AN ENDOWED ACADEMIC CHAIR
ON INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME, DRUG
TRAFFICKING AND TERRORISM
THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK
New York has a celebrated tradition of leadership in eradicating organized crime. With the 1957 Apalachin incident, the New York State Police dramatically exposed the existence of La Cosa Nostra to an unsuspecting world, sparking decades of intense effort to combat the criminal conspiracies that had grown so pervasive and entrenched. Today, as a result, the traditional Italian-American Mafia is in full retreat.
In 1991 the State Police exposed the operations of the Cali Cocaine Cartel when the culmination of a six-year investigation exposed the far-reaching and sophisticated organization that had been established in the state by the Colombian organization. It was again the first time that a law enforcement agency had brought the secretive hierarchy of a major criminal conspiracy out into the light of day -- this time, one based in a foreign country and with tentacles in many nations.
New York State Police alumnus Thomas A. Constantine, made further history when, as head of the US Drug Enforcement Administration, he oversaw an international effort that led to the surrender of the Cali Cartel's leaders and the effective break-up of its organization during the mid-nineties. Now a distinguished lecturer at the State University of New York, Professor Constantine has established himself as a brave and honest voice calling the world's attention to the growing power and ruthlessness of the Mexican drug trafficking organizations that have become the chief conduit for illegal drugs into the United States.
The Mexican organizations are by no means the only organized crime threat facing the United States and other nations. Particularly virulent and cosmopolitan are the criminal organizations that have been flourishing since the Soviet Union dissolved itself. They traffic in drugs, enslaved women and children, refugees, precious stones and metals, weapons, fissionable nuclear materials and natural resources. They have become particularly adept at money laundering and fraud of all descriptions. With burgeoning Russian émigré communities in New York City and elsewhere, their influence has quickly made itself felt in the United States as well as throughout Western Europe. A Russian connection has also been established with leftist guerrillas in Colombia who are trading Colombian narcotics for huge shipments of Russian military materiel.
With the internationalization of organized crime, the challenge to law enforcement has grown exponentially. The strategies developed to combat the traditional Mafia provide a strong foundation upon which to build the capabilities needed to fight it in the international theater. But we must also develop the legal and diplomatic frameworks within which the law enforcement authorities of many nations may cooperate along with the essential personal and professional relationships that build trust and unity of purpose and that are the sine qua non for eventual victory.
There is an urgent need for research, policy development, law reform and education to confront the threat of international organized crime, drug trafficking and terrorism. In an increasingly globalized world, new opportunities for human advancement emerge every day but so does new vulnerability to these criminal conspiracies. Since organized criminals, drug traffickers and terrorists seek out countries known to have less effective regulatory and enforcement systems, any jurisdiction that does not have adequate defenses is at risk of being overwhelmed and may cause risk to other countries. As perhaps never before, the policies and enforcement capabilities of any one country have direct consequences globally.
As may readily be seen, the problem of international organized criminal conspiracies is growing and metamorphosing at a frightening rate. It is not a phenomenon for which we have the luxury of copious time to analyze and study. We are already in mortal confrontation with organizations that threaten peace, prosperity and public confidence in law enforcement's ability to protect our people, our democratic institutions and our economic well-being.
The Chair on International Organized Crime, Drug Trafficking and Terrorism will provide a focus for deliberations about the control of these phenomena and for public education about their manifestations. Empirical study will enhance understanding of the operations of these criminal conspiracies and help to develop strategies for control and enforcement. The research program will be diverse and will reflect a balance among the issues relating to legal, operational, social, political, and economic aspects of international organized crime, drug trafficking and terrorism. The Chair will be committed to advancing knowledge and informing policy on a broad range of issues, both domestic and international. Our ultimate goal is to be a valuable and practical resource for law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, governments and the international business community.
The Chair will draw on the expertise of leading faculty in Law and related disciplines at the State University of New York and other institutions of higher and professional learning. It will organize conferences and symposia that will bring together the best minds among academics, law enforcement professionals, lawmakers, the diplomatic corps and the business and financial community to develop strategies, tactics, relationships and legal and diplomatic frameworks for more effective international cooperation in the control of organized crime, drug trafficking and terrorism.
A total endowment of $2.5 million, to be raised from private sources, should be sufficient to support this initiative in perpetuity.
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CONSTANTINE'S CIRCUS, INC.
PO Box 7223
Albany, NY 12224-0223