Merchant of Death
Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

Blood from Stones

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The Hamas Verdicts and New Methods
As Matt Levitt wrote of yesteray's verdict in the Hamas trial: "The case highlights the difficulty of prosecuting individuals for their support to terrorist groups when that support is conducted under the cover of humanitarian or political activity."

This is why new methods of tracing potential terrorist finance activity is so crucial. The Justice Department and IRS are finally breaking new ground in this type of investigation, as shown by the Overland-DMI case now before a grand jury in Boston.

It is almost always impossible to prove that one action (fund raising, hate preaching etc.) leads directly to another (bus bombs, suicide bombs, airplane hijackings). _Jihadi_ internet sites praise these actions, call for the death of Muslim British soldiers and urge the killing of infidels. But can you prove that one specific message on a website led one person to carry out a suicide bombing or plot the assassination of British soldiers?

Very difficult, if not impossible. Radicalization is seldom an overnight event. It is the product of environment, constant messages affirming _jihad_ as Allah's will, and countless other factors that build up over time. This is why the structure, funded by radical _salafist_ blessing in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations, has to be the real target. Isolating individual acts within that will almost always lead to charges (as we have recently seen in Britain, and see here with CAIR, ISNA and others) of "taking statements out of context," "Islamophobia" etc.

The material support laws on terrorism were changed after 9-11 but seem to be little understood or used, and juries seem to have a hard time incorporating the less stringent standards into their verdicts.

But potential tax fraud (no one has been charged and the presumption of innocence is important) is a different matter. So is undeclared membership in political groups, even if those groups are not deemed illegal or terrorist. It is vital that the full range of tools be used wherever they can be.

These types of cases are far easier to prove, and far easier for jurors to understand. It does not involve when a group was declared a terrorist entity or whether the money moved was used for "political" or "military" purposes.

This is also why the money trail is a vulnerable part, if it surfaces in the formal financial sector (as opposed to the Islamic banking system, charities or gem stones). There is almost always something illegal in how the money is moved, declared or taxed. Applying these tools is vitally necessary.

Within the IRS and DOJ there is a cadre of trained investigators and prosecutors that are finally beginning to see the potential contours of myriad money trails that run through the United States. It is clear from the Hezbollah-North Carolina case and many others that the United States is fertile ground for money raising activities.

It is also clear that Islmist groups like DMI and several others, have widespread investments in the United States, often through proxie offshore companies with overlapping directorships. They seem to be especially fond of commercial real estate ventures.

That is not illegal (unless the entity states in judicial proceedings that it has no such investments), and many other people do the same thing. But if there is any chance these groups are using illicit methods that could go to help people who want to kill us, they should be investigated, and, if merited, prosecuted.
A More Accurate Face of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia
A Serious Look at Islamist Banking in the United States
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