Brown paper envelopes

On 24 December 2004, HM Treasury acted to direct all UK financial institutions to freeze any funds held for or on behalf of the entity, the Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia:

“The action has been taken because the Treasury have reasonable grounds for suspecting that the organisation is acting on behalf of Sa’ad Al-Faqih, who was listed by the UN as an associate of Al-Qa’ida yesterday, 23 December 2004.”

The direction does not appear to have been made in relation to Al Faqih’s own accounts. That is an odd oversight. However, given the cautious nature of UK financial institutions, it would be surprising if his personal bank accounts remain unfrozen.

In which case, how did the Guardian pay Al Faqih for this month’s Comment piece? Did Al Faqih explain to the Comment Editor that he was having a bit of trouble with his bank account, but cash would do nicely? Or was it a “freebee”?


1. Did the Comment Editor know that Mr Al-Fagih was included on the United Nations 1267 Committee consolidated list of individuals belonging to or associated with the Al Qaida organisation?

2. Why was the fact that Mr al-Fagih was included on the United Nations list not disclosed with the article?

3. Why did the Guardian publish, without context or criticism, what appears to be a propaganda piece for a theocratic and totalitarian terrorist organisation?

If anybody does know, feel free to email me.