Charity donor to Columbia and Rutgers a front for Iranian regime?

NY Post reports here and here that federal prosecutors have moved to seize assets of the Alavi Foundation on grounds that it is a front for the Iranian government. The Alavi Foundation has been known as a charitable Islamic organization that has assets in “considerable real-estate holdings around the country — including a 36-story Fifth Avenue office tower” and donated substantial amounts of money to Columbia and Rutgers Middle Eastern and Persian studies programs.

It has been noted that both Columbia and Rutgers “employ professors well-known for anti-Israeli views, as well as sympathies for the Iranian regime and for terrorist groups.”  In October 2009, The Post reported on the Alavi Foundation’s 100K donation to Columbia University “shortly before it agreed to host a controversial appearance by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and another $50,000 after.”

Let’s continue to support reform in Iran!

Bloomberg.com reports that Federal prosecutors filed a new complaint on Nov. 13 seeking to seize the “Alavi Foundation’s interest in 650 Fifth Avenue as well, along with accounts and property the Alavi Foundation owns in New York, Maryland, Virginia, Texas and California.” U.S. attorney Preet Bharara issued a statement that “[t]he Alavi Foundation has effectively been a front for the government of Iran.”

“Holy Land Foundation” defendants sentenced

The NYT reports that the defendants in the Holy Land Foundation case were sentenced in Texas today following their convictions for conspiracy to provide support to Hamas, a militant group officially designated as a terrorist organization. Shukri Abu Baker, 50, and Ghassan Elashi, 55, were each sentenced to 65 years ; their three co-conspirators received lesser sentences.

Remember that this was the case originally resulting in a mistrial after the jurors were “avalanched” by mountains of evidence. The government subsequently convicted the guys the second time around.

Feds arrest alleged al Qaeda associate in southern California

ABC News reports:

The California DOJ released a statement that they arrested Ahmadullah Sais Niazi, an Afghan national, thirty five miles outside of L.A. in his house in Tustin on February 20, 2009 and charged him with “lying about his identity and immigration status, and failing to disclose that he has been associating with senior al Qaeda leaders.”

Apparently he didn’t disclose to immigration officals that his brother in law is “Dr. Amin al-Haq, who the indictment says is the security coordinator for Osama bin Laden.” He also didn’t let on that he is associated with “Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, another Islamic radical suspected of supporting ‘terrorists acts carried out by al Qaeda and the Taliban.’”

According to the FBI affidavit, Niazi also used hawalas, an unofficial, unlicensed system of transferring money via a large network of money brokers, to transfer money to Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as to family members in those two countries.

The government also claims Niazi failed to disclose to immigration officials a trip to Pakistan in May 2004. The government claims the deception was part of an effort to illegally obtain U.S. citizenship.

The FBI is also looking into Niazi’s associations within the United States, and trying to determine if he was sent here as an operative for al Qaeda.

Cyprus to perform second search of suspected Hamas arms ship

AP reports that Cypriot authorities are scheduled to conduct another search of a suspected ship carrying arms from Iran to Hamas in Gaza. The U.S. military had stopped the ship en route in the Red Sea last week but could not search or detain it.

The Cypriot authorities had backed away from earlier suggestions that the ship was violating U.N. resolutions but are now scheduling another search, reportedly after Israel’s foreign minister got on the phone with his Cypriot counterpart to urge confiscation of any weapons found.

It is common knowledge that, unfortunately, Cyprus has become a transit point for smuggling and narco-trafficking and is no stranger to hosting members of organizations such as the PLO and Hamas.

The State Department website in its Country Reports on Terrorism comments that “Cyprus forms a transit and support hub for various organizations operating in the Eastern Mediterranean and Levant. The Kongra-Gel/PKK has an active presence in Cyprus on both sides of the buffer zone, which it reportedly uses as both a fundraising and transit point. The Kurdish community in the south of Cyprus is estimated at approximately 1,500.”

It breaks my heart to see such a beautiful place infested now by organized crime from the near east and Russia.

One of the many beautiful coastal beaches in Cyprus

One of the many beautiful coastal beaches in Cyprus

Former G’tmo detainee is now Al Qaeda leader in Yemen

NYT reports:

The emergence of a former Guantánamo Bay detainee as the deputy leader of Al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch has underscored the potential complications in carrying out the executive order President Obama signed Thursday that the detention center be shut down within a year. The militant, Said Ali al-Shihri, is suspected of involvement in a deadly bombing of the United States Embassy in Yemen’s capital, Sana, in September. He was released to Saudi Arabia in 2007 and passed through a Saudi rehabilitation program for former jihadists before resurfacing with Al Qaeda in Yemen.

Infuriating. I guess the warm ‘n fuzzy Saudi rehab program for terrorists profiled in the wideangle PBS series, FOCAL POINT doesn’t really rehabilitate so much as act as a “revolving door”, similar to the one in Yemen, the home country of Salim Hamdan (bin Laden’s driver) and where he returned to after his stint in G’tmo to serve out his remaining time.

Click here to get to wideangle PBS series, FOCAL POINT audio broadcast, and here to get to video, “From Jihad to Rehab.”

U.N. puts lockdown on charity fronts for suspected Mumbai terror group Lashkar-i-Taiba

In a move reportedly sought by the U.S. and India, the U.N. Security Council pursuant to Res. 1822 has designated 3 organizations including charities deemed to be fronts for Lashkar-i-Taiba, the militant jihadist group based in Kashmir with origins in Pakistan and suspected of being behind the Mumbai attacks.  These organizations are Jamaat-ud-Dawa, as well as Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and Al Rashid Trust, among others.

View U.N. press release here.

The U.N. also designated “Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi,”  an individual who the press release lists as “Chief of operations of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba.” The Times Online reported on December 8 that Lakhvi, the suspected “mastermind of the Mumbai attacks,” was arrested in a series of raids near Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, by Pakistani security forces.

Are the designations redundant where the suspect individuals are currently behind bars?

Actually, no. What the designations do is put a lock down on all of these individuals’ and organizations’ assets, prevent any representative or designated individual from traveling, and effect an arms embargo on any designee, as well as prevent any outside third party from giving them material support, or else the designation applies to them as well.

In this case, the U.N. Sec. Council issued these sanctions pursuant to the 2008 resolution, which supercharges earlier measures like Res. 1267 and 1333, and 1373 with respect to al Qaeda, bin Laden, and the Taliban.

Unlike the older resolutions, any individual or organization designated under this 2008 measure as well as any third party who provides any support to them - knowingly or unknowingly – has their movements and finances locked down.

Big difference from the earlier Res. 1373: I see no language denoting a scienter requirement (here, acting with knowledge/intent to commit or finance terrorism).

This is a definite step by the Security Council towards a more hard line stance on al Qaeda, bin Laden, the Taliban, and their associates/supporters…we can look forward in anticipation for its effect.

(General background via CBS News Report)

bin Laden’s driver leaves G’tmo for Yemen, a “terrorist haven”?

CNN reports here that Salim Hamdan, bin Laden’s former driver and G’tmo Bay detainee, is being has been transfered back to Yemen to serve out the weeks remaining in his sentence for providing material support to a terrorist. This is the “Hamdan” of infamy, whose appeal to the Supreme Court in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld resulted in the ruling that military commissions set up to try Guantanamo Bay detainees could not be held because they violated the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

With his transfer, all eyes naturally turn to Yemen, the country whose citizenship he claims. For those of you wondering, this “transfer” is not some disguised version of “extraordinary rendition” which is the extra judicial transfer of a criminal or terrorist from one country to another country that takes a hard-line stance on those offenders. In fact, it may be quite the opposite.

Yemen’s approach to dealing with terrorism is certainly different than ours. Reports on the country’s stance towards terrorism vary. The Council on Foreign Relations has gone so far as to label Yemen as a “terrorist haven” (view content here). According to Andrew MacGregor at the Jamestown Foundation, the Yemeni government has not been overeager to receive detainees from U.S. detention centers; some Yemeni detainees have reportedly been eligible for extradition for months without any action taken by Yemen towards their transfer. However, for hard-line radicalized Muslims within Yemen, Yemeni President Ali Saleh still maintains open communication with many extremist groups, including a “revolving door” judicial system with an emphasis on re-education and rehabilitation for radicalized Islamists.

The success of this rehabilitation is questionable:

Recidivism is untracked, however, and there are reports that some of those released went to Iraq to fight U.S.-led coalition forces. The list of graduates is closely guarded, and ex-prisoners are warned not to discuss their participation in the dialogues, thus allowing a degree of deniability should graduates return to terrorism.

At the same time, President Saleh appears to be attempting reform efforts and maintaining positive relations with the United States. View MacGregor’s article here.

The L.A. Times reports that some hope Hamdan’s repatriation back to Yemeni soil could be the harbinger of other such transfers in the future:

A lawyer involved in the commissions said he regarded the transfer of Hamdan as the “grease” needed to launch the repatriation of Yemenis after years of diplomatic standoff between the U.S. and Yemeni governments.

Much food for thought, if that is to be the case. The Yemeni Embassy in Washington D.C. issued a statement on Sunday that the U.S. Ambassador to Yemen has met with the Yemeni Minister of Justice Ghazi al-Aghbari to discuss the issue of Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo.

Holy Land Foundation defendants: guilty on all counts

Big news: in what has been called the largest terrorism financing trial in history, a Texas jury has found the Holy Land Foundation and the five men on trial to be guilty of three dozen counts of illegally funneling money to Hamas. Astounding!

Click here to link to Instapundit’s newsbyte and here for good background investigation and coverage of the Holy Land Foundation by a local Dallas news source.

Click here for my older post on the background of the original trial and this retrial.

H/T to rhetorican.com‘s author for the alert.

Published in: on November 24, 2008 at 3:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Muslim charity served with summons at annual awards dinner: fraud and racketeering on the menu

WorldNetDaily.com reports that, at its annual awards banquet in Washington, D.C., officials of the Council of American-Islamic Relations were served with a summons and complaint filed by four of its clients alleging criminal fraud and racketeering against the organization. CAIR, a lobby group rumored to be backed by Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, has been operating amidst accusations that it has been providing support to terrorist organizations for some time now.

View full report, including the detailed and substantive nature of the charges, here.

H/T: rhetorican.com‘s author for the tip.

Published in: on November 24, 2008 at 2:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Syria denies U.S. allegations of its aiding terrorism

The Associated Press reports that Syria is denying U.S. allegations that it is aiding and abetting terrorist operations in Iraq, including providing them material support and allowing them to use Syria as a base from which to commit the attacks. The U.S. also implicated Iran in the allegations.

Syria responded with “strong” reject[ions] of “this talk” and claimed that it was one of the first countries to work with the international community in combating terrorism.

View story here.

Published in: on November 24, 2008 at 11:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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Another interpreter convicted in post 9/11 case

Shades of Mohamed Yousry?  Across the pond, a British Army interpreter was convicted of spying for Iran while serving in Afghanistan.

Full story here.

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