Financing War and Terrorism

This posting explains how countries hostile to the United States are aided by profitable activities, legal and illegal, to finance war and terrorism against the U.S. and other nations.

$17 trillion trade deficit has been accumulated by the U.S. for the period of 1992-2020. This is an outflow of wealth that has helped support growth of foreign nations conducting war and terrorist activities, building their cities and infrastructure, and growing their militaries.

In addition to the $17 trillion legal transfer of wealth as a function of unbalanced trade, other forms of wealth transfer occur daily through illegal activities.

The World Factbook: Terrorist groups designated by the US State Department as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs), as well as non-designated, self-proclaimed branches and affiliates of the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) FTO. Entries include references to financial support.

9-11 Executive Summary: After the September 11 attacks, the highest-level U.S. government officials publicly declared that the fight against al Qaeda financing was as critical as the fight against al Qaeda itself. (National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States).

Chapter 4, Staff Statements: Combatting Terrorist Financing in the United States: (The Role of Financial Institutions). Several methods of financing are mentioned. Donations to reputable entities such as legal international welfare organizations. Money laundering by transferring income from illegal activities which cannot be monitored through international banking, and then supporting terrorist activities, or moved into legal activities which can be monitored.

United Nations: Countering the financing of terrorism. In order to be effective, efforts to counter the financing of terrorism need to rely more on financial intelligence sharing between countries and enhanced coordination between the public and private sector.

CFT Program: Global effort on on detecting, preventing and countering the financing of terrorism. Launched in 2020 to step up UNOCT and UNCCT efforts in this area as mandated by the General Assembly’s Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and its review resolutions, and the Security Council.

Global Issues: List of global issues that can provide terrorism financing include tax havens, offshore financial system, citizenship by investment, secrecy jurisdictions, free trade zones, anonymous companies and how they work.

Narcotics: Illegal drug trade or drug trafficking is a global black market dedicated to the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of prohibited drugs. How $1 trillion in dirty money leaves poor countries each year has helped get financial transparency onto the agenda of world leaders.

Global Financial Integrity finds that globally, the business of transnational crime is valued at an average of $1.6 trillion to $2.2 trillion annually. The study evaluates the overall size of criminal markets in 11 categories: trafficking of drugs, arms, human trafficking, organ harvesting, biological terror, cultural property, counterfeiting, illegal wildlife crime, illegal fishing, illegal logging, illegal mining, and crude oil theft.

World Economic Forum: Global conflict costs. There were 278 political conflicts in 2006. Ten years later, the number of political conflicts had risen sharply to 402. Total estimated cost Jan 15, 2018 was $14 trillion per year and rising.

UNDOC: Global drug use alone killed almost half a million people in 2019, while drug use disorders resulted in 18 million years of healthy life lost, mostly due to opioids.

CDC: U.S. Overdose deaths in 2021 increased half as much as 2020 – to nearly 93,655 deaths. The searchable tables indicate drug overdose deaths are up 15% annually by drug or class Jan 2015-2022.

Theft of national secrets by internal and external entities. Scientist resigned from the Oklahoma petroleum company where he worked at for 18 months. He planned to return to China and also reported that he hadn’t arranged his next job, so the company agreed to let him to stay in his role until his departure date in December 2018. Then came the billion-dollar stolen secret surprise.

Market Realist: Money laundering and terrorist financing in casinos. Transactions associated with terrorism financing may be conducted in very small amounts. Funds that are generated from legal sources make it even more difficult to determine if they could be used for terrorist purposes.


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Posted in SOTU.