Interesting Facts I Came Across

I’ve been researching my proposal for my second novel. I spend a lot of time reading books and I often uncover lots of interesting facts. One of these books is: ILLICIT: How Smugglers, Traffickers, and Copycats Are Hijacking the Global Economy by Moises Naim (published 2005). I give it three stars because it’s dated. That is actually frightening since it means the statistics have probably gotten worse.

In its 2004 annual report to the US Congress, the CIA announced that it had identified fifty regions around the world over which central governments exert little or no control and where terrorists, smugglers, and transnational criminals find a welcoming environment.

The Pacific State of Nauru, population 12,000, is home to 40,000 registered corporations including an estimated 400 shell banks that in practice just consist of a small office and a brass plate on the door.

…one might find Tuvalu, another microstate in the Pacific, which leased its Internet suffix — the tantalizing (dot) .tv — to a broker and earns a small fee every time an address is registered. Tuvalu also leased its international telephone prefix, 668, to a phone sex operator.

Most US owned commercial vessels are registered under a “flag of convenience,” usually that of Liberia.

In fact, Liberia’s shipping registry is run by a company in suburban Washington, DC, sparing registrants the need to visit Monrovia. (The capital of Liberia named for American President James Monroe.)

During the American Civil War (1861-1865), Confederate commerce raiders such as the CSS Alabama destroyed so many Union merchant ships that many Northern ship owners began to register their ships in the African nation of Liberia. This small country was established in 1821-1822 by freed American slaves under the auspices of the American Colonization Society, a Quaker abolitionist group. Although the experiment of settling freed slaves in Liberia is long forgotten, the American connection with Liberia continues through the registration of American ships with that country. As a “flag of convenience” far more American owned merchant vessels fly the Liberian flag than fly the US flag.

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/

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