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Political and White Collar Crime Terrorism Crimes of the Powerful.

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Presentation on theme: "Political and White Collar Crime Terrorism Crimes of the Powerful."— Presentation transcript:

1 Political and White Collar Crime Terrorism Crimes of the Powerful

2 Terrorism Definitions Vary Widely – “The use of violence to influence the political, social, or religious attitudes and/or behaviors of others” – “Premeditated, politically motivated violence, designed to spread fear and perpetrated against civilians” – “Defined in the Code of Federal Regulations as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives” (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85).”

3 “START” DATA National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Response to Terrorism – University of Maryland Convergence of several databases + new additions from media – What qualifies: Intend to coerce/intimidate/convey message beyond immediate victims Aimed at attaining political/social/religious goal Context outside of legitimate warfare – Almost 100,000 terrorist incidents between 1970 and ,000 bombings, 14,000 assassinations, and 4,700 kidnappings

4 From START data Terrorism events have declined substantially since the 1970s – Turbulence of late 1960s-1970s – Left Wing (Weathermen) and Right Wing (White supremacists) The terrorist events that have occurred have been much larger in magnitude – Oklahoma city bombing – First WTC bombing – 9/11 Roughly one half of terrorism cases world wide, and one-third in the U.S. remain unsolved

5 Terrorist attacks on U.S. soil Salmonella 1993 OK 9/11 Poison WTC bomb

6 Types of Terrorism Domestic terrorism – U.S. Left Wing (Weathermen, Eco-Terrorism) Right Wing (Militias, Timothy McVeigh) International terrorism – 9/11 attack State terrorism – Against domestic or foreign “enemies” German atrocities against Jews circa WWII

7 Terrorism and the Media Scholars have pointed out that there is a natural match – Terrorists depend on media Use event to coerce larger audience: high visibility targets, graphic acts, pre-event contact with media outlets, post-event videos – Media as a natural venue for terrorism Dramatic, violent, visual, timely (vs. wars which are protracted, highly complex…) HIGH RATINGS

8 Response to Terrorism Difficult balance – Aggressive response  detection, deterrence – Concern  civil rights, overreaching Examples – USA Patriot Act Warrantless search and seizures, wiretapping, etc. – Global War on Terror Interrogation techniques, use of drones to assassinate, etc.

9 Situational Crime Prevention Reduce opportunities for offending Gains in technology, training, and enforcement techniques likely played a role in the reduction of terrorist attacks – Monitoring of bomb-making materials, airport security, FBI stings, etc.

10 Boston Bombing in Context Domestic or Foreign? Media Coverage Response Situational Crime Prevention – Pressure cooker bombs with kitchen timers – 26 mile course, densely packed with spectators

11 Crimes of the Powerful Organized Crime White Collar Crime – Occupational Crime – Corporate Crime

12 Organized Crime Criminal activity committed by groups with some manner of formalized structure – Primary goal is typically money and power Some ambiguity here – Street gangs versus drug cartels – Terrorist groups

13 Just how organized is it? The Alien Conspiracy Model (foreign criminals) – Highly organized and centralized – Sicilian “Mafia” (La Cosa Nostra) as poster child Mafia code (loyalty, respect, discipline), secret oaths, Local, ethnic group model – Strong family ties and obligations related to kinship and ethnicity Distrust of outsiders and government Capacity for organization and cooperation among groups Ability to cultivate good will of local residents – Influence limited to cities/geographical areas

14 Crimes of the organized Illegal Industries – Gambling, narcotics distribution, loan sharking, extortion, insurance scams, fencing… – Violence associated with enforcement Legitimate industry – Used to launder money + create monopolies + extort Restaurants/food, garbage disposal, garment manufacturing, labor unions, construction… Political – Bribery, fixing elections, coercing agents of criminal justice, etc.

15 The Mafia Mafia is often used as general term – Usually refers to Italian Americans (Sicilian) – La Cosa Nostra (“our thing” in Italian) Fodder for entertainment media (Sopranos, The Godfather, Goodfellas) Famous New York crime families (Gambino, Genovese) Joseph Valachi testimony (1963) before the Senate – The organization and crime families do exist, but the level of organization often exaggerated – Does “stand apart” because of its pervasiveness, control over illegitimate markets, and penetration into legitimate industry

16 Law Enforcement Methods Headhunting – Target heads of organized crime families, use informants + surveillance to indict – Successful? Fairly successful at knocking off “heads” but still organized crime Organized Crime Control Act (1970) – Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Statutes – Prosecutor ability to provide witness protection

17 The Russian Mafia The new media darling – Law and Order, more recent movies Similar to Italian Mafia Both began by extorting money from fellow immigrants and quickly moved into other areas, and both have reputation for violence Differences – Less cultural/ethnic loyalty, partnerships more opportunistic Fewer “bosses” who collect a cut of illicit ventures, greater flexibility

18 White Collar Crime Edwin Sutherland – “A crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation” Urged criminologists to focus on crimes of the upper class, as opposed to street crime (still an issue today) – What is “counted” counts Sutherland’s study of 70 largest corporations: official records revealed over 980 law violations (fraud, bribery, antitrust) – Much “War Profiteering”

19 More recent typology of WCC Occupational Crime – Crimes committed by individuals in the course of their occupation for personal gain Theft/embezzlement, medical fraud by physicians, therapist having sex with client… Corporate or Organizational Crime – Crimes committed by corporations (and their executives) for the benefit of the corporation Organizations include small business and blue collar endeavors (auto repair shops)

20 Occupational Crimes Employee embezzlement and pilferage – Collective embezzlement Savings and Loans crime wave in the 1980s (land flips) Professional Fraud – Lawyers, Physicians How many hours to bill clients Unnecessary procedures and surgeries, Medicaid/Medicare fraud

21 Organizational Crime Many organizational crimes are “blue collar” – Auto repair, appliance repair 20/20 and 60 minutes stings – Fraudulent businesses (roofing, blacktop) – Small businesses

22 Corporate Crime Fraud, Cheating, Corruption – The Enron Scandal Not alone—the most egregious of the 1990s/2000s era – Halliburton, WorldCom, Rite Aid, Adelphia… Enron = cooking books  stocks price (overstate earnings, hide losses) + energy market – Accounting firm (Arthur Anderson) complicit the fraud – 31 people indicted (Jeff Skilling, Ken Lay) – More on the “Great Recession” and bailout More on the “Great Recession” and bailout

23 Corporate Crime II Other financial – Price Fixing / Collusion (gas prices) – False advertising (bait and switch) Corporate Violence – Unsafe work conditions (miners, asbestos) – Unsafe products (contaminated food) FORD PINTO CASE, PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY, Asbestos – Pollution

24 Cost of WCC Cost MUCH higher than street crime – $17 billion vs. roughly $400 billion – 16,000 homicides vs. 100,000 unnecessary deaths

25 What causes WCC? Lenience? – Double standard embedded in culture—not “real” criminals Weak/absent regulations –rely on “ethics” and self- regulation Difficulty in proving crime (complex, good lawyers, lack resources to prosecute) – SEC  over 10 years, 600 cases referred for prosecution, and less than 1/3 resulted in convictions with less than 1/6 resulting in jail or prison time Weak punishment  civil settlements with no admission of wrongdoing – Fines often less than 1% of corporate PROFITS for a year

26 Irony Conservatives cry out for punishment for street crimes, but believe that much corporate “crime” can be cured by self-regulation Liberals decry harsh punishment, especially for non-violent offenders, but believe that WCC could be reduced greatly through prison time – Corporations more “rational” than individuals?

27 Psycho Corporations Psychopaths: – Insensitive, Manipulative, Superficial charm, Above-average intelligence, Absence of psychotic symptoms, Absence of anxiety, Lack of remorse, Failure to learn from experience, Egocentric, Lack of emotional depth – Corporations are not supposed to be compassionate or think of long-term consequences


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