Posts Tagged ‘material support’

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Experts study 52 Al Qaeda money schemes

March 2, 2015

When it comes to Islamic terrorism, we typically aren’t looking at money laundering scenarios. Rather, we’re looking money made through legitimate channels which is then diverted toward terrorism.  These recent findings from researchers at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) align with previous Money Jihad analysis.

This graphic from their study shows the breakdown of the different types of financial schemes most commonly employed by Al Qaeda supporters in the U.S.:

Jihad by fraud

A summary of the report is here with links to the full study.

Hat tip to @switch_d and @skinroller on Twitter for sending this over.

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15 years prison for Saudi who funded al-Shabaab

December 27, 2014

A Saudi man who previously lived in California has been sentenced to 15 years in U.S. federal prison after transferring $11,000 to the Somali jihadist group al-Shabaab and for attempting to transfer another $13,000 to al-Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda offshoot in Syria.  Gufran Ahmed Kauser Mohammed was a naturalized U.S. citizen residing in Saudi Arabia prior to his extradition to Florida for trial.  Note that the convict isn’t a small town Saudi peasant: he’s a computer scientist whose family had money for him to get a college degree and travel internationally.  From the Miami Herald with a hat tip to Jihad Watch:

…Mohammed and [co-conspirator Mohamed Hussein Said] met in Saudi Arabia in May 2011 and agreed to provide financial and other resources to an al-Qaida affiliate, al-Shabaab, which was seeking to overthrow the U.S.-backed transitional government in Somalia.

Through September of that year, Mohammed allegedly wired Said more than $11,000 via Western Union to back al-Shabaab, the indictment said.

In April 2012, the FBI undercover employee established online contact with Mohammed, according to the indictment. Mohammed arranged to send a series of Western Union wire transfers totaling more than $9,000 through November to the FBI employee. The funds were intended for another al-Qaida affiliate, the Nusra Front, which is fighting the government of President Bashar Assad in Syria.

Last December, Mohammed also met in person with a purported associate of the FBI undercover employee and gave him 14,400 Saudi Arabian riyals, worth about $3,800, which also was meant to support the Nusra Front, the indictment said.

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Jihad aspirant pleads guilty in California

January 17, 2014

In a reversal of his initial plea, Sinh Vinh Ngo Nguyen (a.k.a. Hasan Abu Omar Ghannoum) has pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support for terrorism.  Nguyen intended to travel to Pakistan to train Al Qaeda operatives.

The two-minute clip below is the audio from a Dec. 27 televised report by Dave Lopez at KCAL, the CBS affiliate in Los Angeles.  The voice you’ll hear from the man saying “we don’t see a lot of these cases” is Thom Mrozek’s—a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in L.A.

For the record, we do see many of these cases.  Far too many.

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Carter seeks waiver so charities can deal with terrorists

July 3, 2013

Jimmy Carter has signed a petition developed by the Charity & Security Network to “exempt peacebuilding activities” from the U.S. prohibition against providing material support to terrorist organizations.

The problem with the proposal is that it would open up too much wiggle room for charities to interact with terrorist groups.  Which charities would be eligible for such an exemption?  Islamic Relief USA?  Under the exemption, charities like IR-USA could partner with Hamas charities or even directly with Hamas, and justify the joint venture on the grounds that they are pursuing peace-building efforts.

The limits on engagement with terrorist groups have been a longstanding grievance among left-leaning philanthropic and charitable organizations.  While many of those seeking a relaxation of the rules have their hearts in the right place with a genuine desire to seek world peace, the harsh reality is that some charitable entities (or some of their employees) would exploit the exemption to support, rather than to pacify, terrorist groups.  Even financial aid toward projects such as schools, orphanages, or food aid while working with a group such as Hamas or al-Shabaab would be problematic because aid is fungible, and such aid would generally serve to strengthen the terrorist group and its reputation among the populations they “serve.”

The Hill ran this article with a striking but misleading headline “Ex-President Carter wants sanctions weakened on terrorist groups.”  Not exactly—but what’s being proposed is equally alarming.  Read it all:

By Julian Pecquet – 06/20/13

Former President Jimmy Carter is spearheading an effort to convince the U.S. to weaken sanctions on terrorist groups so peace organizations can legally work with them.

In a petition to Secretary of State John Kerry delivered Thursday, Carter and other foreign policy experts ask Kerry to exempt peace groups from policies that make it a crime to offer negotiation training and humanitarian law classes to terror groups.

“The Secretary of State can, and should, exempt peacebuilding activities from this counterproductive application of the law,” says the petition. “Doing so would open the door for professional peacebuilders to fully engage in helping to end armed conflicts and suffering around the world, while making the U.S. safer.”

The Charity and Security Network, which is spearheading the petition, declined for legal reasons to provide examples of current programs impacted by anti-terrorism sanctions. The organization told The Hill that in the past, efforts to build bridges with the Taliban in Afghanistan, Hamas in the Palestinian territories and leftist guerillas in Colombia have all been stymied.

A 2011 report by the UK-based Overseas Development Institute said anti-terrorism laws passed in the decade since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks have created bureaucratic red tape and fostered an atmosphere of “fear” and “confusion” that has endangered the lives of aid workers and made it impossible for them to work in many of the world’s hot spots.

“Rigid and over-zealous application of counter-terrorism laws to humanitarian action in conflict not only limits its reach in that context,” the report concluded, “but undermines the independence and neutrality of humanitarian organisations in general, and could become an additional factor in the unravelling of the legitimacy and acceptance of humanitarian response in many of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.”

The roadblocks have only gotten worse since the Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that such aid fit the Patriot Act’s definition of “material support” for terrorism. The high court in Holder vs. Humanitarian Law Project determined that such aid could free up terror groups’ resources for terrorist activities and legitimize them…

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The plot to fund Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan

May 31, 2013

Uzbek national Fazliddin Kurbanov has been arrested in Idaho for providing material support to terrorists and possessing destructive devices such as IED components.  From CNN:

The financial details in the indictment are scant:

… The defendant, Fazliddin Kurbanov, did knowingly and intentionally combine, conspire, confederate, and agree with other co-conspirators, both known and unknown to the Grand Jury, to provide material support and resources, to wit, personnel, including himself, computer software and money, to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan…”

From the wording, it is unclear whether Kurbanov and the conspirators only agreed to provide money, or if money was actually transferred.  The amount of money and the method of transfer is not specified either, but separate terrorism finance cases recently have involved illicit transfers anywhere from $1,500 to $50,000 by foreign nationals in the U.S. to terrorist organizations in their home countries.

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Terror finance termagant finally sentenced

May 20, 2013

Local Somali activist says financier “deserves the Nobel Prize”

Amina Farah Ali was convicted in 2011 of supporting terrorism by collecting donations and transferring them to al-Shabaab for jihad in Somalia.  Her sentencing took place last week.  Ali could have been sent to prison for 195 years, but the federal judge Michael Davis imposed a 20-year sentence.

Despite Judge Davis’s lenience toward Ali, CAIR is filing a complaint against him over questions he asked her during sentencing (h/t @1389).

The Minneapolis Star Tribune recorded the reaction from the Somali community following the sentence.  Activist Abdinasir Abdi declared “Amina was a good woman, a mother, a teacher, educator, humanitarian worker. I think she deserves the Nobel Prize because she is a great humanitarian.”  Other Somali leaders blamed the situation on U.S. foreign policy, and one woman brandished a sign saying that Ali is her hero:

Ali’s partner in crime, Hawo Mohamed Hassan, was sentenced to 10 years.  The Tribune also has the report:

Two Rochester women get 10, 20 years for aiding Somalia terrorists

Article by: RANDY FURST , Star Tribune

Updated: May 17, 2013

One got 10 years in prison, the other 20 for funneling money to a group fighting in Somalia.

Two Rochester women were sentenced to federal prison Thursday for their roles in funneling money to an organization the U.S. government has called a terrorist group fighting in Somalia.

Hawo Mohamed Hassan, 66, who got 10 years in prison, and Amina Farah Ali, 36, who got 20, were the last of nine people sentenced in federal court in Minneapolis this week.

The group was the first set of defendants sent to prison from Minneapolis in this country’s largest anti-terrorism investigation since Sept. 11, 2001.

U.S. Chief Judge Michael Davis handed down the sentences before a courtroom packed with the defendants’ families and members of the Somali-American community.

The drama capped a federal investigation that lasted more than four years in which U.S. authorities sought to shut down a recruiting effort that lured more than 20 young men to Somalia, several of whom died fighting or in suicide bombings.

The women, both U.S. citizens who came here from Somalia, were convicted in 2011 of conspiring to provide material support to Al-Shabab in fundraising in Rochester that prosecutors have called “a deadly pipeline” of money and fighters from the United State to Somalia.

They have had wide support in the Twin Cities’ Somali-American community, and many in the courtroom were stunned by the sentences, especially the 20-year sentence for Ali.

Hassan Mohamud, a St. Paul imam, said he believes the sentences were too long and that both women should have been released.

“All they did was aid the poor and the orphans,” he said.

But prosecutors said it was clear from the phone conversations they monitored that the women knew they were raising money for Al-Shabab, a group labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department in 2008.

While Ali said she never knew that funds she raised were going to Al-Shabab, Hassan claimed that she came to realize the organization was getting the money and broke with Ali, preferring that the money go to set up a senior health center.

But prosecutor Jeff Paulsen cited telephone wiretaps that he said showed there had been no rift between the two and that Hassan had a financial investment in the health center and planned to continue to work with Ali.

Ali, sentenced first, denied she did anything wrong. She said she had no knowledge that the money she collected went to Al-Shabab.

Asked by Davis what she knew about Al-Qajda, she indicated she knew nothing about it.

Her attorney, Dan Scott, said “she chose the wrong horse,” adding, “She thought she was doing good work. She was wrong.”

Defendants in the Somali cases have argued that Ethiopia invaded Somalia to support a newly created transitional government that lacked support from the Somali people. They have said that their clients backed the resistance to the invasion.

However, prosecutors argued that the transitional government was recognized by foreign nations, so any support for Al-Shabab, which was fighting the invasion, was against U.S. law as well as support for a terrorist group.

Steven Ward, who prosecuted the case, said Ali was heard on a wiretap supporting Al-Shabab, saying she supported a suicide bombing and “let the civilians die”…

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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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