A group of Israeli citizens from various fields of specialization has launched a website with the goal of gathering information on donations and transfer of funds secretly or under disguise which lands into the various terrorist organizations including Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Islamic Republic of Iran, The Shia Militias in Iraq, The Houthi insurgency in Yemen etcetera. The website – showmetheirmoney.org launched by this group plans to file lawsuits throughout the world, which will also include demand for freezing such fund to stop such notorious acts of fundraising for terrorist entities. It may be mentioned here that, Palestinians including so-called foreign missions of “State of Palestine” are collecting fund under the guise of helping the needy and refugees in Gaza, which actually are directly going towards terrorist activities of Hamas and other terrorist groups. Similarly, funds are being collected for Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah.
According to media reports, the operators of the website wish to remain anonymous at this initial stage for the sake of their own security. It said, Showmetheirmoney website was launched in response to the October 7 Hamas pogrom in Israel. Calling upon people to provide information, the website says:
“Through this platform, we urge people from all around the world to share information related to the operational and financial structures of various terrorist organizations, including Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, The Islamic Republic of Iran, The Shia Militias in Iraq, The Houthi insurgency in Yemen, and others. We are particularly interested in receiving tips regarding revenue-generating resources and assets like real estate, financial entities (such as banks) knowingly or unknowingly supporting these organizations, specific bank accounts, money laundering activities, and individuals involved in their financial and civil or operational networks”.
The initiative invites the general public all over the globe, including the Muslim world, to join the effort and report what they know on the platform. “For understandable reasons, the team members – which consists of researchers, technologists, lawyers, and people who have been involved in researching terrorist financing for years – choose at this stage to remain anonymous in order to concentrate the main effort in gathering information and processing it into effective products”.
According to one of the initiators, “The uniqueness of the initiative is that it actually opens, perhaps for the first time, a public call to people around the world to come and give information to a civil body that is not identified with state bodies”.
As published by the National Headquarters for the Economic Fight against Terrorism in the Ministry of Defense of Israel, since October 7, there has been a significant increase in fundraising around the world for terrorist organizations through crowdfunding projects.
One of the goals of the civil enterprise is to use legal tools to file lawsuits and freeze orders for funds that terrorist organizations raise under the guise of donations for the purpose of protecting human rights.
“Terrorists around the world are abusing ‘classic’ crowdfunding platforms and running fundraising campaigns through social networks and websites in order to reach as many supporters as possible,” reads a study of aspects of terrorist financing in crowdfunding activities published by the Authority for the Prohibition of Money Laundering at the Ministry of Justice in December 2021.
Meanwhile, Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists in a report titled “Unraveling a Complex Web: A primer on Hamas funding sources,
Iranian support, global connections and compliance concerns, considerations” said:
But for such an attack to occur – rockets to breach defenses, vehicles to storm checkpoints, paragliders to hurdle seemingly insurmountable walls and an arsenal of weapons and ammunition – it also needed funding.
Just as the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) rained down missiles and leveled buildings in response to the attack tied to the terror group’s military infrastructure, another equally important battle is taking place in the digital realms: finding, freezing and seizing funds that could allow the group to continue the current offensive or plan a new one.
The IDF fusillades in the physical world – including sorties targeting banks and financial institutions with Hamas resources and assets – have refocused the financial crime compliance lens on how Hamas gets its funding, moves monies through formal and informal financial institutions and what regions are involved.
In this primer story, we will shed light on how Iran channels funds to these blacklisted entities, detailing their methods, red flags, and transactional alerts for FinCrime compliance officers, federal investigators, and terror finance analysts, pulled from just-released congressional reports and testimonies, government alerts and ACFCS webinars and events.
In all, Iran has spent billions of dollars, according to government estimates, to arm, train and fund groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and others as proxies and fulcrum in its foreign and regional geopolitical policy goals – and to generally destabilize the Middle East and prevent peace among its warring factions.
“Not only did the Hamas attack come straight out of the Hezbollah playbook, but Iran has funded, trained, and armed both Hamas and Hezbollah for decades, investing billions of dollars over time in these groups in support of their terrorist activities”, wrote one speaker at a congressional hearing on terror funding.
“Ultimately, Iran is fundamentally complicit in Hamas and Hezbollah’s terrorist acts”.
While we will go into more detail on this later in the story, the funds Hamas earns from its state supporter, Iran, and from being an elected government agency in Gaza, is substantial.
According to Center for International & Strategic Studies, Hamas and Hezbollah are among the world’s most important and multifaceted terrorist groups. In addition to conducting terrorist attacks, they run hospitals and schools and otherwise engage in social and political activities that make them important in the daily lives of many Palestinians and Lebanese, including those who do not support their ideologies. Perhaps their greatest influence, however, is through governing. Hamas is the de facto government of Gaza, and for many years Hezbollah has been part of the Lebanese government, effectively governing southern Lebanon, occupying cabinet positions directly and via its allies and often acting as a kingmaker, or at least veto player, for the country’s prime minister. These roles stand in contrast to the aims of groups like the core of al Qaeda, which has focused primarily on terrorism, or in the case of the Islamic State, war.
Qatar, Iran and Turkey back Hamas
According to Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, counterterrorism specialist and editor of Blitz: “Hamas has maintained ties with several regional powers and organizations in the Middle East since its creation in 1987. Whether it comes to financing, military aid or ideological support, the Palestinian terrorist group can count on several regional allies in its deadly terrorist acts targeting Israel, Jews and allies of the Jewish State. Primarily, Qatar, Iran, and Turkey are the prime sources of helping Hamas economically, militarily and ideologically. In this case, Doha is considered to be the prime financial backer for Hamas. Their financial support of US$30 million per month are supposed to be spent for paying civil servants in Gaza, although major segment of this amount goes directly into secret bank accounts of Ismail Haniyeh and other honchos of this mega-terror outfit. Furthermore, Qatar is secretly giving far-bigger amount to Hamas for continuing terrorist acts targeting Israelis that including funding suicide attacks and making payment for weapons and explosives. Although we consider Iran as the key patron of Hamas, Qatar is no insignificant. Actually Qatar is gradually becoming the key funder of Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza.
“Qatar’s links with Hamas are not only financial but also political. Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh has resided mostly in Doha since 2012, and the political bureau of the Islamist movement is located in the Qatari capital. The small emirate’s “dangerous game” does not end there. In addition to hosting certain prominent kingpins of Hamas’s political branch, Doha also immediately positioned itself as a negotiator on the issue of Israeli hostages in recent days. This indirectly boosts the role of the small Gulf monarchy. The international community is also well aware of Qatar’s influence on Hamas”.