Posts Tagged ‘Oregon’

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College kids pledge donations to Hamas

June 3, 2016

It’s comedy.  But it’s also real.  Ami Horowitz recently did a series of “man on the street” interviews with Portland State University students while presenting himself as a member of Hamas.  The students listened politely and nodded their heads even after Horowitz told them that Hamas intends to strike soft targets in Israel such as cafes and schools.  Several students wished him good luck and told him they’d be willing to donate $10 to $15…

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Of money and fundamentalism: news links

July 16, 2015
  • Man sentenced to 7 years for paying $2,450 toward a suicide bomb that wounded 300… more from Jihad Watch>>
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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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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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Khan gave money, advice on lethal attack

March 17, 2013

Following in the ignoble tradition of Al Haramain, another jihadist has transferred funds from Oregon overseas to fund terrorism.  Portland’s Reaz Qadir Khan allegedly contributed $2,500 toward a suicide bombing in Pakistan that killed 40, injured 300.  Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Kristian Foden-Vencil has this one-minute Mar. 6 report:

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UN removes fugitive financier from Al Qaeda list

February 25, 2013

Working together with convicted terror money man Pete Seda, Soliman al-Buthe carried out a funding operation for jihadists in Chechnya in early 2000 by helping route money through the now closed Oregon chapter of the Saudi-based Al Haramain Islamic Foundation.  Al-Buthe personally cashed $130,000 in smuggled checks from this operation at the notorious Al Rajhi Bank for subsequent transfer to the mujahideen.

While Seda faced the U.S. justice system, al-Buthe eluded it, but remained under international sanctions—until now.  It may take a little arm twisting and payola at the UN, but even Al Qaeda financiers like this fellow, and Yasin al-Qadi before him, can get themselves removed from the blacklist if they lobby hard enough… This outrageous news comes from Shariah Finance Watch on Feb. 13:

United Nations Caves to Saudi and OIC Influence, Removes Saudi Official Who is Al Qaeda Financier From Sanctions List

The involvement of wealthy Saudis and Saudi charities in funding Al Qaeda and other Jihadist terrorist organizations has been extensively documented for years, including by the US Treasury Department.

One such individual is Soliman al-Buthe, who is currently a Saudi government official and previously started a charity here in the United States in Oregon that has been tied to Al Qaeda.

This week, the UN has decided to remove al-Buthe from its Al Qaeda sanctions list. This no doubt comes due to pressure from Saudi Arabia and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The OIC is a 57-member nation bloc in the UN which increasingly dictates policy to the UN…

Read the rest from SFW here.  Unfortunately, Islamic charities have played a major role in the international financing of terrorism, and Al Haramain has been one of the most prominent examples.  Viewed in this context, the UN decision is a significant step in the wrong direction for international counter-terror finance policy.

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Global Relief Foundation co-founder at large

June 27, 2012

The scandal is not the “unexplained” actions of the FBI as perceived by the Huffington Post.  The scandal is that the target of the FBI’s scrutiny, Imam Mohamed Sheikh Abdirahman Kariye, is even allowed walk the streets.

In addition to but more important than his conviction for Social Security fraud, this man was a co-founder of the Global Relief Foundation—an Islamic charity that had extensive ties to Al Qaeda and was shut down by the U.S. Treasury Department.  Another co-founder of GRF was deported to Lebanon, but Kariye remains in Portland and even runs the mosque there.

From Creeping Sharia:

Oregon mosque led by convicted Social Security fraudster

Posted on June 18, 2012 by creeping

Yet Helen Jung and others can’t seem to figure out why the terror-linked Oregon mosque is under FBI scrutiny. It takes 20+ paragraphs to find out the mosque is led by a convicted criminal. via Masjed As-Saber, Oregon Mosque Under FBI Scrutiny.

In September 2002, authorities arrested Kariye at Portland International Airport as he and family members prepared to fly to Dubai. He was charged the next day with Social Security fraud, but his arrest by the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force signaled a more ominous suspicion.

The arrest was unusual. A federal prosecutor successfully argued to hold Kariye without bail, saying a customs official at the airport had found traces of TNT on his bags. Tests two weeks later concluded the initial findings were wrong and Kariye was released the following month.

Kariye pleaded guilty six months later to understating his income to qualify for Oregon Health Plan benefits and using a Social Security card with a false birth date to obtain the benefits. A judge sentenced him to probation and he paid $6,000 in fines and restitution.

But that didn’t end the FBI’s interest. An affidavit in August 2003 revealed that agents believed Kariye financially supported a group of Muslims — known as the Portland Seven — who had tried to reach Afghanistan to fight for the Taliban in September 2001. Most had regularly prayed at Masjed As-Saber and were turned in by an FBI informant at the mosque who recorded hours of conversations with two primary defendants.

Kariye was never charged. The FBI affidavit stated the informant failed to record a key conversation that allegedly described the imam’s support.

In March, Wells Fargo abruptly decided to close the bank accounts of the imam and the mosque. Both had accounts at the bank for several years.

A Wells Fargo spokesman, Tom Unger, said he doesn’t know the reasons for the bank’s decision, but maintained that “neither religion nor any other factors that could be considered discriminatory are included as part of that process” for closing the accounts.

But Unger advised doing an Internet search on the mosque’s name, which turns up various links to news stories as well as other websites including those that allege a connection to terrorism.

And unlike Helen Jung, we did an Internet search and found this:

Sheik Mohamed Abdirahman Kariye was a co-founder of the Global Relief Foundation (GRF), which the U.S. government shut down in December 2001 because of its ties to terrorism. For at least one year after GRF’s creation in 1991, Kariye was on the organization’s board of directors.

…federal prosecutors would argue that Kariye funded a trip to Afghanistan for a group of would-be terrorists, all of whom were worshipers at the Islamic Center of Portland. In an FBI affidavit, it was stated that Kariye gave six persons (known as the Portland Six) $2000 each, for the purpose of financing their travels to Afghanistan, where they were to join al Qaeda and Taliban forces in their fight against American troops.  One of the six, Jeffrey Battle, described the Islamic Center of Portland as being “the only mosque to teach about jihad.” Battle stated that he had “talked to Kariye about jihad,” that Kariye “had fought in the jihad,” and that “Kariye told his followers they should fight with other Muslims in Afghanistan against Americans.” Battle further stated that Kariye had provided “$2,000 for each of the men and the money was acquired from members of the mosque.”

More posts on Oregon here.

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Muslim crook from West coast circumvents Sudan sanctions, absconds to Sweden

May 22, 2012

Before Pakistan and Afghanistan gave safe harbor to Osama bin Laden, Sudan did.  For this and other reasons, Sudan was designated as a state sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. in 1993.  Sanctions have not been lifted since then.  U.S. persons and businesses have been prohibited from doing business with any Sudanese banks controlled or owned by the government.

But for some reason (perhaps to help fund the jihadist Sudanese Popular Defense Forces or the Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood), Portland resident Yonas Fikre decided it would be a great idea to wire $75,000 into Sudan.  Fikre attempted to launder the $75,000 by structuring it into smaller amounts via separate transactions that would attract less attention and by funneling it from an Oregon hawala company called Red Sea Finance to a United Arab Emirates bank before final transfer to Sudan.

From Creeping Sharia on May 11:

A Portland man who recently accused the FBI of having him tortured while overseas has been indicted on allegations that he conspired to smuggle money to Sudan, as has a Seattle man alleged to have helped in the effort.

Federal prosecutors contend Portland resident Yonas Fikre conspired with his brother Dawit Woldehawariat, of San Diego, Calif., and Seattle resident Abrehaile Haile to illegally wire $75,000 to United Arab Emirates and Sudan.

The indictment, handed down Tuesday by a federal grand jury in San Diego, alleges Haile, manager at Red Sea Finance, used the money transmitting business to wire the funds. The men are accused of structuring a series of transfers to avoid reporting the full scope of the transaction to financial regulators, as required by federal law.

The allegations came two weeks after Fikre, 33, and Portland attorney Thomas Nelson held a news conference in Sweden – Fikre has been living there since his release from a United Arab Emirates prison – where they alleged Fikre had been tortured by police acting at the behest of the FBI.

Speaking with… the Associated Press, Nelson and Fikre said Fikre was first contacted by FBI agents in April 2009 while he was traveling in Sudan. A native of Eritrea, Fikre lived in Sudan as a youth before moving to Southern California with his family and ultimately settling in Portland.

Firke told The Associated Press the agents questioned him about Portland’s Masjid as-Sabr mosque, a large mosque which has seen several attendees face terrorism-related charges in the past decade.

In the indictment, federal prosecutors claim Fikre contacted his brother on April 13, 2010, and asked that he send money to an account in Dubai. The brother, Woldehawariatm is alleged to have contacted Haile the following day and asked that he wire $75,000 to the account without identifying Woldehawariat or Fikre as the sender.

Prosecutors contend Haile directed Woldehawariat to deposit smaller amounts of money into a Bank of America account he would then use to wire the money to an account in Dubai.

“Firke and Woldehawariat agreed to transfer tens of thousands of dollars from the United States to the United Arab Emirates to have the money available for use in Sudan or elsewhere,” prosecutors contended in the indictment. “Woldehawariat and Fikre wanted to conceal from the United States their connection to the money transfers.”

In the week that followed, Woldehawariat deposited at least $21,000 into the account, according to the indictment. Prosecutors contend the system was meant to avoid federal reporting requirements.

Fikre, Haile and Woldehawariat have been charged with unlawfully structuring a financial transaction and conspiring to do the same. Prosecutors go on to allege Woldehawariat failed to file tax returns in 2009 and 2010.

Haile appeared in U.S. District Court at Seattle on Wednesday. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said he is expected to return Monday for arraignment.

Firke is not currently in custody.

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Another conviction against Islamic charity leader

September 22, 2010

The zakat defenders are still out there claiming that there have been “no convictions” of Islamic charities.  They ignore the Holy Land Foundation convictions, the racketeering conviction against the CEO of Benevolence International Foundation, the successful deportation hearing against the founder of Global Relief Foundation, and convictions of Islamic American Relief Agency leaders.

Earlier this month the leader of the Oregon branch of Al Haramain Islamic Foundation, one of the handful of charities designated by the U.S. Treasury Department, was convicted on charges related to smuggling cash out of the country to jihadists overseas.  “Peace activist” Pete Seda now joins the ranks of the other Islamic charity leaders living behind bars.

From the Register-Guard on Sept. 10:

An Oregon federal jury convicted an Ashland Islamic charity leader Thursday of conspiring with a Saudi associate to smuggle $130,000 out of the United States with the intent of funneling it to Muslim fighters battling Russian troops in Chechnya.

The panel also convicted Pete Seda of filing a falsified tax return for his Al-Haramain USA charity to hide that offense. The jurors deliberated for 1½ days before delivering their 6 p.m. decision.

Seda’s face grew grim, but he otherwise was stoic as a court bailiff read the verdict. There was quiet weeping among more than a dozen of Seda’s family members and other supporters in the Eugene courtroom.

U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan set a Nov. 23 sentencing date for the Iranian born, 16-year U.S. citizen. But he ordered Seda taken into immediate custody after prosecutor Charles Gorder, Jr. argued that he might flee the country, as he did in 2003 after learning he was under investigation.

Defense attorney Steve Wax had urged that Seda remain out on bail, noting that his client had voluntarily returned face his charges in 2007.

Seda was indicted in February 2005, along with co-founder Soliman Al-Buthe and Al-Haramain USA. Al-Buthe lives in Saudi Arabia, which has no extradition agreement with the United States.

Though the charity was branded a global terror organization by U.S. officials, charges against it were dismissed when it became defunct after Seda’s 2003 departure. Other former U.S. associates of the group are suing the government for wiretapping their phone conversations without a warrant. A federal appeals judge ruled this spring that those wiretaps broke the law.

Oregon U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton praised the verdict Thursday night.

“Money is the lifeblood of terrorism in these shady, violent, religious extremist groups,” he said. “If we can stop the flow of money, we can significantly reduce the threat here at home and abroad.”

He said the jury found that Seda lied to U.S. customs and IRS officials to duck reporting requirements “vital to our effort to make sure that money does not land in the hands of terrorists or other violent extremists.”

Read the rest of the story here.

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Readers defend holy war fundraising

April 19, 2010

Pete Seda, an Oregon-based “peace activist,” raised money for jihadi terrorists fighting against Russia (long after that fall of Communism).  U.S. law enforcement is putting the frosting on the cake of their evidence collection against Seda. But some readers of Oregon’s Mail Tribune don’t see why such funding should even be illegal.  Here’s the Mail Tribune‘s article on Apr. 16 along with some of the more disturbing reader comments:

Federal prosecutors are continuing to gather evidence they believe suggests former Ashland peace activist Pete Seda was well aware he was helping fund Muslim terrorists in Russia when he allegedly helped launder donations to the rebels through his Ashland charity in 2000.

Court records filed this week detail how one of Seda’s ex-wives was living at his Ashland residence with him while possibly helping translate pro-holy war messages for a Web site used by Chechen rebels fighting Russians in 2000.

Other records detail that photographs of captured and dead Russian soldiers fighting Chechen jihadists were discovered on Seda’s computers at his Siskiyou Boulevard house that also served as the Oregon chapter office of the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation.

Russian agents in 2008 were provided access to those computers as they looked into the activities of Seda and his foundation as part of their own anti-terrorism probes, according to a court ruling issued Tuesday.

“Those hard drives contained substantial evidence of interest to the Russian government in its on-going efforts to counter terrorism in the Caucasus,” U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan wrote in a Tuesday ruling denying Seda’s attorney’s motion to suppress evidence in his case.

Seda remained scheduled to stand trial beginning June 7 in Eugene on his money-laundering and tax-fraud case that continues to surface amid international investigations, anti-terrorism efforts in several countries, warrantless wiretaps and even a subpoena for Saudi Arabian bank records issued under the Patriot Act.

Prosecutors’ portrayal of Seda as a supporter of international terrorism cloaked behind a peace-activist persona “all seems very strange to me,” said David Berger, Seda’s friend and one-time attorney in Ashland.

Like Berger, some of Seda’s supporters have believed that, even if the alleged financial crimes were true, Seda’s intentions must have been along humanitarian lines to aid Muslim refugees.

“With no exceptions whatever, Pete was always a peace activist and certainly not a terrorist supporter or someone who is anything other than a supporter of peace,” Berger said Thursday.

A federal grand jury in 2005 indicted Seda, 52, on charges that in 2000 he helped Soliman Al-Buthe — a Saudi Arabian and partner in the Ashland charity — smuggle $150,000 from Ashland to Saudi Arabia to help what Seda called Muslim refugees in Chechnya, but the group was later labeled as terrorists.

Federal investigators traced the money — in the form of traveler’s checks and a cashier’s check — to a Saudi Arabian bank. The checks allegedly were cashed by Al-Buthe. The government has used a Patriot Act subpoena in an attempt to gain those records.

The charges also allege Seda covered up the transactions in the charity’s tax returns by overstating the purchase price of a prayer mosque in Missouri.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Judge soft gloves Islamic terrorist “charity”

April 2, 2010

Remember when Pres. Obama promised in Cairo to make it easier for Muslims to fulfill their zakat obligations?

Well, stopping legal actions against “charities” that have funded terrorism is certainly one way of loosening restrictions on the charitable sector.

From Dan Levine for The Recorder on Apr. 1:

Much of Chief Judge Vaughn Walker’s latest message for the Justice Department in a closely watched warrantless wiretap case is simple: Maybe you had a secret warrant, but since you won’t produce it, deal with the consequences.

In a summary judgment grant to Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation Inc. on Wednesday, Walker found that the government eavesdropped on the Oregon nonprofit without obtaining a warrant from a special national security court. That violated congressional guidelines on how to legally conduct domestic surveillance, Walker wrote.

The ruling comes amid protracted litigation that Al-Haramain’s attorney, Jon Eisenberg of Eisenberg and Hancock, estimates has taken up 600 billable hours annually for the past four years (or half his practice). The government previously defeated Al-Haramain’s attempt to use a classified document to prove it was a target of illegal eavesdropping.

But Walker allowed Eisenberg to file an amended complaint, based entirely on nonclassified evidence, in order to establish that his clients were surveilled. Faced with these fresh allegations, the government didn’t respond with facts or evidence, Walker wrote.

“Defendants could readily have availed themselves of the court’s processes to present a single, case-dispositive item of evidence at one of a number of stages of this multiyear litigation: a FISA warrant,” Walker wrote. “They never did so, and now illogically assert that the existence of a FISA warrant is a fact within the province of the [state secrets privilege], not FISA.”

Walker ruled, therefore, that the government never obtained a warrant for Al-Haramain, entitling the group to damages and attorney fees. Should Al-Haramain decide to drop its remaining claims, Walker offered to move straight to a decision on damages…

That’s damages on behalf of the terrorist organization for its “rights” being violated.  Chilling.  Read the rest of the legal story here.