Posts Tagged ‘PATRIOT Act’

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Florida imam raised $50K to fund Taliban

January 17, 2013
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/02/florida-terror-case-hafiz-khan-competency-miami_n_1732011.html

Izhar Khan (left) and Hafiz Khan (right)

Prosecutors have the bank records and wiretaps to prove it.  Recorded statements of imam Hafiz Khan, the leading figure in the conspiracy to finance the Pakistani Taliban (a.k.a. Tehrik-e-Taliban) include:

  • Asking his son Izhar to pick up $300 from a donor that had been “approved for the mujahideen.”
  • Describing his nephew in Pakistan as “a big agent of the Taliban.”
  • Stating:  “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.”
  • After hearing that seven American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan, Hafiz Khan “declared his wish that God bring to death 50,000 more.”

No wonder why defense attorneys tried so hard to argue that Hafiz Khan is mentally incompetent.  They must have known that in addition to the bank records, the statements Khan has made are so damning that the jury will easily find him guilty on four counts of providing material support to terrorists.

Hafiz faces a maximum 60-year prison sentence for these activities.  Meanwhile, Amina Farah Ali, a Muslim woman in Minnesota who was convicted in 2011 for raising and transferring a comparatively lesser amount of $8,600 to terrorists overseas, faces up to 195 years in prison.  In the Ali case, separate transfers of money were treated as separate charges, whereas most of the transfers in this case have been lumped together.

The reason for combining the transfers together is unclear.  The prosecutors must feel that it is the best legal strategy, but Money Jihad counts seven separate transfers in the Khan indictment that could have been broken into separate counts that would have added 105 years to the possible prison sentence.

Hafiz Khan is charged under 18 USC 2339A and 2339B, which outlaw providing “material support” to terrorists.  Often described as a key provision of the Patriot Act, the material support prohibitions of sections 2339A and B actually originate from the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.  The Patriot Act clarified the definition of “material support” and increased the penalties for violations.

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Uncle Sam still offers $5 million bounties

July 29, 2010

And $25 million for Osama Bin Laden.  The State Department’s “Rewards for Justice” program continues to provide rewards, usually of $5 million, that lead to the prevention or resolution of terrorist acts.  (State’s website actually discourages “bounty hunting,” but prefers “information” instead…)  The program began in 1984 and was expanded by the Patriot Act in 2001.  It also provides rewards for information about terrorist financing.

Stop the Flow of Blood Money

"Rewards for Justice" program offers $5 million for terror finance info

When George W. Bush talked about wanting to catch the terrorists, “dead or alive,” he was dismissed as a cowboy—a Wild West relic—foisted on an American public slowly moving to a kinder, gentler approach to the war on terror (or “contingency operations against violent extremism”).

But there’s still something visceral, direct, and logical about putting a price on the heads of our worst enemies.  The Rewards for Justice program helped lead to the arrest of Ramzi Yousef and in locating Uday & Qusay Hussein.  It goes to show that, sometimes, the best approach is to keep it simple.

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Attorney claims raising money for Taliban families is not a crime

June 8, 2010

David Adler, a lawyer for Adnan Babar Mirza (who has been convicted for training to join and support the Taliban), claims that what his client did isn’t illegal.

According to the Associated Press, “Adler said it’s not against the law to send money to the families of Taliban fighters…”

In defense of the defense attorney, maybe he’s been reading the decisions of EU courts in Britain, which say that public welfare benefits can go to terrorists’ wives because we have to assume those cover household expenses, not terrorist expenses.

Or maybe the defense attorney has been taking notes from Dutch attorney Bart Stapert who said that raising money for overseas terrorism isn’t a crime in the Netherlands.

Or maybe he’s been listening to leftists who think that the clause of the Patriot Act that bans material support to terrorism is unconstitutional.

Yup, if you listen to Europeans, “progressives,” or lawyers, it sure seems like raising money for Taliban dependents either is not or should not be a crime.  But at least this attorney has found out that there are still juries in America who believe IT IS A CRIME.

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“Material support” still a valued tool

March 29, 2010

Supporting terrorism is wrong.  Providing “material support” to a terrorist organization is just a fancier way of saying that.

But “material support” is a controversial subject.  The material support provisions of the Patriot Act have been argued before the Supreme Court.  Countries like the Netherlands don’t even acknowledge material support of terrorism as a crime.

But being able to arrest and prosecute individuals for their material support of terrorism is still a critical tool for U.S. law enforcement.  The latest example of this comes from a jihadist taxi cab driver in Chicago who tried to transfer funds to overseas to an Al Qaeda-linked extremist group.  The cabbie also wanted to blow up an American sports stadium.

From Bloomberg:

March 26 — U.S. prosecutors accused a Chicago taxi driver of providing material support to the al-Qaeda terrorist network by attempting to send money overseas.

Raja Lahrasib Khan also allegedly discussed plans to attack an unidentified stadium in the U.S. later this year, according to the criminal complaint and a supporting affidavit unsealed today after Khan’s arrest.

Khan, 56, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Pakistan, was remanded to federal custody following an initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Geraldine Soat Brown in Chicago. His next court date is March 30.

“There is probable cause to believe that Khan has, on at least two occasions, attempted to provide material support or resources, namely funds, to a designated terrorist organization,” U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation Agent Daniel Glavach said in 35-page affidavit appended to the complaint, identifying al-Qaeda as that group.

He is charged with two counts of providing material support to a terrorist organization. Each count is punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment, according to a statement by Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald announcing the charges.

The prosecutor said that while Khan is alleged to have ties to Ilyas Kashmiri, one of four men charged in Chicago with plotting to attack a Danish newspaper, this case is unrelated to that one.

‘Extremist Group’

Kashmiri, a Pakistani man who isn’t in U.S. custody, allegedly leads Harakat ul-Jihad-I-Islami or HUJI, which prosecutors today called “a Sunni extremist group” with links to al-Qaeda.

Khan allegedly sent $950 from Chicago to an individual in Pakistan last year with instructions to deliver some of that money to Kashmiri. Earlier this month, he allegedly accepted $1,000 from an undercover agent for delivery to Kashmiri.

Read the rest here.

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Dutch lawyer to U.S.: funding Islamists is not a crime

February 27, 2010

The U.S. Patriot Act made providing “material support” to a foreign terrorist organization illegal.

If you’re an attorney for a terrorist, “material support” may sound too vague, broad, and hostile to free speech.  You might even fight the concept of material support all the way to the Supreme Court on behalf of your client.

But the concept really doesn’t require Supreme Court scrutiny.  It is common sense (and perfectly constitutional) for Congress to prohibit supporting terrorists, whether than means financially, logistically, or verbally.

But they must not have a law like the Patriot Act in the Netherlands.  The Dutch don’t want to extradite Mohamud Said Omar, a jihadist who raised funds for Somali Islamists, back to the U.S., and they don’t have much to charge him with themselves.  From Monday’s Washington Post:

Mohamud Said Omar, 44, is suspected of providing money to the Somali Islamist group al-Shabab that was used to buy guns. Around 20 youths of Somali descent are believed to have traveled to Somalia from Minnesota since 2007 to help the group, which the U.S. says has ties to al-Qaida.

Omar’s lawyers say he never intended to help terrorists.

“In any case Omar denies that he has ever been involved in any way whatsoever with the financing of terrorism,” his lawyer Bart Stapert said.

Omar has been held in a high-security Dutch prison since his arrest at the request of the U.S. government in November. He has residency in the U.S. but had been living in a center for would-be asylum seekers in the Netherlands since December 2008, apparently before he was a suspect.

A total of 14 people have been charged in the ongoing U.S. federal investigation into the travels of as many as 20 young men who went to Somalia to fight over a period of two years starting in 2007. They face a variety of accusations from recruiting and raising funds for the trips, to engaging in terrorist acts in Somalia and perjury.

Omar was the only one in the Netherlands.

According to his extradition request, U.S. officials plan to charge Omar with providing or conspiring to provide “material support to a foreign terrorist organization,” and “conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim or injure.”

Stapert argued that the specific acts Omar is said to have committed – including gathering money in the U.S., taking youths to the airport, and speaking and meeting with people who had been to Somalia – would not be considered crimes in the Netherlands (emphasis mine).

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U.S. & European cooperation: vital for security or just Big Brother?

February 10, 2010

A committee of the European Union’s parliament has recommended the suspension of a program that allows the United States to obtain information on transactions and accounts from the Brussels-based banking transfer service known as SWIFT.

The program has been important to U.S. law enforcement investigations since 9/11.  Gen Jim Jones, U.S. National Security Advisor, has urged Europe to reconsider the bank deal.  It is vital in combatting financial crimes, Jones argued, including stopping Al Qaeda from expanding its foothold into the African Sahel.

In other news, the FinCEN, an agency of the U.S. Treasury, has floated a new rule for consideration that would enable U.S. states and local law enforcement to make requests for financial information under Sec. 314(a) of the Patriot Act.  Until now, only federal law enforcement has been able to request such information from foreign governments.

Does sharing information like this help with terrorist finance investigations, or does it represent the move toward a global big brother that will violate the financial privacy of American and EU citizens?

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Saudi bank to U.S. prosecutors: See you in court!

February 6, 2010

The Blog of Legal Times has reported that Al Rajhi Bank (a big-time Islamic bank known for its ties to terrorism) is challenging the U.S. Patriot Act in federal court and asking for a subpoena for the bank’s records to be quashed.  From BLT by Jordan Weissmann on Jan. 20:

A major Saudi Arabian bank is challenging a portion of the Patriot Act, claiming it unconstitutionally allows U.S. officials to punish foreign financial institutions that refuse to cooperate with demands for their records.

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