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Merging of Global Terrorism and Organized Crime Essay Sample

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Merging of Global Terrorism and Organized Crime Essay Sample


Society has for sometime viewed the problems of drug trafficking, terrorism and organized crime as issues of obvious concern but only as issues of marginalized nature. This is to mean that drugs were only a challenge to a minority of the population, that organized crime was only restricted to specific unimportant crimes to most of the people like car theft and that terrorism was viewed as dangerous but operated in different countries other than ours and that it could only occur through the occasional suicide bombing.

People viewed these challenges in the society as isolated and each having nothing to do with the other. Most people were only interested in was for the DEA to stop the import of drugs like cocaine and heroin to the U. S and for the FBI to chip in now and then to help the combating of terrorism and organized crime in their countries.

However the situation has turned around recently and it is really not that simple. What we are witnessing today are three crimes that are slowly but surely starting to shift and grinding together and if not controlled or combated they are soon going to explode on our faces and cause us trouble. The fact is these crimes are far much better organized, financed, disciplined and sophisticated than anyone could ever guessed.

The authorities have already established that organized crime and drug trafficking have already converged with terrorism to create one big complex problem. Crime experts have suggested that the perpetrators of these three crimes have started cooperating and perpetrating these crimes together. It is a unison that is becoming a global concern and a challenge to national security.

Criminology did not just start yesterday, acts of crime have been observed in the human race as early as man. However the criminal acts have evolved and so have the tactics employed to perpetrate them though this evolution has been notably slow. Banditry for instance started when thieves and robbers realized that working as groups was much easier and beneficial (History of Terrorism, 2009).     .

Studies on criminology have shown that these perpetrations were done in collaboration with senior people like those in government and business men. Therefore the early gangs and mafias were not only made of the criminals but also of the members of the state authorities and traders. For example a business man who deals in cars and wants to make use of the importing opportunity to make extra cash can import drugs with the help of the authorities like the police or a powerful politician.

Alternatively terrorism also started early in the history of man. For example roman emperors executed their disobedient subjects or anyone who would oppose their rule. Nowadays terrorists associate with other criminals for the purpose of gaining access to something or somewhere they are interested in or accommodation. It is therefore common for terrorists to deal with illegal weapons dealers with the aim of attaining new weapons and getting ammunition supply.

Many states have been developing and already have some steps they are using to combat this twin evil. The United States and the U. K for example have sunned treaties and agreements on actions against terrorism and organized crime. Globally, the International Criminal court has been established to deal with these crimes.

It is however clear that the continued support of threes crimes by some government authorities gives the criminals the power to bully the citizens by use of force and intimidation because they feel protected by the government. The following paper therefore is going to critically examine the past events and the current issues of the global merging of organized crime and the steps and efforts being made to combat the problem.

Literature Review

Terrorism and organized crime have always been considered as two separate entities by the state security organizations and for quite a while they have been considered that way. This is emphasized by the fact that in the 1960s the U.S government saw these two crimes so different such that the number of officers assigned to each category differed significantly. The state assigned a hundreds of officers to deal with communism, a terrorist crime and only five officers who were even low ranked to deal with organized crime.

Several studies have also observed that terrorism and organized crime has progressed to result in two exclusive but merged entities. Although these crimes can not be considered as one it is also important not to separate the two when it comes to finding ways to combat them. There is enough evidence especially from literature and evidence that insist that separating these two crimes brings about intersections all over the operation (History of Terrorism, 2009).

In fact literature taken from peer reviewed journals and academic books shows that these intersections between the organized crime and terrorism to some degree have resulted from both a historical perspective and also from a modern perspective.

As already pointed out earlier the histories of terrorism and organized crimes are different in nature and it would be surprising to many who studied the two crimes as different entities to find out that the two actually relate with one another. Terrorism is defined as an international movement or a threat to use force and violence against innocent citizens in order to attain certain goals and these acts are usually political in nature.

 It is a word derived from the term terror because fear was the main and most effective weapon the terrorists used although the conventional view of terrorism may be based on the view that the arms and weapons used by terrorists are the main and the most essential means of terrorism.

Historically the main aspect of terrorism is its ability to influence the decisions made by the government and other political decision makers either by successful means or unsuccessful means. For them to attain this terrorists use a variety of methods and means. In today’s economy though where money and other monetary aspects are the most important, influential and powerful tools of making decisions, terrorist activities are based mainly on financial control and the manipulation of the assets for continued achievement of such terrorist goals.

It is an essential aspect of terrorism that is useful in comparing the integration of this crime to organized crime. Generally the main highlight in terrorism in both the current and past world is the terrorists’ desire to control and influence political decisions and the public opinion.

Alternatively organized crime is an element of crime that developed in the 1960s in the United States. This element retain criminal activity that since then has transformed into an agglomeration form from aggregated activities and operations and it is based on highly organized and centralized operations run by criminals with the aim of engaging in illegal activities and operations.

Many writers have given different explanations pointing out the purposes of organized crimes and why people engage in it. The most important and common reason given for organized crime is the desire to raise monetary profits rapidly. Therefore for criminals to achieve this they engage in various criminal activities like drug trafficking, gambling, bribing, robberies and other institutions of violence. The most important factor one can use to understand organized crime is to know that these criminals use a variety of tools for the benefit of gaining money.

Researches usually start to identify an essential difference between an organized crime and an act of terror as well as establish similarities and other common ground of the two. One reason is that one crime uses money to influence a public opinion while the other uses the public opinion in order to gain money.

A study published in 1996 tried to analyze the different types of intersections that occur between organized crime and terrorism; it tried to understand the nature of each kind of crime, the methods used in each crime to achieve their goals, the structural dynamics and the danger associated with each criminal activity. The studies finally establish that terrorism is usually motivated ideologically while the organized crimes have no base on ideology but acts with the sole purpose of attaining large amounts of money.

The organized crime groups also usually eye bigger shares in the illegal markets rather than having the capability of running a long term ideological system or basing there actions on a political purpose and there decisions are also not usually based on any of the existing market principles.

An interesting phenomenon that the studies have noted is that terrorists brought in court and charged do not deny their deeds and instead they use the courtroom as a field to declare their political stands and views in public a situation that is totally different from what goes on with the organized crime convicts who try all their best to stay away from the limelight and involvement in the crime; most of them never admit to their crimes. The true groups however rational actors that have intersections determined by the means they are able to operate for example through violence, intimidation and other illegal activities like drug trafficking and also dealing with illegal weapons distribution.

Another study that was published in 2004 looked into finding the existing similarities between terrorism and organized crime because of the consistent interest on war on terrorism especially on the various ways they manipulate various flows of cash and the way these two entities raise their financial assets.

The research identified that these two groups although having different ideologies and different goals must have financial distribution market for them to be successful at least by being able to build and control their own financials bases. In this respect activities of financing the terrorists and the organized crime groups usually intersect with one another especially since the illegal markets in the developed countries like the U. S have typical segregated geographic locations. These intersections are used by these groups to generate a significant large amount of money than could have been accumulated individually (Bovenkerk & Chakra, 2004).

Criminally organized activities like weapons distribution and drug trafficking are usually controlled by high level individuals especially in the final decision making these high level individuals could be members of either the terrorist groups or the organized crimes group.

Further more because these illegal markets must be able to interact with each other frequently for the purpose of maximizing profit making terrorism and disorganized crimes must eventually associate with one another at least at the level of financial flow and manipulation.

Yet another study discussed the methods of convergence and intersection of terrorism and internationally organized crimes in 2002. This study actually captured the earlier hypothesis by the previous studies that the methodologies of executing these crimes were the most important intersections between the two groups. However this study also highlighted a special and essential fact that the terrorists groups being based on ideologies had certain kinds of moral codes that they utilized and followed even in the process of raising funds and other financial assets. The terrorists groups interactions with the organized crime groups do not have always have ideological spectrums to follow (Albanese, 2004).

The study therefore points that organized crime has a significant hold and control over the financial activities of the terrorists because they do not follow the ideological believes the terrorists follow and they are only motivated by raising money and financial assets for local consumption. The study however is keen to point out that these two groups are equally important problems that the international security agencies and governments must address.

Studies have also shown that financial assets and cash generated by the terrorists groups is usually flushed back into other terrorism acts but the financial assets and money generated by the organized crime usually remains within the groups and their family members and it is eventually directed back into the  economy through  purchases and institutions.

The United States has realized that taking advantage of such similarities and intersections can be helpful in the controlling and eventually combating these two society bads.  A study published in 2004 that studied terrorism and organized crime and the financial intersections involved between the two, noted that for a government to take the differences and similarities into there advantage they had to follow the traditional manta the, follow the money mantra and investigate it thoroughly.

This can be successful because the organized crimes and terrorism issues usually meet at the financial operations because the financial strategies used by both groups, local police agencies and the international units by various governments can base their operations from the both sides if they can track their places of purchasing, their business relationships and their partners.

The association of the financial activities of both the terrorist groups and the criminal organization groups is so enticing such that it becomes almost irresistible for both entities to register trade with each other. This situation however can be disadvantageous in the operational procedures of the tracking processes (Bruggeman, The ICC, 2005.

There are still more literature materials that indicate the existence of assorted interplays and relationships between the traditional organized crimes and terrorism and that some of the organized crimes taking place nowadays have currently been considered as potential or real terrorist threats because their activities have crossed the borders towards the traditional terrorism category.

Other factors linking organized crimes and terrorism are still vague to many researchers other than the distribution of money and the financial operations. This is mainly because researchers do not have any direct access to data from both the terrorist groups and the organized crime groups they only have deductions of these operations from court cases and actual confessions by the criminals and also from data collected and gathered from interviews.

Theoretical Framework

The collection of data in this field to support the findings on the past events, the current issues and the steps the relevant authorities and other parties involved are taking to combat the merging of global terrorism and organized crime must be valid and credible. The study this paper is based on therefore was carried out aiming at providing information and shedding more light into this adamant issue.

Towards an objective view in collecting and analyzing the relevant data and information on the merging of global terrorism and organized crime a series of interviews were set up among the police officers assigned to deal with terrorism and organized crime like smuggling, drug trafficking and dealing guns to facilitate a helpful and informative research.

There are various kinds of literature and other information sources that give information on the effects of the mergence and the reasons for mergence and also ways the authorities are dealing with the mergence. However these information materials have not given enough in formation and there are still gaps existing in the literature. These gaps are in the areas like the current and past issues on these two crimes and what the authority’s plans are for the future of these crimes.

The study therefore aims to fill these gaps as much as possible and enlighten the readers of the paper on these issues that have currently become issues of concern to the public. Over the last decades the international community has been taking initiatives to combat and stop the problems and challenges that have been brought about by the transnational organized crimes and money laundering and political terrorism or any other type of terrorism (Threat Posed by the Convergence of Organized Crime, Drug Trafficking, and Terrorism, Hearing, 2000).

Currently especially after the September 11th attacks the criminal word has increasingly merged with particularly political terrorism resulting into one big underground network of social evil. What most literature do not tell us is how and what are the bases for this mergence, what relationships does the two have that make them want to merge, what the authorities are doing to break up these merges and what the society feels and knows about these merges, are some of our ‘innocent neighbors’ involved or helping these merges by any means and so many other gaps that this research alone can not quench.

A new consensus is however emerging that is aiming to find this problem and hopefully it will serve to fill up some of the existing gaps. The consensus’s agendas are dominated by the concepts of the international security that is in turn dominated by the world’s super power the United States of America. The good part of this domination however, is that the United States is extending its prowess national security to the other countries and making this society evil a global issue.

Several bodies of multilateral agreements have been put in place too fight this mergence and uproot it by the roots from our societies and this multilateral agreement is there to serve at the international level.

 The problem with these set ups by the governments is that either they do not have the strategy they intend to use to accomplish problems like this or they just do not avail the information to the general public. So the study held a couple of interviews mainly with the police officers dealing with the mergence of terrorism and global terror to shed more light in to these strategies.

The UN and the G8 conventions have agreed on the need to control and regulate money laundering and transnational organized crime the UN Security Council also set up a motion and a global program against international acts of terrorism. These set ups of councils and committees are getting monotonous you have to agree with me.

Every day a council makes a motion and a promise to act and combat these crimes especially terrorism but every day you wake up and hear on the news of more terrorism especially affecting innocent citizens.

This is an indication that if the government is doing anything in combating these evils the whatever they are doing is not enough or they are not doing anything or the strategies being used is not effective enough. The research therefore aimed at finding out where the problem was because instead of the crimes reducing in the face of ‘government action’ it is instead increasing.

The wide array and number of the multilateral agreements, rules and regulations, conventions and so on drug trafficking and organized crime is overwhelming. These multilateral agreements are then presented before an international parliament to be passed and mostly they are passed by pressurizing the parliament members and mostly because no country wants to be an outcast in the international councils most bills on terrorism and organized crimes are passed even if they are not effective (Makarenko, 2004).

In addition to these inadequacies in dealing with the organized crimes and terrorism mechanisms to evaluate the effectiveness of the agreed on strategies or there adverse effects on the entire society are hardly available. They are only kept like the modern day writings on the stone of the ten commantments.

The study therefore aims to emphasizing on creation of coercive or law enforcement measurements that will be used in dealing with this issue instead of emphasizing on the root causes of the crimes that would only serve to force the dominating powers to scrutinize the current and occurring social economic order globally and in that case redefine the interests of the national security into truly n national interests.

The United States in particular uses a very cynical and pragmatic strategy towards the current emergence of international security arrangements and has now taken into shopping for international agreements on resolutions to fight these crimes globally.

It is critical how they actively set the agendas and enforce arrangements when crimes like drug trafficking, money laundering and terrorism are addressed but on the other hand discard and sabotage openly such arrangements because they believe such arrangements are allegedly a contrast to their national security interests especially when other global security issues come up like the environmental security (Schmid, 1996).

The study therefore looked at finding information on the confusing parts of the available information and it also looked at adding to the already limited information on the steps and strategies the authorities and also the society are taking into curbing this problem.

The study involved a series of interviews among several police officers from different cities. Two cities were identified an d chosen to be part of the study because they seemed to be the most informed cities in their country on the issues of drug trafficking, organized crime and terrorism. From each city three police officers were chosen to answer questions on these issues.

The criteria used in choosing them was the same used to choose the cities which was looking for the most experienced and informative cop in the city. The interview constituted of questions on the mergence of organized crimes with terrorism as well as questions on those who used drugs, drug dealers, smugglers, prostitution and other crimes considered petty but that serve as grass root causes and suppliers of these two crimes.

All the interviews were conducted in the field to ensure reliability and also credibility and they took place in the police stations were each officer worked. The interview were categorized according to the variables brought about by religious orientation, those brought about by affluence and those related to ethnicity.

Research Design

The interviews were set up in such a way that all the officers were asked the same questions the questions were on the relationship of terrorism and ethnicity, the relationship of terrorism and affluence, the relationship between terrorism and religion, the reasons for terrorism and the relationship between terrorism and organized crime.

The officers were asked on their views on the relationship between terrorism and ethnicity and most of them gave almost identical responses that there were tendencies of increased terrorism acts against Arabs by the Jews mostly because of their extreme and publicly declared stands against each other.

After the bombing of the world center it was obvious that deep ethnic differences and probably hatred that were displayed. Three decades before the bombing it would have been hard to believe that unresolved and persisted ethnic related issues in the Middle East and southwest Asia and a deeply alienated and disturbed individual act in such a manner of producing violence of such a magnitude to hurt and kill civilians like that.

The officers expressed their regrets that so many civilians had lost and would continue loosing their lives to terrorism if the authorities did not do much in stopping this adversity. The officers were asked why they thought there was ethnic hatred that caused people to act in such a manner.

One said that he could not understand it himself and the others felt it was the natural way of feeling u belong and that if one ethnic community acts in a way to undermine the beliefs and the state of another such extreme differences would result in so much violence and terror. One officer however refused to support the idea that such petty reasons could make one act in such animosity and added that ones religion and believes had to play a part in this pattern and also ones state of mind.

One group of officers was asked on their thoughts of religion and beliefs and their relationship with terrorism. They implied that this was the major thought causes of terrorism. The other group thought that though it was an important cause of the crime it was not the major reason.

All of them however expressed their concern on the increasing actions of terror being met at the United States and other countries who supported the united states by thee Islamic or those with a Muslim background. They expressed their concern also that the increasing prejudice of the united states by these individuals was posing a big danger to the citizens of united states of America if quick and effective measures were not taken to control the occurrence.

The officers were also asked to give their views on the relationship of terrorism and affluence. They indicated that influence played a role in the occurrence of new crimes in terrorism. This was because other petty crimes also were somehow connected to these two crimes. Officers from one city expressed their concern on the increasing use and dealing in drugs.

They said that their city has been hit by a wave of increased drug dealings and use especially among the teens and also prostitution. They indicated that these problems had deeper roots that many would care to admit. High poverty levels were the highest reasons for prostitution, drug dealing and cash laundering.

Most poor teens had to maintain their drug use and because they have no money they are enticed by the quick cash brought about by organized crime once in they are then introduced to the terrorism.

Teens as it is well known are easily enticed and influenced and mostly by the wrong people. Once a terrorist instills the ‘importance’ of terrorist to a teen and makes them see the sense of it then they can use the teens in any way like terrorism and getting them into organized crimes. One group of the officers said that in their city movies and other advertisements seen on televisions were influencing the teens into the world of crimes especially the organized crime.

 They had observed that these films showed the world of organized crime as cool organization. Teenagers would want to act like they had seen in the movies. The idea of gangs was also a source of concern for these officers who thought that teens were involved in street gangs that led them to these crimes.

These interviews were enlightening in that they shed some light into the main causes of the crimes and the need of the higher authorities to do some corrections on their strategies of fighting these crimes. This is because they thought the government had not given the police departments enough authority and resources to fight these crimes.

The government also kept the most information on these crimes as top secret and only the agencies like the FBI and the CSI were given to access to this information. They believed that for effective combating of these crimes all the law enforcement agencies were supposed to be involved and given all the information and information.


The study was conducted with the sole purpose of finding out the history and the relationships involved in the mergence of terrorism and organized crimes. It also sought to find out what the authorities had done what they were doing in combating the crimes and if what they were doing was effective.

Though what was discovered was encouraging it was also disappointing in a way. The strategies and the efforts to combat these crimes where wanting and it was found out more collaborations and better approaches were needed to combat these crimes completely.


 Albanese, J. S. (2004). Organized crime in our times. No.: ISBN 1-59345-958-0: 351.     Website address (accessed July??, 2009).

Bovenkerk, F., & B. A. Chakra. (2004). Terrorism and organized crime. UN Forum on   crime and society, 1:3-16. Website address (accessed July ??, 2009).

Makarenko, T. (2004). The Crime-Terror Continuum: Tracing the Interplay between        Transnational Organized Crime and Terrorism. Global Crime 6, no. 1: 129-145. .      Website address (accessed July ??, 2009).

Schmid, A. P. (1996). The links between transnational organized crime and terrorist        crimes. No.: 2, no. 4: 43. Website address (accessed July ??, 2009).

Bruggeman, Dr. W. The ICC as an Important Partner in Enhancing Global Justice.          January 27, 2005. International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security.        Accessed July 20, 2009. http://english.safe-democracy.org/confronting/the-icc-as-          an-important-partner-in- enhancing-global-justice.html.

History of Terrorism. terrorismfiles.org. Accessed July 20, 2009                            http://www.terrorismfiles.org/encyclopaedia/history_of_terrorism.htmlterrorismfil           es.org.

Threat Posed by the Convergence of Organized Crime, Drug Trafficking, and Terrorism.                       Hearing. US Congress Sub-Committee on Crime. Committee on the Judiciary. December 13, 2000. Accessed July 20, 2009.             http://commdocs.house.gov/committees/judiciary/hju68324.000/hju68324_0.htm

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