Friday, February 03, 2006

Follow Up: Terrorist Organization Designation

Following my post - A Call to Designate Jamaat ul-Fuqra as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, I received a couple of good questions via email. I thought it might be useful to do a follow-up.

Q: Can they be designated as an FTO if it's a domestic organization?

Well, they have a large domestic presence, but their leadership is headquartered in Pakistan. Members there are active in the Kashmir conflict. They also have members in Canada and the Caribbean. Members are required to send a third of their income to their leader in Pakistan.

Q: What will designation do?

A: I looked into this further on the State Dept. website.

Here is the current list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) as well as the Terrorist Exclusion List (TEL). These links also explain the legal requirements and implications that accompany those designations.

Someone actually asked a question about JUF at a State Department briefing on January 31, 2002.

Question: The group headed by Shaykh Gilani used to be designated by the State Department as a terrorist group but it was taken off the list. Why?

Answer: Jamaat ul-Fuqra has never been designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. It was included in several recent annual terrorism reports under "other terrorist groups," i.e., groups that had carried out acts of terrorism but that were not formally designated by the Secretary of State. However, because of the group's inactivity during 2000, it was not included in the most recent terrorism report covering that calendar year.
For clarification, because there was some misunderstanding about this on my part and others as well, includintg the guy who asked the above question, Jamaat ul-Fuqra was not technically or officially designated as an FTO under the legal definition. It was listed as a terrorist group in the report Patterns of Global Terrorism (in 1996, 1997, 1998, & 1999), but that does not carry the same authority as being put on the official FTO list. Previously, designations were to be reviewed every two years or they would lapse. Those requirements have since been modified.

Since January 31, 2002, we have had the killing of Daniel Pearl who, in attempting to meet with Fuqra's founder, was kidnapped and beheaded. Other groups implicated in the plot, with which Fuqra is closely associated, are on the terrorist list; the attacks by the DC snipers, who reportedly had links to Fuqra; the exposure of a significant operation to defraud the state of California; the arrest of a Fuqra member for illegally running guns; the harboring of fugitives; connections to al-Qaida; funds being sent to Pakistan where jihadis are trained and participate in attacks in Kashmir; and reports from Homeland Security, the CA Attorney General's office, and the military designating Fuqra as a terrorist group.

The State Dept. may have specific reasons for not designating the group as an FTO. Even if they are not designated as an FTO, they should be considered for re-insertion in the report as among "Other Terrorist Groups". Of course, some of the evidence may be hard to prove and maybe they ought to be talking to some other agencies. In reality, it just seems like they don't want to "stir things up".

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