5 Sep 2015

ISIS - the Islamic State has reached Brazil

"The text below, I have extracted and translated to English, from the "ÉPOCA" Magazine. The link to the Portuguese version of this, is on the end of the text. I did not translate everything to English, as my English isn't that so good but I made an effort to translate the main topics as well as to do not make too many mistakes. I think it's worth it to read this excellent report. It's about the Islamic State and its steps in Brazil."

The house alarm rang just after 6 am, in a typical street of Pari neighbourhood, in São Paulo. It was the last Friday of August. The Military Police soon arrived at the scene, trying to avoid what thought it was a robbery. They found armed Federal Police officers (PF), using sledgehammer to break the 14 locks that locked the house's iron gate. It was the only house in the street with electric fence. Compared to the others, it looked like a bunker, surrounded by a dozen of security cameras. The operation had been authorised by the Federal Court in order to investigate a suspicious group of illegally move more than R$ 50 million (US$15million) in five years. The "ÉPOCA" Magazine found out that the investigated persons form a cell specialized in money laundering, suspected of supporting terrorism. Its members advocate mass executions, the death of US President Barack Obama and supports the Islamic State, nowadays the most dangerous terrorist organisation.

The "Mendaz Operation" as it was named, was planned with discretion. Mentioned only the rout a network of companies which emitted false documents and that send money out of the country without identifying the recipient. Conducted by the Intelligence Directorate of the Federal Police, the action was accompanied by the US Embassy, ​​the section led by Steve Moore, FBI agent. On the morning of that Friday, the Israeli Embassy also received the report of the PF on the action. There is a concerted effort to trace the connections of this group abroad. It is the first time a PF operation finds a structured group of terror supporters in Brazil.

Firas Allameddin
On top of laundering scheme is the Lebanese Firas Allameddin. In 2009, Allameddin tried to be recognised as a refugee in Brazil. This could prevent him of being expelled or extradited from Brazil. The request was rejected. According to investigations, the Allameddin group used shell companies and fake names to send values ​​to Lebanon. The money comes from, suspected PF, embezzlement, fraudulent cheques and loans. "They use false information to obtain documents that would provide the creation of individuals and 'ghosts' entities in order to promote the opening of accounts, cards, perform foreign exchange, remittance of cash to ​​abroad, in violation of Brazilian law.
Allameddin and its partners had adopted various expedients and shared tasks in sending money to Lebanon. Allameddin used three CPFs (Brazilian social security number). His brother Fadi created false identities, with a fondness for "Felipe". Another brother, Toufic, paid credit cards with values ​​above the invoice amount so that the surplus could be drawn in Lebanon. They also used shell companies to avoid being on the spot. A clandestine exchange office transferred money to a broker, who remitted the amount to abroad. The tactic was used to made it difficult to trace.

The Lebanese and others investigated in the "Mendaz Operation", published on the Internet, images in favour of the Islamic State (ISIS) with videos with the announcement of the advent of the caliphate. Allameddin disclosed on the Internet images of executions by ISIS. "Die of envy! The Islamic state will stay forever and will spread out all over the world,"said one of the texts published by a Allameddin's brother. Charred bodies are on the Facebook profile of another Allameddin partner who is also under investigation. 

Hesham Eltrabily
The MO started after PF investigated the Egyptian Hesham Eltrabily who was involved in money laundering. Living in Brazil at least since 2002, Eltrabily lives a quiet life as a trader in Sao Paulo. He was also a trading partner of Allameddin in a shop store called "Nuclear Jeans". Nowadays the site is closed. For the government of Egypt, Eltrabily is a terrorist, accused of participating in an attack that killed 62 people in 1997. Egypt requested his extradition and justified: "The defendant led and joined an illegal group. This group used terrorism to achieve their goals, murdering security men and public figures, bombing and destroying institutions." The Brazilian Supreme Court denied the request in 2003. The judges wanted better description of the crimes he was accused of committing.

The PF now anylises the seized material to try to find out with whom the group communicated in Lebanon and who are their terror supporters in Brazil and abroad. Eltrabily, who lived in the bunker in Pari neighbourhood, had at home ten mobile phones at the time the PF arrived.

The investigations follow the trail of financial crimes and falsification of documents - even if to the PF the suspicions are much more dangerous them it seems. In Brazil, terrorism or supporting it, is not considered crime, let alone an just an apology. If the Congress aproves a law that for some years are in the Senator's hands for appreciation, terrorist attacks and apology to this kind of crime could be punished with 12 to 30 years in prison. By the Brazilian general law, all who were sentenced to more than eight years in prison for any crime, is mandatory to serve its penalty in a maximum security prison.

Only a year from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the government is awaiting a resolution of the Congress to make the law, and determine what is "a terrorist attack, what sets it up to support terrorist activities and what it means". This discussion about what is considered terrorism, however, comes up against a misplaced controversy: the fear that social movements could be deemed as terrorism. Meanwhile, the crime of terrorism in Brazil, is a legal limbo, and they take advantage of it to spread their hatred around the world.

To access the entire report, in Portuguese, click here.
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