Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

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The indirect expenses of jihad

October 1, 2013

Ernst & Young and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) have issued a report on emerging trends in the financing of terrorism.  The central argument of the study is that piracy, smuggling, and counterfeiting have been growth sectors for funding terror, and that India and the world need to establish more mechanisms to combat these methods.

The full report is available here, and a news article about it is here (h/t El Grillo).

There is a lot of value to the report, but one component that readers should take special note of is Ernst & Young’s distinction between the direct expenses for terrorism on things like bombs, materials, and attack plans versus indirect expenses for the bigger picture infrastructure of terrorism:  recruitment, gathering intelligence, and public relations.  This chart comes from their report:

Two broad classes of terrorist expenditures

This is the distinction that Money Jihad has tried to make over the last several months about the Tsarnaev brothers and the Boston marathon bombing.  (See here and here.)  The attack wasn’t just about the costs of the explosives purchased by Tamerlan, or even his travel expense s to Russia, although that certainly still needs to be explained more thoroughly.

The larger question is the indirect expenses that were made toward jihad in the North Caucasus long before the Tsarnaevs hatched their plot.  These were expenditures made over several decades by the Saudis and Western-based Islamic front charities in spreading Salafism through the Caucasus.  It took millions of dollars to create and support radical new mosques, fake “relief” programs, to pay and provision Chechen militants and their leaders, to buy loyalties and pay-off ambivalent politicians, and to create a mushroom patch of jihadist websites in the mother tongue of the Tsarnaev family.

It doesn’t do much good for the federal government and banks to scrutinize and report on every single financial transaction that we undertake if, at the same time, we ignore the millions of petrodollars and zakat donations that go toward paying the indirect expenses of terrorism and inculcating the next generation of jihadists.

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Russia says 50 groups in U.S. raise funds for North Caucasus extremists

May 26, 2013

According to the Jamahiriya News Agency, Russian intelligence reveals that 50 organizations, many of which are Islamic charities, are actively soliciting and distributing funds from their headquarters in U.S. to terrorist groups in the North Caucasus—the same region where Tamerlan Tsarnaev journeyed prior to the Boston Marathon bombings.  Islamic Relief, the largest Muslim charity in America, is included on Russia’s list.  Read it all:

…According to the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, over 60 international extremist organizations, about 100 foreign companies and 10 banking groups participate in providing financial, material and other assistance to the terrorists «touring» the Northern Caucasus. In the U.S. alone, almost 50 organizations are raising funds for the Northern Caucasian extremists. And this is not the entire list of the Chechen terrorists’ accomplices in the U.S.; these organizations began sponsoring the rebels from the moment the bands led by Basayev and Khattab (the latter of which is known to be an emissary of Ben Laden, a staff member of the CIA, and a Canadian citizen who was stripped of his native Jordanian citizenship for his links to American intelligence agencies) invaded the territory of Dagestan.

The following groups are actively raising funds in the U.S.: the Muslim American Bar Association; the Islamic American Center, located in Washington; the Muslim American Council; Islamic Relief/Chechnya appeal, registered with the U.S. Department of State; Islamic City Relief; the Islamic-American Zakat Foundation (president I. Akhmadov); the Islamic Action Center; the Chechen-Ingush Society of America, also known as Chechen relief expenses, with a division called Chechen Relief (president Dr. Mohkammed Musa Shishani); the international Muslim organization Al-Ehsan Charitable Relief Organisation, with its headquarters in Washington; the International Relief Association in Michigan; Islamic Relief Worldwide in California; Mercy International, with its headquarters in Plymouth, Michigan; and the Benevolence International Foundation. In regard to the latter organization, it must be noted that when in January 2003 U.S. intelligence agencies found the head of the foundation, Syrian (or Albanian) American Enaam Arnaut, in the course of investigating sources of financing for Al Qaeda, he admitted that the foundation finances rebels in Chechnya and Bosnia; earlier, in October 2002, U.S. attorney general D. Ashcroft charged him with financing Ben Laden, but when Arnaut stated that the money was going to Chechen terrorists and not Ben Laden, Ashcroft…dropped all charges against him.

The following U.S. organizations also provide various support to Chechen extremists, constantly monitor the situation in Chechnya and conduct political campaigns “in support of the struggling people of Chechnya”: the American Muslim Council; the American Committee for peace in Chechnya; the American Friends Service Committee; and the Islamic Circle of North America.

The role of the organization American Muslim Assistance (AMA) deserves special mention. It is registered with the U.S. State Department, and its main task is «helping our Muslim brothers throughout the world». The director of AMA, Sheikh Hisham Muhammad Kabbani, who is also the chairman of the influential Islamic Supreme Council of America, chairman of the As-Sunna Foundation of America, and the founder and chairman of the Haqqani Islamic Trust for New Muslims, is known as the author of many works on Islam. AMA operates in the Northern Caucasus and conducts active propaganda to discredit the actions of the Russian authorities. AMA often acts under the cover of other Muslim organizations, in particular, the Islamic Supreme Council of America, which unites 15 million Muslims living in the U.S.

Active propaganda and political activity in the interests of Chechen separatists in the U.S. are also conducted by: the online company Amina Network, with an office in Washington; Human Assistance Development International, which has been in existence for 13 years; an Islamic information server for spreading the ideas of Chechen separatism and extremism on the Internet; and the public relations office of Ruder Finn, Inc. The Islamic Charity Foundation and the Council on American-Islamic Relations regularly organize media presentations in support of Chechen extremists, interact on a regular basis with many American analytical centers, and initiate hearings in the U.S. Congress, to which they actively invite consultants, experts and U.S. government advisors…

Islamic Relief USA’s website says that Islamic Relief was one of the first aid agencies in Chechnya in the ‘90s and that it has worked in the North Caucasus since 1995.

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Money scheme: Russian mafia conducts tutorials on how to commit car insurance fraud in U.S.

May 6, 2013

“People would be very shocked to know who is involved,” with the growing number of fraudulent claims, says an insurance industry expert.  Indeed.  From WCCO, the CBS affiliate in Minneapolis, earlier this year:

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Mark Kulda of the Insurance Federation of Minnesota says anyone involved in even a slight car accident could be at risk for insurance fraud.

“You might be driving down the street and maybe have a very minor accident and that could trigger a case where there could be insurance fraud,” Kulda said. “People would be very shocked to know who is involved.”

Organized crime involved in insurance fraud has gone up from 16 claims five years ago to 53 in 2011.

“There’s evidence that the Russian mafia is here in south Minneapolis setting up fake clinics, staging fake accidents, overbilling, billing for accidents that never happened,” he said.

The criminals cash in by making out on staged collisions and fake personal injury claims – getting as much as $40,000 per person.

“There’s direct evidence to show that those fraudsters are coming here to Minn. and setting up shop,” he said…

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New front in economic warfare: business data held for ransom

January 11, 2013

The cyber-attacks originate “overseas,” often from Russia, but can Iranian-backed hackers or groups like “Izz ad-Din al-Qassam” be far behind?  Surely they can get a mullah to declare fatwa saying that holding data for ransom is permissible under Islamic law, yes?  As long as the purpose is to destroy the “infidel” Western financial system, and especially if the ransom money is used to advance jihad.  From CNN Money:

The article accompanying this video in December also said that “Security firm McAfee on Thursday released a report warning that a massive cyberattack on 30 U.S. banks has been planned, with the goal of stealing millions of dollars from consumers’ bank accounts.”

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How North America can checkmate Saudi Arabia

July 30, 2012

Citi estimate of global oil production

The U.S., Canada, and Mexico can reduce the relative power of Saudi Arabia by harnessing North American energy sources.  We can actually out-Saudi the Saudis.  From Power Line Blog on July 10:

U.S.–The Saudi Arabia of Oil?

I recall how in the late 1970s, back during the dark ages of the government-caused “energy crisis,” President Jimmy Carter liked to say that the United States is “the Saudi Arabia of coal.”  Yes—there was a time when liberal Democrats were in favor of expanded coal use (unlike today), and Carter’s pro-coal policies led to a significant expansion of coal-fired electricity in the 1980s.

But as usual Carter was too narrow. Turns out the United States might well be regarded as the “Saudi Arabia of oil” as well as coal (not to mention natural gas, about which everyone has caught up to speed).  This is the graven of Mark Mills’s terrific new report out yesterday from the Manhattan Institute, Unleashing the North American Energy Colossus: Hydrocarbons Can Fuel Growth and Prosperity.  Mills is a pal, from whom I’ve learned more about some of the fine points of energy than anyone else.  The point is simple: the United State is a hydrocarbon superpower, and together with Canada and Mexico—no slouches themselves in terms of hydrocarbon reserves—North America could become the dominant hydrocarbon energy supplier for the world.  Forget inward-looking”energy independence” (a stupid idea anyway); let’s become an energy export continent.  It’s enough to give your average Arab oil sheikh night sweats.

Among Mark’s conclusions:

An affirmative policy to expand extraction and export capabilities for all hydrocarbons over the next two decades could yield as much as $7 trillion of value to the North American economy, with $5 trillion of that accruing to the United States, including generating $1–$2 trillion in tax receipts to federal and local governments. Such a policy would also create millions of jobs rippling throughout the economy. While it would require substantial capital investment, essentially all of that would come from the private sector.

The underlying paradigms embedded in American energy policy and regulatory structures are anchored in the idea of shortages and import dependence. A complete reversal in thinking is needed to orient North America around hydrocarbon abundance—and exports.

In collaboration with Canada and Mexico, the United States could—and should—forge a broad pro-development, pro-export policy to realize the benefits of our hydrocarbon resources. Such a policy could lead to North America becoming the largest supplier of fuel to the world by 2030. For the U.S., the single most effective policy change would be to emulate Canada’s solution for permitting major energy projects: create a one-portal, one-permit federal policy for all permits.

There’s more; worth looking over the whole thing.  By the way, despite the efforts of the government to stand in the way, and environmentalists to rend their garments, the new hydrocarbon revolution is likely unstoppable. Double good news: the environmental movement is about to get run over flat by a hydrocarbon-fueled, coal-bearing freight train.

But again, it will take political commitment to use our own resources.  The Obama administration poses a particular obstacle by limiting offshore oil production, by reducing production on federal lands, by opposing the Keystone Pipeline, and by impeding hydraulic fracturing efforts.  Out-performing Saudi Arabia will require a pro-energy American president and Congress.

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U.N. lifts sanctions on 45 Taliban & Al Qaeda, Russia hesitates

August 3, 2010

Yesterday the United Nations Al-Qaida & Taliban Sanctions Committee announced the de-listing of ten Taliban members and 35 Al Qaeda members or affiliated companies from their sanctions list.  Names of five of the Taliban members had been announced last week. 

Eight of the individuals are thought to be dead, although the U.N. is opaque on how it verified the deaths of the individuals delisted.  Presumably, the de-listing of dead jihadists would free the assets of terrorists to be released to their heirs, although none of the wire reporters has looked into this question yet.

Any de-listing requires the unanimous vote of the sanctions committee.  The committee is made up of all 15 members of the Security Council, of which the U.S. is a member.  Naturally, this means that the United States, Amb. Susan Rice, and the Obama administration support the removal of names. 

Meanwhile, according to Reuters, “Russia, which sits on the committee along with the other 14 Security Council members, had been cautious about deleting names, U.N. diplomats said. Russia is concerned about Islamic fundamentalism and Taliban-linked drug-trafficking in its region, they said.”

What the de-listing by the U.N. means for the affected individuals and companies is:

  • no more frozen assets
  • no travel restrictions
  • no longer being subject to an arms embargo

Several money transfer agencies, including al-Barakaat Wiring Service which operated in Minnesota, were included in the de-listing.  This means that sanctioned Somali hawaladars in Minneapolis can go back in business.

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Missile freeze stagecraft

June 28, 2010

When the United Nations Security Council passed its latest economic sanctions against Iran (Resolution 1929), the U.S. State Department confessed that the resolution did not preclude Russia from selling S-300 missiles to Tehran.

Sen. Jon Kyl and national security analysts quickly condemned the glaring loophole.  However, Russia followed up by issuing statements of its own that the missile sales to Iran would be “frozen.”

A “freeze” means that the Russians could thaw it at any time as a future bargaining chip against the West.  The moment we try to do something that Putin doesn’t like, he can say, “I must look again at Resolution 1929, Comrade Wolf.”

Ahmadinejad has made a big show of his anger at Russia for voting for sanctions, but that’s mostly for public consumption.  Iran will continue to use its oil wealth, its extensive sharia banking network, and its bonyad system to circumvent the latest sanctions regime and get back in bed with Putin.