Sunday, December 23, 2007

Could buying that knock-off item fund the next terrorist attack?

While this story is from a British perspective, it reveals how the trade in counterfeit (knock-off) merchandise is funding some pretty nasty characters beyond the borders of the British Isles.

Richard Elias recently revealed in Scotland on Sunday:

The sale of fake CDs, DVDs, clothing and perfumes in Glasgow and other British cities is helping to raise money for one of the world's most-notorious terror outfits – the group held responsible for the slaughter of US journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002.

MI5 is now targeting British-based supporters of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), a pro-Kashmiri group dedicated to gaining the disputed territory its independence. Its aims include the "destruction" of the United States and India.

This isn't the first time the words terrorist organization and counterfeit merchandise have been used in the same sentence. And in reality, the problem goes far beyond the borders of the United Kingdom.

A good video about the counterfeit problem by KRQE in New Mexico is posted on YouTube, which can be seen, here.

The video references a report by the IACC (Internation Anticounterfeiting Coalition). The IAAC stated in a white paper that:

Low risk of prosecution and enormous profit potential have made criminal counterfeiting an attractive enterprise for organized crime groups. Congress recognized organize crime’s increasing role in the theft of intellectual property when it made trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy predicate acts under the federal RICO statute (see 18 U.S.C. § 1961). Recently, ties have been established between counterfeiting and terrorist organizations who use the sale of fake goods to raise and launder money.

Counterfeiting is becoming a worldwide problem that poses a threat to the economy and public safety. Unfortunately, a lot of people view it as a victimless crime and continue to support it by purchasing knock-off merchandise.

If you take the time to read the IAAC White Paper, it also reveals that a lot of countries that we do business with in the global economy are some of the biggest culprits.

And the biggest offender seems to be China!

This should be no surprise considering the amount of unsafe product being found at your local store coming from that country.

While there are obviously more players in all of this than terrorist organizations, supporting any of them with our business isn't in the public's best interests.

IAAC White Paper, here.

Scotland on Sunday story, here.

1 comment:

michael said...

Ed;

I have got some problems with this type of reporting.

Virtually every bad thing is now linked to "terrorism".

I agree that fake goods are a big problem; but do I believe that there is good evidence that terrorist groups are engaging in this type of commercial fraud?

Well maybe, but the article was pretty short on real evidence.