Insight Monitor's 2023 Year in Review
Hello everyone! I hope you’re all having a good end of 2023. There’s nothing I love more than a cozy end-of-year wrap-up, so I wanted to share a few of our top posts of the year and a few highlights from Insight Monitor. We’ve hit quite a few milestones this year, and it’s all thanks to this community. I appreciate every referral, share, and comment!
Growing the Network
This year, we hit a number of milestones, and just kept going. I originally hoped to pass 3,000 subscribers. Well, we certainly achieved that! Mid-way through the year I increased this goal to 5,000 subscribers, and I’m happy to report we went right through that goal in early December. Our community has grown by a staggering 80% this year!
Our paid subscriptions also increased, albeit more slowly. And that’s fine — I know 2023 has been a tough year for some folks (and governments) financially.
With that in mind, I will ~not~ be increasing my prices in 2024. It’s not quite a sale, but it’s effectively one since I’m not even increasing to cover inflation!
Despite the challenging year, paid subscribers grew 30%, and I’m grateful for each and every one of you.
Insight Monitor has also increased its international reach: we are now read in 143 countries! We’ve also received well over a quarter million views this year.
You’ll see in the graph above that something happened in July. As many of you will recall, we took the entire month off. I also suspended subscription payments during that time. While the rest was certainly much-needed and well-received, we’ll try to refrain from doing that again in the future. It really messes with the stats! (In all seriousness, many thanks to you folks who didn’t blink an eye at our hiatus. We needed it, I assure you!)
Top Posts of 2023
Now the best part. What were our top posts of 2023?
10: Hamas Short Selling?
We had a late entry into the top ten Insight Monitor posts for 2023. In December, I wrote a short note about a very dubious academic article about whether Hamas had profited from short selling.
9: Unexplained Wealth Orders
We also put together a quick primer on unexplained wealth orders. These are a new feature for Canada (and only British Columbia at the moment), but they’re in place in some other jurisdictions. This primer (and all primers!) are free to read. This was a new feature we launched this year, and it’s been well-received.
8: Professional Money Laundering Networks
Another primer that got a lot of attention was our explanation of professional money laundering networks. This is an issue we’re all going to be hearing about more and more over the coming years. It’s a serious problem, and one that is going to take all our expertise and resources to tackle.
7: Hamas’s Financial Obfuscation
With the war between Israel and Hamas, anything Hamas-related generated a lot of interest. This piece looks at how Hamas hides the source, destination and use of funds.
6: Hamas Financial Management
How Hamas manages its multimillion / billion dollar criminal enterprise was also the source of much interest. Here we try to take a preliminary look and map it out. Much more to come on this.
5: How Hamas Stores & Moves Money
Part of understanding how a terrorist group operates is taking a separate look at how they store and move money. Hamas has plenty of expertise in this regard, as we found when we explored the issue in depth.
4: RCMP Intelligence
Likely driven at least in part by the Cameron Ortis trial, our primer on the RCMP’s intelligence function was very well-read. This primer is meant to give a quick introduction to how the RCMP creates and uses intelligence to inform its investigative strategy.
3: Hamas Fundraising
No surprise, our first piece on Hamas financing (looking at how they raise funds) was in our top three posts of the year. We wanted to do something timely to support evidence-based analysis of the group, and we were not disappointed. This post generated significant interest (and many media interviews!).
2: ISIL KP Financing
We also updated our analysis of ISIL KP financing. While Afghanistan might have taken a bit of a back-seat in terms of international attention, there are many of you out there still keenly engaged on the issue. As are we.
1: Wagner’s Group of Companies
Our top post of 2023 was our analysis of Wagner’s corporate structure. The thing is: this is just a small snapshot. Since completing this article, I’ve done ~weeks~ worth of research expanding out this network, and it’s extremely complex. I hope to share more of that with you in 2024.
That’s it for our 2023 roundup! Thank you all for coming along for the ride this year. We appreciate each and every one of you. We’d also like to encourage you to subscribe for 2024, and share Insight Monitor with your colleagues. Every reader matters to us.
Thanks for caring about illicit money!
Our terrorist financing analysis course is open for the next two months. In February, we’re going to close it to new registrations while we do an update, and re-open sometime in mid-2024. So sign up today if this is on your to-do list for 2023 or 2024! All current students maintain access to course content, forever.
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