Posts Tagged ‘World Trade Center’

h1

The money man behind Ramzi Yousef’s terror

January 6, 2014

Looking back at the financing the Bojinka plot

The 1993 World Trade Center bombing killed six people—a disappointment in the perspective of bombing mastermind Ramzi Yousef.  He sought something grander and more devastating, but to pull it off he’d need more money.

The 2006 television miniseries “The Path to 9/11,” (one of the best films ever depicting terror finance methods) dramatized this historical development by showing Yousef meeting with his uncle and future 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Muhammad.  In the scene below, KSM says he may be able to obtain financing for Yousef’s next attack—a cluster of onboard airplane explosions that would become known as the “Bojinka plot”— with help from “a wealthy Saudi,” Osama bin Laden.

Bojinka was foiled after the night of Jan. 6, 1995, when a chemical fire in Yousef’s apartment bomb lab 19 years ago today caught the attention of Philippine authorities.  But the audacity of the plan, the financial commitment of Osama bin Laden, and the logistical involvement of KSM remained as elements that would evolve into the 9/11 attack itself.

h1

Muslim crime syndicate sues accuser for $30m

April 27, 2013

Christian organization targeted in frivolous libel lawsuit by jihadist front group

Jamaat al-Fuqra, an Islamist network operating in North America and Pakistan, has maintained a presence in the U.S. for decades through a commune-style sect known as The Muslims of America, Inc. and a shell company called Professional Security International.  These entities have perpetrated a series of white collar crimes, especially workers compensation fraud, to finance terrorist activities overseas.

The Virginia-based Christian Action Network’s recent publication of a book documenting the history of investigations and successful prosecutions against employees of the syndicate prompted the lawsuit.  CAN reports that Susan Fenger, a fraud examiner who  spearheaded the investigations into MOA in the 1990s, has agreed to testify in CAN’s behalf if the defamation and libel suit goes to trial.

From CAN’s Press Room on Apr. 15:

Muslim Terrorist Group Files $30 Million Lawsuit Against Christian Action Network

By Patti Pierucci

A Muslim terrorist group has filed a lawsuit against Christian Action Network seeking $30 million, following the publication of a book by CAN President Martin Mawyer entitled “Twilight in America.” The suit alleges that Mawyer, co-author Patti A. Pierucci and CAN defamed and libeled the group by publishing information about their crimes and ongoing illegal behavior.

The group, known as The Muslims of America, Inc. (MOA), has operated as a front group for Al Fuqra, which was at one time listed as a terrorist group by the State Department. Al Fuqra members have been convicted of and suspected in dozens of terrorist-related and white-collar crimes in the United States going back decades.

Forensics investigator Susan Fenger—who successfully prosecuted an American Muslim group in the 1990s on charges of terrorism and white-collar crime—has agreed to testify on behalf of Christian Action Network in a lawsuit filed by the same Muslim organization.

In an exclusive interview with Mawyer in 2006, Fenger said she had a $50,000 bounty on her head, placed there by the leader of MOA in Pakistan, Sheikh Mubarik Ali Gilani. The bounty was a form of payback from Gilani because he had to finance the defense of numerous MOA/Fuqra members who were prosecuted as a result of Fenger’s investigation.

Despite the threat to her and the price on her life, she has agreed to testify at the upcoming trial on behalf of CAN to help clear them of any charges.

“Susan Fenger spent years investigating The Muslims of America and its money trail, eventually proving that money scammed from taxpayers was going overseas to fund a known terrorist, Sheikh Gilani,” Mawyer said. “She is a hero because of her relentless pursuit of justice when no one else, not even the FBI, were willing to take on a powerful Muslim group with terrorist ties.”

Mawyer added: “There is such an abundance of official documentation of MOA’s involvement in terrorist activities that I am confident we will prevail in this lawsuit.”

Fenger’s investigation proved without doubt that MOA was a front group for Al Fuqra, and that its members were involved in a myriad of illegal activities. Over the years, members have been convicted of or linked to worker’s compensation fraud, murders, fire-bombing, drug crimes, weapons crimes, and more.

In a January 2013 article posted on MOA’s web site, they admitted that a former member of their group “was secretly the head of the hit team of Ikhwanul Muslimeen (Muslim Brotherhood)” and that former members “were involved in street crimes, drugs, brothels, unemployment fraud, and other offenses.” They claim, however, that they did not know any illegal activity was going on.

1990s Prosecutions

In early 1990, the FBI approached Susan Fenger with a request. Fenger was the chief criminal examiner for the Colorado State Department of Labor and Employment at the time. She was a forensics expert in handwriting, and she knew how to track financial fraud. The FBI agent walked into her office in Denver and handed her a paper with some names on it. They suspected worker’s compensation fraud.

All of the names presented by the FBI were names of Al Fuqra members, said Fenger. “The agent … told my director at the agency that these people were allegedly terrorists.”

The then-governor of Colorado, Roy Romer, was furious.  He appointed Fenger as chief investigator and insisted that she pursue the case above all others.

It was Fenger who put the case together. She was able to prove that Al Fuqra members had been committing white-collar crimes for a decade, most of them involving worker’s compensation fraud in Colorado, in order to fund their terrorist-related activities. The final charges brought, and subsequent convictions, would fall under the heading of racketeering and white-collar crime.

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Following the money trail behind the WTC bomb

February 26, 2013

The financial evidence points back to Osama Bin Laden in the World Trade Center bombing that killed six people 20 years ago today.

In Modern Jihad, Loretta Napoleoni wrote that the WTC bombing mastermind, Ramzi Yousef, said the World Trade Center bombing cost $15,000.  This was not verified during Yousef’s trial because it wasn’t necessary to establish his guilt.

And who provided the $15,000?  John Miller, the ABC reporter who once interviewed Osama Bin Laden, wrote this in his book The Cell:

… Ibrahim el-Gabrowny had met with bin Laden a year before the bombing and investigators believe that at least a portion of the $20,000 bin Laden gave el-Gabrowny during that meeting—ostensibly for [Rabbi Meir Kahane’s assassin El-Sayyid] Nosair’s defense—was spent on materials used in the World Trade Center bomb.

Other sources say that Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, Yousef’s uncle and the architect of the 9/11 attacks, provided the bomb money for his nephew.

In any case, it wasn’t enough cash to carry out Yousef’s vision.  FBI official Dale Watson testified five years after the bombing that, “After his capture in 1995, Ramzi Yousef conceded to investigators that a lack of funding forced his group’s hand in plotting the destruction of the World Trade Center. Running short of money, the plotters could not assemble a bomb as large as they had originally intended. The timing of the attack was also rushed by a lack of finances.”

Al Qaeda would not make the mistake of shortchanging its next attack against the World Trade Center eight years later.

h1

The top 5 terror finance films of all time

February 24, 2013

Thrillers about terrorism focus on adventure, explosions, and tension; while they may depict specific terrorist attacks and the logistics behind them, such movies rarely address the financing.  Meanwhile, movies about bank robberies, jewel heists, and corporate malfeasance show how bad guys finance themselves, but these financial crime films tend to boil down to greed, or the acquisition of money for personal use, rather than raising money for broader social objectives.

We are left with a handful of movies dealing with the actual financing of terrorism or rebel insurgencies, and those that do often address the subject briefly.  Although it’s tough to find movies that incorporate both elements, it’s worth the investment.  These five movies help illuminate important concepts in terrorist financing in ways that news articles and scholarly research cannot, and in ways that simple bank heist movies can’t either.  They’re also sure to entertain you along the way.

By the way, it took a long time to compile this short list, so please acknowledge Money Jihad if this ranking is reproduced elsewhere.

  1. “Casino Royale”—Le Chiffre is a bankroller to the world’s terrorists.  But he is being pursued by terrorists who want access to their funds immediately.  Le Chiffre sets up a high stakes poker game in Montenegro to get more money and restore his credibility with his terrorist clients.  His rival?  None other than James Bond, 007, who enters the match with money fronted by the British government.  If Bond wins, the international financing of terrorism will be setback; if he looses, the government will have directly funded terrorists.  While the men play their game, is Bond’s love interest being forced to work for an unnamed terrorist group in Algeria?This film shows how skill, charm, and a little bit of luck by Britain’s best spy can triumph over shadowy but well-connected forces behind the international financing of terrorism.
  2. “The Path to 9/11”—The television miniseries (especially Part I) that aired on ABC in 2006 includes an ensemble cast and multiple story lines, one of which focuses on the money trail that led U.S. intelligence to recognize the threat posed by Osama Bin Laden in the 1990s.  The trail begins with the cunning bomb maker, Ramzi Yousef, who bombs the World Trade Center and becomes and international fugitive.  From the Philippines to Pakistan, Yousef works on his explosives, causing mayhem wherever he goes.  He’s planning a massive attack–bombs detonating aboard flights, but to do it he needs money—real money—for materials, equipment, electronics, and men.  His comrade tells him about a Saudi millionaire who can help. Meanwhile, tired of going after “small fish,” the FBI’s John O’Neill and other senior members of the U.S. counter-terrorism community try to find out who’s funding Yousef.  The U.S. gets a nervous informant who is about to depart with Yousef on a trip to Afghanistan, where Yousef says they can meet his financier, whom he calls “the tall one.” The money chase story line earns this miniseries its place on the list, but even without it, the movie is a devastating portrayal of bureaucracy and politics getting in the way of mid and lower level agents who are trying to stop Bin Laden 9/11.  This important film is unfairly maligned by liberals who have flooded the Internet with an endless stream of angry, overly politicized criticism.
  3. “The Long Good Friday”—Unbeknownst to an English mafia boss, one of his lieutenants delivers cash to the Irish Republican Army, but skims a little for himself along the way.  The lieutenant ends up dead, and the boss, played by Ed Hoskins, and his loved ones wind up the target of a seemingly inexplicable bombing campaign. It turns that out another of his key gang members, a real estate developer who employs Irish workers, was the one responsible for the ongoing payments to the IRA.  While the bombs are exploding, Hoskins is trying to complete a major business deal with an American investor played by Eddie Constantine (who also appears in another noteworthy terrorist financing movie, “The Third Generation,” as a West German businessman who funds terrorism in order to sell equipment to security forces fighting it.)  His best advisers tell him to back down, but Hoskins thinks he can go toe-to-toe against one of the most dangerous terrorist organizations in the world.  It’s a tense, exciting film, and it’s somewhat unique among movies for providing a glimpse into how front companies can be used to fund terrorism. Hoskins was widely praised for his performance, and Helen Miren who plays his wife is absolutely superlative.
  4. “Baader Meinhof Complex”—The movie portrays the terrorist acts committed by the Red Army Faction, or Baader-Meinhof group, in West Germany in the late 1960s and ’70s.  The group also carried out bank robberies which they regarded as legitimate “expropriation” to finance the revolution—a common Marxist terrorist fundraising technique.  Ultimately the first generation of the Red Army Faction fell apart.  It’s a well-done film that illustrates how the terrorists’ search for bigger and better attacks ultimately destroys and shatters not just the lives of their victims, but their own lives too.
  5. “Nighthawks”—Wulfgar, an international terrorist mercenary—sets off a bomb in England, striking “a blow against British colonialism” in Northern Ireland.  But children are killed in the attack, and the IRA refuses to pay him.  Struggling to overcome a shortage of pay and his damaged reputation, Wulfgar gets plastic surgery and sets off for New York.  There he hopes he can launch a major terrorist attack that will be covered by the news media capital of the world, and prove his worth again to international terrorist organizations that would hire him again if he succeeds.  He is aided by “Shakka Kappour,” a ruthless Moroccan terrorist in her own right.  Only cop-on-the-beat Sylvester Stallone can stop them, with assistance from his partner Billy Dee Williams and counter-terrorist expert LeGard, who does as good a job as anybody since Col. Mathieu from “The Battle of Algiers” in getting inside the mind of terrorists to defeat them at their own game.  Explosions, dramatic tension, and great pacing earn this overlooked thriller a place in the top five.

Honorable mention:  “A Bullet for the General”–Chuncho (or sometimes Chucho) and his bandits traffic arms for General Elías, a rebel leader during the Mexican Revolution.  Chuncho is joined by “El Niño,” an American man with mysterious motives.  They conduct a good, old-fashioned train robbery, seize rifles from a military garrison after assassinating its commandant, and dispossess the richest man in San Miguel of his wealth.  The film may not be the best of the Italian produced “Zapata westerns” set during the Mexican Revolution which all touched on similar themes, but it is one is quite germane to how an insurgent movement is armed and financed.

A problem worth noting about terror finance movies is that about half of them are designed convince audiences that terrorism is an artificial phenomenon created and funded by capitalists to increase profits circuitously.  While movies in this mold such as “The Third Generation,” “Burn!” and “The International” are relevant to the subject of financing terrorism or a revolution, and are entertaining, they are based on fundamentally flawed premises about the nature of the threat and cannot be wholly recommended.