Blood Profits: How American Consumers Unwittingly Fund Terrorists
International smuggling has exploded, deepening and accelerating the collaboration of transnational organized crime and terrorist groups. Attacks like the Charlie Hebdo and Bataclan shootings in Paris, the kidnappings and murders by Boko Haram in Nigeria, and the San Bernardino shooting were partially funded by seemingly harmless illegal goods such as cheap cigarettes, smuggled oil, prostitution, fake Viagra, fake designer bags, and even bootleg DVDs.
But how can this be? In Blood Profits, Vanessa Neumann, an expert on dismantling illicit trade, explains how purchasing illegal goods translates to supporting organized crime and terrorists. Neumann shows how the effects of the collapsed Iron Curtain, USSR scientists and intelligence agents left without work, regional trade pacts, the dissipation of the East-versus-West mentality, and new-age technology have all led to an intricate network of illegal trade. She leads the reader through a variety of cases, both by geography and by industry (selecting industries where illicit trade is generally poorly understood), before extracting lessons learned into some policy recommendations that we can all embrace.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Political Rysk Analyst
DR. VANESSA NEUMANN is President of Asymmetrica, a consultancy on strategies for corporate clients and governments to dismantle illicit trade. Dr. Neumann is the OECD’s Advisory Group for the Task Force on Countering Illicit Trade, and holds fellowships at Yale University, Columbia University and the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Her company Asymmetrica is a member of the Global Counter Terrorism Research Network (GCTRN) for the United Nations Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), authorized to brief the UN Security Council directly.
“A philosopher’s gripping exploration of the netherworld of international crime and terrorism: their psychology and strategies – our vulnerabilities and unwitting complicity. Blood Profits is an enlightening read for policy wonks, crime fighters and development experts.”
―Thomas Pogge, Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs, Yale University
“Neumann takes the reader on a breathtaking tour of some of most corrupt and dangerous places on earth where terrorists and narco-traffickers meet and collude. The amazing thing is that the revenues they feed on come from New York, London and Paris. The disturbing truth that Neumann so cogently analyzes is that the earnings from the sales of fake Vuitton handbags, illicit drugs and cigarettes is what keeps the terrorists and criminals afloat. As Neumann shows, the joke is on us. We ignore what stares us in the face at our peril. The growing overlap between organized crime and terrorism is a toxic brew that can only come back to haunt us in the West. Hold on for a dizzying ride in Blood Profits and expect to be baffled why we allow the collusion between criminals and terrorists to expand.”
―Mat Burrows, Director of the Foresight, Strategy and Risks Initiative at the Atlantic Council and author of The Future, Declassified: Megatrends that Will Undo the World Unless We Take Action