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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mental Asylam In Somalia

Abdullahi Shehu, Director General, GIABA Conference OPening Comments

Opening Remarks by Dr. Abdullahi Shehu, Director General, GIABA, at the Opening Ceremony of the Financial Investigators Training Workshop for Francophone and Lusophone Member States of ECOWAS, Organized by GIABA in Collaboration with the US OTA, Held in Abidjan, Cote d’ Ivoire, on 15-19 December 2008

  • The Hon. Minister of Finance of la Cote d’Ivoire,
  • H.E. Mme US Ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire,
  • Excellencies, Ambassadors of ECOWAS Member States,
  • Distinguished Experts from the US OTA,

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen.

I am delighted to be here in furtherance of our technical assistance to our member States to build capacity to deal with the problems of money laundering and terrorist financing.

The strong commitment demonstrated by the government of la Cote d’Ivoire over the years to establish a robust AML/CFT regime has been most encouraging. The hosting of this workshop is a further demonstration of government of Cote d’Ivoire’s commitment to the AML/CFT crusade.

I therefore have the honour to welcome you to this regional capacity enhancement program for financial investigators for our member States.

  • This is the second phase of this program following the first, which was held in Abuja, Nigeria, in July 2008 for the Anglophone member States of ECOWAS.
  • Mr. Faustin Honozon and his collaborators in the GIABA Inter-Ministerial Committee in Cote d’Ivoire for their tireless efforts in organizing this training program as well as other initiatives. During my last official visit to your country in April 2008,
  • I noted the significant progress being made in promoting the principles and objectives of GIABA, including the establishment of a strong and well funded Inter-Ministerial Committee, with a functional Secretariat; the establishment of a FIU; as well as continuous training of the key staff to implement a National AML/CFT Strategy.

Despite these modest achievements, however, there is still much more to do!.

I urge all stakeholders to sustain this momentum, and call on the political authorities to continue to support these initiatives.

  • Both the first phase and this second phase of the program could not have been realized without the support of the US Treasury Department/OTA. Since the operational establishment of GIABA about 4 years ago, the US Government has been consistently supportive of our work. Through the office of the Treasury Regional Adviser for Africa, we have collaborated with the US Government, inc the hosting of a regional training program on detecting bulk cash smuggling for Customs officials in 2007.
  • Just last month, the US Treasury Department assisted GIABA with an expert who contributed immensely to a regional workshop for Compliance Officers in financial institutions, which was held in Banjul, the Gambia. The US Government has continued to participate in our biannual plenary meetings and other activities.

During the first phase of the financial investigative techniques training program in Abuja last July, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Madam Sanders Robinson, expressed the US’s deep interest in the region, and its commitment to support us, particularly in combating transnational organized crime. We draw a lot of inspiration from such encouragement and support from the US government. Today, we are delighted to have in our midst the US Ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire, who will present a goodwill message at this workshop. We thank you most sincerely for your support.

All member States have demonstrated strong commitment to fight money laundering and terrorist financing in this region through the framework of the ECOWAS and GIABA. We are grateful to their distinguished representatives / Ambassadors who are with us. We will continue to count on your support to report our activities to your governments with a view to sustaining their commitment and support.

The impact of money laundering and terrorist financing Money laundering is a derivative crime. It is the process whereby proceeds from crime are disguised in order to conceal the true origin, ownership, movement and purpose of such proceeds.

  • In this context, money laundering is derived from the original offence that generated illegal wealth.
  • On the other hand, terrorist financing could be derived from both legitimate and illegitimate activities.
  • It thus, constitutes an offence to the extent of its outcome, namely the terrorist act. Overall both phenomena are a major problem with respect to international peace and security.

The laundering of the proceeds from crime could have adverse consequences for the stability of the financial system in particular and overall economic development.

  • Criminals exploit weak links in the system to undermine the credibility of the system by commingling and integrating dirty money into the system.
  • When this is not curtailed, criminals may take over the economic and political systems in a country, and thus undermine rule of law, and in extreme cases, cause political instability through arms trade and other means.
  • Since organized crime recognizes no boundaries, it is imperative for all nations to cooperate to combat this menace.


The international community has since recognized the negative impact of money laundering and terrorist financing and has taken steps in the past few decades to combat these phenomena.

Many multilateral instruments and best practices have been promulgated and adopted, but the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) 40+9 Recommendations remain by far, the most comprehensive and acceptable Standards against these phenomena.

The FATF Rcommendations on Money Laundering, including the 9 Special Recommendations on the Financing of Terrorism, although they do not represent a binding international convention, have been recognized, endorsed or adopted by over 182 countries and jurisdictions who have made a political commitment to combat money laundering and terrorist financing by implementing the FATF standards.

The standards set out the principles of action by governments and competent authorities, and allow countries a measure of flexibility in implementing these principles according to their unique circumstances and constitutional frameworks.
Specifically, the FATF Recommendation 26 requires countries to establish a Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) that serves as a national centre for the receiving (and in some cases, requesting), analysing and disseminating STRs and other related information with a view to preventing and combating money laundering and terrorist financing.

The recommendations further require countries to provide their competent authorities involved in combating these phenomena with adequate financial, human and technical resources. In this regard, countries should have in place processes to ensure that the staff of those authorities are of high integrity.

The role of GIABA

GIABA was recognized as a FATF Style Regional Body (FSRB) in June 2006 and it is charged with the responsibility of enforcing the FATF Standards in this region.

We do this through a systematic process of peer review and the conduct of typologies to determine the trends, patterns and emerging methods of laundering the proceeds from crime.

Thus, the mission of GIABA is to promote the diligent implementation of acceptable international standards and best practices.

Suffice it say therefore that full and effective roll-out of the FATF standards in all countries is a major goal of the FATF. The uniform and consistent application of the FATF standards is essential to make it more difficult for criminals to penetrate the system.

Although the FATF has developed comprehensive guidance notes and best practice papers to assist in the implementation of its standards, low capacity countries still face daunting challenges in doing so.

The specific challenges of low income countries in implementing these standards include:

  1. Competing priorities for scarce government resources
  2. Severe lack of resources and skilled workforce to implement government programs, including AML/CFT programs
  3. Overall weakness in legal institutions
  4. The dominance of the informal sector and a cash based economy
  5. Poor document and data retention systems
  6. In some cases, very small financial sector with limited exposure to the international financial system.
  7. In order to assist member States to apply these standards in this region, GIABA is also mandated to provide technical assistance to states. Our technical assistance is demand driven and is predicated on the following parameters:
  8. Cooperation and engagement: our preoccupation is to motivate and encourage sustained political commitment to implementing AML/CFT standards in member States. Let me reiterate that no amount of regional efforts and technical assistance would realize the goal of implementing acceptable standards without a strong political commitment at the national level.

Leadership and inter- agency cooperation and coordination:

We promote close cooperationwith member States through the GIABA Ad hoc Ministerial Committee as well as a network of National Correspondents. Our technical assistance is therefore targeted at the establishment of strong coordination bodies in the form of inter-ministerial committees, which should be representative of all institutions and stakeholders involved in efforts and actions against money laundering and terrorist financing.

Strategic partnerships:

one of our main goals is to promote partnerships with the civil society, particularly the news media, NGOs and CSOs, and the private sector, who are directly affected by the impact of these scourges.

Technical assistance coordination:

in order to reduce duplication of efforts, strengthen comparative advantage and derive maximum benefits from technical assistance from our partners, GIABA is charged with the responsibility of coordinating assistance to ECOWAS member States to fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.

Prioritization and planning:

in order to enable member States to improve their capacity, GIABA undertakes risk assessments and typologies of money laundering and terrorist financing and makes policy recommendations to states. Upon request, we also provide mentorship, as well as legal advisory services to states to build their FIUs and assist them in developing and implementing National AML/CFT Strategies and Action Plans.


In essence, GIABA should not be seen to be replacing states, but rather supporting them to build internal structures to prevent and combat money laundering and terrorist financing. In order to ensure that the staff of competent authorities are of good quality and high integrity, this workshop is aimed at enhancing the capacity of those involved in the investigation of financial crime in their countries.

I am happy to note that a good number of participants at this program have been drawn from the CENTIFs.

In conclusion, I would like to express confidence in the galaxy of experts that have been assembled here for this program. I am sure participants would find this program very interesting. It is a participatory program and all are expected to contribute, especially in the break out sessions, so that all can benefit from our respective experiences.

The Rest @ GIABA. org

Pursuit and Profile for the Next Somali President

from Royale Somalia by Banaadir

The pursuit and profile for the next Somali presidentThe resignation of the last warlord president of Somalia from office creates both an opportunity for alternative leadership and sadly a perceived power vacuum risk. Within 30 days or so, a new president must be elected by a bigger and blown-up parliament probably by inclusive power-sharing government.

That is very perplexing by just considering the low standards of Somali politics and the customary slow adherences to set time frames of Somalis.The nuisance of spoilers could cause a blow to the power sharing stipulated in the recent Djibouti agreement between the transitional government and the moderate Islamist and hence, create the perceived power vacuum risk.

  • The recent Sufi Vs Shabaab sectarian infighting could be a precursor to future descent to more anarchy and violence in Somalia.
  • There are those who equate this new sectarian struggle as the Somali version of The Iraqi Anbar Awakening and rejection of the revolting extremism of the Shabaab insurgents.
  • One thing is for sure, the Sufis are not the sons of Somalia as there are evidences suggestive of them sleeping with the enemy (Ethiopian occupation army) and with discredited warlords.
  • Likewise it is suffice enough to say that Shabaab are not the saviors of Somalia and their extreme sins of grave-scrapping and shrine demolitions should be shunned.

For the moment, let us hope that the situation in Somalia to not worsen than it is now and that it might not spiral down to more splits and blood splitting.

Somalia has abundance of petty politicians, mostly male, incompetent and somewhat tainted in clan rivalries. Even worse’ some have blood on their hands.

Warlords and their cohorts – who came to prominence by the barrel of the gun - are members of the parliament. I am assuming that we all know who they are and that we are all witnesses to the terror and destructions they created in past 18 years.

The men vying for power are part of the transitional government or would join the ranks soon. Some of them are rather incompetent or are beholden to foreign interests. Somalis need to learn from history and never put up with any faction leader or fanatic; or anyone that would bear resemblance of the last warlord president.

The history and the character of last president and his warlord clique are at fault here. He was a rebel, faction leader, stubborn, clannish, and above all a warlord. We still have the warlords in abundance and in circles of power and they are selfishly vying for power.

Wisdom and experience should dictate their isolation.What kind of president Somalia needs and what is the job waiting for the president?Before we answer that question we need to reminisce our past and the first time Somalia had a president. We had a great president and his name was Aden Adde, may Allah bless his soul.

Almost every Somali I know or met adores him and respects him. Adde was not a soldier, or a warlord, or a murderer. He didn’t ascend to power because he led a clan or had clan militias. He was not a religious scholar, fanatic or charlatan.

He was ordinary man who loved his people and country, not his particular clan or town or sect. Maybe we need a man/women like him to lead us out of this misery. Is there anyone like Adde around now?

We have this opportunity that we can’t waste. Almost two decades of mayhem and misery should teach us that we should get rid of all these awful men who were part of the civil war and our suffering. A new blood of leaders, clean of any war crimes, immune to the clannish curse, is needed.

We need leaders, who are capable to unite a divided, starving and warring people, a leader who is conscious that Somalia’s image of failed state and basket case nation is disgrace and intolerable, a leader who can reconcile people and rebuild alliances for the common good, a leader who is above petty personal clashes, a leader who can restore law and order without resorting to shelling on civilian residences or displacing people out of their homes, a leader who doesn’t need clan militias to protect him, a leader who doesn’t have a clan advisors or spokespersons, a leader who doesn’t declare Jihad on Muslims and non-Muslims.

We need a president who can lead a government that can form an environment to promote peace, stability, education , employment and not a warlord secular dictatorship or Taliban-like terror theocracy.

It is easier to catalog these noble but difficult responsibilities than to carry them out. Anyone who dares to volunteer for such onerous tasks must be courageous, and above all exceptionally qualified. Let us try to jot down some of the credentials and qualifications that are needed from such brave leader.

First thing first, the ideal leader would be a god-fearing person endowed with a sound judgment, education and unconditional patriotism to the nation of SOMALIA. The last warlord president and the other warlords around have few of these qualities. Clannish sycophants surround us and we let them dominate us and pave the fate of our people for the worse. Their only ambition is to pursue selfish personal and clannish agendas. Their intellectual capacities and judgments are questionable. We need to exclude these guys and designate them like the pariahs they are.

Somalis are generous to assigning bogus scholarly accolades to people who either have dubious diplomas, apprentices or credentials. Just look at our so-called leaders. Every one of them is undeservedly a doctor, engineer or Sheikh without anything to show off for such venerable titles.

Somalia needs a leader who is educated and went through schooling at higher institutions of learning.

Secondly, we need experienced leader that we can all agree of his/her proven track record in terms of leadership, cooperation and coalition building.

Thirdly we need a leader who can unify our people and can rise above the clan and sectarian divisions that is destructively plaguing us now.

Fourthly, Somalia needs a leader who can abide the constitution and is not above the law. The president must know his/her limits and must respect the balances of power and other branches of government. The leader must practice tenets of democracy, which are as simple as not limiting the freedom of expression, association and individual liberty. The leader must be sophisticated, world-savvy, not someone who shuns other systems or civilizations.There are many detailed and known leadership qualities that can be listed but would needs pages to write them down so I am going to spare of you or taking you back you to ideals and fantasy world of leadership and decision-making.

Who could that Somali leader or president be? And where we can find a Somali with such characteristics who is ready and qualified enough to take the helm of leadership in chaotic and poor Somalia?

Making the right decision is imperative to the survival of Somalia and its restoration as a viable nation-state. Let us be very careful and not repeat the past mistakes. Let us find the right person/persons to lead us of this mess with Allah’s help and blessing. If we mess this opportunity up like we used to do in the past, the consequences would be irremediable.

Abdulkadir Mohamed -

Abaadir0@gmail.com

The Rest @ The New Somlia Blogspot

Abdullahi Yusuf Resigns, Ehtipian Soldiers Prepare to Leave Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia: A powerful insurgent group poised to take over Somalia said Wednesday it will fight until the country is ruled by Islamic law, even as Ethiopian troops who have been propping up the government packed up to leave.

The presence of the Ethiopian troops, whom many Somalis see as occupiers in their land, has been a rallying cry for the insurgents to gain recruits even as the militants' strict form of Islam terrified people into submission.

But on Wednesday, the most powerful insurgent group said the departure after two years will not be enough to stop them fighting the government.

"We will not stop fighting even if the Ethiopian troops withdraw because our aim is to implement Islamic law across Somalia," said Sheik Muktar Robow, leader of the most aggressive Islamic insurgency group, al-Shabab.

The Ethiopian troops were packing up to leave Wednesday amid fears their departure will allow the strengthening Islamic insurgency to take over. But it was unclear when the thousands of soldiers would actually depart. They are expected to leave in stages, not all at once.


Ethiopia originally said it would end its unpopular presence here by the end of December, but officials have since declined to give an exact date because of fears of a power vacuum.

Somali military officials and soldiers said the Ethiopians were awaiting word on when to go.
"They have stopped dealing with us, all they could tell us was that they were getting ready for a final departure from Somalia," Somali soldier Fuad Muhumed Afey said of the Ethiopian troops.

Witnesses said many soldiers were packing mattresses, personal belongings and loading trucks with military supplies.

Somalia's former president, Abdullahi Yusuf, who resigned this week, called in Ethiopia for help two years ago to rout Islamic militants who had taken over most of the country. Ethiopia's superior firepower worked — the Islamists were driven from power, however briefly — but an Iraq-style insurgency soon began.

Al-Shabab has taken control of vast amounts of new territory in recent months. Washington accuses al-Shabab of harboring the al-Qaida-linked terrorists who blew up the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.

Many of the insurgency's senior figures are Islamic radicals; some are on the U.S. State Department's list of wanted terrorists.

Yusuf's resignation could usher in more chaos as Islamic militants scramble and even fight among themselves for power. The government controls only pockets of Mogadishu, the capital, and Baidoa, the seat of Parliament.

The Rest @ The International Hearald Tribune
___

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Al Harbi Trading Company

Abdullah Olaisha Al Harbi
Chief Executing Officer


Nael Mohsen
Executive Director


Naif Abdullah Al Harbi
General Manager


Fahad Abdullah Al Harbi
Vice President


Hassan Abdullah Al Harbi
Vice General Manager


Khalil Ibrahim Al Sharaan
Head of Estimates


Kamal Al Shami
Finance Manager


Talaat Badr
Business Development Manager


Mounir Al Ezzah
Projects and Construction Manager


Mukhtar Salim Mabkhut
Camp Manager


Maher Abdullah Al Harbi
Administration and Personnel Manager



Fayez Abdullah Al Harbi
Managing Director, Jeddah

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ismail Hassan Timir, Somalias Deputy Minister for Reconciliation Assasinated

MOGADISHU: Gunmen yesterday killed a deputy minister in Somalia’s country’s south-central town of Baidoa, witnesses said.

Ismail Hassan Timir, the deputy minister for reconciliation, was shot as he stepped out of his car in Baidoa, the seat of the country’s transitional parliament, a correspondent who saw his body reported.

[....Who had a motive for this assisination? It was likley al Shabaab. They have been engaging local malitia in the South of Somalia who do not have a strong enough Islamist Agenda to suite their tase, and now they have taken out the Reconciliation Minister, the only man both sides trusted to work out the details of the peace deal.... now the rest of the Story from Qatar....
-Shimron]

“We don’t know the identity of the attackers and the motive behind it,” said Mohamed Abdi, a businessman.

“He came out of his car and gunmen sprayed him with bullets,” he added.

Meanwhile, 12 people were killed yesterday when an Islamist group seized control of a central Somali trading town in a battle with hardline Al Shabaab militants, residents said.

Al Shabaab, which means youth in Arabic, captured Gurael, 370km north of the capital Mogadishu on December 6, after three days of fighting with a government-allied moderate Sunni Islamist group in the area.
Locals said the Sunni Islamist group ousted by Al Shabaab three weeks ago had been regrouping and launched their attack yesterday morning.

“I have counted 12 dead fighters lying in the alleys of Gurael,” witness Ali Aden said.

The Rest @ The Peninsila on-line (Qatar)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hezbollah, Venezuela, and How Small businesses Fund Terrorism

Hezbollah undertakes a multiplicity of activities in Paraguay to raise and move money:
  • Case in point, Assad Barakat, who on the one hand, distributed fake dollar bills, and on the other hand, ran two legitimate businesses as fronts for his activities: an electronics wholesale store called “Casa Apollo” based in Ciudad del Este Paraguay, and Barakat Import-Export Ltda., based in Iquique Chile.
  • In an excellent piece on the subject, Jeffrey Goldberg described the nefarious activities of Hezbollah in the tri-border area, including its use of seed money for small business start-ups, as well as threatening compatriots to cough-up money or see their family members back in Lebanon placed on blacklists.
  • In return for start-up money, the small business gives to Hezbollah 20% of its gross revenues after the loan is paid off.
  • Goldberg also noted that it was not unusual for a small business with little revenue to be wiring large sums of money back to Lebanon.
  • Since 1995, from his home in Ciudad del Este Paraguay, it is believed that Sobhi Mahmoud Fayad, an associate of Assad Barakat, had donated over $50 million to Hezbollah via charities such as Bonyad-e Shahid (the ‘martyr’s organization”), to which he gave $3.5 million.

Recent articles by Chris Zambelis and Ely Karmon have drawn attention to the growing patronage of Hezbollah by Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. This takes two forms:

  • First, there is the allowance by Chavez’s regime of import-export businesses controlled by Hezbollah in the free trade zone of Margarita Island.
  • Second, there is the allowance of not just a base of operations for Hezbollah among the Wayuu Indians in the West of the country, but also a presence on the Internet via MSN.

These are the very same Indians who have been caught in the middle of a turf war between the right-wing paramilitary forces of the AUC and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (“FARC”) over the cocaine crops in the Eastern provinces of Colombia.

As a result, a synergy has developed between the Wayuu, FARC, Hezbollah and President Chavez. It is to be noted that Venezuela is now the second largest customer of the Russian arms industry, from whom among other things, it has purchased 100,000 AK-103 rifles and has agreed to build two Kalashnikov factories in Venezuela by 2010, as well as being in the process of negotiating the purchase of five Project 636 Kilo-class submarines and four Project 637 Amur submarines.

It makes you wonder whether those Americans who buy gas at Citgo gas stations know that a portion of their hard earned dollars are going to fund terror aimed squarely at the United States.
Clearly, the passing of H.R. 3146 is an essential first step in the look forward process.

The Rest @ The Terrorist Finanace Blog

Islamic Charities Empowering Terrorist Activity

Islamic Charities that empower terrorist activities fall into two two categories:

I Agencies Specifically Designed to Reverse Money Laundering Funds

  • After 9-11 the FTATC found that "certain Islamic Agencies were operating sophisticated schemes to transfer funds to and from the US, Canada, and Europe behind a wall of secrecy"
  • Local Muslim doners defended these agencies,even while refusing to ask them for an accounting of how the agencies spent the funds - in effect an unspoekn "don't ask don't tell" agreement is in place.
  • The FTATC found that

II. Agencies Penetrated by Islamist Jihad facilitators "Using" legitimate Islamic charities assist and even resupply clearlt identified terrorist Jihad groups.


The Method for funding is within the context of Zakat ( More to follow)


Part of an ongoing "book review" of the pulped book Alms for Jihad"

-Shimron

Islam and Alms


Viktor Bout testifies in Thiland

It looks like Viktor has lost some weight in his Thi Prison....

-Shimron

By MICHAEL CASEY – 23 hours ago

BANGKOK, Thailand — The purported "Merchant of Death" told a Thai court Monday he was not involved in a scheme to sell weapons to Colombian rebels, as he sought to prevent his extradition to the U.S.

Viktor Bout, a former Soviet air force officer, has long been linked to some of Africa's most notorious conflicts, allegedly supplying arms to former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

He has repeatedly denied any involvement in illicit activities and has never been prosecuted, despite being the subject of U.N. sanctions and a travel ban.

The 41-year-old Russian — who was purportedly the model for the arms dealer portrayed by Nicolas Cage in the 2005 movie, "Lord of War" — was arrested in March during a sting operation in which undercover U.S. agents posed as rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known by its Spanish acronym, FARC.

But on Monday, dressed in an orange prison uniform with shackles around his ankles, he told the court he was set up by the Americans.

  • "I never met anyone from FARC. I've never talked to anyone from FARC," Bout told the court. "I didn't do anything wrong in Thailand."
  • The U.S. is seeking Bout's extradition on charges he conspired to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons, including 100 surface-to-air missiles and armor-piercing rockets, that he thought were destined for the FARC.
  • The leftist group, which has been fighting Colombia's government for more than four decades, is listed by the U.S. as a terror group.

U.N. reports have said Bout parlayed his contacts in the post-Soviet arms industry into a weapons-dealing business, setting up a network of more than 50 aircraft around the world to supply arms that fueled a litany of conflicts, mostly in Africa. The U.N. suspects his clients included Taylor, Gadhafi, the late dictator Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, now known as Congo, and both sides of the civil war in Angola.

The world body imposed a travel ban on him that accused him of supporting efforts by Taylor's regime in Liberia to destabilize neighboring Sierra Leone.

Bout scoffed at the U.N. allegations on Monday, telling the court that his aviation business only shipped "legal items."

  • "The U.N. is not a court," he said, his voice rising as he waved his hands in the air.
  • "It is a group of countries and it doesn't have the capacity to check what I send on my planes."
  • The extradition hearing has drawn an unusually vigorous response from Russia, according to Douglas Farah, who wrote the 2007 book on Bout, "Merchant of Death: Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible." The co-author of the book, Stephen Braun, is an editor at the Washington bureau of The Associated Press.

Farah said the Russian government has run sympathetic stories in government media about Bout and lobbied senior Thai officials for his release.

  • Two officials from Russia's Embassy in Thailand were in court on Monday.
  • The Duma, or lower house of parliament, has also issued a statement calling for him to be returned to Russia.

"The Russians have made great efforts to get him out beyond what they would do for a normal Russian citizen," Farah said. "Over the years, he's been incredibly useful to the Russian intelligence apparatus particularly in delivering weapons to states such as Iran and their proxies in Lebanon."

Farah said the Russian government is concerned that he could reveal details about his dealings with Moscow were he to be put on trial in the United States.


"I think they would prefer to have him back in Moscow under their control than having him testify in open court in the United States," Farah said.


Facing the judges in a wooden chair on Monday, Bout often appeared agitated as he detailed his arrest and nine-month detention in a Bangkok prison. But at one point, he turned and flashed a victory sign and smiled at his mother, who along his wife attended the hearing.

Bout testified that he came to Bangkok "to relax" and meet with several Thai executives "who wanted to purchase airplanes."

"I did not commit any terrorist acts," Bout said.
Bout and his attorneys offered up a laundry list of reasons he should be set free:

  • The arrest warrant was flawed.
  • He committed no crime in Thailand.
  • The United States had no business prosecuting him.
  • He is a victim of worsening relations between the United States and Russia.

Bout faces charges in the United States of conspiring to kill Americans, conspiring to kill U.S. officers or employees, conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and conspiring to acquire and use an anti-aircraft missile.

He could face a maximum penalty of life in prison if convicted.

The extradition hearing will continue Tuesday and is expected to finish this week. A ruling is not immediately expected.

The Rest @ The Associated Press

Islamic Banking in Crisis

Investment bankers from London were flying into once-booming Dubai last night as the bailout of the Gulf state’s banking sector began.The bank and the finance ministry of the United Arab Emirates have established a AED120 billion emergency funding facility .Global Investment House KSCC, Kuwait’s biggest investment bank, declined to the lowest in more than four years after appointing HSBC Holdings to renegotiate loans owed to foreign lenders.Citigroup Inc., the global bank that got a $45 billion government bailout, “recently” arranged more than $8 billion of financing for government-owned companies in Dubai.Dubai Holding Commercial Operations Group LLC, a company owned by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, said it repaid 2.4 billion dirhams ($650million) of maturing bonds and loans from its own cash flows.
Posted by Editor at 08:00 0 comments
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The Rest @ Sharia Finance

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ahmed Idris Nasreddin,

  • Nasreddine, Ahmed Idriss, was listed as a key contributor to al Qaeda on the Golden Chain list found in the caves of Tora Bora after Usamma ben Laudin escaped.
  • Most countries listed him and his companies on sancation lists.
  • His son publicacly owns and runs a Nigerian food processing company caled Nasco Foods
  • He then went undreground, may have bought property in Panama
  • He emerged on 14 November 2007 when the UN removed him and one of his a companies from its sanction list
  • No other companies removed him from their sanctiolns list, as of this date
  • He has been living publicly since then.
Eritea, which borders on Somalia, is his original home (you may read Ethiopia, but Eritrea ceded from Ethiopia after Idris Nassredin was born.

There, Aburrahim Nassredin has been appointed President of the Eritrea branch of NASCON, a construction company with Headquarters and projects in the UAE They appear to be in the busiess of building high end custom Villas for private individuals....Interesting in Eritrea, a poor country in the Horn of Africa,
Lets monitor his islamic bank transactions and connections (see below) and his connections in the Bahamas.
Lets examine the Nassredin Foundation, established with offices in Lichtenstein - a small European country famous for its bank fronts and money laundering. In fact it is one of the last countries whos laws still allow transactions on numbered accounts - no other id required.
Here is what we have
Nasreddine, Ahmed Idriss,
Nationality: Italian Passport no.: na ra or
National identification no.:
a) Italian Identity Card number AG 2028062 , expired on 7 Sep. 2005
b) Foreign ID card number K 5249
Five Addresses:

a) Corso Sempione 69, 20149 Milan, Italy
b) Piazzale Biancamano, Milan, Italy
c) 10 Route De Cap Spartel, Tangiers, Morocco
d) no: 10, Rmilat, Villa Nasreddin in Tangiers, Morocco
e) Via Maggio 21, P.O. Box 216, 6909 Lugano, Switzerland

Other information:

  • Italian Fiscal Code: NSRDRS29S22Z315Y.
  • Mr. Nasreddin left his residence at 1 via delle Scuole, 6900 Lugano, Switzerland in 1994 and moved to Morocco.
  • He is the president of Miga-Malaysian Swiss, Gulf and African Chamber (this entity was formerly listed under permanent reference number QE.M.78.02 and de-listed on 14 Nov. 2007).
Removed from list on: 14 Nov. 2007

QE.A.74.02. Name:
AKIDA BANK PRIVATE LIMITEDA.k.a.: na F.k.a.:
a) Akida Islamic Bank International Limited
b) Iksir International Bank Limited Address:
C/o Arthur D. Hanna & Company 10 Deveaux Street, Nassau, Bahamas
P.O. Box N-4877, Nassau, Bahamas OQE.A.75.02.
AKIDA INVESTMENT CO. LTD.A.k.a.: Akida Investment Company Limited F.k.a.: Akida Bank C/o Arthur D. Hanna & Company b) 10 Deveaux Street, Nassau, Bahamas c) P.O. Box N-4877, Nassau, Bahamas
GULF CENTER S.R.L.A.k.a.: na F.k.a.:
Corso Sempione 69, 20149 Milan, Italy
Fiscal Code: 07341170152 V.A.T. Number: IT 07341170152

MIGA-MALAYSIAN SWISS, GULF AND AFRICAN CHAMBERA.k.a.: na F.k.a.:
Gulf Office Assoc. Per Lo Sviluppo Comm. Ind. E Turis
Fra Gli Stati Arabi Del Golfo E La Svizzera
QE.H.80.02.
HOTEL NASCOA.k.a.: Nasco Business Residence Center SAS Di Nasreddin Ahmed Idris EC Address: Corso Sempione 69, 20149 Milan, Italy
Fiscal Code: 01406430155 V.A.T. Number: IT 01406430155

NASCO NASREDDIN HOLDING
Demirhane Caddesi, No: 219,
Zemin Kat, Zeytinburnu, Istanbul, Turkey
Llast address listed for this entry in the Foreign Investment Archives of the Turkish Treasury is “Cobancesme San. Genc Osman Sok. No: 12, Yenibosna, Istanbul, Turkey”
NASCOSERVICE
Corso Sempione 69, 20149 Milan, Italy
Fiscal Code: 08557650150 V.A.T. Number: IT 08557650150

NASCOTEX
Industrie Generale De Filature Et Tissage
Industrie Generale De Textile
7 Route de Rabat, BP 285, Tangiers, Morocco
NASREDDIN COMPANY
NASCO SAS DI AHMED IDRIS NASREDDIN
Corso Sempione 69, 20149 Milan,
Fiscal Code: 03464040157 V.A.T. Number: IT 03464040157
NASREDDIN FOUNDATION
A.k.a.: Nasreddin Stiftung
C/o Rechta Treuhand-Anstalt, Vaduz, Liechtenstein

NASREDDIN GROUP INTERNATIONAL HOLDING LIMITED
A.k.a.: Nasreddin Group International Holdings Limited
C/o Arthur D. Hanna & Company b)
10 Deveaux Street, Nassau, Bahamas
P.O. Box N-4877, Nassau
Bahamas Other information:
All these companies were removed from the United Nations Sanctions list on Novermber 14th 2007. There was really no explanation except the following quote:
"The Committee’s Consolidate List is updated regularly on the basis of relevant information provided by Member States and regional organizations. This is the twenty-second update of the List in 2007.
An updated List is accessible in XML, PDF and HTML formats on the Committee’s website: http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/consolist.shtml
ia Maggio 21, P.O. Box 216, 6909, Lugano, Switzerland Other information:
The president of this entity is Ahmed Idris Nasreddin (this individual was formerly listed under permanent reference number QI.N.66.02 and de-listed on 14 Nov. 2007). Removed from list on: 14 Nov. 2007




***********************


Added November 11th, 2011:


"anonymous" has requested that this article be pulled, based on the fact that the both the OFAC and the UN has removed Ahmed Idris Nasreddin from the terrorist watch list. This fact is already listed in the above article.


The bottom line is that while Ahmed Idris Nasreddin has significant family connections to designated terrorists, it must also be said that he has gone through the process of submitting documents that demonstrate that his businesses are no longer directly connected to the businesses that funded al Qaeda.


However, it is our belief that both the listing and de-listing of Ahmed Idris Nasreddin from the terrorist watch lists needs to be a matter of public record.  In fairness, an article by the LA times commenting on the de-listing on 2007 follows:


-Shimron Issachar
****************************************

In 2002, the U.S. said a businessman was aiding Al Qaeda. Now he's quietly off the blacklist.
November 28, 2007|Josh Meyer | Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — With much fanfare in August 2002, the Bush administration formally designated prominent Italy-based businessman Ahmed Idris Nasreddin as a top financier of terrorism, saying he was a key moneyman for Al Qaeda's international network.

The United Nations quickly followed suit, requiring its 190 member nations to freeze the assets of Nasreddin and his vast web of business holdings, and to prohibit any individuals or entities in those countries from having any dealings with them.

Two weeks ago, the administration quietly took Nasreddin and a dozen of his financial companies and other holdings off the official blacklist, and the United Nations immediately did the same. Neither agency publicly announced the decision or explained why they were doing so; they simply published the delisting in an updated list of enforcement actions.

Some experts on terrorism financing found the decision puzzling. "You cannot for five years refer to someone as an international terrorist financier, seize all their funds, tell the world that this is a major-league bad guy, and then suddenly change your mind without public explanation," said lawyer Jonathan M. Winer, a former deputy assistant secretary of State for international law enforcement. He represents clients in terrorism financing cases involving sanctions.

"In order to have credibility, you have to explain to the world what has happened, and you have to justify both decisions," Winer said. "Was the initial decision a mistake? And if it wasn't, how do you justify the new decision? It screams out for a full explanation, and none has been provided."

United Nations officials in New York did not return calls and e-mails seeking comment. The Treasury Department declined to discuss the case in detail Tuesday, but issued a statement that suggested it believed that both the initial designation of Nasreddin and his recent "de-listing" were appropriate.

The department's Office of Foreign Assets Control "reviewed all of the information in its possession, including the information upon which Mr. Nasreddin's original designation was based, additional information, and Mr. Nasreddin's submissions in support of his delisting petition," the statement said.

Treasury also said that "a primary basis" for Nasreddin's earlier designation was his support for Youssef Nada, co-founder and co-director with Nasreddin of the prominent Bank al Taqwa, and Nasreddin's support for the bank itself. The bank and Nada, who according to the Treasury Department holds a controlling interest, were first designated as financiers of terrorism in November 2001 by the Bush administration and United Nations. They remain on the blacklist.

But now, the department said, Nasreddin "no longer fits the criteria for designation" because he has submitted signed statements to the Office of Foreign Assets Control certifying that he has terminated any business relationships with Nada, Bank al Taqwa, "and any other designated individuals and entities, and that he will have no such dealings in the future."

"In the event that Mr. Nasreddin recommences his support for designated terrorist entities, OFAC will not hesitate to re-designate him," the Treasury statement said.

A senior Treasury official said that Nasreddin's case was not unusual and that other designated terrorist entities and individuals had appealed and won by going through "a very fact- intensive inquiry."

"People are definitely able to get off [the list], and we've done a whole bunch of delistings where the circumstances warrant," said the Treasury official, who spoke on a condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the designation process.

Nasreddin, 78, could not be reached for comment, but in the past he has denied any connection to terrorism financing.

In official designation papers in 2002, the Treasury Department said it was joining the Italian government in blacklisting Nasreddin, based on evidence gathered by both countries and several other nations.

Nasreddin provided direct support for Nada and Bank al Taqwa, according to the Treasury Department, which also alleged that the bank and other parts of the broader financial group had "long acted as financial advisors to Al Qaeda" through its offices in Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Italy and the Caribbean.

Victor D. Comras, a former State Department official who participated in the global designation of Nasreddin and Nada when he belonged to the United Nations Al Qaeda Monitoring Group, said the statement by the Treasury Department raised more questions than it answered as to why one of the men was being taken off the blacklist after so many years. The decision itself will open the door for other alleged financiers of terrorism to demand that they be let off the hook as well, he said.

"They seem to be saying that he was a bad guy but that he has renounced being a bad guy," said Comras, now an attorney and consultant on terrorism financing. "If that's the criteria, wow, a lot of people will try to get off the list. All they have to do is say, We're not doing it anymore."

josh.meyer@latimes.com


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Shabaab keep 7 Aid WFP Trucks from Kenya from their Starving People

Last Updated: Dec 17, 2008 - 9:16:39 AM

Islamists in Somalia warn WFP, seize aid trucks17 Dec 17, 2008 - 9:13:29 AM
KISMAYO, Somalia Dec 17 (Garowe Online) - Islamist militia in control of Somalia's southern port of Kismayo seized aid trucks and warned the UN's World Food Program (WFP) about future aid deliveries, Radio Garowe reported Wednesday.

Witnesses and officials said seven aid trucks were seized near Kismayo, the country's third-largest city that has been under the control of the Islamist Al Shabaab militia since August.
The aid trucks came from Kenya, which shares a border with Lower Jubba region where Kismayo is located.

Sheikh Hassan Yakub, the Islamist administration's information secretary, later told a press conference in Kismayo that the aid trucks were seized for two primary reasons.

"For one, we prohibited WFP from continuing operations in Lower Jubba [region]," Sheikh Yakub said, adding: "Secondly, WFP has made farmer jobless."

He accused WFP of timing food aid deliveries with harvest season, when Lower Jubba farmers are expecting to collect crops.

The aid trucks are reportedly being kept at a Kismayo warehouse under the guard of Islamist gunmen.

WFP was not issued any public statements regarding the latest development, but many people worry WFP might completely stop its aid operations in the region.

The Rest @ Garowe Online

Saturday, December 20, 2008

UN Envoy to Niger Robert Fowler Kidnapped

19 December, 2008

  • The UN Reports that Robert Fowler has disappeared. ( See the AFP Article below)
  • the Restoration Forces Front (FFR) claimed responsibility on their website, but later denied it to a reporter
  • The MNJ has a post on their Website, in French, caliming to be very concerned about the disappearance, saying Robert Fowler is a peace maker for whom they have "high esteem".
  • They infer the government had something to do with the disappearance, but that is the MNJ's usual response, and have incorrectly blamed the government in the past.
  • They also suggest that Louis Gay, another UN diplomat may been with Robert Fowler when he disappeared.

This visit to a Canadian owned Goldmine West of Naimey (Fowler is a Canadian citizen) was apparently not on his itinerary. It may be that they were simply mistaken as less important foreigners, and kidnapped at the initiative of a low level commander, and the leadership may be unaware of who has them.

Let us see how this unfolds.

-Shimron

NIAMEY (AFP) — The United Nations said Friday that Robert Fowler, its special envoy to Niger whose disappearance west of the capital Niamey was announced Monday, was on an official visit.
"Mr Fowler came here as part of an official UN visit but we were not aware of his trip out of town to the Samira gold mine," said Modibo Traore, head of the local office of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

"Mr Fowler is the UN secretary general's special representative for Niger and in that capacity he is responsible for humanitarian problems and for finding a solution to the (Tuareg) rebellion," he added.

Last Friday, the day after his arrival in Niamey, Fowler meet with Interior Minister Albade Abouba and Justice Minister Dagra Mamadou, Traore added.

Traore's statement echoed that of the spokeswoman of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who appointed Fowler -- a former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations -- last July.
"I can confirm to you that Mr Fowler, as special envoy for Niger, was on an official mission," said the spokeswoman, Marie Okabe, on Thursday at a daily press briefing at UN headquarters in New York.

She refused to say more about his disappearance or his appointment, which Ban had made without an announcement.

In revealing the disappearance and feared kidnapping of Fowler, 64, and another Canadian diplomat, Louis Guay, Niger's Communications Minister Mohamed ben Omar stated Tuesday the UN envoy was not in Niger on official business.

Officially Niamey has never called on the UN to mediate with Tuareg rebels, whom it normally dismisses as "bandits" and "drug traffickers".

The Tuareg, who live in the remote northern deserts of Niger, say they are fighting for autonomy and a slice of the uranium wealth that lies beneath the sands of their region.
Ben Omar said Fowler had requested an invitation to attend Niger's 50th anniversary celebrations that held Thursday in Tillaberi, west of Niamey.

Just before his disappearance Fowler visited Samira, a gold mine west of Niamey majority owned by two Canadian companies: Etruscan Resources and Semafo Inc.

"Yes, they came here," the Canadian in charge of the mine told AFP Friday by phone from the site.

Semafo had initially said it was unable to confirm whether Fowler and Guay had visited the mine because there no record of any official request to visit was logged at the company's Saint-Laurent, Quebec headquarters.

On Tuesday, the Restoration Forces Front (FFR), a Niger Tuareg rebel group, claimed on its website that it had kidnapped the Canadians. But a few hours later, its leader denied to AFP that his group was responsible.

Fowler and Guay, plus their driver, disappeared Sunday around 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of the capital Niamey around Tillaberi, the very region where Niger celebrated its 50th anniversary of independence Thursday.

Their vehicle was found the following morning at the side of the road, facing towards Niamey, with the engine and an indicator running and the doors wide open, a gendarme told AFP.

Ben Omar said exceptional security measures were in place along the Niamey-Tillaberi road, in view of the anniversary celebrations.

He also said the car had been found near the jetty for the ferry across the Niger river, a claim denied by witnesses with businesses at the jetty.

Fowler and Guay took the ferry to go to Samira. Their vehicle was seen driving back off it late Sunday afternoon and they headed back towards Niamey.

Ben Omar said Fowler's official UN vehicle was followed by a car with Togolese numberplates when it left Niamey.

This second car has not been found and its significance to the incident has never been explained.

The Rest @ AFP Africa

Masaryk Universtiy

Intense Interest in Shabaab Leadership from from Masaryk Universtiy in Chech Republic
10-12 December

Monday, December 15, 2008

Abdurrahim Nasreddin

Abdurrahim Nasreddin
President of The Eritrea Branch
Nascon

  • Watch the contract flow,
  • The sub-contracts, bank accounts and flows which only flow through the Isamic Banks.
  • See the interactions with the Aferican Development Agency, Tunisia office.

    Nascon Contracting Company, LLC.

    Al Nahda Bldg., 1st Floor Room 110,
    Al-Qusais, P.O. Box 64750, Dubai – U.A.E
    Telephone : (04) - 258.9202
    Fax : (+971.4) 258.9203
    Email : nascon@eim.ae

Friday, December 05, 2008

Shabaab Changes Sharia to Permit Their Crimes Against God

Amid the current political stagnation that has positioned Somalia in an anarchical situation, the African nation has fallen prey to Al Qaeda-linked groups which are employing tactics to gain control over the country.

If the Islamic insurgent group Al-Shabaab, which is now in charge of much of Somalia, takes over the capital city Mogadishu, the country will be "in Hell," warns a former Al-Shaabab fighter.

  • Ali, a Somali-Kenyan, told ABC News he was forced to join Al-Shabaab while living in Somalia over a year ago.
  • He escaped to Kenya two months ago after he says he was asked many times to go on suicide bombing missions. "
  • What they're doing now, the bombing there that's going on. Somalia now itself is hellish," he says. "The people who are there, who are innocent people, are killed any hour any time."

According to ABC News, Al-Shabaab is the most popular Islamic insurgent group growing out of resistance to the American-backed Ethiopian invasion of Somalia in 2006. The group has sworn allegiance to al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, pledging to rule Somalia under strict Islamic Sharia law, an interpretation whose brutality is drawing comparisons to the Taliban.

  • Three weeks ago, 32 people, mostly women, were reportedly whipped publicly in another rebel-controlled area for performing a traditional dance that Al-Shabaab leaders said was against Islam.
  • In the Southern port city of Kismayo, a 13-year-old girl was reportedly recently stoned to death for the crime of adultery after reporting being gang raped.

"They pretend to be following the Sharia of law, but if you are with them, they're not really, they're far from," says Ali. "Islam doesn't have the right to kill any other body, so long as it's a human, and needs to respect and save the lives of women."

Death seems to be Al-Shabaab's primary form of intimidation.

  • In September, a reporter for a news agency, went undercover in the city of Baidoa and filmed the beheading of a recent Christian convert using a cell phone camera. The reporter, who cannot be identified for fear of his life, says that the beheading was a very public affair.

The Rest @ tothecenter.com