Email this review


A detailed look at the finances of four major terrorist organizations--the PLO, IRA, Baader-Meinhof Gang, and M-19--the book's assumption is that if governments can nip terrorist finances in the bud, the problem of terrorism can be solved. Adams' contribution to the subject derives not so much from his conclusion, which sidesteps the emotional aspect of terrorism, as from his demonstration that terrorism is not dependent upon Quadaffi's patronage or funding from the Soviet Union. Indeed, he shows that the Soviets are abysmally stingy in their financial support. So where do these groups get their cash? It's dependent upon the organization, Adams states. The PLO, the wealthiest--commanding assets of some five billion dollars--gets its support basically from Arab countries. (There is actually a day each year on which wealthy sultans contribute upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars each.) The IRA--usually thought to get their funding from Irish. Americans--has developed a Mafia-style hoodlumism that derives income for a variety of protection rackets and money laundering operations. The Baader-Meinhof Gang funds its operations via the kidnapping of businessmen and other important figures, while M-19 (the Colombian terrorist group) gets its money from illegal drug sales. Adams demonstrates how the vigilance of the American government managed to seriously wound NORAID, the Irish-American organization that was active in gun-running to Northern Ireland, and he infers that this is the way to combat terrorism, rather than through Reagan-style bluster and muscle. His conclusion soft-pedals the terrorist mentality, the overriding feature of which is to never admit that the jig is up. Would lack of funds stop fanatics from doing their thing? A first in the field, though, and for that reason a useful resource.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1986
Publisher: Simon & Schuster