Wikileaks – Saudi Arabia: Their Oil Is Thicker Than Our Blood
By BIG PEACE | by Rachel Ehrenfeld, ACD Director
Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 @ 10:26PM
Wikileaks reported on November 28, 2010, that a cable from the State Department in December 2009, said that Saudi donors remain the primary financiers of Sunni militant groups like Al Qaeda. This report stated the obvious, and stands in contrast to what successive American administrations have been telling us.
In July 2009, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner Geithner, on his first official visit to the kingdom, lauded the Saudi government for having “taken important steps to combat financing for terrorist groups.”
Geithner seemed unaware of repeated statements to the contrary by Undersecretary of the Treasury for Financial and Terrorism Intelligence, Stuart Levey. For example, “On terrorist financing …there has been a real lag between what they [the Saudis] say they were going to do and what they do.”
The Saudis efforts to globally spread Wahhabist Islam began in earnest in 1962, with the establishment of the first international Saudi charity, the Muslim World League (MWL) . Influenced by exiled Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood members, then Saudi crown prince, later king, Faisal bin Abdul Aziz, used the country’s growing oil revenues to fund MWL, and many other Islamic charities that helped create the global jihadist movement we are faced with today.
In 2009, according to Wikileaks reports, while the Obama Administration has been, working to isolate Hamas, a 1997 U.S. designated terror group, the Saudis pledged $1 billion to “rebuild Gaza.” In 2007, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh was reported to pass $1 million in funding from a Saudi donor to Hamas’ “ armed wing.”
Also in 2009 – Mr. Levey told the Senate Banking Committee that there were concerns over “deep-pocket donors” and the abuse of charities to fund militants. “Is money leaving Saudi Arabia to fund terrorism abroad? Yes,” he was quoted as saying. “Undoubtedly, some of that money is going to Iraq. And it’s going to South-East Asia and it’s going to any other place where there are terrorists.”
The Pakistani police reported in 2009 that Saudi Arabia’s charities continue to fund Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and Pakistan’s Laskhar-e Taiba (LET). The report said that the Saudis gave $15 million to jihadists, including those responsible for suicide attacks in Pakistan and the death of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
In January 2010, the Saudi government refused to assist the U.S. request for information in a terror financing case involving a major Saudi bank. The Riyadh based Al Rajhi Bank, the largest Islamic bank in the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the third largest commercial bank in Saudi Arabia, refused to comply with a subpoena issued in the terror financing trial of Dr. Peter Seda, a U.S. operative of the Saudi based, U.S. designated, and allegedly defunct charity al Haramain Foundation. The evidence provided by the prosecution showed the Saudi al Rajhi Bank transferred $151,000 to the Chechen mujahedeen. Still, The Saudis who in 2007 ratified the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, refused to cooperate.
The May 31, 2010 edition of The Sunday Times revealed that the Afghan financial intelligence unit, FinTraca, reported that since 2006, at least $1.5 billion from Saudi Arabia were smuggled into Afghanistan, headed most probably to the Taliban. The money entered Afghanistan through Pakistani tribal area, especially through North Waziristan, known as “al-Qaeda’s heartland.” One wonders how much of this money was used to buy weapons that killed 1,268 American soldiers and maimed thousands more in Afghanistan.
Also in May 2010, leaked Saudi intelligence document showing continued Saudi governmental support for al Qaeda in the form of cash and weapons, were published by Buratha News Service, an independent news source in Iraq.
On November 15, 2010, the GAO released its 2009 report on Saudi efforts to stop terror financing. It concluded that the “U.S. and Saudi officials report progress on countering terrorism and its financing within Saudi Arabia, but noted challenges, particularly in preventing alleged funding for terrorism and violent extremism outside of Saudi Arabia. (Emphasis added). Moreover, there are no restrictions on foreign branches of Saudi-based charities from funding terrorist groups. In addition, cash in large quantities to fund terrorism, is being smuggled out of the country via couriers.
Despite all the evidence of the danger posed by the Wahhabist message, the U.S. has continued its preferential treatment of the Kingdom, while Saudi funds continue flowing to Sunni radical groups, foreign charities, mosques, Islamic centers, and academic institutions.
It is time the U.S. took serious measures to protect Americans at home and abroad from the ill effects of Saudi funding to spread global Wahhabi radicalizations. For example:
1) The U.S. must avoid selective enforcement of its anti-terror finance regulations, and also cease ignoring or condoning the ties between Saudi (and Gulf), as well as direct and indirect funding of Islamic Organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relation (CAIR) and Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).Several organizations have already been identified by U.S. law enforcement as terrorist support groups. And while some action has been taken against a fewindividualmembers of these organizations, the nonprofits themselves have been allowed to perpetuate, leaving intact mechanisms that cloak support for terror and spread radicalizing influences. New legislation should curtail the activities of such organizations.
2) The United States Treasury should freeze the assets of these groups and similar allegedly not for profit-organizations that are, in actuality, tools for spreading fundamentalist Islam through cultural influence and the sponsorship of terrorism. The list should include the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), the Muslim World League (MWL), Muslim Student Association (MSA), and CAIR.
3) The U.S. Treasury and State Departments should publish quarterly progress reports on Saudi and Gulf anti-terror financing compliance efforts, including evidence that proves or disproves their claims that reform have been implemented.
4) Saudi/Gulf investments in the United States should be made public, as is the case with all other countries. The U.S. Treasury keeps this information secret, thus, preventing public knowledge and monitoring of the extent of Saudi connections with and influence on the American government, private and public sectors.
5) The United States should ban contributions to American educational institutions, non-profits and charitable organizations from countries that prohibit religious freedom. As of November 2010, the U.S. Commission on International Freedom had named 13 countries as violators of their citizen’s right to practice their religion. The 13 identified by the Commission included Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, Burma, North Korea and the Sudan. In blocking donations from these dictatorial governments (including wealthy private donors), the US will be curtailing the radicalizing and subversive influences they exert over the American educational system, which among others, encourages “home grown” Islamists terrorists.
6) Congress should pass the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, proposed in 2009, by Senators Arlen Specter (D-Pa) and Charles Schumer (D-Ny). This legislation, among other functions, will remove the existing prohibition against suing foreign states or foreign officials civilly for damages related to acts of terrorism sponsored by them.
7) Congress should strengthen the SPEECH Act that was signed into law in August 2010. The law prevents the enforcement of any libel judgment rendered abroad, which does not comport with the protective standards of the First Amendment. While placing the burden of proof on the enforcing plaintiff, and granting the winning defendant (U.S. author/publisher) the costs of litigation and a declaratory judgment to clear his/her name, the law still lacks sufficient deterrence provisions. Congress should adopt Senator Jon Kyl (R-Az) suggestion to amend the SPEECH Act, so that “those who bring foreign libel lawsuits are faced with the same kinds of financial risks they seek to inflict on others.” This would help “to protect Americans from efforts to infringe on their free speech rights,” as well as allowing them to publically expose Saudi and others ongoing terror financing activities.