EX-LAWMAKER CHARGED IN TERROR CONSPIRACY
WASHINGTON - A former congressman and delegate to the was indicted Wednesday as part of a terrorist fundraising ring that allegedly sent more than $130,000 to an and supporter who has threatened U.S. and international troops in Afghanistan.
Mark Deli Siljander, a Michigan Republican when he was in the House, was charged with money laundering, conspiracy and obstructing justice for allegedly lying about lobbying senators on behalf of an Islamic charity that authorities said was secretly sending funds to terrorists.
A 42-count indictment, unsealed in U.S. District Court in., accuses the Islamic American Relief Agency of paying Siljander $50,000 for the lobbying — money that turned out to be stolen from the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Siljander, who served in the House from 1981-1987, was appointed by President Reagan to serve as a U.S. delegate to the United Nations for one year in 1987.
He could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday. His attorney in, J.R. Hobbs, had no immediate comment.
The charges are part of a long-running case against the charity, which had been based in Columbia, Mo., and was designated by thein 2004 as a suspected fundraiser for terrorists.
In the indictment, the government alleges that IARA employed a man who had served as a fundraising aide to, the leader and mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The indictment charges IARA with sending approximately $130,000 to help Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, whom the United States has designated as a global terrorist. The money, sent to bank accounts in, 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 byand the . The Justice Department said Hekmatyar "has vowed to engage in a holy war against the United States and international troops in Afghanistan."
The charges paint "a troubling picture of an American charity organization that engaged in transactions for the benefit of terrorists and conspired with a former United States congressman to convert stolen federal funds into payments for his advocacy," Assistant Attorney Generalsaid.
Siljander founded the Washington-area consulting group Global Strategies Inc. after leaving the government.
The indictment says Siljander was hired byin March 2004 to lobby the in an effort to remove the charity from the panel's list of suspected terror fundraisers.
For his work, IARA paid Siljander with money that was part of U.S. government funding awarded to the charity years earlier for relief work it promised to perform in Africa, the indictment says. Under the grant agreement, IARA was supposed to return any unused funds after the relief project was wrapped up in 1999.
Instead, Siljander and three IARA officers agreed to cover up the money's origins and use it on the lobbying effort, the indictment charges.
In interviews with thein December 2005 and April 2007, Siljander denied doing any lobbying work for IARA. The money, he told investigators, was merely a donation from IARA to help him write a book about Islam and Christianity, the indictment says.
In 2004, the FBI raided the Islamic American Relief Agency-USA group's headquarters and the homes of people affiliated with the group nationwide. Since then, the 20-year-old charity has been unable to raise money and its assets have been frozen.
The charity has denied the allegations that it has financed terrorism. IARA inhas argued that it is a separate organization from the Islamic African Relief Agency, a Sudanese group suspected of financing . A federal appeals court in Washington ruled in February that there was a link between the two groups.
In an indictment handed down in March, the charity and four of its officers were charged with illegally transferring $1.4 million to Iraq from March 1991 to May 2003 — when Iraq was under various U.S. and U.N. sanctions.
The indictment also alleges that on 11 separate occasions the defendants transferred funds from the United States to Iraq through, in order to promote unlawful activity that violated Iraq sanctions.
In all, Siljander, IARA and five of its officers were charged with various counts of theft, money laundering, aiding terrorists and conspiracy.
"By bringing this case in the middle of America, we seek to make it harder for terrorists to do business halfway around the globe," said, U.S. attorney in .
Betcha you'll never hear a peep from the right-wing noise machine or the msm, because this guy is a REPUBLICAN. Do you hear me?--a REPUBLICAN!!
And, playing on the Google turned up this piece from 1992 by Frederick Clarkson, in which he reveals Siljanders ties to both Sun Myung Moon and extreme right-wing Christian fundamentalists.
Is there anybody this God-fearing patriot doesn't have ties to? How about the petroleum industry? Oops, he's got that covered, too, if only peripherally.
NACS, The Association of Convenience and Petroleum Retailing, has an annual convention, and guess who was the featured speaker in 2007 at their interfaith prayer breakfast? Read this bio and buildup for Mr. Siljander. If you appreciate irony, you will find this positively dripping with it. Given his indictment, it's hilarious.