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01-16-08, 09:49 PM #1Corporal
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Ex-Congressman Charged in Terror Case
Ex-Congressman Charged in Terror Case
By LARA JAKES JORDAN,
Posted: 2008-01-16 20:37:27
Filed Under: Crime News, Nation News
WASHINGTON (Jan. 16) - A former congressman and delegate to the United Nations was indicted Wednesday on charges of being part of a terrorist fundraising ring that allegedly sent more than $130,000 to a supporter of al-Qaida and the Taliban who has threatened U.S. and international troops in Afghanistan.
Mark Deli Siljander, a Michigan Republican when he was in the House, was charged with money laundering, conspiracy and obstructing justice for allegedly lying about lobbying senators on behalf of an Islamic charity that authorities said was secretly sending funds to terrorists.
Siljander Campaign, AP
Faces Serious Charges
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Former congressman from Michigan Mark Siljander, here in an undated photo, was indicted Wednesday as being part of a terrorist fundraising ring that allegedly sent $130,000 to an al-Qaida and Taliban supporter. He's being accused of lying about lobbying on behalf of an Islamic charity that was accused of sending funds to terrorists.
The 42-count indictment, unsealed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., accuses the Islamic American Relief Agency of paying Siljander $50,000 for the lobbying — money that turned out to be stolen from the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Siljander, who served in the House from 1981-1987, was appointed by President Reagan to serve as a U.S. delegate to the United Nations for one year in 1987.
He could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday, and his attorney in Kansas City, J.R. Hobbs, had no immediate comment.
The charges are part of a long-running case against the charity, which had been based in Columbia, Mo. In 2004, the Treasury Department designated the charity as a suspected fundraiser for terrorists.
In the indictment, the government alleges that IARA employed a man who had served as a fundraising aide to Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader and mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The indictment accuses IARA of sending approximately $130,000 to help Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, whom the United States has designated a global terrorist. The money, sent to bank accounts in Peshawar, Pakistan, in 2003 and 2004, was masked as donations to an orphanage located in buildings that Hekmatyar owned.
Authorities described Hekmatyar as an Afghan mujahedeen leader who participated in and supported terrorist acts by al-Qaida and the Taliban. The Justice Department said Hekmatyar "has vowed to engage in a holy war against the United States and international troops in Afghanistan."
The charges paint "a troubling picture of an American charity organization that engaged in transactions for the benefit of terrorists and conspired with a former United States congressman to convert stolen federal funds into payments for his advocacy," said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Wainstein.
Siljander was elected to Congress initially with the support of fundamentalist Christian groups, and said at the time he won because "God wanted me in." In 1983, he claimed that "Arab terrorists" planned to kill him during a pro-Jewish rally; the FBI and Secret Service said they knew of no such plot. Siljander attended the rally wearing a bulletproof vest.
After leaving the government, he founded the Washington-area consulting group Global Strategies Inc.
The indictment says Siljander was hired by IARA in March 2004 to lobby the Senate Finance Committee in an effort to remove the charity from the panel's list of suspected terror fundraisers.
For his work, IARA paid Siljander with money that was part of U.S. government funding awarded to the charity years earlier for relief work it promised to perform in Africa, the indictment says. Under the grant agreement, IARA was supposed to return any unused funds after the relief project ended in 1999.
Instead, Siljander and three IARA officers agreed to cover up the money's origins and use it on the lobbying effort, the indictment charges.
In interviews with the FBI in December 2005 and April 2007, Siljander denied doing any lobbying for IARA. The money, he told investigators, was merely a donation from IARA to help him write a book about Islam and Christianity, the indictment says.
In 2004, the FBI raided the IARA's USA headquarters and the homes of people affiliated with the group nationwide. Since then, the 20-year-old charity has been unable to raise money and its assets have been frozen.
The charity has denied allegations that it financed terrorism. IARA in Columbia has argued that it is a separate organization from the Islamic African Relief Agency, a Sudanese group suspected of financing al-Qaida. A federal appeals court in Washington ruled in February that the two groups were linked.
In an indictment handed down in March, the charity and four of its officers were charged with illegally transferring $1.4 million to Iraq from March 1991 to May 2003 — when Iraq was under various U.S. and U.N. sanctions.
The indictment also alleges that on 11 separate occasions the defendants transferred funds from the United States to Iraq through Amman, Jordan, to promote unlawful activity that violated Iraq sanctions.
In all, Siljander, IARA and five of its officers were charged with various counts of theft, money laundering, aiding terrorists and conspiracy.
"By bringing this case in the middle of America, we seek to make it harder for terrorists to do business halfway around the globe," said John Wood, U.S. attorney in Kansas City.
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
01-16-08, 10:09 PM #2
wow. good article. thanks for posting it.
"Stupid should hurt."
01-17-08, 01:08 AM #3
Umm we used to hang people for just this sort of thing.
Meanwhile, fishing in Russia:
"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that justifies it." -- Frederic Bastiat
"Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter." Ernest Hemingway
The opinions given in my signatures & threads DO NOT reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employing agency. They are my personal opinions only, thereby releasing my agency of any liability, or involvement in anything posted under the username "Five-0" on Officerresource.com
01-17-08, 09:33 AM #4
Read this article just this morning. Hope they break it off in him and leave it.Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me
We are who we choose to be.
R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012
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