Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The falling cost of havoc - some numbers

I've long claimed that what we need to worry about is not al Qaeda in particular, but rather the falling cost of havoc. The Christian Science Monitor gives us some real world numbers, in an article explaining the limits of tracking financing:
Why terror financing is so tough to track down |

This, experts say, is partly a result of the vigorous multinational effort since 9/11 to break up the Al Qaeda network and stanch the cash flows that sustained terror attacks. But it's also due to the reduced cost of mounting terror attacks, they say.

Estimates suggest that the 9/11 attacks may have cost as much as $500,000 to stage. By contrast, the Madrid bombings of 2004 are believed to have cost no more than $15,000, and last year's London attacks perhaps $2,000.Four bombs, four rucksacks, some train tickets, a little gasoline, and a few phone calls.

"Terrorist financing is very different today," says Loretta Napoleoni, author of "Modern Jihad: Tracing the Dollars Behind the Terror Networks." "Five years ago, we had large movement of funds which went through the international financial system.

"Now we are just talking about four friends who raise £1,000 to stage an attack," she adds. "The unit cost of terrorist financing has crashed to the floor. They [terrorists] don't need another 9/11. They can do a small thing and create the same hysteria."

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