And don't think that it's only people in suits who are involved; the Pentagon is part of the mix, too. Robert Chase is a retired Marine who runs the Interagency Action Group (IAG) at the U.S. Central Command, the branch of the U.S. military that oversees the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. (Centcom's stake in the issue came to light in May, when Gen. David Petraeus issued a remarkable press release praising a decision by senior Saudi clerics to issue a fatwa condemning anyone who knowingly finances terrorist attacks.) Chase's remit covers the full gamut of what one might call "economic warfare" against terrorist and insurgent groups in an area of operations extending from Kenya to Kazakhstan. The IAG collaborates with agencies including the Treasury Department, the CIA, the Department of Homeland Security, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and even the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (Why the USDA? Two words: "opium poppies.") IAG activities range from training customs officers in Central Asia to frustrating the efforts of Hezbollah affiliates to worm their way into Beirut banks. "This has to do with the changing face of war itself," Chase says. "It's not a strictly military matter. These are not organizations like traditional militaries."
Here are the other highlights:
Blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah. Blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah; blah blah blah blah? Blah blah blah blah!
They talk about the hawala system and Islamic charities... (yawn)...
Where do most terrorist organizations get most of their money?
Heroin from Afghanistan is conservatively estimated as a 200,000,000,000 USD per year industry; it may be more than twice that.
Yet, less than ten percent of that money makes it back to the producers and suppliers in Afghanistan.
Where does the rest of the money go?
Well, some of it goes to fund terrorism.
But, some of it goes to pay off government officials so that the conditions for heroin trafficking can be maintained favorable...
Conditions such as war and chaos in opiate-producing regions of the world.
If peace ever broke out in Afghanistan, the world might focus on Afghan heroin production. But, with the chaos of war, it is easier to slip heroin shipments out; eyes are open for Taliban and Al Qaeda, not "H".
Ever wonder why we are fighting the war, but never seem to be able to win it?
You see, of the remaining 90% of the $200,000,000,000 or more, some of that finds its way, via ethnic organized crime groups and their semi-legitimate front organizations and related political action committees, into the campaign chests of important politicians.
Vice President Biden, Senator McCain... Gentlemen, do I really need to name names?
Speaking of which, do an internet search for "Biden McCain Albanian heroin" and see what you come up with.
A former Congressman named DioGuardi is running for the Senate now.
Congressman Waxman pledged that, should the Democrats regain control of Congress as a result of the 2006 elections, he would hold hearings into the Sibel Edmonds case, which was about organized crime and foreign intelligence services infiltrating the US government. The D's won, and Waxman joined a lobby organization tied to the very organized crime factions and foreign powers that the FBI was investigating; needless to say, the hearings were never held.
Maybe I need to address this topic in detail.
Maybe I need to name names... Should I do that, Congressman Blunt? Congresswoman Foxx?
Maybe I need to cover the full gamut of terrorist finance operations, narcotics trafficking, and illicit money to US officials publicly on my blog.
(By the way: for the record, Foreign Policy is an outstanding site. But they can't go after international organized crime and crooked politicians in Washington the way I can...)