One of the arguments offered against the financial terrorism hypothesis has been that "they can't even make a decent shoe bomb so there's no way they could conduct a bear raid on the markets." That was basically said by an otherwise intelligent Congressional staffer in a recent meeting. The thought behind the premise is that al Qaeda and other terror groups are essentially savages that live in caves. The reality, however, can be far from that false image.
To understand reality, there are a few basic thoughts to consider,
1) There are many highly educated terrorists with degrees from some of the world's best universities. In fact, a study by Peter Bergen and Swati Pandey found that:
"two-thirds of the 25 terrorists involved in the planning and hijacking of the four aircraft on September 11th 2001 had attended university and that two of the 79 had earned PhD degrees while two others were enrolled in doctoral programs."
2) Terrorists have access to significant financial resources. Qaddafi's Libyan wealth is measured in the tens of billions of dollars with some estimates of up to $50 billion. He is not alone. While some groups may have scrambled for money, the massive wealth transfers from high oil prices to middle eastern states amounts to trillions of dollars. At least a portion of this has been siphoned off to terrorists through the years.
3) The myth is that all terrorists are isolated. The reality is that many have significant personal relationships with Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, and others of significance. There are also ties to Sovereign Wealth Funds.
One recent news item that debunks the myths was a CNBC release last week that Libya moved $55 million away from Allen Stanford's firm BEFORE Stanford was shut down by the SEC. Stanford was charged with running a Ponzi scheme similar to that of Bernie Madoff. We believe the issues are much deeper and more complex than the SEC's assertions.
"Regardless, the fact that the Libyan Investment Authority seemingly knew in advance of Stanford's problems is significant. Here are excerpts from a CNBC report:
Also undisclosed until now was the allegation that the Libyans knew before the general public — or Stanford's 28,000 investors — that the Stanford empire was about to collapse.
Stanford traveled to Tripoli and met with representatives of the Libyan Investment Authority on January 25 and 26, 2009. Two days later, according to the court filing, the Libyans withdrew $12.6 million — the last in a series of withdrawals dating back to November, 2008. On February 16, 2009, the SEC sued Stanford, shutting the business down.
‘(I)t is clear the Libyan Defendants had access to Mr. Stanford that was substantially superior to other investors," the filing says, "and the Libyan defendants were aware of the impending demise of the Stanford investment scheme well before the Receivership was imposed on the Stanford parties.'
The filing cites a U.S. State Department cable first revealed by WikiLeaks as proof the Libyans knew Stanford was in trouble. "
The main point is a simple one. Libya was more aware of what was happening at Stanford than the SEC or 28,000 other investors. This is just one example that dispels the myth of the ignorant terrorist.
[Please note, in our June 28th post, Is China at War with the USA, we featured an article from The Counter Terrorist magazine. We inadvertently mistyped the discount code for those interested in subscribing. The correct code is SCG.]
All posts Copyright (c) 2011 Kevin Freeman, All Rights Reserved