It’s not every day that Treasury drops a PR about OFAC designations into Mr. Watchlist’s inbox…
Treasury Designates Australian and Southeast Asian ISIL Operatives and Leaders
Action Targets ISIL’s Operations and Recruitment Efforts in Southeast Asia and AustraliaWASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action today to disrupt the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) global fundraising and support network by designating four individuals – Neil Christopher Prakash, Khaled Sharrouf, Bachrumsyah Mennor Usman, and Oman Rochman – as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism. The individuals designated today include ISIL members based in Iraq, Syria, and Indonesia who are involved in ISIL’s propaganda, recruitment, and support networks in Southeast Asia and Australia. As a result of today’s actions, all property and interests in property of Prakash, Sharrouf, Usman, and Rochman subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.“Today, Treasury sanctions key operatives responsible for recruiting foreign terrorist fighters and spreading ISIL’s propaganda in Australia and Southeast Asia,” said John E. Smith, Acting OFAC Director. “These designations aim to cut off ISIL’s access to the international financial system, and support the global coalition’s efforts to disrupt ISIL’s finances and defeat the terrorist group. As ISIL seeks to recruit individuals around the world, Treasury will continue to target its enablers wherever they may be.”Additionally, the U.S. Department of State today designated Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) and Alexanda Amon Kotey pursuant to E.O. 13224. JAD is a terrorist group based in Indonesia that was formed in 2015 and is composed of almost two dozen Indonesian extremist groups that pledged allegiance to ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Kotey, a British national, is one of four members of the ISIL execution cell known as “The Beatles.” The cell was responsible for detaining and beheading many Western nationals, including Americans Peter Kassig, James Foley, and Steven Sotloff.Neil Christopher PrakashPrakash was designated for acting for or on behalf of ISIL. He served as ISIL’s most senior Australian recruiter and encouraged others to travel to Syria and Iraq to join ISIL.As of June 2015, Prakash was publically identified as a top ISIL recruiter who facilitated the travel of new recruits, appeared in high-profile ISIL recruitment videos, and was named in a list of key contacts for aspiring ISIL foreign fighters. As of May 2015, Prakash was listed among 16 social media accounts that can be contacted by people wanting to travel to Syria or Iraq, and he was featured in an ISIL-produced recruitment video, encouraging viewers to travel to Syria and Iraq.In June 2015, the Australian government domestically designated Prakash on the basis of his efforts to commission violent terrorist acts, including in Australia, and exploit social media to recruit others to travel to Syria and Iraq to join ISIL.Khaled SharroufSharrouf was designated for acting for or on behalf of ISIL. He is a Syria- and Iraq-based ISIL member who has been involved in distributing propaganda and carrying out executions on behalf of ISIL. Sharrouf has been an ISIL fighter since 2014 and, as of early 2016, resided in Mosul, Iraq. In 2014, Sharrouf and his son appeared in photographs holding the severed heads of people executed by ISIL.In August 2014, Australian authorities issued an arrest warrant for Sharrouf, calling him one of the most notorious Australians fighting with ISIL. Sharrouf, as of January 2015, was also accused of enslaving four individuals in Syria and Northern Iraq for an unspecified period of time. In August 2009, Sharrouf pled guilty to a terrorism-related charge in Australia and was sentenced to five years and three months in prison, though he was released on parole on October 14, 2009. Sharrouf was previously jailed in 2008 for a plot to attack a nuclear reactor in Sydney, Australia.Bachrumsyah Mennor UsmanUsman was designated for acting for or on behalf of ISIL. He is an ISIL official who commands ISIL fighters, facilitates funding for ISIL operations in Indonesia, recruits for ISIL, and coordinates travel and communications for ISIL members.Usman had pledged allegiance to ISIL as of mid-2014 and was involved in sending Indonesians to Syria. In early February 2014, Usman claimed he was part of ISIL when he appeared at an event in support of ISIL at a mosque in Indonesia. In September 2014, Usman was identified as the leader of ISIL’s Archipelago Group – also known as Katibah Nusantara – in Syria. He was also designated by ISIL to receive training in bomb-making.As of March 2016, Usman had transferred $105,000 to the leader of a group of terrorists in Indonesia identified as the “Bekasi cell.” ISIL had ordered that the money be used to carry out attacks in Indonesia. The individual receiving the money had been contemplating attacks in Bali, as well as at an international school and at an airport in Jakarta. As of February 2016, Usman reportedly transferred funds to both Indonesia and the Philippines, and he ordered an associate to plan attacks similar to the January 14, 2016 bomb attacks in Jakarta.As of February 2016, Usman commanded an Indonesian-Malaysian fighting unit for ISIL. He was also identified as an Indonesian member of ISIL who had been promoted to the rank of high official and had uploaded to a video-sharing website a video entitled “Join the Ranks,” in which he urges Indonesians to support ISIL. After the video featuring Usman was released, Indonesian police detected an underground movement to recruit more ISIL members. In March 2015, Usman appeared in an ISIL propaganda video that promoted ISIL’s links to Indonesia and portrayed Indonesian and Malaysian children receiving military training using machine guns.Additionally, as of April 2016, Usman financially assisted Wiji Joko Santoso – the leader of SDGT Indonesian terrorist group Mujahidin Indonesia Timur (MIT) – by transferring funds directly to an MIT-affiliated bank account and indirectly to the Philippines for the purchase of weapons for the group.Usman studied under pro-ISIL leader Oman Rochman, collaborated with ISIL supporter and SDGT Muhammad Fachry after Rochman’s incarceration, and jointly founded an organization with Fachry that subsequently declared its support for ISIL in February 2014. Usman reportedly departed Indonesia for Syria at the end of March 2014.Usman also had previously been a member of SDGT and Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) Jemaah Islamiyah.Oman RochmanRochman was designated for acting for or on behalf of ISIL in the areas of recruitment and media dissemination, and as of late-2015 was considered to be the de facto leader for all ISIL supporters in Indonesia, despite his incarceration in Indonesia since December 2010.As of February 2016, Rochman, while incarcerated, recruited prospective militants to join ISIL and was likely communicating with ISIL leaders in Syria. Rochman authorized terrorist attacks on January 14, 2016 in Jakarta, Indonesia and issued a fatwa (decree) from prison in January 2016 encouraging Indonesian militants to join ISIL. As of January 2016, Rochman was leading ISIL members in Indonesia and gave the order to a Jakarta attacker in December 2015 to carry out ISIL attacks in January 2016.Rochman pledged allegiance to ISIL in early 2014 and was actively recruiting for ISIL as of early 2015. In 2015, Rochman instructed an Indonesian associate to travel to Syria to join ISIL. He also recruited an individual in prison to travel to Syria to join ISIL after the individual was released from prison. As of mid-2015, Rochman required Indonesian extremists who desired to join ISIL in Syria to obtain a recommendation from him before departing for Syria.Rochman was Indonesia’s main translator for ISIL, as of October 2014, and disseminated information online from prison, including ISIL’s call for Muslims to kill Westerners indiscriminately. In August 2014, Rochman was identified as a key figure who spearheaded the spread of ISIL’s ideology in Indonesia by translating ISIL writings and distributing them through Islamic studies groups and social media.In December 2010, Rochman was sentenced to nine years in prison for violating Article 13 of Indonesia’s counter-terrorism law. Rochman has been incarcerated for his role in contributing funds and recruiting for a terrorist training camp in Aceh, Indonesia that had been affiliated with SDGT Abu Bakar Ba’asyir. As of 2016, Rochman remains imprisoned in Indonesia.In May 2014, the Department of State announced the amendment of the designation of al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity under section 1(b) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224 to add the alias Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as its primary name. ISIL was added to the UN 1267/1989/2253 Committee’s Consolidated List – its list of sanctioned terrorists – in December 2015.For identifying information on the individuals and entity designated today, click here.