Hezbollah: Not Just "Over There"
(All emphases by Always On Watch)
Those of us who are studying the Islamification of the United States are already aware of the largest Muslim community here in the United States; that community is in and around Dearborn, Michigan. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that at least some Muslims in that vicinity are supportive of Islamic terrorist organizations.
According to Diana West's "Hezbollah and Main Street," which appeared in the July 21, 2006 Washington Times,
"...[T]his isn't, as they say, your father's heartland. Hezbollah itself is popular in Dearborn, which can fill a banquet hall to celebrate 'Lebanon Liberation Day' -- the day Hezbollah claims as victory when Israeli forces withdrew in 2000. Osama Siblani, the publisher of Dearborn's Arab American News, considers members of Hezbollah -- along with Hamas and other jihadist groups -- freedom fighters. And, as Mr. Siblani tells it to the Detroit News, he's not alone: 'If morally supporting Hizbollah or associating with [Hezbollah spiritual leader Muhammad Hussein] Fadlallah is a crime, "there is not going to be enough buses to haul the people out and take them to jail."'So how active is Hezbollah here on our continent? And in what kind of activities is the organization engaged? On July 19, 2006, Andrew Cochran published a reference list at Counterterrorism Blog (with internal links at the original site), reproduced below in its entirety:
"Mr. Siblani was speaking before the Israeli offensive began. But not before the 1983 Hezbollah bombings in Beirut, Lebanon, which killed 241 U.S. servicemen, 63 U.S. Embassy personnel and 58 French paratroopers. And not before the 1984 Hezbollah torture-murder of CIA station chief William Buckley in Lebanon. And not before the 1985 Hezbollah hijacking of TWA Flight 847 and the torture-murder of Navy diver Robert Stethem. And not before the 1988 Hezbollah torture-murder of Lt. Col. William Higgins. And not before the Hezbollah bombings of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992, killing 29; the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires in 1994, killing 96; or the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, killing 19 U.S. servicemen...."
Racketeering, Money Laundering, Terrorism Financing:
* U.S.A. v. Mohamad Youssef Hammoud et al., Charlotte, North Carolina: 25 individuals charged in connection with cigarette smuggling, money laundering, credit card fraud, marriage fraud and immigration violations. Four individuals were charged with providing “material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization,” Hizballah, specifically providing “currency, financial services, training, false documentation and identification, communications equipment, explosives, and other physical assets to Hizballah, in order to facilitate its violent attacks.” In 2003, Mohamad Hammoud was sentenced to 155 years in prison, while his brother, Chawki, was sentenced to 51 months.
* U.S.A. v. Elias Mohamad Akhdar et al. (pdf), Dearborn, Michigan: 11 co-defendants charged with racketeering related to the Charlotte, North Carolina scheme. In January, 2004, Akhdar was sentenced to 70 months in prison and was fined over $2,000,000 after having pled guilty in July, 2003.
* U.S.A. v. Imam Mohamad-Musbah Hammoud, et al., Michigan, Canada (Ontario, Quebec), Lebanon: In March, 2006, 19 co-defendants charged with a racketeering scheme involving contraband cigarettes, counterfeit Zig Zag rolling papers and counterfeit Viagra, counterfeit cigarette tax stamps, transporting stolen property, and money laundering. A percentage of the profits derived from the illegal enterprise were given to Hizballah. On July 7, two of the defendants, Imad Majed Hamadeh and Theodore Schenk, 73 pled guilty (pdf). Hamadeh and Schenk face a maximum possible penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
Weapons and Planning:
* U.S.A.. v. Mahmoud Youssef Kourani (pdf), Dearborn, Michigan: In November, 2003, charged with being a “member, fighter, recruiter, and fundraiser” for Hizballah. In June, 2005, Kourani was sentenced to 4 ½ years in prison.
* U.S.A. v. Naji Antoine Abi Khalil, Montreal, Quebec; New York: Canadian/Lebanese dual citizen conspired with an Israeli, Tomer Grinberg, and charged with attempting to export military night vision goggles and infrared aiming equipment to Hizballah. In February 2006, Khalil was sentenced to 60 months in prison.
* U.S.A. v. Ali Boumelhem, Dearborn, Michigan: Man convicted in September 2001 of attempting to smuggle two shotguns, 750 bullets and assault weapon parts in a conspiracy to aid Hizballah, and 5 weapons violations. He was sentenced to 44 months in jail.
* U.S.A. v. Talal Khalil Chahine et. al, Dearborn, Michigan: Restaurant owner and wife, Elfat El Aouar, in May 2006, charged with four counts of tax evasion and the concealment of more than $16,000,000 of cash from the federal government. The U.S. government, in a written proffer of evidence (in U.S.A. v. Elfat El Aouar, Cr. No. 06-20248, EDMI, 5/22/2006), states that Chahine and his wife attended a fundraising event in Lebanon in August 2002 with Hizballah Sheikh Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, a Specially Designated Terrorist (see page 8), where the two men were the keynote speakers. The proffer also claims that a search of El Aouar’s residence turned up a “thank you letter” for sponsoring 40 “orphans,” as well as images of Chahine and his family in front of a Hizballah outpost. According to the proffer, “[t]he government is aware that the sponsorship of orphans is a euphemism used by Hizballah to refer to the orphans of martyrs. This is a common public relations and recruitment tool used by Hizballah. Hizballah gains favor with the public in Lebanon by supporting ‘orphans,’ while at the same time recruiting others into the terrorist organization willing to sacrifice their lives in terrorist operations based in part on the promise that Hizballah will take care of their families.” The government has yet to charge Chahine or his wife with any terrorism-related offense.
* U.S.A. v. Mohammad Shabib, Cleveland, Ohio: Federal prosecutors charged Mohammad Shabib with hiding his role in a drug ring which profits were funneled to Hizballah. Shabib, a gas station owner, had $8,000,000 in a Chicago bank account, which authorities say Shabib amassed by shipping roughly 3 tons of pseudoephedrine from Canada to California, which he would sell to Mexican gangs who would use the drugs to produce methamphetamine. (See: Amanda Garrett, “Terrorists’ Money Takes Convoluted Path in U.S.,” The Cleveland Dealer, January 18, 2004).
Mexico: Human Trafficking:
* Mexico v. Salim Boughader Mucharrafille, Tijuana, Mexico: Boughader, proprietor of a Lebanese restaurant in Mexico, ran a smuggling ring into the U.S. Before he was arrested in December 2002, Boughader had trafficked roughly 200 Lebanese nationals, including Hizballah-linked individuals, across the border and into the U.S. Boughader admitted transporting a former employee of al-Manar television, which is owned and operated by Hizballah and currently designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist entity. Boughder is quoted as saying, “[f]or us, Hezbollah are not terrorists."
* U.S.A. v. Nemr Ali-Rahal et. al. (pdf), Dearborn, Michigan: Husband and wife pled guilty in January 2006 to credit card and bank fraud worth more than $500,000. Ali-Rahal was sentenced to 33 months in prison (see right side text box). While he was not charged with any terrorism related offenses, when FBI agents arrested Ali-Rahal, they discovered, in his home, Hizballah-related materials including a videotape of a 2002 Hizballah rally in Lebanon at which Rahal was present in Lebanon, as well as a collection of books, posters and videos including one titled “A Martyr Speaks About Martyrs” and a photo showing Rahal burning an American flag.
* Hizballah-linked Counterfeit Goods Ring in Los Angeles (pdf), Los Angeles, CA: Testimony of Lieutenant John C. Stedman, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, May 25, 2005: “There are also indicators that some associates of terrorist groups may be involved in (Intellectual Property Right/)IPR crime. During the course of our investigations, we have encountered suspects who have shown great affinity for Hezbollah and its leadership. The following are just two examples: during the search of a residence pursuant to an IPR related search warrant, I saw small Hezbollah flags displayed in the suspect’s bedroom. Next to the flags was a photograph of Hassan Nasrallah whom I recognized as the leader of Hezbollah. The suspect’s wife asked me if I knew the subject of the photograph. I identified Nasrallah and the wife said, ‘We love him because he protects us from the Jews’. Also in the home were dozens of audio tapes of Nasrallah’s speeches. During the search, one of my detectives also found a locket which contained a picture of the male suspect on one side and Sheik Nasrallah on the other. In 2004, detectives served an IPR search warrant at a clothing store in Los Angeles County. During the course of the search, thousands of dollars in counterfeit clothing was recovered as were two unregistered firearms. During the booking process, the suspect was found to have a tattoo of the Hezbollah flag on his arm.”
* In 2003, Hizballah’s website carried a page on Hajj with Hizbollah, complete with contact information for regions around the world. The page listed a Canadian phone number soliciting Muslims interested in going on the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. Other phone numbers included Beirut; Conakry, Guinea; Sweden; Switzerland; Ivory Coast; Denmark; Sierra Leone; Togo; Ghana and Gambia for people interested living in those places.
Maybe you've asked yourself, "If Hezbollah is such a terrible terrorist organization, why does it gain support in the Middle East and even here in the West?" The following, from CNN, provides a few clues:
"It opposes Israel and the West, and supports a fundamentalist Muslim government.According to Patrick Briley, who has presented some of his findings to high-level staff for the Senate Judiciary and Senate and House Intelligence committees, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, and the 9-11 Commission,
"It garners popular support among Lebanese by setting up schools, hospitals and other social services.
"It has become a social/political movement, holding 14 seats in the 128-member Lebanese parliament, according to the parliament's Web site.
"The word 'hezbollah' means 'party of God' in Arabic."
"...There is a terror network in OKC and Norman OK working directly with AlFuqra, AlQaeda, Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Hezbollah (and previously with Iraq and currently with Syria and Iran) capable of assisting in carrying out the current threats of Hezbollah attacks in the US and in OK.Supporting or at least not interfering with Hezbollah is both charity here on earth and a possible avenue to eternal life. While in Islam the only sure way to enter Paradise is through the highest jihad--that is, killing infidels--supporting jihad also has special status.
"The network has been well established and growing in OK and working with other similar terror underground networks throughout the US (such as Red House Virginia, Brooklyn and Dallas-HOLYLAND FOUNDATION and INFOCOM) and Canada and Mexico for over 16 years."
[Hat-tip to Mr. Beamish for sending me the link to Counterterrorism Blog]