"The intricate economics of terrorism"

Loretta Napoleoni is an economist, journalist, political activist, and author. Her professional specialty is in the financing of terrorist activity, and how mainstream economic activity is affected by that financing. I found [via Bruce Schneier's blog] the following video of a speech given at the 2009 TEDGlobal Conference, and it's quite fascinating.

In a relatively short amount of time, Napoleoni posits that (1) most terrorists couldn't care less about the ideology of the group with which they're aligned - they're in it for much more self-serving reasons; (2) the pre-9/11 US economy benefited greatly from money-laundering activities used to finance terrorist and criminal organizations around the world, because - let's face it - everyone wants US dollars; and (3) the Patriot Act essentially shut down those money-laundering activities, causing a massive flight from the dollar to the Euro; Europe is now the center of those illicit activities, and is enjoying something of an economic boost as a result.

If you can spare fifteen minutes to watch the following vid, I think you'll be challenged by what you hear. I gained a new perspective on terrorism and the implications for how it might be more effectively fought...and perhaps why it's not being fought equally on all fronts.


Eric, the first of her points that you cite reminds me of concerns that law enforcement had during the ROT standoff in the Davis Mountains, in the 90s. When McClaren issued his 'call to arms,' some officers I spoke to were concerned that all kinds of God-only-knows-whats would come out of the woodwork ... not to defend the autonomy of the Republic of Texas, but for a chance to take shots at the police.

Napoleoni may be onto something here ... and it would do all of us well to listen.

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This page contains a single entry by Eric published on January 15, 2010 5:33 PM.

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