Crime and terrorism
Friday June 21, 14.30 - 16.00
Session 6, Auditorium 3, Eilert Sundt building
Chair: Rachel Monaghan
- Myths, propaganda and the reality of terrorist financing through trafficking of art and antiquities - Samuel Andrew Hardy
- A Pathway Towards Radicalization: Linking Criminology to the Boston Bombers - Joshua Regan
- The Manchurian Responder: Infiltration Versus Inspiration As a Threat To Public Safety - Ryan J. McGovern
- The “Islamist Mafias”: A New Perspective On the Study of Th Crime Terror Nexus - Luciano Pollichieni
- Better Not “More” Data: Implications From a Crime-Terror Nexus Research Project - Kacper Rekawek, Martina Babikova, Viktor Szucs
Myths, propaganda and the reality of terrorist financing through trafficking of art and antiquities
Samuel Andrew Hardy, UCL Qatar and Norwegian Institute in Rome
While institutions and agencies such as UNESCO, the UNODC and Interpol assert that there is increasing involvement of terrorists in looting/theft, trafficking and sale of cultural goods, other agencies and experts assert that there is little or no evidence of any such involvement in the illicit trade. Beyond arguments over the classification of information as intelligence, evidence or proof, the available data may be seriously limited. Moreover, the apparent data are being polluted by violent actors, allied factions and states and aligned (academic and professional) cultural specialists, think tanks and media.
Using satellite imagery, mass media and social media, this paper explores how open-source analysis is enabling the fact-checking of claims, the rehabilitation of some damaged data and the foundation of an evidence base upon which to build an empirical understanding of the contribution of trafficking of art and antiquities to the financing of state forces and armed groups as well as terrorists. In so doing, it also explores how cultural property crime – in the form of destruction as well as extraction, in conflict zones such as Yemen, Syria, Turkey and Ukraine – is being used to shift opinion and mobilise action in those societies and outside.
A Pathway Towards Radicalization: Linking Criminology to the Boston Bombers
Joshua Regan, Western Connecticut State University
On April 15, 2013, two improvised explosive devices detonated at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. This attack (i.e. the Boston Bombing) was initiated by two ethnic Russian brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (i.e. the Boston Bombers), who were residing in the United States as political refugees. Why would Tamerlan and Dzhokhar execute such a heinous act? What grievances did they have against the United States? The purpose of this paper is to use criminological theories to explain how Tamerlan and Dzhokhar became radicalized and why they elected to participate in this violent act. The paper will first provide a summary of the Boston Bombing. Next, using applications of Social Learning Theory, the paper will argue that Tamerlan and Dzhokhar acquired terror-related knowledge from social and non-social sources. Following that, the paper will use applications of Strain Theory to contend that societal pressures played a pivotal role in the radicalization of the Boston Bombers. Lastly, the paper will provide some concluding remarks on the Boston Bombing, acts of domestic terrorism, and implications of the criminological theories selected.
The “Islamist mafias”: a new pespective on the study of the crime terror nexus
Luciano Pollichieni, University of Nottingham
This research will demonstrate how some terrorist groups have evolved from terrorism to organised crime becoming a different type of criminal group: the “Islamist Mafia”. The “Islamist Mafia” is a criminal organization, which uses violence and religion to achieve the enrichment of its members in terms of power. Two case studies will be examined to prove this assumption: the one of the Sahelian Jihadi Groups and the one of the Haqqani Network.
This paper will examine three research questions: a) is it possible for terrorist groups to evolve into organized criminal groups? b) If so, how do their main objectives change? c) In what ways does an Islamist Mafia exist?
This research will fill two gaps in the literature on the crime terror nexus. First, it will offer a paradigm to overcome the profit vs. ideology dichotomy that characterizes the studies on the subject nowadays. Second, focusing on the convergence sector of the crime terror continuum, it will offer a better explication about the evolution of terrorist groups from terrorism to organized crime along the above-mentioned continuum.
Better Not “More” Data: Implications From a Crime-Terror Nexus Research Project
Kacper Rekawek, Martina Babikova, Viktor Szucs, National Security Programme;
Two years ago GLOBSEC embarked on a multi-national project which entailed collecting and analysing data on convicted terrorism arrestees from 11 EU countries to check whether they had been criminals before turning terrorist. EU enlargement, data revolution and opening up of new chanels of communication allowed the project team to successfully collect different types of available data without major issues, and to become more efficient and exact in relation to hypotheses and assumptions behind the project. Based on the experience of the Crime-Terror Nexus project, this paper argues that it is the quality, not quantity, of data that is crucial to help us better understand pathways into terrorism. The paper makes the case for better use of existing datasets, by specialist researchers better placed to understand the data in light of specific local contexts. The paper makes recommendations for policy makers to improve the data gathering approaches in particular national settings. In so doing, we contribute to the debate on the use of data not only in terrorism studies, but academic research more generally, concluding that, where data is concerned, “bigger” does not always mean “better”.