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Terrorist Financing

The Failure of Counter Measures

Nick Ridley

For over a decade international efforts by law enforcement, government and financial regulatory authorities have been deployed in combatting terrorist financing, in good faith and with dedication beyond reproach. This book surveys the methods of financing of numerous terrorist groups and organisations – including the Chinese and Asian dimension – and considers why ultimately international efforts to combat the financing of terror are failing. Nick Ridley expertly illustrates the scale of the problem by first outlining the strategies of anti terrorist financing, the pre and post 9/11 differences in scope and extent of terrorist attacks, the financial support and the national and international efforts to implement and carry out countermeasures. He then goes on to set out a detailed analysis of the apparent failure of such counter measures to date.
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Chapter 4: Early recognition of two ‘obvious’ modus operandi

Nick Ridley


The second cause of the failure of international efforts against terrorist financing is that of a failure to perceive the full significance of the various modus operandi of terrorist financing. As has been seen in the overview of the some of the principal terrorist groups, the methods of fund-raising are varied. International law enforcement and governmental agency strategists alike appear to have discovered too late, or even not at all, certain modus operandi. However, some potential modus operandi were indeed perceived at a comparatively early stage after the 9/11 attacks, and this chapter will deal with the principal two methods so speedily detected. These are the exploitation of international NGOs/charities for terrorist financing and the potential vulnerability of Islamic financial institutions for terrorist fund transfer. With respect to the first, exploitation of international NGOs/charities for terrorist financing, there appears a paradox. This modus operandi was identified within a month of 9/11 occurring by international law enforcement and regulatory bodies and government strategic analysts; yet ten years later, little or nothing has been achieved in countering it. Since the 1990s, there has been an exponential growth in the NGO/ charity sector. This growth has been occurring since the second half of the twentieth century, but has increased progressively since the 1990s.

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