Something is not right about this story and this indictment. What might Mark Siljander know about U.S. actions in Afghanistan and elsewhere, such that the U.S. might want to discredit him and silence him? I think he might know a lot of things, given his work to bring understanding between Muslims and Christians, his book about that subject due to be released imminently, and his apparent disavowal of his one-time Christian fundamentalism. Something is not right here.
A former Republican congressman from west Michigan was indicted today on federal charges of money laundering, conspiracy and obstruction of justice in a scheme to assist a U.S.-based Islamic charity organization funnel money to Al Qaeda and Taliban-linked terrorists in Pakistan.
Mark Siljander, 56, also a former state legislator from St. Joseph County, was hired by the Islamic American Relief Agency in 2004 to assist in having the group removed from a U.S. Senate list of terrorist-linked charities, according to a statement released by the Department of Justice, then helping the group launder stolen federal funds with which to pay for his services.
Siljander is also accused of twice making false statements to federal agents investigating the case by claiming that he had not been hired to lobby and that his pay came from “charitable” donations intended to underwrite a book he was writing about bridging the gap between Islam and Christianity.
Siljander served five years in Congress beginning in 1981 when he was elected to replace David Stockman, who had been hired as President Ronald Reagan’s budget chief. He was defeated in a re-election bid in 1986 by U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Kalamazoo, following a well-publicized incident in which Siljander sent an audio tape to church pastors in the district urging them to fast and pray for his re-election to “break the back of satan.” Today’s indictment describes Siljander as the owner of a company called Global Strategies Inc., based in the Washington D.C., area.
…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.
Authorities described Hekmatyar as an Afghan mujahedeen leader who has participated in and supported terrorist acts by al-Qaida and the Taliban. The Justice Department said Hekmatyar “has vowed to engage in a holy war against the United States and international troops in Afghanistan.”
…Authorities described Hekmatyar as an Afghan mujahedeen leader who has participated in and supported terrorist acts by al-Qaida and the Taliban. The Justice Department said Hekmatyar “has vowed to engage in a holy war against the United States and international troops in Afghanistan.”