Posts Tagged ‘Yemen’

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Guantanamo detainees endorse crowdfunding

March 7, 2014

This piece by Money Jihad blogger A.D. Kendall has been published today at Terror Finance Blog:

Five detainees at Guantanamo Bay have drawn up a lengthy business plan for an agricultural venture in Yemen as part as an instructional exercise.  The document was approved for release last month by military officials.  Judicial Watch rightly observes that the level of detail in the plan shows that the detainees “had access to many research tools, likely on the internet.”  Although the business proposal appears to be only a classroom activity and not an actual, shovel-ready project, the language in the document indicates that terrorists would be comfortable with crowdfunding as a sharia-compliant platform to raise money.

In their business proposal, the self-described “Board of Directors of Yemen Milk & Honey Farms Ltd” specifically mentions Kickstarter, RocketHub, and other crowdfunding platforms as options for financing their project.  They also note that crowdfunding can be equity-based, lending-based, reward-based, or donation-based.  After reviewing their alternatives, the board concludes that they would like their financing be “equity based or reward based, as the board has observed [that the] interest-based economy is facing serious problems world wide, specifically in Europe and America.”

Using the recession has been a convenient target for Islamist criticism of the Western financial system since 2009, ignoring the fact that the West still leads the world across any recognized standard of economic development and standard of living, and ignoring the larger context of long-term economic success of the West compared to the economic failures of the interest-shunning Arab world over several centuries.  But regardless of current or historical economic conditions, the truth is that the “board members” would still oppose interest on religious grounds.  Riba, the word used in Islamic texts for interest, is the same Arabic word that applies to unnatural growth and swelling akin to pond scum and asthma.

Islamic law allows for profit and investments involving co-ownership and profit sharing.  One such sharia financial concept that shares similar traits with crowdfunding is mudarabah, which Islamic finance lawyer John Dewar defines as, “An investment fund arrangement under which the financiers act as the capital providers (rab al-mal) and the client acts as the mudareb (akin to an investment agent) to invest the capital provided by the rab al-mal and manage the partnership.”  For a sharia crowdfunding project, the donors would serve as the rab al-mal.

Analysts for McKinsey & Co. further note that “Islamic commercial law strongly favors equity over debt financing, which suggests that crowdfund investing platforms are especially well suited to Muslim-majority countries. In our view, crowdfund investing and Islamic financial services are inherently compatible and mutually reinforcing.”

Thus, the business school at Camp 6 of Guantanamo prison is well-aligned with contemporary sharia financial strictures.  The “students” also appear to be one step ahead of regulators, who are just now developing anti-money laundering rules for crowdfunded projects which are be vulnerable to financial crime and exploitation.  As AML attorney Christine Duhaime summed up crowdfunding risks last fall, “The combined effect of crowdfunded securities being low-priced, placed in offerings that are exempt from [SEC] registration and not subject to the filing review process of a registered offering, makes crowdfunding open to being used as a vehicle for money laundering and other financial crimes.”

In addition to crowdfunding regulations currently under review, stronger terms of service by the crowdfunding companies may be in order to prevent exploitation of their websites by users who promote violence, illicit activities, or otherwise serve the interests of criminals and terrorists.

Worrisome projects include a Kickstarter project in 2012 that billed itself as “your chance to become part of the Arab Spring.”  If the two men who proposed the project had received the $20,000 they sought, they pledged to “travel together to Syria and join the rebels on the front line against the dictator Bashar al-Assad.”  Late last year, Forbes reported that an anarchist launched a crowdfunded bitcoin-based “assassination market.”  Read the rest of this entry ?

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Illicit transfer news: recommended reading

February 20, 2014
  • Palestinian Islamic Jihad “receives between $100-$150 million dollars annually from Iran,” says an Iranian expert… more>>
  • FinCEN shuts down a Michigan-based hawala dealer who sent 8,000 wires to Yemen and never checked a single customer’s ID… more>>
  • We don’t know how much money is financing terrorism, and we don’t know how much it costs to combat its financing either, so how do we know if what we’re doing is working?  More>>
  • A New Jersey company illegally shipped $70,000 worth of protective gloves to Iranmore>>
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Bin Laden’s old bank signs £100m London deal

December 3, 2013

Osama Bin Laden used to send money to his operatives through Tadamon Islamic Bank, a sharia-compliant financial institution based in Yemen.  Hassan al-Turabi, the man largely responsible for the imposition of sharia law in the Sudan, also had free access to Tadamon in the 1990s.

Tadamon, now calling itself Tadhamon International Islamic Bank, maintains a “wholly owned subsidiary” investment bank called Tadhamon Capital in Bahrain.  Tadhamon Capital has just reached a £100 million (163 million USD) agreement to build a mixed-use student housing and commercial development on Paul Street in London.

From ArabianBusiness.com:

Bahrain investment firm inks $163m London deal

By Andy Sambidge

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Bahrain-based Sharia compliant investment firm Tadhamon Capital has announced the acquisition of its second Central London development in a deal worth more than £100m ($163m).

It said the Paul Street development was concluded in a joint venture with Apache Capital and McLaren Property following the full letting of its first prime London student development, Paris Gardens.

The Paul Street development will be comprised of three blocks, two of which will contain 456 student accommodation units with a 1,550 sq ft ground floor retail space, with the third block consisting of a stand-alone office building.

Tadhamon said in a statement that construction work is expected to commence in during the first quarter of 2014 with completion targeted by the end of Q3 2015.

It said the investment is expected to generate a minimum average annual net cash yield of 7.3 percent.

Paul Street is located on the northern fringe of the City, within proximity of the fashionable areas of Hoxton and Old Street.

Waleed Abdulla Rashdan, CEO of Tadhamon Capital, said: “Over the past four years we have taken a strategic decision to expand our investments within the UK and have since focused on building our social infrastructure platform.

“To date, we have successfully closed 10 transactions at a total value of £240m… We will continue exploring further opportunities within these sectors as part of our platform as they have proven their resilience to market changes, and continued their marked growth.”

He added “Over the past years we have established a solid real estate investment platform which will be used to replicate our success and experience within the UK to invest over the next 18 months in selected cities within the EU, US and Turkey.”

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Al Qaeda’s rainy day fund?

November 10, 2013

The Los Angeles Times recently published a good article on how Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has leveraged kidnap-for-ransom schemes into a $10 million annual enterprise.

But is AQAP spending all of that money as soon as it comes in?  Probably not.  One possibility is that AQAP is saving up their money for a wider-scale operation, such as the overthrow of the government of Yemen.  That was the guidance from Osama Bin Laden to AQAP in a letter he sent them before his death:  raise enough money to pull off something spectacular rather than wasting it on small operations while you’re still too weak financially to elude the Yemeni authorities.

Al Qaeda group is operating on ransom money from the West

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has extorted $20 million in two years, an official says. Western nations face the dilemma of paying up or seeing hostages die.

By Ken Dilanian

October 21, 2013

WASHINGTON — Dominik Neubauer stared into the camera, the steel barrel of an assault rifle pointed at his head.

A Yemeni “tribe” had taken him hostage, the 26-year-old Austrian student said in English, a tear rolling down his left cheek. If they aren’t paid a ransom, he continued, “they will kill me seven days after this video is published.”

In May, three months after the video appeared on YouTube, Neubauer was freed along with a Finnish couple who had also been kidnapped near an Arabic language school in Sana, Yemen’s capital. Multimillion-dollar ransoms were paid for their release, Yemeni and Western officials said.

The three were seized not by a tribe but by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the officials said — the group that has been trying for years to blow up U.S. airliners and overthrow the Western-backed government in Yemen. The ransoms went into the group’s coffers, according to the officials.

Over the last two years, AQAP, as Western officials refer to the group, has extorted $20 million in ransom money, according to an estimate by Alistair Burt, who until this month was the top British diplomatic official for the Middle East.

If those payments continue, “AQAP’s attack capability in Yemen and against its friends and neighbors will only strengthen,” he said at a recent diplomatic meeting in New York. Kidnapping has become the group’s single largest source of funds, U.S. and European officials say.

Much of the money comes with the complicity of Western governments that have rebuffed British and American exhortations not to pay ransoms, the officials allege. The governments of Finland and Austria said they did not provide ransom money to terrorists. But two Western officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to avoid publicly criticizing allied governments, said that those denials are for public consumption and that the size of the ransoms shows government involvement…

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Financial mischief: recommended reading

August 28, 2013
  • Yemen admits that, left to their own devices, donors’ zakat will fund terrorismmore>>
  • Financial crime expert Kenneth Rijock affirms the decision by Barclays to stop doing wiring money to Somalia… more>>
  • After Goldman Sachs, GoDaddy, and NASDAQ snafus, maybe it’s time to acknowledge the threat of economic warfaremore>>
  • Will bitcoin be embraced beyond the anarchist fringe? Laundreymen author Jeffrey Robinson has his doubts… more>>
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Al-Shabaab’s new quartermaster? Iran.

July 17, 2013

In addition to imposing zakat on commodities such as charcoal and sugar, and extorting funds from Dahabshiil wire service, al-Shabaab may be receiving support from Iran, a designated state sponsor of terrorism.  Perhaps Iranian aid helps make up for al-Shabaab’s financial setback when it lost control of Kismayo and the lucrative harbor taxes it imposed there.

This eyebrow-raising revelation comes from a UN report disclosed to Reuters:

Exclusive – Arms ship seized by Yemen may have been Somalia-bound: U.N.

By Louis Charbonneau and Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS | Tue Jul 2, 2013

(Reuters) – An Iranian ship laden with arms seized by Yemeni authorities in January may also have been bound for Somalia, according to a confidential U.N. report seen by Reuters on Monday.

Yemeni forces intercepted the ship, the Jihan 1, off Yemen’s coast on January 23. U.S. and Yemeni officials said it was carrying a large cache of weapons, including surface-to-air missiles, being smuggled from Iran to insurgents in Yemen.

The confidential U.N. report, by the U.N. Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea, cited Yemeni officials as saying that it was possible diesel carried aboard the ship could have been intended for shipment to Somalia.

The group, which tracks compliance with Security Council sanctions, raised concerns in the report about the flow of weapons to Islamist al-Shabaab militants since the U.N. Security Council eased an arms embargo on Somalia’s fragile Western-backed government earlier this year…

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Feds disclose plot against stock exchange

June 27, 2013

It turns out that busted jihadist Khalid Ouazzani wasn’t just financing Al Qaeda.  He and his associates participated in a previously undisclosed, aborted scheme to bomb the New York Stock Exchange and send shock waves through global financial markets in the process.  This revelation came to light in the course of recent congressional testimony about the results of federal intelligence programs.

Kevin Freeman rightly says this case shows that “Our economy is the real target.  The motive is to destroy our economy. So, if our enemies have the means and opportunity to destroy our market, should we be surprised if they try?”

From The Blotter page of ABC News:

Al Qaeda’s Abandoned NY Stock Exchange Plot Revealed

Top U.S. security officials revealed today that the government’s recently exposed surveillance programs led them to an al Qaeda cell that plotted, scouted, but ultimately abandoned a plan to bomb the Wall Street in 2008.

“We found through electronic surveillance that they were actually in the initial stages of plotting to bomb the New York Stock Exchange,” FBI Assistant Director Sean Joyce told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Joyce was testifying alongside high-level U.S. officials, including National Security Agency head Gen. Keith Alexander, before the House Intelligence Committee to defend the NSA’s practice of collecting vast amounts of telephone and internet usage data – programs revealed last week by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden…

The NYSE plot, which had until today been unknown to the public, was centered around an auto parts dealer in Kansas City, Missouri, named Khalid Ouazzani, who pleaded guilty in 2010 for his role in a conspiracy to provide funding to al-Qaeda. At the time of his plea, the complex case against Ouazzani seemed to have little to do with the famous NYSE headquarters on Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, except for a vague reference in his plea agreement that said, “Over a period of years, [Ouazzani] and others discussed various ways they could support al Qaeda.”

The FBI now says Ouazzani was talking to an extremist in Yemen about a terror plot that would strike at the symbolic heart of America’s capitalist system – an attack on Wall Street.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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$2m payroll convoy ambushed by Al Qaeda

June 12, 2013

Combine the 20th century payroll robbery of Sacco and Vanzetti with 21st century jihad, and you’ll get the idea of what Al Qaeda is trying to “accomplish” in Yemen today:

Al-Qaeda turns to highway robbery

Yemen Post Staff • May 1, 2013

Local officials in al-Baydha province, south-east of the capital, Sana’a, confirmed this Wednesday morning that armed men suspected to have links with al-Qaeda had attacked a car convoy which was containing $2 million worth in salaries.

The convoy which was heavily guarded by soldiers was ambushed on Tuesday as it was making its delivery to a local post office. Two soldiers were killed in the shoot out alongside two post office workers who tried to intervene.

“Three al-Qaeda operatives killed two soldiers and two post office workers. The terrorists aimed to still government funds,” said a local official to the press.

However, due to the fast response of the military and the security serviced the terror militants were unable to flee with the money, only barely escaping themselves. They all are believed to have fled back to the mountains.

Police officers have already been dispatched to track them down and arrange for their arrest.

“The perpetrators were not able to complete their operation … and fled to the White Mountains, the police is now tracking them down.”

Similar attempted heists have somewhat of a recurrence in Yemen southern provinces as al-Qaeda operatives are turning to highway robbery to finance their operations, while disrupting civilian life.

Despite the mobilization in the region of the armed forces al-Qaeda militants remain elusive, having reverted to guerrilla tactics to destabilize the state and spread insecurity in Yemen most vulnerable and restive areas.

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Terrorists offer gold in murder-for-hire scheme

January 10, 2013

Financial reward for killer of American official

Instead of cash, Al Qaeda promises gold bounty for contract killing

The latest jihadist death threat isn’t just about killing the U.S. ambassador to Yemen because 1) he’s American and 2) he’s Jewish.  The reward itself is indicative with Islamist hatred for “infidel” paper currency and their fixation with gold rooted in the days of Muhammad.  How long before Muslim fanatics who abduct Westerners begin demanding ransom payments in gold as well?

From AllVoices.com:

Al-Qaida offers gold reward for killing US ambassador in Yemen

In order to promote jihad in the Muslim world, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula announced in recend days that it would offer a reward of three kilograms of gold for anyone who kills US Ambassador to Yemen, Gerald M. Feierstein, and an additional five million Yemeni riyals for killing US soldiers, according to post on the Al Malhem website.

According to al-Qaida sources, the rewards video, entitled “Jihad Omah,” was penetrated by US intelligence, which deleted part of the announcement concerning the reward. Al-Qaida, however, stated that it still has the original copy and will continue to publish it from time to time.

Al-Qaida concluded their announcement with the famous words of Osama bin Laden, “Do not consult anyone in killing Americans“…

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Tadamon deal marked by gold lust

November 9, 2012

Tadamon Islamic Bank, Yemen’s largest sharia financial institution, has struck a deal with Gold Arab Emirate DMCC, a web-based precious metal broker, according to the Saudi Gazette.  The agreement will allow Tadamon depositors to keep their savings in gold rather than cash.

Keep in mind as you read this that Osama Bin Laden used Tadamon Bank to distribute funds to Al Qaeda operatives in the 1990s.  This is a bank that caters to the deepest fears and suspicions of its customers.

GOLD AE signs landmark deal with Tadhamon Bank

GOLD Arab Emirate (GOLD AE) DMCC, the premier online trader in deliverable gold and silver, has recently signed a landmark gold allocated account partnership with Tadhamon International Islamic Bank, the biggest bank in Yemen, through its sister company SABAYEK24, in Sana’a.

The customers of Tadhamon International Islamic Bank will have the option of gold instead of cash in their saving accounts.

The deal underlines the growing awareness among investors in Yemen of the value of gold as a hedge against global inflation, hyperinflation and prolonged financial downturn.

Commenting on the partnership, Mohammad Abu-Alhaj, Charman of GOLD AE DMCC & SABAYEK24, said: “TIIB is a perfect partner for us. We remain committed to serving as a key player in the international bullion trading market and this deal is yet another exciting chapter the GOLD AE success story.”

He added: “Currency wars among different countries as well as uncontrolled printing of money by Central Banks around the world are putting the cash savings and purchasing power of millions of families at risk, considering the impact of the real possibility of their savings being completely wiped out with the unavoidable potential financial depression.”

He further said: “Gold is a stable investment that can also be used as a form of payment anywhere in the world. It is protected to the usual risk and limitations of other currencies. In fact, gold has been a preferred investment and a more stable form of currency for thousands of years…

Note how the article drips with animosity toward paper currencies, Western central banks, and harkens back to an alleged era of prosperity that lasted “for thousands of years.”  Must have missed that particular phantom golden age!

Although sharia law has never provided a sustainable recipe for economic prosperity, Islamists disdain the Western financial system for our concept of interest on savings and loans, for Jewish involvement in the international financial system, and for our system of “infidel” paper currency rather than using the gold dinar and silver dirham from the “good old days” of Muhammad.

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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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