Where might Hizballah jihadists trained in Suriname practice their jihadi arts? Hmmm. That’s a real head-scratcher.
“Passports to ignominy,” from The Economist, November 23 (thanks to Suneil):
DINO BOUTERSE, son of Suriname’s president, Desi Bouterse, will be offered Thanksgiving turkey in a New York jail. Arrested in Panama in August on suspicion of cocaine smuggling and handed over to the United States, he now faces an indictment featuring allegations of passport fraud and aiding terrorists. It would be embarrassing for President Bouterse””if he were embarrassable.
Court documents allege that Dino Bouterse linked up in February with two men posing as Mexican drug dealers; they were in fact working for America’s Drug Enforcement Administration. He later gave them Surinamese passports, and showed them a kilo of coke and a rocket launcher he happened to have in his office. He agreed to send 20 kilos a week to Florida.
The president’s son was then gulled into going to Greece to meet a purported Hezbollah leader and agreed to help establish a training base in Suriname for up to 60 Hezbollah terrorists, according to the indictment. After being promised $2m, he allegedly agreed to supply heavy weapons, but said he needed two months to check on availability. He gave one of the undercover sources a passport with a false identity and exit stamp, so it would appear that the holder had previously left Suriname with it. He said he had faked the signature himself. He indicated that he would organise bank statements and other documents to support applications for American visas. His lawyers deny the charges.
Dino Bouterse has previous form. He was given an eight-year prison sentence in Suriname in 2005 for drugs and weapons offences, but was in 2008 released early for good behaviour. In 2010, with his father in office, he got a plum job in his country”s anti-terrorism unit. Mr Bouterse senior also has form. In 2000 a court in the Netherlands sentenced him to prison, in his absence, for drug-smuggling. He denies the offences, but routes his travel carefully. When elected president in 2010, he was on trial in his own country for the murder of 15 political opponents after a 1980 military coup that he led. That charge was wiped out by a 2012 amnesty law.
There is no public evidence that Dino Bouterse ever met real Hezbollah terrorists””indeed, if he had terrorist contacts, a quick check with them might have rumbled the American set-up. The State Department’s annual report on terrorism said no known operational cells of either al-Qaeda or Hezbollah operated in South America or the Caribbean, though sympathisers lent financial and moral support….