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Blood from Stones: The Secret Financial Network of Terrorby Douglas Farah
Synopses & Reviews
In the aftermath of 9/11, President Bush froze all terrorist assets in traditional financial institutions and money channels. But Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups have long followed a diversification strategy that has rendered the crackdown by the U.S. and other governments almost useless. Blood from Stones is the first book to uncover, through on-the-ground reporting, the interlocking web of commodities, underground transfer systems, charities, and sympathetic bankers that support terrorist activities throughout the world.
As a foreign correspondent and investigative reporter for The Washington Post, Douglas Farah ventured into the dangerous and uncharted world of terrorist financing—a journey that took him across four continents. The information he gathered was far ahead of what U.S. intelligence agencies knew as they scrambled to understand the 9/11 attacks. In unprecedented detail, Farah traces the movement of money from the traffickers of “blood diamonds” in West Africa to the world diamond exchange in Belgium and homegrown money merchants in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Karachi, and Lahore who turn cash into commodities and commodities into cash. He probes charities that siphon off money to pay for such essentials as false identification cards and safe passage for operatives. And he reveals how the funding of terrorist activities is integrated into the age-old hawala network, a trust-based system that has operated for generations across Arabia and Southeast Asia.
Focusing on this critical aspect of the war on terrorism, Blood from Stones not only shows how terrorists are able to orchestrate complex and expensive attacks but also makes it clear why the war will be so difficult to win.
"At first glance, this book is an account of how Farah happened on al-Qaeda's diamond-smuggling operations while he was the Washington Post's bureau chief in West Africa in 2001. Farah details the sequence of events that led to his now famous expose of the Mephistophelian alliance between al-Qaeda and Liberia's notorious former president Charles Taylor, and the summary rape and ruin of West Africa while Taylor orchestrated the inequitable trade of diamonds for uniforms, weapons and cars to perpetuate the nightmarish strife. However, this is not where the book ends — it's where a new unsettling story begins. After Farah's article ran in the Post, he and his family were forced to leave Africa for their own safety. On arriving home, Farah says, he was met by a bitter and embarrassed CIA determined to discredit him in order to cover the fact that they knew nothing about al-Qaeda's involvement in West Africa. Over time, the CIA's behavior led to the revelation of damning information about the United States's entire network of intelligence agencies, rife with infighting, disorganization and lack of central control. Farah's drum-tight presentation of evidence to substantiate his allegations will be difficult to dispute, and his stark and straightforward writing style makes this book hard to put down. Maps not seen by PW. Agent, Gail Ross. (On sale May 4)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Farah's swiftly moving narrative introduces a cast of characters worthy of a le Carré novel....Immensely valuable for those who follow the movements of international terrorists — who, by Farah's account, walk among us on all sides." Kirkus Reviews
Washington Post reporter Farah embarked on a dangerous journey across four continents to report on the vast network that lends financial support to terrorists around the world. He not only reveals how the attacks are orchestrated, but also why the war on terror is so difficult.
As a foreign correspondent and investigative reporter for The Washington Post, Douglas Farah traces the movement of money from the traffickers of "blood diamonds" in West Africa to the world diamond exchange in Belgium and homegrown money merchants in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Karachi, and Lahore who turn cash into commodities and commodities into cash.
About the Author
DOUGLAS FARAH spent seventeen years working as a foreign correspondent for The Washington Post and other publications and served as the Post’s West Africa bureau chief. Currently a member of the Post's investigative reporting team, he lives in Takoma Park, Maryland.
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