Merchant of Death
Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

Blood from Stones

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Press Releases

Important Time Lost in the 4 Years Since 9-11
The Washington Post carries an important reminder of how much remains to be done in four years after 9-11. The faltering beginnings of Homeland Security, the inability to create a genuine international coaltion to seriously hurt the main group of financial backers for the radical Islamic groups, and the creation of a Salafist-wahhabi training ground in Iraq are only some of the issues that are festering as the year ends.

On the terror financing front, the lack of action by Saudi and European officials to seriously hamper known terrorist financiers is the most troublesome issue, to me. Also troubling is the ongoing lack of serious, sustained efforts on attacking the multiple holes in the international arena that allow the flow of cash to continue, relatively unabated, in different forms.

The vast offshore network of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood is essentially untouched and understood only in its vaguest outlines. The system of overlapping bank ownerships ficticious front companies that have allowed this offshore maze to thrive and hide money to avoid taxes, fund criminal activities and/or support terrorism around the globe is vital to al Qaeda and its offshoots. Yet the old paradigm prevails, where offshore systems are unstudied, unregulated and free for multiple types of abuse.

To me, the bottom line remains the same. The law enforcement and intelligence communities still rely on regulation and the hopes of catching terrorist financial activity when it intersects with the formal financial structure. But that is often avoided, and the intersections are few and far between. On taking action against designated individuals, diplomatic nicities trump the hard realities that Saudi Arabia and other nations on the Arab Peninsula have done almost nothing except on paper to halt the flow of money and those individuals remain active.

The UAE has the added onus of being the center of operations for the illicit flights of Viktor Bout and his empire. Even though the UN has now taken steps that allow countries to step up enforcement action on Bout, the UAE has not lifted a finger to find or halt is now-banned flights.

All in all, it has been a year of very modest progress and few real steps in finding and plugging the holes in the financial system that are a lifeline to those who want to destroy us.
Why Aircraft Matter to Terrorists and Criminal Groups
The UN Finally Takes Action Against Bout Associates and Companies
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