International Crime, Terrorism, and Organized Crime Trends Research Paper

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International Crime, Terrorism, And Organized Crime Trends

Comparing contrasting topics international crime, terrorism, organized crime trends

This research has confirmed the possibility of close correlation between money laundering activities, Islamic terrorist fundraising, organized crime, and corruption of public officials throughout Brazilian Hizballah region. The organized crime networks and the Islamic extremists of Brazil must be examined in collaboration because they are connected to wider networks in Latin America zone and across the world. All the organized activities and terrorists in Brazilian Hizballah were facilitated by corrupt officials, which were driven by the benefits of lucrative criminal activities conducted such as business ventures by terrorists and organized crime groups. Consequently, there was a mutually beneficial association among the three sectors. In this study, Brazilian Hizballah will serve as a microcosm.

Introduction

A number of free-Trade American regions with massive Middle Eastern populations permit organized crime mafias, Islamic terrorist groups, and corrupt officials of the government to grow in a symbiotic, mutually beneficial relationship. This study focuses on Brazil and the United States whilst comparing the topics of international crime, terrorism, and organized crime trends in Brazil. The study has focused on the most significant and the largest of these regions: Brazil. Estimates have shown the extent to which corrupt officials and organized crime benefit from this duty-free area. It is shown that Islamist fundamentalist advocates in Brazil and other areas in Latin America send between $400 million and $600 million annually (Duyan & NATO Emerging Security Challenges Division, 2012). The money is obtained through arms dealing, drug trafficking and other illegal acts like money laundering, product piracy and contraband to radical Islamist movements in the Middle East. The support networks of TBA's Islamic extremists include Iquique, Margarita Island, and core areas of Arab people within this zone like Brazilian Hizballah.

Further, the violent Islamic group members allegedly began recruiting sympathizers and planting agents among the Muslim and Arab immigrants residing in Latin America around early 1980s in the face of the civil war in Lebanese. This led to the formation of Hizballah cells in the Brazil because of proselytization of Hizballah in the Lebanese communities. Islamist organizations like the al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, Hizballah and the Islamic Resistance Movement actively utilized Brazilian Hizballah as a support base. Reportedly, al Qaeda created a strong presence in the area from at least the early 1990s (Hoffman, 2006). By the wake of 2000s, approximately five hundred Hizballah agents were believed to be residing and working in Brazil's Hizballah area (Giraldo, 2007). A number of Palestinian and Lebanese extremists relocated to Brazilian Hizballah from Colombia. With support from corrupt officials and organized crime, these Islamic terrorist movements used Brazilian Hizballah to generate revenues via illegal activities including counterfeiting, drugs and arms trafficking, forging travel documents, money laundering, and even pirating music and software. Additionally, they offered assistance and haven to other groups of terrorists that transited the zone. Reportedly, Al Qaeda used the Ciudad Del Este are to carry out significant fund-raisings.

Individuals suspected to be Hizballah terrorists made Brazilian Hizballah be their base for conducting major terrorist attacks in the 1990s (Almeida, 2008). One attack was against a Jewish Community while the other was against the Israeli Embassy. Since the early attacks in 1990s, Islamic terrorists in the region have continued to confine their acts to criminal fundraising to support their terrorist movements (Giraldo, 2007). This support included plotting of terrorist activities to be conducted out in other nations.

Terrorist Fund-Raising activities in Brazilian Hizballah Region

Trafficking of Narcotics

In this region, Narcotic trafficking in relation to Lebanese Mafia became the main activity of organized crime syndicate and the Islamic terrorist group and organized crime. With considerable hidden airstrips and lax border controls, Brazilian Hizballah became popular with gunrunners, contraband smugglers, and drug traffickers. A vast volume of small airplanes took off from clandestine airstrips from the territory of Paraguay and entered the Brazilian air space. Some of these groups also crossed the Misiones Province in Argentina. Brazilian Hizballah was a conduit for drug smuggling that served as a transit nation for Andean cocaine. One route along the Brazil- Bolivia-Paraguay went across Ciudad Del Este, and Foz do Iguacu to the ports of Santos, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and the ports of Paranagua (Giraldo, 2007). Regardless of the Brazil's relatively limited role, as a conduit for drug smuggling, it is obvious that trafficking of narcotics remained a main activity in the zone. In addition, the Lebanese Mafia and the Hizballah network were heavily involved in it. A number of Lebanese citizens were captured with volumes of cocaine in Beirut airport. Recently, the citizens were in charge of running coffee bars in the Islamic center. The suspects were considered fugitives.

Other Fund-Raising Activities

It is estimated that Hizballah received $100 million annually from Iran (Hoffman, 2006). Besides this statistic, the group similarly used funds from the related communities like the Shiite in the Lebanese from the United States, West Africa and Brazil was the most important source of funding. The local Arab population concealed money laundering among Islamic in Brazil, whereby huge sums of money were sent to relatives living in the Middle East. A few of these remittances were suspected to be directed to Arab terrorist movements especially Hizballah. In early 2003, officials from Brazil associated Lebanese terrorists in the country with counterfeiting U.S. dollars, money laundering among other illegal activities (Duyan & NATO Emerging Security Challenges Division, 2012). As evidenced, they claimed that countless U.S. dollars stamped by the currency exchange banks of Lebanese, some of these dollars were in phony bills and wire transfer receipts were made between the Brazil and Middle East.

In response, Brazil created a coordinated policy to combat terrorism in nations that formed Mercosur (Common Market of the South). Brazilian Hizballah had offered logistical aid to terrorist groups through giving money to movements operating worldwide. Activities like drug trafficking and illegal trafficking of immigrants in the region were singled out as components tied to terrorism, in some way. Authorities in Brazil estimated that over $6 billion were involved in illegal funding through laundering in the TBA (Giraldo, 2007). Each nightfall, dozens of armored trucks loaded with money for laundering left the Brazilian town towards the border. Similarly, Brazilian authorities issued an order to suspend remitting of dollars abroad. However, this order excluded armored trucks or vans leaving Brazil as vans ferrying dollars crisscrossed the bridge in Brazil.

In the late 2000s, groups of Islamic extremists, particularly Arab residents sent almost $600 million to Hamas and Hizballah through financial institutions in Hizballah. Various groups of Arabs continued to remit money in Brazil apparently between 1997 and 2001. It is argued that these funds were obtained from arms trafficking and related illegal acts (Giraldo, 2007).

Clandestine Terrorist Communications in Brazil

Open source indications show that Islamic terrorist network in Brazil maintained telephone communications worldwide operatives among them America. The FBI allegedly traced a number of mobile phones between the U.S. And at least one town in Brazil immediately after the 2001, September terrorist attack. The role played by Brazilian Hizballah Islamic terrorists in this attack remains unconfirmed (Almeida, 2008).

A number of al Qaeda agencies in Brazil might have been aware of the September attacks and discussed the plan in an identified mosque within the Foz do Iguacu area. This was a contentious issue in 2001 when some Moroccan students were later arrested in Brazil (Lum & Kennedy, 2012). The students maintained that they overheard a group of Islamic extremists planning the Al Qaeda attacks against Washington and New York in Foz do Iguacu some days before the attack. Press reports in Brazil indicate that the students contacted an attorney visiting them in prison and requested him to deliver an urgent letter to Israeli, Brazilian authorities and U.S.. The latter warned these authorities of an impending attack with twofold explosions, which could happen in the United States.

Later, Brazil became part of the Islamic terrorist base for their clandestine communications network referred to as PABX that was meant to evade eavesdropping on phone conversations by satellites through connecting a number of telephone networks. It was possible to make calls from Brazil to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to Brazil without raising suspicions. As a result, police in Brazil finally detected close to seven clandestine communication bases in the area of near Foz do Iguacu. These bases were used to receive and make mobile calls to and from Afghanistan and Middle East. Prior to the U.S. September 11 attack, investigators in Brazil became suspicious of what they believed to be illicit schemes aimed at cutting down the cost of making telephone calls (Almeida, 2008). However, after the attack, suspicions shifted to potential terrorist attack as the illegal calls landed in nations such as Lebanon, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Concerned about what was categorized as an action of the Islamic extremist unit in TBA, Brazil launched undercover operations the area. A few weeks later, Brazil learnt that a number of clandestine telephone exchanges likely to…

Sources Used in Document:

References

Almeida, J. (2008). Brazil in focus: Economic, political and social issues. New York: Nova Science Publishers.

Duyan, A., & NATO Emerging Security Challenges Division. (2012). Defence against terrorism: Different dimensions and trends of an emerging threat: [proceedings of the NATO Advanced Training Course on Defence Against Terrorism: Different Dimensions and Trends of the Emerging Threat - Terrorism, Kabul, Afghanistan, 23-27 May 2010]. Amsterdam: Ios Pres in cooperation with NATO Emerging Security Challenges Division.

Friedlander, R.A., Levie, H.S. & Lovelace, D.C. (2009). Terrorism: Documents of international and local control. Dobbs Ferry, N.Y: Oceana Publications.

Giraldo, J.K. (2007). Terrorism financing and state responses: A comparative perspective. Stanford, Calif: Stanford Univ. Press.

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