Yemeni Warned of Terror 'Storms' to U.S.
NEW YORK – A Yemeni sheik accused of funneling millions of dollars to terrorist networks warned U.S. agents that "Allah will bring storms" to America because of his arrest, according to newly filed court papers.
Mohammed Ali Hassan al-Moayad (search ) made the remark last year after a German court ordered him extradited to the United States to face charges he helped finance Al Qaeda (search) and Hamas, prosecutors said in the documents filed in U.S. District Court.
The statement — spoken in English to agents bringing al-Moayad from Frankfurt to New York on Nov. 16, 2003 — counter defense claims that he has no command of the language, prosecutors said.
"Allah is with me," he allegedly told a detective. "I am Mohammed al-Moayad. Allah will bring storms to Germany and America."
Prosecutors have previously alleged al-Moayad was overheard boasting about his relationship with Usama bin Laden, saying in Arabic that bin Laden "tells me that I'm his sheik."
The defense claims his statements during a sting operation at a hotel in Frankfurt were mistranslated from Arabic by FBI informant Mohamed Alanssi (search), who set himself on fire outside the White House last month.
The new documents, filed late Friday, offer details of al-Moayad's conversations with an undercover FBI operative posing as an American Muslim eager to donate $2.5 million to terrorist causes.
"Where is my money going to? Is it going to Hamas? Or is it Al Qaeda? ... I need to know," the operative demanded during one clandestine meeting, according to the court papers.
Al-Moayad allegedly responded: "The way we see it is to support all organizations — Hamas, Al Qaeda ... mujahideen and such. Everybody that we learn is fighting jihad to raise God's word we shall support."
The transcripts also say he told the operative he was in regular contact with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal and had "knowledge of every aspect" of the Palestinian Islamic group.
The papers were filed in response to defense motions asking a judge to bar portions of the transcripts from al-Moayad's upcoming trial.
Attorneys for al-Moayad and his alleged accomplice, Mohammed Mohsen Yahya Zayed, have sought to discredit the transcripts by attacking Alanssi, who lured the cleric into the sting and acted as a translator between al-Moayad and the FBI operative.
A defense motion called Alanssi's translations "inaccurate, incomplete and frequently embellished." Alanssi is recovering from burns after setting himself on fire, reportedly because he was distraught over his role as a witness against al-Moayad.
But prosecutors suggested that because al-Moayad speaks English, he understood what the translator was saying during the sting and did not correct any alleged embellishments.
Prosecutors insist the translations were accurate, and said excluding portions of them from evidence would "make it almost impossible for the jury to understand what happened."