Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | toyota | isis | us | treasury

US Treasury Asks: Where Does ISIS Get All Those Toyotas?

Image: US Treasury Asks: Where Does ISIS Get All Those Toyotas?
(AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 07 Oct 2015 03:27 PM

Japanese automaker Toyota says it's cooperating with a Treasury Department probe looking into the prominent use of the automaker's mid-size trucks by Mideast terror groups, including ISIS.

The trucks have become ubiquitous in Islamic State extremists' propaganda that show vehicles with large-caliber weapons affixed to the truck beds and carrying rifle-toting militants to war.

In a statement, Toyota says it's part of a broader Treasury inquiry looking at how international supply chains and money find their way into the Middle East, CNN reports.

ABC News first reported the probe.

The Treasury Department's Terrorism and Financial Intelligence wing monitors monetary transfers and the flow of goods that could aid militants.

Toyota spokesman Ed Lewis tells CNN the automaker is "committed to complying fully with the laws and regulations of each country or region where we operate and require our dealers and distributors to do the same."

"We are supporting the U.S. Treasury Department's broader inquiry into international supply chains and the flow of capital and goods in the Middle East," he added.

But many of the Toyota trucks seen in ISIS propaganda videos aren't even sold in the United States, he says.

"Toyota has a strict policy to not sell vehicles to potential purchasers who may use or modify them for paramilitary or terrorist activities, and we have procedures and contractual commitments in place to help prevent our products from being diverted for unauthorized military use," Lewis tells CNN.

Toyota vehicles like its Hilux pick-up – whose successor, the Tacoma, is hugely popular in the United States, according to New Republic – are sold in Iraq, CBS News reports.

"[I]t is impossible for any automaker to control indirect or illegal channels through which our vehicles could be misappropriated, stolen or re-sold by independent third parties," the company tells CBS News.

According to CBS News, terrorists have been mashing up Toyota trucks for years, likely starting in Somalia, where militants, working al-Qaida and Osama Bin Laden, are thought to have pioneered the technique of mounting machine guns on truck beds.

Oddly, the Tacoma's success in the United States may even be an effect of the Hilux's prominent face in propaganda, the New Republic writes.

Writes one Facebook consumer: "Every time you see a truck full of warlords driving through inhospitable terrain, it's in a 15-year-old Tacoma," the New Republic reports. "That's dependability."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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Japanese automaker Toyota says it's cooperating with a Treasury Department probe looking into the prominent use of the automaker's mid-size trucks by Mideast terror groups, including ISIS.
toyota, isis, us, treasury
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2015-27-07
Wednesday, 07 Oct 2015 03:27 PM
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