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Hold the Phone: Terrorism Related Charges Dropped

John on August 14, 2006 at 5:46 pm

Three men arrested in Michigan on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack on the Mackinac bridge have had charges against them dropped. The FBI issued a statement:

The release also said the FBI had no information indicating that the men, Palestinian-Americans living in Texas, had any direct links to any known terrorist groups or to the alleged plot to bomb trans-Atlantic jetliners that was announced in London last week.

Something strange here. According to a story I noted from the Marietta Times last week, Homeland security has been alerting local authorities to be on the lookout for large trac phone purchases. The warning specifically said the purchases may be terror related. Why in the world is Homeland Security sending out these bulletins if the FBI knows of no connection to terror? Something doesn’t add up.

Update: This story in the Detroit Free Press says “everyone is doing it!”

Here’s how the practice sometimes works, said Nasser Beydoun, head of the Dearborn-based American Arab Chamber of Commerce:

An independent entrepreneur will buy the phones for, say, $8 each. He will sell them to a distributor for $12, making a $4 profit. Multiply that by a thousand — about the number of phones the three men arrested in Caro bought in total — and you have a $4,000 profit.

The distributor then will sell the phones at a higher price to gas station owners, who in turn sell them at a marked-up price.

Many people of Arab descent “are traders by nature,” Beydoun said. “That entrepreneurship should not be linked to terrorism just because they are Arab American.”

If true, that would explain the odd connection between this particular practice and Arab Americans. Still seems odd to me. These guys were paying $20+ for these phones, not $8. Supposedly they were reselling them for $38 each without a charger? Who is buying them at these prices?

Other stories seem to suggest a lot of these phones are headed overseas. That can only add to their final cost. Who can afford $50 for a phone with no charger and 10 minutes of talk time? Something doesn’t add up here.

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Category: Islamic Jihad |

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