Posts Tagged ‘Cuba’

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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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Anatomy of an embargo buster

September 4, 2013

Step 1:  Let North Korean Air Force Gen. Yi Pyong-chol place an order for MiG-21s with the Castro brothers in Havana.

Step 2:  Hide 25 containers of jet fighter and anti-aircraft missile parts under 200,000 bags of Cuban sugar in the cargo hold of a North Korean bulk carrier.

Step 3:  Lie to the world by claiming, upon discovery of the smuggling attempt, that the aircraft were being sent to Pyongyang “to be repaired and returned to Cuba,” while the fighter jets are actually intended for end use in North Korea.

38 North has the details, which illustrate common state-sponsored sanctions evasion tactics:

Full Disclosure: Contents of North Korean Smuggling Ship Revealed

By Hugh Griffiths and Roope Siirtola

27 August 2013

All is seldom as it first appears in the world of North Korean sanctions busting. Six weeks after the inspection of the North Korean vessel Chong Chon Gang by Panamanian authorities on suspicion of drug trafficking, the full extent of the ship’s illicit military cargo falsely declared to be sugar and spare plastic sacks appears to have been much larger than previously reported. Moreover, key parts of the shipment seem intended for Pyongyang’s own use in its conventional military defenses, not to be repaired and returned to Cuba. Finally, the results of the search by Panamanian authorities provides new insight into North Korea’s illicit procurement priorities as well as evidence of its preferred maritime concealment methods and raises a host of still unanswered questions.

Undeclared Artillery and Small Arms Munitions Discovered

While initial media reporting suggested the seizure amounted to a few shipping containers with anti-aircraft missile components, two jet fighters and related engines, in fact a total of 25 shipping containers have now been recovered, together with six military vehicles. These were camouflaged at the bottom of five of the ship’s holds beneath about 200,000 bags of sugar, weighing approximately one hundred pounds each. This amount of sugar together with “two thousand empty polyethylene bags” were the only declared items listed in the cargo manifest signed by North Korean Captain Ri Yong Il.

A report compiled by various Panamanian authorities and the United Nations Organization on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Container Control Programme (CCP) together with photographs of the seizure make clear that contrary to both the North Korean shipping declaration and Cuban government statements the shipment was without a doubt a violation of United Nations sanctions on North Korea.

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Jihadists exploit Latin America to finance terror

December 17, 2012

Latin America has experienced a possible increase in terror financing activities by radical Islamists throughout 2012.  Consider the developments that have been revealed this year:

  • In September, published reports indicated that a Hezbollah camp in Nicaragua is training 30 operatives and is laundering money.
  • The Venezuela chapter of Hezbollah is using Panama for bulk cash smuggling for follow-on transfer to Beirut.
  • Some goods, possibly even missile components, are being exported via Panama directly to Iran.
  • The use of the Venezuelan air carrier Conviasa to smuggle contraband through Africa to Europe earned it an “operational ban” from the EU in April.  Hezbollah profited from the Conviasa flights.  It is unclear whether the ban interferes with Conviasa’s African flights.
  • Cuba was listed again by the U.S. in 2012 as a state sponsor of terrorism partly for the continued safe haven Cuba provides to terrorist groups FARC and ETA.  Havana is now also letting IHH, the radical Islamist Turkish charity that has been banned by Germany for its financing of Hamas, build a mosque in Cuba.
  • A trio of Hezbollah agents in Mexico was exposed during an arrest of one operative who had previously been convicted in the U.S. for credit card fraud that funded terrorism.
  • Ecuador was blacklisted in June by FATF, the international financial watchdog, for failing to make progress against money laundering and terrorist financing.
  • In its annual report in July, the U.S. State Department said, “Brazil has not criminalized terrorist financing in a manner that is consistent with the FATF Special Recommendation II.”

Given its Western heritage and deep Catholic faith, Latin America can and should be a natural ally in the war against Islamic terror.  Its energy resources make it a natural counterweight to the oil powerhouse of the Middle East.

But this wonderful opportunity to present a united trans-American front against jihad is being jeopardized by attitudes of permissiveness, ignorance, and political correctness.  American politicians like Michelle Bachman and Connie Mack who recognize the threat are written off as know-nothing xenophobes.  But the news this year indicates that they are correct.

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Turkish jihadists find footing in Cuba

August 20, 2012

Cuban Muslims welcome IHH officials

Not to be outdone by Hezbollah in Cuba, the Hamas-funding, Turkish-based “charity” known as IHH is operating in Havana and financing a new mosque there.  This endeavor represents an unfortunate expansion of attempted Muslim Brotherhood and pro-terrorist influence on the Caribbean (including Venezuela, Guyana, Haiti, Trinidad, and Florida).

IHH delivers Ramadan relief in Cuba

IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, which delivers aid in different countries and regions of the world throughout the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, has delivered Ramadan food packages to 350 families in Cuba, one of the South American countries.

IHH aid teams also organized an iftar dinner for Muslims living in Havana, the capital city of Cuba.

IHH aid team arrived in Havana following a 17-hour-long flight. Members of the team were welcomed by Yahya Pedro, president of the Cuban Islamic Union, which is a partner of the IHH in the region.

Following talks in Havana, IHH aid team delivered Ramadan food packages to 350 families the list of which was set earlier. Speaking during the delivery of the packages, IHH Project Coordinator İhsan Özyürek said:  “As the IHH, we are in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in different parts of the world who are exposed to tyranny and need help. We are here today to be with our Muslim sisters and brothers in Havana, have an iftar dinner with them and listen to their problems. We have brought the greetings and donations of their sisters and brothers in Turkey. We hope to come together in the masjid which will be constructed soon.

IHH sponsors masjid construction in Cuba

Özyürek noted that people in Cuba convert to Islam through reading Read the rest of this entry ?

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Hezbollah in Havana with $1.5 million budget

September 20, 2011

Fidel Castro calls the U.S. control of Guantanamo Bay “una daga en el corazón del suelo cubano”—a dagger in the heart of Cuban soil.

But apparently the Castro brothers have no such qualms about inviting a fundamentalist Islamic dagger to be plunged into the heart of their island.  Twenty-three Hezbollah operatives are due to arrive to establish a cell in Cuba (h/t Israel Matzav) to plot an attack against a South American Israeli target.

The terrorists will take a $1.5 million budget with them.  The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera says the operation was signed off by Hezbollah chief Hasan Nasrallah.  Often, terrorists are able to spend about 10 percent of their operating budget on the actual attack (with the other 90 percent going toward salaries and routine expenses).

This report surfaces shortly after Cuban denials of the U.S. conclusion that Cuba remains one of only four state sponsors of terrorism in the world.  The U.S. State Department has noted that Cuba never renounced its ties to the stinking rich guerrilla Marxist FARC, and that it allows Basque terrorists to live in Cuba.

With Venezuela, Guyana, Haiti, Trinidad, Florida, and Cuba all playing host to Islamists, the Caribbean has become the hatchery for the jihadist egg in the Western Hemisphere.

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UN funds rogue nuclear ambitions

April 7, 2011

First we pay the Taliban to “reintegrate” with the government of Afghanistan.  Then we consider arming Libyan rebels who include Al Qaeda.  Meanwhile, we fund “technical” and “peaceful” nuclear aspirations of rogue regimes.  Will the news of Western governments and international organizations supporting our enemies never cease?  From the Daily Beast on Mar. 22:

Iran, Sudan, Syria, and other countries the U.S. has named state sponsors of terrorism have received millions of dollars in U.N. nuclear technology aid—and Hillary Clinton won’t stop the flow of cash. Laurel Adams of the Center for Public Integrity reports.

The State Department is refusing to block U.N. nuclear technology aid to countries that are on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, including Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s regime.

The reason, says Hillary Clinton’s department, is that such a clampdown would hinder other countries that have nothing to do with terrorism.

The U.S. provides $20 million a year to help finance the International Atomic Energy Agency, which promotes peaceful use of nuclear energy. But some IAEA funds have gone to countries that could potentially use nuclear technology to build weapons, the Government Accountability Office warns in a new report.

Neither the State Department nor the IAEA have sought to limit the so-called technical cooperation aid to terror-linked nations such as Iran, Sudan, Syria, and Cuba, or countries that are not party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, such as India, Israel, and Pakistan, the congressional watchdog says.

The former head of the program told investigators that requests for technical assistance are evaluated strictly on technical merits, thwarting efforts to assess national-security concerns.

“State officials told us that the U.S. did not systematically try to limit TC projects in Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria—which the department designated as sponsors of terrorism,” the report says. “These four countries received more than $55 million in TC assistance from 1997 through 2007.”

During the same time frame, India, Israel, and Pakistan received $24.6 million in technical assistance, even though none is a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Nuclear equipment and technology, even if geared toward peaceful purposes, also can be used to develop nuclear weapons. Yet the former head of the TC program told the investigators that requests for technical assistance are evaluated strictly on technical merits, thereby thwarting efforts to assess national-security concerns.

The GAO has suggested repeatedly that the State Department withhold the U.S. contribution to IAEA that would go to countries accused of aiding terrorists.

“The United States has applied several types of sanctions limiting foreign assistance and trade to states it has designated as sponsors of terrorism and to other countries. To avoid the appearance of an inconsistent approach and to foster greater cohesion in U.S. policy toward such nations, we believe that it is fair for Congress to consider requiring State to withhold a share of the U.S. contribution,” the GAO says.

Withholding funds would undermine the Obama administration’s ability to convince other member countries to contribute to the fund, and since the funding is not traced to specific projects, it would punish all recipients in the program, the State Department said in response.

The IAEA provides minimal information on project proposals, usually just project titles, which further hinders efforts by the Energy Department to assess the risk of proliferation in countries requesting assistance.

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Sanctions can help… a little.

April 11, 2010

The Treasury Department designated two jihadists as terrorist financiers last week.  That prompted this nice little opinion piece from the publisher of the Madison Daily Leader about the limits on how effective of financial sanctions can be:

The United States is imposing new sanctions on an associate of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network and a German who plotted to bomb American military personnel in Germany.

In these cases, the U.S. Treasury will be freezing the assets in U.S. jurisdictions of Ahmad Khalaf Shabib al-Dulaymi and of German national Atilla Selek.

For most of us, these terms don’t make much sense. Americans know that economic sanctions are a nonviolent, financial way of punishing another country or organization for disputes, but we don’t know much more.

Probably the most famous economic sanction is the 50-year-old embargo by the United States against Cuba, which was placed because Cuba refused to move toward democracy and greater respect for human rights. The embargo limits trade between American companies and Cuban interests, bans travel, and disallows loans to be made, among other restrictions.

The most common sanctions are trade restrictions, often by dramatically increasing tariffs, implementing licensing schemes or adding various administrative hurdles.

“Freezing assets” usually involves confiscating financial assets, such as bank accounts or securities, or hard assets like real estate or commodities.

It isn’t clear whether economic sanctions are effective. Most observers thought Cuba would quickly cave under U.S. sanctions, but leaders there allowed the country to decline substantially rather than shift toward democracy. In other cases, even the threat of economic sanctions is enough for disputes to be quickly and peaceably resolved.

We can’t yet tell if sanctions against Middle East enemies are effective. Most analysts believe they are partly effective, but too small to matter, since exported oil and drugs generate huge sums of money to regimes.

Nevertheless, we believe sanctions should continue and even expand, adding another tool to help fight terrorism around the world.