Friday, November 23, 2012

Obama Gives OK To U.S. Fundraising For Jihadi Groups

President Obama has an executive order, backed up by a fair amount of existing U.S. law that prohibits fund raising for terrorism or terrorist groups here in the United States.

But as reporter Patrick Poole ferreted out, apparently an exception was made back in July for a group known as the Syrian Support Group headed by long time Obama associates with hard line Islamist backgrounds and pre-existing ties to fundraising for named terrorist groups:

In July, the Obama State Department approved an extraordinary license for a newly formed U.S.-based organization, the Syrian Support Group, to raise money for Syrian rebels – overriding the administration’s own sanctions and Obama’s Executive Order against such activity.

To some counterterrorism and terror finance authorities in Washington D.C., this extremely rare privilege raises considerable concerns.

This is especially true because two related figures with the organization, Louay Safi and Mazen Asbahi, have previously been tied to terror fundraising efforts by Islamic organizations identified by the U.S. government in federal court as fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Muslim Brotherhood front Poole is talking about, of course is Hamas. And the court trial he's talking about is the Holy Land Foundation trial, where a whole slew of Ikhwan fronts like CAIR, The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), The North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and others were named an unidicted co-conspirators.

 After the original trial was concluded successfully,  a second round of trials was scheduled to go after the 'unindicted co-conspirators'.

That trial would have been a slam dunk, because the Islamist group's attorneys appealed to have their names removed and not only lost the appeal but ended up causing government evidence to be unsealed that connected them even more directly with the Hamas fundraising and material support for a terrorist group.However, the Obama Department of Justice filed Disinclination to Prosecute briefs in these cases, letting the Islamists walk free.

Which brings us to the Syrian Support Group, the Syrian National Council and two long time Obama Administration associates heading these grouips, Louay Safi and Mazen Asbahi:

The attorney who actually incorporated the Syrian Support Group and applied for the State Department OFAC license was a Chicago attorney, Mazen Asbahi. When running for president in 2008, Barack Obama appointed Asbahi to head Muslim outreach for his campaign – a position he held for only a short period of time.

After his appointment, several media outlets noted that Asbahi had previously served as a board member of the Allied Assets Advisors Fund, a division of the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT). NAIT was identified by federal prosecutors as a front for the Muslim Brotherhood in the Holy Land Foundation trial in 2007 and 2008 and named unindicted co-conspirator in the case. Prosecutors entered into evidence hundreds of wire transfers showing that NAIT was actually the conduit used by the Holy Land Foundation to transmit millions of dollars to the terrorist group Hamas.

Also joining Asbahi on the board of Allied Assets Advisors was Jamal Said, a Chicago-area imam who was personally named unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land trial. A February 2004 article on the front page of the Chicago Tribune reports on Imam Said raising $50,000 in one night for Sami al-Arian, the head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad in North America.

Asbahi came under fire when news of his leadership role with NAIT, his affiliation with Jamal Said, and his connections with other Muslim Brotherhood front groups was noted by several media outlets. While he claimed that he only served for several weeks with the NAIT organization (a claim he never provided evidence for) he nonetheless resigned his position with the Obama campaign, though he continued to work “unofficially” in support of Obama’s election.

Interesting..just a couple of hardline Islamist lawyers from Chicago, who seem like they have some kind of relationship with President Obama, a little history.

Louay Safi, now the head of the Syrian National Council is even more interesting. The SNC is the official Syrian resistance group, who also are in charge of the Syrian Free Army, the chief armed resistance group fighting against Assad.Both groups are heavily dominated by Islamists and Salafists, most notably from the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

As Poole relates, Safi has quite a history. At one time, he was one of the Pentagon's top Islamic 'advisers', but that ended abruptly:

Safi’s relationship with the Pentagon ended in 2010 after it was revealed in media reports that he was teaching classes on Islamic theology to deploying troops headed for Afghanistan. What concerned some observers was Safi’s ties to terrorism, which included his being named unindicted co-conspirator in the Sami Al-Arian terrorism support trial, being caught on federal wiretaps in conversations with top terror officials, and having his office raided in 2002 by U.S. Customs in a wide-spread terror finance investigation.

Those revelations prompted 13 members of Congress to send a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates demanding an end to the use of Safi as an approved instructor. By year’s end, Safi’s role with the Pentagon had come to an end.

As Poole reveals, we essentially are funding a hard line jihadi group headed by a man with clear ties to terrorism..and with another man tied to the Brotherhood and Islamist terrorism being given free reign to raise money here in America with zero accounting of where that money actually goes.

And apparently both men have excellent access directly to the White House.

Read the whole thing.

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