Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

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“Brooklyn man” funds travel for ISIS

March 16, 2015

As if “Brooklyn” is the best adjective that could have been selected to help explain Abror Habibov’s motive and background.

Habibov is actually an Uzbek with an expired visa who operates mall kiosks in Georgia, Virginia, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Habibov told one of his employees, a younger man from Kazakhstan named Akhror Saidakhmetov, that he would help arrange and pay air travel for him to join up with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Saidakhmetov was being monitored by authorities. Around Jan. 30, Saidakhmetov called Habibov to ask for extra money related to his planned flight to Turkey. Habibov told him, “Don’t worry about the fare and the expenses needed for going there. Dear Akhror, as you might recall, I promised you that we’ll do it. If you say you need to buy your ticket, then I’ll deposit cash… cash into your account.” They intended to keep in touch by Skype. Habibov said he could send more money if he needed it.

By the way, regarding the phrase, “I promised you that we’ll do it,” who is “we”?

One might think that a U.S. resident and unnamed associates using a front company to finance a youngster’s travel and enlistment with ISIS might make national news. But The New York Times saw fit to relegate this story to their “regional” news section.

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Islamic Relief gave $118K to terror-linked groups

September 21, 2014

New tax documents reveal that Islamic Relief USA (IR-USA), the largest Islamic charity in the United States, gave over $118,000 in grants in 2013 to entities with previous connections to terrorism.

IR-USA’s 2013 tax return, which was filed in July 2014, showed that the charity gave $45,495 in grants to the Florida branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the successful 2007 prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation for financing the terrorist organization Hamas.

Their form 990 also shows that IR-USA gave $40,000 to the radical mosque Dar Al-Hijrah in Falls Church, Virginia, for a “zakat partner program.” Deceased terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki served as the mosque’s imam leading up to and immediately following the 9/11 attacks.

The tax schedule also documented almost $32,909 in grants to Services for Human Advancement and Resource Enhancement (SHARE) affiliates in Atlanta and Indianapolis of the Muslim Alliance of North America (MANA), a group which was founded by an unindicted co-conspirator of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

IR-USA has been involved in several scandals in recent years: Money Jihad previously reported that IR-USA gives about $5 to $10 million per year to its parent charity Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), which has recently been banned from Israel for funding Hamas. IR-USA was also implicated in fraudulent multi-million dollar valuations of its drug stockpiles. More recently, Islamic Relief affiliates have described their own partnerships with the pro-Hamas front charity IHH to conduct operations in rebel-controlled territory in Syria.

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9/11 hijackers funding: names and numbers

September 11, 2014

Follow the money

If you follow the money, the men in the middle of the disbursing of funds to the 9/11 hijackers were United Airlines Flight 175 hijacker-pilot Marwan al-Shehhi and a UAE-based computer specialist Ali Abdul Aziz Ali (Ali), who ultimately received the money from his uncle, 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Muhammad (KSM).

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Al Qaeda was able to raise about $30 million a year, mostly from zakat and sadaqa from wealthy Arab donors and other supportive Muslims around the world. The money was funneled through Islamic charities—often charitable foundations backed directly by the Saudi government—and through hawala, the traditional Islamic system of transferring money without physically having to transfer cash. The same methods continue being used to fund Al Qaeda and its offshoots today.

Of that $30 million, $10-$20 million was estimated by the 9/11 Commission to have been given annually to the Taliban. The remaining money was used for wages, training, planning, and operations like 9/11, which is estimated to have cost $400,000 to half a million dollars to carry out.

KSM gave about $300,000 of that sum to the hijackers for their travel to and inside the U.S., living expenses, and flight lessons. He sometimes handed out cash to operatives during face-to-face meetings but he relied on intermediaries—most significantly Ali—for international transactions once the U.S. sleeper cells had been established. In addition to being KSM’s nephew, Ali is the cousin of 1993 World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef, and the husband of terror maven Aafia Siddiqui. He currently resides in Guantanamo Bay.

In what amounted to the largest series of transactions in the entire run-up to 9/11, Ali sent at least $110,000 to al-Shehhi for use by him, Muhammad Atta, and presumably for the expenses of the other Florida-based hijackers—several of whose leaders had been a part of Atta’s prior Al Qaeda cell in Hamburg, Germany. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Campaign renewed to declassify Saudi Arabia’s financing of 9/11

September 2, 2014

The intelligence committees of the U.S. House and Senate released an 800-page report in 2002 entitled, “Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001.” The inquiry identified failures by the U.S. intelligence community to connect dots of relevant information available to them before 9/11.

The original report was classified top secret; the declassified version includes some redactions of names and methods scattered throughout the report.

The report is divided into four main parts: 1) overall findings and conclusions, 2) a narrative about the 9/11 attacks, 3) special topics about the attacks, and 4) “Finding, Discussion and Narrative Regarding Certain Sensitive National Security Matters.” It is Part Four that was redacted for the declassified version—that section constitutes the now infamous “28 pages” which has never been revealed to the public (corresponding to pages 416 to 443 in the original, top secret report; pages 396 to 422 in the declassified print version; and pages 428 to 454 in the PDF versions available online).

The first page of Part Four is un-redacted, and states, “Through its investigation, the Joint Inquiry developed information suggesting specific sources of foreign support for some of the September 11 hijackers while they were in the United States.”

In 2003, the New York Times reported that people who read the 28-page section of the top secret version said it indicated that two probable Saudi spies had links with 9/11 hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi. One of the likely spies, Omar al-Bayoumi, may have received money as a “ghost employee” of a Saudi civil aviation contractor from an unnamed Saudi official to disperse to al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi in San Diego in 2000.

Providing further details, KPBS San Diego’s investigative reporter Amita Sharma reported on the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 that, “Before al-Bayoumi helped the hijackers, he received $465 per month from the Saudi contractor. After he helped them, he received $3,700 a month. I spoke with [former] Florida senator Bob Graham who co-chaired the congressional inquiry into 9/11, and here’s what he thought about the jump in pay to al-Bayoumi:  ‘The interpretation that we gave to it was that Bayoumi was a conduit of financing for the two hijackers while they were in San Diego.'”

Characterizing the 28 pages publicly, Graham later said, “that was the chapter that largely dealt with the financing of 9/11. Who paid for these very complex and in many instances expensive activities that were the predicate for 9/11?”

The formatting of the published report, which uses strike-throughs in place of the original classified text, indicates that Part Four includes bullet point findings, narrative paragraphs, and block quotes from FBI and CIA reports and testimony before the joint committee.

The final paragraph of Part Four is also un-redacted. There we learn that FBI director Robert Mueller testified before the joint committee that findings about foreign support for the hijackers while in the U.S. “would not have come to light had the [Congress’s] staff not probed” into the subject.

In 2003, 46 senators (including Democrats Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and Republican Sam Brownback) supported declassification of the 28 pages in a letter to Pres. Bush. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Pres. Obama told 9/11 victims’ families in 2009 and 2011 that he would declassify the section. Currently, 10 members of Congress (seven Republicans and three Democrats) are co-sponsoring House Resolution 428, which would call upon the President to declassify the redacted pages.

A renewed effort is being supported by former presidential candidate and congressman Ron Paul (hat tip @TheNewSpy) to pass HR 428. The website 28pages.org is pushing a social media campaign to declassify the details about Saudi Arabia’s role in the 9/11 attacks. The conservative website Redstate.com and the editorial board of the liberal Miami Herald have also recently endorsed declassification.

Money Jihad predicted in January that declassification could take place this year.

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Indictment: Saudi-American financed jihad in Somalia and Syria

October 7, 2013

Gufran Ahmed Kauser Mohammed, a naturalized U.S. citizen living in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, has been arrested and extradited to Florida where he awaits trial along with a Kenyan for supporting terrorism.

Mohammed wired money to the al-Shabaab terrorist organization in Somalia, and he intended to recruit jihadists on behalf of Al Qaeda in Iraq to serve with the al-Nusra Front in Syria.

The international nature of Mohammed’s financial enterprise confirms, once again, the central role played by Saudis in exporting Salafist terrorism around the world.  The wars in Somalia and Syria not “nationalist” uprisings to oust corrupt or despotic leaders:  they are the results of transnational Islamic political ideology.

From VOA in August:

US Charges 2 Men With Trying to Support al-Qaida

U.S. federal prosecutors have charged two men with attempting to provide support for al-Qaida and two affiliated militant groups.

Gufran Ahmed Kauser Mohammed, 30, and Mohamed Hussein Said, 25, made their initial appearance in a federal court in Miami, Florida on Thursday.

The two men are accused of conspiring to provide and attempting to provide material support to al-Qaida, al-Qaida in Iraq and the Somali militant group al-Shabab.

Prosecutors say they conspired to raise money and recruits for the groups.  They say Mohammed wired money to Said for the purpose of supporting al-Shabab, and to another person whom he believed was a fundraiser and recruiter for al-Qaida and al-Qaida in Iraq.

They say the men also agreed to support al-Qaida by moving experienced al-Shabab fighters to the conflict in Syria.

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Hafiz Khan convicted for funding the Taliban

March 7, 2013

Two imams in the U.S. have been convicted of terrorist financing within the span of two weeks.  First there was Imam Mohamed Mohamed Mohamud in San Diego who conspired with fellow Somali immigrants in America to fund al-Shabaab in East Africa, and now Hafiz Khan, the Florida-based imam who transferred money to the Pakistani Taliban.

Given the extensive wiretap and documentary bank evidence against Imam Khan, the case never looked good for him.  When his defense attorneys blundered by putting Khan on the witness stand to deliver listless tirades and tortured explanations of why he said what he said, it looked even worse.

First his lawyers said that Khan was mentally incompetent, but the court didn’t buy that.  Then their story was that Khan provided charitable relief and made investments in a potato chip company in Pakistan.  Then the story changed again to Khan purporting that he had lied to the Taliban in his wiretapped conversations, and that he only offered them money to get more money in return.  The plan was supposedly to give the Taliban $50,000 now to get $1 million back from them later, which would represent an unbelievable 1,900% return on his “investment.”

Did it occur to Mr. Khan or his defense team that there is no legal distinction between giving money to a terrorist organization to wage jihad versus giving money to a terrorist organization as an investment?  In any case, the defense was not plausible, and Khan could not explain his taped statements wishing death upon U.S. troops.  Allowing him to testify in his own defense was a disaster.

Real people have been killed or injured and property has been destroyed in Pakistan because of the TTP, and the TTP was enriched because this man collected money fellow Islamists in Florida.  Khan, an old man, faces a maximum 60 year sentence.  He will surely die in prison.  At least he’ll have the opportunity to say good-bye to his family—an opportunity the TTP’s victims never had.

From the Miami Herald on Mar. 4:

Florida imam convicted in Pakistani Taliban case

By CURT ANDERSON

AP Legal Affairs Writer

MIAMI — An elderly Muslim cleric has been convicted by a Miami federal court jury of providing thousands of dollars in financial support to the Pakistani Taliban.

The 12-person jury returned its verdict Monday after the two-month trial of Hafiz Khan. The 77-year-old imam at a Miami mosque was found guilty of two conspiracy counts and two counts of providing material support to terrorists.

Each charge carries a potential 15-year prison sentence.

Prosecutors built their case largely around hundreds of FBI recordings of conversations in which Khan expressed support for Taliban attacks and discussed sending about $50,000 to Pakistan.

Khan testified the money was for family, charity and business reasons. Khan also said he lied to an FBI informant about Taliban support in hopes of obtaining $1 million from him.

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Terror financing imam claims to be potato chip investor

February 20, 2013

We’ve heard many far-fetched defenses in terrorist financing cases—mostly false claims of charity for the poor—but this one takes the cake.  Or, more precisely, the potato chip.

How will South Florida imam Hafiz Khan’s defense lawyers explain Khan’s tape recorded statement that “Right now I have about 100,000 Pakistani rupees for the Taliban.  People have given me (money) in small amounts, I have given some from my side.”  Is “Taliban” the unfortunate name of the potato chip company, perhaps?

Witness testifies from Pakistan that Florida imam’s money was not for Taliban terrorists

MIAMI – Testifying via video from Pakistan, a man accused by the U.S. of conspiring with an elderly Miami-based Muslim cleric to funnel thousands of dollars to Taliban terrorists insisted Monday the money was for innocent purposes, including a potato chip factory run by the cleric’s son-in-law.

Ali Rehman was the first of as many as 11 witnesses expected to testify from an Islamabad hotel in defense of 77-year-old Hafiz Khan, who faces four terrorism support and conspiracy counts. Rehman is named in the same indictment and refused to come to the U.S. Other witnesses were unable to get U.S. visas in time.

Rehman said he handled three separate $10,000 transactions for Khan in 2008 and 2009. Most of the money, he testified, went to Anayat Ullah, who is married to Khan’s daughter Husna and started the potato chip business with his father-in-law as an investor. Rehman said he has known Ullah since they were children in Pakistan’s Swat Valley and wanted to do him a favor.

“That favor was that his father was sending him some money, and I used to deliver it to him or sent it to him,” said Rehman.

He spoke in Pashto that was translated into English for the 12-person jury watching him on flat-screen televisions.

Rehman kept a three-page ledger detailing most of the transactions, which jurors were shown. “I was just the middle man to give the money to him.”

Ullah also used his father’s money to buy a vehicle for the factory and to buy a house, Rehman said.

Rehman said he and Khan disagreed with the Taliban’s tactics of using violence and force to impose their version of Muslim law. Rehman said he was personally threatened by Taliban fighters who ordered him to remove products containing women’s pictures from a cosmetics store he owns.

“They came to my store one day and said, `You should remove these pictures.’ They also slapped me,” he said. “They said, `If you continue to sell this, it will not be good for you.'”

Rehman said he kept putting the Taliban off and eventually they stopped coming around.

Jurors were also played tape of an intercepted phone call between Rehman and Khan in which they are discussing financing of a road widening project. Khan suggested at one point that Rehman sell some trees he had cut down to help cover the cost…

A road widening project?  Wouldn’t that be the responsibility of government officials?  Sounds like code.