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a time for fear
Tuesday, January 13, 2004  
Honey Monster

Yemenese honey is the best honey money can buy; really, would I recommend anything less? Pure, rich, sweet, and expensive, it is a worthy extravagance. Yemenise honey is also a front for international terrorism. Or, at least, was until (roughly) 2001, when the US ordered the Yemenese government to freeze several bank accounts belonging to honey dealers accused of acting as al-Qaeda conduits (it blacklisted 3 Yemenese businesses on this charge: al-Hamati Sweets Bakeries, al-Nur Honey Center, and al-Shifa Honey Press for Industry and Commerce).

The Yemenese Honey Industry was, the CIA claimed, an important source of legal funding for terror "entrepreneurs" like bin Laden and Abu Zubaydah, as well as armed groups, including Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Honey is consumed in large quantities in the Middle East, and honey shops provided a crucial source of income for such groups. Nearly all terror organisations mix legitimate fundraising activities with crime; in the (or a) case of honey, literally. The export of honey is a good way to shift contraband:

drugs, arms, gold, electronic equipment and cash are often smuggled in honey containers. With the tacit approval of shopkeepers, these 'goods' are literally buried in honey. 'The smell and consistency of the honey makes it easy to hide weapons and drugs' explained a Yemeni customs officer. '[In addition,] inspectors don't want to inspect that product. It's too messy.' (Loretta Napoleoni)

11:29 PM

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