lundi, avril 03, 2006

Actualité - FBI Targets Lebanese Community in Canada, Quebec and U.S.

Franc-Parler publie, à titre d'information, un article du Le Marxiste-Léniniste à propos de la criminalisation de la communauté libanaise au Canada, au Québec et aux États-Unis. La situation actuelle est dangereuse. La criminalisation des minorités nationales s'intensifie au Canada en ciblant les communautés arabes, portugaises, les sans-papiers et les immigrants en général.

On March 29, a day after the Canadian government announced it was cutting ties with the Palestinian Authority, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced it had indicted 19 men of Lebanese nationality residing in the U.S., Canada, Quebec and Lebanon with "operating a global racketeering conspiracy." The indictment alleges that portions of the profits made from the enterprise were given to Hezbollah, the Lebanese resistance movement to Israeli occupation.

The indictment charges that between 1996 and 2004 the group of men worked together in a "criminal enterprise to traffic in contraband cigarettes, counterfeit Zig Zag rolling papers and counterfeit Viagra to produce counterfeit cigarette tax stamps, transport stolen property and launder money." The indictment charges that the cigarettes were obtained from Native Reserves in the United States and sold with a "resistance tax" which was said to go to Hezbollah. According to the FBI charges, "the enterprise operated from Lebanon, Canada, China, Brazil, Paraguay and the United States."

The charges allege that some of the monies raised from the enterprise went to the "orphans of martyrs program run by Hizballah in Southern Lebanon to support the families of persons killed in Hizballah suicide and other terrorist operations."

Nine of the 19 men were arrested in the United States. Three of the men named in the charges are from Windsor and two are from Montreal. One of the Windsor men was taken into custody while trying to cross into the United States. He was charged and then released. The others have not yet been contacted by U.S. authorities. In Windsor, the men learned of the charges from the front-page Windsor Star article entitled: "GST suspects linked to terror: Three Windsor men allegedly acted as couriers for multimillion-dollar ring that funded Hezbollah."

The FBI stated in a news release: "The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force will continue to aggressively identify, investigate and dismantle these criminal enterprises operating in the United States, as well as the rest of the world when their profits are used to support a foreign terrorist organization such as Hezbollah." The U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman Susan Plochinski said she could not comment on any efforts to apprehend suspects outside the U.S.

Revealing Canada's role in this campaign, the RCMP referred calls about the case to the United States. "They would be the ones answering on that," spokeswoman Nathalie Deschenes said.

Members of the Lebanese community in Windsor point out that this is a campaign aimed at intimidating the Lebanese community, especially in the context of the U.S. government's attempts to incite civil war in Lebanon. They further point out that it is common in their community to raise funds for orphaned children in Lebanon, many of whom lost their parents in the brutal civil war incited by the U.S. and Israel, as well as those who lost their families as a result of the Israeli occupation of Southern Lebanon which was heroically defeated by the Lebanese resistance in May 2000. This indictment, they point out, is an attempt to criminalize the community and keep Canadians of Lebanese origin from becoming involved in Canadian politics. The community has vowed that it will step up its work to celebrate Liberation Day on May 25 to mark the 5th anniversary of the Liberation of Southern Lebanon.

(Tiré du The Marxist-Leninist Daily du 3 avril)

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