Interview with Task Force Director Raymond Baker: The Failures of Our Economic System

June 1st, 2012

Vikas Shah speaks to Task Force Director Raymond Baker raising questions about the contributing factors to our failing global economy.  Raymond addresses and discusses issues such as government theft, drug trafficking, global wealth, money laundering and the shadow financial system.

Q: To what extent do illicit financial markets contribute to the threat of terrorism?

Raymond Baker: Illicit financial markets facilitate the movement of terrorist money. After 9/11, the United States moved very aggressively to address terrorist financing to the extent that there are now fifty departments in the US Government that have some focus on some aspect of terrorist financing. As a result of that, I think that terrorist organisations have been forced to resort to the movement of bulk-cash or gold, drugs, commodities and so forth. We’ve made it difficult- not impossible- for terrorists to use the legitimate financial system. The European Community has criticised Americans as having been heavy-handed but if I was a US Government official after 2001, I would have been heavy-handed also.

A recent edict from Saudi Arabian clerics published in the Washington Post a few years back recommended that if governments wished to deal with international terrorism, they curtail the generation and cross-border transmission of illicit capital. Let us not forget that the recent failed attempt to detonate a bomb in the middle of a crowded locality of Manhattan was financed through a “hawala” transaction. This is a transaction that occurs outside the normal banking and remittance system using a huge international network of money brokers located in the Middle East, North Africa, Horn of Africa and South Asia.

Read the whole interview here.

Written by Sam McWilliams

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