So what do tPP team members do?

As we begin recruiting for the next class of tPP students, I have been receiving a lot of emails asking what exactly being part of the team entails. Well, in the fall, tPP will be ran through SJS497 where we will learn data science and methodology skillsets in the classroom each Tuesday, and then practice them in the classroom each Thursday. For example, on a Tuesday we may learn how to verify a newspaper story via locating and interpreting a criminal indictment, and on Thursday, use that approach to verify and complete various cases under analysis.

Throughout the semester we plan to cover a wide range of tasks, including but now limited to:

  • Coding cases: This is one of the main tasks of tPP. This involves studying a particular criminal case, collecting the necessary source documents (e.g. Case Docket, Indictment, Criminal Complaint, Plea Agreement, Sentencing Memorandum, newspaper article) and then translating these texts into codes from our code book. For a bizarre cartoon explaining Qualitative Coding, check this out. Like all tPP skills, this will be taught in class and then practiced in a workshop style
  • Checking, improving and verifying cases already in our system. This is especially important as cases change–defendants are sentenced, fugitives are captured and tried, and arrests continue to occur
  • Helping to identify new cases for inclusion through reviewing and monitoring services of the Department of Justice, US Attorney’s Office, FBI and others.
  • ‘Scraping’ and ‘mining’ texts from large documents to help locate new cases for inclusion and to ensure all appropriate cases are counted
  • Evaluating cases marked for exclusion through investigating the facts of the cases and working them through a decision tree
  • Evaluating documents for accuracy, authenticity and reliability; rep-lacing poorly scoring sources with better sources
  • Reviewing the work of your fellow coders, providing peer-review and intercoder reliability and helping to refine the code book
  • Refining the data for analysis which involves ‘cleaning’ the data, shifting its format, exporting/importing and learning how to work with the materials in SPSS, R, Tableu, GIS and a variety of other tool suites.

So if this sounds like you, get in touch with us. Check out this post for information on SJS497 and the application process.

tPP’s brand new tri-fold pamphlet

Here at tPP, we believe in communicating. We want to be in communication with scholars, with journalists, with policy makers and anyone who would like to engage with complex questions. To that end, we have recently completed designing a tri-fold pamphlet in conjunction with Nando Zegarra, Kendall Erickson, and the folks at Miami University’s SLANT Marketing & Design.

We’ve already put these into the hands of a few noted scholars, a few students, and a reporter or two. We plan to use them to better communicate to students about the opportunities the project offers, and to make direct appeals to incoming students, and other prospective coders, analysts and team members.

To check it out, click here: tPP tri-fold pamphlet

tPP crunches the numbers for news report

In what we hope will be a recurring pattern, tPP was contacted by a reporter investigating threats against elected officials. Since we have a rather unique data set, we were able to provide the investigator with a quantitative breakdown of our relevant cases, as well as speak to him on the phone to provide context, background and help frame the data.

You can see the great reporting here: https://qz.com/1578862/arrests-for-death-threats-against-us-politicians-rose-in-2018/

You can also see the great findings and analysis report provided by tPP Steering Committee members Athena Chapekis and Lauren Donahoe here: tPP report on threatening public officials

tPP forms its Fall 2019 team!

Hello current & future tPP team members!
We are excited to announce that we will continue to build, refine and analyze the tPP data set this fall through a new course, SJS497, which Miami University students are welcome and encouraged to enroll in to serve on the project for the Fall 2019 semester.
This is a very exciting time to join the project as our completed case count nears 1,700, our first publications are about to come out, our Advisory Board forms, and our social media presence is getting more and more attention.
SJS497 (CRN:75594)…the class through which we’ll be running the Prosecution Project through for the Fall, will be held Tuesday and Thursdays, 10:05-11:25 in Upham Hall. You will need to register for the course to participate as part of the central coding, research and analysis team. If you plan to register for the class, you MUST get in contact with tPP’s Director, Dr. Loadenthal, and let him know. A few points of clarification:
  1. The class will be limited to 25 students, and with 20 students (as of 5 April) already asking to join, we are very encouraged. Soon we will be reaching out to invite applicants from Sociology/Criminology, pre-law, Political Science, International Studies, Global and Inter-Cultural Studies, and other programs. We expect these efforts to fill the remaining seats in the class. So if you are interested in the class, please let us know ASAP.
  2. If you have not been a part of the team in the past, you will need to complete the application online so we can see where best to place you in the project. The form should take less than 10 minutes and is available here: https://tpp.lib.miamioh.edu/want-to-join-the-team/. After completing the form, you’ll need to email your resume/CV to Dr. Loadenthal.
  3. We are also looking to recruit a small number of students for specific project roles. These students would not be expected to enroll in SOC497 but would instead work alongside the project Director via an Independent Study. If you have experience in any of the following areas and would like to take part in the project, contact Dr. Loadenthal
    • machine learning/Python
    • grant writing
    • mapping/GIS
    • database design (e.g. File Maker, SQL)
  4. If you use Twitter, please follow us (https://twitter.com/ProsecutionThe) so you can begin to see what types of cases make up the project. Casually following these updates between now and August will suit you well for engaging with tPP in the fall.
(our Spring 2019 team)

Faults in Statistical Analysis and tPP’s Solutions


This continues our series of student reflections and analysis authored by our research team.


Continuing along the theme of the correlation we might find between attack lethality (i.e. the number of fatalities recorded from a terrorist incident) and affiliation with an FTO, there are several problems we may encounter as a team when running linear regressions on the variable “Number Killed” with any other variable. The tPP dataset, for one, is a dataset that codes terrorist incidents on an individual basis rather than an event basis. Because of this, when running a linear regression on“Number Killed” and “Affiliation with FTO”, for example, the scatterplot will include individual data points for each individual. This is problematic because when we consider cases that include multiple perpetrators, fatalities will be repetitively counted based on the number of perpetrators carrying out the attack. Take, for example, the case in my previous blog post which included six individuals who called themselves “The Family” and carried out attacks that were affiliated with the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth LiberationFront (ELF). In the arson attack on BLM Wild Horse Corrals in Litchfield, California, all six individuals carried out the attack, be it through organizing or perpetrating the actual attack. Although there are no deaths which resulted from the incident, each of the six individuals which appear in our dataset are assigned a 0 value for the “Number Killed” variable. When any statistical software plots this attack on a graph, the zero deaths that resulted from this attack will be counted six different times, essentially as six different incidents. In other words, any regression which runs the variable“Number Killed” against another variable will be skewed and inaccurate.

In addition to the repetitive counting issue we see in regressions including the “Number Killed” variable, we also see a significant number of extreme outliers for the yes-valued entries under “Affiliation with FTO” when running a regression between the two variables (this regression was accomplished in my preliminary analysis on the correlation between attack lethality and FTO affiliation). Although, we also see a substantial number of outliers for the no-valued entries under“Affiliation with FTO”, most of the numerical values for these outliers are much lower than the numerical values of the yes-valued data points. Take, for example, the figure below. In this figure, we would not expect the relationship between “Number Killed” and “Affiliation with FTO” to be linear, rather we would expect the relationship to be exponential. Due to this skewed nature of“Affiliation with FTO”, a linear regression, again, would not accurately capture the relationship between the two variables. This is problematic because the linear equation we would obtain from running a linear regression on the scatterplot below, would not give meaningful results and our analysis would be distorted. In the preliminary analysis we ran on these two variables we concluded that there is a significant positive relationship between “NumberKilled” and “Affiliation with FTO”, but because of the two major issues 1) with the nature of the dataset 2) with the nature of the “Affiliation with FTO”variable, our analysis is mired in falsehoods.

To resolve the issue of repetitive counting in our dataset, we are in the process of compiling the entries in tPP to a secondary dataset which will account for all of the perpetrators in the dataset but will record each entry on a per incident basis. In other words, this new dataset will eliminate the counting errors experienced in our original dataset. The new dataset will allow members of tPP to run regressions on the“Number Killed” and “Number Injured” variables with other variables in our dataset and obtain accurate results. As tPP is approaching its fifth semester in existence, a separate “analysis” course has been created for team members to extrapolate constructive and meaningful results from our data. The new dataset will be crucial in furthering students quantitative analysis of our data.

Then, to resolve the issue of skewedness in the above scatterplot, and in my existing regression, the variable “NumberKilled” will need to be logged on “Affiliation with FTO”.

This equation will come closer in producing a realistic relationship between “Number Killed” and “Affiliation with FTO”.

As tPP moves forward, it is our goal to always analyze our data in an accurate and ethical manner. The problems that we have encountered thus far are in the process of being resolved. We will continue to resolve any issues we notice along the way.

  • Meg

Who are informants and what role do they play in prosecutions?


This continues our series of student reflections and analysis authored by our research team.


Within the tPP dataset, there is a code that involves informants.  It is a binary variable and indicates whether or not an informant was used for the defendant.  Most of the informants within our dataset are from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  With this variable, about 72% of our defendants had informants for their cases (817 of 1130 cases).  It is interesting to examine the rules and regulations behind these informants.  There have been five sets of guidelines over the past 30 or more years.  These guidelines were set by the attorney general at the time in conjunction with Congress and some of the committees that deal with criminals and terrorism.  Each of these guidelines builds off of the previous set of guidelines and adds different aspects to these guidelines respective to the time and the arising threats.

The five guidelines include; The Levi Guidelines (1976), The Civiletti Guidelines (1980-1981), The Smith Guidelines (1983), The Thornburgh Guidelines (1989), and the Reno Guidelines (2001).  The Levi Guidelines establish the basics of FBI investigations that occur due to finding specific facts that lead them to believe a violent crime is inevitable. These guidelines wanted to minimize the use of informants and maximize the rights of the citizens (Office of Inspector General).  These guidelines caused many concerns for the FBI especially with their collection and use of intelligence to help prevent large-scale attacks.

In the beginning of the 1980s, a new set of guidelines were put into place and these were the Civiletti Guidelines.  Most of the changes that these new guidelines brought about allowed FBI informants to participate in criminal activities through authorization, created new directions for FBI informants to follow, and clarified and revised undercover operations practices (Office of Inspector General).  Many of these changes were in response to actions of the FBI at the time and some of its undercover operations.

A few years later, the Smith Guidelines were introduced (1983).  These guidelines relaxed the restraints on domestic security investigations to allow for the FBI to protect citizens from more complex groups while also allowing for peaceful and lawful dissent (Office of Inspector General).  These guidelines also allowed for a greater look into terrorism and developed rules and regulations for a domestic security/terrorism investigation (Office of Inspector General).  The use of terrorism by groups within the United States was increasing at this time and becoming more of a problem for law enforcement.  These new guidelines helped to establish a way for the FBI to deal with these emerging threats in a lawful way.

At the end of the 1980s, the Thornburgh Guidelines were developed. It arose from a case that the FBI was working internationally with a group in El Salvador.  These guidelines added direction for field offices when dealing with cases involving international terrorism (Office of Inspector General).  Questions arose concerning the FBI dealing with some international cases of terrorism and whether they were going past their rights and any individual rights.  These new guidelines addressed what the FBI can and cannot do concerning international terrorism.

The last set of guidelines that were put into place were the Reno Guidelines in 2001.  Concerns had arisen about the capabilities of the FBI to handle large cases of terrorism such as McVeigh’s bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.  On the other hand, there were also concerns about the handling of informants by the FBI.  The Reno Guidelines clarified and revised the Civiletti Guidelines concerning the use and handling of informants as well as changing the interpretation of some of the previous guidelines to give greater confidence to the FBI when dealing with cases of preventing terrorist attacks (Office of Inspector General).

All of these guidelines build upon each other and help reconcile some problems the FBI has had in the past.  It makes sure that the FBI is staying within the rights of the citizens as well as helping them in combating domestic terrorism.  Understanding the role of the informant within these cases allows for a deeper analysis of the defendants who had informants within our dataset.

– Lizzy Springer


References

Office of the Inspector General. 2005. “Historical Background of the Attorney General’s Investigative Guidelines.” Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Compliance with the Attorney General’s Investigative Guidelines.

Mapping


This continues our series of student reflections and analysis authored by our research team.


As mentioned in my previous blog post about analyzing group affiliation and ideologies, mapping is a great tool for visualizing patterns of attack. Terrorism research has drastically increased in the past 20 years. For more in depth analyses, it is essential to apply a variety of multidisciplinary fields to the subject of terrorism for a deeper understanding. The use of geographical theory presents an opportunity to understand the varying ways space affects decision making within the realm of political violence. It is able to provide a systematic way of interpreting data regarding the patterns of attack.

Geographic information systems (GIS) is a tool used to create maps which help display visualized geographical data for further analysis. The GIS application, fusion table, is a user friendly tool for those trying to experiment with mapping. For my second mini analysis, I chose to utilize fusion table in order to display information about group affiliation and ideology of defendants. I was able to display two types of maps, feature and heat maps, using tPP’s dataset. I utilized three variables from the dataset which were location of attack (city), group affiliation and ideological affiliation. Each of the maps I created presented a variation of findings, but not all showed clear patterns.

To generate significant findings regarding group affiliation, I isolated the 12 groups with the most cases included in the dataset. These 12 groups, including no affiliation, all had more than 10 cases recorded. It was important to choose sample sizes such as these because attempting to map a group with less than 10 cases would provide insignificant data without clear patterns. The groups I chose to include for mapping location of attack (city) are included in the chart below.

Relevant Group Affiliation Number of Attacks
No affiliation 352
al Qaeda 145
Hezbollah 78
ISIL 75
FARC 53
al Shabab 40
ELF 31
Animal Liberation Front 24
Hamas 20
Taliban 20
KKK 18
Army of God 11

Each of the maps I created for the twelve group affiliations presented interesting findings. All of the maps I created depicted some type of pattern, yet a number of them showed outliers. A few of these outliers I was able to justify, but others proved to be random concentrations of attack. One of the significant outliers was the concentrations of attack in Minnesota. When I mapped ISIL and al Shabab, both heat maps presented the color red which suggested a significant amount of attacks by each group within that particular state. After further investigation, I realized that Minnesota is home to the largest group of immigrants from Somalia. These people are often targeted by terrorist groups for recruitment and therefore make up a handful of cases with charges of support/association of a terrorist organization. This provided a solid explanation as to why this outlier existed on my heat map. The map below helps visualize the patterns and outliers of defendants associated with al Shabab.

The group of defendants with no affiliation make up a majority of the attacks I focused on. This group made up 40% of the 868 cases I plotted through mapping. After creating the heat map for the group of no affiliation, it was clear that defendants with no affiliation largely attack major US cities. It is common for urban areas to be the location of attack for many terrorist groups, but those with no affiliation to a group clearly focus solely on cities and their nearby surroundings. There was no clear pattern of attack on a specific region of the US, rather, the locations of attack were spread across nearly every major city.

Using geographical tools to understand terrorism and its patterns presents an interesting way of visualizing data. Rather than configuring numbers and creating complex ways to analyze information, mapping allows a researcher to visually see patterns that may exist in their data. In the future I would like to learn how to use other types of GIS applications to expand upon my understand of mapping. More complex applications like QGIS contain tools for other types of analyzations that are able to present different types of geographical findings.

– Jessica Enhelder

Death Penalty Cases in Relation to Othered Status


This continues our series of student reflections and analysis authored by our research team.


The tPP data set[1] contains 17 cases that resulted in a death penalty conviction.  These cases were analyzed in a separate data set to determine if there were any consistencies or correlations between the cases.  The variable of othered status was considered because of the rhetoric that surrounds terrorism.  According to Panagopoulos, “The terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001, fueled widespread concern and speculation about mounting Islamophobic sentiment among Americans in response to the events.”[2]  Since Americans say this large act of terrorism committed by those of an Islamic faith, they believe that all severe acts of terrorism are also committed by members of that same faith.

This can be proven to be false by analyzing the cases of death penalty convictions and noting that the number of individuals who commit crimes that receive death penalty convictions is almost three times higher for those who are non-othered than those who are considered othered.  This indicates that there is almost three times as many non-othered individuals making up the death penalty subset than othered individuals.  This demonstrates that othered people are not committing the acts of terrorism that receive the harshest sentences and subsequently are not committing the most violent or heinous acts of terrorism.

This is important distinction to note because of the rhetoric that surrounds terrorism. Also, it is important to know that when the entire tPP data set[4] is statistically analyzed using descriptive statistics in SPSS, it was determined that the whole data set consists of 60.32% othered individuals.  This shows that even though they are not committing the most atrocious acts with the harshest sentences they make up the majority of acts of terrorism.

This can be explained through the use of terror management theory.  Terror management theory[5] enables one to protects their self-esteem and asserts their superiority of their own group versus the inferiority of the other groups.  This leads to prejudices and discrimination of those inferior groups in order to protect the superior groups self-worth, value as a group, or overall feeling of safety and security.  Those of the in-group, or members of the majority, will discriminate against minorities in order to protect against their own personal fears and protect their own self-esteem.  This may explain why the United States convicts so many members of the Muslim faith even if they are not committing the harshest crimes.  The members of the superior group are still basing assumptions off of one attack that caused mass amounts of public fear and has thus caused discrimination and bias to ensue for those of the othered status.

– Hannah Hendricks


References

[1] Loadenthal, Michael, Zoe Belford, Izzy Bielamowicz, Jacob Bishop, Athena Chapekis, Morgan Demboski, Bridget Dickens, Lauren Donahoe, Alexandria Doty, Megan Drown, Jessica Enhelder, Angela Famera, Kayla Groneck, Nikki Gundimeda, Hannah Hendricks, Isabella Jackson, Taylor Maddox, Sarah Moore, Katie Reilly, Elizabeth Springer, Michael Thompson, Tia Turner, Brenda Uriona, Brendan Newman, Jenn Peters, Rachel Faraci, Maggie McCutcheon, and Megan Zimmerer, 2018. “The Prosecution Project (tPP) October 2018” Miami University Sociology Department. https://tpp.lib.miamioh.edu. Loadenthal 2018. “The Prosecution Project (Decision Tree)”

[2] Public Opinion Quarterly, Volume 70, Issue 4, 1 January 2006, Pages 608–624, https://doi.org/10.1093/poq/nfl029

[3] Hendricks. “The Prosecution Project (death penalty variable subset) October 2018” Miami University Sociology Department. https://tpp.lib.miamioh.edu.

[4] (Loadenthal et. al, 2018)

[5] Greenberg, Jeff. “Terror Management Theory.” Encyclopedia of Social Psychology, 2008. doi:10.4135/9781412956253.n580.

The Internet and Terrorism


This continues our series of student reflections and analysis authored by our research team.


The Internet is arguably the great technology ever to be invented. It allows us to research and communicate in new ways, with such ease. While a majority of us probably use the Internet for more mundane activities such as checking our email or googling diet plans, some people have realized the advantage of ease in spreading ideology and rationale for social and political causes. With the creation of new ways for communication and social media, there has been a recent rise in recruitment for activist and terrorist groups.

All websites have a domain, and that domain can be supported by a location anywhere in the world. There is no clear international law concerning the way the Internet must operate, meaning depending on the country promoting the domain, different rules will apply to it and jurisdiction over it varies. Terrorists from all different rationales have noticed the advantages the modern Internet provides them and are continually creating new websites and platforms to share ideas and recruit members. Websites belonging to terrorist organizations share similar themes in content including a history of the organization, details of their social and political background, notable accounts of events and people within, and often current news relevant to the group. However, these websites are often not as visible or accessible as others like Facebook or this website. The internet allows terrorist groups to do so much publicly and privately.

Public terrorist websites are ideal for spreading propaganda, and recruiting or at least enticing interest of potential new members. They operate similarly to sites belonging to designated hate groups, and some qualifying as both, the Southern Poverty Law Center maps, for ease of tracking. The propaganda piece of their websites helps them explain their ideology as well as create justification for their attacks, especially in instances where violence was apparent. The language used is careful and cautious, to help rid the readers’ possible negative perceptions. Through these public sites, some also offer places for fundraising through donations, for enthusiastic supporters who may be unable to help actively. These sites and uses of the Internet may be harder to scan, but this privacy allows individuals within the United States to make connections with FTO that were previously not accessible without this technology.

Before the modern terrorism of today, individuals affiliated with foreign terrorist organizations (FTO) were almost never American born. However, in the 21st century, we have seen increases in domestic terrorist attacks perpetrated by American born citizens claiming FTO affiliation. Roser, Nagdy, and Ritchie (2018), economists researching global development through statistics credit the Islamic State (ISIS) to be one of the first large-scale terrorist organizations to harness the power of the Internet to recruit and commission individuals to enact attacks. Christopher Cornell appears in our dataset with positive FTO affiliation. He is a native of Cincinnati, OH who converted to Islam in his late teens. At this time, he began using the Internet to connect on social media platforms with believed members of ISIS and quickly started to show support for their cause. Cornell was advised by his online connections to purchase assault-style rifles and commit an attack against government official in Washington, D.C. This online correspondence is part his tie and claim to an FTO.

In cases with anti-government rationale, it became especially important that we thoroughly searched for transcripts, files, or State speech that linked these perpetrators to an FTO even if they had never been out of the country. The perpetrators also do not have to have formal claim of FTO. Such as in the case with Christopher Cornell, the brief correspondences and intent to support ISIS is considered enough to be coded as “Yes” with “Foreign Affiliation” within our dataset. As the years advance in our dataset, cases of similar nature continue to increase, giving support to the idea the Internet has become a major resource for recruitment for FTO in the United States.

– Tia Turner


Sources

Board, The Editorial. “The New Radicalization of the Internet.” The New York Times. November 24, 2018. Accessed December 04, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/24/opinion/sunday/facebook-twitter-terrorism-extremism.html?rref=collection/timestopic/Terrorism&action=click&contentCollection=timestopicsion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=6&pgtype=collection.

Maura Conway; Terrorism and the Internet: New Media—New Threat?, Parliamentary Affairs, Volume 59, Issue 2, 1 April 2006, Pages 283–298, https://doi.org/10.1093/pa/gsl009

Roser, Alex, Mohamed Nagdy, and Hannah Ritchie. (2018) – “Terrorism”. Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: ‘https://ourworldindata.org/terrorism’ [Online Resource]

Weimann, Gabriel. Www.terror.net: How Modern Terrorism Uses the Internet. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace, 2004.

Where RICO Stands Now, and Where it has the Potential to Go


This continues our series of student reflections and analysis authored by our research team.


As the war on terror rages on, the scope of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) has increased in scope. Beginning in 2001, when the Patriot Act was instilled, RICO gained legal purview in the area of terrorism. RICO and the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), became closely tied. This meant that RICO and the ATA were able to work in conjunction with each other in order to give the defendant the maximum charges applicable to his or her case.

According to the Patriot Act, “any act that is indictable under any provision listed in the criminal liability section of the ATA” was now applicable to RICO cases (Perquel 2015). This lengthened the, already exceedingly long, arm of the law in relation to cases of terrorism, specifically those involving an attempt or conspiracy to provide material support. Concern regarding the mere power of RICO has been expressed. In a decision filed in New York on January 18th, 2005, the court explicitly indicated such concerns (In Re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001…2005). In its decision, which came as a response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the court stated, “Courts should strive to flush out frivolous RICO allegations at an early stage of the litigation” (Perquel 2015).

This statement is invaluable in answering my remaining question. RICO has not yet occurred in the tPP data set at a level of statistical significance. A point which baffles me, given RICOs broad interpretation. However, this quote reveals that the innate power of RICO is something the courts themselves are wary of, so as not to create a law so all-encompassing, that legal precedent and reason are ignored. Courts have also displayed reluctance in looking at the personnel involved in RICO cases. Those viewed as ‘non-essential’ personnel are, more often than not, not viewed as perpetrators, in a legal sense. This includes banks, charities, and corporations, but excludes these entities from liability and prosecution. This has proven harmful, especially when considering corporations and charities.

The role of charities and corporations has grown in criminal enterprises, such as terrorist organizations. Terrorist groups have used corporations and charities as fronts to launder money, sell goods that profit the enterprise, and raise funds that ultimately benefit their organization. Terrorist organizations have been known to use what is “supposedly a charitable organization to further their goal of supporting a known and dangerous terrorist group” (Perquel 2015). This practice of using legitimate funding sources is one example of the blurred lines between the practices of traditional organized crime groups, and terrorist organizations.

The similarities between different criminal enterprises have been increasing, as practices are borrowed and refined. For example, just as people pay a tax in exchange for protection in contested gang territory, people living in fear of terror at the hands of different kinds of extremists, also often pay a tax to evade conflict. These taxes provide necessary funding to the organizations, abroad and domestically. The role of family relationships, often associated with traditional organized has also spread to the hierarchy, and involvement, in terrorist organizations. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the tactic of using legitimate enterprises or corporations as a front for funding criminal institutions has served useful for all kinds of organized crime. Particularly, the business of cigarettes. The production and trade of cigarettes to fund terrorist organizations has even spread to Latin America, where the contraband is produced (Perquel 2015).

Illegitimate companies are not the only ones willing to consort with criminals and terrorists in their effort to conduct illegal business. Multinational corporations have also gotten in to the business of affiliating with terrorists and other groups in order to benefit themselves. Multinational corporations have displayed a “willingness… to engage with terrorists to increase market share and profits.

“Al-Qaeda is to terror what the mafia is to crime. But its goal is not making money; rather its goal is to remake the world.” -President George W. Bush, days after the 9/11 attacks.

– Emily Lightman


Works Cited

In Re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001, 349 F. Supp. 2d 765 (S.D.N.Y. 2005). 2005 Court Listener. District Court, S.D. New York.

Perquel, Anne-Laure. 2015. “The Use of RICO in the War against Terror.” April 2015, 1–25. http://www.academia.edu/12545128/The_use_of_RICO_in_the_war_against_terror.