Posts Tagged ‘Lebanon’

Hearing on the Blacklisting of Hezbollah by the European Union

| July 9th, 2013 | No Comments »
US House of Representatives

BY MATTHEW LEVITT

The director of the Institute’s Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence addressed the EU Parliament regarding why European countries should designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. The following is an excerpt from his prepared remarks; download the PDF to read the full testimony.

“The long awaited results of the Bulgarian investigation into the July 2012 bus bombing in Burgas, released in part in early February, quickly spurred a spirited debate within the European Union on the issue of whether or not to proscribe the military wing of Hezbollah, Lebanon’s Party of God, as a terrorist organization. The Bulgarian investigation determined that the military wing of Hezbollah was behind the Burgas bombing that left six dead and described a sophisticated Hezbollah plot led by a cell that included Canadian and Australian citizens. Recently, some have questioned the strength of the evidence accumulated by investigators from Bulgaria, Europol, and beyond, but ... Read More

U.S. Moves Against Hezbollah ‘Cartel’

| April 24th, 2013 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal

BY JAY SOLOMON

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration charged Hezbollah with operating like an international drug cartel and blacklisted two Lebanese money-exchange houses for allegedly moving tens of millions of dollars of drug profit through the U.S. financial system on behalf of the militant group.

The Treasury Department’s action Tuesday marked the latest salvo in a two-year U.S. government campaign against Hezbollah’s alleged drug-trafficking activities.

U.S. officials alleged that Hezbollah is using proceeds from this narcotics trade to fund international terrorist activities and to bolster the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in their fight against a widening political rebellion.

U.S. officials also said Hezbollah is increasingly reverting to illicit trade to offset diminished funding coming from Iran, the organization’s closest ally.

“Hezbollah is operating like a major drug cartel,” said Derek Maltz, a special agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration, who is overseeing the U.S. probe into Hezbollah. “These proceeds are funding violence against Americans.”

Bulgaria’s Interior ... Read More

State Department still silent on Venezuelan ties to Hezbollah

| March 21st, 2013 | No Comments »
AEI

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to testify before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-proliferation, and Trade. I was impressed by the intense interest of Subcommittee Chairman Ted Poe (R-TX) and Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) in the presence of Hezbollah in the Americas, which includes a network of Hezbollah operatives and sympathizers at the highest levels of the Venezuelan government.

My written testimony includes a description of the network directed by Hezbollah operative Ghazi Atef Nassereddine, who has a very close relationship with Venezuela’s acting President Nicolas Maduro. When Maduro was the foreign minister, he promoted Nassereddine – who was born in Lebanon and only became a Venezuelan citizen about a dozen years ago – to be the second-in-command at the Venezuelan embassy in Syria.

In my testimony, I reported:

Nassereddine is Venezuela’s second-ranking diplomat in Syria. Nassereddine is a key Hezbollah asset because of his close personal relationship to ... Read More

Hezbollah linked with cartels in Latin America

| November 19th, 2012 | No Comments »
Lebanon Now

BY ANA MARIA LUCA

A new report submitted to the United States Congress links Lebanese Hezbollah to the drug cartels in Latin America. Besides warning of the usual terrorist threat posed by Iran and Hezbollah to the United States, the document also refers to criminal activities such as money laundering and drug trade.

The United States seem to have less and less friends in Latin America, while Iran’s popularity seems to be on a rise. Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela, which already have strong ties with Tehran, asked in June 2012 to be removed from the Inter –American Treaty for Reciprocal Assistance signed in Rio in 1947. Even Argentina and Brazil have been slightly warming up to ties with Iran.

The report presented by the United States House Committee on Homeland Security ought not to make the US intelligence agencies happy. It sees Hezbollah and Iranian agents working with drug cartels in Mexico and ... Read More

Armas, Minería y Redes de Irán en América Latina

| February 16th, 2012 | 2 Comments »
US Senate

Aspectos destacados del testimonio del Embajador Roger Noriega ante el Comité de Relaciones Exteriores del Senado, Subcomité para el Hemisferio Occidental, Cuerpos de Paz, y Narcóticos

Febrero 16 del año 2012

El director de Inteligencia Nacional, James R. Clapper, declaró a principios de este mes que “las autoridades iraníes” de más alto nivel “están ahora más dispuestas a realizar un ataque en Estados Unidos ….” El general Clapper también informó que el líder supremo de Irán, Ali Jamenei, probablemente estaba enterado de las acciones descubiertas en octubre donde supuestos líderes de cárteles de la droga mexicanos conspiraron con Irán para perpetrar un supuesto atentado terrorista en el corazón de la capital de nuestra nación.

Basándonos en decenas de entrevistas con expertos de todo el mundo, con testigos en la región y en una gran cantidad de documentos oficiales venezolanos e iraníes se hacen las siguientes conclusiones:

Hugo Chávez y el ... Read More

Noriega Testimony: “IRAN’S INFLUENCE AND ACTIVITY IN LATIN AMERICA”

| February 16th, 2012 | 3 Comments »
US Senate

TESTIMONY OF AMBASSADOR ROGER F. NORIEGA

BEFORE THE UNITED STATES SENATE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS

SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE,PEACE CORPS, AND GLOBAL NARCOTICS AFFAIRS

HEARING ON

“IRAN’S INFLUENCE AND ACTIVITY IN LATIN AMERICA”

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Room 419, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC

Mr. Chairman, I applaud you and other members of the Subcommittee forinitiating a review of Iran’s activities in Latin America.

Since you announced your inquiry, the Director of National Intelligence, James R.Clapper, testified earlier this month that “Iranian officials” at the highest levels “are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States….” General Clapper also reported that Iran’s so-called “supreme leader” Ali Khamenei was probably aware of the bizarre plot discovered last October to conspire with supposed Mexican drug cartel leaders to commit a terrorist bombing in the heart of our Nation’s capital.i Only because ... Read More

Treasury Sanctions Panama Based Money-Laundering Operation

| December 30th, 2011 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal

BY SAMUEL RUBENFELD

The U.S. Treasury Department said Thursday it sanctioned two Lebanese-Colombian nationals under the Kingpin Act for their activity in laundering drug money.

Along with Jorge Fadlallah Cheaitelly and Mohamad Zouheir El Khansa, the Treasury said it designated nine other individuals, including a sibling of Cheaitelly, as well as 28 entities linked to them spread across Colombia, Panama, Lebanon and Hong Kong.

“By designating these individuals and companies, we are exposing a significant international money laundering network, forcing them out of the international financial system and undermining their ability to launder drug money through a global support network for the Mexican and Colombian drug cartels,” said Adam Szubin, director of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, in a statement.

Cheaitelly, Treasury said, leads a Panama-based drug trafficking and money-laundering organization that stretches across the Americas, the Middle East and Hong Kong.

Among the 28 companies designated Thursday that are controlled by Cheaitelly, El ... Read More

Ties between Hezbollah and Mexican drug cartels revealed

| December 16th, 2011 | No Comments »
The Jerusalem Post-01

BY REBECCA ANNA STOIL

WASHINGTON – A US indictment of a Lebanese druglord revealed on Tuesday the close ties between Hezbollah and the drug cartels that have reduced parts of Mexico to near battle zones in recent years.

Ayman Joumaa, 47, was accused in absentia of conspiring to smuggle over 90,000 tons of cocaine into America and laundering over $250 million for the cartels.

Mexico served as a crossroads for the Colombia-manufactured drugs, which Joumaa helped to smuggle between 2005 and 2007.

Although the US Treasury Department listed Joumaa and another nine members of his cadre as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers in January 2011, the Lebanese drug magnate is not in American custody. The indictment was returned in absentia to a federal court’s grand jury last month, but was unsealed this week. If caught and convicted of the charges against him, Joumaa could face a lifetime in prison.

The indictment asserts that Joumaa made millions through his money-laundering operation, receiving between an 8- ... Read More

U.S. cocaine habit funding Mideast terror via Mexican drug gangs: Feds

| December 16th, 2011 | No Comments »
New York Daily News

BY JOSEPH STRAW

WASHINGTON — America’s cocaine habit not only funds drug violence in the West, it also supports Iranian-backed terror and wars waged against Israel, prosecutors charge.

The U.S. Thursday sued seven foreign firms for funneling to Hezbollah in Lebanon more than $480 million from Mexican drug deals and shady U.S. car sales.

The political party and terror outfit carried out the 1983 bombings of the U.S. embassy and Marine Corps barracks in Beirut that killed 368 people.

More recently, in 2006, Hezbollah fought a month-long war against the Jewish state, and just this week claimed to have outed ten CIA officers working undercover in Lebanon.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who filed the suit, said it “puts into stark relief the nexus between narcotics trafficking and terrorism.”

The claim targets seven companies based in Lebanon and West Africa, including a bank and two currency exchanges.

It links one business — Lebanon Canadian Bank — to Ayman ... Read More

Government Says Hezbollah Profits From U.S. Cocaine Market Via Link to Mexican Cartel

| December 14th, 2011 | No Comments »
Pro Publica

BY SEBASTIAN ROTELLA

U.S. authorities are building a politically explosive case that Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group, finances itself through a vast drug-smuggling network that links a Lebanese bank, a violent Mexican cartel and U.S. cocaine users.

Federal prosecutors Tuesday charged Ayman Joumaa, an accused Lebanese drug kingpin and Hezbollah financier, of smuggling tons of U.S.-bound cocaine and laundering hundreds of millions of dollars with the Zetas cartel of Mexico.

“Ayman Joumaa is one of top guys in the world at what he does: international drug trafficking and money laundering,” a U.S. anti-drug official said. “He has interaction with Hezbollah. There’s no indication that it’s ideological. It’s business.”

The indictment in Virginia results from a continuing investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration targeting Hezbollah, which has a bloody history of terror attacks against the United States and Israel.

Now a powerful partner in Lebanon’s government, Hezbollah presents itself as a legitimate political party and ... Read More

Beirut Bank Seen as a Hub of Hezbollah’s Financing

| December 14th, 2011 | No Comments »
The New York Times

BY JO BECKER

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Last February, the Obama administration accused one of Lebanon’s famously secretive banks of laundering money for an international cocaine ring with ties to the Shiite militant group Hezbollah.

Now, in the wake of the bank’s exposure and arranged sale, its ledgers have been opened to reveal deeper secrets: a glimpse at the clandestine methods that Hezbollah — a terrorist organization in American eyes that has evolved into Lebanon’s pre-eminent military and political power — uses to finance its operations. The books offer evidence of an intricate global money-laundering apparatus that, with the bank as its hub, appeared to let Hezbollah move huge sums of money into the legitimate financial system, despite sanctions aimed at cutting off its economic lifeblood.

At the same time, the investigation that led the United States to the bank, the  Lebanese Canadian Bank, provides new insights into the murky sources of Hezbollah’s money. While law ... Read More

Hezbollah Cells Active Worldwide, Including in U.S.

| September 29th, 2011 | No Comments »
American Thinker-01

BY REZA KAHLILI

The terrorist group Hezb’allah, based in Lebanon, is establishing “resistance cells” worldwide under the direction of Iran, according to Mohammad Hussein Babai, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the province of Golestan.

The cells are already infiltrating the United States with the help of Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez and drug cartels.

The Iranian Student News Agency, which is close to the Guards, reported last week that Babai, during a press conference, revealed that these jihadist cells began forming after the 2006 Lebanon war between Israel and Hezb’allah, and with the current Islamic Awakening, they have expanded their operations.

Their mission, Babai said, is to help create an Islam-dominated world.

This is the first time that a high-ranking Revolutionary Guard commander in the Islamic regime of Iran has revealed the presence of such jihadist cells in the world.

“Today we are a witness to our power and authority in the world,” Babai said, ... Read More

Hezbollah in America

| August 8th, 2011 | No Comments »

BY ALEX JOFFE

Hizballah is a Shiite Muslim movement, Iranian-created and -funded, which strongarms Lebanon through threats and violence, assaults Israel with rockets obtained through Syria in contravention of UN resolutions, and is funded through massive criminal enterprises. And it has arrived in the Americas.

Party of Fraud Matthew Levitt,  Foreign Affairs.  Is it not time to expose Hizballah for what it is—no standard-bearer of “resistance” in Lebanon but a worldwide criminal gang—and to prosecute it as such?

Hizballah in Latin America Roger F. Noriega,  House Committee on Homeland Security.  Testimony on Hizballah’s close ties to the regime of Hugo Chavez and to FARC narcotraffickers, and the implications for U.S. homeland security. (PDF)

Evidence for Hizballah’s criminal and terrorist activities in the Western hemisphere continues to build. The implications for the U.S., for Israel, and for Jews globally are ominous. Why, then, is so little attention paid?

Consider:

• In early July, two men were arrested in Bucharest ... Read More

Congress Hears Again About Hezbollah’s Role in Latin America

| July 12th, 2011 | No Comments »

BY LUIS FLEISCHMAN

The Committee on Homeland Security met on July 7th to discuss Hezbollah’s growing influence in Latin America. Testifying at the hearing were Roger Noriega, former Under Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere and American Ambassador to the Organization of American States; Douglas Farah, Senior Fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center and a former Washington Post journalist; Ilan Berman, Vice President of the American Foreign Policy Council; and; Dr. Melanie Cammett, professor at Brown University.

Many of the points raised at the hearings have been written before including by authors at the Menges Hemispheric Security Project but new material was presented, as well.

Roger Noriega stated that Hezbollah continues to penetrate the Western hemisphere by establishing alliances with Mexican and other drug cartels and by trying to take control of existing mosques in order to spread its radical message.

Noriega also spoke about the Venezuelan government’s complicity in encouraging ... Read More

Neutralizando a “Aero-Terror”

| June 23rd, 2011 | No Comments »
FoxNews

El reciente anuncio por parte de la administración de Obama, en relación a las sanciones impuestas contra la empresa estatal petrolera de Venezuela PDVSA,  a causa de sus tratos ilícitos con Irán, es una señal esperanzadora, que indica que el poder ejecutivo está tomando en cuenta las llamadas de atención que demuestran el apoyo irresponsable de Hugo Chávez a la estrategia Iraní que pretende sostener su programa nuclear y promover el terrorismo en el vecindario de EE.UU . Si las autoridades estadounidenses piensan seriamente en confrontar esta amenaza, deben enfocar su atención en Conviasa, que es la aerolínea controlada por el gobierno de Chávez y que transporta terroristas y armas en nuestro vecindario.

Hay mucho que investigar. Es ampliamente conocido que Conviasa opera vuelos regulares entre Caracas, Teherán y Damasco. El vuelo con destino a Irán, fue inaugurado en 2004, la parada en Beirut se agregará en poco tiempo. Que una línea aérea de América ... Read More

Grounding AeroTerror: Hugo Chávez’s Scary Anti-American Campaign Takes to the Skies and Stops Off In Teheran

| June 23rd, 2011 | No Comments »
FoxNews

The Obama administration’s recent announcement of targeted sanctions against Venezuela’s state-owned oil company for illicit dealings with Iran is a hopeful sign that the executive branch is heeding warnings about Hugo Chávez’s reckless support for Iran’s strategy to sustain its illegal nuclear program and to sow terrorism on the U.S. doorstep. If U.S. authorities are really getting serious about confronting this threat they should focus attention on Conviasa, Chávez’s government-run airline that ferries terrorists and weapons to our own neighborhood.

There is much to investigate. It is widely-known that Conviasa operates regular flights between Caracas, Teheran, and Damascus. The flight to Iran was inaugurated in 2004, and a stop in Beirut will be added soon.

That a South American airline would choose such destinations for routine service may seem peculiar, but it is a logical part of Chávez’s anti-American campaign and provocative alliances with Iran, Syria, Libya, and a host of Middle Eastern terrorist groups.

We can only ... Read More