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Terrorism  
ADL Urges U.S. to Designate Main Flotilla Organizers as Terrorist Groups
Note: The following is the text of two letters delivered on June 8, 2010 to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

 

June 8, 2010

The Honorable Hillary Clinton
Secretary of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Madame Secretary:  

In the aftermath of last week’s deliberate provocation by a flotilla of ships seeking to break the blockade of Hamas-Controlled Gaza, we are writing to urge the Department to designate two of the principal flotilla organizers and funders – Union of Good and Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH) – as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The Union of Good
The Union of Good (UG) is an umbrella organization that represents over 50 Islamic fundraising groups worldwide.  The United States Treasury Department has designated UG as supporting terrorism and has included the organization as part of both the “Designated Charities and Potential Fundraising Front Organizations for FTOs” list and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) list of “Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons.”
According to the November 12, 2008 Treasury Department press release announcing the designation: 

The leadership of Hamas created the Union of Good in late-2000, shortly after the start of the second Intifada, in order to facilitate the transfer of funds to Hamas. The Union of Good acts as a broker for Hamas by facilitating financial transfers between a web of charitable organizations--including several organizations previously designated under E.O. 13224 for providing support to Hamas--and Hamas-controlled organizations in the West Bank and Gaza. The primary purpose of this activity is to strengthen Hamas' political and military position in the West Bank and Gaza, including by: (i) diverting charitable donations to support Hamas members and the families of terrorist operatives; and (ii) dispensing social welfare and other charitable services on behalf of Hamas.

According to the Treasury Department, the Union of Good facilitates the transfer of tens of millions of dollars a year to Hamas-managed associations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including funds to compensate Hamas terrorists by providing payments to the families of suicide bombers.  UG was banned in Israel in 2002 because of ties with Hamas 

Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH)
Insani Yardim Vakfi (Humanitarian Relief Fund in Turkish, or IHH)) is one of the non-governmental organizations under the UG umbrella, an Istanbul-based Islamic charity with ties to Hamas.  Long before the group raised its public image as one of the main supporters of the Gaza-bound flotilla, IHH emerged as a significant player in the Hamas global fund-raising machine, maintaining direct contacts with senior Hamas officials.  IHH has organized several public conferences in Turkey to demonstrate its support for Hamas, and senior Hamas officials have openly participated in these conferences. At the conferences, the heads of IHH have expressed their support for Hamas, including its armed warfare on civilians.   IHH was outlawed in Israel in July 2008 because of its affiliations with Hamas. 

According to sworn testimony in the April 2001 Western District of Washington case United States v. Ahmed Ressam, a case involving the December 31,1999 bomb plot targeting Los Angeles International Airport, IHH played “an important role” in terrorist operations.  According to the testimony of French counterterrorism magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguiere:   

    "The IHH is an NGO, but it was kind of a type of cover-up… in order to obtain forged documents and also to obtain different forms of infiltration for Mujahideen in combat. And also to go and gather [recruit] these Mujahideens. And finally, one of the last responsibilities that they had was also to be implicated or involved in weapons trafficking."
IHH conducts many activities in Gaza, and established a branch in Gaza City to promote its operations there. In January 2008, an IHH delegation met with Ahmad Bahar, chairman of he legislative council of the Hamas regime in Gaza.  During the meeting they discussed the assistance IHH had previously given to Gaza and pledged to double that amount the following year.

In November 2009, IHH sent one of its activists, Azat Shahin, to open another branch in the West Bank.  Shahin transferred several thousands of dollars from IHH to Hamas-run charities.  He was arrested in April 2010 on suspicion of financing terrorism and supporting the Hamas terrorist organization and deported from Israel to Turkey at the request of Turkish officials.

Members of IHH took part in events organized in support of Hamas while participating in the Viva Palestina aid convoy to Gaza in December 2009. While in Gaza with the convoy, Bülent Yildirim, IHH's president, appeared alongside Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas' leader in Gaza.

Moreover, IHH has been linked to several U.S.-based Islamic charities, including sister charities Success Foundation and the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), whose Philippines and Indonesia branches were designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2006 because of its links to Al Qaeda. Several documents seized in 2002 from the offices of Success Foundation detail donations that U.S. charities gave to IHH. These include $35,000 from the International Relief Organization (aka North American branch of the International Islamic Relief Organization) for “relief and charity work as instructed by Success Foundation” in January 2000; $90,000 from the Success Foundation for “relief and charity work” in May 2000; and an official receipt acknowledging $70,000 from Success Foundation to IHH for “humanitarian aid to the Chechen refugees in Georgia and Azerbaijan” in January 2001. (Supplemental Declaration in Support of Detention of Abdurahman Muhammad Alamoudi) 

In light of the extensive connections and significant fundraising activities made by these groups to Hamas, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, we would urge the State Department make these two organizations subject to the same restrictions as Hamas. 



Sincerely,

Robert G. Sugarman
National Chair
 

Abraham H. Foxman
National Director




  June 8, 2010

The Honorable Timothy Geithner
Secretary of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20220

Dear Mr. Secretary:


In the aftermath of last week’s deliberate provocation by a flotilla of ships seeking to break the blockade of Hamas-Controlled Gaza, we are writing to urge the Department to add one of the principal flotilla organizers and funders – Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH) to both the “Designated Charities and Potential Fundraising Front Organizations for FTOs” list and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) list of “Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons.” 


Insani Yardim Vakfi (Humanitarian Relief Fund in Turkish, or IHH)) is one of the non-governmental organizations under the Union of Good (UG), an Istanbul-based umbrella organization that represents over 50 Islamic fundraising groups worldwide.  UG has well-documented ties to Hamas, connections that led the United States Treasury Department to designate UG as supporting terrorism according to the terms of Executive Order 13224 in November, 2008.

Long before IHH raised its public image as one of the main supporters of the Gaza-bound flotilla, the organization emerged as a significant player in the Hamas global fund-raising machine, maintaining direct contacts with senior Hamas officials.  IHH has organized several public conferences in Turkey to demonstrate its support for Hamas, and senior Hamas officials have openly participated in these conferences. At the conferences, the heads of IHH have expressed their support for Hamas, including its armed warfare on civilians.   IHH was outlawed in Israel in July 2008 because of its affiliations with Hamas. 

According to sworn testimony in the April 2001 Western District of Washington case United States v. Ahmed Ressam, a case involving the December 31,1999 bomb plot targeting Los Angeles International Airport, IHH played “an important role” in terrorist operations.  According to the testimony of French counterterrorism magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguiere: 
 

    "The IHH is an NGO, but it was kind of a type of cover-up… in order to obtain forged documents and also to obtain different forms of infiltration for Mujahideen in combat. And also to go and gather [recruit] these Mujahideens. And finally, one of the last responsibilities that they had was also to be implicated or involved in weapons trafficking."
IHH conducts many activities in Gaza, and established a branch in Gaza City to promote its operations there. In January 2008, an IHH delegation met with Ahmad Bahar, chairman of he legislative council of the Hamas regime in Gaza.  During the meeting they discussed the assistance IHH had previously given to Gaza and pledged to double that amount the following year.

In November 2009, IHH sent one of its activists, Azat Shahin, to open another branch in the West Bank.  Shahin transferred several thousands of dollars from IHH to Hamas-run charities.  He was arrested in April 2010 on suspicion of financing terrorism and supporting the Hamas terrorist organization and deported from Israel to Turkey at the request of Turkish officials.

Members of IHH took part in events organized in support of Hamas while participating in the Viva Palestina aid convoy to Gaza in December 2009. While in Gaza with the convoy, Bülent Yildirim, IHH's president, appeared alongside Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas' leader in Gaza.

Moreover, IHH has been linked to several U.S.-based Islamic charities, including sister charities Success Foundation and the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), whose Philippines and Indonesia branches were designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2006 because of its links to Al Qaeda. Several documents seized in 2002 from the offices of Success Foundation detail donations that U.S. charities gave to IHH. These include $35,000 from the International Relief Organization (aka North American branch of the International Islamic Relief Organization) for “relief and charity work as instructed by Success Foundation” in January 2000; $90,000 from the Success Foundation for “relief and charity work” in May 2000; and an official receipt acknowledging $70,000 from Success Foundation to IHH for “humanitarian aid to the Chechen refugees in Georgia and Azerbaijan” in January 2001. (Supplemental Declaration in Support of Detention of Abdurahman Muhammad Alamoudi) 

For these reasons, we urge you to add Insani Yardim Vakfi to both the “Designated Charities and Potential Fundraising Front Organizations for FTOs” and OFAC’s list of “Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons.” 



Sincerely,

Robert G. Sugarman
National Chair
 

Abraham H. Foxman
National Director


 
Related ADL Articles

ADL Calls on State Department to Designate Main Flotilla Organizers as Terrorist Organizations (6/8/10)



 
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