above, for articles in
Organized Crime and
is defined broadly as ‘the abuse of public power for private
'Controlling Organized Crime and Corruption in the Public Sector,'
by Edgardo Buscaglia and Jan Van
government, transparency is the aim of democratic governance, however, there are
forces at work that seek to infiltrate, divert, corrupt; because frankly, there
is money to be made.
have any doubts that corruption in government is a problem just turn your gaze
to the likes of the current administration in Washington D.C.
current President has used his position to line the pockets of his friends, and
benefited their kind from sea to shining sea without scant a thought for morality, ethics or the
suffering unleashed. His ubiquitous
rascal grin says it all.
prior to ‘baby’ Bush being ‘elected’ President, the Bush clan had been involved
directly or indirectly with some of the most atrocious scams; the BCCI scandal,
Enron, the relaxing of laws to benefit multinational corporations and relaxing
taxation of the class of the super-rich.
Bush's policies are causing the ruination of the country as a result of the
constant ‘feeding’ of the war machinery. This
too is a scam, because those who are profiting are the defense contactors and
the ancillary corporations tied to the defense industry.
Our tax dollars are being channeled to
corporations that have ties to the Bush/Cheney clan; KBR, Halliburton, Bechtel, DynCorp, and the subsidiaries
of the Carlysle Group.
have ‘disappeared’, contracts paid for reconstruction of Iraq have seen marginal
or nonexistent results--over-priced results, and redundant billing--in the end
scams, that rifle the pockets of American taxpayers.
fact the U.S. government has failed 10 consecutive audits. As of 2006, the
government failed to account for 53% of its reported assets or for an additional
$790 billion, or 27% of its NET costs. The U.S. government by its own
accounting, is in a shambles of missing money! [ 1 ]
George Bush’s brother Neil cavorts with Russian mobsters,[ 2 ] the war in Iraq goes badly for
America, and Afghanistan, thanks to
America, becomes the premier Narco-State of the planet. [ 3 ] Afghanistan currently supplies 90% of the
world's traffic in opium and that trade accounts for a large portion of
Afghanistan's economy, this according to the World Bank. [ 4 ]
to Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime,
“Afghanistan is both the largest cultivator of opium in the world, and the
world’s largest supplier, a double record…” ( address to the Diplomatic Academy,
Warsaw Poland 02-01-2005) this since the U.S. invaded the country.
So the question must be asked: Has the Bush
administration and the American State facilitated these events?
at the figures; prior to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, opium production was
being radically reduced by the Taliban. As of
2006, Afghanistan is being called a Narco-state by the UN. Drug production in Afghanistan has
increased 60% just in 2006. Since the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, the opium
business increased 3200% No, that's not a misprint, it increased
three thousand two hundred percent in five years! [ 5 ]
father during the 1970’s, while at the CIA, was the ‘handler’ of Panamanian
dictator Manuel Noriega, who it is widely accepted was involved in the drug
trade., providing assistance to the Medellin cartel of Pablo Escobar. A ‘handler’ is an expression used by the
intelligence community signifying someone who manipulates or ‘controls’ the
actions or events of those who are being manipulated.
George H. W. Bush denied any knowledge of
Noriega’s drug activity while at CIA, and as president he was instrumental in
Noriega’s downfall and ultimate imprisonment in the United States for drug
trafficking, racketeering and money laundering.
Noriega has alleged that Bush Sr. framed him,
because Noriega balked at further manipulation by the U.S. government and says
he was unwilling to be involved in drug trafficking on Panamanian
active in the DEA, CIA, and Israeli Intelligence have since made statements
supporting some of Noriega’s allegations.
was one of the individuals implicated in laundering money through the defunct
Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). BCCI
was a bank involved in laudering money for CIA covert
operations. Among those who received funds through BCCI was Osama bin
Laden. Financial dealings between the Bush clan and the principal investors of
BCCI are too extensive to detail here. [
Tentacles of Organized Crime
has always been part and parcel of American democracy, more so than most
Americans will care to admit to, or even know much about. The tentacles of bribery, organized
crime, and noxious ‘business’ practices of the black market have become over the
decades since the 1800’s a major
pillar of America’s economy. The
extent of the pillar is largely unknown, but some scholars have stated that
sixty percent or more of America’s economy is based on illicit funds channeled
through legitimate ‘front’ businesses, banks, and Wall Street brokerage
extent of the illegal empire of drug money and black market funds constantly
moving through the American economy has bolstered banking profit margins,
provided startup capital for new ventures, injected much needed capital into the
housing sector for new construction, and consumer lending--one of the driving
forces that has propped up the dollar, and the American economy.
to figures stipulated by an Italian trade association in the year 2000,
organized crime in Italy controls 1 in every 5 businesses in that country
[ 7 ].
In Italy alone the Mafia is said to have an
annual turnover of $133 Billion per year (15% of Italy’s gross national
profit). Illicitly arrived at
moneys are funneled through real estate, health related clinics and hospitals,
restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, retirement homes, and banking
estimated that Italian Mafia operations produce enough profits to pay off
Europe’s public debt.
Italian business association further claimed that it had knowledge that as much
as $11 Billion is funneled through Italian stock purchases, and a similar amount
winds its way into the Italian real estate sector. [ 7 ]
Canada the extent of such operations has been estimated by the government as $4
Billion, just in the three most populous provinces of Quebec, Ontario, and
British Columbia. These figures do
not include smuggling operations of tobacco, and jewelry, which account for an
estimated additional $1.5 Billion per year. [ 8 ]
Canada as much as $17 Billion in profits are laundered through businesses alone
and wind up remaining in the country; a greater amount is thought to flow
through Canada to other countries.
crime’s drug operations in Canada are estimated at $10 Billion per year. The
RCMP, the Mounties, identify the primary organized groups as the Italian Mafia,
Asian organized crime gangs, Colombian organized crime, and biker gangs. [
Crime is First Recognized
United States the concept of organized criminal activity has been elusive,
perhaps by purposeful intent.
original concept of ‘Organized Crime’ was a term coined by the Chicago Crime
Commission, which was created in 1919.
The commission sought to promote changes in the justice system. In its final report, the commission
stated that Chicago had an underbelly criminal class that numbered at least
10,000 who operated with impunity as a result of incompetence, and corruption in
city government. [ 10 ]
discourse concerning organized crime and corruption re-emerged in the
1950’s. As a result of a Senate
Committee headed by Estes Kefauver, which concluded that numerous criminal
groups operated throughout the country and were tied together by a 'sinister
criminal organization known as the Mafia.'
The Committee established for the first time
that organized crime was not just a manifestation of local conditions but rather
a national phenomena. This
knowledge was realized as a result of testimony provided the Committee by the
Federal Bureau of Narcotics (the precursor to the DEA-Drug Enforcement
Administration). But Hoover
and the FBI constantly ridiculed and denied that national organized crime
strategy to fight organized criminal activity would take another two decades,
when Congress deliberated and passed the RICO statute in 1970. But the tentacles of organized crime
have continued to extend within the U.S., by some accounts unabated.
recently as the 1980’s, it was discovered by the FBI, that all windows installed
by the New York City Housing Authority, included a ‘fee’ that would kickback to
organized crime families based in the city, that amounted to tens of millions of
tax dollars. [ 11
recently this past summer, New Yorker journalist William Finnegan had this to
say about the New York metropolitan area:
“Organized crime, meaning La Cosa Nostra
and criminal syndicates such as the Colombian drug cartels, operate
extensively and very profitably in and around the Ports of New York and New
Jersey. This suggests a
significant degree of corruption, or at the very least ineffective law
enforcement….the authorities have ostensibly been making serious efforts for
fifty years or more to chase organized crime off the docks, with little
apparent success… in the thirties the harbor was run by Irish mobs… these days
the rough division of territory has the Genovese crime family controlling the
New Jersey side of the port and the Gambino family running the New York
side…the Mob’s presence is less visible, more subtle, than in the bad old
days…” [ 12
reports are further supported by a report prepared by the NJ State
Commission of Investigation in the mid 1990’s, which concluded that
several organized crime groups operated in the state, among which included the
Italian Mafia, Colombian drug cartels, Japanese Yakuza, Dominican, Puerto Rican,
Cuban, Asian youth gangs, and African-American groups.
“Remember this about the
mafia: they are a mirror image of capitalism,”
said Selwyn Raab, an author
and former NY Times crime reporter.
“They are diversified.
That’s why they last.” [
Crime’s Global Reach
to Dr. Mora Stephens;
among global organized crime groups has increased as restrictions have
lessened between international borders… Transnational organized crime groups
pose more of a threat to international financial markets as the world economy
becomes increasingly interdependent.
Laundering billions of dollars in organized crime money worsens
national debt problems because the large sums of money are then lost as tax
revenues to that country’s government.” [ 14 ]
institutions which are the most vulnerable to manipulation by organized crime,
are institutions that have public offerings of stock ownership. In
Russia, the Russian Interior Ministry estimates that most of its 200 banks are
controlled by organized crime, as well as 50% of the nation’s financial
Control of the banks is exercised by either
actual ownership and operation, or through violence or threats of violence, and
intimidation of key individuals managing and operating the banking
political impact of organized crime is pernicious, violent, and yet subtle. The
Sicilian Mafia provide key examples as to how organized criminal groups operate
and extend their influence. The
Mafia uses its vast resources of economic power to take over legitimate
businesses, and then either eliminate or acquire competitors. They obtain protection from the justice
establishment; politicians, judges, key law enforcement agents, first by bribery
but if unsuccessful--then through intimidation, such as by using threats of
assassination regarding the target’s family.
networks of corruption extend themselves, they also serve as key weapons of
‘legitimate’ authority to nullify or subvert, ongoing investigations, or
individuals that pose a threat to the networks themselves, or the underlying
Essentially organized crime utilizes the
corrupted as direct agents to ‘contain’ others, by using their positions
to sabotage or subvert ongoing investigations, or actions in the public
interest, that would be contrary to the aims of the criminal network.
Crime and Government Protection
in public service is not new, in fact corruption within the political class has
been a notorious avenue that has provided protection to the networks of
organized crime, but in the 1990’s a new and more shocking disclosure presented
itself-- actual partnership between organized crime elements and the U.S.
government in the traffic of drugs and arms.
Iran-Contra Scandal brought to light a network of criminals and government
agents trafficking drugs and guns.
A later disclosure by investigative journalist Gary Webb of the San Jose
Mercury News showed that U.S. intelligence was providing assistance and
protection to networks of organized crime who were importing drugs to be sold in
the inner cities of America. His series, entitled 'Dark Alliance' shocked the
world. [ 15 ]
San Jose Mercury News later retracted Webb’s work, and created conditions that
led to his inability to work as a journalist again. Webb declared that his pariah making was
a government inspired manipulation of mainstream media.
John Kerry, who headed a the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and
International Operations of the Committee on Foreign Relations (December 1988),
had earlier arrived at very similar conclusions to those of Gary Webb, as did
another government report [ 16 ]
regarding possible collusion between organized crime elements and agents within
the U.S. government, or its agencies.
The Kerry report stated the following:
drug cartels are so large and powerful that they have undermined some
governments and taken over others in our hemisphere. They work with revolutionaries and
terrorists. They have
demonstrated the power to corrupt military and civilian institutions
alike.” [ 17
estimated that the illicit drug trade in the United States produces $100 Billion
in profits for organized crime, and this is a conservative estimate. [
to the United Nations:
internationalization of organized crime is evidenced by the increasing
expansion of major illegal markets…moreover criminal organizations have
expanded their opportunities to enter licit [legal] society through
the globalization of financial and economic markets and their interaction and
cooperation with other organized criminal groups in different
countries.” [ 19 ]
for laundering of profits has shifted from Colombia to Mexico, islands in the
Caribbean, the Far East and other nations off the ‘beaten path’. Lately, increased activity of drug
smuggling off the Western coast of Spain and Portugal’s northern shores, point
to new foci warranting concern regarding the extension of influence of the
networks of organized crime into new routes of traffic into the European
characterized the threat in this manner:
States report links between their indigenous organized crime groups and Dutch
organized crime. Similarly, links with Spanish organized crime groups are mentioned by most west European
countries, in particular in respect to cannabis and cocaine trafficking. Italian organized crime groups remain
significant (threats)…" [
is every indication that the trade in heroin from Afghanistan is regaining its
momentum (in the EU)… [ 21 ]
represents the main entry point for this drug, prior to distribution
throughout the EU. It also seems that organized crime groups involved in
cocaine trafficking tend to restrict themselves to this one drug.”
and Portugal which have extensive fishing fleets and long maritime coastal areas
along the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea provide opportune entry and exit
points for traffickers. Corruption
of their justice, banking, and financial institutions are sure to follow similar
examples seen in other nations like Italy and the United States.
intertwining of organized crime and the state can be visualized and understood
when we examine how each profits from the activities of the other. A case in point is Macau, a former
Portuguese colony off mainland China.
Macau is touted as a tourist mecca, however it is a haven for gambling,
prostitution, and drug traffic, this according to Sio-chak Wong, Director of the
Judiciary Police force in Macau. [
The Macau administration has shown reluctance
to crack down on illegal activities, because the flow of money generated by
these enterprises wind up in local banks and businesses which in effect
buttresses the sustainability of the economy and the overall health and welfare
of the state.
in Thailand organized criminal groups like the Jao pho, and the United Wa, have
infiltrated legitimate society to such an extent that they have positions in
local and state government, ‘control’ the police, key government bureaucrats,
and military figures. [ 24 ]
China is not immune, as recent traffic activity in drugs, points to a renewal of
the old Silk Trade routes being utilized by drug traffickers.
As organized crime further infiltrates
conventional institutions of society, the ‘health and welfare’ of that
same society begins to change so as to accommodate what were
once considered pernicious threats to its citizenry, but which now are
being interpreted as a‘support’ of business activities and whole economies.
The advent of this 21st century,
will be seen in hindsight as the rise of organized crime and unavoidably as the
dusk of civilized society, if current trends are permitted to
Democratic State generally upholds the sovereignty of the nation and the rights
of its citizens. All citizens in
such an environment are treated (theoretically) equally regardless of social
position, wealth, gender, religious or political affiliation.
Organized crime on the other hand, is permitted
to exist by bribery, intimidation, corruption-- it is a sort of feudalist
tradition of hierarchy that facilitates theft, civil, and human rights
Both of these structures of societal control are opposites of
one another-- so as democracy grows, organized criminal activity decreases, and
It is essential that government be
transparent and open. Secrecy, closed meetings, favors, political
donations/bribes facilitate the aims of organized crime, and harken the
destruction of civilization.
threat that corruption and organized crime pose to society is a real one,
although subtly recognizable.
Manfred is a contributing correspondent.
This essay has been
exclusively published with the author's permission on this website.
He can be reached at LM@thecitizenfsr.org
For an American perspective on corruption in government
in the early 20th century, read the accompanying article:
Corruption isn't the Exception...
'Government Fails 10th Consecutive Audit', http://www.govexec.com/story_page.cfm?articleid=357108&dcn=todaysnews
'What a Carve-Up', http://www.guardian.co.uk/russia/article/0,,1655229,00.html
'Field of Dreams', http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/articles/050606/6afghan.htm
'Afghanistan: Drug Industry and Counter-Narcotics Policy,'
'Who Benefits from the Afghan Opium Trade?' by Michel
Chossudovsky, Global Research, Canada, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=CHO20060921&articleid=3294
6. 'The Bush Family Saga', BCCI, by William
'Mafia 'Gripping Italian Economy'', BBC News, 11-14-2000,
Organized Crime Impact Study, Public Safety & Emergency
Preparedness Canada, April 10, 2002
Crime as a Business in Chicago, Bulletin of the Chicago
Crime Commission, No. 6, Oct/1/1919, p. 1-6.
NY Mob Leaders are Indicted in Contract Rigging,' NY Times May 31,
Docks of NY, Interview with William Finnegan, The New Yorker Magazine,
'Feds Trying to Tie Union Boss to Mob,' South Florida Business
Journal Oct./09/2005, http://www.thelaborers.net/ila/feds_trying_to_tie_union_boss_to.htm
Paper delivered at the Woodrow Wilson School Policy Conference on
Intelligence Reform in the Post-Cold War Era, Jan. 6,
'Dark Alliance' Day One, America's Crack Plague, Aug/18/1996 http://www.narconews.com/darkalliance/drugs/day1main.htm
Propriety: The CIA & Drugs,' by Frederick Hitz, International
Journal of Intelligence and Couterintelligence, Vol 12, Number 4, December
1, 1999, p. 448-462, see also www.namebase.org/hitz.html
Drugs, Law Enforcement, and Foreign Policy, A Report by
Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations of the
Committee on Foreign Relations, 100th Congress, 2nd Session, December 1988,
and Olson, International Organized Crime, Society,
Jan/Feb 1995, 32:2, 22-23.
Global Studies on Organized Crime, UN Interregional Crime
& Justice Research Institute Feb 1999,
2003 European Union Organized Crime Report, Europol,
ISBN 92-95018-21-4, Luxembourg, p.14.
21. ibid, p.19.
23. Asian Transnational Organized Crime and
its Impact on the U.S., Flinckenauer and Chin, Rutgers University,
March 2006, National Institute of Justice Report
24. Gelbard, R., ‘Burma: The Booming Drug
Trade.' In Rotberg(ed.) Burma: Prospects for a Democratic
Future, Wash, DC, Brookings Institution Press.
Posted December 20, 2006
You are here: HOME page-NEWSLETTER-DECEMBER 2006-OC & Government
Previous : Corporate Crooks Next : Preserve... Post Off