Posts Tagged ‘Europe’

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Lebanese businesses in Europe fund Hezbollah

June 13, 2013

Hezbollah’s financial activities in South America and West Africa are well known, but their European enterprises should also be scrutinized.

Lebanese businessmen, front groups, and khums donors who aid Hezbollah are seldom investigated because the EU does not consider Hezbollah to be a terrorist organization.

Fortunately, Tablet Magazine is looking into issue, and offered this informative article on June 4.  An excerpt follows:

…What Europe should really be worried about is the group’s European business empire and its ramifications for the continent.

Lebanese Shiite communities in Europe provide good recruiting pools for the Party of God and often donate money to Hezbollah-sponsored charities that raise funds for social causes in Lebanon. Businessmen affiliated with Hezbollah also set up façade companies in countries with lax legislation and weak and corrupt governments and then transfer their funds to respectable European accounts. The latter are more important to the Lebanese group. Technically abiding by the European laws and keeping a low profile, they make most of the money the group needs to finance not only its military program but also the schools, hospitals, and community activities meant to secure the group’s popular base inside Lebanon.

According to Lebanese University professor Hares Suleiman, Hezbollah started building its business empire in 2001-2002, following the example of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, which had set up networks of companies in the Gulf. “Hezbollah started contacting businessmen and building partnerships, increasing its capital and investing in hotels, the car trade, clothes manufacturing, and wholesale,” he said. “At the same time, Hezbollah members and supporters—who were not businessmen to start with—opened new businesses, investments, and institutions in Lebanon and abroad, in places such as Africa and the Gulf. After the 2006 July War, the phenomenon increased,” he pointed out.

The change was obvious in South Lebanon, where castle-like villas sprang up out of nowhere after the July 2006 war. Most locals would give you the official line of the party they support: They built their villas to show how fast the Lebanese resistance could regenerate after the war with Israel. In the town of Kherbet Selem, where Hezbollah controls the local council, the mayor’s relatives built an actual castle with the Brazilian flag on top—a clue to the source of the money, in Hezbollah’s burgeoning South American business empire—and Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah’s pictures lining the walls.

Most of the money channeled toward South Lebanon’s villages comes from Latin America and West Africa, where most of Hezbollah’s businesses are located. But informed sources say that even some of that money makes stops in Europe-based accounts belonging to financiers and is then laundered through European-based sister companies so it doesn’t attract too much attention.

Lebanese Shiite communities of Hezbollah supporters in Europe also raise funds for the Party of God through donations made to charities. Germany has a large community of Hezbollah supporters that has grown considerably during the past decade. German media reported in 2007 that 900 Hezbollah activists were in the country and that they regularly meet in 30 cultural community centers and mosques. These activists financially supported Hezbollah in Lebanon through fundraising organizations, such as the “Orphans Project Lebanon Association.” Funds donated to that association were then transferred to Hezbollah’s Al Shahid Association, which supports the families of the Party of God’s military personnel who are killed in action.

Sweden also hosts a strong community of Hezbollah supporters, which it allows to operate freely in the country. Several rallies organized by the party’s supporters had quite a considerable turnout in the country’s main cities and were supported by Sweden’s left-wing opposition parties. In the last year two Lebanese-Swedish men were arrested in separate instances for trying to plan attacks on Israelis in Bangkok and Cyprus. Hezbollah has also done public fundraising in other EU countries such as Denmark.

But the European authorities and law-enforcement agencies often do not look into Hezbollah’s fundraising activities, or into businesses that might have links to Hezbollah, because they are not seen as a threat to public security in Europe—no matter how clear the links are to organizations that sponsor violence elsewhere…

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Billion dollar giveaways for Islam’s rising tide

June 19, 2012

The G-8 is  doubling down on its promises last year of creating a $20 billion Islamist stimulus package of aid and loans by offering a “New Transition Fund” (ie, international donor aid that the recipients can use as slush funds) to Egypt, Libya, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia plus a “Capital Markets Access Initiative” (ie, loan guarantees) as part of an overall plan called the “Deauville Partnership.”

This time the G-8 claims that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, and Turkey will be donors too, although no pledged amounts are disclosed in the official press release.

With personal musings in italics, here’s the press release filled with euphemisms for how many of your tax dollars and tax euros will go to help line the pockets of Muslim Brotherhood leaders, or to repress their political opponents, or both:

Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition Fact Sheet on Finance

5/21/2012

Context

The Middle East and North Africa region is undergoing one of the most important transitions of our time. The G-8 launched the Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition[1] to support the historic changes in the Middle East and North Africa. In the face of numerous challenges, the five transitioning countries (Egypt, Libya, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia) have taken important steps to toward democracy and economic development. However, these countries face growing economic challenges, including a difficult external environment and, for some countries, delays in the political transition.
For which the only possible solution could be throwing more money at the transitioning countries, right?
The Partnership’s efforts on finance focus on economic stabilization, near-term job creation, and economic governance to help the Partnership countries move towards sustainable and inclusive growth. Specifically, the Partnership is launching a Capital Markets Access Initiative, creating a new Transition Fund, and promoting assistance by International Financial Institutions (IFI) in a coordinated and effective way.
Coordinated and effective you say?  Well, how could we possibly argue with that?
Capital Markets Access Initiative
 
The heightened uncertainty associated with political transitions has meant that the five transitioning countries face significant constraints in financing their budgets and accessing external capital to support much-needed investments. Access to private sector finance for governments and businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, will be important to restoring economic stability, increasing jobs, reducing poverty, and boosting long-term growth. Since the events of last year, the Partnership countries and their private sectors have experienced reduced access to the international capital markets.
If banks have reduced lending to these countries, that should serve as a signal that such loans are a risky bet.  But somehow our politicians think they have a better sense of the creditworthiness of these nations than professional bankers who do this for a living.
The Capital Markets Access Initiative aims to help the transitioning countries reintegrate into international capital markets under reasonable financing terms to fill their sizable financing gaps and to allow their enterprises to invest in job-creating projects. In particular, the Initiative creates a collective approach to channel credit enhancement and political risk insurance instruments to transitioning countries and their private sectors.
As an example of the work of this initiative, on April 20, U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Tunisian Finance Minister Houcine Dimassi signed a declaration of intent to proceed with a U.S. loan guarantee for Tunisia. Since the signing of the declaration, teams from the U.S. and Tunisian governments have made considerable progress toward signing a loan guarantee agreement and hope to proceed as quickly as possible with additional actions that would allow the Tunisian government to re-enter international capital markets later this year. This guarantee, combined with additional financing from the multilateral development banks, will help Tunisia meet its 2012 financing needs. Work proceeds on a follow-on financing package from the multilateral development banks, including additional sovereign guarantees.
Ah, it took this far reading through the press release and this example to find out that they’re referring to loan guarantees; ie, if the countries can’t pay back loans to banks, we’ll pay the loans for them.  That should give them a great incentive to comply with the terms of the loan!
A New Transition Fund
The five transitioning countries face an urgent need to fundamentally re-orient their economies to address their high levels of unemployment, weak rule of law, and deteriorating public services. The transitioning countries have asked for support to meet these demands, including technical assistance (TA) and grant resources to accelerate innovative reforms. While a wide range of bilateral and multilateral donors currently provide TA, it has not sufficiently addressed the needs of some key areas, in particular economic governance.
No problem–the U.S. and Europe have plenty of money these days to share with you!
Members of the Deauville Partnership have proposed a new, grant-based Transition Fund to help countries implement critical reforms in the areas of: (1) economic governance, (2) trade, investment, and integration, and (3) institutional reform. A new Transition Fund would support a combination of diagnostic analyses, technical advice, and initial implementation of targeted policy initiatives and reforms that have strong demonstration effects. The G-8, regional partners and transition countries are working together to advance this fund. The fund will have broad support from G-8 and Gulf donors, and is expected to be operational later this year.
Multilateral Assistance and IFI Coordination Platform   
 
The IFI Coordination Platform aims to facilitate information sharing and operational dialogue with the Partnership countries, identify opportunities for joint transactions and policy and analytical work, and coordinate monitoring and reporting on the implementation. The IFIs established a dedicated Coordination Platform in advance of the Finance Minister’s Meeting in Marseille on September 10, 2011 to better leverage the collective resources of the ten IFIs that work in the region, with the African Development Bank as the first chair of the rotating secretariat. Since that time, the Partnership has sought to deepen the cooperation among the ten IFIs and between bilateral and IFI assistance.
On April 20, the Partnership called on the ten Partnership IFIs to deliver on their commitments in the short term, particularly in the area of job creation and small and medium enterprise (SME) development. Examples of ways in which the IFIs are providing concrete support to the Partnership countries this year include:
  • The provision of development policy loans to Tunisia (African Development Bank and World Bank), Jordan (World Bank), and Morocco (World Bank) underpinning governance, private sector reforms and domestic markets.
  • In Tunisia, the African Development Bank is supporting SME credit lines and rural infrastructure to support inclusive growth.
  • Support for public-private partnerships through the Arab Financing Facility for Infrastructure, launched last year by the World Bank and Islamic Development Bank.
  •  Development of relevant post-secondary education skills in the region through the International Financial Corporation “e4e Initiative for Arab Youth.”
  • The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Arab Monetary Fund are cooperating to promote local currency and capital markets in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia.

[1] Countries in the Partnership include the five Partnership countries (Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Morocco, and Libya), the G-8, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, and Turkey. The International Financial Institutions include the African Development Bank, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Arab Monetary Fund, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the International Monetary Fund, the OPEC Fund for International Development, and the World Bank. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development is also a Partnership member.

Of course no numbers are mentioned in the press release.  For what it’s worth, Reuters reports that “The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development was also trying to change its charter to create a special fund worth $4 billion to invest in the region over the next three years,” and that the IMF “has said it could provide $35 billion to help emerging Arab democracies.”

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Spain gives €8-9 million for jihad

May 8, 2012

The author cited in this article makes the identical statement that Money Jihad has been making for a couple years about ransom payments from European governments serving to finance terrorists.  From the figures provided, Spain tops the list at having given eight to nine million Euros to the jihadists (see here for a $5 million ransom the Spaniards paid to Al Qaeda in 2010).

But the analyst left out France, which paid an all-time record ransom of $15 to $20 million to the Taliban according to published reports last year.

Keep in mind that ransoms are justified by Islamic law, but violate international secular law.  By agreeing to pay the jihadi kidnappers, we are putting their law above our own.

From ANSAMed, h/t The Religion of Peace:

Terrorism: Ransom money finance AQIM

Analyst, Western states paid millions of Euros

(ANSAmed) – TUNIS, 26 APRIL – Several Western countries are to blame if Al Qaida in Islamic Maghreb not only extended its activities all over the Sahel, but also cast its sinister shadow on several other countries in Western Africa; indeed, Western countries decided to pay the ransom for their fellow countrymen and women who had been either directly kidnapped by Al Qaida or given to the Jihadist group by other groups. This is what Serge Daniel maintains in the book he wrote on this characteristic of Al Qaida in Islamic Maghreb, whose title is “AQIM, the kidnapping industry”, a sort of Bible for those who try to clear out the mystery surrounding this blood-thirsty and very determined group and its activities of.

In an interview on the site Maliweb, Serge Daniel talked about some elements which, in his own opinion, are objective and cannot be questioned. Western countries are ready to pay several millions of dollars or Euros for the release of their fellow countrymen and women whose kidnapping is managed by AQIM. The analyst provides a long and detailed list of paid ransoms, there are also some “voids” which may raise suspicions. According to Daniel, in recent years money from Spain (between EUR 8 and 9 mln), Canada (“some millions”), Austria (between EUR 2.5 and 3.5 mln), Germany (five millions) has flowed in AQIM’s cash. Italy is included in the list too: according to the expert, Italy paid EUR 3 mln for the release of its hostages. Switzerland’s position is quite peculiar: although it was the only country which did not provide exact figures, Daniel labels Switzerland as “very generous with kidnappers”.

A huge amount of money has circulated for all these years, although individual States have officially denied allegations and suspicions of having paid the ransom, they have actually created a way to negotiate with dangerous individuals, departing from the international principle which says “do not negotiate with terrorists”. But what has Al Qaida in Maghreb done and continues to do with the money? It funds its complex organisation structure, it buys weapons and equips the men it chooses to populate its ranks. We are talking about actual hiring, because it is hard to think that all militiamen are driven by a religious motivation; it is far more likely that they are “mainly and simply” attracted by money. Daniel does not write about this in his book, he just mentions an episode: among Jihadists entering Timbuktu there were some young men from his own Mali city who had moved to Libya to work. It was just found out that the money they used to send home were directly taken form the cash of one of Al Qaida’s Katibats (brigades) in Maghreb.(ANSAmed).

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Focus on FIOE funding

February 8, 2011

Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe

The Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), a supposedly moderate alliance that calls itself “the largest Islamic organization on the European level,” recently held a conference in Istanbul.  The location of the meeting is significant because it is consistent with a pattern of Turkish-hosted meetings of Muslim Brotherhood affiliates.

Now would be a good time to take a look at FIOE’s financing.  The best source available on the subject is a NEFA Foundation report from October 2008.  NEFA found that “funding for the FIOE is derived largely from Gulf sources, including some of the ruling families of the United Arab Emirates. The FIOE has strong ties to Hamas and Hamas fund-raising organizations, and some FIOE member organizations show evidence of links with Al-Qaida.

NEFA’s look at the money trail follows (with internal citations omitted).  What’s peculiar about the Gulf funding sources is that so many of the donors wish to remain anonymous.  If, as FIOE claims, they are simply an organization existing to highlight the positive elements of Islam in European life, then why conceal the donors’ identities?

Although, FIOE officials have stated in the past that that the organization filed with the U.K. tax authorities, little public information is available about FIOE finances. In 2005, the FIOE said it had an annual budget of GBP 900,000, or about $1.5 million, with roughly GBP 400,000 coming from member organizations and the rest from donations; much of this funding comes from anonymous donors in the Gulf. These funds were said to come chiefly from the UAE and, although the donors wished to remain anonymous, they did include the Al Kaqf family and the Al-Maktoum family, the ruling family of Dubai. According to confidential sources, FIOE leaders said that the Muslim World League (MWL) does not provide funds directly, but “business people” donate through the MWL because it is “clear and official.” This also provides the donors with anonymity in the way that annual reports are provided.

The March 2007 FIOE newsletter reported that a FIOE delegation headed by FIOE President Chakib Benmakhlout visited Saudi Arabia from February 16 through March 1 to “strengthen bonds and introduce plans and projects.” The latest FIOE newsletter reported that Makhlouf headed a delegation to Kuwait on a seven-day trip where he met with the Deputy Minister of Endowment (waqf) and a number of officials at the ministry The two sides were said to have discussed “the possibility of supporting the activities of Islamic organizations and foundations in Europe and preaching for Islam.” The same newsletter also reported that the FIOE East Europe Bureau held a charitable forum in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia recently that was attended by “people supporting charitable works in East Europe.”

Funding for FIOE member organizations and central institutions also comes from Gulf sources. Examples include:

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Biggest Islamic Relief revenues from “secular” government agencies

October 18, 2010

Islamic Relief Worldwide, a major conglomerate of Muslim charities, receives funding from affiliated Muslim charities and by individual zakat donations.  But a review of their annual report shows that the largest single donors are actually government agencies.  Apart from one Qatari institution, the top five donors are mostly funded by Western tax dollars.

  1. Reach out to Asia – Qatar:  £2.7 million
  2. European Commission for Humanitarian Operations:  £2.3 million
  3. Department for International Development (U.K.):  £1.6 million
  4. United Nations Development Program:  £1.6 million
  5. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees:  £0.9 million

The largest donations from Islamic Relief partner organizations are Islamic Relief USA, Islamic Relief Deutschland, Islamic Relief Association Switzerland, Secour Islamique France, and Islamic Relief Nederland.  Malaysia was the only Islamic nation with a partner organization that came close to match the giving power of the West.

Certainly U.K. and European taxpayers must be delighted that their money is being used to propagate Islam around the world.  When churches or Christian charities in the U.S. receive any taxpayer money, it’s extremely controversial.  But Islamic Relief gets pats on the back from Prince Charles for their remarkable “generosity” and fundraising abilities.  It’s just that he forgot to tell us that it’s easy to be generous with somebody else’s money.

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Columbus knew the dangers of the Muslim tax man

October 11, 2010

Time for a short Columbus Day history lesson. 

Christian Constantinople fell to the Muslim Ottoman Empire in 1453.  The Ottomans had also gained control of the vital Silk Road to the Far East.  What did this mean for Christian Europe and the soon-to-be discovered Americas?  Prof. Cynthia Smith of the University of Hawaii describes it very well:

There is one final consequence of Ottoman expansion and control, perhaps the most important from the perspective of world history. The Ottoman Empire, by the end of the 15th century, controlled the Near East and Eastern Mediterranean region. This meant control of the land routes linking the Silk Road connections between Asia and the Mediterranean. Control of East/West trading connections enabled Ottoman leaders to levy taxes on all goods moving East and West through their territory. Thus, strategic control resulted in staggering wealth for the Ottoman Empire – wealth they enjoyed for centuries.

This control was, not surprisingly, a source of growing resentment on the part of the Europeans, especially after the 14th century, as commerce and trade became increasingly important to Europeans.  European merchants and leaders resented the loss of revenue due to heavy taxes, and European consumers of Asian goods resented the high prices. There was also religious strain felt by Christians who had to follow Muslim laws and policies to maintain their trading connections with the East. This resentment of what some Europeans called the “stranglehold” of the Ottoman Empire on international trade was a primary reason why political leaders, commercial interests, invested money in efforts to find sea routes to the markets and goods of the East – launching the epic changes brought about by European exploration and expansion in the late 1400’s and 1500’s.

In other words, the voyages that resulted in the European “Age of Discovery” or “Age of Expansion” were launched primarily by the desire to go around the Ottoman Empire.  The expansion of European global control and power that resulted from these early expeditions changed world history. Ottoman regional dominance, and European attempts to avoid that economic control, were the catalysts for European sea dominance, colonization, Western “discovery” of the American continent and the further increase of global interactions.

Whenever you pass through the jurisdiction of an ‘ashir, you pay taxes.  If you’re a foreign Muslim trader in a Muslim land you pay low customs duties.  When you’re a non-Muslim trader in a Muslim land, you pay the highest customs duty rates.  Vital European interests were incompatible with sharia extortion during the Age of Discovery.  How is it that we’ve forgotten what Columbus recognized 518 years ago?

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Charities in Europe “hijacked” by terrorists

September 23, 2010

Europol says that more money than ever is being donated to Islamic charities and being used to finance terrorism.  The Daily Express says the public is being “duped” and that the charities are being “hijacked.”  But how can it be a “hijacking” when one of the Koran’s stated purposes of zakat is for fighting in the cause of Allah?

Or perhaps the Daily Express means that secular and Christian Europeans are making donations in zakat drop boxes because they actually think that their money will go towards causes like Pakistani flood relief, Palestinian orphans, and poverty reduction in the third world.

At least the news is a somewhat encouraging sign that Europe is acknowledging the problem.

TERROR GROUPS HIJACK CHARITY CASH

Sunday September 5, 2010

By Ted Jeory

UNSUSPECTING members of the public are being duped into donating cash to charities that are fronts for terror groups.

Europol, an arm of the European Union that gathers information from national police forces, says “substantial” amounts of money innocently donated to apparently good causes is ending up in the pockets of terrorists.

Even raffles are being used to con people, Europol believes.

It is also highlighting an increasing trend by terrorists to use women. A spokesman for Europol told the Sunday Express: “Women are involved in propaganda, support and financial activities. Men are more likely to be involved in actually perpetrating violence.

“Women are also used as cash couriers and they sometimes smuggle documents and take care of administrative matters.”

In a report detailing trends in terrorism and extremism in the EU, Europol says Britain is the number one target for terrorists.

It identifies Islamic extremism as the biggest threat, with the growing power of radical youth groups of particular concern.

In trying to combat the threat, EU police forces want to cut the lifeline of illegal funds, which also come from organised crime. The EU Terrorism report for 2010 says: “Illegal sources for the financing of terrorism cover a wide range of criminal activities including fraud, counterfeit products, drug smuggling, kidnapping, human trafficking and extortion.

“Alongside criminal activities, funds can also be derived from legitimate sources. Charitable organisations continue to be misused by individuals who misappropriate voluntary contributions destined for genuine purposes to fund terrorist activities.”

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