Of Masters and Their Slaves

"It only stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there's service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master." ―Ayn Rand



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Yasser Safa: “I am not a terrorist!”

Jose Sanchez of Channel 5 in Belize
Jose Sanchez
Two Belizeans are making headlines across the globe tonight. Justin George Abdalah Elders and Yasser Safa who lived in Belama as well as the Los Lagos area are being linked to the radical movement, Hezbollah. Safa, a naturalized Belizean, is originally from Lebanon. The third man who was arrested, Rafik Mohammed Labboun Allabboun (an imam at Shia Association of Bay Area (Saba Islamic Center of San Jose, CA), is a U.S. national, who was wanted by the United States Government and has been confirmed as a member of Hezbollah.
Barrett M-82 or Light Fifty ‘anti materiel’ rifle
Barrett M-82 or Light Fifty ‘anti materiel’ rifle

All three men were arrested in Merida, Yucatan, late Saturday in a raid that involved the use of armored vehicles as well as a Barrett M-82 or Light Fifty ‘anti materiel’ rifle.

Inside the building that was under seige was Safa’s Belizean born wife, Janine Gabb, and their children, who were initially detained but they were eventually released since they are legally living in Mexico.

It was a highly risky raid because the rounds on the Light Fifty can immobilize a vehicle, breach barriers, penetrate commercial brick walls and concrete blocks. Mexican immigration agents and the police were working in conjunction with the U.S. Homeland Security and the FBI.


Reports show that intelligence agencies in the United States were tracking the group as, “part of a cell of Hezbollah-linked Arab terrorists who were operating in Mexico and Central America.”

Safa and his brother have been in some trouble in Belize but nothing of this magnitude. In his defense, Safa told News Five late this evening that he had met Labboun five days ago and he never suspected that the man was involved in terrorism. Safa called from Mexico to say that he and his family are innocent and he is not under arrest.

Jose Sanchez
Yasser Safa
Yasser Safa
“Yasser, are you a terrorist? Are you related to Hezbollah?”


Via Phone: Yasser Safa, Says He is not a Terrorist
“From when I will be related to Hezbollah because I am a Lebanese man? Over twenty years I have lived in Belize and my wife is Belizean; all my children live in Belize. My son he is a thirteen year old; his name is Justin Yasser Safa—he is thirteen years old and they say he is a terrorist? They have to look at that too and right now they are looking for me in Mexico and in Belize now they are looking for me—a lot of checkpoints and they say they are looking for a terrorist.”

Jose Sanchez
“Yasser, they are saying the man you were found; that U.S. citizen, he is involved with Hezbollah, he is an associate of yours and perhaps you may have assisted him in getting a Belizean passport with the name that sounds like a Mennonite’s name.”

Via Phone: Yasser Safa
Rafik Mohammed Labboun Allaboun of Shia Association of Bay Area (Saba Islamic Center of San Jose, CA)
Rafic Labboun (a.k.a. Wilhelm Dyck)
“I noh getting no passport for nobody, number one; and I noh know this man past. Somebody from Belize called to recommend if I could give this man help in Mexico like four, five days—that he’s a Lebanese and anybody Lebanese could come and if they need help and I could help them. Like any Belizean right now coming to Merida to hospital we help too here. I don’t know what the man doing before and what is the problem. And he walking with my brother is not walking with me. Walking in the street and the police come and arrest and take the two and then say he is a terrorist and then have my brother arrested.”


Jose Sanchez
“So the other Belizean that was detained or arrested is your brother?”

Via Phone: Yasser Safa
“Yes. He is my brother, Samer Safa.”

Jose Sanchez
“Now Yasser, I understand that during this entire thing that your wife and kids were also detained?”

Via Phone: Yasser Safa
The house were Rafic Labboun was arrested  in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico
The house were Rafic Labboun was arrested
 in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico
“Yes they were detained because they say my wife is Janine Gabb and because she’s my wife and I am a Lebanese then she is a terrorist. So they take her, locked her down over fifteen hours—she and my son and daughter and my next son. And next thing; about the mechanic, George Elders—everybody knows him by Coney Drive he gets same thing in Merida with us because he’s Lebanese; they say he is terrorist too that belongs to Hezbollah.”

Jose Sanchez
“Yasser, how long have you met this American guy who they say is actually related to Hezbollah? They have traced his background. How long have you known him since you’ve been introduced to him?”

Via Phone: Yasser Safa

“Five days we know this man. We have a pack in my house with the commandant of police, with the federales, we make food and this man normal like us; like we noh think that he is a terrorist. We very sudden find out that he is a terrorist and all the information come in by the TV and the newspapers and everything come back to me.”

Jose Sanchez
“Did he ever tell you he was a Belizean or he’s an American? Did he show you this passport that he had from Belize?”

Via Phone: Yasser Safa
“He never showed me the passport. He said he was going to Free Zone one day, but to meet a cousin. I don’t know who he meet, but he gone and come back the next day; that’s all. He said that he lives in the U.S. over twenty, twenty-five years and that he is a teacher—I don’t know—in a university. And I noh know nothing about his past.”

Jose Sanchez
Samer Safa
Samer Safa
“But Yasser, unfortunately, you know your name has come up in the news before. So people say, oh you know Yasser may have been involved with some things in the past so why not now? What do you have to say to those people who judge you?”

Via Phone: Yasser Safa
“Look, I could involve with a lot of thing illegally maybe—something small. I don’t have time to go with terrorist people; I don’t go like that. If I am a terrorist person, my wife she is a Catholic and I have her dress clothes and like a Muslim—I give her her own religion, follow her own religion and I follow my own religion. I noh believe about God too. How dehn people say I am a terrorist?.”

Jose Sanchez
“Yasser, at this point, you are on the run; your face is known, you can’t hide. At some point do you think you should maybe go and talk to authorities to let them know that you are innocent; just tell them what you know of this guy that you’ve met for a few days?”

Via Phone: Yasser Safa
“The police of Merida, Yucatan, they already said that they have nothing against me; they noh have nothing. Only the news them make this story that FBI looking for me. And I already talked to the Big Chief of Police. We gone to a lot of people here; what happen man; please lock me down. I am here in the street and I noh have no problem. I am the owner of restaurant, Habibi.”

Rafic Labboun was released this summer from a U.S. Federal prison, where he had served 27 months for credit card fraud that authorities suspected was linked to fundraising for Hezbollah in the U.S.

Though he was released from prison only months ago, Labboun fled to Mexico using a Belizean passport with the name Wilhelm Dick, hoping to pass as a Belizean Mennonite.


Though it is unconfirmed, several news organizations allege that Labboun’s cell may be related to the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.

Delroy Cuthkelvin
Delroy Cuthkelvin

Rafic Labboun was immediately taken to a detention center in the U.S. for questioning. News Five attempted several times to speak to the Public Relations Officer for the Ministry of National Security, Delroy Cuthkelvin, who said he would get back to us since he is trying to clarify a few details about Labboun’s Belizean passport.


We have a few details we also want clarified.


When was the passport for the American citizen with a criminal past issued? Which person at the Ministry of Immigration signed the passport, and better yet, who authorized the passport to be issued in the name of Wilhelm Dick?  If the person whose face is in the passport is required to take his photo at the Immigration Office, how did Labboun get his face on the passport without being in the country? One thing is clear, established policies continue to be disregarded, but under whose leadership was the passport issued?


From all account, the Belizean identity continues to be flaunted as a cover for criminals and in this case a member of the radical terrorist group, Hezbollah.


Rafic Labboun is an imam at Shia Association of Bay Area (Saba Islamic Center of San Jose, CA).

This article was first published by Channel 5 in Belize.

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