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An Interlink between White Collar Crimes and Terrorism

Article by Ashwin Singh

Student of Symbiosis Law School, Pune


Both these terms are the basis on which this article is going to revolve. It is very important to understand the link between these terms because they could be the greatest threat to mankind if they get together. To begin with and the most important link that can be set here is the monetary aspects which are related to the White Collar Crimes, once fraud is committed by the person holding a position of power, he can use this money for various purposes.

Since the money that is laundered is not White i.e. it is black money that cannot be openly used in the market, this money is used to do some of the activities which are not necessarily legal such as sponsoring terrorism. By paying the money that has been laundered to the groups involved in terror activities dual goals are fulfilled, the first being the goal of using that money and in some way turning it into white, the terrorist groups can use the money without any hindrances as they have a well-connected system to do the same. The person in return gets power and the group which he/she is sponsoring can be used by him to get whatever he wants in the future, he can even get any other illegal goods via this mode.

There might be cases too where the white-collar crimes are committed by the terrorist groups themselves to raise money for their cause. It can be done in various ways, the best way which can be used is by raising funds in the name of different causes such as asking for reliefs in case of some disaster from the general public which is later used for some other purpose. Like Flood combat funds, Earthquake Management funds, all these can be used for some other activities. An example can be taken from a similar case in the USA wherein 2004, a federal indictment charged that the group Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLFRD) provided more than $12 million to the terrorist group Hamas[1]. There are various other examples too that had happened all over the world.

Other examples of this kind of case may include the use of shell companies in corporate world by the terrorist organizations, Shell companies are companies that appear only on papers and has no real existence or business. These types of companies exist as a way to launder money and with the increasing laws in the country, these companies are one of the best ways to do it. Either a person with power or even a terrorist organization can be a part of these shell companies and they just have to maintain the accounts of the companies to get their money laundered using this mode. In the USA, In 2001, a U.S. telecommunications company was indicted on charges of aiding members of al Qaeda in preparation for the 9/11 terrorist attacks by handling more than $500,000 in transfers monthly[2].

It is also needed to be considered that the way the terrorists deal in today and with so many laws in place and also with the nations getting stricter in their ways to deal with terrorism. It is not the same for the terrorist as it was earlier, it has become a lot difficult to act in that manner today. Even your social media cannot be suggestive of terrorist activities or you can be charged with crimes as rigorous as sedition. This is why it has become imperative that these terrorist groups get themselves connected with higher authorities who are involved in White Collar Crimes, this will not only help them in getting funds but when the time comes these authorities can use their power to save these groups.

The political aspects of this kind of activity can also be an important point of discussion since many political parties resort to creating unrest in the country that will ultimately help them in blaming the party that is in power for the situations that are created. This helps them to gain power as the party that is in power is forced to step down from office. This starts another chain of white-collar crimes and scams that will be committed once the party that resorted to creating unrest in the state comes into power. This chain will continue until and unless a large section of the society is affected by it and then the protest to stop all this will take a new motion, until this point of time the nation's resources are already exploited and people are already in a very miserable state.

Keeping in mind all the points of linkages between white-collar crimes and terrorism, it can be said that this type of activity is very harmful to any nation, and if not stopped a whole nation can fall in its clutches. It is also to be kept in mind that to stop this the main role will be played by the legislature via executive and the most important part that is to be played in this situation will be played by the judiciary of any country as they will decide the fate of these people.


Cyber-terrorism and White-collar Crimes.

The developing world these days have been noticing various changes in the different aspects of the world. The people of the country are getting smarter and in the same way, the technological developments that are taking place with each passing day are big steps that will help us in becoming powerful nations with powerful people. However, as the people are getting smarter so are the criminals, and as mentioned before they are bringing forward new types of crimes which they perform via different modes. Cyber-crime is also prevalent in various parts of the world and they are a new type of White Collar Crime which is generally hard to deal with as they are performed via computers and the person performing it might be thousands of Kilometre far.

It is important to understand that cyber-crime is an activity of the past, this does not mean that cyber-crimes have stopped rather it means that these types of crimes have taken a new and more dangerous form which does not only affect individuals or companies but affects a nation as a whole or even can affect the multiple nations having an international influence. These types of cyber-crimes are the ones which are known as Cyber-terrorism as they affect the governments of different nations. The United Nation Institute of Peace has defined cyber-terrorism very successfully in its special report namely 'Cyber-terrorism: How Real is the Threat?' as:

Cyber-terrorism is the convergence of cyberspace and terrorism. It refers to unlawful attacks and threats of attacks against computers, networks, and the information stored therein when done to intimidate or coerce a government or its people in furtherance of political or social objectives. Further, to qualify as cyber-terrorism, an attack should result in violence against persons or property, or at least cause enough harm to generate fear[3].

The definition clearly states that there should be an attack on a government either to intimidate or coerce them, this is an important element in these types of crimes. The aspect of both white-collar crimes in the form of cyber-crimes and the element of terrorism is also involved in these forms of crimes that is why they are more dangerous than any other form of white-collar crimes as they will ultimately affect the nation as a whole. The characteristic features of cyber-terrorism can be hence listed as follows:

1. These attacks are pre-planned attacks and their victims are specifically fixed.

2. These attacks majorly have a wide range of targets and mainly they target the nation's political, economic, civil, or military structures.

3. They destroy the capacity of any nation or any individual to work in their arena.

4. These types of attacks are not necessarily related to activities that are violent but they may lead to violence if proper steps are not taken[4].

There are various instances where cyber-terrorism took dangerous forms and it had affected various nations or at different levels to a single nation. The cyber-scape where people store their data is often stolen and then this can be readily used by various terrorist groups to fulfill their motives. The dark web is the most used place for dealing of information of various kinds, this a place where entry of every individual is not easy but once a person gains access to the dark web it is easy for him/her to exploit nations and get hold of information which usually should not be at the disposal of the general public.

The famous terrorist attacks let it be the attacks of Mumbai's Taj hotel or be it attacks on the US's stock exchanges all had an element of cyber-terrorism in them. The people who committed them had to get information about the events that were going to take place in those places at that time and for that, they hacked websites and got information via different modes which led them to get a proper hold of the scene. Monetary aspects are always involved in these kinds of crimes people attacks places where they can get easy hold of money and by using cyber technologies money can be easily manipulated from one place to another in a blink of an eye.

The last aspect that should be discussed here is the newly emerging concept without which the topic of cyber-terrorism is incomplete is the concept of online currency or e-money also known as crypto-currency the most famous of which is Bitcoins. These are used by the terrorist groups and other individuals to store the money they have received via wrong modes as these currencies are not legal tender and are not regulated by the government it is very easy to use them. Governments all over the world are trying to stop such usage but it is very difficult since they are not governed by the laws made by the government.

At last, it is to be said that if these types of activities are not dealt with properly a nation or even multiple nations will be affected which further will lead to a failure of the country's government.

[1] U.S. Department of Justice, “Holy Land Foundation, Leaders, Accused of Providing Material Support to Hamas Terrorist Organization” [Press Release] July 27, 2004. Available at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/txn/PressRel04/HLF_ind_release_doj.pdf. [2]John Kane & April Wall, Identifying the Links Between White-Collar Crime and Terrorism, [April 2005] https://www.ojp.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/209520.pdf [3]Gabriel Weimann, Cyber terrorism How Real Is the Threat?, UNITED STATES INSTITUTE OF PEACE, [December 2004]https://www.usip.org/sites/default/files/sr119.pdf [4]Diva Rai, Cyber terrorism: a rising threat to India, Blog Pleaders, https://blog.ipleaders.in/white-collar-crimes/#Cyber_terrorism

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