Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Former GOP Congressman Indicted For Funding Terrorism

A former congressman and delegate to the United Nations was indicted Wednesday as part of a terrorist fundraising ring that allegedly sent more than $130,000 to an al-Qaida and Taliban supporter who has threatened U.S. and international troops in Afghanistan.

The former Republican congressman from Michigan, Mark Deli Siljander, 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.
He was a representative from Michigan's Fourth Congressional District from 1981 to 1987. He was subsequently selected by President Ronald Reagan to serve as alternate representative to the United Nations General Assembly.

If these charges pan out, he should be sentenced to the maximum sentence. It's somewhat surprising that he wasn't brought up on charges of treason considering that he was actively funding sworn enemies of the United States.

More on his background here.

He's facing a 42-count indictment in federal court in Kansas City.
A 42-count indictment, unsealed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., 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 two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, 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.

The charges are part of a long-running case against the charity, which was formerly based in Columbia, Mo., and was designated by the Treasury Department in 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 Osama bin Laden.

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 Peshawar, Pakistan in 2003 and 2004, was masked as donations to an orphanage located in buildings that Hekmatyar owned.
A couple further points. He's been a lobbyist since he left government and the charges are directly related to his lobbying efforts. These charges also go back to 2004, and I can only hope that the prosecutors in this case learn a bit from the Holy Land Foundation debacle and have a rock solid case against him and his cohorts.

Also, isn't it interesting how you don't have to play name that party?

Debbie Schlussel weighs in on her former boss and is shocked and appalled.
Mark enlisted me to help him write a tough bill espousing sanctions against the Soviet Union because of its persecution of Soviet Jews. And he enlisted my help in pro-Israel and anti-PLO legislation.

That's why it's so hard for me to read that he may have played for the opposite team--for the enemy.

I'm truly shocked. And I hope it's not true. But--while I have a lot of distrust in the Department of Justice--on this one, I think there must be something there.

If Mark Siljander was helping Islamic terrorists against America, then no-one is immune from doing it. If true, it's extremely disappointing and demoralizing to me.
Michelle Malkin and Jammie link. Thanks!

Macranger points out that Siljander helped found Global Strategies, Inc., which is a major security protection outlet.

Rusty at the Jawa Report has the press release on Siljander's indictment.

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