Posts Tagged ‘State Department’

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U.S. levies sanctions on LeJ leader

February 21, 2014
Lashkar-e-Jhanghvi co-founder

LeJ leader Malik Ishaq

Lashkar-e-Jhanghvi co-founder and leader Malik Ishaq has been blacklisted by the U.S. State Department.  The move prohibits Americans from activities such as doing business with, maintaining bank accounts for, and wiring money to or making donations to Ishaq.  LeJ was already under U.S. sanctions which have been renewed.

The Pakistani newspaper The News reports that Ishaq’s family received a monthly stipend from the government of Punjab while he was previously on trial for the murders of more than 100 people.  Such a stipend is reminiscent of rewards and pensions paid by the Palestinian Authority to the families of terrorists.  Ishaq is reportedly in jail again, but this time on hate speech charges.

The Long War Journal describes LeJ as an “anti-Shia terror group that has integrated with al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan’s tribal areas. The Lashkar-i-Jhangvi has an extensive network in Pakistan and its members often serve as al Qaeda’s muscle for terror attacks.”

LeJ receives funding from Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf countries.

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Hillary Clinton sued for funding terrorism

December 5, 2012

The U.S. finances terrorism by providing insufficient safeguards in the distribution of foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority and United Nations Refugee Worker’s Administration (UNRWA) according to a lawsuit filed against Hillary Clinton and other Obama administration officials.

Money Jihad has been making this point for years: why is it a crime when ordinary citizens send money to terrorists, but when the federal government does nobody bats an eye?

This lawsuit is about unlawfully disbursed aid to the Palestinian territories, but the same wrongdoing applies to U.S. negotiations with the Taliban.  If you and I communicate with the Taliban and give them money in order to incentivize a certain behavior, we’d be in prison. If the State Department does uses taxpayer money to help bribe the Taliban to sit across from them at the negotiating table, they get praised by the foreign policy “experts.”

In either case, what federal officials are doing is providing material support—money—directly or indirectly to a terrorist organization in violation of U.S. law.

From Shurat HaDin on Nov. 27:

Hillary Clinton sued by Americans over funding of Palestinian terror groups

Federal suit alleges that the US State Dept violated the Anti-Terrorism Act, and abandoned Congressional safeguards, transparency and reporting requirements  

Tel Aviv, Nov. 27, 2012: A group of 24 Americans living in Israel, including victims of terrorism, filed a lawsuit today against the US government over its funding of Palestinian terrorism in the West Bank and Gaza.

The civil action, filed in the district court of Washington DC, alleges that the US Department of State, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has ignored congressional safeguards and transparency requirements attached to US aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA). In addition, the plaintiffs claim that the White House has not been complying with the regulations and reporting obligations governing presidential waivers which facilitate emergency funding to the Palestinians. As a result of this non-compliance, US funds have been flowing to terror groups like Hamas, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Palestine Liberation Front.

According to the lawsuit, Americans living in proximity to these Palestinian terror groups are in the class of individuals that Congress sought to protect through the safeguards and regulations that the White House, State Department and USAID are disregarding.

The suit asks the federal court to review the conduct of  the State Department and the safeguards on funds being distributed by USAID in its programs to the PA and to the United Nations Refugee Worker’s Administration (UNRWA) and seeks to suspend future American aid to the PA and UNRWA until all the Congressionally legislated regulations and reporting requirements are fully complied with.

Click here to view the lawsuit

The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Norman Steiner of New York and Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Tel Aviv.

Darshan-Leitner, the director of Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center, stressed that “once handed over, US funding of the PA and UNRWA is difficult to trace and the State Department has been lax in requiring the Palestinians to utilize bank accounts and other transfer methods that ensure transparency.” The founder of the Israeli counter-terror group added that “elements of the US Government, particularly the State Department and USAID, are breaking the law and must cease all funding of the PA immediately. US aid to the Palestinians is killing innocent people.”

Steiner added: “The American people are opposed to terror and do not want to fund it via their taxes. The ongoing non-compliance of the White House and State Department with Congressionally mandated protections cannot be allowed to continue.”

The United States Department of State, under the  Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, is prohibited from providing “material support” to proscribed terrorist groups. It is estimated that since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, the United States State Department, via USAID has given over $4 billion to Palestinians, with portions of that funding illegally landing in the hands of terrorists. During the last four fiscal years, average aid has been roughly $600 million per year. Additionally, the United States gives approximately $200 million to the United Nations body UNRWA, each year, and during the fiscal years 2008 and 2009, UNRWA gave roughly $500 million of their funding to recipients in the West Bank and Gaza.

Under the Anti-Terrorism Act, the State Department is required to certify that the Palestinian government is committed to a peace co-existence with Israel before distributing funds, and ensure that no part of funding is used for Palestinian terrorism.  The plaintiffs allege that these crucial safeguards, transparency obligations and reporting requirements are being negligently ignored.

One of the lawyers handling the case is Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the director of Shurat HaDin, the Israel Law Center, which appears on our blogroll.

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Muslim charity honcho embraced by Obama

October 30, 2012
Palestinian Arab from Jordan

Abed Ayoub, CEO of Islamic Relief USA

Ryan Mauro reports that the executive branch of the federal government has been consulting with Abed Ayoub, the chief executive officer of North America’s largest Islamic charity, Islamic Relief USA (IR-USA), for the past two years.

IR-USA serves as a conduit for zakat donations from Muslim Americans to fund programs overseas—a portion of which is transferred to Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), its British-based parent organization.  IRW has been implicated by Israel for funding Hamas, and at least one high-ranking source in the Department of Justice equates Islamic Relief with the infamous Holy Land Foundation—formerly America’s largest Muslim charity before its leaders were convicted on all counts of financing Hamas.

The revelation of Mr. Ayoub’s involvement in lobbying U.S. officials on matters of diplomacy and foreign aid is disturbing but not surprising.  The State Department has previously issued press releases praising Islamic Relief’s operations, for example, in Haiti.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture has also worked directly with IR-USA on food programs.

Yeesh.  From RadicalIslam.org on Oct. 24:

Exclusive: Islamist Adviser to the State Dept and USAID Exposed

Abed Ayoub, the CEO of Islamic Relief USA, a powerful charity with links to Hamas is an official advisor to the State Department and USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development), a RadicalIslam.org investigation has found.

Ayoub has been advising the Obama Administration since at least April 2010. He and his organization have been publicly embraced by President Obama and Vice President Biden.

Ayoub was born in a Palestinian refugee camp and raised in Jordan. After high school, he moved to Yugoslavia and Germany and ultimately ended up in California. He became a volunteer for the Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA) and went on to become its CEO in 2008. He is a governance committee member of Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), IRUSA’s parent group. He is also on the Board of Trustees of the Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty.

Ayoub joined the State Department’s Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group in November 2011, specifically the Sub-Group on Faith-Based Groups and Development and Humanitarian Assistance, according to IRUSA’s press release. It says he will “take part in dialogue and provide input on relevant topics including the challenges and opportunities for partnership. The group also will identify model action programs or projects for collaboration between the U.S. government and NGOs.” The release says it will “meet through November 2012.” The timing and phrasing suggests that this isn’t the group’s expiration date and that the election will determine whether its work continues next year.

According to his bio, Ayoub was appointed to the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid in April 2010, where he “provides advice, analysis and recommendations to USAID on the most pressing development issues in the world today.” He was reappointed to another two-year term in May…

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The Haqqani network’s bottom line

September 13, 2012

NPR’s Scott Simon recently interviewed Jackie Northam about the U.S. designation of the Haqqani network as a terrorist organization and the financial sanctions against it.  The jihadist group is funded by Pakistan’s spy agency, the ISI.

Northam correctly dismissed the financial impact of the designation, which prohibits U.S. business deals with the Haqqani network and freezes any assets they have in American banks, as “largely symbolic.”  It does little to alter their domestic and Gulf revenue sources.  An excerpt from their conversation:

SIMON: The State Department says that among other things this designation as a terrorist organization is going to ban any Americans from doing business with the Haqqanis and it’ll block any assets they hold in the U.S. What kind of potential impact could it have on the Haqqani Network?

NORTHAM: You know, Scott, the Haqqani network has shown a lot of determination to create trouble in Afghanistan and so the analysts I’ve talked with here in Pakistan say this decision really probably won’t have much of an impact and it’s really largely symbolic. They say that the Haqqani network itself doesn’t have financial interests in the U.S. and instead it has a very much a profitable business network in this area and the Persian Gulf region and a good part of it is thought to be criminal activities.

But the U.S. is hoping that this designation will just strangle any efforts by the Haqqani Network to raise funds in places like Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates, where there are sympathizers to their cause. But, frankly, this is really an informal network of raising money, and it could be hard to track, you know, who’s getting the money and how it’s coming into this area.

And this is part of the debate in Washington, just trying to weigh what impact blacklisting the Haqqani Network would have, versus how this decision would affect U.S./Pakistan relations going forward.

SIMON: NPR’s Jackie Northam in Islamabad, thank you.

It’s a classic too little, too late scenario:  Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Carl Leven (D-MI), and Gen. David Petraeus asked Sec. Hillary Clinton to make this designation two years ago.

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You paid for it

May 31, 2012

Old Aden Minaret

The old minaret in the historic Crater district of Aden, Yemen, benefited from a $44,120 award for a restoration project from the U.S. State Department in 2011.  The project was part of the rightly maligned U.S. “Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation” which has diverted millions of dollars to mosque refurbishment abroad over the last several years.

As Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan once said, “minarets are our bayonets.”  The U.S. has no business entangling itself in a project such as the Aden Minaret restoration.  America is indirectly subsidizing five daily calls to prayer by the muezzin from the sixth story of this white, octagonal-walled tower.

Even though you paid for it, can you even visit the Aden Minaret?  Not really.  According to Lonely Planet, only Muslims can go inside this minaret.  Moreover, in a Mar. 27 advisory, the U.S. State Department announced that it “urges U.S. citizens not to travel to Yemen.”

But perhaps it’s all okay in light of our warm relations and vibrant alliance with Yemen, right?  And Al Qaeda will back down and play nice now knowing that we’ve forfeited precious taxpayer dollars to fix a drab old Sunni minaret to make it easier for the muezzin to wail at people to submit to Allah, right?  Wrong.

The USS Cole was attacked in Yemen, and Yemen is the base of operations for AQAP, the branch of Al Qaeda that American politicians and national security reporters say they’re most concerned about.  Funding Islamic buildings in that country is an act of extreme government mismanagement and folly.

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Obama’s flawed sanctions chief ends Arab trip

December 21, 2011

David S. Cohen, a former Clinton lawyer who Pres. Obama entrusted with a sanctions regime that is supposed to provide for the nuclear containment of Iran, is wrapping up a four-day trip to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

The State Department says that Mr. Cohen was conferring with officials in those countries about sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran and against Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.

Surprisingly, although Bahrain shockingly has no legal means of freezing assets in its own country, there is no indication that Mr. Cohen addressed this shortcoming with officials in Manama.

Mr. Cohen has consistently misled the American public about the level of Saudi cooperation in combating terrorist financing.  Consequently, it will be difficult to judge the truthfulness of whatever statements are released at the conclusion of this trip.

Moreover, after Mr. Cohen back-stabbed U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) during backdoor negotiations on Iran sanctions, one wonders what would make Arab officials trust Mr. Cohen.

Seeking cooperation on sanctions is a good objective, but sending a flawed messenger indicates Pres. Obama’s lack of seriousness about sanctions against Syria and Iran.

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Hamas still uses Sudan as funding turf

September 29, 2011
Photo evidence of top-level Sudan-Hamas meeting

Sudan's president and Hamas leader in 2009

The State Department’s new “2010″ report on global terrorism (that was published several months late) keeps Sudan on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.  Although State says that the Sudanese government has been helpful in operations against al Qaeda, the government isn’t strong enough to combat terrorism fully.

Moreover, the report revealed that “Sudanese officials continued to view Hamas members as representatives of the Palestinian Authority. Hamas members conducted fundraising in Sudan, and Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) maintained a presence in Sudan.”

Separate outdated reports have said that Sudan hosts “centers for raising funds and Islamic Social Unions (Marakiz li-Jam’ al-Tabarru’at wa-Ittihadat Ijtima’iyyah Islamiyya)” and that “Pro-HAMAS financial activity in Africa is centred in Sudan through the head office of the Islamic Relief Agency (ISRA).”

Earlier this year, the Jerusalem Post called Sudan “a known stop on the smuggling route from Iran to Gaza.”

In March, Hamas top dog Khaled Meshaal and Yusuf al-Qaradawi (the virulently anti-Semitic sharia finance magnate and leader of the Union of Good network of pro-Hamas charities) spoke in Khartoum, Sudan, at a conference hosted by the Al-Quds Foundation—a group that seeks an “Arab identity” for Jerusalem.

Maybe they did a little fund-raising while in Khartoum?  Men like Meshaal and Creepy Qaradawi are a bit like Linda Evangelista:  they won’t even get out of bed for less than $10,000…

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Syria’s black market rife with hawala

September 27, 2011

According to the State Department’s “2010″ (actually, August 2011) report on global terrorism, Syria remains a state sponsor of terrorism.  That’s not very surprising, but what is interesting to read is that hawala there is rampant within a black market that is as big as Syria’s whole economy.

Syria remained a source of concern regarding terrorist financing. Industry experts reported that 60 percent of all business transitions were conducted in cash and that nearly 80 percent of all Syrians did not use formal banking services. Despite Syrian legislation that required money-changers to be licensed by the end of 2007, many money-changers in 2010 continued to operate illegally in Syria’s vast black market, estimated to be as large as Syria’s formal economy. Regional “hawala” networks remained intertwined with smuggling and trade-based money laundering, facilitated by notoriously corrupt customs and immigration officials, raising significant concerns that some members of the Syrian government and the business elite were complicit in terrorist financing schemes.

Hawala is a method of financial transfer embraced by Muhammad.  It is used today by Muslims across the world to send remittances to their home countries, for routine transactions, but also, thanks to its invisible paper trail, to fund terrorism.

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10 years & Kuwait has no terror finance law

September 11, 2011

In 1991, the United States of America saved Kuwait from its invasion by Iraq.

Ten years later, an Islamic charity in Kuwait “returned the favor” leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the U.S. by playing a role in “anomalous” transactions by the reputed banking partner of Osama bin Laden as laid out by the 9/11 Commission’s monograph on terrorist financing.

After 9/11, the Somali-based al-Barakaat bank promptly fell under suspicion for helping fund al Qaeda’s operations.  Many members of the intelligence community perceived that Osama bin Laden was a “silent partner” in the founding of al-Barakaat with Ahmed Nur Ali Jumale.

U.S. intelligence agents had sources with personal knowledge of the situation who explained:

…at the direction of senior management, al-Barakaat funneled a percentage of its profits to terrorist groups and that UBL [Usama Bin Laden] had provided venture capital to al-Barakaat founder Ahmed Jumale to start the company. The agent believed these sources, because they had been vetted and the information they were providing was consistent with intelligence he had previously received.

Kuwait’s relations with al-Barakaat

A subsequent investigation by a U.S. team into Jumale’s records “revealed several suspicious transactions that Jumale could not adequately explain. Specifically, two NGOs made a number of unusually large deposits into the account of a Kuwaiti charity official over which Jumale had power of attorney. The funds were then moved out of the account in cash.”

The role of al-Barakaat and the nameless Kuwaiti charity have never been properly explained, although Kuwait’s al Qaeda-affiliated charity, the Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS), has been blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury Department.

Just last month, Spanish intelligence officials have disclosed that RIHS has funded radical, separatist mosques in Catalonia, and that RIHS seeks to establish an office in Spain.

No law against terrorist financing

What is the most nauseating is that Kuwait still has no law against terrorist financing.  The State Department’s report on global terrorism in 2010, which was published late just a month ago, provided a painful update:

The Kuwaiti government lacked comprehensive legislation that criminalizes terrorist financing. Draft comprehensive anti-money laundering/counterterrorist finance (AML/CTF) legislation was first submitted to the National Assembly in December 2009. Kuwait’s parliament rejected the combined bill in November 2010, sending it back to the Council of Ministers with a request to separate terrorist finance from the AML law. By separating terrorist financing from money laundering, Kuwait made measured progress over the past year on its draft AML legislation, which remained under consideration by the Parliament.

One wonders how the State Department can count Kuwait hosting a conference on money laundering and terrorist financing 10 years after 9/11 as “measured progress.”

Last week, the International Monetary Fund warned that Kuwait could be turning into a beehive of money laundering activity.

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State Department: HuM funded by zakat

September 4, 2011

Harakat ul-Mujahideen (also known as Harakat ul-Ansar), a group of jihadists supporting the annexation of Kashmir, are funded partly by magazine ads and pamphlets they distribute soliciting zakat.  (Of course, the State Department calls it “donations,” but we can only expect so much forthrightness from that particular agency.)

The U.S. State Department is required to submit a report to Congress annually about global terrorism.  The 2010 report was due in April.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton missed the deadline, and was four months late publishing it.  But leaving that aside, here are excerpts from State’s description of Harakat ul-Mujahideen:

Description: Harakat ul-Mujahideen (HUM) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. HUM seeks the annexation of Indian Kashmir and expulsion of Coalition Forces in Afghanistan. Reportedly, under pressure from the Government of Pakistan, HUM’s long-time leader Fazlur Rehman Khalil stepped down and was replaced by Dr. Badr Munir as the head of HUM in January 2005. Khalil has been linked to Usama bin Ladin, and his signature was found on bin Ladin’s February 1998 fatwa calling for attacks on U.S. and Western interests…

Activities: HUM has conducted a number of operations against Indian troops and civilian targets in Kashmir. It is linked to the Kashmiri militant group al-Faran, which kidnapped five Western tourists in Kashmir in July 1995; the five reportedly were killed later that year. HUM was responsible for the hijacking of an Indian airliner in December 1999 that resulted in the release of Masood Azhar, an important leader in the former Harakat ul-Ansar, who was imprisoned by India in 1994 and then founded Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) after his release. Another former member of Harakat ul-Ansar, Ahmed Omar Sheik was also released by India as a result of the hijackings and was later convicted of the abduction and murder in 2002 of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl.

HUM is still actively planning and carrying out operations against Indian security and civilian targets in Kashmir. In 2005, such attacks resulted in the deaths of 15 people…

External Aid: HUM collects donations from wealthy and grassroots donors in Pakistan, Kashmir, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf states. HUM’s financial collection methods include soliciting donations in magazine ads and pamphlets. The sources and amount of HUM’s military funding are unknown. Its overt fundraising in Pakistan has been constrained since the government clampdown on extremist groups and the freezing of terrorist assets.

“Overt fundraising” has been constrained.  Now that’s reassuring.

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Hillary begs Obama to keep funding Hamas

August 25, 2011

Hillary asks Obama for a favor

Responding to the foreign aid spending reductions proposed by Republicans in the House of Representatives, Hillary Clinton has written a letter demanding that Pres. Obama veto any legislation that would limit her multi-billion dollar State Department budget.

In other words, not only does Sec. Clinton want to keep spending money during a time of national financial calamity, but it also means that she is rejecting the Republican proposal that the U.S. first certify that money will not go to Hamas, Hezbollah, or the Muslim Brotherhood before it distributes foreign aid.

From the Washington Post (h/t Israel Matzav) on July 27:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is blasting a House bill that would impose strict new requirements on U.S. aid  to countries including Egypt, Lebanon, Pakistan and Yemen, warning that she will urge a veto if the measure reaches President Obama’s desk.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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