the evidence would not have changed the jury’s verdict.

Tallman wrote that the appellate judges should not reverse Hogan’s ruling without it being “clearly erroneous,” which was not the case.

Moreover, Tallman’s minority opinion argued that the scope of the search warrant was not breached by agents searching Seda’s computers and that the other issues do not rise to the level necessary for overturning the jury’s guilty verdict.

Tallman also took issue with the majority opinion’s apparent dismissing of the key evidence in the actual tax fraud and conspiracy charges that were at the core of the case against Seda.

Seda and his codefendant, a Saudi national named Soliman Al-Buthe, went to great lengths and expenses to convert funds wired to Al-Haramain into $130,000 worth of hard-to-trace $1,000 cashier’s checks that Al-Buthe then carried from Ashland to Saudi Arabia in 2000, according to Tallman’s opinion.

Al-Buthe, also known as Al-Buthi, did so in violation of federal financial-reporting rules that he had complied with on nine other occasions, Tallman noted.

Also, Al-Buthe carried with him and failed to report that he was carrying a cashier’s check made out to him at an Ashland bank for $21,000, which Al-Buthe deposited in his personal bank account in Saudi Arabia.

“A reasonable jury could have concluded on this evidence that this was Al-Buthe’s ‘cut’ for serving as the courier,” Tallman wrote.

The jury also heard plenty of evidence on what Tallman calls the “deceitful manner” in which Seda hid the smuggled money by falsely declaring on a tax return that the money went toward the purchase of a prayer house in Missouri.

Had the men’s intent been not to smuggle the money to the Middle East, Seda simply could have wired the money directly to Al-Haramain’s main office in Saudi Arabia for about $15, Tallman wrote.

“The jury obviously thought the entire handling of the money reeked of criminal intent, as evidenced by its verdict,” Tallman wrote.

Hat tip to Rushette for alerting us to the appeals court decision.

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Qatar: State Sponsor of Terrorism

June 4, 2013

We’ve known about Qatar’s funding of Al Qaeda-linked Syrian rebels from the outset of the uprising against Bashar al-Assad.  The piece below from the Oriental Review puts Qatar’s role in even starker terms, pointing to a history of clandestine financing of militants by Qatar since at least the 1990s.

Like Saudi Arabia, Qatar is a state sponsor of terrorism all but in name, and should be legally designated as such.  Keep in mind that Qatar isn’t just funding the rebels in Syria that the U.S. supports, but that Doha is also supporting the jihadists in Mali who are fighting America’s longtime ally, France.

Qatar Is Funding International Terrorism

Thu, May 23, 2013

By Alexander ORLOV (Russia)

A recent statement by Syria’s Information Minister that Qatar is violating all of the UN Security Council’s resolutions on fighting terrorism is being silenced in the West. The United States and its allies are keeping silent because Doha is providing funding to carry out their plans. Nor is there any word about an Arab role in settling the Syrian crisis, because it would be unrealistic for those who are arming one side in the conflict and sending terrorists into Syria to have a hand in resolving it. And for good reason, if we recall the recent major terrorist attack in Boston in which there is clear evidence of Saudi brainwashing with Wahhabi ideas. That is especially true if we look back in history a little ways — to when leading members of Qatar’s ruling Al Thani family were concealing Saudi terrorists who helped with preparations for the November 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States that killed thousands of civilians.

And if we go back a few years further, we find that Qatar was on the US list of state sponsors of terrorism. It was only taken off the list because it offered to host a US naval base — the largest one in the region — which was used as a command post during the 2003 operation by forces of the United States and its allies to occupy Iraq. Huge amounts of money from natural gas sales enabled the Qataris get the “leader” of the global antiterrorist coalition to turn a blind eye on all of Doha’s transgressions in the sacred cause of assisting the “brothers” in sharing the Salafi faith everywhere — from Africa to Kashmir. If we can trust documents on the WikiLeaks site, in 2008 the former US ambassador to Doha, Joseph LeBaron, cabled the State Department that Qatar was still financing international terrorism. Leaks of his cables published by the Qatari newspaper Peninsula in 2010 generated an exchange of remarks between LeBaron and its chief editor. But the US ambassador left, and Washington simply hushed the matter up.

In the 1990s, Doha was among the most active “financiers” behind the separatist rebellion in Chechnya. It sent money to local militants and trained Arab terrorists who participated in attacks on the Russian Army in the North Caucasus. When the rebellion was put down and peace began returning to Chechnya and the Arab “mujahedin” were almost completely destroyed, Qatar’s Emir provided a refuge for Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, “president” of the self-proclaimed Republic of Ichkeria and his many supporters, providing them with benefits and even government jobs.

Although Qatar has formally cut all government-level level financial ties with terrorist and Islamist groups at the state level, another mechanism for doing that has been put in motion — the so-called Islamic charities of Jamiat Qatar al-Khair, Sheikh Eid al-Khairiah, RAF, and the Qatari Red Crescent Society, which is also involved in allegedly charitable “international activities.” All are controlled by the Emir’s family or prominent representatives of it, as well as by the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs. And then there are their non-public activities. Money is seemingly collected by private individuals. Displays with signs indicating where donations are going can be seen in many of Doha’s large shopping malls: starving children in Somalia, aid for disaster victims in the poor Muslim countries of Asia and Africa, etc. The geographic scope is broad — stretching from the Western Sahara to the Philippines. As a rule, however, radical Islamist groups are always active in the countries concerned. And it is never possible to tell how much of the donations made to these funds by private individuals come out of the country’s natural gas revenues.

Officially, members of the Al Thani clan and the Emir himself cannot contribute. They take money from the state treasury — as much as they need, considering that Qatar is an absolute monarchy in which the activities of the Emir are not subject to audit. And from there, the funds can be transferred to bank accounts in other countries, especially countries where learning the names of the account owners is difficult. Until recently, active use was made of Swiss banks and offshore financial institutions. It is easy to move funds out of them to specific “aid” recipients in, let us say, Istanbul, and after they are turned into cash they can be delivered by special courier to their final recipient. That could be a Wahhabi extremist groups in Dagestan or elsewhere in the North Caucasus; Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist cells fighting Syria’s legitimate government; or sleeper cells of extremists in France, the United States and other countries.

Sometimes, the money is simply handed over directly — for example, to Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal when he visits Doha, where he is received as a head of state. Palestinian sources say that the Emir personally gives him cash that then makes its way to its intended recipients through Arab countries neighboring on the Gaza Strip. Then homemade rockets that kill innocent civilians are sent flying towards Israel. However, it is obvious that large amounts of money go for other purposes, including undermining the Palestinian National Authority and for the personal “needs” of Hamas leaders.

The Qataris make no bones about the fact that since the Arab Revolutions began they have been directly funding militants and weapons for those fighting the ruling regimes in Arab countries. They did it in Libya, and they are doing it now in Syria. And after the recent Arab League summit in Doha, where Qatar’s political weight overcame even Egypt and Algeria to push through a decision allowing weapons to be delivered to Syrian opposition fighters, Doha no longer needs to hide its activities along those lines. But if we apply the international legal norms to Qatar’s activities, we find that they actually meet the legal definition of sponsoring international terrorism as spelled out in several UN Security Council resolutions and other international community documents.

Doha’s provision of money and weapons to terrorist groups like Jabhat al-Nusra qualifies as financing international terrorism…

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Front group finance: recommended reading

May 23, 2013
  • Are tea party groups subjected to greater scrutiny than Islamic charities? A nonprofit consultant says yes (h/t creeping)… more>>
  • How Saudi charitable fronts pump millions of dollars via hawala into Kashmir to transform it into a valley of Wahhabism… more>>
  • Islamic charities have exploited America to fund Chechen jihadists since 9/11… more>>
  • No longer confined to the blogosphere, the Associated Press reports on the legal battle between a Christian publisher and a terror-linked Muslim syndicate… more>>
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Websites crucial to funding Caucasus jihad

April 22, 2013

Webpages operated by the Caucasus Emirate terrorist organization have played a key and growing role in financing their operations, according to a late-2011 report from the Center for Strategic & International Studies.  The report revealed that while the Caucasus Emirate relied on centralized sites such as Qoqaz.net in the early 2000s, the Caucasus Emirate and Al Qaeda now follow a more decentralized approach of communicating through discussion forums, social media, and smaller websites.

What role, if any, such websites played in engaging Boston Marathon bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev is yet to be determined, but the 2011 article below from Reuters via Radio Free Europe about the CSIS findings now merits a second look.

The article also acknowledges the symbiotic relationship and financial ties between Al Qaeda and the North Caucasus guerrillas that Money Jihad profiled last Friday:

Think Tank Says Al-Qaeda Funding Caucasus Rebels

September 30, 2011

A leading Washington think tank says Al-Qaeda is providing growing support, including financial, to Islamic rebels in Russia’s restive North Caucasus.

In its report, the Center for Strategic and International Studies said Al-Qaeda has played a key role in “proselytizing jihadism” to the mujahideen in Chechnya and the Caucasus.

The report’s author, Gordon Hahn, pointed to a growing number of websites linked to the insurgency that are carrying statements of support from leading jihadists such as Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, who inspired Al-Qaeda in Iraq and is now in jail in Jordan.

Such websites, Hahn said, are also used to raise money.

Hahn pointed to the arrest by Czech police in May of eight individuals in Prague suspected of plotting attacks in the North Caucasus as possible proof of ties to Al-Qaeda.

The rebels goal is a state called the Caucasus Emirate, stretching from the Black Sea to the Caspian.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has labeled the insurgency Russia’s top security threat.

Hahn noted Chechen-born rebel leader Doku Umarov has called for the Caucasus Emirate to be incorporated into global jihad…

The full report can be accessed through CSIS’s website here.