Login
Register

Forgot Password
Monday 27 March 2017

Opinion

What Halal Certification Terrorist Links?

Paul Zanetti Tuesday 27 October 2015




REMEMBER all those rubbish statements from our government authorities and politicians telling us there is NO link between halal certification and terrorism? They lied.

More precisely they’ve chosen to deliberately mislead you, along with the ABC and The Guardian, not surprisingly.

So has Senator Sam Dastyari. I wouldn’t expect anything less from Dastardly Sam.

The transcripts of the enquiry into halal certification (aka Senate Enquiry into Third Party Certification of Food) are now publicly available and they confirm what I’ve been banging on about for nearly a year.

Our federal government agencies, responsible for monitoring the links between halal certification in Australia and terrorists have not investigated the links because, by admission, they don’t have the authority to investigate - and the money trails are beyond their reach. Out of their jurisdiction.

AUSTRAC (Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre) is Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regulator.

It sounds important, but they get paid to not do what you think they are doing. It’s classic Yes Minster stuff.

AUSTRAC is meant to investigate bank cash transactions, of $10,000 or more, which they pass onto other government agencies. But someone has to report knowledge or evidence to AUSTRAC, and only from specific entities under the law.

The reporting entities are specified under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act) and are required to report transactions to AUSTRAC.

The entities which deal in cash, bullion and financial transactions, are:

    •    Banks and similar financial institutions such as building societies
    •    Corporations
    •    Insurance companies and intermediaries
    •    Securities dealers, such as stock brokers
    •    Unit trust managers and trustees (but cash management trusts transacting only by cheque or similar are exempt)
    •    Travellers cheque or money order issuers
    •    Cash carriers and payroll preparation businesses
    •    Casinos   
    •    Bookmakers, including totaliser agencies
    •    Bullion dealers
    •    Solicitors, acting on their own behalf (e.g. their trust fund, or originated mortgages)

So which of the above 'entities' have been cut into the deals between halal certifiers and the Islamic charities used to shovel funds overseas to nefarious religious 'causes' via 'donations'?

Not one of these nominated 'entities' would have a clue how these two associated groups operate. It's laughable.

What this means is, AUSTRAC has no power to investigate halal certifiers, or Islamic charities, because they're not covered under the law regulating AUSTRAC.

So are you crying or laughing?

And how does the ABC report it?

Dishonestly.

This from the ABC news website the day of the appearance of two AUSTRAC managers.

No direct link between halal certification and Islamic terrorism, Senate inquiry told
by Will Ockendon   24 Sep 2015

A Senate inquiry into third-party certification of food has heard there is no direct link between halal certification and Islamic terrorism.

The evidence was given by both the Australian Crime Commission and Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), the nation's anti-money laundering intelligence agency, at the inquiry's second hearing on Thursday morning in Sydney.

It is a common thread in the anti-halal movement to allege links between certification and terrorist organisations, but intelligence and law enforcement agencies in Australia do not think it is the case.

Senator Cory Bernardi, who is on the committee, asked if the reason why AUSTRAC had come up with no evidence was because they were not looking at halal certifiers.

"The answer to that is 'no'," Craig Robertson, AUSTRAC's acting national manager of intelligence, said.

But that’s not all what was said. Their ABC lied.
 
Here’s the direct transcript from the enquiry published on the Senate website:

Senator BERNARDI: But you do not really track it, in essence, do you? You do not follow the certification money through a group like AFIC into a mosque or a bookstore where there are extremist materials and the
conversion of people and the inspiring of jihadis is taking place.

Mr Robertson: The answer to that is: no, we do not follow those funds, particularly, for those entities who are engaged in halal certification. Our work has not taken us there. The monitoring of transactions that we do and the other information that we have received have not required us to prioritise that. There are other elements of the funding of all the things that present that current threat, which we do focus on, but the halal certification has not been one of those.

Spot the difference?

Is it any wonder we no longer believe what’s pumped out on the ABC? It’s not a news source but a propaganda machine.

How about The Guardian?

No 'direct linkages' between halal certifiers and terrorism, inquiry hears
Michael Safi  24 September 2015

The Australian Crime Commission has been on “heightened lookout” for links between halal certifiers and terrorism since the issue surfaced last year, but has “not found any direct linkages”, an inquiry has heard.

Nor has Australia’s financial intelligence arm, which told a senate inquiry into food certification on Thursday there was “no link” between the religious approval process and extremist groups.

The Guardian lies, too.

Craig Robertson is the National Manager of Intelligence at AUSTRAC.  Angela Jamieson is Acting General Manager, Compliance AUSTRAC.

Here are the relevant questions and answers from the Senate Enquiry, followed by links to the entire transcript and ABC and The Guardian stories of the day.

Make up your own mind.

Mr Robertson: As we were talking about before in the initial questions, we do not have any information that suggests that the entities we are aware of that provide halal certification are linked to the funding of those seeking
to travel overseas to fight in Iraq or Syria or those who are onshore seeking to undertake any attack planning—

Senator BERNARDI: But you do not really track it, in essence, do you? You do not follow the certification money through a group like AFIC into a mosque or a bookstore where there are extremist materials and the
conversion of people and the inspiring of jihadis is taking place.

Mr Robertson: The answer to that is: no, we do not follow those funds, particularly, for those entities who are engaged in halal certification. Our work has not taken us there. The monitoring of transactions that we do and the other information that we have received have not required us to prioritise that. There are other elements of the funding of all the things that present that current threat, which we do focus on, but the halal certification has not been one of those.

Senator BERNARDI: I will turn internationally, then. In a report published last year, Terrorism financing in Australia, AUSTRAC said:

"The risks associated with the misuse of charities and NPOs are high as these organisations offer the capacity for groups to raise relatively large amounts of money over time."

I understand there are national security issues at play here, but how far do you track the funds that are used by international charities?

Mr Robertson: There is a challenge in that. We can see when money leaves Australia and goes offshore to the first point of recipient, if you like. To put a broader scenario: if you were in the UK, for example,  and I sent money to you, Senator, we can see the transaction. Where that money goes next is a difficult challenge for us because it is not part of what is reported to AUSTRAC. If we identified that the transaction was suspicious, we have a number of arrangements with our counterpart type units in different countries. We could ask the question of those counterparts: what happened to those funds next? We would not do that for all the transactions. As I mentioned, we would only do that in cases where we formed a suspicion or one of our partner agencies has asked us to assist them in looking at those transactions and to engage our international partners.

The delivery of funds that go overseas for charitable purposes are often devolved into goods or cash, which are not part of what we are able to track. In recent times, we have worked with our partner agency the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission to engage those charities in Australia who perform that sort of activity.

They deliver their aid, if you like, overseas. The importance of that outreach is so they are aware of the risks and, from their perspective, perform the right diligence on the recipients of the money to ensure that it is used for the right purposes. I would suggest in the case of NPOs or charities that the work and the regulation around the charities themselves is the governance around that as opposed to the monitoring of the financial activity.


Senator BERNARDI: Let me give you an example: Human Appeal International. It is an international organisation that has ties to Hamas. Hamas is not a prescribed organisation in Australia, but the Hamas brigades are. You can track the money from Human Appeal International that sends out to Hamas. Is that right? They have to send it to an end recipient, so you know that it is going to Hamas or whatever their organisation is.

Mr Robertson: If Human Appeal International has a bank account in Australia and they send funds, yes, we would see where that money was.

Senator BERNARDI: But you cannot then track what Hamas does with the funding?

Mr Robertson: Based on what is reported to us, no.


Senator BERNARDI: I want to come back to this. In the report it says:
... charities and NPOs are one of the more significant Australian terrorism financing channels ... Do you stand by that?

Mr Robertson: As per the report, yes, that is right. We highlighted that as a channel among two others that are the highest risk.

Senator BERNARDI: If a halal certifier boasts about supporting an organisation like Human Appeal International, which is directly linked to Hamas and has personnel on their international body that are linked to Hezbollah, which is not a good group of people, it is not too long a bow to draw and say, 'The profits of halal certification are linked to organisations that are not acting in Australia's interests?

Mr Robertson: That is when AUSTRAC does not have that investigative mandate in terms of an agency.

If we were to see a scenario like that where funds do move, we would need to refer that to a partner agency who would investigate the offences of terrorism financing—they are not offences under our legislation, as you are no doubt aware—and/or then we could work with partner agencies to engage with the country overseas where that money has gone so that we can understand more about it.


Questioning of Angela Jamieson, Acting General Manager, Compliance AUSTRAC

Senator BERNARDI: I can find this out through a Google search, effectively. We have a bloke (Mohammed El Mouelhy of Halal Certification Authority Pty Ltd)  who is boasting and is contributing to a charity which is directly linked to those types of organisations. How can you not conclude that the profits of halal certification, which this man openly boasts runs into millions of dollars for him, are contributing to extremist organisations?

Mrs Jamieson: We look at the financial transaction reports that come in. As we said, halal certification, the business, does not fall under our legislation. So we revert back to the transaction reports that we then receive, which are the international funds transfers. Mr Robertson has explained to you what we do with that information when we receive it.

Again to Craig Robertson:

Senator BERNARDI: Once again, I come back to this: have you specifically looked at the use of funds by organisations that conduct halal certification?

Mr Robertson: The answer to that is no, we are not looking specifically at the use of those funds. As Mrs Jamieson outlined in our opening statement, we do monitor for movements that relate to those activities. We use either names of entities or keywords, as we do for a range of things, in order to surface any information that we would then need to assess. But aside from those regular types of monitoring activities we do not have any active work against those movements of funds.

Senator BERNARDI: I have learned not to rely on ABC Fact Check. ABC Fact Check said,

'A spokesman for AUSTRAC told Fact Check it had no information to indicate that there are links to terrorism financing from halal certification fees.’

That may be entirely accurate but it is because you have not investigated halal certification fees and the use of that.

Mr Robertson: Again, for clarity, we do not conduct the investigations per se—and I know it is terminology. On the basis that a third party outside of AUSTRAC has not been able to refer us to information that provides that evidence to look at it—and our own detection and monitoring systems of what we know about how terrorism financing occurs has not surfaced that information—the short answer is no.

Senator Bernardi, said after the hearing  hearing he believed money raised can be "co-mingled" with funds that sponsor extremism and terrorism.

"Now no-one can definitively say whether halal certification fees are directly involved in that, but we do know that organisations that are involved in halal certification provide substantial funds to some of these organisations that are linked to other organisations like Hamas and Hezbollah," he said. 

However Senator Sam Dastyari the Chairman of the enquiry stated on his Facebook page on 25 September 2015:

Sam Dastyari

Get the facts, tell your friends and stand up to fear mongering.

There is NO link between Halal certication and extremism, a fact confirmed by the Australian Crime Commission and AUSTRAC.

He made the same claim to the national media.  Senator Sam lies. No such statement was made by AUSTRAC or anyone, except Sam.

Dastyari is unfit to remain Chairman. He has purposefully misled the public. Nobody can have any confidence in the enquiry as long as he remains on the panel.

He must stand down.


This is the link to the transcript.

http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/download/committees/commsen/53c5b061-212a-4e02-be53-91b153fe3cb1/toc_pdf/Economics%20References%20Committee_2015_09_24_3825.pdf;fileType=application%2Fpdf#search=%22committees/commsen/53c5b061-212a-4e02-be53-91b153fe3cb1/0000%22

The ABC and The Guardian (false) reports:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-24/senate-inquiry-no-direct-link-between-halal-certification/6801968

http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/sep/24/no-direct-linkages-between-halal-certifiers-and-terrorism-inquiry-hears