Ideological Leashes: Hierarchy and the Drift Towards Crime

The goal of this paper is to use the comparison the network structure present in two broad classes of dark networks to understand how the nexus between crime an terrorism modes of action. Those dedicated to purely criminal activity and those that also include a dominant terrorist component. While both can be correctly classified as entities to which the continued existence depends on secrecy, corruption or coercion, a key difference encompasses their ultimate targets. The terrorist networks have outcome goals [Abrahams, 2008], usually stated as demands of political action, for example the Irish Revolutionary Army wished for the independence of Northern Ireland from British rule. Nevertheless, they also include process goals, which are related to building capacity as an organization. Those goals overlap with those of criminal networks, as they include acquiring weaponry, recruiting members and creating a stream of revenue, and in several cases, these two types of entity develop substantial cooperations[Rabasa et Al, 2017]. 
By definition, its actors strive to stay hidden both from outsiders, and in some measure, from other nodes of the network as an embedded element of protection. [Gerdes, 2015]. Their structure also means that internal differences both intra-networks and between networks cannot rely on the state as an arbiter for solving differences, they either use trust, or a peculiar form of ritual problem mediation based on hierarchy, or straight physical conflict. In fact some of the worst situations of organized violence rise from conflicts between different factions of criminal groups, or factions.
The distinctive modus of terrorist networks, that of attacking civilians can also be understood as a function of fragmented structure, since the majority of attacks against civilians are undertaken when new factions want to establish themselves as a powerful groups coming out of the shadows. [Abrahms, Beauchamp & Mroszczyk; 2017].
Our preliminary results point towards the Principal Agent Theory as a likely explanation to the drift that certain terrorist groups and factions experience towards crime, as well as the adoption of terrorist tactics by drug dealers and cartels. This has deep consequences for the disruption of these entities, as the strategy of targeting leaders will prove detrimental in many consequences to the outcome of violence.

Lucas Almeida
Tuesday, September 25, 2018 - 19:00 to 19:15


The official Hotel of the Conference is
Makedonia Palace.

Conference Organiser: NBEvents

The official travel agency of the Conference is: Air Maritime

Photo of Thessaloniki seafront courtesy of Juli Bellou
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