MI6 | Counter Terrorist Measures | Money Laundering
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Combatting Money Laundering

They say that if a snake comes into your kitchen you don't feed it, you chop its head off.  Somewhat simplistic and pandering to the Hollywood treadmill maybe?  To some extent yes, but the argument holds true.  For many years it has been considered vital to cut off financial fluidity to those individuals and organisations that feed the terrorists threats.  The subject of terrorist financing is huge and one which has been tackled by many of the finest academics, specialists and investigative organisations in the world.  It is the sheer size and weight of the topic that is the very problem itself because the time and resources required to monitor and assess the activities of terrorist financiers means that ultimately something has to give.  Refinement and efficient targeting is therefore of paramount importance and that, inevitably, means that some activities will slip through the net.  It is simply impossible to cover all areas of the network, especially when our enemies continue to develop branches of that network that are nothing more than 'noise' and fabricated to create a diversion of our time and resources.  The one saving grace is that at least in this type of battlefield the boundaries are known and we are able to focus on well known, tried and tested means of laundering funds and transferring those funds throughout the network.  For example, financial institutions are subject to increasing levels of scrutiny as part of the financial and legal framework within the UK to ensure that as many participants are aware of the significant consequences of not adhering to Anti Money Laundering procedures as possible.  In that respect we can use the public and professionals within the banking system to operate within a strict framework, and that can surely only be beneficial in assisting the fight against funding terror.  

The intricate and increasingly sophisticated means with which the criminals (not just terrorists) by pass our security measures requires constant supervision.  

Here we outline some of the more recent methods and assets used to facilitate this activity and offer some suggestions as to which route the financing road might take from here on in.

The UK has the most robust Anti Money Laundering systems right?

Well, one would think so, but some significant loopholes still exist which actually makes the UK an attractive target for channeling laundered funds and creating a 'noisy network' of elaborate distractions.  Probably at the core of the reason for this is the codependent relationship between the City and our Politicians.  If our systems are too robust we run the risk of alienating genuine foreign investment and therefore in turn we frustrate those market participants in search of growth.  The policy makers on the other hand have to cater for both groups namely the financiers and investment houses as well as the public and politicians wanting action against, what is probably the greater threat out of the two, namely terrorist money laundering.  As always they balance tentatively between the two and this, unfortunately, means loopholes will remain un-filled.  

A recent example would be the laws and regulations concerning company formations in the UK and their relationship with the offshore businesses.  To understand why this is of particular relevance, it would be useful to provide some perspective as to the scale of the problem as it exists now.

The Remora Principle
The CEO at Patrium Intelligence (one of our appointed Private Intelligence Agencies) recently coined the term "The Remora Principle" and how it describes a method of operating within Secret Intelligence globally.  The phrase to 'operate within the shadows' is often used, however the Remora Principle outlines in specific detail how effective intelligence gathering is achieved by not only staying within the shadows of a larger, more distracting element, but to move with it.  It provides key steps Intelligence Agents should take to ensure effective information gathering and reporting to officers, and focuses more on modern technological advancement.  By following the steps outlined within the Remora Principle, one is able to then tailor specific actions that are applicable to individual operations.
Q: Can we induce an event which leads to a material and significant change in a person’s ability or behaviour which would be useful to an organisation such as MI6?

Straps yourselves in for a little bit of a wild ride, so if extreme sports of the academic or indeed philosophical kind are not your thing, then please unbuckle now and leave the park. The four terms used in the title would appear at first glance to be connected, but for the purposes of this article, are not.  There is a distinct, and key difference in that they refer to a journey of sorts.  The journey of the mind and neural functionality that eventually leads to a change which has been caused by an ‘event’. Each term describes a condition.  A condition of the brain at a point in the journey. 

Where did my Taxi Driver and my money go?”

 

Whenever there is a radical and rapid development in Technology, the voices of those who fear the human effects of such developments sing loud.  Of course, debate is ultimately a healthy proposition when conducted in the correct manner i.e a respectful exchange of ideas, evidence and facts to determine the truth or at least the likelihood of why ‘something’ happens.  The problem is that as we venture further up the emotional curve and hit the raw nerve of public consciousness, a healthy debate, absent of extreme views, is less and less likely.   This is quite possibly the stage we are at now when it comes to the vast changes of technological development at exponential rates of growth.  If one then throws into the mix a subject such as Artificial Intelligence, which has been the subject of many a doomsday prophecy, especially in the fictional world, then the prediction of likely effects  becomes distorted.  There are a vast number of capillaceous issues branching out from each topic within AI and on a scale which precludes us from analysis in this article due to time.  However, there are rarely more topics as emotive as a person's job and their ability to generate income in order to survive...so will driverless cars render the taxi driver extinct and will money even be necessary in any form? Read More. 13.08.19

Dark Web

An Opportunity or Threat?

Perceived wisdom suggests the Dark Web is synonymous with illegal activities involving weapons, drugs and pedophiia.  The assumption has been that if you use it, then you have something sinister to hide.  To be fair, closure of drug giants like "Silk Road" did nothing to change those perceptions.  However, in the big brother world of surveillance, the search for privacy is demanded by the majority and will be found in some way or another.  Furthermore, in a society where people are being increasingly attracted to the fringes of life,  the shift to increasing usage of the Dark Web is a given.  That does not mean it is wrong however, and as we often witness, it is people from the 'fringes' who sometimes operate outside of social norms, who provide the greatest sources of innovation.  We firmly believe the dark web will undergo an upgrade of sorts and although usual, non-secured browser based sites will attract some attention, their days are numbered.  The really exciting proposition is to predict Dark Web 2.0, 3.0 and so on. Rather ironically, but understandably, it is the law enforcement and intelligence agencies who are spending more and more resources on hiding within the shadows of the Dark Web.  It has been the most effective way so far.  However, as it grows, it will it continue to be the safe haven of the criminal or will some form of regulation (such as was with the legalisation of drugs etc), prevent the extreme offenders?  Take the example of Silk Road. It is not only possible, it is probable.  Whether you are in favour of legalisation generally or not,  in many cases it is a safer option.  Many of the sites that offered Marijuana were ran as slick commercial organisations where consumer satisfaction was paramount.  The product was therefore of superior quality (apparently) and it was offered within the relative safety of the internet and not some dark street corner.  Maybe that one is for the liberals out there.  For our purposes however, it shows that the deep dark web does actually have a USP which can be monetized, namely privacy.  Looking further head therefore, the real drug that will sell well in our 'Orwellian' future, is anonymity.  That will undoubtedly be the most precious of commodities.

 

As it stands now however, people and the societies they live in tend to display tendencies to self-regulate and yes, whilst there is always potential for abuse, the masses will (or should) drive the market to some degree of parity.  There are certainly huge opportunities around the corner.  A secured 'blockchain'esque' physical depository for parcel delivery is bound to happen on a large scale and accompany the growth of the Dark Web.  That is because the only chink in its armour at the moment is complete anonymity with delivery of items. Imagine a secure facility where parcels (aka Data) entering from one side, is subjected to 'scrambling' (aka 'Encryption') and leave the other side to be collected by a seemingly unconnected party (aka 'You').  Now multiply that across every City in the UK.  You then have what one can REALLY call an encrypted, secure, supply chain that would be undetectable to all agencies and, most importantly, legal  Read More.

Innovation, technology and the military are inextricably linked, and throughout history whenever there is a technological breakthrough, one of the first beneficiaries is invariably the military.  Whether it is recent developments such as GPS, or much later, Galileo selling telescopes to Italian monasteries to see enemy ships approaching, the human desire to conquer or defend is paramount. With the 'genie' firmly out of the bottle, Artifical Intelligence will become a 'game changer' in the Military world as for many, the upsides are simply too strong to worry about potentially disastrous consequences.  Here we take a look at the detail and the precise areas of growth just around the corner.Read More

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