powerful explosion and fire occurred at 514 Cedar Avenue South in Minneapolis, in a predominantly Somali neighborhood of the city.
The building was gutted by the blaze. Two bodies were found in the rubble, and fourteen people were hospitalized, one of whom died later. Within 72 hours, the building had been pulled down into a heap of rubble by a backhoe.
Two days after the blast, before any real investigation occurred — which could never be conducted, anyway, with the potential crime scene destroyed — Greg Boosalis, the supervisory special agent with the FBI in Minneapolis, told the press that there was “no evidence of terrorist activity”.
Ever since that day I have been asking the question: How did the FBI know there was no terrorist activity without examining the scene of the explosion?
The question becomes even more urgent with the with the emergence of the latest wrinkle in the case. According to EUR-Lex , the repository of legal documents for the European Union, the European Commission issued the following regulation back in 2002:
Commission Regulation (EC) No 1580/2002 of 4 September 2002 amending for the second time Council Regulation (EC) No 881/2002 imposing certain specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities associated with Usama bin Laden, the Al-Qaida network and the Taliban, and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 467/2001
Official Journal L 237 , 05/09/2002 P. 0003 – 0005
Commission Regulation (EC) No 1580/2002
of 4 September 2002
amending for the second time Council Regulation (EC) No 881/2002 imposing certain specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities associated with Usama bin Laden, the Al-Qaida network and the Taliban, and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 467/2001
Under Article 1, number 2, we read:
Jama, Garad (a.k.a. Nor, Garad K.) (a.k.a. Wasrsame, Fartune Ahmed, 2100, Bloomington Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States of America; 1806, Riverside Avenue, 2nd Floor, Minneapolis, Minnesota; date of birth 26 June 1974. [emphasis added]
Why did the European Commission list Garad K. Nor et al. as being associated with Islamic terrorists?
As it happens, the EC was acting on a list drawn up by the United States Treasury the previous year, not long after 9/11. According to UPI:
U.S. Treasury lists terror associates
WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 (UPI) — The White House and U.S. Department of Treasury on Wednesday released additions to the list identifying individuals, organizations and businesses with links to terrorist organizations. Those additions are:
Garad Jama (a.k.a. Garad K. Nor; a.k.a. Fartune Ahmed Wasrsame) [emphasis added]
For those who have been following the story of the Cedar-Riverside explosion, the name “Garad Nor” may ring a bell.
According to the MN Secretary of State website, Garad Nor is recorded as a “Registered Agent” of Wadani Properties, the company that owned and managed the apartments of the Cedar-Riverside building located at 510 and 512 Cedar Ave South that exploded and burned on January 1. In some reports, Garad Nor himself as listed as the owner.
The offices of Wadani Properties are located at 2200 E Franklin Ave, # 204.
According to the website of the Minnesota Secretary of State, Garad Nor is also the Chief Executive Officer of Dar Al Tawakul General LLC. Dar Al Tawakul General LLC is one of the companies listed in the indictment against the two Rochester citizens found guilty of money laundering for al-Shabaab.
Dar Al Tawakul General LLC is also located at 2200 E Franklin Ave, # 204.
Garad Nor, the owner of the destroyed building on Cedar Avenue South, acknowledged his place on Treasury’s list of interdicted persons and companies. According to an article published in 2012 by The Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
“Nor, who also goes by the name Garad Jama, was in Dubai the day he learned through CNN that his name was listed among 62 individuals and organizations that the U.S. government said had helped fund Osama bin Laden.”
Why might Garad K. Nor have been in Dubai, of all places?
Here’s a possible reason:
Mr. Nor works for Tawakal Express, an international hawala money-transfer company headquartered in Dubai. Tawakal Express is a globe-spanning enterprise. It’s hard to tell how many outlets it has all over the world, but according to its search page for agents, the company has offices in the following countries:
- New Zealand
- SOM [Somalia]
- South Sudan
A look at the listing for the USA reveals that Tawakal Express does business in these states (notice that the list is not in alphabetical order, and that Minnesota comes first):
Click on “Minnesota” and then choose Minneapolis. The page of results is too long to reproduce here, but you may notice two locations on the same side of Cedar Avenue as the destroyed building, one a block to the north, and the other a block to the south.
Since being listed as a terrorism-associate by the U.S. Treasury and the European Commission, Garad K. Nor has managed to clear his name. A press release issued in 2012 says the President and CEO of Tawakal Money Express successfully completed a four-day training workshop (teleconferenced from Somalia) for its staff and agents regarding procedures for complying with anti-money laundering regulations in the USA. Tawakal Money Express, a franchise of the Tawakal Express global enterprise, is located at… 2200 E Franklin Ave, #204.
To reiterate: that’s the same location as the offices of Wadani Properties, the company that owned and managed the exploded building at 514 Cedar Avenue South.
As a final irony, the Minnesota Republican Party has just moved its headquarters to the same address, 2200 E Franklin, Suite #201.
Do the good citizens of Minneapolis know about this tangled nexus of mischief and skullduggery in their midst?
If they did, would they even care?
Most of the research for the following article was conducted by our Minnesota correspondent Henrietta. I am deeply grateful for her assistance, without which the evidence described here would not be detailed. For more information on the explosion and fire in Cedar-Riverside, Minneapolis, on New Year’s Day 2014, see the Cedar-Riverside Explosion Archives.