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Council for Islamist Interests By: Stuart Wagner and Elon Granader
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, August 05, 2004

“September 11 would not have occurred if the US government had refused to help Israel humiliate and destroy Palestinian society.” 

This, according to former Illinois Congressman Paul Findley, founding chairman of the Council for the National Interest Foundation (CNIF), a Washington D.C. non-profit organization that claims “to encourage and promote a U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East that is consistent with American values.” While the U.S. has committed itself to crushing the terrorist networks which organize and finance the slaughter of innocents, CNIF and its sister organization, the Council for National Interest (CNI), have repeatedly subverted our national interest through seditious propaganda and associations with individuals who support and preach terror.

One such individual is Abdurahman Alamoudi. Alamoudi sits in a Virginia jail cell facing a 19-count indictment, including federal charges of money laundering and illegal financial transactions with Libya. In addition, he has allegedly provided financial assistance to both Hamas and al-Qaeda and recently revealed his role in Moammar Gadhafi’s alleged plot to assassinate Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. Yet, Mr. Alamoudi still serves as a member of the CNIF board of directors and has done so since 1998, according to the group’s website (www.rescuemideastpolicy.com). 

CNIF had to have been aware of Alamoudi’s radical views, even before his arrest. Alamoudi made national news when he publicly praised Hamas and Hezbollah at an October 2000 rally in front of the White House: “I have been labeled by the media in New York to be a supporter of Hamas…Anybody support Hamas here?  Hear that, Bill Clinton?  We are all supporters of Hamas. I wish they added that I am also a supporter of Hezbollah.” Both Hamas and Hezbollah were designated as foreign terrorist organizations by the United States in 1995.

One would think that an organization claiming to represent America’s national interests would distance itself from such reckless extremism. However, CNIF has a long record of cozying up to fanatics. A 1999 CNIF press release shows that during a tour of the Middle East, a delegation which included CNIF and CNI’s president, Eugene Bird, met with several incendiary figures, including Nabih Berri (the former head of Lebanon’s notorious Amal terrorist movement), an unnamed “leader in Hizbollah,” and Mahmoud Al-Zahar (a senior official in Hamas). Also in 1999, Richard Curtiss, co-founder of CNI, was the featured speaker at an Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) Jerusalem Festival.  IAP has publicly sent out Hamas communiqués, including a Hamas charter calling for jihad against Jews.

Furthermore, the CNI (www.cnionline.org) and CNIF websites both share the same Internet domain, which registers back to Bayan Elashi and Infocom Corporation in Richardson, Texas. 

A federal court recently convicted Elashi, who was the chief executive officer of Infocom Corporation, and his four brothers of violating US export laws by making illegal shipments to Libya and Syria. Elashi also faces a future federal trial on multiple charges, including doing business with Hamas political leader and specially designated terrorist Mousa Abu Marzook.

Dr. Laura Drake is another extremist linked to CNIF/CNI.  In 1993 and 1994, she served as director of research at CNI. By 1998, she was director of The United Association for Studies and Research, described by law enforcement as “the political command of Hamas in the United States.” Speaking in December 2002 at the ICNA-MAS Annual Convention in Chicago, IL, Drake voiced her feelings about Israelis: “So now the occupiers are whining to the U.S. that they are being hit back, that they are getting burned once in a while, that the settlers are being set aflame. Let them burn I say, let them burn.” Such disturbing rhetoric from a former CNI employee is hardly unusual. For two decades, CNI’s founders have run a subversive, ideological campaign under the shroud of an academic journal called the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (WRMEA).

In the 1990s, WRMEA acted as CNI’s mouthpiece by publishing numerous CNI articles and newsletters. The journal even shared the same address as CNI for a number of years.  CNI’s founders, Richard Curtiss (a career Foreign Service officer in the Arab world) and Andrew Killgore (a former U.S. Ambassador to Qatar), serve as the executive editor and publisher, respectively, of WRMEA. Self-described “outspoken Arabists,” the pair of former diplomats has frequently printed incendiary propaganda. For example, Mr. Killgore makes light of Hezbollah terrorism in a July/August 2004 WRMEA article, stating that “the ‘terrorism’ of which Syria is ‘guilty’ is giving aid to Hezbollah, the Lebanese guerrilla group which successfully fought Israel’s occupation of southern Lebanon.” And a 1997 article by Mr. Curtiss blasts the jailing of Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook as the “American Dreyfus Affair.” 

Despite all of the aforementioned extremism, CNIF and CNI still receive some degree of legitimacy and support on the far Left. Both organizations continue to sponsor public hearings on Capitol Hill and attract big-name speakers such as presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Just this week, CNIF placed an ad in USA Today calling on its readers to “support a balanced Middle East policy.” Apparently, CNIF and CNI believe that coddling terror is the way to achieve such balance.

Stuart Wagner and Elon Granader are research analysts at the Investigative Project, a Washington, DC-based counterterrorism research institute.

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