David’s #5: Secret Weapon: How Economic Terrorism Brought Down the U.S. Stock Market and Why It Can Happen Again By Kevin Freeman

Secret-Weapon-9781596987944Terrorist strategies are changing and evolving and attacks have expanded to include the United States Economy.

Economic warfare has been used repeatedly to wreak havoc, with great success.  Kevin Freeman makes a convincing argument that this is the case in the United States and was the cause of the market crash in 2008.  Economic terrorism is a threat that few would expect.  Personally, it was something that I had not really thought about before reading this book.

The author beings with a teaser discussing 9/11 and how terrorists with prior knowledge stood to benefit financially from the events.  He then gives a broad overview of the historical prevalence of economic warfare throughout the ages.  He briefly discusses how he was introduced to this unique subject which he, like many of us, had previously been oblivious.

Finally he dives into the meat of the book which mainly consists of the three necessary components related to economic terrorism; motive, means and opportunity and how our enemies possess all three.
The motive is fairly simple, Islamists despise everything that the west stands for and are hell bent on waging jihad against us.  This includes financial jihad.  Additionally, non-Islamic states also desire to weaken the US economy to their benefit.  Overall, “Many entities have a vested interest in the collapse of America’s economic infrastructure.”

When discussing the means he introduces such tactics as oil manipulation, bear raids, currency and debt manipulation, naked short selling, credit default swaps, sovereign wealth funds, and others.  If those terms are confusing or mean nothing to you at the moment, you are not alone.  Freeman does a fairly decent job of explaining each one in layman’s terms but you might need to visit the google machine to get a little bit better explanation.  This tended to be a recurring theme in the book.

The opportunity aspect involve how the US put itself in a vulnerable position for outside manipulation.  Some of the ways include excessive deficit spending, bad management practices as the rule, not the exception, regulatory organizations’ failure to do their jobs, predatory trading practices, the ease of participating in untraceable trading, and a system fraught with tools, rules, and loopholes that allow manipulation and leveraging financial gains.  He makes a good case for the fact that our enemies used our own system to attempt to cripple our economy.

The author paints a clear picture of the various elements that he think were involved in the 2008 market crash, how it was a deliberate, orchestrated attack, not an accident, and how in the end it has cost the U.S. trillions of dollars.  He asks and answers the question of what happened and how did the US get to where they are today?

He wraps up by discussing what the current administration is doing to prevent such attacks and activity in the future.  In his opinion, not much.  He offers his own ideas and solutions.

Overall it is a very well written, well documented book that reveals a reality that should be acknowledged and fought against.  He gets a bit technical at times.  If you do not have any financial background it could be possible to get lost, but he does a decent job of explaining in terms that most can understand.  A bit in the weeds and technical at times but if you can get past that I would definitely recommend taking advantage of an opportunity to learn about what is likely a new subject.

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