John F. Wood, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, said of the Islamic American Relief Agency: “An organization right here in the American heartland allegedly sent funds to Pakistan for the benefit of a specially designated global terrorist with ties to al-Qaeda and the Taliban”¦. The indictment also alleges that a former congressman engaged in money laundering and obstruction of a federal investigation in an effort to disguise IARA”s misuse of taxpayer money that the government had provided for humanitarian purposes.”
Siljander was a naive Useful Idiot who started out wanting to build bridges, and ended up being a tool for jihadists. Many people, including some notable Leftist journalists, are in the same position today. But note that Siljander was a Republican: useful idiocy is bipartisan. More background in my January 2008 article, “A Congressman for Jihad.” “Ex-congressman sentenced in terror funding case,” by Bill Draper for the Associated Press, January 11 (thanks to David):
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) “” A former Michigan congressman and U.S. delegate to the United Nations has been sentenced to a year and one day in prison for lobbying for a Missouri-based Islamic charity that had been identified as a global terrorist organization.
Mark Deli Siljander, 60, a Republican who served in Congress from 1981-1987, pleaded guilty in July 2010 to obstructing justice and acting as an unregistered foreign agent in connection with his work for the Islamic American Relief Agency, based in Columbia, Mo.
In his plea agreement, Siljander acknowledged that he lobbied between March and May 2004 on behalf of the IARA for the organization to be removed from a U.S. Senate Finance Committee list of charities suspected of funding international terrorism. The charity closed in October 2004 after being designated a global terrorist organization by the U.S. government.
IARA had lost its status as an approved government contractor in 1999, when the U.S. Agency for International Development terminated grants for two relief efforts in Mali, Africa. Prosecutors said $50,000 of the $75,000 Siljander received from the charity came from unused grant money that was supposed to have been returned to USAID after it terminated the Mali grants.
Siljander also acknowledged that he failed to register as an agent of a foreign entity and had lied to FBI agents and prosecutors acting on behalf of a federal grand jury….
Four co-defendants also were sentenced Wednesday. Among them were former IARA executive director Mubarak Hamed, who sent more than $1 million to Iraq through the charity in violation of U.S. sanctions. He pleaded guilty in June 2010 to illegally transferring the money and obstructing the administration of laws governing tax-exempt charities.
Hamed, whose attorney characterized him as a loving family man who devoted his life to charitable causes around the world, was sentenced to 58 months, or nearly five years, in prison.
“You painted yourself as a man devoted to charity,” Laughrey said. “I find that not to be credible. When confronted by the government, you lied. You continued to do what was in your best interest, in the best interest of your organization.”
The original indictment alleged the charity sent about $130,000 to help Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, whom the United States has designated as a global terrorist. The money, sent to bank accounts in Peshawar, Pakistan, in 2003 and 2004, was masked as donations to an orphanage located in buildings that Hekmatyar owned.
Authorities described Hekmatyar as an Afghan mujahedeen leader who has participated in and supported terrorist acts by al-Qaida and the Taliban.
Prosecutors said Siljander, who now lives in Great Falls, Va., lied to the FBI about being hired to lobby for the charity. He told investigators that the money he received was a donation to help him write a book about Islam and Christianity.
Three others involved in the charity were sentenced Wednesday to probation.
Abdel Azim El-Siddig, of Chicago, Ill., a former fundraiser for the charity, was sentenced to two years of probation for conspiring to hire Siljander to lobby for the charity’s removal from the list of those suspected of having terrorist ties, while concealing this advocacy and not registering with the proper authorities.
Ali Mohamed Bagegni, a native of Libya who is a naturalized U.S. citizen and former resident of Columbia, was sentenced to six months of probation for his role in the conspiracy. Bagegni was a member of the board of directors of IARA.
Ahmad Mustafa of Columbia, a citizen of Iraq and a lawful permanent resident alien of the United States, also was sentenced to six months of probation for illegally transferring funds in violation of federal sanctions.