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Illicit Money: Financing Terrorism in the 21st Century
Now available for pre-order!
Friends and colleagues, I’m pleased to tell you that my second book, Illicit Money: Financing Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century is now available for pre-order through the publisher, with a significant (50%) discount!
This book is a good four years in the making. I was motivated to write it because, while research in the area is growing, it’s still pretty nascent. I wanted to pull it all together and see what we could learn. Here are a few of the main areas where I think this book makes a contribution:
1) The distinction between operational and organizational financing.
I draw on a number of other works that have made this distinction and emphasize it as a unit of analysis. Throughout the book, I talk about different methods and mechanisms involved in financing, and articulate how prevalent they are for groups, cells, and individuals.
2) An expanded analysis of the mechanisms involved in terrorist financing.
We all know the traditional “raise use move store”, but I go beyond this to also include the management and obscuring of funds. This draws directly on my experience in the CT world where I regularly saw efforts at both. I think that we need to expand our conceptualization of terrorist financing to include a broader range of activities. Our typologies matter here because policy draws directly from them.
3) Using terrain analysis to predict terrorist financing methods.
When you’re starting a terrorism investigation, there’s often a real lack of information about financing methods and mechanisms. By looking at the terrain where terrorists operate, it allows us to better design collection plans, generate hypotheses, and direct sources. What they’re using the terrain for also matters - whether it is organizational support, or a location for attacks.
4) A quantified approach to terrorist financing
The truth of the matter is is that our estimates of terrorist financing are woefully unreliable. We have little in the way of verified information about how much money terrorists generate from particular activities. I couldn’t completely address that issue in this book, but I took a first step by using a large number of case studies and identifying all the financing mechanisms for both terrorist groups and operational activity. I also include terrorist plots (interrupted attacks) to see if there are many financing differences. It’s a first step in what I hope will push the field further forward, and at least now we can talk about the prevalence of particular methods and mechanisms.
5) Gender analysis
Most of you won’t be surprised to read that I’ve included a gender analysis in my book. It turns out that women have a fairly significant (if under-reported) role in terrorist financing, both as witting financiers and as proxies / third parties to transactions. I’ve included an entire section on the role of women in terrorist financing, although there’s still much more work to be done on this topic. And of course it draws on my book, Women in Modern Terrorism.
I’ve got much more to say about the book, and you’ll definitely hear from me over the coming weeks. I’ve got some podcasts lined up to talk about the book, and if you’re eager for more, you can always upgrade your subscription here - I’ll be sharing a number of posts with more of the data from the book, and even some updated numbers.
And if you do buy the book, let me know! I’m offering anyone who buys or pre-orders the book a one year free, upgraded subscription to this newsletter to thank you for your support.