USAID Funds Terrorists

Hamas, Bosnian group whose president is on watch list preventing him from entering the US, and man convicted of dealings with an agent of Osama Bin Laden all received funding from the USAID fund due to lack of controls to prevent this sort of thing… I wonder who else we have dispersed funds to through USAID?

WASHINGTON —  A federal agency that disburses billions of dollars in humanitarian aid, disaster relief, and pro-democracy programs every year, has inadvertently funneled American taxpayer funds to individuals and entities with “terrorist affiliations” and lacks the safeguards to prevent such incidents from recurring, an internal audit has revealed.

In a report entitled “Audit of the Adequacy of USAID’s Antiterrorism Vetting Procedures,” dated November 6 and obtained by Fox News, U.S. Agency for International Development Inspector General Donald A. Gambatesa concluded USAID’s “policies, procedures, and controls are not adequate to reasonably ensure against providing assistance to terrorists.”

Although the federal government has long sought to institute tighter controls on the disbursement of foreign aid, Gambatesa found USAID’s “policies or procedures do not require the vetting of potential or current USAID partners.”

The audit was triggered this spring, after gun battles at Islamic University in Gaza pitted Fatah forces, loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, against their rival, Hamas, which controls the university and has been designated a terrorist group by the United States. After the shooting stopped, Fatah displayed large caches of weapons recovered from inside the university, and the Washington Times reported the school had received more than $140,000 in USAID funding.

/**/ “In the basement of Gaza Islamic University, a U.S.-funded institution,” said Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who sits on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and requested the audit, “Palestinian police found several Iranian agents and an Iranian general teaching the students in the U.S.-funded chemistry lab how to make suicide bombs.”

The audit found at least two other troubling cases. Last year USAID learned it had granted $180,000 to a Bosnian group whose president was, since 1997, included on a “watch list” barring his entry into the United States. And before that, a man sentenced to four years in prison for lying about his dealings with a disciple of Usama bin Laden had been part of a group that received $1 million from USAID.

“These kinds of problems appear to be systemic,” said Kirk, a former staff official of the World Bank. “And we’ve created a culture that I would worry is a kind of a welfare terrorism, where the United States is backing both sides in this conflict, largely through incompetence and inattention to detail.”

Sean McCormack, a spokesman for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, said he wasn’t sure if she’d been briefed on the audit, but he assured reporters she, and officials at USAID, are committed to safeguarding taxpayer funds. “[T]hey have some issue with some of the facts, some of the analysis, and some of the recommendations put forward in the IG report,” McCormack said at a briefing Monday. “But that said, of course, we’re going to look at this very seriously…”

McCormack did not say what “issues” USAID officials had with the Gambatesa report.

Rooted in the Marshall Plan, which helped rebuild Europe after World War II, USAID was formally established by executive order in 1961. On its Web site, the agency describes itself as “the principal U.S. agency to extend assistance to countries recovering from disaster, trying to escape poverty, and engaging in democratic reforms.”

Although it is an independent federal agency, it “receives overall foreign policy guidance” from the secretary of state. The administrator of USAID is appointed by the president subject to Senate confirmation. The head of the agency, Randall L. Tobias, a former chairman and chief executive of Eli Lilly & Company and of AT&T International, resigned abruptly last April, amid disclosures he had patronized a Washington, D.C., escort service.

Both Gambatesa and the USAID press office declined to comment for this story. The inspector general’s office is supposed to submit another audit, focused specifically on USAID’s operations in Gaza, by month’s end.

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Can Ahmadinejad Come Out And Play

Hugo Chavez is back in Iran with his terrorist buddy, Mohmoud Ahmadinejad… After a failed attempt to convince OPEC to dump the US Dollar and trade in a myriad of other currencies, the two leaders are trying to strengthen ties and foster a united front against the US.

What a pair these two make, don’t they both look like puppets in this picture…

 AP


Nov. 19: Hugo Chavez gestures as he shakes hands with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, during official welcoming ceremony for Chavez in Tehran, Iran.

TEHRAN, Iran —  Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made his fourth trip to Iran in two years on Monday, state media reported, as the two countries sought to strengthen ties while their leaders exhort the international community to resist U.S. policies.

Chavez, who arrived in Tehran from Saudi Arabia where he attended the weekend’s OPEC summit, is expected to discuss various political and economic issues with his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

Chavez was accompanied by a string of top Venezuelan officials for the hours-long visit, including the foreign, industry, oil and communication ministers, as well as the mayor of Caracas, the country’s capital.

Ahmadinejad also attended the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries summit in Riyadh.

During the gathering, the two firebrand leaders echoed one another, blaming U.S. President George W. Bush’s policies for the decline of the dollar and its negative effect on other countries, and challenging Saudi Arabia’s reluctance to mention weak dollar concerns in the summit’s final declaration.

Ahmadinejad claimed OPEC’s member countries want to convert their cash reserves into a currency other than the depreciating U.S. dollar, which he called a “worthless piece of paper.”

Chavez said the dollar was in free-fall and that its “empire” must end, and proposed trading oil in a basket of currencies excluding the dollar.

But the two were unable to generate support from enough in the 13-member cartel — many of whom, including Saudi Arabia, are staunch U.S. allies.

Tehran is in a bitter standoff with Washington over its nuclear program, which the U.S. fears is a cover for a weapons program but which Iran insists is peaceful.

Meanwhile, the U.S. accuses Chavez of being a threat to stability in Latin America, while the Venezuelan leader is constantly criticizing U.S. “imperialism” under Bush. Chavez has also defended Iran’s nuclear ambitions, dismissing Washington’s concerns that Tehran is secretly trying to develop atomic weapons.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Mohammad Ali Hosseini, said Sunday the two leaders would sign economic deals and memorandums of understanding in economic fields, and an agreement on small and medium enterprises.

In July, the two countries broke ground to start building a jointly owned petrochemical complex in Iran, with 51 percent of it in Iranian ownership and 49 percent to be owned by Venezuela. The two also began construction of a second petrochemical complex in Venezuela, at a total combined cost of US$1.4 billion (euro956 million). No details on the ventures have been disclosed.

The two nations believe their petrochemical partnership will help Iran access markets in Latin America and Venezuela would get access to energy markets in Asia, especially India.

During Chavez’s previous visit in July, the two countries signed some 20 economic and trade agreements. Since 2001, they have signed over 180 trade agreements, worth more than US$20 billion (euro15 billion) in potential investment, according to IRNA.

Iran has partnered with Venezuela on several industrial projects in the South American nation, including the production of cars, tractors and plastic goods.

Al Qaeda Internet Attack a Bust

It would appear that Al Qaeda’s Internet attack is non-existant. Speculation leading up to 11/11 was that there were more tech savy Al Qaeda supports, however as 11/11 passed and now 11/12 has pretty much passed, with no major Internet disruptions, it would appear either they do not have the support on the Internet front that authorities feared or their operatives on the Internet front are not all that good. I am sure much effort was expended by authorities, and maybe they did enough damage to the enemy, however I don’t really see that as being a big part in preventing such an attack, but rather taking down exisiting extremist sites.

As the next few days pass, we will see if maybe there is something lurking in the background that is gaining momentum, however again I doubt this, as that is not the typical operating tactic of groups such as these.

I think this was more of a propoganda stunt to try and lash back at the recent take down of Al Qaeda sites and arrests of of site operators preaching violence.

Al Qaeda Is the EU’s Biggest Threat

Finally someone in the EU is realizing the threat they face from Al Qaeda as well as the Islamification that has been occuring throughout all of Europe. The only problem is they still see the current war on terror as the cause of Islamification. What they, like most Americans, do not realize is the threat was there but hidden, plotting and waiting. What the war on terror has done is force the enemy to show their face. Anyone who thinks that the current threat would not exist if we were not fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan is a fool. The enemy has been at war with us for quite a while now. It is only recently that we are able to see the  magnitude of the threat.

The Islamic terrorist group Al Qaeda continues to be the most serious terrorism threat to Europe, the bloc’s new anti-terrorism chief told EU lawmakers.

“An attack perpetrated by local or international networks remains likely,” Gilles de Kerchove, appointed in September to coordinate counter-terrorism efforts among EU member states, told the European Parliament.

 

He called on EU states to be more active in combating radicalism and emphasized the importance of Internet surveillance.

 

The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan had “a considerable impact on radicalization of extremists in Europe,” added de Kerchove.

 

Terrorists close to home

 

A sticker with Osama bin Laden's pictureBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift:  Authorities are worried about the international nature of the al Qaeda movement

European converts to radical Islam have had a hand in several recent terrorism plots on European soil, including a foiled attack in Germany in September.

 

Germany authorities now know of up to 50 Islamic militants linked to the three men suspected of planning the attack, the head of Germany’s federal police, Jörg Ziercke, said in an interview in the Tuesday edition of the Cologne daily Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger.

 

Two German citizens and one Turkish national have been arrested in connection with the plot. They allegedly trained in terrorism camps in Pakistan before founding the domestic cell of an al Qaeda affiliate in Germany.

 

“We believe there are still members of this network in Pakistani training camps,” Ziercke said. “Whoever comes back to Germany so radicalized is for us extremely dangerous.”

 

The next generation of terror

 

Britain’s intelligence chief Jonathan Evans also spoke out against domestic radicalism Monday, saying that the number of individuals in Britain with suspected terrorist links has risen to at least 2,000 this year, compared with 1,600 last year.

 

“As I speak, terrorists are methodically and intentionally targeting young people and children in this country,” he said in a speech to the Society of Editors Conference in Manchester. “They are radicalizing, indoctrinating and grooming young, vulnerable people to carry out acts of terrorism.”

 

Call for jihad in the Maghreb

 

Al Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahri Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift:  Ayman Zawahri called for Jihad in the Maghreb via an audio message

Some EU member states see growing Islamic extremism in North Africa as a particular threat, especially those countries that have large immigrant populations from the Maghreb.

 

An existing Islamic Maghreb terror group aligned itself with al Qaeda earlier this year, winning the support of terror boss bin Laden.

 

Al Qaeda’s second-in-command Ayman al Zawahiri called over the weekend for a holy war against the leaders of Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco due to their support for the US-led war on terror.

 

“The fact that [the Maghreb] has embraced al Qaeda’s international terrorism, and [its] geographical proximity to Europe brings terrorism closer to the borders of Europe,” said EU anti-terror chief de Kerchove.

DW staff (kjb)

Yemen Terrorist Shuffle

The Yemen government has proven itself an ally of terror. The US government is red faced, both embarrasement and anger, over the release of the man directly responsible for the USS Cole bombing. And people wonder why targeted killings of terrorist leaders is carried out.

I hope this reminds people of the danger we face, not just from the terrorists, but those that sympathize with them and provide logistical support.

The Yemen government needs to provide proof that he is back in custody and extradite him to the US to be tried for the crimes that he commited in attacking the USS Cole.

Let us put him in our prison system so we know where he is.

A Slap in the Face

Yemen’s handling of Cole bomber stuns Bush antiterror chief

By Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball

Newsweek Web Exclusive

Updated: 4:08 PM ET Oct 31, 2007

President Bush’s top counterterrorism adviser flew to Yemen last week to praise that country’s cooperation in the war on terrorism just days before Yemeni authorities reportedly pardoned and released one of the principal architects of the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole.

The apparent release of confessed Al Qaeda operative Jamal al-Badawi, who has been indicted in New York on 50 terrorism counts, was a personal embarrassment  to senior White House aide Frances Fragos Townsend.

Since last week, Yemeni authorities have insisted that Badawi is back in “custody,” but U.S. officials remain deeply skeptical about the current status of a fanatic follower of Osama bin Laden whom they hold directly responsible for the deaths of 17 U.S. sailors aboard the Cole.

Just last Wednesday, Badawi—who in 2004 was convicted by a Yemeni court and received the death penalty—was reportedly receiving well-wishers at his home in Aden after pledging his loyalty to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Yet two days earlier, on Oct. 24, Townsend had met with Saleh in the country’s capital of Sana to personally hand-deliver a letter from President Bush affirming U.S. support for his government’s assistance in the War on Terror. BUSH PRAISES YEMEN’S ROLE IN COMBATING TERRORISM read the headline in the English-language Yemen Times last week announcing Towsend’s meeting with Saleh.

Townsend, who serves as Bush’s chief assistant for homeland security and counterterrorism, was furious to learn of Badawi’s release and has taken the lead role in communicating the U.S. government displeasure with the handling of the Al Qaeda figure, according to a senior administration official who asked not to be identified because of diplomatic sensitivities.

Compounding the insult, U.S. officials say they have strong reason to believe a number of other Al Qaeda figures have been released by the Yemenis, including Jaber Elbaneh, an FBI fugitive who was indicted for providing material support to Al Qaeda as part of the investigation into a terror cell in Lackawana, N.Y., in 2003.

In a brief interview with NEWSWEEK on Wednesday, Townsend—who had worked on the Cole investigation when she served in the Justice Department during the Clinton administration—made clear her frustration over the chain of events. “There is nobody in Yemen we care more about than Badawi,” she said. Scott Stanzel, a  White House spokesman, said in a statement to NEWSWEEK: “We are dismayed and deeply disappointed in the Government of Yemen’s decision not to imprison” Badawi. He added that Townsend, who was also in Saudi Arabia last week, was on the ground in Yemen “for just a few hours.”

After reports over the weekend that Badawi was now a free man, the Yemeni Embassy in Washington issued a carefully worded statement that seemed aimed at tamping down U.S. government anger over the incident. The statement insisted that Badawi “remains detained” but principally because of further investigation into a prison escape last year in which he and 22 cohorts, including a number of fellow Al Qaeda figures, were reported to have dug a tunnel that somehow exited exactly inside a nearby mosque. (U.S. officials widely suspected the breakout was an inside job.) The Yemeni statement added: “Jamal is fully cooperating and the Yemeni government is optimistic about receiving crucial information about other Al Qaeda operatives in Yemen and abroad.”

Then on Monday of this week, the Badawi situation took another strange turn. After U.S. Ambassador Stephen Seche met with Saleh to protest, Yemeni  authorities invited a U.S. Embassy official to come visit a jail in Aden where they suddenly displayed Badawi behind bars.

But  U.S. officials are suspicious. They noted that the Yemenis typically hold terror suspects in the capital of Sana, an hourlong flight from Aden. “That was a joke,” said one knowledgable former counterterrorsim official about the jail visit. (The former official asked not to be identified talking about the politically sensitive situation.) “The jail in Aden is five minutes from [Badawi’s] home. It was like he was brought there just a few minutes before.”

Although it has so far received relatively little media attention, the Badawi incident has infuriated counterterrorism officials throughout the government and underscored how difficult it is to build alliances in a region where sympathy for Al Qaeda remains strong and hostility toward the United States may be at an all-time high. It also may have repercussions well beyond Yemen. Some U.S. officials have noted that the handling of Badawi plays directly into the hands of hard-line Bush administration officials, principally in Vice President Cheney’s office, who oppose shutting down the U.S. detention facility in Guantánamo Bay. The State and Defense Department officials who have pushed for a Gitmo closure have long contended that most of the detainees could be returned for trial and detention in home countries like Yemen—an option that seems less acceptable when confirmed Al Qaeda figures like Badawi are being let go.

Just as significantly, the incident may have prompted U.S. officials to put back on the table more aggressive options for bringing Badawi to justice. Those options, such as extralegal “snatch” operations, were widely used by the CIA in the first few years after 9/11—until they received widespread international criticism and, in a few cases, such as in Italy and Germany, led to investigations of the agency officers involved. (In the Italian case, a number of CIA officers—including the agency’s chief of station—have been criminally charged for apprehending a suspected Al Qaeda operative in Milan and flying him to Egypt for interrogation.)

U.S. officials this week declined to discuss what options they are considering for Badawi. Yemeni authorities have consistently told U.S. officials they can’t extradite Badawi to the United States under their Constitution. But U.S. officials are exploring the idea of trying to arrange for a third country to take custody of Badawi—and then turn him over to the United States for trial.

Before they do that, however, U.S. officials want to make sure that the indictment returned against Badawi by a federal grand jury in New York in May 2003  is still solid and he can be successfully tried by federal prosecutors there, according to a senior official involved in the case who like others interviewed declined to be identified.

The indictment of Badawi, and an associate, Fahad Al-Quso, was in part based on the confession that Badawi first made to an FBI agent in January 2001. According to a Justice Department press release at the time of the indictment, Badawi had been recruited by members of Osama bin Laden’s inner circle to play a lead role in a brazen terrorist attack that illustrated Al Qaeda’s determination to kill Americans across the globe.

In the October 2000 bombing, a small boat laden with high explosives pulled alongside the Cole, a naval warship, in the harbor of Aden while it was briefly docked for refueling while it was on its way to the Persian Gulf for support of U.S. operations aimed at enforcing international sanctions against the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Suicide terrorists detonated the bomb, ripping a 40-foot hole in the side of the Cole, killing 17 and wounding 37 other sailors.

Badawi “helped procure safehouses in Aden” for the terrorists involved in the operation, and obtained the small boat that was used in the bombing, according to the Justice release.

“It has been almost three years since the attack on the USS  Cole,” Attorney General John Ashcroft said in the press release at the time of the indictment. “But for those who lost loved ones on October 12, 2000, the wounds on the heart can still be felt.”

That same point was underscored this week by Kirk Lippold, the former commanding officer of the Cole. “I will tell you that families [of Cole members killed in the attack] are upset to an unbelievable degree,” he told NEWSWEEK. “I’m getting e-mails from crew members I haven’t spoken to in years saying, ‘I can’t believe this is happening’.”

As for Yemeni claims that Badawi is back in custody, Lippold is among those who are more than skeptical. “I will believe what the Yemeni government says when they are willing to allow us to prosecute individuals who carry out the murder of U.S. citizens. I don’t believe they are reliable or trustworthy partners in the war against terrorism.”