U.S. Ex-Congressman Indicted In Terror Funding Case

US ex-congressman indicted in terror funding case

Source: news.yahoo.com

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted a former US lawmaker for his links to a charity that sent funds to an Afghanistan-based supporter of Al-Qaeda through banks in Pakistan.

Former Republican representative Mark Deli Siljander was named in a 42-count indictment against the Missouri-based Islamic American Relief Agency (IARA), charged with "engaging in prohibited financial transactions for the benefit of US-designated terrorist Gulbuddin Hekmatyar," the US Department of Justice said in a statement.

Siljander, 57, faces money laundering, conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges in the case.

Hekmatyar is an Islamist rebel leader who received US aid in the 1980s to resist the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. He briefly served as Afghan prime minister in the 1990s and initially opposed the Taliban regime, but then switched sides after the October 2001 US-led invasion.

According to the indictment, in 2003 and 2004 IARA sent some 130,000 dollars to bank accounts in Peshawar, Pakistan "purportedly for an orphanage housed in buildings owned and controlled by Hekmatyar" -- who is believed to be hiding in eastern Afghanistan or Pakistan while leading his Hizb-i-Islami (Islamic Party) faction.

Siljander, who represented a congressional district in the midwestern state of Michigan from 1981 to 1987, owns and heads a public relations company.

The indictment says IARA hired Siljander in March 2004 to lobby Congress to remove the group from a US Senate Finance Committee list of non-profit organizations suspected of supporting international terrorism.

It alleges that Siljander "engaged in money laundering and obstruction of a federal investigation in an effort to disguise IARA's misuse of taxpayer money that the government had provided for humanitarian purposes."

The Wednesday indictment supersedes a 33-count indictment from March 2007. It does not charge the defendants with material support of terrorism, "nor does it allege that they knowingly financed acts of terror," the statement read.

Rather, it alleges that some of the defendants "engaged in financial transactions that benefited property controlled by a designated terrorist," in violation of US laws.

The indictment "paints a troubling picture of an American charity organization that engaged in transactions for the benefit of terrorists," said Assistant Attorney General for National Security Kenneth Wainstein.

IARA, which had earlier been an US Agency for International Development contractor hired to work on relief projects in Mali, Africa, was closed in October 2004 when the Treasury Department named it "a specially designated global terrorist organization."

Other defendants include Mubarak Hamed, 51, a naturalized US citizen from Sudan; Ali Mohamed Bagegni, 53, a naturalized US citizen born in Libya; and Ahmad Mustafa, 55, a US resident and citizen of Iraq.

New indictments issued against Islamic charity

Source: columbiamissourian.com

January 16, 2008 | 6:47 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — A federal indictment accuses members of the Islamic American Relief Agency of funneling $130,000 to bank accounts in Pakistan, knowing the money would ultimately benefit property owned by an Afghan man who has been designated a terrorist by the U.S. government.

The indictment, released Wednesday, clarifies previous charges brought against the agency, a charitable organization formerly based in Columbia. The new charges allege that Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is the leader and founder of an Hezb-e-Islami-Gulbuddin, an organization that has participated in and supported terrorist acts. He also owns the building holding the orphanage for which the agency’s money was allegedly intended. A statement from the Justice Department says the indictment does not charge any of the defendants with “material support of terrorism” or of knowingly supporting terrorist acts.

Three defendants named in the indictment have lived in Columbia, including Mubarek Hamed, 51, the organization’s former executive director, and Ali Mohamed Bagegni, 52, a former member of the agency’s board of directors. Also indicted was Ahmad Mustafa, 55, an Iraqi citizen and former agency fundraiser. The three men were originally indicted in March 2007, along with other employees and associates of the organization, for money laundering and violating federal sanctions by transferring funds to Iraq.

The agency’s attorney, Shereef Akeel, said that neither he nor his clients have seen any of the U.S. Government’s evidence against the agency. “In those four years, I haven’t seen a shred of evidence to suggest that IARA did anything wrong,” Akeel said.

The newest indictment also names Mark Deli Siljander, a former congressman from Michigan who is charged with money laundering, conspiracy and obstruction of justice. The agency hired Siljander as a lobbyist in March 2004, shortly after the organization was designated by the U.S. Treasury Department as a suspected fundraiser for terrorists. The indictment alleges that the $50,000 the agency paid Siljander was stolen from the U.S. Agency for International Development by IARA, Hamed and Bagegni.

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. His attorney in Kansas City, J.R. Hobbs, had no immediate comment.

Authorities described Hekmatyar as an Afghan mujahedeen leader who has 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,” Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Wainstein said.

Siljander founded the Washington-area consulting group Global Strategies Inc. after leaving the government.

The indictment alleges that the Islamic American Relief Agency 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, the agency was supposed to return any unused funds after the relief project was wrapped up in 1999.

Instead, Siljander and three agency 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 work for the agency. The money, he told investigators, was merely a donation to help him write a book about Islam and Christianity, the indictment says.

In 2004, the FBI raided the Islamic American Relief Agency-USA group’s 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 the allegations that it has financed terrorism. The agency 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 there was a link between the two groups.

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, in order 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.

Akeel, a civil rights attorney, said he believes that by pursuing cases like this one, the U.S. government is creating an environment in which public officials are wary of interactions with all Muslims.

“I hope they’re not using one person to send a message to other congressmen to stay away from other Muslim organizations and other Muslim charities,” he said.

If you read this and thought the congressman was . . .

charged with funding a terrorist, you'd be wrong. These articles are misleading, assuming the NY Times is accurate. He's just charged with accepting a lobbying fee from funds that should have been returned to the government when not used for development aid.


It looks like he did this before the group was designated a terrorist organization in October 2004. He was trying to get the group's eligibity for government contracts restored.


The headline is misleading - he was not indicted for aiding a terrorist group.

The headline says "indicted

The headline says "indicted in terror funding case". Not indicted for aiding a terrorist group.

So where do you get that? I didn't get that--though I could see someone worrying it might go there...;-)


what makes the col. tick

you never contribute anything meaningful (not to say i have, but at least i don't ridicule everyone based on specious claims). you have been outed as a brit imposter, luv.

she's as outdated as stone-washed jeans, folks.

You missed the bit where that was sorted here


Never said I was anything else than what I am. Try to keep up, luv.

Now I'm asking for a reasonable, civil, on-topic, clarification--what are you doing?

He was...

Charged with "engaging in prohibited financial transactions for the benefit of US-designated terrorist Gulbuddin Hekmatyar."

I wonder if the reason this blog is getting voted down is because it mentions Pakistan as opposed to Israel.

Who Is? Archives

The headline is technically accurate

The article as a whole gives the impression he is charged with funding terrorism, because it is not clear about the charges.

Actually, to be really technical, other defendants are not charged with funding "terror," they are charged with engaging "in financial transactions that benefited property controlled by a designated terrorist," Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. It doesn't look like the government will have to prove that the money was not used for an orphanage in the Shamshatu Refugee Camp in Pakistan, where 300,000 people live. And this may not even be a criminal charge unless the government can prove they willfully violated the regulation. It looks like they could face civil fines up to $10,000 even if they didn't know that the buildings being renovated were controlled by Hekmatyr. He's a Special Globally Designated Terrorist since February 2003 by executive order, and I don't think it even matters if the charity knew that when they sent money for the orphanage in March 2003 through August 2004. They could still be fined up to $10,000, and the headline could still read "terror funding case."

Hekmatyar seems more like an Afghan warlord than a global terrorist.


This is the only charge related to "terror" -- the rest involve violations of sanctions against Iraq from 1991-2020, or violations of of tax laws.

Indictment linked from here:


I think the government will have to prove the ex-congressman knew that the money he received came from USAID funds. If they can't do that, they might be able to prove that he obstructed justice by saying he wasn't paid to lobby on behalf of the group, but to write a book.

But no matter---the ex-congressman has indeed been indicted in a "terror funding case."

I didn't vote this blog down

But I thought about giving it a 5, because it has not been explained what it has to do with the events of 9/11. It's more a Daily Kos story.


It's interesting in terms of the military and legal response to 9/11, but this is about an Afghan warlord of shifting allegiances who has now been designated a terrorist, because according to the Justice Department, he “has vowed to engage in a holy war against the United States and international troops in Afghanistan.” Looking back at the history of Afghan resistance to the British and Soviets, is this surprising?

Sure looks like a way they funded al-CIAda, I mean al-Qaeda!

Consider mass emailing truth messages. More info here: http://www.911blogger.com/node/13321

I remember seeing an article that link Siljander to Edmonds

Last week while searching for news on Sibel's activities I recall encountering a story where a "former congressman" was interviewed about allegations of criminal activity, the source of which was reportedly the testimony of Sibel Edmonds. If I am not mistaken the former congressman was Siljander however I cannot locate the article. I hope the September Criminals are not white-washing Siljander's crimes so that incriminating links to 9/11 are torn asunder.


"There is no fury like that of a man scorned for expressing truth!"

If Siljander were a Democrat...

Good thing Siljander isn't a Democrat. If he were, Republican idiots would demand all registered Democrats be thrown in Gitmo.