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Homeland Security

SLUG: 2-307180 J-I Assets / U-S (L)








INTRO: The United States says it is freezing the financial assets of 10 suspected Southeast Asian terrorists, and is asking other nations to do the same. V-O-A's Michael Kitchen reports that enforcing such asset freezes is a major part of the effort of cutting the flow of funding for terrorism.

TEXT: The U-S action covers 10 allegedly high-ranking members of Jemaah Islamiyah, the extremist Muslim group that is blamed for a series of deadly attacks throughout Southeast Asia, and is said to be linked with the al-Qaida terror network.

Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Thailand, U-S Treasury Secretary John Snow described the 10 as operatives working at "the heart" of the terrorist group.

They include Imam Samudra and Huda bin Abdul Haq, both accused of roles in last year's bombings in Bali, Indonesia, which killed 202 people.

Also included are a Pakistani convicted and jailed in a 1995 plot to blow 12 U-S airliners out of the sky, and two Filipinos. Yet another of the 10 is Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi, an Indonesian explosives expert who pleaded guilty to charges in the Philippines and was jailed last year, but who then escaped from prison in July.

Jemaah Islamiyah is also said to have been behind last month's suicide attack on the J-W Marriott hotel in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, which claimed 12 lives and injured scores of others.

Mr. Snow says the U-S government is submitting the list of individuals to the United Nations, in order to seek an international freeze of their financial holdings.

Carl Thayer, a professor at the Australian Defense Academy, says compiling internationally accepted lists for the freezing of assets is one key to solving the problem of funding for terrorism.

/// THAYER ACT ///

It needs leadership. It needs individual countries to keep putting names on lists, like the United States is doing, to increase effectiveness.

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Mr. Thayer adds, however, there is still a long way to go before the world's major terrorist financial networks can be shut down.

Part of the difficulty, he says, involves making sure that U-N members actually comply with the world body's efforts to freeze militants' finances.

He says that publishing lists of suspected terrorism financiers makes compliance more likely. (Signed)


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