Not surprising but quite stunning actually is the sheer amount of money European countries have paid out quietly since 2008 as ransom for kidnapped citizens. According to the paper of record, Europe has shelled out a cool $125 million in ransom cash over the past six years alone:
The cash filled three suitcases: 5 million euros.
The German official charged with delivering this cargo arrived here aboard a nearly empty military plane and was whisked away to a secret meeting with the president of Mali, who had offered Europe a face-saving solution to a vexing problem.
Officially, Germany had budgeted the money as humanitarian aid for the poor, landlocked nation of Mali. In truth, all sides understood that the cash was bound for an obscure group of Islamic extremists who were holding 32 European hostages, according to six senior diplomats directly involved in the exchange.
That’s just one example of many instances that have occurred allowing terrorist organizations to run a business out of kidnapping groups of tourists around the world and demanding money for their safe return.
European countries seem very willing to pay out which, as expected, begets more and more of the same activity. Funds running a little low? Go grab some German college students holidaying in Indonesia. France seems to be the biggest offender, but other countries like Switzerland, Spain, and Austria have all followed suit.
Al Qaeda is in fact on the run. With deposit slips. To the bank.