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1/29/04 - CHARITABLE GROUP AIDS TERRORISTS - 2004-01-29


The U.S. and Saudi Arabia are asking the United Nations to freeze the assets of four branches of a Saudi charitable group with links to the al-Qaida terrorists. The freeze would apply to al-Haramain’s offices in Indonesia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Pakistan.

These branches of al-Haramain, said U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow, “not only assist in the pursuit of death and destruction; they deceive countless people around the world who believe that they have helped spread good will and good works.”

In 2003, the Saudi government ordered al-Haramain to close all of its overseas branches. But monitoring by both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia shows that the branches in Indonesia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Pakistan have not been shut down.

The four branches of al-Haramain are linked to the October 2002 bombings in Bali, Indonesia, by al-Qaida; the August 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania by al-Qaida; and an al-Qaida plot developed in Pakistan to carry out terrorist attacks in the U.S. If the U-N designates the al-Haramain branches as supporters of terrorism, all member countries will be obligated to freeze their assets -- effectively putting them out of business in those countries.

Cofer Black is the U.S. State Department’s coordinator for counter-terrorism:

“This is the business of counter-terrorism. We have to be very exacting and specific. We must make sure that money intended for good works that help individuals continues in a way that maximizes the security of individuals.”

The U.S. and other countries continue to hunt down the al-Qaida terrorists and cut off their funding. Two-thirds of known al-Qaida leaders have been captured or killed. Most recently, al-Qaida terrorist Hassan Ghul was captured in Iraq. Ghul, as President George W. Bush said, “was moving money and messages around South Asia and the Middle East. He’s part of this network of haters that we’re dismantling.”

But many more terrorists from al-Qaida and other groups are still in hiding -- plotting ways to harm the U.S. and its friends and allies. That is why there must be no letup in what President Bush called “an international manhunt” for the terrorists.

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