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Fighting Terrorists Through Their Wallets

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November 17, 2017

A new book, Harpoon: Inside the Covert War Against Terrorism’s Money Masters by Israeli lawyer Nitsana Darshan-Leitner and Samuel Katz, makes for a fascinating read.

This fascinating story describes work done since Sept. 11, 2001 by a range of Israeli security organizations and private lawyers to “destroy terrorists’ money networks.”

The book tells the tale of the legendary Mossad commander Meir Dagan as he creates an intelligence task force, code-named Harpoon, to launch financial warfare against the terrorist organizations that target Israel and the west. Harpoon utilizes soldiers, spies, accountants, diplomats, hackers, assassins, and even lawyers to try and choke off the funding that is the oxygen of the Mideast extremist groups. Dagan gave his task force agents a broad directive —”Follow the money, target the money and kill the money.”

Darshan-Leitner worked with Israeli intelligence units to financially battle the terror groups in courtrooms around the world.

In reading this book, one learns:

  • The true cost of a suicide bomber is much more than the vest, explosives, and nails carried by the terrorist. Monies must be paid to those who train them, who drive them to the location of the bombing, who buy the nails, the safe houses in which they live prior to the bombing, and to the recruiters who find the people willing to be bombers — and more. Each of these people has families, clothing, meidcal bills, and more. This mission found where the funding comes from and did everything to stop the flow of monies.
  • Israel eastablished global operations to stop the flow of terrorist organizations dealing drugs which funded worldwide terrorism, and as the book implies, set up multiple Ponzi schemes to rip off the wealthiest terrorists in the world, including Hezbollah and Yasser Arafat, both of whom were stripped of hundreds of millions of dollars using covert operations, under the guise of anything is acceptable when it comes to stopping terrorism. In one particularly riveting narrative, the book details the story of an Arab financier’ Salah Ezzedine who became known as the “Lebanese Bernie Madoff” in an operation which was conducted by Israel’s security services to strip Hezbollah and their leaders of up to 1 billion dollars.
  • Ever wonder why you are asked the purpose of your wire transfers? The answer comes in “Harpoon.” Simply, global financial institutions have tired of transfer money because the risk of expensive litigation outweighs the risks of touching terrorist money. This book details the fascinating relationships and litigation work done by Shurat Hadin, led by co-author Nitsana Darshan-Leitner. Their efforts which have achieved over $2 billion in judgments on behalf of terrorism victims. Those who touch terror must be bankrupted and challenged the world over. It’s hard to get Hamas to write a check — less hard from the banks in which they keep money.

This fascinating book about the intelligence and legal war against terror is a must-read.

As we learn in the end of the book, similar efforts are now utilized by the U.S. to counter ISIS and other enemies of the West. This unconventional warfare — “lawfare” — is part and parcel of today’s weapons in fighting terror.

Tamir Pardo, Mossad’s former director said that this book is, “The riveting and untold story of the intelligence task force that launched a dynamic new front in the war on terror. A thrill ride with one of the most important Israeli start-ups of them all.”

He’s right. While more than 20 percent of the book was censored by Israeli security services, its nevertheless an eye-opener and must read to better understand the ongoing fight against terror.