Counter-Terrorism: Al Qaeda Loves Lawsuits

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June 20, 2007: One reason there is no shortage of suicide bombers is because of the money involved. Several Islamic charities provide one time payments, or even monthly "pensions," to the families of suicide bombers. Saddam Hussein is still popular among Islamic radicals because, when he was in power, he made large (up to $30,000) payments to the families of such "martyrs." That made recruiting a lot easier, and took the PR sting out of the loss of life. Saddam is no longer writing checks, but there are several other sources that are still active.

For the last seven years, the United States, and other governments, have been tracking down the organizations that still make these payments, and shut many of them down. In the process of doing that, many of these "charities" (their usual cover) were observed funneling money to terrorists themselves. For a while, some of the charities were identified, but not approached, so that the movement of the payments, usually via Middle Eastern banks, could be tracked to the recipient. That would result in the identification, and sometimes capture, of terrorists.

Some of these efforts have been upset because of civil suits, by terrorism victims (or their families) against the Middle Eastern banks that deliver the martyr money to the recipients. Many of those banks have branches in the United States, and that allows plaintiffs to force the banks to reveal transactions from the Islamic charities that are being sued, even if those charities are no longer in business. The banks can then be sued, if the plaintiffs can prove bank management knew who they were dealing with. Since the data uncovered during these proceedings is not classified, and done openly, it scares away any terrorists who were being monitored by intelligence operations. Of course, the CIA or FBI (or any other intel organization) rarely complains, since this would further compromise the surveillance operation. This is one of the reasons that governments discourage these lawsuits, although they don't like to make too much of an issue of the intel angle, but it's there.

 


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