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Indictment of Another Islamic Charity Shows Possible Tradecraft
The Justice Department's announcement of the indictment of an Islamic charity for financially aiding a terrorist tied to al Qaeda and the Taliban, as well as a former U.S. congressman for lobbying on behalf of the group with money stolen from the U.S. government, presents several interesting facets. The indictment is here.

If the government is right, an Islamic "charity," headqurarted in sleepy Missouri and directed by those with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood-led regime in Sudan, stole U.S. money aimed at humanitarian relief and then used that money to lobby the U.S. government in order to be able to raise more money.

That would not be the random operation of unsophisticated people, but a complex operation that demonstrates knowledge of how the U.S. system works, and how to exploit the holes in the system.

First is that the Islamic American Relief Agency (IARA), with ties to Sudan, morphed over the years, using different names, while retaining essentially the same people and same organization. This is standard among charities seeking to avoid scrutiny of the IRS and others.

Second, the IARA allegedly felt it was worth a significant amount of money (allegedly pilfered from a USAID project that the IARA failed to complete) to be removed from a Senate Banking Committee list of suspect charities.

It does not appear to have worked. The organization was designated by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control in October 2004.

According to the indictment, at this point they hired Mark Deli Siljander, a former congressman who ran as a conservative evangelical and then set up a lobbying firm in Northern Virginia.

Siljander was reportedly paid with U.S. taxpayer dollars stolen by the IARA, and then allegedly knew the money was illicit and set up accounts to launder the money to make it appear to be legitimate.

In interviews with the FBI, the indictment says, Siljaner knowing lied about taking money from IARA and attempted to obstruct the investigation.

Siljander's lawyer says he will plead not guilty on all charges.

The IARA, in turn is charged with funneling money to benefit Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a Specially Designated Individual with a long and sordid past as one of the most vicious warlords to emerge during the cycle of wars in Afghanistan. A one-time ally of the United States, he also has extensive ties to Iran and has urged the fighting against NATO troops in Afghanistan.

Like many suspect charities, the IARA chose an out-of-the way place to operate from, in this case, Columbia, Mo. As U.S. Attorney John F. Wood said:

“An organization right here in the American heartland allegedly sent funds to Pakistan for the benefit of a specially designated global terrorist with ties to al-Qaeda and the Taliban. By bringing this case in the middle of America, we seek to make it harder for terrorists to do business halfway around the globe."

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