|If the President says it's not "arms for hostages," then it's not!|
Ronald Reagan Library via Wikipedia
The New York Times gives Western European governments an official Old Gray Lady (or would that be Old Grey Lady, in Times-speak?) spanking for giving Al Qaeda groups as much as $165 million in the last six years to ransom European citizens taken hostage:
While European governments deny paying ransoms, an investigation by The New York Times found that Al Qaeda and its direct affiliates have earned at least $125 million in revenue from kidnappings since 2008, of which $66 million was paid just in the past year.In various news releases and statements, the United States Treasury Department has cited ransom amounts that, taken together, put the total at around $165 million over the same period.
These payments were made almost exclusively by European governments, who funnel the money through a network of proxies, sometimes masking it as development aid, according to interviews conducted for this article with former hostages, negotiators, diplomats and government officials in 10 countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. ...Yet the fact that Europe and its intermediaries continue to pay has set off a vicious cycle.“Kidnapping for ransom has become today’s most significant source of terrorist financing,” said David S. Cohen, the Treasury Department’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, in a 2012 speech. “Each transaction encourages another transaction.”