Computer Crime Research Center


THE GLOBAL UNDERWORLD: Terrorists, Drug Traffickers and Organized Crime

Date: November 01, 2004
Source: Mich News Com
By: By Jim Kouri, CPP

Weapons of Mass Destruction
The threat posed by smuggling materials used to make weapons of mass destruction is of particularly great concern. In 1994, there were four incidents where individuals were prevented by authorities in Germany and the Czech Republic from smuggling uranium and plutonium out of Eastern Europe. One case, in Prague, involved kilogram quantities of weapons-useable highly enriched uranium. Except for a small seizure of highly enriched uranium in mid-1995, there have been no subsequent confirmed seizures of weapons-usable nuclear materials. While so far these incidents have involved individuals or small groups taking advantage of opportunities presented by changing security environments, the growing sophistication and international connections of criminal procurement networks raise the specter of organized criminal groups' involvement in helping to broker, finance or facilitate the smuggling of nuclear warheads or weapons-useable nuclear materials stolen or purchased on the black market. In recent years, there have been growing indications of outlaw regimes, international terrorist groups, and organized crime groups intent on acquiring material for weapons of mass destruction.
A major result of the end of the Cold War has been the disintegration of many political barriers around the world. With this breakdown has come greater freedom of individual movement and easier international transportation of goods and services. Sixty million foreign passengers were processed at U.S. airports and pre-clearance stations in fiscal year 1995. These developments have allowed international criminals to operate and move more easily across national frontiers, expanding their networks and increasing their cooperation in illicit activities and financial transactions. Communications advances and increased air travel also have allowed crime syndicates to enter into joint ventures more easily, including those in countries as far apart as Russia, Colombia, Italy and Nigeria.

Countries where international criminals operate with near impunity are a significant threat to U.S. national interests. Criminals rely on such safe havens as staging or transit areas for moving illicit contraband and for laundering, securing, hiding and investing their illicit proceeds. Countries that limit extradition, do not accept the validity of some U.S. laws, or have no laws to address some criminal activities are often ideal sanctuaries for criminals seeking to evade justice in the United States.International crime affects all Americans. The drugs being sold on many of our street corners, the threat of terrorist bombs exploding in buildings where we work at home or abroad, the counterfeit bills passed at our businesses, the illegal aliens being abused in our midst, the fraudulent letters from abroad promising us false rewards, the credit cards used to defraud us, the cars stolen from us for illegal export and the layoffs at our companies victimized by intellectual property theft, economic espionage and foreign corruption can all be linked to international criminal enterprises.
While it is difficult to quantify the total impact of these international crimes on Americans, our ability to estimate financial costs is improving. The Office of National Drug Control Policy estimates that illegal drugs alone cost our society tens of billions of dollars each year, a significant percentage of which is attributable to abuse of cocaine and heroin -- both drugs produced abroad. Other international criminal activity is responsible for annual losses to Americans of an additional $400 billion according to conservative estimates. These estimates do not even begin to include the human costs in disrupted lives and misery.

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2005-09-01 20:39:25 - Very nice Anelia
2004-11-09 10:54:36 - This is a very good article for reading... HARRY ERIN
2004-11-02 04:15:37 - Excellent article. Very revealing. Well done. chuck miller
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