Organized crime is a topic that has been on the minds of several security agencies globally. It has formed the primary focus of most of the world’s sophisticated security agencies. Transnational organized crime can be traced to several years back when the world could boast some sovereign states as alluded to by Calcagni (2010). It can be traced back to the early 1900s whereby at the time, there were already a lot of interest and publications that sought to shed light on what ‘organized crime’ was, and how it traversed national boundaries of countries. Under United Nations, there was the development of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (2000) which was meant to enhance efforts towards combating organized crime in various republics throughout the world. This called for coordination and intelligence sharing to combat organized crimes.
The term organized crime has been contentious and has been a subject of huge debates among various security agencies and analysts. Some reservations come up regarding the aspect of the ‘organization’ or the factors that influence the organization of certain crimes and who are involved in such activities, Levi and Lord (2007). Some factors come to play such that even depositing money in foreign accounts can form part of ‘organized crime.’ However, there is a critical component in all of these processes in the name of ‘corruption.’ This is because this vice will facilitate all the processes that would form part of the chain for organized crime. Corruption is the focal point as the elites and non-elites are all driven by sheer greed for money. This kind of predatory mode is what economists can allude to as ‘rent seeking’ by the elites.
In organized crime, corruptible and bribery practices allow for the smooth movement of the vices without having to bypass barriers that are set up through laws and legislations Fickenauer (2005). In spite of the fact that there has been a lot of links between corruption, bribery, and organized crime there has been very little evidence to be put into publishing, on the same. This is partly because there are very serious crimes under organized crime, which are virtually absent in the open. Other forms of organized crimes such as drug trafficking and peddling most often than not take place in the public. The publications that have however been made in regards to corruption and organized crime have mostly been off the public eye. This is because the information is sensitive in itself and may in the process, expose fragilities and weaknesses in the agencies associated with the prevention of such. It has therefore developed a contentious element which requires co-ordination.
However, through titbits of information gathered from criminologists and various security agencies across European states, it is clear that corruption plays a huge role. Publications such as those from Italy by Ruggiero (2010) suggest that corruption and organized crime are interlinked to form a solid system. This system is made up of criminals and high individuals in the society. The investigations of corruption have always pointed to either corrupt people or very wealthy businesspeople in the society. These businessmen are the ones who in links with criminal elements, influence major decisions such as those that would surpass legal barriers against elements of organized crime Ruggiero (2010). Therefore, this cocoon of corruptible individuals in the social, economic and political sectors provides an environment where these criminals can even perform other illegal activities on the side.
Many information sources have given credence to the fact that through corruption, the criminal and corruptible elements can get immunity, can influence decisions for themselves and can also eliminate competitors when there develops the need Bear (1997). The manner and levels in which these criminal elements are embedded in the social, economic and political classes determine the legitimacy of their operations. This is because, at these levels, these vices are considered the norm and are therefore not subject to questioning. The idea is that with power and financial muscle, these individuals can always carry out their activities without any worries.
As pointed out by Buscaglia and van Dijk (2003), the fact that there are ineffective and weak control mechanisms, it is virtually difficult to curb these vices that mark organize crime. These gaps are classified in the government and civil societies; these practices are therefore characterized by the effectiveness of certain important arms of governance. These divisions include the judicial systems, security systems and the political will. They also allude to the fact that corruption in the public realm is more likely to get state recognition. However, some problems develop in regards to how ‘efficient’ an institution is supposed to be and also how the state intervenes is not clear.
A clear problematic factor in linking corruption and organized crime has been determined to be a non-comprehensive approach to the subject matter. This is because for an organized crime system there are factors that must exist at play. In his analysis, Levi (2002) seeks to explain these elements and determine the tasks that are to be involved in the processes to be able to mark the same as organized crime. He outlines the need for financial muscles, obtain the necessary machinery and equipment needed, the conversion of the crime money into assets, the use of concealed individuals to store some of the crime proceeds, ensure that law enforcement is vague through corruption, bribery and influence on legal processes such that lawful processes do not see the light of day.
The Economic Cooperation and Development Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (1997) and The United Nations Convention against Bribery (2005) identify taking of bribes as a means through which corruption is propagated.
Transnational Organized Crime Systems
When organized, crime traverses national boundaries then it is claimed to have gone transnational. Bribery past the national boundaries, therefore, is characterized by the receiving of bribes by the foreign officials who are expected maybe to award certain contracts to certain companies and so on. In this, therefore, many actors are involved in soliciting of money, bribes in exchange for certain advances or benefits. The fact that there is political and socio-economic progress in various countries has been marked by an increase in the need for conventional co-ordinated approaches towards organized crime systems past national boundaries. The United States of America was one of the first countries to acknowledge that some crime systems required joint efforts and contribution from different countries.
In the process, some issues were mainly generated, Calacagni (2010). It was argued that terrorist practices in contrast to other conventional crimes, is geared towards getting political mileages and propagating certain ideologies, rather than financial rewards. Terrorism is also marked by the aspect of having a foreign element in that foreigners can perform the crimes in other countries or natives of a particular country in an overseas country. Transnational organized crime is also marked by the aspect of breaking international order and peace between countries. Therefore, the development of transnational organized crime created a platform where various security agencies and intelligence corporations would coordinate to create a solving framework. In the development of socio-economic and political factors, criminal systems became even more sophisticated as the open borders and free markets allowed for the free flow of goods and also services. In some way, globalization served the interests of the criminal systems in some ways.
With globalization and a free market, this issue was bound to develop as countries were unable or unwilling to make the necessary legislations that were required to ensure that there was proper enforcement of laws and regulations within and even past the borders. Transnational organized crimes were therefore facilitated through the criminals taking advantage of open borders and the inadequacy of national legislations to monitor immigrants in and out of countries. In the United States of America, the laws and policies that were passed on in the 1970s were more reactionary than preventive. The Palermo Convention or United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) in 2000 in the Italian city of Palermo was seen as a major progress towards ensuring there was an international framework to allow for coordination and a holistic analysis of the problem.
Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime
Bryden and Fluri (2003) stressed the fact that there is a great linkup between transnational crime, corruption, and aspects of terrorism. The high corruption practices give rise to slow progress in economic growth and lead to a great degree of unemployment trends. In such situations, many jobless youths are easy targets for transnational crime escapades. It is no coincidence that terrorist groups do well where the individuals have no hope whatsoever of improving their lives and thus are easily swayed by passing ideologies. There is very minimal difference between how transnational criminals and terrorist organizations operate. The rise in the technological advancement procedures has resulted in easier, efficient and swifter ways of transmitting information. This has aided the terrorist organizations as they like to dwell on propaganda which they spread through the media channels.
Terrorist groups thrive best in vulnerable developing and transitioning countries. Here they can engage in their illegal processes with minimal fear of the laws of the land catching up with them. The illicit businesses that terrorists engage in generate the much-needed capital that they use to acquire specialists that facilitate their operations at various stages. They can easily perform these illegal procedures without being detected. The access they have to such sophisticated processes in the technological world enable them transcend borders and make security breaches undetected. Publication after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States of America has shown that terrorists in some countries engage in criminal activities to survive.
The advancement in Information Technology has been a major contributor to the success of certain transnational crimes and terrorist activities. Terrorist organizations employ the use of this technology in developing countries, where there are minimal law enforcement procedures to capture them. These terrorist organizations use the process of message encryption to pass on messages across boundaries. Also, in the Less Developed Countries, there are minimal resources to be able to get this specialized personnel needed to combat the terrorist activities. Moreover, the officials in these developing countries are usually more susceptible to bribery and corruption. The government officials more often than not are a usual part of the criminal system that engages in transnational crimes Bryden and Fluri (2003).
Terrorists employ the use of criminal activities to ensure that their processes are successful. Information technological advancement has ensured that these terrorists do not have to engage in other criminal activities to get financial injections into their processes. Therefore, countries that have made great strides in the field of information technology, but equally so are not legally fluent on punishing criminals for crimes done through computers form a great base for terrorists and like-minded groups. It is, therefore, prudent to claim that information technology has led to the growth of these terrorist organizations and the successes of the processes they undertake.
In addition to the deadly and severe attacks that have already been posed by terrorists, information that may be critical to a state may find a way to the hands of these terrorists jeopardizing state security. The interdependence of different economic systems in the global realm may cause problems in the event of the collapse. These are very vulnerable attacks that these terrorist groups may target which the effects may turn out disastrous. Moreover, more of the terrorist group’s financial processes do pass unmonitored, and this is a huge problem. There is also the aspect of information technology companies having to protect the privacy of their clients at the expense of transnational safety. This is because, through these private lines, most of the information is shared and used to organize terrorist operations.
The acts of Domestic and International Terrorisms are both a threat to the security of the people. However, International Terrorism is the one that poses the greatest challenge to Global Peace. As is known, terrorists usually thrive by striking fear into their victims into believing that the governments are worthy of being in leadership and so on. Terrorist activities have a frequency that cannot be determined, and that is why it usually calls for an always ready approach when the acts of terror occur.
Globalization, market liberalization and advancement in technology have aided the course of transnational organized crime and terrorism itself. It is clear that information passing has been an important tool for the terrorists to use to spread their propagandist messages and even to recruit individuals, and therefore it shall be prudent that countries embrace more stringent laws and policies against the use of computers and the internet to propagate violence against civilians. Other countries such as China have measures put up against free information sharing, but even this may be a channel through terrorist activities are executed.
It should be made possible that individuals found performing acts of terrorism within certain countries are tried within these republics. This shall facilitate the implementation of laws and policies prepared against such and also deter other foreign individuals from getting complacent in such countries. Heavy penalties should be granted to specialists that engage in terrorist acts. Coordination among the private sector bodies, public organizations, the government, citizens of countries and multinational corporations across borders should be encouraged as this sharing of information is very much important. There should also be a provision for teams of specialists that deal with terrorism and transnational crimes coordinate well and offer assistance to less developed countries that cannot be able to get such workforce.
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