We Fight Them Over There...


... so we don't have to fight them over here. That sounds good in theory, but recently fate has thrown the Republican party a curveball.

Turns out that a suspected terrorist financier has been an enthusiastic donor to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), the main political group dedicated to helping the GOP win seats in the House of Representatives.

According to the records of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), New York resident Abdul Tawala Ibn Ali Alishtari, a man indicted last month for financing terrorists in Afghanistan, gave $15,500 to the NRCC between 2002 and 2004.

Alishtari is charged with providing material support to Afghan terrorists as well as money laundering. The indictment states that the defendant was paid to collect and transfer $152,000 between banks--money that was allegedly used to purchase night-vision goggles and other equipment for a terrorist training camp.

As if the GOP donations weren't embarrassing enough, an online curriculum vitae posted by Alishtari himself claims he was named New York State "Businessman of the Year" in 2003 and 2004 by the NRCC. In a February 16 article, CBS News wryly noted that Alishtari's purported 2003 nomination coincides with a $13,000 donation to the NRCC in the same year.

Furthermore, his CV also suggests that he was a lifetime member of the National Republican Congressional Committee's Inner Circle, a group the NRCC calls "an impressive cross-section of American society--community leaders, business executives, entrepreneurs, retirees, and sports and entertainment celebrities--all of whom hold a deep interest in our nation's prosperity and security."

Not surprisingly, the NRCC has kept rather quiet about the news. An official statement released to CNN warns "not to rush to judgment as the judicial process moves forward." However, should Alishtari be found guilty, the statement promises, "it is our intent to donate the money to charity."

No doubt, money talks. That also seems to have been true in the case of Yasith Chhun, a Cambodian-American member of the NRCC Business Advisory Council until he was indicted for terrorist-related charges in 2005. According to the LA Times, he had raised $6,550 for the NRCC.

Apparently, Chhun's other fundraising efforts were much more successful. The head of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters was charged with collecting up to $200,000 for the group's activities and with "attempting to kill the prime minister, attack government buildings and launch small-scale attacks on karaoke bars and fuel depots in an effort to galvanize opposition to the Phnom Penh government."

NRCC spokesman Carl Forti commented on Chhun's actions: "At this point, the gentleman hasn't been convicted of anything. If he is a terrorist, it's something we need to look at. Clearly, we wouldn't want any leader of a terrorist organization being members of our business advisory council."

Whoa, harsh words, Carl.

Some of our longtime readers may also remember a WWNK article titled "The Terrorists Within" from June 2004, in which we wrote about Faisal Gill, a man with proven links to a suspected terrorist. In 2001, Gill had worked with Abdurahman Alamoudi, indicted on 18 counts of terrorist charges, at the American Muslim Council.

Well, maybe it's not your fault and shouldn't be such a big deal if you happen to know someone who's a terrorist supporter. Except that Faisal Gill was policy director of the Department of Homeland Security's intelligence division--and had conveniently forgotten to mention his association with Alamoudi on his "Standard Form 86" national security questionnaire.

But Alamoudi himself, a fervent supporter of the militant Islamist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah, was not an unknown in Washington, either. In 2003, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann reported that "The Pentagon chose him to help select Muslim chaplains. He met with President Clinton, made six trips to Muslim nations as a goodwill ambassador for the State Department, met with candidate George Bush."

Upon Alamoudi's arrest, his Palm Pilot was found to contain the names and phone numbers of six wanted global terrorists. Apparently, he had been covertly operating in the U.S. for over a decade--during which time he enjoyed immunity from prosecution due to his close connection to the Saudis, as well as to Washington power broker and Council of Foreign Relations member Grover Norquist. [Read the full 2004 article here.]

Which brings us to the question: if we, as the Bush administration says, have to fight any state or organization harboring terrorists, does that mean we should march on Washington D.C.?

Or, in the words of one "senior correspondent" on Comedy Central's Daily Show: "We need to fight them over here, so we don't have to fight them... uh... elsewhere."

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Posted 03-06-2007 2:48 PM by Shannara Johnson