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Letters From, And To, Bin Laden

A newly unsealed court record reveals that a cache of documents seized by U.S. authorities includes a list of 20 financiers suspected of funneling cash to Osama bin Laden and other extremist Muslim causes. The seized documents are a “treasure trove” and among other things indicate al Qaeda military leaders were at times paid salaries from Muslim charity proceeds and purchased weapons with money from charity leaders, prosecutors said in the once-secret court filing. Other evidence seized in March 2002 from the Bosnian offices of the Benevolence International Foundation, an Illinois-based Muslim charity, includes handwritten correspondence to and from bin Laden and documents detailing the origins, growth and expansion of his al Qaeda network in the 1980s and 1990s, the filing said. Though the original documents remain secret, the prosecutor described their contents and English translations for the first time in the filing unsealed this month in the case of the head of the Muslim foundation who reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors in Chicago. Enaam Arnaout pleaded guilty last week to illegally buying boots and uniforms for fighting forces in Bosnia and Chechnya under a deal in which prosecutors, in exchange for his cooperation, dropped charges that he aided bin Laden. Full Story

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