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Speculative Security

The Politics of Pursuing Terrorist Monies

Marieke de Goede

Publication Year: 2012

Since the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001, finance and security have become joined in new ways to produce particular targets of state surveillance. In Speculative Security, Marieke de Goede describes how previously unscrutinized practices such as donations and remittances, especially across national borders, have been affected by security measures that include datamining, asset freezing, and transnational regulation. These “precrime” measures focus on transactions that are perfectly legal but are thought to hold a specific potential to support terrorism. The pursuit of suspect monies is not simply an issue of financial regulation, she shows, but a broad political, social, and even cultural phenomenon with profound effects on everyday life.

Speculative Security offers a range of examples that illustrate the types of security interventions employed today, including the extralegal targeting and breaking up of the al-Barakaat financial network that was accompanied by raids in the United States, asset freezes in Sweden, and the incarceration of a money remitter at Guantánamo Bay. De Goede develops the paradigm of “speculative security” as a way to understand the new fusing of finance and security, denoting the speculative nature of both the means and the ends of the war on terrorist financing.

Ultimately, de Goede reveals how the idea of creating “security” appeals to multiple imaginable—and unimaginable—futures in order to enable action in the present.

Published by: University of Minnesota Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. xi-xii

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pp. xiii-xiv

This book has traveled a long way since its first insecure steps in Newcastle in the wake of 9/11, when the pursuit of terrorist monies first became a broad public and political concern. I became fascinated with the emergence of new suspect financial spaces in the context of what would be called “the war on terror.” ...

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Introduction: The Politics of Terrorism Financing

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pp. xv-xxxii

In November 2008, a Texas Court declared a guilty verdict in the case of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) and five of its leaders for providing material support to Hamas in what has been called “the government’s flagship terrorism-financing case.”1 ...

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1. Mediating Terrorist Money

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pp. 1-26

In the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale, the “bad guy,” Albanian mathematical genius and gambling addict Le Chiffre, is a terrorist financier. Described as “a private banker to the world’s terrorists” by fictional MI6 director M (played by Judi Dench), Le Chiffre embodies pure evil not because he seeks world domination, ...

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2. The Finance–Security Assemblage

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pp. 27-56

In October 2006, then-UK Chancellor Gordon Brown (later to become prime minister) outlined his vision for the fight against terrorism in a speech to Britain’s leading international affairs think tank, Chatham House. Perhaps motivated by the need to distinguish this vision from the violent and increasingly unpopular military intervention in Iraq, ...

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3. Following the Money: Risk, Preemption, and the Mobile Norm

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pp. 57-94

As we saw in chapter 2, in the wake of 9/11 financial data became imbued with a special significance. Through the idea that money trails do not lie, financial analysis came to hold the promise of unmediated and direct access to the mapping of terrorist networks. ...

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4. Cash and the Circuits of Transnational Kinship

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pp. 95-124

Chapter 3 examined the processes of financial datamining taking place within the financial industry to select and target suspicious transactions among millions of records daily. We saw that such targeting takes place on the basis of mobile criteria related to account histories, professional profiles, lifestyle details, and geographical associations. ...

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5. Zakat and the Securitization of Charitable Donation

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pp. 125-154

This book started with a brief examination of the trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), the biggest Muslim faith-based charity in the United States, which was listed and destroyed in the wake of 9/11 and whose directors were convicted of material support for Hamas and sentenced to substantial prison terms in 2008. ...

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6. Money and Modern Exile

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pp. 155-186

In December 2006, members of the alleged Dutch terrorist group the Hofstadgroep were put on the European Union’s terrorism sanction list (or EU blacklist). The Hofstadgroep is the name given by the Dutch secret services to a group of individuals—mostly young Muslim men who are second-generation migrants but also a few women ...

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Conclusion: Premediation and Contestation

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pp. 187-216

This book has shown that the post-9/11 pursuit of terrorist monies has fostered a finance–security assemblage that governs through preemption and anticipation. Contrary to expectation, the objective of counterterrorism financing is not to cut off money flows to (potential) terrorists. ...


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pp. 217-266


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pp. 267-274

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About the Author

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p. 308-308

Marieke de Goede is professor of politics at the University of Amsterdam. She is the author of Virtue, Fortune, and Faith: A Genealogy of Finance (Minnesota, 2005) and coeditor, with Louise Amoore, of Risk and the War on Terror.

E-ISBN-13: 9780816680337
E-ISBN-10: 0816680337
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816675906

Page Count: 328
Publication Year: 2012