Big Peace, July 18, 2010-
Late last month provocative pictures of alleged Russian spy Anna Chapman graced newspapers and blogs worldwide. The stories alongside the mandatory eye-candy featured scandalous accounts of “spying” and “espionage.” But despite the insinuations, the Russian “spies” in question were never charged with spying or espionage. Fox News reported that instead the ten Russians in American custody were charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and “failing to register with the Department of Justice as Foreign Agents under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA).” FARA, first enacted in 1938 to counter Nazi infiltration, is a disclosure statute requiring entities acting in the U.S. on behalf of a “foreign principal” (in this case the Russian government) to register and make periodic disclosure of their relationship.
Another U.S.-based entity that has been accused of violating FARA – by the Center for Security Policy and other leading intelligence and counter-terrorism sources – is the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). The CAIR Observatory.org website (http://www.cairobervatory.org) documents that CAIR has received $6.6 million in cash and loans and $54.5 million in pledges from foreign principals based in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait; has met and coordinated with representatives of those foreign principals on more than 30 occasions; and has carried out over 70 political and propaganda operations on behalf of those same foreign principals.
Shortly after 9/11 CAIR released a carefully qualified statement: “We do not support directly or indirectly, or receive support from, any overseas… government.”
Unfortunately for CAIR, FARA § 611 (b) defines a “foreign principal” far more broadly than just a foreign government. It can also be a foreign political party, partnership, association, corporation, organization, or even an individual based outside of the United States.
For a 72-year-old law, the FARA statute is very much alive and kicking in 2010. We’re seeing it in the news nearly every week now. Underfunded and underestimated, the attorneys in the small FARA office are protecting America’s security, in spite of an increasingly politicized DOJ environment.
Just last week former Congressman Mark D. Siljander of Michigan pleaded guilty to violating FARA in connection with his work for a foreign organization; namely the Islamic American Relief Agency, a.k.a. the Islamic Africa Relief Agency (IARA), a non-governmental “charity” based in Khartoum, Sudan. The IARA allegedly paid Mr. Siljander $75,000 in exchange for his lobbying efforts to have its name removed from a U.S. Senate Finance Committee list of terror-supporting organizations.
The Siljander case is nearly a point-by-point match for CAIR’s work as an agent for “foreign principals” in the United Arab Emirates in the wake of the Dubai Ports scandal of 2006. As part of a senior CAIR delegation to Dubai in May 2006, Board Chairman Parvez Ahmad stated, “If the image of Islam and Muslims is not repaired in America, Muslim and Arab business interests will continue to be on a downward slide in the US.” CAIR was meeting with Khalaf Al Habtoor and other wealthy Dubai businessmen to solicit up to $50 million in donations to fund a public relations campaign in the US. CAIR’s Ahmad assured the audience, “Do not think about your contributions as donations. Think about it from the perspective of rate of return. The investment of $50 million will give you billions of dollars in return for 50 years.”
Within days of the fundraiser UAE Minister of Finance Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum endorsed a proposal to build an endowment property for CAIR in the U.S. CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad said, ‘The endowment will serve as a source of income and will further allow us to reinvigorate our media campaign…”
Furthermore, in 2007 CAIR received $325,000 in cash from another “foreign principal” based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). This mammoth pan-Islamic NGO composed of 57 governments is known for its “10 Year Plan of Action,” calling on all governments worldwide to institute “deterrent punishments” for the “crime” of “Islamophobia.” This is the same OIC that annually sponsors (and passes) resolutions in the U.N. General Assembly to prohibit “defamation of religions” (i.e. Islam). Barack Obama controversially appointed Rashad Hussein as a special US envoy to the OIC this year. The $325,000 transferred to CAIR was earmarked to fund a major OIC conference on “Islamophobia” at Georgetown University.
The ten Russian spies acted as sleeper agents for the Russian government. They allegedly received “hundreds of thousands of dollars” from Moscow. They were indicted under FARA by the Department of Justice in 2010.
Former Congressman Siljander lobbied members of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee to remove the Islamic Africa Relief Agency (IARA) from their terrorist sponsor list. He received $75,000 from the Sudan-based NGO for his services. Siljander was indicted under FARA by the Department of Justice in 2008, and pleaded guilty in 2010.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has lobbied for “foreign principals” and has conducted dozens of political influence operations in the US on their behalf. We have posted conclusive documentation at the CAIR Observatory website proving that CAIR has received $6,698,454 in cash and loans from “foreign principals” since their founding in 1994. So how close are they to being indicted under FARA?
The next few months may tell. On February 2, 2010 Politico.com reported that FBI agents issued a grand jury subpoena seeking internal CAIR documents. Lynn Haaland, an assistant U.S. Attorney in the DOJ’s National Security Division was listed as an “interested party,” indicating that FARA may have been a factor in the investigation.
Ten Russians, one former congressman, and CAIR were all paid by foreign donors. The Russians, the congressman and CAIR all followed their paymasters’ orders. The Russians and the congressman got chump change compared to CAIR’s millions in foreign funding.
The Russians were indicted and deported. The ex-congressman was indicted and pleaded guilty.
What’s in CAIR’s future?