Dr. Dhafir and the Help the Needy case are covered in “Satanic Purses: Money, Myth, And Misinformation in the War on Terror.”Thomas Naylor, McGill-Queen’s University Press (August 3, 2006).

Chapter 14: Neither to Give nor to Receive — Requiem for Islamic Charity in the US?

The US had good reason to keep a sharp eye out for charitable fraud after 9/11. Along with a burst of philanthropy by people horrified at the events came vultures seeking to turn the tragedy to their own profit. New York State saw the almost immediate formation of about 250 new charities listed with the State Attorney General, plus a host of others who did not bother. They would hit the phone lines to solicit donations by cash, check, or credit card. Undoubtedly most were bona fide, but some would disappear with the money; others used a small portion on genuine relief work, while diverting most to “administrative costs”; and yet others worked the opposite side of the charity ledger.

The State of New York had initiated emergency procedures so that, if a family member of someone killed in the attack signed an affidavit, the State almost immediately produced a death certificate to permit the applicant to receive from government departments and private charities special monetary compensation, for example, to pay for counselling services or to fly family members across the country for funeral services. Since it took some weeks to arrive at an exact casualty list, fake certificates were an easy way to bilk the charities.1 However, in the aftermath of 9/11 the USA’s main focus in the matter of charitable fraud involved a quite different gang of conspirators than a bunch of New York con artists.

Arab and Muslim communities, among the most recent and insecure parts of the USA’s rather lumpy melting pot, had their beliefs trashed and their civil rights trampled underfoot when the cops came to kick down their doors and the INS engaged in mass roundups. The authorities had the help of good citizens who flooded police stations with reports of suspicious behavior and formed spontaneous posses to go looking for “rags” (including a few Sikhs in turbans) on whom to demonstrate that the US frontier spirit was still alive and kicking, literally. Meanwhile prominent public figures asked why Arab-Americans were not simply volunteering to be interrogated, tagged, and profiled.2 Although that kind of hysteria soon died down, much longer lasting was the impact on community institutions. The politicojudicial lynching of the three Muslim charities at the start of the terror-dollar frenzy set the tone — there was much more to come.3


One of the more appalling instances occurred in 2003 when eighty-five federal agents stormed the house of an oncologist in Manlius, a suburb of Syracuse, New York. Rafil Dhafir had come to the US from Iraq more than thirty years before. Devout, he spent much of his time and money on charitable activity, both on and off the job. As the only oncologist in town, he treated people of limited means at reduced rates, sometimes for free. In 1993, upset by the impact of economic sanctions and constant UK and US bombing on the Iraqi population, he founded Help the Needy, a charity that (according to prosecutors) raised nearly $5 million from local zakat contributions, deposited it in US banks, then wired it to Jordan to finance emergency shipments of food and medicine.4

For four years seven different federal agencies investigated Help the Needy, gathering bank, tax, medical, and business records and scrutinizing letters, emails, and videotapes. Prosecutors afterwards claimed that Dhafir tried to hide his activities from the government. Yet fund-raising events were well enough advertised that federal undercover sleuths were able to attend. Nonetheless, since he had no federal license to send food and medicine to Iraq, he was arrested and charged with conspiracy to violate the IEEPA, with conspiracy to launder money, and with twelve counts of actual laundering. He was later accused as well of tax fraud, using false social security numbers, billing Medicare for chemotherapy sessions at his clinic at times he was not there, diverting donations to acquire real estate (to build a mosque), and donating money to other charities later put on the freeze list. John Ashcroft, in an unusually restrained mood, was content merely to say that: “Those who covertly seek to channel money into Iraq under the guise of charitable work will be caught and prosecuted.”5 But New York Governor George Pataki launched a tirade against “terrorists living here in New York State” and denounced Dhafir’s activities, which had yet to be aired in court, as a “money laundering case to help terrorist organizations.”6

Other US-based organizations outraged at the slow-motion mass-murder campaign the US had undertaken against the civilian population of Iraq (prior to its 2003 decision, on humanitarian grounds, to fasttrack the slaughter) were also shipping food and medicine. The worst any of them had faced was a fine. Why was Rafil Dhafir singled out? Part of the answer, no doubt, lay in general Islamophobia. But the raid with all its media hoopla took place just before the invasion of Iraq, when US law-enforcement agencies had been mobilized (in Operation Imminent Horizon) to target “Iraqi agents” in the us.7 In fact that campaign had already netted another group of Iraqi refugees in Seattle who had sent $12 million in cash and other supplies to Iraq.8 Yet Dhafir, who had fled Saddam’s regime three decades before and who was a committed salafi, hardly sympathetic to Ba‘thist secularism, did not seem the likely head of an Iraqi “sleeper cell.” But perhaps, the feds reasoned, as a doctor he had access to particularly strong soporifics.

Also arrested was Ayman Jarwan, executive director of Help the Needy. Since he had degrees in nuclear and radiological engineering, the government, pointing to press reports about plots to explode a “dirty bomb” in the US, asked the court to deny him bail. “This man,” the prosecutor insisted, “knows how to use and has access to this material.” Although the judge did grant bail to Jarwan, Dhafir had no such luck. He was four times denied. At the last hearing prosecutors cited the fact that he was supposed to have purchased a stash of gold to prepare the ground for a quick dash over the St Lawrence River into Canada. He had never completed the order. Still, intent was the thing; the judge agreed Dhafir was a flight risk and again denied bail.

After thirty-one months in detention without bail and a seventeen-week trial, he was sentenced to twenty-two years on fifty-nine counts of fraud, tax evasion, Medicare and Medicaid fraud, visa fraud, lying to federal agents, violating US sanctions against Iraq, and money-laundering. Yet all of the money he had sent went not in cash but first by check to a local bank, then by cashiers’ check to Jordan, where it was used to buy emergency supplies. Not only was it completely open, but Dhafir kept a careful ledger, which the government seized and used as evidence. This is strange behavior for a dedicated money-launderer. Furthermore Dhafir repeatedly insisted that recipient groups issue him proper receipts for tax purposes. (Those in Jordan did so; those in Iraq were afraid of the wrath of Saddam’s intelligence services and did not.) After the conviction prosecutors tried to get the judge to further hike his prison time on the notion that he was a national security risk — in effect attempting to win at the sentencing a material-support-to-terror charge they had not submitted to trial.

Another suspicious institution was the SAAR Foundation, which got its name from Suleiman Abd al-Aziz al-Rajhi, a Saudi financier close to the ruling family. It (like the Muwafaq Foundation) presented the administration with the problem of how to close an institution that had already ceased to exist. Allegedly an “affiliate” of the Saudi-funded World Muslim League, SAAR had been a network of more than one hundred Muslim charities, think tanks, and companies linked by overlapping directorates before it was liquidated in December 2000. After 9/11, the Department of Justice claimed to have tracked its activities retroactively in eighteen countries; and in March 2002 various former offices were raided and old records seized in search of the inevitable “al-Qaeda connection.” Since al-Rajhi also had an indirect interest in a Gainesville, Georgia, poultry farm, the result was to let Customs agents rather than foxes loose in the hen houses.9

On the surface SAAR was an odd choice of foundation to harass. The World Muslim League program had nothing to do with radical political Islam of the jihadist variety. It was not even close to the salafi creed of the Saudi regime. Rather it followed the da‘wa trend of the Muslim Brotherhood. Saudi exiled dissidents reported that for decades SAAR leaders used Saudi cash to promote a more urban and progressive agenda. That may be why the Saudi regime cut off its funding in the mid-1990s, leading after a few years to it winding up.

According to the Justice Department, the raids occurred because the government could find no “reasonable” explanation for an inter-connected network of affiliates with multiple internal transactions except the desire to fool law enforcement. That, if fairly applied, would shut down just about every corporation in the USA larger than a 7—11 franchise. Perhaps a better explanation was that Customs, which led the raid, was celebrating its shift from Treasury to the new Department of Homeland Security. That transformed Customs agents from despised tax collectors to people charged with the vital task of protecting the USA against foreign threats.10

In some ways the raids were a follow-up to events in Tampa six years before when police probed not a threat to US national security but “anti-Israel activists” led by the presumed world financial kingpin of Palestine’s Islamic Jihad group. Afterwards SAAR officials claimed that they met repeatedly with FBI officials and were given a clean bill of health. But SAAR remained in the sights of certain “experts” who fed rumors to the Justice Department.11

A year after the new raids came accusations that the SAAR Foundation had run no less than the largest terrorism-financing ring the world. The proof was not a money trail from SAAR to mad Muslim bombers but that some affiliates had used the same banks with which bin Laden dealt. These turned out to be not Al Shamal Bank in the Sudan but Bank al Taqwa and Akida Bank Private in the Bahamas, tiny institutions run by Youssef Nada and Ahmed Idris Nasreddin, the Al-Barakaat and Al Taqwa entrepreneurs who had been honored by the Bush administration in October 2001. Yet SAAR had no formal transaction with these banks that were, like it, defunct anyway. Rather some executives of its interlocking affiliates had arranged loans in their private capacity. Still, there was other strong proof of wrongdoing. While for years SAAR had duly reported to the US government an annual budget of $1.5 million, its final report covering the year 1998 acknowledged receiving $1.8 billion! There were two possible explanations. One was a typo. The other was a huge influx of secret funds (only discovered by reviewing a public IRS document) to commit terrorist atrocities.

In other words, a foundation already defunct before the acts that initiated the investigation was suspect because at some point in the past some people who had something to do with some of its affiliates borrowed some money for some purposes not related to the foundation’s work from banks owned by someone else who was formerly a member of a non-terrorist organization that no one even in their dizziest moments had managed to “link” to 9/11. Still, it was impossible to be too careful. As terrorism expert Rita Katz gravely explained: “A rich Saudi who wants to fund radical ideas or terrorists like Hamas and al-Qaeda knows he can’t send the money directly, so he filters it through companies and charities, often in the US and Europe.”12 That also seemed to be the philosophy underlying law-enforcement action against the US branch of Saudi Arabia’s International Islamic Relief Organization.


It was a story of two friends who fell out, in which Customs managed to “tie,” “associate,” “connect,” or “link” (TACL?) a remarkable number of the USA’s bêtes vertes. It began in 1985, when an Egyptian named Suleiman Biheiri, in the US on a tourist visa, met a Saudi named Suleiman ibn Ali al-Ali. They went their separate ways. Biheiri remained in the US to set up a company called Beit al-Maal Inc. (BMI) to offer mainly to Middle Easterners shari‘a-compatible investments in the US real-estate and leasing markets. Al-Ali returned to Saudi Arabia as a full-time fundraiser for the International Islamic Relief Organization, where he so impressed the ruling family that he was sent back to the US to create a US affiliate with the slightly abbreviated name International Relief Organization. (Already it had something to hide!) Its responsibilities included raising money for Bosnian war relief. IRO also created as an affiliate, Sana-Bell Inc., an Islamic investment company whose name was an anglicization of Sanabil al-Khair (Seeds of Charity), the endowment fund run by IIRO back in Saudi Arabia. The new Sana-Bell was to create a similar endowment fund in the US through which donations could be channelled into investments conforming to shari‘a law. That logically called for the money to be entrusted to an Islamic investment company — hence Sana-Bell placed $3.7 million with Biheiri’s BMI.13

But the two friends quarrelled; and Sana-Bell sued BMI in US court for recovery. In his affidavit, Biheiri claimed, among other things, that al-Ali had withdrawn for his own purposes one million dollars of Sana-Bell’s money. He had also apparently put millions of IRO money into a Chicago-based chemical company run by a director of another Islamic charity, Mercy International. That raised serious suspicions since the Nairobi office of Mercy International was the place where Wadih el-Hage, imprisoned for life for ostensibly setting up Usama’s East Africa cell, stored his records.14 In 1997, both the chemical company and IRO were raided by the FBI, which claimed to be searching for evidence of terrorism support and diversion of dangerous chemicals — despite the guarded language, everyone knew what that meant. The US director of Mercy International, though not the charity itself, was eventually charged, convicted, and sentenced — for commercial fraud, not for plotting to wipe out the population of Illinois with sarin gas.

But for the swarthy complexions and curious religious rituals of the principals, two ex-friends suing each other might have seemed not much more than business as usual in the USA. Then came 9/11 and the dredging up of old stories with new twists. Customs, along with the FBI and the IRS, came calling. This time the target was Suleiman Biheiri, the aggrieved party in the earlier civil case. According to a court declaration of the senior Customs agent-in-charge, the feds de-cided that the individuals on both sides of the earlier dispute were in-volved in material support for terrorism, money-laundering, and IEEPA violations, with tax evasion thrown in for good measure. According to the government, the original civil suit was a sham since “the victim of the fraud (Sana-Bell) and the supposed perpetrator of the fraud (BMI on behalf of IRO) were the same.” In other words, two Islamic investment companies established at two different times by two different persons, one Egyptian and the other Saudi, were engaged in a shell game so clever that the judge in the original case had also been conned into awarding some $2.3 million to Sana-Bell — which apparently never collected. Where did the money go? It was another mystery like that of the missing billions from the National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia, even if on a much more modest scale. There was only one reasonable explanation. The complex transactions and bitter lawsuit were simply to cover the transfer of money to terrorist organizations.

The allegations went further. Not only were Biheiri’s Sana-Bell and BMI the same, both controlled by IRO, with the IRO in turn a front for the IIRO, but that institution in turn was a twin of the World Muslim League, which was itself a de facto arm of the Saudi royal family. Even worse, the FBI claimed to have discovered that secret sponsors and/or beneficiaries of BMI were Mousa Abu Marzouq, supposedly second-in-command of Hamas, Yasin al-Qadi, the notorious al-Qa’idah financier, and Mohammed Salah of Quranic Literary Institute fame, all Specially Designated Terrorists or Specially Designated Global Terrorists against whom the prior evidence was so overwhelming. Even more damning, the director of BMI also had business relations with Yousef Nada, head of the notorious Al Taqwa Group, which, as everyone knew, “has long acted as financial adviser to al Qaeda.” And worse: it also became clear that Hamas, too, through Abu Marzouq, funnelled to Biheiri from its burgeoning coffers many millions for real-estate investments in the US with the intent to use the profits to fund terrorist actions against Israel.15

The feds gathered still more “credible” data to back up their affidavit. There was a CIA report, made public in response to a Freedom of Information Request, containing the considered judgment that, of more than fifty Islamic NGOS in the US, approximately one third either supported terrorist groups or employed individuals suspected of terrorist connections. The report cited the well-documented ties between Ramzi Yousef (architect of the 1993 World Trade Center attack) and Usama bin Laden (who stated quite openly he had no idea who Ramzi Yousef was); it cited the well-known role of Usama’s brother-in-law Mohammed Khalifah in Manila-based plots to kill the pope and to bomb a bunch of US airliners; it cited the equally well-known fact that the IIRO put up a lot of the money for no less than six terrorist training camps in Afghanistan.16 There was information about the secret terror-money trail that had appeared on the front page of the New York Daily News and in other credible media. The agent who filed the court declaration in Biheiri’s bail hearing made matters clear. “I know, based on news reports, that the IIRO was banned in Kenya in September, 1998 following the bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 for suspicion of its involvement.” What he perhaps did not know, or forgot to tell the court, was that the Kenyan government, after an investigation, had allowed its branch to reopen well before the affidavit was filed.

There was more data of the same spurious quality. A former BMI accountant suggested to the FBI that money the company may have transferred overseas “may” have been used to finance the embassy bombings.(Not only had the bombers not required outside funds but, if all of the alleged financiers of that event had gathered all of the accu-mulated surpluses, they might have been able to cover the US balance of trade deficit.) Further information came from another objective source — Suleiman Biheiri’s estranged wife, with whom he was then involved in a bitter custody battle.

With all of this evidence — spook leaks, Daily News reports, rumors spread by disgruntled and frightened ex-employees, and the accusations of a woman scorned — it was no wonder that a federal grand jury charged Suleiman Biheiri with three counts of immigration violations. Eventually found guilty of lying under oath, an offense carrying a maximum sentence of six months, the judge used against Biheiri the same federal guideline that prosecutors later directed against Dr Dhafir, namely that a judge can raise the sentence for a non-terror offense if the crime was “intended to promote terrorism.” Prosecutors claimed Biheiri had “done business” with people “designated” as terrorists. Hence the judge sent him up for a full year and demanded that he forfeit citizenship and return to Egypt after serving his sentence.17

Despite these striking successes against the flow of terror-dollars through allegedly phony charities, US law enforcement refused to rest on its laurels. During 2004, at a time when the public’s attention had long before been diverted from Afghanistan to Iraq, they struck at two links they had previously missed.

One was the Islamic American Relief Agency, formally designated a financier of terrorism in 2004, then subjected to the usual Treasury raids and media frenzy. Lest anyone think that unearthing another key terror-dollar link so late in the game was the sign of poor police work, the feds explained that they had just discovered that the charity had closer links to al-Qa’idah than they had previously assumed. Indeed, as their investigation proceeded, they were shocked to find that the charity had provided “direct financial support to Osama bin Laden” and that it was the centre of a “worldwide network.” The raid followed from the interrogation of Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, a Saudi “financier” (aren’t they all?) who was yet another of the masterminds-cum-paymasters of 9/11.

Another reason for the delay was how well IARA had disguised its terrorist activities. In the late 1990s it even received State Department funding for relief work in Mali and the Sudan. It was finally cut off, over State Department protests, shortly after US missiles took out that chemical weapons facility in Khartoum that had somehow disguised its nerve gas production as if it were making animal vaccines while hiding the product in ibuprofen bottles. However, actually closing the charity had to await serious evidence of complicity in 9/11.

Khalid al-Fawwaz was one of many Saudi dissidents living legally in London from where they propagandized against the regime. He had helped Usama bin Laden establish the Advice and Reformation Com-mittee, another publicly operating anti-Saudi group, in the days when bin Laden had been living in the Sudan. After bin Laden returned to Afghanistan and began issuing increasingly violent diatribes, al-Fawwaz still circulated his communiqués and offered to arrange interviews for visiting reporters. Soon after the 1998 embassy bombings, he was accused of running bank accounts for bin Laden and arrested at US request. Since the US denied al-Fawwaz the right to question anonymous witnesses who had provided its evidence, the British government refused extradition — but kept him locked up anyway.18 In the meantime the British were smart enough to freeze his London bank account and proudly proclaim that they had taken £23.19 million out of the terror-dollar circuit. In fact the bank account held £23.19, about half the sum required for a taxi from central London to Heathrow airport. Al-Fawwaz, in preventive custody, found himself promoted from a “suspected bin Laden ally” to the chief of the al-Qa’idah network in Britain. This effective action on both sides of the Atlantic was cheered publicly by the usual “anti-terrorism experts” in taxpayer-funded Washington institutes who had been trying to warn the feds of the dangers of Islamic charities for years.19

Yet another late target was the Islamic Center of Springfield, Missouri. Prior to its opening, local Muslims had only makeshift mosques like the basement of a doctor’s office. But the proud new centre got caught in the aftermath of accusations against the Saudi-based Al Haramain Islamic Foundation, which, according to prosecutors, owned the Springfield mosque and its parent organization in Oregon. Prosecutors also insisted that there were “direct links between the US branch and Osama bin Laden.” By the logic of the government claim, the anti-terror net could not only entangle every institution everywhere in the world to which the largest official Saudi charitable foundation had ever donated, along with local officers and other donors, but haul in every other organization to which the recipient charities had, in turn, donated. The government offered no evidence to back charges that the centre was used to solicit and contribute funds for terrorism. As a Springfield physician, one of the main officials of the mosque, aptly commented: “It’s tough to be Muslim these days.”20


In some ways the outcome of Islamic charity trials was irrelevant, except, obviously, to the defendants. The simple fact of the accusations, with or without formal charges, sent a chill deep into the hearts and wallets of potential donors in North America and beyond. The problem went beyond simply closing a charity under contrived circumstances. As economic conditions worsen across North Africa and the Middle East, as governments are forced by plummeting revenues and IMF demands to slash publicly funded social services and subsidies for food and fuel, more of their people are driven below the poverty line leaving mosques and Islamic charitable foundations to take up the slack. Mosques provide monthly stipends to the poor and ill and to the families of those jailed or killed by the government. They provide special emergency aid such as distribution of blankets in winter, food packages during Ramadan, or school supplies at the start of the academic year. They run health clinics and educational services, provide vocational training and loans, and help with garbage collection and the provision of clean water. A few have their own income-generating arms; but for the most part they rely on private philanthropy and contributions of cash, time, and expertise. Much of philanthropy comes from local individuals; but as the middle classes, too, are squeezed, there is a greater dependence, which can only grow over time, on remittances and charitable distributions based on contributions from abroad. Yet, if and when institutions smeared as part of the bin Laden network (or as financiers of Hizbullah or Hamas suicide bombers) are permitted to reopen, their reputations are probably damaged permanently. Not only will Muslims in the US fear to donate, lest they be charged with giving material support to terrorism, but headlines about how “top U.S. companies gave to charity linked to al-Qaeda” in, for example, the Benevolence Interna-tional case would ensure that big corporations would in the future be shy about donations to any Muslim charity.21

The campaign in the US reached well above the level of the poor Muslim immigrant to affect the wife of Bandar ibn Sultan, the Saudi ambassador, a long-time crony of the Republican Right and a willing participant in enterprises like the Iran-Contra scam. In 1998 she received a letter from the Jordanian wife of a Saudi man living in San Diego, pleading for help with medical bills. In response she began to send $2,000 per month. The woman who received the money endorsed one check to the wife of another man who lent two of the future accused hijackers cash to rent an apartment — this was two years before anyone, including Mohammed Atta, had a clue about what was going to happen.22 Apparently the post-9/11 climate held guilt to be not just by various degrees of indirect association but also by failure to exercise telepathic and clairvoyant skills.

In such an atmosphere, remaining Muslim charities in the US reported dramatic drops (some by 50 percent) in contributions. One in New York, for example, which operated a soup kitchen that had fed regularly four hundred people, found donations cut so far that it could only handle 150. Another, Kinderusa, formed early in 2002 specifi-cally to fill the gap left by the forced closure of others, despite filing all required forms and communicating openly with the authorities, found itself under so much FBI scrutiny that it wrapped up voluntarily rather than subject its donors to police harassment. Far from thawing as the post-9/11 hysteria began to recede, the donor chill was accentuated early in 2004 when the Senate Finance Committee asked the IRS for confidential tax and financial records including the donor lists many Muslim charities in the US — guaranteed to shake further confidence of donors and dry up funds even more.23 Nearly two years later the Senate Committee reported that it had found nothing “alarming” in the financial records of nearly two dozen Muslim groups it reviewed for terrorist connections.24

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1. See Boston Globe, 2 November 2001; Daily News, 10 April 2002; Washington Post, 21 March 2002; Los Angeles Times, 22 February 2003; New York Law Journal, vol. 231, no. 110, 9 June 2004. Thanks to Max Pomeranc for these references.
2. On hate crimes see Nguyen, Suspects, xxii et passim. The call for internment came from, among others, Jack Nicholson on 12 September 2001. See Observer, 25 February 2005. Some radical right-wing pundits recalled the mass internment of Japanese during World War II and asked why not the same treatment for the new enemy who had just declared World War III similarly “without provocation”? See Michelle Malkin, In Defense of Internment: The Case for ‘Racial Profiling’ in World War II and the War on Terror (New York, 2004).
3. Attacks and discriminatory actions are monitored by among others the Muslim Civil Rights Center: www.mcrcnet.org/index.htm.
4. See the excellent summary in Madeleine Baran, “The Terrorism Case That Wasn’t,” NewStandard, 29 February 2904, also reprinted in Alternet, 20 April 2004, and Jennifer Van Bergen, “New American Law: The Case of Dr. Dhafir,” Counterpunch, 7 October 2905. Press coverage is compiled at www.jubileeinitiative.org/FreeDhafir1.htm.
5. United States Department of Justice, “Indictments Allege Illegal Financial Transfers to Iraq; Visa Fraud Involving Assistance to Groups That Advocate Violence,” #119, 26 February 2003.
6. See Madlaine Baran, “As Help the Needy Charity Trial Nears, Case Further Politicizes,” The NewStandard, 18 April 2004.
7. ABC News, “Iraq’s Attack Network,” 5 March 2003.
8. Michael Chertoff, the senior Justice official and future Secretary of Homeland Security, crowed “We will hunt from coast to coast, anywhere in the country, those who violate the laws that prohibit illegal transfer of money overseas…” (New York Times, 20 December 2002).
9. New York Times, 21 March 2002.
10. The US also targeted Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi, founder of the American Muslim Foundation and the American Muslim Council, and former executive assistant to the president of the SAAR Foundation, who was charged with illegal financial transactions with Libya, money-laundering, misuse of a passport, perjury in his citizenship application, and failure to report foreign bank accounts. Indeed, he had the honor of being perhaps the first foreign national accused under that particular clause of the US anti-money-laundering laws. Money Laundering Alert, vol. 15, no. 1, November 2003; Washington Times, 29 October 2003.
11. Douglas Farah and John Mintz, “U.S. Trails Va. Muslim Money, Ties,” Washington Post, 7 October 2002; Randal, Osama, 228.
12. This is Rita Katz of the “private” SITE (Search for International Terrorist Entities) Institute in Washington (Washington Post, 7 October 2002).
13. See Matthew Epstein and Ben Schmidt, “Operation Support-System Shutdown,” National Review Online, 4 September 2003; a hyperbolic version of the story can be found in Steven Emerson with Jonathan Levin, “Terrorism Finance: Origination, Organization and Prevention,” Testimony to United States Senate, Committee on Governmental Affairs, 31 July 2003. There is remarkable similarity to the affidavit of David Kane cited in note 18 below.
14. Its last entry (May 1997) in the directory of American Muslim charitable organizations reads: “Your tax deductible donation….brings a ray of hope through food and clothing distribution, agricultural and small business development; health care and educational programs, as well as special emergency aid – wherever and whenever it’s needed!” This charity ran offices throughout the Balkans and in East Africa, Afghanistan, Cambodia, North Africa, the Middle East, ex-Soviet Central Asia, Palestine, and the Indian Subcontinent, focusing on health care as well as emergency food, clothing and shelter.
15. “Hamas — Coming to a Neighborhood Near You,” Jerusalem Newswire, 28 March 2004.
16. See US News & World Report, “The Saudi Connection,” 15 November 2003.
17. Matthew Epstein and Ben Schmidt, “Operation Support-System Shutdown,” National Review, 4 September 2003.
18. See David Kane, “Declaration in Support of Pre-Trial Detention,” United States of America v. Soliman Biheiri, Case No. 03-365-A, United States Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Kane was the same agent who claimed that SAAR was the world’s biggest terror-finance operation. See also Matthew Epstein and Ben Schmidt, “Operation Support-System Shutdown: Who Paid for the 1998 East African Embassy Bombings?” National Review Online, 4 September 2003.
19. New Statesman, 5 November 2001; Guardian, 3 March 2003; Financial Times, 6 March 2003.
20. Newsweek, 20 October 2004. Rita Katz of SITE supposedly had tracked IARA “for years,” eager to get the goods on this nefarious terror network.
21. Associated Press, 3 October 2004.
22. Financial Times, 31 October 2003.
23. Newsweek, 9 December 2002; New York Times, 24 November 2002.
24. Washington Post, 14 January 2004.
25. Indianapolis Star, 15 November 2005.