darker than underground

Manage your military position like water. Water takes every shape. It avoids the high and moves to the low. Your war can take any shape. It must avoid the strong and strike the weak. Water follows the shape of the land that directs its flow. Your forces follow the enemy, who determines how you win. ~Sun Tzu, The Art of War

For Misha Glenny, it’s one of the greatest commercial success stories.

Criminal activity now accounts for over 15 percent of the world’s GDP. In the last two decades, it has experienced massive growth.

For Fred Leland, it’s developing operational art.

To get the best results and win we must learn what we need to know about conflict and violence, how it unfolds, its causes and effects and its signs and signals… we must develop knowledge of conflict and violence in its three dimensions, the moral and the mental as well as the physical.

For Adam Elkus, it’s Forecasting Future Slaughter:

Heavy force or light? Counterinsurgency or conventional warfighting? Airpower or ground pounders? Current strategic debate is marked by dispute over what lessons should be drawn from Iraq and Afghanistan and what kind of force structure should be employed in future warfare.

For Loretta Napoleoni, it’s way beyond the headlines.

They were constantly searching for cash.

Terrorism is actually a very expensive business — arms, vehicles, explosives. If you live underground, it’s very hard to produce this amount of money. Most people were extremely reluctant to talk about politics, because they had no ideas. The ideology is decided by leadership of a terrorist organization, all the others do is search for money.

She found in terrorism a parallel economy, that had been around since the close of World War II. It has followed step by step the trends common to any other economy.

She sets out to prove that groups labeled terrorist organizations or liberation movements have shown the same skills as any Wall Street investor in channeling assets into legal structures and businesses in pursuit of their broader goals. At the same time, armed groups are financing their activities through drug-running, illicit diamond sales, car theft, credit card fraud or arms dealing using the Western financial system to launder their income.

She says that, since the 1960s, a growing number of dollars have been leaving the US never to come back. This is money taken out by criminals and money launderers to fund the growth of terror and criminal economies.

You’ve got to question everything that is told to you, including what I told you. It will be scary and frightening but it will enlighten you and above all its not going to be boring.

For John Robb, it’s “searching for global systempunkts”.