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For All Worldwide, A Holistic View

(All chapters are intended for continuing revision)

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Volume II - Chapter Thirteen

(Last updated June. 8, 2008


The law is like a spider's web which catches the little flies but lets the big ones break through. --Honore de Balzac eCriminal organizations are. . .bankrolling civil wars within nations and. . .are corrupting government officials. --Harold Sackman

We all gain when developing countries rise out of poverty and we are all hurt when (aid) funds are lost because of corruption...the poorest suffer and are cheated of...health care, clean water and education.   -- Senator Richard Lugar.

The distinction between war and crime is becoming increasingly blurred. --the Shell Group

Doesn't global society need to THINK BIG about research on coping with global-scale crime that need global-scale solutions? Stephens (2008)--warning about future of crime--proposes that crime on the Internet is but a beginning of dangerous new kinds of crime that will come with emerging new technologies. Arana (2005) warned against  powerful prison-nurtured cross-border crime networks that will be a continuing danger until there is better global-wide collaboration and integrated tracking computer system. International crime syndicates have trillions of dollars, often better technology than the police, and increasingly partnering with political terrorists; for example organized crime methods of smuggling narcotics are being used to smuggle terrorists. However, this is but a `drop in the bucket' compared to the problems of failing states, civil wars, and more. The tremendous seriousness of international organized crime is documented in the 2007 book Gomorra (word play on Naples Mafia, Camorra) that documents huge international crime involvements in major businesses. At the same time Span (2007) describes a local school solution in a crime-ridden neighborhood. 

A lack of global policing is also seen in mushrooming crime like piracy, the NEW YORK TIMES, June 12 2008, for example on the harassing of Nigerian fishermen  and tourism cruise ships by pirates, Vast numbers of children and others cannot obtain adequate learning because they live in unsafe, often narcotic-infested neighborhoods such as slums where youngsters get robbed of their shoes on the way to school. Others are plagued by civil wars and/or are refugees who live in refugee camps where there is little possibility of adequate education. Many developing world schools and higher education institutions are victims of graft (Campbell 2000) and corruption by government officials. (See the Italian film Ciao Professore about a school where the `Mafia' rules and children must bribe the janitor to get toilet paper and the government-provided lunch.) Rotberg (2003) points out the danger that `failing states.--without the resources to fight preserve order and fight crime "are one of the urgent problems of the 21st century." Isn't it seriously criminal that so many of the third of the world's children who are at work rather than in school are employed in hazardous jobs, prostitution, force or bonded labor and other exploitative  occupations?  

`Learning for all' must provide a safe environment for all learners and that is going to require better planetary management because all of society's problems intrude within educational institutions and programs. In an interview with Clare Short  (2004), British parliamentarian and former cabinet member, lamented that "many countries are collapsing' and are dominated by criminals. International peacekeeping forces, as constituted, "do not have the capacity to enforce the peace  The "dangerous instability" that exists in many of the poorest parts has led to collaboration among weak governments and powerful organized crime. A Georgetown university study (Brown 2003) warned that a third of nations states in the world today are too weak to cope with terrorists and the `political and criminal connections" that endanger the rule of law, human rights, economic development and essential education. Bales (2005) warns of the vast increase in new kinds of slavery, especially of youngsters, as a result of global poverty. Also global politicing is needed children in many countries where many children are dying as a result of fake medicines that pretend to be prescription drugs.

Talbot (2004)  noted that terrorist groups throughout the world make more effective use of the Internet than those who oppose them. ..al-Qaeda's online presence had become more potent and pertinent than it' was before 9-11." The number of terrorist websites had increased to over 4,500 in 2005. Naim (2003 reported that the `war against terrorism' has led to neglect essential new approaches to arms tracking, alien smuggling,  vast money laundering, the illicit drug trade and the dangerous increase in new infectious diseases. Could more comprehensive research propose better networking alternatives to obsolete institutions, outmoded ideas about sovereignty and neglected supervision of the oceans that has led increasingly serious piracy?  In November 2007 nearly all police chiefs in the Middle East met in Beirut to plan how to work together to deal better with terrorism (the crime, for example, of car bombings that killed innocent children. They agreed to meet another year to work on how better to coordinate their efforts so as to be more effective.  Needed are 24 hour a day seven days a week Internet connections of all of the local police departments in the world  to deal with terrorism and corruption..

Crime, criminologist Stephens (1994) pointed out, "is a lot like cancer. It is serious, potentially deadly, comes in many varieties, is difficult to diagnose, hard to treat and almost impossible to eradicate." In many ways the situation continues to get worse. Liddick (2005) reported that the `global underworld' has been expanding enormously as international organized crime and war crimes--like terrorism--are moving into cyberspace with very sophisticated technology; for eample. weapons traffic, narcotics, software piracy, pornography, sexual slavery and traffic in human organs. Reamer (2005) shows why "the use of punishment, imprisonment, rehabilitation and restorative justice must be tailored to each oftender and victim." Of the inmates who leave American prisons 19% are totally illiterate (14% are functionally illiterate)...12% have significant mental impairment...and 21% have some condition limiting their ability to work." Better research is needed on what causes crime and why--globally-- it is getting out of control

This controversial chapter--useful perhaps only as a way to ask some questions--is about research on interrelated global-scale crises that impact education.. How, for example, can human society act to .accomplish the objectives proposed by some Nobel laureates, who called "for boldness in our actions, our imaginings...to transcend the existing bounds of our thinking, and to reframe the challenges we face from an even broader point of view." (Cobban 2000) For example: paying continuing attention to the  human and civil rights of all people and to systems that  value the profits of the rich world ahead of the needs of those who lack education.

Crime-ridden neighborhoods need a better educated and equipped citizenry. So the child who is starved by a drug-addicted mother is a matter for local authorities, but within a larger context. We have discussed (2.8.1) kinds of research that might change the system of food politics so that every child worldwide can be fed. Similarly now in this chapter we ask what scale of research is needed to build a system of security to make  every child in the world safe for learning. Crime, aggressive war and terrorism are threats to everyone in the world and therefore pose a crisis for all humanity, especially now in the 21st century when  angry civil wars are spilling across borders and "even sub-state organizations can obtain nuclear, biological and chemical weapons for individual guerillas to use across national borders.  (Utgoff 2000). How much longer can human society sit by and do little when children's arms and legs are cut off for revenge, when children who ought to be learning are kidnapped, drugged, and used as assassins, and as when hundreds of thousands of neighbors kill each other as in Rwanda? 

One scholar who studied the international crime prevention system --including war crimes---was asked what changes should be made. He replied: "What would you do with a horse and buggy `police car' if the horse was old and sick and the buggy had been driven 500,000 miles and has been so poorly maintained that every part needs to be replaced? A thousand mechanics have looked at it and no two agree what to do. Also," he sighed. "When there is no money for what ought to replace it."

Police and justice systems in the developed world are modestly effective--and improving--in dealing with local and street crime. Larger-scale research needed, however, if global society is to cope effectively with global-scale crime, including drug-money empowered organized crime, terrorism and corruption, poverty and injustices  that are increasingly interlinked and impacting education.. One reason criminal syndicates and terrorists can prey on all of us is because they can operate freely in nations that lack adequate funds for policing. Also, they reach into the international business arena--especially in cyberspace where global organizations, legal and illegal, have been spinning out from under supervision by any effective government. The United Nations lacks the money--and often the authorization--to do much more than make reports on the need. Can larger-scale research help? Nearly every topic in this chapter is a potential area for much larger, global-scale research.

Criminologist Lewis Yablonsky, author of Juvenile Delinquency into the 21st Century suggested a new approach to research on violence and what to do about it. Most nations have been abolishing the death penalty, replacing it with life in prison without parole. Yablonsky recommended moving all such lifelong prisoners into a new kind of escape-proof complex he calls a `research prison.' There they would be subjects of study by "sociologists, psychologists, psychiatrists" and other scholars. Some experimentation with life prisoners elsewhere has shown that many of them are willing to cooperate in research that would help other young people avoid crime. This cooperation in long-range serious research could give prisoners to atone by making a contribution to society. Also they could be trained for productive technological jobs inside so that they could help support dependents outside and reduce prison costs. Working on many cases  he has found that many inmates, who got caught up in violence, are puzzled about it and would like to know why it happened and what could have been done to prevent it.  Carlson (2004) reports how education helps prevent problems in a prison and keeps many prisoners from returning to crime.

As in medicine where much more attention needs to be given to preventive health, the technology now exists to transform the prison system for better crime prevention. For example, all drug addicts and dealers might go to a specialized prison--with real treatment-- where they release would depend on cooperation with research on prevention.  Also society has so few clues into prevention of sex offenses that specialized research institutions are needed for those and other kinds of inmates also. The brutality and abuse that exists in many prisons creates more crime after release. Why not try some large-scale research institutions for those convicted of graft, terrorism  and war crimes also? Present efforts such as prisons without rehabilitation are failing. (Dyer 2001) Computer scientist Spohrer (quoted in Alexander  2004) has a vision he calls the `WorldBoard' that would make it possible "to consider the human layer of the earth as one vast downloadable, writeable, searchable surface."


A more effective international crime and injustice  prevention system can be built in the emerging world of digital cyberspace. At the same time, however, cyberspace also opens new opportunities for multi-billion-dollar crimes. Electronic networking facilitates the creation and operation of global criminal alliances. (Stephens 2008) Carlin (1997) pointed out that rogue states--those who would still seek to use war and terrorism to achieve political objectives--and oppressed people who seek justice through terrorism begin now to ally themselves with criminal forces such as drug and arms traffickers. It becomes difficult to sort out where one begins and the other ends. A United Nations University study found that billions of dollars from illegal drugs and other crimes are being used to corrupt police, government agencies, and even governments of impoverished countries. Powerful new mafia-type syndicates have been coming into existence in Asia, in the power vacuum created by the collapse of the Soviet Union and in some small, weak nations that have corrupt governments. Crime syndicates are coming together in international partnership networks. They are launching new businesses: for example, traffic in human organs, creating new cheap synthetic narcotics that do not need to be shipped across borders, massive-scale counterfeiting of money and of trademarked products, trafficking in illegal migration and the prostitution of women and children, corrupting and infiltrating financial institutions and other businesses to launder and legitimize crime profits.

The chair of the U.S. Senate subcommittee on terrorism, narcotics and international crime warned (Washington Post, May 11, 1997) that "a new criminal order is being born, more interconnected, violent and powerful than the world has ever seen." The damage done by other international crime is not as dramatic and specific as terrorism," he said. "But in fact it is greater." Existing legal and enforcement systems are feeble and ineffective on the global level. Payne (1997) reported that the United States government has often been unable to protect its own citizens and defend its own Texas border. Drug traffickers and illegal immigrant smugglers--and increasingly they were the same people--have had "night vision equipment, cellular phones, scanners for eavesdropping on...radio communications and an intelligence network on both sides of the border." International criminals laughed at the U.S. police and border patrol officers. Drug lords could bribe USA officials because they had superior wealth, weapons and technology and threatened to kill those who informed on their criminal activity. Such weaknesses open doors to terrorists. Those that are ruthless enough to kill themselves to kill innocent woman and children also do not hesitate to make alliances with organized crime. 

International criminal syndicates and prison-nurtured gangs often know more about the police than the police do about them. Global society is facing a crisis on a previously unheard of scale as huge crime profits are used for sophisticated technology that many police and government agencies in many countries cannot afford. The computer networked intelligence of crime syndicates can sometimes keep them ahead of police investigations of corporations and banks used for money laundering, often without the banks knowing it. Sometimes criminal organizations control the banks. Sackman (1997) proposes "pure and applied research" to find ways to dry up these immense profits." Globalization of crime: <http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/organized_crime.html>.

International police agencies, often poorly equipped, are increasingly vulnerable to infiltration and attack. Armies of intelligent and ruthless ex-convicts work for criminal networks that can afford to pay much higher salaries than someone with a criminal record can get elsewhere. Soon crime syndicates--and terrorists--can acquire nuclear and biological weapons. Or do they need them in light of the September 2001 attack on the Pentagon in Washington D.C. and the World Trade Center in New York City and more recent terrorist attacks in Europe and Asia?  The education of some learners is limited by fear. 

It is hard to predict what massive crimes or terrorist acts are next going to be possible with networked powerful computers and the Internet to plan and coordinate criminal projects --such as plotting computer viruses to shut down the entire electricity grid and Internet . Technicians "struggle with ways to tame vivisystems" (Kelly 1994) in which a "mere 100 variables create a...swarm of possibilities." Each behavior "impinges on 99 others and it is impossible to examine one parameter without examining the whole interacting swarm at once. . .breeding chaos." Inadequate data, can "compound into grievous errors...(causing) exponentially increasing numbers of error-tainted possibilities." Can chaos theory help researchers deal with the criminal potential of systems that complex?


War in the last hundred years has wrecked havoc on education in many countries. Terrorist bombings--often the only form of war available to the poor--are now dealt with by the police as crimes (USIP 1997). Human society is thus moving into an era when aggressive war is becoming a criminal offense. War is increasingly discredited and unsuccessful--yet still is increasingly used--as a way for tribes, religions or nations to settle disputes. The biological, chemical, nuclear and other weapons--which can destroy humanity--were thought to eliminate war as a way to redefine borders or resolve conflicts. Now, however, the nature of aggressive war has changed. That has happened repeatedly in human history as new weapons systems have appeared. Nations found that it was futile to oppose cannons with bows and arrows. Conventional military forces--like all industrial age institutions--must also now be transformed to cope with invisible terrorist groups, electronic warfare, structural sabotage, clever disinformation campaigns on computer networks, collapsing power grids and other "electronic Pearl Harbor scenarios." Pirates, criminals, terrorists and revolutionaries (Craddock 1997) "have always organized along network lines." Now electronic communication networks give dictators and other criminals new power and weapons. <http://www.infowar.com> . 

A Pentagon advisor called for "low tech responses to high tech warfare." Craddock (1997) said  that future attacks would not be made by nation states. "Small distributed groups"--ranging from criminal gangs to rebels and revolutionaries--can exploit information technology. Sneak attacks by technological specialists will replace battles between uniformed forces. It will become harder in cyberspace to distinguish between war and crime, military forces and police, rogue nations and terrorist groups. On terrorism see: <http://www.laetusinpraesens.org/docs00s/varterr.php>.

The Pentagon said that it took very seriously a report from the Defense Science Board that terrorists and foreign agents would likely attack the Internet, telephone and power systems, banking, military defense, financial and business transactions and essential government services. All are extremely vulnerable. Most of the technology needed to bring a major nation to its knees "is simply software, easy to duplicate, hard to restrict." Satellites, military bases and aircraft carriers are also terribly vulnerable. Government agencies call for new research and new technology for systems that can survive. Solutions, however, "remain evasive, slippery, beyond reach." (Carlin 1997) predicted that the worst scenario would be a terrorist  alliance of rogue states and criminal organizations "which will serve as their proxies as they wage an unending low-intensity net war." This is not just a future danger. Perhaps war departments should be renamed, with changed functions,  as International Collaborative  Police departments. 

One hundred Nobel Prize winners (Editorial 2002) warned that "the most profound dangers to world peace...stem not from the irrational acts of states or individuals, but from the legitimate demands of the world's dispossessed and the young who are determined to do something about it. The situation of these (poor, jobless, uneducated and disfranchised) will be desperate and manifestly unjust. So, these scientists warn, the increasing spread of information-age technology and weapons into their hands may result in a conflagration that will also engulf the rich nations. To prevent that, there must be a "wider degree of social justice that alone gives hope for peace." 

The process of transforming military and intelligence systems is already underway, In many nations military units fight against drug lords, serve as U.N. peacekeepers, help after disasters and build housing for the poor. Information age defense preparation will require a more highly educated global population, more effective programs to deal with injustice and poverty, decentralized authority and research to create new blueprints and designs for what should happen in cyberspace. Goals are set for a global `culture of peace" but too little is known about how to accomplish it. Isn't this a promising field for large-scale research? It may be that the entire war system is now going to be phased out because of a bankruptcy that began with the invention of nuclear weapons, but how can the present global `wild west lawless situation' be replaced with global law and order? Estes (2003) describes another feeble effort at beginning, the international criminal court founded to deal with crimes of genocide, aggression and other crimes against humanity. .


Many kinds of corruption are beginning to invade education and damage the economy of nations and responsible investment. Zaffaroni (1997) pointed out that some powerful politicians do not want more effective policing to prevent corruption and greed, even as they begins "to disrupt economic and political life." It is an illusion that the blunt instrument of criminal law and policing alone will roll back corruption in a time when an official earning thousands can get a bribe of a million or more dollars and when the leaders of small nations can siphon off billions of dollars into their private overseas bank accounts. . Rayner (1998) reported that in the 1990's, that Mexican mafias were "earning between ten and thirty billion dollars a year." A study at the University of Guadalajara found that mafias were "spending 500 million a year exclusively on bribing public officials in Mexico. . .roughly double the entire budget of the. . .Mexican police" and federal attorney general's office. Prominent officials who opposed them--a police chief, a prison warden and so forth--were murdered. A special prosecutor and his wife and children were tortured and killed, apparently with police collusion. Prosecutors say that they face three enemies: state police, federal police and the criminals.

Another instance: Schemo (1998) reported on Paraguay where money laundering and arms trafficking were "rampant," where judges were "bought and controlled by organized crime." That enabled a large drug traffic and an even larger enterprise of counterfeit brand-name goods, parts imported from Asia and assembled with labels like Motorola in clandestine factories. The police were doing little, not just because of bribes but because to close down the operations would leave an estimated 500 thousand families to go hungry and lack access to essential education. By 2001 this multi-billion dollar economy was also a base for terrorists. A solution requires other jobs, much as closing down the heroin and cocaine trade requires finding other profitable crops for impoverished farmers. Corruption control, Zaffaroni said to UNESCO, will require a transformation of defective institutions so as to provide for "a better balance of power, greater freedom of information and speech and the widest possible participation by citizens in monitoring and managing public affairs."

Major international corporations have also paid large bribes to politicians in the developing world, in one instance getting local laws waved so that a nuclear plant could be built on an earthquake fault line. Some global-scale business executives do not want to be policed in their international financial transactions and speculation. They may change their minds when their losses are accurately added up. One estimate in the 1990's found  that major corporations were already losing at least 270 billion dollars a year--for example from illegal pirating of intellectual, medical and other properties. Research is needed for accurate statistics on crime loss but more than that is needed. Neild (2002) pointed to increasing corruption "by politicians and public officials or all kinds," including judges, bribery, buying and selling of offices, fraud and graft, corporate deception aand reports that human society now faces an epidemic of public and private corruption across much of the world."

The media have been turning a bright light into a few dark corners of human society where corruption, organized crime and terrorism have thrived. Klitgaard (1996) said that  it is good news that the international community is now openly discussing corruption and the violation of laws by mega-corporations. "Virtually all countries have laws that condemn extortion, bribery, fraud and embezzlement, kickbacks, nepotism and other forms of corruption." The light of exposure--as seen in the ENRON crisis in 2002--may in time lead to more law enforcement and accountability. He pointed to `Transparency International,' an international organization, comparable to Amnesty International. It began "with the assumption that the private sector must clean up its own act" and not just blame police and government. The public, he said, are part of the problem. "Publishing illuminating reports, even if they have no legal status...could increase pressure for reform." There is little evidence, however, that accurate facts and exposure will provide motivation for essential action to clean up transnational operations until all business corporations and government make public all the payments they make to governments and government officials. (See <http://www.oecd.org> for the text and commentaries of the United Nations Convention on Combating Bribery which was signed by 44 nations in December 1997.) 

If indeed corruption and graft have an increasing impact on learning opportunities. Could simulations play out some new alternatives? For example, a major factor in the stability of USA democracy is the system of checks and balances in which each segment of government keeps an on the others. Could simulations discover how a similar system might work internationally? An engineer says that :"regulations are signs of design failure." How could anti-corruption systems be better designed, so that if it is not enough for an accounting firm to keep an eye on an international corporation like ENRON, a third check needs to be designed? See Calden (2001) on the extent of dangerous corruption. Callahan (2004) finds that nearly ev everyone is cheating

CBS Sunday morning has showed graphic pictures of children ages 4-10 doing backbreaking work 12 hours a day with whips at their backs. Yet such child labor is against the law in countries where children are thus abused. The New York Times, March 22, 1998--describing "an economy devouring the poor,"--reported on photographers who are in constant danger because of pictures they take in places where criminal gangs "kill at least 200 people a year" and where many young girls are raped and then killed. The situation is getting worse and worse, Brant (1998) said, fueled by a widening gap between rich and poor, an ineffectual legal system and a surplus of weapons. Yet few politicians discuss an increasingly dangerous, terrorism-breeding global society  where criminal syndicates have hundreds of billions of dollars with which they seem to be able to buy off almost anyone.

One journalist reported on global-scale crime with such success that his life is was in danger. He said that everyone in the area of international lawmaking and enforcement seems to wear political blinders. Policy makers find it difficult to break out of a medieval, unscientific, nationalistic mode of thinking. This is especially true when it comes to war crimes, genocide, torture and the murder of tens of thousands of citizens who oppose a military dictator. Laws now are being changed to allow intervention in a home where children are being abused but medieval national sovereignty traditions limit intervention into countries where people, even children are been tortured and killed by their own governments.

Where is there greater child abuse than in the drug trade (unless it is in depriving a billion children of enough food and health care)? Sackman (1997) and others insist that the current `war against drugs' is lost. International organizations that profit from drugs now have such wealth and power that they cannot be conquered through conventional police and military methods. Designer drugs can soon be produced at home by anyone, soon by youngsters themselves; and drugs make it difficult to eliminate juvenile prostitution. All the information the terrorist or criminal needs--like the how to of bombs--is already freely available in libraries. (Steele 1997). Instead of trying to destroy narcotic crops in Afghanistan--so that farmers without income then need to sell a child--- the global community should purchase the opium and use it to provide medication to the poor who cannot affrord i t.


Can a larger-scale research effort help free learning systems from in-school violence and other  problems that are causing many idealistic teachers to resign? Klitgaard (1990) foresaw the need for a large long term strategy for examining systems and how to change them. What kinds of police, justice and political institutions need to be build in cyberspace to cope with the impact of global-scale crime and injustice? Is anyone even working on the blueprints? Many university research projects, think tanks and online conferences are studying one crime problem or another. Can their varied research projects be linked in a quest for a global-scale research strategy?

A president of the American Society of Criminology, (Short 1997) reported that criminology "has enjoyed a period of unparalleled research funding." While not yet on the scale of `big science,' it has enabled "multiyear and multilevel research." The result, he said, has been too much to absorb and evaluate. Also, "the organization of knowledge by traditional disciplines has become increasingly anachronistic." Research now requires building bridges with many disciplines and professions, he said. Bridges also need to be built between criminologists who widely disagree on the causes of crime, whether the weaknesses of individuals or of systems. . .or what?.

Bernard (1998), summarizing crime research, called for the integration of all kinds of piecemeal crime research in which thousands of scholars each work on different data and theories. He also proposed research that is `policy relevant,' which might actually reduce crime. The effect on individuals of family disruption, bad schools and bad company, drugs and alcohol or whatever is not research dealing with global-scale criminal syndicates. The extent to which crime is caused by poverty and lack of non-criminal economic opportunities, racial discrimination and urban decay, criminal cultures and other social forces may be important to study. Existing extensive research on the causes of crime in one country, however, is not of much help on global-scale crime, except as it impinges on the country in which research is being conducted.

Our World Wide Web search through criminal justice online `newsgroups,' conferences, data bases and research reports found little of the kind of research that might help design new strategies and systems for larger-scale  international crime management. A note to the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, however, pointed out that "a minor revolution is happening in academia. . .thanks to the Internet." (Gerstenfeld 1997) There is progress in the creation of computer profiles of individual crime lords, and the mapping of global-scale crimes. Where, however, is the mapping of global-scale corruption, international white collar crime, of counterfeiting of products, business ignoring of safety regulations and other laws, and so forth? If crime research "generally remains much of a muddle" in the USA, as one researcher says, what is it internationally? 

It is not only in Russia that the prisons gets dangerously overcrowded with car thieves and low level-criminals "while the corrupt high officials, mafia chiefs, top businessmen never seem to get caught." (Stanley 1998). Nor are politicians and leaders of nations who use weapons to oppress their own people. Maybe it will take `big science' to deal with that level of international crime which, President Eisenhower said, robs the children of the world. The June 1988 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists had an article calling existing sanctions, which target civilians including women and children, as the most brutal form (totally immoral and unacceptable?) of war. What scale of research might find more effective and humane kinds of sanctions?


Larger-scale crime research would examine international police structures, especially what is emerging in cyberspace. Information technology empowers both the police and criminals. The "economic and social development of modern society," its complex business and communication structures, international travel and computer networking "have increased the opportunities for international crime to an alarming degree." Terrorists and criminal organizations can easily operate in several countries at once. Assets and crucial documents may be hidden in a country where no crime is committed, making apprehension and prosecution difficult.

International sovereignty sometimes makes it difficult for police to cooperate and exchange information. However, INTERPOL, (the International Criminal Police Organization), has increasingly been using computer networking with greater effectiveness. Its Liaison and Criminal Intelligence Division by definition "deals with terrorism, organized crime, money-laundering, white-collar crime, counterfeiting, forgery and drugs" One of its  tasks is to conduct more in-depth research into major international crime problems. To what extent is that research holistic, transdisciplinary and a partnership among disciplines?

Interpol presumably still has one of the most sophisticated telecommunications and networking systems in the world. It can, for example, exchange photos and fingerprints instantly. All information sent by 177 national crime bureaus to the international secretariat in Lyons, France, is now placed into a computer database. Analyzed and synthesized information can then be returned to national police offices, some of which have extensive research programs of their own. In South Africa, for example, there is a police program of "scientifically based strategic research that seeks objective, systematic analysis, interpretation and prediction of international crime." Its tactical research focuses on the major players in international organized crime such as drug and weapons smuggling. It seeks to integrate data bases to bring together fragmented data, recognizing that organized crime crosses all borders. It therefore seeks partnership, for example, with international civil aviation and other such organizations.

The Interpol system works well in such advanced countries, for example there is fast and effective cooperation among close-knit European nations. Many smaller countries are slow, however, because of limited funds, staff and sometimes political complications. Effective action requires a two-way process of cooperation if terrorist crimes are to be contained.

Does this suggest that a vastly more effective global policing could be developed by linking and integrating every local police unit into a worldwide system? Many civil rights groups fear that such a powerful global police system could endanger democracy and personal freedoms. What are the implications of mafia-bribed police units in such a system? Would not an all-pervasive police force need the supervision of `balance of power' structured world governance? (15.1) Perhaps research on global crime management should explore a counterbalancing international network of local civilian police boards since crime reduction is more effective when the citizenry is actively cooperating.

Frankel (1998), discussing the helplessness of sovereign nations in dealing with economic storms, points to the growth in cyberspace of economic and other institutions "that operate out of the control of any single state." One result, he said, is that even "America's economy will come under foreign inspection. Bankers and traders worldwide would demand independent audits of the books and procedures of all societies." Could an international system of linked civilian police boards provide a bottom-up controlled international police system instead of top-down authoritarian one? Who--other than researchers that model possibilities--is likely to design another plan for police agencies to be better connected with civil society institutions in cyberspace? Such links might enlist the cooperation of the public sector globally, a crime control method increasingly effective in urban neighborhoods. After ENRON-type scandals, will some nations soon close their borders to multinational corporations that do not have board members selected by labor unions and consumer groups?


Anbarasan (1998) reported on an interview with a leader of a coalition of eight hundred non-government organizations which successfully campaigned for the establishment of the International Criminal Court. The U.N. treaty which established the court represents a monumental advance in the rule of law, he said, if it can judge crimes against humanity, such as genocide and war crimes. Defining what is to be prosecuted (possession of nuclear weapons?) will be difficult. Could the guilty leaders of a major nation be arrested--and brought to trial--without the permission of their own governments? The  detention of General Pinochet of Chile in London raised the question of how effective such a system could be in arresting dictators who torture and murder their own citizens and mafia crime lords who bribe high government officials.

Juvenile crime and incarceration is often the result of abominable education and here are new possibilities--in cyberspace--to be researched. Kelly (1994) described how the human brain--through thousands of experiences--gradually builds up a mental model. How adequate are the current mental models--for example of criminal systems and alternative styles of education--in the minds of police, politicians, the public, or of many researchers? The complexities of international crime are now as difficult for researchers to cope with as what Kelly calls messy vivisystems, like a global economic system that involves invisible corruption, underground criminal businesses and even some art dealers and museums in the systematic and illegal looting of archeological treasures.

Like educators, experts on one or another crime problem have in their heads different mental models that bring together their widely disparate theories and approaches to research. Most scholars and researchers are still more or less limited to the models of their own discipline and research style. Educators who work with juveniles at risk often make fundamental decisions, or who fail to do so, on the basis of unexamined mental models. The public, including journalists--few of whom have time for serious research--usually have even less well-developed models. Police or others in law, justice and criminal investigation systems often have totally different kinds of models in their heads. In a mega-research strategy these different models of delinquents and of the education they need could be computer-simulated, compared, enlarged and transformed. Modeling is but one tool for more comprehensive research but it opens new doors of possibility.

After surveying the extent and threat of global-scale crime, to deal with the fifteen most crucial crime problems facing humanity today, the United Nations University Millennium Project called for research on how:

(a) to complete "an international set of agreements for tracking and arresting criminals," including data exchange;

(b) to establish "early warning systems," focusing on potential crime threats;

(c) to address neglected threats such as illegal waste disposal, theft of nuclear materials, traffic in human organs, sabotage of information networks and arms trafficking, abusive tracking of immigrants;

(d) to develop software to detect computer-based fraud and trained persons to use it;

(e) to develop international criminal law and world criminal courts with enforcement powers.

Any research or action system is limited by what it knows, does not know, or does not know that someone somewhere knows. Kelly (1994) pointed out that "we never have sufficient information to make a fully informed decision. . .To compensate we use rules of thumb or rough guidelines. Fortunately, it is very helpful to detect even limited patterns out of randomness and complexity." Now some researchers propose that more sophisticated computers can move beyond lower-level problems--or those that are solvable because they are relatively simple--to find helpful patterns in what has been thought to be unmanageably chaotic. (Modis 1992) As for now, Kelly says, we have the technology to study--to gather more comprehensive data on many social phenomena--"if we catch them at the right moment."

A mega-research strategy could link all helpful data bases, such as those of the United Nations and a global law data base. A world law committee has proposed research on areas of law where all nations agree, i.e., murder as a crime. Such `world law dealing with individuals could supplement `international law' which deals with crimes of nations. World law would also deal with multinational corporations and individual money pirates. Perhaps aid could also be given to small nations who lack the resources to enforce their own laws, such as those against oppressive child labor.

Crime and corruption present a challenge to all learning institutions, and to research that needs to involve much more than sociology, psychology and criminology. Perhaps--outsiders do not know--Interpol now has world crime maps, which track the operations of international syndicates and all that is known about criminals, crimes, and criminal organizations. Internationally networked university researchers could now develop their own digital maps of all kinds of crime-related activity; for example that of the Columbia drug cartels, Chinese Triads, Japanese Yakuza, Russian and similar Nigerian and American organizations. However, such gathering and organizing of information, alongside the development of theories, are just first research steps on how to create a global crime management system. Where can such a model be found? Civil society needs to be mobilized.


One of the most dangerous and worrisome kinds of crime that could immobilize learning systems would be attacks to destroy a nation's electricity grid or the Internet itself--are given a medical name: `the computer diseases,' computer viruses and worms which are `infectious' and "which may be a harbinger of more virulent Internet plagues." (Meinel 2001.) Global organized crime has been the most successful business of the 20th century, with annual drug crime profits alone being larger that the total wealth of many countries. (Lilly 2003)

One crime-prevention model might be like the global system used to track the spread of epidemics and diseases. The United Nations World Health Organization's infrastructure in cyberspace makes prompt and effective action possible whenever a new virus is found or when a medical crisis alert comes from anywhere in the world. The medical research and action system consists of a worldwide network of scientists, medical research institutes and laboratories. One of its major objectives is "capacity building" to make sure that local partners--staff, researchers and laboratories--are competent to act swiftly to identify a new virus, for example, and call for international help it is serious.

What would be the equivalent in an international crime research and monitoring system? The medical system requires quick monitoring and reporting in a time of international travel when diseases can quickly move from one country to another. Fortunately a virus cannot travel across the Internet as a crime plot can. Could crime information--comparable to that about major disease or epidemic--be digitally mapped and tracked? Could international crime experts also go quickly to where a new international crime syndicate emerges, or when a new one moves into a new location? The international network of medical research institutions and scientists and the architecture of research on diseases in cyberspace are increasingly effective. Paul Stares of the Brookings Institution (1996) made an impressive case for the creation of a worldwide drug monitoring network. But why just drugs? A more effective international criminal monitoring and action system--as in medicine--would begin with a solid foundation of information on all kinds of existing global crime, what anticrime efforts succeed, what fails and what might be done. "With automated mapping and links to massive databases, investigators can routinely subject even the least serious crimes to geographic analysis., (creating) `what if' maps...to find significant patterns." (O'Looney 2000).

Two 1990's projects illustrated the possibilities of international crime research co-labs that may become as effective as those in international medical research. The first was the United Nations fight against the drug trade, headed by Pino Arlacchi, an Italian expert on organized crime  who initiated research in preparation for a U.N. special sessions on a more comprehensive drug abuse strategy. However, drug crime cannot be separated from research into the larger crime situation

A second co-lab began with a linking of projects like the International Center for the Prevention of Crime. It has been an effort by several governments, national and provincial, "to harness the world's crime prevention know-how to increase community safety and to enhance civic activity." By linking local, national and international agencies, public and private, it encourages partnerships in crime prevention, not just in police actions. The effort has included  mediation and conflict resolution, community sanctions, neighborhood organization, the experience of France with more than 750 municipal crime prevention councils, community justice experiments, preventive policing in Japan, and Dutch research to see which preventive programs work. The ICPC has sought to work closely with the United Nations Vienna Crime Prevention office and with a worldwide network of organizations, such as the U.S. Crime Prevention Council and the European Forum for Urban Safety. One proposal for control of international crime called for a technologically-sophisticated global strategy center on the model of the space program's central control room. Based on global-scale research It could be linked electronically to similar control rooms in every city and region. Such a crime-prevention lab should be a partner in research and a place for the "capacity building" of every partner. Perhaps it already begins to exist behind the locked doors of Interpol headquarters and/or in Interpol's plans. Why just a network to track all kinds of crime, why not also track all changes in social structures that allow crime and weaken law enforcement? O'Looney (2000) reports on the use of animation to discover crime patterns.

Finally,  locally crime prevention ideally should involve building a support netowrk around each child at the tiem of a first ofrfense, such as bullying on the playground, cheating, stealing from another child or whatever.

A long-range global strategy must emphasize the UNESCO goal of a `culture of peace.' Note for example a program of the University of Missouri peace studies program, to discover all the departments where research and action project lead towards a `culture or peace' that may take decades to accomplish. Rochue (2003) in The Human Right to Peace draws upon United Nations plans for what must be accomplished if humanity is to survive in a healthy and happy world. See for another approach: <http://www.peaceworld.freeservers.com>.: 

Can there be any really effective international crime management system apart from better education and justice for the poor? This suggests research on planetary human society management, a better researched system of global governance as an alternative to aggressive war and other crimes. (2.15.1) Preventive health of the planet and of social systems might also adopt some methods from a medical warning systems. "Diplomacy, like health care, is focusing increasingly on prevention rather than treatment." (Hines 1997) reported, reviewing a book on Preventive Diplomacy: Stopping Wars Before they Start. That book, from a United Nations symposium, suggested public health procedures as a model for other kinds of governance. It argued that detection and early intervention can prevent crises. "Human crises require help from many different disciplines." So prevention of crime that damages education calls for a symphony of actions, different skills, empirical studies, a warning system and more. (2.15.4) Can new technologies coming down the road help?  If other possibilities seem to fail it is worth the effort. <http://www.asis.org/Bulletin/Jun-98/wright.html

Such considerations lead next to chapters on the global crises in morals, ethics, religion and education.

Return to Chapter 2.12  |  Go to Chapter 2.14

Bibliographical Notes


On poverty and lack of education as causes of terrorism see: <http://www.nyu.edu/classes/keefer/joe/joec.html>.

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Berdal, Mats et al.. 2002. Transnational Organized Crime. Boulder CO: Rienner, Publishers.

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See: <http://www.ifs.univie.ac.at/~uncjin/unojust.htm> on nations cooperating in the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice programs.

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