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People and Politics Forum 20. 03. 2009

"Is there any chance of defeating the Mafia?"

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More Information:

Murderous Mafia -- The 'Ndrangheta's Network in Germany

According to Germany's Federal Criminal Police, hundreds of "families" of Italy's most powerful organized crime group, the 'Ndrangheta, are active in German cities. The arrest of one of its bosses, following mafia killings in Duisburg, only disrupted the network temporarily. Each year the 'Ndrangheta, based in the southern Italian region of Calabria, rakes in over 40 billion euros. Germany has become the organization's most important base abroad. Its mafia clans have divided up the country amongst themselves. Much of their activity is concentrated in the Ruhr Valley, but the 'Ndrangheta have also spread to eastern and southern Germany.

Our Question is:

"Is there any chance of defeating the Mafia?"

Martin Burmeister, Venezuela:

"The fight against the Mafia is not entirely doomed to fail, but any kind of success will depend on the absolute cooperation of international special forces to undertake this fight and the vital support of the government and the population."

Charles Smyth, Großbritannien:

"Defeating, or seriously limiting the Mafia's ability/incentive to engage in violent and/or criminal activity is a matter of applying the law in certain, rational ways: If Mafia members kill or injure each other, it is only necessary for the police to gather any evidence and make it available for the victims, their families or friends, to pursue a prosecution through the courts at their own, private expense. This places the risk onto the criminals. In the case of drugs or other lines of trade which excludes others from a specific area, or is misrepresentative of quality, it is simply a matter of applying 'trading standards' law and 'freedom to trade' law. The same reasoning applies to loan-sharking, to the extent of, what led a loan-shark to expect that they could implement a loan contract without resorting to violence to gain exorbitant rates of interest. Thus the court simply annuls the loan agreement."

Hannelore Krause, Germany:

"I say yes! The Mafia is an empire that operates illegally on a worldwide scale – and this is not just the case since the Duisburg incident. Since the fall of the Wall, the N’drangheta has increasingly spread throughout Germany. It has also reached the new federal states that have partly made gains from it, perhaps through ignorance. In the hundred year history of the Mafia, many of its members have been shot trying to escape. Magistrates who were investigating the many people involved in the organization, have also lost their lives. The enduring flood of new members will not cease, the Mafia will not die out. In addition to the Italian Mafia, the American members of the Cosa Nostra, the Japanese, Chinese and Russian Mafia have also made their mark in our country. They already influence governments worldwide. There is simply no effective tool, that will banish them from this world."

Gustaf Woelfle, USA:

"The Mafia is itself very unorganized; it is its own enemy.(...) If the justice system in Germany wouldn’t be so hesitant, it would be possible to nip the organization in the bud."

Lee Davis, USA:

"Yes, but first we need to remember the Mafia is a business. The Mafia will not survive, if there is no market for their products."

René Junghans, Brazil:

"German politicians have failed miserably in trying to control the Mafia in Germany, otherwise the seemingly uncontrollable spread of this criminal organization wouldn’t have been possible. It must also be rightfully said that the Mafia appears to be well-organized around the world, most of all in the United States. The only possibility to combat the Mafia would be transnational legislation that allows an international police team specializing in Mafia organizations to be deployed worldwide, unhindered by local laws. As an operation with a yearly revenue of $40 billion, the Mafia can buy whatever and whomever it wants. With that in mind, the struggle against the Mafia seems hopeless. The way I see it, the criminal and corrupt are always on the stronger side, whereas the few honest people like me are just idiots in their game for power."

The editorial staff of ‘People and Politics’ reserves the right to shorten letters received.