Archive for the ‘Charts & tables’ Category

h1

Flash crash and the Obama hoax

May 14, 2013

When a fake news bulletin was distributed after the Associated Press’s Twitter feed was hacked on April 23, the stock market instantly dropped a full 1 percent. 

On his Global Economic Warfare website, Kevin Freeman tackles the implications of the fake tweet on the market, and how market manipulation can be used as a financial warfare tactic.  Read his important posts here and here.  An excerpt follows:

A Single, Man-Made Stock Market Crash is a New-Concept Weapon

Bogus tweet claims president hurt

When the two PLA Colonels wrote Unrestricted Warfare in 1999, they listed “a single man-made stock market crash” as one of three specific new-concept weapons for the 21st Century. They called it financial warfare.

We have been warning about market manipulation for several years, first in our report for the Department of Defense and then in the New York Times Best-Seller, Secret Weapon. Yet, most in the intelligence and defense community know little about the financial markets. And, those who understand the markets generally know little about defense. Unfortunately, our enemies have studied both.

This week, we saw a hacked Twitter account used as a weapon resulting in a mini flash crash for stocks. Even as the market recovered in minutes, estimates are that there was something like $150 or $200 billion lost even if only briefly. We mentioned this in an earlier post.

While any human could clearly see that the White House was not bombed as the hacked tweets claimed, computer algorithms that monitor social media sites could not tell the difference. As a result, massive sell programs began and other high-frequency algorithms picked up on it.

The Syrian Electronic Army claims that they were the source of the false tweet…

Mr. Freeman also included this graphic which showed the plunge in trading.  The person or entity responsible for the planned Twitter forgery could have anticipated the miniature flash crash and hedged against it in order to profit from the hack:

Market nose dive from Twitter hoax

h1

Terror budgets illustrated

April 29, 2013

The Taliban, Hezbollah, FARC, al-Shabaab, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and Hamas are the best funded terrorist groups worldwide.  Published estimates of their budgets vary by source.  The dots in the graph below reflect the highest and lowest estimates reflected in millions of U.S. dollars for each group:

Low-high chart displaying estimated annual revenues of jihadist groups and the FARC

This chart is an update to Money Jihad’s earlier post here.  The only significant change is the inclusion of Lashkar-e-Taiba, for which revenue estimates now range from $5 million to $100 million annually.  Al-Shabaab has faced revenue setbacks in the past year, but revised figures are not yet available.

h1

Rivers of fake money flow into India

April 19, 2013

A flood of counterfeit notes from Dubai, Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir, Nepal, Bangladesh, and to some extent from Sri Lanka have left Indians swimming in a pool of devalued rupees.

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/02/12/article-2277688-178A6F62000005DC-489_634x445.jpg

The fake Indian currency note crisis is benefiting terrorist organizations such as Hizbul Mujahideen and Dawood Ibrahim’s D-Gang with backing from the Pakistani ISI spy service.  Profits from counterfeiting help militants buy weapons.

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/made-in-pakistan-fake-money-floods-india/1/123103.html

There seems to be a new story from Indian media every two weeks or so documenting the surging problem.  Here’s the latest from the Times of India, which illustrates both the J&K and Bangladeshi points of ingress for bogus bills, and the jihadist beneficiaries:

NIA files charges against 3 for raising terror funds for Hizbul Mujahideen

TNN Apr 12, 2013

NEW DELHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has filed charge sheet against three more persons, including a Bangladeshi national, for allegedly raising terror fund for the banned outfit Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) through circulation of fake Indian currency notes (FICN) in Jammu & Kashmir.

The charge sheet against the three accused Badal Sheikh and Fayaz Ahmed (both Indians) and Shafiq-ul (Bangladeshi) was filed in the NIA Special Court in Jammu under various sections of the Ranbir Penal Code and the central anti-terror Act on Wednesday.

The Court subsequently issued a non-bailable warrant against absconding Shafiq-ul who was key point person of the Indian accused for supplying FICN through a trans-border cattle smuggler – Badal Sheikh — of West Bengal’s Malda district.

Earlier, the probe agency had filed charge sheet against five persons in the case, alleging that the accused used to procure and supply high quality FICN from Bangladesh and smuggle it into Jammu & Kashmir for raising funds for the terror group.

The five who were charge sheeted earlier include two HM members – Mubarak Ahmed Bhat and Shafaqat Mohiudding Kuchey – and Badal Sheikh.

The NIA in its charge sheet claimed that HM operatives had first contacted Badal who, in turn, approached the Bangladeshi national for procurement of FICN.

“Fayaz Ahmed Rather – a notorious FICN smuggler – started getting high quality fake Indian currency notes from Malda and circulate it in Jammu & Kashmir,” said the NIA.

It’s interesting to note the cattle rustling connection in this story.  The black market in cows, which are revered and illegal to export from India, is a growing area for illicit trade along the border of India and Bangladesh.

h1

Freedom from Arab oil boosted by record production in North Dakota

March 29, 2013

770,000 barrels per day closer to independence

Texas, federal waters, and North Dakota constitute the holy trinity of the U.S. energy production, and North Dakota contributes an increasingly larger portion of the total.

Bakken output puts us the U.S. closer toward energy self-sufficiency, which, over time, will mean less power for OPEC, fewer petrodollars going to state sponsors of terrorism, a decreased risk of supply interruptions, and less pressure for America to become involved in the squabbles of the Middle East.

This encouraging data comes to us from PennEnergy on Mar. 18 (hat tip to Steve Maley):

http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2013/03/north-dakota-oil-production-reaches-new-high-in-2012.html?cmpid=EnlDailyPetroMarch192013

North Dakota oil production reaches new high in 2012

North Dakota crude oil production (including lease condensate) averaged an all-time high of 770,000 barrels per day in December 2012. Total annual production more than doubled between 2010 and 2012 through the use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing of deposits in the Bakken Formation in the Williston Basin. North Dakota production in 2012 trailed only Texas and the U.S. Federal Offshore region, and the state accounted for 10% of total U.S. crude oil production.

Much of crude oil production in North Dakota is gathered and transported by truck to railcars leaving the state. In the four counties where production is concentrated, about 75% of production is transported by truck, and this can cause supply chain problems at times. Severe weather can impede truck travel, which may lower oil production in the state. Once on-site storage tanks at production sites are full, production stops until the trucks can move again. For example, in November 2012 North Dakota crude oil production fell slightly from the October level to 735,000 bbl/d because of weather-induced transportation problems caused by an unusually heavy snowstorm. Pipeline networks, which can be more efficient and less subject to storm disruptions than trucking, are currently being expanded.

Weather slowing or halting truck transportation can also affect the completion of wells that are not yet producing. According to the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), almost all (95%) wells drilled in North Dakota use hydraulic fracturing to produce the crude oil embedded in shale rock and tight (low permeability) formations. To start production, each well needs hundreds of truckloads of material (900-2,000, including 800 truckloads of water, according to the DMR) on-site that are delivered by tank trucks to storage tanks, unless a sufficient quantity of water is available at the wellsite. The total amount of water needed for hydraulic fracturing must be at the wellsite before hydraulic fracturing can begin.

Because over 80% of North Dakota’s wells are located in only four counties—Dunn, McKenzie, Montrail, and William—in the northwest area of the state, harsh weather in these areas can reduce the state’s total crude oil production, as happened in November 2012 and again in January 2013.

It’s also worth noting that pipeline expansion would help even further—a point lost on extreme environmentalists and Democrats.

h1

Canada’s taxpayers unwittingly fund Hamas

February 17, 2013

IRFAN, the Islamic charity whose tax-exempt status was revoked by the Canada Revenue Agency over suspicions that it finances Hamas, has received funding from a slew of smaller Islamic groups—some of which include Edmonton-area mosques and nonprofits that have been beneficiaries of grant money from the provincial government of Alberta.  This is the conclusion reached by Point de Bascule after detailed research.

A tip of the hat to Gisele for sending in the link.

Point de Bascule has many diagrams depicting the relationships among the Canadian mosques, charities, and front groups involved.  Here is just one of the diagrams, which shows how the Millwoods Mosque, an Alberta grant recipient, donated zakat in the last decade to middlemen that funded IRFAN.

http://pointdebasculecanada.ca/articles/10002905-alberta-gave-$250,000-to-islamists-who-financed-hamas%E2%80%99-fund-collector-and-invites-promoters-of-sharia-in-edmonton.html

Read the full PdB piece here.

h1

Recommended reading from the Economic Warfare Institute

February 10, 2013
http://www.unodc.org/unodc/secured/wdr/Graphs_Cocaine_globa_seizures_all.pdf

Chart from UNODC’s World Drug Report 2012

Terror finance expert Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld and Ken Jensen have written a new piece on the Economic Warfare Institute Blog entitled “Trafficking Cocaine in the Name of Allah.”

Ehrenfeld & Jensen report that terrorists in Mali and Algeria use the drug trade to finance their activities, noting that, “While Islam forbids the use of drugs by Muslims, there are no such limitations in selling it to the infidels.”

The article also accounts for several other funding sources of the Mali rebels, which, as Money Jihad has indicated, include Saudi Arabia and QatarIt’s all well worth the read; check it out here.

h1

Terror financing reliant on hawala, NPOs

February 4, 2013

The use of unlicensed money services businesses leads a new list published in the Journal of Money Laundering Control about the financing of terrorist operations.  The use of hawala for terrorism is followed by the use of nonprofit organizations (NPOs) such as charities, and the use of front companies comes in third place.  Their figures are in Australian dollars:

http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl=en&sa=N&tbo=d&biw=1366&bih=572&tbm=isch&tbnid=_s_XH8uOV1y0AM:&imgrefurl=http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm%3Farticleid%3D17004748%26show%3Dhtml&docid=k5I0iwaRSW_p5M&imgurl=http://www.emeraldinsight.com/content_images/fig/3100150105019.png&w=921&h=452&ei=h3UIUY7qLcHq2AWJ_4CQDg&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:9,s:0,i:111&iact=rc&dur=1270&sig=109810502792531716370&page=1&tbnh=157&tbnw=321&start=0&ndsp=11&tx=68&ty=74

Researchers Angela Samantha Maitland Irwin, Kim-Kwang Raymond Choo, and Lin Liu also find that terrorists are unlikely to use classic money laundering techniques such as placement, layering, or integration (which is consistent with prior Money Jihad analysis).  Their paper, “An Analysis of Money Laundering and Terrorism Tinancing Typologies” is based on an examination of 184 typologies published by financial compliance bodies.

This is very valuable research, and the authors have done very well to quantify the categories of terror financing.  It is somewhat unfortunate that data is not yet available from the various financial bodies on trafficking, insurance fraud, and the other types of financing mentioned in the chart.

Previously, Money Jihad has endorsed a 1 percent tax on hawala remittances to 1) provide for better tracking of hawala by putting hawala dealers under the jurisdiction of tax authorities rather than financial regulators who are focused on larger banks, and 2) to recoup some of the regulatory costs associated with monitoring hawala transactions.

h1

American security enhanced as OPEC weakens

January 28, 2013

Thanks to increasing U.S. and Canadian energy production, OPEC no longer induces the wild reaction among traders that it once did.  This according to investor Travis Hoium writing for The Motley Fool (with stock quotes omitted) last month:

Is OPEC Still Relevant in Oil Market?

The energy market used to hang on every word from OPEC. A reduction or increase in production could send prices rising or falling in an instant. But, earlier this week, the oil-producing group announced that it would maintain production where it is, and almost no one cared. There weren’t headlines on the evening news or endless analysis on cable television. It was a story that was over almost before it happened.

This begs the question: Is OPEC still relevant in the oil market?

It’s not what it used to be
To say that OPEC doesn’t matter would be silly. In fact, OPEC’s production has grown faster than world production over the past 20 years.

You could make the argument that OPEC’s influence globally has grown and, considering the rise in prices over the past 20 years, the economic influence of OPEC has arguably grown.

The difference in the past few years is who is buying OPEC’s oil and where these trends are headed. The chart below shows that while OPEC oil production has grown slightly over the past five years, the amount of oil produced in the U.S. and Canada has exploded.

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2012/12/14/is-opec-an-afterthought-2-article-ideas.aspx

This chart may explain why traders don’t react wildly to OPEC’s statements anymore. It isn’t the U.S., Canada, or even Europe who is heavily dependent on OPEC for oil these days. China is a growing customer of OPEC’s oil; roiling the one customer that is growing isn’t something OPEC is likely to do any time soon.

Impact on stocks
The impact of OPEC’s waning importance in North America can be felt on the stock market as well, particularly by shipping stocks like Frontline, Teekay, and Nordic American Tankers. These oil shippers are being affected by a dramatically reduced need for foreign oil in the U.S. and Europe, and they are all bouncing near 52-week lows.

Right now there’s no end in sight to the pressure on these stocks. With oil production up in non-OPEC countries the need for long-haul shippers is in a steep decline.

The trend will continue
The general trend of increased oil production in North America, and waning influence of OPEC here, is likely to continue. Companies like Continental Resources, Whiting Petroleum, and Kodiak Oil & Gas are still expanding production in the Bakken Shale play in North Dakota and Montana, the Saudi Arabia of North America.

As long as oil prices don’t drop dramatically, the expansion of oil drilling and oil sands production will continue. OPEC will have less influence on oil traded in the U.S. and oil prices felt here at home.

Not forgotten, but in a pickle
With OPEC’s place in context, I would say that OPEC isn’t the power it once was… but it could be. If OPEC decided to drastically increase or decrease supply it could again have a major impact on global oil prices. But that’s becoming less and less likely because of economic reasons within OPEC itself.

OPEC countries are reliant on the revenue that oil exports generate — disrupting supply right now could be problematic. Increasing supply could lower prices and put pressure on shale producers, but budget pressures on many of these member countries requires that they maintain a steady profit from oil. It’s not easy to double supply, but the price of oil easily could be cut in half if another 10 million barrels per day hit the market, for example…

Strong analysis.  On the other hand, OPEC will continue finding buyers in Asia and retain its position as a global power.  And rapid growth in Iraqi oil production could shift the dynamics in OPEC’s favor too.

But the best things about the possibly diminishing power of OPEC are a lesser likelihood of price shocks, less dependence on a volatile part of the world, and less money to fund terrorism.

h1

Funding of terrorist groups compared

January 21, 2013

In a paper describing misconceptions about terrorist financing, W. A. Tupman of the University of Exeter includes a helpful typology of a variety of terrorist groups and how they are generally funded.

How different types of terrorist groups rely on different sources of revenue for their financing

Tupman says that Islamic terrorists are often funded by charities and individuals, which is true.  But naturally, this typology is very broad with overlap and exceptions that can’t be squeezed into a single chart.  For example, Money Jihad and other sources have pointed out that Iranian-backed terrorists obviously depend on state sponsorship.  South Asian and Indonesian jihadists have increasingly used bank robberies to finance their activities.  Islamic militants also use sharia bank donations to fund operations.

But the one critical adjustment that should be made to this table since Mr. Tupman originally developed it years ago is the addition of the “revolutionary tax” concept, which he associates primarily with urban guerrillas, as a key funding source of Islamic fundamentalists as well.

Islamic terrorist groups with actual mujahideen fighters on the ground (as opposed to sleeker Muhammad Atta-style sleeper cells), sustain themselves by taxing the populations under their control.  Consider the Taliban’s ushr tax on Afghan agricultural (not just poppy) harvests, and al-Shabaab’s 2½ percent zakat tax on the Somali charcoal trade.  These are major revenue sources upon which these wealthy jihadist groups rely for two reasons:  1) such fundraising methods are consistent with Islamic tax law and the practices of Muhammad or the historical Caliphate, and 2) taxation ensures a steady, local, and accessible revenue stream independent of donations from wealthy Gulf Arabs and independent from the international banking system.

This nuance is important to understand because different terror funding methods require different counter-terror responses.  Penetrating a sleeper cell structure of Al Qaeda or the Red Brigades is different from crippling a rebel movement.  Contemporary anti-money laundering regulations designed to detect specific illicit financial transfers may be helpful in limiting expatriate donations to nefarious causes, but such methods are nearly useless in fighting the imposition of zakat, ushr, and jizya on populations overseas.  That’s part of the reason that we’ve seen virtually zero Taliban assets frozen in the 11 years since the initial push of coalition forces into Afghanistan.

How can we bankrupt and defeat the financing methods of groups we fail to understand?

h1

Terror deaths and Pakistan aid correlated

January 2, 2013

The number of civilian fatalities from terrorist attacks in Pakistan is rising on a similar trend line with U.S. foreign aid to Pakistan over the past 10 years.

The foreign aid isn’t working. It actually appears to be backfiring. More aid = more terror.

Although American financial aid to Pakistan has begun declining, there is no appetite in Washington, D.C., to stop spending taxpayer dollars to fund the de facto terrorist state of Pakistan.  Sen. Rand Paul was right to push for at least making aid to Pakistan conditional.  Although Sen. Paul’s latest effort was defeated, these findings should give some reason for reconsideration:

Data from 2003 to 2012 show a general increase in American foreign aid to Pakistan measured in tens of millions of U.S. dollars and an increase in the number of civilian fatalities from terrorist attacks measured in tens.

Sources: Congressional Research Service and SATP.org, graph by MoneyJihad

The possible correlation resembles the relationship between aid to the Palestinian territories and the number of Palestinian terrorist attacks.

Data for this graph were compiled from CRS and SATP reports.

h1

Energy output falling on federal lands

October 26, 2012

One of the best developments of the last couple years has been increased energy production in the U.S.  No thanks to government policy, crude oil and natural gas production have grown on private land.  Meanwhile, oil and natural gas production on federally owned land have fallen during the Obama administration.

From Energy Tomorrow blog on Oct. 19:

…First, graphing U.S. crude oil production from federal and non-federal areas:

Oil output in America:  public vs. private

As you can see, U.S. crude production has increased steadily since 2008 (blue top line). Remember, the oil production timeline is a long one. Offshore and onshore projects can take up to a decade to develop, from leasing to actual production. Broken out by area, crude production on non-federal lands (69.7 percent of total production) has risen dramatically since 2010 (red line). Since 2010 crude production from areas controlled by the federal government has fallen (green line).

Here’s a look a natural gas production, federal and non-federal:

American nat gas output:  private vs. public

Overall domestic natural gas production (blue line) has climbed sharply – owing to advances in shale development through hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. Look at the red line. Production from non-federal areas parallels the top line, indicating overall growth is being driven by production from areas not controlled by Washington. Indeed, natural gas from federally controlled areas started declining in 2009.

These charts suggest something important: Imagine what could happen with U.S. oil and natural gas production with increased access to public resources, with increased drilling. With the right policies in place the production line for federal areas could mirror that of the non-federal.

Actually, we don’t have to imagine too much. According to Wood Mackenzie’s analysis, we could see more domestic energy produced, more jobs and more revenues to government. In less than 15 years we could see 100 percent of our liquid fuel needs met through domestic oil and gas production, increases in biofuels and crude from friend and neighbor Canada. And we could see all of the plot lines on both these charts heading up, reflecting a more secure U.S. energy future.

As good as the increased growth overall has been to help wean America off Saudi sharia oil, think of how much farther we could be with energy independence if we had leaders willing to use the oil and natural gas sitting underneath land owned by the taxpayers.  We as taxpayers own the land, but we’re not getting a good return on our investment.