Unfunding Terror

Unfunding Terror

The Legal Response to the Financing of Global Terrorism

Jimmy Gurulé

The book begins with a discussion of how shutting down the pipelines of funding is as important as dismantling the terrorist cells themselves. Next, the book covers the various means and methods used by terrorist groups to raise money, and examines how money is transferred globally to finance their lethal activities. The principal components of the legal strategy to disrupt the financing of terrorism are then discussed and evaluated. Unfortunately, the author concludes that the legal regime has met with mixed results, and finds that the sense of urgency to deprive terrorists of funding that existed following 9/11 has since dissipated. As a result, international efforts to freeze terrorist assets have dramatically declined. Moreover, the US Department of Justice has suffered several embarrassing and disappointing legal defeats in prosecuting major terrorist financiers. The author provides numerous recommendations to Congress, the Executive Branch, and the UN Security Council for strengthening the legal regime to deny terrorists the money needed to wage global jihad, acquire weapons of mass destruction, and launch another terrorist attack on the scale of 9/11.

Chapter 2: Terrorists Need Money to Terrorize

Jimmy Gurulé

Subjects: law - academic, corruption and economic crime, finance and banking law, politics and public policy, terrorism and security


Terrorists seldom kill for money, but they always need money to kill. Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Plenary of MONEYVAL and Financial Action Task Force, February 21, 2007 It is a duty for the Umma with all its categories, men, women and youths, to give . . . their money, experiences and all types of material support. . . . Jihad today is an imperative for every Muslim. The Umma will commit sin if it did not provide adequate material support for jihad. Osama bin Laden, April 23, 2006 Money is the ‘lifeblood’ of al Qaeda (Arabic for ‘the base’) and other likeminded terrorist groups.1 Al Qaeda and its global network of affiliated terrorist organizations cannot successfully implement their deadly agenda without financial resources. Shutting off the flow of funds to the global jihadists can disrupt their short-term operations while undermining their long-term capabilities.2 ‘Disrupting and dismantling terrorist financing networks is essential to combat terrorism. Terrorist organisations’ diverse requirement for financing creates a strong logic for seeking to disrupt terrorism by choking off funding flows to all terrorist-linked activities.’3 Money is critical to financing al Qaeda’s terrorist operations (operational costs) as well as sustaining its organizational infrastructure (organizational costs).4 Al Qaeda cannot pursue sophisticated operations like the 9/11 terror attacks without adequate funding. However, the Islamist militants also need money to finance their organizational activities, including paying operatives, recruiting and training new members, bribing government officials, forging ties with other jihadist organizations, paying travel and communications expenses, and acquiring...

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