by Caroline Glick
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.
In the wake of yesterday's IPT News report on the Justice Department's handling of an investigation into a financial network with links to the Muslim Brotherhood, a prominent House lawmaker wants answers from the Obama Administration.
Rep. Frank Wolf, (R-VA), chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee overseeing the Justice Department, told the Investigative Project on Terrorism that DOJ is making a mistake by refusing to make public the details of the settlement it reached with the Islamic Investment Company of the Gulf (IICG). The Virginia lawmaker said that on Monday he will send administration officials a letter urging that all of the information about the case be made public.
Wolf said that if the administration balks, he is prepared to insert language into the Justice Department appropriations conference report to force the release of all information about the settlement. "But I'm hoping it won't get to that point," he said.
The IICG, which has operations on four continents and managed $1.6 billion in funds in December 2007, is a "wholly owned subsidiary" of DMI Trust, a company which has had prominent Brotherhood figures like Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Hassan al-Turabi on its board.
The Wall Street Journal reported in 2007 that a DMI affiliate called Faisal Private Bank had been named in two major terror investigations. In one of these, the Justice Department alleged that the bank (then known as Faisal Finance) was used by a Saudi businessman to wire $665,000 to the account of a top Hamas official, Mousa Abu Marzouk. Another Faisal Finance client was al Qaida official Mamduh Mahmud Salim, now serving a federal prison sentence for conspiring to murder Americans.
DMI and Faisal Finance have also been defendants in civil litigation brought by relatives of persons killed in the 9/11 attacks. Saudi Prince Mohamed al-Faisal, who founded DMI Trust nearly 30 years ago, remains on its board.
Veteran journalist Douglas Farah wrote that in the foreword to a DMI booklet published in 1981 entitled , "Studies on Islamic Economy and Transactions," Dr. Ibrahim Mustapha Kamel wrote that DMI was founded my (sic) desire to engage a Jihad to lift the flaw on Islamic financial and economic transactions." He wrote that the author of the book "remains what he also was, a lighthouse…We are following jihad in modern times."
Justice Department officials haven't denied reaching a settlement with the IICG. But they nonetheless refuse to release a copy or comment on it. Repeated attempts to obtain the settlement – or at least a clear explanation of why it cannot be released when most government settlements are included in the public record – have been unsuccessful.
On Wednesday, Justice Department spokesman Charles Miller stated that, "We will have no further comment" about the case.
But in an interview with the IPT, Wolf said that response was unacceptable, particularly given a DOJ lawyer's seeming acknowledgement earlier this year that there was no need to keep the information under seal.
The congressman said he was particularly troubled by the presence of Turabi on the DMI board for a decade during the 1980s and early 1990s. Wolf noted that during the period he was a director, Turabi urged Osama bin Laden to move his jihadist base to Sudan.
When it comes to the modern Jihadist movement, Turabi has been part of that "since the beginning," working together for much of this time with Sudanese leader Omar Bashir, who has been indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.
All of the information about Turabi and his relationship with IICG needs to be made public right away, Wolf said, adding that he was puzzled by the Obama Administration's reluctance to make the information public.
"Maybe they're afraid of the Saudis," he speculated. But the administration said it wanted to be the most open one in American history, Wolf said, and he plans to hold the administration to that assertion when it comes to the probe of Jihadist terror networks.IPT News (The Investigative Project on Terrorism)
The following replies to a question posed by National Review Online: "With Qaddafi vowing a win or martyrdom and Assad being urged to step down by the West, what has happened to the Arab Spring this summer? Has it been a summer of progress . . . democracy . . . Western-media delusion? Where stands the Arab Spring as we prepare to mark the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks? We asked a group of Middle East experts." For the answers by the other twelve authors, see "Long, Hot Arab Summer: The Arab Spring, circa the end of August."
Round one of the Middle Eastern upheavals consisted of uncannily parallel coups d'état in Tunisia and Egypt. In both, street demonstrations prompted the security/military establishment to rid itself of a rapacious, unpopular president. Events moved so quickly because, faced with rejection by their own institutional power bases, Presidents Ben Ali and Mubarak had little choice but to resign. They were rapidly replaced by another security/military leader who kept most of the governing institutions, practices, and policies in place. Neither liberals nor Islamists made much of a difference over the subsequent half year.
Round two consists of the near-certain overthrow of the Qaddafi regime in Libya and the likely overthrow of the Asad dynasty in Syria as well as the Saleh regime in Yemen. In all three cases, revolution is underway. Should these leaders fall, so do the institutions of their rule, leading to chaos and the eventual founding of an entirely new government. In the Syrian and Yemeni cases, there could well be no effective central government but the devolution of power to regions, ethnicities, ideological groups, or tribes.
In other words, the second round is more consequential than the first. Further, the five aforementioned states may not be the only ones in play. Algeria and Jordan could undergo similar processes of upheaval and revolution. Plus, picking up from the repressed riots of 2009, some small spark could set off a conflagration in Iran, the Middle East's most disruptive state.
Round three could even follow, consisting of regional breakups. Prime candidates here include Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Turkey.In brief, we could be just at the start of a wild ride in the world's most volatile region.
Among those who supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a primary hope was that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime would give rise, in President George W. Bush's words, to a "free … stable … and prosperous" liberal democracy. This Western-style Iraqi democracy, it was expected, would serve as a model of freedom for other countries in the Middle East.
However, actual events over the past eight years have given rise to a very different picture. It is somewhat ironic that, far from moving away from its Persian Gulf neighbors in terms of its economic and social conduct, Iraq now has a much closer affinity to them, and this on account of two major trends.
First, consider the petroleum industry. Since the U.S. invasion, dependency on oil exports has increased dramatically, such that the industry now accounts for around 70 percent of GDP and 90 percent of government revenues. Similarly, in neighboring Kuwait, for instance, the petroleum sector provided 50 percent of GDP and 95 percent of government revenues.
Gone are the days before the Gulf war of 1991 when Iraq had a more diversified economy, so that the country was responsible for roughly 80 percent of the global trade in dates. At present, agriculture only comprises some 10 percent of GDP. Despite an $80 million plan by the Agriculture Ministry to revitalize date production, efforts have gone nowhere. Successive droughts, poor water quality, and the rising costs of fertilizers and pest control mean that output has decreased to 50 kilograms per date palm, compared with 150-200 kilograms in 1990.
Moreover, with global oil prices undoubtedly set to rise over the coming decade, the Iraqi government does not seem poised to branch out from the lucrative petroleum industry, which is still predominantly state-run. Young Iraqis consequently see no future in agriculture and are looking toward jobs in the energy sector and the state bureaucracy, where salaries are higher.
Second, there is a problem of Iraqi reliance on foreign labor in construction and in the performance of menial tasks. A U.S. State Department report on human trafficking around the world has highlighted the problem. As in Dubai and other countries in the Persian Gulf, Iraq has an endemic problem of employing illegal, forced labor. The migrant workers come from a wide variety of locations, including Bangladesh, Pakistan, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Nepal and Thailand.
A damaging feature of this development has been the deceptive practices of labor agencies that entice recruits with promises of good salaries and attractive working hours, often not telling them that their destination will be Iraq. Once these individuals find themselves in the country, their passports are confiscated and the laborers are compelled to endure long working hours and very poor working and living conditions, usually without pay.
The State Department report faults the Iraqi government for doing nothing to punish human traffickers, failing to collect data on the problem, and not investigating officials who might be involved in the trafficking, which is prohibited by the Iraqi Constitution. At best, Baghdad has planned to enact a draft law whose clauses hark back to the days of Saddam. The legislation forbids the use of illegal workers and entails the deportation of forced laborers and the fining of companies exploiting them.
However, the draft law cannot be approved while Iraq's politicians continue to engage in personal power struggles, so that the government that emerged from the elections of March 2010 is still not fully formed. Hence, it is not surprising that the State Department has concluded that Iraq has a "negligible law enforcement effort" to combat human trafficking.
Curiously, however, the addiction to foreign labor has not featured among the declared grievances of protestors who continue to gather (admittedly in smaller numbers) in Baghdad's Tahrir Square every Friday. In contrast, protests in Oman this year brought the problem of dependency on foreign workers to the forefront of issues that the sultanate must address.
Dependency on the energy sector means that Iraq is still stuck with a state-run economy it inherited from the days of Saddam Hussein. Iraqi politicians have talked for years about advancing economic liberalization and cutting down on the state bureaucracy. However, the growing income from oil exports explains why the government is not implementing reform.
If anything, Baghdad has only added to the public bureaucracy by creating more government jobs to compensate for the fact that the petroleum industry is not labor intensive.
This development, in turn, has impeded reconstruction efforts and increased corruption. Likewise, the great reliance on oil exports and the importation of foreign labor have only aggravated the problem of unemployment among the Iraqi people.
If Iraqi politicians, detached as they already are from the concerns of their people, wish to avoid sparking further civil and political unrest in the country, they will have to soon address over-reliance on oil revenues and the illegal use of foreign labor. Otherwise, they risk destroying the population's trust in democracy, founded on a resentment of the decades of repression under the old Baathist regime.Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi is a student at Oxford University and an intern at the Middle East Forum. His website is www.aymennjawad.org
"Egypt has sent a strong message to Israel saying it won’t allow an operation to take place.."
#1. Does Egypt now have the ability to veto Israeli operations?
#2. If the military regime now ruling Egypt is now apparently on record for stopping a major Israeli operation doesn't this create a dilemma for any future Egyptian regime that in the event of a major Israeli operation that the Egyptian "street" will assume that Egypt gave its silent approval for the operation. [Stay tuned for this "dilemma" to be cited by Israeli officials in the future to explain why the Jewish State's hands are tied.]
Ambassador: Israeli-Egyptian relations still tense Published Wednesday 24/08/2011 (updated) 25/08/2011 15:59
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Yasser Othman, the Egyptian ambassador to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, said Wednesday that there is still tension in Egyptian-Israeli relations after the killing of five Egyptian soldiers last week.
“We want a clear, strong apology and a pledge to not to repeat such acts in the future,” he said.
It was not enough that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and President Shimon Peres expressed regret for the incident, Egypt's cabinet said.
The Eilat attacks had nothing to do with Egypt, Othman said, and investigations are ongoing on both sides.
Egypt had "forbidden" Israel from launching a large-scale operation in the Gaza Strip, he added.
“The Egyptian side has felt after the Eilat operation that Israel intends to [get] revenge,” so Egypt has sent a strong message to Israel saying it won’t allow an operation to take place.
Israel did not launch a large-scale operation because they fear the Egyptian people’s reaction, Othman added.
His remarks echoed reports in the Israeli media that Egyptian officials had conveyed messages to Israel that a large-scale military operation could lead Cairo to the point of suspending relations.
In talks held this week between a senior Egyptian official and a very high-placed official in Jerusalem, the latter told him: “We stoppedg:\israel\politics\blog\hard_nl OUT.txt the escalation in Gaza because of you,” according to the report in Maariv.
This was preceded by talks held between Defense Minister Ehud Barak with Gen. Hussein Tantawi and intelligence chief Murad Muwafi, who conveyed messages in a similar vein, the report said.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian-brokered halt to recent violence appeared to be holding despite sporadic rocket fire from Gaza and an airstrike that killed a member of Islamic Jihad's military wing late Tuesday.
The truce was announced Sunday evening following four days of violence sparked by a series of shooting ambushes near Eilat in southern Israel on Thursday in which eight Israelis died.
Israel launched a series of airstrikes in the aftermath of Thursday's attack, killing 15 Palestinians and injuring more than 50. Among those killed was Popular Resistance Committees chief Kamal Al-Nayrab.
Also Wednesday, Israel's army chief Benny Gantz ordered increased measures along the border with Egypt due to intelligence about new attacks being planned, according to a report in Israel's Haaretz newspaper. Armed groups are planning attacks similar to the ones last Thursday, the report said.
The new defensive measures include putting in place additional means of electronic and visual intelligence gathering as well bolstering navy capabilities in the south, according to the report.
IMRA (Independent Media Review and Analysis)
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.
Statistics from a joint study by Mother Jones and the University of California-Berkeley claim that 10 percent of defendants in federal terrorism cases since 9/11 were involved in a plot led by an "agent provocateur."
The FBI has nearly tripled its use of informants since 9/11, the report says. That surge in the number of FBI informants, according to Mother Jones' Trevor Aaronson, is worrisome. "The FBI has built a massive network of spies to prevent another domestic attack," a teaser atop Aaronson's article "Informants," which includes those statistics, reads.
"But are they busting terrorist plots-or leading them?"
Aaronson spends the 7,000-word piece, which includes a "terms of entrapment" glossary, describing terrorism cases in a way that encourages the reader to believe the latter. "The informants play larger roles…where they provided not only the opportunity for the person to commit this act of terror, but also the means," Aaronson told National Public Radio.
Among the examples cited in the study is the case of an Iraqi man, Waad Ramadan Alwan, whose fingerprints were found on an unexploded improvised explosive device (IED) in Iraq in 2005, years before an informant entered the picture.
This informant, sent in 2009 to investigate Alwan, after he entered the United States, did request that Alwan load trucks he believed would be delivered to al-Qaida in Iraq and other militants with Stinger missiles, rocket propelled grenade launchers, machine guns and cash - which Alwan readily did.
But Alwan's history shows that the informant was not leading him to help terrorists he wouldn't have otherwise. He had fought alongside those militants against U.S. troops in Iraq before being granted asylum and entering the United States in 2009. In fact, he was arrested by Iraqi authorities in 2006 and later released.
The informant said that Alwan discussed planting an IED on the side of a road frequented by American vehicles in Iraq. The informant also reported that Alwan said he used "hundreds" of IEDs in Iraq. In January, authorities matched the bomb fingerprints to those Alwan gave for his asylum record.
The heart of another case offered as proof of an unfettered post-9/11 witch hunt actually dates back to before 9/11. Christopher Paul traveled overseas in the early 1990s to fight with mujahideen in Afghanistan. He stayed in a guest house affiliated with al-Qaida while completing his battle training, prosecutors say, and then joined al-Qaida. In 1999, he shipped supplies to a terrorist cell in Germany.
In 2008, Paul pleaded guilty to conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction (in this case bombs) against American targets outside the United States. Paul discussed terrorist attacks with Nuradin Abdi and Iyman Faris. It was Faris who alerted FBI authorities in 2003 to Abdi's plan to attack a shopping mall in Columbus, Ohio. Faris had earlier signed on as a government informant after pleading guilty to providing material support to al-Qaida.
When Abdi was arrested in 2003, he agreed to an interview with the FBI and admitted to authorities that he, Faris and Paul had tried to provide material support to foreign terrorists.
Paul, however, was never charged in that specific case. The Mother Jones-Berkeley study incorrectly claims that Paul received a 20 year prison sentence for the shopping mall plot. The sentence was for the 2008 plea in a separate terrorist plot.
The court record shows that the FBI in no way blindly targeted an otherwise innocent, disinterested man. The Bureau was led to Paul through Abdi's claims, later verified against bank records, travel records, invoices and items seized in government searches.
The Mother Jones joint study also includes three sting operations from last fall as examples of government foul-play. Farooque Ahmed, who plotted to attack the D.C. Metro, Antonio Martinez, who plotted to attack a military recruitment center in Maryland and Mohamed Osman Mohamud, who tried to detonate a bomb at a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon are all featured.
Before informants entered any of these cases, government affidavits said:
In the case of Hosam Smadi, who wanted to blow up a Dallas skyscraper, an informant was sent in after the FBI discovered disturbing posts Smadi had made in an online forum which showed his "vehement intention" to carry out terrorist attacks on American soil.
"To sacrifice in person is the best type of jihad," "Oh how I love, my brothers, to perform jihad with you in the same rank, in the same field against the same enemy" and statements of support for al-Qaida leaders like Osama bin Laden are just some examples given in a criminal complaint.
Smadi was even given several "outs" during the plot planning, but chose to proceed anyway. "…[T]ell me if you have any hesitation, doubt, or fear," an informant said to Smadi, "If that is the case, we would depart now as friends and brothers in Islam without any anger at all. In this case, you may perform Jihad in a less dangerous way…" Smadi was undeterred.
Similarly, attempted Portland tree-lighting ceremony bomber Mohamud, mentioned above, was told by an undercover informant that the plot was his choice and that he should do "what's in your heart."
None of the cases cited for the 10 percent statistic have been thrown out using the entrapment argument. That's because the courts found the defendants were "predisposed" to committing the terror related acts, the legal standard for determining whether entrapment occurred.
Aaronson acknowledged that his definition of entrapment might not be the same as the courts'. "… I think it's important to understand that the legal definition of entrapment and what you and I would see as entrapment are very different," he told National Public Radio.
Even the case of James Cromitie, in which an informant offered $250,000 to the defendants to bomb a New York synagogue and shoot military planes with surface-to-air missiles, was upheld over cries of entrapment.
U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon upheld the conviction in May, noting that Cromitie was predisposed to commit the acts, pointing to his "bragadosio" including "hours of tapes replete with Cromitie's genuinely frightening rants about Jews."
Cases like Cromitie's highlight the risks associated with using informants as a law enforcement tool. But even if one accepts the Mother Jones assertion that 10 percent of cases were snared by an agent provocateur, it is clear that 90 percent were not.
As Attorney General Eric Holder told a Muslim lawyers group in December, "Those who characterize the FBI's activities in this case as 'entrapment' simply do not have their facts straight or do not have a full understanding of the law."
And informants are one of the best tools, according to law enforcement officials, in preventing lone wolf terror attacks. FBI Director Robert Mueller warned earlier this year that lone wolf extremists "pose an equally serious threat" as al-Qaida. This month, President Obama weighed the threat from lone wolves to be greater than that from an organized al-Qaida attack.
"I think in many of these cases nothing would have happened were it not for the FBI going in and making a plot possible," Aaronson told NPR. But in a post 9/11 world, informants must be sent in before a plot is in the works with real bad guys.
Former FBI counter terrorism official Arthur Cummings told Aaronson why. "We're looking for the sympathizer who wants to become an operator, and we want to catch them when they step over that line to operator."IPT News (The Investigative Project on Terrorism)
When reading Western reports dealing with Islam, one must learn to read between the lines. Many of these reports do state the actual facts; but without providing proper context, Western readers are often left to interpret the information according to their own understandings.
One example: the ubiquitous term "sectarian strife" to describe Muslim-Christian clashes in the Middle East is factually correct; yet "sectarian strife" connotes comparable forces fighting one another, when in reality it is often nothing less than a vastly outnumbered Christian minority being grossly oppressed by Muslim majorities, as has happened for centuries.
Sometimes it is easy to fathom the true significance of a report (usually non-MSM). For example, a recent report titled "CAIR Wants Muslim-Turned-Christian Minister to Stop Training Immigration Officials" provides all the necessary data to reach an objective conclusion:
CAIR claims "We believe training by a person with such obvious bias against Islam and Muslims would only serve to heighten concerns American Muslims have about allegations of mistreatment at our nation's borders." Conversely, the apostate minister's supporters argue that "they're [CAIR] discriminating against him. They're saying only our kind of Muslim, only someone who has not converted from Islam ... only people we approve can work for the U.S. government in the immigration service. That's not the way it works in the U.S."
Accordingly, only a bit of contextualizing is necessary to understand what this is all about: CAIR does not want an ex-Muslim—someone well acquainted with Islam—to impart his knowledge to U.S. officials.
Other times, reading a report requires more cogitation to get to its ultimate significance. For insistence, MEMRI recently reported that
The Coptic Church in Egypt has expressed its objection to the U.S. Congress's appointment of a special envoy for minority affairs in the Middle East and Asia, who would be dealing with the Coptic minority in Egypt. They called on foreign Copts, who supported the appointment, to refrain from dealing with this subject. The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and the Al-Nahda Party also objected to the appointment, claiming that it constitutes interference in Egypt's internal affairs.
This seems natural enough: Egypt's religious leadership rejects foreign interference. However, when one realizes why a special envoy was created in the first place—because of the nonstop, documented incidences of persecution of Copts in Egypt—one is left asking: why would the Coptic Church, which knows better than anyone else the persecution of its flock, reject help? Knowledge of the dynamics of Islam and dhimmitude leads to the conclusion that the Church is being pressured to say that all is well for Christians in Egypt—or else.
Finally, when dealing with the MSM, the significance of an Islam-related story must usually be dug out. Consider the following excerpt from a recent New York Times piece titled "Behold the Mighty Beard, a Badge of Piety and Religious Belonging":
[A]ll over the Muslim world, the full beard has come to connote piety and spiritual fervor. It is such a powerful cultural signifier, in fact, that it inspires non-Muslims, too…. Of course, the beard is only a sign of righteousness. It is no guarantor, as Mr. Zulfiqar [a Muslim interviewee] reminds us: "I recall one gentleman who came back from a trip to Pakistan and remarked to me, 'I learned one thing: the longer the beard, the bigger the crook.' His anticipation was people with big beards would be really honest, but he kept meeting people lying to him" [italics mine].
This comports especially well for Western readers who naturally agree that outer signs of piety certainly do not signify inner piety. Yet they overlook the inadvertent significance of this quote: in Islam, outer signs of piety on the one hand, and corruption and deceit on the other, are perfectly compatible. After all, the same source—Muhammad as recorded in the hadith—that commands Muslims to grow a beard also advocates deception and all sorts of other things hardly associated with Western notions of piety.
Readers must therefore become sensitive to the gradations of clarity in Western reports on Islam. Whereas many of those produced by the non-MSM make an effort to spell things out, the true significance of MSM reports—which are consumed by the majority—must be read between the lines.Raymond Ibrahim, an Islam-specialist, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.
The Justice Department has agreed to end its investigation into an international financial network with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and a Saudi prince in a settlement in excess of $30 million, sources tell the Investigative Project on Terrorism.
But DOJ officials refuse to release a copy of the settlement or make any comment on it.
"Unfortunately, we're unable to provide anything in connection with this matter," DOJ spokesman Charles Miller wrote in response to a query Aug. 16. He did not contest the existence of the settlement with the Islamic Investment Company of the Gulf (IICG). Repeated attempts to obtain the settlement, or at least a clear explanation of why it cannot be released when most government settlements are a part of the public record, have been unsuccessful.
"We will have no further comment," Miller said Wednesday.
Reports of a grand jury investigation into an IICG domestic affiliate called Overland Capital surfaced early in 2007. Though the grand jury was convened in Boston in September 2006, a terror-financing prosecutor from DOJ was leading the tax evasion probe into the bank, the Wall Street Journal reported. Overland Capital allegedly was controlled by the Dar al-Maal al-Islami Trust (DMI), an Islamic financial institution founded by Saudi Prince Mohamed al-Faisal and which had at least two influential Muslim Brotherhood figures on its board, the Journal reported.
It described DMI as "the hub of a network of banks and investment funds across Europe and the Middle East that cater to Muslims interested in strictly following Quranic principles, such as a ban on collecting interest." It cited records showing DMI held "an indirect 60 percent" share in Overland Capital.
The IICG, meanwhile, is a "wholly owned subsidiary" of DMI Trust, according to the Faysal Asset Management Limited website. IICG has operations on four continents and managed $1.6 billion in funds in December 2007. Saudi Prince Mohamed al-Faisal founded DMI Trust nearly 30 years ago, the Journal reported. He remains on its board, along with serving on the boards of Faisal Islamic banks in Sudan and Egypt.
The Faisal Private Bank reportedly was investigated during the 1990s for possible terror financing links. The Journal story notes that it was mentioned in a Hamas financing case involving transfers to the group and its current deputy political director, Mousa Abu Marzook.
DMI has had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, with at least two of the movement's contemporary figures serving on its board. Sudanese Brotherhood figure Hassan al-Turabi spent 10 years as a DMI director during the 1980s and early 90s, the New York Times reported in August 2007. During the same time he was a director, Turabi urged Osama bin Laden to move al-Qaida to Sudan, the 9/11 Commission Report said.
Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi also served as an early DMI Trust advisor, the Times reported. Though labeled a moderate by some, Qaradawi has a long record of anti-Semitism, support for Palestinian suicide bombings and attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq, and recently expressed his desire to kill a Jew before he dies.
Records from civil litigation in Fort Worth indicate that the criminal investigation remained active as recently as February. In October, a judge granted a stay of discovery in a breach of contract lawsuit between Vinewood Capital, LLC and DMI Trust. The stay was based on a government request that is sealed. But in his order granting the stay, U.S. District Judge Terry R. Means wrote that the government asked for the delay to protect information from a key witness in the criminal investigation who is subject to discovery in the civil case.
"[D]isclosure of the contents of his testimony would substantially prejudice the pending criminal investigation," Judge Means wrote.
The criminal investigation involved statutes covering tax evasion and conspiracy to defraud the United States by IICG.
"Additionally," the judge wrote citing the sealed government motion, "while IICGB has not been indicted, the 'investigation has been ongoing for nearly four years[,] has continued to progress[,] and is nearing a conclusion.'"
In January, after DMI sought another discovery freeze in the civil suit, DOJ prosecutor Corey Smith wrote that, while the government requested the earlier stay, it did not need additional time. "The Motion also accurately represents my comment that I believe a settlement of the Criminal Case with [IICG] criminal counsel is likely in the very near future."
That appears to have happened. But the Department of Justice is keeping all the details secret.IPT News (The Investigative Project on Terrorism)
It took me 20 minutes to drive to Ashdod from Tel-Aviv on Sunday morning, August 21st, 2 days after Ashdod, the fifth biggest city in Israel, was hit by seven Grad missiles fired from Hamas-controlled Gaza. According the IDF Spokesperson’s Office, over 100 rockets and mortars were fired towards Israel since Friday, August 19th.
As has been the routine in Sderot for the past five years, my car windows are rolled down, the radio volume is lowered, and I get ready to hear a siren that will give me and everyone else 45 seconds to find a safe place. On the bright side, 45 seconds to run for your life is an improvement over the 15 seconds you have in Sderot.
The local news on the car radio announces burial plans for Yossi Ben Sasson, age 38, who was killed from the Grad missile the night before in Beer Sheva, when he was taking his wife, nine months pregnant, for a medical check up. And the news item that follows is about a young woman fighting for her life at the Soroka hospital, also in Beer Sheva.
I reach ‘Admor Me’gor’ street in Ashdod, where only a few days before – at 8:12 a.m. on Friday morning, August 19th, – a Grad missile exploded within range of 900 yeshiva students and high school kids who were beginning their school day.
Yakkov Bozaglo, 56, who was taking shelter from the Grad missile on Friday morning, described the huge explosion and the scene of three seriously injured men as they left their small synagogue; how they were treated for shrapnel wounds on the spot, while thanking G-d that the high school and elementary students were set to arrive 15 minutes after the explosion.
Driving onto the next scene where a missile penetrated three meters deep into the sand, burrowing into a ditch between two synagogues, causing damage, but leaving all the holy books and Ark with the Torah scroll unscathed.
Ariel Zeldman, age 26, who came to see his synagogue that morning, where he prayed during the attack, described how everyone ran outside, crossed the street to the 7th floor apartment building to take cover. Ariel described how he held the hand of an elderly man who only reached half of the distance and was also injured by debris, even though he had 45 seconds to find shelter.
Leaving Ashdod and driving south towards Sderot, “the bomb shelter capital of the world”, there was a sign post on Route 4, next to Nitzan’s tent city encampment, with signs screaming: “6 years, until when?!”
The tents and sign depict the plight of Jewish residents from Gush Katif in Gaza who have been living in refugee-type conditions in Nitzan, since the IDF pulled all civilians and military personnel out of Gaza exactly six years ago, in August 2005.Six years ago, these and other Gush Katif residents pleaded their case to the government and the media, warning that missiles will reach Ashdod if they and the IDF leave Gaza. Today, they point out that the 60 kilometer range Iranian Grad missiles in Gaza can easily reach the other tent encampments on Sderot Rothschild in Tel-Aviv. The former Gaza residents are genuinely concerned about attacks on other Israeli communities, including those in Tel Aviv, even though the leaders of the Tel Aviv encampment probably favored the forced expulsion of Jewish families from Gaza.
As the Internet site News1 headlined on Saturday night, one million Israelis in a 40 kilometer radius from Gaza are now under missile fire.
While Iron Dome batteries haves been erected near Beershava and Ashkelon, Ofakim and other Israeli communities can only dream of having an Iron dome battery to protect their town.
Ofakim, a development town located 20 kilometers from Gaza with a population of 30,000 people, was hit Saturday night by a Grad missile which exploded directly into the Amoyal family’s home. The rocket left their family home completely destroyed, something I hadn’t seen in five years of living and documenting Qassam attacks on Sderot.
At the Amoyal home, I saw brick walls up to 20 centimeters thick crashed and blown away into the kitchen, demolishing four rooms of the entire house, leaving Kfir Amoyal, age 25 , alone, shivering in his bedroom, suffering from shock and from light wounds.
Attacks from Gaza and Israeli targeted responses will continue for the foreseeable future. To our dismay, global media will continue focusing on Israel’s response to terrorism while ignoring or minimizing the terrorists’ and their leaders’ actions and constant declarations of their intention to wipe us off the map and out of existence.
In addition to our remarkable military capabilities, Israel needs a policy corollary to the Iron Dome when it comes to dealing with the driving force behind the Gaza terror regime and their counterparts in other parts of the country.
Israel must deal with the root of the problem and not waste time debating which town to protect or continue throwing money at complex and expensive technology that will, at best, only prevent a small percentage of rockets from reaching their targets.
A shocking verdict rendered by an Indonesian court underscores the rising tide of violence and discrimination against religious minorities in Indonesia, long purported to be the world’s most tolerant Muslim nation.
In February 2011, Deden Sudjana, a 48-year old Indonesian male, was one of twenty members of a Muslim minority sect called the Ahmadiyah who were violently attacked by an enraged Muslim mob while they gathered in a house in the Indonesian village of Cikeusik.
The fury of the mob attack — which ironically occurred during Indonesia’s Interfaith Harmony Week — was engendered by the presence of Ahmadiyah in Cikeusik. The Ahmadiyah, with 200,000 followers in Indonesia, is considered heretical by many Muslims because of its belief that Muhammad was not the final prophet.
While Sudjana and a handful of Ahmadiyah men tried to defend the property with stones and slingshots, they were quickly overwhelmed by nearly 1,500 Muslims, all armed with clubs, machetes and rocks.
In a terrifying scene caught on video, three Ahmadiyah men were killed and the others badly beaten. As the mob danced around the dead men, laughing and chanting “God is Great,” Indonesian police merely stood and watched.
However, the Indonesian police did manage to arrest Sudjana — whose hand was nearly severed by a machete in the attack — for ostensibly inciting the mob to violence by not leaving the home upon the mob’s arrival.
While that action may have been surprising, it was overshadowed in early August when an Indonesian court sentenced Sudjana to six months in jail. It was a verdict that understandably shocked Sudjana, given the fact that 12 members of the attacking mob had been given sentences between three to six months.
In fact, one of those attackers who had crushed in the skull of an Ahmadiyah man with a rock was released from prison days before Sudjana’s sentencing. Upon his return to Cikeusik, he was treated as a conquering hero by his fellow villagers. As one man said of the attack, “I do feel bad people had to die, but we had to clean our village.”
So, as he was being escorted from the courtroom, an incredulous Sudjana asked aloud, “I’m the victim. Why am I getting a higher sentence than some of the perpetrators?”
Mistreatment of the Ahmadiyah has escalated dramatically since 2008 when the Indonesian government decreed the Ahmadiyah to be a deviant sect whose followers could face up to five years in prison for practicing their faith. Since then, over a hundred violent incidents against the Ahmadiyah have been recorded, incidents which include the torching of mosques and homes.
One of the bigger driving forces behind those attacks has been the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), a violent and hard-line Islamic militant group founded in 1998 whose stated goal is the implementation of Sharia law in Indonesia.Unfortunately, the Ahmadiyah are not the only ones to offend the religious sensibilities of the FPI and other Muslim groups. Christians have also seen a dramatic escalation of discrimination and violence launched against them.
In 2011 alone, the Indonesian Community of Churches reported at least 20 churches were forced to suspend services due to mob threats and government intervention, with scores more torched and vandalized.
Unfortunately, replacing a destroyed church or building a new one is highly problematic as Indonesian law requires that construction of a new church must have the support of 60 percent of a community’s residents, an often impossible task for Christians who make up less than nine percent of Indonesia’s total population.
In one notable example, local authorities in Bogor, a suburb of the capital city of Jakarta, have prevented the Indonesian Christian Church (GKI) from moving into a new building for over two years despite a ruling from Indonesia’s Supreme Court that the church be unsealed.
Yet, Bogor’s mayor, Diani Budiarto, has refused to comply with the order and has recently come up with a new excuse for not opening the church, reasoning that the street the church was built on has an Islamic name and is thus an offense to Muslims.
Unfortunately, the Indonesian government has refused to intervene in the case. According to Indonesia’s Home Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi, “this is the political reality in the field and it could cause disturbances to security and peace. It would not be healthy in the long run, even for the congregation members themselves.”
Unfortunately, Fauzi’s concern for Christian well-being is well-placed as Muslim intolerance has grown more overt. It’s a trend perhaps best expressed in June 2010, at the second Bekasi Islamic Congress in Bekasi, West Java, when Muslims were instructed to form Islamic paramilitary forces in readiness for a jihad against Christians.
Another more recent example of that intolerance occurred in February 2011 when a Christian man accused of blasphemy for distributing pamphlets that apparently insulted Islam received a sentence of five years in prison. However, a mob of over 1,000 Muslims, believing the verdict required a death sentence, went on a rampage, storming the courthouse and setting several local Christian churches on fire.
Yet, despite Muslims making up over ninety percent of Indonesia’s 240 million citizens, the Indonesian government insists it is committed to promoting religious tolerance, citing its constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion.
Instead, some have laid the blame for the rise in religious intolerance squarely at the doorstep of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Critics say that because Yudhoyono relies on the support of Islamic parties in parliament, he has been reluctant to condemn or act upon religiously-motivated violence and thus has emboldened the FPI and other Islamist groups.
While Yudhoyono hasn’t been a profile in courage in dealing with the issue, others say it is the Indonesian government’s own laws and its selective enforcement that are actually fueling the continued harassment and persecution of religious minorities.
Specifically, Indonesia’s blasphemy law grants local governments the freedom to charge and detain members of religious minorities that are considered deviant. In fact, in April 2010 Indonesia’s Supreme Court ruled that that it was constitutional to ban religious groups that “distort” or “misrepresent” official faiths.
While Indonesia officially recognizes six religions (Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism) in practice, the blasphemy law is applied primarily to perceived offenses against Islam.
Unfortunately, the punishment for those offenses, whether carried out by the Indonesian government or by an enraged mob, can be quite severe. As he lingers alone in his jail cell, it’s a fact Deden Sudjana understands all too well.
The progressive dismantling of Turkey's experiment in Westernization/ secularization -- which began within a decade of Ataturk's death -- came to popular, if ugly, fruition with the election of the Necmettin Erbakan government in the early 1990s.
Erbakan was a full-throated, unapologetic promulgator of mainstream, "sacralized" Islamic Jew-hatred. The modern fundamentalist Islamic movement Erbakan founded (the Islamic Milli Gorus movement, which originated in 1969) has continued to produce the most extreme strain of Antisemitism extant in Turkey, and traditional Islamic motifs, i.e., frequent quotations from the Koran and Hadith, remain central to this hatred, nurtured by early Islam's basic animus towards Judaism. For example, Milli Gazete published articles in February and April of 2005, which were toxic amalgams of ahistorical drivel and virulently anti-Semitic and anti-dhimmi Koranic motifs, including these prototypical comments based upon Koran 2:61/ 3:112:
In fact no amount of pages or lines would be sufficient to explain the Qur'anic chapters and our Lord Prophet's [Muhammad's] words that tell us of the betrayals of the Jews. ... The prophets sent to them, such as Zachariah and Isaiah, were murdered by the Jews...
Erbakan mentored current AKP leaders President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan. Both were previously active members of Erbakan's assorted fundamentalist political parties, serving in mayoral, ministerial, and parliamentary posts. The IHH -- whose violent operatives featured prominently in the Mavi Marmara flotilla anti-Semitic incitement and subsequent bloodshed -- has its origins in this same Orthodox Islamic Milli Görüş movement.
In 1974, Erdogan, while serving as president of the Istanbul Youth Group of his mentor, former Prime Minister Erbakan's National Salvation Party, wrote, directed, and played the leading role in a theatrical play entitled Maskomya, staged throughout Turkey during the 1970s. Mas-Kom-Ya was a compound acronym for "Masons-Communists-Yahudi" - the latter meaning "Jews." The play focused on the evil, conspiratorial nature of these three entities whose common denominator was Judaism.
Now, finally, we learn that Erdogan's religiously-inspired Jew-hatred has not passed unnoticed by Gabby Levy, the Israeli ambassador to Turkey, whose term is scheduled to expire in a week. As recorded in a Wikileaks cable from October 2009, sent by the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey:
Andrew G. Bostom
Levy dismissed political calculation as a motivator for Erdogan's hostility, arguing the prime minister's party had not gained a single point in the polls from his bashing of Israel. Instead, Levy attributed Erdogan's harshness to deep-seated emotion: "He's a fundamentalist. He hates us religiously and his hatred is spreading."
Adding to the worries about Iran's nuclear developments and now the fate of nuclear material in civil war wracked Libya is the status of other weapons of mass destruction(WMDs)--chemical weapons.
Both Syria and Libya possess them; however under Syria's Bashar al Assad and Libya's Moammar Khadaffi, brutal as they were, they controlled their chemical weapons. What will happen if and when the revolutionaries take over is uncertain and therefore frightening.
In an important analysis in Foreign Policy, Leonard Specter discusses
Syria is one of a handful of states that the U.S. government believes possess large stocks of chemical agents in militarized form -- that is, ready for use in artillery shells and bombs. The arsenal is thought to be massive, involving thousands of munitions and many tons of chemical agents, which range, according to CIA annual reports to Congress, from the blister gases of World War I -- such as mustard gas -- to advanced nerve agents such as sarin and possibly persistent nerve agents, such as VX gas.
In the hands of Assad -- and his father Hafez before him -- these weapons have been an ace-in-the-hole deterrent against Israel's nuclear capability. The Assad regime, however, has never openly brandished this capability: It did not employ chemical weapons in the 1982 Lebanon War against Israel, even after Israeli warplanes decimated the Syrian Air Force. Nor have they been deployed, or their use threatened, in attempting to bring Assad's current domestic antagonists to heel. And although Syria is accused of providing powerful missiles to Hezbollah, including some of a type that carried chemical warfare agents in the Soviet arsenal, Assad has not reportedly transferred lethal chemical capabilities to the Lebanon-based Shiite organization.
So despite their many faults and deplorable record on human rights, the Assads have treated their chemical arsenal with considerable care. But as the country potentially descends into chaos, will that hold true?"
Specter analyzes several possible scenarios.
"If anti-Assad insurgents take up arms, the chemical sites, as symbols of the regime's authority, could become strategic targets. And, if mass defections occur from the Syrian army, there may be no one left to defend the sites against seizure. This could lead to disastrous outcomes, including confiscation of the chemical weapons by a radical new national government or sale of the weapons as war booty to organized nonstate actors or criminal groups.
In such chaos, no one can predict who might control the weapons or where they might be taken. With these chemical weapons in the hands of those engaged in a possible civil war, the risks that they would be used would increase substantially. The problem would be worsened further if some possessors were not fully aware of the extent of the weapons' deadly effects.
And let's imagine that Assad is eventually removed: What leaders would gain control of these weapons after he departed? Saudi-backed Sunni groups? Iranian-backed Shiite organizations? Whoever they might be, it is unclear that the newcomers would follow the Assads' cautious-use doctrine and refusal to share chemical weapons with nonstate groups, or that the new leaders would be able to maintain strict security measures at the chemical sites.
Meanwhile, it's possible that an existential threat will cause the Assad regime to abandon its previous policy of restraint regarding chemical weapons. It is not a huge leap from attacking civilians with tank fire, machine guns, and naval artillery to deploying poison gas, and the shock effect and sense of dread engendered by even limited use could quash a citywide uprising within an hour."
And what can the US do about this? Very little, according to Specter.
"The options available to the United States to minimize these risks are limited at best."
Writing in Israel's YNet News, Yitzhak Benhorin reports on Libya's WMDs.
"Western analysts believe that the country's WMD (weapons of mass destruction) arsenal alone contains some 10 tons of various chemical agents which can inflict grave damage. It is also believed that Gaddafi was in possession of Scud-B missiles, over 1,000 tons of uranium powder and mass quantities of conventional weapons."
As part of a normalization process with the US, Khadaffi had agreed to and signed an agreement under President George W. Bush (R) destroying its WMDs, even sending the US blueprints of the country's nuclear infrastructure and also destroying several thousand aircraft and long range missiles. In addition
"In 2004 Tripoli joined the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) yet US sources claim that Libyan plans to halt production of chemical weapons and destroy chemical weapons arsenals were held up due to disputes between Libya and the US over funding an logistics."
Again the question, what can the US do about this?
"The Americans and their NATO partners are observing Libya via satellite, drones and other aircraft used to gather intelligence. The US and other countries also have intelligence personnel placed on the ground in Libya, tasked with aiding Libyan opposition factions in securing the chemical weapons' sites.
It is possible that NATO has personnel placed within the arsenals themselves, though this has not been confirmed."
Again, not much the US can do although probably more than in Syria.
And of course much is happening quietly, secretly.hat tip: www.dailyalert.org
The Moroccan government is aggressively implementing "a strategy of great magnitude" to exert control over the religious and cultural beliefs and practices of the nearly one million Moroccan immigrants who reside in Spain.
The strategy involves establishing a parallel Muslim society in Spain by discouraging Moroccans from integrating into their host country, and by encouraging them instead to live an Islamic lifestyle isolated from Spanish society.
Rabat is also financing the construction of hundreds of mosques in Spain whose imams are directly appointed by the Moroccan government. Moreover, the North African country is attempting to impose Muslim religious instruction in Spanish public schools, and is pressuring Moroccan families to remove their children from those schools that fail to comply.
The observations are included in a newly leaked secret report prepared by Spain's National Intelligence Center (CNI), excerpts of which have been published by the Madrid-based El País newspaper.
The CNI document says: "Designed and developed by the [Moroccan] regime, the objective is to extend its influence and augment its control over the Moroccan colonies [in Spain] by means of religion."
The CNI document continues: Rabat "has as its main objective the control over its colony [of the one million Moroccan immigrants in Spain] to detect opposition movements to the regime and to prevent the emergence of Islamic currents that depart from the dominant one" in Morocco, which practices the Maliki school of Islam.
Rabat's "principal tool of control" is the Spanish Federation of Islamic Religious Entities [FEERI], whose president, Mohamed Hamed Ali, is a resident of the city of Ceuta [a Spanish enclave in northern Africa] and who proposes 'devolving' the city to Morocco," according to the CNI.
FEERI distributes its funds "not only among its members, but also among those associations who are prepared to follow instructions from Rabat." In the north-eastern Spanish region of Catalonia, where some 235,000 Moroccan immigrants have settled, the main recipient of Moroccan subsidies is the Consell Islàmic Cultural de Catalunya.
"The funds provided by Morocco to the Muslim communities in Spain are reaching considerably important quantities," according to the CNI.
In addition to FEERI, Rabat also supervises the religious beliefs of Moroccan immigrants "through its embassy and consulates, related personnel, and the Hassan II Foundation," which is presided by Princess Lalla Meryem, sister of King Mohamed VI.
The Hassan II Foundation, whose budget is not subject to oversight by the Moroccan parliament, funds Arabic language and Islamic culture classes at more than 100 public schools across Spain where the majority of students are Moroccan immigrants. The CNI says the classes discourage the integration of Muslim youth into Spanish society. "It [the classes] is a tool to teach the children of Moroccan immigrants how to be Moroccan" and not Spanish citizens, according to the CNI.
The "classes are taught exclusively by Moroccan teachers using teaching materials common in Morocco, but very different from those used in Spain, factors which result in that Moroccan youth profoundly internalize the differences" between themselves and their Spanish hosts.
Ultimately, the Moroccan state is thereby able to maintain control over its citizens abroad. With respect to the children, the control is exercised through learning the language and the official state culture." These classes also carry with them "Muslim religious instruction which is difficult to accept from the point of view of the configuration of teaching religion in our educational system," according to the CNI report.
A separate CNI report about financing Jihad in Spain provides other examples of how the Moroccan government is using Islam for political ends. For example, in November 2008, "the Moroccan Minister of Islamic Affairs organized and paid for a meeting in Marrakesh which was attended by a considerable number of imams and leaders of the Islamic communities in Spain," according to the CNI.
At that meeting, the Moroccan government promised "financing for all religious associations and mosques that are prepared to submit to the control of the [Moroccan] regime and to adhere to its instructions." The keynote speaker at the meeting was Mohamed Yassine Mansouri, head of the Moroccan Secret Service (DGED).
The CNI report also states: "The financing is having negative consequences for [multicultural] coexistence in Spain, such as the emergence of parallel societies and ghettos, Islamic courts and police that operate outside of Spanish jurisprudence, removing girls from schools, forced marriages, etc."
It continues: "There is insufficient control of financial flows involving grants and aid from other countries that are being funnelled to the Islamic community in Spain. For the most part donors are using alternative channels to ensure that their donations escape the control of the regular Spanish financial system. Donors should be made fully aware of the risks associated with such financing."
Morocco recently co-sponsored a weeklong seminar in Barcelona titled "Muslims and European Values" during which it was proposed that the construction of big mosques would be "a useful formula" to fight Islamic fundamentalism in Spain.
According to Noureddine Ziani, a Barcelona-based Moroccan imam: "It is easier to disseminate fundamentalist ideas in small mosques set up in garages where only the members of the congregation attend, than in large mosques that are open to everyone, with prayer rooms, cafes and meeting areas."
Ziani said it is absolutely necessary to accept Islamic values as European values and that from now on, Europeans should replace the term "Judeo-Christian" with term "Islamo-Christian" when describing Western Civilization.