Develop 1 educational forum response 300 words masters level Must have references. Responded to this discussion posting with references and no plagiarism.Comparethe Italian Mafia groups (La Cosa Nostra and ‘Ndrangheta) to transnationalorganized crime groups today based on their criminal activities andorganizational make-up. Analyse whether the traditional Italian Mafia groupsmore closely align with the definitions of an organized crime group or aterrorist organization, or if they have characteristics of both. Answer:TheUnited Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime definesorganized crime as a structured group of three or more persons acting in concertwith the aim of committing one or more serious crimes to achieve eitherfinancial or material benefit (Finckenauer, 2005). Ultimately, organized crimehas been found to have a number of specific characteristics or attributesincluding: non-ideological in nature, have a hierarchical structure, haveexclusive membership, are self-perpetuating, use violence and bribery,demonstrate a specific division of labor, are monopolistic, and are governed byexplicit rules and regulations (Lyman & Potter, 2006). The Italian Mafiahas long served as the primary example of a true organized crime group for muchof Western Europe and the United States since their rise to significant power inthe mid-1900s. Groups such as La Cosa Nostra and ‘Ndrangheta, already known inItaly, provided the United States’ a first look at what a type of power a largecriminal organization could yield. Images of The Godfather often come to mindwhen discussing the Italian Mafia groups, their hierarchy, and their leadership. Since their initial rise to power, however, how do the groups truly relate tothe typical criminal organizations of today?Historically,the Italian Mafia encompassed a hierarchy with particularly tough membershiprestrictions but which has led them to achieve great power in their primaryareas of operation in Italy. In fact, only men born either in Sicily (La CosaNostra) or in Calabria (‘Ndrangheta) or those who are descendants of mafiafamilies are admitted to the groups as members (Paoli, 2008). Additionally, theItalian Mafia groups place extreme significance on member’s and recruit’snationality and heritage that their pool of recruits is often even furtherlimited (Paoli, 2008). These limitations often further dictate the limitedreach of the Italian Mafia in today’s criminal world. In the case of the‘Ndrangheta, however, many Mafia families have fled to other countries, allowingfor a much easier expansion (Spolar, 2008). In fact, the structure of‘Ndrangheta at some points in recent history has been compared to the cell-basedorganizational structure of some of today’s most well-known terroristorganizations (Spolar, 2008). Unlike La Cosa Nostra in this instance,‘Ndrangheta does not necessarily have a singular leader in the organization andarresting one key leader does not immediately hamper the organization’s abilityto continue operating (Spolar, 2008). Unlike most organized crime groups today,the primary goal of Italian Mafia members has not been producing or trading inillegal commodities or maximizing profits, but instead focuses on policing thegeneral population while settling disputes and participating in racketeering(Paoli, 2008). Italian Mafia leaders crave power above all else, aiming tocontrol their territory by exercising regional political domination throughentrepreneurial activities, extortion, and intimidation (Paoli, 2008). Whilemafia members may participate in additional criminal activities, such as bankrobberies, murder, prostitution, etc., these acts are only secondary to theirprimary “businessman-like” role in Italian society. The mafia has historicallyalso participated in drug trafficking but today does to a far lesser extent. Someof today’s most significant and well-known organized crime groups consist ofwhat were previously known as drug trafficking organizations but currentlyparticipate in many of the same crimes once thought of as Italian Mafia crimes. Mexican DTOs, for example, used to participate primarily in drug traffickingand drug trafficking related crimes. Now, however, these organizations havestarted to morph into transnational criminal organizations which participate innumerous additional crime violations including: extortion, assassination,kidnapping, auto theft, human smuggling, controlling prostitution, resourcetheft, money-laundering, software piracy, and other illicit enterprises(Beittel, 2012, p. 1, 18). These same groups have also significantly increasedtheir firearms trafficking activities between the U.S. and Mexico in order toaid in deadly turf wars. In fact, of nearly 100,000 guns seized by Mexicanauthorities between 2007 and 2011, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, andExplosives (ATF) found that approximately 68% of those guns originated in theUnited States (Beittel, 2013, p. 38). Mexican DTOs have long participated inkidnappings, assassinations, and extortions as a means to further their drugtrafficking activities, but have also began using these crimes as a form ofterroristic activity designed to dissuade local Mexicans from working againstthem. Each of the above mentioned crimes, while not always performed in supportof drug trafficking, has led to the current transnational criminal organizationdesignations for some of Mexico’s DTOs.Inthe case of terrorist organizations, however, the situations and criminalactivities involved are often fueled by strikingly different motivations. TheUnited States Department of Defense’s (DOD) definition of terrorism as “theunlawful use of — or threatened use of — force or violence against individualsor property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies, often to achievepolitical, religious, or ideological objectives” (Hoffman, 1998). Insurgentgroups, guerrilla organizations, and terrorist organizations by nature are oftenviolent, employ terroristic tactics, stage attacks against the government, andoften aim to overthrow their current governing body. The first threecharacteristics of these groups sound like most drug trafficking organizations(DTOs) and other organized crime groups currently operating throughout the worldtoday. The last characteristic, wanting to overthrow the current government, iswhat sets typical organized crime groups apart from these insurgent groups andguerrilla organizations. The Italian Mafia groups actually share thisparticular characteristic with terrorist organizations. As I previouslymentioned, the Italian Mafia takes a strong interest in politics and in fact,have participated in at least three plots organized by right-wing terroristgroups (Paoli, 2008). Furthermore, the Mafia historically challenged statepower when they murdered two prominent judges in 1992 via bombing and in 1993when they set off an additional series of bombs (Paoli, 2008). Ultimately,while the Italian Mafia certainly fits many of the criteria for an organizedcrime group, they are certainly different than the more traditional groupsoperating today. They have arguably lost a significant amount of internationalpower in the last several decades, likely due to increased law enforcementactions both nationally and internationally. It could, however, be argued thatthe Italian Mafia, if not now, then at one point was arguably a terroristorganization for the country of Italy. While their violence and terroristicnature did not spread like traditional terrorist organizations (Al Qaeda,Hezbollah, etc.) within their own country they certainly participated interroristic activity.ReferencesBeittel,J. S. (2013, April 15). Mexico’s drug trafficking organizations: Source andscope of the rising violence. CongressionalResearch Service.Beittel,J. S. (2012, August 3). Mexico’s drug trafficking organizations: Source andscope of the rising violence. CongressionalResearch Service.Finckenauer,J. O. (2005). “Problems of definition: What is organized crime?” Trendsin Organized Crime,Vol. 8, No. 3.Lyman,M.D., and Potter, G.W. (2006). Organized crime (4thed). New York: Prentice Hall.Paoli,L. (2008). The Decline of the Italian Mafia. (D. S. Nelen, Ed.) 15-28. Retrievedfrom http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-0-387-74733-0_2. Spolar,C. (2008, July 7). Rising Mafia Emerges from Italy’s Shadows: Global DrugTraffickers Compared to Al Qaeda. TheChicago Tribune. Retrievedfrom http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2008-07-07/news/0807060431_1_cosa-nostra-ndrangheta-anti
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