From time to time, the United States identifies certain individuals as crucial to the operation of terrorist organizations. Most often these are top leaders, or they help finance terrorist organizations. In all cases, these are people who have committed, or are deemed to pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism.
When such an individual is identified, the U.S. Government places that person's name on the Specially Designated Nationals List. Any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction are immediately frozen, and U.S. persons are prohibited from doing any business with them, locking the designated individual out of the U.S. financial system. In this way, the United States disrupts the financial support network for terrorists and terrorist organizations.
On August 16th, the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated three such individuals. All are senior members of the Jemaah Islamiya, or JI, Terrorist Network, an al-Qa'ida affiliate which operates in Southeast Asia. They are Umar Patek, Abdul Rahim Ba’asyir and Muhammad Jibril Abdul Rahman.
Umar Patek has planned and funded multiple J-I terrorist attacks in the Philippines and Indonesia. In his capacity as a leader of the JI network in Mindanao, the Philippines, Patek obtained funding for operations that were to include a large-scale car bombing in metropolitan Manila, attacks on Philippine military camps in Mindanao and assassinations of prominent foreigners.
Abdul Rahim Ba’asyir is a JI network leader who has trained and led the group's operatives in South and Southeast Asia since the late 1990s. He has also provided support to al-Qa’ida. Abdul Rahim is a senior leader deemed to have the ability to instigate violence.
Muhammad Jibril Abdul Rahman has been directly involved in obtaining funding for terrorist attacks and other JI operational activities. Both he and Abdul Rahim Ba’asyir have also been linked to the Al-Ghuraba organization in Pakistan, which was formed to groom the next generation of JI leaders and provide them with weapons and training.
The United States also works with the United Nations to impede terrorist financing. The three individuals were also listed under the UN al-Qa'ida sanctions regime pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1267. This sanctions regime imposes an assets freeze, arms embargo, and travel ban on listed individuals and entities. All UN Member States are required to implement these sanctions.
"These three men have demonstrated their commitment to violence," said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. "[These designations] are intended to disrupt their ability to access the international financial system to support their deadly agendas."