Norway's al-Queda: A Chinese Muslim, Some Baking Soda and Puff! There Goes Privacy…

In my world, as I see it, coincidences do in fact happen. I believe in randomness, rather than some highly sophisticated plot to take over the world, or whatever…That said; sometimes I’m forced by the facts to evaluate my view. The arrest of three Norwegian alleged terrorist with alleged ties to Osama bin Laden‘s al-Queda is one of those rare occasions.

“If the shoe fits, one might argue – but there’s also the well-known principle of one-size-fits-all.”


What’s waving the biggest red flag, is the fact that the arrest of three people in Norway, Thursday, was made on the same day – just hours – before the European Parliament was set to decide on an EU-US agreement about flow of private bank account data from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, known as “Swift.”

I guess it’s needless to say that the deal was firmly approved.

On Thursday, Norwegian police announced the arrest of three men, suspected of having links to al-Qaeda, related to an alleged conspiracy with links to the US and UK.

The men, one of whom was arrested in Germany, are suspected of planning to use bombs containing peroxide which are reported to be “both powerful and easily transported.”

Well, the same thing can be said about baking soda.

The Secret China-Uzbekistan Connection

One of the suspects is a 39-year old Norwegian citizen; a Muslim Uighur from China, who have lived in Norway since 1999.

Another is an Iraqi citizen, aged 37, who is granted Norwegian residency on humanitarian grounds, while the third is an Uzbek national, 31, who also is granted permanent residency in Norway, but on grounds of family reunification.

According to Norwegian media – with a seemingly unlimited assess to sources – the trio have been trained in Afghanistan by the feared terrorist organization al-Queda, run by the famous houdinian terrorist Osama bin Laden.

Tipped Off By The US

The three al Qaeda suspects arrested in the alleged bomb plot were tracked down via the US anti-terrorism program searching through international bank transactions recorded by the Belgium-based company Swift, an American official, talking to journalists in Brussels, said on Thursday.

“I can tell you the ‘Terrorism Finance Tracking Program’ (TFTP) provided support to the Norwegian investigation of that al Qaeda threat,” under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Stuart Levey, told the Brussels journalists in a conference call.

Mr Levey explained that the TFTP stopped receiving new data, but continued to “generate leads” based on data it had at the end of 2009, when Swift moved storage of European transactions from the US to the Netherlands.

How To Put A Sock In It

The TFTP program started as a secret operation in 2001, following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

In 2006, the program was immediately terminated when the New York Times ran a front page story on the operations.

Europeans were outraged when they found out that US prosecutors were secretly snooping on their bank transactions, and the Swift company decided to reconfigure its database structure, so that no EU data would be kept on US soil, under the argument that the data could be subject to “national security orders.”

Referring to extra privacy safeguards inserted into the new Swift deal, Mr. Levey said they are “intended to give assurances to Europeans” that the checks and balances included in the program from its beginning in 2001 “are real and effective.”

Adding: “At the same time, nothing in the agreement compromises the functioning of the program.”

And that’s how you practically put a sock in the mouth of critical anti-American Europeans.

It’s Hard To Be A Terrorist, These Days

The ordinary citizens of Europe and United States are not the only ones feeling the bite of the credit crunch these days.

It’s not easy to be a terrorist either, the US official points out.

“With respect to al Qaeda, it’s under very significant financial stress. In fact it is in the worst financial position it’s been in in years. And able to generate donations from individuals, but only small amounts,” he said.

Despite all the publicity generated by the EU-US negotiations and the outing of the program in 2006, terrorist suspects continued to use banks for money transfers.

“Sometimes they’re not aware we know about them, sometimes they simply have no choice, because there is no other way to make a payment in another country,” another US official familiar with the program told journalists in Washington on June 23, the EUobserver writes.

So, Mr. bin Laden if you by any chance should happen to read this, (randomness can by surprising), my advice to you is; just open a PayPal account – it’s just as secure, fast and transparent as ordinary bank transactions. And it will save us all a lot of hassle.

As for the three Norwegian-Chinese-Uzbek-Iraqi men who are suspected of perhaps thinking about doing bad things, are looking at half a lifetime in jail.

But please note; I do not have enough information to make any conclusions.

If the shoe fits, one might argue – but there’s also the well known principle of one-size-fits-all.

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Filed under International Econnomic Politics, National Economic Politics