Posts Tagged ‘UN’

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UN adds JI’s “humanitarian” wing to Al Qaeda sanctions list

March 27, 2015

The UN, Australia, and Canada have added the Hilal Ahmar Society Indonesia (HASI) to their list of sanctioned Al Qaeda entities according to Mr. Watchlist. HASI is also known as Yayasan Hilal Ahmar or the Indonesia Hilal Ahmar Society for Syria. It “operates in Lampung, Jakarta, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Solo, Surabaya and Makassar, Indonesia,” according to the sanctions announcement, which describes HASI as “recruiting, funding and facilitating travel of foreign terrorist fighters to Syria.”

The U.S. sanctioned HASI, which calls itself the “humanitarian wing” of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, in September of last year.

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Iran still won’t sign accord against terror finance

February 23, 2015

The International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism went into effect in 2002. Over 180 countries have signed the rather bland convention. But not Iran.

Not that we could take Iran at its word, but shouldn’t they agree to sign the convention prior to concluding a deal with Iran about their nuclear program?

Lebanon hasn’t signed it either. Other non-signatory countries with Islamist political movements include The Gambia and Chad. But they don’t have nuclear programs.

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$73 million collected for “families of martyrs”

December 2, 2014
modern day tax stamp

Document:  Eritrean diaspora tax receipt for 47,000 Swedish crowns

A 2 percent “diaspora tax” continues to be demanded by Eritrean embassies and consulates of Eritrean citizens living abroad as a precondition for receiving diplomatic services. Proceeds from the extortionist tax, which is collected in violation of international consular law, go to “to support the war disabled and the families of martyrs,” pursuant to a proclamation passed in Eritrea in 1994.

A November 2014 report from the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea described and confirmed ongoing cases of blackmail used to collect the tax in Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, and Sweden; Money Jihad has previously reported that the taxes are collected in Kenya, Britain, and Israel as well. The UN report further revealed that the diaspora tax generated $73 million revenues from 2010 through 2013.

UN Resolution 2023 condemned Eritrea’s diaspora tax in 2011. Sweden recently considered a legal ban against Eritrea’s collection efforts, but determined that Eritrea could continue imposing the tax as long as no threats or coercion are used for collection.

Any Eritrean living abroad who is coerced, threatened, or denied diplomatic services from their embassy or consulate should report it to law enforcement in the country where they reside. However, this is somewhat unlikely to occur because expatriate Eritreans are fearful about retaliation by the government of Eritrea against their families back home.

© Text copyrighted 2014 by Money Jihad. Blog URL: moneyjihad.wordpress.com. Any unauthorized reproduction, duplication, or retransmission of this post without the express written consent from Money Jihad is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided that full and clear credit is given to Money Jihad with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Gulf charcoal purchases prop up al-Shabaab

July 7, 2014

Money Jihad has long reported on how al-Shabaab profits from Somalia’s charcoal smuggling business, particularly by charging a checkpoint tax authorized by Islamic law. A new report from the United Nations Environmental Programme and Interpol confirms that this activity is ongoing despite a UN ban against Somali charcoal exports, saying that “Al Shabaab retains about one third of the [charcoal] income, which alone constitutes about USD 38–56 million” annually.

A map in the report shows a key al-Shabaab tax checkpoint at Buulo Xaaji, main points of embarkation from Kismayo and Barawe, major delivery locations at Jizan (Saudi Arabia), Dubai and Sharjah (UAE), and Khasab (Oman), with additional deliveries in Egypt, Yemen, and Kuwait.

Somali charcoal exports

In addition to “normal” smuggling of charcoal from Somalia to the Gulf states, it is Money Jihad’s belief that rampant trade-based money laundering is occurring between al-Shabaab and these states in which wealthy Arabs are transferring funds to al-Shabaab through over-invoicing for charcoal purchased. In other words, terror financiers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia are intentionally overpaying for Somali charcoal as a means of funding al-Shabaab without simple detection. The Gulf states are doing this to pursue larger strategic interests in Africa.

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UN lifts sanctions on al-Shabaab entrepreneur

March 24, 2014

UN sanctions against al-Shabaab financier Ali Ahmed Nur Jim’ale have been lifted.  The UN did not offer any explanation for the removal from their sanctions list.  Last year the government of Somalia itself requested the removal, saying that Jim’ale “is innocent.”

The UN delisting notice lays out the grounds for the original sanctions.  It is difficult to read their dossier and come away with an impression of innocence…

Ali Ahmed Nur Jim’ale (Jim’ale) has served in leadership roles with the former Somali Council of Islamic Courts, also known as the Somali Islamic Courts Union, which was a radical-Islamist element.  The most radical elements of the Somali Islamic Courts Union eventually formed the group known as al-Shabaab.  Al-Shabaab was listed for targeted sanctions in April 2010 by the United Nations Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 concerning Somalia and Eritrea (the “Somalia/Eritrea Sanctions Committee”).  The Committee listed al-Shabaab for being an entity engaged in acts that directly or indirectly threaten the peace, security, or stability of Somalia, including but not limited to acts that pose a threat to Somali Transitional Federal Government.

According to the July 18, 2011 report of the Somalia/Eritrea Sanctions Committee’s Monitoring Group (S/2011/433), Jim’ale is identified as a prominent businessman and figure in the al-Shabaab charcoal-sugar trading cycle and benefitting from privileged relationships with al-Shabaab.

Jim’ale is identified as one of al-Shabaab’s chief financiers and is ideologically aligned with al-Shabaab.  Jim’ale has provided key funding and political support for Hassan Dahir Aweys (“Aweys”), who was also listed by the Somalia/Eritrea Sanctions Committee.  Former al-Shabaab Deputy Emir Muktar Robow reportedly continued to engage in political posturing within the al-Shabaab organization during the mid-2011.  Robow engaged Aweys and Jim’ale in an effort to advance their shared objectives and consolidate their overall stance within the context of the al-Shabaab leadership rift.

As of fall 2007, Jim’ale established a front company in Djibouti for extremist activities called the Investors Group.  The short term goal of the group was, through the funding of extremist activities and weapons purchases, to destabilize Somaliland.  The group assisted in smuggling small arms from Eritrea through Djibouti into the 5th region of Ethiopia where extremists received the shipment.  As of mid-2008, Jim’ale continued to operate the Investors Group.

As of late September 2010, Jim’ale established ZAAD, a mobile-to-mobile money transfer business and struck a deal with al-Shabaab to make money transfers more anonymous by eliminating the need to show identification.

As of late 2009, Jim’ale had a known hawala fund where he collected zakat, which was provided to al-Shabaab.

As of December 2011, unidentified donors from the Middle East were transferring money to Jim’ale, who in turn used financial intermediaries to send the money to al-Shabaab.

In 2009, Jim’ale worked with other like minded individuals to undermine the Somali TFG by not participating in Somali reconciliation efforts.  As of late 2011, Jim’ale actively supported al-Shabaab by offering free communications, use of vehicles, food aid and political advisement and set up fundraisers for al-Shabaab through various business groups.

The request by Somalia for the UN to lift sanctions on Jim’ale suggests that the Somali government has been compromised by the very elements which it purports to be at war with.  Just a couple years ago, Jim’ale was considered to be a security threat and an important al-Shabaab money man.  Suddenly he’s free to roam about Africa again.

The lifting of the sanctions, which included an international travel ban, enables Jim’ale to resume his travels back and forth between Somalia and Djibouti.  He holds passports with both countries.

For more on the cryptic UN delisting process, see prior Money Jihad coverage here and here.

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Money jihad news: recommended reading

January 9, 2014
  • Yasin al-Qadi, former financial associate of Al Qaeda, has been rubbing elbows with Turkish prime minister Recep Erdogan… more>>
  • A suicide bomber targets a bank in northern Mali, killing two UN soldiers in the process (h/t TROP)… more>>
  • Saudi Arabia’s financing of Al Qaeda is an open secret among American government officials, says the Executive Intelligence Reviewmore>>
  • Rijock calls for tougher penalties against money laundering in 2014… more>>
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Enforcement action news: recommended reading

October 30, 2013
  • A company in the United Arab Emirates that exported U.S. merchandise to Iran has been caught, fined, and slammed… more>>
  • A new ruling says that the Lebanese bank that funded Hezbollah through an account in New York can be sued by terror victims… more>>
  • The UN casually mentions that the latest addition to their sanctions list may have been involved in the attack in Benghazimore>>
  • Sanctions against Iran have done more damage to the Islamic Republic than anything since its war against Iraq, says a former spymaster… more>>

 

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Al-Shabaab’s charcoal business booms despite loss of Kismayo

September 17, 2013

UN says terror group’s annual revenues likely exceed 25 million USD

In what seemed like a major military and financial setback for al-Shabaab, the capture of the important port of Kismayo by Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops, and the Ras Kamboni clan militia in September 2012 has turned out to be mere window dressing for a profit sharing arrangement between militiamen, the Kismayo business establishment, and al-Shabaab itself.

The pre-existing agreements for taxes and royalties to be paid to al-Shabaab at each stage of the lucrative Somali charcoal production and supply chain appear to be intact despite the change in management of the port.  Add that to checkpoint taxes imposed on truckloads of Somali coal and expanded charcoal export operations at the beach port of al-Shabaab controlled Barawe, and you have a recipe al-Shabaab success.

In its exhaustive 400+ page report in July, the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea lays out al-Shabaab’s unexpected ability to snatch victory from the jaws of seeming defeat:

…Overall, despite the fact that the KDF/AMISOM and Ras Kamboni forces replaced Al-Shabaab’s control of Kismayo, the charcoal business architecture remained intact. While the production and trade in charcoal has always existed in Somalia on a smaller scale, during Al-Shabaab’s control of Kismayo it became a large-scale international enterprise combining local clan and Al-Shabaab financial interests, as previously documented by the Monitoring Group (S/2011/433 and S/2012/544). The nature of the business enterprise forged by Al-Shabaab continues with Al-Shabaab, its commercial partners and networks still central to the trade. Essentially, with the changeover of power in Kismayo, the shareholding of the charcoal trade at the port was divided into three between Al-Shabaab, Ras Kamboni and Somali Kenyan businessmen cooperating with the KDF.

In addition to Al-Shabaab’s shareholding at Kismayo represented by individual charcoal traders in the local business community, there is seamless movement of charcoal trucks between Kismayo and Barawe and regular coordination between the two ports, not least because of the personal and commercial relations between charcoal traders, individuals in Ras Kamboni and members of Al-Shabaab.

This dramatic increase in scale of the charcoal trade since the time when Al-Shabaab exclusively controlled it, actually benefits Al-Shabaab as it draws considerable revenue from its partial shareholding in the expanded business. In fact, its shareholding in Kismayo charcoal, in combination with its export revenues at Barawe and its taxation of trucks transporting charcoal from production areas under its control are likely exceeding the revenue it generated when it controlled Kismayo, previously estimated by the Monitoring Group to be 25 million USD per year (see annex 9.2). As such, Al-Shabaab has managed to exploit and profit from the diversification of interests in the charcoal trade (see annex 9.2)…

Meanwhile, Persian Gulf countries flagrantly violate the UN’s ban on the Somali charcoal trade by continued importation.  If there is any saving grace to the charcoal fiasco, it is that the Monitoring Group believes al-Shabaab cells outside of southern Somalia may not be receiving increased revenue.

See prior Money Jihad coverage of how the Somali charcoal trade benefits al-Shabaab here, here, and here.

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UK lifts sanctions on Al Qaeda henchman

September 10, 2013

The British have removed Mohammed Daki—who is the former roommate of a 9/11 planner, a convicted forgery expert, and a recruiter for the Iraq insurgency—from their list of sanctioned terrorists.  Mr. Watchlist notes that the decision follows similar de-listings of Daki in August by the United Nations, Australia, and Canada.

As is usual in such cases, no explanation for the removal has been provided, but the move is clearly the result of yet another cryptic recommendation made by a UN ombudsman.  Like instances covered by Money Jihad here, here, here, and here, the ombudsman makes confidential reports for removal with no opportunity for public hearings, public comment, or testimony from Al Qaeda’s victims or their families.  The decisions are made in closed-door meetings between the ombudsman and undisclosed parties.  There are no apparent disclosure requirements on who may be lobbying the ombudsman, such as wealthy Saudis and their lawyers.

The confidential recommendations made are then rubber-stamped by the UN’s Al Qaeda sanctions committee,  many Western governments follow suit, and the public is the last to know.

And who is Daki?  The Washington Post once reported that, “To Italian law enforcement officials, Mohammed Daki, a Moroccan expatriate, former engineering student and mosque preacher, was a dangerous terrorist who mingled with 9/11 plotters in Germany and, from a base in Italy, recruited suicide bombers for attacks in Iraq.”

History Commons notes that Daki lived at the same address at the same time as 9/11 facilitator Ramzi bin al-Shibh, and Global Jihad notes that, in 2005, Daki was sentenced to 22 months for forging documents.

But none of the rap sheet matters, and neither do our opinions.  All that matters is the recommendation of an unelected ombudsman whose reports none of us are allowed to read.

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UN quietly lifts sanctions on Bin Laden accomplice

June 24, 2013

Saudi removed from UN sanctions list

The UN’s sanctions committee removed Adel Batterjee’s name from its Al Qaeda blacklist earlier this year.  News coverage of the removal appears to have been limited to Saudi media outlets.  The U.K. followed suit shortly thereafter by lifting sanctions on Batterjee as well.

The shocking development casts further doubt on the cryptic de-listing process spearheaded by Canadian lawyer and UN ombudswoman Kimberly Prost that also led to white-listing of Muhammad Atta associate Abdelghani Mzoudi, jihadist financier Yasin Al-Qadi, and Al Qaeda check smuggler Soliman al-Buthe.  Prost’s reports and recommendations to the UN committee are secret, and the decisions are made with no explanations, transparency, or opportunities for public comment.

Meanwhile, author J. Millard Burr has published a new book, The Terrorists’ Internationale, through the American Center for Democracy.  Burr’s book documents the growth of Islamist terror groups in the 1980s and 1990s and the role of Sudanese intriguer Hassan al-Turabi in their development.  In it, Burr describes Adel Batterjee as a “close friend” of Osama bin Laden who “‘had become an important figure in the jihad movement’ by the mid-nineteen eighties.”  Batterjee moved back and forth between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to obtain financing for Lajnat Al-Birr Al-Islamiya (The Islamic Benevolence Committee), a bin Laden front charity.

Contradicting Batterjee’s claims that he had no contact with Bin Laden after 1991, Burr writes:

…Bin Laden and Batterjee had re-created their [Lajnat] charity in the Sudan and in 1992 registered it under a new name, the Al-Birr al-Duwaliya–known in the West as the Benevolence International Foundation (BIF). Its official headquarters was listed as Saudi Arabia, and Batterjee was named its director. Although centered in Khartoum, the “charity” continued to operate in Pakistan; Batterjee reduced the Al-Birr operation at Peshawar, but the small staff located there was likely called on to support Bin Laden’s interests in the Dawa Al Irshad at Murdike, and with two mujahideen training camps located in the Afghanistan-Pakistan borderlands…

The CEO of the Benevolence International Foundation served 10 years in federal prison on racketeering charges stemming from the foundation’s “charitable” work.  In 2004, Treasury undersecretary Stuart Levy said that Batterjee “ranked as one of the world’s foremost terrorist financiers, and employed his private wealth and a network of charitable fronts to bankroll the murderous agenda of al-Qaeda.”

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UN, U.K. unfreeze Al Qaeda financier’s assets

March 31, 2013

In addition to removing Abdelghani Mzoudi from its Al Qaeda blacklist, the UN has lifted sanctions against Mamoun Darkazanli, a longtime terrorist bankroller and logistical manager.  The UK’s treasury department has followed suit.

Mr. Watchlist provides some of the technical details surrounding the removal here.

But who is Darkazanli, and why is this de-listing a problem?  For that, let’s turn back the dial to this 2010 article from The Telegraph via Free Republic:

Germany’s Imam Mamoun Darkazanli: Al-Qaeda’s Alleged Financier and Logistician

The Telegraph | 8/27/2010 | Derek Henry Flood

Posted on Saturday, August 28, 2010 3:52:03 AM by bruinbirdman

Police in Hamburg shut down the notorious al-Quds mosque, renamed the Taiba mosque in 2008, led by German-Syrian national and voluntary imam Mamoun Darkazanli. Darkazanli (a.k.a. Abu Ilyas al-Suri) has been a suspected al-Qaeda operative, primarily as a financier and logistician, in the European Union for close to two decades. Long active in al-Qaeda circles, Darkazanli first surfaced on the radar of Western intelligence agencies when he purportedly helped procure a cargo ship named “Jennifer” for Osama bin Laden as early as 1993 (Hamburger Abendblatt, October 16, 2004). Germany’s Bundeskriminalamt (BKA- Federal Criminal Police Office) admitted that it had been tracking Darkazanli since 1996 when it first suspected his al-Qaeda linkages (Der Spiegel, October 29, 2001).

Mamoun Darkazanli

Darkazanli was born on August 4, 1958 in Syria and is a dual German-Syrian national according to a Red notice issued by Interpol. [1] His birth city is unclear. German media report him as being born in Damascus while the U.S. Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control cites his birthplace as the northern city of Aleppo. He is generally believed to be or have been a member of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (SMB), but that aspect of his life, like so many others, is also not clearly defined. Throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Brotherhood organized itself in vehement opposition to the Alawite regime of the late Ba’athist strongman Hafez al-Assad. The common narrative of Darkazanli’s life path paints a picture of a Muslim Brotherhood member on the run from Ba’athist repression following an assassination attempt on President al-Assad on June 25, 1980. A major crackdown on Syria’s Islamists ensued and Mamoun Darkazanli fled to Europe. Conflicting with this well-worn narrative are two media reports. In an interview with a pan-Arab daily shortly after 9/11, his sister, Samiyah, told a reporter that although Darkazanli was a devout Muslim, he was never a member of the SMB and that he never returned to Damascus after leaving for the West because of his record as a known Syrian military draft dodger and his fear of retribution should he return to the country (Al-Hayat, October 4, 2001). The second citation contradicting his alleged involvement in the SMB stems from an interview in the Spanish daily El Mundo with the SMB’s exiled London-based leader, Ali Sadreddine Bayanouni, who outright denied Darkazanli has ever held membership in his movement.

Darkazanli and Said Bahaji

Darkazanli’s mosque operated on the Steindamm in Hamburg’s workaday Sankt Georg (Saint George) neighborhood alongside sex shops and liquor stores and near the city’s central railway terminal on the second floor of building 103. The mosque and Darkazanli provided support to the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell led by Mohammed Atta and had sustained Hamburg’s radicalizing Islamists until its closure in the early hours of Monday, August 9 (Der Spiegel, August 9).

Mamoun Darkazanli notoriously appeared in a wedding video filmed inside the al-Quds mosque for Said Bahaji, a key member of the Hamburg cell still at large. In October of 1999 Darkazanli and Bahaji celebrated his marriage to an 18-year old German woman of Turkish origin named Nese Kul alongside hijackers Marwan al-Shehi of the UAE and Lebanon’s Ziad Jarrah as well as 9/11 facilitator Ramzi bin al-Shibh of Yemen (Hannoversche Allgemeine, August 9). Bahaji, born to a Moroccan father and German mother in Lower Saxony, lived less than two kilometers from the core of the Hamburg cell in the borough of Harburg on the southern shore of the Elbe River. A reportedly close associate of Mamoun Darkazanli, Bahaji is currently believed to be along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border after his passport was recovered last year by Pakistani troops from the wreckage of a mud brick compound in the village of Sherawangi following a Pakistani army assault on a Taliban-held area in South Waziristan (Dawn, October 30, 2009; Die Welt, October 31, 2009).

Darkazanli, a 52 year-old resident of the Hamburg’s Uhlenhorst district, has yet to be convicted of any offense in the EU and described his links with hijackers Atta and al-Shehi as “coincidences” (Sueddeutsche Zeitung, January 9). He is listed in the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267 as of 2007 as either residing or having his business registered at Uhlenhorster Weg 34, just two kilometers north of the al-Quds mosque. Resolution 1267 was adopted in the fall of 1999 by the Security Council to sanction designated members and supporters of al-Qaeda and the Taliban with the UN’s dismay at the then unyielding civil war in northern Afghanistan.

On July 15, Darkazanli’s company, Darkazanli Export-Import Sonderposten, initially designated as an al-Qaeda entity on October 6, 2001, was delisted as such an entity by the Security Council, though he still appears on the consolidated sanctions list as an individual affiliated with al-Qaeda. [2] The UN does not provide a specific explanation as to why Darkazanli’s company was taken off the sanctions list. It may no longer be an active business thereby becoming irrelevant to the list after a recent review.

Kingdom of Spain v. Darkazanli

Darkazanli was wanted by the famed Spanish anti-terror judge Baltasar Garzón and spent time in German custody in 2004-2005 but was never extradited to Madrid. Read the rest of this entry ?