Transnational Organised Crime: Perspectives on Global Security

By Adam Edwards; Peter Gill | Go to book overview
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16

After transnational organised crime?

The politics of public safety

Adam Edwards and Peter Gill

Dates provide an alluring framework for historical and political analysis; for example, we routinely compare the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as though the numbers 1800 and 1900 can actually do any more for explanation than provide convenient bookends. So, here, it is tempting to identify the decade 1991-2001 as, in international political terms, the decade of transnational organised crime. Even more precisely, the bookends might be formed, at one end, by the failure of the conservative coup in Russia in August 1991 or the decision of several republics to form the Commonwealth of Independent States in December and, more clearly at the other, September 11, 2001, when hijacked planes were flown into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, DC.

The events, debates and policies of the period 1991-2001 do provide much of the substance of the chapters in this book; indeed, as explained in the Introduction, they provided the impetus for setting up the seminars in the first place. But dates are just bookends and it is important to acknowledge the longer gestation of these issues. For example, Ethan Nadelmann (1993) traced what he called the 'internationalization' of American law enforcement from the late eighteenth century onwards, a process that accelerated from the early 1970s particularly with respect to drugs. Similarly, in Europe, the earliest moves to achieve some form of multi-lateral co-operation on criminal matters regarding drugs trafficking came in 1972 with the formation of the Pompidou Group consisting of the then-EC states plus others and STAR (translated as 'Permanent Working Group on Drugs') which involved some EC countries plus the USA (specifically the Drugs Enforcement Agency). Until the 1980s, European policy initiatives remained relatively discrete - drugs from 1972, 'terrorism' in Trevi from 1976 onwards - but then issues began to be conflated into what Bigo (1994) identified as the 'security continuum' taking in terrorism, drugs, illegal migrants and asylum seekers. In 1989, EC Interior Ministers drew up the PALMA document with recommendations for action on all these security issues and, in 1992, the move to formalise the intergovernmental TREVI forum was completed in the Maastricht Treaty establishing the 'third pillar' for justice and home affairs and the decision

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