Posts Tagged ‘terrorism’

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Domestic terrorist cashing in on cooking skills?

December 7, 2014

An eco-terrorist may be hiding in Hawaii according to the FBI earlier this year.  Daniel Andreas San Diego, who’s listed on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist list, may be recognized by his tattoos, his unwillingness to eat or wear anything that came from animals, or by how he’s making a living underground.  Fox News reported:

In the past, he has worked as a computer network specialist and with the operating system LINUX. He may be using these skills as a form of income, specifically for cash to avoid using banks, checks and credit cards.

He’s likelier to be able to make cash from cooking, not from being a network engineer which is usually more formal work.

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Terrorist tycoon ‘mortally afraid’ of Modi

May 26, 2014

Terrorist billionaire and organized crime kingpin Dawood Ibrahim is said to be “mortally afraid” of India’s newly elected prime minister, Narendra Modi.  So much so that he has fled his longtime safe haven in Karachi for a city within the Taliban’s control on Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan.  Such a move suggests that Dawood Ibrahim is paying off the Taliban as an extra layer of security protection–a potentially highly lucrative arrangement for the Taliban.

As Money Jihad predicted at the end of last year, Modi’s election would, “represent a significant threat to the established criminal and terrorist underworld in India and Kashmir that are being backed by Pakistan.”  More recently, Modi has promised to crack down on illicit money, hawala, and tax evasion.  At long last, Dawood can see the writing on the wall.

From DNA on May 20 (hat tip to @RushetteNY):

Scared of Narendra Modi, Dawood Ibrahim, gang members go in hiding

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 | S Balakrishnan

With Narendra Modi all set to become the prime minister, India’s most-wanted don, Dawood Ibrahim, has relocated himself to an unknown location close to the Af-Pak border, which is under the Taliban. His base has been in Karachi.

During the poll campaign, Modi had told a Gujarati news channel that he would bring Dawood to India from Pakistan if he comes to power. Now that Modi is in power, the general expectation of the intelligence community is that he will tighten the screws on Dawood. Fearing a commando-type operation, Dawood is believed to have shifted his base to a remote corner and got the ISI to beef up his security.

“With Modi coming to power, he is mortally afraid,” an intelligence official said. It is expected that Modi may seek the services of Ajit Doval, retired chief of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) who is known for his brilliant operational capabilities, to zero in on the don. Doval is currently associated with the Vivekananda centre in New Delhi.

BJP has already started adopting a strong position vis-a-vis Pakistan. In a recent TV debate, senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari made it clear that the new government will have “zero tolerance” to terrorism. He said the response of the new dispensation will be vastly different from that of the erstwhile Manmohan Singh-led UPA government, which was afraid to strike.

Sushilkumar Shinde, home minister in the UPA government, had only talked about bringing Dawood back to India and had claimed that the government was in touch with the FBI for it. But RK Singh, who was the then Union home secretary and is currently with BJP, had pooh-poohed Shinde’s claim. Singh too is known to be keen on targeting Dawood and is expected to help the new government in it.

It’s not only Dawood who has done the vanishing act, even many members of his gang in Mumbai have pulled out of the metropolis. Though the police is under the Congress-NCP-led Maharashtra government, central agencies can pick up people suspected of links with terror networks and organised crime.

Former IPS officer YC Pawar, the man who effected the first breakthrough in the investigation into the March 1993 Mumbai serial blasts masterminded by Dawood in tandem with Pakistan’s ISI, is of the opinion that the don can indeed be brought to India. He had told dna recently: “Modi is a man of tremendous will power and a go-getter. These qualities are needed at the topmost level to operationalise a plan to eject Dawood out of Pakistan. I am not saying this as a member of BJP but as a professional cop who has dealt with organised crime for several years”…

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Sanctions needed against Pakistan’s spy agency

March 25, 2014

This piece is also published at Terror Finance Blog today:

When dealing with undesirable behavior by foreign governments, the U.S. has increasingly employed narrowly targeted sanctions against individual officials of those governments, from human rights abusers in Syria to Russian leaders responsible for the annexation of Crimea.

But the same logic has yet to be applied to the ISI, Pakistan’s terrorist-sponsoring intelligence agency, which, compared to Russia and Syria, has posed a more direct threat to U.S. forces and civilians through the ISI’s sponsorship of terrorism against our troops in Afghanistan and through the safe haven it provided to Osama Bin Laden.

New York Times reporter Carlotta Gall revealed last week that, “Soon after the Navy SEAL raid on Bin Laden’s house, a Pakistani official told me that the United States had direct evidence that the ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, knew of Bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad,”  and that the ISI ran a special desk to “handle” Bin Laden.

The Bin Laden revelation is only the tip of the iceberg.  The Taliban itself was created by Pakistan, which allowed Al Qaeda to use Afghanistan as a base for hatching the 9/11 plot.  The perpetrators of the 26/11 terrorist attacks against Mumbai that left over 160 dead were also “clients and creations of the ISI.”

In an intercepted conversation, former ISI chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani was heard describing Jalaluddin Haqqani, leader of the terrorist Haqqani network, as a “strategic asset.”  That is the way that Pakistani intelligence has looked at jihadists for decades—that holy warriors provide strategic depth and variety to the conventional armed forces along Pakistan’s borders.  They regard terrorism as a tool in a broader arsenal against Pakistan’s foes, making the country a state sponsor of terrorism in the truest sense of the phrase.

Designating a foreign spy service as a terrorist entity wouldn’t be such a major leap as it appears at first blush.  Interrogators at Guantanamo Bay are already trained to treat detainees affiliated with ISI the same way they would treat detainees affiliated with Al Qaeda or the Taliban.  The approach is partly due to evidence of ISI’s role in coordinating terrorist groups in operations targeting Afghanistan and India.

There is already some support for such sanctions.  Bruce Riedel, former CIA official and senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, called for individual sanctions against ISI officials.  New York writer Suketu Mehta said “America and other countries should declare Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, some of whose officials have a long history of backing terrorists attacking India, ‘a terrorist entity’.”  The Afghan National Security Council also expressed strong support last year for designating the ISI as a terrorist organization (see here and here).

Are there arguments against levying sanctions against the ISI?  Yes.  Pakistan could retaliate by ceasing its assistance to us while our troops are still fighting in Afghanistan.  But if it weren’t for Pakistan playing midwife to the Taliban, and the Taliban subsequently partnering with Al Qaeda, the terrorist attacks of 9/11 wouldn’t have happened in the first place.  It makes little sense to mollycoddle the puppet master because we think it will help us attack the puppet.

Unfortunately, sanctions often don’t achieve the desired results.  Foreign aid is fungible, and if the U.S. and U.K. continue bestowing lavish foreign aid upon Pakistan, the government there will simply be able to move money from development and education projects toward military and intelligence operations.

But to the extent that we use sanctions at all as an instrument of foreign policy, it should be done for the right reasons.  Lately we use sanctions like a necktie that we wear to look fashionable, while absentmindedly dangling the tie over a paper shredder.  Rather than a entangling ourselves in the regional or internal affairs of bad actors in places where we have few interests, sanctions should be used as a tool used to serve our own national security interests, and to contain those whose actions do us harm.

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Terror widow smashed evidence with hammer

November 12, 2013
Terrorist widow wearing hijab

Mona Thawny

Mona Thwany received a wire for £1,000 shortly after her husband self-detonated in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2010.  The money was compensation for his botched martyrdom operation from her husband’s co-conspirator, Nasserdine Menni.  Menni himself transferred nearly £6,000 to the suicide bomber before the attack, and was convicted in 2012.

Thawny claims she knew nothing of her husband’s activities, and that Menni gave her money because that was “a cultural thing.”

Now Menni is appealing his sentence, and his lawyers are pointing a finger back toward Thawny.  Indeed, prosecutors should indict her as well.  The evidence they found on her computer may be inconclusive (shades of Katherine Tsarnaev?), but Thawny’s smashing of four telephones with a hammer doesn’t sound like the behavior of a person cooperating with law enforcement.

From The Local on Oct. 31:

The jailed financier of Swedish-Iraqi suicide bomber Taimour Abdulwahab appeared in Edinburgh High Court on Thursday to appeal his seven-year sentence. His legal team appeared intent on highlighting the widow’s role in the attack…

…[An] audio message left behind by her husband was made with software downloaded to her computer, the defence attorney noted. The message was emailed to the Swedish intelligence service Säpo alongside the national news agency TT.

“She also destroyed three or four telephones with a hammer so their contents couldn’t be reconstructed,” Taylor underlined.

“The bomb in Stockholm was the work of an amateur… which makes it even more significant that the ‘recipe’ for exactly the kind of bomb used in Stockholm, available in a magazine, was found on the widow’s computer,” he said.

Wiring from Christmas lighting found in the widow’s home was used to make the bomb, the lawyer further noted. The widow was taciturn and failed to answer many questions posed to her during the first trial in Glasgow…

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Obama’s million dollar gift to Iran shortchanges terror victims

October 8, 2013

For years there has been a determined effort to help bankrupt terrorism by suing terrorist organizations.  Families of North American and European citizens who have been killed or injured by Hamas or other terror groups have used the legal strategy with some success, winning several judgments in the courts.

However, collecting on those judgments has been a difficult undertaking.  Victims’ lawyers have frequently argued that their clients should be compensated through the proceeds of seized Iranian property or rental income derived from that property.  When it comes to artwork and artifacts, these cases have come down to technical decisions over the precise ownership of the antiquities.

But with that background in mind, it is quite disheartening to see this latest bit of news, in which the U.S. State Department and Pres. Obama have simply given away a million dollar artifact to the president of Iran on his way home from his trip to the United Nations in New York.  That is $1 million that could have gone to the victims of Hezbollah or Hamas’s terrorism.

The 2700-year-old Persian griffin is on display at the headquarters of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization in Tehran on September 28, 2013, hours before being transferred to the National Museum of Iran. (IRNA/Mohammad-Mehdi Mo’azzen)

The second problem with this “gift” is how it skirts Obama’s self-proclaimed “toughest sanctions in history.”  Although the gift is mostly a symbolic gesture, how kindly would the Treasury Department look upon a gift like this if given to Iran by a private citizen?  Frankly, you could very well be prosecuted for violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.

In fact, one man recently was convicted for transferring $1 million to Iran.  Hossein Lahiji, a Texas urologist, faces up to 20 years hard time in a federal penitentiary for sending about the same amount of money as Pres. Obama has transferred to Hassan Rouhani through this unsolicited “gift.”  And Lahiji deserves it—but don’t you think Lahiji’s defense lawyers have just been handed a golden opportunity to get a reduced sentence because they can plausibly argue the president did the same thing?

Thirdly and lastly, why are we giving gifts at all to a state sponsor of terrorism like Iran?  Could you imagine the outcry if we gave a present to Sudan, Syria, or North Korea?

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Terrorists shaped by Wahhabi petrodollars

June 14, 2013

The Woolrich butcher, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and the 9/11 hijackers were all products of a system of Wahhabi inculcation funded by Saudi Arabia over the last several decades.  This is the analysis of Jonathan Manthorpe writing for the Vancouver Sun—a judgment that is increasingly impossible to dispute.

Thanks to Gisele, David, Sal, and El Grillo for sending this in:

Jonathan Manthorpe: Saudi Arabia funding fuels jihadist terror

Big chunks of the country’s huge oil earnings have been spent on spreading a violent and intolerant variety of Islam

By Jonathan Manthorpe, Vancouver Sun columnist May 28, 2013

The ultimate responsibility for recent atrocities like the Boston Marathon bombing and the butchering last week of an off-duty British soldier is very clear.

It belongs to Saudi Arabia.

Over more than two decades, Saudi Arabia has lavished around $100 billion or more on the worldwide promotion of the violent, intolerant and crudely puritanical Wahhabist sect of Islam that the ruling royal family espouses.

The links of the Boston bombers and the London butchers to organizations following the Saudi royal family’s religious line are clear.

One of the two London butchers, Nigerian-born Michael Adebolajo, was radicalized by the cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, who headed the outlawed terrorist group Al-Muhajiroun.

The group follows Wahhabist teachings and advocates unifying all Muslims, forcibly if necessary, under a single fundamentalist theocratic government.

Similarly, the Boston bombers, Tamerlan and Dzokhar Tsarnaev, hailed from Russia’s southern predominantly Muslim province of Chechnya. Starting in the late 1980s, Saudi Arabia began dispatching Wahhabist clerics and radical preachers to Chechnya.

The spread of Wahhabism sparked not only a separatist war against the Russians, but also a good deal of violence among Muslims.

Wahhabism is now institutionalized in Chechnya and is particularly attractive to young men.

There are similar strands leading back to Wahhabist indoctrination in the histories of very many of the known Muslim terrorists of the last 20 years.

The founder of the sect, Muhammad ibn abd al-Wahhab, was an eighteenth century Muslim zealot allied to the Al-Saud clan who promoted an extreme version of Salafism.

Salaf is the Arab word meaning pious ancestor and refers to those who attempt to emulate the pure Islamic life of the Prophet Muhammad and his generation of followers.

But Wahhab and his modern disciples take this notion to extremes. The list of people whom Wahhabists should consider their enemies includes not only Christians, Jews, Hindus and atheists, but also Shiite, Sufi and Sunni Muslims.

And yet no western politicians seem prepared to accept the obvious.

The chances of disaffected young men being drawn into the evil web of Wahhabist murderous extremism would be significantly decreased if the Saudi funding was blocked.

The Saudis began exporting Wahhabism in the early 1970s when the country’s oil wealth began growing at an ever-increasing rate.

The amount the Saudi royal family, both by government donations and the generosity of individual princes, now lavishes on Wahhabist schools, colleges, mosques, Islamic centres and the missionary work of fundamentalist imams around the world is extraordinary.

In 2003, a United States Senate committee on terrorism heard testimony that in the previous 20 years Saudi Arabia had spent $87 billion on promoting Wahhabism worldwide.

This included financing 210 Islamic centres, 1,500 mosques, 202 colleges and 2,000 madrassas (religious schools).

Various estimates put the amount the Saudi government spends on these missionary institutions as up to $3 billion a year.

This money smothers the voices of moderate Muslims and the poison flows into every Muslim community worldwide.

Key figures in the September 2001 attacks on the United States were radicalized at mosques in Germany.

Britain is now reckoned by some to be the worst breeding ground anywhere for violent Muslim fundamentalists

Indian newspapers recently reported Saudi Arabia has a massive $35 billion program to build mosques and religious schools across South Asia, where there are major Muslim communities in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the divided territory of Jammu and Kashmir…

There is more—read the rest here.

While most readers will agree with Manthorpe’s statement that “Wahhabist murderous extremism would be significantly decreased if the Saudi funding was blocked,” they may be wondering how to accomplish a block.

Consider that the Indonesian and Philippine branches of the Saudi-based International Islamic Relief Organization were once designated by the U.S. as terrorist entities, but the parent organization itself has never been sanctioned.  The Muslim World League and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth have never been named either, although their role in financing and fanning the flames of global jihad are clear to anybody paying attention.

At a minimum, these organizations, which are quasi-governmental foundations with direct backing of the Saudi government, should be designated in the same fashion that other Islamist charities and banks have been sanctioned by the U.S. elsewhere.

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Harvard wins legal battle against terror victims

March 18, 2013

In 2003, victims of an Iranian-sponsored terrorist attack were awarded a multi-million dollar judgment, but have yet to be compensated by Iran.  When the victims sought proceeds from Iranian artefacts kept by museums in Massachussetts,  Harvard and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts balked. In a recent decision, the First Circuit Court of Appeals has sided with the museums.

The shrewd Rick St. Hilaire unpacks this complex and fascinating case at his cultural heritage blogRead it all here

Both sides made good arguments in this case, and the museums have legitimately argued that the pieces are not “owned” by Iran, and Iran never claimed to own them.

But one wonders whether the museums could have worked out an arrangement with the plaintiffs to compensate them with a portion of ticket sales based on the commercial benefits of the Iranian antiquities, rather than battling the victims in federal court.

Critics of Iran have previously called for the seizure or liquidation of Iranian property in the U.S. to compensate the victims of Iranian-backed terrorist attacks.