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Government and organized crime: history of co-existence

14.04.2008
 
Pages: 12
Government and organized crime: history of co-existence

A government is the organization which is the governing authority of a political unit, also the ruling power in a political society, and the apparatus through which a governing body functions and exercises authority. Government have the authority to make laws, to arbitrate disputes, to issue administrative decisions, and a monopoly in authorizing force.

A State, depending on size can have local, regional and national government. There are many types of governments, such as: Monarchy, Despotism, Dictatorship, Oligarchy, Plutocracy, Democracy, Theocracy, and Anarchy. A Government depending on type can by headed by politicians, monarchs, dictators, group of people (families), wealthy class, and religious elite. History does not have the exact date of the formation of the first governments, though; it holds some records of formation of very first governments 3000 years ago.

Organized crime or criminal organizations are groups or operations run by controversial individuals most commonly for the purpose of generating a financial profit and social power (influence). Organized crime, however defined, is characterized by a few basic qualities including durability over time, diversified interests, hierarchical structure, capital accumulation, reinvestment, access to political protection and the use of violence to protect interests. The best known criminal organizations are: Cosa Nostra commonly known as Mafia (the Italian or the Sicilian), the Russian Mafia, the Japanese Yakuza, the Chinese Triads, the Colombian and the Mexican drug cartel, the Chechen Mafia, and young Mara Salvatrucha, among others. History has it, that the first sign of organized crime was seen 3000 years ago.

It is important to make a distinction between organized crime (criminal organizations) and terrorist organizations, military organizations, resistance organizations, political and paramilitary organizations, such as: Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, IRA, and Irgun, which usually fight for the liberation of their lands and people from foreign invaders. In relation, we should not forget the Nuremberg Trials in Germany, famous for prosecution of leadership of Nazi Germany. The best known was the Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal (IMT) in 1945. On this trial followed were indicted as criminal organizations:

the Nationalsozialismus Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDP), the Nazi party - National Socialist German Workers Party.

the Schutzstaffel (SS), Protective Squadron – military organization.

the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), Security Service – intelligence service of SS and NSDP.

the Gestapo, secret state police.

the Sturmabteilung (SA), Storm Division – paramilitary organization.

the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW), Supreme Command of the Armed Forces.

This concept of criminal organizations was, and still continues to be controversial, and it was not used in International Human Rights Law since then.

Throughout history there has been constant struggle, but also connection between governments and organized crime. In addition, many world famous political and military leaders have been accused of running their countries like criminal organizations, for instance: Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, Nicolae Ceausescu, Idi Amin Dada, Manuel Antonio Noriega Moreno, Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte, among others. For many top government politicians is believed to grow enormous wealth by running a kleptrocracy, a government that extends the personal wealth and political power of government officials and the ruling class at the expense of the population.

Few years ago an unofficial list has been released of the people for who is believed to be the most self-enriching political leaders, top of which are: Suharto (former President of Indonesia/$15-$35 billion USD), Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralín Marcos (former President of the Philippines/$5-$10 billion USD), Mobutu Sese Seko Nkuku Ngbendu wa Za Banga (former President of Zaire/$5 billion USD), among many others.

What make governments and organized crime to be so connected?

Governments have Head of States, Leaders, military, laws, taxes, customs, punishments; governments control States and go into wars, among others. On the other side criminal organizations (organized crime) has bosses, dons, families, soldiers, gangs, codes and outs, a protection racket and extortion, punishments, they also control territories and small cities, and they also go into wars with other criminal organizations, among others.

Looking at these examples we can see that there is many similarities in structure of government and organized crime. Many governments have been involved in criminal activities trough politicians, such as: weapons sales, narcotics, international loans, confiscation of private property, and corruption. A socio-political phenomenon called "Political corruption" is visible in all forms of governments, and includes extortion, nepotism, bribery, cronyism, patronage, graft and embezzlement. Global corruption is estimated at one trillion US Dollars, which is equal to what organized crime makes per year around the world.

Pages: 12
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