The financial war on terrorism and terrorists

A new book, published today, lifts the veil on a hitherto highly secretive front in the fight against terrorism.  It’s titled ‘Harpoon: Inside the Covert War Against Terrorism’s Money Masters‘.

It’s of particular interest to me because one of those involved in this effort is a person I knew back in South Africa.  S/he was particularly skilled in various forms of electronic warfare, including the infiltration of enemy communications networks.  Such skills are always in high demand in certain quarters:  so, some years ago, my acquaintance accepted an offer to move to another country, where abilities in that line were more highly regarded (and much more highly rewarded) than our mutual former homeland.  We’ve kept in touch off and on since then.  Whilst I don’t know any details about what s/he is doing (for obvious security reasons), s/he knew that this book was coming out, and suggested I might enjoy it.  I didn’t need to ask why they said that!

The blurb reads:

A revelatory account of the cloak-and-dagger Israeli campaign to target the finances fueling terror organizations–an effort that became the blueprint for U.S. efforts to combat threats like ISIS and drug cartels.

ISIS boasted $2.4 billion of revenue in 2015, yet for too long the global war on terror overlooked financial warfare as an offensive strategy. “Harpoon,” the creation of Mossad legend Meir Dagan, directed spies, soldiers, and attorneys to disrupt and destroy money pipelines and financial institutions that paid for the bloodshed perpetrated by Hamas, Hezbollah, and other groups. Written by an attorney who worked with Harpoon and a bestselling journalist, Harpoon offers a gripping story of the Israeli-led effort, now joined by the Americans, to choke off the terrorists’ oxygen supply, money, via unconventional warfare.

In his pre-publication review, Roger Simon writes:

Operation Harpoon dates back to the days  of Mossad chief Meir Dagan (1990s), who also saw the opportunities here, and “fights fire with fire.”  The good guys hack computers too.  And they even call in missile strikes against bankers.  (Kind of makes you smile, as long as they choose the right ones.)

The book Harpoon, not surprisingly, reads like a thriller.  We get glimpses of the following — how Harpoon managed to make several hundred million mysteriously vanish from Arafat’s account, how Harpoon broke in and seized illegal accounts from Arab banks in the West Bank (this caused a White House uproar), how Harpoon unmasked Iran’s proxy Hezbollah’s involvement in drug trafficking from Venezuela to Lebanon’s Beka’a Valley, how Harpoon and Israeli agents used malware and double agents to deplete Hezbollah accounts and so forth.

What I’ve read so far is most interesting.  If you’re wondering how non-military methods are applied every day to the War on Terror, and how financially strangling terrorists is almost as effective as doing so physically, this book offers a lot of food for thought.



  1. There is no war on terror. If there was, we would have won it and been done with it. We know who these guys are. We know where they train and who is funding them and supplying them. (Half the time it’s us or our crime families or our allies).

  2. And an old computer programmer's caveat; If one programmer can do 'it' another can undo 'it' better and faster. Which is to say this is a double-edged sword and those people are not stupid.

    Also, what Glen said.

  3. Hey Peter;

    I still have a book called “The Specialist” It was given to me back in the early 90’s and it languished on my shelf for years until I was really bored and grabbed it and read it. It talked about hoe the IRA and the PLO would trade expertise on bombs and other skill sets and that each of the organizations would help each other out with some assistance with the KGB(No Surprise there). It actually was very good.

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