The Institute for Science and International Security has published a free pdf e-book, containing a number of illustrative case studies, which explains strategic commodity trafficking, or illicit procurement, to assist in understanding what this activity is, who is involved, and how it occurs. It explains the most basic activities of illicit trade and general structures of illicit networks. It also discusses the international framework of and recent developments in proliferation financing. It then goes on to explain how goods are shipped, having been illicitly acquired. One section concentrates on the findings from a once-prominent transnational illicit network centred in China, the Cheng/Jamili network, which outfitted Iran’s nuclear, missile, military, and other sensitive programmes. It is said that the case studies used are focused on the ordering, financing, and shipping processes, and showcase key illicit procurement methods in action. Many of the case studies identify ways in which states and their associates seek and successfully obtain sensitive commodities. Other ones show when counter-proliferation methods have worked to thwart those efforts. These cases highlight ways in which countries can improve their detection and prevention of illicit procurement. To conclude, the report draws together illicit procurement methods and tactics and their warning signs as potential “red flags” indicating the existence of illicit trading. The report also recommends a range of policy steps that the US and other countries can take to more effectively detect and prevent illicit procurement today and in the future.
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